Experts' corner

Brandon Flowers

'Blast' from the Past - top 5 picks for BW-Sun Moon Expanded Format!

My top 5 picks for the Expanded Format, with a focus on Toronto and Oregon Regionals, and upcoming Expanded League Cups!

14. 03. 2017 by Brandon Flowers


     This is my take on the current BW-SUM Expanded format, which is applicable for Oregon Regionals and Toronto Regionals, as well as any League Cups between now and May. The format is huge and wide open, with no clear cut dominating force just yet, but per usual the strongest and most consistent decks do tend to rise to the top. Dark of all varieties, Seismitoad, Vespiquen, and Blastoise have all seen success at varying times, and all have some neat tricks up their sleeves this time around too. While these may be some of the more odd choices, with the right playstyle and meta, these all have pretty solid potential.

     Coming out of Anaheim Regionals, which was the first major Standard tournament in the ‘new’ Primal Clash-Sun/Moon format, we actually saw a deck with 0 Sun/Moon cards in it win. Kenny Britton got 1st with his Darkrai/Giratina deck, which has already hit’s posted lists:

     This certainly shows that while Sun/Moon may have added a few good options to spice up the meta game, there are no definitely game changing cards, at least not in Standard- I believe this will change going into Expanded however, due to the overall higher amount of consistency allowing for more tech options. Having options such as Colress, Battle Compressor, Jirachi EX, and Computer Search definitely help do away with consistency issues, and open up more slots for techs like Tauros GX or Oranguru.


    The Dark archetype does certainly change quite a bit from Standard to Expanded, going from a very consistent and straight forward deck like Turbo Darkrai to Maxie’s Yveltal. One of the decks that has reigned over the Expanded format since its inception hasn’t lost too much steam going into our new set block, and even picked up an option in the way of Tauros GX. Here’s my take on it:


    Maxie’s Yveltal is by no means a unique or new idea, and I’ve only changed a couple things from previous winning lists to continue to adapt to the meta. Sableye was a neat tech that saw success in Mark Garcia’s winning list from San Jose Regionals last December, and is still worth the space in my opinion. It opens up options for continued energy acceleration in way of Dark Patch mid to late game, and can all but guarantee a successful Maxie’s if need be.

    Tauros, as mentioned previously, is a newer option. It allows you to quickly take out evolving Basic Pokemon easily with Horn Attack, hitting a flat 60 normally or 70 with a Belt, and is always a good option to Sky Return into or use to bide time, so long as there’s no Gallade in sight. Without hitting for weakness with something like Gallade, there are very few things that OHKO a Fury Belted Tauros, and it hits back hard if hit and not KO’d.

    Of course, the bread and butter of the deck are Yveltal and Darkrai, very little explanation needed here. Yveltal scales damage and has the ability to take 2HKOs easily and one hit knock outs if need be as well. Darkrai excels in taking out smaller targets with ease, such as Pumpkaboo or Joltik, and has the added benefit of Dark Cloak, giving anything with a Dark Energy free retreat.

    Archeops and Gallade help shore up most any matchup that can get a little rocky for Yveltal- Archeops helps tone down the threat of things like Vespiquen, Mega Rayquaza, Greninja, and even Trevenant if successfully Maxie’d onto the field before they achieve their item lock. Gallade can take knock outs on opposing Darkrai EX, Tauros GX, Manectric EX/M Manectric EX, and provide a one prize attacker for various other situations. Even without needing it to attack, Gallade’s ability also gives you options to essentially stack the top 5 cards of your deck.

    Per usual, there are always other options to build towards as well – putting an Oranguru in as a way to provide a sort of safety net for N/Delinquent can be useful, especially in combination with Gallade. Gallade and Oranguru provide a very useful combination that can be game changing, much in the same way that allowed Gallade/Octillery to work on a smaller scale, but without all the clump of evolution lines.

    Overall, Yveltal is definitely a contender in the format, as always, and should never be taken lightly. With seemingly fewer bad matchups in lou of Manectric and Night March seeing less play, the matchup spread with known decks in the format just keeps going up. It does take quite a bit of skill to pilot and has a decently high skill ceiling however, so it is definitely a deck that merits considerable testing before going into a large event with.


     Next on the chopping block is a twist on yet another old archetype – Seismitoad/Decidueye. The emergence of Decidueye GX as both extremely useful for the ability, and having decent attacks to back it up can certainly add options to the way Toad is built and played.

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