What is truely the Broken Deck? A look into standard and the ever changing expanded format

Hello Cut or Tap readers, my name is Gabriel Smart. I am a competitive senior who plays in the northern California area. My accomplishments aren’t too spectacular at the moment, but as of now, I sit at 122/400 CP. Today I will be covering multiple decks and their current spot in the standard meta going into Memphis regionals. Towards the end, I will cover a little bit of Expanded, due to Dallas Regionals just being across the horizon.

Table of Contents

  1. Gardevoir and why I feel the Sylveon variant is best for this meta
  2. Greninja and its spot in this meta
  3. Revisiting Golisopod Garb; can it make a comeback?
  4. Trevenant, the BDIF in expanded.

Metagaming the standard meta has become a little more tricky lately. We know that the (arguably) “best decks in format”are either Gardevoir or Golisopod Zoroark. But the standard meta has changed drastically in the past couple weeks to where I feel like multiple decks can compete for the top spot at a huge event. Standard used to be a format where it was a rock, paper scissors format and now it has completely expanded into 4-5 decks that could be considered tier 1 or tier 1.5.  Those decks being Gardevoir, Buzzwole Lyconrock, Greninja, and Golisopod Zoroark. To start off here is my Gardevoir list that I am testing out right now and will most likely be an option for future tournaments.

Pokémon – 19 Trainers – 30 Energy – 11
 4 Ralts  4 N  4 Ultra Ball  7 Fairy
 2 Kirlia  3 Professor Sycamore  4 Rare Candy  4 Double Colorless
 3 Gardevoir GX  3 Guzma  3 Max Potion
 2 Gallade  2 Brigette  2 Choice Band
 3 Tapu Lele GX  2 Super Rod
 2 Eevee  1 Parallel City  1 Float Stone
 2 Sylveon  1 Field Blower
 1 Oranguru

When you first look at this list you may be questioning the choices of Sylveon GX and Oranguru. Most people have switched over to “Brokenvoir”. A major con to Brokenvoir is that it’s much less consistent and a more of a “run hot” deck. Sylveon adds much needed consistency and gives it the ability to create more explosive turns 2’s with magical ribbon.

Sylveon GX also can help against decks that will try to snipe your Ralts and Kirlia early. Sylveon will allow you to be able to get your rare candies and make sure that your opponent has to N you or an explosive next turn will occur. This is especially helpful against Lycanroc Zoroark and Zoroark Golisopod because they will often try to snipe Ralts and Kirlia. (in ZoroPod) If they choose to waste a Guzma on 1 Ralts that means they are unable to N you in that same turn which gives you access to those 3 cards you magical ribboned for. Most times you will get 3-4 Ralts down turn 1, so them using Guzma to take a knockout on 1 Ralts isn’t a big deal because that will allow you to get 2 Gardevoir/Gallade down by turn 2 or 3.

Another major benefit to Sylveon is that it gives you a better chance against metal and against Greninja. With the rise in popularity of Registeel Genesect, I figured out that a parallel and a plea GX in one turn can absolutely cripple that deck; Plea is putting so many energy into their hand and not into the discard which Registeel relies on. Registeel Genesect is a deck that relies on getting energy in the discard to turbo arm and hitting max elixir to attach to their main attacker which takes 3 energy to attack. Make sure to try and use plea once they have exhausted 3-4  max elixir, so there is less chance that they can respond strongly that turn. Plea can make the matchup from heavily favored for Genesect to a much closer match that can be won by the Gardevoir player.  

Continuing to the Greninja matchup; it has always been iffy. The easy answer to Greninja would be Tina promo, but I feel that it is not required in my list due to the already better matchup that Sylveon creates. Sylveon becomes a huge contributor against Greninja because Greninja heavily relies on their setup and plea can set them back multiple turns if you are able to parallel and plea GX them in the same turn. Plea resets turns of work! Two Gallade also helps in this matchup because Gallade is able to hit 130 by as early as turn two. Applying this early pressure to Greninja forces them to set up breaks quickly, or risk a broken board state.

As of now, I feel like Gardevoir is in a very good position because of its many good matchups and its raw power. I feel my list can make Greninja and metal matchup closer than brokenvoir can, along with making the deck significantly more consistent. This deck is still amazing and it will continue to do well at tournaments for the near future.Now let’s dive into Greninja.


