Building a Pokémon TCG Deck for the Expanded Format in 2018

If you read our recent blog post on creating a standard Pokemon card deck for 2018 and were wondering where the love for expanded format was, no worries. We didn’t forget about the format – we just needed a bit more time to research the meta. (If you don’t know the term meta, look at the standard format deck building guide.)

So, let’s dive right in:

Changes Coming to Expanded Format

The expanded format is actually remaining unchanged for 2018. Or,  mostly unchanged. There will still be the addition of new expansions on the third Friday of the month in which they are released.

This means you won’t have to change your existing expanded format decks to make them legal for tournament play. However, just because you don’t need to, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. New expansions might bring better alternatives to cards in your or opponents decks.

The changes will be subtler than standard format which will have large changes in meta, but it’s still important to be aware of them.

Meta Decks and Builds

Since we aren’t seeing any major changes in the cards available, we can expect to see many of the popular strategies and decks from last year return. This includes:

  • Yveltal/Maxie’s
  • Trevenant
  • Greninja
  • Garbador Variants
  • Night March
  • Turbo Dark
  • Item Lock
  • Volcanion
  • Wailord EX
  • Sableye-Garb
  • Seismitoad Variants
  • Vileplume
  • And more

One of the best parts about the expanded format is just how varied the meta is. Almost any strategy can be successful rewarding creative players and decks.

Building Your Deck

When it comes to the expanded format, anything goes. That’s why there’s no single way to build a deck. Instead of a single build guide, you need to identify your playstyle/strategy. Maybe you like hitting hard and want to simply knock out your opponent’s pokemon as fast as possible. Perhaps, you’d rather set your opponent back 3 turns for each move they make. Or, maybe you just want to use abilities and statuses to troll your opponent.

With expanded, any deck is possible. It frees you up to play how you want, but that can be a blessing and a curse. If you’re not sure what playstyle you want to use, you won’t do very well. So for those of you still figuring out your playstyle, here’s the best advice:

  1. Get out and play! Playing both in person and online will help you see the many different styles of decks and pick one that best suits you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Avoid trying to build the “best” decks and focus more on experimenting with different energy types, trainer cards, and pokemon.
  3. Try building and focusing on counters to popular decks and use those as starting points for further experimentation.


Expanded is great because it allows you to experiment, so if you’re focusing on building the same deck everyone else has, you won’t get the most out of it! So remember, use it to experiment and find your playstyle. Stick with counters to popular decks at first, and play both in person and online.