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Nikolas Campbell

Trying to BREAK the Format - Looking Forward to Regionals and the New Set

Introducing my two favorite decks for Expanded!

02/12/2016 by Nikolas Campbell

Hey, 60cards readers! It's Nikolas Campbell and I'm glad to be writing another article again. As many people know, Regionals are just right around the corner and everyone is looking for the right deck or the right list. With the Expanded format, there are so many decks that you could possibly come up with the 21 legal sets plus promos, there is an almost infinite amount of combinations you can come up with to make a deck. To me as a deck builder this is a very difficult challenge, but if you can make deck that can at least do well in this format, and have very good chance of winning the tournament, it's very rewarding. Over the past month, I really have been testing and talking with many great players about many different decks and ideas. Today I want to go over the some of the more interesting ideas we came up with and the thought process behind them. Also for the people not going to Regionals, I will go over what I think are the best cards in the BREAKpoint set.

Expanded Format

Before I go into the decks, I want to go into what I think the format will look like going into the first and second week of Regionals. Like I said, there are many different decks that come out of this format, but I think there are four decks that will see a lot of play than the other archetypes. They're Vespiquen, Seismitoad/Giratina, Sableye/Garbodor, and Yveltal. All of these deck did very well last fall Regionals and the cities format which was the same as the Regionals format and all these decks should be considered tier one. For this Regionals, you need a way to either to beat these decks, have a way to go 50/50 with them, or you're playing these decks. If you don’t do one of these three things you will not do very well this weekend or the next.

Of course there are other decks like Archie's Blastoise, Primal Groudon, and Metal Tyrantrum that could see some fringe play at these Regional tournaments, but these decks are on a lower level of playability because the tier one decks either have great matchup or auto win against them. I'm not saying you can't play those decks for your Regional, you will just have a hard time doing well unless you get lucky in pairings or lucky in your games. I would consider these decks tier two for these Regionals coming up.

To have a good look at the decks that could be seen at these Regionals. I would suggest taking a look at another 60cards writer's article and good friend of mine Chris Fulop where he goes over the gauntlet of decks that could possibly be seen this weekend. You can take a look at it here

You can see there are many different possible decks in this format, but he also has the four main deck I mentioned earlier has having big targets in the format.

Now just looking at the tier one decks and my testing over the past month. I think I have made some decks with my playtest partners that can do very well against all four decks. They all had either a 50/50 matchup in testing or better against these decks and now I want to go into them. As you will see, these decks are trying to take advantage of the small weaknesses of all these decks and I believe they all do good job at doing this.

Vespiquen/Accelgor

For this deck, my friend Jack Iler and I have been working on this list for a while. For the Fort Wayne Regionals in the Fall, he took a list similar to the tournament. He made day two with it and he finished in the Top 32. Ever since then we have been trying to perfect the list more and more and I think we have the list as perfect as it can get for this weekend for Regionals.

Accelgor has been around for almost 4 years now and it has won many tournaments in the past. With its deck and cover attack, Paralyzing and Poisoning your opponent’s Active Pokémon every turn is one of the best attacks they have introduced into the game. This deck is trying to take advantage of this attack by creating a lock with Wobbuffet so they can't use Abilities like Keldeo-EX's Rush In to get rid of their Special Conditions. We have seen this combo before with Accelgor in past formats, but instead of Wobbuffet it was Trevenant or Gothitelle to create a lock. Those cards are still really good, but the problem is that they are pretty slow and take a lot of resources to get out consistently. Also those cards can't take advantage of the best part about of this deck. In this deck, you can attack first turn with an Accelgor or Vespiquen with the Forest of Giant Plants. Being able to attack on the first turn with Accelgor or getting multiple even multiple ones out on the first turn will swing the game way into your favor without even knowing what you’re playing against.

Now attacking every turn with Accelgor is very good, we also added a very good backup attacker in Vespiquen.  My friend Jack described Vespiquen's Bee Revenge as the Wreck attack on Donphan, which make sense because both decks are very similar on what they are trying to accomplish. Vespiquen's Bee Revenge is just an attack you can use to get big late-game knockouts on Pokémon-EX, just like Wreck on Donphan. Plus it also combos with Forest of Giant Plants because it is also a Grass type and its first attack Intelligence Gathering can be used if you are in a pinch.

