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Compressing One Last Time and the Best Expanded Format Decks

Caleb Gedemer archeops battle compressor flareon joltik lampent mew night march pokemon pumpkaboo Regionals shaymin special charge vespiquen volcanion yveltal

Introduction

Hello Dead Draw Gaming readers! Caleb Gedemer here with a last minute article on some of the best decks heading into the first week of Regional Championships in the month of October. This Regionals will be taking place in Phoenix, Arizona, in the Expanded format. While I probably will not be going, I still have some tricks up my sleeve for decks that ought to be on the drawing board before the big day.

As we all know, Karen, a Supporter card that will be legal soon, shuffles all Pokemon in each player’s Discards back into their Deck. This obviously hits Flareon, Night March and Vespiquen decks, right where it hurts. These decks had all been in their prime last season and this upcoming tournament seems to be the last opportunity for them to hold their very own stomping grounds.

This article will focus on my thoughts on the best decks in the Expanded format for this upcoming Regional Championship, along with deck lists to go along with them. It is sure to be informative for any player attending this tournament or any other Expanded format tournament, check it out, enjoy!

The Decks

Flareon/Vespiquen

Overview

Hey, my favorite deck of all time, probably. Flareon and Vespiquen go together like bread and butter. Both boasting hard hitting attacks that are dependent on the number of Pokemon in the Discard makes Battle Compressor a beast in these decks that not only acts as a damage modifier, but a consistency card. There is a lot to like about this deck right off the bat before we even get into any of the new options.

This deck is very consistent. Everyone should like this, if you do not, I mean, something is very wrong with you. Battle Compressor thins the deck in a never before seen way that will not only leave us with very few cards left, but lots of Pokemon in the Discard. Both Pokemon are Stage 1 Pokemon, which makes them very easy to access, barring a match-up against Archeops, but we will get into this a tad later. Flareon comes in as a Fire Pokemon, which does not really have any significantly relevant type advantage anywhere on the board, but on the other hand, Vespiquen, does. Seismitoad-EX is not an overly powerful Pokemon in the Expanded format any longer, but it is still a big threat for a deck that relies largely on the power of Item cards in both setting up and drawing cards.

Now let us delve into some cool new stuff. Alright, so the last time this deck was played, it usually included Fire Energy cards as well as things like Jolteon to shore up the M Rayquaza-EX matchup, the Emerald Break one and to go along with the Fires, Blacksmith. Now, we have some new options at our disposal which not only replace those aforementioned ones, but make the deck better in the long haul. Klefki, whoa, that is pretty neat! Klefki attaches itself to a Pokemon as a tool card and then safeguards that Pokemon from M Pokemon-EX and their attacks. At the end of the turn, it gets Discarded. This effect is fantastic against M Rayquaza-EX decks, in particular (these decks do not seem to be getting very much attention to begin with, but the effect still remains for the coverage). Not only that, but when playing against Trevenant BREAK decks, Klefki becomes another way to Discard Pokemon without Item card access or repeated Supporter card usage. It makes it easy to hit for numbers that will get the ball rolling in our court for some much needed wins over previously bad matchups. Special Charge is the next big new addition. I personally love this card in this deck. It alleviates the need for Basic Energy cards, which can be seen as a deterrent to matchups against Giratina-EX, but along with Pokemon Ranger, another necessary inclusion, this need is shored up.

An inherent weakness to Archeops and the Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick is worth making note of. To get around this, Hex Maniac is a must and actually can still get us to wins. Most Yveltal decks generally open with the regular, or baby, Yveltals themselves, first. The Yveltal-EX comes thereafter and in the meantime, most attacks do not apply the most damage in the world and provide ample opportunity to set up and collect Evolution Pokemon in hand before dropping the Hex and spreading the love around the board to our Eevees and Combees. Using a Ghetsis on the first turn of play is also a luck-based strategy for a win, but a good one. Those Archeops decks generally play plenty of Items and even if we do not snag a quick win, we will likely delay the prehistoric bird for a little bit, allowing time to Evolve and such. Generally, all we need for a win is three or so Flareon or Vespiquen. Yveltal decks most times have troubles knocking the Stage 1s out without using a Pokemon-EX, which is obviously the way we get wins on match slips.

This deck is consistent, fast, pretty looking and fun to play! What more is there to want?

