Despite my prior discussion lamenting Expanded, I’m making my way to Costa Mesa for yet another ride on what feels like something of a lottery. The good news about Costa Mesa is that it’s looking like it’ll fall short of the recent mega-Regionals trend—so, that’s something players have to look forward to!
I’m increasingly convinced there is no “true” play for Expanded Regionals, barring some specific situations (San Jose, last November, strikes me as the only good example in recent memory—Night March was unequivocally ideal there). The best a player can do is play a deck that consistently executes its strategy, can disrupt its opponent’s strategy, and not take any bad auto losses.
Sounds simple, yeah? We’ve seen the so-called “Scrambled Eggs” variant of Zoroark, we’ve seen Zoroark with Lycanroc, and we’ve seen Zoroark with nearly every other conceivable combination of cards—these decks try to win through consistent, hard damage. We’ve seen Shock Lock, Wailord, and other clever mill concepts try to make their opponent’s strategy irrelevant in their own pursuit of simply decking an opponent out. Night March, Fire, and nearly every other heavy-hitting deck continue their pursuit of simply hitting hard.
Most of the decks that do well in Expanded right now aren’t heavily concerned with how their specific matchups function, but with how inherently strong they are—it’s almost the opposite of a Rock-Paper-Scissors format in that there are no clearly defined triads. It makes picking a deck thoroughly difficult, but quite rewarding when things go well.
So, despite it being against my normal goes when writing, today I’m merely going to run through a number of deck lists I’m considering as we head into Costa Mesa. I seriously doubt I’ll make a solid pick until late Friday, and wouldn’t pretend to give you a “favorite” at the moment (that designation’s expiration date would come faster than the community can whip up a witch hunt). Instead, this is a survey of all of the ideas I’m currently floating.
And it goes somewhat without saying, unfortunately, that any of these ideas could be cast aside for Night March, Zoroark/Alolan Muk, or any of the other “standard” Expanded choices we’ve seen the last few months. It’s my goal to not fall into playing one of those, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all as an outcome. There’s a reason those decks have established themselves at the head of the format, and I don’t think Ultra Prism does much to change things. The biggest star from the set, as far as Expanded is concerned…is Glaceon-GX? Pardon my underwhelmed sentiment, but I’m not really feeling it there.
My current gut feeling is that winning this weekend is going to be about the Zoroark mirror… which makes me want to play almost anything else. While the better player will win most 60 card mirrors, that margin in this game isn’t nearly as high as I’d want it to be if I were to play a deck guaranteeing myself half or more mirror (or pseudo-mirror) matches. So, with one exception, these decks will not include Zoroark.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
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