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Jack Stensrud

The Quaking Question and the Shaymin Solution: How Night March Can Adapt to Both Formats

Jack Stensrud shows 5 different ways to counter Seismitoad EX with Night March, then shows how it can adapt to the next format.

05/22/2015 by Jack Stensrud

Hello 60Cards community! For those of you who don't know me (I'm not the most well-known player outside of my local area,) my name is Jack Stensrud. I'm a second-year Masters player from Seattle, Washington. I've been playing the game for roughly 8 years, although the 2015 season is my second competitive one. I've had an extremely good season this year, with four top 8 placements at Cities, including one win and one finals appearance, a Top 8 at Oregon Winter Regionals, a Top 32 at Seattle Regionals, and a Top 8 at Idaho States. I'm currently sitting at 339 Championship Points, and will be going out to Boston to compete in my first World Championships. I was well known in Seattle during the Cities season for almost exclusively playing Pyroar/Seismitoad, which was eventually able to net me 195 CP for the season, but I stopped playing it after Primal Clash came out, because it lost all of its advantages in the format. Anyway, let's get down to business.


As the season has continued, Night March has become one of the more popular decks in the Standard format, with a strong matchup against many popular decks in the game. It has a near autowin against Virizion, an even to favorable matchup against Flareon, enough Item-based draw to beat Exeggutor in a ⅔ series if you draw well, and a absolutely beatable Yveltal matchup that can be greatly improved by testing. However, the deck can struggle against Landorus EX/Crobat PHF (although Hard Charm and Mr. Mime PLF go a long way in that matchup,) Donphan, (Playing Empoleon/Archie’s Ace in the Hole as well as 2+ Lysandre improves that matchup also,) and the main focus of the first part of this article, Seismitoad EX.


Seismitoad EX seems like it was designed to counter Night March. It shuts of Ultra Ball, Battle Compressor, VS Seeker, Acro Bike, and almost every other card that Night March needs to set up. It also hits Joltik for a OHKO with no cards but a DCE, OHKO’s Pumpkaboo with a Muscle Band and a Hypnotoxic Laser, and hits Mew EX for 110 going back into its turn. Seismitoad decks also run Lysandre’s Trump card, which, when coupled with a Quaking Punch, makes it almost impossible to set up Night Marches for knockouts. There are a few common strategies that Night March players use to counter Seismitoad, and I’ll be detailing each one, with cards to add to the core Night March list, commentary, and a commentated video.


Before we start, let’s go over what our core Night March deck will look like. When I’m choosing which variant to play for the deck, I always factor in my core cards, which are the main cards in the deck, and can’t really be taken out in any scenario. These cards might vary slightly depending on player’s preference, but this is what I personally use.


Extra Cards: 9 (5 extra cards, and 4 Basic Energy)

On a side note, the Switch written in the list can be exchanged with an Escape Rope, my personal preference is just Switch over Escape Rope.


With these 5 cards opened up, there are a lot of options that we can pick. One of the main things that needs to be noted, however, is that even with these techs in place to beat Seismitoad, the deck can easily overwhelm you, and should not be considered a good matchup. These techs are more for being able to squeak out a win in a best of 3 series, not to decisively swing the matchup. One last side note is that a few of the videos have some graphical glitches in them (card images not loading,) and I’m really sorry about that. Without any further ado, let’s get started.


Option #1: Leafeon

 

 

Leafeon PLF has been a well-known option for Night March to counter Seismitoad, but I personally am not a fan of it. I think it uses too much deck space, and isn’t worth the consistency drop that it causes. However, many players do think it is a good idea, and it does greatly strengthen your Primal Groudon and Kyogre matchups a lot. My Leafeon list runs the core deck, with Grass Energy, a 2-2 Leafeon, (The Eevee is the FFI one, to get it set up as fast as possible) and either a Lysandre or a Mr. Mime PLF, depending on what decks I’m expecting to see.


