Not All Fighting Types Are Created Equal: Top Rogues for Expanded

Did someone say… Fighting types?

Hello everyone, Grant here once again! A couple weeks ago I talked about Fairy types in the Standard format as I think that the two main Fairy decks are great against the majority of the metagame. In this type-themed article, I’ll be looking at two Fighting-type decks that I’ve been working with in preparation for Dallas Regionals in the Expanded format, where nearly every deck runs Zoroark-GX. Those decks are Seismitoad-EX / Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick and Landorus-EX / Crobat. Just so you know, the whole type-theme thing is purely coincidental. It just so happens that my two top picks in both Standard and Expanded contain one type of Pokemon each.

Because most Expanded decks run Zoroark-GX, and Zoroark is weak to Fighting, it makes the most sense to try and pick on this Weakness when building an anti-meta deck. However, one must also consider the myriad of partners that Zoroark goes with, and that is where many rogue decks fall short. While there are dozens of different decks that have popped up in Expanded in the past, it is safe to assume that a large portion of decks in the current Expanded format are playing Zoroark. While this is just guesswork, I’d expect most players to face at least six decks with Zoroark in day one of the upcoming Dallas Regional Championships. This means if you are able to consistently defeat Zoroark, you only need to come up with one win or three ties against other decks in order to advance to day two. That said, Zoroark is pretty broken and one may not defeat it every time even with type advantage. The best I can do is find the most effective counters possible and trust them to consistently do their job, while understanding that every once in awhile Zoroark can get lucky and win anyway.

In a nutshell, I’m not claiming to give you an landslide auto-win against every Zoroark deck, but this is the best I could do and I am satisfied with these decks overall.

Seismitoad-EX / Maxie’s

Pokemon (11)

4x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #20)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)2x Gallade (BKT #84)1x Giratina (PRXY #XY184)

Trainers (45)

3x Acerola (BUS #112)2x Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (PRC #133)2x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)2x N (DEX #96)2x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Karen (PRXY #XY177)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Pokémon Ranger (STS #104)1x Shadow Triad (PLF #102)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FAC #113)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)4x Hypnotoxic Laser (PLS #123)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)3x Virbank City Gym (PLS #126)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (PHF #111)

With my pet deck Toad / Seviper being severely weakened by the rise of Zoroark, my friend Blaine and I made this Toad deck to take its place. We came up with this because of Night March’s dominance in San Jose, the most recent Expanded event. Toad + Karen easily beats Night March, so all that’s left is to deal with all the Zoroark (including Zoroark in Night March). The most direct counter to Zoroark seems to be Gallade. Gallade isn’t too hard to set up and it OHKO’s Zoroark for just a Double Colorless Energy! Its Premonition Ability is amazing as well, and it can help you set up even more Maxie plays. Against any other decks such as Gardevoir-GX and Gyarados, the hope is that the standard Toad strategy with Acerola and Hypnotoxic Laser is enough to win.

You may notice that this list is unlike other Toad decks because it completely ignores disruption cards such as Enhanced Hammer in order to focus more on the Maxie engine. Maxie’s strategies aren’t exactly consistent to begin with, so the heavy counts of Trainers' Mail and Battle Compressor are necessary to make this combo happen as often as possible. While Energy denial is a possible path to take when it comes to dealing with Zoroark, using Gallade is more proactive and more efficient. Additionally, Zoroark decks may being teching Pokémon Ranger to deal with normal Toad decks. While Ranger helps against this deck too, Gallade doesn’t really care about it.

I think most of the card inclusions are logical and easy to understand, but as always, I’ll take a look at some of the less-obvious ones.

Giratina

The only reason why Giratina is here is because I’m scared of Trevenant BREAK. Trevanant would otherwise completely demolish this deck, but Giratina flips the matchup from an auto-loss to a slightly favorable one. Giratina also offers a near-autowin against Greninja BREAK, on the off chance anyone plays that. While I will keep Giratina in my list, you can definitely cut it if you do not expect to face any Trevenant decks.

No Hoopa-EX

Hoopa-EX seems like it would be nice to search out multiple Toads, Shaymin-EX, and even Jirachi-EX if you chose to run it. However, there is no real need to search out multiple Pokemon-EX at once. It is not integral to the strategy at all. Additionally, Bench space is actually quite tight with this deck, and Hoopa would only amplify that problem.

Three Acerola

Acerola with Toad is just broken. Most things cannot easily OHKO a Fighting Fury Belted Toad, and Acerola will negate all of your opponent’s efforts. I ran three Acerola in Toad / Seviper as well and the card works amazingly.

Acerola helps against Zoroark too. While the ideal plan is to be destroying Zoroark with Gallade, you will still attack with Toad sometimes. You will not always be able to get a fast Gallade, and Gallade often gets return-KO’d by Zoroark as well. Unless you completely pop off with multiple Maxie plays early-game, Toad and Acerola help pick up the slack against Zoroark.

Two N, Two Sycamore, and One Colress

N saves you from clunky hands and offers late-game disruption alongside Quaking Punch. Professor Sycamore draws a reliable seven cards. Colress is late-game draw power. Each of these draw Supporters are useful in different scenarios, yet they are run in low quantities because this deck often uses other Supporters such as Maxie, Acerola, and Guzma.


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