Ding-Dong Dingo

The Post-OCIC Meta, Two for Collinsville (Straight Zacian V, Zacian V/Bronzong), and Understanding Expanded as an RPS Format

Hello everybody! Today I’m going to analyze both formats, and briefly break down a deck I’ve been working on for Collinsville 🇺🇸. No time for a long intro, let’s go!

The Post-OCIC Meta

The main story of OCIC 🇦🇺 was the utter dominance of ADP/Zacian V. Nearly half of Day 2 competitors played it, and it took up seven of the Top 16 slots. The rest of the decks were essentially tried-and-true favorites updated with Quick Ball and Professor’s Research: Mew3, Malamar, PikaRom, Ability ReshiZard, and Baby Blacephalon.

One deck that surprised me by living up to its hype was Zacian V Mill. Including the player that got DQ’d for an incorrect decklist, three of the four that made Day 2 got Top 16, and two made Top 8. I think if the tournament was played again with more people playing Mill, it would have done even better. For now, I’d steer clear of this deck, because players will go out of their way to tech for it. People hate losing to Mill.

We did see one player—Tim Bartels—surprise the field with an Obstagoon deck, making use of Virizion-GX to pick up support Pokémon, leaving only Obstagoons in play. To me, any deck centered around getting multiple Stage 2 Pokémon into play is too inconsistent to bring to tournaments, especially for a Stage 2 that relies on your opponent not having ways around it. I don’t think Obstagoon will ever be popular enough to justify teching for it (outside of local metas), but if any significant amount of players do, the deck becomes unplayable.

When I look at the results of Melbourne, the continued success of Mew3 and Ability ReshiZard interest me. There seems to be nothing that can stop these decks when they are properly teched and in good hands (and they draw Welder). If you want to do well at tournaments, just play one of the decks that met in the finals. They are generically powerful and consistent enough, with options for most matchups. ADP/Zacian V is another strong deck that you could pick up, but you will have to deal with a lot of mirror matches, which tend to be pretty draw-based.

Straight Zacian V

Straight Zacian V is the deck I’ve been working on non-stop since completing my last article. Though not quite as insane as in Standard, Zacian V will instantly be a top deck in Expanded. My list isn’t anything especially exciting, but you will need to be prepared to beat something like it for Collinsville.


Pokémon (13)

1 Chansey HIF

1 Blissey LOT

3 Zacian V

2 Dhelmise GRI

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Oranguru SSH

1 Sudowoodo GRI

Trainer (36)

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Colress

1 Guzma

1 N


4 Metal Saucer

4 Quick Ball

3 Max Elixir

3 VS Seeker

2 Field Blower

2 Ultra Ball

1 Battle Compressor

1 Great Catcher

1 Rescue Stretcher


3 Float Stone

2 Choice Band


1 Dowsing Machine


3 Sky Field

Energy (11)

11 M


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 13

* 1 Chansey HIF 46
* 1 Blissey LOT 153
* 3 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Dhelmise GRI 59
* 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Keldeo-EX BCR 49
* 1 Oranguru SSH 148
* 1 Sudowoodo GRI 66

##Trainer Cards - 36

* 3 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 1 Colress PLS 118
* 1 N FCO 105
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 3 Max Elixir BKP 102
* 3 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 2 Ultra Ball SLG 68
* 2 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Battle Compressor PHF 92
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 3 Sky Field ROS 89

##Energy - 11

* 11 M Energy Energy 8

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79655 ******

This list aims to be as consistent as possible, while being able to hit big enough numbers to KO opposing TAG TEAM Pokémon. If you’ve been watching Expanded over the past few months, this list should look very familiar—the engine is nearly identical to Turbo Dark decks. I originally built it with lots of neat techs, but the more I refined it, the more it degenerated into Grant Manley’s Turbo Dark list from Dallas 🇺🇸.

Key Cards

3 Zacian V, 0 other attackers

In making the list as straightforward and deadly as possible, you inevitably lose flexibility. You have one attacker, and it has one attack. Live by the Brave Blade, die by the Brave Blade. Without single-Prize alternatives or ways to take additional Prize cards, as Turbo Dark has Mew FCO and Guzzlord CEC/Guzzlord-GX, this build is weak to single-Prize attacking decks.

Weakness against single-Prizers is made up for by Zacian V’s absurd trading potential. This card can trade 2-for-1 with TAG TEAMs! His high HP is out of reach of important Pokémon-GX as well, like Zoroark-GX.

1-1 Blissey LOT

Blissey feels like a natural tech in this deck, shoring up both the Shock Lock and EggRow matchups. Happiness Supplement makes it impossible for Shock Lock to lock you, and Powerful Slap gives you a way to KO Vileplume BUS. Chansey HIF has the highest HP and lowest Retreat Cost of the available Chansey cards.

