laserHello again readers! My name is Darin O’Meara and welcome to another article! Again, thank you all so much for the support on these Pokemon articles, I’m loving writing them and I’m glad you’re enjoying reading them!

Today we are going to take a look at the next Regionals in line, St. Louis Regionals. I will be in attendance at St. Louis, so if you see me or play against me, say hi! It would seriously make my day, especially if I end up flopping.

The Expanded Format

St. Louis will be played in Expanded, home to much criticism about toxic cards (literally) and toxic combos, with a plethora of decks to choose from. There are about 20 viable decks in expanded to choose from, making the decision extremely difficult to make when it finally comes time to pick a deck. Let’s take a look at the top 5 decks by Championship Point earnings in Expanded Regionals so far (thanks to TheCharizardLounge for their database).

Deck Championship Point Earnings in Expanded Regionals
Yveltal-EX/Maxie’s 1000
Trevenant BREAK 656
Greninja BREAK 640
Night March 312
Seismitoad-EX/Crobat 304

*apologies if anything is incorrect.

tinapromoAs you can see, Yveltal/Maxie’s is by far the best deck in the format. In your testing you should be able to beat it, or should be playing it, as you will see the deck in the tournament. Outside of this, the lines of relevancy blur from past results. The recently released Giratina Promo hurts both Trevenant BREAK and Greninja BREAK, possibly scaring them a bit and affecting their play. Some of these results come from a time when Karen was not in the format, giving Night March most of its Championship Points whereas now it isn’t nearly as viable as it once was, and Seismitoad/Crobat is now involved in a debate for whether the Crobat version or the Decidueye-GX version is better. Also, in addition to all of this, the formats for these were pre-Sun and Moon, with two being in the PRC-STS format.

baconbirdYveltal/Maxie’s should still be a top deck however, but the rest are yet to see. Trevenant BREAK doesn’t take a huge hit from the Giratina Promo like Greninja BREAK does. You should expect to see Trevenant BREAK, but not so much Greninja BREAK. It would be a huge risk to play Greninja BREAK, but some players may be willing to chance it.

So, what should you play for St. Louis? Let’s take a look at some decks my testing group and I are considering. DO NOTE – these decks are what I am personally considering, and Yveltal/Maxie’s is not included simply because I have no experience with the deck and it’s too late for me to learn it properly and use it effectively (also I prefer to deviate from the meta usually). Each deck will have a list, a rundown of how the deck works, notable inclusions in the list, and its strengths and weaknesses.

Vespiquen/Flareon

vespiThis may make me seem a bit biased because of my inherent love for Vespiquen, but hear me out. Vespiquen/Flareon could be a great call for this tournament. However, it’s main drawback, Karen, can single-handedly shut down the whole deck, making it a huge risk. All you gotta do is get some attackers out, maybe some tech Pokemon too, Battle Compressor away what isn’t needed, and swing for 2-shots or 1-shots. Let’s take a look at a list that my testing partner and friend Justin Boughter and I have tested out a bit.

Pokemon – 28 Trainers – 28 Energy – 4
4x Combee AOR 9 4x Professor Sycamore 4x Double Colorless Energy
4x Vespiquen AOR 10 2x Lysandre
4x Eevee PLF 90 1x N
4x Flareon PLF 12 1x Teammates
4x Unown AOR 30 1x Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
3x Shaymin-EX ROS 77
1x Jirachi-EX PLB 60 4x Battle Compressor
1x Marowak FCO 37 4x Ultra Ball
1x Jolteon AOR 26 4x VS Seeker
1x Gallade BKT 84 2x Special Charge
1x Wobbuffet PHF 36 1x Float Stone
1x Silver Bangle
1x Life Dew
2x Tropical Beach

flareonplfSince the deck needs so many Pokemon to function properly, we have the option to run several different tech Pokemon, as they can just be thrown away with Battle Compressor if unneeded. Let’s examine some of the different tech Pokemon and Trainer options this deck uses.

