Hey Beachgoers! I hope you’ve all been keeping up with the Pokemon TCG results of the U.K. Nationals and the first week of U.S. Spring Regionals. I’ve been keeping up with it quite a bit, actually. In addition to this, I’ve managed to do a decent amount of my own playtesting in the down time between States and the start of the Regional Championships season. With that said, I had to set aside an ample amount of time to visit my other hobbies and to finish out my second-to-last semester of school at the University of Nebraska. Just one more to go!
For the most part, the Expanded format has been covered extensively by other writers, but not specifically for week three of Spring Regionals. One of the things that I’ve been testing extensively for is the Kansas City Regional Championships, which just so happens to be during week three. I’d imagine quite a few of you are also considering going to a week three Regionals, and the big question to ask is: “How will the inclusion of Fates Collide impact the Expanded format?”
Some of you aren’t considering going to Regionals, and that’s okay! Keep plugging away at Standard and unravel the impact that N has on the format. There are other cards from Fates Collide that will definitely have an impact on Standard, so now is not too early to begin playtesting for Nationals!
Seeing as that week three of Regionals will be the first introduction to Fates Collide in the Expanded format, it is only fitting to briefly talk about some of the more important cards from this set. Later, I will show you the two decks I’ve been testing specifically for this tournament, my card choices, and matchups against the most popular decks. They may not have many components of the new set in them, but they’re built with a lot of the new cards in mind.
Useful Cards in Fates Collide
I wasn’t overall impressed with this set for what it provided for the Expanded metagame, but its impact in Standard is enormous! That’s an article for a different time, however.
Below are the cards that I’ve found have potential to become competitive in the current Expanded format. They may become even better in future formats with new decks to counter and new archetypes to play. Be sure to take a close look at these cards and invest in a copy or two of them to have in your binder for future use.
Glaceon-EX is a cool card and has a gorgeous Full Art. Its first attack is an okay finisher, but let’s focus on that second attack. This card would have been phenomenal a format ago with Vespiquen / Flareon being as rampant as it was, but now its popularity has died down a bit. However, this card also affects powerful cards such as M Rayquaza-EX, Primal Groudon-EX, and Gallade. Those are just the ones that appear to still see a decent amount of play in the current format. Sure, Regice is arguably better, but Glaceon-EX has a few more situations where it is useful since it doesn’t just hit EXs. It’s a card worth trying out, and I can surely see its potential in future formats.
Mew-EX exists, I know, but it’s a 120 HP Pokemon-EX. Mew-EX is probably my favorite card ever printed because I’ve had so much success with decks that play it. Additionally, I’ve also loved its Versatile Ability. I’ve pulled off all sorts of fun and elaborate plays with that particular Ability. My entire game plan with Night March against Seismitoad-EX decks last season was to Quaking Punch the opponent back until I could get a Night March KO.
This Mew is slightly different since it can’t copy the attacks of each Pokemon in play; it can only copy yours. Furthermore, it can only copy the attacks of your Basic Pokemon. This allows Night March, in a way, to change its identity. You do lose the slight bulkiness of Mew-EX, but you don’t sacrifice two Prizes in a deck that’s designed to lose its attacker every turn.
There’s a ton of other possibilities for this card. Essentially, if you want to pull an attack off with a card that doesn’t lose two Prizes when it gets Knocked Out, this is your card. Andrew Mahone‘s last article also covered a little bit about this Pokemon if you would like to learn more of its uses.
Carbink‘s unique Ability, Energy Keeper, works well in some situations. It seems like an effort by Pokemon to dull the blow of Crushing Hammer leaving the format. However, it only works on Basic Pokemon, and it only works when there isn’t a Silent Lab in play. I’m not sure how many decks will actually try to fit this card in, given that its uses are fairly specific. It won’t save your Double Colorless Energy from getting hammered off at all.
Most disruption-based decks play Silent Lab or Garbodor. This card may be nice in an Aromatisse deck to help prevent Energy loss, but it won’t save your Rainbow Energy. If you can prevent Garbodor from hitting the table, this card will be useful against Sableye / Puzzle of Time decks.
