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Josh Marking

Two Cities, Two States, Two Titles!

Josh discusses his back-to-back Cities wins with Seismitoad/Crobat.

01/05/2016 by Josh Marking

Season’s greetings everyone! In this article I am going to discuss my recent successes in Cities with Seismitoad/Crobat in Expanded. A lot of people think that Seismitoad is dead because of the new Jirachi, but in this deck we have ways around it. I personally think that this is the best way to play Seismitoad because the Bat damage is amazing. In this article I will try to convince everyone that this is the deck to play in Expanded.

Deciding the Deck

The Thursday before the weekend I had no idea what to play for the Cities coming up. I made a post on Facebook and texted several friends asking what to play. A lot of people had suggested playing Yveltal but I didn’t like that decision because I knew everyone would be playing the deck. Yveltal is one of the strongest decks in Expanded, which is why everyone is playing it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Yveltal, but I just hate playing any mirror match all day. Finally, one of my good friends Brit Pybas told me to play Seismitoad/Crobat. At first I thought he was crazy because I thought Toad was dead. Toad has two enemies in Expanded: Vespiquen and Jirachi, which are everywhere! Brit informed me that these are two easy matchups and told me to stop worrying. After that, I decided to message Mees Brenninkmeijer, who placed second at Worlds with the deck, and he informed me that the deck is good. He once again told me that Vespiquen is an easy matchup. After talking to both of them I decided that it must have a good matchup and I decided to play the deck.

This was my initial list at first before I asked Brit and Mees what I should change. You will notice that this deck has 61 cards and that’s how I build all my decks at first. I put everything in that I want and then trim the cards to help my decision making. Brit had told me to lose Jirachi, Megaphone, Ghetsis, and Muscle Band and to add in Xerosic, Silent Lab, and an Enhanced Hammer. On the other hand, Mees told me to just play his Worlds list and add in a Xerosic. He said he wasn’t a fan on all the techy cards. I was torn because I wasn’t sure what to do.

In the end, I decided on this list. I kept in the Ghetsis because it seemed to help out against Night March, Vespiquen, and Archie decks if you can get it turn one. It might seem hard to get turn one because of no Jirachi, but you can hit it though with the power of Shaymin-EX and all your Super Scoop Ups. If you get the Ghetsis turn one in these matchups, you usually just autowin because their decks are so reliant on turn-one Item cards. The two Silent Lab might seem weird at first, because it did seem weird to me at first as well. After testing, it turned out to be so clutch! Having the Ability to turn off all basic Abilities won me the game a lot.

Day 1: Sherwood, Arkansas

First off, shoutout to the one and only Justin Aaron! He is always driving to events and helping me out in Pokémon whenever he can. Without him I don’t think I would be at, like, 90% of tournaments. Riding up to the tournament, I was still torn on what to play. I had both Yveltal/Archeops and Seismitoad/Crobat ideas floating in my head. I had never play Seismitoad/Crobat in a tournament and had a lot of experience with Yveltal/Archeops. Me and Justin talk about our decks and ideas and Justin decides that he is going to play his baby, which is Vespiquen/Flareon. Justin is the biggest fan of Flareon and played it a lot last season. When we arrive to the venue, Justin helps me build both decks because I only had Standard decks at the time on me. I am deciding on what deck to play and I finally text Brit one last time asking him what to play. He of course says “You know what to play.” I took Brit’s advice and decide to play the Seismitoad/Crobat deck.

Round 1: Yveltal

Here it is, Round 1 of the tournament and I am super nervous because I am not too sure how this is going to pan out. This game I get set up and start Quaking Punching fairly quickly. I realize during this game that Seismitoad has a great matchup against this new form of Yveltal floating around. Yveltal decks now play Acro Bikes, Trainers’ Mail, and low Supporter counts to get out Gallade/Archeops. Since their decks is so Item-based, all they can do is hope to hit a Supporter card. Also, the Yveltal player is left in a weird decision with the Maxie’s because they have to decide to either get out Gallade or Archeops. Of course, Archeops can shut down my Bats, but Gallade can help you draw a Supporter for the next turn with Premonition. I ended up winning this game because my opponent could never really get going. I think he even had a turn-one Gallade but even that wasn’t enough to stop me.