Maxie’s Marowak + Gallade

This deck runs a small Maxie’s engine possessing two targets, Gallade and Marowak. Gallade is insanely good once it hits the field, essentially galladeallowing you to stack your deck. It’s synergy with Unown is great, as Gallade makes each one of your Unown an OP Trainers’ Mail, capable of grabbing any card from the top five of your deck. Gallade’s main purpose, however, is as an attacker and a counter to Darkrai-EX. Darkrai-EX’s massive HP when a Fighting Fury Belt is attached makes it trouble for Vespiquen/Flareon. Gallade, for one DCE, can come onto the field out of nowhere and take a OHKO on a Darkrai-EX, netting you an easy two prizes and eliminating a threat from the field. Getting two Gallade out in a game against Turbo Dark essentially wins you the game. Also, Gallade can OHKO Tauros-GX, which is receiving a bit of hype due to its performance in Standard. In additon, Gallade acts as a sort of Karen buffer, giving you a big-damage attacker to use if Karen should ever hit the field while Gallade is out.

marowakMarowak is used primarily for Giratina-EX, but it also helps against Seismitoad-EX. Giratina-EX essentially ruins the deck unless a counter is played, as you won’t be able to make a single energy attachment unless they miss a Chaos Wheel for a turn. Marowak eliminates that problem, nullifying Chaos Wheel’s effect and allowing you to attach DCE’s, drop Tropical Beaches, and drop a Silver Bangle and/or a Float Stone. Without Marowak, facing Giratina-EX means eminent doom, but with it, you have a chance. It also helps against Seismitoad-EX, allowing you to play your item cards when you otherwise wouldn’t be able to, but the matchup against Seismitoad-EX is already good due to its grass-type weakness and the fact that it gives you at least one turn to get out Combee and throw some stuff in the discard.

Jolteon AOR

jolteonJolteon has become a very common inclusion for Vespiquen/Flareon decks because of Yveltal/Maxie. Since you already play Eevee, dropping a Jolteon is as easy as dropping a Flareon, and lets your Vespiquen and Flareon hit for weakness against Yveltal-EX, making it a lot easier to take out earlier in the game. The reason for Jolteon’s inclusion is pretty simple, and there isn’t much else to it. If you aren’t facing Yveltal, you’ll usually discard it, save for the odd Mega Rayquaza deck.

Wobbuffet

wobbWobbuffet is here in case of a Turn 1 Archeops play. A turn one Arhceops is devastating without Wobbuffet, as Archeops won’t let you evolve into your attackers. If Archeops were ever to hit the field, Wobbuffet can be put down and promoted to the active position, shutting off Archeops’s ability and allowing you to evolve. With Maxie’s engines becoming more and more common, Wobbuffet becomes more and more needed.

Life Dew

lifedewOften times people will opt for Computer Search as the Ace Spec for most decks, but Vespiquen/Flareon benefits heavily from Life Dew. If it can’t be Tool Scrappered or Megaphoned off, Life Dew makes the opponent need to take seven prizes against either benched Pokemon or high-damage-output Vespiquens and Flareons. This gives you a huge advantage in the prize trade and allows you to take leads or regain control of matches where you are losing the prize trade.

Teammates

teammatesTeammates is very strong in this deck and allows you to always hit the combo you need. Often times it’s an evolution + DCE or sometimes just a DCE and a VS Seeker to do it again next turn. Since your Flareons or Vespiquens will, in most cases, be knocked out every turn, Teammates lets you find any two cards over and over again, making it extremely valuable to a deck that needs to find specific resources in almost every turn.

2x Tropical Beach

beachA lot of times lists will play only one or zero Tropical Beaches, but I think two is great for the deck. Tropical Beach helps with the deck’s consistency so much starting from Turn 1. Stuck on a bad hand? If you have a Tropical Beach, you can refill your hand and find more resources. Even if you’ve popped off Turn 1, you can’t attack anyway, so using Tropical Beach to refill your hand makes it so you are constantly applying pressure and giving yourself an even higher capability for damage. It also gives you a stadium to get rid of harmful stadiums such as Virbank City Gym or Parallel City, as well as making you less Shaymin-EX reliant, as Tropical Beach can be used to fill your hand at the end of your turn instead of benching a Shaymin-EX which could turn into two prizes for your opponent. If you can find a couple Tropical Beach to use for the tournament or are willing to suck it up and buy a couple, it makes for a great and almost needed inclusion.

