Weekend Report #2 – The Return of Vespiquen and Trevenant vs. The (Dark) World
In this weeks Weekend Report I will be taking a look at the results of the second weekend of Spring Regional Championships,with tournaments in Wisconsin and Georgia, my tournament experience at Wisconsin this past weekend, the German National Championship, and a new card that could reign in Night March decks in the Standard format.
Week 2 Regional Results
If you want to see the full results from the second weekend of Spring Regional Championships then check out our results page for the tournament series. The results page is now updated with all results from the first two weekends of the tournament series.
Wisconsin Regional Championship Report
This past weekend, I attended the Wisconsin Regional Championship. The tournament had 267 players which meant that we would have 9 rounds of Swiss on the first day, followed by 5 more rounds of Day 2 Swiss before cutting to a Top 8.
For this tournament I decided to play Vespiquen/Flareon. I have had a lot of success with Vespiquen so far this season, finishing 2nd place at a large Chicago Marathon City Championship with Vileplume/Vespiquen and winning the Missouri State Championship with the same deck. Additionally, I have used Vespiquen/Flareon as my main Expanded deck on PTCGO since February, so I was very comfortable with the deck by the time this tournament came around.
Pokemon – 28
4 Combee AOR
Trainers – 25
3 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
2 Tropical Beach
Energy – 7
4 Double Colorless
This list isn’t revolutionary by any means and is just a list I put together based on what I liked best from the Vespiquen/Flareon decks that I had played against during Winter Regional Championships and from the lists for the deck that I saw online from people who did well with the deck during that tournaments series.
I decided to go with Computer Search over Life Dew because in most matchups that I would face in this format, I would only be able to power up around 5-6 attackers making no real need for a seventh attacker. I played the deck very conservatively, aiming to not play down Shaymin EX or Jirachi EX unless I absolutely had to, or if I was using it to lock up a winning board position. Without an EX hitting the field for my opponent to take easy prizes in most games, there was less need to use Life Dew to push the prize trade into my favor. Without a real need for help in the prize trade, I felt the consistency boost that Computer Search brings would be the best play for the tournament.
If the meta game swings back to including more non-ex decks, such as more Vespiquen/Flareon and Night March decks than Life Dew may become a near automatic inclusion again.
The other notable thing about this list is that I played two copies of Tropical Beach. Most of my opponents throughout the weekend assumed that I only played one copy of the card, but I think two is a good play in this deck as hitting Tropical Beach on your first turn allows for some very explosive turn 2’s and it’s much easier to do with an extra copy of the card in your deck. Additionally, it’s nice to have a second Stadium Card so you can stake a fight in a Stadium war. For example, Yveltal EX/Archeops NVI decks may play Silent Lab to shutoff your Wobbuffet’s Bide Barricade Ability or your Eevee’s Energy Evolution Ability, which are your two outs to evolving when Archeops is on the field. If you don’t have the second Stadium card, you could be locked out from evolving for the rest of the game whenever your opponent bounces your Tropical Beach with a Silent Lab.
Here is how my first day of the tournament played out:
Round 1 – Sean Sublett – Trevenant – WW (1-0-0)
Round 2 – Andrew Ramey – Trevenant – LW (1-0-1)
Round 3 – Jacob Dalen – Rainbow Road – WW (2-0-1)
Round 4 – David Reichenberger – Turbo Darkrai EX – WW(3-0-1)
Round 5 – Zach Lesage – Turbo Darkrai EX – WL (3-0-2)
Round 6 – Yakira Tate – Seismitoad EX/Jolteon EX/Landorus EX/Garbodor DRX – WW (4-0-2)
Round 7 – Nick Robinson – Night March – WL (4-0-3)
Round 8 – Franco Llamas – Turbo Darkrai EX – WW (5-0-3)
Round 9 – William Boatman – Vespiquen AOR/Flareon PLF – ID (5-0-4)
One notable thing about this deck is that the one matchup that I felt that I would most likely lose every game against was Trevenant. In choosing the deck, I had hoped that I would mostly avoid playing against Trevenant and hope that a high number of Dark decks would scare people away from playing Trevenant. Naturally I would get paired against Trevenant in the first two rounds of this tournament.
Through some type of a minor miracle I managed to get out of the first two rounds with a 1-0-1 record, which was a very happy result. The second round against Andrew Ramey was streamed, and was a very good set, and I was very happy to walk out of that game with a tie.
After playing against Trevenant, my worst matchup for the first two rounds, I couldn’t help but think that I had made it out of the woods and wouldn’t see it for the rest of the day, which ended up being the case.
