Getting into the Basics of the Expanded Format (2017/2018 Season)

Greetings and welcome to a fresh new season of Pokemon! With Worlds 2017 concluded, a new season awaits new challenges and tournaments alike. Furthermore with more newcomers to the TCG scene, not many are familiar with the Expanded Format of Pokemon TCG. So here’s a guide to those newcomers on the Expanded Format for the 2017/2018 season.


General Information of Expanded Format

The Expanded format for the 2018 season will consist of the following expansions:

  • Black & White and any expansions released afterward
  • Black Star Promo cards numbered BW01 and up, XY01 and up, and SM01 and up
  • Cards from the following product are also legal:
    • Generations
    • Double Crisis
    • Dragon Vault
    • Black & White Trainer Kit
    • XY Trainer Kit
    • XY Trainer Kit—Bisharp & Wigglytuff
    • XY Trainer Kit—Latias & Latios
    • XY Trainer Kit—Pikachu Libre & Suicune
    • Sun & Moon Trainer Kit—Lycanroc & Alolan Raichu
    • McDonald’s Collection 2011 and later

Basically, why Expanded is always daunting is due to the amount of expansions allowed to be played, hence many decks ideas are available and sometimes 60 cards in a deck is not enough to fit the ideas.

But let’s get started on the staples shall we?


Staples for the Expanded Format 2017/2018


  1. Professor Juniper/ Professor Sycamore

The classic main draw supporter for your deck, since like ever. Discard your hand and draw 7, nuff’ said. Do note however, you cannot play both Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore in your deck (Only either 4 Sycamores or 4 Junipers allowed in a deck). A typical Expanded deck usually has a 3-4 copies of Professor Juniper/Sycamore.


2. N

From the classic draw supporter to now the classic disruption card. N-ed to 1 dates back to as far as the end of 2011. It did however got rotated for while around the 2015 era but was reprinted again for the Standard Format in Fates Collide expansion (2016). Serving as a way to disrupt your opponent’s hand while refreshing yours is the name of the game. They call N the comeback kings as well. Usually a 2-4 copies per deck.


3. Lysandre/ Guzma

Both Lysandre and Guzma serve the same purpose, to bring up a Pokemon hiding away on your opponent’s Bench. In Expanded, most decks run both a 1-1 line of Lysandre and Guzma to keep the options open. Sometimes you don’t have a free retreat on your Bench so you avoid using Guzma. Sometimes one of your heavy Pokemon is stuck in the Active spot so you use Guzma to switch it out and getting a Pokemon from your opponent’s Bench. Why a 1-1 line? Because of the card below.



4. VS Seeker

Ahh, the VS Seeker. This card literally made tech supporter cards more viable (like a 1-off Supporter card in the deck). Literally just rotated in the Standard Format, this is usually a 3-4 copies in a deck. It boosts consistency and can generate “plays” during the mid to late game via tech supporters. 8th N? 4th Lysandre? Endless variety to help your current turn.



5. Colress

Colress is mainly your draw supporter from Turn 2-3 depends on your board state. If your opponent has 5 Bench Pokemons, and you too have 5 Bench Pokemons, you shuffle your hand into your deck and draw 10 cards! 10. If there is Sky Field in play, there is a possibility of drawing up to 16 cards! What the?? It is also a conserving card as it doesn’t discard your current hand away, sometimes keeping precious resources for a later turn. With VS Seeker, this is usually a 1-2 Colress in your deck.


6. Pokemon Fan Club/ Brigette

The new staples for our current Expanded Format is both Pokemon Fan Club and Brigette. Why? Because they impose consistency in getting your Pokemons out from your deck. Pokemon Fan Club is usually used in the classic heavy-EX decks while Brigette is used in the more basic and basic-GX heavy decks. Usually a 1-off in a deck as if it doesn’t get out during Turn 1 or maybe 2, then it’s not worth playing for the rest of the game.



