The Expanded Eternatus Enlightenment
Hey Flipside readers! Andrew here bringing you another Pokemon article. This time I wanted to shift gears from Standard and focus on Pokemon’s other competitive format, Expanded. Expanded has definitely fallen out of favor lately for different reasons, but the format is getting new life very soon when the new banlist goes into effect. For those who are unfamiliar, the expanded format includes cards starting from Black and White Base Set to now. That is nearly a decade worth of cards that you can use to build decks with. Granted, only a portion of those cards are actually viable due to power creep. Older cards are at times revitalized by the new sets that get released so the format can take unexpected shifts out of nowhere.
The format has barely been touched since the Collinsville regional last year, when Sword and Shield Base Set was released, so it’s fairly unexplored at the moment. There is a lot of potential for new archetypes to take flight as people begin exploring the format more. With that all said, today we are going to be looking at how one of the most common decks in standard could be adapted to compete in this format.
Why Eternatus in Expanded?
Eternatus VMAX on its own is an insane card. It is incredibly efficient as it is effectively its own Skyfield, plus it only needs a few energies to swing for large numbers. This, coupled with the bounty of dark support that exists in expanded, gives Eternatus VMAX plenty of tools at its disposal. Getting attackers set up by turn 2 is not much of a challenge. Sudowoodo can be threatening because of its roadblock ability limiting your bench, but the damage output of Eternatus is still so incredibly high that you can manage getting around this better than other bench filling decks. Overall, this card can one shot virtually everything and tank hits from almost any attack so that is a pretty good place to start.
This card is a real powerhouse card. It is tanky but also packs a punch. 340 HP is a tough number to hit for any deck, excluding weakness, so your prize trade with this card can be incredibly favorable, which is not something we often get to experience with ADPZ dominating standard. The ability actually mimics a popular stadium in Expanded called Sky Field which allows both players to extend their bench to eight. Having this as a one sided ability is good for obvious reasons, but this is even more broken in expanded with access to supports like Colress that allow you to draw for ridiculous amounts by filling your bench.
This card could not have been more perfectly tailored for a deck like this. The ability “Restoration” allows you to put this card on your bench from the discard and accelerate a Dark Energy from the discard on to it. Not only does this boost the attack power of Eternatus VMAX, but you can also use Weavile GX’s “Shadow Connection” ability to move the energy wherever you want. The main attack is nothing special but the GX attack in conjunction with Hypnotoxic Laser gives you practically a free KO on any pokemon. This card adds so much value to the deck by being an easy means for filling your bench, accelerating energy, and a threat at any point to your opponent’s active. Could you really ask for much more out of one card?
When your main attacker gives up three prizes, it's nice to have other attacking options that are not as much of a liability. Guzzlord’s second attack is a bit pricey but after you have stockpiled energy on the field with Darkrai GX’s ability plus attachments, it actually is not too difficult to utilize Red Banquet when you need to. This card can create all sorts of win cons because you can even deck your opponent out if need be with the first attack. More importantly Guzzlord is great in one prize matchups since it’s bulky and puts pressure on your opponent by taking extra prizes. I have also found this card to be a solid way of dealing with sudowoodo without hurting your prize trade. While using Guzzlord is not always part of the initial gameplan, any time an out presents itself with this can mean bad news for your opponent.
The one main drawback to Eternatus VMAX is the limit to only having Dark type Pokemon in play. Crobat V, which was pretty much designed to work off Eternatus VMAX’s ability, is the best draw Pokemon that fits our dark Pokemon quota. Being able to have a hand refill up to 6 is great for refreshing your hand, but can fall a little short when you are digging for a certain card in the deck. Fortunately we have plenty of other strong draw supporters to mitigate this. It is still important to aggressively thin the deck as the match goes on to make Crobat more effective.
Weavile GX’s ability “Shadow Connection” is what makes this deck fun to play. Being able to move energy around freely gives the deck the freedom to respond to threats with whatever option seems best. Eternatus VMAX is a strong attacker on its own, but at times you will need a different way to deal with a threat, and Weavile essentially gives you that out. Having cards like Darkrai GX to accelerate energy also make it possible to come back from a “board wiping” situation as getting two Darkrais out from discard is enough to power up Eternatus VMAX. This card elevates this deck completely and turns a linear, cut and dry, beat stick strategy into something with more depth.
Let's take a moment to appreciate that this card has been around for 8 years and is still great. Its “Dark Cloak” ability gives free retreat to any Pokemon with dark energy attached. This card synergizes perfectly with Weavile GX and makes it to where you can move any Pokemon out of the active with only a single energy in play. Night Spear could potentially clean up a missed knock out later in the game, which is never a bad out to have. Weavile GX and Darkrai EX play off each other so well that it is almost a no brainer to include this card in the deck.
This card is the same as Professor’s Research and allows the deck to aggressively dig, as well as helps get energy in the discard to use with Darkrai GX if not getting Darkrai into the discard as well. There is not a lot of explanation needed outside of this card is one of the best supporters in the game and provides a lot of consistency to the deck.
Colress feels incredibly broken in a deck like this where the goal is to fill your bench. Being able to draw upwards of 12-13 cards with just one supporter is nuts and makes it easier to find the pieces you need each turn to take knockouts. While it can be a lackluster support early in the game, it quickly becomes insane after you get Eternatus VMAX out. The deck can also quickly fill its bench thanks to Darkrai GX so finding it early isn't even always a bad thing. Colress naturally fits the strategy of the deck and allows you to pop off at a moment's notice.
Similar to something like Reset Stamp, N gives the deck come-back potential in the late game when our opponent is down to only a few prizes. It also allows us to stop our opponent from stacking their hand if need be. While it’s not on par with Juniper or Colress in terms of draw power, this card can be what gives you a chance in an almost unwinnable situation.
