Hello everyone! Travis Nunlist here with our final piece of the week before the Anaheim Regional Championship. This weekend is shaping up to be an interesting one with the upcoming event being the first Expanded tournament with the Lost Thunder set. Lost Thunder is the biggest set the Pokémon TCG has ever seen. So far we have seen it completely reshape the Standard format as we know it, with the most recent Regional Championship being won by a deck featuring 3 different Stage 2 lines! Naturally a set like this is going to have a bigger impact on a format with a smaller card pool, but I have a hunch that the Expanded format is just waiting to be blown open with all of the new options available to us.
Our most recent Expanded event saw the rise of the Zoroark Control deck in Expanded alongside some old names in Trevenant BREAK and Archie’s Blastoise finding their way to the top tables. The release of Faba, difficulty to play, and general meta hostility has scared a number of players away from the Zoroark deck, but it seems like the other two have retained a level of popularity that will certainly carry over into Anaheim. I’m fairly certain that Zoroark will retain enough popularity to be a T3 deck, but my guess is we will see a variety of partners among different players. Buzzwole and Blacephalon are probably next in line popularity wise, with everything else being a toss up based on individual preference.
I have not competed in an event since the very first Regional Championship of the season back in mid-September, so seriously testing for this event required a bit of dusting off to really dig deep and explore the possibilities. Fortunately for me Expanded is my favorite format and Lost Thunder has left us with plenty to explore, so I have had no shortage of rabbit holes in dive into trying out different ideas. Xander stole my usual thunder by writing about Gardevoir last week, but I admittedly decided against the deck for Anaheim rather early due to the Trevenant BREAK matchup, so it’s for the best. Honestly, Trevenant BREAK has caused me to scrap more deck ideas this round of testing than anytime before due to how prevalent I think it will be in the meta at Anaheim. Thankfully Lost Thunder left me with plenty of other fun things to explore, and I think I may have found a couple of competitors.
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