The New Forbidden One — Expanded ExTOADia and Standard Steelix

Hello everyone! This is Grant here once again.

In preparation for Dallas Regionals, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the Zoroark-GX Exodia deck that has gotten so much attention recently. The turn one combo of Red Card, Delinquent, and Peeking Red Card is the most degenerate thing I’ve ever seen in this game, and one of the most powerful combos ever made. The Zoroark-GX version that made Top 4 in Anaheim has become quite the hot topic in Expanded, and that got me thinking: couldn’t one theoretically run the Exodia engine with anything? After all, the hand lock combo doesn’t rely on any specific Pokemon outside of Shaymin-EX, so you don’t necessarily have to partner it with Zoroark.

Previously, the only alternative I had ever thought about was Absol / Sableye. I had a deck which used Marshadow-GX to copy Sableye’s Junk Hunt so that I could use Hiker and Trick Shovel every turn following the initial lock. Marshadow-GX could also use Absol’s Future Sight when needed, and use Doom News to OHKO everything while my opponent was powerless to respond. Unfortunately, I could never get this deck to the point where I considered it to be competitive enough in Expanded.

It wasn’t until all of this recent Exodia hype that I began to consider other alternatives. I tossed around considerations of Buzzwole-GX Exodia and Exeggutor Exodia. Buzzwole could dish out tons of pressure for only one Energy while your opponent dead draws, and Exeggutor can enforce a hard lock along with Silent Lab or Garbodor, though it doesn’t get going until turn two at the earliest. The most promising idea was actually suggested to me by Tye Pellecchia a few weeks ago, and we’ve been refining the list since then.

While I cannot definitively say that it’s better than Zoroark, Seismitoad-EX Exodia is my favorite option at the moment and I believe that it’s the best one. Seismitoad can start attacking on turn one if you go second, which helps to make up for the lessened effect of Exodia when going second. Furthermore, Quaking Punch locks Items, which handicaps just about every deck. Not only does Item lock limit an opponent’s outs to escape the hand lock, but it lets you win “real” games when you don’t immediately win due to Exodia. For example, the Blastoise matchup is favorable even when they go first and get Blastoise out. This is because Item lock is so crippling to Blastoise throughout the entire game. Here’s my current list:


Pokemon (10)

4x Seismitoad-EX (FFI #106)4x Shaymin-EX (RSK #106)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #137)1x Sudowoodo (GUR #66)

Trainers (46)

2x Cynthia (ULP #119)2x Delinquent (BKP #98)2x Team Flare Grunt (XY #129)1x Guzma (BUS #115)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (FAC #113)4x Trainers' Mail (RSK #92)4x Order Pad (ULP #131)4x Super Scoop Up (UL #83)4x Hypnotoxic Laser (PLS #123)4x Red Card (GEN #71)3x Peeking Red Card (CRI #97)2x Muscle Band (XY #121)1x Float Stone (PLF #99)1x Computer Search (BCR #137)4x Virbank City Gym (PLS #126)

Energy (4)

4x Double Colorless Energy (HS #103)

Like with the Zoroark-GX build, ExTOADia aims to get the turn one hand lock combo without committing the full 60 cards to the first turn. If Exodia decks were to truly go all in with the combo, Delinquent would be the only Supporter and there wouldn’t be cards like VS Seeker. Like Zoroark Exodia, this deck still wants to win games when the opponent draws out of the lock, or when you whiff the combo in the first place. However, unlike with Zoroark, opponents who escape the lock are permanently crippled by Quaking Punch.

Card Explanations

Four Seismitoad-EX

In this flavor of Exodia, Seismitoad is our attacker. I run four copies because I want to start with Seismioad in order to begin using Quaking Punch as early as possible. Additionally, sometimes a Seismioad or two will be KO’d over the course of a game, and we want to have a backup ready on the Bench.

One Sudowoodo

Sudowoodo is excellent to have against Zoroark decks, especially against opposing Exodia builds. Sudowoodo makes it extremely difficult, or even impossible in some situations, for Zoroark to OHKO a Seismioad.

Exodia Engine

By “Exodia Engine” I am referring to all of the cards that are included specifically to hit the Exodia combo on turn one: four Shaymin-EX, one Tapu Lele-GX, two Delinquent, four Ultra Ball, four Trainers' Mail, four Order Pad, four Red Card, three Peeking Red Card, Computer Search, and four Virbank City Gym.

Most of these cards are obvious inclusions. Ultra Ball is the most useful card as it lowers your hand size while simultaneously drawing more cards via Shaymin, and it can turn into Delinquent via Tapu Lele-GX.

I run four Red Card and three Peeking Red Card, which leans on the heavy side when compared to other Exodia builds that prefer a low 2-2 split. Skimping on these cards seems atrocious to me considering that you have to draw them in a specific order to get the lock. Red Card is the first thing you need, so it makes sense to play four of them. You don’t need Peeking Red Card until later in the turn, so four copies isn’t a necessity.

Four Super Scoop Up are nice to have because they can let you reuse a Shaymin to help find the combo, and they can completely heal Seismitoad-EX after taking a hit.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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