Experts' corner

Chris Fulop

Preparing For Regionals

Looking for a full gauntlet of the top Expanded decks going into Winter Regionals!? Look no further!

02/09/2016 by Chris Fulop

Hello, everyone! A bulk of my article today is going to be focusing on the first few weeks of Regionals, which will be using the same Expanded format we have had for City Championships. As a result, I won't be going too much into the new BREAKpoint cards, which won't be legal until later on for tournaments due to the delay set after each set release. Since I'll be hitting up what looks to be a pair of those events, I've spent a vast majority of my testing on the current, existing format. As such, I haven't really played much with the new, not-yet-legal cards.

I also want to issue a correction I noticed regarding the text for the new Stadium card, All Night Party. In my set review, the translation I had for the card did not specify that the only condition it removed was Sleep, and I evaluated it as such. I'm not saying there have not been other translation errors in the past since I write these reviews before most English scans are available, but I noticed this one earlier this week and wanted to at least cop to it. It does make more sense, in that it at least prevents Steel Shelter from being completely obsolete. (It also makes more sense thematically! Why would an All Night Party help get rid of Poison? If you're sick, get some sleep! Don't stay up all night! It would be a huge flavor fail!)

Anyways: Regionals. Expanded.

While I love new, unexplored formats, fresh with a lack of established archetypes, there is also something to be said about working with a very much known quantity. This current incarnation of Expanded, in that it is made up primarily of the same decks, has existed since the last set of Fall Regionals. While we got an influx of BREAKthrough for City Championships held under the Expanded format, the set did very little to really upset the status quo. Decks got some nice additions, but in general, it was merely an update to the metagame we saw in the Fall.

With that said, when going into an established metagame, it’s important to really identify what the most important (and best) decks in that format are. With Expanded, I feel like it is pretty easy to identify what the major pillars of the format are. This isn't to say that these are necessarily the absolute best decks...but they are tier one choices, and they will be the decks that are the most popular. If a fringe deck, or unknown quality winds up being better than these, it actually matters less for initial testing because you have no idea how much, if any, play it will end up getting. If you have a deck you feel is extremely good, I'm not arguing it isn't, but that said, it isn't a good thing to put it on a pedestal for this evaluation because while the deck may be good, it’s unlikely to also be popular. I've seen too many people (myself included at times!) rule out and skew their deck choices by revolving what is and is not viable around their personal favorite deck choices, even if they go against the grain. Don't rule out PLAYING those decks, but they should not be a focal point of what you test AGAINST either.

I think most people will agree with me when I isolate three major overarching deck types as the pillars of this format: Yveltal, Seismitoad-EX, and Vespiquen. These "archetypes" have slightly different variations of them, which are all popular and viable. "Standard" Yveltal, Yveltal/Raichu, and Yveltal/Archeops are fall under this Yveltal umbrella. For Seismitoad-EX, there are builds with Crobat, Giratina, Garbodor, and others. Vespiquen lacks the wide diversity of the other two pillars, since it has a pretty proactive, linear game plan, but besides a very traditional build, I've also seen it paired alongside a Night March subtheme, and a build with Vileplume has really caught on as well. This makes the deck quicker, and lower maintenance.

Beyond this, the metagame gets far more muddled. At Fall Regionals, Mega Manectric decks were popular, but have since tapered off in popularity. A deck that is garnering a lot of attention at the moment is Sableye/Garbodor. While it seems to be having the opposite momentum that Manectric is seeing, it is still enough of an unknown to keep it from being in that very top tier of expected decks. Speed Rayquaza, Night March, "Rainbow Road," various mill decks, various Crobat decks, Archie's Blastoise, and more are all decks which can be expected to show up in some quantity for Regionals.

