What’s up everybody and welcome to the party, hosted by yours truly on none other than SixPrizes. At least, anything besides the Standard format feels like a party. After switching formats once again to play some games in the Expanded format, I am feeling more optimistic about that format so that is what I’m going to be discussing. Here in the U.S. tournament circuit, we are in transition to a better place. From States to Regionals, from Standard to Expanded, from Night March to day May … ok, that one sounded better in my head.
The tournaments on the brain for most players right now are Spring Regionals, which occur in America during three weekends in May. While I specifically have these tournaments in mind, the content I will be talking about is relevant for most Expanded tournaments across the globe. As has been customary lately, the new set will actually be legal for the third weekend of Regionals. I will not be discussing Fates Collide much during this article because I have not been playing with the new cards at all and the format can only change so much during one or two weeks, even with the release of a new set. Right now I am geared solely towards the current Expanded format.
In this article I am excited to present three wacky versions of decks that you have probably seen before. These are not completely rogue decks, nor am I simply adding Dark Patch into Yveltal to account for the format change. I am going to go over three meta decks with added twists which I made to create what I believe are the three best decks in the format. In addition to the typical deck analysis I am going to explain why I believe in each deck so much and glance at its matchups against many of the potential adversaries in Expanded.
Shuffling is a funny thing. There are so many ways to shuffle your deck efficiently, and it seems like every player you encounter shuffles in their own way. Shuffling is something that occurs many, many times in one game, yet it is something that isn’t talked about often. I don’t think shuffling is a big deal, and I don’t care how my opponents shuffle as long as I can see that their cards are moving around so that they do not have any idea where a given card may be.
As for me, I don’t have a stylish shuffle. I simply mash-shuffle and riffle-shuffle over and over and over. That’s basically all I do, and I do it quickly to maximize the allotted time for a match. Occasionally I’ll throw in an overhand shuffle as well. I don’t ever pile-shuffle. There isn’t a great reason for this, but it seems more arduous and time consuming. Additionally, it is systematic and that feels inherently less “random” to me compared to the chaos of mash shuffling.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 38
2 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
4 Trainers’ Mail
Energy – 10
The original list started off even weirder than how it looks now. I used to run Ninetales PRC, Ninetales DRX, and 2 Buddy-Buddy Rescue, but I have since edited them out because I didn’t find them all that useful in testing. This list isn’t much different from a typical Yveltal list, and as such it comes with similar strengths and matchups.
Yveltal is an incredibly well-rounded and solid deck. It has proven itself time and time again in various different formats. Its matchups are stellar now that it can use Archeops and Gallade. Yveltal was already a force in the Standard format, and Dark Patch powers it up even more by adding Energy acceleration. This allows Yveltal-EX to hit harder and faster than before. In addition, I added a whopping 4 copies of Silent Lab and 2 Tool Scrapper for disruption and matchups. Let’s go over some of the differences from traditional Yveltal lists and why I made the list this way.
There’s nothing too exciting here — each of different Yveltal cards have their own benefits and twos across the board is a nice balance. The Oblivion Wing Yveltal is a useful opener against decks that can punish aggressive starts such as the mirror match and Night March. It can also be used against Seismitoad-EX and Trevenant. Yveltal BKT has Fright Night to disrupt various decks including Megas and Vespiquen/Vileplume.
Yveltal BKT is also a fantastic attacker against Trevenant and other decks that allow it to attack multiple times before KO’ing it. Pitch-Black Spear’s snipe damage can add up quickly against Shaymin-EX if your opponent isn’t prepared to deal with the threat immediately. Yveltal-EX is the main attacker. It’s big, it’s strong, it’s got Evil Ball and Y Cyclone. Nothing new can really be said about it.
Most Yveltal lists only run 1 Darkrai, but I think the second copy is worth it. Darkrai is especially useful against Night March. When you win the Stadium war with 4 Silent Lab, it eliminates all of Night March’s attacking options other than Joltik. Darkrai can KO 2 Joltik in one turn with Night Spear. Even without Silent Lab, Darkrai resists Psychic and becomes difficult to OHKO when it has Fighting Fury Belt. Night Spear can put together random sneaky plays at times. It is one of the better 2HKO options in the deck.
