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Metagame Analysis

The Aftermath of Portland

This article looks at the results of Portland as we look towards the future of Expanded heading into Anaheim and League Cups.

11/01/2018 by Metagame Analysis

Expanding on Expanded

What’s up 60 Cards readers? I know that many of you attended Portland and if you didn’t attend the event, you likely watched the livestream from home. The Expanded format remained hidden in the shadows since Roanoke which ultimately lead to the metagame that we saw in Portland. While Lost Thunder will be released before our next Expanded Regional Championships in Anaheim, this article should serve as a guide leading into that. Most of the time, Expanded is a direct result of the last tournament we had with counter decks, the top decks, and perhaps even some emerging concepts. Portland didn’t disappoint, they decks were inventive, and you might learn a thing or two from reading this FREE article.

This is part of a new ongoing series of articles for 60 Cards that will be going over the weekly changes in the metagame. While the authorship of this article will remain unknown, it is being written by a professional player who is remaining anonymous for now, meaning that you are in good hands. The goal of this series is to showcase the strength of available content on 60 Cards as we enter a new era of professionalism and content creation. The best part, this series will be absolutely FREE which means that you will always have quality information available to you on a weekly basis. These articles will range in including deck lists, strategies, promo card releases, and other important information as it comes along. That being said, 60 Cards is hoping to win you over with our new strategic plan going forward so feel free to give feedback to help us improve. Let’s look at some of the top performing decks from Portland.

Looking at the Decks From Portland

Portland was a tournament filled with fun times, fierce competitors, and some prehistoric tech cards. There were players using Archen (PLB; 53) , Tirtouga (PLB; 27) , and Lileep (PLB; 3)  in their Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  decks to prevent them from being decked out. While those techs may have appeared in small increments at previous Regionals, they were played on a much bigger scale in Portland.

In this section do the article, each top deck will be looked over so that you can understand its strategy and see what the best lists look like. All of this information should be used by you to help pick a deck for this upcoming League Cups / League Challenges and Anaheim Regionals. Each deck will be linked so that you can easily find specific information whenever you like.

The Top Decks

Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX

Trevenant BREAK

Archie’s Ace in the Hole / Blastoise

Primal Groudon-EX

Zoroark-GX / Oranguru

Drampa-GX / Garbodor / Garbodor

Buzzwole-GX / Buzzwole / Zygarde-EX

All of the below decks were featured in the Top 8 of Masters at the recent Portland, OR Regionals.

Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX

Jimmy Pendarvis won the recent Portland Regional Championships with a brand new deck, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) . He ran it with his testing group which included Michael Pramawat, Azul Garcia Griego, Joe Ruettiger, Daniel Altavilla, Caleb Gedemer, and Carter Musgrove for this event.

The strategy of this deck is to draw through your deck with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  by using Trade, locking your opponent with Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)  by using Quaking Punch, and using disruption Supporters. Once you run out of cards in your deck, you can use Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  to loop through your deck to avoid decking out, use Lusamine (CIN; 96)  to get back important Supporters, and proceed to disrupt your opponent. The deck is obviously a compelling concept by having a high amount of success so lets peep this list out.

It should be noted that if you can’t find a Tirtouga (PLB; 27) in your bulk cards, you might have a better chance at finding an Archen (PLB; 53)  or Lileep (PLB; 3) .

All of these cards serve the same purpose, don’t attack, and it is merely personal preference for which one that you choose. If I had a choice, I would likely choose Tirtouga (PLB; 27)  because I like the color blue. Which one would you pick?

Trevenant BREAK

60 Cards’ own Aaron Tarbell was able to place second at the Portland Regional Championships with his pet deck, Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) . Fellow 60 Cards writers Zach Lesage and Jay Lesage both played a Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  deck, with Jay Lesage placing within the Top 32 of the event.

The strategy of Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  is to Item lock your opponent with Trevenant (XY; 55) , spread damage with Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) , and finish your opponent off with Espeon EX (BKP; 52)  or Tapu Lele (BW; 45) . While you are doing all of these spooky things, you can disrupt your opponent with Marshadow (SLG; 45) , take away Special Energy with Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124) , or give your opponent a lower hand size by playing N (FCO; 105) .

