Table of Contents
- Effects of the New Bans
- Tier List BW-TEU
- My Thoughts so Far on BW-TEU
- Zoroark Garbodor
Greetings Flipside readers! I’m very excited to dive into the Expanded Format with the new bans added between quarterly banlist updates (Lusamine and Delinquent) and the newest set Team Up being legal in Expanded for the first time at Toronto Regionals March 9th/10th and then at Greensboro Regionals March 16th/17th. Today I have a nice variety of topics for you, including the new bans, a speculatory tier list, and of course a couple of my deck lists. This article will largely be an introductory analysis of the information, thoughts, and decks I would like to share from my early testing and meta speculation for the BW-TEU Expanded Format.
EFFECTS OF THE NEW BANS (EFFECTIVE FEB. 15TH, 2019)
TPCI finally made the move to touch Lusamine in the expanded format. While I would have also been happy with an errata which modified the card so that it could not retrieve another Lusamine or a limit of 1 Lusamine per deck, this ban is fine too.
The most recent expanded event was Dallas Regionals on January 19th, 2019 which was won by Dean Nazam piloting Zoroark Golisopod. The runner-up was Caleb Gedemer with the oppressive Zoroark Seismitoad archetype which historically ran 2 Lusamine in the list and won the two preceding expanded regionals in the hands of Jimmy Pendarvis. 18 of the 81 decks (22.22%, roughly 1 out of every 4 to 5 decks) in Day 2 of Dallas Regionals included Lusamine in their list. I am not including this statistic to back up Lusamine’s banning, but to highlight that there are several archetypes that relied on Lusamine as an option in their deck. The archetypes in day 2 of Dallas Regionals that included Lusamine in their lists were Zoroark Seismitoad, Zoroark Exodia (hand control), Sceptile-GX Vileplume Item Lock, Zoroark Golisopod Seismitoad, Primal Groudon-EX, Shock Lock (Raichu Stoutland Control), and Wailord Mill/Stall. These are 6 different archetypes that were in day 2 of an 800+ person regionals that can no longer use a supporter is at least partial to their control strategies. I do not expect Zoro Toad, Sceptile-GX Vileplume, and Wailord Mill to exist with the same validity and potential without Lusamine in the format. Zoroark Exodia will not be a deck anymore because of the next ban I will discuss.
While Lusamine had a passive effect on games, Delinquent was a degenerate card because it could aggressively lock a player out of the game from the very start. While I was very fond of Delinquent in Worlds 2018 standard format, it had become the catalyst of the toxic Zoroark Exodia deck in our current expanded format. TPCI explained the banning of this card very well: “A popular combo with Red Card, Delinquent, and Peeking Red Card created a lot of situations where one player essentially lost the game before taking their first turn. When this kind of strategy can be executed successfully a high percentage of the time and is effective, it creates an unhealthy environment” (Pokemon.com, 2019).
Delinquent was a common inclusion in Zoroark Garbodor lists in expanded format as well as being seen in a variety of other non-control based decks. We are losing one of the few cards that allow unique interaction with the opponent’s gameplan, but it is a necessary loss due to the unhealthy threat that Zoroark Exodia was able to pose.
AN EARLY, SPECULATORY TIER LIST
- Drampa-GX Garbodor GRI Garbodor BKP
This is an evaluative list of the archetypes that have been put on my radar and where I currently rank them based on potential and expected popularity.
THOUGHTS SO FAR
A Wobbuffet in the active stops relevant abilities like Shaymin-EX’s Set Up, Blastoise’s Deluge, Rayquaza-GX’s Stormy Winds, and Tapu Koko Prism’s Dance of the Ancients. Wobbuffet as either a tech or as a control strategy of a deck would in theory be devastating versus decks like ArchieStoise, Rayquaza, and PikaRom. I expect to see Wobbuffet used both as a one-of tech and as an integral part of decks’ strategies.
LATIAS & LATIOS-GX TAG TEAM
Latias Latios’s Buster Purge deals 240 which will knock out most opposing Pokemon. The drawback is that it requires Water Psychic Psychic Colorless and discard 3 energy to attack. Of course you can use Double Dragon Energy, Max Elixir, or Malamar to power it up quickly, but then you have to weigh the consistency of a deck like this against how powerful it really is in the meta. The card is too linear for my liking and both of my current favorite decks (Pikarom and Zoro Garb) can handle the card just fine, so my opinion could be somewhat skewed. But, I don’t think this will be tier 1 anytime soon as we have a lot of heavy hitters in expanded like PikaRom, Rayquaza, and Garbodor GRI which are more feasible to set up and chain attacks with.