Yveltal BKT is such a strong addition to this deck. Not only does it give you a great attacker against EX decks, but it provides another non-EX attacker which can OHKO a Vespiquen. (Admittedly, it takes a Virbank’d Laser to do it, but that’s something! I'm not even being sarcastic. It adds up in the matchup.) It also turns off Life Dew against Vespiquen, which can be a big deal, too. Against Seismitoad-EX, its Ability turning off Muscle Band is actually really important. Gimping them to 30 damage a turn pre-Laser is a big deal. If you are able to get Keldeo-EX and Darkrai going, you can mitigate those Lasers pretty well and end up slowing them to a crawl.

The card is best in multiple, because it lets the Bench damage really pile up. Often times, with a lone copy you can somewhat "strand" that 60 damage on a Benched Pokémon-EX and not see the full benefits of this card. As you add more copies, it becomes much more threatening. The problem is, as we add more copies, Float Stone becomes a bit worse. You want to be able to attack on the first turn with this deck, and by opening with this Yveltal, you can't really do that. Float Stone is great overall, and with Keldeo-EX obviously, but I am opting for a split on the Switching cards so there is a better means by which to Bench this Yveltal. (It isn't easy to assemble a Keldeo/Float Stone on the first turn, either.) With Computer Search, the deck effectively has two outs to hitting it, and I think that is enough to warrant the spread.

I'm running two Yveltal XY because of the Toad and Vespiquen matchups. In theory, with Dark Patch, these guys aren't necessarily "needed" but because of these matchups (and I guess Sableye builds as well) I like the second copy. It is a fine Pokémon to open with, and this is important against Vespiquen. You really can't afford to be Benching a bunch of Pokémon-EX as they just blow the Prize exchange open for your opponent. Thus, you want to mitigate how often you open with one. Oblivion Wing with a Muscle Band or Laser can pick off the basics in the deck, which is huge. You just want to get the right kind of draw where you can start taking quick Prizes early with non-EX Pokémon. Outside of games where you win off of N, this will be your main route to victory.

Against Toad, you have to fight their energy removal cards. Setting up damage on their Toads is huge towards getting KOs with your better attackers. I mentioned how good Yveltal BKT is against Toad, but that is on one condition: They have to be powered up and able to attack! It’s not too hard for an opponent to strip energy off of an Yveltal, so being able to have a non-Item means of dumping more into play is important. (Dark Patch isn't cutting it under Quaking Punch!)

Jirachi is an interesting inclusion, and actually one I am on the fence about. It is extra insurance against Toad, but I'm also not sure that the deck actually needs it. It is pretty rough for them to win past it, and at a large event like Regionals, there is something to be said about running a card that gives you a bit of an overkill in a popular matchup. The fact it isn't dead in other matchups does help, and most other decks are not playing games with it in mind. (I guess Toad players are, but at the same time, they don't really have much of a way to really work around it.)

The last inclusion is a Kecleon, which is a card I previously had been a fan of in Bronzong builds, but not really anywhere else. That’s changed, though. The card is solid against Seismitoad-EX, giving you your own Quaking Punch. Its main duties, though, are against Vespiquen and Raichu decks. It lets you keep up with Raichu as a primary attacker without exposing Pokémon-EX, or Lightning-Weak Pokémon. It helps even the playing field some against Yveltal/Raichu. Against Vespiquen, it can offer up a KO back for a DCE. The downside here is that it’s really tight on your Pokémon count, as you don't run very many so getting up to a KO is not a foregone conclusion at all. However, with Muscle Band and Lasers, it should be pretty easy as the game progresses. Kecleon also catches a few other things, such as Gallade, and if you have time to set it up more, it can be a great attacker in the mirror match, and against Mega Rayquaza (A fringe deck, but useful nonetheless!) I've been high on Ditto in Standard, and Kecleon is an upgrade for Expanded simply because it has one less retreat, and its ability to copy attackers is not reliant on an ACTUAL Ability, which can be shut off by Garbodor or more likely Hex Maniac.

