User blog

Martin Janouš

It's time for Quaking Punch

Look at the new lock/control deck with Seismitoad ex.

12/17/2014 by Martin Janouš

Hello everyone,

I don't quite remember a time in which a metagame has changed as rapidly as it has with the
introduction of Phantom Forces. There are a lot of new solid archetypes now available within the TCG; with many untested ideas still rife with potential. The release of certain cards has also seen some of the older strategies gain momentum, with the format in a very exciting, but uncertain place.

Perhaps the most dominant card in the new set (that isn’t specific to any deck), is Enhanced hammer. A card that garners the respect of every deck that had previously committed four of its slots to playing Double Colorless energy with little fear. Enhanced Hammer also strengthens an old format allstar in Drifblim, and strikes fear into some of the most popular decks that thrived during its brief hiatus from the format (US Regionals, and a few EU Regionals). Being able to slam your special energy with no concern meant the most powerful energies had little to no drawback. The return of Enhanced hammer is welcomed by all the players that have been faced with a very fast Lugia ex, an Yveltal that had quickly gotten out of hand, or more recently; a Donphan slowly making its way toward wrecking range.

Though, it isn’t only the reprints of old cards which have brightened what had become a pretty stale format; but the introduction of many new interesting mechanics within Phantom Forces. There are entire new decks in Night March, and Steel (which somewhat resemble decks of the past), but there are also card mechanics that have never been seen before: the freshest concept which springs to mind being Head Ringer. A card that is going to be among the focal point of my article, Head Ringer may be among the most powerful cards in the set; yet many decks have not looked towards it in hope that it could strengthen their weaker match-ups. Which decks can justify playing this card? Why can they? This article is about a deck that most likely fits the bill, and has the best overall synergy with Head Ringer. Seismitoad ex/Garbodor.

Seismitoad ex/Garbodor

Seismitoad ex/Garbodor was played before Phantom Forces was released, but was definitely
considered a fringe deck, with tier two application. It had minor success with a couple of Regional top 8’s, but was largely not well respected when considering your deck choice for an event.

This was largely because the deck had a terrible match-up against Virizion ex/Genesect ex, and relied heavily on Crushing hammer to occasionally steal games by stunting their early development. You were often in situations where flipping a heads on your early Crushing Hammer would allow you to start playing an actual game (which still required a lot to go your way); with a tails however, immediately making the game a blowout against you. Not a good place to be, in a format where Virizion ex/Genesect ex decks were extremely popular. Between this issue, and the fast attackers present in the other popular decks (Hawlucha, Yveltal), Seismitoad always felt it could be toppled with fast pressure and cheap energy attackers, which is ironic considering it wanted to be the deck applying early agression.

We would come to see the inclusion of Reshiram or Pyroar (instead of Garbodor) in these decks which would ultimately take away from your ability to consistently use Quaking Punch on turn one and two of the game. These cards would reduce consistency, and didn’t seem to warrant weakening the decks actual strength: That it wanted to use Quaking Punch on all but a few turns of the game.

Phantom Forces has helped solve some of the issues this deck had, with Head Ringer being at the forefront. We can now stifle Emerald Slash (or any ex) for a turn, without relying on a flip. Crushing Hammers are now replaceable with Enhanced Hammers, and VS Seeker allows us to reliably rely on situational supporters that we have discarded earlier on in the game.

The primary focus of the deck has returned to using Quaking Punch for as long as possible, using Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym to increase what would typically be an underwhelming damage output.

Now, lets see what a rough (incomplete) version of this decklist could look like.

Your Options

Rather than run situational Pokemon as tech for popular match-ups, I prefer limiting the deck to Seismitoad ex, Garbodor and Jirachi ex. I found more success and importance in placing your tricks in your trainers and supporters. Especially now that VS Seeker lets us optimally reuse our previously awkward (situational) supporter lineup.


 The Pokemon I had considered the most (and still occasionally do), is Drifblim. A solid tech used against every deck that plays some amount of special energy cards (which is the majority of the field). It also has subtle synergy with the fact that your opponent may be forced to discard their early item filled hands in search of Pokemon, which may also contain some amount of special energy in them. Between this, Enhanced hammer, and simply progressing the game by taking knockouts - there is a good chance Drifblim could be an efficient finisher. If we opt not to play Life Dew in this deck (thus forcing our opponent into KO’ing 4 Seismitoad ex), it also gives us a non-ex attacker to strengthen our late game N’s and make them take an additional knockout.