After that I saw the types of matches I wanted to see, taking lots of wins against EX heavy decks that can’t always prize trade well with this deck. I actually ended up with 3 natural ties during the first day of the tournament. This variant of Vespiquen/Flareon is very slow, and many of the other decks in the format play very slowly because of all the shuffling they do for Ultra Ball, Trainers’ Mail, and Max Elixir in the case of Turbo Dark, so there usually is only enough time for two games to complete unless someone scoops a game very early on. This means that you really need to aim to 2-0 your opponent in most matches to win.
The last round I was paired against my friend from St. Louis who was playing the same deck with a near matching list (I believe the only difference was that he used all Energy Evolution Eevee, while I used a split). The match probably would have naturally tied anyhow, and neither of us were interested in knocking the other out at this point in the tournament so an intentional draw made sense here.
Here is how my matches played out Day 2:
Round 10 – Aaron Tarbell – Trevenant – LL (5-1-4)
Round 11 – Phil Hollenberg – Seismitoad EX/Manectric EX/Jynx FFI – LL (5-2-4)
Round 12 – Patrick Brodesser – M Rayquaza EX – WW (6-2-4)
Round 13 – Enrique Avila – Primal Groudon EX – WW (7-2-4)
Round 14 – Gregory Playter – Yveltal EX/Maxie’s – WW (8-2-4)
Once again I was paired against Trevenant to start the day and this time I couldn’t pull a victory or tie rabbit out of my hat. I came close to winning the second game of the match, getting down to one prize card, but I was unable to draw into my Blacksmith off of a Setup for one, and then missed the last Double Colorless Energy in my deck off of a Professor Juniper and had to pass, and then he took four prizes in one turn to win the match. This round was also tough, because not only was I playing against Trevenant, but I was also playing against someone who had already won a Regional Championship with Trevenant, meaning that it was highly unlikely for him to misplay to create openings for me to steal games.
My hopes for Top 8 would end abruptly in the second round of Day 2 against what was probably my most favorable matchup that was in the Top 32. In the first game, I started Unown, attached a Fire Energy and passed. He started Seismitoad EX, attached a DCE and Muscle Band so I scooped. Second game, I started Jirachi, attached a Fire Energy and used Tropical Beach for 2. Then on his turn, he again started Seismitoad EX, then attached DCE and Muscle Band and played a Hypnotoxic Laser for another first turn win.
After that I hit three fairly strong matchups allowing my to finish the tournament with three straight wins to lock a Top 16 finish, finishing 15th place in the tournament overall. This finish replaced my Top 64 finish from the Collinsville Regional Championship and puts me up to 449 Championship Points on the season.
The Return of Vespiquen/Flareon
A major storyline from Week 2 of Spring Regional Championships is the return of Vespiquen/Flareon, a deck that many had pronounced dead. The deck was the top deck of Expanded City Championships and then was the second best deck during the BLW-BKT format Winter Regional Championships only to not take a single Top 32 spot during the third weekend of Winter Regional Championships .
The general group think within the Pokemon TCG community was that Vespiquen/Flareon was no longer a strong deck after BREAKpoint was released. It received a new, genuinely bad matchup in the Trevenant BREAK deck and Fighting Fury Belt also helped to push it out of the meta game by putting EX Pokemon out of OHKO range for Vespiquen and Flareon foiling the entire deck.
However, these arguments against Vespiquen/Flareon fall apart when you examine them closer. Trevenant definitely is a bad matchup, but it was also only 15.05% of the Week 3 of Winter Regionals meta game, and it’s been 13.71% of the Spring Regional meta game so far. This means that in an average tournament you would only play Trevenant once in the first day of Swiss, and having an average of one round against a terrible matchup should never be a deterrent for playing a deck. Additionally, Dark decks have been the most popular Expanded decks so it would also make sense that Treenant would be played in more limited numbers as players probably wouldn’t want to play a deck with a bad matchup to the BDIF.
The second argument against the deck is that Fighting Fury Belt puts EX’s out of OHKO range. This is a ridiculous criticism of a deck when there is a 1 card change that can be made to the list (adding a Startling Megaphone, Tool Scrapper, or Xerosic) that would fix this problem for you. Not to mention that Vespiquen and Flareon can both actually hit for 220 damage to take a knockout on an EX with Fighting Fury Belt attached.
For the most part, it looks like the Vespiquen/Flareon decks that did well followed the traditional route of playing Basic Fire Energy and Blacksmith over playing only Double Colorless Energy and Puzzle of Time.