Strengths

  • The deck can hit for huge numbers with a non-EX attacker, allowing you to win the prize trade.
  • It has a favorable matchup against the best deck in the format, Yveltal/Maxie’s, although it can be difficult at times due to Archeops.
  • Most of its matchups are favorable unless the opposing deck opts to play Karen.

Weaknesses

  • Due to its high item count, a Turn 1 Ghetsis can be devastating.
  • Giratina-EX is rough, as it stops you from using DCE’s unless Marowak can hit the field. Hitting a Maxie’s into Marowak is not always possible, and if Marowak gets Lysandre’d and KO’d, it’s difficult to reinstate him and recover.
  • Trevenant BREAK is a big issue, causing item lock in a heavy item-reliant deck from the get-go. If you go first you have a decent shot, but going second often means defeat as it does for several decks against Trevenant BREAK.
  • Karen shuts this deck down completely. If your opponent has decided to include Karen in their list, you can’t recover against most matchups, as it is difficult to stack up your discard pile after it’s played, and the opponent can always replay the Karen.

darkraiTurbo Darkrai

Turbo Darkrai is very simple and relatively easy to pick up. Discard dark energies, utilize Yveltal, Dark Patches, and Max Elixirs to stack energies on multiple Darkrai-EX, and swing for massive damage. It can be very strong against many decks, but is often checked by Gallade. Here is a list my friend Alex Holtz has been working on (religiously since he plays literally nothing else) along with Justin –

Pokemon – 10 Trainers – 38 Energy – 12
3x Darkrai-EX BKP 74 4x Professor Sycamore 12x Darkness Energy
1x Darkrai-EX LTR 88 2x N
2x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 2x Lysandre
1x Hoopa-EX AOR 36 1x Pokemon Center Lady
1x Yveltal GEN RC16 1x AZ
1x Mew FCO 29 1x Hex Maniac
1x Sableye DEX 62 1x Colress
1x Karen
4x VS Seeker
4x Ultra Ball
4x Dark Patch
4x Max Elixir
2x Trainers’ Mail
2x Battle Compressor
2x Fighting Fury Belt
1x Computer Search
2x Reverse Valley

Turbo Darkrai is usually pretty straight forward, but this list does has a couple tech cards and notable inclusions.

Sableye

sableyeSableye overall is a great card. It helps a ton against mill decks, letting you get back resources they discarded, Junk Hunt is a great attack to use turn 1 when you won’t be able to do much damage anyway, and it’s great for boosting your damage output and continuing your explosion of board state, allowing you to reuse Dark Patches and Max Elixirs. It can also be great late game to recover lost resources to give you the maximum chance of closing it out. Also, its Confuse Ray attack can be used if you’re in a seriously large pickle.

Mew

mewMew is in here as a one-prize attacker capable of dealing just as much damage as a Darkrai-EX, as well as for handling Gallade. Mew can dispose of a Gallade for two energy just like Mewtwo-EX can, but as a one-prize attacker that can be used in every matchup besides just against Gallade. Beware though, if your opposition can Hex Maniac and attack with Gallade in the same turn, your Mew won’t be able to return the KO (if you’re worried about this, consider Mewtwo-EX). Mew can hit for huge numbers by copying Dark Pulse, and can be amazing to force your opponent into a seven-prize game, forcing them to KO the Mew as well as three Darkrai-EX.

Pokemon Center Lady

pclPokemon Center Lady, at first glance, looks underwhelming. After all, it only heals 60 and removes one special condition. However, that 60 is huge. Decks that rely on 2-shots often use exact math to calculate the energy needed or damage needed to take a 2-hit KO, and Pokemon Center Lady messes with their math, making it so you become a 3-shot instead of a 2-shot. Also, in expanded, there is Hypnotoxic Laser, and Pokemon Center Lady lets you remove its poison, or its sleep if you were to be that unlucky. Also, should you be paired against the odd Accelgor/Wobbuffet deck, Pokemon Center Lady helps immensely, letting you rid yourself of the paralysis.

karenKaren

Karen turns your matchups against Vespiquen/Flareon and Night March into essentially autowins. It destroys Vespiquen/Flareon to a degree they usually can’t recover from, and hurts Night March enough to let you take advantage of the situation. It can also be used to shuffle your opponent’s Gallade back into their deck to prevent the easy Maxie’s play.

