The Mother Lode

Wobbuffet/Sableye V for Collinsville and in the Concept Cave with Torkoal V, Stonjourner VMAX, and Zacian V
On the hunt for gems in Sword & Shield Expanded.

Welcome back, SixPrizes readers! Since I won’t be in Australia, I’ve been having an absolute blast playing Expanded over the last few weeks, a luxury I’m grateful for. Expanded feels shaken up more so by the first turn rule change than Sword & Shield itself, but there’s still a ton of new cards that have been super fun to play with. I’ve had a great time staying far away from the nightmare that is Cinccino Mill in Standard, and instead focusing on what now somehow feels like a more fair format thanks to the wide card pool and variety of strategies.

For those of you curious, I tweeted about Pikachu & Zekrom-GX’s viability in Expanded a while ago, but I’ll share the same thoughts here: the deck simply doesn’t work in Expanded. There are better midrange decks in Expanded, and you can’t afford to take a slower approach in Expanded. I would be shocked, no pun intended, to see my favorite card have any success in Collinsville 🇺🇸. Today, I’ll be sharing a new deck that I’ve put the most time into, as well as three Sword & Shield concepts that I’ve created lists for. Before I hop into it, I’d like to thank John Mostowy, Caleb Patton, Kyle Warner, and Carter Anderson for helping me work on these lists.

Wobbuffet/Sableye V

The following deck is the list I’ve put the most time into for Collinsville Regionals, which is just a little over two weeks away! For those of you that don’t know, Collinsville Regionals in 2018 was my first Day 2 finish, where I played Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, so the tournament holds a special place in my heart. Enough nostalgia, though; here’s the list:

Decklist

Pokémon (19)

4 Zubat PLS 53

3 Golbat PHF

2 Crobat PHF

4 Wobbuffet PHF

2 Sableye V

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

1 Sudowoodo BKP

1 Tapu Lele-GX

1 Yveltal-GX

Trainer (32)

3 Professor Juniper

2 Teammates

1 Cynthia

1 Guzma

1 N

 

4 Mysterious Treasure

4 Trainers’ Mail

3 Quick Ball

3 VS Seeker

1 Counter Catcher

1 Dark Patch

1 Devolution Spray

1 Field Blower

1 Nest Ball

1 Rescue Stretcher

3 Float Stone

1 Computer Search

Energy (9)

5 D

4 Counter

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 4 Zubat PLS 53
* 3 Golbat PHF 32
* 2 Crobat PHF 33
* 4 Wobbuffet PHF 36
* 2 Sableye V SSH 120
* 1 Mimikyu CEC 97
* 1 Sudowoodo BKP 67
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 1 Yveltal-GX FLI 79

##Trainer Cards - 32

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 4 Mysterious Treasure FLI 113
* 4 Trainers’ Mail ROS 92
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 3 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 1 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 3 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Cynthia UPR 119
* 2 Teammates PRC 141
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 N NVI 92
* 3 Float Stone PLF 99
* 1 Counter Catcher CIN 91
* 1 Dark Patch DEX 93
* 1 Devolution Spray FCO 95
* 3 VS Seeker PHF 109

##Energy - 9

* 4 Counter Energy CIN 100
* 5 Darkness Energy SWSHEnergy 7

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79477 ******

There’s a ton to unpack here, and I’ll get into the specific counts in a moment, but the essential concept is to slow your opponents down by going second and starting Wobbuffet PHF. From there, you’ll quickly find that there are tons of different paths to victory in the amalgamation of Expanded strategies. In most, however, you’ll place damage with Golbat PHF’s Sneaky Bite Ability, before pivoting into Yveltal-GX, Sableye V, or Sudowoodo BKP.

Despite the techy and complicated nature of the deck, most of its matchups are extremely linear: blow up 2–3 of their attackers with yours and clean out the game. I know that sounds diminutive of the Expanded format (and it is at some level) but playing a few games with the deck and sequencing Prize cards correctly often yields repetitive strategies for taking all 6 Prize cards. I’m happy to answer any matchup-specific questions that you might have in the comments below, through Twitter, or on Facebook.