The floating spot in here is Hex Maniac. It could be a different Supporter, such as an AZ or Xerosic, or an additional draw Supporter, either being another Sycamore, N, or Colress, or something a bit more interesting like a Giovanni's Scheme. (I expect no one to play around the card in Expanded, and this deck deals damage in increments where it can matter, for sure.)

Finally, I want to address a major annoyance I have with all of my Yveltal lists: six Darkness Energy. I always wind up trimming to it, and I hate it. It is a lot more tolerable in Expanded than Standard due to Dark Patch, but it still is very annoying. I'm stuck at six in all three of my builds.

Acknowledging that Yveltal decks are some of the best in the format, the addition of Raichu really spices up the deck. It actually is a bit misleading...this ends up being far more of a Raichu deck than an Yveltal decks. Raichu is very well positioned, and Yveltal is an easily splashed in support set that fits too well with what the deck is trying to do.

If we look at the big three decks, Raichu gives us a big edge in the "mirror" match, and gives us a lot more game against Vespiquen, where non-EX attackers are at a premium. Raichu is also great against Seismitoad-EX, where it can OHKO the Toads for a DCE. Either an Yveltal XY, or Yveltal BKT can set up Toads for these hits, pressuring them all game, or with a full Bench and a Muscle Band, you can one hit a Toad. Giovanni's Scheme has been in and out of the deck for that purpose, as it lets Raichu hit the 180 mark even under Quaking Punch if they get rid of your Band. I've spoken a lot recently on this deck, and I don't want to beat a dead horse. This is my front runner choice for Regionals, simply because of how well it has played for me at events so far this year. I do not feel like anything has changed to make the deck a worse choice, either.

The downside of this deck is that it is the clunkiest of the Yveltal builds. Now, do not get me wrong: That does not mean the deck is inconsistent, or inherently struggling. It just lacks the extreme streamlined nature that the other builds have.

Ok, I want to express my general dislike of this build. I feel like all of the Yveltal lists are really tight to begin with. Trying to jam in a Maxie engine is really stressing the space available in this deck. While yes, much of the engine is already a part of the deck, there are some concessions needed to be made outside of just the actual Maxie/Fighting Pokémon package, such as running more Battle Compressor than I'd otherwise like.

I feel like Archeops is a very awkward card. It needs to come down early to make a major impact, and it is actually just a dead card in a lot of matchups. I'm totally all for the idea of allocating a few spots in a deck for a percentage of the field, but I'm also not sold that it actually BEATS the decks it is supposedly good against. Hex Maniac is such a prevalent card, especially in decks that actually get locked out by Archeops. To make matters worse, if you look at Cities results, and some of the hype stemming from them, the Archeops build of Yveltal has put up good finishes. This actually makes Archeops LESS appealing as the card is on the radar, and in people's minds.

The card that does make the Archeops a bit more interesting, or shall I say the Maxie engine, is Gallade. Gallade is so powerful in Standard, and I feel like he is just as good in Expanded. It’s another beefy non-EX attacker, who can actually threaten OHKOs for a DCE. If Manectric were more popular, this card would be a major allure of this build of the deck. I've seen people play Archeops with no Gallade, and I would personally be far more interested in the reverse decision.

In order to fit the Maxie engine, some of the utility Pokémon end up having to get the axe. This means you are a bit poorer equipped for matchups like Toad and Vespiquen, assuming that the Archeops fails to lock them out. (It could sometimes, who knows.) You'll notice a change for this deck from the other Yveltal builds as well: A second Shaymin-EX. Not only do I need to add the third Battle Compressor (this is a case where I'd also prefer the fourth but have made the concession) but in order to make the Maxie engine work smoother, I added the second Shaymin-EX. To make this fit, I'm at only one Maxie...and I feel like, with Jirachi-EX, that is acceptable. The deck has enough raw power, and is a tier one deck without the cards, that if you have Prize issues, you cut your losses and just play a normal game.

