What’s up, readers? I'm here with an Expanded article to prepare you for the upcoming regionals in Toronto. I'm going to go over the most recent Expanded event, as well as the deck that is my number one choice heading into Toronto.

Last time we saw the Expanded format was at the Dallas Regional Championships, where Wailord & Magikarp GX had just been released and had a phenomenal showing with eight finishes in the Top 32. We also saw a resurgence of Zoroark/Golisopod as both Russell Laparre and Dean Nezam made Top 8, with Dean going on to win the event. Team DDG and friends continued to play Zoroark/Seismitoad but fell short when Caleb Gedemer lost in the finals. With that said, since then we have had the Team Up set released, and four cards banned from the Expanded format including Lusamine, Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Unown “DAMAGE,” and Delinquent.

I believe the recent bans are really going to shake up the Meta for Toronto. Delinquent and Lusamine were both banned because of the combos they enabled, with Lusamine giving an infinite game-state along with shuffle draw Supporters like N, and it was also used in stall and control decks to use Supporters like Plumeria or Team Flare Grunt repeatedly. Delinquent and Unown “DAMAGE” were both banned likely in part due to the release of Gengar & Mimikyu GX, which would allow for combos such as Ace Trainer into Delinquent after using Gengar & Mimikyu's “Horror House” GX attack, or using Gengar’s GX attack on turn one, then pulling off the Unown “DAMAGE” one turn win combo with Weavile and Reuniclus. Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick was banned because of the release of Omastar and Kabutops, which both have Abilities that stop your opponent from playing specific cards like Items or Supporters.

Since the release of Team Up, we’ve seen the Lightning types dominating events and Zoroark/Lucario making a showing by placing second at both the Australian Intercontinental, and the Collinsville Regional Championship. Going into Expanded these decks will remain powerful as they gain some great tools: PikaRom gains Shaymin EX and Max Elixir making it even more aggressive and harder to keep up with, while Zoroark/Lucario gains cards like Sky Field and Iris, which allow Zoroark to hit the big numbers and start one-shotting the big Tag Teams.

Here's a list of the decks and how I would rank them going into Toronto Regionals:

  1. Archie’s Wailord
  2. Turbo PikaRom
  3. Zoroark/Garbodor
  4. Drampa/Sigilyph/Garbodor
  5. Fighting decks

As you can see, I have neglected to put decks such as Zoroark/Control, Vespiquen, Rayquaza and ZoroPod on the list because I feel these decks have all lost too much to be viable at this point, or are simply outclassed by another deck on the list. Now let's get into the rankings of the list.

 

I have Archie’s Wailord at number one because this deck had an amazing showing in Dallas, and with how the Meta is shifting it is only getting stronger. Decks like ZoroGarb can’t handle it as well anymore because their tech slots have to be focused on decks like PikaRom or else they won’t win that matchup. Wailord also has a very good matchup against any Fighting deck, and goes about 50/50 into PikaRom with proper techs, such as Kingdra GX.

I put PikaRom as second both because it is so absurdly aggressive and because it is new, so a good list will go a long way in the event. With Max Elixir, Tapu Koko Prism Star and Thunder Mountain it is not uncommon to see a turn one “Full Blitz” forcing your opponent to stare down six Energy on turn one.

Zoroark/Garbodor is coming in at third on the list. This deck is just pure consistency with a bit of room for techs. ZoroGarb has been dominant in Expanded this whole season and will continue to be so, but players will have to adjust their lists to deal with the increase in Fighting and PikaRom decks. With proper teching, I think Zoroark could be favored against PikaRom OR Archie’s, but I don’t think it’s possible to do both without sacrificing too much consistency.

 

Drampa/Garb was a deck built last season designed to beat Zoroark and it’s still here. The deck does have some natural consistency issue just from being a “Garbotoxin” deck, but is still a very powerful deck overall. The heavy Sigilyph GX count is something we saw players start to include in Dallas, and we even saw Blaine Hill reach Top 4 with a list including two copies of the card.

 

As for the Fighting decks, I feel like they are all naturally pretty strong but don’t have the most amazing matchups, nor are they extremely consistent. PikaRom is weak to Fighting of course, as well as Zoroark, but both these decks have natural counters to Fighting such as Flash Energy for PikaRom and “Trashalanche” Garbodor for Zoroark. Fighting also has a very negative Wailord matchup, which is something you should probably avoid going into this event.

Now let's get into my top pick for Toronto Regionals, Vileplume, Aromatisse, Pyroar, Ninetales, Gengar & Mimikyu GX, Celebi & Venusaur GX, and Zeraora GX, or as I like to call it, “Vileplume box.” The idea behind the deck is to use Gengar’s GX attack, then on your next turn Rare Candy into a Vileplume to completely shut your opponent out of Items. That’s not the only strategy with the deck since it also runs Aromatisse, which allows you to move Fairy Energy around in any way you like allowing you to play only Rainbow and Prism Energy while running any tech-attackers you would want. You also have AZ, so when your opponents start attacking into your big Tag Team Pokémon you can “Fairy Transfer” the Energy off your Active, AZ, then use use Zeraora GX’s Ability to retreat back into your attacker.

Here's the list:

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