Note; This is a community article. Pokéspot does not necessarily share any opinion nor do we back up any statement made within this article.
I am a player from the Northeastern United States, and I have been playing the game for 2 years. It has come to my knowledge that there is very little content about the Expanded Format on this website, but I intend to change that. I believe that I feel like I know a lot about this format. Therefore, I will be discussing many of the most common cards and archetypes of the format in this article.
The Expanded format is the second format that is used in sanctioned tournaments. The card pool starts with the Black and White set, which was the May 2011 set, meaning it came out 6 years ago to Guardians Rising. This format has 15 sets more than Standard, which means that Expanded format has 25 sets, plus well over 200 Promo Cards. Hence, there is a wider spread of archetypes compared to the Standard format.
Here is a list of Major Deck archetypes, sorted roughly by tier:
(Please note that this list is made mostly from the amount of CP that each deck gained over the course of the Black & White through the Sun & Moon set.)
- Turbo Dark/Darkrai Dragons
- Primal Groudon
- Toad Variants
- Decidueye Variants
- Night March
- Mega Gardevoir EX (Steam Siege)
- Trevenant BREAK
This is a rather abridged list of decks, and there are many others you could choose from. For example, decks like Mega Rayquaza and Raikou/Eelektrik should probably be ranked around Tier 3.
Each of the decks that I have put at tier one has a unique playstyle. Yveltal can respond to anything, Darkrai Variants are incredibly fast (much faster than in Standard), Primal Groudon is unlikely to lose if it can set up undisturbed, and Seismitoad is the master of disruption.
Not many of the Tier one decks have a direct counter. Because Yveltal can be so versatile, nothing can outright beat it. Mega Rayquaza used to keep it in check, but Israel Sosa created a version that used Silent Lab and Parallel City to force Rayquaza to use a tremendous amount of resources. Vespiquen/Flareon could keep it in check, but Yveltal can use a Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick in order to put an Archeops from Noble Victories onto the bench and block evolutions.
Darkrai is unparalleled in speed, and data is showing a new trend towards including cards such as the Salamence-EX Promo and Giratina-EX from Ancient Origins in order to become more versatile. Salamence can shut down decks like Mega Rayquaza and Volcanion by dealing immense amounts of damage. Giratina can stop Mega decks with its ability, or its attack can be used to slow down decks that rely on Stadiums, Special Energy, or Tools. Even if you decide to run straight Darkrai, you are still piloting one of, if not the most, consistent decks of the format, and it will be incredibly quick.
Primal Groudon is the exact opposite of Darkrai: it is slowest deck in the format. It is also one of the most powerful should be able to set up two Groudons. Groudon is incredibly difficult to OHKO, but it can take an OHKO on almost everything, so it can create an incredibly favorable prize exchange against EX and GX decks. The only problem: the attack requires four colored energies. Therefore, this deck needs a way to slow down the incredible draw of decks these days. The perfect answer is to this though, is Wobbuffet. Its ability shuts down abilities like Shaymin’s Set Up and Jirachi’s Stellar Guidance as long as it is active. This usually gives Groudon enough time to set up at least a single Groudon, if not 2; however, if the opponent has a good enough start through the Wobbuffet lock, the game is mostly sealed.
The last deck that I will be giving a summary of are the Toad Variants. The two biggest ones are Seismitoad/Decidueye and Seismitoad/Crobat. Seismitoad/Decidueye was originally seen to be a replacement for Seismitoad/Crobat because it would drop a constant stream of damage counters; however, it requires a significant amount of space. Decidueye needs a thicker line to support it, usually a 4-4-3 or a 4-3-3, Forest of Giant Plants, Revitalizers, and depending on how you want to play it, also Super Scoop Up. Crobat just needs what is usually a 4-3-2 line and Super Scoop Ups. What this ultimately means is consistency can outweigh damage.
The Impact of Guardians Rising
Guardians Rising is a huge set, both in number of cards, and in number of playable cards. Much like in Standard, two of the biggest cards are Tapu Lele GX and Garbodor. However, I believe that their impacts will be limited in comparison to their impacts in Standard. Before Tapu Lele GX, there was Jirachi EX and Mewtwo EX. Jirachi EX carried the ability and Mewtwo EX carried the attack. That is why Tapu Lele GX will not be as relevant as it could be. There is a small debate on whether or not you should use Jirachi EX or Lele. Jirachi EX can be searched via Hoopa EX or Level Ball, but Lele can’t, but Lele has far superior bottom stats (Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat). Therefore, in a deck that plays neither Level Ball nor Hoopa, you should always play Tapu Lele. If you play Hoopa, I believe that Lele will usually be superior. Only if you were to play a high Level Ball count, then I believe that it might be beneficial to use Jirachi over Lele.
Garbodor has a smaller impact on Expanded than it has had on Standard, which is interesting because Expanded decks tend to be incredibly Item-Heavy. This is mostly because of Archeops from Noble Victories, which can be used to block evolutions from the hand. Moreover, it is a Stage 1 fossil Pokemon, so you could get it out quickly with Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. A few other decks take advantage of this card, including Yveltal and Night March. However, those also tend to be 2 of the biggest offenders of the overuse of items. Darkrai is the third, but it has Psychic resistance. Moreover, when used with a Fighting Fury Belt, it has 220 HP, so the Darkrai player needs 12 items in the discard. However, most players can play around this number.
Thank you for reading my first article. If you have any questions, please drop a comment and ask, and I will reply as soon as possible.