Experts' corner

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Zach Lesage

My Play for Anaheim

Check out my EXACT play for Anaheim heading into the event!

12/14/2018 by Zach Lesage

Updates?!?!

This article is actively being updated before Anaheim Regionals and there MIGHT be extra information added into the article. If anything changes, there will be clear signs of an update here to indicate that a change has been made. Keep checking for the freshest information available. - Zach

Final Update

As of 11:59PM Pacific Time, this article has been fully updated with my deck! It has been sleeved, the deck is written out, and I am going to bed. Sorry for the delay, I wanted to be sure in the deck! -Zach

The Day Before the Event

What’s up 60 Cards readers? Are you excited for Anaheim? Nervous? Well, regardless of how you feel, it is difficult to control your emotions when we are all playing for such big prizes and stardom! The goal of my article is to be transparent in my play for the event, showcase where my mind is at before the event, and to give all subscribers the BEST information. I am not sure how I will do tomorrow, but I have had a solid run this season, and I hope to continue my success. If you want some last minute tips for success, check out my article from yesterday here, but we are jumping into my main article right now. If you don’t have a subscription to 60 Cards yet, maybe you should try a FREE trial or perhaps even just splurge on a subscription; it’s totally worth it.  Let’s jump behind this paywall now!!!...

My Play for Anaheim

As you may or may not know, I have been on a tear with Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108) , I have been crowned ‘The King of BLOWNS’, and I guess that means that my opinion should count here! I am actually torn between two lists for this event, a simple list and a list closer to Daniel Altavilla’s list featured in his most recent article, but I will find the right balance today! My goal is to playtest with some of my teammates, help my girlfriend get ready for her first Expanded Regionals, and enjoy my stay in Anaheim! Let’s dive into the simple list first:

This deck, if not the EXACT list, was covered for free during the last Metagame Analysis article, which can be found here, but let’s go over it here since you might have missed it. If you are wondering what the Expanded format adds to this deck, it adds in Blacksmith (FLF; 88) , which allows the deck to explode quickly. There are a few other cool cards in this deck, like Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , which can make the loneliest Naganadel (LT; 108)  fulfilled with Fire Energy (GEN; 76) . This deck is a more BUSTED version of the Standard version, but you will have transferable skills from the Standard version which makes the deck like riding a bike again after a few years. Another notable card is the addition of Fighting Fury Belt (BKP; 99) , which allows Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  to stay alive with its extra 40 HP, an amount that is BLESSED when you stare down at an opposing Articuno (ROS; 17) . Teammates (PRC; 141)  is a serious contender, giving you the option to grab great cards out of the deck like Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , but there is ALWAYS that one card that you are looking for when you pray on your top deck. Float Stone (BKT; 137)  is almost like an extra Fire Energy (GEN; 76)  if you think of when you Retreat a Naganadel (LT; 108) l, but I am not 100% sold on the card. Like, I like it, but I also view it as a win more card, not necessarily the card that I know needs to be in the deck. Faba is a cute inclusion, especially with the deck playing Battle Compressor (PHF; 92) , it can open a world of different possibilities that were not available before. The biggest gain that I see from the inclusion of this card is to grab a Pokémon Tool card off a Garbodor (BKP; 57)  to let me use Charging Up to get that last Fire Energy (GEN; 76) , or maybe even sniping a Double Colorless Energy (SLG; 69)  off a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) . If I had to submit a list for the event in the next 15 minutes, I would totally be submitting this list card for card, but I do have the luxury of a full day of testing. 

Speaking about testing, my goal is to test the below list all day because Silent Lab (PRC; 140)  sounds INSANO. I have been putting together the below list ever since reading Altavilla’s Blacephalon-GX article, but I obviously wanted to add a spin to the deck. I feel with Altavilla’s solid deck building background and my extensive knowledge by being “The King of BLOWNS” that the below list is likely close to perfect. I am going to sound like a broken record here, but if I will post which list I finalize on and if there are ANY changes, I will also update this article for you to read. I am sure you are excited to see what I have come up with, so let’s peep out this list.

