March Madness — Night March for Portland Regionals

Hello fans and subscribers! I’m glad to be back here again and I’m excited to talk to you about my favorite Expanded deck and why I think it’s a great choice for the upcoming Portland Regionals or any Expanded League Cups. That deck would be the infamous Night March. Expanded is a crazy format right now where anything can do well, but I think Night March can adapt and can play techs to beat just about anything. There are many reasons why I favor this deck and why I played it for St. Louis Regionals and a League Cup recently. I’ll share with you my experiences from these tournaments, my past success with it, its’ success this season, and how it pairs up against the popular decks in Expanded.

My History and Success With Night March

Playing in day two of Nationals 2016 with Night March.

The first few tournaments I played Night March at were a Cities, a League Challenge, and a State Championship last season. I didn’t do so hot at the States or the Cities, but I won the League Challenge if I recall correctly. Those results made me unsure of how I felt about the deck, but the next tournament I took it to sparked my love for the tiny but powerful night critters. It was the Wisconsin State Championship and my friend and fellow PokeBeach writer Caleb Gedemer had suggested the deck and given me his list. I hadn’t tested as much as I would have liked to but I trusted his judgement that it was the play for the tournament and he couldn’t have been more right. I won the tournament and Caleb got second place. It was an uneventful 60 card mirror finals because Caleb drew/passed two games in a row, but it was exciting that we both made it to the finals with the same list. Next I played it at the Win a Trip to Worlds tournament at the Origin Fair in Columbus. I ended up getting 10th having the record needed for Top 8, just not the resistance. Then I played it again at Nationals that year and ended up making Top 32 and won $750.

How’s It Been Doing This Season?

Night March has gotten nine Top 32 placements, one Top 16 placement, and one Top 4 placement between the four Expanded Regionals that have happened so far. Night March has made day two at three out of four Expanded Regionals so far and the one it didn’t was San Jose. San Jose was after Philadelphia which Trevenant had just won, so it makes sense that Night March wasn’t played as much. At all of those three Regionals, Peter Kica has made day two with Night March which goes to show that in the hands of a skilled player, Night March can do consistently well. It’s awesome to see it finally get a high placement as well. Tauros-GX  was a great addition that may have been the key that helped it go farther.

Preparation and Recent Tournament Experiences

Collinsville Regionals

I decided to play Night March with Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, Gallade, and Archeops for Regionals. When I first was testing for Collinsville I assumed Seismitoad-EX / Bats would be highly popular and Trevenant would make a decent showing. I was testing Yveltal-EX / Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick for a while, which beat Trevenant, but struggled with Toad / Bats. From further testing I realized that Trevenant didn’t seem too strong and it had a pretty bad M Gardevoir-EX matchup as well so it probably wouldn’t be played too highly. I then switched to Night March because I knew if I could just dodge Toad / Bats, I should be fine. I had tested against Mega Gardevoir a lot and was beating it almost every single game. Even with Karen, if I saved my Battle Compressor and Puzzle of Time for when I needed them, I would be fine. That plus playing one copy of Silver Bangle made that matchup even better because against any Pokemon-EX with HP that starts with an odd number like 170 or 210, Bangle essentially counts two extra Night March Pokemon in the discard. Normally you would need to have eleven Night Marchers in the discard to hit 210 damage, but with Bangle you only need nine. With Muscle Band or Fighting Fury Belt you still need ten in the discard, that’s why I felt Bangle was better because it lets you conserve your Battle Compressor and attackers better.

The night before the tournament I was dead set on playing Night March / Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick but was struggling with potential changes. I was unsure on Bangle because I had no clue if Mega Gardevoir would be that popular and if Pokemon-GX would be heavily played. I didn’t know whether to play a fourth Professor Juniper or a Hex Maniac. I also questioned how useful Archeops would be, but decided to keep it in case people were playing Vileplume decks and I sure was right to keep it. I ended up switching Bangle to a Muscle Band because I thought that for some reason more Pokemon-GX would be played. A lot of them were, but I should have realized that through Archeops and Gallade I had answers to the most popular Pokemon-GX anyway. The morning of the tournament while in line to check in, I decided last minute to cut the fourth Professor Juniper for a Hex Maniac. I thought even with Archeops, you don’t always get it and Hex is still incredibly useful against just about every deck. It’s also a good Supporter just to use if you don’t want any other effect and want Gallade’s Sensitive Blade to do more damage. Here’s the list I ended up playing.

Pokemon (19)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)4x Lampent (PHF #42)4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Jirachi-EX (PLB #60)1x Archeops (NVI #67)1x Gallade (BKT #84)1x Mew (FAC #29)

Trainers (37)

3x Professor Juniper (DEX #98)1x N (FAC #105)1x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick (PRC #133)1x AZ (PHF #91)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Pokémon Ranger (STS #104)1x Teammates (PRC #141)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)1x Escape Rope (PRC #127)1x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Target Whistle (PHF #106)1x Tool Scrapper (DRX #116)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)2x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (EVO #90)

Now I’ll talk about my matches at Collinsville. Tournaments are kind of a big blur to me sometimes, so my recap might be a bit brief, but I’ll do my best to reiterate my experience.

