In this article I will be taking a look at 4 rogue decks from the World Championships 2019 weekend. I actually tested variants of 3 of them leading up to worlds, and I will probably test them again. All of these have viability in the post world’s metagame.
Table of Contents
- Rowlegg Stall
- Keldeo Stall
Sam Vernooy placed 9th in the DC Open Flight 1 with a very underrated deck that spotlights the new Slowpoke & Psyduck Tag Team GX. While this placement was in the Open and not in the main event, 9th place with a deck thought to be no more than just a casual fun deck is definitely worth talking about.
This deck is focused around doing large amounts of damage with Ditch and Splash, which does 40 damage for each supporter card you discard from your hand. If you’ll take a look at the trainers in Vernooy’s list you will notice the high amount of Supporter cards included. With 23 supporters and ways to constantly recur them the damage output from Slowpoke & Psyduck can actually be quite absurd.
Lapras and Misty are the perfect partners for Slowpoke & Psyduck since they can keep the Supporters flowing. The deck plays 4 Lapras so that you can Mermaid’s Call a maximum of 4 Misty’s Favors from the discard pile each turn. If you Mermaid’s Call 4 Misty’s Favors and then use one of them to search for 3 supporter cards, that will be a guaranteed 6 supporter cards in hand to discard for Ditch and Splash. With this ideal set up the deck will be dealing a minimum of 240 with Ditch and Splash, with any additional supporter in hand pushing Slowpoke & Psyduck into the range of one-shotting just about anything.
The Dragonites and Lance Prism Star are what really took this deck from fun casual deck to competitively viable archetype. Vernooy masterfully pinpointed that Slowduck’s primary issue was falling behind on energy attachments. If you can set up a Slowduck, take a knockout, and attach to a benched Slowduck before the former is knocked out then you should be fine to seamlessly chain attackers. But, in the event the first Slowduck goes down quickly in this aggressive meta game, Dragonite UNM with Hurricane Charge can accelerate a single energy to the backup Slowduck which is all you should need. Lance Prism Star searches your deck for 2 dragon type Pokemon and Dragonite TEUconveniently searches your deck for a supporter once a turn, so these Dragonites feel like they were made for Slowduck!
Slowduck isn’t making huge waves in tier lists or breaking the game, but I do think it has been established as a real deck with this list from Vernooy and his testing partner Elizabeth Mobley. Our current standard meta is dominated by Tag Teams well within knockout range for Slowduck and several popular archetypes are weak to water which makes it even easier for the water duo. I’m not expecting gaggles of Slowducks to invade our metagame, but I do foresee it showing up here and there at future tournaments.
ROWLET & ALOLAN EXEGGUTOR STALL
I will start this section off by saying I surprisingly tested a Rowlegg stall prior to worlds (in a fit of madness one August morning at 3 AM) and the list was quite similar to this one, but winning games with this deck is actually quite hard and I have not dove back into it since. A key piece I did not include in my list was the 4 Shaymin LOT which generate a ton of healing for the deck.
Rowlegg is the chosen lead Pokemon of this stall/control variant due to its Calming Hurricane attack which heals itself and the free attack that speeds up the evolution of Leavanny. In addition to its attacks, it has high HP and a weakness that is fixed by teching in the Araquanid line to auto-win any mono-type Fire decks like Green’s Reshi.
Leavanny and Choice Helmet in combination reduce incoming attacks from GX Pokemon by 70 damage and the rest can be healed by a bench of Shaymins, Rowlegg’s second attack, Great Potions, Life Forest, Gardenia, or often a combination of these healing options.
Munchlax’s Snack Search is insane for a stall deck in a format with minimal gusting from most opponents. If you are fully buffering and healing all incoming damage turn after turn, you can just sit behind your active Rowlegg and Snack Search when you need resources back.
I do not have extensive knowledge or play time with this deck, but I do consider it a “real” deck. I think that this deck and the Keldeo-GX deck later in the article can both benefit from experimentation with Jessie & James from Hidden Fates, which becomes legal in Standard Format on September 6th. This deck has an answer to Green’s Reshi, but I imagine this exact list from Sander gets bodied by Ability Reshizard since they have pseudo-infinite gusts with Ninetales TEU and a non-Fire attacker in Turtonator DRM in addition to Double Blaze GX which can go through Araquanid’s ability.
