Everything's Bigger in Texas
My week one Texas States results with Groudon, along with the decklist, reasons behind card choices, tournament report, and a brief synopsis on how I feel the matchups should play out!
03/30/2015 by Bradley Curcio
Much like any other event, most of my time talking and thinking about what to play is spent with Jose Marrero. Both of us were pretty much sold on a Seismitoad/Slurpuff deck, and that’s what I spent what little time I was able to testing. I spend most of my physical testing with Max Armitage, and Ross Wooten, and since I hate testing online, I don’t get as much time playing matchups as I used to. I spend much more time talking about decks and ideas than actually playing them, since I believe that picking the right deck for the meta, and theorycrafting the ideal list play a huge part in any players results for any given tournament. After spending a decent amount of time talking about Seismitoad Slurpuff, I had it sleeved and ready to go. Jose played it in Alabama, narrowly missing top 8 after unintentionally tying his very last round. The list I was going to play as well is in his article here (link).
The night before, I was trying to figure out something to play to give us the edge in the mirror match (something like Jynx), but regardless, the mirror would play out as whomever whiffs the Quaking Punch first, loses. Not wanting to play that matchup all day, I asked Jose his thoughts on Groudon, but he was still sold on playing Seismitoad. I built the Groudon deck for a friend of mine, and went to bed, with every intention of playing Seismitoad Slurpuff when I woke up. That was, until I got this text from my good friend Ryan Vergel.
I was so on the edge already, that his text was all I needed for me to switch decks. Last year, he convinced me to play a Plasma Fairies deck at the absolute last minute, which I managed to top 8 with, so I decided to try it again. After begging several friends for cards, since I already loaned out what little I had for the deck, I managed to rebuild the entire deck very quickly, and anxiously await round one.
This is the list I filled out the morning of.
- 3x Groudon EX
- 3x Primal Groudon EX
- 3x Landorus
- 2x Surskit
- 2x Masquerain
- 3x VS Seeker
- 2x Ultra Ball
- 2x Groudon Spirit Link
- 2x Focus Sash
- 2x Float Stone
- 1x Hard Charm
- 1x Muscle Band
- 1x Professor's Letter
- 1x Scramble Switch
- 4x Scorched Earth
- 2x Silent Lab
- 4x Professor Sycamore
- 4x N-supporter
- 3x Korrina
- 2x Lysandre
- 1x Lysandre's Trump Card
- 8x Fighting Energy
- 4x Strong Energy
I wanted the list to be as straight forward as possible. I still had some of the deck sleeved after I completely netdecked Kyle Sabelhaus’ list a while back, so mine was heavily influenced off of his.
3-3 Primal Groudon - Some people only played a 2-2 as they had other attackers such as Landorus EX, and Hawlucha, but the entire purpose of this deck is to build up a Primal Groudon and sweep, so I wanted the best odds of hitting it as quickly, and effeciently as possible. 2-2 was way too little for me, and 4-4 seemed like overkill, so the 3-3 worked out perfectly.
3 Landorus - These little guys helped me build up Groudon quickly and efficiently. With so many ways to discard energy, the turn 1 Shout of Power would almost always net me a free energy on the bench. With 120 base HP, it was already somewhat difficult to One Hit KO, adding in Focus Sash to the mix made it even harder.
2-2 Masquerain - This card was so clutch in so many of my games. Having a Spirit Link turn into a Hard Charm, or a Focus Sash, or even a Float Stone, was hands down the reason I won several of my games. Even being able to reuse a single Spirit Link to Primal Evolve multiple Groudons was insanely good. Unfortunately, you can’t move the tools around during Item Lock, but you can always remove a Head Ringer if needed!
The supporter lineup was pretty standard. Maxing out on Sycamore and N to try and always have a form of Draw, 3 Korrina to try and hit the Turn 1 Groudon/Spirit link as many games as possible. 2 Lysandre to bring up anything that could threaten a Primal Groudon (while you laugh as they can’t Lysandre you), and 1 Lysander's Trump Card to reuse any tools, stadiums, or anything else you had to discard during the game, and potentially slow down any Flareon/Night March decks as well!
