Hello SixPrizes! I’m excited to be back for another article. I hope you all had a happy Halloween. Philadelphia Regionals is only three days away! This may be the largest Regional Championship to date. Orlando had 616 Masters so I can only imagine how many people will be at Philadelphia.
Karen is the one new addition to the Expanded Format that was not at Phoenix. This one card shuts down those pesky Night March and Vespiquen decks.
Expanded has always had a huge card pool and plenty of viable decks. In Phoenix I actually managed to play against nine different decks in my 14 rounds of play. I also consider all the decks I played against to be extremely viable.
I am going to make a top 10 list of what I would possibly consider playing and expect to see this upcoming weekend, along with a few honorable mentions.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 37
Energy – 11
The first deck I want to talk about is the Groudon deck piloted by Stefan Tabaco to top 8 in Phoenix, shown above. Every time there is a Regional in the West Coast it seems like Stefan is finding a way to make Groudon viable. He ran a very unique list with a slim Groudon line and plenty of techs.
The 2 Regirock are great at getting back Stadiums as well as stalling with Focus Sash attached. They are almost guaranteed to survive two attacks with a Sash and once they go to the Bench they can not get Lysandre’d thanks to their Barrier Trait. They also make great Scramble Switch targets because they can survive two turns.
The Mr. Mime is included to give you a favorable matchup versus Yveltal decks.
The Bunnelby can be used to get back precious resources. In my testing, though, I found that since games last so long and your opponent devotes so many resources to taking Prizes that you can actually just deck your opponent out with Bunnelby.
My favorite inclusion in Stefan’s list is the 1 Hard Charm. Primal Groudon with a Hard Charm is not likely getting 1-shotted anyway, and this gives you a way to take less damage. This card also makes all of your Seismitoad matchups even more favorable.
There is 1 Psychic Energy in the deck which may be a bit confusing. It is included because all of Groudon’s attacks take at least a single C Energy so there is a chance that we can attack with Wobbuffet or Mr. Mime if we include a Psychic. But I actually do not like this. I think the odds of you needing to attack with Wobbuffet or Mr. Mime are much less that you needing to use Regirock’s Land Maker attack to get back your Stadiums.
Now let’s talk about some of the deck’s matchups. I do think this deck has strong matchups against Yveltal, Seismitoad, Rainbow Road, Manectric, and Sableye decks, while sporting poor to unfavorable matchups against Trevenant, Vileplume Toolbox, Greninja, Night March, Vespiquen, and Accelgor decks. The deck can be modified to beat Night March and Vespiquen decks with the inclusion of Karen.
This deck does require 4 Tropical Beach to play, making it difficult for the average player to assemble.
I do think this deck was piloted to a better finish than expected which is why it is at our number 10 spot. Overall though I could see this as a strong play for Philadelphia, mainly because of the rise in popularity of Manectric and Rainbow Road decks.
9. Night March
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 39
Energy – 4
What?!?! Night March? Yes, Night March. Even though Karen is now legal I do not expect it to be run in many decks. I can see some Rainbow Road decks running a copy of Karen, or maybe a few Manectric decks will run it.
I do not think there will be enough Karen being played to make Night March an obsolete deck. It is definitely risky because I do not think there is any way this deck can beat Karen. It is a weird balance because many players think that Night March will see no play, so why play Karen? This may lead many people to remove Karen from their lists. I also only think Karen should be included in your deck as a tech if there is no way for you to beat Night March/Vespiquen.
I do think Night March will be played for Philadelphia by a few people and should not be written off.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 38
Energy – 4
Accelgor is in a prime position to make an appearance in the meta. A brief summary of this deck’s strategy is to lock the opponent with Paralysis by continually Deck and Cover’ing every single turn. You can also plan it so that your opponent gets Knocked Out by Poison damage at the end of their turn and they never get out of the lock. Many decks have cut Keldeo-EX and AZ from their lists giving players very few outs to Paralysis. Giratina decks have become less prominent as well which was one of the deck’s main struggles. Greninja had a phenomenal showing Phoenix which is yet another reason why this deck could shine.
Let’s go over the list. I chose to include a 1-1 Musharna line for two reasons. Munna’s Ability can allow you to stall in the early turns and set up. Once you have set up you can evolve to Musharna which aids your constant stream of Accelgor.
I would like to say that more decks in Expanded should be running Delinquent. Many decks in Expanded are very Item based and go down to a very small hand size at the end of their turn. Delinquent can punish these players. Delinquent however serves a secondary purpose in this deck. It allows us to discard our Virbank City Gym at will in order to help loop Poison damage. We also run a Xerosic and Silver Bangle in order to help with the Poison loop.
This deck needs to be able to find Pokémon every single turn so we will run out of ways to search for them eventually. Bridgette helps aid in this endeavor since it searches for 3 Pokémon at once and is reusable with VS Seeker.
