Welcome back, everyone! In something of a rarity, I’m here with the last word before a major event—for whatever reason, this seems to just not happen very often. Nonetheless, hopefully I can help impart some final suggestions before we head into the final Expanded tournament of the year.
In fact, this final Expanded tournament is only the latest in a disconcerting trend: over the past few months, Expanded attendance has taken a nosedive compared to what we’d expect it to be based on counterpart Standard events and ’16/17 attendances. Costa Mesa, Salt Lake City, and (probably) Roanoke are the only events to have seen attendance drops from last season, and all 3 are Expanded this season. There are other possible explanations to contribute as well, but I have no doubt that the format is a factor here too. Expanded is definitely a very different beast from Standard, and while I hesitate to call it strictly worse, it can definitely seem that way sometimes.
Most unfortunately, while I hesitate to call it worse, many players do not, and as such we see attendance suffering. This, in my mind, is quite unfair to the TOs responsible for putting events on, and it’s a shame that the format has become a risk to their financial outcome. Whether TPCi thinks the format is working or not, when it becomes demonstrably a minus for tournament players’ considerations in choosing whether to attend an event, I would argue it is implicitly not working.
For months, there’s been a cloud of “Zoroark reigns over everything!!” and while we’ve demonstrated it isn’t entirely true with Drampa and Gardevoir/Gallade, perception is everything in consumer choice. We’re seeing that in the choice of players to avoid Roanoke. It doesn’t matter whether the format is working; it matters whether the average player thinks it is working. We have evidence that they don’t. I hope TPCi is considering what’s going on here, as I feel bad for those behind Roanoke at the moment. They don’t deserve a format’s indictment on their tournament.
On a different, but similarly crazy, note, for many players in the thick of the Top 16 NA chase, this will be the 4th format they will play in as many weekends. I will leave that without further comment.
Today, I’m pretty simply going to run through 3 decks that I could see myself playing Saturday and one that I won’t touch, but that others will and that you may wish to. None of them are all that exciting, I regret to report, but I think all have potential to do very well this weekend.
If you’re insistent upon “exciting” as a criteria for deck choice this weekend, I’d point you toward Travis’ SLC Gardevoir (of which I would change very little). I would, however, dissuade Durant: Buzzwole will inevitably be a big part of the weekend, and try as you might, I think Diancie ♢-equipped Buzzwole is probably bad news for an Ant Army.
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