Some of the interesting cards that Tarbell included in his list were Ace Trainer (ANO; 69)  and Counter Energy (CIN; 100) .

Ace Trainer (ANO; 69)  can function like an N (FCO; 105)  during the mid-game to punish your opponent for drawing a Prize Card and Counter Energy (CIN; 100)  can allow you to jump back into games. With all of these tricky techs, Tarbell must have planned out his moves turns many turns in advance.

Archie’s Ace in the Hole / Blastoise

Zachary Everest brought back a retro deck, Archie's Ace in the Hole (PRC; 157)  / Blastoise (BC; 31) , to place within the Top Four of all players in the tournament. While this was one of the msot hyped decks heading into the event, it seemed liked Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) , Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , and other random decks took the spotlight during the Swiss Rounds.

This deck functions by lowering your hand to a single copy of Archie's Ace in the Hole (PRC; 157) , getting out a Blastoise (BC; 31) , and sprinkling Water Energy (GEN; 77)  on your assortment of attacking Pokémon. You can lower your hand with ease by using Exeggcute (PF; 4) , Order Pad (UPR; 131) , and Trainer's Mail (ROS; 92)  to amount nothing into something into a single card.

Everest decided to include a copy of Kingdra GX (DM; 18)  as an alternative target to Blastoise (BC; 31)  for the opportunity to have a strong attacker with plenty of HP. This move seemed risky heading into Portland, but it obviously paid off with his strong performance.

The reason why it is risky is because you need to get out a Blastoise (BC; 31)  first before you get out a Kingdra GX (DM; 18)  and it means that you need to juggle your discards better with Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) . We are decent fans of Kingdra GX (DM; 18)  at 60 Cards so we will give the ok for you to try it out.

Primal Groudon-EX

Joe Sanchez brought a wild deck to Portland Regionals, Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86) , to a Top Four finish after losing to Pendarvis. The reason why this deck is wild is because it includes four copies of the most expensive playable card, Tropical Beach 11 (BW; 28) , which means that this deck is off-putting due to its hefty price tag.

The goal of this deck is to slow down your opponent with Wobbuffet (PHF; 36)  while you power up the impenetrable tank that is Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86) . Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86)  can’t be affected by Team Flare Grunt (XY; 129) , Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124) , Guzma (BUS; 115) , or any other Trainer Card in our format because of its special text on the card. With Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86)  being a lesser played deck, Sanchez must have surprised a few of his opponents throughout the day.

If you aren’t intimidated by the price of Tropical Beach 11 (BW; 28) , this deck might be for you if you are trying to build up a big Pokemon that takes down your opponents entire field.

This deck features many singleton copies of cards such as Enhanced Hammer (GRI; 124) , Counter Catcher (CIN; 91) , Wishful Baton (BUS; 128) , and Hard Charm (XY; 119)  to play to certain situations. This is definitely the type of deck where you should get in some extensive testing before you play, otherwise you might find yourself using a mid-game Korrina for three minutes.

Zoroark-GX / Oranguru

Similar to the deck that Pendarvis won with, Isaiah Williams was able to pilot his Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Oranguru (UPR; 114)  deck to a successful Top Eight finish. Williams is not a newcomer when it comes to piloting Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  in Expanded, he was credited by inventing Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Exeggcute (PF; 4) , the deck that tore up Expanded all of last season.

The goal of his deck is to continuously limit his opponents options by playing disruptive cards such as Delinquent (BKP; 98) , Red Card (XY; 124) , Plumeria (BUS; 120) , and Trick Shovel (FLF; 98) over and over again with the help of Oranguru (UPR; 114)  using Resource Management. This deck can take away many Energy cards and can even deck out your opponent once they run out of options.

The inclusion of Articuno GX (CLS; 31)  is quite sneaky because you can use Cold Crush GX to remove all of your opponents Energy attached to their Active Pokemon in a pinch.