There is a Pokémon Ranger in the deck because at Phoenix I did see a couple of Darkrai/Giratina decks. They did not run Keldeo, so once you use Pokémon Ranger you and paralyze them they will most likely be forced to miss an attack. If they do run AZ, they will be forced to remove all their Energy from their Giratina and they will not be able to attack with it the same turn.
Accelgor has quite a few things going for it in this meta and I would not be surprised to see a few pop up in Philly.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 36
Energy – 8
This is list my friend William Herrmann piloted to a second place finish at Phoenix with one change. After the tournament he told me that he found that he was not using Wobbuffet often and would drop it. I do agree that a single copy of Wobbuffet does not do much. I included a second Jirachi-EX in the deck. Jirachi-EX is just as good as Shaymin-EX in this deck if not better. After you search out your Wally you can still use Jirachi to search our important Supporters such as Team Flare Grunt and Lysandre.
This deck is fairly low on the list even though it just finished second because I think the meta has gotten much worse for it. Manectric is seeing a rise in popularity which is a very poor matchup. Rainbow Road is also seeing a spike in popularity though, and that’s a slightly favorable matchup for Trevenant. Night March may see less play however and that was one of the main reasons to play Trevenant since Trevenant is almost guaranteed a win against it. I would expect to play against Trevenant at least once during the tournament at Philadelphia.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 32
Energy – 10
I am using Travis Nunlist’s list for reference with one change: I dropped a Muscle Band for a Xerosic since I expect Manectric/Garbodor to see quite a bit of play. I prefer Travis’ list over Drew’s because I do not think it is a wise decision to have no out at all to Archeops when you are likely to play against at least one. I expect to see much more Greninja at Philadelphia than we saw at Phoenix since it was so dominant. So if you are considering playing Greninja, you may want to include a copy of Pokémon Ranger.
I do not expect this deck to have anywhere near the same results it did in Phoenix. I think people will be more prepared for it and I also think the meta is slightly worse for it. Night March was saw quite a bit of play in Phoenix which is a favorable matchup for Greninja. I think the large amount of Night March played a key role in the success of the deck. I do think Greninja is very strong still and you should expect to play against it one or even more times.
5. Mega Manectric/Garbodor
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 34
Energy – 9
This is my list from my previous article with one key change: I dropped the 3 Acro Bike in favor of 2 Battle Compressor and another Trainers’ Mail.
Many people have been hyping this deck these past few weeks since Karen’s release. Before Karen was released the deck struggled with both Night March and Vespiquen. Mega Manectric has fairly even to favorable matchups across the board.
The deck’s main weakness now is its literal Weakness. Gallade wreaks havoc on this deck since it is able to 1-shot Mega Manectric. Trubbish can trade Gallade but it leaves you vulnerable since you are likely losing your Energy without another Manectric powered up. Wobbuffet can make it very difficult for your opponent to get Gallade out since Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick usually requires the use of a Shaymin-EX or Jirachi-EX. If you are able to stop your opponent from getting a quick Gallade then you may be able to squeak away with a win.
I expect this deck to see heavy play in Philadelphia so be prepared.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 37
Energy – 7
This is Eric Gansman’s top 4 list from Phoenix with one change: I removed the Dedenne in favor of a Mewtwo-EX because I feel Dedenne can be too easily played around and its damage output is relatively low.
Eric showed us that Toad/Bats can thrive in this meta. The deck has poor matchups against Mega Manectric, Greninja, and other Item lock-based decks such as Vileplume and Trevenant. Other than these few decks, Seismitoad/Crobat has even to favorable matchups across the board. Going into a wide field with only a handful of decks being unfavorable is great. I consider this one of the better plays in Expanded.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 41
Energy – 6
This is TJ Traquair’s list that took top 8 at Phoenix Regionals. The only thing I do not like about this list is the single copy of Trick Shovel. Trick Shovel is your main win condition since you are able to control your opponent’s topdeck. The list is very tight though so I am not sure what I would drop in order to fit a second copy other than maybe a VS Seeker.
I think the inclusion of Latias-EX to give you a fighting chance against Trevenant is genius. Trevenant cannot do any damage whatsoever to Latias-EX so they are forced to pass or promote something else such as a Mewtwo-EX to attack. Sableye is fine with this because now we get to use Items. The game can spiral out of control quickly for the Trevenant player if they allow the Sableye player to use Items such as multiple Crushing Hammer or a Float Stone on a Trubbish. So this deck even has an out against its previously unwinnable matchup.
Another matchup that may seem unwinnable is Vileplume Toolbox but if Sableye is able to find its Hex Maniac early then the tables turn. Sableye can Junk Hunt for VS Seeker and Enhanced Hammer to get rid of every Energy in the Vileplume deck.
I think this deck has the most potential in the Expanded format because if played correctly it can potentially beat anything. I do not think it will see that much play at Philadelphia even though I do think it is one of the best options just because of the deck’s nature of being slow and falling behind on Prizes. A lot of players do not like this type of play so they may shy away from the deck.
