Teach Me How to Rogue

by Pikkdogs ~ April 14th, 2012.

A big hello to all you OHKOers out there, this is Pikkdogs here.  Today I want to talk to you guys about how I build rogue decks and rogue techs/strategies/ideas.  There are some other articles out there about how to build a rogue deck that aren’t that bad, but I thought I might as well try my hand at it since I wrote just about every other type of article-

except a winning tournament report.

Of course, who would want to write one of those.  Only people who like to brag write those.  And why are you talking?  I haven’t introduced you yet.

Well, I don’t think it will help.  When it comes down to understanding me, there are two groups of people.  One group is confused, but they did see me a couple times before.  And the other group is really confused, and an intro wouldn’t really help. 

But, I shall do it anyway.  Please welcome my extra-dimensionary sidekick Pedro.


The topic today is rogue decks, something I actually know a little about.

That’s the problem, you know too little about everything.

I know.  Hey are you here to give us a piece of news to start the article, or are ya here to go all Statler and Waldorf on me?

Both, but I will start us off with news.  The Associated Press reported that last weekend,  a band of thieves stole 2 tons of coffee worth about $72,000 in Austria. 

That must have been one big cup.


I wonder if committing this crime is “grounds” for punishment.

That pun may just be the worst joke ever.  How would you catch a thief that stole 2 tons of coffee Pikkdogs?

Keep an eye on the public urinals, and arrest the guy that stands there for 3 days straight.

I would feel sorry for the bladder of the guy who drank that much coffee.

I don’t, I have a principle where I never feel sorry for bladders.

That’s nice, just start the article all ready.

What is Rogue?

The ability to go rogue is one of the best things about Pokemon.  The ability to use your brain and t0 think up an idea or strategy that nobody else has, and use it to win is very gratifying.  It makes you feel proud and really smart, and if you are a guy like me, you need to savor those few moments.

Most people know what “rogue” means.  If not, picture all of the decks that are commonly used, the cards that are commonly included in decks, and the orthodox strategies that are used.  Now think of the opposite of all of those things, and that is what rogue is.  Rogue is going outside of the box and using your own creativity to come up with an idea.

When we normally think of the word “rogue”, we think about uncommon decks.

Actually, when I think about “Rogue” I think about Anna Paquin in a skin tight leather body suit.

True, one of the only good things about the X-Men movies.  Iceman as a kid, are you kidding me? Anyway, as I was saying.  The word rogue is thought to mean uncommon decks that people play.  But, it can have a broader definition that may encompass things like unorthodox strategies.

There is a big fallacy out there that says that the best strategies have already been thought of, and you have to sell your soul to Mewtwo EX in order to do well at Pokemon.  But, Rogue decks have always been around to show the middle finger at the conventional way of doing things.  A real rogue player is someone who is real creative and uses that creativity to find new ways at beating a stale format.

I categorize rogue decks into two types.  The first type of deck I will call a “reactionary rogue” deck.  This deck type includes all decks that seek to exploit a weakness in the current format.  For example, if you find that a lot of people are playing fire Pokemon, you can build a so-so deck that includes water Pokemon and do really well with it.  Your fire deck may not stack up to well when it meets a random good deck like a Psychic deck, but because the format is water-weak, your water deck could do well.  Another example is to build a mill deck if you find that a lot of the meta decks are using a lot of cards that thins their decks out.  Your mill deck will usually not be good enough to mill a normal deck, but if you come across these meta decks that are thinning their deck out at high rates, than this deck has a good chance.  So, this type of deck is not necessarily great by itself, but in the format it can win because of the match-ups it has.

The second type of rogue deck that I will talk about is a “conventional rogue” deck.  This type of rogue does not need any specific match-ups to do well, it has a strategy and it sticks with it.  For example, if you would use Palpitoad and Wigglytuff together in a deck to use the “Round” attack, that would be a conventional rogue.  It isn’t made because it does well against a specific deck, it is made because you think you can win while using “Round.”  Conventional decks are solid decks by themselves and are not in response to any other good deck in the format.

My History with RoguesScizor SF

Before we get in to talking about how to make a rogue deck, I would like to talk about the rogue decks and ideas that I have made.  I don’t bring this up because I want to talk about how great and good looking I am, I just want to let you in to my thought processes, so you can see how I think of rogue ideas.  All this might make some sense when I get deeper into the article, but now seems like a good time.  Here are the three rogue ideas that I have thought of and used in my playing days.

