Turning Back the Clock

Archie’s Blastoise, Turbo Dark, and Ultra Night March for Richmond

Hello SixPrizes readers! I’m very excited to be writing an article on the Expanded format. The current Standard format has felt a bit boring to me, so jumping to Expanded has been quite refreshing. Like many others, I started my Expanded testing with obvious decks suck as Turbo Dark and Archie’s Blastoise. Throughout the weeks, though, I started toying with other ideas, which led me back to my old pals Joltik and Night March. I truly thought the deck was dead (1) when Archie’s Blastoise started to play Espeon & Deoxys-GX and (2) from the overwhelming HP of some of these new TAG TEAM GXs. I believe I may have solved that issue with the unique twist on Night March, and I’d love to share it with everyone.

I have done a lot more testing than usual for this format, and as such I have a great deal more to share than just another twist on Night March. Let’s start off with Archie’s Blastoise.

Archie’s Blastoise

pkmngif.tumblr.com

Blastoise BCR has been a relevant card in almost every format it has been legal in. It won the World Championships in the Masters Division back in 2015 and has since frequently made deep runs at Regionals in our Expanded format. Throughout its history it’s received several buffs from cards such as Order Pad, Magikarp & Wailord-GX, and now, most recently, Mewtwo & Mew-GX in combination with Espeon & Deoxys-GX. Having access to attacks, such as Kingdra-GX’s Hydro Pump, through MewMew is extremely powerful and provides a lot of versatility to the deck. Here’s the list of Archie’s Blastoise I’ve worked on.

The List

Pokémon (15)

2 Blastoise BCR

2 Mewtwo & Mew-GX

1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX

1 Magikarp & Wailord-GX

1 Kingdra-GX

1 Palkia-GX UPR

1 Volcanion p

2 Exeggcute PLF

1 Marshadow SLG

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (34)

2 Archie’s Ace in the Hole

1 Fisherman

1 Guzma

1 Professor Sycamore

1 Tate & Liza

 

4 Battle Compressor

4 Superior Energy Retrieval

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Order Pad

1 Professor’s Letter

 

2 Stealthy Hood

 

1 Computer Search

 

1 Viridian Forest

Energy (11)

10 W

1 P

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 15

* 2 Blastoise BCR 31
* 2 Mewtwo & Mew-GX UNM 71
* 1 Espeon & Deoxys-GX UNM 72
* 1 Magikarp & Wailord-GX TEU 161
* 1 Kingdra-GX DRM 18
* 1 Palkia-GX UPR 101
* 1 Volcanion p FLI 31
* 2 Exeggcute PLF 4
* 1 Marshadow SLG 45
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 2 Stealthy Hood UNB 186
* 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 2 Archie’s Ace in the Hole PRC 124
* 1 Professor’s Letter BKT 146
* 1 Fisherman CES 130
* 1 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 1 Tate & Liza CES 148
* 4 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 4 Superior Energy Retrieval PLF 103
* 3 Order Pad UPR 131

##Energy - 11

* 1 P Energy SMEnergy 14
* 10 W Energy Energy 3

Total Cards - 60

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As you can see, I’ve opted to keep cards like Volcanion p and Magikarp & Wailord-GX as I think they hold a lot of value, especially Volcanion. Having an extremely efficient attack versus single-Prizers is definitely some other players have overlooked with the addition of Espeon & Deoxys. There are still single-Prizers that are much bulkier and which need additional spread to them to wipe out. Let’s go over some of the other tech options I have chosen to include.

Key Cards

1 Palkia-GX UPR

With the expected resurgence of Turbo Dark decks from the release of Greninja & Zoroark-GX, having a GX attack that sends all of their Energies into their deck is extremely powerful. In combination with a hand-resetting effect such as Let Loose or N, Palkia might be enough to win the game. From my testing, however, it’s usually still close as Turbo Dark has a ton of options to take Prizes. Without Palkia the matchup is definitely on the harder side and not very fun.

