Hello readers! Welcome back to another run of articles, this time Expanded, as we all prepare for the first Expanded tournament of the year: Portland. I’m excited to have a change of pace from Standard, but as always, it’s annoying to adjust from one format to the other. All preparation from one doesn’t carry over to the other because of old archetypes, cards and combos. Strong cards that aren’t Standard legal can completely make or break a deck depending on the popularity of the archetype they support. For example, Fire decks are much better in Expanded with Blacksmith and Max Elixir. On the opposite side, some Standard decks cannot survive in Expanded because of the Sableye/Trevenant/Wailord/ArchieStoise effect. These four decks can absolutely demolish at least one deck in Standard because of their fundamental strategy.
The deck to be found is one that is strong on its own. There are too many decks in the unexplored format for a tier list to be established and utilized. In an undiscovered meta, people will choose their favorite deck they’re comfortable with. Just check Heyfonte: The “Top 5 Expanded decks” poll is absolutely wild and includes almost every deck we’ve seen over the past 1-2 years. Simply put, expect to play 6-7 different decks. There’s no targeted BDIF, no unfair strategy without weaknesses—no way to metagame effectively.
As with the other writers, I’ll be running through some of the decks I’d like to talk about. Some commentary is positive, but I’ll also be running through the pitfalls of some of the decks I’ve chosen. Reviving decks from old Expanded formats is an interesting prospect in terms of preparation, but can fail when the differences across time are too great. The bans hit some decks harder than others, but mostly removed all “unfair” cards. In my eyes, Expanded was characterized as different than Standard by the presence of Hex Maniac and Ghetsis. Those were the most influential cards in Expanded, and I’m unsure of my feelings at their departure. On one hand, they kept some decks in check: ArchieStoise, Sableye/Garbodor; though on the other, they let Zoroark-GX run rampant.
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