Experts' corner

Isaiah  Bradner

Portland Possibilities: Many Pieces, but No Puzzle

Hello, 60 Cards readers! It's Isaiah, and I am back with a look at the daunting Expanded format...

10/25/2018 by Isaiah Bradner

Hello, 60 Cards readers! It's Isaiah, and I am back with a look at the daunting Expanded format. Portland is quickly approaching and many players are trying to put the pieces together. In this article, I review one of my two "tier one" decks and also a deck that is poised to make a comeback in the Expanded meta.

Post-Ban Updates

Personally, I am excited to get a little break from the recent standard format before the grind begins leading up to the first International of the year held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It doesn't take long in the Expanded world before the challenges become apparent. The enormous Expanded card pool combined with the recent banning of four controversial cards makes this a largely undiscovered meta. 

When it comes to the recent bans; three cards, in particular, have the greatest impact in reshaping the Expanded meta. These three cards are all powerful enough to change how popular decks are built and their absence also revives the viability of some decks that were not as competitive. Those three cards are Puzzle of Time (BKP; 109)Hex Maniac (ANO; 75) and Ghetsis (PF; 101) . Here is a glimpse at a few of the top decks that got even better after the bans. 

Trevenant: With the absence of Hex Maniac leaving no way to turn off Silent Fear, and no Puzzle Of Time to give Zoroark more DCE, Trevenant is in a great position. 

Sableye/Garb: The banning of Puzzle Of Time severely reduces many decks' resources, at the same time the Ghetsis ban ensures you get the cards you Junk Hunt for.

ArchieStoise: Since Hex Maniac and Ghetsis both were banned, getting a turn one Archie's Ace In The Hole is now a very realistic goal.

Drampa/Garb: An already favorable matchup, Zoroark, lost Puzzle Of Time, which allowed them more access to Field Blower, Sky Field, and DCE.

Buzzwole/Lycanroc: While on a lesser scale, without Puzzle Of Time, Zoroark has a harder time streaming psychic attackers such as Mewtwo EX (ND; 54)  and Mewtwo (EVO; 51)  

Malamar/Eelektric/Bronzong: All three of these recharge decks need abilities to function, and without Hex Maniac, they have more freedom to do so.

*Side note; every deck that isn’t Trevenant benefited from Wally being banned.*

Tier List

Now that we’ve been over how the recent bans affect the format, let’s get into my expanded Tier list!

Tier 1: Trevenant, Sableye/Garbodor

Tier 2: ArchieStoise, Drampa/Garb, Buzzwole/Lycanroc, Wailord, Zoro/Garb, EeelsBox, BronzongBox.

Tier 3: Gardevoir, Shock Lock, Greninja, Malamar, Buzzwole/Shrine Of Punishment

I believe that Sableye/Garb and Trevenant are tier one due to the limited amount of unfavorable matchups, paired with the ability they have to beat almost any deck if they draw well. They only take one or two losses to Tier-one/Tier-two decks, which is insane. The challenge to these decks is that they can be countered, but that is the case with any deck choice. 

I chose to put decks in Tier two because they either lose to Sableye or Trevenant, or a large number of decks in Tier Two. (Ex: Archiestoise loses to Sableye, but beats most other stuff barring dead draws).

The tier three decks are decks that I personally don’t think are very good right now but you should be familiar with them because they will likely get some play. Many of them are inconsistent or lose to both tier one decks.

In today's article, I want to go over my current list for Trevenant and give why I think it is a tier one play. I will also talk through Blastoise, my favorite tier-two deck. 

Trevenant (XY; 55) ">Trevenant

After a lackluster year last season, our favorite mystical tree is back for revenge. Last year's Expanded meta was full of  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) running rampant, which greatly hindered the success  Trevenant (XY; 55) could have. Fortunately for Trev fans, both Hex Maniac (ANO; 75) and  Puzzle of Time (BKP; 109) were banned, which were key pieces for  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) in the matchup. Before we get too excited, we should acknowledge that Trevenant was negatively impacted by a ban as well. The ban also included Wally (ROS; 94) , which was the only way to item lock turn one in Expanded. Although not having that option is annoying, it’s a small price to pay for  Hex Maniac (ANO; 75) being banned.

The deck has a very straightforward strategy. Trevenant aims to Item Lock your opponent the entire game through Forest Curse, stream Trevenant BREAK through  Rescue Scarf (DR; 115) , disrupt them with Enhanced Hammer (DE; 94) , and finish the game off with a big Magical Swap from Tapu Lele (BW; 45) . If you go first, you want to establish as many  Phantump (BKP; 64) as possible so you can start flooding the board with Trevenant (XY; 55) . If you go second, then using Ascension into  Trevenant (XY; 55) to lock your opponent's items is always the ideal play. Once one  Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) is set up, you should attempt to attach  Rescue Scarf (DR; 115) to get it back to your hand after it dies. In most matchups, you should Silent Fear even if the main threat is in the active. This is because of the new  Tapu Lele (BW; 45) which makes every damage counter worth it when you get late into the game.