1 Keldeo-EX, 3 Float Stone

I gushed in my previous article about Float Stone. I really love this card, and this is a deck that can abuse it beautifully. Since sometimes your Zacian V won’t be KO’d coming into your turn, you will need to be ready to bring him to the Bench and back Active to reset the effect of Brave Blade. If we start Zacian V, we also need a way to switch him to the Bench so he can receive Energy from Metal Saucer and Max Elixir.

You have a choice between Keldeo-EX and Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX; the former gets turned off by Wobbuffet PHF, and the latter by Mimikyu CEC 97. While Wobbuffet is certainly more popular than Mimikyu, you can simply put the 1st Float Stone on your Active Pokémon against a Wobbuffet, whereas Mimikyu would turn off you Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX for the entire game.

2 Dhelmise GRI, 2 Choice Band, 1 Oranguru SSH, 3 Sky Field

Dhelmise GRI is my preferred method of supplementing Choice Band to reach TAG TEAM numbers, simply because it is permanent. A Galarian Zigzagoon SSH ping can be healed and only affects 1 Pokémon, and Hypnotoxic Laser is unsearchable and will be wasted if you find it too early. The downside of Dhelmise is that it takes up Bench space forever, whereas Galarian Zigzagoon can be discarded immediately (when Sky Field is removed from play), but this deck wants extra Bench-sitters anyway, so you can discard Shaymin-EX and Dedenne-GX.

Another excellent Bench-sitter for this deck is Oranguru SSH. In Standard, we see this card being used to preserve Custom Catcher before Professor’s Research, and it fulfills a similar role here in Expanded, preserving VS Seeker. It also can place M Energy on top of your deck to guarantee attachments with Max Elixir and Intrepid Sword.

Though this deck doesn’t really need Sky Field—you can get by with close Bench management—the freedom to overextend with Shaymin-EX and Dedenne-GX and still have space for other Bench-sitters is very nice.

Potential Inclusions

1 Jirachi p, 1 Mr. Mime DET

In combination with Oranguru SSH, these guys can take an extra Prize card out of nowhere! This is something I badly want to be good, but I haven’t put enough time into testing it to confirm if it’s worth the slots. One unfortunate fact of this combo is that you cannot draw Jirachi p too early (because he cannot be recovered with Rescue Stretcher), and another is that you need several Bench spaces for it. On the bright side, you will naturally prize the Jirachi p 10% of the time.

1 Cobalion-GX or 1-1 Galarian Rapidash SSH over Blissey

All of these options counter Special Conditions, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Both Cobalion-GX and Galarian Rapidash have Abilities that are preventative, which means they stop a Turbo Dark deck from ever using Dead End-GX. (You would choose Galarian Rapidash over Cobalion-GX for the Shock Lock matchup, as Alolan Muk SUM shuts off Cobalion-GX.)

I don’t think Dead End-GX is a good reason to pick one of these over Blissey, but it’s worth keeping in mind for other decks that might have naturally worse Turbo Dark matchups.

1 Wobbuffet PHF

One thing this deck somewhat lacks is something to throw Active at the end of the first turn, when you are forced to go first. Wobbuffet would be a nice 1-Prizer that you can use to slow down your opponent for these situations, if not for it awkwardly shutting off your own Intrepid Sword. Still, I could see myself including it. Make sure to swap Keldeo-EX for Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX if you do.

Zacian V/Bronzong

Here’s another version of Zacian V that I’ve worked on. I don’t think I was able to bring it to a competitive level, but wanted to share it anyway, in case you can see something I missed.

Pokémon (15)

3 Bronzor TEU

3 Bronzong PHF

1 Bronzong BREAK

3 Zacian V

2 Exeggcute PLF

1 Dedenne-GX

1 Dialga-GX FLI

1 Shaymin-EX ROS

Trainer (33)

2 Professor Sycamore

1 Colress

1 Guzma

1 N


4 Battle Compressor

4 Metal Saucer

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

3 Quick Ball

1 Field Blower

1 Great Catcher

1 Rescue Stretcher

1 Switch


3 Float Stone

1 Choice Band


1 Dowsing Machine

Energy (12)

12 M


Copy List

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

##Pokémon - 15

* 3 Bronzor TEU 100
* 3 Bronzong PHF 61
* 1 Bronzong BREAK FCO 62
* 3 Zacian V SSH 138
* 2 Exeggcute PLF 4
* 1 Dedenne-GX UNB 57
* 1 Dialga-GX FLI 82
* 1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