Another new card, Jirachi is all the rage right now in the standard format due to its endlessly helpful Stellar Wish ability. While I value the ability to find trainer cards even more in Expanded due to stronger trainer cards being at my disposal, I value Jirachi’s ability less since card draw is much more explosive in expanded. WIth standard’s lack of dump and draw techniques like emptying your hand to use Shaymin-EX and Sycamore to draw 7 cards, Jirachi’s ability fills a gap of needing to see more cards each turn. I am sure Jirachi will find its way into some expanded deck, but it has not made the cut in any of mine just yet.
With PIkaRom being the new hyped deck for Expanded, it gives fighting decks an obvious chance at the spotlight as the new meta counter of the format (isn’t it funny thinking about fighting decks as the counter to the oppressive meta decks?). But, it’s very possible that Lucario-GX decks come into this format dead in the water due to PikaRom decks preparing for the fighting decks waiting for their comeback. Flash Energy and Weakness Policy stop PikaRom from having weakness, and Field Blower or Faba can help the PikaRom player get around the pesky Focus Sash that will likely be on the opposing Lucario-GX or other fighting type Pokemon.
As of the week leading up to Dallas, I strongly believed that ZoroPod was one of if not the best deck for the tournament and I am very fond of Dean Nazam’s winning list. However, I did not think the deck was Tier 1 or BDIF for BW-LOT and I certainly do not think it is either of those now in BW-TEU. ZoroPod was a great response to the metagame created by Zoro Toad being the favorite of many top players and ArchieStoise being the popular pick among all levels of tournament goers, but I cannot see it handling a wide open meta with many aggressive OHKO oriented decks on the loose very well.
An old favorite and certainly my comfort pick in expanded format, I have an updated list that I have been enjoying and I’ll briefly cover some of the new additions. I feel that every good Zoro Garb list is fairly teched out and would love a few more spaces for other techs or consistency cards. I cannot say that this is the optimal 60, but it is what I would play if I had to submit my list for an expanded event right now.
These card counts are related to each other for a few reasons. In my BW-LOT iteration of the deck, I played 2 Klefki and 1 Float Stone as my activators for Garbotoxin. I chose 2 Klefki over 2 Float Stone because I wanted Garbotoxin to deactivate at the end of my opponent’s turn so that I could use abilities, and because Klefkis are easier to recycle than Float Stones are. I have switched to 2 Float Stone because going first and switching into Wobbuffet before ending your turn is very good against aggressive decks, which I expect to see an uprise of in the coming weeks.
2 Garbodor Trashalance 1 Garbodor Garbotoxin
Another count that I have flipped since my BW-LOT list, I am testing 2 Trashalance 1 Garbotoxin in preparation for PikaRom, Rayquaza, and Archie’s decks that have high HP Pokemon and use a ton of items in all stages of the game.
1 Hypnotoxic Laser
Hypnotoxic laser essentially adds 10 extra damage when you need it by inflicting poison. The main reason I wanted either a Pluspower or Hypnotoxic Laser was for Zoroark BW using Foul Play to copy PikaRom’s Tag Bolt for 200 + Choice Band 230 Plus Laser or PP for 240. The reasoning for Laser over Pluspower is that it procs the poison damage after Focus Sash prevents a Fighting Type Pokemon from being one shot, so that you essentially still take a one hit KO through the Sash.
This deck is fast, consistent, and aggressive. A very strong contender for Tier 1 and I love my current list. Thanks to Peter Kica for input on some of the cards.
Sometimes you run into a Hoopa SGL which cannot be attacked by GX Pokemon and that is an autoloss if you’ve used your Tapu Koko Prism or it is prized. Raikou is a pretty decent attacker and your out to any shenanigans like Hoopa.
1 Hypnotoxic Laser
This is here for Focus Sash on Fighting Type Pokemon. Not taking a KO in that situation can cost a game, and Laser is not completely useless the rest of the time so I deem it a useful tech at the moment.
2 Flash Energy
Flash Energy stops your Lightning Pokemon from having weakness, which is amazing versus Fighting Type Pokemon. You’ll notice both techs so far are for Fighting type decks, and that’s because something like Lucario-GX is likely PikaRom’s largest threat.
I think healing is underrated in PikaRom in both Standard and Expanded. It is a huge swing to be able to Full Blitz and power up a benched PikaRom, and the Acerola the active after it takes a hit. Maybe against a fighting deck that couldn’t OHKO PikaRom because of Flash Energy?
That is all I have for today. Zoro Garb and PikaRom are my top two choices for Greensboro at the moment and for Toronto if I was attending. There are some spicy decks I am testing with Wobbuffet and Garbodor, but time will tell if they pan out. I’ll be back next week with more thoughts on Toronto and the expanded meta as I test more and the community continues to speculate and create a predicted meta.