Lumos Obscura

Tenets of Expanded, Turbo Dark Two Ways for Richmond, and Ability Zard + Mew Box Updated for LAIC
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The Pokédex for Expanded: Dark.

Hello 6P! Welcome back to another article! November is going to be a very exciting month, with a major tournament happening almost weekend, including Richmond, Portland, LAIC, and Daytona! The former two are Expanded () events and the latter two are Standard () with the brand new Cosmic Eclipse set legal. Thus, I figured today’s article could follow suit and go half and half as well, so that no matter which event you’re attending, you’ll find something of interest.

Tenets of Expanded

pokemonkorea.co.kr

First off, let’s start with Expanded, which will be the format for the next two upcoming major events, Richmond and Portland. After testing Expanded the past last month, both on streams/videos and with the people I coach, I can confidently say this about the format: it’s all over the place. Any given deck that seems great one second ends up falling short against yet another potentially really good deck. There are many decks that can be effectively teched against with a single card, such as Oricorio GRI 56 or Sudowoodo GRI; however, how common will these be? That’s another big unknown, as it’s been over six months and three set releases since the last Expanded event, Hartford.

What I have concluded so far is this: since it’s impossible to know what you’ll be going up against, and considering how different each build seems to be from one player to the next, it’s best to choose one deck. From there, it’s all about getting to where you personally feel confident in (1) the deck’s ability to compete and (2) your decision making with the deck. That way, when you encounter unexpected scenarios or unexpected foes, you’ll be able to more confidently improvise with this deck that you know inside and out.

Turbo Dark

There are some very obviously powerful cards for Expanded, which is where I would suggest starting from when picking a deck. My pick for one of the top contenders in Expanded is , given how it’s shown proven success in a similar Expanded format in Japan, and also because it has historically been good and Greninja & Zoroark-GX seems like it hits the right numbers in the new TAG TEAM era.

There are two variants I have liked, one with Double Dragon Energy and Giratina-EX AOR, and the other a more pure version of the deck. Both are similar in the way they run and exactly the same in what they try to achieve. The Dragon version of the deck gains a quirky, situational attacker while having a nice damage boost potential; however, the pure Dark version is more streamlined and has a higher Max Elixir success rate, something that is integral to the deck’s plan for success.

v1: Giratina-EX, DDE

Here’s the first variant with Giratina-EX and Double Dragon Energy:

Pokémon (11)

3 Darkrai-GX

3 Greninja & Zoroark-GX

2 Giratina-EX AOR

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew FCO

Trainer (35)

3 Professor Sycamore

2 Guzma

2 N

 

4 Dark Patch

4 Max Elixir

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Battle Compressor

2 Field Blower

2 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

1 Computer Search

Energy (14)

11 Darkness

3 Double Dragon

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 11

* 3 Darkrai-GX BUS 139
* 3 Greninja & Zoroark-GX UNB 200
* 2 Giratina-EX AOR 93
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Mew FCO 29

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 2 Hypnotoxic Laser PLS 123
* 3 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 2 Float Stone BKT 137
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 2 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 2 Field Blower GRI 163
* 2 N NVI 101
* 4 Dark Patch DEX 93
* 4 Max Elixir BKP 102

##Energy - 14

* 3 Double Dragon Energy ROS 97
* 11 Darkness Energy BUS 168

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75638 ******

Greninja & Zoroark-GX (with Dark Pulse) is of course the main focus of the deck. It can hit the magic numbers of 270, 240, and 210 HP with relative ease, thanks to the combination of Dark Patch, Max Elixir, Restoration from Darkrai-GX, and, of course, Double Dragon Energy.

Its important to find spots to attach Double Dragon Energy to make sure your damage output stays high enough, and thus we rely on Dark Patch and Max Elixir to power up Greninja & Zoroark-GX for a big Dark Pulse. I chose Giratina-EX as a DDE target over Garchomp & Giratina-EX purely because GG End-GX competes with Darkrai-GX’s Dead End-GX, and it’s almost always going to be better to KO than discard a Pokémon. Also, Giratina-EX’s Chaos Wheel can put some pressure on your opponent and even create alternate win conditions if they are only playing Special Energy, as you could prevent them from attaching any Energy for the rest of the game.

Utilizing Float Stone over the Darkrai-EX DEX (with the Dark Cloak Ability) gives a little more leeway for the turn 1 Energy attachment and also frees up a Bench spot. Without Float Stones, you would need to attach to the Active, then find Darkrai-EX DEX, while also having 2-of any combination of Max Elixirs or Dark Patches in order to get a Dark Pulse or Dead End-GX attack off.

