Rokket's Explosive Potential

Kelly Locke

12/26/2017 11:00:00 AM

Rokkets debuted in Circuit Break alongside two other Link-focused themes: Altergiests and Crawlers. None of them had any major success, and they've all been completely overshadowed by SPYRALs since their release last month.

That's unfortunate, because they're all really interesting themes with pretty unique playstyles. Rokkets are particularly fun when the engine gets going, but that's easier said than done. The deck's built around Summoning one specific Link Monster, and yet the theme struggles to pump out enough field presence to actually Summon it since it's a Link 4. That's an odd state of affairs that's kept Rokkets out of the competitive scene, and even made them a rarity in casual circles.

Not only are Rokkets comparatively weaker than other recent strategies, and shockingly ineffective at achieving their own win condition, but they're also plagued with high-rarity cards and a boss monster that's in high demand outside of the theme. Borreload Dragon's the centerpiece of the strategy, and it also happens to be one of the best Link 4's in the game; it's at least a one-of in SPYRALs and virtually every other Link-centric strategy. That makes it a hefty investment if you're looking to pick it up for a casual deck.

There's more support for Rokkets on the way early next year in Extreme Force, with two new monsters, a Field Spell, and a new trap. There's also two Link Monster promo cards with unknown release dates for the TCG, including the very recently-released Booster Dragon. Rokkets have plenty of room to grow, and hopefully still more support arriving in the future. But in the meantime there are actually several ways to make Rokkets viable for competition at a local or casual level.

Don't expect to top a Regional with Rokkets anytime soon, but know that it's a lot easier to win games with than you might think. You just have to look outside of the theme to find ways to Summon Borreload Dragon faster, which of course raises the question: why wouldn't you just play another deck with those same Link 4-enabling cards?

To put it simply, we're doing this for fun.

Analyzing The Arsenal
The entire Rokket theme's built around Summoning Borreload Dragon then leveraging its ATK/DEF changing effect to activate a variety of high-utility Rokket effects. Each Rokket monster activates when it's targeted by a Link Monster – the Rokket then destroys itself and does one of the following depending on the monster:

- Anesthrokket Dragon: one monster on the field becomes unable to attack and has its effects negated permanently.

- Autorokket Dragon: you can send a spell or trap on the field to the graveyard

- Magnarokket Dragon: you can send a monster on the field to the graveyard

Those abilities can be activated as soon as they're targeted by a Link Monster's effect, so you can chain Borreload Dragon to the activation of a Field Spell, then chain Autorokket Dragon before that Field Spell has a chance to resolve. Additionally, your opponent can't respond to Borreload's effect, so there's no way they can interrupt your Rokket's activation. That said, they're free to hit a Rokket monster with negation from something like Solemn Strike. Overall it's a well constructed combo that plays nicely, and each Rokket makes a meaningful impact.

Destroying your own monsters with no recourse isn't a viable long-term strategy, so luckily each of the Rokkets also have an effect which replaces them in the End Phase. They don't need to be destroyed by their own abilities to trigger during the End Phase, but they can't Summon another copy of the same card. When your set-up's locked and loaded you can toolbox the remaining Rokket effects during each End Phase, letting you choose the right Rokket for the job ahead of time.

 Borreload Dragon
Borreload Dragon148325
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN042
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute DARK 
A / D 3000 /
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

3+ Effect Monsters
Neither player can target this card with monster effects. Once per turn (Quick Effect): You can target 1 face-up monster on the field; it loses 500 ATK/DEF. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect's activation. At the start of the Damage Step, if this card attacks an opponent's monster: You can place that opponent's monster in a zone this card points to and take control of it, but send it to the GY during the End Phase of the next turn.

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Since each Rokket replaces itself you're not losing anything even while netting +1's with Autorokket and Magnarokket. The result is a grind game where you're sending your opponent's card to the graveyard and locking down their monsters during either player's turn. Borreload itself can steal monsters, so there's a solid mix of disruptive removal and aggressive effects in the Rokket toolbox.

