Expanding on Expanded – Meta Monday

Expanded format is the new Black.

Now that several regional events are in the Expanded Format, the format is growing and gaining in popularity. Our local League has always been in Expanded Format as it allows a wider variety of deck to be used. Additionally since the ‘Nightmarsh’ deck doesn’t utilise Tapu Lele-GX it is extremely affordable and competitive at the same time!

Night Marsh

Expanded Format allows anything from Black & White set (circa 2011 onwards) to be used with the exception of a short banlist. From a competitive viewpoint there are a variety of ‘viable’ decks in Expanded, and even more with the latest Sun & Moon block. Play tends to be faster and EX Pokémon are featured heavily being basis of several strong decks, although there are an equal number which do not rely on such Pokémon

This post has a short overview of some Expanded deck archetypes – although we’re going to look at the winning deck from the latest US Expanded regional (Fort Wayne) and then a re-hash of 2 expanded deck archetypes combined into one!


Night March / Marshadow aka ‘Nightmarsh’ 

Nightmarsh is similar to the typical Night March decks that dominated Standard Format in 2015-16. In Worlds that year it was defeated by the mighty Audino-EX but that is another story!

Put simply Night March is an attack that gets more powerful depending on the number of Pokémon with the ‘Night March’ attack in your discard pile. Decks focus on having one or two attackers (usually Joltik or a Mew) and put the rest of the Night Marchers into the discard pile. This enables them to have a high damage attack for a low energy cost.

It is similar to Vespiquen/Flareon decks (aka ‘Bees’) although the main attacker is usually much more fragile. Joltik has 30HP, Mew a mere 50HP – The solution to this is Marshadow-GX!

Marshadow-GX is a  Fighting type Pokémon that can copy any basic attack from a Pokémon in the discard pile via its ability ‘Shadow Hunt’. This synergises with Night March Pokémon as you want them to be in the discard pile. Voila instant improvement of the deck!


Here is a sample decklist:

4 Joltik PHF
4 Pumpkaboo PHF
4 Lampent PHF
2 Mew FCO
2 Marshadow-GX BUS
3 Shaymin-EX ROS
4 Professor Sycamore
1 N
1 Teammates
2 Guzma/Lysandre
1 Hex Maniac
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
3 Trainers’ Mail
4 Battle Compressor
4 Puzzle of Time
1 Escape Rope
1 Field Blower
1 Special Charge
1 Computer Search/Dowsing Machine
1 Fighting Fury Belt
1 Focus Sash
2 Dimension Valley
1 Parallel City
4 Double Colourless Energy

The most difficult components to acquire is the Computer Search or Dowsing Machine – these are ‘Ace Spec.’ meaning you can only have one or the other in your deck. They are relatively expensive but thankfully you can only have, and so ever only need, one! Shaymin-Ex has dropped in price since it’s not in the Standard Format any more. In this deck it works to draw you cards. You need to be able to keep drawing since you have to discard so much out of your deck with Battle Compressor.

The Charizard Lounge has a great article on how to run this deck with a very similar list to the above and also the winning Fort Wayne Regional list. It is a high skill level deck because you need to fine-tune the amount of Pokémon in your discard pile (and therefore your damage output) with your need for Pokémon on the bench to be able to attack with.

Raikou/Eels + Seismitoad-EX

This is my secret love-child of a deck. It combines the offensive might of Raikou powered by Dynamotor Eelektrik with the item-lock abilities of everyone’s second favorite frog*

(…but Seismitoad is a toad not a frog.. hmm…)

Raikou/Eels is an existing archetype that basically involves using Eelektrik to rapidly accelerate energy onto an efficient recipient, namely Raikou.

Raikou is a great Pokémon, especially when equipped with a Fighting Fury Belt. It also resists all damage when it has at least one Lighting Energy attached. It’s attack scales with the amount of energy attached so it can hit for high numbers and only concedes one prize when KOed.

To add to the mix, Rough Seas will heal 30 damage every turn. For example if you’re attacked for 60 damage, you will take 40 since Shining Body will resist 20 damage, and then with Rough Seas you can heal 30 – meaning that of your 160HP (120HP base + 40HP Fighting Fury Belt) –  you’ve only taken 10 damage!

The deck usually runs DCE to accelerate in addition to Max Elixirs so Seismitoad-EX can benefit from these. Although both Eelektrik and Raikou are Lightning types, nothing about the Dynamotor ability states that the recipient must be Lightning type. This means that you can power up Seismitoad-EX just as easily as Raikou.

The item lock of Seismitoad-EX combined with Rough Seas gives him some durability while giving you a little time to ramp up your energy and then go for knockouts with Raikou.

  Raikou/Eels Toad
4 Raikou BKT 55
4 Tynamo NVI 38
4 Eelektrik NVI 40
1 Tapu Lele-GX
1 Keldeo-EX BCR 49
2 Seismitoad-EX FFI 20
4  Professor Sycamore
4 N
1 Hex Maniac
1 Lysandre/Guzma
2 Rescue Stretcher
2 Battle Compressor
2 Float Stone
4 Fighting Fury Belt BKP 99
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
1 Level Ball
3 Rough Seas PRC 137
3 Double Colorless Energy

As you can see this deck has quite a bit going on including a Keldeo-EX/Floatstone combo to help switch out a redundant ‘toad or Raikou. It is an extremely fun deck to play, and aside from the Tapu Lele-GX also quite affordable. While not as dynamic as Nightmarsh, it can provide a great challenge to top tier decks. It also is well positioned to counter Yveltal decks and emerging Ho-Oh-GX decks.

If you’re thinking about getting into the Expanded Format it’s never been easier. The banlist in Pokémon TCG is mercifully short and there’s lots of people around to play against. Let us know if you have tried any of these decks. Until next time, keep being the very best – like no one ever was!

*Greninja is more popular than Pikachu in Japan!

Author: Joe

I wanna be the very best...