The engine of the deck is pretty straightforward, utilizing Battle Compressor to thin out cards such as Darkrai-GX and Darkness Energy for Restoration and Dark Patch, while combining well with VS Seeker to make sure you are using your Supporters every turn. The main card I wish I had more of would be Choice Bands—at least an extra copy—as the +30 damage plays nicely into Dark Pulse‘s +30 modifiers, as well to hit the previously mentioned 210–270 HP threshold.

v2: Pure Dark

The pure Dark variant is a little more streamlined in what it tries to do, but can falter a bit without that bonus +60 damage from Double Dragon Energy attachments. Here is my current list:

Pokémon (11)

3 Darkrai-GX

3 Greninja & Zoroark-GX

2 Darkrai-EX DEX

2 Dedenne-GX

1 Mew FCO

Trainer (37)

3 Professor Sycamore

2 Guzma

2 N

 

4 Dark Patch

4 Max Elixir

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Battle Compressor

2 Field Blower

2 Hypnotoxic Laser

2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

1 Computer Search

 

2 Sky Field

Energy (12)

12 Darkness

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 11

* 3 Darkrai-GX BUS 139
* 3 Greninja & Zoroark-GX UNB 200
* 2 Darkrai-EX DEX 107
* 2 Dedenne-GX UNB 195
* 1 Mew FCO 29

##Trainer Cards - 37

* 3 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 2 Hypnotoxic Laser PLS 123
* 3 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 161
* 2 Float Stone BKT 137
* 2 Sky Field ROS 89
* 4 VS Seeker ROS 110
* 2 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 Choice Band BUS 162
* 2 Field Blower GRI 163
* 2 N NVI 101
* 4 Dark Patch DEX 93
* 4 Max Elixir BKP 102

##Energy - 12

* 12 Darkness Energy BUS 168

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=75638 ******

This deck has a little more room without the Giratina-EX’s and Double Dragon Energies, hence it can run Sky Field to complement the deck and go back to utilizing the Dark Cloak Darkrai-EX. The rest of the deck basically remains the same as the previous version.

List Nuance

Some talking points and differences with other lists that I have seen online are the (1) lack of Shaymin-EX ROS and (2) lower Darkrai-GX and Greninja & Zoroark-GX counts. The Dedenne-GX vs. Shaymin-EX debate is probably going to be something that happens every time we have a new Expanded tournament. My choice of playing 2 Dedenne-GXs is basically card access. +6 cards, regardless of the discard, will most surely help you find what you were looking for. The main cards you really don’t want to discard before you use them are the Hypnotoxic Lasers that are necessary for Dead End-GX. However, with 2 copies, it hasn’t been a big issue and most of the time the Dedechange extra 6 cards are a great way to dig for that card specifically.

Most lists I’ve seen online also contain 2 copies each of Darkrai-GX and Greninja & Zoroark-GX. I wholeheartedly disagree on both counts, as Greninja & Zoroark-GX is your main attacker and Darkrai-GX gives you extra Energy in play and thus extra damage for Dark Pulse. Especially in the pure Dark version where every Energy counts, I’ve really enjoyed having the possibility to have at least 2 Restorations to make sure the damage output remains high.

Final Thoughts on Turbo Dark

I definitely think this deck is a top contender for Richmond, especially given how unknown the metagame is going in. A big TAG TEAM that can 1HKO other TAG TEAMs, is fairly Energy efficient (with a 2-Energy cost on its main attack), and has access to a great GX attacker and non-GX attacker too? That is attractive. If you’re new to Expanded or a consistent player, surely this deck’s overall power is not something to underestimate going into Richmond.

After this weekend we will have results and more insight into what Expanded really is going into Portland. Portland is expected to be a much smaller tournament and will also be the last major one before Cosmic Eclipse becomes legal.

Cosmic Eclipse, Deck Updates

Bulbapedia

Every three months for the last year we have said this, but this next set is the largest set in the history of the game, and thus it is packed with a lot of cards that have great potential. I haven’t had as much time to prepare for Cosmic Eclipse as I did for Unified Minds’s arrival, since at that time the only relevant tournament we all needed to prepare for was Worlds. However, this time around, people are practicing for multiple formats: Standard for Cups and Challenges, BLW–HIF Expanded for Richmond and Portland, and finally UPR–CEC Standard for LAIC. That is why there has been less coverage that might be expected for Cosmic Eclipse, but here are some of the lists I have had some time to adapt and reformulate for the new format, before delving in full-on this upcoming Thursday (10/31) once the set finally debuts on PTCGO.

Ability ReshiZard

Pokémon (18)

4 Jirachi TEU

2 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Charizard & Braixen-GX

2 Larvesta CEC

2 Volcarona-GX

1 Turtonator DRM

1 Victini p

1 Heatran-GX

3 Dedenne-GX

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (24)

4 Welder

 

4 Cherish Ball

3 Great Catcher

3 Pokémon Communication

3 Switch

1 Pal Pad

2 Escape Board

 

3 Giant Hearth

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (18)

18 Fire

ebay.comHow frustrating is it to hit 230 on a Pikachu & Zekrom-GX with Flare Strike, being 10 short of the KO? Well, that won’t be happening anymore, thanks to Volcarona-GX’s Flaming Shot Ability. The bonus 2 damage counters anywhere is huge, as damage modifiers have mostly been missing in the format. It puts less pressure on finding Welders back to back in order to power up to Double Blaze-GX with 6 Energy, and thus frees up that attack for a follow-up on a different TAG TEAM for game.

