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Orion Craig

Toadstool's Secrets and a 1st Place GA States Report

Step inside for a breakdown of some meta-specific changes to Toadstool.

04/06/2015 by Orion Craig


Introduction

Happy Easter 60cards reader! I am back once again, recounting the events of the Georgia State Championship and what it took to take home the first place trophy. For this tournament, I took to piloting my signature Princess Toadstool deck I wrote about in this article with some minor changes for the metagame. First we will look at the skeleton list, followed by a couple of the changes I made for the event, and finish with a breakdown of the matches I played on my path to first place.

I’ve written about this deck very recently here, so I don’t find it necessary to go too in-depth with my description of the deck. I will, however, explain the basics and review some changes I made in order to adapt to the expected Georgia metagame.

 Seismitoad

Seismitoad EX

This guy is certainly at the core of Princess Toadstool. He enables you to shut down many of your opponent’s item-based options with Quaking Punch while effectively walling your opponent out of taking KOs through the use of  Max Potion and AZ. Shutting off trainers gives you the unique ability to both limit and predict how much damage your opponent is able to deal each turn, allowing you to maximize your healing efforts.


Malamar EX

This beautiful squid-chicken is one of the star player’s here. His ability to consistently put your opponent’s Pokemon to sleep with Hyper Hypnosis mixed with Seismitoad’s trainer lock essentially means your opponent can only attack 50% of the time. Because your opponent cannot use switch cards, Super Scoop up, etc, the only way to consistently get out of sleep is with Virizion or Keldeo. Oh, and never forget cinema-worthy finishes with MAXamar!


Aromatisse

This last piece of the puzzle takes the former two cards from a comical duo and transforms them into a splendiferous squid-toad combo. Being able to attach to Malamar, trigger Hyper Hypnosis, and move the energy off to a more consistent attacker is a fantastic way to keep your opponent on their toes. Moreover, Aromatisse also allows you to abuse cards like Max Potion, AZ, and Darkrai’s Dark Cloak ability to keep your opponent guessing which attacker is coming next.


Tinkering with Toadstool

Toad

You may notice the above list is only 57 cards. This is called a skeleton list; or the core cards necessary to consistently pull off a basic strategy. In this case, the “basic” strategy isn’t quite so basic, so a full 57 cards goes into the skeleton, leaving you with three cards of room for meta-specific techs. Going into Georgia States I felt I had a pretty good idea of what decks were likely to show up en masse, so I filled those three card slots to maximize my coverage, or number of decks I could effectively handle.


Genesect EX

This was the most obvious addition to the deck, and went in instantly after Zander Bennett suggested the change. Thanks again, Zander. I can officially say I owe both my Florida Regionals and Georgia States victories to him, which will be a hefty debt to repay later. Anyway, Genesect EX fit perfectly into the deck to handle some of Toadstool’s absolute toughest matchups: Kyogre EX and Groudon EX. A Muscle Banded Genesect EX is able to one-hit knockout both Kyogre and Groudon, and the relative lack of speed both decks have grants you plenty of time to draw into the pieces you need. Most Kyogre EX decks do not play Muscle Band, meaning they simply cannot deal with Genesect EX backed by incessant Max Potions. Groudon EX, on the other hand, cannot move quickly enough to set up two separate Groudons, so after the first knock out it’s smooth sailing. In short, Genesect turns two near auto losses into near auto wins.

Charizard EX (Stoke)

MegaZard

Fire Blast is able to deal a whopping 240 damage to fire weak Pokemon like Virizion EX and Genesect EX. This gives you a chance to deal with your all-time worst matchup: VirGen. Additionally, Stoke has a chance to pay dividends if you flip heads, meaning Charizard isn’t even a bad starter in many cases. Stoke opens up the potential for a turn two Fire Blast, which is certainly difficult for any deck to deal with. Realistically, however, Charizard’s usefulness does not extend far past the VirGen matchup. In fact, I never played him a single time throughout all of Georgia States.


Spiritomb

Sealing Scream is meant to combo with Charizard EX against VirGen. If you are able to Fire Blast with Sealing Scream preventing a GBooster play, your opponent’s only option is to Red Signal/Lysandre and knock out Spritomb or else Max Potions will keep Charizard blazing through their front line. Then, you can either Trump Card+Ultra Ball for Spiritomb, or simply Fire Blast again, removing the vast majority of their energy from the board, leaving you in an advantageous position. Do not ignore Spiritomb’s attack, Hexed Mirror, either. He was used several times throughout Georgia States to keep my games running smoothly.