Key Cards

4 Wobbuffet PHF

Some of you may remember from my previous Expanded articles that I had a certain affinity for our purple friend, and when starting my testing, that’s where my mind first went. I said previously that Wobbuffet was an incredible card in Expanded; now, the card feels downright disgusting. As counts of cards like Shaymin-EX ROS, Dedenne-GX, and Zacian V continue to rise for their first-turn playability, Wobbuffet only gains traction as a powerful card for gaining an advantage in the early game. We play 4 copies to maximize the odds of starting it; otherwise, this deck can struggle to keep up with the more aggressive decks in the format. Wobbuffet also serves as a pinch attacker in certain matchups, like against Mewtwo & Mew-GX and Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor-GX/Vileplume BUS decks.

1 Sudowoodo BKP, 1 Yveltal-GX, 2 Sableye V

These are the core attackers of our deck, and each serves a different purpose. Sudowoodo is an incredible tech going into Collinsville with the release of Zacian V, which conveniently hits for more damage than it can take. Sudowoodo also serves to Knock Out cards like Snorlax VMAX, Zoroark-GX, and Guzzlord CEC, to name a few. Yveltal-GX, however, may be the most broken card in this deck. Its GX attack, Doom Count-GX, wipes out any Pokémon with two Golbat pings, which allows this deck to trade extremely favorably with TAG TEAM decks. The combo of these two cards—Sudowoodo and Yveltal-GX—can sometimes be enough to beat TAG TEAM decks by themselves. Sableye V is another card that I wrote about when initially evaluating Sword & Shield, and the card has great numbers for helping to finish out the game or for taking an early lead. With 3 damage counters Crazy Claws hits for 190 damage (totaling 220) which Knocks Out virtually every Pokémon V released, and with 4 damage counters it hits for 250 damage (totaling 290), Knocking Out virtually all TAG TEAM Pokémon-GX. One of my favorite things about this deck is its ability to hit huge numbers.

4-3-2 Crobat PHF, 1 Devolution Spray

This is the main engine for placing damage counters on our opponent’s Pokémon behind an early Wobbuffet PHF. Generally, the 3 Golbat will aid in 1 KO, while the 2 Crobat will allow for a 2nd or 3rd knockout when accompanied by Sudowoodo and Sableye V. Two important things to note:

  1. first, your initial priority should always be to establish 2–3 Zubat, and
  2. second, these Pokémon can serve as efficient attackers. Don’t forget the value in spreading 10 everywhere with Golbat early, or of 30 damage in two spots with Crobat in the late game.

4 Counter Energy, 1 Counter Catcher, 2 Teammates

While Wobbuffet’s Bide Barricade is a powerful Ability, I wouldn’t exactly call its 110 HP bulky. Often, you’ll be sacrificing an early Prize to activate cards like Counter Energy, Counter Catcher, and Teammates. These cards allow you to find the massive swing turns that this deck runs on, and clean up the game with a few huge knockouts against TAG TEAM decks.

Card Considerations

1-1 Cofagrius PLF 56

This card saw some hype leading up to Dallas Regionals 🇺🇸 in combination with Garchomp & Giratina-GX as a potential rogue deck to win the tournament. While the Roxie version ended up taking down the event, I haven’t stopped looking for a way to force my opponent to take Prizes. With a counter-based strategy like this one, sometimes your opponent will simply choose to not attack rather than to set themselves up for a powerful revenge knockout. As a result, this card would force your opponent into a disadvantage state sooner by forcing them ahead, allowing Sableye V to come in and take a huge knockout. Cofagrigus also serves as an N-proof way to place damage, assuming your opponent isn’t at 1 Prize. Unfortunately, the main reason this isn’t in the deck is because I’m afraid of damaging the deck’s consistency. If I can find a way to implement it, it’s my top inclusion.

Increased Counter Attackers

As mentioned before, Sudowoodo carries this deck through a certain amount of games. With that in mind, it may be worth considering a 2nd copy for the card’s overwhelmingly powerful effect. Other counter attackers that hit for relevant Weakness include Mimikyu GRI, Mimikyu TEU, or Tapu Koko SM31. These attackers also help to shore up shaky 1-Prize matchups like Ultra Necrozma. As of right now, a 2nd Sudowoodo would be my top choice out of these three, because it’s the least situational, but all of these cards have utility and potential for inclusion.

