Hey Some1sPC Readers! I'm back with another article that's going to be pretty long-winded and full of decklists. Seeing as we're coming up on our final Expanded Regional of the season, I figured I would communicate with the team and make a giant dump of expected decklists, tech, and matchups we believe you should expect at Roanoke Regionals. I'm going to start with Buzzwole GX/Lycanroc GX and then slowly work my way through the expected meta decks, drop some other ideas I'm currently testing in these final days, and drop some of my "safe calls" to finish up the article.
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By far, the top three decks that will be played are Buzzroc, Zoro/Eggs and Drampa/Garbodor. If you're willing to accept an auto loss against one of these decks, I'd recommend taking it to Drampa/Garbodor as it can just as easily lose to itself as well as Zoroark and the occasional Seismitoad deck that can lock them out of playing the game. In terms of representation, I'd venture to say there will be more Buzzroc than Zoroark/Eggs and more Zoroark/Eggs than Drampa/Garbodor in the field.
The next batch of decks I think you can reasonably expect to see are Trevenant, Zoroark/Lycanroc, Night March, Seismitoad + Garbodor/Zoroark, Wailord, and Sabeleye/Garbodor. Trevenant will definitely see play as people love easy item lock decks and as a way to hard counter Buzzwole/Lycanroc. As always, when new sets drop, people just forget about Night March as a deck and remove Oricorio from their list. I'm personally, not trying to lose to this deck as I just hate playing against it so I'm packing Oricorio or Karen in one of the decks I'm playing. Wailord is often overlooked due to its reliability on Tropical Beach which is hard for players to acquire. Often this means tons of players just think "O well, I'll take the Wailord auto-loss." I'm not doing that for this event! Wailord will be there, Durant still exists and people will play Sabeleye/Garbodor (it just won Salt Lake City). Because of this, I'm throwing in a copy of Oranguru or Bunnelby to beat the deck out strategies. I'd say the order in which I listed the decks above correlates to the amount of each deck I expect to see played.
Finally, we're getting to the real "It's expanded I get to play X card again decks!" Greninja will see a bit of play by those advocates who refuse keep themselves from shuffling frogs up. Vespiquen/Flareon might have the same effect and pull in two or three players. Gardevoir has a horrific Buzzwole matchup so I don’t expect to see much of it unless the pilot playing it just doesn’t mind losing to it. Sylveon could see play but I have never played against one in an event yet and I think if players are prepping to beat deck out more popular decks Sylveon becomes collateral damage where answers for it will be played without necessarily targeting it.
Now, let's get into the lists for the most expected decks I mentioned.
I currently rank Buzzroc as the "deck to beat" in the format after gaining the boost of Beast Ring and its inherent advantage over Zoroark GX/Exeggcute which, in my opinion, is the most overpowered deck in Expanded. Because Zoroark GX can perform insanely unbalanced actions such as, 3-4 Trades in a single turn off of the same card (Exeggcute), plays four copies of Puzzle of Time to loop resources, as well as Red Card and Ghetsis to beat any control deck and has the ability to draw 9 cards in a single turn then play Hex Maniac to prevent an opponent from doing so it is the broken deck in expanded. So, with Zoroark serving as the broken deck and BuzzRoc being the deck that can not only run over it with the boost of Beast Ring, but it can run over any other heavy hitting decks in the format, BuzzRoc becomes an extremely viable option in Expanded. With all that said, I'm sure you're thinking "Yes, I know all this, give me the list and shut up." So, I'm going to drop my "expected" list as in, the list I expect my opponents to be playing based heavily off of Michael Pramawat and Rahul Reddy's top 16/32 list from Salt Lake City with Forbidden Light added. Then, the second which I would personally play in the event if I ever decided to pilot it.
- 1 Beast Energy
- 3 Strong Energy
- 9 Fighting Energy
With the release of Beast Ring, I expect players to cut the original Zygarde EX and Landorus EX that Rahul/Pram posted in order to consistently keep an Ultra Beast in play to get Beast Ring going. Four is too many here, but three is a good balance where you can open it most of the time and be able to Brooklet Hill one out even if there is one prized.
Contrary to popular opinion, I think Buzzwole FBL 77 is the best and most meta influential card released in Forbidden Light. This card was absolutely insane for me in testing. When on board surrounded by a board of Pokemon on my bench that my opponent couldn't OHKO, I felt like my opponent either needed to OHKO Buzzwole that turn or effectively scoop the game. The pressure Buzzwole applies with his attack Sledgehammer is just overwhelming to an opponent with a less than perfect board state. He significantly strengthens your matchup against Zoroark GX regardless of how many counters they play and heavily swings matchups against decks that have low OHKO potential such as Drampa Garbodor or Seismitoad/Garbodor. You should expect an opponent to drop this against you if you bring yourself to four prizes and in doing so force you to deal with a potential Buzzwole FBL 77 with a Diancie Prism, Strong Energy, and Choice Band that can sweep your board should you not immediately KO it.
While Pram and Rahul didn't play Regirock EX in their list, I expect every single Buzzroc player I go against to add this in their deck. With the release of Beast Ring creating a highly expected Buzzroc meta, along with the heavy presence of Zoroark/Exeggcute and the fact that one of its expanded counters is Garbodor means Buzzwole benefits a ton by getting down a quick Diancie Prism in the early game. Diancie can help generate OHKOs against 70 (Rockruff/Trubbish) to 90 HP basic Pokemon (poor Phanpy) after being buffed up by Muscle Band. Overall, I don't think the general community will pilot this deck without this included.
I think the biggest struggle people will face when taking Buzzroc into Roanoke is finding space for everything they want. Between the choices of Zygarde EX, Landorus EX, Beast Ring, Diancie Prism, both Sudowoodo, and Pokemon Tools, I think Beast Ring counts are going to be relatively low and players will sacrifice the other choices in order to have a more "streamlined" deck that isn't tailored with special tech for Trevenant BREAK or Zoroark/Eggs. Two Beast Ring feels like the best choice here as you can use Korrina to fish it out and you really only need to resolve one in a game if you're able to hit your Max Elixir.
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