Hey PokeBeach! We’re at that awkward time of year where U.S. Regionals have just concluded, but us Europeans are still in the middle of Cities! People want to know about both formats. I can’t focus solely on either! So, for that reason, I’ll be talking about decks from both of them.
I wanted to do an article about an incredibly powerful card right now — Seismitoad-EX. In both Standard and Expanded, this card has been tearing up the competition left, right, and center because of its incredibly Quaking Punch attack. Even in Yveltal variants, this card takes up at least one spot for that additional option. Any deck that can use Quaking Punch effectively, should.
This article will go over three deck lists featuring Seismitoad-EX, some in both Standard and Expanded, all of which I believe are excellent plays for upcoming States and Regionals. I have tested each list thoroughly, and, after reading the article, I recommend you try each of them out, or at least start practicing against them. The presence of Seismitoad-EX in both formats is undeniable, and for good reason. You’ll either need to play it, or know how to play against it.
So, let’s jump into some decks!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was primarily written before the release of ‘BREAKpoint,’ thus all of the deck lists were built to be played in that format. At the end of each deck list, Nath discusses and cards from ‘BREAKpoint’ that he would add to that deck list. Much of the advice in this article carries over into the new format.
Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX
This is a deck that has been floating around for a while now and it’s undoubtedly one of the strongest lock-based decks the game has ever seen. You have the option to prevent your opponent from playing Item cards with Seismitoad-EX, as well as hit hard with Giratina-EX whilst also blocking any Special Energy, Stadiums, and Tool cards your opponent is carrying. A couple of other aspects include Giratina’s relative immunity to Mega Pokemon thanks to its ability, Renegade Pulse, and a wide range of cards to deny your opponent’s Energy attachments.
Standard and Expanded Toad / Tina variants are very different. In Expanded, you have access to cards like Hypnotoxic Laser, Jirachi-EX, and Ghetsis which make the deck stronger and give it more options; however, you have more room for techs and consistency-based cards in Standard.
This deck has a lot of room, which makes it easier for you to fit in techs that will make it easier to disrupt your opponent. There’s naturally room for cards such as Milotic, AZ, and Team Aqua's Secret Base because you’re not taking up space with Hypnotoxic Lasers or extra Supporters.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The average number of Seismitoad-EX you will need per game is two, so three is the best number in case you prize one. I’ve seen some people play four, but in my testing the fourth hasn’t done anything except take up an additional spot in the list. Three is the perfect number.
In some matchups, Giratina-EX is a lot more powerful than Seismitoad. Specifically against Vespiquen and Night March decks, Giratina can make it incredibly hard for them to win since the main attacks of each deck cost two Colorless Energy each. Vespiquen has the option to run Flareon and Blacksmith to power up a Vespiquen in one turn without the need for a Double Colorless Energy. However, they will usually struggle to stream Knock Outs if they have to do this each time, and you should be able to Lysandre out their Flareon and remove that option.
Night March decks don’t have any way of dealing with Chaos Wheel, so as soon as you attack with Giratina you have basically won the game. The real issue here is that it takes two turns to power up Giratina, and it is highly likely they will be able to take a Knock Out on it before you can attack. Giratina is also powerful against Mega Pokemon such as M Manectric-EX and M Mewtwo-EX thanks to its ability.
2 Shaymin-EX / 1 Hoopa-EX
You should be fine with two Shaymin-EX. Prizing one can hurt sometimes, because you do rely on it for draw power, but as long as you draw decently you should be fine. If you’re testing this list and feel as though you really need a third Shaymin, cut to two Giratina-EX.
Recently this has become a typical inclusion to Seismitoad-EX / Giratina-EX decks, and after testing I can see why. It has synergy with this deck for a few reasons. You run a lot of Scoop Up cards which means you could potentially use it multiple times. Milotic can, of course, retrieve any card from your discard, but the cards this deck wants to reuse most often are Energy-removal cards as well as your own Special Energy, made even better by the fact that it’s done via an Ability. Furthermore, Milotic being the only non-EX Pokemon that you run means there’s no way it will affect the Prize trade; you can even throw it into the Active spot and force your opponent to waste a turn knocking it out and, as a result, force the seven-Prize game.
Four Professor Sycamore is basically a requirement for the Standard version because of the lack of available draw Supporters. Discarding important cards and Special Energy can be a pain, but there’s no viable alternative. My list does include one copy of both Professor Birch's Observations and Judge as shuffle-draw options, which can get you out of bad starts if you happen to draw into either of them. The Judge is also a great disruption card and can be devastating when followed up by a Quaking Punch. This combo alone has won me a few games online. If your opponent gets stuck with a hand of Items that they can’t use, they will be unable to respond to your flurry of Quaking Punches and fizzle out of the game.
As for utility Supporters, a few of them revolve around Energy denial. Xerosic is common in most decks nowadays, and in this deck it works incredibly well as a way of delaying your opponent with a guaranteed chance of removing a Special Energy card. Against Night March, if you can discard all of their Double Colorless Energy and deal with their Milotic, you’ve got the game in the bag. Team Flare Grunt is also a pretty solid card. It’s great in the mirror for diminishing their limited supply of Energy, it’s brilliant on turns where you don’t need the benefit of another Supporter, and overall it puts a huge amount of pressure on your opponent turn after turn.
Hex Maniac is one of the more powerful Supporters you can play on turn one in Standard and against speed decks like M Rayquaza-EX, Vespiquen, and Night March, it can completely hinder their set up. Going first, a Hex followed up by a Quaking Punch the following turn will give you a huge advantage over nearly any other deck in the format. Last but not least, I run one AZ mainly for the Milotic option, but you can also use it draw with Shaymin-EX, or retrieve vulnerable EXs that either have a lot of damage or are otherwise likely to be Knocked Out for an easy two Prizes.