  1. Speed Engine in Scizor/Cherrrim.  I pride myself on being a no talent bum who has no effect on the outside world what so ever, but this case did make me think I effected the game in a very slight way.  Back when the format was Diamond and Pearl on, there was this cheap deck called Scizor/Cherrim.  Today, we would think of it kind of like Durant.  It was easy to make, easy to play, and good for beginners; except it did not have the negative connotation that Durant currently has.  Since this was the time that I was just starting back out, I did make the cheap Scizor/Cherrim deck.  I actually did well with it early, I got 2nd in my first tournament ever, but later I thought it was just too slow.  Then I saw that someone had created a deck that used Unown R, Pokemon Rescue, and Night Maintenance for a draw engine.  I decided to steal his idea and put it into the Scizor/Cherrim deck.  I wrote an article on my changes to the deck, and a meta deck was never the same again.  Whenever it was played after that, it usually contained the Unown R speed engine that I popularized.  No I didn’t invent the idea, but I put it into a place where it had never gone before, and that is no doubt a rogue strategy.  The speed engine worked really well and although the deck never really won anything, it was a more consistent deck because of the engine.  So, even meta decks can be played rogue, you just have to keep thinking.
  2. Who Let the Dogs Out?  This is a rogue deck that I came up with myself during Spring Battle Roads 2011.  This was when the format was in chaos because of Sabledonk, and people were trying to think of  a way to stop the trainers that  a Sabledonk player can now abuse on the first turn.  I racked my brain trying to think about how this deck could be stopped.  I just couldn’t think of any rational idea that could stop or keep up with Sabledonk without going meta.  So, I thought outside the box. I knew that I needed Spritomb Ar, and that I had to start with him.  The answer finally came to me while I was running.  I could put Legend pieces in the deck and be able to attack with them without having to risk a non-Spiritomb start.  So, I used the Legendary Dog Pokemon from the Unleashed set since they have similar energy requirements.  The deck did stop Sabledonk in its tracks, but it needed some help against SPs, Gyarados, and Gengar.  So, I wrote an article about it but I never tried it myself.  But, someone else did try the deck, and they won a Battle Roads with it!  Now I know that Who Let the Dogs Out is a bad deck, and it got very lucky to win, but it did somehow win.  So it does prove that if you think outside of the box, you can come up with a a totally strange deck that can win.   
  3. Scizor’s Late Game Durant.  This is the least successful of my three big rogue ideas, but it does show a good thinking process.  This deck is a reactionary deck to the current format, with a twist in it.  It is a tool box deck that is led by Scizor Prime, but it ends the game with 4 Durants milling your opponents deck.  I did not come up with the idea in fact, nobody actually did.  Airhawk wrote an article on Sixprizes about a deck that seemed like it used the same startegy, but it actually seemed to be more like a bad conventional Durant rogue.  I decided to actually use the late game Durant strategy, I just had to think about what cards I should use it with.  I instantly thought about Scizor because people get scared about not using Special Energies, and they tend to lose track of anything else.  Than I put in the most popular Pokemon of the day, Terrakion NV, to deal with lightning types.  And finally, I added the other fire Victini to go against Durant.  This was a direction reactionary deck to a format that thins out decks, uses fighting weak Pokemon, and uses a ton of Special Energy.  I only took it to one tournament, Michigan States, but I did get a winning record with it.  Although I wasn’t in Top Cut contention late, I was at a top table in the middle of the day, and did have a good chance at cutting until the last round or two.  It didn’t have a great day, but it did get a winning record in a very tough area.  This flimsy rogue deck was able to do a lot better than other decks that had multiple copies of the $60 Mewtwo EX card.  So, it may not have won, but it still proved that it belonged.

How to Rogue.

Okay, that was a long introduction, now we can finally talk about how to rogue.

The first step to construct a rogue deck from scratch is to start a basic plan of what you want to do.  If you want to do a “reactionary” deck or a more “conventional” deck.  Try to think about what strategy you are trying to do, and try to think if you know of any card that could help you achieve the strategy.  At this stage it is possible that you may have thought up a rogue deck all by yourself, but more likely you would be just as lost as ever.  So let’s go to step 2. 