Damage Modifiers

Examples of this include Galarian Zigzagoon SSH, Shrine of Punishment, Choice Band, and Muscle Band, which have all been in the deck at one point or another. When playing games with this deck, it perpetually feels like I want one of these cards, but then when I add them, they become dead in other matchups. Amongst these cards, Galarian Zigzagoon is the one I’m most likely to re-include, because I enjoy its immediate effect. Just know, however, that I cut the card because I wanted to minimize non-Wobbuffet starters.

Pokémon Ranger

Here we are again, old friend. This card seems to waver in and out of my Expanded lists, and sometimes feels absolutely necessary, while other times acting as a completely dead card. I love the idea of countering a number of strategies (Flash Ray, Distort, Sonic Volume, to name a few) but the card perpetually feels awful when I try playing it. I’m not convinced that the card is actually worth playing right now, but it’s one that I always find myself considering in the days leading up to a tournament.

Carbink FCO 49

Want to destroy the Control or Stall decks that saw success in Dallas? Here’s the tech for you! All you need to do is pick up Devolution Spray with Sableye V’s Lode Search attack and continue Golbat and Crobat Abilities until you win. If they try to play Silent Lab, no problem! Just Lode Search your Field Blower. The matchup can be bizarre depending on their variant, but if you choose to play this card and try to truly grapple with Control or Stall variants, just be careful of Girafarig LOT.

Concept Cave

Welcome to a new article segment referred to as the Concept Cave! Essentially, this is a place for me to share lists that I’ve been brainstorming, but are not completely optimized yet. In addition, some of these ideas are just that: ideas. They’re formative, and may provide inspiration for a greater deck, but may have some underlying issues or tough matchups that don’t warrant an in-depth breakdown. Let’s hop into it!

Torkoal V

Pokémon (14)

2 Slugma LOT

1 Magcargo-GX

1 Magcargo CES

3 Torkoal V

3 Volcanion-EX

2 Oranguru SSH

1 Oricorio-GX

1 Zacian V

Trainer (34)

4 Welder

 

4 Fire Crystal

4 Nest Ball

3 Fiery Flint

3 Heavy Ball

3 Random Receiver

1 Field Blower

1 Great Catcher

1 Quick Ball

1 VS Seeker

3 Float Stone

2 Choice Band

1 Computer Search

 

2 Sky Field

1 Heat Factory p

Energy (12)

12 R

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 14

* 2 Slugma LOT 43
* 1 Magcargo-GX LOT 44
* 1 Magcargo CES 24
* 3 Torkoal V SSH 24
* 3 Volcanion-EX STS 26
* 2 Oranguru SSH 148
* 1 Oricorio-GX CEC 95
* 1 Zacian V SSH 138

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 3 Random Receiver FCO 109
* 1 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 4 Welder UNB 189
* 3 Fiery Flint DRM 60
* 3 Heavy Ball NXD 88
* 4 Nest Ball SUM 123
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 4 Fire Crystal UNB 173
* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 3 Float Stone PLF 99
* 2 Sky Field ROS 89
* 1 Heat Factory p LOT 178
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192

##Energy - 12

* 12 R Energy SMEnergy 2

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79477 ******

This entire deck is based off of abusing the new Oranguru SSH’s Primate Wisdom to place a R Energy on the top of your deck for Torkoal V’s Combustion Pillar, then use cards like Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up and Choice Band to find a large knockout. Oricorio-GX, Zacian V, and Welder provide draw support. The deck tries to limit the number of cards that discard from hand, choosing to play thicker Heavy Ball and Nest Ball counts so that energy cards are preserved for Steam Up and Primate Wisdom. Sky Field offers a way to clear liabilities from the board, extend Bench space for extra attackers, and to thin your hand down for a late-game N. I briefly included a Fresh Water Set to deal with Roxie variants before realizing that Mimikyu CEC 97 only shuts of Pokémon-GX Abilities. I think that 1 Stealthy Hood would simply be a better alternative.

