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.)

Tier 1

  1. Yveltal
  2. Turbo Dark/Darkrai Dragons
  3. Primal Groudon
  4. Toad Variants

Tier 2

  1. Decidueye Variants
  2. Night March
  3. Vespiquen/Flareon

Tier 3

  1. Mega Gardevoir EX (Steam Siege)
  2. Trevenant BREAK
  3. Wobbuffet/Accelgor

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.

Yveltal

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

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

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.

Toad Variants

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.

32 Comments
  1. Diancie23 3 years ago

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    Is Diancie EX good in Expanded @drew1504 ?

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      No. There are better ways to do what it does. The new Golisipod is almost equal to the one from Fates Collide. Gollisipod has 20 less HP and is a stage 1, but Golisopod only gives 1 prize. The promo is floppy, and it is easy to KO, and the Mega is too hard to power up.

  2. sycofMORE 3 years ago

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    Expanded seems more fun than Standard

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      It’s a personal preference. I like Expanded, but it’s because I like seeing how people can break the format. The downside is some of the available locks. If you play Trev or Vileplume, its almost impossible to miss a T1 item lock.

    • YveltalGarb 3 years ago

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      That does not sound like fun to me, already hating Vileplume in Standard so much

    • Author
      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      It is beatable. Don’t worry too much, the high amount of decks also dilutes the presence of Vileplume.

  3. Alex 3 years ago

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    Good article indeed! We could use someone that knows a thing or two about Expanded. Are you planning on writing more articles on the Expanded format? If so, looking forward to them! And oh yeah, welcome!

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      Next, I plan on writing about Dark Variants. I do not know what after that. I might try to compile a list of all 20-30ish somewhat viable decks and start going over them? I don’t know, It’s a possibility!

    • Alex 3 years ago

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      Sounds like two very good options to me.

  4. Jake 3 years ago

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    Nice Article @drew1504 ! Welcome to the crew! I only play standard but i remember the days when Night March was broken just like Garbodor is now… Oh the good old days… NOT! 😀

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      Thanks! Luckily, in Expanded, there are no Hyper-Aggressive decks with absolutely no counter. 🙂

    • Volcaniown 3 years ago

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      THen what counters dark variants? Not much right?

    • Sten 3 years ago

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      Carbink.deck xD

  5. Donchi 3 years ago

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    Which of the top tier 1 decks is the cheapest to build?

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      If you are trying to build a budget deck from scratch, I would not play a tier 1 deck. The main difference between the tier 1 and 2 decks on this list is that the tier 1s have no major or hard auto loss that is being played. Your two best tier two options are Vespiquen and Night March for budget. Outside of Shaymin and Jirachi/Tapu Lele, there are no super pricey cards that these decks use. The biggest difference is that Vespiquen can be countered by Archeops and Night March can’t. Vespiquen gets around this by playing a copy or 2 of wobbuffet. The only counter against Night March is Karen, but if Night March plays conservatively and is not under item lock, it should be able to recover.

    • Sten 3 years ago

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      Greninja will always be the best budget deck, standard or expanded. You lose to Archeops, but if your meta isn’t filled with Yveltal Maxies, you’re good! I’d rather play the most optimal list of a certain achetype over a watered down list, Night March or Bees are so bad without Shaymin. The good Bees list even run a couple of Beaches now too! That’s a couple of hundred bucks for a couple of cards…

    • Author
      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      Personally, I disagree. Greninja is incredibly limited, and is almost too slow to compete. There are many better things to be doing also. Accelgor/Wobbuffet is better and Raikou/Eels is better. Greninja is also shut down by Wob, Hex, and any Garb. It is also prone to bad starts. Archeops takes up too big of the meta. There are just too many problems with Greninja in Expanded.

    • Sten 3 years ago

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      I agree that Ninjas have a lot of problems in Expanded, but I am going with Ninjas because it is the cheapest to build. You can’t say Accelgor/Eels or Raikou/Eels are better or that there are too many Archeops , not knowing his meta. But yeah those are relatively cheap decks to build, I think Raikou only needs one Shaymin, Jirachi or Lele. So depending on your meta, what you want to accomplish with it and wether you want to play it mainly online or also sanctioned tournaments some decks are better than others.