Zygarde‘s second attack is handy in some situations. It’s an interesting, yet specific attack that helps this card find its way into Fighting decks to help curb Yveltal-EX‘s power. The main threat against your high HP Pokemon in an Yveltal matchup is Yveltal-EX with a ton of Energy. Keep in mind, though, that most Yveltal variants play Keldeo-EX, whose Rush In Ability can save them from the effect of Zygarde’s Aura Break attack. As a result, Zygarde will become more useful once Keldeo is rotated out of the format.
Another aspect of Zygarde, which can be viewed as good or bad, is its 90 HP. Too me, this is a plus because it can be searched out via Level Ball. Seeing as that it is only worth one Prize and it’s a Basic Pokemon, I’m fine with it only having 90 HP. It can still make use of Fighting Fury Belt as well.
Finally, a decent attacker that Metal decks can use; however, I feel like its attack can be seen coming from a mile away. Like most Metal-type Pokemon, Bronzong BREAK requires a large amount of Energy to be useful. Although, if you can possibly get four Energy onto a Bronzong in a single turn, you can really throw the opponent off by sniping their Shaymin-EX. I’m not as hyped as a lot of players are about this card because I find it predictable once Energy start getting thrown onto Bronzong.
It’s Bouffalant version 2.0! Same typing, same attack, same Ability, nearly the same HP, and a similar Retreat Cost. Bouffalant was a great card, and a lot of decks found uses for it. Hitting for 120 against Pokemon-EX with a hard-to-remove Pokemon is no joke. I can see this card potentially making a comeback, but there are better non-EX Pokemon out there now. With Lugia having the ability to BREAK evolve, it’s able to survive longer due to its increased HP. Lugia BREAK‘s attack is not too bad either, since it only requires one more Energy than what it already takes to attack with the Basic Pokemon.
Energy Pouch doesn’t sound all that useful when you first read the card, but in some decks it can drop a lot of Energy for free. It’s incredibly useful! The deck that benefits from it the most is Keldeo-EX / Blastoise, which I’ll go into detail with later.
No, I don’t plan on evolving this Pokemon. This card gives Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick decks an option to counter Seismitoad-EX decks. Seismitoad is an abysmal attacker without its Item lock effect, and Marowak prevents it. Sure, Hex Maniac is an option for the Toad players out there, but it’s only for one turn so it doesn’t shut down the opponent like Item lock normally does. Night March and Yveltal decks may find a use for this little guy.
You may be wondering why I didn’t mention M Alakazam-EX. I just don’t feel like that card is that great. It’s a hyped card, yet has a terrible weakness to Night March decks and practically any deck that out-speeds it; therefore, it’s just not worth mentioning.
Without further ado, let’s put some of these cards to use.
Keldeo-EX / Archie’s / Blastoise
So, we all know that Ghetsis exists right? Let’s pretend nobody plays it. Less than 50 percent of your opponents will play it for some reason. In reality, an opposing Ghetsis hurts you only if you’re going second or if you don’t have a Shaymin-EX in your hand when you get hit by it. Otherwise, you can probably still get the Blastoise into play and go crazy.
Look closely at this list; you’ll notice a pretty sweet tech in this deck from Fates Collide.
The list is pretty cut and dry, and it doesn’t seem to vary much from other Archie’s Blastoise deck lists. Of course, this is similar to PokeBeach’s own Steve Guthrie‘s list, and even similar to the prior World Championship winning deck list.
I’ve added a few of my own personal touches to it, however, so I’ll break them down.
This may come off as a small surprise; there is one Archie’s target already, so why have two?
In most of my games of testing, I’ve been able to get Archie’s off twice in a game. Since M Gyarados-EX has such high HP and damage output, I’ve decided to include it. It doesn’t necessarily make any matchup better, it just makes the overall deck better.
Upon using Archie’s a second time, there will be an extremely large, imposing attacker that will be difficult for anyone to get rid of. After all, it has 240 HP. Being able to one-shot Primal Groudon-EX and M Manectric-EX is also super helpful and only requires five or six Energy. It’s sure to stick around longer than a Keldeo-EX that has nine or so Energy attached.