Now let's take a look at the deck into detail and see the reasons why I made some card choices.

Pokémon

4-4 Accelgor DEX

This is your main attacker. Deck and Cover is up there with the best attacks in the game like Quaking Punch and Evil Ball. You pretty much want to use Deck and Cover every turn with this deck. It's easy to do with Forest of Giant Plants and the consistency of Shaymin-EX to keep drawing into them. For Shelmet it doesn’t really matter which one you use because you are just going to evolve immediately with Forest of Giant Plants, but I would suggest the Shelmet from Plasma Blast because it has a Colorless attack the puts your opponents Active to Sleep, but if you are using that attack you are in rough shape.

3-3 Vespiquen AOR

Vespiquen is your secondary attacker. You will mostly use this in the game to Knock Out Pokémon-EX like Seismitoad-EX or Yveltal-EX to take your last two Prizes. Most games you probably won't even use this card because Accelgor will be used all game. There isn't better Combee than the Ancient Origins one because it has 40 HP which is better than the other legal Combee which has 30 HP.

4 Unown AOR

This is here to help speed through your deck plus help power up Vespiquen's Bee Revenge. Not really much else than that, but I have used Hidden Power once to Knock Out a Trubbish from Noble Victories to win turn one in testing which was pretty sweet.

3 Shaymin-EX ROS

Shaymin-EX is here for basically the same reason Unown is: to speed through your deck and help get the cards you need. Plus it can also be used to knockout a damaged Pokémon with Sky Return, which is great because one you can keep your Bench clear of Pokémon-EX, two you can use it to draw the next turn, and three you can bring up your Wobbuffet or Robo Substitutes to keep the lock up or keep them from taking Prizes.

2 Wobbuffet PHF

Wobbuffet is absolutely necessary in this deck for a couple reasons. For one, if your opponent is playing Archeops from Noble Victories, Wobbuffet is your only out to that card, letting you Evolve all your Pokémon. Secondly, this will stop cards like Keldeo-EX or Audino from Boundaries Crossed, which will stop your lock from Accelgor. Sometimes I wish you could attack with this card as well because the damage counters on your opponent's Active will build up making for easy knockouts with Psychic Assault, but it would take up to much space in the deck to get that attack going.

Trainers

2 Enhanced Hammer/1 Xerosic

These cards might seem very weird in this type of deck. Most of the time in the past these card are really seen in control decks like Seismitoad-EX or decks that had enough room for them like Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX. These cards are in here so you don’t just conceded to Giratina-EX. Its Chaos Wheel attack makes it impossible to attack because the deck only runs Double Colorless Energy to attack with. Also some Sableye/Garbodor have Virizion-EX and Blend GFPD Energy to stop status conditions. Playing these cards allows you to keep getting rid of Blend Energy allowing to Poison and Paralyzing them over and over.

2 Muscle Band/1 Silver Bangle

The math with is very important to keep up with this deck because you can make it where you can Knock Out a Pokémon going into your turn, which is probably the best things you do in this game because it keeps your tempo going into your opponent's turn. Here is some important math to remember to Knock Out many different Pokémon going into your turn.

50 Deck and Cover + 10 in between turns + 10 in between turns = 70 HP for Sableye

70 Deck and Cover and Muscle Band + 10 in between turns + 10 in between turns = 90 HP for Vespiquen

70 Deck and Cover and Muscle Band + 10 + 10 + 70 Deck and Cover and Muscle Band + 10 + 10 = 180 HP for Pokémon-EX like Lucario and Darkrai.

80 Deck and Cover and Silver Bangle + 10 + 10 + 50 Deck and Cover + 10 +10 = 170 HP for Giratina-EX and Yveltal-EX.

Using this math will help immensely and if you can make it where your opponents Pokémon is Knocked Out going into your turn, you will win 99.9% of your games, no matter what the matchup is.