Those abilities can take a while to turn the game in your favor, especially against strategies that could easily out grind you. The utility of the current Rokket line-up is definitely an advantage, but there's a real concern about what happens if you run out of ammo. In other words: how do you win if you run out of Rokkets in your deck? If you're not already in the lead then you'll often find that running out of Rokkets is simply the end of the duel for you.

You'll need a fair number of Rokkets to continue making the most of Borreload Dragon – and that's really what we're here for – so the deck's mechanics essentially preclude Pot of Desires as a draw card. Instead, we can take advantage of the huge volume of Dark monsters in the deck by playing Allure of Darkness, which has the added benefit of unclogging hands where you end up holding too many Rokkets. Better yet, Allure of Darkness just so happens to play well with nearly all of the Link enablers that help Summon Borreload Dragon early.

Bringing Out The Big Gun
You really only need to see a single Rokket monster or a Quick Launch at the start of the duel to get the ball rolling. Ideally you'll want to have as few as possible, because until next set this deck just doesn't have a way to use two or more Rokkets at the same time. There's no double Normal Summon mechanic built-in, and essentially no way to Special Summon monsters from the hand. That changes in Maximum Force when Revolve Boot Sector is released, but until then you'll need to focus on the card that lead to Borreload Dragon first, then find ways to ensure exactly one Rokket monster or Quick Launch shows up in your starting hand.

Scapegoat's arguably the best one-card Link 4 in the game right now, and with a little help from Link Spider and Proxy Dragon those four Tokens can be exchanged for Borreload Dragon. It's an effortless play that requires waiting a turn, but in return it provides the exact conditions to Summon the single most important monster in the deck. There's a very good reason why Scapegoat's appearing in Championship-level strategies, and it's a solid fit here with one exception: you can't play a Rokket monster alongside it. If your Rokket's destroyed during your opponent's turn you'll have a choice between Summoning another Rokket or activating Scapegoat.

Grinder Golem's a more aggressive option, but it'll cost a full third of your Extra Deck to Summon without Linkuriboh. Using Akashic Magician you can bounce Grinder Golem after using its Tokens for Link Summons, then Summon Golem again and trade the new Tokens for another pair of Link Monsters. After that you'll finally have enough materials to Summon Borreload, and with Quick Launch you can immediately begin using its effect.

That combo's incredibly vulnerable to disruption, but it does put Borreload on the field with minimal investment from your hand and without waiting a turn. Grinder Golem's also Dark, so you can turn any unneeded copies into a pair of draws. You probably won't be using Grinder Golem more than once per duel anyways since it drains the Extra Deck so much.

 Grinder Golem
Grinder Golem32272
Set Jesse Anderson Vol 3 GX Duelist Pack
Number DP07-EN009
Level 8
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fiend
Attribute Dark 
A / D 3000 / 300
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can only be Special Summoned from your hand to your opponent's side of the field by also Special Summoning 2 Grinder Tokens (Fiend-Type/DARK/Level 1/ATK 0/DEF 0) in face-up Attack Position on your side

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While Grinder Golem and Scapegoat are solid ways to make Link 4's there's another method that won't burn your Normal Summon or force you to wait a turn. It uses a handful of my favorite cards: Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm, Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson, and Dragon Ravine. Unfortunately it won't be at its best until either Qliphort Genius or a Link 2 that requires two Wind monsters is released. A Wind-specific Link 2 should be on the way in Flames of Destruction a bit later next year, but in the meantime Dragon Ravine can help put a few more monsters on the field, allow access to Level 7 Synchros, and synergize with other cards in the deck.

Sending Destrudo to the graveyard with Dragon Ravine, or just Summoning it from your hand, will give you at least one other Dark Dragon to put towards a Link Summon, but that's far from the only thing you can do with Ravine's effect. Discarding Darkwurm sets up yet another Summon, and when Darkwurm hits the field its effect will grab a Supreme King Gate Zero from the deck. You can Synchro Summon Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon with Darkwurm and Destrudo, then Special Summon Gate Zero from the Pendulum Zone. From there you can Xyz Summon Number 42: Galaxy Tomahawk, Summon as many Tokens as possible, and begin redeeming your Tokens for Link monsters. I want to credit Lithium2300 for introducing that combo to me in a recent video.