Head Ringer and the Hammers:

As I said before, playing Head Ringer gives us a shot against our worst matchup in Virizion/Genesect and its hard to justify leaving it out when the best attackers in the game are EX’s. Forcing an opponent into paying one more energy to attack, in combination with Hypnotoxic Laser, can be all the difference when trying to play a deck that is essentially attempting to out-tempo its opponents and end games quickly. The difficulty arises in fitting both Crushing Hammer and Head Ringer as we basically concede that its impossible to not play Enhanced Hammer - its simply too good.

In the end i’ve found it comes down to the popularity of Donphan. Donphan is among very few decks in recent history that is not centered around an EX attacker, and thus is immune to Head Ringer. Determining your counts for Head Ringer or Crushing Hammer would largely be decided on how much of this deck you expected, with Crushing Hammer obviously being miles better in the matchup.

In a field with a lot of Yveltal or Virizion/Genesect decks, Head Ringer simply has to be better. I’ve played entire games able to lock my opponent out of using Emerald slash, or at the very least, limiting them to one Emerald Slash when the game is already beyond them. Using Lysandre, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Head Ringer in combination provides us with a surefire combination of cards to prevent a turn two Emerald Slash, something we couldn’t do before the release of Phantom Forces.

Similarly, Head Ringer makes using Y-Cyclone much more difficult then in the past, thus, removing an Yveltal players ability to keep energy in play and maintain their agression on our Seismitoad ex’s. It also removes their occasional ability to Evil Ball us on turn two (without a DCE) impossible.

The best ACE SPEC:

Seismitoad ex/Garbodor is a deck that can utilise one of many ACE SPEC cards; some of which are rarely considered in competitive play due to the sheer power of Computer Search and Dowsing Machine. However, that isn’t to say that it’s correct to ignore these two options (as they are still very good in this deck), but gives you the opportunity to play cards you have in your binders that you usually just skip past!


Computer Search

CPU is likely just a little better in this deck than Dowsing, mainly because of our early reliance on grabbing Double Colorless energy. This is among the top 2 choices for the ACE SPEC position.

Life Dew

Life Dew may have finally found its home as an ACE SPEC in a deck, since the Sableye/Garbodor deck of last format. If you play against deck where you really Garbodor isn’t essential to your strategy, you can simply play down just 4 Seimitoad ex with Life Dew giving you the seventh prize trick. Ideally attaching Life dew to one of one of your earlier Seismitoad ex, it eventually grants you the ability to N an opponent to one, whilst forcing them to deal an additional 180 damage through Item lock and

Rock Guard

I tried Rock Guard at first, because it seemed decent at punishing agressive strategies, forcing them to take damage for using even cheap attacks. For example: The deck has issues attacking the regular Yveltal, but with Rock Guard certainly 2 HKO’s (and occasionally OHKO’s) the pesky Pokemon. It also has some application against Donphan, allowing us to Lysandre the damaged Donphan and finish it off at some point. Overall, it was simply just a little worse than all of the other options available.

Situational Supporters:

Shadow Triad 

Hypnotoxicc Laser, in tandom with Item lock, make it probably the best card in the deck. It is very important to use your Laser’s with good timing, and Shadow Triad gives us more chances to play a higher number of the best card in our deck. Add VS Seeker to the mix, and you can play twice as many Hypnotoxic Laser as before!

Team Flare Grunt

Crushing hammer without a flip, at the cost of your supporter. Definitely worth considering,
especially with VS Seeker around. Good situationally, and in general, as we dont always have to play a draw supporter each turn in this deck.

Pokémon Center Lady

Good card against Donphan, and anything really. Being able to spend your turn healing most of the damage an opponent has done to you, can be very strong. Especially as we can use a previously discarded PCL, via VS Seeker.



AZ is similar in some respects to Pokemon Center Lady, but is certainly more versatile. It heals all damage from your Pokemon at the cost of losing your attached cards, but can also also pick up and reuse Jirachi ex or help you recover from Trubbish/Jirachi ex starts!


Another good card overall. Primarily used to discard opponent's Special energies when out of
Enhanced Hammers I would think. Another fringe advantage being that you can discard tools with it from any Pokemon, allowing you to remove Head Ringers placed on your Seismitoad ex. Ultimately, probably just short in power on making the deck, though.

The Deck, in full

Below is the list I settled on:

Its obviously impossible to fit all the options listed in just 60 cards, but i’ve settled on this configuration based on the games I've played and decks I expect to face. The deck itself is extremely versatile for something that repeatedly uses the same attack to grind its opponents down, and I expect it to pick up popularity in the upcoming City Championships.

Thanks for reading, and i’ll see you all next time!

Martin "Onix" Janouš

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