2 Robo Substitute

This card is here when you cannot make the math work with your Muscle Bands and Silver Bangles. This will come up when you face Pokémon like Flareon which has 100 HP and you can't use Silver Bangle. When you Knock Out their Flareon, you can bring up this card and basically waste their turn. You don’t need that many of these and if they counted towards Vespiquen's Bee Revenge than I would play more of them. Though this card is pretty good at wasting their turn or forcing them to use more resources.

Computer Search

Computer Search is the only ACE SPEC you can play in this deck since it can get Double Colorless Energy.

Energy

4 Double Colorless

One of the weaknesses of this deck is the reliance on Double Colorless Energy. There really isn't much you can really do about it but trying to tech for Giratina-EX. Adding Basic Energy in here is pretty bad because it just slows you down way too much.

Considerations

Mew-EX

This card can help in constantly help in getting Deck and Covers off by keeping your Accelgor on the field. The only reason I don’t have it in here is because of space and it isn't necessary. I would call this the 61st card for the deck. If you can find room for it, feel free to add it in.

1-1 Executor PLF

 

We had this card in here for a little bit and we eventually cut it. We had this card in here because one it was very good at slowing down Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX variants because they relied on their draw Supporters to draw into their Double Dragon Energies to shut our deck off with Giratina-EX. Plus running the Exeggcute can help with the consistency of the deck by not discarding a lot of resources. While this was ok, we finally decided that Enhanced Hammers and Xerosic was going to be better in the long run.

Matchups

Vespiquen

This is a pretty simple matchup, being able knock out their Vespiquen going into your turn is going to be the backbreaker in this matchup. Also the fact that most lists play float stone instead of switch, Audino is seeing less play, and they don't play counter Stadiums for your Forest of Giant Plants helps as well. Just remember to bring up Robo Substitutes when you knockout a Flareon so can make their turns worthless.

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX

If you can stop them from getting their Giratina-EX going this is a pretty easy matchup. Vespiquen and Accelgor have a pretty easy time knocking out Seismitoad-EX and every other tech Pokémon-EX they could play like Shaymin-EX. Just Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer off their Double Dragon Energy on their Giratina-EX and should win easily.

Sableye/Garbodor

The fact that you keep them from using Junk Hunt and can knock them out going into your turn is going to swing this matchup way into your favor. Also all their Energy-removal cards are very bad against you because you keep shuffling them back into the deck making it almost impossible to slow you down. Just keep your Enhanced Hammers so you can stop their Virizion-EX from working.

Yveltal-EX

This is the most interesting matchup because they can run Archeops and counter Stadiums to slow you down a lot. Having Wobbuffet can help with the Archeops problem, but you have to get it fast enough just so you don't lose to it, but if you can get it and have a constant stream of Accelgor going like this deck can do, you should a pretty easy time as well.

This deck had a pretty good matchup against all these decks in our testing. The thing I will say is that around 20%-25% of your games will result in a loss because the deck is inconsistent sometimes and you can get some pretty bad hands. If you can over that fact and think you’re lucky, this is the deck for you.

Now to the second deck that I tried out for this Regionals format.

Seismitoad-EX/Landorus-EX/Crobat

My friend Travis Nunlist came to me with the idea like three weeks ago and I have been working on a list ever since. Now this deck is pretty similar to two separate decks, basically you could say I combined the best parts of Seismitoad-EX/Crobat and Fighting/Crobat. Right now I don't think you can run a Seismitoad-EX/Crobat deck because Vespiquen and Sableye decks are way to prevalent in the format and think you can't play Fighting/Crobat because Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and Yveltal decks are also way to prevalent in the format. With this deck, Nunlist's idea was to combine both decks to get better results against the decks that would beat a Seismitoad-EX or Fighting deck. Landorus-EX by itself is very good against decks like Vespiquen and Sableye because most of the Pokémon in these decks have very low HP and Landorus-EX is very good at knocking out these low HP Pokémon for only one Energy, but it is very poor against Yveltal-EX and Seismitoad-EX. Now Seismitoad-EX is very good against the mirror match when Crobat is introduced because it can do enough extra damage to knockout Active Seismitoad-EX quicker and Seismitoad-EX is very good against Yveltal-EX because it can shut down Dark Patch while doing meaningful damage.