In total, 6 Vespiquen/Flareon decks made it into Top 32 this weekend. It looks like there was quite a bit of variance among the Vespiquen/Flareon decks in terms of techs and Ace Spec.
The version listed above with my brief tournament report was used by myself for a Top 16 finish and William “Dema” Boatman used roughly the same list (I believe exclusively playing Energy Evolution Eevee was the only difference) to get a Top 8 finish. While us two and Owen Robinson (Top 8 finish) played Computer Search in our versions of the deck, Jeremiah Williams (Top 8 finish) played Life Dew for his Ace Spec. Owen Robinson had chose to play Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and Gallade BKT in his deck as well.
Each variant has their advantages, which I would summarize as following:
- Wobbuffet PHF/Tropical Beach – Gives you a terrific matchup against decks utilizing Archeops NVI.
- Life Dew – Excellent for beating non-EX attacker decks such as Vespiquen/Flareon mirror matches and Night March decks.
- Gallade BKT – Greatly increases your Turbo Darkrai EX matchup, which was one of the most popular decks on the weekend.
For reference, here is Owen Robinson’s list which he shared with the community on Virbank City.
Owen Robinson’s Vespiquen/Flareon/Gallade
Pokemon – 26
4 Combee AOR
Trainers – 27
3 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
1 Parallel City
Energy – 7
4 Double Colorless
Techs for the Trevenant Matchup
As mentioned earlier, I felt that Trevenant is a genuinely bad matchup for the deck. While it is a difficult matchup to be sure, there are some tech cards that you can play to increase your chances of taking wins against the deck.
One of the cards that I long debated playing in my list for the tournament series was Umbreon DEX (also available as Black and White Promo BW93). For [C][C] it has the attack Shadow Drain, which does 30 damage with the effect of “Heal from this Pokemon the same amount of damage you did to the Defending Pokemon.”
Because Trevenant and Phantump are weak to Dark, Umbreon would be healing 60 damage from itself every turn you attack into one of them, allowing you to theoretically tank one for a long time against the deck. Because it is also resistant to Psychic, it is difficult for a Trevenant player to take a surprise knockout on it.
Additionally, the promo card art for Umbreon is absolutely adorable.
Another option that players can use, starting this weekend, is Rotom from Fates Collide. The new Fates Collide expansion begins to be legal for play this weekend, allowing you to add cards from the new set into your deck for the first time.
Rotom has an attack Plasmagic which lets you move 2 damage counters from each of your Pokemon to your opponent’s Active Pokemon. Rotom has a lot of potential as a Trevenant BREAK counter as it effectively nerfs the Silent Fear spread strategy, while doing sufficient damage to take knockouts. As it moves damage counters instead of doing damage, the card also gets around Burst Balloon impediments.
Trevenant vs. The (Dark) World
The one deck to make the finals of both the Wisconsin and Georgia Regional Championships was the Trevenant BREAK deck. At the Wisconsin Regional Championship, Treynor Wolfe used his Yveltal EX/Maxie’s deck to defeat Eric Gansman and his Trevenant BREAK deck in the final. At the Georgia Regional Championship, Christian Ortiz used his Trevenant BREAK deck to defeat Sam Liggett and his Night March deck in the finals.
For reference as to what Expanded Trevenant BREAK decks look like, here is Eric Gansman’s second place list from the Wisconsin Regional Championship which he shared with the community on Virbank City.
Eric Gansman’s 2nd Place Trevenant BREAK Decklist
Pokemon – 17
4 Phantump BPT
Trainers – 35
4 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
4 Dimension Valley
Energy – 8
As has been the case since Winter Regional Championships, Dark decks have been the undisputed best decks in the format. With Dark being the most dominant deck in the format, how do Trevenant decks continue to exist? Well there are a few reasons for this:
Trevenant players can avoid Dark
Dark decks currently compose approximately 30% of the Expanded meta game. This means in the average 9 round tournament, a player would expect to play against a Dark decks 2.7 times in the first 9 rounds of Swiss and then an additional 1.5 times in Day 2 Swiss. That’s an average of 4.2 Dark decks faced over the course of a 14 round tournament. If you are playing Trevenant and lose all of your matchups to Dark decks but win the rest, that would put you at 10-4 (30 points) which is good to put you into Top 8 (for the most part).
Additionally, 4.2 would be the average number of Dark decks that you play against. This doesn’t mean that every Trevenant player would play against this number of Dark decks. Some players will fall below the average, playing Dark only a couple times over the course of a tournament while some other players will be above the average, playing 5 Dark decks in the first 9 rounds and doing poorly as a result.
