Experts' corner

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Frank Percic

A New Dimension: Teaching an Old Card New Tricks in Expanded

Frank invites you to explore the exciting world of the expanded format and a spicy play for your expanded events

12/19/2018 by Frank Percic

Table of contents

Introduction 

The Deck 

Inclusions

Matchups

Conclusion

Introduction

Hello again 60cards readers and welcome to another article by yours truly. Today, I am going to be diving in to the exciting world of the expanded format with the Anaheim Regional Championships just completed and Dallas just around the corner. It seems like every tournament as of late has just been preparing for new and exciting things, as Anaheim was just the first time Lost Thunder  was legal for a large scale expanded event. Again the success of any expanded event is going to ride on whoever can bring the most skillfully crafted deck.

With many expanded League Cups and League Challenges leading up to the event, there seems to be a meta slowly forming. Popular decks seem to be Trevenant, Zoroark variants, Archie’s Blastoise, and Buzzwole variants. A strong contender definitely seemded to be Archie’s Blastoise, and I fully expected it to be the most played deck of the tournament. My main goal was  finding ways to beat it, and Trevenant. Without further ado, here’s what my testing has yielded.

The Deck

The first idea that really piqued my interest was Mega Gardevoir-EX. In a format with lost/night march lurking around as well as Exeggcute so heavily played, using the new Giratina to spread damage on to low-HP bench Pokémon, seemed like a great place to start work. Mega Gardevoir EX, in the past, has shown some promise in expanded because of its ability to beat Zoroark-GX through healing and easily decimate Buzzwole due to weakness. With this new tool, Mega Gardevoir seems even better of a contender in this unexplored format. Through testing and ideation, I have come up with the following list:

This looks very similar to traditional Mega Gardevoir lists, and for the main part it is. The initial set-up of the deck relies heavily on getting out Hoopa-EX to grab your Pokémon, and Shaymin-EX to continuously draw without the need of a supporter. Once you’ve set your board up, it’s then time to cycle your Giratina. Previously recovery was the main focus of the deck. However, because this new card can easily be put onto the bench from the discard, you can execute your strategy pretty effortlessly. Doing 150+ damage every turn coupled with the healing strategy of Max Potion and attacking for one energy via Dimension Valley really makes this deck hard to keep up with, and Because of Giratina, you can set up knockouts on Pokémon that normally couldn’t be OHKOd.

Inclusions

With a general idea of how the deck functions, I want to next go over some of the more niche decisions in the deck list.

1 Jirachi EX - 1 Tapu Lele GX: I chose this split because Jirachi can be searched easily with hoopa and is a great out to cards like Kukui or Skyla for when you really need them early on in the game and can easily be discarded the turn you play it via Despair Ray. I also like the Tapu Lele because it can be a little more sturdy if needed to sit on the bench for a turn or two. Also, energy drive can really chip some damage in, with Dimension Valley in play, against a large energy attacker. The option of both of these cards is a very versatile function of the deck.

1 Diantha: I really like this card a lot in the deck. There are many one of item cards that it is important to grab, and I will discuss these a bit later. One of the surprising functions of this card was to actually grab things needed for the next attacker, like Gardevoir Spirit Link, Dimension Valley, or Mega Gardevoir EX. This is super relevant as you will be using this card once one of your Mega Gardevoir is KOd. This then allows us to play lower counts of cards like Spirit Link and Dimension Valley, that are necessary for chaining attacks.

1 Professor Kukui: Previous lists in expanded were opting to play Iris for extra damage. However, I like kukui better in the current expanded climate. This is because Giratina is able to set up math for perfect OHKOs with gardevoir once your board is established. However, early on your bench will still be full with set up Pokémon like Shaymin and Hoopa. Therefore Kukui is your best early game option for hitting good numbers. Specifically by discarding 4 bench Pokémon with Despair Ray, Professor Kukui will allow you to hit 170 Damage which is great for things like Keldeo EX and Tapu Lele GX.

1 Faba: I like Faba in this deck a lot because it allows you to break infinite loops by sending things to the lost zone. Against control oriented Zoroark-GX variants Faba can stop them from looping Double Colorless Energy. It is also good for stopping your stadium from being continuously bumped via Lusamine loops. However, the biggest use that this card has is its ability to discard Klefki against Zoro/Garb players. Many people forget that Klefki not only provides one sided ability lock in Zoro/Garb decks, but also prevents damage done by Mega Pokémon. This is a pretty big problem for Mega Gardevoir. so , by using Faba to send this Pokémon to the lost zone, we are able to get right back on track in KOing those Zoroarks.

