“Garbo Talks In” the Format: Three Off-Beat Expanded Decks

Hello Cut or Tap! It sure has been a while! Alex here, coming at you with some quick thoughts about the metagame going into Philadelphia Regionals. Unfortunately, I will not be at the tournament, since I live three time zones away and money is always tight. But that doesn’t stop me from giving you some plays to think about going in.

Expanded is such a weird format. It seems like every deck is playable and not playable at the same time. That may sound strange, but you would understand if you went to Arizona last month. As I walked around the room, I was able to spot every decks from every archetype being played by at least one person. From Plasma to M Manectric, to Virizion/Genesect to Pyroar, the tournament had it all. My choice to play Vileplume/Box was definitely the incorrect one, since most people seemingly had an out to the deck, or were at least prepared for it. All in all, there were 16 different types of deck to make it the Top 32 cut.

So what does that mean for the meta? Well, it means that no matter what deck you play, chances are you’re going to have a near auto-loss sitting somewhere out there in the field. Your job as a player is to build your deck around the possibility of beating those bad matchups, while at the same time keeping the consistency of your deck open. Granted, you could also go the way of trying to avoid your bad matchups and stroll into Top Cut. But if you want to increase the odds of you hitting those top tables by using a deck that has a big auto-loss, you should try to tech for it.

I learned this lesson at Worlds. I played M Manectric/Tool Box and was able to dodge Night March all through Day 1 and go in with only one loss on my record. Day 2 rolled around, and I managed to find all of my bad matchups, and sprint toward the bottom tables. Honestly, I probably made the wrong call for the meta, but I did get lucky to get where I did.

So why tell you all of this? Well, teching for a bad matchup isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Let’s say you have a bad Dark matchup. Why not tech in a 2-2 Raichu XY line or a Zekrom BW? Well that’s all fine and dandy, but now those cards are going to end up in your hand more often than not. This may seem obvious, but I see newer players forgetting how to properly tech all the time. I too fall victim to this trap more often than not.

Last season, it was nearly impossible to tech against Night March. Before Puzzle of Time, you could always go the route of Energy denial and knock off as many Double Colorless Energy as possible before they started going off. After Puzzle’s release, an early Item lock was a good way of going about the matchup. Then Pokemon Ranger came out and ruined the tech Seismitoad-EX strategy. Bursting Balloon offered a little bit of breathing room, but it was hard to justify teching into most decks.

Night March has always been the bane of my existence. It has even been a common joke around my house. “Yeah, but you probably lose to Night March,” has been the punchline to one too many jokes for me to handle. But now that it is seemingly out of the format in Expanded, I don’t have to worry about techs for that match up! In fact, I don’t have to worry about that matchup ever again! That’s why today, I’m going to go over three decks that you can now safely play and not have to tech against Night March!

Virizion/Genesect

Pokémon Р12 Trainers Р35 Energy Р13
3 Virizion EX 4 Professor Sycamore 4 VS Seeker 10 Grass
3 Genesect EX PLB 2 N 4 Ultra Ball 3 Plasma
2 Shaymin EX ROS 1 Lysandre 4 Max Elixir
1 Mewtwo EX LTR 1 Ninja Boy 3 Fighting Fury Belt
1 Jirachi EX 1 Shadow Triad 1 Escape Rope
1 Jirachi XY67 1 Ghetsis 1 Super Rod
1 Dedenne FFI 1 Hex Maniac 1 G Booster
1 AZ
1 Colress
2 Parallel City
2 Skyarrow Bridge

Now first, let me preface by saying that I am nowhere near the world’s greatest VirGen player. In fact, I’m probably somewhere near the lower end of the spectrum. So if you’re thinking to yourself, “this build is garbage,” you’re probably not far from the truth. But let me explain myself.

Historically, Night March has always given heavy EX decks a hard time because of unfavorable trades. While Virizion/Genesect used to be the bench mark for consistency and speed, that is no longer the case. However, with a slower (but not by much) format coming into existence, this could open the door for the Grass deck of old to reclaim a little bit of the spotlight it once had.

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