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Josh Marking

Adventures with Hippowdon

Squeaky shares his Top 64 Worlds report with Hippowdon and discusses the future of the deck.

09/04/2015 by Josh Marking

In this article, I will talk about one of the most underrated decks of the season that I have grown to love. This deck, of course, is Hippowdon! During States, Hippowdon made a Top 8 showing and at Nationals, it also made it to Top 8, but it was weird to see that nobody had picked up on the deck. In this article, I will talk about my Worlds Experience with Hippowdon and what I think about Hippowdon in the future of the game.

The play for Worlds?

Leading up to Worlds, I had decided to play Manectric/Garbodor because it had answers to everything in the game, but this all changed on Wednesday afternoon of Worlds. One of my good friends (Tommi Lahtela) came up to me during Open Gaming and told me he broke the format with Hippowdon and wanted to prove it to me.  He told me to pick Hippwodon’s worst matchup and see how it went. With this challenge, I decided to pick Seismitoad/Crobat because I thought it would be one of the biggest decks at Worlds and Hippowdon's hardest matchup. Tommi proceeded to 2-0 in the games we played and destroyed me with this deck. Tommi had sparked my interest and after that, we talked about the deck and how it could win against all of the decks in the format. The next day I had heard rumors that a lot of players where testing Night March for Worlds and I decided that if Hippowdon could beat Night March, I would play it. That day, I tested the deck against Andrew Mahone and had great results against that matchup, which made me want to play the deck for Worlds.

The list!

Before going over Day 1 of Worlds, here is the list that Tommi presented to me and the list I decided to play with. A big difference between this Hippowdon deck and the one at Nationals was the inclusion of Focus Sash. With Focus Sash, you had the ability to beat non-EX decks like Night March or even take care of Heatran if needed.  Besides that, the list is pretty much straightforward and could get turn-two Hippowdon almost every game. If I was to play this deck at Worlds again, I would cut a Hawlucha for another Head Ringer. The Hawlucha barely attacked and was just there for free Retreat. I could even argue for putting in another Switch, Escape Rope, or AZ just in case you start Seismitoad and they keep Lysandre'ing it up.

Day 1

Round 1

Stephane Ivanoff

So here it is, Round 1 and I am playing French’s number one player—time to get nervous. I have talked to Ivanoff before on Skype and even did an interview with him for the channel, so at least I wasn’t that nervous. It turned out that he was playing Groudon, which is usually an autowin for Hippowdon because the Groudon player has to consistently Lysandre up other Pokémon to take a Knock Out. Game 1, Ivanoff actually decked me out because he kept Lysandre'ing up the Seimsitoad that I started with and was using Rip Claw to discard my Energy0. During Game 2 and Game 3, I did not start with Seismitoad and I won these games!

Record: 1-0 (2-1)

Round 2

Nicholena Moon

Round 2 I was excited to play against the one and only Nicholena Moon. We are great friends and have talked a lot but have never played a game of Pokémon before this one. I was also excited when I found out that she was playing Night March because I had tested the matchup against Mahone and knew exactly what to do. Game 1 she destroyed me and I could never get a Hippowdon set up. Game 2, I got the ball rolling and I won. Game 3, she started a lone Joltik and passed. I was excited because I had a Switch, Ultra Ball, and Computer Search in hand to get a Seismitoad with a DCE, in order to Knock Out the lone Joltik. I felt really bad for doing this to Nicholena because she is a good friend. Hopefully we can play another match one day and she can donk one of my Pokémon.

Record: 2-0 (4-2)

Round 3

Sergio Oritz

Going into this match I was actually at Table 1 and was excited that Hippowdon was doing this well so far. But this round was probably one of the most interesting matches I had all weekend and I don’t even know how to explain it. Sergio played a Mega Latios, Mega Rayquaza, Hydreigon, and friends deck with multiple healing cards. Game 1, Sergio didn’t get anything going and I donked his Pokémon in the first couple of turns.  Game 2, he actually decked me out because he keept using AZ and Max Potion to heal off his Pokémon. Game 3, he Prized his AZ and he was unable to save his Pokémon from being Knocked Out.  To this day, I am not sure what the strategy of Sergio’s deck was, but it seemed like he was going for a deck out deck. (Well against me it seemed like he was.)

