Welcome once again to Rogue Rodents, our monthly feature of playable rogue decks sure to take your opponent by surprise.
Our third feature is March’s League Challenge 7th place deck – Samuel Lim’s Rampardos/Lucario GX/Zoroark GX deck.
Rampardos (Ultra Prism) is a Stage 2 Fighting Pokémon with two very interesting attacks. The first, Clean Hit, does 60 damage for one Fighting Energy. But if the opponent is an Evolution Pokémon, it’s 120 damage – a perfect two-hit number. Being a Fighting Type, Rampardos is able to use Strong Energy, which Samuel has included the maximum four in this deck. It’s 150HP also gives it staying power on the field too.
It’s second attack is just as appealing. For three Fighting Energy, Wild Crash can automatically Knock Out a Basic Pokémon – perfect in a metagame where Buzzwole GX and Tapu Lele GX are practically everywhere.
OBJECTIVE: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FIGHTING WEAKNESS
To choose a suitable deck that takes advantage of the current meta, Samuel researched the top decks of the best players in the world. Tabulating all the recent results, he determined that plenty of the top decks have Fighting weaknesses – most likely from the use of Zoroark GX that have become prevalent in many present decks.
With that in mind, Samuel decided on Rampardos (Ultra Prism). As a beefy 150HP one Prize Pokémon that only needs one Energy, he felt it was the perfect counter to Zoroark GX, able to deal the latter a one-hit KO. Many current decks in this format are also unable to deal with Rampardos because of its high HP.
He adds that Rampardos has the rogue advantage – many players are unprepared to face a card they haven’t seen across the table. Opponents are also unaware that it can be discarded from play (making it an ideal option to send to the Active spot, much like how players would normally send a Pokémon with free Retreat or with a Float Stone), or that it can evolved using Rare Candy.
ONE-OFF LUCARIO GX
Lucario GX is a great additional Pokémon as it has a different weakness to Rampardos. Like Rampardos, it is also a one Energy attacker, which means an attack can come swiftly without warning.
Why not go full Lucario GX? Rampardos weakness to Grass means it isn’t going to suffer a KO from Mew (Fates Collide) or Mewtwo (Evolutions), both of which has seen increased play.
The main drawback of focusing on Rampardos is trying to setup the Unidentified Fossil (the “Basic Pokémon” form of Rampardos). Brigette can’t be used to search for Unidentified Fossil, making a turn 2 Rampardos evolution a little difficult. Plus there’s always the inconsistency that comes with a Stage 2 Pokémon deck.
The low number of Basic Pokémon included in the deck could also mean additional Mulligans for your opponent. The Unidentified Fossil doesn’t count as a Basic Pokémon when in the hand, so it’s even less likely to start at the beginning of the game.
HOW TO PLAY
Like most decks, you’ll want to start with a Brigette – Samuel recommends to pickup 2 Zorua and 1 Riolu. Again, take note that you can’t start with an Unidentified Fossil as your starting Active Pokémon.
Don’t be surprised with the lack of Professor Sycamore in the deck. Samuel says the 3 Tapu Lele GX, 4 Ultra Ball and (just above average) 3 Brigette makes the turn 1 Brigette setup easier to happen. The addition of 2 Evosoda and Mallow also helps improve the odds of multiple Zoroark GX on the bench by turn 2.
Samuel walks us through his matchups during that League Challenge:
R1 Glaceon GX/Raichu (1-0)
I was down to two Prize Cards when my opponent used Miraculous Shine with Espeon EX for a double KO on 2 of my 3 Zorua. I was left with a single Unidentified Fossil on the active, a healthy Riolu on the bench, and a Zorua with 3 damage counters.
If I remembered correctly, I evolved Zorua to Zoroark GX, played Tapu Lele GX to search for a Mallow, and traded for a Puzzle of Time and a Strong Energy. I then played double Puzzle of Time (one was already in my hand) to return a Choice Band from the Discard Pile. I attached the Strong Energy and Choice Band to Riolu, and evolved it to Lucario GX. I discarded the Unidentified Fossil to bring Lucario GX to the Active to knock out Espeon EX for the win.
R2 Buzzwole GX/Lycanroc GX (2-0)
In this matchup, I focused on keeping my bench small to prevent Lycanroc GX from taking 4 prizes. I also used Mallow early for an Enhanced Hammer to remove the Strong Energy off my opponent’s Buzzwole GX, and played Parallel City to limit his bench from pursuing an Octillery draw support.
I did not mind using Rampardos here to hit a fully charged buzzwole for 80 damage. My intention was to force my opponent to use Absorption GX or Knuckle Impact for one Prize, or use up a Guzma for a kill.
I closed out the game by taking a KO on his Tapu Lele GX, using Lucario GX with Strong Energy + Choice Band + Aura Strike.
R3 Golisopod-GX/ Garbordor (3-0)
I aggressively target Trubbish and the Garbodor (Breakthrough) with Garbotoxin to prevent getting Ability locked. This round was good for Rampardos as it was able to one hit KO the Garbodor and hit Golisopod GX for 140 damage.
Eventually, the game became a match of resource attrition. I won the game by playing a Max Potion on my damaged Zoroark GX, effectively outlasting him in the final turn, or else he would have played Guzma for the win.
R4 Zoroark-GX/ Golisopod-GX (3-1)
I gave away two Mulligans, started with Mew EX, and missed the turn 1 Brigette. My opponent took advantage of that by playing Parallel City early on to limit my bench. I also made the mistake of using Mallow for a Parallel City in an attempt to discard his Parallel City, only to find out that is not a valid play. He slowly picked off my Riolu and Zorua, eliminating the chance for me to stabilise my board.
R5 Zoroark-GX/ Garbodor with Bursting Balloon (4-1)
Rampardos was the MVP of the game as it is able to deal one-hit KO both Zoroark GX and Garbordor. Lucario GX was also incredibly relevant in the early game as my opponent was hesitant to deal any damage to it, fearing it may open up the Cantankerous Beatdown GX. This led me to attach two Strong Energy on Lucario-GX, and take a KO on a Zorua and a Trubbish.
By the time I was down to one Prize card, I left a tough board state for my opponent – an active Lucario GX with two Strong Energy and a Double Colorless Energy, a Rampardos with a Strong Energy on my bench, and a Zoroark GX with Double Colorless Energy.
R6 Ho-Oh-GX/Kiawe (4-2)
I gave away two Mulligan and missed the turn 1 Brigette. I would then brick for three consecutive turns without a draw support, before drawing Mallow for an N in the following turn. However, by then my opponent had taken 5 Prize cards, with an Oranguru (Sun & Moon), and coming back was almost impossible.
He proposes an additional Lucario GX, just in case it gets prized (though the one-off Lucario GX was only because he only owned one).