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Bradley Curcio

Expanding Expanded

An overview on Florida Regionals, and what to expect during the Expanded Format.

03/05/2015 by Bradley Curcio

Now that Florida Regionals has concluded, with a very crazy tournament, it's time to talk about what happened.  There are so many viable decks in this current format, and it just gets even crazier in Expanded.  60Card’s Denise is going to cover next week the craziness that happened Day 1, and I’m taking care of Expanded!  Coming into any new format is always a feat, so just being able to make it into the Expanded format was a huge accomplishment. With so little time to figure out the Standard Format, the Expanded Format was going to be even more hectic, with most players having even less time devoted to testing Expanded.  With that said, these are the decks I’ll be going over today.

First up is well, the deck that got first overall at regionals!  Flareon, piloted by Orion Craig, took on the expanded format and prevailed.  With Florida being the birthing ground for Flareon, it was only just for it to take home their Regionals, proving that the deck can still compete with the best.  Here’s a sample list for Flareon, based heavily on what Orion played.

Flareon

As you can see, the decklist is pretty insane.  Most people wrote off Maxie's and Archie's Last Resorts, thinking they'd be too gimmicky to actually pull off.   However, several people proved during both day one, and two of Florida Regionals, that in a deck built for it, it's very capable of being pulled off.  Being able to get an Empoleon down on the first turn of the game provides you with so much momentum for the rest of the game that's very difficult for your opponent to deal with.  The fact that it can attack too is just icing on the cake, as worst case scenario, it's just another Pokemon in your discard pile, fueling up Flareon's Vengeance.  This deck has so many options throughout every turn of the game, on top of the fact that the list can be changed around to deal with any specific metagames you're expecting, which will make it a huge threat for the rest of the format.

Yveltal/Toad (+Garbodor) 

Next up is Yveltal Seismitoad.  Yveltal is still one of the best decks around, and adding Dark Patch back into the format just makes it that much scarier.  You can use the deck to counter your opponens' abilities by playing Garbodor and a heavier tool count, or you can go much more straight lined and use the extra space for more tech cards, such as Keldeo, or Enhanced Hammers.  Here’s a sample skeleton list based on what Harrison Leven piolted day 2 to start with.

Unlike the Flareon list, there are a couple spots missing, which is where the tech cards come in.  If you want to play without abilities, and make your opponent do the same, playing Garbodor with a couple Float Stones is fantastic.  You can play Enhanced Hammer if you don't want to deal with too many Special Energy.  You can play Keldeo if you don't want to risk flipping a coin to stay awake, or to potentially break out of any lock your opponent tries to put you in.  You can play Head Ringer if you want to try and slow your opponent down, and outspeed them with your own Dark Patches, or even play Hard Charms or Jamming Nets if you want to try and limit your opponents' damage potential.  With a deck so inherently like Yveltal, you're able to easily tech for any specific match-ups or cards you're worried about, while still being able to potentially handle anything else.

Metal 

Metal as an archetype gets a lot stronger in expanded, and it’s already a force to be reckoned with, as Chris Fulop has gotten a majority of his points solely playing with the deck this season.  Not only does the deck keep the same great attackers, with Aegislash EX, and Dialga EX, both fantastic in their own ways, the insane acceleration that Bronzong provides, as well as the consistency of Battle Compressor and VS Seeker, but it’s also able to fix one of the few things holding it back.  Instead of being forced to run the only 50 HP Bronzor, you’re able to run a 70 HP Bronzor, that’s also searchable via Heavy Ball because of its 3 retreat.  The 70 HP makes it much harder to take a quick KO on; hindering Metals set up, and makes it much more difficult for decks such as Landorus/Crobat to pick them off on the bench.  Needing 2 Golbats and a Hammerhead to ko just one Bronzor is a much more difficult to consistently pull off, especially with multiple Bronzors hitting the bench quickly.  Here's a sample skeleton list I've been playing around with for the Extended format, after it knocked me out of Top 8 at St. Louis Regionals.