Round 2: Mega Manectric/Vileplume/Regice/Miltank

At first when I sit down I notice that it’s John. A lot of people don’t know this but every time I play against him, he always has the “autowin” against me. This time around it looks like the same thing again and I am about to lose. Turn one he goes first and gets an amazing setup! He gets a Manectric with a Link, Keldeo with a Float Stone, Regice with an Energy, and as he gets out Gloom with Forest of Giant Plants, he realizes something. He’s about to get out his Vileplume with a Pokémon Communication but when he does this, he realizes his Vileplume are Prized. I was super nervous at first because my hand was filled with Item cards and I knew there was no way I could win if he gets out the Vileplume. Once this happens, I win the game fairly easily. If you notice on turn one, he went for the Regice play. If he had decided to go for the Manectric play, I might’ve been in trouble because of his Rough Seas and his Keldeo with a Float Stone.


Round 3: Yveltal

Once again this matchup is pretty easy. You only have to worry about turn one to see if they get an Yveltal with a bunch of Energy to Knock Out your Toad fairly easily. But if they do this play, you can use Dedenne to punish them. In this matchup I noticed a cool and kind of risky trick with the Seismitoad deck to help win the game more quickly. During one of my turns, I had the option to Grenade Hammer an Yveltal that was smacking me for 100 damage. I decided to play Ghetsis and see what happens. I notice that he doesn’t have a Supporter card and all he is left is a single Energy. When this happens I decide to risk it and Grenade Hammer the Yveltal for a knockout. He goes and draws a card and passes. Then the following turn, I Lysandre again and take a knockout. This is a really neat strategy that you can do to an Yveltal player if you are getting smacked in the face. It is risky though because your opponent does have the option to topdeck some kind of Item card and play it for the turn because you broke the lock.


Round 4: Archiestoise

This round I am left in a weird position because I can ID this round and take my chances for the next round. One of us would get paired down and would have to play it out. If we were to lose that game then we are out of cut because it is only a Top 4. I called my good friend Kevin Baxter and he tells me to just play it out because I only have to win one of the two games. During the game my opponent gets a turn one Blastoise while I get a turn one pass. This is very sad because I had been lucky all day and it seemed like my luck had run out. He ends up winning the game fairly quickly and now I have to win my next game to make it in cut.


Round 5: Wobbuffet/Crobat

I knew going into this round I had an advantage because I would have access to my Items to reuse my Bats while he couldn’t. During this game I go first which is crucial because I can get my Bats online quicker and potentially Knock Out his Bats before he Evolves them. My opponent flips over a Jirachi-EX and says “I can’t believe I am about to lose like this”. That, to me, means my opponent doesn’t have a Supporter or a way to search out a Pokémon. I decided to dig deep for a Virbank and Laser to potentially win on my turn. He goes, draws a card, and cheers because he topdecked a Juniper. When he plays it, he doesn’t hit another Pokémon or a searching Pokémon card and I win because of Poison when I pass my turn. I hate to win like this but I am excited to make cut. We play another game for fun and I ended up winning. I can’t remember too much about this match because I was too excited that I made cut.


Top 4: Archiestoise

In Top 4 we had a funny situation because it was me versus an Archie deck and Justin versus an Archie deck. I was happy for both me and Justin because we had both made cut but we are both playing against decks that we lost to in Swiss which made me nervous. During Game 1, my opponent gets a turn-one Archie out but he doesn’t have a Supporter card for the following turns and doesn’t get down a bunch of Water Energy, which made me excited. I then Punch myself to victory Game 1. Game 2, he has the worst start he ever sees with just an Egg and no support card or anything to help him. He told me if I showed him a DCE he would scoop right there. I show him two DCE and I move on to the finals.


