Hello, and welcome to the short, fa-busted article covering a format that will likely only see fringe play until the next set drop. I will be talking about the implications of Faba>Xerosic in the new Expanded format.
Xerosic has been a huge factor in the game since it dropped. Coupled with VS Seeker, it has always been an easy answer to Garbodor for decks that had trouble fitting in Tool Scrapper/Field Blower, but obviously had to make room for VS Seeker to continue to be competitive. This one card also served as one of the few outs to discard special energy off of Seismitoad EX and other decks that would abuse item lock. Now though, Faba is here to boot out Xerosic in any deck it would be in (except maybe Trashalanche Garbodor decks that rarely played Xerosic) and take even more spots in decks due to being such an upgrade.
1. Faba hits stadium
Faba being able to hit stadiums is a huge improvement over Xerosic. In the past, people were almost required to play some stadiums that almost exclusively had value in having a chance to bump crucial stadiums at key points. Examples of this are Blastoise running Tropical Beach or Rough Seas to bump Silent Lab to gain access to Propagation and Rush-in. Now with a VS Seeker recyclable card that can bump cards like Silent Lab, Blastoise could very well be getting away with not running any stadiums in exchange for a single Faba. Unfortunately, there are Prism Star Stadiums that could pose threats to decks with Faba, but most of the current Prism Star Stadiums do not seem to be have the most significant impact on expanded.
2. Faba forces cards into the lost zone
In expanded, three of the strongest cards that can recycle crucial resources are Resource Management Oranguru, Lusamine, and Special Charge. Faba greatly reduces the impact of these cards on the game. With Faba tossing Double Colorless Energy into the lost zone, the mighty Zoroark and Toad decks begin to start to worry about if Faba could be enough to run them out of all of their energy. Lusamine is both limited and improved due to Faba. Being able to Lusamine chain for a card that can place energy, stadiums, and tools increases its value over grabbing a Xerosic instead, but Faba existing lowers the value of having stadiums to chain, let alone a single copy of Rough Seas or Parallel City like the Portland winning list played. Finally, Oranguru becomes much worse, because unlike Lusamine, the profit of the attack does not place Faba in a position to be played next turn, and Faba puts even more valuable card such as Float Stone in the lost zone where they cannot be recycled by resource management.
3. More resource, easier to splash
The more situations where a card’s effect is usable, the more chances for the card to have value in each game. With one-of supporters being common place and readily recyclable, a strong supporter with the ability to turn off Garbodor, put crucial one of stadiums in the lost zone, and get rid of huge energy attachments like Mystery Energy and Double Colorless Energy, Faba is well positioned to be a commonplace tech in the Expanded Format. Though, Faba is an ugly character, I do recommend picking up 1-2 Full Arts for future competitive play.
For people eager for a list to try this out, I have included a Trevenant list with double Faba to showcase the power of Faba + item lock.
3 Tapu Lele GX
1 Tapu Lele promo
3 Professor Juniper
1 Professor Elm’s Research
1 Ace Trainer
4 Rescue Scarf
4 Dimension Valley
4 VS Seeker
4 Mysterious Treasure
4 Enhanced Hammer
1 Super Rod
1 Counter Catcher
1 Scoop Up Cyclone
5 Psychic Energy
3 Mystery Energy
1 Counter Energy
Zoroark, the Surprising Counter to Sylveon
Welcome to the dawning of the mill counters in the 2018-2019 completive Pokémon scene. As of 9/30/18, Sylveon just had its best showing in a while, if not ever, with it winning Frankfurt Regionals. Per etiquette following a mill deck winning a tournament, I am here to provide a short, competitive, and fun answer to the potentially overwhelming strength of Sylveon.
This last weekend I had a nice enough experience playing Sylveon in some smaller tournaments, and a few home town Indiana players have also been experiencing tears with the deck. In my short experience with the deck, one match seemed to stick with me much more than some of the others. In this round, I was going second into a match against Zoroark Golisopod. His first turn was seemingly average, with him starting Zorua and playing apricot maker to produce two more Zorua, and then pass with no energy attachments. As Sylveon, I started the Eevee and an energy, a few hammers, an Acerola, and a Max potion, so per the typical start, I Energy Evolution and Magical Ribbon. My opponent proceeds to evolve into two Zoroark, and play a Tapu Lele GX for Judge. After the Judge, he Trades into energy, a basic Pokémon, and choice band to deal 110 damage. At 110 damage, Sylveon is liable to be knocked out on the following turn even with a Bodybuilding Dumbbells, so off of the 5 cards the Sylveon has on the next turn; two of them have to be energy and Max Potion to stay in the game or another Eevee to turn into a Sylveon. These combinations were not in my hand, so I lost.
Now, part of this seems like bad luck, but truthfully, a deck that can two hit knock out a Sylveon, play well off of judge, and play enough judge likely has an easy enough time with a deck that is designed to beat one of the best decks in format, Zoroark, and needs to do so to have a strong performance in big tournaments like Regionals. From this, we can assume high counts of judge effects can allow one of the current best decks to compete with the newfound counter, and if we can make a good deck beat a counter, we are not forced to play a bad deck that beats the counter (such as Magnezone).
If a deck like Zoroark adapts to play heavier judge counts, the rest of the deck should be formed around making Judge even more effective, because if three/four judge was good enough in the deck, lists would likely be playing it already and placing with it, or at least Sylveon should not have performed as well against the Zoroark heavy field in Frankfurt. With this I have opted to have a Bannette line, so the deck can get value out of playing high supporter counts, even if the extra judge are traded away in other match ups.
The other way to abuse judge is to use it while impacting the board position of the opponent. For this, I have opted to put a 1-0-1 line of Porygon Z, much like that of an underperforming Zoroark list in Frankfurt. This is because: 1. Porygon Z shores up Stage 2 match ups. 2. The deck abuses extra supporters like Mallow due to both being able to find Porygon Z pieces and add damage to Bannette GX’s attack. 3. You can Porygon Z a lone Sylveon into and Eevee to steal a game or devolve a Gardevoir to take away Secret Spring and Twilight GX from the Sylveon deck.
Here is my Spice:
1-0-1 Porygon Z
2 Tapu Lele GX
----- 15 – 33
2 devoured field
2 weakness policy
4 nest ball
2 great ball
4 ultra ball
3 choice band
1 pal pad
1 rare candy
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