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Going Rogue: Baby Blacephelon & Pidgeotto

Welcome to another edition of Going Rogue where we take a look at rogue decks that place well in tournaments and analyze what makes them successful! People have been playing decks with Blacephalon-GX for as long as it has been in the Standard Format. However, Blacephalon UNB 32, often called "Baby Blacephalon," has had hard times. When Wishful Baton was no longer legal many people discounted the card as a possibility to play even with Welder in the format. 

This wasn't the case for Jeffrey Criss who constructed and piloted a unique Baby Blacephalon deck to 12th Place at the Knoxville Regionals. Seeing several professionals pilot this deck on YouTube and seeing its success in tournament this may be the best deck with Blacephalon going into the Cosmic Eclipse metagame. So join us as we break down this rouge deck (while it's still rogue) and see what makes it so strong!

The Baby Blacephalon Advantage

Blacephalon UNB 32

So what makes Baby Blacephalon as good as it is? Compared to other Fire Decks, including decks with Blacephalon-GX it has many solid qualities:

  • It is a single prize attacker that can score one hit knockouts
  • It is easily searchable from the deck thanks to Ultra Space
  • It can implement one of the best cards in the current format, Welder, to power up and draw cards

Let's break this down further. Due to how its attack Fireball Circus works, Victini Prism Star can end up swinging for even more damage than most fire decks. There will be plenty of Fire Energy in the discard pile so there's less need to worry about recovering any Blacephalon that have found their way there when you have five solid attackers. Heatran-GX also comes in handy as it can help you utilize Energy placed by Welder even if it can't be put on Blacephelon due to bad luck with card draws. Combine all these cards together and you have six attackers! Especially if you use Heatran-GX last, you force your opponent to get six full knockouts.

Not that it's too hard, Baby Blacephelon is sort of a glass cannon. It's capable of massive damage but with only 120HP it won't be surviving many attacks. Still if you intend to use a glass cannon it only giving a single prize seems like the best way to go. Still it does have issues without things like Wishful Baton so how does it get around this?

Seeing Seven

Jirachi TEU 99Pidgeotto TEU 123

In the Pokemon Trading Card Game, players often refer to the idea of 'cards seen' on a given turn. This means not the cards drawn, but the cards you literally got to see or have the potential to draw in a turn. The more cards you see in this way each turn, the better chance you'll have of getting the cards you need. What makes this deck incredibly powerful is once set up you'll be seeing on average 7 cards per turn

Jirachi's ability Stellar Wish helps with this if you get it into the active (and with Baby Blacephelon's low HP this can happen often) and there's also Pokegear 3.0 to help dig out Welder or the Professor Elm's Lecture needed to fill your board with Pidgeotto. Its own ability Air Mail allows you to draw two cards, keep one, and place the other card at the bottom of the deck. Moving out cards you don't potentially want to draw off of PokeGear 3.0 or Welder will keep your hand fresh. If you happen to have Heat Factory Prism Star out things get even more wild! 

Compared to other decks that heavily need to utilize Beast Ring to get Fire Energy onto the field or have to use attacks to power Pokemon up, this can allow you to get the exact cards you need much more easily and get your deck set up and rolling at full strength with great ease. It gets even better when you realize one last power the deck has!

Superior Thinning

Fiery Flint DRM 60Professor Elm's Lecture LOT 188Fire Crystal UNB 173

With Fiery Flint in your starting hand you can quickly pull four Fire Energy out of the deck. With the other two in your deck you can likely clear your deck of ANY Energy cards, especially if some are prized. Being able to guarantee you only hit useful cards you want and that you can have Welder for full power at any time is phenomenal! Professor Elm's Lecture not only gives you an easy card to discard after it has been used but also can pull out at least three cards from deck as well! It's very easy to make sure your top deck has something useful during most turns thanks to this. Even Ultra Space can help thin a card!

With Fire Crystal around it's okay to see a few Energy in the discard even before you start attacking with Fireball Circus as well. As you have such a thinned out deck there's a better chance than most you can get the card you need. 

So is this the play for the Paris Special Event? If we don't see anyone trying it we'll be seriously surprised. Jeffrey Criss obviously proved it can place well so consider trying it yourself! If you're interested in seeing the deck in action OmniPoke, AzulGG, and ZapdosTCG have all made videos piloting the deck. Our one small tweak would be adding in a Pal Pad in case you really need to get those Welders back. Do you have ideas on how to improve this already strong rogue deck? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below!  Until next time, stay lit trainers!

Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps is a 27-year-old mom and Pokemon fan that loves breaking down games. She loves to talk games and creative decks when she isn't being a smoking hot grill on the internet or off traveling on adventures. Follow her on Twitter for Pokemon TCG news, early looks at deck concepts, and to just say hello!


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