Option #2: Bouffalant PRC

 

 

Bouffalant PRC is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked cards in the format. Its attack, when paired with Mew EX, is one of the best ways to counter Seismitoad while also dealing considerable amounts of damage to it. It turns the Virizion matchup into even more of an autowin (although I’ve never found a point where I had to use it,) greatly helps the Yveltal matchup (Yveltal can’t knock out Mew nearly as easily without DCE’s,) 2HKO’s nearly every EX in format, and it does it for only one space in the deck. I played it in my Night March deck at Idaho States, where I got Top 8, beating two out of the three Seismitoad decks I played (although one of those wins was because of a Turn 1 donk in game 2) Since it only adds one space in the deck, you still have four extra options, as well as your choice of basic energy depending on which extra attackers you choose to play. For Idaho, I chose to play an Archie’s Ace in the Hole, two Empoleon DEX, four Water Energy and a second Lysandre. I chose not to play Mr. Mime at that tournament, as I didn’t see any Landorus/Crobat decks at registration. That turned out to be a misplay, however, as having it could have meant the difference between and a win and a loss in game 3 of Top 8. If I could do it over, I’d cut the second Empoleon for a Mr. Mime, as it would have given me a much better matchup spread.

 

Option #3: Virizion/Genesect

 

 

I got the idea for this strategy from a blog, and I would give credit to whoever had the idea, but unfortunately, I completely forgot which blog I got it from. Anyways, this strategy uses Grass Energy, one Virizion EX, one Genesect EX, and one Shaymin EX (The one from Legendary Treasures, we’ll get to Roaring Skies Shaymin later.) This makes Seismitoad decks much easier to beat, and also gives you protection from Hypnotoxic Laser, which is always a plus. Since the three Pokemon only add three cards to the deck, you still have two extra cards to run. I would choose between Mr. Mime PLF, an extra Lysandre, and a fifth Grass Energy (to make Emerald Slash a slightly more viable option) depending on your area’s meta.

 

Option #4: Cobalion EX

 

 

This was the strategy that the winner of New York’s State Championship used, and it seems like a very strong option to counter Seismitoad for a small amount of space. Righteous Edge is a very strong option, with a cheaper energy cost and more HP than Bouffalant, but with much less damage and the EX rule. With Cobalion, you also can’t run Empoleon, or other techs that take energy (unless you run Rainbow Energy, which would be a bad decision in my opinion.) This allows for many interesting options, however, such as Hard Charm, Mr. Mime, extra Lysandres, more energy, and many other techs. If you’re comfortable with the smaller damage output and the liability of an EX, I’d definitely recommend this option.


Option #5: Illumise PRC

 


This card was put in first into the competitive spotlight by Joey Gaffney, who used it to get second at Washington States with his Virizion list. On paper, this card seems like an alright way to beat Seismitoad, but I personally find it underwhelming. I don’t think that it does enough to cause any real damage to Seismitoad, and it has too little HP to survive a hit from a Seismitoad. One of the benefits of this strategy, however, is that it doesn’t take up much space, so you can run plenty of other techs, such as the ones I’ve discussed earlier.

 

 

Option #6: Accept the Bad Matchup

This is far and away the riskiest option, as Seismitoad EX decks are still very popular nearly everywhere in the world, but you could just ignore it, and accept that you will probably lose the series against it. This allows you to strengthen the deck by running a bunch of other techs and consistency cards, and opens up many interesting cards that aren’t to counter Toad. Manectric EX has been an option that is very popular in the past, and helps the Yveltal matchup a lot. Tornadus EX DEX is a fun option that can do 60 for 1 energy with Mew EX that is really nice after you get hit with a Trump Card. Yveltal EX is a fun card, and you can also play a Darkrai EX to gain free retreat for anything you attach a Dark Energy to. Seismitoad EX and Mewtwo EX are fun options that are good in other matchups, and provide nice coverage for many situations. I’m not going to make a video for this strategy, because there are too many options to pick from. I’m not a huge fan of this strategy, but if Seismitoad’s popularity reduces, this might be a great option.


Now that I’ve gone through strategies for this format, it’s time to cover what lies ahead next format. There is a whole host of new and updated decks, and there are a few cards in Roaring Skies that give Night March a boost.


New Decks


Mega Rayquaza


Mega Rayquaza-based decks are the major hyped deck coming out of Roaring Skies. Typically playing heavy counts of Rayquaza and Mega Rayquaza (A 3-3 or more) and Shaymin EX (3-4), as well as thin lines of Ninetales PRC and Altaria ROS (Which removes weakness, which can be problematic). One of the main characteristics of the deck is its speed, which is relatively fast, and will only be faster as lists continue to evolve and be more effective. However, Mega Rayquaza has a weakness to Lightning, which gives Night March a key advantage. Altaria can combat this, but if the Night March player can’t stop it from hitting the field, it can be much more of a problem. Ninetales PRC is also a pain, as forcing a Sky Field active for the rest of the game makes it harder to use Night March every turn. Even so, the matchup is absolutely beatable right now for Night March. 220 is not an impossible number to hit with Night March, and if you run Empoleon, that lets you take advantage of Sky Field. I haven’t done a huge amount of testing with the matchup, but in the games that I have played, it seems like a pretty even matchup.


