Hey, Some1spc readers! With all the buzz around Burning Shadows, and with Worlds right around the corner, I’m here to talk about something different with you, Expanded! Pokémon has recently changed the ban list, so I’ll be touching on that fairly quickly, and my current go to deck for the Expanded format. Pokémon has added 2 cards to the ban list, banning Forest of Giant Plants and Archeops (DEX). Both of these cards have had a drastic impact on the meta, and have rendered a large pool of cards borderline unplayable (predominantly Archeops).   

First up, we have Archeops. People have complained about this card’s existence for quite some time, and Pokémon is finally doing something about it. With the ability to prevent your opponents from evolving their Pokémon altogether, the Archeops player would be able to tremendously slow down their opponent, if not just stop them in their tracks altogether.  Even though I’ve personally never been a huge fan of decks that rely on evolving a lot, I think this card leaving the format can allow for a lot more innovation in the Expanded format.

The second card they banned was Forest of Giant Plants. The card design on this card in general limits design on Grass Pokémon in general (leading to the original ban of Shiftry before), and added a whole new level of variance to the decks that rely on it. In Standard, Decidueye Vileplume was the main deck that abused this card, and the difference between getting the Turn 1 Vileplume and getting it a few turns later was huge. In Expanded, thanks to Battle Compressor and Revitalizer, getting out whatever Grass Type Pokémon you want on turn 1 is significantly easier. Decks like Lurantis Vileplume and Decidueye Vileplume were poised to continue having a huge impact on Expanded, but without Forest of Giant Plants, they will be much more ‘fair’.  

I’m very happy with Pokémon showing they’re at least trying to keep up with the Expanded format, what’s been dominating, what’s poised to do well, and taking some action on it. While I do think that there were several cards they could have banned to change up the Expanded Format, as long as they’re keeping an eye on it throughout the season, I have very high hopes. With that said, now let’s move onto my current pet deck for Expanded, Turbo Dark.

Turbo Dark has been a solid contender in the Expanded format ever since the release of Darkrai (BKP), and it’s looking even better now. Previously, one of the biggest things holding it back was the fact that one of the most prominent decks, Yveltal Archeops, had a built in counter to it with Gallade. With the ban of Archeops, Yveltal’s hype has severely declined (outside of Israel Sosa of course, but he never got out Archeops anyways), and thus the decline of Gallade goes with it. Another great selling point on the deck is the hype of Trevenant. Trevenant has gotten a lot of hype since the ban of Forest, as it’s now the go to option for Turn 1 item locking. Trevenant doesn’t really have much of an answer to Turbo Dark, which I talk about below. Unfortunately, Turbo Dark does gain a very unfavorable matchup as well, in Night March. Now that Night March gains Marshadow GX (being able to copy the attack Night March, abuse Fighting Typing, and abusing Focus Sash), Turbo Dark doesn’t have a very good answer at all to it. I currently believe these three decks to be the biggest three decks going into the first few weeks of Expanded, providing a very interesting Meta Triangle (Trevenant>Night March>Turbo Dark>Trevenant etc).

Now onto the list!  

Turbo Darkrai

Pokémon(11)

  • 2 Darkrai EX BKP
  • 2 Darkrai EX DEX
  • 2 Darkrai GX BUS
  • 1 Yveltal XY
  • 2 Shaymin EX
  • 1 Jirachi EX
  • 1 Hoopa EX

Trainers(37)

  • 3 Professor Sycamore
  • 2 N
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Ghetsis
  • 1 Guzma
  • 1 Delinquent
  • 1 AZ
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 Max Elixir
  • 4 Dark Patch
  • 3 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear
  • 2 Fighting Fury Belt
  • 1 Field Blower
  • 1 Dowsing Machine
  • 2 Parallel City
  • 2 Silent Lab

Energy(12)

  • 12 Dark Energy

 

Specific Card Choices

2 Darkrai (DEX)

Since we have so many options for putting energy in play, powering up Darkrai EX (DEX) early on is very easy, and being able to retreat between any Pokémon you wanted is a great added effect. It’s a great attacker early on, as even though it doesn’t always take knockouts, it’s phenomenal at weakening up any threats your opponent is building, for your other Darkrai EXs (BKP) to clean up. It is still also the best attacker to use against decks like Night March (where they can have weak benched targets like Joltik), as well as matches where you want to weaken up specific threats, and even take prizes from their bench.  