1 Shaymin-EX, 1 Jirachi-EX
I want to consistently pull off Maxie’s, though the deck still runs 4 Silent Lab so I do not want to mess with that too much. Jirachi is a staple in Maxie/Archie decks, and Shaymin is just good. Turning Ultra Ball into Item draw is too enticing to pass up even if you run 4 Lab.
This dynamic duo is typical for decks that use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, and for good reason. I believe that these are two of the best Pokémon in the game. The Expanded format is full of Evolution cards that Archeops can cripple. Crobat PHF, Vespiquen AOR 10, Flareon PLF, Vileplume AOR, Garbodor DRX, Primal Groudon-EX, Trevenant BREAK, Greninja BREAK, and more are all Pokémon that are disrupted by Archeops. Archeops is the reason why this deck has favorable matchups against almost everything.
Gallade is incredible in its own right. In matchups like the mirror and other Basic-centric decks, Gallade is the go-to Maxie target. Gallade can easily clean up a few Prizes with the help of Lysandre. Premonition is underappreciated in my opinion but it can swing the tempo of games. With Premonition, you control what you are going to draw so it is easier to string together Lysandre plays or Hex chains. Premonition nearly prevents the possibilities of dead draws and random stalls in momentum.
Life Dew is somewhat prevalent in Expanded, so it would be a shame to be caught off guard by that. By using Tool Scrapper on Life Dew, Tool Scrapper reads: “Take a Prize and your opponent is not running an ACE SPEC.” That is overpowered. Of course, Sableye can reuse its Life Dew but Tool Scrapper at least helps. Tool Scrapper is incredible in the mirror match by ridding your opponent of Fighting Fury Belt. Since Silent Lab disables Fright Night, sometimes Tool Scrapper needs to pick up the slack. Every other deck runs Tools so Tool Scrapper should find a use almost every time you draw it.
Oddly enough, I don’t find Fighting Fury Belt too useful. I run 1 because +40 HP is a powerful effect, but it is never game-breaking.
At last, I present the crowned jewels of the deck, 4 Silent Labs. Silent Lab is incredible! It has so many uses. Going first with Silent Lab cripples just about everything if your opponent doesn’t happen to open with a counter-Stadium. Shaymin is just as popular as ever, and Silent Lab turns it off.
Silent Lab is useful against Night March in particular. As I mentioned earlier, a victory in the Stadium war results in forcing Night March to attack with Joltik. Night Spear and Oblivion Wing eat up the little buggers for breakfast, while Lab negates the possible Mr. Mime tech.
The final main use for Silent Lab is a combo with Archeops. Most Evolution decks stick a copy or two of Wobbuffet PHF into their list to counter Archeops and call it a day. Silent Lab counters the counter, so to speak. Ancient Power can still prevent Evolutions while Silent Lab turns off Wobbuffet. In fact, I used to run Ninetales PRC to block Silent Lab’s counters, which are other Stadiums. I was running a counter counter counter counter, if that makes any sense. It created a hard lock with Archeops but unfortunately wasn’t worth the space, as Archeops prevented me from evolving my own Vulpix through conventional means.
Every time I think of a deck, I consider matchups to be the most important thing. I always want my deck to have good matchups against the most popular decks, and ideally be able to beat as many other decks as possible. Let’s look at how Yveltal fares against the many faces that appear in the Expanded format.
Other Yveltal/Maxie’s — Slight Edge
The mirror match is something you must be comfortable with when playing a deck like Yveltal due to its popularity. The Yveltal mirror involves considerably more strategy and decisions than other modern mirror matches. I am confident that I can beat most other Yveltal players fairly consistently in the mirror, especially with 2 Tool Scrapper and 4 Silent Lab. Lab will likely mess up other Yveltal decks because their list isn’t made to function under Ability lock. However, if one player manages to get Gallade into play while the other doesn’t, the Gallade user will have a distinct advantage in that game.
