Hello readers, welcome back to another article here on The PTCGO Store! In this article, we are going to be talking about the results from the most recent expanded event, Richmond Regionals. We ended up seeing JW Kriewall take down the event with an unexpected deck in Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume. We are also going to be talking about what the best decks are going into Portland Regionals happening this weekend now that we have an expanded regional in the books. We saw Turbo Dark with a Weavile GX tech that made the deck’s bad Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume, and Zoroark Control matchups favored also get second place in the event, as well as quite a lot of Zoroark Control, Buzzwole/Garbodor, and other various popular expanded decks. We also saw that no Archie’s Blastoise, or Sableye/Garbodor decks make day two which came as quite a shock as many top players were preaching it to be the best deck in the format. With these new results, the format becomes more expected and players going into Portland will know more of what they need to test against when choosing their deck for the event.
What is the Best Deck in the Expanded Format?
I believe that in expanded formats, that there isn’t a best deck in the format as there are so many different decks that can be played and take the tournament by storm. For example, before Richmond regionals, the Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume deck wasn’t on anyone’s radar but, a couple people brought it to the tournament where they all ended up getting to eight in day two, three in Top 8, and eventually being crowned the Regional Champion. With such a vast card pool in expanded, stuff like this happens quite a bit where an under the radar deck comes out of nowhere and changes what was previously to be expected at an expanded tournament. Keeping this in mind, now that we have a known meta, I wouldn’t expect a new deck such as the Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume deck to take the tournament the same way it did in Richmond. There will always be people who bring very creative and unexpected decks to an expanded tournament, but I don’t think they are going to do as well because it is much harder now to find, and make a deck when keeping in mind every popular matchup in the meta. The best decks to either play or be able to beat going into Portland regionals include: Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume, Turbo Dark with a Weavile GX line, Zoroark Control, Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse, and Zoroark/Garbodor. These are the top 5 decks in the format that I would be ultimately prepared for or be keeping in mind for what I would play to the event.
What’s the Best Play Out of the Top 5?
The overall best play for this event from the top 5 that have the best matchups across the board, is none other than Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse. One of my good friends from Nashville, Drew Cate, took the deck all the way to a much deserved Top 4 finish at Richmond this past weekend. The deck is very powerful in its core strategy to be able to move all of your energy off of the active Gardevoir/Sylveon using Armoatisse’s ability, and either Max Potion or Acerola/AZ the Gardevoir. You then re-attach all the energy back onto a Gardevoir and keep attacking without slowing down when you heal. With cards like Fighting Fury Belt and Gardevoir/Sylveon’s massive 260 HP, it can quite frequently survive big hits throughout the whole game and heal off all those hits. The main reason why Gardevoir/Sylveon works in the expanded format, is because of the full effect Magical Miracle GX attack which when paired with either Power Plant or Silent Lab, can take away your opponent’s entire hand and ability lock them out of the game. This strategy is very good against any deck in the format as it forces your opponent to draw out of the GX attack with the 2-3 top decks they can safely grab before your Gardevoir/Sylveon takes too many prizes for them to comeback. Gardevoir/Sylveon also has access to Wonder Energy, which removes all effects from your opponent’s attacks. This is very relevant because of BUS Vileplume’s attack which apply special conditions on your Pokemon with its attack, and Articuno GX’s Cold Crush GX attack which is a very crucial piece in Zoroark/Control’s path to victory. Now that we know what the meta is going to look like, optimizing the list to include more outs to BUS Vileplume’s ability is going to be necessary in order to take the deck far in the tournament. With that being said, here is the slightly updated Gardevoir and Sylveon list for Portland regionals, based off of Drew Cate’s Top 4 list from Richmond.
