The Pokémon TCG Expanded format has opened the door to all kinds of new strategies and card combinations. And with every new expansion, players are finding new ways to incorporate powerful cards to create more and more successful decks. Now that major events are using the format, it's a good time to focus on some of the hottest decks being played.
One of the more exciting decks that has been getting early attention features the new Giratina-EX from the XY—Ancient Origins expansion. This deck won the Arena Cup in Germany earlier this year, an event that's about equivalent to a Regional Championships tournament in North America. With a big tournament win already, this is one of the top contenders in the Expanded format.
Giratina-EX can provide a lot of value in a multitude of ways. Its Chaos Wheel attack does decent damage and prevents your opponent from playing a Pokémon Tool, Special Energy, or Stadium card on the next turn. When it's paired with Seismitoad-EX's Quaking Punch attack that prevents your opponent from playing Item cards, the two Pokémon can effectively keep your opponent from doing anything meaningful.
The downside is that Chaos Wheel has some challenging Energy requirements at one Grass, one Psychic, and two Colorless Energy. Our example deck relies on Special Energy, particularly Double Colorless Energy and Double Dragon Energy, to fulfill those requirements. But the limited number of Energy cards in the deck means it could take a few rounds to get up to speed. That's where Seismitoad-EX can help: get it out early to slow down your opponent with Quaking Punch, and use Crushing Hammer, Team Flare Grunt, and Xerosic to knock off any Energy your opponent plays. Setting up faster than your opponent is so important to this strategy that our example deck uses all three of these Trainer cards.
As we've seen in tournaments since its introduction, Seismitoad-EX can hold its own in battle just fine, especially with Muscle Band to add damage to Quaking Punch and Hypnotoxic Laser plus Virbank City Gym to wear down the opposing Pokémon turn after turn. If things get dire and your Seismitoad-EX takes significant damage, Super Scoop Up is ready to return it to your hand in the nick of time.
Once Giratina-EX is ready for action, it becomes a nearly unstoppable force. Chaos Wheel delivers 100 damage every single turn while limiting your opponent's options. Your Virbank City Gym isn't likely to go anywhere, because your opponent can't play a new Stadium card to get rid of it. The Double Colorless Energy that so many decks find essential will be unplayable. And the many popular Pokémon Tool cards, such as Float Stone, Muscle Band, and Hard Charm, are all out.
In addition to the massive offensive and tactical value that Giratina-EX generates via Chaos Wheel, its Renegade Pulse Ability can provide a huge defensive boost. This Ability protects Giratina-EX from the attacks of all opposing Mega Evolution Pokémon. These Pokémon have posed a huge threat to Seismitoad-EX in the past, but Giratina-EX doesn't have that problem.
You'll notice that every Pokémon in our example deck is a Pokémon-EX, so Hoopa-EX is a must. Its Scoundrel Ring Ability lets you get up to three Pokémon-EX from your deck, meaning you can grab Seismitoad-EX and Giratina-EX, plus Shaymin-EX so you can draw more cards. Keldeo-EX is another nice Pokémon to have—the combination of its Rush In Ability and a Float Stone creates a lot of mobility between your Bench and your Active position. Our example deck includes only one Hoopa-EX, but it also includes four Ultra Ball, so you always have access to Hoopa-EX and its Scoundrel Ring Ability—as long as it's not in your Prize cards.
Even though Giratina-EX and Seismitoad-EX can shut down most of your opponent's hand, you could still face Abilities that cause a substantial disruption to your plans. To take away that possibility, our example deck includes a Hex Maniac, which turns off all Pokémon's Abilities through the end of your opponent's next turn. Hex Maniac is great at shutting down Aegislash-EX's Mighty Shield and Vileplume's Irritating Pollen, two Abilities that tend to give this deck fits. Be careful with Hex Maniac, however—it also shuts off Giratina-EX's Renegade Pulse during your opponent's next turn, which means it's fair game for Mega Evolution Pokémon.
Through a combination of dishing out damage and locking down your opponent's ability to maneuver, Giratina-EX and Seismitoad-EX form an incredible team that can handle just about anything your opponent throws at you. With this deck, you'll be able to take on the wild world of the Expanded format, where you can expect all kinds of different decks. Try out Giratina-EX and Seismitoad-EX at your next Play! Pokémon event!
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