Looking at Sanchez’s Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86)  deck, he was likely happy to avoid Articuno GX (CLS; 31)  within the top cut of Portland. There were a few other tricky cards in the list above, such as Weakness Policy (BUS; 126) , that would allow Williams to play to whatever situation he was in. One of the trends of these top decks from Portland was that each deck seemed to be tailored to each individual player to play  better in certain situations. 

Drampa-GX / Garbodor / Garbodor

Alex McNeill piloted a Drampa GX (GRI; 115)  / Garbodor (GRI; 51)  / Garbodor (BKP; 57)  / Garbodor (DR; 54) (yes, three different kinds of our favourite trash Pokemon) to a respective Top Eight Finish at Portland Regionals.

This list seems like a similar list to the list that 60 Cards writers Zach Lesage and Daniel Altavilla ran in Roanoke. The goal of this deck is to lock your opponent with Garbodor (BKP; 57)  or Garbodor (DR; 54) , remove their Special Energy with Drampa GX (GRI; 115) , and punish them for playing Item cards by attacking with Garbodor (GRI; 51) . There are plenty of tech cards in this deck, such as Giratina (BW; 184)  to slow down Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) , so you need to make sure to look at all of your options.

One of the most overlooked strategies within this deck is to attack with Trubbish (PS; 65)  because Tool Drop can add up quite quickly.

Looking at our own deck list, Trubbish already has access to eight tool cards ( Float Stone (BKT; 137) , Muscle Band (XY; 121) , and Choice Band (GRI; 121) ) and that doesn’t count what our opponent puts down on their side of the field. Additionally, you can have a decent shot against Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  decks by spamming Parallel City (BKT; 145)  over and over again to limit their Bench size. 

Buzzwole-GX / Buzzwole / Zygarde-EX

Austin Ellis took his inventive Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  / Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Zygarde EX (FCO; 54)  deck to a Top Eight Finish at Portland. With all of the hype for Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  heading into that event, it Is surprising that only one version of that deck made Top Eight, but crazier things have happened in Pokemon. Ellis’ deck functions like a tool box of Fighting-type attackers that can be chosen whenever the situation calls for a certain Pokemon.

Playing against a Psychic-type deck? Use Landorus EX (BC; 89)  or Zygarde EX (FCO; 54) . You need to Knock Out a Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86) ? Use Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  with damage modifiers like Beast Energy Prism Star (FLI; 117) . There are plenty of options in this deck.

Ellis included a copy of Oricorio (GRI; 56)  to deal with the threat of Night March decks ( Pumpkaboo (PHF; 44) , Lampent (PHF; 42) , and Joltik (PHF; 26) ), a copy of Sudowoodo (GRI; null)  to deal with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , and a copy of Giratina (BW; 184)  to deal with Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) .

With all of these cards to deal with a plethora of decks, it is not surprising to see him place near the top of the tournament. As we have observed above, the key to winning in Expanded is to have many different cards to deal with many different scenarios.

What Does This All Mean?

It’s pretty simple, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  decks had another dominating weekend and the only thing to stop them heading forward seems to be fighting type decks. It is difficult to predict if some early Lost Thunder frontrunners, such as Blacephalon GX (SM8) (JP; null)  or Alolan Ninetales GX (JP; 132) , will be played, but that is what testing is for. We can only go off of the results from above and it seems like a solid starting point to start testing the above decks heading into Anaheim.

When searching through Lost Thunder, try to see if you can add diversity to your favourite deck by finding similar cards to add into your deck. Maybe you can cut a copy of Professor Juniper (PLB; 84)  for a copy of Sightseer (SM7/SM8) (JP; null) . Maybe that copy of Scorched Earth (PRC; 138)  would be much better as a Heat Factory PRISM STAR (SM8) (JP; null) ? With Lost Thunder having 200+ cards in the set, there are certainly going to be cards that see play in our next Expanded event! 

Heading Forward

Well, that concludes this week’s Metagame Analysis! I hope that you have enjoyed this journey and that you look forward to next weeks FREE article.

Next week, we will be looking over some of the available Lost Thunder decks for your viewing pleasure. It is our hopes that with the content becoming better each week, that you will decide to support our site with a subscription. 


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