The List



4-4-3 Trevenant line — We want to max out our  Phantump (BKP; 64) and  Trevenant (XY; 55) counts to make sure we can stream them once we start attacking. You only need one Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) out at a time, which is why the count is lower. Along with this thick line, four Rescue Scarf (DR; 115)  and two  Super Rod (BKT; 149) are here to aid us.

1 Espeon EX (BKP; 52) /1 Tapu Lele (BW; 45) — These cards are used for late game combos with the Silent Fear spread damage. The Espeon is especially useful for devolving after three Silent Fear vs Zoro/Garb and Gardevoir. In addition to Espeon, the long-awaited  Tapu Lele (BW; 45) is finally here! And let me tell you, in a deck like Trevenant, the card is definitely worth the hype. This card punishes your opponents for benching anything excessive or having to use  Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) to set up. It is especially good vs decks with multiple  Acerola (BUS; 112) because they will often heal their main attacker, and then you can move the damage to it.

1 Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) /1  Marshadow (SLG; 45)  — One Tapu Lele-GX is a staple in every deck, and 1 Marshadow allows for extra disruption on turns when you need to play a supporter such as  Guzma (BUS; 115) or Xerosic (PHF; 110) . It is also extremely good when combined with the Item lock we already have.


4 N/3 Cynthia (UPR; 119) /1  Professor Sycamore (XY; 122)  — You want 4 N to be able to constantly disrupt your opponent's hand. Cynthia is better in this deck because of the heavy disruption and recovery you play, which can often cause awkward discards.

1 Xerosic (PHF; 110) /1  Guzma (BUS; 115)  — These are the best tech supporters for the deck. Xerosic allows you to shut off Garbotoxin, which is the main card that will shut off your ability. You can also take a DCE off of  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) in the  Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) matchup.  Guzma (BUS; 115) allows you to stall heavy-retreating Pokémon late game and gives you the option to Tree Slam something for a Knockout. It also fills the spot of a switching card if needed.

3 Enhanced Hammer (DE; 94) /1  Counter Catcher (CIN; 91)  — These cards give you disruption vs anything with special energy, and Counter Catcher allows you to use N and stick something random in the active in the same turn. The overall goal of these cards is to make your Trevenant (XY; 55) live longer.

4 Rescue Scarf (DR; 115) /2  Super Rod (BKT; 149)  — This high count reflects how you want to use only Silent Fear for the entire game until you win. With this much recovery, you shouldn’t have a problem with running out of attackers.


Sableye (DE; 62) / Garbodor (DR; 54)  — Favorable

From my testing, this matchup is favorable for  Trevenant (XY; 55) due to our ability to easily Item Lock them. In this matchup, you should work on removing  Trubbish (NVI; 48) and  Garbodor (DR; 54) ASAP because the only chance they have to win is with Item lock. If they play Latias EX (PF; 85) , you should be very careful with your shuffle draw, and only play them when you have 0 cards in your deck. If you do that, you should be able to deck them because they can’t  VS Seeker (PHF; 109) for  Cynthia (UPR; 119) and you can.

ArchieStoise — Very unfavorable

This is one of our worst matchups because they can one shot a  Trevenant (XY; 55) from turn two (or even turn one when going second) onward, don’t play special energy, and cannot be disrupted by Counter Catcher (CIN; 91) . However, if they happen to whiff Archie's Ace in the Hole (PRC; 124) , you will immediately lock them with item lock and win the game. If they have to over-bench,  Tapu Lele (BW; 45) can punish them hard in this matchup.

Drampa GX (GRI; 115) / Garbodor (DR; 54)  — Very Favorable (50/50 with Giratina (BW; 184) )

This is one of your best matchups as Trevenant (XY; 55) , because they have no way to one shot your Pokémon. Make sure to use your  Psychic Energy (SUM; 162) over  Mystery Energy (PHF; 112) because of Righteous Edge.  Tapu Lele (BW; 45) and  Guzma (BUS; 115) stalling are very good in this matchup, as they generally have to bench a lot of Pokémon. As with the  Sableye (DE; 62) matchup, remove  Garbodor (DR; 54) ASAP. One important thing in this matchup is that unless you are taking a big knockout, it is almost always better to use Silent Fear, because it puts more damage on board to be spread with later with Tapu Lele (BW; 45) .

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Garbodor (DR; 54)  — Even

This is a very even matchup and often comes down to how each side draws. As always, removing  Trubbish (NVI; 48) is key.  Xerosic (PHF; 110) is the MVP in this matchup because it discards both  Double Colorless Energy (XY; 130) off of Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , and  Float Stone (BKT; 137) off of Garbodor (DR; 54) . If they mismanage their benching and happen to bench too many Zorua (DE; 70) , you have  Espeon EX (BKP; 52) to punish them. Even after all that, the matchup can still be hard due to how many cards they are able to draw and their ability to temporarily shut off your abilities. 

As you can see,  Trevenant (XY; 55) is a powerhouse in this format, and should definitely be considered for this event.  Now that we have taken an in-depth look at Trevenant, I want to mention the second deck that I put in Tier One...

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