Finals: Vespiquen

This is probably one of the most unexciting Finals. At first I am happy because I am playing against Justin and we both came in the event and swept the whole thing but I am not excited how this series turns out. Game 1, I donk something fairly quickly and win. During Game 2, Justin can never find his DCEs. The one turn he does get his DCE, I am able to Knock Out his Vespiquen and win the game from there. Even though Vespiquen can hit for Weakness on Toad the deck is so Item-heavy that Toad can easily just win by not letting you play your game. Just like that, though, I become the Sherwood City champ!


After the event, me and Justin have a five-hour drive to St. Louis, Missouri! During this drive we had figured out that Sableye/Garbodor was everywhere and had a mirror match finals that Saturday night. The whole time while we are driving, we are discussing ways to beat the deck and we came down to theories. First you can play an Yveltal deck and try to power up multiple attackers with baby Yveltal. The second one was to Quaking Punch yourself to victory and hope that your opponent whiffs Xerosic or Team Flare Grunt. To this day, we are still not sure which way is the best way. During the drive I decide to stick with the deck because I am too tired to switch decks and I just won Cities the night before. This probably means I can’t win another one the next day because I can’t see my luck being that good. I am not sure when Justin decided on his deck but in the morning he builds the Seismitoad/Crobat deck I used the day before. Also I want to give a shoutout to Jay Young for letting us stay at his house! Without him, we probably would’ve driven back to Memphis and called it.

Day 2: St.Louis, Missouri

Before we get into the matches, I want to give a shout out to White Castle! I have never had their breakfast before but I think eating this before the event was the correct play because it tasted amazing and made me wish we had one in Memphis. Some of these matches won’t go into that much detail because we had played them the previous day. No reason to repeat stuff over and over again.

Round 1: Yveltal

I get the turn-one Quaking Punch and its pretty much game from there.


Round 2: Seismitoad/Giratina/Latios

This match I am against Andrew Wambolt and I am super excited! Wamboldt is 2-0 against me and I need to finally get my redemption against him! Last time we played, Andrew beat me and won the event. I joke with him early in the game and say whoever wins will win the event again. A key thing to note about this game is that Andrew gets to go first. I start a Zubat and Andrew starts smirking and laughing and I knew he had something cute up his sleeve. He started a Toad and Ultra Balls for a Hoopa-EX. With the Hoopa he grabbed a Keldeo, Shaymin, and a LATIOS-EX! When Andrew did this, my heart sank because I knew Andrew had the donk and the game was going to be over before I could even draw a card. Andrew digs and digs through his deck and he whiffs the Double Dragon Energy and I am saved!!! He had all the right cards he needed but just missed it. After this, Andrew had used a lot of resources to try to get the turn-one donk and he was in trouble. The key thing to note about this matchup is that even though we both have Seismitoad using Quaking Punch, I have Bat damage on my side to Knock Out his Pokémon quicker. We end up winning this game fairly easy but just barely make it out because of the whiff on the Zubat donk.


Round 3: Archiestoise

I go first during this game and I open my Ghetsis against him. I am excited because I am ready to ruin his turn-one Blastoise. When I play it though, I realize that my opponent didn’t have a turn-one Blastoise and all he had was an N. During his turn, he of course plays the N and puts his hand down to two cards. I know one of them is an Archie because he had just used VS Seeker to get it out of the discard pile, but I have no clue what the other card is. I take no chances with this and play an N to ruin his Blastoise setup. From there, he never gets out a Blastoise and we take the win.


Round 4: Donphan

This round, I am playing against Sarah Beckwith which I am excited because we have talked a lot but have never played a game before. At first she wanted to ID but I couldn’t risk ID’ing this early because I would still have to win another game and I would rather just try to get the win out of the way ASAP. This game is tricky though even though some people might say it’s an autoloss. It comes down to two key things during the game. The first is how many Hawlucha the Donphan player gets down on turn one. The second thing is how the Super Scoop Ups go in the Seismitoad deck. During our game, I go 0/4 on my Super Scoop Ups to try and save my Seismitoad with 160 damage on it. Sarah also gets down lot of Hawlucha and it is too much for me to handle. She ends up winning the game and securing her spot for Top 8.


