Written by Russell LaParre

With Philadelphia Regionals coming up this November 5th weekend, many players, experienced and novice alike, find themselves confused as to which deck they should pilot. They are also still unsure of which cards are even relevant or strong in the giant card pool the Expanded Format has to offer. This article is going to be geared towards helping you catch up on the Expanded Format, while saving you some playtesting time. First, I’ll list all the cards you should learn and expect see in the Expanded Format which either aren’t legal or often used in Standard. This will be followed by a discussion of the history of the Expanded Format over the past year. Lastly, I will provide a Tier List of what I believe we should expect to see at Philadelphia Regionals.

Expanded List to Learn/Expect:

You should know what each of the cards below do or have some understanding as to which decks they may be included in:

Pokémon:
Archeops NVI
Eelektrik NVI
Victini NVI
Accelgor DEX
Sabeleye DEX
Raikou-EX DEX
Ho-OH-EX DEX
Musharna BCR
Blastoise BCR
Audino BCR
Keldeo-EX BCR
Cobalion-EX PLS
Trubbish PLS
Donphan PLS
Flareon PLS
Latias-EX PLF
Jirachi-EX PLB
Virizion-EX PLB
Genesect-EX PLB
Darkrai-EX LTR
Aromatisse XY
Greninja XY
Seismitoad-EX  FFI
Eevee FFI
Hawlucha FFI
Zubat PLS/Golbat PHF/Crobat PHF
Manectric-EX PHF
M Manectric-EX PHF
Bronzong PHF
Aegislash-EX PHF
Pumpkaboo PHF/Joltik PHF/Lampent PHF
Primal Groudon PRC
Tyrantrum-EX XY70

Items:
Computer Search
Dowsing Machine
Life Dew
Rock Guard
Scoop Up Cyclone
Hypnotoxic Laser / Virbank City Gym
Dark Patch
Tool Scrapper
Startling Megaphone
Muscle Band
Hard Charm
Sacred Ash
Super Scoop Up
Target Whistle
Robo Substitute
Focus Sash
Battle Compressor
Trick Shovel
Head Ringer
Jamming Net

Supporters:

Colress
Ghetsis
Blacksmith
Cassius
Korrina
AZ
Xerosic
Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
Archie’s Ace in the Hole

Stadiums:

Tropical Beach
Sky Arrow Bridge
Training Center
Dimension Valley
Fighting Stadium

Energy:

Prism Energy
Blend Energy
Mystery Energy

Last year of Expanded

I’m going to backtrack through the last year of Expanded Tournaments, highlighting the lists that will probably be used as the templates for our future:

Phoenix,AZ –

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Drew Kennett won Phoenix Regionals with Greninja BREAK/Talonflame playing 2 copies of Rare Candy, 3 Bursting Balloon, and no out to Archeop’s NVI. I’d expect his list to be the one that’s most copied for Philadelphia Regionals and to influence a majority of the meta.

William Herrmann placed 2nd with Trevenant BREAK playing 2 Team Flare Grunt, 4 Bursting Balloon and 2 Enhanced Hammer.

Travis Nunlist finished 3rd with Greninja BREAK playing 3 copies of Evosoda and 1 Wally as outs to Archeops and a consistent way to establish his evolution line.

Eric Gansman piloted a fairly standard build of Seismitoad-EX/Crobat to 4th and will probably be the most copied version of Seismitoad-EX/Crobat for Philadelphia.

Michael Slutsky played a new version of Raikou/Eelektrik’s playing Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and Gallade as a solid counter to Darkrai-EX, Manectric-EX, and a way to manipulate his draws. I’m not sure everyone is sold on this build so I don’t expect all the Philadelphia lists to play the Maxie’s engine.

Stephan Tebaco finished in the Top 8 with what I believe to be the most updated version of Primal Groudon.

TJ Traquair finished in the Top 8 with his version of Sableye/Garbodor playing Delinquent, Ghetsis, and Latias-EX which will be the main list for players to flock to for Philadelphia. This deck requires a relatively strong player to pilot it to its top potential as it is tough to decide which cards you’ll need to Junk Hunt and when. For this reason, I don’t believe many players will play this deck to success.

