Experts' corner

Aaron Tarbell

Win San Jose Regionals With Board-state

Aaron presents some of his favorite decks for taking down the San Jose Regional Championship.

11/23/2017 by Aaron Tarbell

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The Old but New


Hello 60cards readers! I'm so angsty today. I hate missing out on San Jose Regionals; I feel it's a tournmaent I could win! Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend, but hopefully, some of these ideas might lead to your success this weekend. Today I will be bringing you two exciting deck ideas for the upcoming expanded regionals in San Jose.

In order to know what to play in a Regional, it is important to know what you might be playing against, and given that there have only been two new sets added to the already-large card pool, it would be too Farfech’d to expect some of the same decks from Florida to perform well again. This means we should be prepared to play against the Garb box list that Ryan Sablehouse piloted to a win, Bob Zhang’s Trevenant, and old favorites--including Sableye/ Garbodor, Turtonator Ho-oh, Speed Darkrai, and Night March.

The rising popularity of Lycanroc/ Zoroark leads it to be a strong contender for this weekend as well. Looking at Zoroark/ Golisopod’s recent success with taking down the London Intercontinental Championship (coupled with my affinity for the deck in Expanded) it should definitely be included as one of the potentially strong decks for this weekend as well.

Of these decks, the ones to benefit from Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion the most are the ones that can take advantage of strong, new cards like Zoroark-GX, Counter Catcher, Gladion, Counter Energy, Latios, and Silvally-GX. So now that we have a pretty concise list of what decks we might see, let’s decide on what we might want to play into this meta, and how we want to adjust these lists to integrate some new cards.

Sableye/ Garb

Firstly, if I were attending San Jose this weekend, I would be heavily inclined to play Sableye/ Garbodor. While this deck has traditionally been more skill-intensive to play; in fact, a mighty sponge once claimed, “This isn’t your average darkness. This is…ADVANCED darkness!” Sableye has a very strong spot in the current meta and has the potential to dominate the top tables. The deck focuses on using energy denial and hand manipulation to run the opponent out of resources, and the end game is to eventually deck out the opponent. The problem with the deck before was that it didn’t have a way to knock out big threats, its initial setup could be rocky until it established full control of the board state, and it had a hard time dealing with not being able to play its items. As of last format, though, these lists have adapted to run a few Guardians Rising Garbodor and PFGD Blend Energy to give the deck access to Trashalanche, taking knockouts on Pokémon that manage to become threats even after a dozen Crushing Hammer flips. Having access to some potentially devastating attacks also gives the deck some ability to race for prizes if game three of a match is reached and going for an unbeatable board state would take too much time. That was tossed in with Latias-EX, a card that can beat the scariest item lock deck, Trevenant. And then they added some Garbage Collection Trubbish to get back Team Flare Grunt against Seismitoad EX, propelled the whole garbage creation to become the best deck in format. Some of the most well-known names in the game including Igor Costa, Jimmy Pendarvis, and Mees BrenninkmeijerWerbenjagermanjenson have all seen some success with this deck at recent regionals and special events, including multiple Top 32 and higher placements.

The deck has a win condition of making its opponent go through 54-59 of their cards every game and that is pretty much stagnant (give or take a few from effects that add cards from the discard to the deck). Since Sableye/ Garbodor is a deck that abuses the most powerful items in format, the more powerful items in format, the stronger the deck becomes. Since I have had success with renditions of Mees’s decks in the past, rivalling Travis Nunlist as my choice for the number-one deck builder in the game, I have chosen to use his Bilbao Special Event Top 32 list as the base list. Prior to writing this article, I am not sure if Mees has included his reasoning for some of his card choices, so I will try to explain some of the necessary counts and then get into how we can change the deck to make it abuse some of the new cards.

Initial Card Chocies

Here is how I see the uses of some of the important cards in the deck.