The thing about this deck, it is a modified version of the Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  list that is posted above with the inclusion of an extra Marshadow (SLG; 45)  and four Silent Lab (PRC; 140) . The goal is to use Marshadow (SLG; 45) , sweep your opponent’s hand down to four, drop a Silent Lab (PRC; 140)  down, and then play another draw Supporter. You gain all of the benefits from the Marshadow (SLG; 45)  and your opponent should tremble when they look at that useless Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60)  in their hand. There are some kinks that I am working out of this deck, like playing Giratina (BW; 184)  or the lack there of, and if Float Stone (BKT; 137)  is necessary in this deck. Giratina (BW; 184)  gives this deck a much more tolerable Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  match up, but it also can get stuck in the Active Position without a Float Stone (BKT; 137)  attached to it. I guess the Trevenant (XY; 55)  match up might not be so bad, like they can suffer from us bumping their Dimension Valley (PHF; 93)  each turn with Silent Lab (PRC; 140) , but I am still unsure. I fully expect Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66)  to be a highly played deck in Anaheim, especially after I played three mirror matches in Portland, so I want to make sure that I am ready for that match up at this Regionals. Regardless of any specific match up, you NEED to remember that Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  is the centre of the power creep over the past decade which means that it can simply overpower your opponent out of nowhere. If you are a veteran player, like myself, or a newer player to the game, this deck is surely not going to disappoint you and should net some Championship Points from Anaheim. I have felt lost in Expanded in the past, but I definitely feel good about playing this deck in Expanded, for sure!

And if you were wondering what my AMAZING girlfriend is leaning towards, she is likely playing Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93)  / Gallade (BKT; 84)  / Swampert (CLS; 35)  / Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132) . The deck focuses on the same strategy as seen in the Standard format, but it does add in a few little tricks from the available Expanded card pool. The deck works like a weird concoction of attackers, but it is fairly easy to isolate strategies within the deck. Gardevoir GX (BUS; 93)  is a Pokémon with lots of HP, it can accelerate Energy, and it can grab resources back in a pinch with its GX attack. Swampert (CLS; 35)  is half draw support and half an attacker which makes it versatile against Blacephalon GX (LT; 52) . Gallade (BKT; 84)  gives you a much better match up against Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  decks and it can control the cards that you draw normally or with Swampert (CLS; 35) ’s Power Draw Ability. Alolan Ninetales GX (LT; 132)  takes on the role of gathering Rare Candy (CLS; 142) , locating VS Seeker (UR; 100)  in the deck, getting other loose Item Cards, and being an Ultra Beast slayer. With all of these unique Pokémon in his deck, I hope that my girlfriend sees success throughout the whole tournament.

One often overlooked bonus of playing in the Expanded format is that you can play with different Basic Pokemon than the Standard format. A perfect example of this is the Standard Ralts (BUS; 91)  that is played out of necessity, but Expanded gives us the gift of a much better Ralts (PS; 59)  which can quickly get you out of random scenarios. While it may not seem like a big deal, think of some of the better Basic Pokemon ever printed and explore the possibilities of deck building. The card pool of Expanded can be seemingly endless, but remember to double check everything the next time that you build a deck. 

The Final Play

My final list that I will submit card for card will be posted here for you to read about. While I think it is going to be Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  right now, I am uncertain if that will hold true because I don’t want to limit myself as a player. Regardless, this is where the deck will be updated later tonight.

I decided on one change from the Silent Lab (PRC; 140)  list, cutting Giratina (BW; 184)  for a Cynthia (UPR; 119) . I found that without Float Stone (BKT; 137) in the list and the heavy inclusion of Silent Lab (PRC; 140) , that the deck would find itself in awkward situations! It’s not the most outrageous change, but I think it makes the most sense. Giratina (BW; 184)  is great against Trevenant BREAK (BKP; 66) , but I can still bump their Dimension Valley (PHF; 93)  with any of my Stadium Cards and use Bursting Burn to slow their deck down. Hopefully that Cynthia (UPR; 119)  helps me from dead drawing and gives this deck the slight consistency boost to get me some Championship Points. It’s midnight here in Anaheim, I walked around all day, and I am hitting the bed hard now. Let’s see how it goes, let’s get this bread!

Best of Luck!

That’s it for today everyone, I hope that you enjoy where my mind is at before the event and try to say "hi" if you see me. If you are interested in my plans this weekend, I am playing at the Anaheim Regionals tomorrow with hopes to win the event! After harvesting an impressive amount of Championship Points so far, more than enough to gain an invite, and I am fighting for a T16 / T4 placement in North America right now! I am slightly nervous based on my past results in Expanded, but I have been putting in the effort to playtest more for this event than ever before! I am currently writing this article in Los Angeles, playtesting in between paragraphs, and I am excited to play some Pokémon this weekend with my girlfriend.

As always, this is my pre-major event article which means that my EXACT deck list is either here already or it will be clearly updated before the event. I highly recommend that you check back on this article later on in the day in case I change a card or two (maybe my whole deck) to make sure you get the freshest information for Anaheim. Regardless of what I play, I will be smiling all day long because Pokémon always make me happy! Remember, Pokémon is always about the community and having fun, let’s keep it that way!

Cheers,

Zach

[+26] okko


 

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