Record: 3-0 (6-3)

Round 4

Spencer Lawson

At this moment, all I needed to win was two more matches and I could make it to Day 2 of Worlds. I was really excited when I realized that I was playing against a Virizion/Genesect deck. Most people might think Genesect is an autoloss because of G Booster, but the Genesect player has to use G Booster multiple times to damage these Hippowdon because of the Focus Sashes. This was not the case in this matchup against Spencer because it turned out that he was playing Crushing Hammers, Xerosic, Team Flare Grunt, and Computer Search in his VG deck. This destroyed my deck because I never had an opportunity to actually attack with Hippowdon because of all the Energy disruption. Spencer won Game 1 and Game 2 pretty easily and I took my first loss of the day.

Record 3-1 (6-5)

Round 5

Oscar Knowles

Last year during Worlds, Oscar was one of my losses, so I was excited to get a rematch with him. Last year he played Flygon during Worlds and I knew that if he played the same deck, I would get destroyed. It turned out that he was playing a Groudon deck with a Regirock. Even though Oscar played a Regirock, it didn’t swing this matchup at all. Both Hippowdon and Regirock were two-shotting each other and once you take down their only Regirock, they can’t attack you anymore. In one of the games, Oscar used a Bunnelby to get back the Regirock, but this still wasn’t enough to take down the mighty Hippowdon deck. I ended up winning this series without a loss for the first time of the day!

Record: 4-1 (8-5)

Round 6

Jacob Van Wagner

Jacob is one of my great friends that I once again have never played against, which made me excited to play against him at Worlds. The downside is that the winner makes it to Day 2 while the loser has to win the next round to make it in. Beforehand, I found out that Jacob was playing an Archie’s Blastoise deck, which I tested against the night before and got destroyed by. This made me double-nervous because not only did I play against a bad matchup, but if I lost I had to play one more match to make it Day 2. Luckily during both games, Jacob didn’t get the turn-one Archie’s and both games I got off a Quaking Punch turn two, which basically stoped Jacob from getting out a Blastoise. To add more salt in the wound, I had a Silent Lab which basically put Jacob under a Seismitoad/Garbodor lock without a Garbodor out. Game 1, Jacob scooped fairly quickly to save time. During Game 2, he started using Articuno‘s attack Chilling Sigh to put me to Sleep but the combination of rolling heads and playing switch cards was enough to win me the game!

Record: 5-1 (10-5)

After this match I was both happy and sad for the outcome. I was happy because I made it to Day 2 of worlds with Hippowdon, but I was sad because Jacob had to win one more game to make it to Day 2. Of course, we all know what happened for Jacob and congratulations to him! My friend Justin Aaron who also had his Worlds invite decided to play Hippowdon for Day 1 and he went 5-0 with the deck. That means during Day 1 of Worlds, Hippowdon had a record of 10-1, which is amazing. During that night, me, Justin, Tommi, and Kevin Baxter were trying to decide on what to play during Day 2. We each decided to play Hippowdon because of the great showing it had during Day 1. Tommi and Kevin ended up changing their list up some before the tournament for more consistency cards.

Day 2

Round 1

Yoon Sang Jin

Here it is: Day 2 of Worlds, and I was super excited that I made that far! It turned out that I played against a Metal Rayquaza deck, which made me super nervous. The Rayquaza player played Heatran, Coballion, and Sacred Ash, which is a scary combo to play against while playing Hippowdon. Not only did he play these cards, but he played Xerosic to get rid of Focus Sash off my Hippos! Game 1, I actually decked him out with an amazing play. My opponent had a Keldeo on the field with a Float Stone and I noticed that most of his DCEs were discarded and that most of his Metal Energy were in play. I wasted a turn Xerosic'ing off the Float Stone from the Keldeo and pass. During my opponent’s turn, he knocked out a Pokémon and went down to one Prize card. During my turn, I Lysandred up his Keldeo and just prayed for the best. That play worked out and he ended up scooping because he realized he had no way to Retreat the Keldeo. During Game 2, he destroyed me and I have no chance at all to even do a deck out play. Time is called while we were shuffling for Game 3 and the game went to a tie.

Record: 0-0-1 (1-1)

Round 2

Blake Wightman

After getting a tie to Metal Ray, which is an auto loss, I was excited for the rest of the tournament because it seemed like luck was on my side. During this Round, it turned out that I was playing against a Night March deck.  Game 1, I prized two of my baby hippos and I should’ve scooped earlier to save time, but during this game I tried to Xerosic and Enhanced Hammer all of his Energy away, which didn’t work. Game 2, Hippowdon did its job and took down the Night March deck.  Game 3, time was called too early because I had the win on the next turn. Oh well, it was my own fault for not scooping Game 1, but I was still happy to take a tie.

