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Caleb Gedemer

"Dark, Dark, Goose!" — Two Darkness Decks and My Own Favorite in Expanded

The Expanded format is currently run over with dark decks, but Caleb Gedemer can guide you through it...

03. 05. 2017 by Caleb Gedemer

The Expanded format is currently run over with dark decks, but Caleb Gedemer can guide you through it. He'll be showing you the ins and outs to two of these Darkness type decks, and then showing off his personal favorite deck, something you probably haven't seen in awhile. Check it out!

Introduction

Hey everybody at 60cards, I’m pleased to be writing about something I haven’t in a while--the Expanded format! While I’ve assuredly had mixed feelings about this card pool throughout the season, I think it’s come around again to something that’s more healthy and open for a variety of decks to do well in, and succeed. Today I’ll be covering what I think is the best deck in the format overall, one deck that’s always under the radar, and my personal favorite deck out there, which I think is primed for some much-deserved success soon. Without further ado, let’s get going already, I hope you like what I’ve got in store for you today!

Portland, Oregon Regional Championship Overview

This tournament was a little while back, now, all the way in March, taking place over the weekend of the 25, and 26. I didn’t attend, but going into the event most players were as clueless as ever when it came to the Expanded format. The last Expanded event before this was in Collinsville, Illinois, and that event was all sorts of crazy when it comes to the norms of the format. M Rayquaza-EX ended up on top, and things like Volcanion saw their first success in Expanded, ever.

With a murky cloud shadowing the event like this, most top players go back to something they’ve been playing for a while, like something they know very well. For most people, this is some kind of Darkness type deck, usually Yveltal, but sometimes Darkrai-EX. Just as it happens, both of those decks took the event by storm, and overall, five of the Top Eight spots were snatched up by these types of decks.

In a true blast to the past, Travis Nunlist took Primal Groudon-EX to a Top Eight birth, and Night March popped up as it has been every so often in the cut, too. Much of this event resembled something out of an Expanded format story book, like a recap of an event back in the 2015-2016 season. A metagame consisting of these types of decks is generally what we as players always seem to fall back on, when Expanded gets weird.

My biggest takeaway for you all from this event is that not much has really changed when it comes to the power decks in the format. Yveltal is still most definitely on top of it all, and that won’t be changing any time soon. Its pure dominance over the format should make it your top choice, or a deck that you’re aiming to beat with a deck you choose instead.

Going forward, I don’t think much will change in terms of other decks popping up. The bizarre decks that we hadn’t seen in a while that did well in the Illinois Regionals do not stack up well against the decks that did well in Oregon. Expect more of the same, with very little deviation from what did well. More than anything else, make sure you’re playing Yveltal, or a deck that can beat it!

“Dark, ...”

Yveltal / Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick

Overview

I, and others, have probably talked this deck to death by now, but it’s always nice for a refresher, to see if anything’s changed. Yveltal with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick has been around for ages now. Nothing has really changed, get the Maxie’s target of your choice, Archeops or Gallade, and use the proper attackers in the moment to deal with what your opponent chooses to do on his or her side of the field. With Darkrai-EX, Gallade, Yveltal, Yveltal-EX, and even Sableye in your deck, you have a ton of options to get things done.

Much of your gameplay decisions have a lot of strategic planning to them, like setting up double Knockouts on your opponent’s Pokemon, for more Prizes, while saving resources of your own for later. Careful Energy placement is crucial to being successful with the deck, as well as general resource management. For instance, holding Dark Patches for later can be nice, since it doesn’t tilt your hand to your opponent as to what you’re going to be doing.

Stadium cards are extremely important in this deck, too, and winning the Stadium war with your opponent is important. I try to never lay down a Stadium until my opponent has done so themselves, since locking in a Parallel City, or Silent Lab, is so crucial in many matches you’ll face along the way. A lot of thought is involved with this deck, and a lot of practice needs to be done to have a solid mastery of it all. Be sure to check the deck out on your own time to get things done!

Deck List

I think Israel Sosa’s list for this deck is close to perfect, so that’s what I’ll be going over today. He has made a name for himself almost entirely with Darkness decks, and he’s made multiple Regional top cuts with this deck alone this season. I fully trust his card choices, and think he’s the trailblazer for this deck.