The biggest thing that this deck struggles with is disruption. As you can see, it runs a Welder-based engine which uses Random Receiver rather than Tapu Lele-GX or Dedenne-GX. As a result, the deck cannot play cards like N or Marnie which are typically used to slow down your opponent. A structural reassessment of the deck could use Professor Sycamore, N, Guzma, Battle Compressor, more VS Seeker, perhaps Blacksmith, and fewer Welder to create a better early game, but that hurts the streamlined ideas that went into this build of the deck.

The second part of the disruption factor is that this deck can struggle with Ability Lock or a knockout of Oricorio-GX paired with a N to a low hand. While Magcargo CES and Oranguru can provide a pseudo-Computer Search each turn, sometimes this isn’t enough to carry you through the game. One consideration for this an Oranguru SUM or Lucky Egg.

A few other ideas for building this deck differently have come to mind, but I haven’t put together lists that I like as much as the one I like above. Besides the previously mentioned traditional Supporter engine, another idea features more of a focus on Magcargo-GX, abusing Red & Blue and Blacksmith, and running a more traditional Supporter lineup. The deck can easily hit for 280 on the second turn, but it requires evolution, and can stutter in the late game. I’ll be building a list for this soon to see how it matches up against the current format.

Carbink BREAK/Regirock/Stonjourner VMAX

Pokémon (19)

3 Stonjourner V

3 Stonjourner VMAX

3 Carbink FCO 49

2 Carbink BREAK

2 Remoraid BKT 32

2 Octillery BKT

2 Regirock XY49

1 Diancie p

1 Sudowoodo BKP

Trainer (33)

3 Professor Juniper

2 Cynthia

2 Ninja Boy

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Teammates

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

2 Battle Compressor

1 Evolution Incense

1 Field Blower

1 Rescue Stretcher

3 Float Stone

2 Choice Band

1 Karate Belt

1 Computer Search

 

3 Brooklet Hill

Energy (8)

4 F

4 Strong

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 19

* 3 Stonjourner V SSH 115
* 3 Stonjourner VMAX SSH 116
* 3 Carbink FCO 49
* 2 Carbink BREAK FCO 51
* 2 Remoraid BKT 32
* 2 Octillery BKT 33
* 2 Regirock PR-XY 49
* 1 Diancie p FLI 74
* 1 Sudowoodo BKP 67

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 3 Brooklet Hill GRI 120
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
* 1 Karate Belt UNM 201
* 4 Ultra Ball DEX 102
* 3 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 2 Ninja Boy STS 103
* 2 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 2 Cynthia UPR 119
* 1 Teammates PRC 141
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 1 N NVI 92
* 3 Float Stone PLF 99
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109

##Energy - 8

* 4 Strong Energy FCO 115
* 4 F Energy SMEnergy 6

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79477 ******

This concept is probably the most convoluted one I’ve come up with in a while, and that’s saying something. Essentially, you attack with Carbink BREAK’s Diamond Gift attack and attach Strong or F Energy to Regirock XY49. Then, you Ninja Boy into Stonjourner V and evolve into Stonjourner VMAX, using cards like Diancie p, Choice Band, and Strong Energy to hit for 270 damage and tank through your opponent’s attacks.

This deck is perplexing, to say the least. On one hand, I really like the concept and what it has to offer. An evolved attacker, a difficult-to-hamper setup, and the ability to trade through other TAG TEAM decks. However, healing doesn’t naturally fit into the deck, because it’s not sustainable to continue setting up Carbink BREAKs throughout the game and using cards like Acerola or AZ slow down the deck’s already sluggish pace. As a result, Stonjourner VMAX’s massive 330 HP can struggle to be taken advantage of, especially with cards like Darkrai-GX being as popular as they are. A Weakness to Grass typing isn’t great either.

Despite this, there’s no arguing with Stonjourner VMAX’s ability to take two hits. It can confidently run through 2 TAG TEAMs, destroy Control or Stall variants, and force opponents to play 8-Prize games. Octillery provides a solid form of N-proofing not found in many decks, and it’s difficult to hamper the setup of the deck once it gets going. Sudowoodo can also serve to even out the Prize trade and take revenge knockouts early thanks to Karate Belt, which is worth a powerful boon in Expanded.

