The Never-ending March — Recapping San Jose Regionals

Night March wins again? This trend is getting old. Is it time to ban the March?! Zoroark-GX truly took off in San Jose. You could find the fox in everything; the card is that powerful. Aside from what was more or less expected, there were some awesome surprises.

I personally played Zoroark-GX with Lycanroc-GX for the event, but drew poorly when it mattered most. While I could have played for a Top 64 finish, I decided to not hedge my bets, take an intentional draw, and land myself in the Top 128 for an additional 40 Championship Points. I am now locked in for a stipend to travel to the Oceania International Championships and I couldn’t be more excited to compete in Australia!

Tournament recaps are always fun to write, so I hope you enjoy my analysis. Let’s go!

Day Two Before Playoff

  • 1. Jon Eng: Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
  • 2. Ryan Allred: Gardevoir-GX
  • 3. Dennis Perez: Gardevoir-GX
  • 4. Ahmed Ali: Gyarados
  • 5. Eduardo Gonzalez: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • 6. Rahul Reddy: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 7. Benjamin Salonga: Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
  • 8. Alex Mullen: Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
  • 9. Brandon Jones: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • 10. Christian Keiser: Gardevoir-GX
  • 11. Kian Amini: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 12. Brian Ortiz: Night March
  • 13. Bradley Curcio: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 14. Sam Hough: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 15. Colter Decker: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 16. Bodhi Tracy: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 17. Rukan Shao: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 18. Liam Williams: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 19. Drew Kennett: Wailord-EX / Wishiwashi-GX / Hoopa
  • 20. Emmanuel Jacobs: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • 21. Azul Garcia Griego: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 22. Nathian Beck: Silvally-GX / Metal
  • 23. Ruben Cisca: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 24. Michael Pramawat: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 25. David Reis: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 26. Dennis Jasper Moore: Yveltal-EX
  • 27. Justin Kinney: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • 28. Francisco Sermeno: Night March
  • 29. Simon Narode: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 30. Peter Kica: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 31. Ravyn Pollock: Gardevoir-GX
  • 32. John Collins: Zoroark-GX

Initial Thoughts

Zoroark-GX was absolutely everywhere. It’s mind-boggling that it was in at least 22 of the day two decks. This type of dominance is quite reminiscent of when Garbodor from Guardians Rising just came out and Trashalanche ran the table in almost every event it was used in. That is a strong indicator that the card is absolutely broken in the Expanded format, especially with tools like Exeggcute to use Trade for no cost.

Night March is always a solid play, regardless of if everyone is playing cards to beat it. Big surprise, Zoroark-GX brought a lot to that deck! Gardevoir-GX was brought up a lot in discussion before the event as well, as it is always a safe play, regardless of the format.

Aside from the “big three,” some random fringe decks made an appearance. Two of those decks made the Top 8, however, so bigger things could be in store for them down the road.

As for the outliers — in this case Yveltal-EX, Wailord-EX / Wishiwashi GX / Hoopa, Silvally-GX / Metal, and Gyarados — I think Gyarados is the only one that has some kind of longevity attached to itself. It gained a lot from the new Magikarp. I don’t think it’s better than Night March overall, but it doesn’t lose to Oricorio or Karen which is nice. I don’t think Wailord-EX decks are very strong right now; it’s likely that Drew Kennett’s opponents were unprepared. This was showcased immediately in Top 8 when Michael Pramawat, a more experienced player, took it down quickly two games to none. I’m not sure what to make of the others, as they are just decks that do what they do well, but aren’t exactly well-positioned or incredibly powerful.

Top 8 Before Playoff

  • 1. Ahmed Ali: Gyarados
  • 2. Bodhi Tracy: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 3. Simon Narode: Zoroark-GX / Alolan Muk
  • 4. Drew Kennett: Wailord-EX / Wishiwashi GX / Hoopa
  • 5. Michael Pramawat: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 6. Rahul Reddy: Night March / Zoroark-GX
  • 7. Eduardo Gonzalez: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • 8. Azul Garcia Griego: Night March / Zoroark-GX

This Top 8 is pretty expected from what the tournament looked like. Ahmed made an awesome choice for the tournament and it payed off for him. With an Oricorio in his list, he was able to trade well with Night March decks. As for Zoroark-GX, it was played so much that it was bound to take up multiple Top 8 slots. Night March was played in the hands of many of the game’s best players, so seeing them do well with the deck is no surprise, either. Ultimately, Azul Garcia Griego took down Gyarados, then a fellow Night March and finally a Zoroark-GX deck. I assume that many things went right for him, including getting big rewards from Ghetsis plays and his opponent’s getting unlucky.

Pieces of the Pie

  • 17 Zoroark-GX Variants (three Top 8s)
  • 7 Night March Variants (three Top 8s)
  • 4 Gardevoir-GX
  • 1 Gyarados (one Top 8)
  • 1 Wailord-EX / Wishiwashi GX / Hoopa (one Top 8)
  • 1 Yveltal-EX
  • 1 Silvally-GX / Metal

Is Zoroark-GX now the Expanded format broken deck?! I don’t think so, but it’s certainly strong. There was so much hype surrounding it going into this event, especially with many players likely wanting to use the new cards, that Zoroark-GX ended up being the most-played deck. It’s clear that, going into an event, you want to be able to beat Gardevoir-GX, Night March and Zoroark-GX decks. The Silvally-GX deck attempted to do this I think, since Fighting Memory and the Seismitoad-EX plus Karen package can give Zoroark-GX and Night March respectively a run for their money.

Usually, after a hugely dominant run like this decks teeter off, so don’t expect results like this from Zoroark-GX in the future. It will probably still get multiple day two finishes at Regionals, but it’s not realistic to think that it will take up a whopping seventeen places.

Night March has always been a popular deck — and now that it’s done incredibly well and includes Zoroark-GX, it will become more popular than ever. It’s always had large appeal to skilled and unskilled players alike, so it’s a deck that anyone can pick up and succeed with. Gyarados should see some play now too since it’s always been a fan-favorite for a lot of players.

The one cool thing about day twos like this is that the metagame is defined for the next event. Granted, things could completely flip on a dime, but for now, this is what we’re looking at in terms of decks.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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