7. Battle Compressor (Team Flare Gear)

Probably one of the most semi-broken (if the most broken) card in Expanded Format, Battle Compressor is the card to thin out your deck. Combo-ing with VS Seeker, you can get almost any supporter you want to play during that turn. Worse, this card is crucial for one of the top and feared deck in Expanded, Night March. Although not run in all decks, it is generally played in most Expanded decks. Decks that do play Battle Compressor run from 2-4 copies per deck, usually depending on their deck archetype.



8. Ghetsis

Ghetsis is one of those cards most people won’t see it coming. Being able to play it at the right time can hamper on your opponent’s strategies for their upcoming turn. Mostly played in disruption decks, and also mostly played Turn 1, it can sometimes win you the game aka making your opponent dead draw. Ranging from 1-2 copies of Ghetsis in certain expanded decks.


9. Hypnotoxic Laser/ Virbank City Gym

One of the most destructive combos to date, both Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym is a match made in Hell, where you get a “free” 30 damage added to your opponent’s Active Pokemon plus a chance to make them Asleep. Usually paired together in decks, the typical line of this combo is 3-4 Hypnotoxic Lasers plus 2-3 Virbank City Gym.


10. Muscle Band/ Choice Band/ Fighting Fury Belt

Your classic damage modification tools for your deck. Muscle Band is a universal damage modification card as it affects non-EX and GX Pokemon as well. Choice Band does slightly more (extra 10 damage) but only to EX and GX Pokemon. Fighting Fury Belt can only work on Basic Pokemon and only adds 10 Damage but it gives a hefty +40 HP to its bearer. Muscle Band and Choice Bands are usually the tools to go for the typical Expanded Decks but Fighting Fury Belt is for certain particular deck archetype like Night March and Darkrai EX/GX where avoiding OHKOs from opponents is the name of the game. Typical decks need 2-4 of the tools, depending on the deck of course.



11. Computer Search/ Dowsing Machine/ Life Dew

Expanded is where you can use a single copy of an ACE SPEC card in your deck. The listed are the more generally used in decks, depending on which kind of strategy the deck is.

Computer Search is generally the all–rounder consistency card, where decks with in need of setups will slot in Computer Search. Stage 2 GX decks will generally use Computer Search.

As for Dowsing Machine, it is the jack of trades in your deck, as it can be a “5th” of any certain card in your deck, or discard pile in this case. Big Basic EX/GX decks will typically use Dowsing Machine, usually Darkrai EX/GX decks.

Life Dew is the least used among the 3, but is more played in a non-EX/GX attacker kind of deck or mainly “Controlling” decks. Usually the most popular deck to utilize Life Dew is a “Junk Hunt” Sableye Control kind of deck and occasionally Vespiqueen or Flareon decks.


12. Lysandre’s Trump Card/ Forest Of Giant Plants/ Archeops 

Lysandre’s Trump Card is the “game-never-ending” card that keeps you going until you or your opponent takes 6 Prizes, you also get to utilize an endless amount of resources throughout the game, 10/10 it must be put into the deck. 

Forest of Giant Plants is the “gotta go fast” card for your Grass type Pokemons! Set up the quick Vileplume or Decidueye GX and then look at your opponent’s face. Priceless. 

Archeops from Noble Victories is a must play in this GX format where evolution is at it’s finest. Your opponent starts off with a Ralts? No Problem, just use Maxie’s Hidden Ball trick to get Archeops out Turn 1 and you get a free win! 



Popular Expanded Pokemons



1. Seismitoad EX

DO I NEED TO EXPLAIN THIS SHIZZZZ!?!? Just add a DCE, and some Hypnotoxic Laser plus a Virbank City Gym and you are good to go with some Quaking Punches. Oh oh, and add Muscle Band or Choice Band plus an Acerola! FUN!



2. Tapu Lele GX/ Jirachi EX/ Shaymin EX

The trio of Support Pokemons in decks. Tapu Lele GX is the most stable consistency among the trio. Jirachi EX is more known to be played along side Hoopa EX, plus it can be searched out with a Level Ball. Shaymin EX is the less consistent but more aggressive kind of support, more known especially to be played in M-Rayquaza decks and occasionally a 1-off in other decks as a backup draw-power.




3. Garbodor with Garbotoxin

Ugh. And it’s still in Standard. Double ugh. Attach a tool and boom 0 Abilities! FUN!