Strengths

  • Extremely high damage capability.
  • Has several energy acceleration options, so energy starvation is usually not an issue.
  • High HP makes it difficult to OHKO.
  • Relatively easy to play and execute.

Weaknesses

  • Due to its high item count, a Turn 1 Ghetsis can be devastating.
  • If an opponent gets two or more Gallade out in a game, you generally lose, meaning the game can be out of your control sometimes. This is pretty much its main weakness.
  • Trevenant can possibly catch you on a bad hand if it goes first, as you play a lot of items. Also Zygarde/Carbink is an autoloss if you’re so unfortunate to face it.

Night March

Oh boy everyone, grab your pitchforks and get out the torches because DARIN’S COVERING DEGEN MARCH!!! Night March works a lot like Vespiquen/Flareon as it revolves around Pokemon in the discard pile, but instead of discarding any Pokemon, they have to be Pokemon with the Night March attack. This deck is straight forward – use Battle Compressor to get rid of Night Marchers, use techs to help take KOs or help board state, and swing for huge numbers for just a DCE on a tiny little Joltik or Pumpkaboo. Night March is on thin ice right now, as item lock is so hyped and Karen exists. However, item lock may be less successful than people think. Since Seismitoad-EX is so hyped right now, people will be apt to counter it, possibly landing it at bottom tables and and allowing Night March to prosper through hitting the right matchups. Let’s take a look at a list I cooked up on the most toxic grill possible –

Pokemon – 19 Trainers – 37 Energy – 4
4x Joltik PHF 26 4x Professor Sycamore 4x Double Colorless Energy
4x Pumpkaboo PHF 44 1x N
4x Lampent PHF 42 1x Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
3x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 1x Lysandre
1x Jirachi-EX PLB 60 1x Teammates
1x Tauros-GX SM 100
1x Gallade BKT 84 4x VS Seeker
1x Marowak FCO 37 4x Trainers’ Mail
4x Ultra Ball
4x Puzzle of Time
4x Battle Compressor
1x Town Map
1x Special Charge
1x Target Whistle
1x Tool Scrapper
1x Float Stone
1x Fighting Fury Belt
1x Computer Search
2x Dimension Valley

Similar to Vespiquen/Flareon, Night March has a lot of tech options, but they are mostly Trainer cards due to its use of Puzzle of Time. Let’s look at some notable inclusions –

Maxie’s Marowak + Gallade

maxieBoth of these are used in Night March for the exact same reasons they’re used in Vespiquen/Flareon. Gallade helps against Turbo Dark and lets you stack your deck essentially, improving consistency, while Marowak prevents Giratina-EX from destroying you. Marowak is more important in Night March than it is in Vespiquen because it can’t hit Seismitoad-EX for weakness like Vespiquen can, so it is more pivotal in Night March’s Seismitoad-EX matchup than it is in Vespiquen/Flareon’s. Refer back to the previous evaluation of Gallade and Marowak in the Vespiquen/Flareon section for a more in-depth look at these cards, as mostly everything is the same.

Tauros-GX

taurosTauros-GX is here for a few reasons. Number 1, it helps a ton against Seismitoad and Trevenant. Seismitoad and Trevenant massively hurt you with item lock. However, by getting a Tauros-GX out, you suddenly have a beefy 180-HP attacker capable of taking multiple knockouts. Seismitoad-EX and Trevenant both can’t KO Tauros-GX in a short amount of time, letting you take at least one easy KO with Mad Bull GX and allowing you to do even more damage with Rage as Tauros-GX takes more and more damage. Strapping a Fighting Fury Belt to Tauros-GX before item lock hits makes him even more deadly. It can also be used as a wall against decks that don’t OHKO it should Night March not be possible for whatever reason.