Gardevoir/Sylveon and Armoatisse
Pokemon - 8
- 4 Gardevoir and Sylveon GX UNB
- 2 Spritzee UNB
- 2 Aromatisse XY
- 4 Professor Sycamore
- 3 N
- 3 Guzma
- 2 Acerola
- 1 Cynthia
- 1 AZ
- 1 Skyla
- 4 VS Seeker
- 4 Ultra Ball
- 4 Max Potion
- 4 Fighting Fury Belt
- 2 Float Stone
- 1 Field Blower
- 1 Super Rod
- 1 Computer Search
- 3 Silent Lab
- 2 Power Plant
Energy - 11
- 7 Basic Fairy Energy
- 4 Wonder Energy
About the list:
As you could probably tell, the list is exactly one card off of Drew Cate’s top 4 list with the inclusion of Super Rod over the 2nd Cynthia. Super Rod is a needed addition to the deck because of its ability to get back pieces of the Aromatisse line, and Basic Fairy energy against most importantly, the Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume deck. Every time I saw Drew Cate play on stream against the Rowlet/Eggs deck, getting back some pieces of the Aromatisse line and some energy would’ve won him the game he ended up losing. Other than that one change, I haven’t had any reason to dive too far off the original list as it did its job well, and was very consistent. With eight very strong draw supporters and 4 VS Seeker to reuse them, your chance of dead drawing at any point in the game and not setting up are very low which I really liked about the list.
Popular Matchups you should expect to play against in Portland
Turbo Dark: 45-55
is the most fast and aggressive deck currently playable in the expanded format. Because of this, Greninja
and Zoroark GX
can hit big numbers very fast, and consistently throughout the course of the game. This can cause a problem for Gardevoir/Sylveon because Turbo Dark can very easily OHKO early on in the game, which the deck isn’t built to deal with. The deck is built to go a bit of a slower route to victory, settling for two-shots and healing every relevant attack your opponent dishes out to you. Your main path to victory is to try and get a big KO on one of their main attacking Pokemon by using the full Magical Miracle GX attack while also putting down either Power Plant or Silent Lab, depending on the game state. This can completely slow down their damage output as they need to do 330 damage when taking Fighting Fury Belt and Gardevoir/Sylveon’s resistance into effect. If you can get the GX attack off and make them dead draw out of the game, you are going to win. Another thing to keep in mind for this matchup, is that you need to try and have Wonder Energy attached to any of you Gardevoir/Sylveon in play. This is crucial to have in play because Turbo Dark plays multiple copies of Darkrai GX
. Darkrai GX
has access to the Dead End GX attack, which when paired with Hypnotoxic Laser, can get a free OHKO on your active Pokemon. Wonder Energy stops that effect from happening, so it is always a good game plan to keep your Gardevoir/Sylveon as safe as possible. Matchup is still tough because of how fast Zoroark
and Greninja GX
can hit, but you are always in the game because of Gardevoir/Sylveon’s high HP when paired with Fighting Fury Belt + resistance, and how insanely powerful Magical Miracle GX is.
This matchup is very strange because the Rowlet/Egg GX attempts to set up multiple of the BUS Vileplume in order to stop your Gardevoir/Sylveon from attacking. This means you have to rely on attacking with your 90 HP Aromatisse that has an attack for two fairy and colorless that does 60 damage. When using that attack, it three shots an opposing BUS Vileplume while they two shot you back. It is a good thing that you have multiple healing options in Max Potion, Acerola, and AZ which can all be reused multiple times via VS Seeker. You also have access to Super Rod which can get back crucial energy and Aromatisse pieces. It is also very important to attach multiple Wonder Energy as it blocks Vileplume’s special conditions it places on your Pokemon with its attack. Without at least two Wonder Energy attached, they can Faba one of them and affect your Pokemon with a special condition which could possibly stop you from attacking for a turn or two. If they also attempt to set up the item locking Vileplume, play one of your Guzma and KO it with your Gardevoir/Sylveon as fast as you can before they can set up multiple of each Vileplume. It is very crucial to take out the item locking Vileplume as it stops you from being able to heal using Max Potion and VS Seeker to reuse your healing supporters. Since you have a good enough out to get through BUS Vileplume, this matchup is very favored unless you draw unfortunately, or prize double Spritzee like Drew Cate did in game two of his Top 4 match.