2 Darkrai-EX (BKP)

This is the other main attacker of the deck, and can easily build itself up big enough to threaten one hit knock outs on practically every Pokémon. It’s used almost exclusively for its first attack, as its damage is almost limitless (only ever limited by how many energy you actually run), and because we don’t run any sleeping effects to activate the second attack.  Because of how important Darkrai EX (DEX) is to the deck, however, putting these at a 2/2 split is pretty optimal. You’ll rarely end up needing more than 2 in any given game, as long as you don’t go overly aggressive with them.  

2 Darkrai GX

On to our first new card from Burning Shadows, Darkrai GX! Even though the deck already had a ton of ramping effects going for it, adding even more, is always welcome. Darkrai GX will mainly be used in the deck for its ability, Restoration. Being able to bench itself from the discard, and attach a Dark energy along with it is incredibly powerful for the deck. This allows you to have even more explosive openings with Battle Compressor, or allowing you to immediately get more energy in play after your opponent knocks out any of your main attackers. It’s first attack, Dark Cleave, is pretty decent as well. Doing 130 is a good enough number to knock out ‘baby’ attackers such as Volcanion or Yveltal, and can also potentially clean up other targets that were weakened by Night Spear. Unfortunately, we don’t run any activators for its GX attack, Dead End GX, but that could very easily change with Hypnotoxic Laser if the meta starts to allow for it, or if we change the list to be more Darkrai GX focused.  

1 Hoopa EX, 2 Shaymin EX, 1 Jirachi EX

This is the main Pokémon oriented draw engine for the deck. Being able to use a single Ultra Ball to fetch Hoopa EX (ideally discarding Dark Energy and/or Darkrai GX) to then fill your bench with Darkrai EXs, Draw some cards with Shaymin EXs, or search out supporters with Jirachi EX is insanely useful. Hoopa EX is also the sole reason we run Jirachi EX over Tapu Lele GX, as even though Tapu Lele is better in practically every way (higher HP, better attack, no weakness), the sole fact that we can get Jirachi EX off of Hoopa EX outweighs all of that. You’re never going to be wanting to attack with the Tapu Lele, and the HP difference shouldn’t make too big of an impact either.  

3 Professor Sycamore, 2 N

Main Supporter card draw package. Thanks to Battle Compressor and VS Seeker, we can afford to play less copies of our main supporters.  

1 Ghetsis, 1 Hex Maniac, 1 AZ, 1 Guzma, 1 Delinquent

The main tech supporters in the deck. With Jirachi EX and Battle Compressor we’ll frequently have access to these when we need them. Ghetsis can be basically game ending if used on the first turn, depending on your opponent’s opening hand (and another card I think Pokémon should have looked at for the ban list). Hex Maniac is there for us to answer some of the broken abilities found in Expanded (Volcanion, Blastoise, Trevenant, Eelektrik, etc). Guzma is another new card we get, and it gives us both Lysandre and Olympia effects, which we can utilize at our own discretion. Delinquent is very good since we also play 4 Stadiums, which allows us to punish our opponents if they ever overextend into it. I’m not 100% sold on AZ vs Acerola, but I think the fact that we don’t need any prerequisite to use AZ (like the damaged Pokémon needed on Acerola) makes AZ better.  Since we can also abuse energy from our discard pile, its drawback isn’t always that bad.  

