Hola! Welcome back to yet another Tablemon UG article! Last time I was with you guys, we recapped my World Championships run in Anaheim and how I was getting ready to play at a League Cup and then my first-ever Expanded Regional in Ft. Wayne.
First off: the League Cup went horribly, as I went a miserable 3-3 in Swiss with my Worlds deck. I really want to make sure I can max out my League Cups every quarter to stay ahead of the Latin American pack in the hunt for a Day 2 invite, but, more importantly, the Oceania Travel Award. I only have 4-5 League Cups per quarter, so it is of the utmost importance for me to make sure I get at least 80+ points in each one.
After that weekend, I dedicated all of my efforts into practicing Expanded. I wanted to do really well at my first ever Expanded Regional, but also get my first Day 2 at an NA Regional at the least.
Into the Beyond: Night March
As an Expanded newbie, I approached my testing in a very simple way: practice the most straightforward and easy to pilot decks. This meant I logged in a ton of games with Expanded’s biggest 3 threats in Night March, Trevenant, and Turbo Dark. Practicing using these 3 decks in the ladder on PTCGO allowed me to get very comfortable with the format and how fast paced it is. In many ways, it was very similar to the Worlds format, but ACE SPECs, Colress and Battle Compressor definitely allow for it to be unique in it’s own way.
As the event loomed closer, I had picked Night March as my top choice, as it was the simplest deck between all 3, and it could easily steal games from its bad matchups due to its raw strength and how explosive it can be. I also expected a lot of Turbo Dark, and the addition of Marshadow-GX to the deck as an extra Fighting type attacker meant it is one of your most favorable matchups.
This is the Night March list I ended up settling on:
Pokémon – 18
1 Mew FCO
Trainers – 38
Energy – 4
There’s quite a few small differences from the list that eventually ended up winning the event. First off is the double Marshadow-GX, which might’ve been a mistake on my part when approaching the deck, but I really felt like, with a single copy, the Turbo Dark matchup was just not as good.
Another difference is the inclusion of Mew from Fates Collide. The free retreat always felt useful when playing in tight spots with limited resources, along with the ability to have that little bit of extra HP over Joltik. This Mew was included just as Tapu Koko promo is included in many decks where it might not serve much of a purpose besides free retreating, but it’s a very reliable Pokémon to do so.
The final main difference was my choice of using 2 Fighting Fury Belt’s, over Michael Pramawat’s 1 Choice Band and 1 Float Stone. Deciding which tool cards to use was very difficult, as all 3 are useful in different scenarios, though it was mostly a decision between survivability or extra damage output.
A True First Impression: Golisopod/Garbodor
Throughout the days in the lead up to the event, I was also talking with Mike Fouchet. He’s a great deckbuilder, but also really good at predicting metagames. With no previous Expanded tournaments available to have results from, predicting a metagame was difficult. However, Garbodor GRI seemed like a very good choice, as many people wouldn’t be able to adapt their decklists to play less Items. We discussed both Espeon-GX/Garbodor with the inclusion of a Leafeon PLF in order to take advantage of the common Grass weak Pokémon in the format, along with a great answer to Turbo Dark’s late game. We then moved on to discussing Golisopod-GX/Garbodor and how that version usually had the upper hand over other Garbodor variants and was just as strong elsewhere.
So finally, with only 1 day before the event, we settled on the following 59 card list:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 30
Energy – 10
This deck seemed to be even stronger in Expanded thanks to the legality of Blend Energy GRPD. In combination with Rainbow Energy, it meant that you were not limited to attacking with any of your main attackers. This is something not possible in Standard, and what ultimately made us feel confident in our decision to use the deck. The skeleton is very very similar to the 2nd place decklist from Worlds 2017, with Colress, Computer Search and the aforementioned Blend Energy as new inclusions.
We also decided to switch out the Trubbish for 3 with the attack Tool Drop and 1 with Garbage Collection. Tool Drop Trubbish seemed like a much better option when facing off Night March, as their low HP plus access to Dimension Valley from their end meant that you could easily trade basic for basic instead of having to wait to evolve into Garbodor. Golisopod-GX’s huge 210 HP was already a really positive aspect going into that match, but having the Trubbish to trade with other Night Marchers just made the matchup even better (as shown by Mikey defeating 2 Night March without even needing to use Oricorio in any of those games).
The last spot we had, we debated amongst many cards. The ones we were considering were 4th VS Seeker, 3rd Choice Band, 2nd Heavy Ball, 3rd Acerola, 4th Professor Sycamore and 4th Rainbow Energy. Ultimately we went for the 4th Rainbow Energy for consistency purposes, and it ended up paying dividends as I was able to win Game 1 of my second round against Jimmy Pendarvis’s Sableye/Garbodor, thanks to having exactly 8 total energy to attack with Golisopod-GX or Garbodor.
Fort Wayne Recap
The turn out at Ft. Wayne was huge, with 816 Masters players checking in, making it the biggest Regional to date (though that record will most likely be broken many more times this season). Between the huge turn out and it being my first Expanded Regional I was definitely nervous, but the only way to put that behind you is to get experience playing in these huge events. So play began, and this is how Day 1 went:
R1 vs Toxapex-GX/Seviper WW
R2 vs Sableye/Garbodor W (vs Jimmy Pendarvis)
R3 vs Golisopod-GX LWW
R4 vs Golisopod-GX/Seismitoad-EX LWW (vs Connor Finton)
R5 vs Garbodor Tool Box WW
R6 vs Espeon-GX/Garbodor WW
R7 vs Garbodor Tool Box WW (vs Brad Curcio)
R8 vs Golsipod-GX/Garbodor LWL
R9 vs Espeon-GX/Garbodor LWL
And so, I started off 7-0, only to fall down to 7-2. Not bad for my first Expanded Regional, and finally, for the first time ever, I made Day 2 at a Regional! That had me pretty happy, and it felt like I had great momentum from the strong Worlds showing. I was 13th seed going into Day 2 and I knew that all I needed was to not be 33rd, as that would completely offset the achievement of finally making Day 2.
