Monday, September 24, 2012

AggroHammer - almost a tournament report

Imma' be milling
Hello everyone!

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates. I fell ill for the first time in 3 years and have been having a fever during the whole last week. I was able to finish my UG article just in time, which I used all of my power for. What I was surprised for, was that writing English becomes pretty challenging when you’re sick and you have a headache. However, the week was pretty productive for me nonetheless since I was able to read The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers (finished it today), Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, The Golden Compass, and The City of Dreaming Books. Last week I probably read more books than I have ever read during my whole life, haha.

I was also in Battle Roads the last weekend, but I judged instead of playing. That’s why there was no report from that Battle Roads. Also, I was supposed to attend Battle Roads this weekend, but as I missed the train, I missed the tournament as well. In this article, I will analyze the deck I was supposed to play in that Battle Roads. As promised, I'm going to play more rogue this season than last season and this tournament was no different.

There are lots to discuss so let’s get going right away!

The supposed-to-be tournament list


4x Aron
3x Lairon
3x Aggron
4x Sableye
1x Darkrai EX

4x Juniper
4x Bianca
4x N
2x Random Receiver
4x Ultra Ball
1x Level Ball
1x Pokémon Communication
1x Heavy Ball
4x Devolution Spray
2x Rare Candy
3x Crushing Hammer
2x Enhanced Hammer
3x Pokémon Catcher
1x Super Rod
1x Revive



8x Darkness Energy


I’ve seen various Sableye/Aggron lists on the Internet. Some of them concentrate on getting at least one Aggron every turn into play with Devolution Sprays and Super Scoop Ups. I tried this kind of straight Aggron and quickly noticed that it’s somewhere between tier 3 and 4. However, when added unlimited disruption with Hammers and Catchers, this deck quickly becomes a lot better. The deck pretty much wants to first lock your opponent while using Aggrons’ abilities and when your opponent is completely locked down, you can try to get multiple Toppling Winds per turn. The deck is always in a prize deficit, so if you want to do well with in the tournament, you must play extremely fast. It’s a big challenge, but about that later on.

Card Analysis

Aggron line

I first started building the deck with 4-4-4 Aggron line, but soon understood that I will never get 4 Aggrons into play. There will always be at least one of the Arons/Aggrons prized and since the deck doesn’t draw any prizes, there is no way I can get my hands on the prized Pokémon. However, even though I dropped the amount of Lairons and Aggrons to 3, you must play 4 Arons. Arons can be killed in the early game before you get the lock going and it’s very important to get as many Arons on your bench as possible, so you can start evolving them.

There is only Aron and Lairon in the format, so there really aren’t any choices for those. Aron has a retreat of 2 and Lairon has a retreat of 3, so they aren’t very optimal starters, but thankfully the resistance to Psychic makes up their retreat cost.

The only risky thing about 4-3-3 line is that when you prize 2 Aggrons, you’ll very slowly get a new Toppling Wind. That’s why it may be prudent to play 4 Aggrons just in case, but in the end it’s all about if you’re willing take the risk or not.


Sableye is pretty much the only reason, why this deck can exist in the first place. The most ironic thing is that in the end Sableye is also this deck’s worst enemy. Sableye lets you recycle all the Item cards in your deck, so just like Hammertime, you can just throw a lot of Hammers at your opponent while disrupting them with Catchers AND set-upping your Aggrons at the same time. The deck is all about energy denial and recycling Hammers and Catchers are the key ingredients in that.

If it was legal, I would run 6-7 Sableyes here. Your ultimate goal is that your opponent only Kos Sableye during the game, because it should be the biggest threat to them. Sableye also makes the deck very consistent at the same time thanks to Random Receivers. Also, if your Super Rod isn’t prized, you can discard whatever you want with Junipers and Ultra Balls, just so you get the proper set-up, because you can reuse Super Rod at any time thanks to Junk Hunt. It makes the deck run very smoothly, because you can use Juniper every turn.

In short, you want to open the game with Sableye as your active Pokémon and you want to end the game while having Sableye as your active Pokémon.

