Expanded Horizons — Taking a Standard Favorite into Expanded

Hello PokeBeach readers! Isaiah here and I’m happy to be bringing you all another article! Last time, I talked about the unique Electrode-GX hand lock deck in the somewhat unpopular Expanded format. Today, I decided that I would like to keep with the trend of talking about the Expanded format, but in a different way.

As of right now, Expanded is a bit of a confusing format. I talked a lot about the format’s metagame in my previous article, but one thing that I did not really explain is the metagame’s bizarre developmental nature. For the past year, most of the good decks in Expanded have been the same stuff as during the last events of 2020, with decks like Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX and Turbo Dark (Greninja and Zoroark-GX / Weavile-GX) still at the forefront of the metagame. Normally, this is because the decks are good, and they certainly are, but based on the past progression of Expanded formats, decks are usually pushed out of the metagame in this amount of time unless they go through drastic changes (funnily enough, Turbo Dark is an excellent example of this). Expanded format, however, has gotten to this weird point where, no matter how good the new decks are, the old decks stand strong, creating an almost stale metagame, with good new decks being a rarity.

One part of this that I do not see as coincidental is that there is a low amount of Expanded events in the online tournament space. Not only that, but an overwhelming majority of the events are held with 48 Hour Rounds, so they usually end about two weeks after they start. As a result, there is a bizarre phenomenon where two events, called A and B, that start a week apart will base their metagames off of the same event that occurred before both of them, but then a third event, called C, will occur that bases its metagame off the now complete event A and event D will do the same, but by looking at event B.

This pattern continues to repeat itself over and over with no actual metagame development. This problem does not exist everywhere, however. In my home state of Iowa, a few tournament organizers have decided to start up their own event series called the Pokemon Iowa Experience, also known as PIE.

What is PIE?

For an abbreviated rundown of how the event series works, each month, five of the bigger stores in the State run a small event with a structure comparable to that of a League Challenge or League Cup, depending on the size. Each of those events awards “points” that we call EXP, and that EXP is used to qualify for an invitation to an Iowa Invitational Event, sort of like a State Championship, during the summer of 2022.

In the interest of accommodating the most number of players possible, the format played at events changes throughout the year, alternating between Standard and Expanded every two months. Currently, we are wrapping up the second month of Expanded format tournaments, and the results have been interesting to see. With a total of ten events in two months, Expanded saw a surprising amount of development, even if only on a local metagame scale. For reference, I won the first of these events with this notably basic Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Dragonite V deck list:

Pokemon (11)

2x Dragonite V (EVS #192)2x Dedenne-GX (UNB #57)1x Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX (COE #156)1x Naganadel and Guzzlord-GX (COE #158)1x Zeraora-GX (LOT #86)1x Vikavolt V (DAA #60)1x Tapu Koko Prism Star (TEU #51)1x Crobat V (DAA #104)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)

Trainers (36)

4x Professor Juniper (DEX #98)2x Guzma and Hala (COE #193)1x Guzma (BUS #115)1x N (NVI #92)1x Raihan (EVS #152)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)4x Quick Ball (SSH #179)4x Tag Call (COE #206)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)3x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)2x Float Stone (PLF #99)2x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)1x Field Blower (GUR #125)2x Stormy Mountains (EVS #161)

Energy (13)

4x Double Dragon Energy (RSK #97)9x Lightning Energy (HS #118)
I am not going to go too deep into this deck list (if you are interested, it’s quite similar to the list from this article and I explain everything there), but I wanted to include it for one major purpose; it is incredibly basic, with no major differences from most other lists. At the time, I chose the deck because it seemed to be pretty good and it was easy to get a list. At the event itself, I hit a lot of decks with similar mentalities, with only one real standout deck for the time being a Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX. Here are the Top 4 decks from that event, which took place on December 4th:

  1. Arceus and Dialga and Palkia-GX / Dragonite V
  2. Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX
  3. Volcarona V
  4. Pikachu and Zekrom-GX

Now, how about we take a look at the standings for the most recent event, that occurred on January 22nd:

  1. Mew VMAX / Genesect V
  2. Mew VMAX / Genesect V
  3. Zoroark Toolbox (centered around Vespiquen)
  4. Quad Honchkrow-GX

As you can see, there is an absolutely remarkable difference in these metagames, showing the power of having more frequent events for the format. Notably, one player even said that they came up with a never-before-seen deck that could take down Mew VMAX, showing that the metagame has even more developmental potential if not for the upcoming format switch.

Stepping back, I did gloss over a slight bombshell deck in the standings of the second event. Mew VMAX? In Expanded? You read that right.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

If you'd like to continue reading, consider purchasing a PokeBeach premium membership! If you're not completely satisfied with your membership, you can request a full refund within 30 days.

Each week we post high-quality content from some of the game's top players. Our article program isn't a corporate operation, advertising front, or for-profit business. We set our prices so that we can pay the game's top players to write the best content for our subscribers. Each article topic is carefully selected, goes through multiple drafts, and is touched up by our editors. We take great pride in our program!