Hello readers, welcome to my first article here on the PoTownStore! My name is Arlo Neel, and in this article, I am going to be talking about the results from the most recent expanded event, Richmond Regionals, and why Gardevoir/Sylveon is the best play for the next expanded event in Portland regionals happening this weekend. At Richmond regionals this past weekend, we saw JW Kriewall take down the tournament with an unexpected deck in Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume. We also saw Turbo Dark with a Weavile GX tech that made the deck’s bad Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume and Zoroark Control matchups favored get second place in the event, as well as quite a lot of Zoroark Control, Buzzwole/Garbodor, Night March, and other various popular expanded decks. With these new results, the format becomes more expected and players going into Portland will know more of what they need to test against when choosing their deck for the event. 

What are the Best Decks in the Expanded Format?

When talking about the expanded format, there is very rarely a best one deck in the format, instead we have multiple really good decks that can all play into each other and have different outcomes each time the matchup is played. There is also new decks that people are not expecting that appear and can win a tournament out of nowhere. For example, before Richmond regionals, the Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume deck wasn’t on anyone’s radar, but a couple people brought it to the tournament where they all ended up getting up to eight in day two, three in Top 8, and eventually being crowned the Regional Champion. With such a vast card pool in expanded, stuff like this happens quite a bit where an unexpected deck changes what was previously to be expected at an expanded tournament. Unlike Richmond, there isn’t going to an overly dominant deck like Rowlet/Egg/Vilplume, but it will consist of a collection of the best decks that did well at Richmond. Those best decks to either play or be able to beat going into Portland regionals include: Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume, Turbo Dark with a Weavile GX line, Zoroark Control, Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse, and Zoroark/Garbodor. These are the top 5 decks in the format that I would be ultimately prepared for or be keeping in mind for what I would want to play to the event.

Why Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse
is the Best Play for Portland?

The overall best play for this event from the top 5 that have the best matchups across the board, is none other than Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse. One of my good friends from Nashville, Drew Cate, took the deck all the way to a much deserved Top 4 finish at Richmond this past weekend. The deck has a very strong strategy where it is able to move all of your energy off of the active Gardevoir/Sylveon using Armoatisse’s ability, and either Max Potion, or Acerola/AZ the Gardevoir. You then re-attach all the energy back onto a clean Gardevoir and keep attacking without losing all of your energy cards. With cards like Fighting Fury Belt and Gardevoir/Sylveon’s massive 260 HP, it can quite frequently survive big hits and take all six prizes need to win before your opponent can apply enough pressure. Another good reason why Gardevoir/Sylveon is great in the expanded format, is because of the Magical Miracle GX attack, which when paired with either Power Plant or Silent Lab, can take away your opponent’s entire hand and ability lock them out of the game. This attack is very good against any deck in the format as it forces your opponent to draw out of the GX attack with the 2-3 top decks they can safely take before your Gardevoir/Sylveon takes too many prizes for them to comeback. Gardevoir/Sylveon also has access to Wonder Energy, which provides both an energy, and an effect that removes all effects from your opponent’s attacks. This is great for Gardevoir/Sylveon because, for example, BUS Vileplume’s attack which applies special conditions on your Pokemon with its attack, and Articuno GX’s Cold Crush GX attack now do not work. Now that we know what the meta is going to look like, choosing the perfect list for Gardevoir/Sylveon is going to be the next important step. Here is the best, current list for the archetype going into Portland regionals:

Gardevoir and Sylveon/ Armoatisse

Pokemon - 8
4 Gardevoir and Sylveon GX UNB
2 Spritzee UNB
2 Aromatisse XY

Trainers - 41
4 Professor Sycamore
3 N
3 Guzma
2 Acerola
1 Cynthia
1 AZ
1 Skyla
4 VS Seeker
4 Ultra Ball
4 Max Potion
4 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Float Stone
1 Field Blower
1 Super Rod
1 Computer Search
3 Silent Lab
2 Power Plant

Energy - 11
7 Basic Fairy Energy
4 Wonder Energy

About the list

The best list is the exact 60 cards Drew Cate played at Richmond, but it becomes a bit better for the meta when you take out the 2nd copy of Cynthia for a Super Rod. Super Rod is a great addition to the deck because of its ability to get back pieces of the Aromatisse line, and energy. While it is useful in all matchups, it is mostly important in the Rowlet and Alolan Exeggutor/Vileplume matchup. Every time I saw Drew Cate play on stream against the deck, having access to a Super Rod to get back some pieces of the Aromatisse line and some energy would’ve won him a game he ended up losing. Other than that one change, I haven’t had any reason to change the original list as it did its job well, and was very consistent. With eight very strong draw supporters and 4 VS Seeker to reuse them, your chance of dead drawing at any point in the game and not setting up are very low. 