Salt Lake City, UT:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Mark Garcia took home his 2nd Regional win of the year with Turbo Yveltal which played 4 Dark Patch and 3 Max Elixir to speed up his use of Yveltal BKT’s Pitch Black Spear. Since many players are anticipating or playing Greninja in Philadelphia, I don’t expect to see many variants of this deck played.

Sam Hough finished in the Top 4 with his version of Vileplume Toolbox. He played 2 Jolteon-EX, 1 Glaceon-EX, 1 Latias-EX, 1 Darkrai-EX LTR, Regice, and Mewtwo-EX as his attackers alongside the control of Irritating Pollen. This deck will see a bit of play with the addition of Magearna-EX, Trevenant-EX, and NinjaBoy, so I’d expect to see this list meshed a bit with his Top 8 list at World’s.

Nathian Beck finished in the Top 4 with the most recent build of Night March including a single copy of Mew FCO and Fighting Fury Belt. I wouldn’t anticipate playing against this particular variant as any Night March lists we see should be updated to deal with Karen in some way.

Israel Sosa finished in the Top 8 at this event and his Yveltal/Maxie’s list will probably be the most copied one going into Philadelphia Regionals as he’s highly regarded as the top Yveltal player in the world.

Stephen Bates made Top 8 this event with Flareon/Vespiquen playing a copy of Umbreon BW93 as a counter to Trevenant BREAK. If Flareon/Vespiquen would be played at Philadelphia this may be the list for everyone to copy but without a solid way to beat Karen I wouldn’t include it in my testing circle.

Harrison Frazier played the final big breakout deck from this event: Zygarde/Regirock. Using a deck which many considered to be weak in Expanded, Harrison was able to make it into the Top 8. He played a 3/2 line of Carbink BREAK, 3 Regirock-EX, 2 Zygarde-EX, and 1 Landorus-EX as his main attackers with 2 Skyfield to support his full bench. This deck should see little to no play in the upcoming Regionals as it has no way to properly handle Greninja BREAK.

 

Marlborough, MA:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Alex Wilson won Marlborough Regionals with Mega Rayquaza playing Aegislash and Metal energy instead of the standard Grass Energy and Virizion-EX. Mega Rayquaza is expected to see an increase in play due to the release of Karen meaning its hard counter Night March will see a significant drop in play.

Edwin Lopez finished 2nd with Night March playing a Maxie’s engine for Gallade BKT. If your opponent is opting to play a Maxie’s Night March list, this will be the one they’ll probably copy. Again, Karen is being released so I wouldn’t anticipate playing against this deck more than once.

Joshua Sergenton finished in the Top 4 with Turbo Darkrai which will see play in Philadelphia Regionals as it’s a fairly easy deck to pilot and hits extremely hard on turn 2. People will use Joshua’s list as a template to start building their own, but I wouldn’t expect it to have too many changes outside of inclusion of Mew FCO or Mewtwo-EX to counter Gallade BKT.

Tristan Macek made top 8 at this event with Trevenant BREAK playing Red Card, Weakness Policy, and Crushing Hammer. If you’re playing against a Trevenant BREAK deck that is not playing Bursting Balloon, more than likely it is a copy or extremely close to this list.

Dean Nezam piloted Mega Manectric/Jolteon-EX to a Top 8 finish at this event, and I believe most players will use this list as a template to build a new version playing Garbodor to counter Greninja BREAK as this deck cannot handle it extremely well.

Azul Griego played his updated version of Raikou/Eelektrik playing Mewtwo-EX to counter Gallade BKT and Raikou-EX to snipe bench damage or Garbodor. If you’re playing against a Raikou/Eelektrik deck not using the Maxie’s engine, it should be somewhat similar to this list.