2 Stealthy Hood

The Expanded format has, for as long as I can remember, been a format that is filled with Ability lock. Having such an impactful card in Stealthy Hood makes your deck a lot more immune to Ability lock. Being able to Hood your MewMew or Blastoise is strong and forces the lock deck to deal with you instead of the other way around. It’s not a direct replacement to Field Blower—although I have chosen not to include any copies of Field Blower—but it is close and helps in matchups such as Shock Lock. Additionally, Stealthy Hoods are playable cards more often than not and in an Archie’s deck the most important thing is to get your Blastoise out or nothing else matters.

Settling on Archie’s Blastoise already? Think twice.

In my honest opinion, Archie’s Blastoise has been the most overhyped deck so far in this Expanded format and I wouldn’t recommend anyone but seasoned veterans of the deck actually pilot it this weekend. Using Cross Division-GX for the full 20 damage counters on turn 1 is unreliable and inconsistent. The main reason being that you are usually forced to attach a Water early in most Archie’s hands. The deck is very explored and literally everyone has been talking about it as the most anticipated deck. In most instances, the deck people feel will be the most represented does not fair very well because players will opt to counter it instead of play it.

Like most, though, I started my testing with Archie’s Blastoise. I think while Archie’s Blastoise did receive a buff in MewMew and EspeOxys, It is not significant enough to make it an overwhelming Tier 1 deck in what is blind meta. Perhaps come Portland, with a defined metagame, Archie’s Blastoise can flourish. As it currently stands, I do not expect many to Day 2 and at most one in the Top 8.

Remember Darkrai, Your Old Friend

When Greninja & Zoroark-GX was released, the majority of the TCG world immediately fantasized about the idea of replacing Darkrai-EX BKP with this big boy. Would it revive the archetype? Is giving up 3 Prizes too much of a limiting factor? All valid questions. Well, in addition to starting my testing with Archie’s Blastoise, I also focused on Turbo Dark. The new version of Dark Pulse dealing 30+ & 30× the amount of D Energy is honestly an insane amount of damage. You are able to set up checkmates versus GX-focused decks very early. The deck had me very excited until it, just like Blastoise, was on everyone’s radar going into Richmond. Let’s take a look at what I believe to be the optimal way to play Turbo Dark at the current time.

The List

Pokémon (12)

3 Darkrai-GX

3 Greninja & Zoroark-GX

1 Darkrai-EX DEX BW46

1 Malamar-EX

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Hoopa-EX XY71

Trainer (35)

4 Professor Juniper

2 Guzma

1 Colress

1 N

1 Pokémon Ranger

 

4 Dark Patch

4 Max Elixir

4 Ultra Ball

3 Battle Compressor

3 VS Seeker

2 Trainers’ Mail

 

1 Choice Band

1 Fighting Fury Belt

 

1 Computer Search

 

3 Sky Field

Energy (13)

13 D

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 12

* 3 Darkrai-GX BUS 88
* 3 Greninja & Zoroark-GX UNB 107
* 1 Darkrai-EX PR-BLW 46
* 1 Malamar-EX PHF 115
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Hoopa-EX PR-XY 71

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 2 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 1 N DEX 96
* 4 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 4 Ultra Ball PLB 90
* 3 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 2 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Max Elixir BKP 102
* 1 Colress PLS 118
* 1 Fighting Fury Belt BKP 99
* 3 Sky Field ROS 89
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Pokémon Ranger STS 104
* 4 Dark Patch DEX 93
* 3 VS Seeker PHF 109

##Energy - 13

* 13 D Energy SMEnergy 16

Total Cards - 60

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I’m very happy with where the list is currently. It does what it needs to do very efficiently and I have focused primarily on being consistent while adding very few tech options. I have seen a ton of Turbo Dark lists floating around and none of them have been utilizing Malamar-EX to prock Dead End-GX; they have instead attempted to use it with Trainer cards such as Hypnotoxic Laser or Koga’s Trap. I honestly think that is a major mistake. Using a Trainer card makes your deck inherently less consistent in pulling off the combo because of the draw variance and needing to keep the card alive without discarding it in a deck that heavily discards and draws cards. Let’s go into some more detail on the list.