2 Groudon Spirit Link - This worked out very well, since you can reuse them on different Groudons with Masquerain. Playing two to increase the odds of not having them prized, and to help get them out early.
2 Focus Sash - This card is amazing. So few things can even threaten to One Hit KO a Primal Groudon in the first place, with Focus Sash, almost nothing in the format can KO it in one swing.
2 Float Stones - These were able gave everything in my deck free retreat once I got a Masquerain in play.
1 Muscle Band - I was unsure about this, and it was something I decided on last minute. It helps your Landorus deal just enough damage to KO a lot of little things that can build up into bigger threats (Eevees, Night Marchers, Piplup), or helped me chip away while I built up the Groudon.
1 Hard Charm - This was probably my favorite tool of the day (tied with Focus Sash). If I was able to hit it before I got Item Locked, Quaking Punch was maxed out at 30 damage on a Primal Groudon, forcing them to attack 8 times to KO me. Even if I just sat there and attached 1 energy per turn, they wouldn’t be able to do anything before I could KO 3 Seismitoads. It also messed up numbers for so many other matchups, preventing Night March from ever One Hit KOing a Primal Groudon, since they can do at most 250 damage with 11 Night Marchers in the discard pile, and a Silver Bangle, putting them just 10 shy of the Knock Out.
2 Ultra Ball - Now, this might seem like a low number, but with Korrina able to search out almost every Pokemon in the deck, they were almost exclusively used to get out Masquerain. 2 copies worked out pretty well to help the odds of getting the Surskit to hit the bench as quickly as possible.
1 Professor’s Letter - The Letter was able to help me get the Turn 1 Shout of Power off much more consistently, and to make sure you don’t miss an energy attachment. Being able to Korrina for it on Turn 1 was always a possible play too.
Scramble Switch - Hands down the best Ace Spec of choice for this deck. Setting up a Primal Groudon was already hard to deal with for your opponent. Add on a Focus Sash, and they definitely can’t deal with your Groudon in one turn. Most of the time, they’ll attack into you, leaving you with a lot of damage on your Groudon, but keeping the Focus Sash there. Being able to Scramble Switch into a fresh Primal Groudon, using Masquerain to move the Focus Sash onto the new Groudon, basically would just win you the game. Especially since they can’t even Lysandre up your damage Groudon on the bench to finish it off!
6 Total Stadiums made it so whiffing a Stadium to take important Knock Outs on opposing Pokemon was very rare.
4 Scorched Earth - was amazing. Being able to hit it Turn 1 very frequently, and using it to not only draw cards, but put energy in the discard pile to Shout of Power back onto Groudon was amazing.
2 Silent Lab - was my other Stadium of choice. Shutting off any abilities for Basics had so much potential. Sometimes all you need to do is slow your opponent down just a little bit to give you time to set up your Groudon, and that’s all you need to win. If I could keep the Stadium in play after attacking with Groudon, I probably would have played more, but since you have to discard it anyways, it was only there for the early game.
12 Total energy worked out pretty well. Wanting to see several in the first few turns in the game helped ensure that Groudon would always get set up. The 4 Strong Energy were pretty safe to play as well, helping Landorus do a little bit more damage, or if they were on your Primal Groudon, there was nothing your opponent could do to discard them anyways. Hitting 220/240 was also pretty important too in some matchups, such as Mirror, or staring down opposing Megas.
After all was said and done, I felt pretty confident in the list. I wasn't entirely sure how to go about playing it vs decks that weren't Seismitoad, but I definitely knew the deck was strong. I find out we have over 260 Masters, which means we are in for 9 long rounds Day 1, and we will actually cut to a Day 2 with 32 players, and 5 more rounds, before beginning Top 8.