Trevenant doesn’t always lose to Dark
While the matchup is poor on paper, Trevenant decks can also go out and beat Dark decks. Both Dark decks are very Item heavy decks which leave them vulnerable to the turn 1 Item lock. If a Dark player doesn’t draw into the right cards quick enough they can easily be swept out of the game quickly.
For example, Christian Ortiz defeated Kevin Krupnick’s Turbo Darkrai EX in the Top 4 of the Georgia Regional Championship.
Trevenant can beat stuff countering Dark
With Dark decks taking up such a large portion of the meta game, it’s only natural that players would work on finding decks that could be used to beat them. Decks such as Vespiquen/Flareon or Night March which players may have used to try to counter Dark decks can struggle against Trevenant. These types of decks, which hadn’t yet found their footing in the format during Week 1, gave Trevenant more favorable matchups in the meta game.
In total Trevenant finished as the 2nd most successful deck during the BLW-BPT stretch of Spring Regional Championships finishing with a 13.71% meta share.
Other Commentary On Week 2
Here are some of the other feelings that I have towards what we saw happen during Week 2:
Yveltal is probably better than Turbo Darkrai
At the Wisconsin Regional Championship, based on my own experience, that of my friends, and from what I observed simply by looking at what was being played towards the top tables, it seemed by all indicators that Turbo Darkrai was the more popular deck of the two. However, when the Top 32 was finalized, Yveltal took more spots in the Top 32 (5 vs. 3) and ended up being the deck that would win the tournament.
Both decks are of course strong decks, with Yveltal EX finishing this stretch of Regionals as the top deck and Turbo Darkrai finishing as the third best deck.
One big advantage that Yveltal variants have over Turbo Dark variants is that they can afford to play the Maxie’s Engine, allowing them to get Gallade into play (giving them better matchups against Darkrai decks and an out to Jolteon EX) as well as Archeops, making them stronger against evolution decks.
The Maxie’s version was actually the strategy that Treynor Wolfe used to win Wisconsin. Here is his list for the deck which he shared with the community on Virbank City:
Treynor Wolfe’s Yveltal EX/Maxie’s
Pokemon – 12
2 Yveltal EX
Trainers – 37
3 Professor Juniper
1 Computer Search
2 Parallel City
Energy – 11
The same list was also used by Austen Vance to take a Top 8 finish at the Georgia Regional Championship.
Night March is a Legitimate Expanded Deck Too
After Franco Llamas used Night March to take a Top 4 finish during Week 1, the question was left to be answered of how good Night March actually is in the Expanded format and if the result could be repeated. The answer is in, and it is that Night March is indeed very strong in the Expanded format.
Night March finishes this stretch of Regional Championships as the fourth most successful deck. This past weekend Sam Liggett took the deck to a 2nd place finish in Georgia, while Jay Young took the deck to a 4th place finish in Wisconsin. Sam used Mew EX and a surprise Robo Substitute tech in his deck while Jay used a pair of Gallade BKT to strengthen his Turbo Dark matchup and give him an out against Jolteon EX, which he actually had to beat late in Day 2 to make it into the Top 8.
Here is the list that Jay Young used to take 4th place at the Wisconsin Regional Championship, which he shared with the community on Virbank City.
Pokemon – 18
4 Joltik PHF
Trainers – 38
3 Professor Sycamore
1 Computer Search
3 Dimension Valley
Energy – 4
4 Double Colorless
Now the deck of your nightmares in Standard format can haunt your dream in Expanded as well!
There is a fairly clean Tier List for this format
After two weekends of Spring Regional Championships, there is a fairly clean cut Tier List for the format. I don’t like to include the last weekend of Winter Regional Championship as the first new format Regional Championship is rushed and people aren’t very tested in the format left. Contrarily, the Spring Regional Championships have given players months to ruminate about the format and test decks to get optimal strategies.
Here is our tier list for the format, based on the results of the 4 Spring Regional tournaments played thus far:
- Yveltal EX
- Trevenant BREAK
- Turbo Dark
- Night March
- M Rayquaza EX
- Seismitoad EX/Crobat
- Primal Groudon EX
- M Manectric EX
- Rainbow Road
One of the neat things about Expanded is how it has really allowed for people to main a deck throughout the entirety of the format. There have been some casualties, such as Archie’s Blastoise and Sableye/Garbodor, but for the most part there have been some deck’s that have remained good throughout the course of the season. Yveltal EX, Night March, M Rayquaza EX, Seismitoad EX/Crobat, Vespiquen/Flareon, M Manectric EX have been viable for players in pretty much every Expanded format this season.