Card Explanations

1 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

One Shaymin-EX, yes, you got that right. Mark Garcia played two in his Regional-winning Yveltal list earlier in the season, but I think that one Shaymin-EX is just fine, and so does Sosa, apparently. The logic behind playing two is simple; have one for now, and one for later. However, playing two is awkward when you don’t have the Bench space to play the second down when you draw it at inopportune times, and playing one opens much needed space for other important cards.

2 Darkrai-EX LTR 88

I’ve gone back and forth on this count, but two Darkrai-EX is very good to have. It’s a fantastic attacker against things that hit Yveltal and Yveltal-EX for Weakness, and its Night Spear attack is particularly useful against Night March, when taking out Joltiks on your opponent’s Bench. Don’t forget Dark Cloak, either, that Ability is always clutch throughout the course of nearly every game.

1 Sableye DEX 62

I love this card in this deck, and support its inclusion in the list. Junk Hunt can set up a Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick play beautifully, and it can also save you in a pinch when you need more Dark Patches, or something like a VS Seeker, even. It also helps against disruption decks to get back resources.

2 Yveltal BKT 94

I originally thought this count should maybe decrease with the release of Pokemon-GX in Sun & Moon, but I’ve been proved wrong. Yveltal’s Pitch-Black Spear is as useful as ever, and Shaymin-EX isn’t going anywhere, so that should never change if the Expanded format doesn’t rotate. Having two of these guys insures that you can take a Shaymin-EX out on your opponent’s Bench, and aside from that, it has use against every single deck that contains Pokemon-EX. Don’t change this count, two is perfect.

3 Yveltal-EX XY 79

Three, or two? It’s been a hot debate for a while now, and some of the top Darkness type players have concluded that three is superior. I’ve had three, and liked three, for a while now, and never really understood why two was the norm when it came to deck building. Yveltal-EX is the best attacker in this deck, and you use it the most often. I never liked Prizing one of the two and then being completely stuck when it came to attacking options when my other Pokemon weren’t ones that I wanted to be using. I support this count with all my heart.

1 Archeops NVI 67

When you’re playing Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, you better be playing this card. Ironically, just before Vileplume’s resurgence in Illinois at the Regionals there in March, I was thinking about taking Archeops out of this deck. There weren’t too many reasons to play it, but now that ‘plume seems like it’s back to stay, I would never cut this. I think it’s implied that only investing one slot in your deck to this prehistoric bird is ideal.

1 Gallade BKT 84

Others like two, but Sosa seems to always have no problem playing one. While I like two, I don’t think you really need them, since you rarely ever even have enough Double Colorless Energy in your deck to go around to all your attackers as it is already! One is fine, if you’re not going the luxurious route, and it makes sense since the Maxie’s occurrence rate for this deck is generally on the lower side, at least in the first couple turns, so investing more space than one doesn’t sound as attractive.

1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60

When there’s Maxie’s, there should always be at least one Jirachi-EX. Just like with Shaymin-EX, you only need one Jirachi. To go a step further, this deck has never played two Jirachi to begin with even, so there’s no reason to step the count up now.

3 Battle Compressor

I like that this list doesn’t invest everything into the Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick engine, because when you don’t get the Maxie’s in lists that do, you can run out of cards in your deck, as well as resources. It just doesn’t make sense. That’s why three Battle Compressor is a happy medium, and works amazingly in this deck. Four is an option, but I would only step that high if you’re really struggling to get a Fighting Pokemon onto your Bench.

4 Dark Patch

Three Dark Patch, are you kidding me? Yeah, please don’t change this count. Having four Dark Patch throughout the course of a game is extremely important, and helps you keep going toe to toe with your opponent. Without four, you can lose steam, and not have a follow up attacker after your opponent takes out one of your Pokemon that you’d been using.

1 Dowsing Machine

Here’s one of Sosa’s favorite cards, a card that’s starting to grow on me. Consistently, he has used Dowsing Machine instead of Computer Search in Yveltal decks, and I’ve always wondered why. Well, with Sableye, it effectively lets you get back any Trainer card when you get it back with Junk Hunt and then use it on your next turn. Also, it’s just good in generally to get the fifth Dark Patch, fourth Stadium card, or even reusing Tool Scrapper, for example. It makes up for some of the things that come with using a deck that’s on the “wrong side of fifty”, if you will, in terms of age. Like if another deck is using Dark Patch and Max Elixir, you need some way to compensate for your lack of speed. If you could play two of these, you would.