Deck List | Caleb Gedemer

Pokemon -- 30

Trainers -- 26

Energy – 4

4 Eevee PLF 89

4 Flareon PLF 12

4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

4 Kelfki STS 80

4 Combee AOR 9

4 Vespiquen AOR 10

1 Exeggcute PLF 4

1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60

4 Unown AOR 30

 

4 Battle Compressor

2 Special Charge

1 Tool Scrapper

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 AZ

1 Ghetsis

1 Hex Maniac

1 Lysandre

1 N

1 Pokemon Ranger

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Teammates

1 Life Dew

4 Double Colorless Energy

 

Night March

Overview

Night March, ah, I hate this deck. I used to love it, but now I hate it. It is so dang degenerate. This deck is now an Expanded exclusive, so a few cards should start to become standard in most lists. Battle Compressor makes this deck so easily accessible to the average player and with the way the deck thins, there is no missing key cards in the late game when N has been played the game is down to the wire and up to luck. Night March is an easy concept that still is difficult to master, but strong from the first time it is picked up and played with. 

Clearly, it is extremely consistent and in the Expanded format, it does not carry too many weaknesses. Seismitoad-EX decks seem to be very much a thing of the past, as does the inclusion of Giratina-EX in those builds, as well as other decks that may have packed the ‘tina elsewhere. These two cards were single handedly Night March’s biggest threats. Pokemon Ranger, still a must needed inclusion, even did its part to even these downfalls to begin with. Now, Trevenant BREAK still remains a popular and omnipresent factor in the game and it also spells trouble for the March.

With the list that is going to be provided, the mirror-match and other non-EX decks like Flareon/Vespiquen should be shoo-ins. Yveltal decks with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick also do not have that many options when playing against Night March. Occasionally, but not often, they include a Seismitoad-EX that can disrupt us early game or late game with an N drop, but generally this is not that case. As we all know, Yveltal decks generally give preference to the Fright Night baby Yveltal and that being said, as long as we use our AZ and avoid unnecessary Shaymin-EX drops, Joltiks will have a field day on the opponent’s Lightning-Weakness Pokemon. Darkrai-EX, both the Legendary Treasures print and the BREAKpoint one do not have this pleasurable Weakness typing. This being said, they can be a tad more difficult to manage when Fighting Fury Belt is attached, but nonetheless, Tool Scrapper can be clutch to remove that tool and still get those much needed knockouts.

Night March is probably the best deck going towards the newest wave of Expanded tournaments. It has that now old school Battle Compressor engine and those pesky little Night March Pokemon are vicious in their own light. Any matchup is within reach because Night March with the right supply of luck can bring down even the toughest competitor with the toughest matchup.

Take this deck to Arizona Regionals with confidence, it packs a cheap punch and carries the most upside of any deck in my book.

Deck List | Caleb Gedemer

Pokemon -- 17

Trainers – 39

Energy -- 4

4 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

4 Joltik PHF 26

4 Lampent PHF 42

1 Mew FCO 29

4 Pumpkaboo PHF 44

4 Battle Compressor

1 Escape Rope

4 Puzzle of Time

1 Special Charge

1 Target Whistle

1 Tool Scrapper

1 Town Map

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 AZ

1 Hex Maniac

1 Lysandre

1 N

1 Pokemon Ranger

3 Professor Sycamore

1 Teammates

3 Dimension Valley

1 Fighting Fury Belt

1 Float Stone

1 Life Dew

4 Double Colorless Energy

 

Trevenant BREAK

Overview

The trees always seem to fly under the radar but yet the masses still play the deck. I guess one could attribute that to the fact that this deck is just downright good. No matter what, the combination of Item lock in conjunction with some dirty spread damage is going to be a potent presence for any deck in the formats to come. This deck is among one of the easiest to play in all of Pokemon right now. Simply get a Trevenant with Forest’s Curse out as soon as possible, hopefully with Wally before our opponent even has a chance to do anything and then swamp their board with a single Energy attachment with Dimension Valley in play. 

Trevenant BREAK as a deck comes with a lot of space for techs like damage inflicting cards like Bursting Balloon or disruption cards like Hammers, Crushing and Enhanced. Trev decks have a tough time against Darkness builds, so it could be wise to put some effort into countering those. If it does not go without saying, the Darkness type decks hit Trevenant for Weakness, which leads to extremely easy knockouts. Not only this, but sometimes they even include Archeops, which can stop Trevenant from even Evolving without using Phantump’s Ascension attack, Wobbuffet's Ability or Wally.

