“Night March for KO” — Mastering the Night March Mirror Match

Hi guys, my name is Conner LaVelle, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to write for you all! To formally introduce myself, I have played in the St. Louis area for eight years with multiple Regional Top 8s (or better), two Nationals Top 32s, and a number of smaller accomplishments as well. This season, I brought Gardevoir-GX into Expanded with my lists taking Top 64, Top 16, and Top 8 between Jac Carter and myself. I’m always open for questions, so feel free to post or message me on the forums or Facebook — I’ll do my best to answer quickly!

With introductions out of the way, I’d like to move to the topic of today’s article: the Night March mirror match. Night March’s dominance of San Jose Regionals demonstrated that the deck is likely the single most powerful force in Expanded, and this means that you will certainly be playing against it. If you’re one of the people who has recently decided to pick up the deck, then you may be uncertain of the best approach to one of the most skill-intensive mirror matches in the game. In this article, I’ll go over the best lines of play in each phase of the game, providing insight that will give you the highest odds of pulling a win through incremental advantages. I’ll begin with points that are universal throughout nearly all points of the game, moving through each phase one at a time from there.

When testing for and writing this article, I used Azul Garcia Griego’s first place Night March list from San Jose. It is an incredibly well-built list, approaching the point of solution, and it is by far the list you are most likely to play against in your League Cups and at Dallas. For ease of reference, I’ve provided it here:


Pokemon (21)

4x Joltik (PHF #26)4x Lampent (PHF #42)4x Pumpkaboo (PHF #44)3x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)2x Zorua (DEX #70)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Marshadow-GX (BUS #80)

Trainers (35)

3x Professor Sycamore (XY #122)1x N (FAC #105)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Ghetsis (PLF #101)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Lysandre (FLF #90)1x Teammates (PRC #141)4x Ultra Ball (DEX #102)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)4x Puzzle of Time (BKP #109)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Special Charge (STS #105)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)2x Dimension Valley (PHF #93)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)


Avoid benching EXs and GXs. This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but you should avoid using Shaymin-EX, Tapu Lele-GX, and Zoroark-GX to set up. They’re two-Prize liabilities that will put you behind in the long run. The exception to this is if you’ll miss a Knock Out or have an extremely weak turn without playing one of them; it’s important to weigh the benefits against the possibility that the Prize trade will swing unfavorably for you. There is an important exception to this rule specifically regarding Zoroark-GX in the “late game” section below.

Mainly attack with PumpkabooThis is for one primary reason: Joltik is KO’d by Sky Return. Pumpkaboo is also much better against potential Oricorio techs than Joltik, and the Dimension Valley is rarely an issue, considering both players will be trying to get one in play ASAP. There is an exception to this rule in the late game since Field Blower can remove Dimension Valley from play, and Zoroark-GX is difficult to KO for a last Prize due to Resistance.

Remember to take advantage of Sky Return. This ties in to the previous point. If your opponent chooses to,or is forced to, play a Joltik, Sky Return is by far the best way to knock it out. The initial Set Up allows you to draw cards, and Shaymin returning to your hand preserves the all-important Double Colorless Energy. Additionally, Marshadow-GX can take a KO on a Zorua with Sky Return due to Weakness, so a Shaymin in your discard pile can be beneficial to you.

Choose to go second if you’re certain that you’re playing against the mirror. While this may seem strange, in testing we’ve found that, if both players are of equal skill, the player going second has a 70%-80% win rate. Grabbing the first Knock Out is crucial, and disruptive Supporters such as Ghetsis and Hex Maniac rarely completely kill a hand.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!