“Kiernan’s Able Eye:” Five Expanded Decks and the Organization of Regionals

Author’s Note: At the time of writing this, I was planning on going to San Jose. Due to certain complications, I’m now unable to attend. All the information I’ve given you was from my testing performed when I thought I would be attending, so you should find it still relevant.

Hello Cut or Tap readers! My name is Kiernan, and I am thrilled to be here with my second piece for the site! As many of you know, my first article was in preparation for Arizona Regionals. Despite feeling well-prepared for the event, it ended up being an extremely forgettable affair. I played “SammyBox”, starting 5-1, only to have my deck stolen, right before I sat down across from Cut or Tap’s own Daniel Lynch at Table 4. I won’t bother you with details aside from that, as I’m sure you all have heard more than enough about my stolen deck from my posts on Facebook.

In any case, the results from Phoenix are now somewhat outdated simply because Philadelphia Regionals happened between then and now. This event quickly proved the suspicions of many: in Expanded, rather than figuring out “the play” for a given event, one is better off simply playing a deck they are comfortable with, and hoping they hit workable matchups along the way. A clear example of this concept, of course, was Yveltal’s dominant grasp on the metagame ever since Winter Regionals of last season.

Philadelphia was a seemingly uneventful tournament, with a very “status quo” Top 8, which included four Dark decks, one Toad/Bats deck, one Raikou/Eels deck, an Accelgor/Wobbuffet, and finally, Jonathan Crespo’s interesting Trevenant list, which took down the tournament and even defeated an Yveltal deck in Top 8. Crespo proved to us that, with the addition Hammers and Silent Lab, the matchup isn’t quite as polarized as we once thought. You’ll notice that each of these decks boast even-to-favorable matchups to almost everything in the field. Because of this, it’s very clear why these decks did well, and why these decks are ones that we need to keep on our radar going forward.

As the next Regional that I’ll likely be attending is San Jose, most of my writing today will have to do with Expanded. I won’t be in Fort Wayne, due to it being the weekend of my sister’s 18th birthday, and it’s still up in the air whether I’ll be in Dallas, so I really haven’t been giving much attention to Standard. If I were going to Fort Wayne, I would most likely be playing SammyBox; in my opinion, with the addition of Beedrill-EX, it is far-and-away the best deck in Standard, given that it truly has potential to beat anything. (I normally don’t care about sharing my lists since tournaments are so big now anyways, but since I have some close friends who are going to Fort Wayne considering the deck, I’m going to refrain from posting my list for this one.)

For those of you who don’t know a whole lot about the deck, Alex Schemanske’s list from Orlando is a great starting point, and my list is maybe only two or three cards off of it. I could realistically see myself playing the deck for Dallas, should I find my way there, but the results of Fort Wayne will of course be the ultimate decider as to whether it ends up being my favorite choice come New Years’ Weekend. With San Jose being less than a month away, I have begun aggressively testing pretty much everything that I believe shows even a shred of potential. After beginning 5-1 with Day Two on the horizon, only to have it “stolen” (pun intended) away from me in Arizona, I am adamant toward doing well in San Jose and staking my claim in Masters. As anyone who knows me decently well is aware, I generally gravitate toward lock decks, or decks that make me feel as though I have more control over a given game than my opponent. Because of this, my list of decks will pretty much be what you’d expect, with the exception of a few outliers that I am looking at just for their positive matchup spreads.

Unsurprisingly, the deck at the top of my list right now is my once-pet-deck, Sableye/Garbodor.


Pokémon – 12 Trainers – 42 Energy – 6
4 Sableye DEX 3 Professor Sycamore 3 Ultra Ball 6 Darkness
2 Trubbish NVI 2 Team Flare Grunt 3 VS Seeker
2 Garbodor DRX 2 Lysandre 3 Trainers’ Mail
2 Shaymin EX ROS 1 N 3 Float Stone
1 Jirachi EX 1 Xerosic 3 Puzzle of Time
1 Wobbuffet PHF 1 Delinquent 3 Crushing Hammer
1 Latias EX PLF 1 AZ 2 Red Card
2 Trick Shovel
1 Enhanced Hammer
2 Team Aqua’s Secret Base 1 Head Ringer
1 Tool Scrapper
1 Super Rod
1 Target Whistle
1 Life Dew

For those of you who read my previous article, you may notice just how different this Sableye is from the last one, and this theme will ring true for a decent amount of the decks I share with you today. After a conversation with my good friend TJ Traquair, who took this deck to Top 8 of Arizona Regionals, I realized that the format is just too fast and consistent for this deck to get away with playing one Shaymin-EX and no Trainers’ Mail. As such, my list has changed drastically, now more closely resembling that of TJ’s. The only thing I saw that was inherently “wrong” with TJ’s list was its lack of Red Card, as I reiterate: the format is so incredibly fast and consistent, and I truly believe that the correct way to play this deck is to attempt to disrupt and slow your opponent down in any way that you can, as opposed to just denying them energy.

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