The reason it is not higher on the list is because I do not think it will make up a large part of the meta. This would be my top choice though going into Philadelphia.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 38
Energy – 11
This is the list my friends Brad Curcio and Israel Sosa played at Phoenix Regionals. They both bubbled out Day 2 unfortunately by hitting one too many bad matchups.
One of the main strengths of this deck is the high amount of disruption that can be continually reused with Sableye. Another benefit of Sableye is that it makes the matchup against Sableye/Garbodor decided very quickly. It comes down to if your opponent can get you down to 0 cards before you Ghetsis them every turn while you set up with Junk Hunt.
Yveltal does not have any super bad matchups outside of things such Mega Rayquaza and Rainbow Road. Yveltal even has the potential to beat those decks with its speed and disruption. It could get a Delinquent + Enhanced Hammer off in the same turn to turn the game around and pull off a win.
Yveltal has been and will continue to be one of the most dominant decks in Expanded. I always play against this deck at least 2–3 times every Regional and I expect that trend to continue.
1. Rainbow Road
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 36
Energy – 9
Okay, I may be a bit biased putting Rainbow Road at the number one spot. I do believe that this deck does have some of the strongest matchups across the board though in the current meta. This list is one card off from the list I played in Phoenix. I wrote a tournament report on it if you would like to see how I did as well as some detail about my card inclusions.
I did test dropping Latios-EX for a Gallade/Archeops Maxie’s line but I did not care for it. I liked it as a tech but I found myself needing the extra type on my Bench for damage if I had poor Prizes. I was not able to get out the Maxie’s a lot of the time because I needed to set up my Xerneas to attack and did not have the luxury of using Maxie’s as my Supporter for the turn. Maxie’s does help your Greninja and Manectric matchups tremendously but I think you sacrifice too much consistency in all of your other matchups.
This deck struggles tremendously under Ability lock, so by not running the Gallade you are sacrificing the Manectric/Garbodor matchup. I do think that this is needed though. You may lose to other things you should be beating if you drop your consistency too much.
Many people asked me why I did not include a Super Rod or why I am not currently including a Karen. My simple reason is that you do not need them. You can recover two Pokémon from your discard pile after a you replace the Parallel City. This puts you at 160 base damage. If you add a Muscle Band or Fighting a Fury Belt then you are 1-shotting an EX without a Tool. As long as you manage your Pokémon properly then you will never find yourself ever needing those cards. I would play another Pokémon before I would play Super Rod. I may play Karen just for the Night March benefit but that’s it really. The deck does not need to recover Energy since you have Ho-Oh-EX paired with Energy Switch and Ninja Boy.
Rainbow Road is unfavorable against Toad, Trevenant, Sableye/Garbodor, and Mega Manectric decks but has generally strong matchups against everything else. It has a very strong Yveltal matchup which is one of the most popular decks played at every tournament. Trevenant and Toad are unfavorable but they are far from unwinnable. If you have a strong enough turn of Items then there is very little those decks can do. Adding a second Ninja Boy would help your Item lock matchup quite a bit since it allows you to power up attackers under Item lock by switching a three-Energy Ho-Oh-EX.
I want to point out a mistake that I see almost every player make when playing this deck. You want to Energy Switch off a single Fairy Energy from a Ho-Oh-EX before you start discarding your other types. To attack turn 1 you will want to do this. If you discard the other Energy then it will make it much harder for you to get a Ho-Oh-EX with three Energy stacked that can later be Ninja Boy’d. Also do not rely on Ninja Boy too much. It is cool but I found myself using it very little outside of Item lock matchups.
I said earlier that Sableye would be my top pick but this would be a close second. I know I ranked these decks in an order but really any of the top 3–4 decks could be up at the top spot just based on preference. I expect to see quite a few more Rainbow Road decks at Philly than we have at past tournaments.
I’m sure a lot of you are wondering why this deck did not make the cut when decks like Groudon and Night March did. My reasoning is that Rainbow Road is basically the same deck with better matchups against everything Mega Rayquaza loses to and everything it beats. Xerneas is a non-EX attacker whereas Rayquaza-EX is a 2-Prize attacker. Rainbow Road also has much better recovery from Parallel City. Rainbow Road is a much harder deck to play in my opinion but it is a far superior version of Mega Rayquaza.
My reasoning for Vileplume not making the list is similar to that of Mega Rayquaza. The deck is outclassed by other Item lock variants. All of Trevenant’s matchups are stronger outside of the Yveltal matchup which can also be rough for Vileplume if they are able to get off a Maxie’s.
Well, that’s all I have for you guys today. It was a pleasure as always writing for you. I hope you guys can take away something for Philly Regionals! My final words of advice as always are play something that you are comfortable with and that you play well. Do not necessarily play what you think the best deck is if you do not know how to play it well.
If you have any questions always feel free to ask down below. Hopefully I will see some of you guys at Philadelphia. Good luck to everyone!
Until next time,
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