1 Skyla: Originally I thought that Skyla would be too slow for this deck. However, with the early draw power of Shaymin-EX and the easily searchable Jirachi-EX, Skyla has proven to be a great tool. Setting Up a Mega Gardevoir-EX is a pretty intricate process as you need so many trainers like in such a specific order. So Skyla allows you to grab the one piece you are missing in your combo. It is also very good in the mid to late stages of the game as you don’t need much draw power once giratina is online. It can grab the one item you need like Max Potion or Target Whistle

1 Field Blower: Most would agree that one field blower is a bit low with so much Garbodor running around in the expanded format. However, I have come to find that Garbodor really doesn’t hinder the deck as much as I thought it would. Generally you play pretty few items, and no other attacker paired with Garbodor can OHKO your Mega Gardevoir. So, you usually can just win through healing. The one field blower is useful for getting a single turn in the mid-game to set up a big GX KO and swing the continuing 2HKO match in your favor. There is also Faba lurking in your deck for the same reason, really only giving you the need for one Field Blower. Diantha and Dowsing Machine also makes getting this when needed much easier

1 Battle Compressor: Battle Compressor is another card that one of seems a bit low. However, it's really only needed to get Giratina in the discard and that is about it. Because you dont need Giratina right away high counts of this card can be redundant as you don’t care too much about hitting early or discarding more than 3-4 cards from deck. Honestly I don't really think you need the card at all sometimes, as most times Giratina is casually discarded through search cards or Professor Juniper. However, drawing in to it and then unclogging your deck of a card oriented for your discard is a nice luxury that I felt deserved to be included.

1 Target Whistle: this is easily my favorite card in the deck. It is such a powerful tool against decks that play low HP Pokémon. It can be used to take your last 2 prizes on a shaymin or Tapu Lele through pairing it with Guzma, or by throwing some exeggcute on the bench and KOing them with Giratina. It’s extremely relevant against Archie’s Blastoise, as trading prizes with them becomes difficult. However Target Whistling out an egg for an extra prize becomes super useful in keeping up with prizes. You can do this multiple times as well through Dowsing Machine and Diantha. Essentially you can take 4 prizes just through Knocking out exeggcute and the last two naturally though KOing a Keldeo-EX or Shaymin-EX.

1 Sky Field: So initially i was not to keen on this card being in the deck until I realised how powerful it can be. In most scenarios you are going to want to use Dimension Valley for a one-energy attack. However, in some instances you are able to get multiple energy on board making Sky Field a great tool for a surprise 180 damage knockout on something you haven’t withered down enough with your Giratina, all while expanding your bench for Giratina to come into play along with your setup cards. This also can be great to grab with Diantha or Dowsing Machine when needed.

2 Wonder Energy: I at first thought that this could be bad because of the recent release of Faba. However, I have come to find that it can be useful in niche scenarios. In the expanded format there are so many random decks that can pop up. In playing random opponents online I actually really needed this card to avoid things like Hypnotoxic Laser, Froakie's Bubble attack, and Accelgor. With the mass amount of healing done by this deck through Max Potion anyway, I am not too concerned about special energy denial and I think this is a nice tool for the deck to have in its belt.

Matchups

Lastly I would like to give some brief pointers on some specific matchups I expect to see a lot of in any expanded tournament 

Archie’s Blastoise: When playing this deck, speed is very important, as they will start to take KOs as you are still setting up. The key to this is expending a lot of resources on drawing into a good set up with multiple Shaymin-EX. Eventually you can use Sky Field or Kukui to take a big KO on a Keldeo or another 2-prize Pokémon in the deck. The speedy prizes are then going to lie in using Target Whistle, cycled with Diantha and Dowsing Machine. Propping out Exeggcute and KOing it with Giratina will start to allow you to catch back up once your board is set up. 1 or 2 egg KOs paired with a a quick Shaymin knockout could result in taking your final 4 prizes in one turn.

Trevenant Break: against Trevenant you need to be very careful I oftentimes found myself losing because hoopa is stuck in the active with no way to pivot. You need to take this very slowly. You can even attack with Gardevoir-EX to try and take some KOs and then finally evolve without a spirit link. After you can Despair Ray, feel free to bench whatever you would like. Eventually you’ll be taking OHKOs on all of their Trevenant Break and they will not be able to stream attackers fast enough to combat you.

Zoroark-GX: Zoroark decks can be pretty easy depending on the variant. The best way to win is to just 2HKO their Zoroarks while dodging their 2HKOs with Max Potion. Giratina can even set up some OHKOs to swing the trade even further toward you that paired with Target Whistle on some Exeggcute will lock the match in for you. More control oriented decks can get annoying, but with Faba stopping their loops and giratina spreading too much damage to heal, you can eventually take your prizes before they run you out of resources.

Every other matchup should follow a pretty linear path. Against decks like Buzzwole GX, Primal Groudon-EX and Lost March, just execute your primary strategy and you should win inherently.

Conclusion

Thanks everyone and I hoped you enjoyed my article and if you choose to pilot this deck I wish you success.Regardless of what I decide, to play at an expanded event this deck is where the bulk of my testing had gone and I’m happy to share it here

[+23] okko


 

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