Key Cards

Hoopa-EX Engine

It baffles me that no one has utilized this combo. With the use of 1 Ultra Ball, you are able to grab 3 Pokémon which are essential to your deck’s operation. Darkrai-EX DEX gives you free retreat, Malamar-EX opens up your Dead End-GX options, and Shaymin-EX draws you cards. There is nothing I love more than using your cards efficiently and this is a prime example of that.

Quick note: It is not always correct to use Hoopa-EX in every game. It depends on the matchup and board state. Sudowoodo GRI exists, is a popular inclusion in decks such as Zoroark/Garbodor, and can seriously hinder your setup.

4 Professor Juniper

Throughout testing, I’ve found that the biggest hindrance to the deck was not setting up. Having the initial copies of this card has been extremely useful. Once this deck is able to draw even a small amount of cards, its damage ramp is ridiculous and can snowball once you get going.

1 Pokémon Ranger

I’ve seen a ton of decks opting to play Item lock options and even Jolteon-EX because of the release of MewMew. I expect this tournament to be riddled with effects like that, and having a 1-card option to beat them seems strong. With your damage scaling so much, I think having Pokémon Ranger is definitely a viable option.

1 Fighting Fury Belt

This one is fairly simple. The HP boost is simply nothing to scoff at. I have seen several decks that have been teching cards to reach 250, so adding another obstacle in their way may make the difference. When a metagame is evolving and adapting, you have no choice but to adapt as well.

2 Guzma

This one is fairly simple and kind of sneaky at the same time. People expect you to play 1. So I cut the 4th copy of VS Seeker for a 2nd Guzma. With decks like Vileplume out there, I didn’t want to potentially get caught without a Gusting option against them.

The Downsides of Turbo Dark

While Turbo Dark has been one of my favorites in testing leading up to this point, I do acknowledge its downsides, although its damage scaling is at the top of the top. The biggest one being how linear the deck is. As an opponent, you know what it’s going to do. It’s going to Knock Out your Pokémon by doing a ton of damage. The most unique plays it can pull are using Dead End-GX. This is a serious issue when everyone knows about the deck and is well prepared. Turbo Dark is far from dead and I expect a good amount of it in Richmond. The very moment it’s underrated is the moment it becomes deadly.

A New Take on My Favorite Deck: Night March

Bulbapedia

I’ll be the first to admit, I was not very high on Night March leading up to testing for Richmond. With all the limiting factors that already existed in the format paired with the newly buffed version of Archie’s Blastoise with Espeon & Deoxys-GX, I was not excited one bit and coined the deck as “dead” amongst my testing group. That did not stop me from going into the tank, however. I believe I have revived the deck just in time for Richmond and given it options to survive in this lock and spread meta.

The List

Pokémon (20)

4 Joltik PHF

4 Pumpkaboo PHF

4 Lampent PHF

1 Marshadow-GX

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX

1 Buzzwole FLI

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Oranguru SUM

Trainer (34)

3 Professor Juniper

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Pokémon Ranger

1 Teammates

 

4 Battle Compressor

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Escape Rope PLS 120

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Special Charge

1 Target Whistle

 

2 Choice Band

1 Float Stone

 

1 Dowsing Machine

 

2 Dimension Valley

1 Silent Lab

Energy (6)

4 Double Colorless

1 Beast p

1 Prism

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 20

* 4 Joltik PHF 26
* 4 Pumpkaboo PHF 44
* 4 Lampent PHF 42
* 1 Marshadow-GX BUS 80
* 1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX UNB 1
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Oranguru SUM 113

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 1 Rescue Stretcher BUS 165
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 2 Dimension Valley PHF 93
* 3 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 1 Escape Rope PLS 120
* 4 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 1 Teammates PRC 141
* 1 Special Charge STS 105
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 Silent Lab PRC 140
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 1 N FCO 105
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Pokémon Ranger STS 104
* 1 Float Stone BKT 137
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 1 Target Whistle Team Flare Gear PHF 106

##Energy - 6

* 1 Beast Energy p FLI 117
* 1 Prism Energy NXD 93
* 4 Double Colorless Energy SUM 136

Total Cards - 60

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This is the list I piloted to a Top 4 finish at my Cup this past weekend. My only loss in Swiss was to RowEgg/Vileplume, which I had no options to counterplay against. In Top 4 I lost to Buzzwole/Garb/Plant. While I admit this doesn’t catapult Night March to the top of the tier list, I believe it certainly gives it a lot of viability. Let’s go over the newly added tech cards.