Round 1 vs Camerupt Leafeon (Should be a tough matchup, but also a fairly clunky deck, so it can easily go either way)
After barely deciding to play the deck, I was hoping to hit a ton of Toad decks, and be ecstatic in my decision. To my unfortunate surprise though, my opponent flips open a Camerupt EX and an Eevee to my Landorus Turn 1, and I knew I was in for an insanely tough match. I tried to keep his Eevees off the field with Lysandre, and Landorus’ Shout of Power attack, trying to set up a Groudon to deal with the Camerupts eventually, but I couldn’t find the Primal Groudon quickly enough, and he was able to Lysandre it up to the active, and KO it before it became a threat, giving him the first game.
Game two went pretty similarly, only this time I was able to have a Primal Groudon ready to go T3, after KOing two quick Eevees. After putting a Focus Sash on my Groudon, he wasn’t able to KO it in one hit, letting me sweep the final 4 prizes with Groudon.
Unfortunately, we only play the first few turns Game 3, and are forced to tie.
Round 2 vs Empoleon Leafeon (Should be a tough matchup, but similar to Round 1, the deck can be even clunkier)
A tie round one is far from ideal, but since I know Toad decks have a huge potential to tie as well, especially in the mirror match, I was hopeful I’d get to play against one soon. Sadly, it wasn’t quite yet. My opponent flips over a Piplup, as well as an Eevee, and I knew I was in for yet another tough game. Luckily for me, the first game his hands were pretty poor, and he wasn’t able to set up more than one Empoleon, while I was able to roll through his field with just a single Groudon.
Game two, he opens with a Duskull, and I knew that was going to be a pretty key card for him if he wanted a chance to KO my Groudon efficiently. Having a Dusknoir on his side of the field would completely negate any Scramble Switch shenanigans I tried to pull off. I was able to KO 2 Duskulls before it became a problem, forcing him to play his Lysander's Trump Card multiple times to get it back in play. The 3rd time he was able to bench it, I was unable to KO it, but I was so far ahead in board position, almost having two Primal Groudons fully set up, that it didn’t even matter. I KO his Empoleon for my last prize, and to end the series.
Round 3 vs Yveltal Toad (Slightly favorable matchup, you get to initiate the first KO with Groudon if you play patiently)
This matchup I expected to see a decent amount of, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it. Game one, I’m able to put a lot of pressure on, as I’m able to stick a Silent Lab on the field, preventing his active Darkrai from retreating. After KOing it with Landorus, while setting up a Primal Groudon on the bench, he wasn’t able to prevent me from sweeping his remaining attackers.
Game two he draws absolutely dead. He gets a Turn 2 Quaking Punch, but I’m able to manually attach 4 times to Groudon, and KO his Seismitoad, while he is forced to draw pass and watch.
Round 4 vs Medicham (Not going to lie, I don’t know how this matchup ‘should’ go, but it can be very explosive, giving Groudon an insane amount of pressure early, otherwise, the damage is negligible, and takes a while to set up.
Game one, everything went in my favor. He had to discard 2 medichams on the first turn of the game, and he was unable to actually set one up at all. His Hawluchas put in a decent amount of work on my Groudons, but with a hard charm, they can’t 2 shot me, so it was pretty easy.
Game two I was able to get really far ahead while setting up my Groudon. KOing any Meditite he tried to attach an energy to. Since he needs 2 to attack with Medicham, keeping his energy off the field was pretty crucial. After he was forced to go back to his Hawluchas again, I was able to secure the win.
Round 5 vs Mega Gardevoir (Similar to Yveltal, the Groudon player gets to pick when to fight, and it’s much harder for the Gardy player to respond. Also Focus Sash can put in a lot of work when trading Megas)
Both of these games played out almost exactly the same way. I set up a Primal Groudon, while he was setting up a Mega Gardevoir. I was able to Lysandre up his Mega when I was ready to start the trade, while he just had to sit back and wait. He honestly drew pretty poorly both games, but I feel like Groudon definitely has the edge in this matchup.