Round 5: Zoroark/Yveltal

Just to be clear, this deck was more heavily focused on a Zoroark build than on an Yveltal build. This game is pretty straightforward though. Punch can take KOs on his Zorua and when he does put down an Yveltal, focus all the Bat damage quickly onto it to help take a knockout on it later in the game. I don’t remember this game too much because at the time I was extremely hungry.


Round 6: Vespiquen

We ID to guarantee us both into cut!


Top 8: Yveltal

Game 1, he ends AZ’ing his only Pokémon at the start because he realizes he is going to be donked. I think that’s what happens. For some reason I can’t recall much about this game. I had played so many Yveltal games during the past two days it is hard to remember. I know he ended up winning Game 2 and Game 3 he couldn’t get set up after being Quaking Punch. I ended up taking these games fairly quickly and we are the second group to finish out of the Top 8 bracket. I realize afterwards that I am going to play the winner of Donphan versus Night March. Sarah ended up taking the win and I am excited for our rematch!


Top 4: Donphan

I want to say that these games were exciting, but overall the games are pretty boring. The flips went more on my way this time around and I able to pick up my heavily damaged Toads. I remember that Game 1 Sarah didn’t even play a single Korrina. In the end, this match wasn’t as exciting as our Swiss match but I am able to pull out a 2-0 victory and move on to the finals!


Finals: Archiestoise

This matchup is all about whether the Archie player can get the turn-one Blastoise and how many Energy can they get down. All three games he gets the turn-one Blastoise with no problem, which of course made me nervous every game. Game 1 he wins because he gets too many Energy. Game 2 I win because he can’t get enough Energy or hit Supporter cards. Game 3 is where everything got juicy.

Turn one, he gets Archie’s and is good to go. My turn, I play a Shaymin, play Super Scoops, but never draw into a Supporter other than Lysandre. I think my hand was literally three VS Seeker and garbage cards that are useless. I pass with a Zubat active and a Zubat, Shaymin, and Toad on the Bench. His turn he puts down three Energy on a Kyogre and Dual Splashes to KO both of my Zubat. My turn, I Lysandre Blastoise and pass. His turn he gets three Energy on a Keldeo and hits Toad for 130 with a Band. On my turn, I top deck a Mewtwo and Bench it down to put fear into my opponent and pass. During his turn, he goes really aggro and loads five or six Energy on a Keldeo then Lysandres my Mewtwo for a KO! I knew I only had one out and that was to topdeck a Silent Lab. I draw my card and realize it’s a Silent Lab! I look through my opponent’s discard pile and realize that he has one Rough Seas in play and the other in discard pile so he would be unable to bump the Silent Lab. I Lysandre the Blastoise again, drop Silent Lab, and pass. My opponent then realizes he doesn’t have four Water Energy left in the deck to Retreat the Blastoise! Then we have a passing war, but he ends up decking out and I become the City Champion!!! During Game 3, I never even attacked and got super lucky with the Silent Lab topdeck!


In the end

Overall, I went 13-2-1 with the Seismitoad/Crobat deck and you can see why it is such a strong deck in the current Expanded Game. I want to once again give a shoutout to all my friends who helped me during this Cities weekend and to all the judges for hosting these events! One last thing to note before heading out is that every week me and Andrew Wambolt have done City Championship reviews! Make sure to check these videos out for all the knowledge you need about Cities. Take the time to check out Andrew’s website as well to see how decks are performing in your area and what deck has been well so far. It has helped me a lot over the past couple of years and Andrew puts a lot of work into these results. I will also leave with one more video which is a video of me showcasing the Toad/Bats deck in action if you want to see how it’s played. Thanks for taking the time to read this article and good luck at your Cities!

City Results!

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