Vespiquen/Flareon — Favorable
Vespiquen/Flareon is a favorable matchup. Silent Lab is a huge problem for the deck because it cannot use key Abilities on Pokémon like Unown, Shaymin-EX, Wobbuffet, and even Eevee’s Energy Evolution. Two of those Pokémon are consistency cards, and the other two are Archeops counters. Given the fact that Vespiquen decks only run 1 or 2 Stadiums to bump Silent Lab, the disruptive Stadium can completely shut down the deck. If Archeops never gets into play and if you can’t get an early Lab to stick, this matchup will turn into an uphill battle.
Night March — Slightly Favorable
Night March is slightly favorable due to the amount of difficulty it has dealing with 4 Silent Lab. I’ve already discussed this deck a bit and there’s not much else to add.
Trevenant — Easie-Peasie
Trevenant is a deck that I expect to see plenty of play after its impressive performances at States and Winter Regionals. This is good news for Yveltal, because Trevenant is one of its easiest matchups. Nearly everything in this deck works well against Trevenant, especially Yveltal BKT. You do have to be careful with your Silent Lab plays because Bursting Balloon can set up Wobbuffet for KOs when Fright Night is no longer in effect. Sometimes it is worth it to allow your opponent to have Dimension Valley. This is favorable, but not an autowin. Sloppy play can be punished by spread damage, Item lock, and Lysandre.
Seismitoad/Crobat — Toss-Up
Seismitoad/Crobat is a close matchup. Archeops is incredibly helpful but there is a narrow window of opportunity to play it, as Quaking Punch makes Maxie plays nearly impossible. Even if Archeops comes into play, it can sometimes be stalled Active by Lysandre. Fortunately, Toad has difficulty keeping up with the damage output of Yveltal-EX and Yveltal BKT. It relies on disruption and heavy Bat damage to keep up with the straightforward power of Yveltal. I am ok with accepting this as an even matchup amidst a host of favorable ones.
Seismitoad/Giratina — Ever-So-Slightly Favorable
Seismitoad/Giratina is another close matchup. I would say it is in Yveltal’s favor, but not by a large margin. Giratina is a poor attacker against Yveltal-EX, leaving the deck to rely on Toad and disruption. All three Yveltal cards are useful in this matchup, and Toad’s finite resources cannot often shut them all down completely. Opposite to Toad/Bats, Gallade is the important Maxie target for this matchup. Gallade is extremely helpful because it allows you to control your draws under Item lock. This mitigates Toad’s most powerful disruption tactic, the ubiquitous Quaking Punch.
Primal Groudon — Favorable
Primal Groudon-EX is, unsurprisingly, another favorable matchup! Pitch-Black Spear devastates the slow tank as it attempts to set up, and Evil Ball can punish any surviving Groudon that dares to start attacking. Silent Lab once again proves that it is amazing! It shuts off Mr. Mime’s Bench Barrier to allow Yveltal to snipe away as it pleases. If your opponent tries to win the Stadium war, they wastefully exhaust their fuel for Gaia Volcano. Silent Lab also turns off Wobbuffet, so Groudon-EX can’t even Mega Evolve as easily under Archeops lock.
Sableye — … Bad
Sableye is a horrid matchup. When testing, I found that I could not do much of anything against the infinite disruptive wall that Sableye puts up so consistently. In theory I thought I would win thanks to AZ, Dark Patch, and Tool Scrapper, but alas that was not the case. I do not expect Sableye to be popular though because of its nearly unwinnable matchups against Toad/Bats and Trevenant.
As for the obscure matchups, I haven’t played against them, but in theory Yveltal fares pretty well:
- Vespiquen/Vileplume — Beaten with Fright Night and Archeops.
- Greninja — Also beaten by Archeops.
- M Rayquaza-EX — Unfavorable but can still be won with Silent Lab and Archeops.
- M Manectric-EX — Struggles against Gallade, Archeops, and Darkrai-EX + AZ.
- Blastoise — Falls to Hex Maniac after an Evil Ball KO on a loaded Keldeo-EX.