For anyone unfamiliar, Guzma is Boss’s Orders + Switch in one supporter. The gust is the most important part because it helps the deck close games as well as target whatever threats it needs, but the added switch effect is great since it allows us to pivot something we did not want in the active to the bench. We can also freely retreat whatever is in the active using Weavile-GX and Darkrai GX so there is really no downside to playing this card over Boss’s Orders.
This card is interesting, especially to anyone new to the expanded format. Discarding cards from your own deck seems like a terrible idea without context, but once you see how much expanded plays off the discard you can begin to figure out why this card is seen in nearly every deck. This deck has some pretty obvious synergies with Battle Compressor as well since one of our main objectives is to get our Darkrai into the discard with energy so we can resurrect them. This card also allows us to deck thin, which I mentioned earlier is very important in a deck like this so you can dig with Crobat more effectively, as well as not losing to a late game N. This card also makes supports easier to find with VS Seeker and improves the consistency of the deck ten-fold.
This card is another staple of the Expanded format as it allows us to reuse supporters in our discard. After previously explaining what battle compressor does, you can see how this card could be useful. It also allows us to save space by being able to reuse certain important supporters like Guzma or N without needing to run multiple copies. This card is very important for consistency and making sure we have access to the correct supporter when we need to.
The expanded meta is still under developed so one could argue the necessity of two copies of this card. Personally I think two field blowers are helpful for dealing with Ultra Necrozma because an early silent lab can set this deck back several turns. Being able to draw off Crobat and use Darkrai GX’s ability are crucial for this deck to get going, so nothing feels worse than your opponent dropping a silent lab or a tool on garbodor to lock you out of the game. If ability lock becomes less of a factor however, I could see dropping this down to a single copy.
This card does a lot for the deck. For one, it’s a math fixer for bulkier Tag-teams like ADP that have 280 HP, which is just one damage counter out of range of Eternatus VMAX. It also combos with Darkrai GX’s Dead End GX attack that knocks out the opponent’s active if they are affected by a status condition. Lastly, it can be a hail mary play that wins you an unwinnable game. People often underestimate the impact putting your opponent asleep but sometimes one turn can be enough to help you take back momentum in a game.
Virbank City Gym
This card naturally plays off Hypnotoxic Laser since it puts more damage counters on poisoned Pokemon. This adds extra damage through poison which we can use to make knock outs on larger Pokemon even more achievable. It is also nice just having stadiums to bump Silent Lab or Parallel City with when needed.
Dark Claw (Muscle Band)
You could play Muscle Band over this card because they function exactly the same, but how many opportunities are you truly going to get to play Dark Claw? Anyways, I digress. The extra 20 buffer is another means of dealing with ADP quickly, which is important because getting that KO right after they use Alter Cretation can give you some huge momentum in most matchups. This card combined with Virbank City Gym + Hypnotoxic Laser allows us to push Eternatus’s damage ceiling all the way up to 320 which deals with most pokemon in the format.
Dowsing Machine (ACE Spec)
While you could make a case for using Computer Search, Dowsing Machine is great for having access to extra resources and makes finding those niche trainer cards like Hypnotoxic Laser or Field Blower more accessible from the discard pile. You can also use it as a pseudo-search card when played with Battle Compressor to find the trainer card you need from the discard. Overall this card makes finding clutch cards more feasible and allows you to manage your resources better throughout the game.
Having 340 hp, you generally expect most pokemon to be two shooting Eternatus VMAX without weakness. Since Weavile GX also allows us to move energy freely, you can take the energy off a damaged Eternatus, play max potion to heal off all damage, then move the energy back on and start attacking. Essentially, you get to play Max Potion at no cost to your own board, which is broken in my opinion. My biggest qualm is that this seems more like a luxury than a necessity at the moment.
This probably seems the most counter intuitive card to suggest adding after saying how tough Silent Lab can be on the deck. However, this is a sure fire way of getting around Sudowoodo’s Roadblock ability, which limits our bench to 4. Dropping Silent Lab would turn off this ability and allow you to take larger knock outs as needed. You also are in control of playing this card so using common sense this card is not necessarily a detriment in your deck. That said, my biggest issue with using this card to cut off Sudo is then having to find more Pokemon without being able to use Darkrai-GXs ability can be challenging.
When testing this list, Leon has been in and out of the list frequently. The added 30 damage gives you the math to KO any pokemon in the format as well as a better way to manage your bench space being shrunk by Sudowoodo. That said, it can be clunky to find plays with this card because your only real draw option outside of playing a draw supporter is Crobat, so in order to use this card effectively you need to already have pieces in hand. I have found myself never using it in a majority of games I played with it for this reason but I still leave it up for consideration depending on if the extra damage to KO VMAX pokemon like Coalossal and Snorlax is important.
That is going to wrap up this article on Expanded Eternatus. If you are getting a little tired of the standard format, I recommend giving this deck a shot in Expanded. Eternatus VMAX is such a great card and there are a lot of cards available in expanded that pair well with its typing as well as its ability. Sudowoodo can be annoying to deal with, but this deck has other ways to keep momentum so you can play around having your bench limited with Dead End-GX from Darkrai GX or Red Banquet from Guzzlord. I plan on continuing working on this deck and refining the list as time goes on. I also am looking forward to seeing how the format evolves once players begin to dedicate more time into it.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this deck and let me know what you think in the comments. If you want to keep up with my Pokemon doings, feel free to follow me on twitter @theskypillar. Anyone looking for Vivid Voltage singles or sealed product should check out the Flipsidegaming.com! Thank you for reading this article and I will catch you all next time for another Pokemon TCG article! Stay safe out there!
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