##Trainer Cards - 33

* 2 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
* 1 Colress PLS 118
* 1 N FCO 105
* 1 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Battle Compressor PHF 92
* 4 VS Seeker PHF 109
* 4 Metal Saucer SSH 170
* 4 Ultra Ball SLG 68
* 3 Quick Ball SSH 179
* 1 Field Blower GRI 125
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 1 Great Catcher CEC 192
* 1 Switch SSH 183
* 1 Dowsing Machine PLS 128
* 3 Float Stone BKT 137
* 1 Choice Band GRI 121

##Energy - 12

* 12 M Energy Energy 8

Total Cards - 60

****** via SixPrizes: https://sixprizes.com/?p=79655 ******

This build removes damage modifiers and Max Elixir for a Bronzong PHF line. The idea is that you will have an equally fast early game, with a more solid mid and late game thanks to Metal Links building up more attackers throughout. To finish off TAG TEAM Pokémon that Brave Blade fell short of, and for the potential of taking multiple KOs, you gain Bronzong BREAK. The final perk of sustained Energy acceleration is support for Dialga-GX, who can steal 2 Prize cards off a Shaymin-EX (or something bigger with Choice Band).

Everything else for the list is either unchanged or pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t spend any time analyzing the card choices. This build has its benefits, but feels too fair for Expanded at the moment.

Understanding Expanded as an RPS Format

When I go into Expanded events, I like to break the format down into a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The three categories of decks are:

  1. Powerful GXs (usually TAG TEAM) or Pokémon V,
  2. Single-Prize decks that hunt larger Pokémon, and
  3. Control/Stall decks that prey on single-Prize decks.

After looking at this list, you can probably start sorting decks in your mind—Turbo Dark and Zacian V in the first category, Ultra Necrozma/Garbodor, Night March, Vespiquen, and Hitmonchan/Wobbuffet in the second, and Sableye/Garb, EggRow (kind of), Stall, and Cinccino Control in the third. Why each archetype beats another is also fairly straightforward:

  • single-Prize decks naturally trade up against GX and V decks,
  • Control/Stall decks exploit single-Prizers’ reliance on Special Energy cards, and
  • GX/V decks overcome Controll/Stall with their basic Energy acceleration.

Of course, my RPS categorization isn’t perfect. Snorlax VMAX and TinaChomp are both GX/V decks that use Special Energy. Shock Lock’s matchups are entirely separate from this apparent RPS. Mew3 and ZoroGarb decks excel at picking apart Control decks, at the expense of poorer “mirror” matches against other GX/V decks.

RPS describes how the matchups play out, but not necessarily ebbs and flows of popularity for the archetypes. Control/Stall decks are naturally limited in popularity due to their difficulty (both deckbuilding and play) and the rarity of Tropical Beach. GX decks, on the other hand, are fairly easy to build and understand, especially for players who don’t want to dedicate much time testing Expanded.

When you look at a true RPS format, your goal is to predict which of the archetypes will be the least popular, then beat the other two. For the two reasons above, Expanded isn’t a true RPS. The purpose of bringing up RPS is to help you better understand Expanded as a format, when every Expanded tournament can feel like a pseudo-random coagulation of decks.

So, what is Expanded looking like right now? At Dallas Regionals, we saw an enormous amount of GX decks, especially TAG TEAM decks. It turned out that RoxieChomp was the best at beating other TAG TEAM decks, and thus we saw a great amount of success out of that deck. The only single-Prize deck that showed up was Ultra Necrozma, and it had reasonable success as well, with only a few Control decks sprinkled in.

Following the RPS model, we would expect single-Prize decks to spring up more in Collinsville. Control/Stall therefore looks like a good call, but keep in mind that GX/V decks will always be abundant. (The new release of Zacian V and Snorlax VMAX don’t help either.) The high turnout of GX decks at Dallas will probably scare away Control/Stall for Collinsville. Another factor is the first turn rule change, which hits slower decks with a high chance of being donked. In my deck choice for Collinsville, I will definitely be neglecting those matchups to have better chances against attacking decks.

All this is to say, don’t look at Expanded as a format with 25 decks, but one of just a few archetypes. I know it can be overwhelming—hopefully this segment helps you see it in a different way! If you can’t find a deck that solves the metagame using the RPS model, you can step out of it, playing a robust, well-rounded deck like ZoroGarb, or linear, matchup-roulette decks like Shock Lock.


I actually don’t like the feel of Expanded at the moment, only because of the first turn rule change. Not being able to attack on the first turn was enough of a drawback because decks were already so aggressive. Adding no Supporter for the first player, in a format with such powerful Supporters as Brigette, threatens the existence of setup decks, who can easily be donked when forced to go first. I hope I’m wrong, but Evolution Pokémon appear to take a big hit with the rule change.

In any case, I’m happy to be back on the grind. Collinsville will be the first major in three months that I will really try for. Thanks for reading, and take care!


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