My Matches

Round 1 – Lurantis-GX / Vileplume – Win – (1-0)

The first-round I beat Lurantis-GX / Vileplume and it was mostly due to Hex Maniac and them whiffing turn one Vileplume more than once. I didn’t get out Archeops in the round, but I did get Gallade which helped immensely to let me draw useful cards under Item-lock.

Round 2 – Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX – Win – (2-0)

Round two I beat Darkrai-EX / Giratina-EX and the biggest MVP for that matchup was Pokémon Ranger. Game one was close because I had Jirachi-EX in hand forever to get Ranger from the deck but needed a second Puzzle of Time to get a Marcher back. I had to sack a few Pokemon before drew a Shaymin-EX and used Set Up to draw into another Puzzle to get the last two Prizes. Game two I started slow and I either got Chaos Wheeled or Night Speared to death in a few turns. Game three my opponent drew passed until I Knocked Out all their Pokemon.

Round 3 – M Gardevoir-EX STS – Loss – (2-1)

The third round I lost against M Gardevoir-EX partly because I had Muscle Band instead of Silver Bangle. There were two turns in two separate games where if the Band was a Bangle I would have gotten the Knock Out on a Mega Gardevoir. The other problem was having awkward hands where I was forced to discard Puzzle of Time early so I couldn’t recover my Battle Compressor enough. My opponent played Karen at least six times in our two games so I really needed to conserve my Puzzle and Compressor well, but I couldn’t because I would draw them early when I needed to use Professor Juniper.

Round 4 – Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX – Win – (3-1)

The fourth round I played against Ben Potter playing Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX, which I was surprised to see. The first game came down to the wire, due to a misplay of me forgetting to AZ my Jirachi-EX up and Ben almost won because of that but luckily, I was able to get the win. Next game was how you would expect the matchup to play. Just three Pokemon-EX Knock Outs in a row.

Round 5 – Turbo Darkrai-EX / Hypnotoxic Laser – Loss – (3-2)

The fifth round was my next loss, it was mostly due to my opponent getting to donk my lone Joltik with a Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym in play before I even got a turn to play a card. They may have still won that game had that not happened, but I didn’t even get a chance to play one of our three games. In the game that I got Gallade out I won swiftly with a couple of Night Marches and one Sensitive Blade. The other game I lost in this series my opponent got a quick Night Spear and I could not get going in time before they were too far ahead.

Round 6 – M Gardevoir-EX STS – Win – (4-2)

The sixth round I beat Mega Gardevoir. This time it went better because I made better use of my Puzzle of Time and Battle Compressor and I also got to make great use of Target Whistle and Escape Rope. I also got Archeops up in one of the games and that slowed down my opponent immensely because they had to Hex Maniac any time they wanted to evolve and if they aren’t playing Karen, that’s okay with me.

Round 7 – Yveltal-EX / Maxie’s – Loss (4-3)

The seventh round was my last loss and it was to Andrew Wambolt, someone I always enjoy playing. Our first two games were solid and not complete blow outs either way. Our last game however, was dreadful for me. I started two Pumpkaboo, and then drew and passed until he KOd them both. Nothing I can do about that, that’s just how it goes sometimes.

Round 8 – Primal Groudon-EX / Carbink – Win (5-3)

The eighth round I played against Primal Groudon-EX which is something else I did not expect to see. The first game my opponent did not draw well and never got a chance to attack. I used Lysandre to bring up the Groudon-EX before they evolved and hit them a couple of times to KO them. My opponent used Tropical Beach to draw some cards but never really got going. They played Karen once but it didn’t really do anything. I also got Archeops up in one of the games which helps a lot when they don’t have any Wobbuffet out.

Round 9 – Lurantis-GX / Vileplume – Win (6-3)

The ninth round I beat another Lurantis-GX / Vileplume. This was like the first round except I got to get Archeops out in one of my games. My opponent scooped at that point realizing there was nothing they could do because their entire strategy involves evolving. They won one of the games with a turn one Vileplume and multiple Lurantis-GX and Knocked Out my Pokemon one by one. The last game I prized Archeops again and didn’t have a way to get the turn one anyway, but I turn one played Hex Maniac which put my opponent in an awkward position. They had a lone Oddish and only one Ultra Ball in hand. They had to either Ultra Ball for a Basic to bench and hope to top deck out, or get Vileplume up and hope I can’t KO it. I ended up using Professor Juniper to discard a few more Pokemon and then I had enough to KO them.

If I had to redo the tournament, I would still play the same deck, except I would make sure I had Silver Bangle instead and get a little more sleep so I could focus better.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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