Persian Checkmate: A Cat Walk to Top 16

Alec Geissler
December 11, 2019

What’s up guys? I’m so happy to be bringing you guys yet another article.Content has been super dry recently as I haven’t found anything interesting to write on, but after looking at San Diego regionals and results I am pumped to be writing about this deck. Persian Roxie was an archetype first created by Phinnegan Lynch over on Cut or Tap’s article site. I think Phinn is one of the best deck builders in the game and the deck(s) really caught my eye when he posted about the archetype. The one that caught my eye the most was slightly different from what I am going to be covering in today’s article, but none the less let’s dive on in and look at this spicy rogue deck!

Persian Checkmate

Persian Checkmate. Not the most common deck you’ve heard if I had to guess, but this past weekend at San Diego we saw three people bring it to a day 2 finish. Jacob Chen placing the highest bubbling top 8 finishing at 10th place, Preston Ellis also bubbling top 8 finishing at 11th place and Gabe Bello finishing in the top 64. This deck is very complex mainly because there are so many different cards in the list/a ton of options the deck must achieve the goal.

The goal of the deck is to use Stinger GX on Naganadel-GX and then finish off the opponent’s tag team with Vengeance & Roxie discarding Koffing / Weezing. There are other options, but this is typically the main strategy. One prize decks such as Malamar are very hard to beat due to the spreading factor that they bring while spell tags are very hard to deal with. I was very intrigued in this kind of deck going into Daytona regionals as I knew it wouldn’t be popular and people wouldn’t know how to play versus it, but I wasn’t confident picking up the deck in the short amount of time I gave myself to test it and try to get comfortable with it.  Let’s just jump right into the list and see the absurdity amount of options this deck has!

Perisan CheckmateJacob Chen10th Pidgey (121) Pidgey (122) Pidgeotto (123) Meowth (147) Persian-GX (149) Poipole (55) Naganadel-GX (56) Naganadel (108) Koffing (76) Weezing (77) Ditto Prism Star Alolan Ninetales (111) Whimsicott-GX Jirachi (99) Oranguru (114) Mew (76) Mimikyu (97) Tapu Lele (94) Tyrogue (100) Professor Elm's Lecture Roxie Tate & Liza Faba Pokémon Communication Great Catcher Reset Stamp Lana's Fishing Rod Escape Board Counter Gain Island Challenge Amulet Triple Acceleration Energy Fairy Energy



The first thing that comes to your mind is probably, “Wow what a cool deck, but how do I even play it?” The deck is a very complex deck because of the amount of options you have and the amount of options you don’t think about that can lead you to wins. I was playing a game on the PTCGO ladder and every turn I counted like 4 different things I could do to potentially win the game. I am no master of the deck, I will state this now, but from the experience I have had with the deck I’ll gladly over how to play the deck and how you can “checkmate” your opponent.

Overall Start:


Your overall start is sort of like Pidgeotto Control where you sit with a Jirachi in the active and Professor Elm’s Lecture for 3 Pidgey’s/any combination that your hand plays to. Before we go further, you will be seeing me say “whatever your hand plays to” a lot because the deck is a very reactive deck which is exactly like Malamar. In a way, you never go into a game expecting to do the same thing every turn every game. It won’t happen that way and you won’t find success. Back to the deck, you hope to lead with Jirachi as usual just to keep running through the trainers in your deck and setting up. You want to prioritize Pidgeotto’s because you don’t really attack consistently with this deck and you want to build up this big hand to give you as many outs to Roxie as possible. You also want to get both Great Catchers and Reset Stamps in hand because if you stinger one of the pieces of the puzzle back into the prizes or don’t get access to them on the stinger turn, it’ll be harder to close out the game.

Mid Game:

Mid game is very weird for this deck because it really depends on the matchup and what your hand looks like. I really struggle to describe how to talk about the midgame because you can do so many things. Against most tag team decks, you want to go ahead and poke the opponent’s active with Vengeance. If you can’t safely pull off the Vengeance poke, you can feed your opponent random Pokémon to help feed the Vengeance play.

Late Game:


This is where all the action kicks in. This is where the magic happens, and you get to come back and make it happen. Assuming you bench the Poipole you need to use to Stinger before the one prize turn, when your opponent gets down to one prize you want to Reset Stamp, bench a Meowth and Stinger GX with Island Challenge Amulet on the active. Once they KO the Naganadel, you want to Lana’s Fishing Rod to recycle the Island Challenge Amulet and KO a tag team with Perisan GX. If there isn’t a tag team on the board, you use Roxie to spread damage with Koffing and Weezing and could potentially use Tapu Lele to spread damage around to take three prizes.