- Raikou/Eelektrik — Hex Maniac, Archeops, and Gallade help win this matchup.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 46
2 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
4 Trainers’ Mail
1 Town Map
Energy – 4
This is basically straight Seismitoad/Archeops (aka Toad/Chops), which is a Toad variant that hasn’t seen much play at all. This deck borrows many concepts from my Yveltal list, including Archeops and Silent Lab to improve many matchups. As with any Toad deck, the game plan is simply to use Quaking Punch until you win and to use various disruptive cards to offset the fact that Quaking Punch hardly does any damage.
I chose to make the deck focused on getting Archeops into play consistently because it is absolutely essential in some matchups like Vespiquen. As such, I do not have room for normal Toad cards like Super Scoop Up, Crushing Hammer, and Hypnotoxic Laser. I am pleased to report that I really don’t miss those cards after playing the deck quite a few times. Some of the card choices in this list have the same reasoning behind them as they did in Yveltal so I won’t go over them again. Examples would be the 1/1 split of Jirachi and Shaymin, Gallade, and Silent Lab. This deck can afford to run 3 Lab instead of 4 thanks to Puzzle of Time.
freevintageillustrations.comSeismitoad is a fantastic opener and it is your only decent opener. Starting with anything else isn’t optimal so 4 is the go-to number for Toad. It is the only attacker besides occasionally Gallade. You want to always have enough of them to last you the game.
This deck drags games out for a long time. It doesn’t usually finish three games in 50 minutes. This means you can’t afford to run a single copy of such a pivotal card only to lose to it being prized. 2 Archeops is consistent. In the matchups where you need Archeops, prizing an only copy of it would prove devastating. You don’t have time to accept a loss due to bad Prizes and win two more games in most scenarios.
Keldeo-EX can be counterproductive because of Silent Lab, but it is worth having for the Sableye matchup. While I did say that I don’t expect Sableye to be popular, including one card to win the matchup is still worth it. Against Sableye you have to play a bit differently and be clever with your resources. You do not want to play down Silent Lab at all so that you can use Rush In to cure Confusion inflicted by Confuse Ray. Xerosic, Archeops, and Quaking Punch deny Garbodor so you don’t have to worry about that turning off your Abilities.
2 Team Flare Grunt, 1 Xerosic, 2 Enhanced Hammer, and 1 Head Ringer are all disruptive cards in this deck’s arsenal. I’ve found the counts to be ideal. They are relevant enough to make a difference in games and there aren’t enough of them to mess with Maxie plays too much. Additionally, they can be recovered with VS Seeker and Puzzle of Time so that lets me get away with running low counts.
Cassius is almost Super Scoop Up without the flip. Going to the deck vs. going to the hand does not usually matter because when you are in a position to use Cassius you will likely have another Toad ready to go. Cassius can be used more reliably than Super Scoop Up and it takes less space so I decided it was worth running.
Skyla makes sense with Puzzle of Time so you can search out the other half of the Puzzle combo when you need to. It is also primarily useful for grabbing Tools, Enhanced Hammer, and Silent Lab as these cards are otherwise difficult to search for. Skyla is another DCE out because it can fetch Computer Search which can grab DCE. More outs for drawing DCE has been useful especially because I only play 4 total Energies!
Hex is mainly in here to help with the Trevenant and Blastoise matchups. It is also useful when you absolutely need your opponent to be Ability-locked next turn (such as vs. Ray or VileVesp) and you don’t want to risk them bumping Silent Lab to free up Abilities.
Puzzles have the most powerful effect in the game and this deck incorporates them well. Puzzles are four copies of any card at almost any time mid to late game and that is absolutely bonkers. There is no compelling reason to exclude Puzzles from the list.
1 Town Map
What the what? Town Map might be out of place in Toad, but it makes sense. I originally ran 2 N in this list in case I prized the only one, but then I realized that Town Map fulfills this purpose and does more! Town Map allows me to worry less about a late-game 1-of like N. Town Map is useful for grabbing exactly what you need out of your Prizes and I’ve found it to be highly effective. It also has synergy with Puzzle because you can grab a missing half at critical times.