Most Expanded decks are more Item reliant than Standard format decks, so that is a major reason why the trees are extremely powerful in the Expanded format. Stopping Items from the first turn onwards is just pretty dang broken. Some heavily Item reliant decks include: M Rayquaza-EX, Night March and Yveltal decks that use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick (this combo requires use of Battle Compressor, Trainers’ Mail, etcetera).

As we have already touched on briefly, Item lock is devastating enough, but the attack of Silent Fear punishes so many decks in its own right. M Ray decks revolve around the use of Hoopa-EX and when the Hoop gets sent to the Active with a Lysandre, Trev can just spread damage to everything on the board until the game is over. Night March’s attackers are just so low on HP to begin with that Silent Fear is naturally good against it, of course. Decks like Flareon/Vespiquen are also extremely weak to the attack as well.

In the Expanded format a case can be made that Trevenant BREAK might be the best deck, as well. It stands a chance against just about anything because it holds an alternate “win condition” of going first and getting the first turn Wally into Trevenant with Forest’s Curse, stopping Items. Many decks can immediately fold. It is a consistent deck that is simple to play, so check it out and be on the look for it.

Deck List | Josh Marking

Pokemon -- 16

Trainers – 36

Energy -- 8

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60

1 Mewtwo-EX LTR 54

4 Phantump BKP 64

4 Trevenant XY 55

3 Trevenant BREAK BKP 66

1 Wobbuffet GEN RC11

1 Computer Search

2 Level Ball

1 Super Rod

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 AZ

1 Colress

2 Lysandre

2 N

4 Professor Sycamore

1 Team Flare Grunt

2 Wally

1 Xerosic

4 Dimension Valley

4 Bursting Balloon

2 Float Stone

3 Mystery Energy

5 Psychic Energy

 

Volcanion-EX

Overview

This deck was recently brought to my attention as a great option in Expanded. After some thought, I would wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. You are probably thinking I am crazy at this point, but we will see! Volcanion-EX and its baby counterpart are naturally strong Pokemon with a nifty Ability and a great attack, respectively. Not so coincidentally, the EX actually plays in tandem with the baby’s attack, helping it reach its full potential. Now, why is this good in Expanded? Well, Blacksmith is back, which certainly helps, but there is more too. 

The deck figures to have a roughly even matchup with Night March, which is a solid starting ground. The baby volcano can reach knockout numbers with a single Steam Up and a Fighting Fury Belt, certainly strong indeed. The Pokemon-EX Volcanion can take knockouts on Shaymin-EXs and is pretty hard to knock out with a Belt attached, as well. Aside from Night March, it should have a bad matchup against anything with Seismitoad-EX, but the ‘toad has been quite unpopular as of late. Additionally, M Rayquaza-EX is a pain to face, but once again, that deck should not be all too popular, either, considering Night March’s assumed popularity.

Now Volcanion-EX does have some good matchups too. Darkness decks, which may be the most played deck to watch out for, are a very good matchup. The Volcanion-EX can reach 130 just from the start and with a couple of Steam Ups, the volcano Pokemon is knocking out anything the opponent throws at us. When playing against Trevenant BREAK decks, the baby Volcanion can power up the EXs and then Rough Seas can heal off damage while the Volcanion-EX just steamrolls everything. Blacksmith is a great recovery option under Item lock, too, as well as Fisherman. The Flareon/Vespiquen match should be well balanced as well, since Volcanion-EX clocks in with beefy HP and the babies can be made to knock out any threat.

This deck is very consistent with a strong Item and Supporter engine and the additional support of Battle Compressor when aiming to attach Energy from the Discard to various Pokemon on the Bench. Pokemon Ranger stops the effects of Volcanion-EX’s attack and it can be repeatedly used for that reason, kind of an insider information tidbit if you were not aware already.

Another consistent, yet fun option is presented in the form of this deck. Rough Seas is a really nice option that shores up what would be a normally rough matchup. It can also show use against other decks that do not hit for one hit knockouts.