This is my personal favorite version of Seismitoad-EX in Expanded. It has a higher damage output than any other build without ever needing to deviate from the established Quaking Punch lock. (Although it does run enough Energy to reliably go the Grenade Hammer route if need be. Part of this is because there will be times and matchups where attacking with Crobat is a thing. I also like having the ability to pair two Water together to be able to Quaking Punch off of that to get around Jirachi...who Crobat does help you answer too.) Grenade Hammer can do a TON of damage with Lasers and Bats, and it almost feels like such a strong disruptive card has no right having that sort of output.

I feel like the deck is better at punishing a stumble at the start of a game than other Toad decks due to how much more damage it can put out. If that initial Punch hurts them a lot, they get less time to meaningfully draw out of it than other builds permit. In Toad mirrors, the Bat damage is still live, where the cards most builds get over it, Hammers, are turned off by Toad still.

Most importantly, the Crobat line lets you pick up cheap Prizes off non-ex decks like Night March and more importantly now, Vespiquen. By having 4 free retreat Pokémon in Zubat, it minimizes the odds you open with a "Non-Toad" early, and makes opening with a draw-EX less likely.

I feel like most of the counts in the deck are pretty standard. At the moment, my floating spots are the pair of Head Ringers. They help a lot in the mirror, and are generally just good. I'm not in love with them, and they could be any number of cards. I like the one of Skyla, because of Comp. Search. This is a deck that NEEDS that turn one Quaking Punch, and I want the safety net to have my DCE every game. I think the downside to whiffing is too high not to have this back up plan. Beyond that, I like my three Sycamore, three N, one Colress line. With Bats, the decks Bench fills enough to make Colress good. You cut off Items, so it also encourages the opponent to play Shaymin and Jirachi too. Sycamore is a bit rough with the Crobat line too.

Speaking of that Crobat line, I am pretty set on a 4-4-2 line, if you only have ten spots for the line. (Clearly 4-4-3 is 'perfect' but if you can't get that thick of line, I prefer 4-4-2 over say, 4-3-3.) While the Crobat take over the spots for Hammers in most Toad decks, we do have a Team Flare Grunt and a Xerosic to at least provide reasonable disruption on that front when need be.

This is the second-most popular Seismitoad build these days, but I'm not actually the biggest fan of it. I understand why Giratina is good, but I feel like there are so few matchups where the incentive to switch over and break the Item Lock is there. Whenever I test against the deck, it feels like Giratina is dead weight, and when it comes online, I usually just go nuts and set up entirely from whatever damage Toad did and I win. Giratina has some strength against Night March and Vespiquen, but Night March has fallen out of favor and Vespiquen can just punish it with Blacksmith on Flareon now. Even in Toad mirror, where it can threaten to lock the opponent off of DCE, the minute that Giratina comes up, I imagine it eats so much energy removal that its sent back to the stone age. That said, this argument does lead to why I'm playing a card I didn't include in my Crobat version: Ghetsis. Having Ghetsis available does allow you to strip them of their Items before breaking the lock, but it also leaves them free to go off after a Supporter, and will often just allow them a smaller hand size to Shaymin with.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is plenty I do like about this deck...namely that it gets to run both Super Scoop Ups and the heavy Energy Removal package. I love that alongside Toad, and it offers a real alternative strength to what Crobat offers...I just feel like maybe there is a better pairing than the Giratina, especially now that Jirachi has been embraced by more lists. I'm not saying I have the solution to this problem, but I at least am asking a good question.

I've seen lists which run Latios-EX and a fourth Double Dragon Energy, but I've decided to focus more on the Toad aspect of the deck (I've seen three Toad be more standard than four...I'm not on board with that.) and by doing so, I really don't feel like the fourth Double Dragon is necessary. (I know when the deck first hit the scene, it was only running three. I've also had no issues with it.) Maybe I'm too stuck in this mentality that I dislike Giratina, and in doing so I'm stripping away some of the cards that make it justified, but if so, I guess I'll openly own that much, as I just have never been impressed by its role in what I otherwise find to be a really nice shell of a deck.