This is the basic core I've been playing around with, with a few different cards changed here and there.  I've upped the counts of Battle Compressor and Heavy Ball, as well as adding an additional Heatran.  I've tried it out with Seismitoad EX, trying to slow down my opponent, while building up a huge board of whichever Metal Pokemon I needed in that match-up.  I've added Silent Lab as a counter stadium, but with Keldeo, you are already very good against Special Conditions, so playing it strictly to get rid of your opponents Stadium seemed very lack-luster.  Max Potion was another card I liked, but with AZ serving a very similar purpose, as well as the advantages of being VS Seekered back to reuse, and being able to use it against opposing Seismitoad locks, AZ seemed like the better option.  The deck very easily has the potential to blow up, being able to dish out insane amounts of damage, starting as quickly as Turn 2, as well as hiding behind a relatively safe wall of Aegislash if needed.

Fairies

Fairies are another archetype that's been around for quite a while.  Although none made it past the gauntlet Day 1, it still seems to be a very solid play for Day 2.  Especially with Virizion Genesect being practically non-existent, not having to worry as much about getting G-boostered, the tankier version of Fairies is extremely viable.  Mega Gardevoir is an entirely different story, and unfortunately, I don't think it's as capable of keeping up with the fast pace of the current Expanded format. 

This is the list I've been using to test around with for the Expanded format.  Florges is an extremely good card.  Being able to boost your consistency Turn 1 by searching out whatever Supporter would benefit you the most, but being able to hit hard Turn 2, you're able to put a ton of pressure on your opponent, while negating what they're able to do.  With Hard Charm, Florges sits at a respectable 180 HP, making it difficult to Knock Out in just one hit.  Alongside your Aromatisse, and 4 Max Potions, and an AZ, you're able to heal off any attempts at damaging your attackers.  Being able to 2 hit KO any attacker, while continuously staying alive yourself, is a very annoying, yet effective, strategy.  Since the entire focus of the deck is to prevent your opponent from being able to Knock Out your Pokemon, anything with the ability to one hit KO your Pokemon poses a huge threat.  If your opponent is trying to build up a gigantic Mewtwo, or Yveltal EX to take several prizes with, you're usually able to foil their plan with a Lysandre, taking the first hit.  However, something like a Metal attacker (Aegislash, Dialga), or a Flareon/Night Marcher with a loaded discard pile, is much more difficult to deal with, which is where your Mega Kangaskhan comes into play.  Normally, you want to avoid benching Kangaskhan if possible, as he'll limit Florges potential output, but in the match-ups you need him in, he shines.  Sitting at an already beefy 240 HP, not even including Hard Charm, and not being weak to Metal, gives you a very decent fighting chance against anything that threatens to one hit KO you.  Usually, you'll be two shotting almost anything in the format, very similarly to Florges, but, with a couple of lucky heads, you can one hit KO literally anything with Wham-Bam-Punch! (Plus, saying that attack name is always a blast).

Trevenant/Accelgor/Silent Labs/Ninetales 

As long as Accelgor has been in the format, paired with any sort of item lock, it’s defined the format.  Just the fact that it exists forces people to alter their decks, hoping to have some sort of out to the infinite lock, whether it be Keldeo EX with a Float Stone before the item lock starts rolling, or cards such as Virizion EX or the new Wonder Energy, preventing special conditions all together, or just opt out of any tech cards, going for the most consistent list possible, and pray you don’t have to face against Accelgor.  However, with the most recent set, Accelgor now has an answer to a lot of the techs people would run against them!  With Silent Lab shutting off both Keldeo EX and Virizion EX, two of the biggest counters to the Accelgor lock, and the new Ninetales able to lock that stadium in place, it makes Accelgor even more potent.  The deck is still somewhat inconsistent, needing multiple Stage 1 Pokémon out in order to keep the lock consistently going, as well as a few other puzzle pieces, but if you like combo decks, and decks with insane comeback potential, this deck is a fantastic option.

Since this deck has a lot of cards that it needs in order to keep the lock going, there's not as much room for techs, although there's still a few open spots to play around with, and to try and fix anything you may be struggling with.  If you find yourself prizing the Ninetales line, or having it Knocked Out before you're able to use it very much, you can thicken up the line, or even run a Town Map to ensure you're able to take it out of your Prizes when you need to.  Same thing goes for your Trevenants, if they, or even just the Phantumps aren't able to stick around long enough, you max out on both of your counts.  A few other cool tech options are Silver Mirror, as a Trevenant active with a Silver Mirror can block Flareon, Genesect (not G-Booster), or any Thundurus, Kyurem, or Dexoys you may find yourself facing, without having to worry about the Silver Mirror being removed via Tool Scrapper or Startling Megaphone.  Also, with the new addition of Wonder Energy, Enhanced Hammer is a very quick, efficient answer to it, enabling your lock once again. Otherwise, opting for more consistency, maxing out on more Supporter counts, Ultra Ball or Level Ball, or even playing an extra Tool Scrapper to make sure you don't get shut off by Garbodor, or even a Keldeo with a Float Stone.  This deck definitely has tons of different paths you can take both playing it, and playing against it, so I highly recomend playing it frequently if you want to know all of the ins and outs the deck has.  Even if you don't want to play it, knowing first hand how the deck plays, is one of the best ways to know how to play against it.