These three inclusions improved my Kyogre EX, Groudon EX, and VirGen matchups significantly, at the cost of my mirror match, Seismitoad Garbodor, Yveltal Garbodor, and Landorus EX Crobat matchups. Xerosic, Keldeo, and Mr. Mime were dropped from my AL list to fit the aforementioned techs. With the prevalence of Seismitoad variants at AL, I expected very little Landorus, and I figured Kyogre, Groudon, and VirGen would be more popular to counter the uprising of Seismitoad. For this reason, I felt comfortable with the shift in my matchups.


Georgia State Championship Report


Round 1 Sharpedo+Crawdaunt WW

SharpDaunt


Game 1: I must admit, I chuckled when I first saw my opponent flip over Sharpedo. “Sharpedo is nigh-unplayable. This will be easy.” I arrogantly thought. We both get off to normal starts, and after powering up Sharpedo he began removing way too many energy off of my field with Crawdaunt’s Unruly Claw, Jagged Fang, Xerosic, and Team Flare Grunt for me to sustain a Quaking Punch lock. This opened him up further to freely use Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer. I started sweating, but Hypnotoxic Laser was my saving grace, as it allowed me to apply pressure to his active Sharpedo without actually attacking, and soon he found himself without a readied attacker due to Jagged Fang’s energy discard requirement. Lasers, mixed with some favorable sleep flips, put me heavily in the lead towards the middle of the game. Not wanting to risk going to game 2, I took my time and leisurely Quaking Punched trying to stall out the game as long as possible. Finally, after about 40 minutes, I took my last two prizes, confident he couldn’t steal a win within 10 minutes.


Game 2: It seems my fear of game 2 was unfounded, as my opponent simply drew dead and I won the game within minutes.


1-0-0


Round 2 Rex H.- Seismitoad EX+Crobat WW


This matchup is generally quite easy, though slightly harder than more streamlined versions of Seismitoad such as Slurpuff. Typically, Malamar enables you to break their trainer lock, allowing you to Max Potion, Muscle Band, and Hypnotoxic Laser while they remain helpless under a trainer lock of your own. The only real fear is if they are able to effectively knock out your Spritzee and Aromatisse using Sneaky Bite and Surprise Bite. This is rather difficult for them due to Max Potion, however.


Game 1: We both got off to a strong start, except I had trouble drawing into my Aromatisse. This allowed him to take an early knockout on one of my two Spritzee, and he quickly built up damage on my other one. Fortunately, I was able to get a last-second Aromtisse out and the combo was completed. Hyper Hypnosis matched with Quaking Punch and Fairy Transfer made quick work of him, giving me a win for the first game.

Mewtwo


Game 2: The second match went even better for me, with the full triple threat being completed very early by turn two or three. There was almost nothing he could do to stop Quaking Punch after Quaking Punch from dwindling him down. Due to my strong start, and having never seen him play down a Mewtwo EX during either game, I grew arrogant after taking my first knock out. I proceeded to bench Yveltal EX, transfer nearly all of my energy to him, and Evil Ball for the knockout, bringing me to just two prizes. He was able to respond with a Mewtwo+DCE+Muscle Band+Hypnotoxic Laser for the return KO, leaving me in a position with a Muscle Banded Seismitoad EX, a Fairy Energy, and a Rainbow Energy. I was able to Laser his Mewtwo and N myself to two cards, with a Rainbow enabling me to OHKO his Mewtwo with Grenade Hammer. Certainly a lucky finish to a game that should have never gotten out of control.


2-0-0


Round 3 Paarth S.- Flareon+Empoleon WW


This tricky matchup depends heavily on their list. How many Energy Evolution Eevee, Grass Energy, Silver Bangle, Leafeon, Deoxys EX, and Audino they play can made this matchup anywhere from 80-20 to 50-50. If they can get a Silver Bangle and Grass Energy onto a Leafeon, Seismitoads start getting cut down with ease. For this reason, it is very important to Quaking Punch as quickly as possible to prevent Silver Bangle. Additionally, you should always pay attention to how many energy you play down, keeping in mind the damage Energy Crush can deal at any time. I typically like to keep a maximum of three energy, otherwise if they play Deoxys EX you will be OHKO’d by Energy Crush. This rule is nullified if you know they are about to knock out some of your energy on the following turn, or if a lucky Hyper Hypnosis is your last chance at victory, though.