3 Puzzles of Time

Puzzle of Time was one of the greatest assets this deck ever received, and therefore is the main engine of the deck. By cleverly using Junk Hunt every turn for Puzzles of Time, the deck is then able to have access to all of its own resources rather than just its items, and it able to evaluate and respond to the opponent's turn. Before this card, the deck pretty much had to guess if the opponent was going to attach an energy the next turn or do nothing. If the opponent were to do nothing, it was more beneficial to grab Trick Shovels to try to continue to force the  opponent into dead drawing. However, if the opponent were then able to attach energy, getting back a combination of cards like Crushing Hammer and/or VS Seeker was more appropriate in order to remove the energy until the opponent was unable to attach again. Now that Puzzle of Time gives the deck the option to decide what it wants back on the player's turn, there is no more guessing at whether or not to grab those Crushing Hammers, which may or may not be helpful on that turn. These cards are super important, so why run just three? Sableye/ Garbodor is a deck that needs options in order to win. With so many powerful Trainers to use, there has to be some point where the deck sacrifices a little bit of consistency in order to fit in all the situational cards that make winning games easier. Having three Puzzle of Time cards make it so the deck can still win even if one is prized, but since Sableye only needs to have two in the discard or hand to make them usable cards, cutting the fourth allows for even more of the much-welcomed resources and options that the deck thrives on such as Delinquent, Trashalanche Garbodor, and more.




The Uses of the One-of Supporters

I will not spend too long on this since Expanded is a format full of one-of supporters, but this gimmick warrants some explanation. Most decks in expanded play four VS Seeker, coupled with several nice one-of supporters, so the VS Seekers become super powerful by the end of the game, since they can activate so many different effects. The one-of supporters in this deck are even more effective than in others, since Puzzle of Time and Junk Hunt can effectively recycle them infinitely.

- Delinquent: This, combined with the one-of Parallel City, makes it easy for the deck to put the opponent down to a hand of zero at any time their hand reaches three or less. Since the goal is to get the opponent to do nothing for a few turns while Trick Shovel makes sure they draw nothing useful, this is probably the most powerful (or, at least, my favorite) combination in the deck.

- Ghetsis: It is a beautiful turn-one supporter, especially in this deck, since if it hits a good amount of cards, and the opponent is unable to draw well early on, Sableye can establish the lock early, and the game can just end. Also, as with all expanded decks that run it, a well-timed Ghetsis when an opponent is choosing to hold a VS Seeker instead of play it can end the game. So just having one in the deck leads to being able to gain knowledge on what will happen on the following turn, and Sableye is the best deck at abusing gained knowledge such as what supporters an opponent will play.

- Guzma and Lysandre: Having both provides every option for the player to choose which two Pokémon to be in the active position. Half of the time, deck out options come from an opponent being unable to retreat to something they want active. Though having Guzma in the format has now given most decks a ton more outs to switching Pokemon to the active spot, forcing an opponent to play Guzma over a draw supporter can lead to establishing the deck’s ultimate lock earlier.

- Hex Maniac: This card might be a little underwhelming because of how often the situation for it arises, but, for the situations it’s needed in, it can be necessary. It is a fine first-turn supporter to potentially ability lock the opponent the entire game, inhibiting their entire set up. It’s a nice supporter for when the opponent tries to knock out the ability-lock Garbodor to get abilities back the following turn and the deck is unable to re-establish ability lock without it. It is also good for getting around Trevanent’s item lock early in order to Ultra Ball for Latias-EX.

- Team Flare Grunt: Guaranteed Crushing Hammer on the active is always good, and the guarantee of removing a basic energy off of the active makes it a guaranteed spot in the deck.

- Plumeria: Like Team Flare Grunt, but worse. The situations it is better in makes it a pretty nice card to have though.

- Team Rocket's Handiwork: Whenever the lock has been established, and a few turns need to be shaved off the game, or Trick Shovel has not guaranteed that the opponent will draw nothing the next turn, these bad boys and girl speed up the game. It also helps to get items in the discard for early Garbodor if necessary.

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