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Jeremiah Williams

A "Dignified Quaking Punch" Deck Analysis

Toad is back! This article takes a look at a very powerful way to play Seismitoad-EX in the Standard format.

01/18/2016 by Jeremiah Williams

Hello, 60cards readers! I'm excited to be able to write for you all for the first time. I'm going to discuss a recent deck that I have had quite a bit of success with at the Chicago marathon this season, Seismitoad/Empoleon. This deck has two Cities wins at 8-1-1, a Top 4 at 5-2-1, and a Top 8.

Seismitoad is still a force to be reckoned with, even without Hypnotoxic Lasers! The list shown is my current list. There are small techs that can be included depending on your local metagame which I will discuss later. Starting with the Pokémon, you have four Seismitoad-EX, because this is your main attacker and preferred starter. There are two Shaymin-EX for consistency, and it serves as a decent backup attacker when you can Sky Return for 70 with a Muscle Band and Empoleon out. Two copies of Empoleon are for its Ability "Dignified Fighter," which gives all your Basic Pokémon +20 damage, effectively a second Muscle Band. This card is key, because without it, you just do not do enough damage to beat Yveltal-EX/Zoroark decks. Lastly we have the 1-1 Zoroark line which may seem out of place in a lock deck like this, but it’s actually what makes this deck work. Your goal with the Zoroark should be to get it out sometime on turn three or turn four with a Float Stone and a Rough Seas in play. Then you can Stand In and Retreat between Seismitoad while healing off damage with Rough Seas and sometimes your single copy of Pokémon Center Lady. Zoroark is also the key to winning games against Manectric-EX variants, which can otherwise be near an autoloss.

Next up are the Supporters. There’s a very low count of draw based Supporters which can be off-putting, but the low Supporter counts helps you to get out your Empoleon, so the fewer dead cards the better to facilitate getting down to one card in hand for that Archie’s. Two Professor Sycamore works well with the Battle Compressor/VS Seeker combination, so you rarely miss it when you need it. Two copies of Archie’s Ace in the Hole for are consistency, making the odds much better to get it off because you can Battle Compressor one copy and leave the other in deck to increase your outs. Also, only playing one copy leaves you in danger of Prizing it. One Judge, because this card synergizes greatly with Quaking Punch. Something you want to do several times a game is Judge with a Quaking Punch, it’s very easy to just draw a handful of Items because decks play ridiculous counts of them, in this Item-based draw format.

Now for the disruption-based Supporters, we have one Pokémon Center Lady and one Team Flare Grunt. Center Lady is key to winning against Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade, or YZG. The baby Yveltal, which traditionally has always been good against Toad, gets shut down with Rough Seas, Pokémon Center Lady, and Empoleon. When you get to Knocking Out the annoying baby Yveltal, you’re likely to have zero damage on Toad, which makes it near impossible to get one-shotted by a big Yveltal-EX. Team Flare Grunt is great against big Pokémon-EX that can out-trade Seismitoad, such as M Mewtwo Y, Yveltal-EX, Sceptile-EX, Primal Kyogre-EX, and M Manectric-EX. You need to disrupt these decks’ Energy attachments to win, so Team Flare Grunt makes it in the deck. Two Lysandre is nothing unique; it’s a great card. You can Lysandre big Benchsitters like Hoopa-EX or Magnezone, and you can buy yourself a lot of time to set up. There are a lot of potential free turns here. A sort of 61st card that is also great in this deck, would be Hex Maniac. This is great going first to stop the opponent’s Shaymin and limit their ability to go off and play as many Items as possible. It’s hard to find space in this deck however, so it did not make my list, but it may make yours.

Now the Items are fairly standard for an Archie’s deck: you have the four Battle Compressor, four Trainers’ Mail, three Acro Bike, four Ultra Ball, and four VS Seeker, all standard consistency cards to get Empoleon out and set up the board. The three Muscle Band are to keep a solid damage output and two Float Stones are to get one on the Zoroark or to get a poor Shaymin-EX out of the Active early game for when you unfortunately open with it. Now we have four Crushing Hammer and one Enhanced Hammer! Hammering off your opponent’s Energy, hitting them with a Judge, and Quaking Punch ends games rather fast. Quaking Punch is just too good with Hammers. One Red Card to use with Quaking Punch, and a card that can always be played helps with getting down to one card for Archie’s. Because you play one Red Card, you can be tricky with it and judge your opponent’s facial expression as they draw. Oftentimes you can tell if they have playable cards or not, because if it’s a bunch of Items, its common to seem visibly frustrated, vice versa if they seem relaxed they probably have something. Then you can Judge or Red Card again if you know they drew something. This reason, and the fact that you can always play Red Card, is why it’s included over a second copy of Judge.

