Hey everyone, I’m glad to be back writing for you all this month. Now that Worlds is behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to another long season of Pokémon, beginning with Fall Regionals. Because Regionals are Expanded events, there is sure to be a wide variety of decks emerging.
Today I will walk you through what kinds of decks you can expect if you plan on attending Fall Regionals, as well as my two personal frontrunners. Additionally, I’ll provide some insight into the Standard format for those of you attending League Challenges that may be using it.
Fall Regionals Metagame Guide
Here’s a list of every deck you should be prepared to play against at Regionals, in alphabetical order. Some will be more popular than others, of course, so I will put them into a tier list afterward.
- M Manectric/Regice
- Metal/M Rayquaza
- Night March/Archeops
- Speed M Rayquaza
As you can see, that is quite a hefty list of decks. The format is sure to be wide open, particularly heading into the first weekend of Regionals. I’ll now lay out what I believe to be an accurate tier list for this mess of decks.
These are the decks I believe to be the best in the format as of now, and I expect them to be some of the most popular. Seismitoad/Giratina had its beginnings in Würzburg, Germany, where it won an Arena Cup. The deck is very strong. The ability to choose between two different kinds of locks is unmatched. Giratina-EX’s Chaos Wheel attack really gives decks like Night March and Vespiquen fits, as they are so reliant on attaching Double Colorless Energies.
The one thing that I don’t like about Seismitoad/Giratina is that it only plays Special Energy. This means that if an opposing Giratina gets powered up before yours does and successfully pulls off a Chaos Wheel, you’ll never be able to attack.
However, I think the overall strength of this deck as well as the hype coming from the German Arena Cup will lead to this deck being quite popular at Regionals.
Archeops is undoubtedly one of the most powerful cards featured in the Expanded format. Decks like Yveltal and Night March will put Archeops to good use, as neither of them rely on Evolutions and can easily fit Archeops and Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. Of the two, I personally believe Night March is the stronger Archeops build. However, partnering the primal bird with Yveltal will give you a better chance of beating Seismitoad/Giratina, as it is not as reliant on its Double Colorless Energies. Nevertheless, I expect to see both of these decks in full force come October.
- Metal/M Rayquaza
- Speed M Rayquaza
- M Manectric/Regice
These are decks that I expect to show up, but not as heavily as the top tier decks. They are all still contenders to win tournaments, but haven’t received as much hype. Yveltal/Garbodor is still a solid deck in my eyes and will always be one of my favorite decks. However, I think it’s a strictly worse choice than pairing Yveltal with Archeops. This version however is able to put out more damage, as it opts to play Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser over Battle Compressor and Archeops. This gives it an edge over the Archeops version. However, I think the advantage that Archeops offers is just too good to pass up.
M Rayquaza decks have always seemed very average to me. Of the two versions listed above, I think the Speed M Rayquaza deck is the better choice. With the addition of Hoopa-EX, it’s not out of the ordinary to see this deck pulling off turn one Emerald Breaks for 180+ damage. But Rayquaza decks do have a few problems keeping them from being top tier. First is Seismitoad/Giratina’s popularity. The deck has always struggled with Item lock combined with Energy removal. This is where Metal/Ray would stand a better chance, but a deck like Night March/Archeops would cause serious problems for it. Overall, I see both Rayquaza decks as solid, but not top contenders.
M Manectric/Regice is a new variant that has popped up with the release of Ancient Origins. While it seems to be more popular in the Standard format, it wouldn’t shock me if someone brought it to Expanded. This deck would have a hard time dealing with non-EX-based decks like Night March, but would do well in a field of Seismitoad/Giratina and Yveltal.
Rounding out the mid tier is Vespiquen. There has been a good amount of hype surrounding the Queen Bee, but I don’t see any reason to play Vespiquen over Night March. It’s arguable that Vespiquen is better against Seismitoad because of type advantage, but at the end of the day, both Night March and Vespiquen are just as vulnerable to Giratina’s Chaos Wheel. Additionally, Vespiquen gets shut down by Archeops. However, of the two versions, I personally prefer the Accelgor one. Accelgor has always been one of my favorite cards in Expanded, and I like the added level of strategy it offers.
