Hello everyone! This is Grant, back with another piece about the Expanded format. Today I’ll recap the two Regional Championships I’ve attended since Ft. Wayne and then look at a couple of neat Expanded decks. I have a bit of a break from tournaments until Memphis Regional Championships in December. Because of Ft. Wayne and Daytona both being Expanded, that is the format that I’ve been messing around with the most. Additionally, I just don’t like any of the decks in Standard. Hopefully this article will serve useful for anyone preparing for Expanded League Cups and San Jose Regional Championships. I will only briefly will discuss Standard to start because I went to Hartford. I’ll first look at my deck choice for the tournament, then we’ll get into Expanded.
Hartford was the most salt-inducing tournament I’ve been to in awhile.
This is the deck known as VikaBulu, though I prefer to call it Tapu Toolbox. The strategy is familiar, utilize Vikavolt to power Tapu Bulu-GX and swing for massive amounts of damage. While Tapu Bulu-GX is the main attacker, every Pokemon in the deck can be used as an effective attacker. This list is a bit out of the ordinary, and I recommend swapping one Tapu Lele-GX out for a second Professor Sycamore. Other than that, the list is 100% optimal. Allow me to explain the list, as I believe it is still relevant and I encourage you to try it out.
This is an unusually thin Vikavolt line, but I made the list focused on the turn two Vikavolt. Charjabug only hinders the strategy of the quick Vikavolt, and thus has no place in the list. Since Vikavolt is difficult to Knock Out, one is usually sufficient to have out per game. However, provided the second Vikavolt isn’t prized, it is usually easy to get the second one out at some point. Three Vikavolt does add consistency to the turn two Vikavolt odds, but I couldn’t justify cutting anything for the third.
One Tapu Koko-GX
Tapu Koko-GX is admittedly a questionable inclusion. However its GX attack, Tapu Thunder GX, does 50 damage for each Energy on your opponent’s side of the field. Thanks to the Aero Trail and Strong Charge, Koko can come out of nowhere and take a surprise KO with its GX attack. This can really be used against anything, though it is particularly useful against decks such as Volcanion and Gardevoir that load Energy onto their board. Additionally, Tapu Koko-GX’s non-GX attack OHKOs Ho-Oh-GX, even if Ho-Oh is equipped with Fighting Fury Belt.
One Clefairy EVO
Clefairy‘s second attack, Metronome, copies an attack from your opponent’s Active Pokemon. Clefairy is used as a hard counter to Gardevoir-GX. It can copy Infinite Force for an easy OHKO and will only cost you one Prize card, which is a favorable trade. Clefairy is also great in the mirror match to OHKO an opposing Tapu Bulu-GX.
One Jirachi XY67
Jirachi is also a hard counter to Gardevoir, which is not a deck I want to lose to due to its strength and popularity. Jirachi does so many things for that matchup. First and foremost, it hits for 80 with a Choice Band. This puts the Gardevoir into KO range of just about any of your attackers. Second, it discards a Double Colorless Energy. This weakens the Gardevoir’s future attacks by 40 and forces them to commit more Energy if they ever want to attack with that Gardevoir again. Finally, the invulnerability that Jirachi gains by discarding DCE works well to put tons of pressure on the Gardevoir player.
Another useful thing about Jirachi is that it does at least 20 damage to Gardevoir, even with no Tool. If your opponent plays Mr. Mime to block the Tapu Koko spread, you can use Stardust to put Gardevoir within KO range of Tapu Bulu-GX with Choice Band.
Three Draw Supporters
This deck doesn’t really need draw Supporters, at least not many of them. Brigette and Skyla aid in getting the turn two Vikavolt. With Vikavolt and Oranguru out, the deck basically runs itself. That said, I’d still cut a Tapu Lele-GX for a Sycamore. Sometimes you just want to Sycamore, ya know?
Two Guzma is standard for this deck. You use the two Guzma to take four Prizes, and you take your other two Prizes when your opponent is inevitably forced to attack with a Pokemon-GX or Pokemon-EX. Alternatively, you can KO two non-GXs. The point is, Guzma helps you win but you don’t really need more than two.
Skyla is the preferred engine due to Tapu Toolbox’s relative lack of reliance on draw Supporters. Skyla is instrumental in setting up Vikavolt and it grabs crucial Items at specific times. I’ve used it to find every Item at some point or another. With so many situation-specific Items in the deck, Skyla works like a charm.
Four Field Blower
Garbodor is this deck’s worst enemy, so I chose to counter it in the best way I could think of. With how popular Garb is, I feel that four Field Blower is fully justified. It is also great against Volcanion decks and their pesky Fury Belt.
Three Fighting Fury Belt and Choice Band
Choice Band is great in VikaBulu, and that is why I play three. However, I don’t know why people are so opposed to playing both Tools. Fighting Fury Belt is amazing in so many matchups. It is great against Volcanion to make Bulu harder to Knock Out for them. You don’t need Choice Band math against Fire decks, since the extra 10 damage from Fury Belt still lets you OHKO Turtonator-GX and Ho-Oh-GX. Fury Belt is also fantastic against Greninja, as it lets Bulu OHKO Frogadier with Horn Attack, while still adding the extra HP. Fury Belt works well against Metagross-GX, as it forces them to have Field Blower just to Knock Out Promo Tapu Koko or a Tapu Bulu-GX in one hit.
- Round 1 vs. VikaBulu WLW
- Round 2 vs. Espeon-GX / Garb LL
- Round 3 vs. Volcanion LWW
- Round 4 vs. Gardevoir-GX LL
- Round 5 vs. Greninja WLW
- Round 6 vs. Golisopod-GX WLT
- Round 7 vs. Xerneas BREAK LWW
- Round 8 vs. Alolan Ninetales-GX WW
- Round 9 vs. Greninja WW
6-2-1, Top 64
I was fortunate enough to hit a slew of highly favorable matchups, and I was able to beat most of them. The losses and the tie were incredibly dumb and left a sour taste in my mouth, but I will try not to complain about the details too much. I still really like this VikaBulu list. I know it is unusual, but I definitely recommend it for any future Standard events you may have. It is much better than the usual VikaBulu lists.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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