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Going Rogue: Rogue Decks At Harrogate Regionals

Welcome to our first edition of Going Rogue! We'll be using this series to take a look at rogue decks being used in the current meta and discussing why they work and what makes them so unique. If anything the Harrogate Regionals showed that while there's a few constants in the Standard Format, there're still plenty of surprises around every corner. We've grabbed four of the most interesting decks from the event to take a closer look. All of them placed within Top 16 showing they have potential to do well. Enough with the introductions, let's get looking at the decks!

Victini GRI 10First let's take a look at the deck Adrian Fjell piloted to 11th place. Everyone was talking about how this attacking Steelix deck was on top of the standings going into day two, but what made it work? We discussed in our State of the Meta article how fairy decks like Gardevoir-GX and Granbull LOT 138 were doing well, so something with a Metal type could come up and do well. The only issues was their weakness to the prevalent Fire Type in Blacephelon-GX. Steelix can deal with all of this! It's very bulky and with Metal Pan it becomes even more so. This gives it enough time to set up as it forces the opponent to lose more energy if attacking with Blacephelon-GX. 

Since the big attack takes a bit of luck to pull off full damage, it includes Victinit to help push the scales in your favor. It also contains the classic Oranguru/Marcago combo to try and load up the cards you need and grab them quick. This goes together well to get a Metal Energy, then a Double Colorless as needed. With Sudowoodo 66 GRI to offer some disruption and Dhelmise 59 GRI to tack on a bit of damage, there's a lot of good tools here. We also have to be sure to mention Registeel CIN 68as a deck featuring it showed how it can bust open Granbull decks

It's a neat deck and is rather simple, but it's not without its flaws. It doesn't do incredible amounts of damage, and it can be quite slow to set up. Will it keep being seen in tournaments? With how well it performed, it's likely players will try. If it can keep placing high, however, remains to be seen.

Shedinja LOT 95With Blacephelon still being incredibly popular, being the second most popular deck in the top 46, there's no surprise some people tried to create a unique option to give themselves an edge in the mirror match. What seemed to be the option that worked best was adding a little spice of Shedinja to the deck. It does have some good synergy with the Mysterious Treasure already in the deck, but more importantly its ability Vessel of Life can make Blacephelon-GX give up only one prize instead of two. When you're doing a mirror match, that can be a serious deal!

Here's the real issue, Stian Nilsson was only able to pilot the deck to 14th place. Two basic Blacephelon decks without any frills placed higher, 2nd and 5th respectively. Shedinja might be interesting, but does it help enough to sacrifice more focus on getting your main combo to happen? It's a difficult call, but current results say no. This may change in time, especially with some water rogue decks we'll be discussing very soon. For now it may be a good idea to consider other alternatives to bring out the best of Blacephelon-GX. 

Speaking of rogue water decks...

Arceus FLI 96Bolly Olufon was able to get 9th place with a White Kyurem LOT 63 based deck and Alex Dao got 21st! This deck was obviously made in mind with just how insanely high the numbers were for Blacephelon decks in previous events. Hitting for weakness, and just in general a lot of damage? That's not bad! As long as White Kyurem has a fire energy attached, it can manage to do 160 damage, even more with weakness damage, even more with Choice Band, and even more if Shrine of Punishment is out! It's enough to take down every Pokemon in a Blacephelon deck and many others to boot.

But it takes three energy to play and one of those has to be a fire energy. What's the fastest way to get set up? There is Aqua Patch, which isn't too bad but Arceus is the one that really takes the cake. As long as a Grass, Water, and Electric Pokemon are on the field, you can pull three basic Energy cards and play them on your Pokemon however you like. All for a single colorless Energy? It's perfect! This is why Pheramosa is in the deck. With a Blitzle/Zebstrika draw engine the deck can potentially have some more consistency and be able to use the attack!

The deck does have problems though. Once you lose your White Kyurem, what happens? Wishful Baton is here to help, but without one things get tougher. Also, if you either can't get out Arceus as it's prized, or if it somehow manages to die without using Trinity Star, things get scary. Now it does have a solid amount of HP so that isn't too likely to be fair. 

Will this deck keep seeing play? Truthfully, I can't see why not. It's a solid combination with complex parts. We have seen for the most part the decks that are simpler tend to do better in events. But this deck can just manage a huge amount of damage and unless attacking Steelix or another metal deck. The one thing that might stop it from gaining popularity the most, however, is the final deck we'll be looking at.

Gyarados BUS 33This was the deck that won the entire event and has been catching the attention of everyone who plays. It has a strong water type attacker, has synergy with its draw support, and has a lot of ways to take down opposing decks. It also counters the ever popular Blacephelon quite well so it can really shine in the current meta!

The Gyarados that makes the deck work is perfect. For a Double Colorless Energy, which is normally used with Zoroark-GX anyways, you deal 50 damage per Magikarp in your discard pile. With Zoroark-GX discarding cards to draw this is amazing! It only takes two Magikarp to fully blast through Blacephelon-GX, and if you evolve from Ditto Prism Star with four Magikarp down you're swinging for 200 damage! It's nothing to sneeze at, especially for a single energy attachment.

We know Zoroark decks are solid, they've been a serious part of the meta for a while now. The deck isn't overly complex, which is also a huge boon. So what issues does the deck have? It's low energy count. If it can't get ahold of its Energy or they get discarded, they can't land attacks. With only four Energy cards in deck, that can be quite scary. This is why Oranguru UPR 114 is ran, but if it's also somehow taken out of the equation things get scary.

Will this deck keep seeing use? I expect we'll be seeing a bit more of this deck. It's strong enough to do well in a tournament either way, and Blacephelon is going to remain popular. There's less of a surprise factor for the deck now, but it can still be effective. Blacephelon players, and any other deck, should consider how they intend to take this deck down and have the tools to do so.

Now we want to hear what you think. Did we talk down on the rogue deck you liked most? Did these decks inspire some fun rogue ideas of our own? Tell us in the comments below or let me know directly on Twitter @LiterallGrill. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps

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