When playing against the most versatile and overall most powerful combo heavy deck in the expanded format, you have to play very well and manage every bit of your resources as best as you can. The main key to this matchup is to have as many Wonder Energy as you can on your active Gardevoir/Sylveon so your opponent can never use Articuno’s Cold Crush GX attack effect, while also preparing for a Magical Miracle GX+Power Plant turn. The best way to see how this matchup works/is played out is to watch the Top 8 streamed match between Drew Cate and Rowan Stavenow from Richmond. The match is a great, high level example of how Gardevoir/Sylveon can beat Zoroark/Control as Drew Cate did many times throughout the tournament.
Similar to the Zoroark/Control matchup, you want to try and Magical Miracle GX as fast as possible with a Power Plant to stop them from using Trade. This severely limits the huge amount of options Zoroark/Garbodor usually has, and leaves them hoping to top deck unless they have cards benched like Marshadow UNB
or Oranguru SUM. If they have one, but not the other, it is a good idea to Guzma the same turn and KO it so they are then forced to top deck. Zoroark/Garbodor, similar to Buzzwole/Garbodor, also has no way to OHKO you unless they pull off an insane Iris and Lt. Surge combo, or there is a lot of items in your discard pile. Usually Zoroark is going to try and two-shot you and attempt to disrupt you as much as possible by playing N, and shutting off Aromatisse’s ability with Garbotoxin Garbodor. Shutting off Aromatisse is troubling as you can’t Max Potion as freely, but good thing Acerola saves the energy on board, and you can Kaleidostorm onto the benched Gardevoir/Sylveon in preparation for that. Since Zoroark/Garbodor does have outs to draw out of Magical Miracle GX more quickly than Zoroark/Control, this matchup becomes very close and is mostly decided by how badly their N’s stick, and if you miss multiple turns of healing their damage. The matchup isn’t all too bad, but you do struggle in some points in the game because of Zoroark/Garbodor’s vast amount of options to disrupt and apply pressure.
(anti-meta pick that saw a lot of play at Richmond): 85-15
Buzzwole/Garbodor is a popular, anti-meta one prize deck that is played to have weakness advantage over fighting and psychic weak Pokemon. The deck does not dish out large numbers or has any OHKO potential outside of a late game Trashalanche attack or when Buzzwole has its Sledgehammer turn. This matchup is heavily favored for Gardevoir/Sylveon because Gardevoir/Sylveon has a lot of HP, and just so happens to not have a weakness to either fighting, or psychic. Your deck is also not as reliant on items as other decks are in the expanded format, so their deck has no way to OHKO you unless you heavily play into Trashalanche. Your game plan going into this matchup is to take as many KO’s as fast as you can while setting up for a Magical Miracle GX turn. Every time they hit into you for relevant damage, just simply either Acerola, AZ, or Max Potion the Gardevoir/Sylveon after moving it’s energies off of it. This will stop them from ever being able to take a big knockout on your Gardevoir/Sylveon, and should then put you in a prime position to win before they can ever put enough pressure on you. This is a matchup you should feel excited about hitting as long as you manage your item usage, and don’t get a terrible opening hand if they happen to Let Loose you early on.
With a new chapter added to the already large book of expanded, Portland is looking like a meta to be filled with Rowlet/Alolan Exeguttor, Zoroark/Control, Zoroark/Garbodor, Turbo Dark, and Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse. This new meta is panning out to look like a big Gardevoir/Sylveon win because of its very overwhelming defensive, and disruptive strategy.
Thank you all for reading my article on my thoughts on how Portland regionals is going to look like with the aftermath of Richmond regionals, and why playing Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse is the key to success this weekend. Be sure to check back here on The PTCGO Store regularly for many more articles from me to come, and to pick up some great deals on any codes you may need to build your decks on PTCGO. Shout outs go to Drew Cate for helping me with some of the matchup descriptions, and for his amazing Top 4 finish last weekend. I’d also like to thank my team, Nerd Rage Gaming, for sponsoring me. I’ll see you all next time in the next article, and best of luck to all attending Portland regionals this weekend.