Darkrai EX

Darkrai EX was an addition I made after my opponent noticed that I didn’t play Super Scoop Ups and that they can cripple my strategy with Catchering my Aggrons. Darkrai EX gives a free retreat to Aggrons, so it’s a must have in this deck. Thanks to Darkrai EX, nothing can disrupt your main strategy – recycling Items with Sableye. Even though you run Dark energys, I have never yet attacked with Darkrai EX and if you happen to hit with Darkrai EX at any game, you’re probably in a very desperate situation.

Juniper – Bianca – N – Random Receiver

Juniper is by far the best supporter in this deck for the reasons mentioned above. Bianca is a necessary evil since it’s better than Cheren, because the deck usually has a small hand thanks to a lot of Items. On the other hand, N is a beast in this deck. There is nothing better than Catchering, Eelektrik, N’ng your opponent to one card and see them struggle with getting the Eelektrik from the active spot. I’ve won various games with this strategy since they’ve usually run out of almost all Switches in the late game.

Random Receiver is such a good card with Sableye that I can’t even emphasize it enough. At the moment, I’ve settled with 2 Random Receivers and 4 Biancas, but from time to time I’m debating if 3-3 RR and Bianca line would be better, because more Random Receivers would add consistency in the early game thanks to Junk Hunt.

The deck’s supporter engine is the draw heaviest of the format, and it can get most out of the two best supporters of the format – Juniper and N. Only one of the reason, why the deck is a viable deck choice.

Ultra Ball – Level Ball – Heavy Ball - Pokémon Communication

Ultra Ball is the best Ball Item in any deck that is able to discard cards. In this deck, it’s no different. The funniest thing in this deck is that it’s able to play all the playable Pokémon searching Items in the format and since it’s possible, there is no reason not-to-play them.  Pokémon Communication can search anything, Level Ball can search for anything but Darkrai EX and Aggron and Heavy Ball can search for Aggron and Lairon. When mixing these Items, you get the perfect Pokémon searching engine combined to a very good supporter engine.

Devolution Spray

Devolution Spray has only one function in this deck – devolve Aggrons into Lairons, so you can use unlimited amount of Toppling Winds. The deck can also play Super Scoop Up for this function, because with Super Scoop Up, you can always return cards that are crucial and may be damaged (like Darkrai EX) or you can use Super Scoop Up retreat your Aron in the first turn. The retreating factor was one of the reasons my deck originally had Super Scoop Ups in it, but after I added Darkrai, I thought that the help of Super Scoop Ups would be too marginal.

Rare Candy

The deck doesn’t need 4 Candies. In fact, some play the deck without Candies. However, due possible horrible Lairon prizes, I think that Rare Candy is playable. Especially if you 4 Aggrons, Rare Candies can be a life saver in the late, because it may help you to get the additional Toppling Wind you need to win the game. Also, in the early games it’s better to have an Aggron without a Lairon on your bench than an Aron. Aron is a free prize to your opponent while Aggron is almost impossible to KO against the disruption of this deck.


As you very well know, you can get an unlimited stream of Hammers thanks to Sableye. If you face a deck that isn’t able to energy accelerate their Pokémon (i.e. all rogue Terrakions), you can pretty much deny them from attacking. This strategy was introduced the first time in Hammertime and I believe the concept will take many new forms during this format.

It’s a shame that not that many Special Energy are played in the current format since Rainbow Energy was rotated out. The BDIFs of this format are Eelektrik variants and Hydreigon variants that both concentrate on energy acceleration of Basic Energy. That isn’t good news for any deck that concentrates on energy denial. However, Eelektrik is still lockable thanks to its retreat cost. On the other hand, a skillful Hydreigon player will swipe floors with this deck even if you flip 95% Hammer heads.

The reason why the deck doesn’t run 4 Crushing Hammers is that I like consistency better than flipping Hammers. Against decks that energy accelerate (i.e. Eelektrik and Hydreigon) 3 Hammers are enough, because all you can do is to slow them down. When it comes to Enchanced Hammers, Blend energy are pretty much the only very played Special energy. The amount of DCEs has dropped drastically and Prism is still a very rare card no matter the deck.

