What’s up Some1sPC readers? My name is Jeremy Jallen. Portland Regionals was this past weekend and I’ll be going over my thoughts on the event as a whole, my personal thoughts on the weekend, my tournament report, and some of the cards in Lost Thunder that I’ll be testing moving forward. This now dead format was a confusing one, with many players going back a few years to actually gain inspiration for their deck choice, and because of that we saw a reversion in playstyle that allowed a few players to jump ahead while others looked back. It was definitely an interesting tournament to prepare for as it was the only Expanded tournament close to me, including League Cups. Because of this, my testing was localized and I feel suffered a bit at accurately predicting the metagame. Going into the tournament I kept trying to “break the format,” and with Expanded being as massive as it is that was something that burned my testing group out.

I.Testing for Portland
II. Drampa GX/Garbodor
III. Tournament Report
IV.The State of Standard
V.Solgaleo GX/ Ninetales GX and Alolan Exeggutor
VI.Conclusion

 

I.Testing for Portland

We tried a variety of ideas, from the new Solgaleo GX, to Alolan Exeggutor, to old stalwarts of the format like Zoroark GX, Gardevoir GX, Buzzwole/Lycanroc GX, and Drampa GX/Garbodor. I’m not going to be posting many lists from this format since Portland was really the only tournament with these combinations of sets, so instead, I’ll be reflecting on my testing process, thoughts and ideas as I ran through the Expanded gauntlet.

Obviously, if you’re reading this then you know how the Seismitoad EX/Zoroark GX deck dominated the competition, getting the seven or so that played it to Day 2 and eventually taking the entire tournament thanks to Jimmy Pendarvis. Watching the deck was the closest thing to watching a true “control” deck. Its play was oppressive and I have to give props to the guys who perfectly predicted the metagame for the deck. I myself have to admit that I wrote off Zoroark pretty early on in my testing, and this goes to show that Expanded is a whole other beast.

Solgaleo GX was a bust. I have never seen a card so inherently powerful struggle so hard to beat the matchups that it lines up well against. We built it off of the popular Gardevoir GX lists from previous tournaments and it went through changes from there. It was just the fact of having psychic weak Basics, and the inherent clunky nature of a Stage 2 deck that turned myself away from it. This does not mean that I am writing him off completely, as I think he could be a powerhouse in the Standard format, which I will go much more in-depth later in the article.

Alolan Exeggutor has been something that I’ve been trying to make work for a while now. I tried a toolbox type list with an Archie’s engine, and was enjoying playing that for a while, but eventually came to the conclusion that some of its bad matchups were very bad. This included most control decks like Trevenant, or even just spread. As I moved on from the idea, a couple people actually posted good results with a more conservative version, forgoing the Archie’s engine, and once again shows some of the flaws in my process for preparing for a tournament. Lost Thunder once again adds to this deck to make it a figure head in the Standard format, and it’s one of my favorites going forward.

II.Drampa GX/Garbodor

I started to like Drampa GX/Garbodor. I took Danny Altalvilla’s base list from the last Expanded tournament and kept testing different cards and counts. This is the eventual list I settled on for testing and the event as a whole:

 

 

I wanted something that would have good matchups versus most of the presumed format and with this 60 I felt I had that. In hindsight, I don’t think this was as bad of a choice as my 2-3-1 record might suggest.

Card Breakdown

2/1/1 Trubbish (Tool Drop/Collection/Pound)

I chose this breakdown mostly for the fact that i wanted to sneak a few cheap knockouts against opposing Trubbish thanks to Muscle Band and Double Colorless. If I was playing a version with Dimension Valley it would absolutely have been three Tool Drop.

1 Sudowoodo/1 Giratina/1 Oricorio

These were the one-of cards that I thought gave me the most interaction between different decks. Oricorio was definitely the best out of the three and I used it pretty much every game regardless of the matchup.

4 Garbodor (2 Trashalanche/ 2 Garbotoxin)

No need to really explain this one, this has been the basic breakdown for the deck.

2 Drampa GX/3 Tapu Lele GX

To round out the Pokemon we have the main attackers outside of Garbodor. Their utility to play a setup role, as well as apply pressure, helped this archetype exist.

1 Delinquent

I don’t really want to go into detail about the rest of the supporters as they are pretty standard, especially for this cookie cutter type deck. Delinquent is a different story though; games are won and lost by this card. I always looked to see if I could play it to my advantage. It’s an oppressive card that you have to roll the dice on.

4 Muscle Band

I opted for this over the inclusion of Choice Band for the simple fact I figured non-GX/non-EX Pokemon would be more prevalent. Muscle Band is definitely one of the underutilized tools in Expanded that helps hit numbers against a variety of the field.