These are decks that have been talked about but I don’t see doing very well at Regionals. Donphan has the option of running the new Eeveelutions from Ancient Origins to give it type advantage in certain matchups. The problem with Donphan right now is that it struggles with Archeops. Sure, you can use Wobbuffet to get around Archeops’ Ancient Power ability, but more often than not the Archeops deck will be able to power through the Wobbuffets and take the game. Additionally, Seismitoad decks have always been a problem for Donphan decks, and Sesimitoad/Giratina is looking to be the most popular deck in the format right now. These factors combined with the fact that Donphan has always been a slower Stage 1 deck make everyone’s favorite elephant look like a poor choice for Regionals.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Durant succeed. However, now that we’re in the Expanded format, Durant is back. It seems the best partner for Durant is Ninjask ROS, which allows for a few more mills after each of your Durant fall. However, I feel as if this deck is very gimmicky. Additionally, Item lock is very difficult for Durant to deal with, as it shuts off your Hammers as well as your Revives. I would not advise playing Durant at Regionals this fall.
Finally, we have Groudon. I don’t see this deck doing very well because of the popularity of non-EX decks like Night March and Vespiquen (especially Vespiquen due to type advantage). This factor alone was its downfall at Worlds 2015, and I don’t see the Expanded format bringing Groudon any hope. Ancient Origins doesn’t have anything to offer Groudon, and Expanded only brings Groudon Tropical Beach. We might see some Groudon at Regionals, but I don’t see them doing very well at the end of the day.
My Top Two
Now that we’ve taken an extensive look at what we can expect, here are the decks I’ve been testing the most and see as my potential plays for Regionals.
Deep Sleep: Night March/Archeops
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 34
Energy – 7
Night March/Archeops is one of my two picks for Regionals because I feel it is one of the most well-rounded decks in the format. Night March was one of the most successful decks at Worlds 2015, only suffering a few poor matchups. Those matchups were Trevenant and Donphan, and now Archeops offers us an answer to both of those. Additionally, having used Night March at Worlds, I feel very comfortable playing it. Let’s look at the list in detail:
4 Joltik, 4 Pumpkaboo, 4 Lampent, 2 Mew-EX
4-of each Night Marcher is a no-brainer, as they provide your way of dealing damage. 2 Mew-EX is pretty standard, serving as another attacker when you’re running low on Night Marchers as well as being able to attack for one less Energy in tandem with Dimension Valley.
3 Shaymin-EX, 1 Jirachi-EX
3 Shaymin is what my team and I ran at Worlds and ended up being very satisfied with. An argument could be made for 4, but instead we run a Jirachi-EX. Jirachi is helpful in pulling off the turn one Maxie. There are certain situations where Shaymin may not guarantee the combo, whereas Jirachi can go grab Maxie right away.
1 Archeops, 1 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
Archeops is included now in the Expanded format as a way to answer Evolution decks that used to wreck havoc for Night March such as Trevenant and Donphan. Maxie’s is in the list so you can get Archeops into play.
4 Sycamore is pretty self-explanatory, as this deck’s aim is to go off as fast as possible. 2 Lysandre could arguably become one, but I’ve always been an advocate of playing two in fear of having the lone 1 Prized. For this same reason, I was weary of playing a single N. However, it seemed to work fine at Worlds, so I’ve decided to just play one in this list as well. Teammates was phenomenal for me at Worlds. The tempo advantage it offers is unheard of, ensuring a return knockout turn after turn with the help of VS Seeker.
The consistency Item counts are all very standard, with perhaps the exception of Trainers’ Mail. A lot of lists tend to play a split of Acro Bike and Trainers’ Mail. However, I’ve always been against playing Acro Bike because of the slight risk factor that comes with it. Before the World Championships, my friends and I were testing a 3-3 split of Acro Bike and Trainers’ Mail in our Night March list. Throughout our testing we kept finding situations where we would Acro Bike into 2 Double Colorless Energies, or 2 Sycamores. The benefit of this of course is when you hit a useful card and a Night Marcher, allowing you to get rid of the Marcher. However, we decided to not take the risk, and opted for 4 Trainers’ Mail instead.