4 Dark Patch, 4 Max Elixir

The main ramping of the deck, allowing us to accelerate a ton of energy onto the board very quickly. Max Elixir lets us grab additional energy from the deck, while Dark Patch lets us get it back from the discard pile. While you can definitely use them both to create a giant board state in the early turns, often times you won’t always need to (slowly setting up behind a Darkrai EX (DEX) for instance), and saving your Dark Patches for when something of yours eventually gets knocked out.  

4 Ultra Ball, 4 VS Seeker

Main consistency engine of the deck, maxing out on both cards is needed!

3 Battle Compressor

Now this card didn’t always see much play in the deck, but with the inclusion of Darkrai GX as well, it seems much more useful. Being able to discard the Darkrai GXs themselves, Dark Energy to get back with Dark Patch, Darkrai GX, or even Baby Yveltal, and discarding your Supporters to immediately abuse with VS Seeker is insane!

2 Fighting Fury Belt

I toyed around with the idea of adding cards like Choice Band and Reverse Valley, to set up even higher damage numbers with even less energy, but in the end, I feel like the additional HP is way too good to pass up. The extra 40 HP allows you to survive so many more attacks, and with Darkrai EX (DEX) and AZ, you can move your Pokémon around frequently enough to make it even more difficult for your opponent to take prizes. The extra 10 damage can be very relevant as well, allowing you to hit for 170 a little bit easier with Dark Pulse, or 140 with Dark Cleave (which would be 170 with a single Night Spear snipe).  

1 Field Blower

Field Blower will take place over Tool Scrapper in most expanded lists, due to the versatility of being able to remove any troublesome tools your opponent has, and any Stadiums that you’re unable to bump with your own. You can also even remove your own Parallel City or Silent Lab if they’re hindering you!

1 Dowsing Machine

I chose to play Dowsing Machine over Computer Search so that we can reuse all of our broken items. 5th Dark Patch, 5th Max Elixir, 5th VS Seeker/Extra copies of supporters, etc. All of these options are very good for us, and can add to the already explosive starts we can have.  

2 Parallel City

Both sides of this stadium are relevant to us and have several different uses. Limiting your opponent’s bench early on can force them to play way more conservatively than they would want to, like stopping them from playing something like a Hoopa EX of their own if they don’t have a counter Stadium. Being able to discard our Jirachi EX or Shaymin EXs to prevent your opponent from taking cheap knockouts on them is another fantastic option. Even reducing the damage your opponent can deal (with decks like Volcanion, Vespiquen, or Seismitoad) can make it even more difficult for them to take the knock out on your Darkrai. Playing 4 total stadiums is also very relevant, both to make sure we can win the stadium war against decks that rely on their stadiums (like Mega Rayquaza), and to make sure our Delinquent can basically always be used.

2 Silent Lab

Speaking of 4 stadiums, this is our other stadium of choice! Stopping abilities at most points of the game is great since we don’t overly rely on them ourselves. Sure we have free retreat thanks to Dark Cloak, and Restoration with Darkrai GX, but we can very easily play around that fact if we’re the ones shutting off our own abilities. Silent Lab also brings up more broken combos with some of our tech supporters, such as Ghetsis into Silent Lab, or Delinquent-ing away your opponent’s stadium, then playing a Silent Lab of your own. There are a ton of abilities we need to shut off though to make our matchups even better, and sticking a Silent Lab against a lot of decks in the format, especially on turn 1, is amazing.  

12 Dark Energy

The Standard Turbo Dark decks were playing a lot more energy (I played 15 at the Brazil Internationals), but in Expanded we can afford to play less. Playing 12 allows our Max Elixirs to rarely miss (especially with more deck thinning due to Battle Compressor), and since we can reuse the ones discarded even more easily, we don’t need such a hefty count. 12 Energy feels optimal, as we still want to have at least 8 in play very frequently to hit the magic 180 damage with Dark Pulse.  

