11/08/2019 by Mark Dizon
Hey 60 cards readers. We have now had our first expanded regional of the new season. A smaller regional on the scale, many players stayed home or watched from the sidelines as they couldn’t find a footing in the format. I decided to take a regional off and go for a nice vacation to Pittsburgh, but I was glued to social media following the hot action.
Interestingly, a grass deck won the whole event the first time since Azul’s win in Toronto two years ago. What was not surprising was the utilization of Item Lock Vileplume returning as it’s been a tried and true strategy since people have begun playing the deck.
Top 8 had varied decks and varied competitors as well. With multiple regional winners in the hunt including Ian Robb and Michael Pramawat. Grant Manley is on a tear and continued with his third straight top 8 in this young season. Junior World Champion, Senior’s World’s Semi-Finalist and Canadian Rowan Stavenow, made his first top 8 as a master. The top 16 was rounded out with even more big names, housing the likes of Bryan Hunter, Andrew Mahone, Dean Nezam, Benjamin Branch, Michael Catron, and Jimmy Pendarvis rounding out the pack. Those names alone could have been a Regional Top 8.
What really blew me away due to the results was just the sheer variety of decks. With so many archetype’s in the format it looks so different from the regulars of Standard. Mewtwo/Mew wasn’t all over the place, Pikarom wasn’t the main dog and we had some new with the old. Here are the biggest takeaways from Richmond going into Portland this weekend.
ITEM LOCK IS HERE TO STAY
Seismitoad was a monster last season. The number of regionals that deck won and matches won was unmatched by almost any other deck in either format. Vileplume was an all-star in the past with Forest of Giant Plants plus Decidueye, or in Expanded with Lurantis GX. It seems like so long ago that Lurantis GX was an acceptable attacker. Rowlet and Alolan Exegguctor were seen as an afterthought after it’s release due to the rotation of Decidueye GX. What makes this new version of Vileplume much stronger is it now brings along with it the Attack prevention Vileplume that saw success in Standard last year. This new addition allows the deck to be able to win more matchups that would have previously been shaky. I see moving forward how strong this deck will be. It attacks the format it many different angles. With Steven Resolve and low N counts, it is able to set up so consistently. Even with giving other decks one turn of items, the amount of Garbotoxin is almost irrelevant. Don’t be surprised to see this be one of the most played decks in Portland.
ZOROARK WILL NEVER GO AWAY
Aside to all my readers. I love Zoroark and always will. The format had two distinct Zoroark decks return. Zoroark Control as one and Zoroark Garbodor. These two Zoroark decks seem to be the default ones. Even with the upcoming bans, Zoroark Control seems to stay in a good space. The number of players that have this as there default deck just because of players sheer unfamiliarity with how to play the matchup. Do I take prizes? Do I not take prizes? How do we approach this? Zoroark Garbodor as a baseline deck always has consistent matchups across the format. As long as players do not pay attention, items will be played, allowing Trashalanche to take over. Garbotoxin also seems well-positioned against a lot of the field as abilities are rampant. It might also be able to take on Eggrow because of it can get through both Vileplumes.
STANDARD CROSS OVER
Every time we look at Expanded Regionals we see Standard Archetypes Cross over. Mewtwo Mew took the last two spots on day 2. Finishing in Second to Last and Last place. It might be that no one has found the correct way to build this archetype yet, or maybe it is because the number SPAS attackers in Expanded are just way more efficient than what is currently in Standard.
It is surprising however that no welder oriented or focused decks appeared in force. The talk of Random Receiver into a guaranteed Welder seemed like something that many would try to break but did not come through. No Green’s oriented decks either. With the meta now set with the upcoming regionals, will we see some of the concepts come through and surprise us at the top tables in Portland? With this, I wouldn’t be surprised. The One Reshizard deck from Ahmed Ali m might be played more moving forward as well.
OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Turbo dark hasn’t been a force in the game since the last time we had a Fort Wayne Regionals. Night March always pops up again when we have a new format (seriously, how we’re people not prepared for this deck). Buzz Garb Shrine Also These are decks of yesterday that have returned and are continuing some sort of consistency in our eternal format. These decks are generally good for players to pick up because the play patterns are so similar. If there isn’t much time to test this really helps with picking a deck that you know.
Rahul Reddy is a specialist, Bryan Hunter a Specialist. They generally have default Expanded decks that they can take to any tournament and play to perfection. Having this sort of mindset might be something that other players should adapt too. No matter what expanded tournament it is, it seems Rahul is always in there with bees. Bryan made the top 8 at Toronto with Trevenant and here he is back with a ninth place. IF you are a specialist with a deck, and even if it has a considerable bad matchup spread. It might be sometimes okay to play that deck in expanded due to how diverse the field is. Please consider this If you are going into Portland.
That's all I have for you today! We actually have a crazy amount of events this month. Portland, LAIC, and Daytona. The season is heating up and I am preparing for new standard. What cards do you think will breakthrough? See you next week when we discuss Portland!
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