Playing 3 Muscle Bands is usually the norm, but I found that two is perfectly acceptable. The list is so consistent that you often won’t even need a Muscle Band to achieve a 1HKO on EXs. The Float Stone is an interesting inclusion that most Night March lists at Worlds played. The idea is that you can put it on a Shaymin-EX and always have a way to retreat to a Night Marcher after one gets KO’d.
Revive isn’t always included in Night March lists, but my friends and I found it to be quite useful in testing as well as at Worlds. Our list at Worlds played Dowsing Machine, but I’ve replaced it with Computer Search in this list because you want to ensure you are as consistent as possible in getting out a turn one Archeops.
4 Double Colorless Energy, 3 L Energy
Playing 4 DCE is a must, as Night March is fueled by it. One of the best things about Night March is you can play whatever type of basic Energy you like. Because of this, you want to pick an Energy type that is best used against the projected metagame. At Worlds, we ultimately chose Lightning due to the popularity of M Manectric. While M Manectric isn’t expected to be quite as popular at Regionals, L Energy still provides the option to use Joltik’s Gnaw in the mirror match. As the metagame develops more you could certainly change the Energy type to what you see fit, but for now I think Lightning is fine.
King of the Mill: Sableye/Garbodor
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 41
3 Head Ringer
1 Life Dew
Energy – 6
This is a pet deck of mine that I’ve been working on since returning from Boston. It’s still a work in progress, but the concept is very interesting. You use Sableye’s Junk Hunt to repeatedly reuse Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and Life Dew until your opponent is out of resources. Once they are out of Energies, you come in with Bunnelby and Burrow the rest of their deck out. It seems like a long shot, but in reality, the concept is quite strong against a handful of popular decks in the metagame. I’ll walk you through my card choices:
Sableye is the core of the deck. The idea is to use your powerful Item cards over and over again until you opponent is wiped of their resources. This strategy is particularly useful against decks like Vespiquen and Night March that opt to play low amounts of Energy. Once you’ve rid them of their 4 DCE, they’re simply left with their 3-4 basic Energies to attack with for the rest of the game. These are then easily picked off with Crushing Hammer and Team Flare Grunt.
Bunnelby is useful for both of its attacks. The bunny’s main purpose is to be a finisher to deck your opponent out once you’ve wiped them of their Energies, but it can also be used to replenish your own resources with Rototiller. This is particularly useful against Seismitoad decks, as you can play a Team Flare Grunt and immediately throw it back into the deck.
The Garbodor line serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it provides an answer to decks that use Bronzong or other forms of Energy acceleration. It is also helpful against Abilities like Keldeo’s Rush In, Darkrai’s Dark Cloak, and Mew’s Versatile.
The choice of Trubbish is crucial. The Noble Victories Trubbish is the best for a few reasons. It retreats for one Energy, but more importantly, its Garbage Collection attack is very useful. In the same way that Bunnelby is good against Seismitoad, Trubbish allows you to play a Team Flare Grunt or Xerosic and then put it right back on top of your deck.
Shaymin is in the deck for added consistency. However, I’ve recently considered cutting it, as this deck is all about Prize denial. I’ve lost some close games due solely to my opponent picking up 2 or even 4 easy Prizes on my Shaymins. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that the consistency boost that Shaymin offers is powerful, so it’s hard to imagine cutting it.
As always, 4 Sycamore is pretty standard. You don’t have to worry about dumping too many resources with this deck, as you have plenty of ways to recover them. 2 N may seem low, but toward the end of the game, you don’t really want to be playing N, as most of the time it will give your opponent more cards in their deck. That said, it’s still important to have N for comeback purposes.
4 Flare Grunts are mostly included for the Seismitoad matchup, but the more ways you have to discard their Energy, the better. The 2 Lysandres are used to trap useless Pokémon your opponent may have been forced to start or bench. Xerosic is a good resource because it acts as either an Enhanced Hammer or a Tool Scrapper.