Yes, this is an interesting tech in this deck. Simply point the three Bench space section towards yourself and watch as the Shaymin-EX and Jirachi-EX magically disappear off of the Bench. This denies the opponent from taking cheap or easy Prizes against you, and it’s an easy way to remove a wounded Keldeo-EX from the field.
The three Bench side of Parallel City can also be used against M Rayquaza-EX decks to decrease the opponent’s Bench size, but it still doesn’t make the matchup a favorable one. However, by playing Parallel City to decrease the size of the opponent’s Bench, you’re also limiting your damage output by 20.
I’m still toying around with this card in the list. If Glaceon-EX is the only Pokemon on the field during Vespiquen matchups, it’s essentially an automatic win. Against Vespiquen / Vileplume matchups, this card is a godsend since the opponent usually doesn’t play any Lysandre. Other decks that revolve around Evolutions, though, seek to counter this card by playing Lysandre to get Prizes off of your Bench.
I can’t even begin to say how awesome Energy Pouch is in this deck. It affords you the opportunity to immediately recover all of the Energy that was on your Pokemon prior to getting Knocked Out, allowing you to simply reattach it all to another Pokemon.
This card has excellent synergy with Blastoise because it provides another OHKO option without having to burn through Superior Energy Retrieval. It’s possible to drop to a three count of Retrieval instead of four for this reason, but to play it safe, I’ve been playing four copies. Feel free to test three, though.
Even though you’re still susceptible to Hex Maniac and Ghetsis, Energy Pouch makes the deck perform better. Instant recharging of another Keldeo-EX, in addition to whatever else you can pack onto the Keldeo from your hand after a Professor Juniper, is even more damage that you will be doing.
Yveltal-EX / Darkrai-EX / Silent Lab 50-50
A lot of matchups in Expanded come down to how well the player of each respective deck plays. In addition to that, a lot of matchups rely on whether or not a deck plays a specific tech or not. In this case, it comes down to whether or not the Dark player plays a copy of Hex Maniac or Ghetsis in their deck. Because otherwise, this matchup skews towards the Keldeo-EX player.
Keldeo is typically hard-pressed to take one-shots on Yveltal-EX, but with Energy pouch, you can usually afford to go for an all-out KO by stacking six Energy onto a single Keldeo. After all, all of the resources will just go right back into your hand after getting Knocked Out.
Yveltal could make an appearance in this matchup as well, potentially blocking your Energy Pouch and softening up two Keldeo’s for easy KOs with its Pitch-Black Spear attack.
This matchup generally goes back and forth; you load up Keldeo with Energy while Yveltal-EX thrives on those same attachments. Fortunately, speed is on your side. Dark decks, on the other hand, can utilize cheap, high output attackers like Gallade and Yveltal. This you really cannot ignore.
Seismitoad-EX / Bats 60-40
Remember the last Worlds finals? That matchup demonstrated how the outcome depends almost entirely on whether the opponent can get a turn 1 Quaking Punch off before you get Archie’s off. If you get Quaking Punched, fat chance you will ever get a Blastoise out. These decks play multiple copies of Silent Lab too, which removes your mobility.
Raikou / Eelektrik 60-40
Raikou is essentially your deck, except it’s a lot slower. You will easily outspeed it and you can consistently hit numbers that will OHKO Raikou.
Night March 50-50
This is a matchup I saw a lot of at Worlds in the Boston Open. Your one copy of Articuno will be instrumental to offset the cost of losing Keldeo-EX in the Prize war. The speed of both decks are about the same. Much of the matchup depends on whether or not the Night March player uses Hex Maniac. If you know they play it in their list, you need to prioritize getting enough Energy down before they have the opportunity to use it.
Kyurem is a good addition to this list if you’re fretting this matchup, and even with a Hex Maniac in the opponent’s deck, you should still find an opportunity to use it.
Expanded is such a broad format; I had a hard time picking which matchups to feature. In the end, you still need to watch out for the Mega decks, such as M Rayquaza-EX and Primal Groudon-EX. Those will give you a hard time since you aren’t able to regularly one-shot them. Furthermore, the Groudon deck slows you to the point in which you’re mirroring their speed, and the Rayquaza deck is just as fast as you, with an attacker that can OHKO your Keldeo while having high enough HP to prevent you from doing the same to it.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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