Matchup Descriptions

Turbo Dark: 45-55

Turbo Dark is the new form of one of those very fast and aggressive decks that have seen success in every expanded tournament in the past. Because of Turbo Dark’s explosiveness, Greninja/Zoroark GX can hit big numbers as fast as turn one and can consistently keep up the same tempo throughout the game. This can cause a problem for Gardevoir/Sylveon because Turbo Dark can very easily OHKO the Gardevoir/Sylveon, which the deck isn’t built to deal with. Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse is built to play out like a defensive and disruptive strategy by settling for two-shots and healing all the damage your opponent dishes out to you. Your main path to victory against Turbo Dark is to try and get a big KO on one of their main attacking Pokemon, preferably Greninja/Zoroark,  by using your Magical Miracle GX attack while also putting down either Power Plant or Silent Lab, depending on the game state. This can completely slow down their damage output as they need to do 330 damage when taking Fighting Fury Belt and Gardevoir/Sylveon’s resistance into effect when they attack with Greninja/Zoroark. Depending on which stadium you put down, you can also make their alternate attackers in Marshadow GX and Mew from FCO useless. If you can get the GX attack off and make them dead draw out of the game, you have the best chance of taking the game. Another thing to keep in mind for this matchup, is that you need to have Wonder Energy attached to any of you Gardevoir/Sylveon in play. This is needed to have in play because Turbo Dark plays multiple copies of Darkrai GX. Their Darkrai GX has access to the Dead End GX attack, which when paired with Hypnotoxic Laser or Malamar EX’s ability, can get a free OHKO on your active Pokemon. Wonder Energy stops that effect from happening, so it is needed to keep your Gardevoir/Sylveon as safe as possible from a big OHKO. Matchup is complicated because of how fast Zoroark/Greninja can hit, but you have a win condition because of Gardevoir/Sylveon’s high HP when paired with Fighting Fury Belt + resistance, and how powerful Magical Miracle GX is.

Rowlet/Eggs/Vileplume: 70-30

This matchup is strange because the Rowlet/Egg GX attempts to set up multiple of the BUS Vileplume in order to stop you from attacking with Gardevoir/Sylveon. This means you have to resort to attacking with your 90 HP Aromatisse, that has an attack for two fairy and colorless that does a whopping 60 damage. When using Aromatisse to attack, it takes three shots an opposing Vileplume while they settle for a two shot on you. Luckily, you survive that because you have multiple healing options in Max Potion, Acerola, and AZ. You also have access to Super Rod which can get back crucial energy and Aromatisse pieces for when you have to retreat around and attack with multiple Aromatisse. If your opponent is about to have a fully loaded Vileplume with three energy on it next turn, make sure you keep your benched Spritzee safe from a Guzma play on them by either attaching a Fighting Fury Belt, or prioritize evolving it right away. It is also important to attach multiple Wonder Energy as it blocks Vileplume’s special conditions it places on your Pokemon with its attack. Without at least two Wonder Energy attached, they can Faba one of them and affect your Pokemon with a special condition which could possibly stop you from attacking for a turn or two. If they also decide to set up the item locking Vileplume, play one of your Guzma and KO it with your Gardevoir/Sylveon as fast as you can before they can set up multiple of each Vileplume. It is important to take out the item locking Vileplume because it stops you from being able to heal using Max Potion and using VS Seeker to get back your healing supporters. Since you have a good enough out to get through both Vileplume, this matchup is favored unless you draw unfortunately, or prize double Spritzee like Drew Cate did in game two of his Top 4 match.

