So Close — Texas Regionals Summary and Thoughts on Expanded Moving Forward
Some days you hate Expanded, on others you love it. I loved Expanded in Dallas. While many games may have felt odd, I had to play my best to get as far as I did and show off mastery of a deck that can be incredibly difficult to play. I never felt like I got particularly lucky or anything like that — the games I won I felt in control, with most of the game handed to me as a player to react to what plays my opponent made. Playing a control deck like I did can have this sort of effect.
Seismitoad-EX / Zoroark-GX was the best play for this event with the last minute addition of Hugh to the deck; thank you Daniel Altavilla for the amazing addition. I got close to winning, but was fell by Dean Nezam in the finals. I’ve had a lot of good games with Nezam throughout the years and this set was no different. Not drawing the greatest, I had to develop a unique route to win the second game after losing a close first, arguably due to a critical mistake; but things came crashing down again in the third one when I overthought a big decision and made the wrong call: choosing not to attach a Fighting Fury Belt. My Seismitoad-EX was blown back by a huge Riotous Beating and the game was Nezam’s for the taking with time running out.
All things considered, while Zoroark-GX does truly dominate Expanded, the format is not as bad as everyone says. It’s incredibly diverse with a lot of options, and once you start playing at the highest level against or with control decks many matches feel as strategic and deep as a game of chess.
I played the traditional Seismitoad-EX / Zoroark-GX deck but switched up some of the Trainer slots to adapt for what I expected. My matchups:
- 1 versus Blastoise / Magikarp and Wailord-GX 1-0-0
- 1 versus Primal Groudon-EX 0-1-0
- 1 versus Rayquaza-GX 1-0-0
- 1 versus Unown DAMAGE 1-0-0
- 2 versus Garbodor / Drampa-GX 1-0-1
- 2 versus Intentional Draw 0-0-2
- 2 versus Trevenant BREAK 2-0-0
- 2 versus Zoroark-GX / Exodia 2-0-0
- 3 versus Zoroark-GX / Garbodor 3-0-0
- 3 versus Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX 2-1-0
I played against a large variety of decks and felt like I was in every game with a chance to win.
In the end, Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX took me down. The combination of an attacker hitting Seismitoad-EX for Weakness and another option for one-hit Knock Outs in Zoroark-GX proved to be too much in the end, especially within time constraints in a winner-takes-all game three in the finals.
This all said, while Expanded does have some toxic combinations, I don’t think any of them are overwhelmingly strong to the point where there needs to be a mass exodus of bans. If I had the chance to weigh in, I would vote for Exeggcute and Lusamine. While I’m not a huge fan of degenerate cards, even like Seismitoad-EX “not allowing your opponent to play the game”, it’s not super strong anymore, damage-wise, so that it becomes a strategic counterpart for many decks like Seismitoad-EX / Zoroark-GX. I think the true problem rests with cards that allow you to play “for free”. Zoroark-GX and its Trade were almost certainly designed so that a player would have to make an important decision as to which card to discard and not just have a freebie with Propagation. Lusamine operates in a similar fashion and doesn’t promote thoughtful gameplay when you’re just getting another Lusamine back each turn when you’re abusing the loop.
Enough about that, here’s the list I used:
The Final List
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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