1 Dowsing Machine

This was a last minute change over Computer Search for the option to reuse some of my low count items like Field Blower or Super Rod. The bulk of my testing was with Computer Search and I actually liked it, being afraid of lock decks had me make the last minute switch.

III. Tournament Report

Round 1: Donphan 1-0

I spent both games doing the normal thing Garbodor decks do when their opponent plays a lot of items during the first few turns. Eventually, I Delinquented him out of the game and cleaned up with Trashalanche. Oricorio helped early both games in taking down Wobbuffet. I feel like the matchup seems better on paper for my opponent, but the ability to disrupt gave me the edge in the matchup.

Round 2: Drampa GX/Garbodor/Dimension Valley 1-1

This was an intense three games between myself and Sam Hough. My list took some sacrifices in the mirror match and it showed during games two and three. In the decisive turn of the match, I decided to Delinquent his two card hand and Righteous Edge his Double Colorless off. This left him with no hand, no energy on Tapu Lele GX, and only a psychic on a Trubbish on the bench. I had my active Drampa GX with three energy and 100 damage on it and Garbotoxin in effect. He drew the Double Colorless for game that very next turn and thus started my string of bad luck. Another option that I could have presented was playing Acerola instead of the Delinquent taking the immediate win condition off the board, but this would also give him enough time to potentially find a Trashalanche to seal it. As I said earlier, Delinquent is one of those cards that has the power to completely change a game, but sometimes it has no effect at all.

Round 3: Lucario GX/Golisopod GX 1-2 

This one threw me for a loop. Game one he starts Tapu Koko and I decide to attach to Drampa GX. He proceeds to bench two Riolu and doesn’t play an item for the first six turns of the game. It comes down again to a Delinquent, but he draws a VS Seeker next turn and stifles any comeback potential that I had. Game two was a little bit better, as he played more items and I didn’t focus on Drampa GX as early. I Delinquent and knockout his only Golisopod GX and take my first prizes of the game. Time was then called and even though it looked as if I was eventually the winner, I fell two prizes short of a tie.

Round 4: Sylveon GX 1-3

This round is what sealed my fate in this tournament--the moment I realized that there is no magical 6-0 run to close out the tournament, and I was fine with that. It was pretty much as bad as you’d think the matchup is.

Round 5: Ho-Oh GX/Blaziken GX 2-3

My opponent didn’t play around Trashalanche at all and because of that, it led me to a quick 2-0 victory.

Round 6: Volcanion EX/Ho-Oh GX 2-3-1

Games were pretty even throughout the match, though both of us were drawing pretty poorly. Things came down to the final minutes in game three and my opponent kept mentioning how they were in the race for points and trying to stay within the top 50. He continues to drop hints like a “tie knocks us both out of points,” and that “it’s the same as a loss.” Time got called and I am one turn short of knocking out a Volcanion EX for my last two prizes--pretty unfortunate, I know. My opponent, seeing that I have game as soon as turn three of time is over insists the match end in a draw, and so with that, my final record was 2-3-1 drop from the tournament.

The tournament as a whole had a fun and inviting atmosphere, and surprisingly coexisted with an anime convention taking place within the same convention center. After playing in my first Regional Championship in two seasons, I have definitely noticed a change in the direction players go in this game; sitting back and watching affords me a unique perspective to see the community grow and evolve. I do have to mention that I extremely dislike tournaments catering to a format specifically for itself. This means that after I dropped from the event I quickly turned my attention towards Lost Thunder and the new cards coming out.

IV. The State of Standard

Let me start off by saying that Lost Thunder is a huge set. Because of this, there are several new decks popping up along with variations of old ones thanks to new support. Firstly, I want to highlight the few cards that I’m going to be starting off my testing with and the reasons behind why I like them:

Professor Elm’s Lecture

This card allows some decks to exist again in Standard since the rotation of Brigette. Zoroark GX is the most obvious combination, but this opens up so many more, especially considering the powerhouses that were Decidueye GX, Solgaleo GX, and Gardevoir GX. This card will be the one to make the most impact right away, and I think we will see it in most set up intensive decks in the Standard format.

Net Ball

This card is a clean search for a basic Grass Energy or Pokemon. An effect like this allows itself versatility in the late game as well as early setup, and gives a much-needed boost to Grass Pokemon in general.

Shuckle

Shuckle is really just here to try and get Alolan Exeggutor to be more consistent in my eyes, and that’s exactly what my sights are going to be set on in the coming weeks. It gives you a consistent source of discard for your energies and has an insane recovery attack as well.

Ninetales GX

This card has the hype. I believe it is the best card in the set, bar none. 200 HP is a little weak, but we are given an insane ability and attack. Ninetales GX enables nearly every Stage 2 deck to be viable again. Solgaleo GX is the one I’m most excited to pair it with, as it had some glaring issues when deck building that I think this powerful card can solve.

V. Solgaleo GX/ Ninetales GX

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