Greninja has an odd, yet strong position in the meta. In the past, people have just brushed Greninja aside due to inherent inconsistencies, but Greninja is more consistent than it has been in a long time. With the rise of popularity in Greninja, I have noticed more people are adding Giratina promo, which makes it a very risky deck to play at a league cup. It is safer to play at a Regionals due to less a lower chance of getting matched up to an opponent that plays it. If you are going to play greninja at a cup I would recommend writing your decklist before you go to a cup and not letting other people know; the likelihood of them adding a tina promo is far higher. Without any more rambling here is my list for greninja.

Pokémon – 19 Trainers – 31 Energy – 10
 4 Froakie  4 Professor Sycamore  4 Ultra Ball  6 Water
 4 Frogadier  4 N  4 Evosoda  4 Splash
 4 Greninja  2 Skyla  3 Choice Band
 3 Greninja Break  1 Lillie  2 Field Blower
 1 Staryu  2 Enhanced Hammer
 1 Starmie  3 Brooklet Hill  2 Super Rod
 1 Tapu Lele GX
 1 Tapu Fini GX

This is a fairly standard list; similar to the list Michael Long used to get top 8 at London Internationals. To start off, I decided to cut a field blower from the list. With Garb decks becoming less and less relevant almost any deck should be cutting at least 1 field blower. The card just isn’t as needed as it was a month ago.

A third choice band is a no brainer. With all the Pod Zoroark going around, I feel just adding 1 more choice band can make that matchup a little better. If you do the math, Choice Band saves one Water Shuriken when hitting with a Choice Band when using Shadow Stitching. If you are able to do 70 damage and they whiff and acerola, you then can proceed the next turn to use double water shuriken twice and then shadow stitching for a knockout. Without Band, you have to Water Shuriken 3 times and use Shadow Stitching which is far less optimal.

Greninja I feel has a 45/55 matchup against Golisopod Zoroark. Although, it is very winnable because the decks relies on using trade and usually only plays 2 sycamore, making it easy for them to dead draw under ability lock. This makes Shadow Stitching very disruptive and hard to deal with for Golisopod Zoroark due to lack of draw supporters.

The Tapu Bulu matchup has been widely discussed, specifically, what deck is favored.  Many people feel Bulu is favored, however today, this is simply not that case. From testing multiple matches against that deck I have concluded that tapu bulu just can not compete with greninja in the long game. With Greninja now running four splash energy, it can continuously set up Greninja after Greninja.

Bulu heavily relies on its abilities and shadow stitching completely shuts this deck down.  Bulu will almost always go up a prize or 2 early on but if Greninja is able to get through the early stages of the game and is able to set up, Greninja should have no issues winning this matchup. Shadow Stitching will eventually break Bulu down and they won’t be able to continually keep attackers flowing.  Overall, from testing Greninja multiple games against some of the top deck’s Greninja fairs good right now against a chunk of them. Here our its matchups and what they look like:

  • Greninja Vs Brokenvoir                 60/40
  • Greninja Vs Tapu Bulu Vikavolt    55/45
  • Greninja Vs Golosipod Zoroark    45/55
  • Greninja Vs Buzzwole Lyconrock 60/40
  • Greninja Vs Volcanion                   55/45
  • Greninja VS Metal Variants          60/40

Overall I feel like Greninja was a good play for Memphis and is in a good position right now in the meta.

My Sleeper Pick for Memphis

Coming into Memphis we are expecting it to be the biggest Regional in history; over 1000 masters. This means players will need to go 6-0-3, or 7-2 to get into day 2. I feel like I have a great sleeper pick for this weekends regionals. And that is Golisopod Garbodor. I feel like this deck has some good  matchups and has great potential if a player decides to play this deck. This is the list I am currently testing.

Pokémon – 17 Trainers – 34 Energy – 9
 3 Wimpod  4 Professor Sycamore  4 Ultra Ball  3 Grass
 3 Golisopod GX  4 N  4 Super Scoop Up  3 Rainbow
 3 Trubbish  4 Guzma  4 Float Stone  3 Double Colorless
 2 Garbodor (Garbotoxin)  3 Acerola  2 Enhanced Hammer
 1 Garbodor (Trashalanche)  1 Brigette  2 Choice Band
 3 Tapu Lele GX  1 Field Blower
 1 Tapu Fini GX  1 Rescue Stretcher
 1 Tapu Koko

When you first look at this list It may seem a little different to you. The biggest thing that makes my list different from other Golisopod Garb decks is that I run Super Scoop Up. This card has been tested in the past in Golisopod decks but people were afraid that Garbodor would punish them for spamming items. Now with Trashalanche taking a back seat in the meta Golosipod’s secret weapon really has its time to shine.

