Another Pokémon season is officially underway. Fort Wayne kicked off our season this past weekend with the largest tournament in the history of the game (outside of Indianapolis and Columbus’ yearly Nationals-esque festivities), and in a result that surprises nobody, Michael Pramawat took home the event with an Expanded stalwart: Night March. While many had written off Night March heading into the weekend, it doesn’t surprise me at all that we saw Michael take home the event with one of the more polar decks in the history of the game.
For the other 815 Masters that descended on Fort Wayne this weekend, in one way or another, the weekend fell short. For many, it was a deck choice gone awry. For others, Expanded’s sheer diversity saw them hitting matchups they’d never dreamed of, let alone tested. For all, though, it was a good reintroduction into the game’s wider format. Given its prominent role (relative to last year, it’ll play a bigger part) in the game this year, it’s interesting to see Expanded once again in the front of players’ minds.
Like most big events, it wasn’t without its controversies or quirks. This time, though, it’s not largely about anything anyone in Fort Wayne did—but what Seattle did in setting up the tournament structure. TPCi’s prizing dictates that the Top 32 players receive $250 and 36 booster packs with 201+ players. Quirkily, it also calls for all 7-2s, regardless of number, to advance to Day 2 Swiss. The result, 33 players in Day 2, was a perfect storm of chaos.
As a result of the odd structure, the byes introduced meant someone was going to get 33rd, while someone finishing above them was going to literally not win a game all day. That person would also walk home without the elevated Day 2 prizing. Whether this, in your mind, is cause for the reintroduction of Top 64 monetary prizing, reason to ensure all Day 2 players receive the same prizing after a certain point (say, Top 16), or you think the current structure is completely fine, it’s another raging issue for the community to debate.
It wasn’t exactly an interstellar weekend for us at SixPrizes, but after Worlds, we’ll roll with it. Pablo Meza and Jimmy Pendarvis led the group with Top 32 finishes, while I saw a Top 64, and Alex Hill, Xander Pero, and Mike Fouchet ended in Top 256. Considering the enormity of the event, and the nature of the Expanded format, it was a trying time for everyone to say the least. Today, I’m going to highlight the deck that the a few of us played this weekend before getting into the results more as a whole.
Though the next event on many players’ minds is Standard in Hartford, Expanded is still fresh in our consideration. I’d like to take this time to recap what we saw and think about what it means as we look toward Daytona Beach, our next Expanded bout, in early October. I suspect Jimmy will also trend toward Expanded for his article tomorrow, though I can’t confirm that at this point, but think Travis and beyond will take us back into the Standard territory.
It’s going to be a weird year as we try to balance the almost-perfectly-oscillating Regionals schedule (as far as format is concerned) with the challenges of publication, and as always, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to hear about, feel free to contact Alex, I, or any of our writers.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the deck Alex, Xander, and I took our chances on this weekend.
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