1 Tool Scrapper

Here’s another unique card, that I am very fond of. Tool Scrapper is great against Sableye decks, as well as anything with Life Dew, like Night March. It also helps makes Knockouts easier against decks with Fighting Fury Belt, like in the mirror match when you’re attacking against a Belted Yveltal-EX. You don’t need more than one, at all.

3 Trainers' Mail

This brings me back to what I said about three Battle Compressor. While four Trainers’ Mail would be sweet, you just don’t need to make that all-in investment for this deck to do what it needs to do. Three is just enough to get the job done, and you’ll get a Maxie off most of the time with it. Four is more on the luxurious side of things, just like four Battle Compressor is, too.

4 Ultra Ball

Now these cards you can’t cut down on in a deck that wants its hand size to be zero when playing down a Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. Ultra Ball gets every Pokemon in your deck, and is the engine behind most modern decks nowadays. Don’t cut back on this one.

4 VS Seeker

Same thing as Ultra Ball, except these are maybe even more valuable. Since decks play less Supporters than they did many moons ago, having four VS Seeker is amazing.

1 Parallel City

Playing Dowsing Machine lets you go down to one Parallel City, and you might not even need two to begin with. It’s great to remove damaged Pokemon from your Bench, as well as liabilities like Jirachi-EX, and Shaymin-EX. Additionally, it’s a way to beat M Rayquaza-EX decks, a build you normally have much difficulty with.

2 Silent Lab

Silent Lab has many, many uses in this deck, and first, I’d like to call to mind how fast the Expanded format is with Shaymin-EX engines. Silent Lab circumvents that, and it also does much more. It can turn off your Fright Night Ability on your Yveltals, and allow them to wear a Fighting Fury Belt for added HP, or a Float Stone, if needed. It also allows you to stop the effects of Wobbuffet when facing a deck that uses Wobb to get around Archeops, and then your opponent won’t be able to Evolve, still. Lastly, Silent Lab stops Mr. Mime, which can be huge against decks that are weak to Bench damage when you attack with your Darkrai-EX’s Night Spear, or Yveltal’s Pitch-Black Spear. Two of these is just enough to make things work.

1 AZ

AZ is just a utility card that is great in most decks. You never need more than one, since you normally are going to be drawing cards with a different Supporter. I like that AZ, like Parallel City, can remove liabilities of all kinds from your Bench, but more importantly, it improves your matchup against Wobbuffet / Accelgor, and makes it slightly positive, in my opinion.

1 Ghetsis

Ghetsis has become a symbol of Israel Sosa’s play, as if you watch him, nearly every time he goes first he uses Ghetsis, when given the opportunity. Ghetsis is awesome against the mirror match, since your opponent is likely to be playing a lot of Items, and just overall, in a format full of Item draw cards, Ghetsis is always a good play in nearly every deck.

1 Hex Maniac

This one is a little unconventional, but it improves your matchup against Eelektrik / Raikou decks, as well as the random Blastoise matchup. It can do more than that, too, like allow you to play Items against Trevenant BREAK and Vileplume decks. Hex is a card like AZ, it’s never “bad” to play, and one is the right amount for this deck.

2 Lysandre

Two Lysandre is good in a deck that likes to move around the opponent’s Pokemon frequently. When you’re trying to set up Bench Knockouts, having the Ability to find Lysandre quicker than you would if you played one is great. I think one is okay, but not ideal, and three is just too many.

1 Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick

When you’re only playing one Archeops, and one Gallade, you don’t have a reason to be playing two Maxie’s, so one is perfect. If you made the bump up to two Gallade, then look at two of these as an interesting option.

2 N

One of the best draw cards in the game, but since you’re playing a deck that wants the least number of Supporters that you can make do with (since you want to Maxie’s), two is the correct amount. One would be too little, and you’d be forced to Professor Sycamore when you don’t want to, and you probably wouldn’t have as easy of access to N when it matters in the late game. Lastly, three would be far too many, and it would assuredly clog your hands up.