The other one-of Item card is Super Rod, a fairly standard recovery card. It synergizes with the low three Water Energy count and the 1-1 Zoroark line for when you have to discard these for a Sycamore early game. Also a real problem can be decking out. Games are long and you blow through your deck so Super Rod can save you from decking out. Two Rough Seas! This card is great in here, because you can easily switch between your Seismitoad with Zoroark’s Stand in Ability. Very few cards can one-hit KO a Toad under Item-lock, so the Seismitoad just tank for several turns with Pokémon Center Lady and Rough Seas. The Energy count is fairly basic, so we continue on to the strategy.

A very important part to playing this deck is knowing when to go for Empoleon and when to put it off. Unlike most Archie’s or Maxie’s deck that want to get it as early as possible, Empoleon is not necessary in the early game. On the turn one, you should be going for a Judge or a Hex Maniac (if you've teched it in) to try to disrupt your opponent instead. Even if you do have a turn-one Empoleon, it might be better to go for a Judge, especially if you've had to mulligan. This is because a turn-one Judge, Red Card, or Hex Maniac can easily disrupt the opponent and lesson their ability to go through their deck and play as many Items as possible. Then on your next turn you can start Quaking Punching and slow the pace of the game down significantly, eventually you will set up the Empoleon, Zoroark, and Rough Seas combo and whittle them down till you take six Prize cards.

Finally, let’s go over how this fares against the more popular decks in Standard!

Yveltal/Gallade/Zoroark: 50-50

This matchup is very close. Your strategy is pretty is all about Rough Seas here. An early Rough Seas can totally negate the damage from Oblivion Wing. The next big thing is knowing that Yveltal-EX is just going to out-trade you, unless you can Grenade Hammer. If you cannot get Empoleon out before Yveltal-EX gets loaded up with Energy, it's going to be very difficult to win this game. Early on, you need to get Water Energy on a Benched Seismitoad-EX and use Grenade Hammer for 170 damage to one-hit knockout the Yveltal-EX. If you can pull that off, there isn't a way for them to respond and one-hit the Toad in return, so you can just sweep with Grenade Hammer afterwards.

M-Manectric-EX/Water attackers: 25-75

This is the only bad matchup for this deck. To win, you just need to get lucky with Crushing Hammer and the opponent dead-drawing and never getting a Turbo Bolt. It's especially difficult because both players run Rough Seas, so you just won't be able to do any damage with Quaking Punch. If they run a Hoopa-EX you can Lysandre that, take two free Prizes then try to Grenade Hammer another two Shaymin-EX on the Bench.

Night March with Bronzong or Milotic: 80-20

Night March is just very weak against Item-lock; their attackers are low-HP, so Seismitoad can get a one-hit easily. Just Quaking Punching and discarding their Double Colorless Energy is all you have to do to win this one. You can potentially lose if you miss an early Quaking Punch, but it’s still a great matchup regardless. Judge and Quaking Punch punishes Night March decks, because these decks play only a couple of draw Supporters.

Mega Mewtwo Y: 60-40

Seismitoad surprisingly three-hits this Mega Pokémon once you get an Empoleon into play. Mega Mewtwo needs to have four Energy on it to one-hit your attacking Toad, which is very difficult when you have Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and Team Flare Grunt. You also have an edge because they need a Spirit Link or else they lose a turn! If they draw the Mewtwo-EX and Spirit Link turn one, you can sometimes Megaphone it off and gain another turn before you get attacked.

Lucario/Hammers: 75-25

Hawlucha has always been a solid answer to Seismitoad, but not against this! In the past you would have to one-hit a Hawlucha with Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, so you would often miss knockouts and get punished by multiple Hawlucha. With this deck, you still one-hit Hawlucha but this Seismitoad deck has Rough Seas and Pokémon Center Lady. You just heal too much, so one Seismitoad can usually deal with all four Hawlucha. Lucario-EX is very bad against Toad as well, because it takes too many Energy to do meaningful damage. 

Manectric/Bats: 55-45

Against regular Manectric, you have a much better time. The Zoroark line is great here and can easily take four or more Prizes if played correctly. Manectric/Bats generally has to fill a Bench to five, between Zubat, Shaymin, and a couple Manectric-EX, so Zoroark can one hit a Manectric with a Muscle Band! It’s also very difficult to get a return knockout on Zoroark because there’s no Energy acceleration, so you can easily Hammer an Energy and they have no response then you can just take another two Prizes on a Shaymin-EX or a Manectric-EX if they Bench another Pokémon. 

Conclusion

Thanks so much to anyone that read through this! I hope you take something away from this, and good luck to you if you decide to try this new variation of Seismitoad. Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts in the comments, I would love to hear your opinions.

-Jeremiah

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