The catch is that you can't make Borreload Dragon with that set-up alone. Until Qliphort Genius is available you can only Sumon Firewall Dragon or make a set-up with Decode Talker. That said, there's nothing wrong with turning Dragon Ravine into a two-card Decode and Proxy Dragon. It's a great engine for Rokkets, not only because it helps build up Link combos, but also because nearly all of the Main Deck cards are Dark Dragons. There's so much synergy here with Allure of Darkness and Red Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon that I think they're worth playing now, especially since we don't have Revolve Boot Sector yet.

Reloading In Extreme Force And Beyond
Rokkets have plenty of room to grow, and being able to leverage Borreload Dragon better than any other deck is a massive advantage over other Link strategies. Borreload's a crazy powerful card and totally game changing at the right moment; adding a ton of utility into its Quick Effect pushes it over the top. If Link 4's continue to become easier to Summon as time goes on it'll be worth it to revisit this deck, adjust it for the latest Link Summoning tech, and see what it can do in real competition.

There's still more support on the way, too! Revolve Boot Sector has two excellent effects that can either empty a hand loaded with Rokkets, or Summon as many as five monsters from the graveyard at once. It's strong in the early game, helps the deck recover from mass removal, and punishes players who commit too many monsters to the field. It instantly returns monsters used for Link Summons as well, so long as your opponent still outnumbers you, which makes using Rokkets for Link Summons a less painful experience. You can Normal Summon a Rokket, activate Quick Launch, Link Summon Proxy Dragon, then use Revolve Boot Sector to put two monsters back on the field for Borreload.

The two new Rokkets coming in Extreme Force add more utility to the Rokket arsenal. Shellrokket Dragon destroys a monster in the same column, the destroys any adjacent monsters with its cluster munitions. It's a bit awkward to play, requiring your opponent to put a monster in their center Monster Zone to have any effect. Shellrokket's more suited for those times when you have Borreload in your own center Monster Zone, but that rarely happens unless you're Special Summoning Borreload from the graveyard. Metalrokket Dragon also has huge destructive potential, but again, you'll ideally want it in the same column as your opponent's Extra Monster Zone.

 Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon71594
Set Legendary Collection 4: Joey's World
Number LCJW-EN050
Level 10
Type Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2800 / 2400
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

You can Special Summon this card (from your hand) by banishing 1 face-up Dragon-Type monster you control. Once per turn: You can Special Summon 1 Dragon-Type monster from your hand or Graveyard, except "Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon".

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Lastly, Booster Dragon offers a way to trigger Rokket effects with a Link 2. It can only be Link Summoned with Rokket monsters, but with Revolve Boot Sector it's a bit easier to justify the investment. Its two big drawbacks are its low ATK and lack of a Quick Effect to trigger Rokkets on your opponent's turn, so it's not a replacement for Borreload as much as it is a supplement to it. Booster Dragon's final effect can Summon Borreload from the graveyard, or even grab Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. You can trigger that effect yourself with Dark Hole, making it yet another much-needed recovery option. It's vastly superior to Reloader Dragon, although it does have its uses.

While neither of the Main Deck monsters are game changing, the new Field Spell and Booster Dragon make this deck capable of keeping up against modern strategies with proven track records. It won't be winning a YCS any time soon, but it's definitely capable of putting up a fight at local tournaments, and honestly I think it'd give a plenty of players a run for their money at a Regional. That is, of course, once it has the support it needs.

Rokkets are surprisingly fun to play at the moment without Revolve Boot Sector or Booster Dragon, and if you're a magnet for those Rokket holos like me I'd recommend giving it a shot. It's great to play a deck that really nails the fantasy of an anime deck–and if you love Borreload Dragon it's even better.

Until next time then


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​ ​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​on TCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​ personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​ ​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yugioh,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​ Twitter​​​ ​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​ . He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.

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