Game 1: He got a solid start compared to my not-so-good hand. I did the best I could with Lasers and Malamar, trying to draw out the game until I drew into what I needed, but back to back instances of  0/2 heads on MAXamar flips left me feeling worried at best. Eventually I was drew into the right card, and the game devolved into a grueling slugfest between Leafeons and Seismitoads. Careful attachment of energy meant Leafeon was unable to deal enough damage for an OHKO, so Max Potions were able to keep him at bay while Hypnotoxic Lasers worked their magic. At last I was able to break through his Leafeon swarm, and Quaking Punch cleaned up the last few prizes I needed to win.

 


Game 2: There was little time left for game two, which typically bears well for Princess Toadstool. Max Potions and AZ combined with trainer lock are typically able to draw out almost any game for at least 10 to 15 minutes, so I felt comfortable while shuffling up for game two. Fortunately, his draws weren’t too great and I was able to quickly secure a lead and win the game.


3-0-0


Round 4 Andre- Flareon+Crobat LWT


Having never seen this style of Flareon before, I can’t say I felt comfortable during this match. Sneaky and Surprise Bite are able to supplement Leafeon’s damage with Leaf Blade, meaning a heads can score an OHKO on my Seismitoad EX. Furthermore, Bats are able to apply early game pressure to my Spritzees to deny Aromatisse.


Game 1: He is able to apply early pressure with a quick energy evolution into Leafeon. We start trading blows as I stay mindful of how many energy I play down to ensure Energy Crush is two hit KOing me at best. As the game drags on I am able to see nearly all of his deck before a Trump Card is played, so I make a risky play by using Grenade Hammer on his Leafeon, putting three grass in his discard. Having only seen three grass energy before Trump Card was played, I am fairly confident he cannot Energy Evolution into another Leafeon, attach Silver Bangle and draw his last two prizes with Energy Crush. I was wrong. Either way, I was running low on resources and a win was looking unlikely. I do not regret my decision to Grenade Hammer.


Game 2: I start off with an early Quaking Punch lock and he simply isn’t able to get going. This is a quick and painless win.

 

Mighteyena


Game 3: His turn one is explosive, getting down three Eevee and two Silver Bangle. After playing multiple Battle Compressors, he ends his turn with over nine Pokemon in his discard. At this point, I know it will take more time than is left on the round to win, so I have a tie on my mind the whole game. I use Laser+Virbank and play Trump Card, ending my turn with a Seismitoad active. He deals heavy damage to my Seismitoad with Energy Crush, and once again discards over nine Pokemon. At this point, I can either Juniper and try to set up Aromtisse and make a game out of it, but I’m playing for a tie so I merely Trump Card and pass. He is able to knock out my Seismitoad and get about ten more pokemon in the discard pile during his turn. Time is called so I know he only has two turns left  to take four prizes. I VS seeker for Trump Card yet again, and he is unable to deal enough damage to knock out my Yveltal with Vengeance, meaning we tie the game.


3-0-1


Round 5 Ryan Sablehaus- Donphan+Groudon WW


I honestly can’t think of a time I’ve sat across from Ryan Sablehaus and thought “Man, this game is going to be so easy.” Ryan and I are long time rivals, dating back to when we were both in Seniors a decade ago, so it was nice to finally play again. Our games are always very energetic, friendly, and filled with laughter, and this was no exception.


Donphan can be a tricky matchup for Toadstool, due to Hawlucha applying lightning fast pressure while Donphan readies himself for OHKOs with Wreck, completely bypassing the Max Potion strategy of Toadstool. If you are able to get and early trainer lock followed by a few Lysandres on their Donphans, then you’re in pretty good shape. Quaking Punch+Muscle Band+Laser+Virbank actually takes an OHKO on Donphan without breaking trainer lock as well. Be very careful not to bench Darkrai EX, Malamar EX, or Jirachi EX unless you absolutely have to. Donphan makes quick work of the former two, and Hawlucha takes easy prizes against the latter.

