“Marshadow and More:” A Look at the New Expanded Format

Hey guys, Phinn again with another piece about the meta. This time I want to cover the Expanded format in a holistic manner. I see people putting out articles about a single deck, or a couple Expanded options, but for this piece I want to talk about how we should view the Expanded format and what decks are actually top-tier. There are tons of options out there and countless card combinations, but there certainly are some archetypes that just will not cut it any longer.

In this article I am going to cover which options I think are going to be top-tier, which options could go either way, and the decks that all players should avoid using for the upcoming Fort Wayne Regionals. The viewpoint I want to take with this piece is not about what decks are good in a specific meta, but more what decks are good in a general sense. When the meta consists of somewhere around 20 different decks, more than anything it is important to have a strong deck rather than a meta-countering deck. To me this strong deck that does not necessarily counter the meta is Yveltal Maxie’s. I go in depth about my Yveltal Maxie’s list, as wells as lists for six other decks!

The meta we are looking at starts with a basic trifecta of Speed Darkrai, Trevenant Necrozma, and Night March/Marshadow. These are the decks receiving the most hype right now and are predicted to be the top three options. This is our base meta game, and will help us put certain decks into perspective. We need options that can deal with the speed and heavy damage output of Night March, the hard item lock from Trevent, and again the speed and damage of Darkrai.

If you’ll notice, two of these three decks share the same main trait of hitting hard for a lot of damage, while the third locks decks out of doing this. In Expanded, many decks fit into these categories of speed or control. Mega Rayquaza, Rainbow Road, and Vespiquen fall into this category of speed as well. The other main control decks are Seismitoad variants, Sableye/Garbodor and Garbodor (GRI) decks.

Lastly we have some mid-range decks. Some players have written these decks off as just not powerful enough in this meta. The concept is that you either are playing a speed deck, or locking these speed decks down. I disagree with this notion, and actually favor mid range decks over the other two options. Yveltal Maxie, Eels, Greninja, Gardevoir, and Groudon are decks that are not as quickly aggressive, but they don’t go for a hard lock strategy either.

Gardevoir just won Worlds, while Yveltal Maxie’s has been hugely successful in the last season in the Expanded format. These mid-range decks should not be looked down upon. My top pick at the moment is Yveltal Maxie’s because it seems to be able to beat all three of the most hyped decksKeep in mind that I have no real bias towards this deck because I have such a strong affection for many decks in Expanded. Night March is very fun for me to play, as is Rayquaza, while Toad Bats is the deck I have had the most success with, and Vespiquen was the deck I used the most in this last year.

Yveltal Maxie seems to have an edge on Trevenant for the obvious reason of weakness. However my list does have a tech for this matchup that ends up having use in several matchups that adds at least a 5-10% on the matchup.

My list has a great Darkrai matchup because of its unparalleled rate of getting Maxie’s off. Gallade can trade one-for-one with Darkrais but people often forget that Gallade only gives up one prize instead of two. If you can consistently set up two Gallades per game in this matchup, you will win. This list does so quite well. There is also an optional tech that can make this matchup more favorable if need be.

The Night March matchup is probably the most difficult of the three, however a couple small tweaks to the normal build will turn the slightly unfavorable matchup into a slightly favorable. I actually really enjoy this matchup because it seems the best player wins a very high percentage of the time. The match is usually ruthlessly knocking out each others Pokemon and rapidly, with no room for misplays. These are my favorite matchups.

This is the list I started with. However I have made some adjustments that I discuss below. There is a second list further down the page which is what I have sleeved up currently.


Pokémon -13 Trainers – 36 Energy – 11
 3 Yveltal EX  1 Parallel City  4 VS Seeker  4 Double Colorless
 2 Gallade  3 Professor Sycamore  4 Battle Compressor  7 Darkness
 1 Machoke  2 N  4 Dark Patch
 1 Tapu Lele GX  2 Guzma  4 Ultra Ball
 1 Darkrai EX (DEX)  2 Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick  3 Trainers’ Mail
 1 Shaymin EX  1 Hex Maniac  2 Float Stone
 1 Oranguru  1 Acerola  1 Muscle Band
 1 Yveltal (XY)  1 Field Blower
 1 Sableye* (DEX)  1 Computer Search
 1 Oricorio (SUM 56)

*Or Marshadow GX, potentially

Not a ton has changed with Maxie’s from it’s huge popularity until now. I think in this format it is far more important to focus on the Maxie’s aspect of the deck, considering how big Turbo Darkrai will most likely be. I have always favored a thick Maxie line, but now there is very strong reasoning behind it other than just consistency.

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