New Techs

Beast Package (BuzzMosa, Buzzwole FLI, Beast Energy p) + Target Whistle

This combination of cards has always been in the back of my mind for Expanded. But I had never tried it in Night March. With Blastoise seemingly the most hyped deck going into Richmond, I wanted options to combat it. Being able to Beast Game-GX on Shaymin-EX or Blastoise and Jet Punch on Exeggcute for bonus Prizes gives you the flexibility to commit your board to Knocking Out a MewMew or EspeOxys with Pumpkaboo to finish off the game. The 20-damage counter Cross Division-GX is definitely something you have to look out for, but the fact that it comes from a 3-Prizer makes it almost a wash. In order for Blastoise to efficiently use Cross Division-GX they must take 4 Prizes in the form of Joltik (30 damage), Pumpkaboo (60), and Shaymin-EX (110) at once.

The Archie’s matchup is not the only factor that led to BuzzMosa making its way into the deck. Beast Game-GX in general is an incredible tool that can be used to make comebacks you otherwise could not. Most decks in the Expanded format cannot instantly reach numbers of 260 HP to take a 1HKO on BuzzMosa. This leads to options of swinging for up to 3 Prizes with 1 card. Going in for a Beast Game-GX for 2 or 3 Prizes after an N to low hand and not getting return–KO’d, you can then swap out and take a big knockout with Night March to seal the game.

Solving Oricorio

Oricorio you say? Well, let’s quickly talk about how BuzzMosa absolutely annihilates GX decks that run Oricorio to “counter” you. In order for Oricorio to be effective, numerous amounts of Night Marchers have to be in your discard as well as on your board. The main effective line of play is to burst Night Marchers into play on the turn you take a 2-Prize knockout. This lets you checkmate the game because if they chose to promote Oricorio to respond, you can Beast Game-GX for 2 Prizes without needing to hit Guzma, which means you can Teammates for the combo, making it incredibly consistent. After that, you just need to take a measly 2 more Prize cards because your opponent now has this monstrous BuzzMosa staring them down. Well, what happens if they chose to ignore BuzzMosa? You can attach Prism Energy then subsequently a Double Colorless in order to use Elegant Sole for a knockout on most Pokémon.

Versus decks that run Karen, Beast Game-GX utilization should be used very similarly to the way that you played versus Oricorio but this time with greater focus on resource management in order to be able to respond to Karen after you take a knockout.


Normally this is where I’d conclude my article, but I have a special treat this time. I have put in a lot of time into testing this Expanded format and want to share that with everyone. A lot of people always ask me, “What techs do I play?” or “What should I expect to play against?” and I feel like I have always been good at predicting the meta and what techs are most optimal, so that’s what I’d like to share today.

Optimal Tech Options You Should Consider for Richmond

  1. Let Loose/Red Card + Power Plant. This combination of cards is slated to be banned for a reason. It is extremely degenerate and can singlehandedly win games. You may ask, why are none of these options in my current lists? Well, in my deck-building process I focus on consistency first, then techs. For transparency’s sake, I will 100% be playing this combination in my deck this weekend. Don’t know what deck it will be yet or what I’d cut from my existing lists. I don’t like to add tech cards until I test the day before an event because testing versus different deck-building circles helps keep bias out of your lists.
  2. Pokémon Ranger. This is a more universal tech card. I usually hate this card and mostly regret playing it. However, I think this time will be different. There are a ton of options MewMew decks can utilize and having the answer in 1 card can prove to be crucial.
  3. Stealthy Hood. You might be thinking why is this already in my Blastoise list if I focus on consistency first. Well, in any MewMew or heavy Ability-focused deck, Stealthy Hood or Field Blower are not tech cards but essential cards to have in your deck.
  4. Seismitoad-EX. A lot of decks are heavily reliant on Items, and decks like Sableye/Garbodor (which also has received a ton of hype) cannot function under Item lock. Simply splashing this card may prove to win you a matchup you otherwise would not.
  5. Wobbuffet PHF. The option to start the game off with Ability lock in the Active slot (although limited to non-Psychic types) is still a strong one and can never be overlooked. Certainly look out for decks utilizing Wobbuffet as an option to keep Turbo-focused decks at bay.
  6. Oranguru SUM. I expect Control decks to be a good part of our meta in Richmond and this card definitely helps. If we had this card in the Standard format, Pidgeotto Control would not be a thing. Helping versus hand lock decks is also very good and should be considered for decks that lose to these archetypes.