4. Espeon EX

With the rise of Stage 2-GX cards, Espeon EX is still powerful in the Expanded format. Nothing like a late game Miraculous Shine!




5.  Tapu Koko 

Literally one of the best if not the best “floater” in the game with a strong spread attack for just a DCE, Tapu Koko will find itself in a lot of decks, especially good combo with Guzma too!



Popular Decks


1. Night March

The deck to beat at the moment is Night March. Plus, with newly added Marshadow GX, its a powerhouse to begin with, and strikes super fast. Battle Compressor is essential to the deck with Shaymin EX to help draw out cards as well. Annoyingly strong as they can use Joltik or Pumpkaboo to do big damage, and you have to KO their lowly one-prize attacker.



2. Mega Rayquaza EX

Kind of a similar playstyle to Night March, Mega Rayquaza EX decks tend to do high damage as soon as Turn 1. Again, this deck utilizes the stadium Sky Field and Shaymin EX to help dig out core cards to setup. No pun intended.



3. Darkrai EX/GX

One of the longest archetype to date, and constantly evolving throughout the years and from new sets is Darkrai decks. Using the classic Dark Patch and newly added Max Elixir, the combos are always in Darkrai’s favor. With Hypnotoxic Laser, Darkrai GX can also utilize its GX attack as well. Darkrai EX with Dark Pulse will usually do the damage while the Darkrai EX with Dark Cloak will provide the support of Free Retreat. So many options and plans to play Darkrai decks that make it special until today.



4. “Archietoise”

Another evolution of a classic deck. Archie’s Ace in the Hole allows Blastoise to get into play as soon as Turn 1, and it really puts on the pressure once Blastoise is in play. Deluge allows you to splurge energy down like when you are having dinner at your grandparent’s place. Non-stop energy, anytime. Keldeo EX is the bread and butter of the deck, with a synchronizing attack with loads of Water Energy. Other notable attackers in the deck are techs like Glaceon EX, Lapras GX and Wishiwashi GX too!



5. ToadBats

Ugh. This. A slow and steady death for your opponent. Quaking Punch for days. AZ or Acerola for days. Sneaky/Surprise Bite for days. This can go on for days. #days



6. T1 KO Turbonator/ Volcanion EX

Here’s some simple steps, Battle Compressor away 2 Fire Energy + 1 Blacksmith, use VS Seeker for Blacksmith, Blacksmith unto Turtonator GX/Volcanion EX = Profit. Extremely dangerous deck with a high OHKO rate. Only tough part is the mid to late game, where you can fizzle out from an N.




7. Golisopod GX variants. 

New bug on the block, Golisopod GX has a few variants but mainly the deck is focused on applying a lot of pressure early on with First Impression. The Golisopod GX/Garbodor is the more popular variant due to the fact that it plays Rainbow and Blend Energy [GRPD] together makes it a semi Toolbox deck. Another variant is pure Golisopod GX with mainly the promo Tapu Koko as a floater and damage spreader. Acerola is their best friend.




8. Gardevoir GX

Not much to say about the current BDIF for the Standard Format. For Expanded, not much change is needed, mainly just the addition of Computer Search along with some Expanded Supporter cards to help aid in certain matchups. Teammates, Colress and Hex Maniac are some of the additions available.


Final Thoughts

I say, our current Expanded Format is actually fun, with many more decks that are viable. Despite the slightly lengthy article,  I only touched the tip of the iceberg for the Expanded Format. Let your ideas flow! Be creative, although be reasonable I guess. The Expanded Format is kind of a daunting format to play in as newer players are not familiar with the format or older cards. However, it is an interesting way to let your deck building and play skills improve significantly.


Above all, have fun! Having a brainstorm with your friends on deck ideas for this format is interesting and playtesting Expanded Format is another way of seeing whether the deck idea worked.

With this, thank you for reading this article, hope this gives some insight for the newer players and perhaps veteran players alike for the Expanded Format. Till next time peeps, Darren signing off.

*All graphics belong to their original owners and no copyright infringement intended.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s