Hit And Run, the Trashy Version — The New Expanded Hitmonchan

The Standard metagame has been evolving lately. Top-pick Reshiram and Charizard-GX was a popular deck is now abandoned by most top players. Perhaps it’s due to its highroll nature: if you draw well, the deck is impressive. But if you don’t (for example, if you don’t hit a Welder early), it’s underwhelming. At least, that’s what drove me away from the deck. In addition, the rising popularity of Reset Stamp (some decks are now playing a full four copies) means that Welder-based decks are not as strong as they used to be. Because of the need to get Welder and Fire Energy cards in the same hand, Reset Stamp is particularly effective against them.

On the other hand, Pikachu and Zekrom-GX, Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX, Pidgeotto Control, and Malamar have all shown to be reliable and powerful decks. As you’ve probably noticed by now, Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX is my personal preference, but any of these four decks has a shot at winning any given event. Blacephalon-GX / Naganadel comes close, and is mostly held back by Tapu Fini. However, if people choose to cut Tapu Fini from their decks, then Blacephalon-GX will become a real contender.

And then, of course, there’s Mewtwo and Mew-GX. Two very different variants of the deck won the two Regionals in Cologne and Atlantic City, played by some of the world’s best players. Azul Garcia Griego’s list fits into to the Perfection variant that won Worlds and kept doing well afterwards. Whereas Tord Reklev’s deck was much more innovative, using such unexpected cards as Shedinja, Lysandre Labs, Weakness Guard Energy, Hapu, Red's Challenge and Pokémon Communication. I’ve noticed more players have been experimenting with Rainbow Energy and Hapu, making their lists closer to what we expected the archetype to look like before Worlds.

I’ve been disenchanted by the Perfection variant for a while since the deck feels unreliable. You need to hit Welder to function, and you don’t get it in hand all the time. That’s why Tord’s list, which runs more Supporters and relies on Solgaleo-GX‘s Turbo Strike to accelerate Energy, is much more appealing to me. I’m not sure about some of the choices (mainly Shedinja and Weakness Guard Energy) but I think that this approach—more Supporters, less focus on using Welder, and a slower game plan with more emphasis Turbo Strike—is the better one.

At this point, I wish I had a good Mewtwo and Mew-GX list to unveil, but I haven’t played the deck much. I will definitely focus most of my efforts on it in the coming weeks, as I feel it could be a great play for the Nanterre (Paris) Special Event in November. For now that’s all for my thoughts, in Standard, at least.

When I’m tired of Standard, I try to play a few games of Expanded to keep up with that format. So much has changed since the latest Expanded events that the metagame is in an unknown state. To help you get a better understanding of the format, I’ll talk about a deck I’ve been playing ever since it’s been legal.

Hitmonchan / Wobbuffet — What Has Changed?

I attended the first Expanded Regional after the release of Team Up back in March, in Toronto. Long-time readers may recall that I was enthusiastic about the new Hitmonchan / Wobbuffet archetype, and wrote all about it before the event. Although that article is dated, don’t hesitate to give it a look if you’re looking for an introduction to the deck!

I did end up playing the deck in the tournament, getting Top 32 with it and only repeatedly losing to Trevenant. Moving forward, Jon Eng, who worked with me on the initial list kept refining the deck and made Day 2 with it at every Expanded Regional, finally reaching Top 8 at the last one in Hartford.

Hitmonchan / Wobbuffet relies on the simple idea of having Wobbuffet as your Active Pokemon. It’s Bide Barricade Ability shuts down popular Abilities such as Blastoise‘s Deluge, Shaymin-EX‘s Set Up, Zoroark-GX‘s Trade, etc. Many decks in Expanded rely on Abilities and Wobbuffet can singlehandedly shut them down. The most reliable attacker in the deck is Hitmonchan, which can hit for up to 90 damage for one Energy card (thanks to Muscle Band, Strong Energy, and Diancie Prism Star) and hide back behind Wobbuffet. The deck can run secondary attackers, usually Ultra Beasts which can have some very powerful effects for only one Energy card (think Buzzwole or Nihilego).

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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