 

Now taking a quick look at this deck before I go into more detail, this deck is a counter deck to what is popular in the metagame. This deck struggles against decks like Archie's Blastoise because the deck has no outs to a turn one Blastoise. Another deck it will lose to is Metal because they constantly build up big attackers without really an answer to it. Though I really don’t think it's that big of deal if you lose those decks because they are not very good against the big four decks. You might face one or two of them through Swiss compared to the other decks, which will probably six or seven of your matchups.

Let’s now take a closer look at this deck.

Pokémon

3 Seismitoad-EX

Probably the best attacker in the game with its Quaking Punch attack. Pretty much everyone in competitive play know how good this card is. This is your main attacker of the deck and you will want to try as hard as you can to get off a turn-one Quaking Punch off if you can.

2 Landorus-EX

This card has been around for a long time, when it was introduced to the game people went crazy for how strong it was. Now three years later this card is still really strong with its Hammerhead attack. For this deck you basically want to use Hammerhead against decks that have many small HP Pokémon so you can take multiple knockouts from the Bench. Vespiquen and Sableye/Garbodor are two of the biggest decks right now and both have a hard time dealing with this card. Also Land's Judgment can be used to take the last two Prizes against Pokémon-EX decks like Yveltal-EX and Giratina-EX.

4 Zubat/4 Golbat/3 Crobat PHF

The main source of damage output. Since Seismitoad-EX and Landorus-EX can't deal out massive amounts of damage every turn, we will turn to the Crobat line to help with that. Most competitive players know how good this line is, basically being able to increase the damage on your Quaking Punch and Hammerhead plus being able to take multiple knockouts in one turn is really good. In a real pinch, you can also use Skill Dive to help in taking knockouts on the Bench. Also since this is Expanded you can play the Zubat from Plasma Storm with the Free Flight ability, which is the best Zubat by far.

2 Shaymin-EX ROS

As most decks in the format, there is two Shaymin-EX to help set up on the first couple of turns. Since this deck plays Super Scoop Up, you can abuse Shaymin-EX better than most decks in the format.

Trainers

4 Super Scoop Up

This card is crazy in this deck because of the multiple purposes it can be used for. It can be used to pick up Crobat to deal more damage to a Pokémon, it can be used to heal one of your heavily damage Seismitoad-EX and Landorus-EX, or it can be used to pick up one of your Shaymin-EX to draw more cards with Set Up.

2 Virbank City Gym/1 Silent Lab

The two Virbank City Gym are obvious because they combo with the Hypnotoxic Laser, but the more interesting card is the one Silent Lab. The Silent Lab is in here for basically for one card Mr. Mime from either Plasma Freeze or BREAKthrough. Being able to stop Landorus-EX's Hammerhead from hitting the Bench can be a huge problem. The only deck that really plays Mr. Mime is Vespiquen and since most Vespiquen lists do not play any Stadiums, you can get away with only one Silent Lab. Also this can be used on turn one to stop Shaymin-EX abuse by your opponent, giving you an edge.

Computer Search

Most Seismitoad-EX decks want to play this ACE SPEC because it searches out Double Colorless, but you can technically play Scoop Up Cyclone and it would be pretty good, being automatically pick up a Shaymin-EX or Crobat can help a lot.

Energy

4 Double Colorless/4 Fighting

The four Double Colorless Energy is needed for Seismitoad-EX obviously, but the four Fighting Energy is not because you could technically run Strong Energy in its place for Landorus. While it would make Landorus be able to attack for way more damage, the problem is that with only two Fighting type Pokémon in the deck, makes it difficult to justify four Energy that only work with them. If there was another Fighting type Pokémon in this deck, than I would justify adding the Strong Energy.

