That's unfortunate, because they're all really interesting themes withpretty unique playstyles. Rokkets are particularly fun when the engine getsgoing, but that's easier said than done. The deck's built around Summoningone specific Link Monster, and yet the theme struggles to pump out enoughfield presence to actually Summon it since it's a Link 4. That'san 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, andshockingly ineffective at achieving their own win condition, but they'realso plagued with high-rarity cards and a boss monster that's in highdemand outside of the theme. Borreload Dragon's the centerpiece of thestrategy, 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-centricstrategy. That makes it a hefty investment if you're looking to pick it upfor a casual deck.
There's more support for Rokkets on the way early next year inExtreme Force, with two new monsters, a Field Spell, and a newtrap. There's also two Link Monster promo cards with unknown release datesfor the TCG, including the very recently-released Booster Dragon. Rokketshave plenty of room to grow, and hopefully still more support arriving inthe future. But in the meantime there are actually several ways to makeRokkets viable for competition at a local or casual level.
Don't expect to top a Regional with Rokkets anytime soon, but know thatit's a lot easier to win games with than you might think. You just have tolook outside of the theme to find ways to Summon Borreload Dragonfaster, which of course raises the question: why wouldn't you just playanother 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 thenleveraging its ATK/DEF changing effect to activate a variety ofhigh-utility Rokket effects. Each Rokket monster activates when it'stargeted by a Link Monster – the Rokket then destroys itself and does oneof the following depending on the monster:
- Anesthrokket Dragon: one monster on the field becomes unable to attackand has its effects negated permanently.
- Autorokket Dragon: you can send a spell or trap on the field to thegraveyard
- 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 LinkMonster's effect, so you can chain Borreload Dragon to the activation of aField Spell, then chain Autorokket Dragon before that Field Spell has achance to resolve. Additionally, your opponent can't respond to Borreload'seffect, so there's no way they can interrupt your Rokket's activation. Thatsaid, they're free to hit a Rokket monster with negation from somethinglike Solemn Strike. Overall it's a well constructed combo that playsnicely, and each Rokket makes a meaningful impact.
Destroying your own monsters with no recourse isn't a viable long-termstrategy, so luckily each of the Rokkets also have an effect which replacesthem in the End Phase. They don't need to be destroyed by their ownabilities to trigger during the End Phase, but they can't Summon anothercopy of the same card. When your set-up's locked and loaded you can toolboxthe remaining Rokket effects during each End Phase, letting you choose theright Rokket for the job ahead of time.
Since each Rokket replaces itself you're not losing anything even whilenetting +1's with Autorokket and Magnarokket. The result is a grind gamewhere you're sending your opponent's card to the graveyard and locking downtheir monsters during either player's turn. Borreload itself can stealmonsters, so there's a solid mix of disruptive removal and aggressiveeffects in the Rokket toolbox.
Those abilities can take a while to turn the game in your favor, especiallyagainst strategies that could easily out grind you. The utility of thecurrent Rokket line-up is definitely an advantage, but there's a realconcern about what happens if you run out of ammo. In other words: how doyou win if you run out of Rokkets in your deck? If you're not already inthe lead then you'll often find that running out of Rokkets is simply theend of the duel for you.
You'll need a fair number of Rokkets to continue making the most ofBorreload Dragon – and that's really what we're here for – so the deck'smechanics essentially preclude Pot of Desires as a draw card. Instead, wecan take advantage of the huge volume of Dark monsters in the deck byplaying Allure of Darkness, which has the added benefit of unclogging handswhere you end up holding too many Rokkets. Better yet, Allure of Darknessjust so happens to play well with nearly all of the Link enablers thathelp Summon Borreload Dragon early.
Bringing Out The Big Gun
You really only need to see a single Rokket monster or a Quick Launch atthe start of the duel to get the ball rolling. Ideally you'll want to haveas few as possible, because until next set this deck just doesn't have away to use two or more Rokkets at the same time. There's no double NormalSummon mechanic built-in, and essentially no way to Special Summon monstersfrom the hand. That changes in Maximum Force whenRevolve Boot Sectoris released, but until then you'll need to focus on the card that lead toBorreload Dragon first, then find ways to ensure exactly one Rokket monsteror Quick Launch shows up in your starting hand.
Scapegoat's arguably the best one-card Link 4 in the game right now, andwith a little help from Link Spider and Proxy Dragon those four Tokens canbe exchanged for Borreload Dragon. It's an effortless play that requireswaiting a turn, but in return it provides the exact conditions to Summonthe single most important monster in the deck. There's a very good reasonwhy Scapegoat's appearing in Championship-level strategies, and it's asolid fit here with one exception: you can't play a Rokket monsteralongside it. If your Rokket's destroyed during your opponent's turn you'llhave a choice between Summoning another Rokket or activatingScapegoat.
Grinder Golem's a more aggressive option, but it'll cost a full third ofyour Extra Deck to Summon without Linkuriboh. Using Akashic Magician youcan bounce Grinder Golem after using its Tokens for Link Summons, thenSummon Golem again and trade the new Tokens for another pair of LinkMonsters. After that you'll finally have enough materials to SummonBorreload, and with Quick Launch you can immediately begin using itseffect.
