The Next Big Thing? Ultra Necrozma in Expanded

Hello everyone! In case you’re wondering about the sudden attention being given to the Expanded format, it’s because the next American Regional, Dallas, will be using this less-played format. As such, my attention and this article will also be geared towards Expanded. As far as an actual meta, it’s hard to get a clear indication. With Cosmic Eclipse‘s release and the bans of many significant disruption cards, we are heading into uncharted territory for this upcoming format. All we have to go off of are League Cups and the PTCGO ladder, so we are essentially heading in blind. However, one deck that has gained a lot of sudden attention is Ultra Necrozma / Garbodor. This deck is already considered to be a strong deck in the Expanded format. Across the few Expanded League Cups thus far, Ultra Necrozma has been a consistent performer. Additionally, it’s everywhere on the online ladder and social media. From the looks of it, Ultra Necrozma could be the next big meta deck in Expanded.

Is Ultra Necrozma actually good though? Well, yes. Ultra Necrozma only has one attack, but that attack is ridiculous. For just a Double Dragon Energy, it can punch for 170 damage while also discarding an Energy off your opponent’s Active for good measure. Of course, Ultra Necrozma is a Basic Pokemon, so it can start hitting immediately. As you are probably aware, Ultra Necrozma’s Ability is an attempt to balance the card from being too broken. Under normal circumstances, Ultra Necrozma cannot start attacking until the opponent is down to two Prizes. To get around this, Ultra Necrozma decks play Silent Lab and Garbodor. Traditionally, these cards have been powerful enough in their own right because they shut down opponent’s Abilities. In this case, their primary function is to turn off Ultra Necrozma’s self-limiting Ability. Disrupting opponents is just a bonus.

The end result is a ridiculously powerful Basic Pokemon swinging for at least 170 every single turn while your opponent is Ability locked. This is a lot of pressure for just about anything to handle, even by Expanded’s standards.

However, after playing with or against the deck a few times, you may notice that it isn’t extremely consistent and may miss an attack every once in awhile. This is probably for the better, because it does balance the deck a bit and make it beatable. But why is it that such a powerful combination doesn’t always win? What is it lacking in consistency?

Ultra Necrozma plays from the hand. It constantly needs to find a backup attacker and a precious Double Dragon Energy in order to keep attacking with multiple Ultra Necrozma. Additionally, if your opponent ever cancels the Ability lock (probably with Field Blower), you’re going to need to replace that as well. Furthermore, Ultra Necrozma has no support Pokemon to replenish its hand, which makes it extremely vulnerable to N. As it takes Prize cards, the opponent will be able to use N to reduce Ultra Necrozma’s hand lower and lower. This makes it less and less likely that Ultra Necrozma continues to find the pieces it needs to attack.

Zoroark-GX is another example of a deck that plays from the hand, but it doesn’t have consistency issues because of its constant access to multiple Trade Abilities. Other Expanded decks, such as Turbo Dark or Gardevoir and Sylveon-GX / Aromatisse, play from the board by accelerating Energy early on, so they are low maintenance in the later stages of the game and are less vulnerable to N. This is a trend in Standard too, as decks have to worry about Reset Stamp. Green's Exploration decks that have to play from the hand in the late-game are forced to run Omastar so they don’t automatically fold to Reset Stamp. Most other decks have access to Jirachi.

What I’m saying here is that Ultra Necrozma / Garbodor is high maintenance and lacks the support to consistently keep up with it. It’s very vulnerable to N. Don’t get me wrong, Ultra Necrozma / Garbodor is still a strong deck. I’m just trying to make it better.

My fix to this is extremely simple. I cut Garbodor altogether and added Octillery. Octillery is an incredible support Pokemon that doesn’t conflict with Silent Lab. Abyssal Hand a great Ability that improves consistency throughout the entire game. You won’t be missing attacks very often. The trade off for Octillery is Garbodor. I do not think Garbodor is needed at all in Ultra Necrozma. Silent Lab is more that sufficient to enable Ultra Necrozma for the entire game. You lose access to a potential Trashalanche Garbodor as an attacker, but that’s fine. We can easily streamline consistency without playing Psychic Energy or Rainbow Energy. We do not need Trashalanche as an extra attacker because we can simply use as many Ultra Necrozma as we need. The real sacrifice here is losing access to Garbotoxin’s disruptive effects against our opponent, but I believe this is a worthwhile price to pay for the insane boost in consistency that Octillery offers.

List and Explanations

Alright, it’s time to get to the list! I will say that Octillery isn’t a revolutionary idea. Octillery has been heavily discussed as a partner for Ultra Necrozma. It’s just that Garbodor seems to be the more popular partner by far. My list for Ultra Necrozma is my own, and it’s been edited and refined through testing. I think this deck is extremely strong for Expanded, though it’s not without weaknesses.

Pokemon (9)

4x Ultra Necrozma (COE #164)2x Octillery (BKT #33)2x Remoraid (CRI #22)1x Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (COE #220)

Trainers (47)

4x Guzma and Hala (COE #193)3x Teammates (PRC #141)1x Cynthia and Caitlin (COE #189)1x Guzma (BUS #115)4x Tag Call (COE #206)4x Nest Ball (SM #123)4x Level Ball (NXD #89)4x Bicycle (PLS #117)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)3x Float Stone (BKT #137)2x Fighting Fury Belt (BKP #99)2x Rescue Stretcher (GUR #130)2x Special Charge (STS #105)2x Great Catcher (COE #192)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)4x Silent Lab (PRC #140)

Energy (4)

4x Double Dragon Energy (RSK #97)

Techs are for chumps, this list is straight gas. This deck is simple. Constantly attack with Ultra Necrozma while refilling your hand with Octillery. Take six Prizes before your opponent. Easy.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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