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Max Armitage

Ready for Regionals?

This article will be primarily focused on how the latest expansion should influence your deck choice for the expanded format.

05/31/2016 by Max Armitage

Hello 60cards readers! As this is my first time writing for 60cards I thought it would be appropriate to include a brief introduction of who I am. I am currently on my 8th year as a competitive Pokemon player out of Houston Texas, I have various achievements in the Junior, Senior, and Master division, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to try and spread some of the knowledge I have gained to hopefully help you achieve your own personal Pokemon goals. 

If you haven’t been keeping up with the results of the current set of Pokemon regionals the tier 1 decks include the classic dark deck we have seen in expanded, the Trevenant Break deck, a turbo dark deck that includes Max Elixer, and Night March. So the question is how does Fates Collide change this metagame. Personally I think that the most impactful card that we get from the Fates Collide expansion is the alternate version of the N supporter card. That’s a joke but there really are few cards that will change the state of the metagame and I expect the results from the previous regionals to be fairly consistent with those of this weekends regionals. There are certain cards from Fates Collide that will be played and these cards are important to consider when putting together your deck and those include Alakazam EX and M Alakazam EX, Lugia, and the fighting type pokemon (Carbink, Carbink Break, Regirock EX, and Zygarde EX). I would like to touch on each of those cards and on cards I chose to omit.

Fates Collide Card Review

Alakazam EX and M Alakazam EX

I think both of these cards are very strong and have the potential to be a very strong surprise play for regionals. Like Jose Marrero discussed in his previous article there are many ways you can build an Alakazam EX centered deck and if you want to learn more about that I advise you look back to that article.

Lugia

Lugia is another card like Zoroark where there is a break evolution but the true star is the normal version of the card. With 120 HP Lugia can take many hits and be teched into a wide variety of decks so you can expect to see it played in the future and if you haven't already I would advise picking up a couple of those cards. Regarding the metagame the use of Lugia makes cards like dedenne and Enhanced hammer even stronger and easier inclusions if your deck doesn't have a strong answer to it.

Fighting Types

The release of Fates collide brought another wave of strong fighting Pokemon into play, but I don't think they will find very much success at regionals. Like I said earlier the top 2 decks in the expanded format currently are Yveltal and Trevenant both of which match up very well with these brute force EX and setup cards in my opinion. That along with their ability to be one shot by night March, vespiquen/flareon, and rayquaza assuming they don't have a focus sash really hurts the chances that this deck performs well. We already had an amazing fighting attacker in Landorus EX and that card sees little play as is.

Cards Omitted

(Rotom, Barbaracle, Mew, Bronzong Break, Team Rocket's Handiwork, Marowak) All of these cards will have little effect on the expanded format. Rotom at first glance appears to be a very strong tech card against the popular trevenant break deck however it requires you to play into their strategy and can be played around with tree slams and the disrupting cards that Trevenant play. All that along with the inability to easily search out your Rotom if you're under item lock really take a large dent in its effectiveness. Onto Barbaracle I doubt we will see it played in this set of regionals, if it is used in the future you can counter it with an extra stadium so that you can use those special energy. Mew, this card was a pseudo-reprint of Mex EX and is strong but the primary use of Mew in the night March deck is to be able to buffer a hit from basic Yveltal or a Seismitoad EX and this Mew doesn't serve that purpose. I do expect it to be included in standard Night March though as its ability to act as an extra Night Marcher is strong. Bronzong Break is a strong card but I feel that metal as an archetype isn't strong enough and that there are many attackers that are stronger than Bronzong in expanded. Maybe as a tech in a metal deck if you can find a way to make metal strong. As for Team Rocket's Handiwork the only thing it adds is making the Wailord EX deck slightly more playable allowing you more opportunities to mill your opponent. Marowak is a card that I feel many people will play however I think that the cards it is good against really make it unplayable. If you want to play a 1-1 marowak you will almost never set it up under the quick item lock that is now possible and there is no guarantee that the card will stick once you do set it up. Maybe you could run the Marowak with a Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick but a thicker line of the card is really not worth the space. The rest of the cards from the set are mediocre at best or don't have any place in the current metagame.
So now that I have discussed all this what changes will we see to the metagame? That of course is the question that you will need to answer to determine what deck you would like to choose to bring to give yourself the greatest chances of success. In the past when sets have came out we have commonly seen people find game changing combinations of cards and being able to take advantage of them at the opening tournaments where said set is legal. There are many opportunities for this to occur at the next regionals with new cards like Glaceon and Omastar however the rest of the meta isn’t changing enough for a major shock to occur and be very effective. For example a deck like Glaceon Archeops will still lose to many decks in the meta because of its slowness and ability to be beat by things that have an out to its strategy or a deck like Omastar that could repeatedly gust pokemon active not be very effective on many turns for the effort it takes to set up. There won’t be many surprises to come from the set in the near future. So what did decks gain and lose from the release of fates collide?

