A Good Aura

Marathon Watching, Expanded in Five Points, Lucario-GX, and Obligatory Bees

Hey there SixPrizes readers, it feels like I haven’t talked to you all since last decade (I just had to do it). I hope you all have had a good holiday season with friends and family. I was able to get some much needed relaxation and adjust to being a working adult. In the meantime, I didn’t play much Pokémon, but I did, however, keep an eye out on results and the evolving metagame of the Expanded format.

Marathon Watching


Going into Dallas Regionals 🇺🇸, we’re playing the only major Expanded event of the BLW–CEC block, and what makes it even more peculiar is that this will be the first major since the recent ban list has taken effect.

For the first time since City Championships were removed from the tournament circuit in favor of League Cups, we saw Marathons this holiday season. Places like Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and more hosted consecutive days of League Cups, mostly keeping to a single format.

As fellow writer Alex Schemanske talked about in his article, we saw rapidly evolving metagames emerge for the first time since the City Championships Marathons of old. While I was enjoying my time off, I was able to follow along closely and see the trends that emerged from these tournaments, and I have a couple of ideas about Expanded that I want to touch on before I move forward.

Expanded in Five Points

  1. The first thing to know about Expanded is that aggressive decks usually rise to the top when there isn’t a defined meta because Control decks do not know what cards to tech for certain matchups. My fellow writers have all discussed Turbo Dark in various capacities, and without sounding like a broken record I think that it is the clear favorite heading into this tournament. It is my number 1 pick because of the sheer consistency that the deck brings to the table and I favor a list similar to Alex Schemanske’s because of how many different outs it has to niche matchups while maintaining the focus of the deck, which is consistent aggression.
  2. Alolan Muk SUM and Garbodor BKP are back and ready to unleash their wrath. Muk or Garb plus an N to 1 or 2 is devastating to any deck in the format and leaves little outplay potential besides correctly thinning your deck. It’s an age-old combo that has dominated tournaments and this one should be no different. If you are playing an Ability-reliant deck, make sure your deck has a soft answer to either of these cards, whether that be Stealthy Hood, Field Blower, or Faba. There is simply no reason to take an auto-loss to these cards because they will be prevalent. Give yourself a fighting chance.
  3. Don’t forget about old decks. The Expanded format is nearing 50 sets in legality and decks that have been forced out of the format (by certain other decks doing well) may make their way back with new tools from Cosmic Eclipse and the bans of Control cards. Decks like Hitmonchan/Wobbuffet, Vespiquen, and Night March gain a lot from the absence of these degenerate cards because their aggression cannot be curbed as reliably.
  4. Do you enjoy playing the game? Because there are plenty of decks who don’t want to let you. Richmond Regionals showcased EggRow’s rise to prominence due to the sheer power of Item lock and Ability lock combined. Shock Lock, Trevenant, EggRow, and Seismitoad variants are all decks that catch the unaware player off-guard. They simply don’t allow your opponent to play the game, and if their deck doesn’t have an answer, they will get a free win. Remember to tech for the lock decks you expect to show up, but keep in mind that you can’t tech for everything.
  5. Be sure to have fun and know your deck. Expanded is a format where any deck can flourish if built correctly. Some people enjoy bringing the same deck, with slight variations, with them to events time and time again because it’s fun. Not only are they having fun, but these players are confident that they know their deck better than their opponent does. It’s one of the reasons that I bring Vespiquen with me to tournaments so often.


I made it vocal earlier that I believe Turbo Dark is one of the best picks for Dallas and it is my current safe choice. That being said, I expect a good majority of the field to be thinking the same way because of how consistent the deck seems.

A deck that I have personally been enjoying and believe can deal with any deck in the format (besides Mew Box) is Lucario-GX. It’s a deck that wins the war of attrition against anything that can’t take a 1HKO on it, and it has great type advantage against decks like Turbo Dark, Zoroark variants, and PikaRom. In Portland, I believe four Lucario-GX decks were in the field and three of them made it to the second day of play, so why aren’t more people playing it?

This is the list that I’ve been working on for the past week or so and I am very content with where it has ended up.