3 Professor Sycamore

Having three Sycamore is just like the N deal, it’s the best draw Supporter in the game and works well in this deck, so having more of them than N is correct. Having two would be too little, and four, while decent, isn’t ideal, either. If you’re expecting a ton of Trevenant BREAK decks, or even Vileplume, having four Sycamores might be a good option.

2 Fighting Fury Belt

These guys don’t always do anything when your opponent hits for a specific number, like 110, for instance, since he or she will be two-hitting you for a Knockout, anyways. Two is perfect. Additionally, your game plan very often consists of two Pokemon-EX/GX (Darkrai-EX, or Yveltal-EX), and three non-EX/GX Pokemon (Gallade, Sableye, Yveltal), and since a Belt on a Sableye is next to pointless, and one on an Yveltal is even more absurd (unless you have Silent Lab out), two is just enough for the two Basic attackers you’ll be using.

1 Float Stone

Two is a luxury, once again. If you were using Yveltal with Oblivion Wing, then it’s a better card to play, but since your focus is on an Yveltal that prevents the effects of Tools, one is perfect. It’ll usually go on your Archeops in games you get it out, or a support Pokemon along the way, like Jirachi-EX, Shaymin-EX, or sometimes Darkrai-EX.

4 Double Colorless Energy

Like many useful cards, you’d play five Double Colorless Energy if you could. I’ve even tried Special Charge in here before, and it was decent. However, since you usually don’t have enough Prizes in a game to use all your attackers, if you place them correctly, four of these is awesome.

7 Darkness Energy

I’ve tried six, and trust me, it wasn’t pretty. Eight is too many, so seven is where we stand.

For matchups today, since there are just so many decks in the Expanded format, I’ll just be giving you my take on what deck is favored. Be sure to try these out for yourself in your own testing to solidify your tact in matchups you’re unsure about!

Matchups

Aerodactyl | Slightly Favorable
Blastoise / Archie’s Ace in the Hole | Favorable
Crobat / Seismitoad-EX | Even
Darkrai-EX | Favorable
Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX / Salamence-EX | Slightly Favorable
Eelektrik / Raikou | Even
Flareon / Vespiquen | Even
Garbodor / Sableye | Even
Greninja BREAK | Slightly Favorable
M Gardevoir-EX (79) | Unfavorable
M Rayquaza-EX (76) | Slightly Unfavorable
Night March | Even
Trevenant BREAK | Favorable
Vileplume / Decidueye-GX | Even
Vileplume / Lurantis-GX | Even
Vileplume / Toolbox | Even
Vileplume / Vespiquen | Slightly Favorable
Volcanion | Slightly Unfavorable
Wobbuffet / Accelgor | Slightly Favorable
Wobbuffet / Primal Groudon-EX | Even
Xerneas / Ho-Oh-EX | Slightly Favorable
Yveltal / Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick | Even

“Dark, ...”

Garbodor / Sableye

Overview

Here you have Expanded’s most prominent disruption deck, aside from maybe Trevenant BREAK, if you want to lump it in that neighborhood. Sableye with Garbodor tries to lock the opponent out of the game by discarding Energy, and preventing attacks. To make matters worse for the poor player that must face up against this deck, Sableye players use Life Dew, a Tool card that makes your opponent take one less Prize when the Pokemon it’s attached to is knocked out. If a Sableye has a Life Dew on it, an opponent won’t be taking a single Prize when it’s taken out, and the Sableye player will just keep discarding useful cards from its opponent’s field.

Sableye is the “ultimate lock” at its best. Trick Shovel allows the using player to look at the opponent’s top card of the deck, and either keep it, or discard it. When a player can’t even attack since he or she doesn’t have Energy, and can’t draw useful cards, there’s nothing to do except wait for a lucky break. Sableye can Junk Hunt out two Item cards, which will almost always be Puzzle of Times, unless there aren’t two available in that player’s discard pile. That means Life Dew will be available almost every turn. The way to get around this seemingly infinite loop is to either play down a Ghetsis, or an N, to take your opponent’s useful cards in his or her hand, and return them to the deck.

