Hello everyone! Travis Nunlist here rounding out this week at SixPrizes with a fresh take on Expanded just in time for the Daytona Beach Regional Championships coming up next weekend. It’s been a minute since we’ve been able to focus on the Expanded format, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of changes since then! Since my last Expanded piece, “Doing the Dallas Dance,” we’ve lost Delinquent, Lusamine, Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, and Unown DAMAGE from the format, bumping up the total number of banned cards from 7 to 11 and the total number of cards banned this season from 4 to 8. It seems like whoever is behind managing the Expanded format has decided to get a lot more aggressive with their banning of certain cards, which I think is overall a good thing. I’m generally fine with the game designers being cautious in these kinds of scenarios because it’s quite easy to unban a card should it prove to be fine, and I’d rather them be overzealous than not address a potential issue.
I’ve been quite happy with how we’ve seen the format play out so far because, for the time being, it seems like a lot of the degenerate control variants have found themselves sidelined with the changes. We’ve seen Night March and Drampa/Garbodor win the two Expanded events since the changes, with a plethora of Zoroark variants, Archie’s Blastoise, Trevenant, and Pikachu & Zekrom-GX rounding out the rest of the format. There are at least a half dozen other decks with some finishes here and there across both events, and the sheer variety of choices reminds me why I enjoy Expanded so much.
I’ve been having a great time testing out the new options in Expanded, and I’m hoping we see some of the new cards start to make a major impact soon. So far in the BLW–TEU format we’ve seen some individual cards make an impact and Pikarom has been doing fine, but overall it seems like a lot of the same decks are performing, minus the control variants that plagued the format earlier in the season. I’m usually very optimistic with new sets, but I think there are a lot of concepts with top tier potential should the right list get figured out.
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