Day 2 didn’t go as smoothly, and started off with a tough match against Igor Costa, who was running the same deck as Jimmy.
Finishing at 23rd place was not what I was hoping for after starting off 7-0. Even so, I’m happy with my performance, especially after facing 2 really difficult matchups in Sylveon-GX and Sableye/Garbodor. Losing the last round against Espeon-GX/Garbodor was disheartening, as I could’ve made Top 16, but, alas, the deck just stopped running well.
Overall, the event was amazing. We finished Day 1 before midnight and had a lunch break, both very positive things, and I really enjoyed playing the format. I believe there were over 15 different decks in the Top 32 (or, Top 33, rather) and that shows how interesting Expanded actually is. The inflated price of ACE SPECs and the low supply of Tropical Beach are an unfortunate entry barrier to this format, but I’m not as nervous about having to play half of the Regionals in this format as I was before this event.
Looking Ahead to Standard
The next 3 Regionals in October happen in back to back (to back!) weekends, but the first one coming up in Hartford is in the Standard format.
We are back to a non-VS Seeker era—finally. That means slower games, and resource management becomes crucial in every game. No more dumping Guzma or N in the initial hand with a Sycamore in order to use them later on with a VS Seeker. Games are now limited to 4 N from each player at most, with the same for Guzma.
As we all try to adapt in the run up to Connecticut, I’ve been playing a few decks while trying to adapt them to the new metagame. In my eyes, Gardevoir-GX is still king (queen?) of the format, and will be the most dominant deck. It lost VS Seeker and Teammates, along with Wonder Energy, but aside from that, the rest of the deck remains unchanged. In order to compensate for these losses, and taking a book from our World Champions decklist, this is the list I’ve been currently using online with a fair share of success:
Pokémon – 19
Trainers – 28
Energy – 139 Y
VS Seekers and Teammates were replaced in favor of consistency cards: 4th N, 3rd Guzma, 9th Fairy, 2nd Brigette and 1 Skyla. All of those have made the deck flow really well, and 2nd Brigette is something I was experimenting even for Worlds.
Other than being extremely careful with when I use Professor Sycamore and what I discard with Ultra Ball, the deck feels very strong. 1HKO potential, energy acceleration and huge HP are amongst the traits that will position the deck in the top tier until at least the next expansion comes out.
With the format being so new and people still adapting their decks to new and different draw engines, we might see a decrease in the amount of Professor Sycamore being played, and I would not be surprised to see 1-1, 2-1 or even 2-2 Octillery lines included in many decks.
Another deck which I’ve really liked in this new format is the good old combo of Espeon-GX with Garbodor. Even though it lost access to Flareon AOR, Garbodor BKP is still extremely good to combat decks such as Metagross-GX, and Decidueye-GX is of course not popular anymore with the loss of Forest of Giant Plants. This is the list I’ve been using to some degree of success:
Pokémon – 17
Trainers – 30
Energy – 13
Once again, we see a decreased amount of VS Seekers in favor of consistency cards, such as extra basic energy and 2nd Brigette. We now we feature a 3/2/2 Garbodor line. This might seem really weird, but Trashalanche Garbodor is now taking a back seat in decks, simply because VS Seeker and Trainers’ Mail are no longer a thing. 2 Garboxotin gives more insurance that you’ll always have the Ability lock, and it combos well with Confusion from Espeon-GX’s Psybeam—causing some players to play sub-optimally and take more 50/50 chances by trying to attack through it.
Divide-GX is a very strong turn 2 attack, and can punish players who don’t get an ideal turn 1 Brigette, and Psychic with Choice Band is already a really good attack in order to get 1HKOs. The deck features the second Brigette, as I think stability is incredibly important in this current format, and 4 Ultra Ball + 3 Tapu Lele-GX + 2 Brigette means 9 cards can potentially find/be Brigette on Turn 1, and that’s almost 1/6 or 1/7 cards out of our deck. This translates to ‘perfect’ maths in terms of always having that access to that turn 1 Brigette, although, of course, it won’t always be the case.
The single Acerola is the one card I’m unsure of, simply because it’s very situational and decks like Gardevoir-GX or Ho-Oh-GX can easily take 1HKOs on your Pokémon. It’s a nice situational card to have, but it could easily be replaced by a 4th Guzma just to increase access to gust effects when needed.
There are many other strong decks which I haven’t had time to test with, but that I face daily on PTCGO and that will for sure be mainstays of the current format. Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX, Alolan Ninetales-GX, Metagross-GX, Fire variants, Golisopod-GX variants, and even Greninja BREAK will all be featured at League Cups and in Connecticut.
In my next article, I will touch upon other decks and my top picks for the first Standard Regional of the season. I’ll also be talking about possible Expanded choices, given there are three Regionals back to back—that way, you will be ready no matter which one you’re attending.
Thank you so much once again for reading my article, and if you have any questions or comments feel free to respond to the thread or message me on any of my Tablemon social media accounts. Until next time!
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