Hey guys, my name is Conner LaVelle, and I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to write for all of the Some1sPC readers! I dislike introductions, so I’ll keep it brief. I’ve played in the St. Louis area with the Yeti crew for eight years, and I’ve been fortunate enough to take 2nd and two Top 4’s at Regionals, two Top 32’s at US Nationals, and numerous smaller accomplishments. This season, I brought Gardevoir into Expanded, taking a Top 64 and Top 16 personally, and, more importantly, vicariously earning thousands of Championship Points through those with better runs. I always welcome questions, whether it be about my articles or myself, so feel free to send me a message on Facebook if you have one!
In this article, I’ll be addressing the Expanded format, going over what decks to expect, and detailing a couple of choices that have been very promising in testing. The format overview will come first, followed by a list explanation and matchup breakdown for each of my favorites.
The State of Expanded
The Expanded Metagame has developed a habit of wildly changing every time there’s a tournament. San Jose repeated this trend, introducing Zoroark GX into decks both new and old, causing a major shift in the viability for many decks. I would consider the current Expanded tier list to be this:
Tier 1 is composed of the two strongest and most popular decks. They had the highest degree of success in San Jose and were among the most popular as well. Tier 2 is composed of decks that are also very strong but did not have the same degree of success in San Jose as the decks in Tier 1. Plenty of decks exist outside of these tiers, but a combination of lack of strength and popularity have led me to exclude them from consideration.
Points of controversy on this list are the placements of Zoroark/Lycanroc, Wailord, Gyarados, and Trevenant. While Zoroark/Lycanroc did manage a second-place finish, five of the other Day 2 finishes were outside of the Top 16. This suggests that the deck struggles against skilled players piloting the other top decks. Wailord had a Top 8 showing, meaning the deck has a great deal of potential at the very least. In particular, it has an incredibly easy Zoroark matchup. While there is a possibility that its success was an isolated incident, the deck has picked up a fair amount of hype and will almost certainly be represented in the future. Gyarados was another single-placement deck to land in the Top 8, and, while I have limited knowledge on it, a damage cap of 270 means that it easily pushes through any high-HP Pokémon in the format, notably Wailord EX and Gardevoir GX. Due to its greater ability to circumvent the dangers of Oricorio and zero vulnerability to Karen, Gyarados may become a substitute for Night March in heavily prepared Metagames. Trevenant is a bit of an oddball on this list, but recent innovations to the deck such as Espeon EX and a heavier focus on Enhanced Hammer give it a much better position in Expanded. Whether this position will translate to results remains to be seen, but Trevenant definitely has the tools to make a resurgence.
With this baseline established, I’d like to present my two current favorites in Expanded: Gardevoir and Seismitoad/Garbodor.
Big Surprise: Gardevoir
Gardevoir’s presence here will not come as any kind of surprise to those of you who are familiar with me or my previous work. I believe Gardevoir maintains an extremely favorable position in the Expanded Metagame. Zoroark GX being the focus of so many decks is an even greater boon for Gardevoir than the presence of Turbo Dark before it. Zoroark cannot possibly one-shot a Gardevoir GX, and Gallade can pick up OHKO’s easily if you need time to get enough Energy on a Gardevoir. I find Oricorio and two Rescue Stretcher to be incredibly powerful against Night March, swinging the matchup slightly into your favor. Overall, Gardevoir’s inherent game plan of attaching a bunch of Energy and taking OHKO’s with a massive attacker continues to be highly effective against the Expanded Metagame on a broader level. The list has been updated in several ways since I last played it in Daytona to adjust for the shifting format, and I have been having great success with the changes. Before I give the completed new list, however, I want to break the deck down to its bare Expanded skeleton, as I consistently get questions on how it’s different from its Standard counterpart. This will give any prospective deck builder a strong baseline to work from, even if your goal is to build something that looks 10 cards different from my current final build.
Expanded Gardevoir Skeleton
- 4 Ralts BUS/PLS (however you see fit)
- 2 Kirlia BUS
- 3 Gardevoir GX
- 1 Gallade BKT
- 1 Alolan Vulpix
- 2 Tapu Lele GX
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 2 N
- 1 Brigette
- 1 Guzma
- 1 Teammates
- 1 Colress
- 1 Acerola
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 VS Seeker
- 4 Rare Candy
- 1 Rescue Stretcher
- 1 Computer Search
- 8 Fairy Energy
- 4 Double Colorless Energy
This is as bare bones as the list gets. Dropping any of the cards listed here will severely impact the performance of the deck regarding either consistency or matchups.
I’ve filled in the list with a ton of different cards over the course of the season. This is what it looks like right now:
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