Toad’s matchups are less clear-cut because many games depend on whether or not you can lock your opponent out of the game. In a deck like Toad that has an alternate win condition, consistency is of the utmost importance. That said, some matchups go similarly to Yveltal’s matchups as both decks run Archeops and Silent Lab.
Yveltal/Maxie’s — Slightly Favorable
When I was testing I found this matchup to be better than expected. While I did theorize that Hammers and Flare Grunts combined with Item lock could defeat the darkness, I also reasoned that this logic hasn’t prevented Yveltal from beating other Toad variants. All of the disruption cards play a huge role in this matchup.
Gallade is actually what tips the matchup from perhaps even to favorable. Opponents won’t expect Gallade from Toad, and even if they do that doesn’t mean they can always play around it. Any benched Shaymin-EX, Jirachi-EX, or Darkrai-EX is an easy target for Gallade to take down. Sensitive Blade can also take down a Yveltal-EX after two Quaking Punches. Yveltal-EX falls to a Banded Quaking Punch followed by a Banded Sensitive Blade as well, though that’s not easy to pull off.
Vespiquen/Flareon — Favorable
Toad beats VespiFlare the same way Yveltal beats it. Archeops + Silent Lab is a win condition. Of course there are ways around this, but overall the combo is extremely difficult to navigate and often results in a win for Toad.
Night March — Slightly Favorable
Night March has one turn to load as many Marchers in the discard as possible. Silent Lab, Quaking Punch, N, and other disruption cards cripple the deck. There’s a chance that Night March explodes and hits Energy every turn, so that’s why I don’t want to put the matchup at more than 60-40 for Toad. It might be closer than that, but Night March is not favored because it cannot usually stream attacks amidst all of the combined disruption cards aimed at it.
Trevenant — Even
Gallade is the Maxie target to use against Trees despite Archeops being the more obvious choice. Trevenant decks run Phantump with Ascension as well as multiple copies of Wally, so Archeops is not very effective. Gallade is better because Premonition allows you to draw perfectly under Item lock. Sensitive Blade can OHKO a non-BREAK Trevenant in a pinch if you need it to. Only Mewtwo-EX can revenge-KO a Gallade with full health. Quaking Punch is still going to be your attack of choice though.
Toad “Mirrors” — Even
Toad mirrors are so degenerate they are not even fun to play. Both Toad/Bats and Toad/Tina go down to mindless Quaking Punch wars. The main difference between the two is that one of them is more susceptible to Archeops. Against Toad/Bats, you go for Archeops. Against Toad/Tina, you go for Gallade. It is tempting to put this matchup down as favorable because of 2 Cassius, 3 Energy-removal Supporters, and Gallade/Archeops, but the fact remains that Toad/Chops runs 29 Items and is itself susceptible to Quaking Punch.
Primal Groudon — Rest in Peace Toad
If Groudon didn’t typically run 3-4 Stadiums to get around the Archeops + Lab lock, it would definitely be a favorable matchup. As things are, however, Groudon destroys Toad because of Omega Barrier. Toad cannot touch Groudon on the Bench, and Toad hardly does anything to it when it’s Active. Toad’s method of winning, disruption, does nothing to Groudon and this results in toad limbs splattered across the table.
While Groudon had a strong showing during Week 3 of Winter Regionals, I expect that this popularity won’t last. Groudon requires 3 or 4 Tropical Beach, and many players don’t have access to those. Additionally, Groudon struggles against any decent Night March or Vespiquen player. Those two decks are always seen at Regionals even if they don’t end up doing well. Groudon also has an iffy Yveltal matchup which leads me to believe it will not be as popular as it was at Florida and Oregon.
Sableye — Favorable
Sableye has two ways to win. They can run you out of Energies or they can stick Confusion and wait until you miss the flip. To avoid the latter, do not play down Silent Lab and use Keldeo-EX + Float Stone. As for Energy denial, it does not usually work. Town Map plays a role here. If you do not waste any Puzzles, you essentially have 8 DCEs to work with.
