Green Eggs and Toad — Expanded Seismitoad Variants, Exeggutor’s Return, and Gameplay Tips

Hey there, PokeBeach readers! I’m thrilled to be writing for you again. This time, I’m trying something totally different. My past few articles have all been about dissecting one individual deck, so I’ve decided to write about three separate topics for this article. Since all of my previous articles were geared towards competitive players who already play the game at a high proficiency level, this one will be at the opposite end of the spectrum for my first topic — gameplay mechanics. Some of these mechanics may seem simple, while others are complex and are sometimes misplayed by even the top players in the game, including myself. The second topic is a comparison of two decks, centered around one of my favorite cards ever — Seismitoad-EX. While Seismitoad has always thrived with Crobat, the release of Sun and Moon has introduced what many believe is the best partner for Seismitoad, Decidueye-GX. I’ll provide my lists for each variant, the pros and cons of each deck, as well as discuss which Toad variant I personally prefer.

My last topic will be the first part of a three part series which will take part in my upcoming articles. In this section, I’m going to be talking about a deck I’m super excited to try out in Expanded with Sun and Moon — Exeggutor / Decidueye-GX. This part of the series will include my initial draft and explanations as to why I play some of the cards. Stay tuned for my future articles, where I’ll be posting my updated list, discussing the changes I’ve made and going through the matchup knowledge I’ve acquired. If the deck ends up being as good as I believe it can be, I might even end up playing it for Collinsville Regionals. By posting my updated list each time, it will give you an inside look as to how I build and perfect a list over time.

Gameplay Mechanics

Whether you’re one of the top players in the game or just starting out, every single one of us goes through certain gameplay mechanics throughout the course of a game. Some take the best courses of action, others not so much. A significant amount of the difference between the best and the rest comes from how well these gameplay mechanics are played. Often times, players will put themselves at small disadvantages from playing cards in the incorrect order. For example, someone plays Trainers' Mail before playing an Ultra Ball. While they may end up getting the card they needed off that Trainers’ Mail, they didn’t play that sequence as well as it could have been played. These instances occur many times during a game, eventually cascading into larger and larger disadvantages. Thus, everyone can gain from knowing the correct sequence to use with specific cards or card combinations. Of course, gameplay mechanics entail much more than only the proper sequence to play cards; I will discuss several of the most important ones. Improving in these areas of your gameplay is one of the easiest ways to improve as a player.

Sequencing Trainer Cards

Let’s start off with something that I touched upon in my earlier example. There are many Items that should be played in a specific order to maximize the success rates of other Item cards. For instance, let’s say you have a hand of seven cards, with an Ultra Ball, VS Seeker, Battle Compressor and Trainers' Mail in it. The objective of this turn is to hit a Max Elixir off of your Trainers’ Mail, as you need to hit this Max Elixir to win the game. You haven’t had the opportunity to look through your deck yet. The first action you are going to want to take with your hand is use the Battle Compressor. While you could play Ultra Ball first, getting rid of two of the other three cards in your hand, Battle Compressor surely takes priority. This is because Battle Compressor allows you to look through your deck without requiring that you discard anything. If you Ultra Ball away one of your Garbodor and find out the other one is Prized, for example, you could potentially be screwed. Therefore, by playing Battle Compressor first, you know not to discard the important resource with your Ultra Ball. After using Battle Compressor (which also targeted a Supporter for the VS Seeker), you should Ultra Ball two of the other three cards in your hand for your Pokemon. If that Pokemon isn’t Shaymin-EX, you can put it down immediately. If it is Shaymin-EX, play the Trainers’ Mail prior to you playing down the Shaymin-EX. By playing the Trainers’ Mail before you play Shaymin-EX, you draw into one more card, giving you a higher chance of seeing your coveted Max Elixir. After all this, you still have the VS Seeker available to use a Supporter if you still have not seen your Max Elixir. By playing your hand this way, you’ve given yourself the highest odds of achieving your goal for that turn. That’s just one example of sequencing, and there are tons of other different possibilities where perfecting your sequencing can be the difference between a win and a loss.

Many Trainer sequences may not be obvious right away when you first start playing. The more you play and encounter these sequences, the less thought you will need to put into these plays. This will allow you to fully concentrate on strategy and card probabilities.

Fully Utilizing Max Elixir

Wait a second, Max Elixir does more than just allow you to attach an Energy you find in the top six cards of your deck to one of your Benched Pokemon? The answer is yes. Always look at all six of the cards you are allowed from Max Elixir. Do not stop when you hit an Energy, especially if you haven’t been able to search your deck during the game yet. This may seem unimportant, but it’s an excellent habit to get into. It will absolutely benefit you in some games. You might see a crucial one-of that you play in the deck with that Max Elixir, giving you valuable Prize card information without needing to look through your deck. Also, when you first begin a game and do get the opportunity to search through your deck, it is hard to remember everything and some things you may forget to look for. Max Elixir provides limited search potential that could find what you had forgotten earlier.

Playing Against Delinquent

When you know your opponent plays Delinquent, or can infer they play it based on their deck choice, such as Seismitoad-EX, Trevenant and Sableye, you never want to give them the opportunity to stick you with a zero card hand. Against Seismitoad, if one of your Items doesn’t 100% have to be played before Item-lock comes into play, consider holding onto it if you would otherwise have a three card hand. That way, once the opponent plays Delinquent, you can get rid of the Item and keep the one important card in your hand, likely a Professor Sycamore or N.