Record: 0-0-2 (2-2)

Round 3

Miguel Angel Lopez Bernal

These next couple of Rounds are hard to recall because it has been a little while, but I will try my best to explain what happened. It turned out that Miguel was playing a Donphan/Groudon deck, which is something I didn’t test against or even theorymon against. I ended up going 2-0 against him because his Donphan couldn’t hit for much and with Pokémon Center Lady, he could never really Wreck a Hippowdon because of Focus Sash. I think Miguel could agree that this was one of the weirdest matches ever played because both players didn’t know what to do. I do remember that I used Double-Edge multiple times to take out his Donphan. I was excited to take my first win of the day instead of drawing.

Record: 1-0-2 (4-2)

Round 4

Tito Santoso

It turned out that Tito was playing a Fairy Box deck, which made me nervous for multiple reasons. For one, he had Cobalion in his deck to actually do damage to a Hippowdon. Next, he played Max Potions in his deck to heal off the damage from the Pokémon and it was almost impossible to knock them out. Finally, he played Malamar in his deck, which could put my Hippowdon to Sleep and if I flipped tails, I couldn’t attack for the turn. With all of this combined, Tito took a win over me. I was excited to find out later in the day that Tito made it to Top 8 of Worlds. Congratulations to him and hopefully we can have a rematch next year.

Record: 1-1-2 (4-3)

Round 5

Alex Koch

It turned out the Alex was playing a Klinklang deck. Game 1 and Game 2 he couldn’t really set up his Bronzong because I kept Knocking Out the Bronzor before they Evolved. Doing this made it where Alex had to manually attach Energy to his Aegislash and Heatran. Thankfully, I played multiple Silent Labs in the deck to take care of his Aegislash. His Heatran couldn’t one shot my Hippowdon because of the Focus Sashes.

Record: 3-1-2 (6-3)

Round 6

Hiroshi Wakamoto

This match I played an autoloss and there was nothing I could do. The deck my opponent played was Raichu/Crobat. The deck was just too fast for Hippowdon to do anything. Even if I tried to Knock Out the Raichu with Seismitoad,  it was not enough because the Toads would get swarmed by the Raichu. Thankfully, I had a lot of fun in this match and hopefully I can play against Hiroshi again next year and not take such an autoloss to him.

Record: 3-2-2 (6-5)

Round 7

Johnathan Paranada

For the last match of the day, I play against another Night March deck. It turned out that Johnathan did not play Xerosic and I also didn’t prize any of my key cards in these matches. I was able to get a 2-0 victory and win my last match of the day!

Record: 4-2-2 (8-5)

Overall I placed 52nd at the World Championship! I was really excited to place this high at the World Championship and to do it with a deck that barely anybody had considered to play. It turned out that everyone else who played Hippowdon did not have as much luck as I did playing the deck. It also turned out I was the best Hippowdon player of the day.  I want to give a big shoutout to Tommi for the deck, and to Justin, Andrew, and Kevin for testing the deck with me. Without all of these people I wouldn’t have done so great with the Hippowdon deck.

The Future of Hippowdon?

A question I get a lot is “what is the future for Hippowdon?” For Standard, I could see the deck being great and winning League Challenges across the land. The deck actually gets better because its worst enemy is just Heatran. Some people have said that Vespiquen is a bad matchup, which is not true at all. If you play Focus Sash in the deck, it makes it where Vespiquen can’t one shot you, and you play multiple Enhanced Hammers to slow them down if needed. You can one-shot Vespiquen if you are lucky enough to get two Strong Energy on your Hippowdon. I will have to test this matchup more but it seems to swing in Hippowdon's favor. Besides these two Pokemon, all you have to worry about is Pokémon-EX, which can’t even hurt your Hippowdon, so you are good to go!

Next up is Expanded where I do not think Hippowdon is a great choice at all. In Expanded, a new enemy comes up, and that is Accelgor. If you play against Accelgor, you can literally do nothing but just hope and pray that they Prize all of their attackers.  Also, Expanded has Archeops, which makes it impossible for you to Evolve your Hippos. With these two decks being the biggest decks in Expaneded, I would not even try to test the deck out. Hopefully in the future my new friend can win a Cities or a States because those are Standard.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article and learned something new about the almighty Hippo deck! If you want to watch a video I did about my Hippowdon Worlds experience, look down below! I also included a video where I documented my adventures at Worlds. Thanks for reading this article and I hope you have a great day!



 Squeaky Marking

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