This means that your opponent must run 4 Team Flare Grunt and a Xerosic. Additionally, they must not have prized any of them, and they must successfully use Trubbish NVI’s Garbage Collection three times. This is an unlikely set of scenarios, especially if you target Trubbish with Quaking Punch whenever possible. Of course, you must always have DCE on the turn following a Flare Grunt play to continue Item lock. Toad’s matchups against the lower-tier decks that I mentioned earlier are nearly identical to Yveltal’s.
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 35
4 Trainers’ Mail
Energy – 6
Look, another Night March list! I named this one Skill March simply because I’ve found it much more difficult to play than other Night March lists, but it can be more rewarding as well. You must play carefully and perfectly manage everything. This is incredibly hard to do and requires practice. If you lose with the deck, it’s probably because you messed up at some point. That, or you got T1 Item locked. This list is actually similar to the list I ran at Worlds 2015, so I can draw from my experiences with that to help making the list optimal for this format. Of course in the Worlds format I did not have access to Hex Maniac or Puzzle of Time. Instead I ran a playset of Roller Skates, Acro Bike, Juniper, and Basic Energies.
The basic strategy of the deck is the same as any other Night March. You want to toss as many Marchers as necessary in order to OHKO whatever your opponent has. This deck will win a straight-up Prize trade against just about anything. The engine allows it to consistently hit for 180 on the first turn, though you don’t dig for that if you don’t need to. Night March thrives against decks that cannot disrupt it. And yes, you need all 4 Shaymin for consistency.
Mew and Muscle serve an identical purpose. They are used to keep the pressure off the Marchers. Muscle Band lets you hit for 180 with only 8 Marchers in the discard, and when Mew attacks it means a Marcher likely won’t be KO’d the following turn. Running Night March out of Night Marchers is a common win condition for opposing decks, and these cards help prevent that from happening. I don’t run Fighting Fury Belt because I don’t care about bulk. If I want bulk I’ll use Mew. Muscle Band allows the deck to KO Darkrai-EX and Seismitoad-EX easier than Fury Belt would.
I didn’t miss Seeker at Worlds, and I don’t miss it now. The purpose of the deck is to just kill stuff. There’s no need for VS Seeker. This list doesn’t need VS Seeker to draw cards because the deck disappears already. It doesn’t need to Seeker for Hex because the game will end so quickly that I likely won’t need more than the two copies of Hex. If I do, I can Puzzle for them. Also, Hex turns off Mew so be careful of that.
Hex Maniac is included because it helps against so many decks. Vileplume, Trevenant, Crobat, Blastoise, Eelektrik, and more are all cards that Hex Maniac helps against. The deck can fairly consistently draw into Hex when it needs to. Of course, going first with a T1 Hex is an incredible play that you want to use whenever you go first. With how reliant the format is on Shaymin-EX, Hex almost offsets the fact that you cannot attack going first.
Lysandre is only useful against decks that attack with non-EXs, and Escape Rope gets the job done most of the time. Against non-EXs you can outpace them. Against the mirror match it comes down to whoever goes second anyway. 4 Escape Rope is super wack in theory, but in practice it works amazingly. Quite often opponents are forced to send up something that they would rather have on the Bench, and Rope can get around Life Dew just as well as Lysandre. Of course, Rope also is a switching card that is needed when you start with Shaymin or Mr. Mime.
This is a random split of the two draw cards, and I’ve found it to work fine. I’m not sure which split is optimal though. I could see different counts making their way into the list but for now this seems alright. They are both risky cards to play. Acro Bike on average digs for 2 cards as opposed to Skates’ 1.5, which would make it seem the superior choice. I run less Acro Bike because it frequently forces you to discard something important. After all, most of your Marchers are taken out of the deck with Battle Compressor at the earliest opportunity.
2 Water Energy
When running Mew-EX, it seems fitting to take advantage of the fact that it can use Night March for just a basic Energy. This gets around Aegislash-EX, Giratina-EX AOR, and Jirachi XY67. I think that Water a is decent type to use because Mew can copy a Quaking Punch or two from Toad and then copy Grenade Hammer for a KO. Darkness is another strong consideration because it would improve the Sableye matchup. However, Garbotoxin is usually activated and that nullifies Mew’s Ability to copy attacks. If Sableye becomes popular, you can switch the Energies to Dark and run a tech Sableye yourself!