My Predicted Metagame Breakdown

Bulbapedia

There’s no way to accurately predict what decks we will even see. With 2-½ sets released since the last Expanded event in Hartford, we are bound to see new archetypes.

  1. Zoroark/Garbodor (14%)
  2. Archie’s Blastoise (10%)
  3. PikaRom (8%)
  4. Turbo Dark (8%)
  5. MewMew/M Gardy (7%)
  6. Other/Unknown (7%)
  7. Zoro Control (6%)***
  8. Sableye/Garbodor (5%)
  9. Buzz/Garb (4%)
  10. Seismitoad-EX (4%)
  11. Hand Lock (4%)
  12. Fighting Box (4%)
  13. Rayquaza-GX (4%)
  14. Vespiquen (4%)
  15. Night March (4%)
  16. Vileplume (3%)
  17. Trevenant (2%)
  18. Primal Groudon (1%)
  19. Shock Lock (1%)

***Note: The 6% for Zoro Control may be deceiving. If you want to win the event, you will have to go through Zoro Control. I believe many top players will opt to pilot the deck.

Obviously, this list is never going to be 100% accurate and “secret” decks do exist especially in Expanded. As mentioned, I have received requests for this type of information and as a competitive player, I take predicting the metagame seriously as I want to choose my deck and tech options accurately. I will note, however, that the decks under 6% on my list have the most potential to be more represented and I would not be surprised if a decklist Zoro Control was the most popular.

One thing I will say I am confident on is the popularity of Zoroark/Garbodor. I think it is a strong deck going into this tournament and because top players favor the deck, it will perform well as well.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading my article! I put a lot of time and thought into this Expanded Regionals and I hope you learned something reading this. I think If you want to win the event, you must have an answer to lock decks such as Sableye/Garbodor and Zoro Control. Choose your techs wisely and test them a lot!

Before Knoxville Regionals, I dropped my Patreon over at https://www.patreon.com/PeterJoltik on which I simply post the exact 60-card list I’m playing before an event. If you want access to that information or just want to support me, feel free to subscribe.

As always, feel free to DM me on Twitter @PeterJoltik if you have any questions or thoughts. I’m always getting questions about my decks and don’t mind answering them. Good luck to everyone competing in Richmond!


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Reader Interactions

5 replies

  1. patrick982421

    Hey Peter, I enjoyed the article! I’m glad someone finally covered Archie’s on this website for this format. I had a question about the Palkia-GX you included in your deck. On the list it says Palkia-GX UPR, and the link leads to that card, however there is also a different version printed in Forbidden Light, which you showed in the image when talking about the card. They are the same card essentially, but the FLI one is water type and the UPR one is dragon type. Which one did you intend to put in the list and why?

    • Adam Capriola  → patrick982421

      That’s my error—Palkia-GX UPR is the correct one. I’ve updated the image. Thank you for pointing this out! Peter can chime in regarding his preference for the Dragon-type version.

      • patrick982421  → PDXCanuck

        why use archies for that when you could be using it for blastoise/kingdra. it seems like there is not a very big fairy type meta right now, but the weakness to grass could be a problem for palkia in a vespiquen or plume matchup. as for advantages, I’m not expecting very many water weak decks. Even though no decks are weak to dragon, I think that sacrificing the ability to archies and the possibility to maybe hit harder on a fire deck is worth the lack of weakness to grass. Besides, if you have to archies for palkia, I think you’ve already lost.

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