Fast as Lightning

PikaRom/Lightning Support and Lucario/Buzzwole for Toronto Regionals (BLW–TEU Expanded)

Hello again readers, today I’m going to be covering Expanded in preparation for the upcoming streak of Expanded Regionals (Toronto and Greensboro). I’m sort of looking forward to playing Expanded, but at the same time I feel like I’m going to despise the format after playing one event. The meta hasn’t been defined yet, but we can take a pretty good guess as to what it’s going to consist of.

  1. My first thought for all of this is that seems absolutely broken because of Max Elixir.
  2. My second thought involves how to counter the incoming Lightning storm.

On paper, it seems that we have another square format, but only time will tell if that’s true.

First Zap: PikaRom/Lightning Support

Expanded is a great example of how large the power creep has been in the last six or so years. PikaRom is the epitome of this. In Expanded, it’s not even close to unreasonable to hit a Turn 2 Tag Bolt GX for 3–4 Prize cards. There aren’t many decks that can come back from that big of a turn.

Pokémon (14)

3 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX

2 Zeraora-GX

1 Tapu Koko p

1 Tapu Koko-GX

1 Xurkitree-GX

1 Marshadow SLG

1 Mr. Mime PLF

3 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (32)

2 Colress

2 Guzma

2 Professor Sycamore

 

4 Electropower

4 Max Elixir

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

3 Energy Switch

2 VS Seeker

2 Choice Band

1 Computer Search

 

1 Silent Lab

1 Thunder Mountain p

Energy (14)

12 Lightning

2 Flash

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 14

* 3 Pikachu & Zekrom-GX TEU 184
* 2 Zeraora-GX LOT 86
* 1 Tapu Koko p TEU 51
* 1 Tapu Koko-GX PR-SM 33
* 1 Xurkitree-GX UPR 160
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45
* 1 Mr. Mime PLF 47
* 3 Shaymin-EX ROS 106
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 155

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 2 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Thunder Mountain p LOT 191
* 3 Energy Switch ROS 109
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Silent Lab PRC 140
* 2 Colress PLS 135
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 2 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Max Elixir BKP 102
* 2 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 4 Electropower LOT 172

##Energy - 14

* 12 Lightning Energy Energy 4
* 2 Flash Energy AOR 83

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72671 ******

This is the list that I’ve been messing around with recently and I believe it to be very strong.

Card Choices

1 Xurkitree-GX
The only reason I decided to include a copy of this is because it can singlehandedly beat any or players that might decide to show up to Toronto. We have to remember that Expanded is first and foremost Pet Deck Central, meaning the general populace doesn’t necessarily play meta decks because (A) they either have an old favorite deck that they enjoy or (B) they simply don’t care enough to test for a relatively irrelevant format.

1 Mr. Mime PLF
The PikaRom mirror match is something that I’m very worried about, seeing as I believe PikaRom will easily be the deck with the most representation. Mr. Mime allows us to protect ourselves against a Tag Bolt GX that would normally end our game. It is also vital that we don’t let Towering Splash GX happen because of the large amount of Shaymin-EX we usually have in play.

1 Marshadow SLG
You know those hands where Shaymin-EX doesn’t help at all? Well, Let Loose is the perfect answer for that, because instead of drawing until we have 6 in hand, we’re shuffling our hand in and drawing a potentially completely new hand. Marshadow SLG also allows us to disrupt our opponents on either Turn 1 or late game when we’re about to take a big KO.

1 Silent Lab
I fully expect to hit 5–6 decks with a Mr. Mime in Day 1 Swiss. What better way to get around that with a convenient Stadium that says I can still take 4 Prize cards with Tag Bolt GX?

2 Choice Band
On paper, Fighting Fury Belt seems like a better card to play. However, against /, the 30 extra damage that Choice Band provides is much more important than the extra survivability that Fighting Fury Belt provides. There’s definitely an argument for Fighting Fury Belt over Choice Band, but if I care about beating Zoroark more often than not, I want to be playing Choice Band. However, there is a chance I’m wrong about this, as my testing time has been limited thus far.

Potential Inclusions

Onix LOT
Onix is what I believe to be the best mirror tech because even if our opponent targets it down after a Full Blitz, we still have a PikaRom ready to attack and we’ve only lost a single Prize card. If they don’t KO it, then we have a nice little rock snake ready to KO their 3-Prize attacker. This would actually be another reason to play Choice Band over Fighting Fury Belt because with a Band, Onix can 1HKO a Belted PikaRom.

Scramble Switch
I love the idea of being able to Scramble Switch into a fresh PikaRom, or even use Aero Trail + Scramble Switch on Turn 1 instead of Energy Switch to get that coveted Turn 1 attack.