  6. Author
    Latte1504 3 years ago

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    I doubt it. Shaymin allows this by giving a second out to draw cards. VS Seeker allows you to play these Supporters as 1-ofs and still use them multiple times. I believe that effect Supporters will effectively disappear after this year.

    • Patric 3 years ago

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      It all depends on what other tech cards we get, Oranguru as example. When both players have to rely more on these cards while access to consistent draw-supporters is difficult, tech supporters may see more play. However, the exact opposite also may be the case. Also, of course, it depends on what kinds of supporters we get in the future.

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      The speed would outweigh the effect. I believe Oranguru would not draw enough; however, I believe Octillary could sustain a deck.

    • Volcaniown 3 years ago

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      Octillery too slow to be competitive, there are better and faster ways of drawing cards.

  7. Patric 3 years ago

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    A good read. I actually am not a fan of Expanded, i rarely if ever play that format. So it is nice to be well informed about it this way. So glad Shaymin EX rotates out of Standard soon, so sorry for Expanded players still having to combat that annoying thing.

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      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      I believe your opinion on Shaymin is valid, but I’d rather have it than not. If it weren’t here, we would be in a similar place we were 4 years age: hoping to open with a supporter in hand, and being able to chain those supporters all game.

    • Patric 3 years ago

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      True, however id much rather have a card like Tapu Lele than Shaymin. I feel like the explosive first turns Shaymin EX allowed are toxic for the game.

    • Author
      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      To this, I can definitely agree. I would like to see a card like Claydol from Great Encounters to fill a consistency hole. I would love a bigger way to use all of the effect supporters we have, instead of playing a draw supporter almost every turn to remain effective.

    • Patric 3 years ago

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      I agree, we have a lot of supporters, but what we use most of the time is either pure draw support or Lysandre. The current climate makes it almost impossible to “waste a turn” on a supporter that does not give you big card advantage.
      Maybe the rotation of Shaymin + VS Seeker and the release of Tapu Lele will change that, at least somewhat.

  8. Sten 3 years ago

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    Nice read! I have a Expanded League Cup next week, Archeops will probably keep Garbodor in check and Night March as isn’t bad against Garbodor. But those can be easily teched against. Still don’t know what to play, I am expecting a couple of Groudons for sure. Also I feel like you can’t compare Toad Bats with Toad Owls. They have two different play styles imo. You can put Toad Bats and Toad Tina more in the distruption catergory and Toad Owls more in the aggro category. I actually would rather attack with Miltank in some matchups in Toad Owls. Anyways nice short article. Hit me up with your PTCGO if you ever want to playtest.

    • Author
      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      Thanks! As a person who plays primarily Yveltal, I would tell you to play an Yveltal deck, especially if it will be a very heavy Groudon meta. Yveltal can do heavy snipes with Yveltal from Breakthrough, and then clean up with Yveltal EX, after all Groudon does take four energy. You could also try playing a Vespiquen deck. Keep in mind that both of these decks should have good Match-ups against the meta as a whole, not just against Groudon.

    • Sten 3 years ago

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      I haven’t put enough games to be comfortable playing Yveltal Maxies honestly, VespiFlareon straight losses to Item Lock and Tina. I’d probably play Toad Bats, Volc or Turbo Dark. Might even make a Expanded Garb lol. What even beats Garbodor in an unprepared meta outside of Archeops, wich you can play around with Hex, Wobb or Garbotoxin. Tool Drop Trubbish Garb sounds fun to play lol.

  9. Kirstin22 3 years ago

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    I have an Yveltal standard deck and want to try it out Expanded, does it need much other (expensive) cards to make it meta for Expanded? I also already have three tapu lele.

    • Author
      Latte1504 3 years ago

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      Some of the biggest cards for an Expanded Yveltal build are Dark Patch, Battle Compressor, and IMO, Darkrai-EX from Dark Explorers and Legendary Treasures, as well as being a Tin Promo. I plan to write an article about Yveltal and Turbo Dark in Expanded soon.

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