There are only a few ways to beat a Sableye deck, like I just mentioned. Otherwise, the deck is an absolute nightmare for pretty much anything. Dead draws, Item lock, lack of Life Dew, or Puzzle of Time, as well as taking out Pokemon-EX/GX on the Bench before they get taken off with either AZ or Parallel City are just about the only ways to beat this super annoying deck.

Deck List

I’ll be covering Alex Koch’s list today, as I think he’s the best Sableye player there is out there right now, just like I think Sosa is the best Yveltal player. Koch has made two Top Eights with this deck this season, and he might not even be done yet. Time will tell, but when he plays this deck he’s a force to be reckoned with, and I back his deck list completely.

Card Explanations

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

Some lists play more than two Shaymin-EX, or a Jirachi-EX, in addition to those two, as well. The way I see it is like this: don’t play more of these Support Pokemon than you’re willing to Bench. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to play down three in any combination of these guys, so two looks good to me. You can always discard them away with Parallel City, or take your time and remove them from play with AZ, either way works.

4 Sableye DEX 62

Sableye is your main attacker, so you’d be crazy not to play a full set of four.

2 Trubbish NVI 48

Playing two Garbodor is correct in a deck like this, and so is two Trubbish. This is the right Trubbish to play, too, since it has a useful attack in that of Garbage Collection.

2 Garbodor BKP 57

Might want two Garbodor in case you Prize one. Don’t think about playing just one.

3 Crushing Hammer

Three Crushing Hammer might seem weird, but in a deck like this you’re playing “out of your discard”, if you will. You’re not really going to be stockpiling anything, since your entire discard is at your disposal since you can Junk Hunt for two Puzzle of Time. Since you can only get two cards with a successful double Puzzle, you might get, say, two Crushing Hammer. You can’t physically get three, so the third is just there for Prize insurance.

1 Enhanced Hammer

Two would be nice, but one is fine. Same logic applies as above with Crushing Hammer as to why you don’t need even more of these.

3 Puzzle of Time

Again, three might seem weird, but Junk Hunt only gets two Item cards, not three, or four. Three is just to make sure you don’t Prize one and get locked out of using your Puzzles at all.

1 Super Rod

Having two Rods would be cool, too, but you need to make space for a lot of the cards that I’m about to run through, so one will suffice. You can always get Pokemon back with Puzzles, too, so it makes up for having just one Super Rod.

1 Target Whistle

Here’s a piece of the puzzle (no pun intended) when trying to set up the ultimate lock. Target Whistle can take unfavorable Pokemon for your opponent and place them in his or her Active spot, and there, after a Lysandre, it will sit until you deck them out.

1 Tool Scrapper

How will you ever lock something that has a Float Stone on it? Tool Scrapper, that’s what! Don’t need more than one, either, since you play Xerosic, a card I’ll cover shortly.

4 Trainers' Mail

These are like gold for this deck, since every time you use one you will almost always find something useful. Playing for means you’ll find your Puzzle of Times quicker, and get that unbeatable lock going sooner than later.

2 Trick Shovel

In my overview of this deck, I covered what makes Sableye’s lock so good. Trick Shovel is a huge part of it, and with two, you can mill your opponent, and keep his or her top decks in check.

3 Ultra Ball

Another weird number as compared to the norm, but three Ultra Ball is just fine. I wouldn’t go any lower, and there are other cards you’d rather play four of before this one.

3 VS Seeker

Hey, another example of a card you don’t need four of, as compared to most decks. Puzzle of Time only gets two cards, blah, blah. I think you’ve heard this rant enough times now. Two of these might be okay, but I feel more comfortable with two.

1 Parallel City

Parallel City originally became an inclusion in this deck because of the Greninja BREAK matchup. Greninja with Moonlight Slash can do 80 at most, without a Muscle Band, and with Parallel City and the Water Pokemon damage reduction side facing your opponent, Moonlight will only be doing 60 to a Sableye. This will keep Sableye kicking for longer, and along with Pokemon Center Lady, which I’ll get to soon, this combination works dashingly. While ‘ninja has died down, Parallel is still great because it can get rid of your Shaymin-EXs that you don’t want on your Bench. It can also be useful occasionally in limiting your opponent’s Bench, and making sure useful Pokemon can’t be played down because of space restrictions. One is fine since you’re going to use the following Stadium more often…

1 Team Aqua's Secret Base

Increasing your opponent’s Retreat Costs seems like a pretty sweet idea in a deck that wants to trap Pokemon in your opponent’s Active spot. One is perfect, since you can always get it back with Puzzle of Time.