Super Scoop up ads for a much more consistent built because so many times in the past players have had a Golisopod stuck in the active doing 30 damage because you can’t find an Acerola, Guzma, or a Float Stone to retreat. Super Scoop Up fixes this problem because it gives the deck up to 15 switching cards. Scoop Up is a risky card but if you are able to hit it at least 2 times per game (which will be the case 75% of the time), it can give you a deck that flows much better and is able to consistently put pressure on your opponent with First Impression.  

With field blower being less of a threat now, in certain decks I feel that Garbotoxin Garbodor can fully take advantage of ability lock. This is a big reason why I am really hyping this deck. From testing this deck, it has a decent answer to one of the best decks in format and that is Gardevoir. In the past, Gardevoir has had a slight advantage in this matchup but my list covers that matchup and makes it very close.

Two Enhanced Hammer has become a major tech in the past few months because people are trying to counter special energy decks. Gardevoir needs to stack energy onto it to take 1 shots but this becomes very difficult to do when they can be easily Enhanced Hammer’d off. When it comes down to it, many times Gardevoir has to settle for 2 shots due to Garbotoxin and Enhanced Hammer. This is where Acerola and Super Scoop Up really has a chance to shine.  The addition of Scoop Up makes it so Golisopods are going to be even harder for Gardevoir to OHKO.

Another great tech is Tapu Fini. If your opponent is able to get out a big Gardevoir with multiple energy, Tapu Fini absolutely punishes it. If they are able to get a big Gardy out, Tapu Fini can use it’s GX attack to put that entire Pokemon back into their deck and set them back for potentially multiple turns. All of these counters to Gardevoir in this deck makes this a 55/45 matchup in favor of Golisopod.

The next matchup I would like to go over is the matchup between Golisopod Garbodor and Golisopod Zoroark. This matchup is in very slightly in favor of the Garbodor. The first major reason is ability lock. Most lists are cutting to three and maybe even two Field Blower, which can make it hard to get into hand because the deck normally only plays 2 Sycamores. That means that If they aren’t able to field blower the tool the turn that Garbotoxin comes into plays, there is a high possibility that they won’t be able to draw into it for potentially multiple turns giving the garb variant time to set up a board state and take over the game.

This matchup can often become an Acerola battle, but that is another reason why Super Scoop Up helps. If 2 Super Scoop Ups hit, that can easily make up for the lack of puzzles that this variant has compared to Golisopod Zoroark, which they would often use to recover acerola. Overall I think that the matchup is slightly favored in the Garbodor variant, but it can go either way.  

Another variant I have tried has been a list where I cut the Super Scoop Ups and put in Puzzles of Time. This can help in the late game but it can be awkward to draw into them, because this deck doesn’t have an ability like Zoroark’s Trade ability to dig for them. It is something worth considering but I don’t feel like it is necessary in the deck. Here are its matchups against some of the most popular decks.

  • Golisopod Garbodor Vs Gardevoir                    55/45
  • Golisopod Garbodor Vs Golisopod Zoroark     55/45
  • Golisopod Garbodor Vs Greninja                      60/40
  • Golisopod Garbodor Vs Buzzwole Lyconrock 60/40
  • Golisopod Garbodor Vs Sivally Metall              55/45
  • Golisopod Garbodor Vs Volcanion                   35/65

It has a lot of close matchups, but If they are slightly favorable that means they should be won more than not if the matchup is played properly. I am really liking this deck right now, but would have been a risky play for Memphis due to its struggles late game. The list needs a few tweaks, but if made to be at least “ok” in the late game, I feel it would have been a very strong play that could have surprised a lot of people. Now let’s get into what some people are calling “the broken deck of expanded.”

Is Trevenant the new broken deck?

Over the past couple weeks Trevenant has been getting a lot of hype. It has good matchups against some of the most popular decks in Expanded and it can even beat some of its weaknesses. In this section, I am going to go over why Trevenant is amazing right now and why it has a shot to make a very strong showing at Dallas. First here is my list.

Pokémon – 15 Trainers – 37 Energy – 8
 4 Phantump  4 Professor Sycamore  4 VS Seeker  4 Psychic
 4 Trevenant  3 N  4 Ultra Ball  4 Mystery
 3 Trevenant Break  2 Wally  4 Enhanced Hammer
 1 Tapu Lele GX  1 Guzma  2 Level Ball
 1 Jirachi EX  1 Lysandre  1 Startling Megaphone
 1 Espeon EX  1 Team Flare Grunt  2 Super Rod
 1 Shaymin EX  1 AZ  2 Rescue Scarf
 1 Computer Search
 4 Dimension Valley

The overall goal of Trevenant is to make your opponent unable to play the game. A turn one Item lock can absolutely cripple an opponent and make it so that all they can do is draw and pass. The Pokemon lineup is very standard except for the addition of Espeon EX. This card has become very popular in spread decks over the past couple months and this deck takes full advantage of that. The ability to Silent Fear twice against a Zoroark deck and just sweep their board of Zoroarks with Espeon EX can be absolutely destructive.

