Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Peak into the Darkness - A New Deck for Anaheim

Does Darkrai-EX have what it takes to jump back into the metagame? Maybe our friend Naganadel can help it out?

11/30/2018 by Zach Lesage

Lurking in Expanded

What’s up 60 Cards readers? I am back from my stroll around South America to North America and I am excited to dabble in Expanded. If you have been sleeping under a rock lately, that’s cool, I think Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108) is the best deck in format because it has allowed me to place 6th at LAIC and 11th at Roanoke. If you want to read about my thoughts on the deck, you can check out my full explanation on the deck here.

Now that we have my thoughts on Standard covered, it’s time to move out into the realm of Expanded. I don’t wanna lie, I haven’t felt the most comfortable in Expanded for the past year or so, but I am looking to change that heading into Anaheim. I view myself as a well respected player, an innovative deck builder, and I have a solid shot at calling the metagame correctly. With all of these things going for me, my goal is to experiment with some decks until I find a deck that I am comfortable with. 

How is the Metagame Shaping?

Looking at the Expanded metagame can be a bit of a headache because it is so mysterious and vast, but I do want to list some of the decks that you can expect to see pop up at Anaheim Regionals. 

Blacephalon Decks

Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  /  Naganadel (LT; 108)

Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  /  Garbodor (BKP; 57)

Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  /  Volcanion EX (STS; 26)

Zoroark Decks

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  /  Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  /  Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20)

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  /  Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)

Buzzwole Decks

Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  /  Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)

Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  /  Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132)

Buzzwole (FLI; 77)  / Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  / Techs

Unown Decks

Wailord EX (PRC; 38)  / Frozen City (PF; 100)  / Blastoise (BC; 31)  /  Unown (LT; 90)

Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Oranguru (UPR; 114)  /  Unown (LT; 91)

Other Decks

Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  / Trevenant (XY; 55)  /  Tapu Lele (BW; 45)

Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93)  / Gallade (BKT; 84)  / Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132)  /  Swampert (CLS; 35)

Archie's Ace in the Hole (PRC; 124)  /  Blastoise (BC; 31)

Primal Groudon EX (PRC; 86)  /  Wobbuffet (PHF; 36)

Drampa GX (GRI; 115)  / Garbodor (BKP; 57)  /  Garbodor (GRI; 51)

Night March 

Sylveon GX (GRI; 92)

Obviously there are a few others that lurk around, but that list above is generally the Expanded metagame heading into Anaheim. If you are looking to see if there are any other unearthed decks in this format, feel free to read over our full schedule of articles heading into Anaheim and seeing what the word is online!

Darkrai-EX / Naganadel

So with my experience playing Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108) , I figured that there are a few decks that might see a boost in Expanded from Naganadel (LT; 108) . Obviously there have always been fringe Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  decks or Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  deck, but why about an old favourite? Based on the title of this section, you have probably guessed it, but if you haven’t, the deck that I am covering is Darkrai EX (BKP; 74)  / Naganadel (LT; 108) . I personally used to run Darkrai EX (BKP; 74)  until Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  came into the format and the release of Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  kinda sealed the deal.

Well, maybe until now. You might be looking at this deck and thinking that it is gonna get slaughtered by  Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) , and maybe it is, but at least Naganadel (LT; 108)  can put up a fighting chance. Turning Point with a Muscle Band (XY; 121)  allows you to hit Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  for a whopping 200 damage which means that the deck as a whole can actually survive in the format. Coupled with the Charging Up Ability, Naganadel (LT; 108)  definitely is the real deal heading into Anaheim. For those readers who are new to this deck or would appreciate a recap on how the deck generally works, the deck is based on using Dark Patch (DE; 93)  and Max Elixir (BKP; 102)  to power up a whopping Dark Pulse from Darkrai EX (BKP; 74) . The deck is versatile by even utilizing Spit Poison on Poipole (FLI; 55) , allowing the option of using Darkrai GX (BUS; 88)  for a huge Dead End GX. This deck is quick and it can take Prize Cards out of nowhere or disrupt your opponents game plan in a pinch. With all of these things going for it, let’s peep out the list.

As you can see, the deck is extremely basic and would be a great starting point for a player who loves powerful Pokémon or a newer player in Expanded. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking down this deck, but it is one of those decks that appeals to a wide range of players! It should be able to outpace Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Seismitoad EX (FRF; 20) , it should have Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  beat due to Weakness, and it’s speed should put it ahead of Rayquaza GX (CLS; 109)  decks. I am still slightly worried about the potentially poor Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57)  match up, but at least Naganadel (LT; 108)  gives the deck a fighting chance. Naganadel (LT; 108)  can also use Turning Point when you are at three Prize Cards remaining to sweep a 180 HP EX / GX Pokémon by using a Muscle Band (XY; 121) . Part of me wants to tech in a Darkrai Prism Star (UPR; 77)  because attaching two Darkness Energy (GEN; 81)  sounds amazing, but there seems to be a lack of space in this deck. The above list has been refined during my testing so feel free to give it a try out and provide some feedback if you find any changes you like.

See Ya in Anaheim

Well, that’s a wrap for today! I hope that you enjoyed looking at a new deck for once and that you get a chance to test it out if you are playing in an Expanded tournament anytime soon. I am not sure if I will play this deck in Anaheim, but it is definitely one of the better decks that I am testing around with right now! Remember, it is always better to play something that you are comfortable with rather than a deck that your friend likes. The goal is to keep it real, have fun, and put yourself in the best position to achieve your dreams! Oh, just to give everyone an update on my journey, I am now ranked fifth in North America, I feel like I made it! I will be booking my flight to Melbourne, Australia soon and I am glad to go back to one of my favourite countries in the world. With the quarter being so new, I will be pushing hard to do the best that I can possibly do going forward. I will also be working on producing the highest level of content going forward on a consistent basis as I work on a strategic plan to make 60 Cards a better website. During this time of rejuvenation, I welcome any and all feedback that will help see the site succeed. The immediate goals of the site are to streamline regular content, release it on a continuous basis, and provide more articles for the same value. These are hefty goals, but I will be working long hours to make sure I can keep the value of my word. 

If you are looking to find out what’s going on in the world of Zach Lesage, here is the linking for all of my current Social Media / business projects.

Twitter: zlesage_pokemon

Coaching: message me on Facebook

YouTube: Team DDG PTCG


Twitch: TBA


Until next time,

Zach Lesage


#PlayPokemon #Pokemon #60Cards #PokeAcademy #DeadDrawGaming

[+23] okko


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