The List

Pokémon (17)

4 Riolu UPR

3 Lucario-GX

1 Lucario UNB

1 Buzzwole FLI

1 Sudowoodo BKP

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Diancie p

2 Remoraid CIN

2 Octillery BKT

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (34)

3 Professor Juniper

2 Acerola

2 Korrina

2 N NVI 92

1 Guzma

1 Pokémon Ranger

1 Teammates


4 Ultra Ball

3 VS Seeker

1 Field Blower

1 Great Catcher

1 Nest Ball

1 Professor’s Letter

1 Super Rod NVI 95


3 Focus Sash

1 Float Stone

1 Muscle Band


1 Scoop Up Cyclone


2 Brooklet Hill

2 Power Plant

Energy (9)

4 Strong Energy

3 Fighting Energy

2 Counter Energy


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 17

* 4 Riolu UPR 66
* 3 Lucario-GX PR-SM 100
* 1 Lucario UNB 126
* 1 Buzzwole FLI 77
* 1 Sudowoodo BKP 67
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Diancie p FLI 74
* 2 Remoraid CIN 22
* 2 Octillery BKT 33
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 137

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 1 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 1 Professor’s Letter BKT 146
* 1 Scoop Up Cyclone PLB 95
* 1 Super Rod NVI 95
* 4 Ultra Ball FLF 99
* 3 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 2 Power Plant UNB 183
* 2 Korrina FFI 95
* 2 Acerola BUS 112
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 2 N NVI 92
* 1 Pokémon Ranger STS 104
* 3 Professor Juniper DEX 98
* 1 Teammates PRC 160
* 1 Float Stone BKT 137
* 3 Focus Sash FFI 91
* 1 Muscle Band XY 121
* 2 Brooklet Hill GRI 120

##Energy - 9

* 4 Strong Energy FCO 115
* 3 Fighting Energy TK-Lycanroc 5
* 2 Counter Energy CIN 100

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79023 ******

This list looks fairly standard with a couple of key additions that I made to deal with some tricky matchups in my opinion. I’ll dive right into the meat of things with some of the tech cards that I chose to include.

Key Cards

1 Sudowoodo GRI, 1 Sudowoodo BKP

Playing a Fighting-type deck, it’s very easy to find the Roadblock Sudowoodo which prevents so many decks from functioning to their full potential, especially any aggressive decks that may rely on Sky Field or having certain Pokémon on their field.

The Watch and Learn Sudowoodo felt like a natural inclusion considering the deck has Counter Energy already included and Lucario-GX only takes a single Energy to attack, allowing time to set up Watch and Learn for any potential threats that may be coming.

1 Lucario UNB

This is our answer to GardEon/Aromatisse. Coupled with a Field Blower it is able to take a 1HKO on GardEon-GX with ease. If our opponent isn’t expecting this then we can snag 3 free Prize cards and even chase down their Energy, depending on where they’re located. The card isn’t the ultimate answer to GardEon, but it swings the matchup slightly back into your favor and creates a scary situation for GardEon to deal with if they ever have to hit into Lucario-GX.

1 Pokémon Ranger, 1 Teammates

Pokémon Ranger feels absolutely necessary in this format because of cards like Noivern-GX and Arceus & Dialga & Palkia-GX. The fact that any deck can include ADP-GX and instantly create a clock is terrifying to think about, and without Pokémon Ranger to nullify that effect, little targets like Riolu give up 2 Prize cards and the game escalates quickly.

Teammates is extremely valuable in a deck that relies on combos like this one, and finding any two pieces is better than playing a card like Rosa which may fetch 3 cards but not the exact 3 cards that you need.

1 Great Catcher, 1 Guzma

Great Catcher has been an incredible addition to this deck because it is searchable with Korrina and Teammates. Without using your Supporter for the turn, you can drag up a threat and eliminate it from the board.

Not playing Guzma or Lysandre in Expanded feels like a crime, so one is included as an option to drag things up multiple times, like lingering Shaymin-EX or Dedenne-GX.

3 Focus Sash, 1 Muscle Band, 1 Float Stone

Focus Sash is the part of the deck that makes Lucario so scary. Hitting into a Lucario-GX without taking a knockout is asking for it to be healed or your Active GX be taken out by Cantankerous Beatdown-GX. Focus Sash allows you to cling on and force your opponent to burn resources to even think about getting through and taking a Prize card.

Muscle Band is relevant to add damage in certain situations and is another activator for Lucario UNB to 1-shot a GardEon-GX.

The 1-of Float Stone is something I’ve been a bit hesitant about because so many Pokémon in this deck have high Retreat Costs and rely on getting damaged to be picked up. I would like to find room for a 2nd one, but it is currently my 61st card.

1 Scoop Up Cyclone

As far as ACE SPECs go, Scoop Up Cyclone is one of the most niche ones that has existed. I personally think that having a free way to pick up a damaged Lucario-GX + Focus Sash is invaluable, and being a card that is Korrina-searchable makes it even better.

Computer Search is a good alternative for setting up and Scramble Switch is a strong pick if you have a big beefy attacker like Buzzwole-GX or Landorus-EX in your build that you can pivot into.

2 Power Plant, 2 Brooklet Hill

This Stadium count may seem a little strange, but Power Plant is still one of the best cards in the game. Being able to N in tandem with Plant is one of the scarier combos this game has to offer and can really make it hard for your opponent to find the pieces to Knock Out a fresh Lucario-GX.