1 AZ

Just like in the Yveltal deck I talked about, one is fine. It’s a good card in this deck to pick up Shaymin-EXs, or to serve as a switching card in a pinch.

1 Delinquent

Delinquent puts the pressure on your opponent’s hand, and forces him or him to discard cards they don’t want to a lot of the time. Additionally, it can remove Stadium cards that are giving you trouble if you can’t find any of your own. One is more than enough.

1 Hex Maniac

Hex serves to get a Float Stone on a Trubbish, or Garbodor, under an Ability-based Item lock. This way, you can stop the Item lock and get back to business. I would never play more than one of these.

2 Lysandre

Making sure you have the card that makes the lock magic happen a lot of the time is probably a good idea. Two makes sure you don’t Prize your only copy.

2 N

Similarly to the N logic in Yveltal, a lot of the time you don’t want your opponent to get a new hand, if you already have a Trick Shovel lock going, and know that your opponent’s hand is useless.

1 Pokemon Center Lady

This is the other piece of the Greninja BREAK puzzle that I talked about earlier with Parallel City. It also can help against scrappy decks like Carbink BREAK when they aren’t taking you out in one attacker.

4 Professor Sycamore

This is the best way to get drawing cards, and since you have Puzzle of Time, you can discard anything in this deck and just get it back. Maxing this count out is a good idea to make sure you always have a draw Supporter ready to go.

2 Team Flare Grunt

Part of establishing your lock has to do with removing your opponent’s Energy. Having two Team Flare Grunt increases your odds of having one, and helps against decks that lock Items, so that you have a way to deal with Energy that are in play, especially against Seismitoad-EX decks. Three, or even four could be nice, but there are other cards you would play before another one of these. One would be too little, in contrast.

1 Team Rocket's Handiwork

You need a way to finish decking games out sometimes, and this is it. It also can serve as a disruption card, naturally, if you discard a useful resource of your opponent’s. Often you find yourself using other Supporter cards, so having more than one of these would likely be for naught.

1 Xerosic

Here’s the bigger brother to Tool Scrapper, and it has two uses. It’s nice to have under Item lock, primarily, or if your opponent decides to attach Special Energy to something other than the Active Pokemon in play. Two could be all right, but I would play a third Team Flare Grunt before that.

2 Float Stone

With four Trainers’ Mail and two Shaymin-EX, I’m confident you can find one of these two quick enough to get on a Trubbish or Garbodor in your first couple turns. Playing three is a luxury, and one would be insanely foolish.

1 Life Dew

Here’s what completes the unbeatable lock for this deck. If your opponent isn’t taking Prizes, he or she probably won’t be winning.

1 Head Ringer

This card is awesome, and makes it harder for Pokemon-EX to attack. This helps in making those very Pokemon lock targets, something that you can trap in the Active spot and punish by discarding Energy. Playing zero, or two, are options, but meeting in the middle at one is fair.

6 Darkness Energy

I’ve played around with different counts, and always found myself back home at six. Koch thought this number was good, too, so it must be correct.

Matchups

Aerodactyl | Favorable
Blastoise / Archie’s Ace in the Hole | Slightly Favorable
Crobat / Seismitoad-EX | Slightly Unfavorable
Darkrai-EX | Slightly Favorable
Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX / Salamence-EX | Slightly Favorable
Eelektrik / Raikou | Even
Flareon / Vespiquen | Favorable
Garbodor / Sableye | Even
Greninja BREAK | Slightly Favorable
M Gardevoir-EX (79) | Slightly Unfavorable
M Rayquaza-EX (76) | Favorable
Night March | Favorable
Trevenant BREAK | Unfavorable (Favorable with Latias-EX)
Vileplume / Decidueye-GX | Even
Vileplume / Lurantis-GX | Even
Vileplume / Toolbox | Slightly Favorable
Vileplume / Vespiquen | Slightly Favorable
Volcanion | Favorable
Wobbuffet / Accelgor | Favorable
Wobbuffet / Primal Groudon-EX | Slightly Favorable
Xerneas / Ho-Oh-EX | Favorable
Yveltal / Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick | Even

“... Goose!”

