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Going Rogue: Spider Lock

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! While Cosmic Eclipse is now released and leaves a lot of potential new decks in the format, the Special Event Paris brought us one last rogue deck from before release we have to look at. Piloted by Jeremy Amram to 27th place, Spider Lock is a deck that as far as we can tell still works almost exactly the same even with the new cards released! We'll be taking a look at how the deck works and discuss it in a post Cosmic Eclipse Standard Format. With this in mind let's get a look at the deck!

Keys To The Lock

Araquanid UPR 17Omastar TEU 76Alolan Ninetales TEU 111

The general idea of this deck is to force the opponent to be unable to attack while denying their ability to switch out to a Pokemon that can do so. Currently there are many decks that use GX Pokemon which makes Alolan Ninetales an excellent counter. Its ability Luminous Barrier will stop any of them cold allowing you to simply wait out any gusting cards the opponent may have to win the game if they lack another Pokemon that can attack.

Dewpider FLI 32Welder may be one of the best cards ever printed in the Pokemon TCG and it comes as no surprise that many fire decks have seen play at tournaments because of this. Araquanid stops them from dealing damage thanks to its own ability Water Bubble. It also comes with another neat trick! By using the Memory Energy included in the deck it's capable of using Spider Web from its previous evolution Dewpider. The Defending Pokemon can't retreat during your opponent's next turn. If you trap a Fire Type in the active this leaves the opponent with little they can do to counter except by playing Switch.

This deck gets rid of that possibility! Omastar's Fossil Bind makes it so the opponent can't play any items whatsoever making them have to play something like Tate & Liza to switch their Pokemon out. This makes keeping a Pokemon stuck in the active that much easier. It also helps stopping the opponent from playing Reset Stamp which makes Unown LOT 91 a strong tech in the deck as a win condition.

To help make Omastar successful Mawile-GX also joins the team. As decks using Omastar only work if the opponent has more Pokemon on the field its ability Captivating Wink, which can force the opponent to play a Basic Pokemon from their hand, is incredibly useful here. It works similarly to Spiritomb Control decks in this way. Giovanni's Exhile helps remove them off the field to keep your item lock while Surprise Box can help guarantee a Pokemon in the opponent's hand be forcedly played.

The final two Pokemon in this deck's equation are Aerodactyl-GX and Cobalion-GX. Combined with Rainbow Energy the later Pokemon prevents the opponent from using Status Conditions to get around your lock while also giving you a turn to stall with its GX attack if needed. Aerodactyl-GX can stop zero energy decks in their tracks which might cause issues otherwise while also having a GX attack that can take a cheeky knock out against any Pokemon packing too much Energy.

The Engine

Pokemon Research Lab UNM 205Steven's Resolve CES 145Lusamine CIN 96

Instead of using Rare Candy and Unidentified Fossil like many Omastar related decks, Jeremy Amram decided to focus on a Pokemon Research Lab based build. Steven's Resolve is excellent to pull out any other piece to the puzzle you may need each turn but both end your turn immediately after use, so they must be played intelligently. With four copies of PokeGear 3.0 as well as Pokemon Communication the synergy needed to get just what you need out to block the specific deck you play against is very handy. If these all fail there's always Bill's Analysis and Stadium Nav to pick up any slack!

There are still other useful cards in the deck to mention. Custom Catcher is brilliant for pulling out the right Pokemon to exploit from your opponent's bench. With Rainbow Energy in the deck, anyone can potentially be healed up if needed by Gardenia which can help against decks where the goal is to spread damage. With a 'Lusamine Loop' to help keep it recovered from the discard it can be played multiple times when you need it. Plus it does help keep hand size building for the potential 'Unown Hand' play.

Meta Potential

Malamar FLI 51Raichu CEC 67

This deck relies on facing other meta decks to function properly. Against decks like PikaRom, ReshiZard, and MewBox however it has a serious moment to shine. Even new decks like SilVolc and ADP can run into issues as this deck stops their GX attackers from dealing any damage. Like any stalling deck it can be slow to play which makes it difficult in a best of three format and it needs to win game one each and every time.

The deck however does fall apart when facing non-meta decks that it has no way to truly stop. A perfect example could come in a deck recently shown off by MikeLikes: Sniping Breloom. With no GX Pokemon and no Fire Pokemon. what is this deck's chance to hold out long enough to snag a win before their prizes vanish? There's only so much Custom Catcher and Spider Web can do in this case and Gardenia can only heal so much.

So will this deck find its place in the meta? We believe it will remain a strong rogue archetype but not reach the popularity of a full-on control or mill deck like Pidgeotto Control or Beleba & Brycan-Man Mill. It has strong matchups but as many coming to tournaments are out looking for the next big rogue deck it will never have the meta deck saturation needed to become a truly dominant force. Consider playing this deck if you like stall variants and your local events typically have decks this has the tools to take down. Think this deck has more potential? Tried it out yourself? Give us your thoughts in the comments below and 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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