Super Rod – Revive

Even though I’ve settled with 1-1 Super Rod, Revive, running 2 Super Rods is a very viable option as well. The purpose of these cards is to enable your smooth set-up, so you don’t have to worry about when you Ultra Ball and Juniper and discard crucial Pokémon like any Pokémon from Aggron’s evolution line.

The reason, why I’ve noticed Revive is a very good card in this deck, is because you are able to get Sableye straight back with it. This is very valuable in the early game when you try to put pressure on your Eelektriks and they try to retreat their Eelektriks every turn. It may be that your Sableyes get OHKOed 3 turns straight and since Super Rod only shuffles the Pokémon back to your deck, all your resources go into getting Sableye from the deck and you can’t concentrate on set-upping Aggrons. On the other hand, Revive only gets back Basics and if your Super Rod is prized, you must be very careful when discarding the cards from Ultra Ball and Juniper.


8 or 9 Darkness energy? That is the question. The only thing that you want to guarantee is that you have a T1 Junk Hunt. However, the only energy amount you can guarantee that with is 54, so 8-9 energy seems reasonable. From time to time you of course miss the T1 attachment, but you don’t lose the game to it. The most important thing is that you get the Junk Hunts going whenever you need to. Hammers can help you in the early turns even without Junk Hunt, but after the first few turns, you must be Junk Hunting in order to disrupt your opponent for the rest of the game. As said previously, even though you can attack with Darkrai EX, you don’t want to. And even if you do, you should rethink if you REALLY need to attack with. in 99% of scenarios, Junk Hunt is better than Night Spear

Tool Scrapper (not in the list)

If you know that Garbodors are played in your area, just add in 1-2 Tool Scrappers and you have a very strong match-up before you since if they happen to play Gardbodor to the active spot, it will sit there during the whole game. Tool Scrappers are recyclable with Junk Hunt, so you’ll always get them when you need them.


As we have looked at the deck as a whole, it’s time to stop and think for a moment. Is this deck really playable? And if it is, to what tier it belongs to? Probably the easiest way to determine is to look at the most played decks of the Battle Roads and see how the lock works against these decks.

Eelektrik variants

Eelektrik variants are the most played decks at the moment and they completely dominate Battle Roads. There is no reason to believe that they wouldn’t dominate the format during the whole season. However, how does Aggron work against Eelektrik. Patiently, that’s the answer. Eelektrik variants are usually very fast and consistent in their set-up. However, as soon as you have a Catcher, you must start bombarding their Eelektrik with Catchers. Your ultimate goal is to run them out of Switches with Hammers and Toppling Winds (and DCEs if they run them), and when they’re in 3 to 1 prize cards, you should start N’ng them to slow them down every turn they draw a prize. In many games, Aggron is able to come back even from situations where everyone seems lost. Just follow the strategy patiently and it will usually pay off against Eelektrik variants.

Hydreigon/Darkrai EX

Ugh. This is the reason why Aggron really isn’t a tier 1 deck. As I said previously, a skillful Hydreigon knows exactly how to defeat Aggron. They can just reuse their Dark Patches if you Hammer their energy and since Darkrai EX gives to free retreat any Pokémon that has any Darkness energy attached to it, you’re in trouble. Probably the best bet against Hydreigon is just to concentrate on set-upping as many Aggrons as fast as possible and start Junk Hunting Devolution Sprays.

Ho-Oh EX variants

Unlike other energy accelerating decks, Ho-Oh EX variants are in trouble against Hammers, because Ho-Oh EXs energy acceleration is only when it comes to play. Also, Ho-Oh EX has a retreat cost of 2, which is a problem thanks to unlimited Catchers and Crushing Hammers. The best bet for the Ho-Oh player is to KO all your Pokémon with Ho-Oh EX since Aggron is weak to Fire. However, your Hammer stream is probably able to stop them before it’s too late. So, in the end, Ho-Oh EX variants are pretty good match-ups for this deck.