Round 6 vs Night March/Flareon/Leafeon (Slightly unfavorable already I believe, and leafeon makes it worse. Night March does a ton of damage really fast, and it’s hard to return a KO onto a Pumpkaboo/Mew without a Groudon, and then there’s still Leafeon to deal with afterwards)
Going into the round, I wasn’t too confident how this matchup was supposed to play out, but I knew it was going to be very tough, at best. He starts off quickly, getting Night March ready to One Hit KO my Landorus, while setting up his Leafeon on the bench ready to face any Groudon I send up. I’m put into a situation where a heads on Groudons’ Rip Claw would get rid of his 4th Double Colorless Energy, and even though I hit heads, with two prizes remaining on my end, he’s able to eventually send up his Leafeon to finish off the game.
The second game goes almost exactly the same way, only the Rip Claw trying to get rid of his 4th Double Colorless Energy was a tails, ending the game, and series, immediately for me.
Round 7 vs Quad Toad (Definitely the best matchup for the deck, if you set up a Primal at any reasonable rate, it’s a win)
After coming off a disappointing loss, I was glad to play against Quad Toad. My start is atrocious though, and I’m forced to Primal evolve my active Groudon just to try and hope to stall long enough to stay in the game. Fortunately, it’s so difficult for the Toad decks to KO a Primal Groudon, that even though it took me forever, once I finally set up a Primal Groudon, I was able to KO 3 quick Seismitoads back to back, with him unable to do anything to respond.
The second game, I’m able to set up an insanely quick Turn 3 Primal Groudon, and am able to quickly take down all of his Seismitoads, giving me the win.
Round 8 vs Toad/Malamar/Fairies (Slightly favorable, but less so than Quad Toad decks since they can actually put you to sleep.)
Game one we are both able to set up pretty decently. I'm able to get a Turn 3 Groudon, and he's able to get the Quaking Punch lock going very quickly. Unfortunately for him, I'm able to stick a Silent Lab in play, and as soon as my Groudon goes up, he's in a lot of trouble. Since Silent Lab shuts off his only way to keep me asleep with Malamar EX, my Groudon was able to sweep.
Game two was very bad for him. He drew/passed the entire game, and I was able to bench him after a few turns.
Apparently my opponent played a Shaymin EX, which he never found, but that could have done a lot of damage as well
Round 9 vs Yveltal/Toad (Slightly favorable matchup, you get to initiate the first KO with Groudon if you play patiently)
I was playing against my good friend/teammate, Max Armitage, and we chose to intentionally draw instead of playing out the game, guaranteeing both of ourselves a spot in Day 2.
Round 10 vs Yveltal/Toad/Raichu (Same as Yveltal Toad, but Raichu with a full bench and either Muscle Band or Laser/Bank can KO a Baby Landorus, so it can be a little tougher)
Both of these games played out almost identically. We both set up decently well, with him building up a big Yveltal, to my Primal Groudon. As soon as I’ve got everything I need, I Lysandre up his big Yveltal, and KO it with Groudon. Afterwards, he Ns me, and tries to build up yet another Groudon, but both games I’m able to immediately respond with yet another Lysandre, and a Stadium to basically seal the game for me. I drew pretty decently off of the Ns, but with playing 6 Stadiums, I wasn’t too worried about not being able to find one when I needed to.
Round 11 vs Yveltal/Toad (Slightly favorable matchup, you get to initiate the first KO with Groudon if you play patiently)
Yet again I’m paired up against my good friend Max Armitage. We agree to just ID with each other, since we don’t want to give each other a loss. Right after we agree, we’re told we are going to be the feature match on stream! Not wanting to literally just sign the match slip on stream, we tell the judge our intentions, and play out the series for fun.