Here is Public Enemy #1! Or #2. Or really depends on how you rank this archetype compared to Toad and Yveltal. I think it stormed onto the scene at Regionals making such a mark that it just FELT like the "deck to beat". Jimmy O’Brien’s performance with the deck was just so stellar that it was hard to ignore. Even as people adapted to the deck being a known quantity, it managed to win more Expanded Cities than any other archetype. I think that alone speaks volumes to how good the deck is. It has natural type advantage against Toad decks, and can exploit any deck relying on-EX attackers. This really gives it such a huge advantage against a large portion of the field, and those decks don't really have much in the way of innovations which can be done to combat the fundamental weaknesses they have to this deck.

One of the things I've always struggled with using this deck is just how many Pokémon is necessary in it. I prefer to be rather safe, going as high as 28 Pokémon here. The core of the deck is pretty set in stone. 4-4 Flareon 4-4 Vespiquen, 4 Shaymin-EX and 4 Unown. Those are your attackers, and core draw Pokémon. After that, it’s kind of personal taste. Jirachi is a fine addition, even though you don't really need the Toad help. It’s a pretty solid catch all though. Audino gets around status conditions, namely of the Laser induced variety, but there’s also something to be said about having a Pokémon which can be discarded from your hand beyond the Unown. Wobbuffet is better than Hex Maniac in here as your Archeops counter, although I've considered Wally because I do really like the fringe ability to get a t1 attack off. Wobbuffet counts towards the Pokémon count though, so I've gone with it instead. (Still, 27 Pokémon is still fine. A swap to Wally wouldn't be too detrimental.) I don't bother with Entei, like some lists have done. I just do not really like that card. It seems unnecessary to me.

I would like to think that every list by now has embraced Life Dew as the ACE SPEC in this deck, but it’s so important towards demanding decks take a 7th Prize. In mirror match, or those where decks can keep up Prize for Prize without resorting to using-EX Pokémon, this lets you break serve. Making a player often KO 7 non-EX Pokémon is really backbreaking. That is also why I run the one Parallel City. Not only can it help discard Pokémon in play, but it lets you dump off Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX to leave you without that-EX bait on the Bench. Ironically, the "flip side" of Parallel City can end up mattering occasionally, reducing damage to your fairly fragile attackers. If it ever turns an OHKO into two hits, it likely determines a game.

The only other non-engine cards I run are a pair of Silver Bangle, and two Float Stone. The Bangles allow you to actually hit those really high numbers needed to take out the biggest-EX Pokémon. I actually have considered a Giovanni's Scheme as well, to really make that jump. Mega and Primal Pokémon see less play in Expanded than Standard, though, so I'm not super concerned about it. Float Stone is just necessary for retreating things, there is nothing exciting there. One card I'd like to look at is Xerosic, as being able to strip away Focus Sash (Not that it sees much play in Expanded) or opposing Life Dew seems really useful.

This is thrown together based on the list I saw playing against Steve Guthrie Jr at Cities. It combines the raw speed of Night March (Being able to get that first turn attack is so nice.) with the stability offered by Vespiquen. Eelektrik replaces your Blacksmith/Dimension Valley, and also pads the Pokémon count for the Big Bee. Rather than run Flareon as your sort of redundant "Vespiquen 5-8" we have the Night Marchers. This makes the deck faster, and favored in the mirror match as well. It isn't quite as reliable as a Night March, as you lose Acro Bike (Some of the draw has to come out to fit in all of the extra Pokémon it’s a necessary evil, unfortunately.) This is a clear hybrid, being slightly less stable than Vespiquen, while faster, and more stable than Night March while being slower and a bit clunkier. In general, I like this build better than the traditional Vespiquen build. It is also less weak to Archeops, so you don't need to squeeze in Wobbuffet or Hex Maniac as you can just resort to Joltik and Pumpkaboo.