Alberta, Edmonton:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

TJ Traquair placed 2nd with Wailord-EX which decked out the opponent and played a copy of Lugia-EX with 2 Double Colorless Energy to help against decks that stacked energy on Yvetal-EX or Mewtwo-EX which 2HKO any Wailord-EX. This deck gained a lot of steam during Nationals of 2016, but many players have adapted to playing against the deck and Sabeleye/Garbodor is generally viewed as the better deckout deck.

Steve Lindstrom finished in the Top 8 at this event with his unique deck of  Jolteon-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Slowking. The deck took good matchups against any Basic attacker deck but will not see play due to the increase in play of Greninja BREAK and Mega Decks.

Eric Wallig piloted Rainbow Road to a top 8 finish here and will be the targeted copy list for Philadelphia Regionals.

Ross Cawthon made Top 8 at this event with his widely known Accelgor/Wobbuffet deck that he used to top 2 other Regionals during the same season. Everyone will probably use this list or the list he played on stream at Arizona Regionals as their go-to template for Philadelphia.

Madison, WI:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Treynor Wolfe placed 1st here using Yveltal/Maxie’s, but his twist on the deck was including a copy of Mewtwo-EX and 2 Parallel City. Mewtwo-EX was included to counter any opposing Gallade BKT and the 2 Parallel City were added to limit Rainbow Road and Mega Rayquaza’s bench.

This top 8 saw a surge in Vespiquen/Flareon decks playing lists similar to Kevin Baxter’s or Jimmy O’Brien’s, but the release of Karen and increase in Greninja BREAK decks probably make these lists irrelevant.

Athens, GA:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Jimmy McClure played a Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX deck that made top 8. It plays a heavy item count line with 4 Puzzle of Time, 4 Crushing Hammer, 4 Super Scoop Up, and 4 Hypnotoxic Laser to coin flip the opponent out of the game. If any Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX is seen at Philadelphia, I expect it to be similar to Jimmy’s

Kansas City, KS:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Brandon Cantu managed to make top 8 with Archie’s Blastoise. Archie’s Blastoise is long considered dead in the current meta due to Sabeleye/Garbodor and Ghetsis, but if the deck sees play it should follow a similar formula to his list.

Kitchener, ON:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Michael Natto played a Seismitoad-EX/Crobat list which played 3 Rough Seas and 2 Silent Lab.

Seattle, WA:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

TJ Traquair placed 1st at Seattle with his version of Yveltal/Maxie’s which played 2 copies of Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, 2 Gallade BKT, 3 Hypnotoxic Laser, and no copies of Virbank City Gym. This is a bit different than the current Yveltal lists we’ve seen recently so some players may end up exploring similar lists in the future as the tech still remains relevant.

Eli Covitz placed 2nd with his insane Rainbow Road build which included Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, and Gallade BKT. This list pioneered all the Rainbow Road decks we see in Expanded today. I’d expect to see a few variants of this build including Archeops now pop up around Philadelphia.

Seth Covitz played with a pioneer build of Vileplume including 4 Blend Energy (WLFM), 2 Jolteon-EX, and 2 Regice. This would soon be updated to our current version of PlumeBox, but it was a unique deck to pop up in top 8 during at the time.

Kissimmee,FL:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Nathan Browser placed 2nd at this event piloting a Primal Groudon list that played 2 copies of Pokémon Center Lady which helped a bit more against Trevenant BREAK, but it wasn’t enough to seal the win away.

Michael Canaves placed 4th with Primal Groudon that played 4 Puzzle of Time, 1 Super Potion, and 2 Enhanced Hammer which helped him deckout and control a lot of the Double Colorless Energy decks that ran around the meta. These variants may see a rise in play after Stephan Tebaco’s success in Arizona.

Jared Weiss placed top 8 with Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX playing Max Elixir and Fighting Fury Belt so I’d expect any Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX enthusiasts to use his list as a starting point.

Brad Curcio topped with his version of Yveltal-EX based on the one that Israel Sosa placed with in Anaheim which included Maxie’s, Yveltal BKT, 2 Fighting Fury Belt and 2 Reverse Valley. With so many ways to build Yveltal, and the increasing hype behind Mega Rayquaza and Rainbow Road, I wouldn’t expect to see any copies of Yveltal list without updates like Parallel City.