Other fun decks from Week 2
The big surprise of Week 1 was Rainbow Road taking second place at the Seattle Regional Championship. While nothing really surprising made it to the finals this week, there were some very cool decks that made deep tournament runs this weekend.
Ross Cawthon made Top 8 at the Wisconsin Regional Championship with an Accelgor DEX/Wobbuffet PHF/Musharna NXD. The Musharna line was a really cool addition to the deck. As Musharna is a Psychic type, you can use its Forewarn Ability even when Wobbuffet is active. Forewarn can be great for letting you be able to draw the cards needed to stream deck and cover.
Yehoshua Tate made Top 32 at Wisconsin with a new Stage 1 variant. The Stage 1’s he used were Zebstrika BPT, Zoroark BLW, and Ninetales DRX. He played a game on stream, so you can check out the video of that to see the deck in action.
Finally, Aaron Madison made Top 32 with a Jolteon EX/Archeops NVI deck. The deck uses Jolteon EX to prevent Basic Pokemon from damaging Jolteon EX and it uses Archeops to prevent your opponent from evolving out of their Basic Pokemon.
Here is the list for his deck which he shared with the community:
Aaron Madison’s Jolteon EX/Archeops NVI
Pokemon – 10
3 Jolteon EX
Trainers – 37
2 Professor Sycamore
1 Computer Search
3 Rough Seas
Energy – 13
This was definitely one of the coolest decks from the weekend.
The Toilet Deck Wins Germany
I will be the first to admit that I am not sure if this is the actual nickname for this deck. I saw this listed as the name for a deck through an online translation of a Facebook page that had the results from it. Anyhow, the deck is essentially a Water Toolbox deck and it took 3/8 Top 8 slots and then took down the tournament.
Here is the Top 8 for German nationals:
1. Chrisowalantis Amanatidis – Water Toolbox
2. Fatih Akdemir – Trevenant BREAK
3. Robin Schulz – Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX
4. Benedikt Hugo – Night March
5. Tobias Smutkowski – Night March
6. Jan Daumann – Vileplume AOR/Latios EX
7. Marc Lutz – Water Toolbox
8. Marco Haeder – Water Toolbox
Check out this video from Team Fish Knuckles that shows the decklist and goes over the deck some more.
I’m actually really interested to see how big of a secret this deck was heading into the tournament, as this style of deck was already on my radar for a potential play from U.S. Nationals. I had run into a lot of Water decks on PTCGO that featured a similar set of attackers, although most played a Golduck BREAK line instead of Energy Switch, so they may have been rough drafts for the concept. However, I noted the general deck concept down as a deck with potential because the deck beat me a lot of the time in my online games against it.
I don’t have much more information on the deck, but I’d definitely be interested in hearing from the players that used this deck at German Nationals, and see if the Golduck BREAK variants that popped up online were rough drafts of their deck, or if those were other players who ended up set on playing an inferior version of this deck.
Night March and Vespiquen Get Nerfed
The big news of the week is that Night March will see a nerf at some point at an undetermined future date. The counter? A Lysandre’s Trump Card style card that has both players shuffle Pokemon from their discard pile into their deck, named Karen.
Here is the Pokebeach translation for the card:
Each player shuffles all Pokemon in his or her discard pile into his or her deck.
This card will be even more oppressive to Night March decks than Lysandre’s Trump Card ever was, as Trump Card also put Battle Compressor back into the Night March player’s deck, allowing them to thin out their Night March Pokemon very quickly again with more Battle Compressor. Karen will only put the Night March Pokemon back.
Karen is also interesting in the context of N being re-added into the format. If you can hit your opponent with a Karen one turn, and then N them to 1 or 2 the next turn, you could cause them to draw a hand full of Pokemon in the late game which adds a nice new wrinkle of disruption into the game down the line.
The card will definitely have an impact on Expanded, however it remains to be seen if Battle Compressor and the Night March Pokemon will even be around in Standard next season. At the very least, Karen would make a reprint set featuring Battle Compressor and the Night March Pokemon much more palatable.
Onto Next Week….
This coming weekend Fates Collide will become legal for the first time. There are four Regional Championships in North America this weekend which will give us a look into how these cards impact Expanded at the very least.
I’m unsure of whether there are any European National Championships coming up this weekend, but if there are they will provide the first look into our US National Championship and Worlds Format. Pokemon will be streaming the Italian Nationals in a couple weeks, so be on the look for that down the road as well.