Brooklet Hill is invaluable for setting up and allows the deck to find all the pieces it needs as quickly as possible. I was thinking about cutting Brooklet Hill down to 1 in favor of a 3rd Plant, but the amount of times Brooklet Hill has bailed me out is too high.

4 Strong Energy, 2 Counter Energy, 3 Fighting Energy

4 Strong Energy feels like a must in any Fighting-type variant. With the inclusion of Lucario UNB, I had to put Counter Energy in the deck. 1 Counter Energy is too little in case it’s prized. The Counter Energy can be used by the Buzzwole and Sudowoodo as well, making it a worthwhile addition.

Having only 3 Fighting Energy feels a little scary, but so far I haven’t missed the 10th Energy at all, especially with Super Rod in the deck.

Final Thoughts on Lucario

Lucario is a pick I’m going to explore more in the coming days, and if the metagame feels right for me then I’ll bite the bullet, but Turbo Dark is still my top pick.

Surprise Bees

If you hadn’t figured it out by now, I was absolutely going to talk about an old favorite of mine, Vespiquen. I’ve been trying feverishly to make my favorite deck work in Expanded and have had a plethora of ideas on how to do it. Today I’ll share my favorite version of the list that I think is spearheading my options going into Dallas (along with Turbo Dark).

I tried Vespiquen variants involving Counter Energy, a Stinger-GX combo, and even ADP coupled with Double Dragon Energies to add more damage, and they all seemed to be falling a little short of the finish line. This is the build that I’m currently liking the most and plan on tweaking as the event gets closer.

The List

Pokémon (26)

4 Combee AOR

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

3 Eevee UPR 105

3 Flareon PLF

4 Unown AOR

1 Oranguru SUM

1 Exeggcute PLF

1 Mr. Mime GEN

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX

Trainer (29)

3 Professor Juniper

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Pokémon Ranger

1 Teammates


4 Battle Compressor

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Special Charge

1 Great Catcher

1 Rescue Stretcher


2 Choice Band

1 Float Stone


1 Computer Search


1 Parallel City

1 Power Plant

Energy (5)

4 Double Colorless Energy

1 Beast Energy p


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 26

* 4 Combee AOR 9
* 4 Vespiquen AOR 10
* 3 Eevee UPR 105
* 3 Flareon PLF 12
* 4 Unown AOR 30
* 1 Oranguru SUM 113
* 1 Exeggcute PLF 4
* 1 Mr. Mime GEN 52
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 106
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX UNB 1

##Trainer Cards - 29

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 264
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 3 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 1 Power Plant UNB 183
* 4 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 2 Special Charge STS 105
* 1 Teammates PRC 160
* 1 Guzma BUS 143
* 1 Parallel City BKT 145
* 1 Float Stone BKT 137
* 4 Ultra Ball FCO 113
* 1 Pokémon Ranger STS 104
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 1 N DEX 96

##Energy - 5

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

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79023 ******

This list isn’t that much different from the lists in the past, but with the loss of Marshadow SLG I had to find a way to make the deck stabilize until Vespiquen can reach those numbers to close out the game.

Three New Additions

The three additions I’ll briefly touch on are Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX + the Beast Energy p, Great Catcher, and Pokémon Ranger.

1 Pheromosa & Buzzwole-GX, 1 Beast Energy p

BuzzMosa is a card that can steal 2 Prizes off an unsuspecting opponent in the early game, be taken off the field using Parallel City, and be the cleanup you need to snag that 1 extra Prize card and close it out the late game.

1 Great Catcher

Great Catcher has been amazing in this deck (like it is in many others) as a card that lets you do whatever you want and play a Supporter right after. The deck is struggling with Mewtwo variants and some TAG TEAM decks, like ReshiRom, because of how high HPs now are, but I firmly believe the deck can still compete in this meta.

1 Pokémon Ranger

This card feels terrible to include in an aggressive deck like this one that just wants to be using Teammates or Juniper every single turn to find the pieces that you need. But with Noivern-GX gaining popularity and ADP turning your Vespiquens into Vespiquen-EXs, a solution is needed to slow the game down into your favor.

After playing against (and losing to) a Mewtwo deck in Portland that used Noivern-GX against me, I felt like the series was winnable and should have been won if I included a copy of Pokémon Ranger at the time. The card may prove to be completely useless throughout this weekend, but a single game that it helps me win will prove its worth.


That’s all from me for this installment of Vespiquen Monthly, but I will be back before Oceania Internationals with my take on the new set and how I will be approaching my testing for the new format and new rules coming up. Day 1 of Dallas also happens to be my 24th birthday, and there’s no other place I’d be spending it than with all of you in one of my favorite places, a Pokémon tournament.

Until next time,


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Reader Interactions

2 replies

  1. MikePNL

    We have one expanded cup in europe this weekend so i’m going to play this bees list

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