1 Acerola/Max Potion
I’m undecided as to which of these I would opt to play, but having a healing option is something that seems very strong in a deck with a giant 3-Prize attacker. Acerola would also function as a form of switching card in theory, but it also costs us our Supporter for the turn. That same cost is probably the greatest reason to include it over Max Potion. Unlike many lists I’ve seen, I play 2 VS Seeker, which would allow us to recover and/or reuse Acerola.

1 Field Blower
Those pesky Fighting Fury Belts causing you problems? No? Well what about Focus Sash? I believe that the only way we’re ever going to be able to beat any of the Fighting-type decks floating around, we’re going to need a way to remove Focus Sash from play. I’m hesitant to play a 1-of Item in this deck because of how many cards it seems to discard, so, in theory, Faba is another choice that might benefit us in those matchups.

Matchup Spread

Zoroark/Garbodor: Favored
I’ve seen Zoroark lists attempting to counter PikaRom by playing things like Iris, but as a PikaRom player, I believe it’s very possible to play around Iris and Trashalanche to the point that we will win before they become threats. The match is essentially decided within the first 2 or 3 turns of the game, so there should not be much worry over going to time at least.

Our goal as the PikaRom player is to get a Full Blitz off as early as possible, while limiting ourselves to an Item count below 10. ZoroGarb almost always has to play a Tapu Lele-GX during its first few turns, so that will be our number one Tag Bolt GX target. It is vital for us to plan out all of our KOs in this matchup because of how quickly the tides can turn against us. Our first KO is likely a Zorua or something that our opponent started with, and hopefully we used Full Blitz to do it. The Energy from this attack need to go on a second PikaRom because while it may be tempting to go for the early GX attack, it might end up crippling us later. That leaves us at 5 Prizes.

Our next KO will likely be a Zoroark-GX or a Guzma-targeted Garbodor. This time, the Energy from Full Blitz needs to go on whichever PikaRom is still undamaged. This will leave us at 3 or 4 Prize cards remaining. Our next turn will ultimately decide the game.

Usually at this point, our opponent has found a Mr. Mime to put down, which prevents a big Tag Bolt GX play. This is where Silent Lab comes in play. We know that our opponent cannot use Garbotoxin in an attempt to make us draw badly because that would shut off Mr. Mime. Optimally, we haven’t played 10 Items yet, but our deck is still somewhat thinned down. Between Trainers’ Mail, Shaymin-EX, Colress/Professor Juniper, and Marshadow, we should almost always be able to find Silent Lab.

However, if this seems unlikely, it’s almost always better to play it safe and KO the potential Trashalanche Pokémon. At this point, they should have no way to 1HKO our PikaRom and our next turn will allow us to take enough Prizes to win the game.

Archie’s : Favored
We boast a favored matchup against this Evolution-cheating deck. This is because our opponent’s main attacker, Magikarp & Wailord-GX, requires a whopping 5 Energy to attack. Tapu Koko-GX is the perfect attacker to deal with one of our opponent’s giant fish, because of its GX attack, which does 50 damage times the amount of Energy our opponent has in play. Magikarp & Wailord-GX also cannot 1HKO a PikaRom, which means that we can tank a hit after using Full Blitz to charge up another attacker. If our opponent misses the Turn 1 Archie’s, the matchup becomes incredibly favored.

Lucario: Unfavored
I fully expect to see a large number of players show up with Lucario-GX this weekend in anticipation of the swarm of PikaRom. This matchup is nigh upon impossible for us. Between Focus Sash, Fighting typing, and healing in the form of Acerola, there’s not much we can do to sway this matchup. However, Lucario does have one weakness that we can exploit. It needs to evolve from Riolu that turn to actually KO us. After they take their first KO, it’s very possible for us to Guzma up our opponent’s second Riolu to prevent them taking a KO that turn. If we Full Blitz onto the same PikaRom we’re going to attack with, we have access to Tag Bolt GX in our next turn, we can in theory remove every Energy card from play while concurrently skipping the Beast Ring turn. The matchup is certainly not even close to favored, but like everything, there’s an out for us if we’re lucky enough.

Mirror Match
If I opt to play something other than PikaRom, it’s because I hate the mirror match so much. I’ve found it to be incredibly luck based, and there seems to be no good way to change this.

Counterpuncher: Lucario-GX/Buzzwole

I haven’t played as much with Lucario at the current moment as I would have liked, but the deck is inherently strong and certainly a force to be reckoned with going into Toronto.