Considerations

Mewtwo-EX NXD

This used to be the best card in the format for its X Ball attack, but it has taken a backseat to the new king Seismitoad-EX. Mewtwo can be used as a late game attacker to take big knockouts on Yveltal-EX that loaded a bunch of Energy on them or just a good attacker in general. The reason I did not put him in here is because of space issues. If you can fit it in, it will be a great card for the deck. I would call it the 61st card in the deck.

Super Rod

To help recover Crobat that were discarded earlier by Professor Sycamore and Ultra Ball or can help recover Fighting Energy that was discarded from Sableye/Garbodor. While I think this is a pretty good card to include. In my testing it was always subpar or I had to discard it early, so I cut it for space. Though if Sableye/Garbodor was the most popular deck, I would make room for this card.

Matchups

Vespiquen

In this matchup, you want to just mainly attack with your Landorus-EX and using your Crobat damage to take multiple knockouts in one turn. You could attack with Seismitoad-EX a couple of times to knockout some Flareon along the way, it's just way too risky because it can be easily knocked out by a Vespiquen. Make sure you keep your Silent Lab around to counter Mr. Mime. If you can do this, this matchup will be very easy.

Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX

With your own Seismitoad-EX and Crobat, you’re going to try to do as much damage as possible with Quaking Punch and Sneaky Bites. Also you can build up a Landorus-EX to use Land's Judgment at some point to help in knocking out a Giratina-EX or Shaymin-EX to take your last two Prizes. Even with all that, it is still a Seismitoad-EX mirror match it's still 50/50 because they can run a ton of Energy removal Supporters like Team Flare Grunt, but they might not draw them and you can take Prizes faster than them. So it’s an even split in my opinion.

Sableye/Garbodor

Now this deck has a very hard time against Landorus-EX and Crobat because you can take multiple knockouts in one turn plus you only need one Energy to attack with all your guys. Seismitoad-EX can also be a good attacker as well against them because they run so many Item cards, you can catch them off guard. You just have to careful of all of the Energy removal Supporters that play and it can leave your Seismitoad-EX Active. Other than that, you can play around those cards most of the time and you should have a pretty good time against this deck.

Yveltal-EX

Now this is probably your hardest matchup out of the four big decks. Yveltal-EX can be a very good attacker against Seismitoad-EX if you stumble setting up, but if you can get a steady stream of Crobat drops and having Seismitoad-EX attack on the first turn can turn this match up into your favor quickly. Also you should set up a Landorus-EX for a Land's Judgment to take your last two Prizes on a Pokémon-EX.

Now this deck is more consistent than the Vespiquen/Accelgor deck that went through first. It has a more consistent source of damage and has less clunky hands. Now like I said earlier the downside of this deck is that is has terrible matchups against the less popular decks in the format, Like Archie's Blastoise. Now if you think the format is going to switch back to decks like Archie's Blastoise to become more popular I would stay far away from this deck. I think the format isn't going to change for the first weekend of Regionals. Now with that in mind, I think this is a pretty good call. So try it out in your testing this weekend.

For the people going to Regionals this weekend, good luck. It’s a pretty difficult format to master because of how many cards there can be in decks these days. Now for the people not going to Regionals, I want to go over my thoughts on the BREAKpoint set and what I think are the best cards in the set.

BREAKpoint Review

This set is the ninth expansion released in the XY block. Now at first glance it is a pretty interesting set in terms of how many ultra-rares there are in the set. There is 11 Pokémon-EX, where two of them are Mega Evolutions, 5 BREAK cards, and a reprint of a full art Skyla. Past sets usually had like half of the amount of ultra rares in a set. With all these ultra rares it makes opening boxes a very thrilling experience because most people are averaging like eight or nine ultra rares per box with this set. Now the problem is that I think most of these ultra rares are either bad or mediocre like Scizor-EX or Espeon-EX, making this set less enticing for the competitive player the buy a box of this set. Though I will say this, this set has probably has the best set of Trainers and rare cards in some time. Cards like Max Elixir and Garchomp make this probably the best set since Phantom Forces in terms of playable Trainers and rare cards. After looking through this whole set, I want to go over what I think are the best five cards are in the set.