Step 2 is to do research.  This usually involves sometime on the carpet with a box of cards and a couple binders.  Or, it could involve sometime online on sites like www.pokegym.net/tower .  Get a good look at every card that is in the format.  When looking it is important to look at each card without prejudice.  Just because the other Donphan from HGSS has never ever been used before, doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be used in the future.  Try to look at each card with a blank slate in your mind, don’t come in with any preconceptions.  Doing so could kill a good Rogue Deck before it is even made.  There are a lot of great ideas out there that haven’t been thought of yet, you just have to have an open mind and think about it.  Once you take in each card in the format, you can go on to step three.

Step three is to relax.  Do something that will clear your mind and will let you really concentrate on the rogue deck that you are thinking about.  I find that I come up with almost all of my rogue ideas while I am running.  I came up with the idea for “Who Let the Dog’s Out” on a jog.

you wrote the Baha Men song while jogging?

Sure.  Anyway, do whatever relaxes you and helps you think.  Maybe you are a little hippy dippy guy from California and you like to do the Yoga, that might work.  Or maybe you are in to the meditation, that should clear your head.  Whatever you like to do, swim, hunt, or hike, I feel like that will give you time to really connect with the cards that you just looked at.  Doing this seems to make sense of whatever format you are in, and whatever cards you just looked at.  There are around 800  or so cards in the format right now, so it can be hard to make sense of them all.  Doing something relaxing both takes your mind off of it for a little, and then frees your consciousness open to really strategize about your rogue deck.  This is where your rogue idea should just pop into your head, and you can start building off of it from here.

The next step after you took a jog, or a swim, or immitated a down-ward facing dog is to get input on your idea.  To do this you may want to go back on your computer and search your idea on Google.  You may find that someone has already thought of this deck, and you can take something from their ideas, or you may have found a different idea with similar cards.  Whatever input that those searches give you will be nothing but good for your deck.  After you took whatever you could from the internet, you can now call on some of your best Pokemon friends and tell them about the idea.  They will probably have some kind of ideas about your rogue deck, and might even add to it.  One note here, if your friends shoot you down, don’t be discouraged.  I always tell my rogue ideas to Ed, and he shot down both Who Let the Dogs Out and Scizor’s LGD, but I didn’t let that stop me.  Your friends should give you honest advice, and usually honest advice for a rogue deck will usually be pretty harsh.  But, if you still have confidence in your idea even after your friends have shot it down, you can move on to the next step.

The next step is to grab a pen and paper, lay down somewhere, turn on a cool tv show, and plan out a decklist.  You probably had suggestions from your friends and from the internet about what to run, so now you can implement them here.  One problem that I always have with a decklist is that I always want to run decks with 65 cards, I just can’t fit all the cards I want in the deck.  My trick is that I usually run 1 or 2 copies of different techs instead of 4, and if I don’t like it, I can later go back in and take out what didn’t work and add what did.

Your final step to making a rogue deck is to actually play test it.  Either grab a friend, or grab two decks and see if your deck does what it is supposed to do.  If it doesn’t work you can either draw up the decklist in a different way, or you may decide to scrap the idea.  But, make sure you give the initial deck a good testing against 4-5 different decks.  Hopefully it will accomplish the task that you set out to do.  If you still like the idea, go back a couple steps and share your results and decklist with your friends again.  Don’t tell everybody of course, just some Poke-Friends that you can trust.  They will give you some more feedback and you can begin to polish your decklist.

You should be able to take it from there.  I have said all I can think of about Rogue decks, so let’s have Pedro bring us a news article to end things here,


Okay.  Today’s new comes from the world of Food.  Pizza Hut is offering a new hotdog stuffed crust pizza in select U.K.  locations.  This will be a normal pizza, but with a long hot dog baked into the crust. 

Really?  That sounds amazing.  You know I once stuffed a pizza with a wiener.

Is that code?

Of course.

Anyway, Pizza Hut is also serving the pizza with “mustard drizzle.”

“Mustard Drizzle” , that’s the name I used to dance under.

I thought you danced under the name “Crusty Weiner.”

Maybe, but I think we better stop now or we could get censored again.  Good night everybody

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