Number 2, it acts as a safety net against Karen. Once Karen hits the field, you’ll often need a bit of time to get Night Marchers back in the discard pile. Tauros-GX can attack and soak up damage to take a KO and bide time, allowing you to refill your discard and start swinging again.

townmapTown Map

A lot of times you’ll have multiple Night Marchers prized, and getting these out to fuel your discard enough to start hitting reliable OHKOs is important. It also allows you to get valuable resources you need for the next turn directly out of your prizes, making it even easier to win the game by getting exactly the resources you need to aid you in winning the game.

Special Charge

special-chargeOwen Robinson turned me onto this idea. Special Charge lets you replenish your DCEs without needing Puzzles to do it. By using Puzzles for other cards, you can make it easier for you to take KOs constantly by abusing your tech cards or supporters, and also allows you to play around Karen more, since you don’t need to Puzzle for DCE and can instead Puzzle for Battle Compressors in such a circumstance.

Target Whistle

target-whistleSay your opponent has managed to clear their field of low-HP EX’s, making it hard for you to take an advantage in the prize trade. Well, Target Whistle puts those Shaymin-EXs or Jirachi-EXs right back on the field. Target Whistle essentially gives you a free two prizes in combination with Lysandre, and who doesn’t love that?

tool-scrapperTool Scrapper

Tool Scrapper gets rid of pesky Fighting Fury Belts in order to make OHKOs easier. It can also get rid of other annoying tools, such as Life Dew, Bursting Balloon, or even Rock Guard. Tool Scrapper is played over Startling Megaphone simply because it can discard your own tools, which allows you to burn cards in your hand easier in certain situations so a Maxie’s combo can be pulled off, while also ridding your field of Head Ringers if that’s actually relevant in your game.

Teammates

Teammates is here for the exact same reason it’s in Vespiquen/Flareon. Night Marchers will be taking KOs every turn, so Teammates can be used every turn to grab whatever is needed. However, Teammates has the option to grab Puzzle of Time in Night March, meaning that Teammates can essentially get any card, whether it be from your discard pile or your deck. See the analysis on Teammates in the Vespiquen/Flareon section, as its logic is nearly identical to its logic in Night March.

Strengths

  • Hits for massive damage very soon for just a DCE with a non-EX attacker.
  • Any matchup that doesn’t play Karen or doesn’t involve item lock is typically a win or is favorable.
  • Tech cards and Puzzles can help turn most situations around, as there is a card for almost every situation.

Weaknesses

  • Due to its high item count, a Turn 1 Ghetsis can be devastating.
  • Trevenant and Seismitoad-EX can hurt Night March a lot since it is item dependent. Trevenant can even spread damage, easily knocking out your low-HP Night Marchers across the field.
  • Karen damages Night March heavily, however it can be recovered from through preservation of resources and Puzzle of Time.
  • Giratina-EX can hurt the deck a lot, as Marowak cannot always be established due to the nature of Maxie’s. Without DCEs or Pokemon Ranger, Giratina-EX can prevent Night March from doing anything if Marowak is Lysandre KO’d, unable to come to the field, or is prized (or if Maxie’s is prized).

I recently played at a League Challenge using Night March w/ Maxie’s, but I went 2-2. The tournament was crawling with ToadTina, which I wouldn’t expect much in St. Louis. I even almost stole a win against the second ToadTina, but I misplayed myself into a loss by forgetting to use up my VS Seekers when I knew a Toad was coming up next turn when I had only two prizes left (aren’t I so smart :P).

Raikou/Eelektrik

raikouRaikou/Eelektrik was recently brought to my attention by my testing group, who claims it could possibly be “the play.” Now I don’t consider Raikou/Eels to be “the play” at all (I don’t think there is a single deck that is “the play”), but I believe it is strong and has good matchups across a lot of the metagame. It works by using Dynamotor to power up a Raikou, hitting with it, and then retreating when hurt to another Raikou to replenish its energy while healing with Rough Seas. Let’s take a look at a list that I believe to be quite strong that can deal with most of the metagame.

