Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Expanded Crash Course Part One

This article details the Expanded format as Zach Lesage combs the the depths to learn everything again!

10/23/2019 by Zach Lesage

The Water is Warm

What’s up 60 Cards readers? It’s ya boi Zach Lesage here, and the goal today is to dive head first into the Expanded metagame! For those of you who didn’t know, our North American Regional Championships are split between the Standard and Expanded formats. Looking even more closely, like less than two weeks away, we are sandwiched by Richmond and Portland. Both of those are major Expanded events! So regardless if you live on the East or West Coast, you have a nearby Expanded event to go to relatively soon. The question is, “where do we start?” The goal of this article is to identify the current Standard metagame as we rapidly approach Richmond Regionals. The only issue, we haven’t had a major Expanded event since May. To make things even more difficult, Unbroken Bonds, Unified Minds, Hidden Fates, and handfuls of Promo Cards have been released. I know it is daunting, but let me make it a little easier - let’s revisit Hartford Regionals. And away we go...

First Stop: Hartford!

I hate to say it, but this event was a weird one for me! Let me adjust that a bit. The event was completely fine and exceptional organized by Top Cut Events. I remember being so exhausted coming back from the European International Championships in Berlin earlier that week and putting my mind on auto play mode. With the Expanded portion of the 2018/2019 season being difficult for me to grasp, I was extremely happy to find success with my Hitmonchan (TM; 74)  / Wobbuffet (PHF; 36)  deck. I took it to a few Expanded Cups, saw some success. I had a win-and-in to make Top Eight at Toronto Regionals and I couldn’t think of another deck that I would want to play. I piloted HitmonWobb all the way to a 7-1-1 finish Day One at Hartford only to get hit with a 0-5 finish Day Two. I have never had that happen before, but I think it has helped me get hungry for more! If I rarely fail with a deck, similar to how Blacephalon GX (LT; 52)  / Naganadel (LT; 108)  carried me last season, I don’t tend to explore too many other deck options. I am fully confident in myself as one of the best deck builders, players, and theoretical minds in the game - my biggest issue is the way I pick decks. After having a talk with my good friend Daniel Altavilla, I felt inspired to become a much better player. He gave me some super solid advice and I can’t thank him enough for breathing passion into me and giving me the will to fight forward. I guess you wanna know what he told me right? Lemme spill the beans real quick...

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