Round 12 vs Night March/Archies (Slightly unfavorable, Empoleon can KO the Baby Landorus, but isn’t a big threat to Groudon)
Pairings went up, I knew exactly what I was playing against. After losing to Night March the day before, I was definitely scared. The first game I am getting demolished. He has two Hard Charmed Pumkaboos, making my Landorus do literally nothing, and I’m forced to try and set up a Groudon for any hope of winning. After I finally set one up, I go up and KO his Pumkaboo. On his turn he’s able to discard the rest of his Night Marchers, put a Muscle Band on his active Mew EX, and KO my Primal Groudon in one hit, leaving me with almost nothing. My last hope was that he didn’t play any way to recover a Night Marcher from his discard pile. I set up a Landorus, getting ready to use his second attack, Sky Lariat, to KO his final Pumpkaboo. After I do, he realizes he’s out of ways to attack, and concedes.
I got extremely lucky game one, and knew I’d have to again to win the series. Night March has no real way to tie, so I was going to have to legitimately beat him to win the series. He opts for me to go first this game, and my set up is pretty decent. I am able to Korrina, and start setting up my Groudon, while putting a Silent Lab in play. His hand was several Night Marchers, as well as a single Ultra Ball. Now normally, he can just Ultra Ball, grab Jirachi, grab a Juniper, and discard his entire hand for an insane start, but luckily for me, I played the Silent Lab! He plays the Ultra Ball anyways, but with nothing else to do, passes. I’m able to continue attaching to Groudon, while he’s stuck passing, and get lucky to win game 2!
Round 13 vs Quad Toad (Definitely the best matchup for the deck, if you set up a Primal at any reasonable rate, it’s a win)
I paired down, and knew what my opponent was playing, and considered just playing the match out anyways, but I knew IDing my next two games would put me at 29 points, which I believed to be the cut off for Top 8, so I offered the ID, and he accepted (since he knew what I was playing as well).
Round 14 vs Toad/Malamar/Fairies (Slightly favorable, but less so than Quad Toad decks since they can actually put you to sleep, also Malamar can One Hit KO Groudon with enough energy/heads, and there are usually other attackers, such as Yveltal, to worry about)
This time, I get paired up against a friend of mine, and we both just ID, pretty confident that we’d be in Top 8.
Apparently, after all the rounds were completed, we realized that 2 people with 29 points would actually bubble. After a very long 30 minute dinner break, standings are posted, and I barely make it in at 8th seed! I’m playing against my friend that I IDd with last round, Brandon Cantu, who’s playing Toad/Malamar/Fairies.
Top 8 vs Toad/Malamar/Fairies
These games were extremely close, and were streamed as well for those that are interested in watching! All of our games were very intense, and I highly recommend watching them (they were very fun to play, and fun to watch as well). To avoid spoiling the intense games, I'll let you watch them here! (link)
After such a long event, I was somewhat glad to be done playing, but I of course would have loved to make it further into Cut. I lost to a great player and friend of mine (Brandon Cantu, pretty much guaranteed to stay in the Top 16 now, and he has no intention of stopping getting more Championship Points anytime soon.) He made it all the way to the Finals, knocking out Texas' own Johnny Kettler, who was also playing Groudon, only to lose to our good friend/my teammate, Max Armitage! For Max's first year in Masters, he's been dominating the scene, and is another contender for staying in the Top 16. Another one of my good friends Josh "Squeaky" Marking interviewed both myself and Max Armitage after our results this weekend as well! (link)
Originally, I was only going to go to Texas and Louisiana States, since they were very close to me, but after doing pretty well week one, and having a blast, I'll very likely be making the trip up to Mississippi as well! For anybody debating what to play for their upcoming State Championships, Groudon should definitely be considered. If you expect a ton of Seismitoad variants (let's be honest, who doesn't), it's amazing, and even if you don't, it's a huge monster that's tough to deal with, and is still sitting as one of my top contenders. Good luck to all of you in your State Championships, and stay tuned for more quality articles and discussions at 60cards.net.
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