After playing a few games with an Expanded Fighting Box deck featuring Buzzwole-GX, Buzzwole FLI, and Regirock CES, I decided the deck was too fair and ultimately wasn’t good enough to beat many of the TAG TEAM decks that simply outclass its damage output. In terms of Fighting decks that don’t play 4 Lillie’s Poké Doll (although I’ve considered the card in this deck, and it may be worth exploring), this seems like the correct way to play Fighting decks moving forward, even if the list could use some refinement.

Zacian V

Pokémon (14)

1 Meltan UNB

1 Melmetal-GX

3 Zacian V

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Dhelmise GRI

1 Exeggcute PLF

1 Kartana-GX

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Magearna-EX

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Sudowoodo GRI

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainer (35)

2 Professor Juniper

1 Guzma

1 N

1 Teammates

 

4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Max Elixir

2 Battle Compressor

2 Field Blower

2 Ultra Ball

1 Great Catcher

1 Rescue Stretcher

2 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

1 Computer Search

 

2 Chaotic Swell

Energy (11)

11 M

 

Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 14

* 1 Meltan UNB 128
* 1 Melmetal-GX PR-SM 178
* 3 Zacian V SSH 138
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Dhelmise GRI 59
* 1 Exeggcute PLF 4
* 1 Kartana-GX CIN 70
* 1 Keldeo-EX BCR 49
* 1 Magearna-EX STS 75
* 1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66
* 1 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60

##Trainer Cards - 35

* 1 Computer Search BCR 137
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 2 Ultra Ball DEX 102
* 1 N DEX 96
* 2 Professor Juniper PLB 84
* 2 Chaotic Swell CEC 187
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 2 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 92
* 1 Teammates PRC 141
* 2 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 3 Max Elixir BKP 102
* 2 Float Stone PLF 99
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109

##Energy - 11

* 11 Metal Energy SMEnergy 8

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79477 ******

Finally, the big card everyone is talking about: Zacian V! This card is absolutely insane in both formats, and in Expanded, it gains from cards like Dhelmise GRI, Choice Band, and Max Elixir, to name a few. The concept of this deck isn’t too difficult, I think: get a Zacian V going as soon as possible and start trading with other, less efficient attackers. The deck uses Keldeo-EX to add a little extra mobility thanks to its Rush In ability combined with Float Stone, and uses Melmetal-GX as an answer to Vileplume BUS decks roaming around.

I’m a huge fan of Zacian V variants (try saying that five times fast!) in both formats, but particularly in Expanded. The deck isn’t receiving a massive amount of hype, but it trades extremely efficiently with most of the format and has one of the best Abilities in the game. I particularly like this deck’s ability to run through RoxieChomp and Mew3 variants, and a Grass Resistance only serves to further this card’s spot in the metagame.

The deck isn’t perfect though: it can struggle with mid- or late-game disruption when attempting to set up a 2nd or 3rd Zacian V, which is probably the greatest struggle for the deck overall. To counteract this situation, his deck can just N to 1 or 2 cards and use Intrepid Sword to try and set up a game-winning situation. Another card I’ve considered in the deck is Solgaleo p to force a 7-Prize game, but I haven’t found a pressing need for it yet.

Conclusion

This is the first time that the rules have been changed in an important way during my seven years playing, and I couldn’t be more excited for Collinsville Regionals. It’s always a ton of fun to see the massive crowd that shows up, and the format is really shaping up to be an exciting adventure leading into Charlotte 🇺🇸 a month later. Although my opinion may change as I’ll invariably lose to some kind of insane combination in the middling rounds of the day, I am genuinely looking forward to seeing what innovations rise out of the new format and rule changes. These blind formats, while occasionally frustrating, are often extremely fun to attend and play in live, and I always look forward to seeing all the amazing people that make up this wonderful community.

Of course, as always, you’re more than welcome to send me any constructive criticism or questions in the comments below, on Twitter, or on Facebook at Em Taylor. I always appreciate any kind of feedback so that I can produce better articles for you, the reader, and to feel more satisfied with the work that I’m producing. I hope that your testing, with concepts I shared today, or those of your own, goes well and that you’re able to say hi in Collinsville. Until then, good luck at your respective tournaments, and don’t forget to have fun.


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