Beauty and the Beast: Gardevoir-GX and Buzzwole-GX

The Roanoke Regional is the first Regional that I’ll be attending since my hiatus in January. I’m excited to play in it as it is the last Expanded Regional this season. Expanded has been pretty good to me this season, it’s where I’ve gotten most of my points. But as the meta has evolved, I’ve liked it less and less. I think Forbidden Light will put Expanded back on track to a healthier format. Cards like Beast Ring, Diancie Prism Star, Diantha, and Mysterious Treasure give a consistency boost to more aggressive decks that control decks will have a hard time dealing with.

I would not go as far to say that Forbidden Light will completely reshape the meta. Most of the decks that we saw in Salt Lake City will make a reappearance in Roanoke. Zoroark-GX / Exeggcute, Sableye / Garbodor, Gardevoir-GX and Garbodor are still quite formidable. I also don’t really see any new archetypes, if you don’t count M Gardevoir-EX performing particularly well in Roanoke due to how strong the current decks are. However, there will be a pecking order change. In this article, I’ll go over what I think are the best five plays followed by my lists for Buzzwole-GX and Gardevoir-GX in the new format.

New Pecking Order

5) M Gardevoir-EX

The Expanded version of M Gardevoir-EX has quite the tool set. First, its dual typing of Fairy and Psychic is almost unfair. Darkness Resistance and hitting Buzzwole-GX for Weakness is too good to not consider. Furthermore, the deck gets a huge consistency boost from cards like Dimension Valley, Jirachi-EX, Mega Turbo, Shaymin-EX, and Trainers' Mail. Forbidden Light gives the deck Mysterious Treasure which can be used to search out important cards: Oricorio, M Gardevoir-EX, Hoopa-EX, and Tapu Lele-GX. It just hasn’t seen too much play this season because Night March is a bad matchup for the deck, and I think people have just forgotten about it. The only downside to this deck is that it is a Mega Evolution, so requiring a Gardevoir Spirit Link to evolve without ending your turn isn’t as great when the Evolution has the same HP and attack power as a Stage 1 that doesn’t have the same downside. Although, both M Gardevoir-EX and Zoroark-GX have Resistance against each other, which means neither of them get to OHKO each other which is why this deck isn’t at the top of my list.

4) Trashalanche and Friends

I can’t imagine Garbodor ever falling far out of relevance in the Expanded format. Expanded is all about abusing Items like Battle Compressor, Trainers’ Mail and VS Seeker. It also gets an awesome secondary attacker with Trubbish providing early game pressure. Furthermore, Garbodor is one of the best cards in the game and it has seen play since the day of its release. Now that it hits the most expected deck in the format for Weakness, it will be a strong play.

3) Zoroark-GX Variants

A card with OHKO power and its own draw engine sounds like something that should only be on a Stage 2. Zoroark-GX does suffer from being outmatched by Buzzwole-GX, but its consistency allows it to tech for nearly any matchup. It has the space and draw power to abuse cards like Hex Maniac, Enhanced Hammer, and Red Card while also having the ability to reuse them with Puzzle of Time and VS seeker. I don’t think this will be the best play this weekend because of the resurgence of Gardevoir-GX in Salt Lake City to try to reclaim its title as the best deck in the format.

2) Gardevoir-GX

I’ll go over this further in my deck description below, but similarly to M Gardevoir-GX, Mysterious Treasure is a great consistency boost. Also, 230 HP on a strong attacker with its own Energy acceleration is staggeringly strong.

1) Buzzwole-GX variants

There are two variants for this deck that I can see doing well this weekend: one that uses GarbodorVirbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser And the more common version that uses Lycanroc-GX and Diancie Prism Star. I prefer the latter as I prefer to have better consistency through Abilities and Brooklet Hill over the control of Hypnotoxic Laser and Garbotoxin. Regardless of the cards you partner with the muscular bug, Beast Ring places this deck on a whole different level allowing you to completely set up mid-game to put your opponent in checkmate.

Decks I Expect to Underperform

Sableye / Garbodor

Sableye / Garbodor is a deck that really only does well when you don’t expect it to. Because it just won Salt Lake City, people will be countering this not only with their deck choice, but the techs that they will put in their deck. Multiple copies of Field Blower rip this deck to shreds as Garbotoxin and Life Dew is shut off, and Bench damage damages this deck’s ability to function. The addition of more recovery cards is also bad news for Sableye.

Malamar variants

In Standard, I think this deck will perform wonderfully. In Expanded however, it requires too much set up to also be completely shut down by Hex Maniac. Getting hit by multiple Hex Maniac per game while trying to set up under the threat of constant OHKOs is too much for this deck to handle. Even though we’ve seen this type of ability do well in the past with Ray Eels and Bronzong, we haven’t seen it lately because the setup is too difficult for the reward, even with type advantage.

Trevenant BREAK

Trevenant BREAK always seems like it should be a good play for Expanded events as it can shut your opponent completely out of the game as early as turn one. However, with as much Dark-type decks as there almost always is, Trevanent BREAK really struggles. And even though it has Resistance and Weakness over Buzzwole-GX, I don’t think that Trevenant BREAK is necessarily favored. Lycanroc-GX using Bloodthirsty Eyes, other decks having the ability to OHKO, and Bench damage spread decks really put this deck in a bind. Also, the damage output is too low on single targets to eliminate big threats like it used to.

Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX

Beast Ring is also great for Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX. If you’re lucky enough, when your opponent goes to four Prizes you can set up multiple Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX to close out the game. However, the shortcoming of Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX is not the late game but the early game. Without sufficient early game pressure, your opponent can take their time to take Prizes, putting a game plan in motion to deal with the expected Beast Ring storm. Another big issue with the deck is that unlike Buzzwole-GX, Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX discards its Energy, meaning that a well timed Guzma can wipe your only Energy on field and completely shut you out of the game.

Beauty and the Beast: My Top Two Plays for Roanoke

The Beauty

I want to start off with Gardevoir-GX because it is the deck that I have got the most CP out of this year. As I’ve mentioned before in this article and previous articles, Gardevoir-GX is a 230 HP tank with great typing and its own Energy acceleration. Aside from Metal decks, there isn’t much out there that outright beats Gardevoir-GX. It even has a great time against annoying mill decks like Sableye / Garbodor, Sylveon-GX and Wailord-EX because of its recovery and acceleration. With the addition of Diantha and Mysterious Treasure, Gardevoir-GX has the potential to be the best deck in Expanded.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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