 

Hawlucha


Game 1: The first game was a grueling slugfest between Hawluchas, Donphans, and Seismitoad EX. As expected, he was able to take an early lead on prizes, leaving me to play catch up for the rest of the game. He eventually came up to Wreck my Seismitoad EX for 160 and discard my Virbank, so taking a return KO was difficult, but I manage to get what I need to Grenade Hammer. On my next turn I made a controversial decision. I had only one Vs Seeker remaining, and both Trump Card and Lysandre were in my discard. I chose to Lysandre his benched Donphan for the KO, feeling he would be forced to play Trump Card himself, as several energy cards were now in the discard. I was right but for the wrong reason: it turns out he had both his other Donphan prized, so Trump Card was the only way to keep attacking. After he was kind enough to bring back all of my Lasers and Max Potions I was able to finish up with a win.


Game 2: This game was one of the wildest comebacks I made all day. I started with Genesect EX and a completely dead hand, while he immediately started swinging for 100 damage with a Hawlucha whilst playing down multiple Robo Subs. I contemplated scooping in hopes of finishing game 3 in my favor, but decided to play it out for a few more turns. By the time I get setup he only had two prizes remaining, so I started making aggressive plays. Lysandre brought up his fully loaded Donphan, and Grenade Hammer scored an overkill. Then, Max Potion wiped away my damage, Lysandre took his other Donphan and Grenade Hammer scored another knockout. At this point, my bench was getting pretty injured, and I had to make sure Lysandre wouldn’t win Ryan the game so I placed my damage carefully, benching a Darkrai EX to absorb the hits. Based on the flow of the game, I figured another Donphan wouldn’t be powered up in time to KO Darkrai. The following turn I used Max Potion once again, and Grenade Hammer on Hawlucha left Ryan without any useful attackers and he lost the game.


4-0-1


Round 6 Daniel L.- Seismitoad EX+Crobat WW

 

Togepi


Once again this matchup is pretty easy. As long as Sneaky and Surprise bite doesn’t prevent an Aromatisse, there is nearly no way to lose. I was glad I had such an easy matchup, as I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours by this point in the event, so my head was starting to spin.


Game 1: I flipped over Spritzee against his solo Zubat, played Fan Club for Seismitoad EX and another Spritzee, laid a Fairy Energy on my bench and passed. He played an N, drawing no additional basic pokemon, and passed. I evolved into Aromatisse on the bench, transfered my Fairy Energy active, attached Rainbow to active, CPU Searched for Muscle Band and Flopped for the knockout. Good work, Spritzee.


Game 2: He got a much better start and began to Quaking Punch my Seismitoad EX, while preventing me from doing the same with his Headringers. I managed to continue setting up on the bench under trainer lock, and once I started with combo of Malamar, Aromatisse, and Seismitoad the game was all but over. Despite his promising lead he ended the game without taking a prize. No silly Yveltal plays were attempted.


5-0-1


Round 7 Edison- Seismitoad EX+Crobat ID

 

Sudowoodo


We ID’d to reach the perfect 5-0-2 record to guarantee a place in the top 8 and headed to dinner. I walk over to a BP with my good friend and co-creator of Flareon, Grafton Roll, and grabbed a Monster and a Red Bull for later after chowing down on some mexican food. I’m fairly certain energy drinks were my largest expense for the weekend.


5-0-2


Top 8 Edison- Seismitoad EX+Crobat WW


It’s been about 37 hours since I’ve slept, so I chug a Red Bull just before the game and prepare myself for a pretty easy matchup. My head started throbbing from the Red Bull, and I could feel my pulse in my temples. A light headache quickly follows, but so does the stream of energy I need to stay sharp during my matches. He played excellently, and these were the two hardest games I have ever played against Seismitoad EX+Crobat.


Game 1: He got off to an excellent start and put immense pressure on my Spritzee. I was only able to bench one early game, so after he knocked it out with Sneaky and Surprise bite I began to worry a little. After benching another Spritzee, he was able to put 3 damage counters with Surprise Bite before I evolved into Aromatisse. Two Sneaky bites later and my Aromatisse was up to 70 damage in the blink of an eye. Hyper Hypnosis put his Toad to sleep again and he flipped his first tails, finally breaking his trainer lock. I stared down the Max Potion in my hand, praying he wouldn’t draw his last Crobat off of Colress for nine cards to knock out my Aromatisse. Fortunately he whiffed, so I heal my Aromatisse and the game goes smoothly from there


Game 2: Crobat and Golbat do their worst to try and stop Aromatisse, but the game didn’t seem as though it would be nearly as close this time. He managed to flip several key heads on sleep, however, granting him one knockout with Quaking Punch, then another knockout with Grenade Hammer, leaving him with only two prizes. He started to build up a Mewtwo EX for an OHKO and I started to sweat, knowing if he managed to get enough energy Xball would end the game. Fortunately it didn’t come to that, as I was able to knock out Mewtwo EX, and he was left with nothing.