That combo's incredibly vulnerable to disruption, but it does put Borreloadon the field with minimal investment from your hand and without waiting aturn. Grinder Golem's also Dark, so you can turn any unneeded copies into apair of draws. You probably won't be using Grinder Golem more than once perduel anyways since it drains the Extra Deck so much.
While Grinder Golem and Scapegoat are solid ways to make Link 4's there'sanother method that won't burn your Normal Summon or force you to wait aturn. It uses a handful of my favorite cards: Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm,Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson, and Dragon Ravine. Unfortunately itwon't be at its best until eitherQliphort Geniusor a Link 2 that requires two Wind monsters is released. A Wind-specificLink 2 should be on the way in Flames of Destruction a bit laternext year, but in the meantime Dragon Ravine can help put a few moremonsters on the field, allow access to Level 7 Synchros, and synergize withother cards in the deck.
Sending Destrudo to the graveyard with Dragon Ravine, or just Summoning itfrom your hand, will give you at least one other Dark Dragon to put towardsa Link Summon, but that's far from the only thing you can do with Ravine'seffect. Discarding Darkwurm sets up yet another Summon, and when Darkwurmhits the field its effect will grab a Supreme King Gate Zero from the deck.You can Synchro Summon Odd-Eyes Meteorburst Dragon with Darkwurm andDestrudo, then Special Summon Gate Zero from the Pendulum Zone. From thereyou can Xyz Summon Number 42: Galaxy Tomahawk, Summon as many Tokens aspossible, and begin redeeming your Tokens for Link monsters. I want tocredit Lithium2300 forintroducing 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 ormake a set-up with Decode Talker. That said, there's nothing wrong withturning Dragon Ravine into a two-card Decode and Proxy Dragon. It's a greatengine for Rokkets, not only because it helps build up Link combos, butalso because nearly all of the Main Deck cards are Dark Dragons. There's somuch synergy here with Allure of Darkness and Red Eyes Darkness MetalDragon that I think they're worth playing now, especially since wedon't have Revolve Boot Sector yet.
Reloading In Extreme Force And Beyond
Rokkets have plenty of room to grow, and being able to leverage BorreloadDragon better than any other deck is a massive advantage over other Linkstrategies. Borreload's a crazy powerful card and totally game changing atthe right moment; adding a ton of utility into its Quick Effect pushes itover the top. If Link 4's continue to become easier to Summon as time goeson it'll be worth it to revisit this deck, adjust it for the latest LinkSummoning tech, and see what it can do in real competition.
There's still more support on the way, too!Revolve Boot Sectorhas 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 strongin the early game, helps the deck recover from mass removal, and punishesplayers who commit too many monsters to the field. It instantly returnsmonsters used for Link Summons as well, so long as your opponent stilloutnumbers you, which makes using Rokkets for Link Summons a less painfulexperience. You can Normal Summon a Rokket, activate Quick Launch, LinkSummon Proxy Dragon, then use Revolve Boot Sector to put two monsters backon the field for Borreload.
The two new Rokkets coming in Extreme Force add more utility tothe Rokket arsenal.Shellrokket Dragondestroys a monster in the same column, the destroys any adjacent monsterswith its cluster munitions. It's a bit awkward to play, requiring youropponent 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 yourown center Monster Zone, but that rarely happens unless you're SpecialSummoning Borreload from the graveyard.Metalrokket Dragonalso has huge destructive potential, but again, you'll ideally want it inthe same column as your opponent's Extra Monster Zone.
Lastly,Booster Dragonoffers a way to trigger Rokket effects with a Link 2. It can only be LinkSummoned with Rokket monsters, but with Revolve Boot Sector it's a biteasier to justify the investment. Its two big drawbacks are its low ATK andlack of a Quick Effect to trigger Rokkets on your opponent's turn, so it'snot a replacement for Borreload as much as it is a supplement to it.Booster Dragon's final effect can Summon Borreload from the graveyard, oreven grab Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. You can trigger that effectyourself with Dark Hole, making it yet another much-needed recovery option.It's vastly superior toReloader Dragon,although it does have its uses.
While neither of the Main Deck monsters are game changing, the new FieldSpell and Booster Dragon make this deck capable of keeping up againstmodern strategies with proven track records. It won't be winning a YCS anytime soon, but it's definitely capable of putting up a fight at localtournaments, and honestly I think it'd give a plenty of players a run fortheir money at a Regional. That is, of course, once it has the support itneeds.
Rokkets are surprisingly fun to play at the moment without Revolve BootSector or Booster Dragon, and if you're a magnet for those Rokket holoslike me I'd recommend giving it a shot. It's great to play a deck thatreally nails the fantasy of an anime deck–and if you love Borreload Dragonit's even better.
Until next time then
Kelly Locke is a West Michigangamer and writer. In addition to writing onTCGplayer, Kelly writes a personal blog covering Yugioh, Destiny, and otherhobbies. You can follow him on Twitter and check out his Youtube channel. He also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.