Going forward, I think the deck has a potential and I really like how the deck functions. There are a ton of card inclusions that are very confusing on paper, so let’s go ahead and look at why they were included.



Whimsicott-GX has been a very dead card in my testing if I am blatantly honest. It has a good use though as it’s very good versus ADP since they are fairy weak and they can’t one shot it. In every other matchup, I haven’t found much use for it, but since it is so useful in the ADP matchup, it definitely is worth the spot.


Tapu Lele

Fairy Tapu Lele is insanely good and I didn’t think it was as good as it was looking at the list. Against Malamar, you are able to spread around the damage from Roxie on Koffing/Weezing and Shadow Impact to put 250+ damage out on the board to hit 3 prizes. Also, Psywave is a very good attack versus ADP.


Alolan Ninetales

Alolan Ninetales makes the Gardeon matchup near an autowin. Normal lists don’t play any outs to Ninetales and would normally fold to it. I don’t see any other uses for it, but solidifying a semi popular deck’s matchup sounds pretty good to me.


Naganadel LOT

Naganadel is a very good card to solidify the Mewtwo matchup because after you Stinger GX, you are able to close out the game with Turning Point. It’s also sort of good in the Blacephalon matchup potentially because you can hit 160 on a Blacephalon. Then next turn, you can Roxie spread 20 damage onto the board and KO anything they bring up.



Tyrogue is a very good Doll Stall counter because they don’t play any healing cards. They play Sky Pillar, but you’re able to Faba their one Sky Pillar and spam Tyrogue. You also play Oranguru so you’re able to recycle resources with Resource Management if need be. The Pidgeotto matchup is a bit harder since they can Bellelba and Brycen-man every turn and mill you out of the game.


Mimikyu COE

Mimikyu from Cosmic Eclipse is a very good Mewtwo counter because you can spread damage counters with Psypower and then they don’t have abilities to be able to attack. Stealthy Hood is typically a counter to it, but they only typically play 1 and you can Faba it off.



Oranguru is a very good card to recycle things that are very limited like Lana’s Fishing Rod, Koffing’s/Weezing, Tate & Liza, Faba, etc.. Also, if you have to use any resources early such as Great Catchers and Reset Stamps, you can bring them back and not worry about burning them early.

Now that we went through what some of these cards are included in the deck for, let’s go ahead and talk about the matchups. The matchup spread for this deck is very general from what I have gathered and worked on, but let’s go ahead and talk about the deck’s spread.




I think every matchup is either 50/50 or favored except for Malamar and Ability Zard due to tempo. Malamar is very hard since they can spread damage counters with Mew and Blacephalon which you can’t really deal with. If your opponent attacks with Giratina, you’re able to win easily because they put 40 damage on themselves every turn which makes it a lot easier to pull off the Roxie spread/Magical Swap play. Ability Zard seems very hard because of them being able to Nine Temptations your Poipole/Pidgeotto every turn and you won’t ever be able to pull off a Stinger turn due to not being able to draw. A lot of the tag team deck-based matchups are very easy to win since stamp to 1, stinger and Vengeance twice on the tag team is very doable.



In conclusion, I think this deck is good, but struggles with early game consistency issues. You have a hard time hitting supporters which is why Jacob and Preston lost games they said. When I was testing the deck, I rarely found Elm’s unless I started it in my opening hand. Finding Roxie is very hard too even though you play 4 and have so many ways to draw cards (Air Mail, Stellar Wish, etc.). I’ve been testing the deck enough to feel comfortable to play it at my cup this upcoming weekend. I don’t think I would respect ADP enough to play the Whimsicott version, but I have no idea what I would add to make the deck better. There aren’t any more standard regionals in this format so I would have to experiment with this deck in the Sword and Shield format. I do think as I said earlier this deck is a strong play for cups since most people won’t know how to play it, but you must know exactly what you’re doing every turn.


Quick shoutouts as usual; shoutout to Flipside Gaming for letting me produce the content I do. If you guys need any product, cards, etc. don’t forget to use code CELIO for a discount off your order. Shoutout to Nerd Rage Gaming, my sponsor, for everything they have done for me in and out of the game. Shoutout to my testing group: Arlo Neel, Isaac Milaski, Justin Lambert, Ben Cryer and Bret Burns for being an amazing group of friends to me. Shoutout to Phinnegan Lynch and Cut or Tap for coming up with the unique concept. Shoutout to all the players who actually played the deck, especially Jacob Chen, Preston Ellis and Gabe Bello. It’s a very complex deck and I’m glad to see people take on a challenge and make as deep of a run as some of you did. Thank you guys for reading! Please leave a like/comment if you enjoyed and I’ll see you all in Dallas. Peace.

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