Keep in mind not to overextend to go for a play when it won’t give you the win. This can easily leave your tempo wrecked by a Delinquent. It’s more important to guarantee multiple attacks in a row than to overextend for something and then be unable to follow up with another attacker once that one is gone. When you are used to being an aggressive player it can be difficult to make decisions like this, but there is always a time and a place for it. In Expanded, you need to be wary of Delinquent right away on turn one, thanks to Jirachi-EX and Battle Compressor. In Standard, you should always try to play around this, especially once Delinquent hits the discard pile. Prior to that, while you more than likely will not be punished for lowering your hand to three, you should always try to play around it unless you absolutely need to use more cards to pick up a crucial Knock Out.

Thinning Your Deck Versus Saving Your Outs

This concept is quite simple, and can be done starting on the first turn of the game. N is a format defining card, so you will almost always have your hand disrupted at least once per game. That being said, you’re going to want to start discarding cards that will not be needed for that matchup as soon as you possibly can. For example, if you’re playing the Giratina Promo and you play against Yveltal-EX / Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick, you’re going to want to discard the Giratina Promo right away, as its Ability will be of no use to you in this matchup. The last thing you want to happen is to be N’d late game and draw into the Giratina when you need a particular card to win the game. Whenever you aren’t discarding cards for strategy purposes, like Battle Compressing a Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick, Gallade and Archeops, prioritize getting rid of cards that will have the least amount of impact on that game.

There are also times where you don’t want to be thinning your deck. When playing around Delinquent, for example, sometimes it is better to keep cards in your hand rather than using them to put more cards into your discard pile. If the opponent Delinquents you into a horrible hand, you’re going to want to draw into a powerful resource.

Another time you want to hold onto your resources is before you are shuffling your hand into your deck. For example, if you have a Trainers' Mail as well as an N in your hand, unless you need a specific card off of the Trainers’ Mail that turn, it is better to hold that Trainers’ Mail and shuffle it back into your deck. This allows you to conserve your resources for later, as you’re giving yourself another draw out to future N.

Finally, one of the most prominent situations where unnecessary thinning occurs is when a Shaymin-EX is played when it does not need to be. If you are playing a Mega deck, and you have the ability to Professor Sycamore right away or Shaymin-EX for a few more cards that you don’t necessarily need at the time, you should discard your Shaymin-EX rather than play it. The main reason for this is because you could draw into resources you can’t play immediately and would then have to discard them with the Sycamore. Now, let’s say you draw three Megas on turn one, prior to using the Sycamore. You can’t play them, and now suddenly you’re unable to get a new hand because discarding the Megas would likely mean a game loss. You obviously don’t want to thin too aggressively here. The best option would be to use a Shaymin. Always keep in mind before you play a Shaymin, that it’s a free two Prizes for your opponent to take at any point during the game. That being said, you have to make sure that each Shaymin-EX you play is used for a specific purpose; don’t play it because you can, or you’ll be punished for it. This is another mistake that happens all the time by players that are used to being as aggressive as possible.

Taking a Cheap Prize Versus Softening Up the Main Attacker

Let’s say that you can hit your opponent’s M Scizor-EX for 120 damage, or you can Knock Out a Shaymin-EX on the opponent’s Bench. The opponent has no Scizor-EX on the Bench and hasn’t shown the ability to power-up anything else yet. Do you take the free Prizes, or do you just attack the Active? Hopefully everyone chose to attack the Mega Scizor instead of taking the free Prizes. Those free Prizes are going to be available to you all game, so unless you’re taking that Knock Out to win the game, you should take out your opponent’s threats first and foremost. By taking the easy Knock Out, you’re giving them a free turn to attack you without their attacker taking damage, turning it from a favorable trade into an unfavorable exchange. To properly make these decisions you must forecast the opponent’s plays and tactics to the best of your ability. Always be thinking about what their next move is going to be.

Taking Advantage of Free Retreat

This is another easy mechanic to utilize, but one still worth mentioning for readers just starting the TCG. If your Pokemon is Knocked Out and you have a Pokemon with free Retreat on your Bench, send it to the Active position to start the turn. This gives you the flexibility to retreat into whatever you want to for that turn. If you send up a Pokemon with a Retreat Cost, however, you’re forced to commit resources in order to get it out of the Active position so one of your other Pokemon can attack. Unless you’re absolutely certain you’re going to attack with that Pokemon, always send up your free retreater if it is on your Bench; there are always unexpected resources that you have the potential of drawing into that will help pull off a certain plays. I’m sure we have all made this mistake in the past.

The New Seismitoad-EX Era

Ever since the Japanese scans of Decidueye-GX leaked, people have been deeming it as Seismitoad-EX‘s newest partner, leaving Crobat to the wayside. I asked this question in a Facebook group, and boy did these results surprise me! When I asked this question, I knew Seismitoad / Decidueye would end up with more votes, but not 94% of the votes!

At the time this article was written, Sun and Moon was not officially released yet; therefore, I have not had access to these cards on PTCGO. Thus, I have been unable to thoroughly test any of the lists Travis Nunlist and I have drafted. While I still feel confident that these lists are tournament ready, especially my Toad / Bats list, these are subject to change as I begin to test them more frequently.

While Toad / Decidueye and Toad / Crobat seem like similar decks, the decks are rather quite different. Surprisingly, the difference doesn’t come from the swap between Decidueye and Crobat, as both lines take up the same amount of deck space. The biggest difference is that you don’t have Super Scoop Up or Silent Lab in Decidueye. While you lose a significant portion of your lock cards, Toad / Decidueye uses all of this free space to make the deck hit significantly harder. Let’s take a look at our Seismitoad-EXDecidueye-GX list!

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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