5. Darkrai-EX

Now this card I'm not that big on in the Standard format. Needing to combo with it either a Hypno and All Night Party or Malamar-EX, it seems way too inconsistent for me. Now in the Expanded format this seems like a very good card. With a heads flip on a Hypnotoxic Laser you can use Dark Head for 160 than Poison will do the last 10 damage to knockout most Pokémon-EX. Also you can his first attack more consistently in the Expanded format because of cards like Dark Patch and Yveltal from the XY set can put a lot of dark Energy on your field, making Dark Pulse a pretty good attack as well. Now we will see if this will warrant a spot in Expanded Yveltal-EX, but I'm sure we will see this card.

4. Delinquent

Now I'm not as big on this card as most people are, but it's still a pretty good card. Making people discard three cards can be devastating for a lot of decks, my problem with this card is that you will have to combo this card a lot to make this card good. You will need a Stadium, this Supporter, and a red card to get very good value on this card early. Later on it can be a very good card because you can catch opponents off guard that only have three or less cards in their hand, and then this card is insane. There will be a lot of testing done with card trying to make this card broken and I'm sure someone will make a deck that will make their opponents hand zero on turn one. Once someone figures out how to do that consistently, we might see another card added to the ban list, but until that happens I don’t see this card being that insane because of what you need.

3. Max Elixir

We have seen a card similar to this in Ether. When that card came out people really tried to make this card work with Pokémon like Landorus-EX and Lugia-EX to get a faster attack off. People figured out quick that this card was pretty bad because it failed so much. Now with this card, I think they fixed the problems with the original Ether. Looking at the top six cards instead just one for an Energy is a big upgrade. Now the original said you can pick any Pokémon on your side of the field, Max Elixir says you can only choose a Benched Basic Pokémon. Now being Benched can be a small problem with card, but most of the time you’re going to use this card with Pokémon-EX with heavy Energy costs, like the new Ho-oh-EX. This card will see a ton of play early on with people trying to find a deck for this card. I think a tier one deck will come out with this card being the main engine, I'm just not sure what it will look like.

2. Fighting Fury Belt

Now for these next two cards that I want to talk about I'm very shocked they are real cards. Fighting Fury Belt is honestly one of the biggest power creeps I have seen in a long time. Let's compare this card to Muscle Band, which was a 9/10 card on release and most decks outside of Sableye and Wailord-EX play this card. Now they make a card that basically out classes it, giving a Basic Pokémon 40 more HP and allowing its attacks to do 10 more damage. I'm like dumbfounded by this card, why do cards like Seismitoad-EX and Joltik need more support, but BREAK cards or Stage two Pokémon get nothing. On the official release of this set, expect any deck that revolves around Basics will be playing this card instead of Muscle Band and most decks will start running Starling Megaphone or Tool Scrapper Again.

1. Puzzle of Time

 

Now I don't think this card is broken by any means. You really have to build a deck to take full advantage of this card and if you don’t draw multiple copies of this card the first effect of Puzzle of Time is terrible. After all this, I do think this card is very broken in one deck, which is Sableye/Garbodor. Being able to Junk Hunt for multiple copies Puzzle of Time is going to be insane because you will be able to infinitely recycle Life Dew every turn making your opponent never take a Prize. Now I'm not sure how consistently you can pull this off because I haven't tried this deck yet, but if this can be done at a pretty good clip, something from that deck will be banned because Pokémon will not want a deck that can consistently recycle their win condition over and over again. That was one of the main reasons Lysandre's Trump Card was banned. Now if they ban Sableye from the Expanded format, I will lower this card from my top five cards from this set.

Conclusion

Like I said good luck to all the players going to the first week of Regionals. Thanks again for all you 60cards readers for coming back and reading my article. I love writing about my favorite game and helping players. I want to thank my friends Jack Iler, Travis Nunlist, and all the other Hovercats with making these lists and testing with me. They are the greatest friends around! Until next time 60cards readers, see you later!

-Nik

 

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