This is the list I’ve been playing around with recently, and it’s been testing very smoothly. As I mentioned briefly earlier, there are a few other options we can go about running it (playing copies of Hypnotoxic Laser, Reverse Valley, or Choice Band for added damage output), but I’ve been loving the way it’s been running so far. I believe the deck fairs up pretty well against the anticipated meta, boasting quite a few more favorable matchups than unfavorable ones. Now onto those matchups!

Matchups

Turbo Dark VS Trevenant (80-20)

Trevenant is one of the most hyped decks going into this upcoming Expanded format. Conveniently, this is also one of our best matchups! With practically everything in their deck weak to Dark, we don’t need to set up a whole lot of energy to run through them. Even through the item lock and other disruption they have, they struggle to have a big enough impact to impose a real threat. Their main win condition is still live against us, so we can still lose. If they are able to get the Turn 1 item lock against us, and our hand is filled with unplayable Items, they can still steal a game away from us.  

Turbo Dark vs Night March (20-80)

Night March has been a prevalent deck ever since it came out, and that still hasn’t changed.This matchup used to be somewhat close, as the Turbo Dark player could abuse resistance alongside Fighting Fury Belt to it difficult for the Night March player to score one hit knock outs, while the Turbo Dark player could potentially utilize Darkrai’s (DEX) Night Spear to take multiple prizes with a single attack. Even if they were attacking with Joltik, they’d need to reach 220 damage (11 Night Marchers in the discard pile), which is difficult to reach early on. However, this has all changed with a new card that the Night March players get to utilize, Marshadow-GX. With Marshadow, not only are they able to have a new attacker that doesn’t need any Night Marchers benched, but it’s also a Fighting type, letting them hit our Darkrai for weakness. As if that wasn’t enough for them already, they can also abuse Focus Sash on their Marshadow, making it practically impossible for us to trade prizes evenly at all. Night March is very likely our worst matchup moving forward, but hopefully, Trevenant will be popular enough to scare them off.

Turbo Dark vs Seismitoad Variants (65-35)

Seismitoad will try to do their best to limit your usage of items, much like Trevenant tries to do. However, since they’re never able to do so on the first turn of the game, we’re guaranteed to have a single turn of items. This is usually enough for us to have just a single explosive turn, and since their damage output is relatively low, more often than not that’s all we need to overwhelm them. With heavy copies of Max Elixir, Dark Patch, and Darkrai-GX, it’s very easy for us to end the first turn with a ton of energy in play, and we can begin two-shotting them as early as Turn 1 while building up to the one shot very quickly. They can still win through the same line of play that Trevenant can, by locking us out of the game with a Turn 1 Ghetsis into the constant item lock. They can also prevent us from attacking by keeping us asleep with cards like Hypnotoxic Laser or removing critical energy from play with Crushing Hammers, Team Flare Grunt, or Plumeria.  Overall, I feel like this matchup is favored for us still.

Turbo Dark vs Primal Groudon EX (50-50)

Normally, Turbo Dark would struggle a lot with something that can hit it for weakness, but Groudon is a special case. They are a much slower deck, and have enough damage to typically one hit KO almost any Pokémon, regardless of weakness. This matchup plays out very differently, and can typically be decided in the first couple of turns. As the Turbo Dark player, going first is a pretty significant advantage, as you want to try and Lysandre/Guzma out the opponents Groudon EX as quickly as possible. Normally, the Groudon player wants to take their time slowly setting up, hiding behind multiple Wobbuffet. Thanks to Primal Groudon-EXs Omega Barrier ability, if you don’t do this almost immediately, more often than not they’ll be able to Primal Evolve, preventing you from ever being able to Lysandre/Guzma them active for the rest of the game. If you’re both forced to sit back for several turns, slowly building up your board and attackers with energy, the Groudon player will tend to be favored as eventually they’ll be able to Lysandre/Guzma and take a knock out on one of your Pokémon, while you won’t have access to the same line of play. This matchup is probably the closest matchup in Expanded, and can very easily go either way.

