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Rogue Light

Rukan Shao

Rogue Light


Hello everyone, Rukan of team DDG here with yet another article on Forbidden Light. In this article, I’m going to go over some rogue options for the upcoming standard format.


Madison Overview

Madison’s quickly approaching and if you want to play rogue, you’ll need to pick now to have enough time to playtest your deck.


As of the time I wrote this article, ~500 masters registered for Madison. Portland was the most comparable regional in recent memory, with 469 Masters and a meta that introduced a powerful new fighting archetype (Lucario-GX). Portland hosted a field of 28.5% Zoroark Variants, and 20.5% Buzzwole Variants. Given the raw power level of Buzzwole Lycanroc after Forbidden Light, I would suggest it’s reasonable to expect a field of ~20% Zoroark, 30% Buzzwole, and 15-20% Malamar at Madison.


At first glance, it seems like we’re entering a rock paper scissors format with Buzzwole beating Zoroark decks, Zoroark decks beating Malamar decks, and Malamar decks beating Buzzwole decks. But can we find a cheeky rogue to break the cycle?


 

The Fastest Zoroark

Lots of rogue decks exist, but ideally we would want to find a Zoroark variant because we value consistency. But with Buzzwole in the format, that’s a tall ask. I tested some Zoroark decks with other members of the DDG team, and one variant stood out in terms of the Buzzwole matchup: Zoroark Greninja.


In most matchups, Zoroark Greninja uses damage from Shurikens to push for 2 prizes per turn. However, combined with psychic tech attackers, Zoroark Greninja can push for more than 2 prizes per turn and simultaneously make plays to deny Baby Buzzwole and Beast Ring. While some other Zoroark variants were able to take close to 50-50 against Buzzwole with additional tech cards, Zoroark Greninja was the only Zoroark variant that felt like it could take solidly favorable Buzzwole matchup.


The List

Credit to Poet Larsen for the following list. It’s not a final list, but simply the one we used to test the Buzzwole / Lycanroc matchup with. It does not contain a Shadow Stitch Greninja as we were aiming to stress test the Buzzwole matchup.


Zoroark Greninja requires a thick bench with minimal Tapu Lele-GX, hence the 4-2 Brigette Split with one copy of Mysterious Treasure.



 

Pokemon - 21

 

4 - Zorua

4 - Zoroark GX

1 - Tapu Koko

1 - Mew EX

1 - Mewtwo

2 - Tapu Lele GX

3 - Froakie

3 - Frogadier

2- Greninja GX

 

 

 

 

Trainers - 33

 

3 - Field Blower

1 - Mysterious Treasure

4 - Puzzle of Time

3 - Timer Ball

4 - Ultra Ball

1 - Acerola

4 - Brigette

3 - Cynthia

3 - Guzma

2 - N

1 - Professor Sycamore

3 - Choice Band

1 - Float Stone

Energy - 6

 

4 - Double Colorless

2 - Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playtesting

In spite of solid playtesting results against Buzzwole Lycanroc, I don’t actually like the deck all that much. Out of 26 games I recorded, I marked 10 as “unsatisfactory set up”. Even with 4 Brigette, 2 Lele, and 1 Mysterious treasure, you should expect to whiff Brigette 5 of every 25 games. In addition to that, some games you might be forced to bench two Tapu Lele-GX or you might fail to develop Zoroark-GX or you might miss a DCE or you might miss frogs or etc.


Very much unlike a Zoroark / Golisopod deck, Zoroark / Greninja requires a tremendous amount of resources to accomplish its goal, making it one of the least consistent Zoroark variants out there. It’s also very vulnerable to Parallel City, meaning it likely does not pair favorably against other Zoroark variants such as Zoroark / Lycanroc.


Overall, I don’t hate the deck. Given a favorable Buzzwole matchup and unfavorable Zoroark matchup, it and Malamar actually share a similar position in the rock-paper-scissors meta triangle. I believe the deck’s natural inconsistencies and vulnerability to Parallel City will limit its success, but I at least think it holds a stronger position in the meta than most Malamar / Necrozma variants.


Big Dumb Mouth Lapras

Before we explore any other rogues, let’s ask a simple question:


“Can anything beat Buzzwole AND Malamar AND Zoroark?”


Well, assuming nothing techs for your rogue, one answer could be Turbo Lapras.


What Changed?

Lapras saw some play when Sun and Moon first came out, but dropped off the radar when Golisopod-GX entered the format. It’s remained largely non-existent in the meta since then.



But Golisopod dropped significantly in popularity since its release. At Memphis, Golisopod variants represented 117 of 947 masters (11.3%). At Collinsville, it represented 64 of 1068 decks (6.2%). And at Portland, it represented 29 of 469 masters (6.2%). But perhaps even more important than that, Turbo Lapras acquired a new attacker: Volcanion Prism Star.

 


Volcanion Prism Star might be the single most underrated card in the entire Forbidden Light set. It’s very easy to look at its ability and mark it off as useless. But Volcanion’s value comes not from the ability, but the attack. Before Forbidden Light, Lapras-GX struggled to knock out Pokemon such as Zoroark-GX. Volcanion fixes that math for you, all in an incredibly beefy, single prize package. But let’s not undersell the ability, it does provide an answer to the likes of Zygarde-GX and Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX.


Matchups

In my testing, Buzzwole and Malamar matchups tend to devolve into prize races decided by the first player to attach three Energy and Guzma. Lapras decks not only tend to run more basic energies than either Buzzwole or Malamar, but also run three copies of Aqua Patch. This allows Lapras to, more often than not, take the critical initiative in the prize race.


The Zoroark matchups have also felt quite strong as well. In my testing, most Zoroark opponents stalled out once you eliminated their secondary attacker (Gardevoir, Lycanroc), as Zoroark and Lele cannot take single hit knockouts on Lapras-GX. This would of course change completely if Zoroark decks were to include a copy of Mr. Mime. But assuming Turbo Lapras can sneak under the radar as a rogue, it should perform well.


 

The List

Credit where credit is due, I found the most success with a list very similar to the Omnipoke list. The only change I’ve made thus far has been to cut a single water energy for a Nest Ball. The deck requires a Lapras or Volcanion on the bench in order to begin accelerating energies. I found an extra search option to improved the deck’s consistency noticeably. I would potentially consider a fourth Brooklet Hill if I was more worried about Parallel City reducing our damage output, but Nest Ball develops your board more consistently as you can use it in addition to your Brooklet Hill.


Before I tried Omnipoke’s version of Aqua Box, I attempted to build a list similar to traditional Buzzwole Lycanroc lists, without heavy float stones instead of Manaphy or Energy Switches. But that list simply does not attack as consistently as the Manaphy / Energy Switch engine. Float stones are not as searchable as Manaphy, and the Energy Switch cards often provide the extra oomph needed to attack turn 2 instead of just collect. The extra aggression is easily worth the squishy two prize EX in my opinion.


 

 

 Pokemon - 12

 

2 - Tapu Lele GX

3 - Lapras GX

2 - Manaphy EX

2 - Remoraid

2 - Octillery

1 - Volcanion Prism Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trainers - 36

 

4 - Aqua Patch

2 - Energy Switch

4 - Max Elixir

1 - Nest Ball

4 - Ultra Ball

3 - Brooklet Hill

3 - Cynthia

4 - Guzma

1 - Lillie

2 - N

4 - Professor Sycamore

4 - Choice Band

Energy - 12

 

12 - Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for joining me today, and make sure to check out deaddrawgaming.com for all of your TCG needs!



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