Landorus/Crobat

 

Last, but far from least, we have Landorus Crobat.  Even after Primal Clash came out, this deck is still proving itself to be one of the best, and it only gets better with Expanded.  With Level Ball back in the format, you have many more outs to get out as many Zubat turn 1 as possible, letting you spread tons of damage that much quicker, as well as searching out a Jirachi or Hawlucha if needed.  Pokemon Communication is another fantastic card in Expanded, and with the high count of Pokemon in the deck, it’s rarely a dead card.  Both of these can be searched out with Korrina, if you opt to run it, making them even more useful.  Without further ado, here is the final list I'll be going over.

 

This list is very similar to a list you would see on Day 1, mainly just replacing your Level Balls with other searching options (More Ultra Balls or Repeat Balls), and is actually only one card off from the list I used Day 2 at St. Louis regionals.  The addition of Silent Lab is fantastic for this deck, even as just a one-of.  Being able to shut off that pesky little Mr. Mime's damage blocking ability; for even just one turn, can be the swing in momentum you need to win the game.  Even if you don't take advantage of the turn to try and Knock Out the Mr. Mime, the additional damage can very easily be the difference between a win and a loss.  On top of that, being able to shut off your own Hawlucha's ability can prove handy at times.  Finally being able to hit a Thundurus, Darkrai, or Manectric for weakness is absolutely insane!  The only thing you have to worry about shutting off in your own deck is your Zubat's free retreating ability, otherwise your opponent will have more trouble dealing with Silent Lab than you will.

A lot of people have been opting to run with a much lower, or even no Korrina, and going for a heavier Colress count, which is another very viable take on the deck.  With so many options to search out Pokemon on Turn 1, you're able to fill up your bench very quickly.  I personally like the option of searching your Muscle Bands, Super Scoop Ups, and any other item you may find yourself needing as quickly as possible, but if you want to be more focused on the late game, as well as improving your match-up against Seismitoad slightly, then trying out more Colress is something I'd highly recomend.

Honorable Mentions

Night March

Although this deck is very similar to Flareon, pitching your Pokemon in order to build up to some insane damage output, I feel it's the slightly worse variant of the two for the Expanded Format.  Night March doesn't have an out to a quick Quacking Punch, while Flareon can attack the entire game with Leafeon, putting insane amounts of pressure onto the Seismitoads, while taking very little damage in return.

Primal Groudon

This deck unsurprisingly did pretty decently during Day 1, but it doesn't seem to gain much in Expanded, while most other decks do.  Even if you're able to set up a big Primal Groudon, you'll most likely be too far behind for it to make a very big impact. 

Virizion Genesect

This deck is always going to be around, as it is very consistent at doing what it wants to do.  Attaching a lot of energy, and G-boostering anything standing in its way.  However though, it struggles with anything able to one shot it, namely Flareon and Night March, and even the insane amounts of pressure Hawlucha or Landorus, in conjunction with their Bats can put out.  It's still very good against Seismitoad, and is definitely capable of taking down Yveltal, so it's a deck to always keep in mind.

Rayquaza Eelektrik

This deck is very similar to Metal, but a lot less versatile.  It's able to rip through Yveltals, Genesects, Fairies, even Seismitoad if you're able to set up through the item lock, or any other big EX, but it struggles against being one shot back via one prize attackers, namely Night March and Flareon.  Also, another reason Metal is able to survive in such a fast format, is their Bronzors are very resilient, while Tynamo isn't.  Being weak to fighting, and just a measly 40 HP, makes them very easy to take out, even on the bench. 

Conclusion

I hope I was able to provide some insight to all of you about what to expect during the Expanded Format, as well as providing you a decent starting point on preparing for your own Day 2 adventures!  For all of you preparing for your State Championships, I hope to see you there!  For the rest of the dedicated fans of 60Cards, you'll be hearing from me soon!

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