Oh Fossils, how I so wanted to love this archetype and its variants for worlds. I started crafting lists for fossils the day I came back from NAIC and started preparing for Worlds, and it was the first “rogue” deck I actually built for world’s testing. Although most of my Fossil time was put into Aerodactyl / Carracosta builds, many of my friends had to hear my frequent statement “Whoever figures out Rampardos is winning Worlds”. Tobias Thesing did not win worlds, but he did make a solid run into top 64 with Rampardos based Fossils.
Fossil decks were plunged into viability with the release of Pokemon Research Lab which arguably makes fossil evolution lines now easier to get into play than non-fossil evolution lines.
Rampardos’ attack Wild Crash is absolutely busted and finding a way to use this attack efficiently in a meta of Tag Team Pokemon could really spell success. Thesing used Super Boost Energy Prism and Karate Belt to help make this energy cost of 3 Fighting a bit more feasible. Using Wild Crash twice against Tag Team Pokemon wins the game, so even though the energy cost is high it can definitely be worth it.
In the event that you need to take a quick knockout and you cannot power up a Rampardos, Aerodactyl-GX’s Wild Dive GX does 50 damage times the amount of energy attached to the defending Pokemon. This attack only costs 1 fighting, and can actually cost 0 energy with a Karate Belt attached so it is by far the most efficient attack in the deck. Primal Winds is also worth mentioning since it makes your opponent’s basic Pokemon’s attacks cost one colorless energy more when Aerodactyl-GX is active, so there are situations in which they cannot return knockout the Aerodactyl-GX.
I would personally like a higher count of Bill’s Analysis since so many important cards in this deck are trainers, and in this adjustment I would also want one or two Energy Spinners to have an out to energy in the form of a Trainer, since Bill’s and Jirachi can get you Trainers but not energy directly.
Something to not overlook about this Fossil build is that its only starter is Jirachi! Yes, the only Pokemon that you can actually start the game with is Jirachi since Unidentified Fossil cannot be your starting active Pokemon. Having the safety net of Stellar Wish every turn 1 guaranteed is a great thing about this deck and most Fossil variants.
This deck’s main hindrance is its consistency issues. Even though you always start Jirachi and frequently get turn 1 Research Lab, from there you can still hit bumps in the road and even stall out completely. The changes I suggested regarding Bill’s and Energy Spinners can help with finding energy which is a problem I personally ran into, but a deck with multiple stage 2s and 3 energy cost attacks are bound to run into problems in an aggressive and basic Pokemon oriented meta like we are currently in.
KELDEO STALL / CONTROL
Keldeo-GX has the “safeguard” ability that we have seen many times before. These Pokemon with the ability in the past like Hoopa SHL have been popular in stall and control archetypes, so it should be no surprise to see Keldeo-GX taking the lead role in a stall / control deck.
Keldeo-GX is different from Hoopa since it is a GX itself, has two good attacks, and can tank damage from a myriad of single prize attackers.
The strategy of the deck is to deny your opponent from taking all 6 prizes while using Lusamine and Lt. Surge to recur strong supporter cards to give you the advantage in the game in the form of longevity. Unlike many stall type decks, this deck which Dylan Gunn placed in Top 32 at World’s 2019 with can take 6 prizes and frequently does so. This is more of a control or wall deck than stall, but it does have stall qualities and that is the name the community is used to giving decks of this nature.
Blizzard Town is incredibly useful in the Malamar matchup, since your opponent will go in with Giratina LOT. Either allow them to rack up damage onto their Giratina, swing into it once with 110 from Keldeo, or move the correct amount of damage counter with Grimsley to then lock the Tina from attacking with Blizzard Town. Of course Malamarusually plays 3 to 4 stadiums of their own, but like I said Keldeo-GX has longevity due to the ever-so strong Lusamine.
Like the Rowlegg deck we looked at earlier, Keldeo also has a heatproof Pokemon of its own. The decks are actually quite similar in build and strategy, but Keldeo-GX has at least a fighting chance versus Ability Reshizard. Thanks to Counter Gain Keldeo-GX can get attacks off a bit easier, and sonic edge one-shots Turtonator DRM which is a huge threat. Ability Reshizard is definitely one of the decks worst matchups, but there are scenarios where Keldeo-GX can come out on top.
I expect Keldeo-GX lists to include Jessie & James as of September 6th when Hidden Fates becomes legal. It only makes sense that a deck with Lt Surge, Lusamine, and walling qualities would play such a strong hand control / pseudo mill Supporter.
I hope you guys enjoyed my dive into several Rogue decks from Worlds 2019! You can check out more of my content on my youtube channel, Celio’s Network.