Okay, here is my latest Speed Rayquaza list, which is a lot better in Expanded than in Standard. Having access to Colress again is just so huge. Jirachi-EX and Exeggcutes are a huge boon as well. I don't actually think this deck is super well positioned, and if I don't like the deck much, I can't imagine it is a great play. Since the list isn't very different than those I've gone over a bunch in past articles, there isn't a ton for me to say on it here, so we'll move on to the next deck!

This is a deck that has burst onto the scene recently and is a pretty terrifying one at that. Any time a deck has a game plan that is abstract, it can be a challenge to play against, and capitalizes on a lot of decks just not having any weapons to combat it. This is the kind of deck that can just beat certain matchups fairly effortlessly. The game plan is to use Junk Hunt over and over again, looping Life Dew and assorted disruptive cards. Lysandre and Energy Removal cards end up locking players out of the game eventually, as they have to take well more than six Prizes a game due to Life Dew. In most cases, Hex Maniac is superior to Garbodor, but here, you want a game long lock against decks able to abuse Abilities, as this deck really wants to capitalize on abusing an opponent’s finite resources and one energy a turn limitation.

The Pokémon count is pretty simple. Clearly with Junk Hunt grabbing a bunch of Item cards, you really have an inherent weakness to Seismitoad-EX. Jirachi gives you a bit of a reprieve there, but a dedicated Toad deck is going to be tough nonetheless.

Some of the Trainers seem...interesting. Trick Shovel is a means by which to close a game out. You don't need more than one, it gets Junk Hunted back once the game is locked and you can use it to deck an opponent. Otherwise, you can win with Hypnotoxic Lasers. You don't run the full package, or Virbank, but you can eventually grind an opponent out with the two copies you have. VS Seeker is also only a three count! You get to loop them midgame once you see the first, so you don't really need the max. It is better to run actual Supporters for the early turns, since you run no Battle Compressor to turn a VS Seeker into early game draw.

Two Super Rod is...frustrating, but it really strikes me as one of those cards you can't Prize. In some matchups, you need to keep Garbodor in play, and if they start killing them, you have to be able to get them back. Also, you need to be able to loop Sableye. A pair of them also increases the odds of drawing one, which can come up as they aren't always strictly a super late game need.

Head Ringer is not only disruptive, but it’s somewhat important when dealing with Shaymin-EX. Theoretically, a player could keep alternating Sky Returns between a pair of Shaymin-EX, and protect their DCEs from your removal. It’s a fringe strategy, but it can be a big pain. Head Ringer circumvents that entirely. (Admittedly, you can also eventually catch a Shaymin with sleep off of a Laser to break the chain, but they would eventually wake up, and you don't exactly DAMAGE them, so it’s still somewhat effective against the deck.)

The big boost this deck gets is the change from Swiss being Best of One to Match Play! It was VERY prone to draws in Swiss with a 30 minute time limit, but it should be able to win one game in an hour, while not really letting a second finish often. The downside of being a huge underdog in any match that goes to game three in cut is mitigated too because the first 14 rounds are traditional Swiss. By the time you reach Top 8, I can't imagine losing to that issue is a huge heartbreaker.

Archie's Blastoise is a deck that really hasn't changed much since its emergence on the scene, because it has a pretty powerful game plan that hasn't gotten a ton of help with recent releases. (In fact, it got hurt a LOT by the release of Hex Maniac, as well as Vespiquen.) The fact players have embraced adding Ghetsis to their decks also disrupts this deck, although clearly it can recover from it. (I’ll admit the spiking in popularity of Ghetsis after the first weekend of Fall Regionals was a major roleplayer in stripping this deck from the list of ones I wanted to play. I wanted to avoid being on one of the weaker to Ghetsis decks, as well as be on a deck which could use the Supporter. With this deck needing to chase Archie, it loses the flexibility to abuse a powerful turn one disruptive Supporter like Ghetsis, or Hex Maniac.)