Empoleon variants
Empoleon is pretty difficult match-up, because Empoleon hits for one energy. And you always want to have a full bench so even if you run Eviolite in your deck, Empoleon just tears through your Sableyes. However, it’s good to remember that Empoleon only attaches one energy per turn AND they play low amount of energy in their decks. Whenever, you have a Catcher and they have a Pokémon on their bench without energy, Catcher it. The key to win this match-up is to force them to use Empoleon’s Ability and thin their decks. Of course if they open with Terrakion, they have automatically lost the game. Every single game against Empoleon is a tough one.

Anything with Darkrai EX and Sableye
It’s sad but true that even though Sableye makes the whole Aggron concepet viable, it’s also the deck’s worst enemy. The deck concentrates on getting rid of all the important cards of your opponent and if they play Sableye, they can get every single card back. For example decks like Mewtwo/Darkrai play both Sableye and Darkrai EX so at the same time they are immune to both, Catcher stalling and Toppling Wind. Any deck that combines these ingredients are an autoloss to Aggron.


If your opponent has a deck that includes Terrakion, and puts it on the bench or opens with it, he/she loses the game. Hammers make Terrakion completely helpless and even if they run Darkrai EXs to give Terrakion a free retreat, you can Hammer the energy off the Terrakion and Catcher the Terrakion without the energy. Here, once again, patience is golden, because eventually they will run out of energy thanks to Hammers and Toppling Winds.

Overall, I think that while playing this deck, you must not get frustrated or desperate. Just follow the strategy and it will pay off. Also, as mentioned previously, it’s good to know that when playing this deck you must play extremely fast, because you aren’t able to deck your opponent out in 8 turns. I haven’t counted the turns you need to deck out your opponent, but I know that you often need the 30+2 turns for that. Why 2? Because if you deck them out in turn 3, they win the game since the turn never passes to your opponent.

Different approaches

There is nothing you can do if you happen to face a Sableye/Darkrai combo with this deck, but if you modify the deck’s strategy a little, things get interesting. So, let’s look at two theorymon approaches to this deck.

Lairon mill

Yes, Lairon can mill just like Aggron. However, Lairon mills your opponent’s deck with its attack. Lairon discards the number of cards from the top of your opponent’s deck that you’re able to flip heads in row. This happens with 3 energy, which is pretty difficult to do. The saddest thing is that it doesn’t really work with DCE, because it requires MMC for its attack. However, combined with things like Victini that lets you retry the attack and cards like Exp. Share, something worthwhile something can be build.


Gardodor is a real double-edged sword in Aggron. At the same time it can shut down the abilities that hurt your deck the most and at the same time it shuts down the Aggrons ability. However, thanks to Tool Scrapper (which can discard your Pokémon tools as well), you may be able to build an ultimate lock, where you discard the tools, when you need to use Toppling Wind and you’re able to get the Item back to the Garbodor at the same turn. Mostly this would work the best against Hydreigon, because against Eelektrik, the basic strategy of this deck works the best.

With Garbodor you can make your Aggron deck reach a whole new level, but at the same time you lose a lot of consistency, which are one of the best things in the basic AggroHammer. I haven’t yet tested Garbodor enough with Aggron to say that if it’s better than the basic version of this deck, but I don’t believe it would be.


It’s a pity that I didn’t have chance to play this in the last tournament, but I’ll probably be playing it in the next one. Anyways, let me hear your thoughts and experiences about this deck. It isn’t a tier1 deck, but I’m just so sick and tired to Eelektrik and Hydreigon that I want to play something else. And since Battle Roads don’t have such a big K-rating I’m able to take the risk to play something under tier1.

Thankfully the new set will be released soon and then the metagame will (probably) be more versatile. I’ll analyze the next set’s cards as soon as we know what cards are released and I’ll also make a new Eye on Japan article in the near future so look for that as well. I’ll be making another entry this week as well and I’m pretty sure that most of you can guess what it’ll be out. Check it out on Thursday!

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment on anything!


  1. I was considering this deck for a BR this past weekend, but went with Archeops instead.

    I actually played against Sableye/Aggron, and got a T2 Archeops :O. Needless to say, I won that game.

  2. I´ve only played once against this deck and even then my opponent flipped like 7 tails straight with Crushing Hammers.


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