Kicking off the Items is four VS Seekers, the standard for most decks right now. In this deck in particular, four is absolutely necessary due to the high count of utility Supporters. Four Ultra Ball is also very much standard; it gives you the best chance at finding your turn one Hoopa-EX and setting your board up. Four Super Scoop Up and four Crushing Hammer is the prerequisite to get the maximum value out of them. Statistically you should get two Energy removals and two scoop ups per game, but you can win with this deck on even less than that if you manage your other resources well.
Three Muscle Band is my preferred amount. In Standard you need the extra damage boost because you don’t have access to Hypnotoxic Lasers, and on a regular EX turning Quaking Punch into a four-hit KO makes the attack that much more powerful. You have the room to be greedy with this list, so there’s no reason to cut to any less. For this same reason I choose to run three Head Ringer. They can be devastating when used on the right targets, and after your first Quaking Punch or Chaos Wheel, your opponent won’t be able to attach Tools to stop you from being able to Head Ringer them, making the card that much more powerful.
For switching options I run one Float Stone and one Escape Rope. Float Stone is great to fling onto Hoopa, Milotic, or Shaymin-EX and allows you to dedicate a Pokemon as your go-to retreating option when you need to promote a new Active Pokemon. Escape Rope can be a Switch if you want, I just prefer rope to get around non-EX attackers by forcing your opponent to promote an EX.
As for Enhanced Hammer, its 100% chance of success and not taking up your Supporter use for the turn make it another solid tech card for removing Energy.
Finally, I run three Stadium cards. The first two are Team Aqua's Secret Base, a card that fits well into this deck due to the huge negative impact it can have on your opponent whilst it barely affects you at all. Since this deck’s most common ways of moving its Active Pokemon are Float Stone and Escape Rope, this card shouldn’t put you at a disadvantage, but it can mess with your opponent, especially if you lock it in with Chaos Wheel. Silent Lab is powerful early game if your opponent doesn’t have an answer to it. Against Night March you can prevent them from drawing through their deck with Shaymin if they don’t have a way to replace the Stadium. Another great use of this card is against Archie’s Blastoise. It shuts off their Shaymin and, more importantly, their Jirachi-EX, making it more difficult for them to pull off the turn one Archie's Ace in the Hole.
For BREAKpoint I’d cut the Milotic line, one Muscle Band, and one Head Ringer in favor of four Puzzle of Time. Puzzle is Milotic’s spiritual successor for most decks due to the fact that it can bring back more cards from your discard during the course of a game and doesn’t need to be evolved from a vulnerable Benched Pokemon.
Vs. Night March
Winning the coin flip is a large factor in this matchup. You want to either set up Silent Lab or Hex Maniac them turn one so their draw will hopefully be diminished and they won’t be able to set up properly. Other than that, you want to make sure you’re using Quaking Punch as often as you can, and try your best to power up Giratina-EX. If you can Chaos Wheel at any point, take that opportunity straight away because you automatically win the game. Judge is another strong card in this matchup, either on turn one or later in the game with a Quaking Punch. Judge plus Silent Lab on the first turn is one of the best starts you can have against this deck.
One of the other niche things you can do is take a KO with Shaymin-EX‘s Sky Return on a Joltik and promote Milotic. If you do it at the right point you can really take the lead. The downside is that if they Lysandre around it, you’re in the same position as before, except you just missed a turn of Item lock. It’s best to only do this play when they’re on their last two Prizes and you would lose the game otherwise.
Energy removal and Quaking Punch are the keys to this matchup. Baby Yveltal can be your biggest problem due to its high HP, it’s non-EX status, and its ability to recycle Energy. You need to do your best to deal with that, either by taking it out in three clean hits with Quaking Punch or by using Lysandre to get around it. If you can’t, just keep attacking it whilst removing as much Energy as possible.
Thankfully, the only way they can take big Knock Outs is by loading up big Yveltal-EX. I find that going all out with Toad and Quaking Punch is therefore the best line of play against this deck because they need six Energy to one-shot it, which will never happen while you are constantly removing their Energy. If they try and 2HKO your Seismitoad-EX with Y Cyclone or smaller Evil Balls, you should try and heal the damage with Super Scoop Ups or AZ. Cards like Zoroark and Gallade are tough to deal with, but you can deal with Zoroark fairly well if you limit your Bench size, while your opponent’s only chance to get Gallade into play is on their first turn, meaning it won’t be an issue often.
This is my least favorite mirror match of all time. You can play it perfectly and still lose even if your opponent didn’t, an anomaly to the usual mirror match formula. Despite this, it’s important to know how to play the matchup properly if you want to win. Head Ringers are powerful — getting them on your opponent’s Seismitoad-EX on your first turn can prevent them from pulling off Quaking Punch for quite some time.
Getting Muscle Bands out as soon as you can is key too; it stops them from attaching their Head Ringers and it will maximize your damage potential. You should also try and only fill your board with Shaymin-EX and Seismitoad because Giratina-EX isn’t all that great. Even though in theory it can prevent your opponent from playing Energy entirely, it ends up having all of its Energy removed and basically doing nothing.
What you want to do is remove all of their Energy and end up being the player with the most resources left at the end of the game. Quaking Punch is still a very strong attack in the mirror, you just have to evaluate the situation and decide whether it’s the right turn to do so.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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