The biggest addition to the deck is the Articuno/Victini game plan. It is pretty much a necessary evil to be able to compete with the non-EX decks like Vespiquen. By flipping two heads with Articuno, you can start taking additional Prize cards, and actually win the exchange there. I have trimmed the deck of a lot of the fluff as well. I never cared for the Suicune gimmick, nor Wailord. I get their roles, but I feel like they are unnecessary. Suicune falls under Archeops’ "Gimped by Hex Maniac" umbrella, and gets sent straight back to the binder. I think this deck wants to embrace it's very aggressive, proactive game plan, and these cards that act as Plan Bs that clash with what the deck otherwise wants to do seem to be really awkward and unnecessary as better options slow themselves. I've changed the Mewtwo-EX into a Lugia-EX, and honestly, that change seems fairly lateral to me. I'm not in love with one over the other.

One of the new cards the deck DID get is a Fisherman. One of the deck's biggest problems against Seismitoad-EX was that even if you did get the Blastoise out before getting Quaking Punched, it was possible for the Toad player to lock you off having enough Energy. Being able to Jirachi for a Fisherman as an out to that has been pretty strong. I don't want to trim any Superiors for it, as they really do wonders to making the first turn end in an attack, though. I'd like to test adding a few Unown to the deck, as they not only work towards smoothing the deck over, but they also help augment your post Archie draw. You really do need to hit a SER after you Archie so you can explode with a Keldeo, and being able to make that Archie draw an effective 6-7 cards seems worth looking into. The other card I added was a lone copy of Parallel City as a means to dump off Shaymin-EX, Keldeo-EX, and Jirachi-EX against decks where you need to really be careful with the Prize exchange. You can't reliably go off without using these-EX Pokémon, but you can mitigate the damage done by that by dumping them off.

This is a deck I'm not extremely comfortable with. It is really strong, but also gimmicky? I feel like it had a bigger edge as an unknown quantity, and that if people really want to beat the deck, they will find a means to be able to. A common criticism leveled at the deck is its complete inability to deal with an Aegislash-EX. I made my disdain for Archeops known earlier, but it’s a real beating for this deck if it gets out first. I feel like Jirachi-EX into Hex Maniac is also a bit of a problem in some cases, as once you get your first Hex off to break the Item lock, you can start VS Seekering to loop it and really be back in the game, especially since the deck lacks even Lysandre. The deck has a game plan, which it does really well, but it isn't very flexible. I'm not calling it bad by a long shot, I think it’s quite the good deck, it just isn't really in my wheelhouse for decks I'd like to play.

I haven't made too many majors changes from the stock list that has been circulating online. I wound up trimming a Bunnelby (I feel like, by the time you have to resort to using this guy, the game is already in pretty rough shape. I don't think the deck is quite flexible enough to take advantage of it, and it got the axe) for a third Unown. I trimmed the fourth Acro Bike for the fourth Unown from there. I like adding an additional Pokémon, and while Acro Bike digs deeper than Unown, I feel like adding a pair nets an overall better engine. Since the deck really does want to come out of the gates swinging, I feel like buffing the Pokémon count can only help.

The two biggest deck choices I do not have lists for are Donphan, which has put up solid results but is not widely played, and Mega Manectric. Donphan likely has not changed too much over the months, and by proxy of me not having much interest myself in playing it, and none of my friends ever using it, I just haven't been exposed enough to the deck to feel like I have a good, updated stock list for it. As for Mega Manectric, I think the deck is still subpar, but I openly acknowledge I have an extreme bias towards the card. It admittedly has a pretty nice Garbodor Sableye matchup, which could be alluring if that decks hype holds.

Nonetheless, I hope that does a good job of covering most of the gauntlet of Expanded decks to expect at Regionals this month! Good luck to everyone who makes the trip out to attend them! I'm still not positive which specific Regionals I'll be going to, but I look forward to seeing people there!



[+4] okko


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