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The Big Five - What to Expect in Anaheim?

Peep out this week's FREE Metagame Analysis heading into Anaheim Regionals where we go over the top five best decks in format!

12/05/2018 by Metagame Analysis

Looking Closely

Hello 60 Cards reader! What’s up? Oh, you wanna know what to expect going into a blind Expanded metagame? Yeah, we want to tell you! In this week’s instalment of Metagame Analysis, we are looking at the top five decks heading into Anaheim, CA Regionals!

For those of you who don’t know, Anaheim is the first major event featuring Lost Thunder cards in the Expanded metagame. That will make this event exciting, the metagame is slightly uncertain, but it will surely be an electric weekend! There is plenty of ground to cover so let’s jump right I to this article.

The Big Five

If you look at how the structure for Pokémon works, you would easily notice that Standard is the format that is played the majority of the time. Our last major Expanded event was Portland, OR Regionals, but that event didn’t feature any Lost Thunder Cards at all! That isn’t anything to worry about though, that is because Expanded is a semi-state format all of the time. If you don’t know what I am saying, you gotta look at it this way, what are some of the best draw Supporter  cards in the current Expanded metagame?

Professor Juniper (BLW; 101) , N (FCO; 105) , and Colress (PS; 118)  definitely come to mind because they are all ridiculously overpowered. Now let’s take a brief stroll in Standard to find the best draw Supporters in that format... Cynthia (UPR; 119) , Sophocles (SLG; 65) , and Sightseer (LT; 189)  all seem like the crème de la crème. The difference between the formats is that in Standard, you need to live with what is available in that format, but in Expanded, you get to use all of the BUSTED cards released since Black and White! Getting back on track, what we are trying to say is that you don’t need to worry about new sets as much because all of the best new cards don’t always keep up with the Expanded catalogue. This allows us to look over at past results from events like Portland and take as much information as humanly possible to put it forward. Let’s look at how we, at Metagame Analysis, are looking at Anaheim.

The Old Decks

The Expanded metagame expands on what we currently have in Standard, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the new archetypes are always going to see the most play. Look at it like this, Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Decidueye GX (SUM; 12)  / Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132)  is one of the better decks in Standard right now, but where is it in the Expanded metagame? NOWHERE! That is the issue, every deck that is a valid choice in Standard won’t necessarily transition smoothly in to the Expanded metagame. You will have players running wayback playbacks such as Vespiquen (ANO; 10)  / Flareon (PF; 12)  or even players trying to give M Gardevoir EX (STS; 79)  a run for Anaheim. This Regionals is shaping up to feature a diverse field of decks, but don’t discount decks that have been hiding in the back of the binder for years. It is hard to know what is going to be expected, but be prepared for anything and everything!

The New Cards

With Lost Thunder being released, players are surely looking at the largest set of all time to introduce some of the best cards from the set into the Expanded metagame. Which ones are the runts of the litter and which ones are going to give you the best shot of receiving that juicy cheque from Pokemon? Well, there certainly are some contenders. After talking to many of the pro players who have anonymously sent us some feedback, we do have a slight idea of what are the better cards, in Expanded, from Lost Thunder!

Professional players have been experimenting with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) , Cofagrigus (LT; 100) , adding Naganadel (LT; 108)  to older decks, Giratina (LT; 97) , Jumpluff (LT; 14) , Unown (LT; 91) , and Unown (LT; 90) . While some of those ideas may never see the light of day, at least we have a solid foundation of what might become. Similar to the unknowingness of what old decks are going to be played in Anaheim, it is uncertain as to what new decks are going to top the competition. Regardless, the event will feature many spicy plays so keep alert!

While we are uncertain on the percentages of decks that will be played, it is our wishes that this article helps you make an informed choice heading into an uncharted Expanded metagame. That being said, let’s go over some of the decks that we believe will be the most played decks in Anaheim. 


