This is the companion discussion topic for this article.
"Current Affairs" – A Discussion of the (Good!) State of Expanded and Discussion of Malamar for FLI Standard
Thought this was a great article. Especially the discussion on expanded as a format being quite balanced if players are willing to put the time in to test it. I found this refreshing because I know you have found the format stale in the past and if it is winning you over, how stale could it truly be right? Personally I love the format and have said so multiple times. I also have found that some of the older concepts really do still shine given the right meta (for example Toad Garb can be exceptionally stifling against just about anything considered “meta” in expanded right now, but requires a lot of patience and willingness to risk some bricks to actually work which many people aren’t willing to do).
What I really want to ask about is whether you have had an opportunity to test and revisit your Necro Squids list. I can honestly say that I think the list you put down, while a good starting skeleton, could use some love. I am guessing you have done additional testing with it and am curious to see your thoughts. Seems like it needs Beast Ring and Beast Energy at the very least.
Both Beast Ring and Beast Energy are interesting concerns but I haven’t had much luck with them. I think that the deck could easily play one Beast Energy with little to no change so that should be an easy fix but Beast Ring itself is another issue. I think the deck would need to be constructed somewhat different to get the most mileage out of that card and while this version may inevitably prove to be superior, I am not exactly sure what I would need to change. I would be happy to hear any suggestions but I imagine the list would look much different and would be played slower than the skeleton I discussed in this article.
What I have been playing looks like this:
2 ultra necrozma
2 dawn wings
3 lele / 2 lele + 1 mew / 2 lele + 1 dialga / 2 lele + 1 mimikyu / 2 lele + another draw supporter / 2 lele + oranguru / 2 lele + smeargle (energy swap version) – this has really been the flex spot and remains unsettled.
3 ultra ball
3 field blower
1 super rod
3 beast ring
1 pal pad
1 beast energy
As you can see, it is actually pretty close to the skeleton above. I did start out with Lunala, but found that it didn’t bring enough to the deck to justify it over the beast rings. Ultimately though, my biggest reason for using the beast rings has been as a simple counter for parallel city allowing me to get set back up after removing the parallel while still applying pressure with an attacker. It also gives me a way to keep Ultra Necrozma off the board until I actually need to use it. Depending on the match up, this has been all over the map, but it allows me to not have to rely as much on Malamar. Given that beast energy + choice band = 180 on dawn wings 1st attack or beast + choice = 190 on celesteela’s second attack along with what appears to be a fairly big drop off in overall zoroark lists due to fighting getting far stronger, I have found myself playing dawn wings / celesteela as my primary attacker far more frequently than I would have expected. Add in that beast ring sets up every main attacker in this list and I just don’t see any good reason to not play it.
The biggest issue with the list has been a general lack of options when N’d to 4 mid game. Because there is no additional draw support in the list, frequently the only real option is to play a draw supporter which is less than ideal. Oranguru simply doesn’t provide enough oomph on the bench to make up for it and was quickly discarded. I briefly played around with Octillery, but at that point you almost have to play a Brigette style rather than this more aggressive approach. There simply isn’t enough space for the 2-2 zoroark line i think would be required to even somewhat put a dent in this issue. I “settled” on Dialga (metal style) as a kind of spot “good alternate attacker for certain decks” like Sylveon / Hoopa / Glaceon that can get set up to use shred on a single turn, but mostly an easy 1 energy out if I get into situations where I am truly stuck. It is not great and has been in and out of my list over and over again.
As such, there is some inconsistency in the list and garbodor hands happen more than I would like even when I have boosted the draw supporters to 4 sycamore, 4 cynthia, 3 N (which I actually think is bad as anything but a disruption card in this list due to how quickly it frequently takes 2 prizes). Ultimately, I don’t think there is a good option right now to help with this. In expanded, Musharna is a potential option, but given the overwhelming use of hex chaining, I just honestly don’t see this as a viable choice in that format anyway.
Sorry for the book, but I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on this list and figured if you knew where I was coming from it might spark ideas on your end and make for a good discussion