Ice, Ice, Baby — Expanded Glaceon-GX for Costa Mesa
Good morning PokeBeach readers! The Collinsville, IL Regional Championships have just concluded, and let me tell you — it’s been a doozie. Flip-flopping between Standard and Expanded has been frustrating to say the least, but I have to say I adore the creativity that Pokemon brings out of me. Looking forward to this weekend’s Costa Mesa Regionals, we’re faced with a new format: BW-ULP is ripe for exploration. There’s Item lock, Ability lock, brute-force attackers, and tons of options for consistent draw power. What will reign supreme? Let’s find out by reading below in what will be a defining article for both PokeBeach and the Costa Mesa Regional Championship!
Ah! A new and fresh contender in the Expanded format, Glaceon-GX has a ton to bring to the table. The deck’s overall strategy is to permanently lock our opponent out of their GX/EX Abilities for as long as we possibly can, all the while disrupting their deck’s setup. Many aspects of the Expanded format rely on the start of the game — beginning with powerful draw/search cards like Tapu Lele-GX or Shaymin-EX. Without these, many decks will fail to rev up their “engines”; how can you begin to start a car when the engine is broken? That’s the challenge that many decks will face when hit with a Glaceon-GX as early as turn one. In case opponents are able to set up — or if we stumble to set up ourselves — we play many cards that can set the opposing deck back to square one. Many of these are typical disruption cards, like Enhanced Hammer and Parallel City, that really put our opponent behind.
Our ideal game plan is as follows:
Ideally, start with Eevee, or attempt to find a Float Stone in order to get an Eevee into the Active slot. Find a Water Energy, and use Energy Evolution to evolve into Glaceon-GX. Attempt to find Red Card and Ghetsis. You can obtain this start via aggressive Shaymin-EX Set Ups, or with Tapu Lele-GX’s Wonder Tag Ability. In dire scenarios, you can use Mallow to search for whatever you need and then use Shaymin-EX’s Set Up to draw into those cards.
Attach a Double Colorless Energy and start sniping the opponent’s side of the field with Frost Bullet. Stockpile extra Red Card, VS Seeker, Enhanced Hammer, and other goodies in your hand. Set up a second Glaceon-GX. If you’re ever on the back foot with Energy attachments, find one of your two Aqua Patch to catch up.
From here, the matchup will solve itself as your opponent will eventually dead draw after a Red Card/Ghetsis combo. They’ll be unable to draw what they need in order to win, due to their low hand size and lack of Items and Abilities, while you swiftly pile damage up onto their board.
Glaceon-GX is the star of our deck. 200 HP is stellar on a Stage 1: it means, most of the time, Glaceon-GX will be able to take a hit. Its Water typing means that it will be able to dish out hefty damage on Fire-types like Volcanion, and abuse Water support cards such as Aqua Patch and Cyrus Prism Star. It has a Weakness to Metal, which means we’ll have to be cautious with all the support Metal-types received in Ultra Prism. (As Metal becomes more popular, Glaceon-GX may need to either adapt or be put on the back burner until the irons smolder down.)
Glaceon-GX’s Ability, Freezing Gaze, is the main selling point of the card — it can “freeze” some decks right in their tracks. Being able to stop all EX/GX Abilities on our opponent’s side is nothing to scoff at, so let’s take a peek at some of the Abilities we’ll be able to negate in the Expanded format:
- Shaymin-EX’s Set Up
- Tapu Lele-GX’s Wonder Tag
- Zoroark-GX’s Trade
- Keldeo-EX’s Rush In
- Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up
- Gardevoir-GX’s Secret Spring
- Xurkitree-GX’s Flash Head
- Marshadow-GX’s Shadow Hunt
- Lycanroc-GX’s Bloodthirsty Eyes
- Metagross-GX‘s Geotech System
Many of these decks will be unable to overcome Glaceon-GX when their Abilities are put by the wayside. The unique thing about Glaceon-GX as an Ability lock card is that it’s not like Garbodor, which can be deactivated by simply removing its Pokemon Tool. Glaceon-GX is similar to Trevenant: to break its lock, you need to find a way to move it out of the Active spot, or you need to KO it. One of the most common methods of moving a Pokemon out of the Active spot is by using Guzma or Lysandre, but under Freezing Gaze’s lock, it isn’t unusual for those cards to be hard to access without the use of Tapu Lele’s Wonder Tag. Most of the time our Ability lock will stick not because our opponent doesn’t want to remove it, but because they don’t have any option to remove it.
Glaceon’s attacks are alright in terms of efficiency, but they’re a little costly; in order to supplement the Energy costs, we play two copies of Aqua Patch. Frost Bullet is a good attack that can target multiple threats at once, but it isn’t going to OHKO anything. The list I’ve been working on utilizes that spread damage to its fullest by including a copy of Espeon-EX, which can take KOs by devolving Pokemon that are damaged by snipes from Frost Bullet. Glaceon-GX’s GX attack, Polar Spear GX, is the deck’s main way of dealing with a big threat. Since it does damage based on how many damage counters are on the Active Pokemon, you may need to carefully select your Frost Bullet snipe targets before using Polar Spear GX. You can make a lot of cheeky plays with that damage to put pressure on the opponent, so make sure you use it wisely! Killing via devolution is fun, but it might not always be the best use for that precious 30 damage.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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