Clackamas, OR:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Richard Reynolds managed to place in the Top 8 with Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Maxie’s which received a power up through Max Elixir and Giovanni’s Scheme. If any Virizion-EX pilots feel the need to cover their Turbo Darkrai, Mega Manectric, and Greninja matchups they may use this list as their starting point.

Paul Yeung had a solid run to the Top 8 with a crazy deck, Mega Mewtwo-EX/Landorus-EX. His deck had a fairly standard Mega Mewtwo build but used 3 Fighting Fury Belt and 2 Landorus-EX to deal bench damage to evolution decks or high HP Pokémon-EX decks before he swept them with Mega Mewtwo-EX. Since Greninja BREAK is seeing a ton of play I doubt this deck will be relevant in the current meta.

St.Louis, IN:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Conner Lavelle placed in the Top 8 with Mega Manectric/Raikou playing 2 Assault Vest and 3 Parallel City. This list may be followed more than Dean Nezam’s recent list if players deem the Assault Vest and Raikou relevant for the current meta.

Bob Zhang placed 8th with his Accelgor/Wobbuffet list which played 2 copies of Brigette, 1 Tropical Beach, 1 Dimension Valley, and 1 Silent Lab. Ross Cawthon has the most updated version of Accelgor/Wobbuffet, but Bob’s list includes some techs that may see play this weekend.

Anahiem, CA:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Chris Rodriguez got 4th with Tyrantrum-EX/Giratina-EX/Bronzong list that played a heavy Colress line and Heavy Ball. If updated with today’s techs including Magearna-EX, Cobalion, and Mr.Mime it may see play in Philadelphia.

San Jose, CA:

For all lists discussed below, please use the following the following link: Lists

Chris Collins and Justin Poist placed in the Top 8 with the most recent variant of Donphan which played a copy of Jolteon from AOR to help counter Yveltal and Mega Rayquaza decks. It plays 4 copies of Robo Substitute and 2 Wobbuffet as a primary target to Spinning Turn into which may be relevant in today’s meta.

The rest of last year’s regionals are full of decks that have been updated in recent Regionals or are now irrelevant to competitive play. With all the deck highlights and lists out of the way, let’s get into the Tier List based on deck popularity for Philadelphia.

Tier List (based on number played)

Tier 1:

Yveltal / Maxies
Seismitoad / Crobat
Greninja BREAK
Mega Rayquaza
Mega Manectric

Tier 2:

Raikou Eels
Trevenant BREAK
Sabeleye/Garbodor
Rainbow Road
Accelgor / Wobbuffet

Tier 3:

PlumeBox
Mega Gardevoir
Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX
Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX
Night March
Primal Groudon
Volcanion

Tier 1:

Yveltal/Maxies – Dark decks have always been widely loved by the community. In the Expanded Format, Yveltal decks gain the boost of Dark Patch and Darkrai-EX’s Dark Cloak which pushes them clearly into the top positions of the game. Since Greninja BREAK performed so well at Arizona Regionals many lists will consider Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick to counter them as well as provide a solid Darkrai-EX counter in Gallade. Dark Patches aren’t extremely expensive, and a majority of the community should already have the Yveltal core from the Standard Format, so getting the cards won’t be an issue.

Seismitoad-EX/Crobat – Seismitoad-EX is one of the most unfair cards in the game. Even with the release of Pokémon Ranger, this deck’s lock is so insanely strong that it puts even the most novice player on par with veterans if their hand is full of items. With Hypnotoxic Laser, Golbat, and Crobat damage boosting their numbers this is clear cut go-to deck for players that are looking to “wing it” at Philadelphia and hope for the best.

Greninja BREAK – Having just come off a strong showing at Arizona Regionals, Greninja BREAK will be seen as the deck to beat in Philadelphia. I placed it 3rd on my list as many players will fear playing the “targeted” deck and end up switching over to something riskier. Players that had Greninja BREAK built and piloted it a few tournaments during the Standard Format will more than likely opt to play it with the thought process of “it plays the same as Standard”.