Zoroark GX/Control: 60-40

When playing against this combo heavy disruption deck, you have to play very well and manage every bit of your resources as best as you can. The way you win against this matchup is to have as many Wonder Energy as you can on your active Gardevoir/Sylveon so your opponent can never use Articuno’s Cold Crush GX attack effect and remove all their energy, while also setting up for a timely Magical Miracle GX+Power Plant turn. The best way to see how this matchup works/is played out, is to watch the Top 8 streamed match between Drew Cate and Rowan Stavenow from Richmond regionals. The match is a great, high level example of how Gardevoir/Sylveon beats Zoroark/Control as Drew Cate did many times throughout the tournament.  

Zoroark GX/Garbodor: 55-45

When playing against any Zoroark GX based deck, you want to try and Magical Miracle GX as fast as possible with a Power Plant to stop them from using Trade. This limits the vast amount of options Zoroark/Garbodor has and leaves them hoping to top deck unless they have cards benched like Marshadow UNB or Oranguru SUM. If they have one, but not the other, it is a good idea to Guzma the same turn and KO it so they are then forced to top deck. Zoroark/Garbodor, similar to Buzzwole/Garbodor, also has no way to OHKO unless there is a lot of items in your discard pile. Keep in mind of any potential Lt.Surge, Iris, and Choice Band combos they can pull off against you before you decide to not heal for a turn, or dump more items into the discard. Zoroark is going to and two-shot you and attempt to disrupt you as much as possible by playing N and by shutting off Aromatisse’s ability with Garbotoxin Garbodor. Shutting off Aromatisse is an issue as you cannot Max Potion as freely, but you can still play Acerola because it saves the energy on board, and you can Kaleidostorm onto the benched Gardevoir/Sylveon in preparation. Since Zoroark/Garbodor does have multiple outs to draw out of Magical Miracle GX, this matchup becomes closer than it should be and is mostly decided by how badly their N’s stick, and if you miss multiple turns of healing their damage. The matchup isn’t unfavored, but you do have to play smart and predict any potential play they could pull off to hurt your board and do your best to stop it before they can pull it off.

(anti-meta pick that saw a lot of play at Richmond): 85-15

Buzzwole/Garbodor is an anti-meta one prize deck that had multiple day two spots in Richmond. It is played to have weakness advantage over fighting and psychic weak Pokemon, which happened to be good against the most expected decks going into the event. The deck does not dish out large enough numbers or has any OHKO potential outside of a late game Trashalanche attack or when Buzzwole has it’s Sledgehammer turn. This matchup is heavily favored for Gardevoir/Sylveon because Gardevoir/Sylveon has a lot of HP, and just so happens to not have a weakness to either fighting, or psychic. Your deck is also not as reliant on items as other decks are in the expanded format, so their deck has no way to OHKO you unless you play into Trashalanche, which I advise you don’t. You win by taking as many KO’s as fast as you can while setting up for a Magical Miracle GX turn. Everytime they hit into you for relevant damage, either Acerola, AZ, or Max Potion the Gardevoir/Sylveon after moving it’s energies off of it. This will stop them from ever being able to take a big knockout on your Gardevoir/Sylveon, and should put you in the best position to win before they can ever put enough pressure on you. 


When looking at what happened at Richmond regionals, Portland is looking like a meta to be filled with Rowlet/Alolan Exeguttor, Zoroark/Control, Zoroark/Garbodor, Turbo Dark and Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse. This new meta is panning out to look like Gardevoir/Sylveon is the favorite to win because of its overwhelming defensive, and disruptive strategy. 

Thank you all for reading my article on my thoughts on how Portland regionals is going to look like with the aftermath of Richmond regionals, and why playing Gardevoir/Sylveon with Aromatisse is the key to success this weekend. Be sure to check back here on The Po Town Store regularly for many more articles from me to come, and to pick up some great deals on any codes you may need to build your decks on PTCGO. Shout outs go to Drew Cate for helping me with some of the matchup descriptions, and for his amazing Top 4 finish last weekend. I’d also like to thank my team, Nerd Rage Gaming, for sponsoring me. I’ll see you all next time in the next article, and best of luck to all attending Portland regionals this weekend!