Stellar Guidance — Metagaming Philadelphia Regionals and Two of My Top Plays for Expanded
Hey there PokeBeach! I am very excited to be back again writing for you guys, this time about the Expanded metagame heading into Philadelphia Regionals. Following the results of the Arizona Regional Championships along with the release of Karen, the Expanded metagame has shifted for the first time in what seems like forever. Today, I’ll be helping you prepare for this by explaining how to correctly read a metagame as well as my top picks for Philadelphia. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Let’s Metagame Philadelphia
Throughout my incredible run this past six months, I credit most of my accomplishments to being able to accurately read the meta heading into each tournament. Obviously playing skill had something to do with my results, but I was able to put myself into an extremely favorable position to pick up free or easy wins just by having strong matchups against the majority of the metagame. Arizona made the importance of metagaming extremely apparent when looking at the Top 8 results. Coming into the event, the two decks centralizing the metagame were Yveltal and Night March. If you look at every deck in the Top 8, they had winning matchups against at least one, if not both decks. By knowing the expected metagame, the top players were able to exploit this to their advantage, with many feeding on easy matchups to Top 8 placements.
Now, where does this leave us in regards to Philly? With Yveltal and Night March both failing to place in the Top 8 of Phoenix, their dominating run at the top of the metagame seems to finally have drawn to a close. However, this does not mean either of these decks are decks you should not expect to see at any tournament. This just means that your deck choice does not need to be made with those two decks being benchmarks a possible tournament play must clear. In their place, Greninja has taken over as the benchmark needed to be cleared to make a deck Regional ready.
If your deck loses to Greninja, do not play it for Philadelphia. It’s really that simple. After playing against it three times at Arizona, as well as talking to my best friend Travis Nunlist (our newest writer, woo!), who finished in the Top 4 with the deck, I can tell you with certainty that Greninja is the best deck in the format, bar none. If Greninja sets up, it will win every single game. Giant Water Shuriken is such an amazing Ability, combo’d with two fantastic attacks on the regular Greninja make up an extremely frightening deck with very few bad matchups in the current metagame. In my opinion, Greninja’s presence alone makes Night March an unviable play, regardless of the fact that Karen was just released. That’s the sort of metagame warping effect Greninja will have on the metagame.
Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering: “How can we beat this deck if it’s as good as you say it is?” Well have no fear, because there are still some decks that can beat Greninja! There are two decks in particular that really benefit from this meta shift, Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX and Accelgor / Wobbuffet. I will be taking a look at Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX later in this article, so stay tuned. Other decks with a decent Greninja matchup are M Rayquaza-EX, Trevenant, Rainbow Road, and Seismitoad-EX / Bats. Expect all of these, especially Trevenant, Seismitoad-EX / Bats, and Rainbow Road to be played heavily in Philadelphia.
While some decks will flourish due to Greninja’s dominance, others will falter. Yveltal, while still a strong play due to its generally good matchups, defintely loses some of its power due to its bad Greninja matchup. Similarly, Primal Groudon-EX, Night March, M Manectric-EX, and Eelektrik suffer due to their poor Greninja matchups. Expect all of these decks to be played, but in much lower quantities than before.
With all this said, what do I believe the metagame will end up being? Below are what I expect the metagame shares to be in Philly.
- Greninja: 20%
- Yveltal: 15%
- Rainbow Road: 10%
- Night March: 10%
- Trevenant: 10%
- Seismitoad-EX / Bats: 10%
- Primal Groudon-EX: 5%
- M Manectric-EX: 5%
- M Rayquaza-EX: 5%
- Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX : 5%
- Other (including Accelgor and Eelektrik variants): 5%
Below I’ll outline why I believe each deck deserves its meta share.
Like I previously stated, Greninja is the best deck in the format. Anyone who tests Expanded will notice this almost immediately, and that is why I expect it to be the most played deck in Philadelphia. If you play Greninja, be prepared to play the mirror match, as well as tech for Archeops. There will be a bullseye on your back and people will be teched to beat you, so prepare accordingly.
Yes, Yveltal still has a bad Greninja matchup, but it can definitely be managed with Archeops. Expect Yveltal Maxie’s to once again become the more popular Dark variant, as Darkrai-EX / Max Elixir will fall out of play more. Yveltal still has even to favorable matchups versus almost all of the rest of the field, so it will still definitely see a lot of play.
Rainbow Road has two things going for it. First, Karen benefits the deck a lot, as it needs to constantly have a large Bench in order to fully make use of Xerneas. Second, the deck has a decent Greninja matchup, as it can just outrun it and cause it to fail to set up while still being bulky enough to not give up multiple KOs in one turn unlike Night March or Vespiquen.
Night March is going to really suffer at this tournament. Not only is Karen going to be legal, which is an annoyance to Night March, but Greninja, Trevenant, and Seismitoad-EX / Bats are shaping up to be some of the most popular decks in the format. While there were six Night March players in Top 32 this past weekend, I expect maybe half as many to make cut this time. It finally seems as if our Night March dominated format is coming to a close.
Trevenant is in a pretty good spot right now. Karen definitely helps the deck, and it also has a decent Greninja matchup. The only thing stopping it from rampant play is its atrocious Dark matchup.
Seismitoad-EX / Bats
Seismitoad-EX / Bats is a very, very good deck. I have been extolling the virtues of Seismitoad-EX / Bats for some time now, so I am glad I was able to do it justice and bring it back into the meta. However, I do not expect this deck to suddenly become the flavor of the month, as that title already belongs to Greninja. I will be going over this deck in detail later, so I won’t say too much more about it right now.
Primal Groudon-EX is another very good deck that really has not gotten its time in the spotlight. The reason I don’t expect this deck to see too much play is because you need four Tropical Beach for this deck to run even close to smoothly, and for most players that just isn’t realistic. If you play against this, be scared, but don’t expect to see it too often.
This deck has seen a little bit of a resurgence ever since Karen released, as its Night March matchup was the main reason this deck was unplayable. It has good matchups against Yveltal, Trevenant, and Seismitoad-EX / Bats, but it loses hard to everything else. Some people might choose to play this and get lucky and hit only good matchups (that was me last year at Philadelphia Regionals where eight of my swiss rounds were Yveltal-EX or M Rayquaza-EX), but this deck is not a viable play in my opinion.
This deck basically has the same story as M Manectric-EX: it has seen a resurgence due to Karen, but has too many bad matchups (Trevenant, Seismitoad-EX / Bats, Rainbow Road, and M Manectric-EX) to be a relevant force in the meta.
Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX
Again, the same story as M Manectric-EX. It gains a lot from Night March losing power, but still has tons of bad matchups to be extremely relevant. I’ll be going over this deck in detail later in the article so I’ll refrain from discussing it too much now.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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