Turbo Dark vs Volcanion (55-45)

Both of these decks are very explosive. With Blacksmith, Max Elixir, and Baby Volcanion, they can get a ton of energy in play very quickly. Thanks to Steam Up, they have the ability to deal a ton of damage as well. If they’re able to set up multiple Volcanion EXs, the game can get very difficult for us. On the other hand, we will be able to pretty handily two shot them in the early game, and build up again to the one hit knock outs. If we’re able to either stick a Silent Lab, and/or chain Hex Maniac, we can take knock outs, and prevent them from using their abilities to get a return knock out. Without either of those, they can very easily out damage us, leading to them taking an edge early. Using both N and Silent Lab together is very effective in general, but even more so against them, so we can have an out to punish them if they do end up being too aggressive.  

Turbo Dark vs Sableye Garb (80-20)

Another deck that tries to lock us out of the game, however this deck does it completely differently. Instead of preventing us from using our items, they try to completely remove our resources (energy/hand denial) and eventually deck us out. Unfortunately for them, our deck is much too explosive to reliably shut down, and we can effectively use our energy even from the discard pile (thanks to Baby Yveltal and Dark Patch). Even if they try to lock one of our Pokémon active, we have plenty of ways around that, with AZ, Guzma, or even just retreating thanks to Dark Cloak. All we need to do is apply constant pressure, knocking out their 70 HP Sableye, and that’s fairly easy for us to accomplish.  

Turbo Dark Vs Mega Ray (40-60)

Mega Ray was a very explosive deck in Standard, and it becomes even more so in Expanded. They are a lot more consistent thanks to cards like Battle Compressor and Colress, and are more reliant against Parallel City thanks to Exeggcute and Darkrai-GX. Because of their raw consistency and speed, it’s difficult for us to keep up with them. The best game plan for us in this matchup is to lead with a Baby Yveltal early on, trying to force them into taking an odd number of prizes, and then stick either of our Stadiums. Parallel City can extremely limit their damage, and while Silent Lab won’t force them to discard as many Pokémon, you’ll be limiting their abilities, which can sometimes prove even more useful. They will also almost always have Shaymin-EXs or Jirachi-EXs benched as well, which we can take free prizes off of at most points in the game. Overall they’re typically faster than us, but the matchup is still very manageable.  

Turbo Dark Vs Greninja (70-30)

Greninja as a whole doesn’t actually gain a ton moving over to the Expanded format. In Standard, the matchup would play out as a mini race between the two decks. The Greninja player would just race to their Breaks as quickly as possible, while the Darkrai player tried to amass as many energy as possible to try and one shot them. If the Darkrai player could one shot a Greninja Break the turn it hit the field, it was pretty smooth sailing from there. If Dark Pulse wasn’t able to one shot a Greninja Break, the Greninja player could typically take control of the game from there. In Expanded, Darkrai gains significantly more speed and energy ramp, which makes hitting that threshold much easier. Now, once they get to their Breaks, we’re very likely to be able to one shot them. From there, taking constant knockouts, alongside Hex Maniac to shut off their Giant Water Shurikens, we should be able to close out the game.  

Turbo Dark vs Eelektrik Raikou (60-40)

Raikou Eels is a deck that prays on trading their one prize attackers for EXs and GXs, which would seem like they’d be poised well to do just that in this matchup. However, we rarely struggle to knock out their Raikou and have perfect ways to take easy knock outs on their benched Eels. Thanks to Night Spear, we can knock out their Eelektrik on the bench, while setting up others to be knocked out later on through continuous benched damage. Also, with Hex Maniac, not only can we shut off Raikou’s Shining Body ability, effectively reducing their HP by 20, but we can also shut off their ability to accelerate energy, stopping them from attacking altogether. If we’re unable to complete either of these strategies, then it can get fairly difficult, as they can usually set up to two hit KO any of our attackers.  

