Legendary Trio — Moltres & Zapdos & Articuno-GX in Expanded

Hello again PokeBeach readers, Caleb Gedemer here with some updates on an interesting rogue deck in the Expanded format. Moltres and Zapdos and Articuno-GX is not a commonly played Tag Team in Standard, but in Expanded, it gains a variety of additional tools that can make it the centerpiece of a surprisingly strong deck. This archetype originated in the hands of Drew Kennett, who most recently took it to a Top 16 placement at the last Expanded Regionals.

The premise of this deck is as follows:

  • Your main attacker, Moltres and Zapdos and Articuno-GX deals a very solid 210 damage for four Energy
  • Sky Legends GX, when used to full effect, can clear multiple weak or low-HP Pokemon off the board at once
  • Ho-Oh-EX is played for its Rebirth Ability: get some different types of basic Energy into the discard pile, flip a heads, and then use Ninja Boy to turn your fully-charged Ho-Oh-EX into a Moltres and Zapdos and Articuno-GX, attach another Energy, and start swinging!

This might sound complicated, but it’s perfectly doable, and I believe there’s an even better way to execute this strategy. The list I’ll be talking about today differs from Drew’s in a few ways. Here’s Drew’s 60 from his Top 16 finish:

Pokemon (19)

3x Moltres and Zapdos and Articuno-GX (HIF #44)3x Ho-Oh-EX (DRX #22)2x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)2x Mew (FAC #29)2x Marshadow (SHL #45)2x Litleo (LOT #50)2x Pyroar (FLF #20)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Marshadow-GX (BUS #80)1x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)

Trainers (30)

2x Ninja Boy (STS #103)1x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x Faba (LOT #173)1x Colress (PLS #118)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (SHL #68)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Battle Compressor (PHF #92)2x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Reset Stamp (UNM #206)1x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)1x Viridian Forest (TEU #156)

Energy (11)

3x Water Energy (EVO #93)3x Lightning Energy (EVO #94)3x Fire Energy (EVO #92)2x Weakness Guard Energy (UNM #213)

You’ll notice, of course, a few banned cards in there. Those obviously need to go, and after testing this deck with those cards removed, I think a bit of a different structure is needed. Rest assured, the banned cards were by no means necessary to make the deck competitive, they simply made it better, as they did for most archetypes. The main problem I have found in this build is the reliance on Ninja Boy. While it is a guaranteed way to get a Moltres and Zapdos and Articuno-GX powered up after flipping heads on Rebirth, it can be difficult to do that and then still be able to do something else on your turn since you cannot play another Supporter. My testing has led me to prefer a somewhat different approach to the deck using Energy Switch and Max Elixir. This leads to a faster and more draw-based list, rather than a slower list that guarantees combos, but I would rather play a draw Supporter for the turn than be “forced” to use Ninja Boy just to attack. Another card I’ve added is Sky Field: with it in the deck, you have more Bench space for using Rebirth as well as playing down your setup Pokemon.

Here’s my complete updated list:

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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