In this article, I take a look at the top 8 decks from the Fort Wayne Expanded Regional that took place a few weeks ago.
There is another Expanded Regional in October, plus there are Expanded Cups in many places as well, so I figured it would be useful to review the decks that are bound to significantly influence events in this format in the near-future. Pokemon.com has conveniently just posted the top 8 lists.
The top 8 rundown, before any matches were played, is as follows:
1. Turbo Darkrai
2. Golisopod GX/Garbodor
3. Night March
4. Golisopod GX/Tapu Koko
5. Turtonator GX/Volcanion EX
6. Gardevoir GX
7. Night March
8. Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX+GX/Seismitoad EX
The final standings:
1. Night March
2. Turtonator GX/Volcanion EX
3. Turbo Darkrai
4. Night March
5. Golisopod GX/Garbodor
6. Golisopod GX/Tapu Koko
7. Gardevoir GX
8. Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX+GX/Seismitoad EX
The winner: Night March
Love it, hate it, it doesn’t matter – Night March is Tier 0 in Expanded yet again. Night March allowed Michael Pramawat to take down his sixth Regionals (and second in just a few months), in spite of all types of Night March hate among the field. Don’t get the idea that players simply wrote Night March off because of the massive Trevenant hype.
On the contrary, players were proactively trying to deal with Night March – several top 8 lists ran Karen, for example– but still Night March ended up winning the entire event and also landing a second top 8 spot, a testament to the raw power of the deck as well as its ability to handle adversity.
Below is Pramawat’s winning list:
3 Shaymin EX
1 Marshadow GX
1 Tauros GX
1 Tapu Lele GX
3 Professor Juniper
1 Hex Maniac
1 Pokemon Ranger
1 Computer Search
4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Battle Compressor
4 Puzzle of Time
1 Choice Band
1 Float Stone
1 Special Charge
1 Field Blower
2 Dimension Valley
The top 4 list from Christopher Venier is, as you would expect given the nature of the archetype, very similar, with key differences being a second Marshadow GX, no Tapu Lele GX, no Ghetsis, the inclusion of Parallel City and a single Fighting Fury Belt and the use of Dowsing Machine over Computer Search. Venier’s list actually has more options available to it than Pramawat’s at the expense of a bit of consistency.
I want to talk about a few of the interesting components of the winning list here (with some of these cards also appearing in Venier’s list):
This card is in the deck as a soft counter to Item lock in the form of Trevenant and Seismitoad EX. Decks centered around those Pokemon often struggle to quickly dispatch Tauros GX, giving it time to build up to a huge Mad Bull GX and then probably stick around to use Rage for a turn or two after that as well.
Instruct is amazing here given the hyper-aggressive nature of the deck, which often causes opponents to rely on N to mount comebacks. Oranguru is also a 1-Prize support Pokemon that won’t potentially cost you the game when you Bench it, unlike Shaymin EX and sometimes even Tapu Lele GX.
Tapu Lele GX
This deck still relies heavily on Set Up but Wonder Tag gives the deck additional consistency, a decent secondary attacker in pinch spots and a way to precision-hunt one of the deck’s many one-of Supporters without having to use the Battle Compressor/VS Seeker combo.
Ultra-consistent Trainer lineup
A lot of Night March players have taken to running Dowsing Machine and cutting down on Trainers’ Mail to fit additional 1-ofs, but Pramawat clearly wanted his deck to perform as consistently as possible and so he went with Computer Search and a full 4 Trainers’ Mail.
In my last article I said I doubted anyone would run this card in Night March because, well, the card had been largely irrelevant for months – then Pramawat comes along and uses Ranger in his winning list, making me look a bit shortsighted! Basically Ranger is in the deck to counter Quaking Punch, although it also has the very nice benefit of negating Turtonator GX’s Shell Trap effect too (which was relevant considering Pramawat’s Finals opponent ran Turtonator GX).
Pramawat mentioned in his tournament report (which you can find on the ARG Facebook page, I believe) that he won one of his top 4 mirror games from Ghetsis (which Venier did not run), and this to me is all the evidence you need to justify running Ghetsis. People debate the merits of this card all the time and sure, it can end up doing nothing on turn 1, but it can also win games singlehandedly like this at the biggest Regional of all time.
No Fighting Fury Belt
The HP boost is actually not significant in most matchups, nor is the +10 damage.
This card is essential in allowing Night March to take OHKOs on bigger things like Gardevoir GX and Golisopod GX. You’d think I was talking about Standard here…
Night March is not going to fade away any time soon, nor is the entire community going to focus so much on countering it that the deck becomes bad. Night March is just one of those rare decks that has such an unbelievably strong and consistent core strategy that it will always be good at a fundamental level.
Even when people do things like pack Karen, as many players did, there are ways to play around the counters; Pramawat played around Karen repeatedly in his run through top cut (hitting two decks with that card, in top 8 and in the finals). Karen is still the best Night March counter we have, and it can certainly win games against Night March, especially versus players who are not actively anticipating it (and doing things like conserving Puzzle of Time and Battle Compressor).
The point is that you can’t just add Karen to any deck and then expect to walk over a player like Pramawat using Night March. Night March has so many ways to play around counterstrategies, steal games, donk, win the Prize race, and on and on.
The deck can also be teched out to address any specific problem matchup; see the use of Pokemon Ranger in both of the top 8 lists. I also don’t think that Trevenant is very good right now in spite of all the hype and that is another boon for Night March.
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