Mega Rayquaza – With the recent release of Karen and poor performance of Night March in Arizona, many players are excited to play Mega Rayquaza again with the boost of Battle Compressor, Puzzle of Time, and Ghetsis. The Standard Format build of Mega Rayquaza is much less consistent due to the lack of Battle Compressor and utility of Puzzle of Time. Getting this powerful combo back puts the deck right back into contention. Many players who piloted Mega Rayquaza will fall back on this deck for Philadelphia as it has a strong matchup against Yveltal/Maxie’s.

Mega Manectric – Sitting on the same mindset of less Night March and Vespiquen/Flareon being played, players who loved Manectric over the past 2 years will try to revive in some way to combat Greninja. More than likely this will be done with Wobbuffet and Garbodor. I expect to see quite a few Manectric variants pop up in Philly. Most will be playing a Double Colorless Energy or 2 to support 1 copy of Mewtwo-EX to help counter Gallade BKT.

Tier 2:

Raikou/Eels– Raikou Eels is a fairly cheap deck to build and has a relatively low skill curve. Players will enjoy its fairly positive matchup against Yveltal/Maxie’s, but they might opt to not play it due to the performance of Greninja BREAK at Arizona. The deck can play Maxie’s/Archeops if piloted correctly, but it would still take a tough matchup against Greninja BREAK without Eelektrik.

Trevenant BREAK – With the release of Karen, and the expected decrease in play of Night March and Flareon/Vespiquen, this deck lost a lot of its strong match ups in the meta. Greninja BREAK is not the easiest of match ups due to Rough Seas and Yveltal/Maxie’s hits it for weakness which makes it a solid 50/50 even after hitting a turn 1 Trevenant. Players will flock to this deck as a way to “not think” or get free wins off opponents who have unfortunate starts with item filled hands.

Sableye/Garbodor – There’s a niche community for players who love playing the “toxic” deck of the Format. These are the players who enjoy Wailord, Sabeleye/Garbodor, and Vileplume stall deck to get their wins. Sabeleye/Garbodor is extremely strong when built and piloted efficiently throughout a tournament so I would expect to play it at least 1 time during Philadelphia Regionals.

Rainbow Road – The fan favorite Rainbow Road deck, which is seen throughout the Standard Format, gains a boost from the Ho-Oh DEX / Energy Switch engine. Ho-Oh DEX skyrocketed in price over the past few weeks and may be tough for players to get ahold of in time for Philadelphia. This deck hits quick and consistently through its new engine, but falls prey to Parallel City much like in Standard. It also gains a new Toolbox feel through using other Basic energy for Ho-Oh EX’s Rebirth and can play tech cards such as Jolteon-EX, Yveltal-EX, and Magearna-EX to counter some of the meta. Trevenant BREAK is generally seen as its worst matchup and, as I mentioned before, will see a bit less play than that Arizona Regionals making this a go-to deck for those that loved Rainbow Road during Standard.

Accelgor/Wobbuffet – Accelgor DEX is known as one of the best cards printed in the past decade and we get to play it again in the Expanded Format. While the deck may not have many “free wins”, it has solid 50/50 matchups across the meta. The deck is relatively cheap to build and isn’t regulated by Archeops like the rest of the evolution decks due to Wobbuffet’s Bide Barricade. Players who piloted Accelgor decks during the past couple of years will definitely have this deck in their arsenal to play as it rewards good playing throughout a majority of the tournament.

That’s my time for today guys! With Karen now in play, I think this Regionals is going to be filled with a ton of Rogue and unexplored concepts. Night March will still see a bit of play by the pilots who absolutely won’t give it up, but for the most part its fall in play will mean the increase in diversity and off the wall decks which we haven’t seen before. I’m ecstatic to see what Philly has in store for us. See you all there!

Russell LaParre

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Refers to Edmonton Regionals, doesn’t mention the winner 🙁 It’s ok, i’ll cry in the corner alone. Very good read though, good job

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