Pokemon – 15 Trainers – 34 Energy – 11
4x Raikou BKP 55 4x Professor Sycamore 9x Lightning Energy
4x Tynamo NVI 38 2x N 2x Double Colorless Energy
4x Eelektrik NVI 40 1x Colress
1x Gallade BKT 84 1x Lysandre
1x Mewtwo-EX NXD 54 1x Hex Maniac
1x Shaymin-EX ROS 77 1x AZ
1x Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick
1x Karen
4x VS Seeker
4x Ultra Ball
3x Fighting Fury Belt
2x Battle Compressor
2x Evosoda
2x Float Stone
1x Super Rod
1x Computer Search
3x Rough Seas

eelThis list utilizes Gallade as a counter to Turbo Dark decks as well as several other smaller inclusions that matter in certain scenarios.

Maxie’s Gallade

I shouldn’t have to explain the purpose of this card by now, but it’s here mostly for Turbo Dark and Darkrai/Dragons. Both of these decks give Raikou/Eels trouble by being able to OHKO Raikou. Getting one Gallade out in the game and taking a KO on an opposing Dark Pulse Darkrai-EX can put you at a great advantage, getting two in a game against Turbo Darkrai usually means you’ll win the game. We play only two Battle Compressor so a Maxie’s play won’t be possible early game that often, but getting Gallade out at any point is significant. Even in other matchups Gallade provides an alternate attacker along with support in its Premonition ability.

Mewtwo-EX

mewtwo-exMewtwo-EX serves as both a backup attacker and a counter to opposing Gallades. Should the opponent manage to Maxie’s into a Gallade and OHKO a Raikou, Mewtwo-EX can immediately return fire with an X-Ball, which can OHKO Gallade for only two energy. Mewtwo-EX can also be a strong option against decks like Yveltal/Maxie’s if it locks your evolutions with Archeops and you need an attacker to deal with high-energy Yveltal-EXs.

Karen

Karen turns what would normally be bad matchups into good ones. Vespiquen/Flareon and Night March both give you a huge amount of trouble. By using Karen, your matchup becomes highly favored against Vespiquen/Flareon, as it’s difficult for them to recover from it, and favored against Night March, although Night March can typically recover better than Raikou/Eels can. Also, to get a bit tricky, Karen can be used to rid your opponent’s discard pile of Maxie’s targets, possibly delaying Archeops or Gallade from hitting the field for a few turns.

2 Evosoda

evosodaEvosoda lets you evolve into your Eelektrik under Archeops lock. Since Evosoda evolves Pokemon from the deck and not the hand, Tynamo can evolve into Eelektrik using it, bypassing Archeops’s ability. Since you often only need a couple Eelektrik to take control of a match, these two Evosoda can help a lot to get out the two Eels that you need to start constantly powering up Raikous.

Stengths

  • If an opposing Pokemon can’t OHKO Raikou, it is difficult for them to take KOs.
  • Raikou OHKOs Yveltal-EX while having answers to Gallade and Archeops.
  • It has good matchups across most of the board.
  • It’s fairly consistent, only requiring a couple Eelektrik to get totally set up and swinging.

Weaknesses

  • Gallade can OHKO Raikou and Archeops can prevent Tynamo from evolving if Evosoda or Hex Maniac can’t be found.
  • Trevenant is a relatively rough matchup.
  • The deck relies a lot of abilities and has no Tool removal, meaning Garbodor or a well timed Hex Maniac can hurt the deck dearly.

Overall Thoughts

ghetsisExpanded as a format is full of decks. There are almost too many to choose from, making it extremely difficult to pick. In addition to this, cards that can decide a matchup Turn 1 exist in things like Ghetsis and Trevenant, making the format far from fun when it happens.

Yveltal/Maxie’s is the best deck in the format for sure, and you shouldn’t dismiss it because I didn’t write about it. I didn’t write about it due to personal preference and not knowing how to approach the deck. After all, I don’t want to speak on something I know nothing about. If you don’t know at all what to play, consider learning Yveltal/Maxie’s.

Thanks for reading, and good luck on your journey in the Expanded format! Again, look out for me at St. Louis; I’ll be around.

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