Zoroark variants have become very popular in the expanded format recently and this list handles that deck much better than previous lists have. Another reason this deck has something going for it against Zoroark is that it plays four Enhanced Hammer. That idea was taken from an article I saw on limitless TCG written by Robin Schulz and it is a fantastic one. This allows you to further better matchups like Zoroark and Gardevoir to turn them into heavily favorable matchups.

Enhanced hammer gets Double Colorless Energy off the field frequently making it so Zoroark GX can’t even attack if they are unable to get a Double Colorless Energy, and against Gardevoir, it means the difference between one more knocked out Trevenant and another Silent Fear. That is, if they even can get a Zoroark or Gardevoir out before their board is wiped by silent fear. The ability to guarantee a discard of energy with Enhanced Hammer makes this much better than playing Crushing Hammer.

One Startling Megaphone over a Field Blower is better in this deck. This list already plays a replacement stadium so if they are able to put multiple tools down before item lock gets into place, Megaphone can easily wipe more than two tools off the field while Dimension Valley does field blowers stadium removal job.

Two Rescue scarf is another great inclusion in this deck. Trevenant must keep a board state throughout the whole game because more times than not the first Trevenant that gets into play will get knocked out. Since item lock is in play there is less chance that the rescue scarf will get removed (by scrapper, Blower, Megaphone, etc.), so it will almost guarantee that the deck will keep a steady streamline of Trevenants.

One AZ is in the list because some players will try to give them self a turn of items by using Guzma or Lysandre. AZ allows the Pokemon to go back into your hand without wasting an energy and having less risk of whiffing an energy and being unable to retreat.  

Two Super Rod is great because it lets the deck consistently get resources back and it’s just a good 2-of in the deck. A 1-1 of rescue stretcher and super rod might be good as well; it just comes down to preference.

One of the biggest appeals to this deck is that if it goes first It can just have some free wins against decks like Night March, Gardevoir, and Gyarados. These are 3 decks that showed up at San Jose and performed well. Something they all have in common is that they are all very item reliant. Night March needs Battle Compressor, Trainers Mail, VS Seeker, etc. to get Night Marchers in the discard keep a strong board state, or to recover DCEs with Charge.

Gardevoir needs Rare Candies to get an explosive setup and gets demolished by Espeon EX. And Gyarados needs all of its recovery cards to get back their resources and a single Silent Fear wipes all of their Magikarp off the field. Night March can become a little harder if they are able to set up a Zoroark GX, but a turn 1 item lock can stop them from even finding the pieces to get the Zoroark.  

Two of Trevenants harder matchups are Darkrai and Turbo Turtles. The ability of those decks to stack energy onto the field and recover energy can make those decks very scary. Necrozma GX could be an addition to make those matchups better because it makes it so only three Silent Fear and a Black Ray can sweep the field of big two prize attackers that have 180 or 190 HP. It is not necessary to include Necrozma because Darkrai and Turbo Turtles aren’t to popular in expanded right now, but it is something that definitely could be considered.

Another matchup that is worth talking about is the Garbodor matchup. Garbodor is a close matchup but definitely should be favored due to Trevenant being able to spread and knockout multiple Pokemon because Garbodor has lower HP Pokemonon that go onto the bench. Weakness also helps tremendously due to tree slam being able to take a one shot on a Garbodor. Trashalance can be an issue but should not be if it is not able to take one shots on everything on board. This matchup can be very close so definitely worth testing. Here are the matchups and what I feel they look like:

  • Trevenant vs Night March Zoroark            65/35
  • Trevenant vs Gardevoir                               75/25
  • Trevenant vs Zoroark Varients                   60/40
  • Trevenant vs Garbodor                               55/45
  • Trevenant vs Sableye                                  80/20
  • Trevenant vs Gyarados                               90/10  
  • Trevenant vs Darkrai                                   40/60

Trevenant is in a good position to make its run at Dallas and now it’s  time to see if it lives up to the hype.


I just want to thank everyone who read through this piece. Thank you to Phinnegan Lynch for letting me write for this wonderful website. I hope to write once in awhile in the near future when I feel I have something worthwhile and relevant to discuss. I plan to get my invite this year and I hope to meet new people at the next coming regionals. Thank you for reading and good luck to everyone attending Memphis Regionals!