Turbo Dark vs Yveltal (50-50(?))

This matchup is one I’m not entirely confident is correct and can vary as the meta changes and how the Yveltal lists start shaping up. Previously, the matchup was very close, because they had easy access to Gallade to throw the prize trade in their favor. Now, with the ban of Archeops, it’s not a guarantee that the Yveltal player will continue to run the Maxies engine, and thus, would no longer be running Gallade as well. Since our main attack is only 2 Dark Energy, Evil Ball will never be doing much damage on its own. Without Gallade, their best option is to utilize Baby Yveltal (BKP) Pitch Black Spear to weaken up multiple targets, and then clean them up with a big Yveltal. Unfortunately for them, we can easily deal with this line of play, knocking out their Baby Yveltal (BKP) early enough before it’s able to deal too much damage to our board, or even using AZ to heal up the targets they are trying to weaken. As it stands, I still expect Yveltal builds to continue running Gallade, because it’s still an incredible card to run on its own. Because of that, I expect the matchup to stay very close.

Turbo Dark vs Accelgor Wobbuffet (65-35)

Their entire strategy relies on leaving our active Pokémon poisoned and paralyzed thanks to Accelgor’s Deck and Cover, lock us out of our abilities thanks to Wobbuffet, and continue doing so turn after turn. Sadly for them, Burning Shadows release of Guzma makes this strategy a lot less likely to work, as the inclusion of Guzma can fit into most decks, and completely ruin their strategy. For us, their deck is somewhat slow and inconsistent in general, so occasionally we can just run them over due to our raw speed. Being able to focus down their Shelmet and Accelgor early on, even using Darkrai’s (DEX) Night Spear to potentially take down multiple at once, makes it very difficult for them to even get the lock going. Also, thanks to AZ and Guzma, we can break the lock on our own terms, and continue to take knockouts. Wobbuffet can slow us down occasionally, as we do have a few abilities we like to use early on (Dark Cloak to retreat out of poor starters, Shaymin/Jirachi to draw cards), but it usually won’t slow us down enough to be relevant. I don’t expect this deck to see much play anymore thanks to Guzma, but even if it does, it won’t hurt Turbo Dark.  

Turbo Dark vs Tool Drop/Garbodor (60-40)

Tool Drop on its own was kind of a deck before, although it was almost a strictly inferior Night March in most ways. However, that can potentially change since they got a brand new card to use, with Garbodor (GUR). They can explode early on, putting plenty of tools in play to take early knockouts, and then clean up later once their opponent has traditionally used a lot of items of their own. Thanks to our resistance, they need a lot more to take early knock outs on our Darkrai. We also don’t need to have too many energy in play to knock out their Trubbish, so we don’t have to burn through nearly as many resources early (and thus, putting items in our discard) to knock them out. We only need 4 energy in play to actually knock out a Trubbish (or 3 on a single Darkrai DEX), and we can still do that on turn one with only playing a handful of items. Because of this, we can usually stop them from trading two for one on their attacks, while also limiting the damage of their Garbodor (GUR). As long as we don’t leave too many options on our bench for them to take free prizes (Shaymin/Jirachi/Hoopa), or over extend and use too many items, we can typically win the matchup.

Turbo Dark Vs Flygon (100-0)

Easy matchup don’t even bother testing it.

Conclusion

As of now, I’m pretty pleased with the way Expanded seems to be shaping up, as well as with Turbo Dark’s odds in the current predicted meta.  As long as Trevenant stays as hyped as it is to keep Night March numbers down, Turbo Dark will continue to be a fantastic play.  I do hope that Pokémon continues to pay attention to the upcoming Expanded Tournaments, and aren’t afraid to add more cards to the ban list if things become an issue.  I hope this provides a good amount of insight for everybody who is trying to prepare for Ft Wayne Regionals (even if you’re focused on Worlds first!)  Thank you for reading!

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