Flareon / Vespiquen

Overview

Here’s my favorite deck in the Expanded format, even still. Flareon / Vespiquen has been around for a very long time, and I don’t think it’s completely dead just yet. I have almost played it at every Expanded Regional Championship so far this season, but I haven’t felt the urge to play it just yet. I’m hoping I’m feeling risky come Ontario Regionals, if I go, because I really want to run it again for a tournament. This deck has fallen off because of Archeops, Trevenant BREAK decks, Fighting Fury Belt, and Karen. I think with the number of Expanded events we’ve seen now that we can make a solid conclusion about a few of these things, and write them off.

To address these “issues”, let me start with Archeops. ‘chops is stopped with Wobbuffet’s Bide Barricade, and you can just go ahead and Evolve your Pokemon when you have a Wobb Active. Trevenant BREAK should be at an all-time low going forward, unless people stubbornly play it in the surge of Darkness decks that we’ve been seeing. Fighting Fury Belt is easily dealt with by using Startling Megaphone, and lastly, Karen? Karen isn’t even played. Even if Karen is played, though, I’ve been using Milotic from Primal Clash, and it’s been fantastic, even outside of games where my opponent isn’t using Karen.

Flareon and Vespiquen can one-shot any Pokemon out there with Vengeance, and Bee Revenge, respectively, and that’s the biggest draw I have to the deck. Along with that, it’s extremely consistent with Shaymin-EX, Unown, and Tropical Beach all under one roof of a deck. Playing non-EX/GX Pokemon in a format that’s full of the opposite is sweet, and you can win a lot of games from Prize advantage alone. Aside from all of this, this deck is incredibly fun, too, and I just love using Battle Compressor to put Pokemon into my discard, and making sure I have the right math to take knockouts. Consistency, power, and thought, this deck just has it all for me, personally.

Deck List

You’ll be looking at my own list for this deck, which I’ve been working on with last year’s Worlds finalist, Cody Walinski, recently. We both are considering this deck if we go to the upcoming Regional Championship in Toronto, Ontario, and think it’s a solid play collectively.

Card Explanations

4 Eevee SUM 101

Having four of one of your main attacker’s Basic Stage is an easy decision, but choosing the right one can be tricky. I like this one, since if you’re ever attacking with an Eevee, you’re probably drawing poorly. That said, this one can potentially draw you a card, and the other ones available don’t have anything like that.

4 Flareon PLF 12

One of your main attackers, please don’t play less than four.

1 Jolteon AOR 26

I like one of these, and only one, for M Rayquaza-EX decks. Making your Flareons and Vespiquens swing as both their original types, as well as the Lightning type, helps swing the matchup in your favor, since you can take Knockouts far easier.

3 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

I’ve flirted with two, but it was too little. I’ve also tried Jirachi-EX, but I prefer three Shaymin-EX overall. Four is nice, but not needed, and when you’re trying to find space for other things, you’ll take every slot you can get.

4 Combee AOR 9

There’s a different Combee from an older expansion, but it has less HP, and still has an unusable attack, so use this one, and play four of them.

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

See Flareon for more details if you’re concerned about this count.

4 Unown AOR 30

Unown is a large part of your consistency, and it fuels your attacks by getting itself in the discard pile. What’s more to love? Three is fine, if you’re looking for space.

1 Wobbuffet GEN 111

I would prefer two, but I’ve had to make some cuts to fit other cards that I like having. Wobb is in here strictly for Archeops, but also helps against Vileplume decks by allowing you to use your Items again. I’d try to look for a slot for a second, I know I am.

2 Feebas FLF 22

Here’s something fishy about this list (ha ha). You’re going to be playing two Milotics, so you’ll need to Feebas. This one can potentially do something if you flip heads, whereas the other one available to you requires a Water Energy, which you don’t play.