The deck utilizes the exact same engine as before, except the Ninetales TEU line is replaced by Great Catchers and Volcarona-GX.

Let’s be honest, other than the matchup, we were always using Nine Temptations to bring up opposing TAG TEAMs or GXs to be KOed, so Great Catcher covers that nicely. Now the deck has damage modifiers and a Gust effect, so I definitely expect this deck to still compete in the top tiers.

pokellector.comIt also gains Charizard & Braixen-GX, a solid attacker to lead with. Despite the lower damage output (which is once again compensated by Volcarona-GX’s Flaming Shot), it allows you to search for 3 cards, which is perfect as it allows for continuous use of Welder. Back-to-back-to-back Welder is what makes or breaks this deck, and Brilliant Flare facilitates that if you decide to lead with it. That play will not always be the norm, as the extra damage from Flare Strike and Double Blaze-GX can’t be overlooked, but it’s a nice option to have.

Mew Box

Pokémon (19)

4 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

4 Dedenne-GX

2 Solgaleo-GX SM104

1 Charizard-GX HIF

1 Reshiram & Charizard-GX

1 Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Naganadel-GX UNM

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Latios-GX UNM

1 Greninja-GX SM197

1 Marshadow UNB

Trainer (27)

4 Welder

2 Guzma & Hala

2 Hapu

 

4 Cherish Ball

2 Mysterious Treasure

2 Great Catcher

2 Pokémon Communication

1 Reset Stamp

1 Switch

2 Stealthy Hood

 

3 Giant Hearth

2 Lysandre Labs

Energy (14)

8 Fire
3 Weakness Guard

2 Psychic

1 Water

Mewtwo & Mew-GX was clearly the best deck for the UPR–HIF format, and I don’t expect it to be dethroned immediately. The deck does gain a few new good additions, such as Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX as an attacker, along with Guzma & Hala.

pokellector.comMega Lopunny & Jigglypuff-GX’s Jumping Balloon gives the deck a much needed powerful 3-Energy attack. Before, the best attack you could utilize for 3 Energy was Double Blaze-GX, dealing 200 damage. Now, Jumping Balloon allows you to potentially 1HKO any opposing GX as long as your opponent’s board is filled with GXs. The 60 extra damage for each GX in play adds up quickly, especially with the popularity of Dedenne-GX, and with only 3 GXs in play, you’re already 1HKOing the 240-HP Pikachu & Zekrom-GX. Having 4 in play means you hit for the magical 300 damage threshold and thus 1HKO any opposing TAG TEAM, even the Psychic-Resistant Mega Sableye & Tyranitar-GX.

Great Catcher is also a great addition to the deck as the discard effect can be beneficial and the Gust effect is much easier to pull off than having 2 Custom Catchers at the same time (when going through the deck very quickly with 4 Dedenne-GXs).

Finally, Stealthy Hood is now a necessary addition to the deck due to the new Mimikyu CEC 97. It shuts off Abilities from Pokémon-GX that have a damage counter on them, which is easily accomplished with Shrine of Punishment or ’s Distortion Door. Stealthy Hood easily protects from that, while also providing coverage from something like Volcarona-GX’s Flaming Shot.

Guzma & Hala replaces Red’s Challenge as, even though it doesn’t search for any card, it does search for 3 pretty crucial ones for this deck: Weakness Guard Energy for Weakness protection, Stealthy Hood to make sure Perfection is always on, and a Stadium Card, be it Giant Hearth (for the discard and Energy for Welder) or Lysandre Labs (to bypass annoying Spell Tags or Fairy Charms).

One other consideration for this deck from Cosmic Eclipse is Chaotic Swell. The new Stadium card basically stops Power Plant from ruining your day as it would discard Power Plant after your opponent tried to play it as a counter. Not every deck can play Marshadow UNB to first remove the Chaotic Swell, and then play Power Plant, but Giant Hearth and Lysandre Labs feel too important to drop for Chaotic Swell with how the deck works.

Final Thoughts on Cosmic Eclipse

I think overall Cosmic Eclipse will be an impactful set in how it affects current viable decks, while bringing along a good new one in . However, I don’t expect this set to have the same sort of impact the previous three TAG TEAM sets have had in terms of shaking up everything and creating an immediate new best deck.

Conclusion

That will be all for today’s article! I hope you enjoyed reading and I’m looking forward to November as it’ll finally bring the first event I get to attend outside of locals: the Latin America International Championships! As always, feel free to direct any questions or comments here or on my Tablemon social media. Until next time!


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