Tier 1 Deck Analysis

Trevenant

Trevenant doesn’t gain anything card wise however with the release of new cards comes more decks that people will want to try. Thats a big plus for a deck that does very well versus almost every deck that doesn’t have dark type energy in it. Trevenant is a very strong play if you’re looking to finish off your invite or just need a couple points to guarantee your placement in a certain stipend zone as the deck has the ability to tear through a tournament assuming it doesn’t run into to many dark decks. However if you’re looking to take home the whole tournament the odds are not as good for trevenant because of how likely you are to run into a dark deck in the top cut portion of the tournament. I strongly encourage playing this deck whatever your goals are.

Night March

Regionals results indicate that Night March is not a deck you’ll want to be sleeving up for expanded tournaments. With both Trevenant and Dark type having very strong performances in the last couple weekends the outlook does not look great for our favorite little attackers. Unless you’re very confident that you can win the dark match up I really wouldn’t encourage you to play Night March if you’re looking to do well.

Turbo Darkrai

I don’t think this deck is a very strong play for expanded. One major problem with the deck is its vulnerability to being 1 shot from Pokemon like M Rayquaza, Vespiquen, Flareon, Night Marchers, Yveltal, and Xerneas. Another problem is that you can expect to play at least 1 fighting deck throughout the course of a tournament and with Darkrai EX being your main attacker you’re in for a bad time. That along with Yveltal not being as strong when you don’t play double colorless energy limits the decks ability to tech against its counters. The deck does have the ability to do massive damage and with good night spear foresight you can put a lot of pressure on your opponent's side of the board. No one can deny the fact that getting 4 energy onto the board and doing 120 damage on the first turn of the game is a very satisfying feeling which is why you will certainly face one or more of these if you play in a expanded tournament in the near future.

Classic Dark

This deck is at the top of the expanded metagame for a reason. It boasts an even or good matchup versus almost every deck in the format and so I would like to put a bit of a spotlight on the deck and analyze it further. I strongly believe that with a well thought out and appropriately teched list this deck gives you the best chance to win any game.

I’d like to go over some important cards and discuss how you should decide whether or not to include them in your Dark list.
Mewtwo EX

This card is very powerful with the ability to attack for just a dce and take out a wide variety of low hp basics or handle a pesky gallade. I think the inclusion of this card will become the norm assuming the that the metagame continues to host the high amount of low hp basics and pokemon that require multiple energy to attack.
Parallel City

This card is very versatile and it came as no surprise to me that 2 copies were included in the Treynor's winning regional decklist. The ability to greatly reduce the effectiveness of both Rainbow Road and Rayquaza’s strategies with just 2 cards is fantastic. This card not only does that but it can deny prizes by putting Jirachi's and Shaymin's into your discard, turn your abilities back on, nerf the amount of damage of a Vespiquen or Seismitoad EX , and limit your opponent's options to respond to your board. If you don’t expect Rayquaza or Rainbow Road it’s certainly appropriate to cut one but this card is too strong to not be included.

AZ

Another very versatile card. AZ is a very strong card in many situations like when you need to take a damaged Pokemon off of the board. AZ improves your deck's ability to function under item lock which shouldn’t be overlooked. Also AZ and Shaymin's Sky Return attack in tandem can make 2 prizes look deceptively in reach for your opponent which is a very strong play to make in later turns of time or when you want to force your opponent to have to take “7 prizes” to win the game and create a stronger N play. Is the AZ worth the space in your deck? For me the strength and surprise of the 1 card is well worth the space however I could also see it being removed from the list for an extra Trainers Mail or Battle Compressor if you don’t see yourself using the card often or you expect less 2 shotting or item lock for some reason.

That wraps up my thoughts on specific card choices that I don't think have been heavily discussed. I strongly encourage you to take a list similar to this one into expanded decks if you feel any amount of comfort in your ability to pilot it. Yveltal has been one of the strongest and most versatile archetypes for a long time and I’m fairly certain that’s not changing any time soon. I hope this article helped with any last minute preparation you had for an expanded tournament and that you stay tuned for more articles from me in the future. Best of luck to all 60card readers.

Maximillian Armitage

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