Richmond Regionals this coming weekend has the potential to be a hot mess. Not only is it the first Expanded Regionals of the season, it’s the first Expanded tournament to include Unbroken Bonds and Unified Minds, so it’s going to be a learning experience for everyone. It’s been so long since the last Expanded event, and there are so many new cards, that it’s hard to say for sure which decks will be successful. Furthermore, since new banlist updates (mostly targeting control archetypes) have been announced but not yet implemented, we are stuck with a handful of oppressive cards that should and will be banned, but are still legal for Richmond. Yikes.
In an attempt to simplify things, I’ve divided the current Expanded format into three main groups of archetypes, which I’m calling conservative, degenerate, and fast.
Additionally, here are some decks that have seen recent discussion and hype among community members, but that I personally believe aren’t very good:
- Greninja BREAK
- M Rayquaza-EX
- Mewtwo and Mew-GX / M Gardevoir-EX
- Primal Groudon-EX
- Shock Lock
- Trevenant BREAK
Altogether, the above collection of decks comprises almost all of what might be viable in our current Expanded format. There is always potential for something new and unexpected to pop up, especially with such a vast card pool, but this should be the baseline.
Playing one of the “conservative” decks in Richmond does not seem like a good idea to me. With so many people likely to be playing a “fast” deck (because they usually feature the simplest strategies, and thus have the largest margin for error), it will be hard for the conservative decks to keep up. With the exception of Hitmonchan, conservative decks may have slightly better matchups against “degenerate” (control) decks than fast decks do, but it’s not a huge upside. Playing a control deck, meanwhile, has little to no merit if you don’t think you can beat everything with it. Personally, I believe that the majority of attendees will gravitate towards faster decks. Many of these decks’ core lists and strategies have been around for years now, and people are comfortable with them!
My estimated metagame breakdown for Richmond Regionals is as follows (using a ~300 Masters estimate–at the time of this publishing, 317 Masters are registered):
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