Top 4 Ryan Sablehaus- Donphan Groudon WW


The negative side effects of the Red Bull had worn off, but the energy boost stayed behind to help me in this match. Ryan and I had been talking since before top 8, and we knew this would be a hard match for both of us after how close our swiss games were.

 


Game 1: Ryan started with his lone Groudon EX and was forced to Korrina for Hawlucha and a Switch. If he didn’t get the switch then, Quaking Punch would lock his Groudon active and unable to switch, granting me two free prizes. He probably would have preferred to get Ultra Ball for Jirachi to search his way out of a dead hand in any other circumstance. He never ended up drawing a supporter as Quaking Punch tore through his Hawlucha and Evil Ball scored a big knockout on his Groudon EX.


Game 2: I’m not gonna lie, I really don’t remember too much about this game. I vaguely recall using Lysandre and Genesect EX to take early prizes against his Donphan and Phanpy, and the game was pretty clean. I recall using Spiritomb’s Hexed Mirror to keep my hands flowing early on. He scooped before it was over.


Top 2 Danny A.- Kyogre EX+Keldeo+Suicune LWW


Finally! A matchup I actually teched for earlier in the day arrived at last. If not for this final match, the three changes I made would have been completely meaningless. I have never played against Kyogre EX with Toadstool, though I did have a Kyogre deck ready before AL states so I knew what he was capable of. I hoped he would get a medium to slow start, giving me enough time to build up Genesect EX. Additionally, he didn’t know I played Genesect so I knew that would give me an edge.


Game 1: I opened Seismitoad to his Kyogre EX and attached Rainbow energy to my bench after using Fan Club. He started getting energy on his active Kyogre and benched Keldeo+Float Stone, meaning my Lasers and Malamar EX would be nearly worthless all game. I attached a second Rainbow and evolved into Aromatisse, holding Genesect EX+Muscle Band in hand for next turn. If I had benched Genesect, my the secret would be out and he could adjuster accordingly. Danny put my Toad to sleep and I flipped a tails, meaning I’d have to hold onto Genesect a little while longer. After he N’d me and starts swinging with Kyogre, I responded with Genesect and the game truly began. I realized I played way too many EXs onto my bench for no good reason, and his 30 damage spread started to set him up for the win. I had a crucial moment with 15 cards in my deck, and a Juniper had to get me one of my last two Max Potions. I whiffed, and he was able to take a double knockout. On the following turn I played Juniper with 11 cards in deck, needing to hit both of my remaining Max Potions to win, and fell just one card short. I learned a lot about the matchup from this game, and knew that so long as I didn’t draw dead in either of the following games I should be able to win pretty easily.

 


Game 2: We both get going and I manage to draw pretty well. I get out Genesect and Aromatisse early and start taking huge knockouts, using Max Potion to wipe away any damage he managed to deal to Genesect. While Genesect rampaged, he brought out Suicune which I answered by attacking with Aromatisse for 60, leaving a backup Aromatisse on my bench. He knocked out my Aroma with Keldeo EX, leaving me with only one Rainbow in play, but I managed to draw another Rainbow Energy off of an N for two, taking my last two prizes with Genesect.

 

Game 3: I got off to a rocket fast start, drawing four prizes with Genesect and leaving him in a situation very similar to game two. He started attacking with Suicune to which I had no answer, as I didn’t have an Aromatisse in play. Time was called during our awkward stalemate, and I simply Max Potion my benched Genesect and passed. He Aurora Beamed my Seismitoad, so I Ultra Ball for Jirachi, grabbed and AZ, and healed Toad to full. He was unable to tie the game in prizes and lost on time.

 

Spinda


Conclusion

At the end of the sleepless day, I was incredibly happy to have won a tournament with Princess Toadstool, as it ranks among my all-time favorite decks. Additionally, having never won a State Championship in Masters before the event means I am able to add another accomplishment to the list. After 40 hours without sleep, it was time to get some much needed rest on the way home. As you look towards the final weekend of States, I highly recommend trying Princess Toadstool on for size, and, if you journey down to Florida, I’ll see ya there. =D


Orion Craig

 

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