Pokémon (14)

3 Riolu UPR

3 Lucario-GX

2 Buzzwole-GX

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Diancie p

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Remoraid BKT 32

1 Octillery BKT

Trainer (36)

4 Korrina

3 N

2 Acerola

2 Guzma

2 Professor Juniper

1 Colress

1 Faba

 

4 Ultra Ball

3 VS Seeker

1 Beast Ring

1 Enhanced Hammer

1 Field Blower

1 Super Rod

3 Focus Sash

2 Float Stone

1 Muscle Band

1 Scoop Up Cyclone

 

2 Brooklet Hill

1 Silent Lab

Energy (10)

6 Fighting

4 Strong

 

Copy List

****** Pokémon Trading Card Game Deck List ******

##Pokémon - 14

* 3 Riolu UPR 66
* 3 Lucario-GX FLI 135
* 2 Buzzwole-GX CIN 115
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Diancie p FLI 74
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 155
* 1 Remoraid BKT 32
* 1 Octillery BKT 33

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 2 Brooklet Hill GRI 120
* 3 N FCO 105
* 1 Super Rod DRV 20
* 2 Acerola BUS 112
* 1 Silent Lab PRC 140
* 1 Faba LOT 208
* 4 Korrina FFI 95
* 2 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Beast Ring FLI 141
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 3 Focus Sash FFI 91
* 2 Professor Juniper DEX 98
* 1 Colress PLS 118
* 1 Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95
* 1 Enhanced Hammer GRI 162
* 3 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 1 Field Blower GRI 163
* 2 Float Stone PLF 99
* 1 Muscle Band XY 121

##Energy - 10

* 4 Strong Energy FCO 115
* 6 Fighting Energy Energy 6

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=72671 ******

There’s nothing special about this list. I’m of the belief that we’ve taken Lucario lists as far as they can possibly go in the current format.

I’ve opted to include Silent Lab again because I believe that there are enough random things running around that it is likely correct to have counters for the unusual cards that might see play. For instance, I believe that Mr. Mime TEU might make an appearance in some form of janky spread deck. (It’s Expanded. Literally anything is possible.)

The only card that I want to include in this list is a Mr. Mime PLF as a way to deal with Volcanion p and Towering Splash GX.

Matchup Spread

As I said earlier, I don’t necessarily have all that much knowledge about Lucario in general, but I’ve played against it enough to know what the matchups look like from the other side of the board.

Zoroark/Garbodor: Even–Favored
The coin flip matters quite a bit in this matchup, because it ultimately defines who is going to be starting the Prize race with the lead. If the Lucario player takes the first Prize, they are extremely likely to win the match, and if the Zoroark player takes the first KO, then they have a decent shot at the game. What the match ultimately comes down to is whether or not the ZoroGarb player can find their single copy of Field Blower and Dowsing Machine at the right times in order to deal with our Focus Sash. All we have to do as the Lucario player is stream KOs to the best of our ability while not getting crippled by N and Garbotoxin.

Archie’s Blastoise: Unfavored
This matchup is the greatest reason to not play Lucario this weekend. We simply cannot 1HKO a Magikarp & Wailord-GX. Towering Splash GX can easily wipe our field of any major threats, and Volcanion p can break our Focus Sash relatively easily.

PikaRom: Favored
I described the matchup earlier. Don’t allow yourself to be caught with no way to KO a PikaRom and you’ll be fine.

Mirror
I’ve never played it, so I don’t know how it actually works, but I’m imagining something along the lines of Jet Punch spreading to break Sash, some really annoying Acerola plays, and just all-around unpleasant gameplay. If you’re really that worried about this matchup, play a Mr. Mime TEU.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been quite busy recently, and as such haven’t had a large amount of time to actually test games, but I’ve been able to theory a lot of things and it’s seeming like Lucario is potentially the play. However, there is no denying the fact that PikaRom is by far the overall strongest deck in the game right now. However, sometimes the strongest things can be quite brittle and will fall apart when pressure is applied. Only time will tell how PikaRom fares in Expanded.

Archie and Zoroark are still major threats but are being talked about less than the shiny new decks. Don’t be fooled by the lack of hype surrounding them, because they will certainly both be present in large numbers in Toronto. I also fully expect players to try and find a way for mill to work without Lusamine, so be on guard for that.

Finally, it’s with a heavy heart that I’m going to say that I think Primal has finally bitten the dust. Without Lusamine to provide us with infinite Supporters and Tropical Beaches, it seems impossible for Groudon to rise from the ashes once more. Pokémon finally took away my only source of in Expanded. I guess I’ll have to go somewhere other than Groudon for my comfort pick from now on.

Anyway, that’s all I have for you today, watch out for the crazy decks that might show up, pay attention your matches, call judges if you feel anything is wrong, and try to have fun in Expanded. As always, good luck in your upcoming events, and feel free to message me or come up to me at events with any questions you may have. I’ll see some of you in Toronto. Until the next one.


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