Much like with Toad/Chops, Night March’s matchups are often based on how well the deck does what it’s meant to do, and less focused on card interactions. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, consistency is key.
Yveltal/Maxie’s — Favorable
I know that I said Yveltal had a good matchup against Night March, but this is quite a different version of Night March and most Yveltal lists don’t run 4 Silent Lab, if any. Darkrai-EX DEX is a 1-of at most. Night March runs through Yveltal. They simply cannot catch up. They may be able to trade a couple of Prizes with baby Y but eventually they will start using Pokémon-EX. This makes for a favorable Prize trade. Escape Rope is also nifty in forcing EX kills.
Vespiquen/Flareon — Slightly Favorable or Even
You can Escape Rope around Life Dew almost indefinitely. Night March is a turn faster because it attacks with Basics instead of Evolutions. Because you won’t need to discard as many Marchers to KO VespiFlare’s attackers, that means you won’t have to dig through the deck as much to hit big numbers. This, in turn, makes it possible to go a whole game without playing a Shaymin down. You should avoid benching Pokémon-EX because that can let VespiFlare go ahead in the Prize trade.
Night March Mirror — Even
Don’t discard Pokémon-EX, and it mostly comes down to whoever goes second. If you go first, you might still have a chance if you get the T1 Hex. Unfortunately, this deck lacks techs for the mirror match so the matchup devolves into a slug fest.
Trevenant — Volatile and Luck-Based
There’s always the chance for Night March to outspeed Trevenant and rack up 6 Prizes quickly. However, if Trevenant goes first and gets its trademarked Wally lock, you are completely at the mercy of what’s in your opening hand. Hex Maniac definitely helps. You want to avoid benching many Marchers of course. Shaymin loop is a viable strategy. It can force your opponent to attack with Mewtwo-EX which breaks Item lock and Mewtwo gives up 2 Prizes.
Toad — Favorable
Night March can run through the deck and burn Items like nobody’s business. It can maximize mileage in the one turn you have to use Items. By the end of your first turn, you should have everything in place that you need to close out the game by simply killing Toad after Toad. Giratina-EX and Crobat PHF are certainly annoying, but they won’t set up too often because of how fast Night March can end games. Prior DCE attachments and Water Energy can get around Giratina, and Hex Maniac helps against Bats. The matchup completely hinges on your first turn.
Primal Groudon — Favorable
Groudon is not equipped to beat Night March. A sole Groudon will be unable to win a game because it is 2HKO’d by Night March. In fact, if the Groudon lacks Sash, Night March with Muscle Band can potentially OHKO it. One sneaky card that Groudon lists have started including is Enhanced Hammer. You can get around this by using Sky Return. Simply use your better judgement based on the situation to determine whether or not you should attack with Night March or Sky Return while Groudon is setting up behind various walls.
Sableye — Unfavorable
Sableye is unfavorable but it is actually quite winnable. The key against Sableye is to not waste any Energies, Ropes, or Puzzles. Sableye denies Prizes with Life Dew and also denies Energies with Hammers. However, it is possible to use Escape Rope six times to win the game. This requires careful use of your resources but it is a feasible strategy. Any Prize you can get without using Rope is valuable as well. Most Puzzle plays will have to be used on DCE and Rope, because with enough of those two cards you can win the game.
Other matchups such as Blastoise, Greninja, Mega Ray, and Eels are won with Hex Maniac.
These are the only three decks that I can foresee myself running at Georgia Regionals if I end up attending. Of course, there’s still a month until the tournament, so things could change. I believe that these versions of these decks could very well be the best decks in the format. The matchups are favorable almost across the board and they are certainly positive enough to warrant play at Regionals. Yveltal/Maxie’s, Toad/Maxie’s, and Night March are three fun and effective decks that I will be testing more extensively and I encourage you to do the same!
Thank you for reading everyone! As always, feel free to discuss the article with me in either the comments or PM me on the forums! If this article was interesting and/or enjoyable, smaaaaaaash that like button! Good luck with your future Poké-endeavors, and may the Night March live on.
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