We have looked over all of the possible variants of Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  and while we think that Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  is a solid inclusion, we like the theme that Dead Draw Gaming’s Austin Ellis came up with in Portland. Ellis’ version of the deck features many techs that range from Zygarde EX (FCO; 54)  to help deal with different typings of decks and Giratina (BW; 184)  to trick some unexpected Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  decks. The deck focuses on providing an onslaught of different attackers that are available at your arsenal for any situation on the game. Just pound through your opponents deck with different attackers, prepare for getting out a few Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , and then finish the game strongly. 

One of our favourite inclusions in this deck is Acerola (BUS; 112)  because it allows your Pokemon to stay alive longer in the game. You can loop this card with VS Seeker (UR; 100)  over and over again, all whilst dealing chip damage to your opponents Pokemon. This deck is fairly simple to play, just choose your attacker, slap on an Energy, and keep batting away.


Word up to the homie Blastoise (BC; 31) , a card that was winning back in 2013, still has the juice to take names in 2018! The deck focuses on whittling your hand to a lone Archie's Ace in the Hole (PRC; 124)  (or VS Seeker (UR; 100) ) to get a Blastoise (BC; 31)  in play as soon as possible. After that feat is over, you load up Water Energy (GEN; 77)  on your assorted Pokemon to quickly demolish any opposing Pokémon in your path! There are plenty of options to get cards out of your hand that lie within this deck, such as Order Pad (UPR; 131)  and Ultra Ball (SLG; 68) , so make sure that you play them wisely. If you ever need to adjust the amount of cards that you want to discard out of your hand, you can use Exeggcute (PF; 4)  to change the pace of what you should be discarding. When you are playtesting with this deck, remember to think your plays out carefully to allow yourself to get out Blastoise (BC; 31)  as soon as possible.

One of our favourite plays in this deck is to use Articuno (ROS; 17)  against Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  to potentially sweep three Prize Cards in one go! You only need to get two heads, but when you do, it feels so satisfyingly sweet. The coin flip for this attack can give the best of us butterflies, but remember that there is variance in the game. Keep your attacking army of Pokemon strong, keep your Archie's Ace in the Hole (PRC; 124)  sequencing on point, and step forward in the direction of victory!


Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  is straight up BUSTED and that has held true since its inception. This list is heavily influenced by Jimmy Pendarvis’ Portland winning deck for good reasons, that deck was INSANO. 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 let’s peep this list out.

The Faba (LT; 173)  added into this deck is amazing because it can send those opposing Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69)  straight to the Lost Zone. If you want to send more cards to the Lost Zone, you can always choose Girafarig (LT; 94)  to further punish your opponent. Also, 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 colour blue. Which one would you pick?


60 Cards very own Aaron Tarbell crushed Portland Regionals by placing second with his skillfully built Trevenant deck. 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 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) .

Looking at Tarbell’s last article, which you can view here, he discussed how Faba (LT; 173)  is BUSTED in the deck and we agree by basing our list off of his newest list! Faba (LT; 173)  takes this deck to a whole other disruption level! Taking away your opponents resources has always been a winning strategy and we fully expect it to be in fully force in Anaheim.


We are lucky to have 60 Cards writer Zach Lesage on staff because he is known as the king of BLOWNS! After hitting a solid stride at LAIC and Roanoke, we reached out to him about the viability of Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  in the Expanded format. Earlier this week, he won an Expanded League Challenge with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  and he thinks that the deck is BUSTED. We fully expect him to do a write up this week on the deck so stay on the look out for that. If you are wondering what the Expanded format adds to this deck, it adds in Blacksmith, which allows the deck to explode quickly. There are a few other cool cards in this deck, like Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , which can make the loneliest Naganadel (LT; 108)  fulfilled with Fire Energy (GEN; 76) . This deck is sure to make a splash in Anaheim so peep out the list.

Like we said, Lesage is expected to release an Expanded Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  deck later this week so keep on the look out for that, If you want to read about his thoughts on Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  in Standard, we have found this article to be one of the best resources around

Anaheim is Near!

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 the Expanded metagame heading into Anaheim 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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