2 Milotic PRC 44

Here is our Karen counter, and I’ve also found it to be particularly useful, just in general. I really like it in the deck, and don’t see dropping it any time soon. Two is good in case you must discard one early.

4 Battle Compressor

Compressor is the heart and soul of this deck, you’d play more if you could.

2 Special Charge

When you’re only playing Double Colorless Energy as your source of attachments, you’re going to want Charge to make sure you can continue to keep attacking. Having two prevents the times where you must discard one early from losing you the game, and is just the right amount.

1 Startling Megaphone

I love this card in here, as it can strip off Fighting Fury Belts and make Knockouts available to you. I’ve thought about two, but there are other things I would play before I do that.

4 Ultra Ball

I don’t think this needs explaining again, it’s even more important in a deck that wants to have cards that can discard Pokemon.

4 VS Seeker

Having as many outs to Supporters as possible is ideal.

1 Parallel City

This card is sick, because it can discard Milotics, and Shaymin-EXs, from your field. This increases your Pokemon count while you’re at it. Since I’m playing two Tropical Beach, which you’ll read about in a second, I think one is your best bet.

2 Tropical Beach

Beach gives you a serious consistency boost, and if you want to argue that Parallel City is better in a Flareon / Vespiquen deck, you’re just flat out wrong and the argument isn’t worth my time. Since you only use the Beach’s effect on your first or second turn, I don’t think that having more than two would be worth it. Having two solves the problem of finding it on your first turn, since it increases your odds of doing so.

1 Lysandre

One Lysandre is really all you need, and I’ve never had problems with it. While two could be a nice addition, I don’t have room for it right now, so one will suffice.

1 N

Same concept as Lysandre, and you’re almost always going to want to Professor Sycamore instead of N, except in the very early, or late games.

3 Professor Sycamore

Three is fine, four could be cool to have access to it more often, but once again, I’ve never had problems with three.

1 Teammates

This card is necessary in Flareon / Vespiquen decks. It helps you trade with Night March easier, and can find the missing pieces to a Knockout. Don’t play without it, and don’t think about playing two, since one is perfect.

1 Float Stone

I’ve tried two, and it wasn’t needed. One is good, and without it, your beefy Pokemon will get trapped, and you’ll wish you had it again.

1 Life Dew

I like Computer Search as an Ace Spec in this deck, too, but Life Dew is very nice since it makes opposing players work harder to win, and it can buy you time, too.

1 Muscle Band

I like a Band in here, whereas some people might prefer Silver Bangle. Shaymin-EX’s Sky Return can do 50 with a Band, which is fabulous. Having a card that boosts your damage output is crucial in a deck that wants to take a one-hit Knockout every time it attacks, and I wouldn't play without one.

4 Double Colorless Energy

Don’t play less than four.

Matchups

Aerodactyl | Even
Blastoise / Archie’s Ace in the Hole | Slightly Favorable
Crobat / Seismitoad-EX | Even
Darkrai-EX | Slightly Favorable
Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX / Salamence-EX | Slightly Unfavorable
Eelektrik / Raikou | Even
Flareon / Vespiquen | Even
Garbodor / Sableye | Unfavorable
Greninja BREAK | Slightly Favorable
M Gardevoir-EX (79) | Unfavorable
M Rayquaza-EX (76) | Favorable
Night March | Even
Trevenant BREAK | Unfavorable
Vileplume / Decidueye-GX | Even
Vileplume / Lurantis-GX | Even
Vileplume / Toolbox | Even
Vileplume / Vespiquen | Even
Volcanion | Favorable
Wobbuffet / Accelgor | Unfavorable
Wobbuffet / Primal Groudon-EX | Slightly Favorable
Xerneas / Ho-Oh-EX | Slightly Favorable
Yveltal / Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick | Even

Conclusion

Whew, that’s all I have for you all today. I hope you enjoyed reading up about these fantastic choices; there’s always something to learn! If the Toronto, Ontario Regional Championship was today, I’d more than likely be playing Flareon / Vespiquen. I think that it’s a big boom or bust candidate, whereas Yveltal / Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is a safe play that will get you where you want to go, provided you know how to play it well. With that, I’ll be signing off. Good luck in any events you’re heading to in the near future!

[+13] okko


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