So Close — Texas Regionals Summary and Thoughts on Expanded Moving Forward

Yet so far…

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:

Overall 13-2-3

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

Pokemon (19)

4x Zoroark-GX (SHL #53)4x Zorua (DEX #70)3x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #20)3x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Oranguru (ULP #114)1x Sudowoodo (GUR #66)1x Girafarig (LOT #94)1x Exeggcute (PLF #4)1x Articuno-GX (CES #31)

Trainers (35)

2x Lusamine (CRI #96)1x Colress (PLS #118)1x N (FAC #105)1x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)1x Brigette (BKT #134)1x Pokémon Fan Club (ULP #133)1x Team Skull Grunt (SM #133)1x Team Rocket's Handiwork (FAC #112)1x Plumeria (BUS #120)1x Hugh (BCR #130)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Gladion (CRI #95)1x Faba (LOT #173)1x Acerola (BUS #112)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (SHL #68)3x Counter Catcher (CRI #91)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)1x Float Stone (BKT #137)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Enhanced Hammer (GUR #124)1x Dowsing Machine (PLS #128)1x Silent Lab (PRC #140)1x Parallel City (BKT #145)

Energy (6)

4x Double Colorless Energy (SHL #69)2x Water Energy (EVO #93)

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