4 Crushing Hammer is your main way of wiping your opponent’s board. More often than not Junk Hunt will be grabbing 2 Crushing Hammers. 2 Enhanced Hammer are the key to winning matchups like Night March and Vespiquen. I’ve thought about playing more than 2, but being able to pick them up each turn with Junk Hunt makes playing more than 2 seem unnecessary.
Float Stone not only serves as an activator for Garbodor, but is great for when you start with an unfavorable starter. I’ve considered going to 4 just for consistency reasons, but 3 has been okay so far. The Head Ringers add some extra disruption, and the 2 copies of Tool Scrapper make it quite likely for them to stick on your opponent’s EXs.
The Super Rod ensures that you never run out of Energies or attackers. Life Dew is the ACE SPEC of choice for this deck because of Junk Hunt. You can deny your opponent a crazy amount of Prize cards with it, and it’s a large part of why this deck has potential.
6 D Energy
6 has seemed to be the right number for Energy in this deck. I’ve tried as many as 8 and as low as 5 with a Professor’s Letter, but I’ve finally settled on 6.
Again, this deck is still a work in progress, and is by no means perfected. Its matchups against decks like Night March and Vespiquen make it very appealing, and it can go toe to toe with Seismitoad/Giratina thanks to the heavy amount of removal Supporters it plays. Yveltal seems like a poor matchup, but in testing so far, with a quick Garbodor and enough Crushing Hammer heads, the matchup is very winnable. One matchup in particular that worries me however is Trevenant/Accelgor. If they’re able to get Trevenant out before you get a Tool on Trubbish, you have basically no way to win the game.
Regardless, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share with you all a deck that I’ve been putting quite a bit of work into. You should definitely give it a try for yourself!
To close out today’s article, I’ll show you two decks that have caught my eye in the Standard format. XY-on is still very young and decks are still being developed, but here are some decks that I have heard of.
Chaos Quick: Speed Giratina
Pokémon – 14
Trainers – 34
Energy – 12
The idea behind this deck is to attack with Chaos Wheel as soon as possible before your opponent gets to do much of anything. This is extremely strong against the all-popular Vespiquen decks as well as against other Giratina decks. The list is pretty straightforward. I opted to include a Bunnelby because the deck is so reliant on Double Dragon Energy. Bunnelby provides a way to recycle DDE in the event you run out.
Sky Field and Shadow Circle serve as your Stadiums to activate Hydreigon’s Dragon Road Ability. You want to go for Sky Field in the early game so you can use multiple Shaymins to burn through your deck. Once you’ve used your Shaymins, you can bump the Sky Field with Shadow Circle to discard your Shaymins from the board. Shadow Circle also doubles over as a defense against Fairy Pokémon, as Double Dragon counts as Darkness, allowing you to take advantage of its effect.
While I will admit that I haven’t put a lot of work in the Standard format, I have heard great things about this deck and it would be my number one choice if I were to play in a Standard League Challenge.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 40
4 Eco Arm
Energy – 8
This is an interesting deck that has been gaining some popularity recently. The concept behind it is Prize denial. You want to be using Mienshao’s Aero Turn attack to bounce back to the hand every turn, then promote a Pokémon with Focus Sash (ideally another Mienshao). This creates a sort of infinite lock that your opponent can’t break unless they play Startling Megaphone. Eco Arm is in the list to ensure that you always have Focus Sashes, and Robo Substitutes are there in case you whiff one.
The one problem I see this deck having is its Giratina matchup, as Chaos Wheel would prevent you from attaching Focus Sashes. However, if you don’t expect too much Giratina at your next League Challenge, definitely consider giving this deck a try.
That’s all I have for you today. Hopefully I’ve given you a good starting point for your Regionals preparation as well as some ideas for your next League Challenge. I will be attending Pennsylvania and Indiana Regionals, so I won’t be attending a Week 1 event. I’m really excited to see how the metagame shapes up. If you see me at either event, be sure to say hi! And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m happy to help.
Thanks for reading,
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