Deck List | Caleb Gedemer

Pokemon -- 11

Trainers – 38

Energy -- 11

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

4 Volcanion STS 24

1 Hoopa-EX AOR 36

4 Volcanion-EX STS 26

1 Battle Compressor

4 Energy Retrieval

2 Professor’s Letter

3 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 AZ

2 Blacksmith

2 Lysandre

2 N

1 Pokemon Ranger

4 Professor Sycamore

3 Rough Seas

3 Fighting Fury Belt

2 Float Stone

11 Fire Energy

 

Yveltal/Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick

Overview

The grandfather of the Expanded format, the only Pokemon, at least, that are still kicking from the original set of Expanded tournaments: Yveltal and Yveltal-EX. Along with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, this deck has found new partners that greatly improve its matchups and overall playability. Archeops and Gallade are amazing options that both have their separate uses in certain situations.

This vast majority of these types of builds seems to change very drastically, depending on the format on hand. Players have gone completely away from running Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser to things like Parallel City, Reverse Valley and even Silent Lab. Most players are likely to move away from Silent Lab for this upcoming Regional Championship, for one. Lab was a counter to Flareon/Vespiquen’s counter to Archeops: Wobbuffet. Wow, that was tricky to say. Wobbuffet would allow players to Evolve their Pokemon at will even when the ‘chops was on board, but Silent Lab knocks that right off. The Lab that is Silent also was decent against Primal Groudon-EX decks that chose to play Mr. Mime with Bench Barrier. The baby Yveltal with Fright Night would then be able to snipe Pokemon-EX on the Bench, even with the Mime out.

This deck is notorious for being played by some of the game’s best players. Not often to individuals just picking the deck up succeed with it. It is a very skillful deck to pilot and lots of thought go into each game at hand. Every card in each build has a purpose, so that sentiment has never been more true.

This deck has never been my forte, but like I mentioned before, I do believe lists for this deck will be much different than they have been in the past. I definitely could even see the Virbank with Laser combination coming back. That version currently helps out against nearly every match-up and many of the decks that have been countered with various Stadium cards are on their way out. This deck naturally has a good Trevenant BREAK match-up, so playing extra Item cards is not the end of the world.

This is a solid deck. It will take places in tournaments no matter what. I personally feel it does have somewhat of a ceiling, however, to the average player. Not everyone playing an Yveltal deck in a tournament should be expecting to come out on top. Pretty much every Energy attachment even matters with this deck, so a good background with lots of experience and practice will be a necessity.

Deck List | Caleb Gedemer

Pokemon -- 11

Trainers – 39

Energy -- 10

2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

1 Darkrai-EX LTR 88

1 Yveltal XY 78

1 Yveltal BKT 94

2 Yveltal-EX XY 79

1 Archeops NVI 67

1 Gallade BKT 84

1 Jirachi-EX PLB 60

1 Keldeo-EX LTR 45

4 Battle Compressor

1 Computer Search

4 Dark Patch

3 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Puzzle of Time

4 Trainers’ Mail

4 Ultra Ball

4 VS Seeker

1 Hex Maniac

1 Lysandre

1 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick

1 N

2 Professor Sycamore

1 Virbank City Gym

2 Fighting Fury Belt

2 Float Stone

4 Double Colorless Energy

6 Darkness Energy

 

Conclusion

Well there we have it. A bunch of solid Expanded format decks. Which is best? I personally feel that heading into the first Expanded Regional Championship that Night March is hands down the best play for the tournament. The March can beat anything. Seriously! With solid matchups all around otherwise, it is just a super safe play that will reward players of all levels of skill. It is an easy way to pick a deck, too, since most people already have the knowledge on how to play it and expect others will do the same.

If Night March does not fit your fancy, Trevenant BREAK is another swell option. It gives a good matchup against Night March itself, as well as other Item reliant decks and just about everything in general, barring a horrid Darkness type matchup. If you are willing to take the risk and hope to avoid the Darkrais and Yveltals of the world, then this might be the go-to for you.

Me personally, I think I would probably play Flareon/Vespiquen. I have a sort of attachment to the deck and would love to play it once more before the onset of Karen shuffling my beloved bees and Flareons back into my deck. The deck is obviously also very good and plenty of the newer cards make the deck better conceptually.

Now go forth and put matters into your own hands! These lists are strong and perhaps already, or with a few tweaks, you will be ready to take down the big competition.

Good luck everyone!



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