Latios EX Variants


This deck seems much more problematic than other ones, mainly because you play at least 8 basics that can easily be donked by Latios. However, I think that this is a pretty solid matchup if you are able to survive the first three or so turns. After turn 2-3, Latios just isn’t able to match up with your damage output and prize trade. If you have 13 basics in your deck (8 Marchers, 3 Mew, 2 Shaymin,) you have a 36% chance of starting a lone basic (Based off of X-Act’s odds calculations on Pojo), and out of those lone basics, 5/13 of them (about 38%) will be basics that can’t be donked by Latios. Since Regionals, Nationals, and Worlds (the main tournaments with Roaring Skies legal) are in the best ⅔ format, and the odds of being donked (assuming they will hit the cards to donk a Joltik or Pumpkaboo) are less than 1 in 3, this matchup shouldn’t be something to worry about as much as people are hyping it.

Dragon Ray

This deck emerged onto the scene as I was writing this article, and on paper, it seems like a bad matchup. Dragon-type M Rayquaza EX has 230 HP, hits hard, takes less damage from Joltik and Empoleon, and sets up quickly. Your best bet is to try and set up one-prize attackers, and try to outspeed them while winning the prize trade. Since Dragon Ray doesn't have Delta Evolution like Colorless Ray does, you can try to hit faster than them, but it still will be a rough matchup.


Mega Turbo with Groudon or Kyogre

 

These two decks existed before Roaring Skies, but Mega Turbo makes them even tougher to deal with. To be honest, I didn’t like these matchups without Mega Turbo, but that’s because I don’t play grass-type Pokemon in my list. These two Pokemon are hard to knock out with Night March, but if you run Leafeon or Virizion/Genesect, the matchup becomes much easier.


New Cards

There aren’t a huge amount of cards that help Night March in the new format, but there a few, so let’s go through them.


Trainer’s Mail


Trainer’s Mail is a really solid consistency boosting card that lets you search through your deck even more than was previously able to. Being able to reach into your deck is always a good trait, and this card’s ability to get Supporters and Stadiums makes it even more useful for the deck. I’d recommend playing 2 or 3 copies of this card.


Shaymin EX

This Pokemon is one of the most hyped cards to come out of the Roaring Skies set, and rightfully so. Set Up is a stupidly good ability, especially in a deck like Night March, which tends to play its hand down. When combined with four Ultra Balls and the Computer Search in the deck, Night March is now much more likely to start with a bigger attack on the first turn. Shaymin’s main liabilities are that it has only 110 HP (not as much as an issue, as Mew EX only has 120) and it’s tendency to sit on the bench until it is Knocked Out. If you can’t take a knockout with Night March, however, it is often beneficial to retreat or play switch, then use Sky Return to put it and a DCE back into your hand. I’d recommend cutting Jirachi from the list, as well as some other cards, and playing either 2 or 3 of these.


Revive


This card is super nice for bringing Pumpkaboos and Joltiks out of the discard at a moment’s notice to use Night March again after a big knockout, but I don’t think this card is that good. I only see it as a 1-of in the deck, and not playing it is certainly not the worst idea, as it opens up space for other strong cards in the deck. Because of this, I wasn’t able to find any space for it in my list. It’s a great card, but I’m not sure just how useful it really is outside of very specific circumstances.


This is the list that I’m working on at the moment for the BCR-ROS Format:



Conclusion

Overall, I think that Night March decks are a very strong option in both the Primal Clash and the Roaring Skies meta, and should certainly be an option to consider when picking which deck to play. The deck’s damage output is fantastic, and it gains numerous tools with the release of Roaring Skies. Since the release of Phantom Forces and throughout the Cities season, I often wrote off Night March as a weak gimmick deck, and I hope that after reading this article, you don’t make the same mistake that I did.

Thanks for reading,
Jack Stensrud

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