Expanded takes the Center Stage: Prepping for Daytona and Hartford

Luke Morsa
April 08, 2019

Welcome back readers! The next two major events in NA are Daytona Regionals and Hartford Regionals which are both expanded. Unbroken Bonds will not be legal for either of these tournaments, so the format will be the same as the Greensboro expanded format aside from the mini Detective Pikachu set now being added in to the card pool. In this article I will briefly cover 5 major archetypes that performed well in Greensboro.

Drampa Garbodor was piloted to victory by Andrew Martin in Greensboro. Not being one of the big 3 decks going into the tournament, I think this outcome surprised people. Something to remember is that just because a deck like Drampa Garb doesn’t have hype or established popularity surrounding it, doesn’t mean that it lacks potential. Drampa Garb was surely on many players radars previous to Greensboro, I know it was on my own as it was one of the first decks I tested for the tournament. My own reason for not choosing to consider the deck more strongly was because the Pikarom and Archie’s matchups felt like they snowballed out of my favor a fair amount of the time in testing. Of course Sigilyph-GX is a check for big Pokemon with a lot of energy, but Sigilyph-GX needs two energy attachments to use its GX attack so it can get picked off if your opponent has a Guzma. Regardless of this retrospection, Drampa Garb was able to thrive through 14 swiss rounds and take Martin to victory. This archetype should definitely be a top deck taken into consideration and tested against in preparation for Daytona and Hartford.

Azul Garcia Griego took Archie’s Blastoise to the finals and placed second, losing to Drampa Garb. Archie’s Blastoise was hyped up going into the tournament and was one of the best plays for Greensboro, as Azul and the Dead Draw Gaming team would have agreed with as they all played it. Although it was prepared for and predictable, it was still able to perform due to its ability to flood energy onto its tanky attackers like Magikarp & Wailord Tag Team and Eevee & Snorlax Tag Team. I consider Archie’s Blastoise the high-roll deck out of the top decks in expanded, meaning that there is high variance to the starting hands and draws that can cause the player to be unable to play Archie’s and establish a board, completely pop off and get 8 energy on a Magikarp Wailord Tag Team turn 1, or anywhere in between the two which is more or less the average outcome.

Zoroark Garbodor is no stranger to day 2 of expanded events this season, and that did not change in Greensboro. Arlo Neel placed Top 4 with Zoro Garb with an interesting Mr. Mime TEU tech which prevents Pokemon from being picked up by card effects including Rescue Scarf in Trevenant and Acerola in mirror matches and Archie’s. Zoroark Garbodor will remain one of the top decks of the format because the consistency it offers and its power to lock abilities and take huge knockouts at the same time is unmatched.

PikaRom took two spots in top 8 and two spots in top 16 which was a huge improvement from its abysmal performance in Toronto. Being one of the big 3 decks going into the tournament, this time it lived up to expectations and was both popular and successful. PikaRom has the tendency to create very powerful board states that end games quickly due to PikaRom having 240 HP and being able to take multiple knockouts in one turn with Tag Bolt GX. Its only real weaknesses are fighting type attackers and a Wobbuffet start from the opponent which prevents abilities like Tapu Koko Prism’s Dance of the Ancients and Shaymin-EX’s Set Up from being used. Conveniently, there is a deck that plays both Wobbuffet and fighting attackers…


HItmonchan/Wobbuffet is a single prize attacker deck that offers a toolbox of attackers and “walls” to send out after Hitmonchan hit and runs. The deck took 1 Top 16 spot and 2 Top 32 spots in Greensboro, and I feel it had the potential to go further in the field it was in. With a convincing matchup versus PikaRom, a favored Zoro Garb matchup, and a close Archie’s matchup it had a fair amount of 50/50’s and better around in day 1 and day 2. Trevenant is its most undesired matchup, and Trevenant definitely underperformed at Greensboro. HitmonWobb is a strong contender moving forward in my opinion.

I expect all of these decks to be popular and perform well at Daytona. Hitmonchan Wobbuffet is my number 1 choice in expanded at the moment but I am not playing in an expanded event again until Hartford regionals, so I will be waiting for the Daytona results to dictate where the meta might go for Hartford. I will be presenting lists that are relevant for Daytona in the coming weeks - expect Hitmonchan, Zoro Garb, and potentially some expanded Zapdos spice if I can get it working reasonably. Until next time flipsiders!

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