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Martin Janouš

Tasting Toad

Lets take a look at the deck I won two city championships with.

03/10/2015 by Martin Janouš

Hello 60cards readers!

 

Today we have a look at one of the most succesful decks at the recent Regional Championships in the USA, namely Seismitoad EX with Slurpuff.

 

This deck is based on item lock thanks to Seismitoad EX's attack, Quaking Punch, and extreme consistency thanks to Slurpuff's Tasting ability. Slurpuff allows you to easily draw your items and supporters. The key cards in this deck are crushing and enhanced hammers. My brother and I played this deck during some of our cities and we noticed its power, leading to many successes, including 2 City Championship wins and some second places. In this article I will discuss my list, look at one City Championship I won and have a look at what the new set brings this successful deck.

 

This list won me 2 city championships. Now I will take a look at my card choices:

 

Swirlix XY

Most lists play the new Swirlix from Phantom Forces, however I prefer the one from XY. My reason for this is that this Swirlix has the same stats as the one from Phantom Forces (HP, retreat, weakness, resistance) but the difference is in its attack. Considering you don‘t play fairy energies in this deck you can’t use Swirlix PHF‘s first attack  as it requires fairy energy. However the second attack for 2 double colorless energies deals 20 damage, however you don’t want to commit a double colorless to this Pokémon. With regards to the XY Swirlix, you can only use his first attack, 1 colorless energy dealing 10 damage. Ensuring Swirlix from XY is the better option. Of course you don't want to attack with it, but if you do it, you are probably in bad position and need all the help there is. 10 damage sounds very insignificant, but it can really help you with your math later on. At times, I did not have a Float Stone in my hand and needed to retreat manually. You really don't want to attach Double colorless energy to Swirlix, however you can just attach a water energy. When I drew bad, I was able to do 10 damage to baby Yveltal. Yveltal has 130HP, if you hit Yveltal for 10 damage and next turn you set-up Seismitoad EX, you can deal 30 damage (90HP remaining). The turn after you can play a laser together with Quaking Punch, meaning that this Yveltal will be knock out coming into your turn (if you have Virbank City Gym in play). A similar combo occurs with Pokemon EX, that have 170hp. 10 + 50 for Quaking Punch (with Muscle band) and now your opponent's EX pokemon (Yveltal EX for Example) has the magic 110hp left. So again this Pokémon will be knocked out into your turn. I know there are many factors that can total destroy this math. However still you have the opportunity to do this with Swirlix XY, while this option is not present with the other Swirlix. Keep in mind that this is not your main tactic. My main tactic is to use Quaking Punch as soon as possible. This is just bonus that can work. I used Swirlix once at a City Championship, which I will elaborate on later in this article.


1 Ultra ball 

There is a general consensus that one must play 3 or 4 ultra ball to increase consistency. However playing just 1 Ultra Ball has a reason. It is essential to search Seismitoad EX or Swirlix/Slurpuff. However after you have set up, the drawing power of Slurpuff allows you to draw cards quickly, including Pokémon, so you really don't want to play more than just 1 Ultra Ball. A nice little benefit is that this may be confusing for your opponent. At times, your opponent will take your discard pile and count how many Ultra Ball you have used. If he sees just 1 Ultra Ball while there are about 15 cards left in your deck, he may assume that you will have some unplayable cards left in your deck. This works in your advantage because your opponent would be surprised to see how many good cards you have left. 


Computer Search

As some of you may remember, in my previous article on Seismitoad EX I told you I played Life Dew as my ACE SPEC. However, this was for the Garbodor version, which played more draw supporters than this list. Because I only play 4 Professor Sycamore and 3 N, I decided to play Computer Search to increase consistency. You may ask yourself with so little supporters, you must have had a lot of supporterless hands? You are right. Sometimes I only had Seismitoad EX or Swirlix and nothing more, but if I drew something useful in next 2-3 turns I was able to get back into the game. You need to play fast, even if you are ahead in game one. You never know what you draw at the start of the second game and always want to allow yourself enough time to play game 3. A low draw supporter count gives you a disadvantage in case you draw bad, but if you draw a supporter on your first turn, you get a huge advantage until the end of the game because your risk is rewarded considering you play more tech supporters in the deck.


Pokémon Center Lady, Cassius 

Many Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff decks play just 1 of these supporters (mostly Cassius). I decided to play both, because they have an entirely different use. Pokémon Center Lady helps you against the Donphan match-up. It makes the Donphan player’s turn redundant, putting your opponent under great pressure. Thanks to VS Seeker you are able to reuse it. Pokémon Center Lady is useful if your opponent poisoned you (first turn laser) or confused your Seismitoad EX. It allows your Seismitoad EX to recover, if you ensure you keep the item lock throughout the game; lasers, sleep,poison are impossible to affect you. Cassius is very versatile: it can be used as a switch, heal, draw or all of this at the same time. When you play Cassius on your damaged active Seismitoad EX, you don't give up 2 prizes to your opponent the following turn, and if you promote Slurpuff, you will get 1 more card from Slurpuff‘s ability. Then you can retreat Slurpuff thanks to Float Stone and continue with Quaking Punch.


Team Flare Grunt, Xerosic

Maybe you think that energy removals like crushing hammers and enhanced hammers are sufficient to win and you don’t want to waste your space on supporters with the same efect. However, with 4 VS Seeker you are able to use these supporters at any time. Additionally, it is good to discard energies without a coinflip. Team Flare Grunt is extremely cruel for Virizion EX/Genesect EX. You can control the game and your opponent will never be able to use Emerald Slash. When you combine this with Head Ringer, you have a great combination. Countless decks have problems to make a comeback under item lock, especially if you keep setting them back a turn by discarding their energy. Team Flare Grunt is also good against Yveltal EX. When Yveltal EX is able to use Evil Ball, you can discard the Double Colorless Energy with Enhanced Hammer and the Darkness Energy with Team Flare, ensuring your opponent will not be able to attack the following turn.

Xerosic is similar. It helps you discard Double Colorless Energies, which could be a problem when you allow Yveltal EX to power itself up. Potentially you can cut Xerosic if you feel the need to add other cards. However, keep in mind that Xerosic allows you to discard a tool from your opponent‘s Garbodor. If your opponent is able to attach a tool to trubish T1, you can use Xerosic to discard this tool, allowing the Slurpuff Tasting ability to return. It is a better option than Startling Megaphone because you can use Xerosic with VS Seeker at any time.


Lysandre's Trump card

With Slurpuff you can draw a lot of cards in just a few turns. Lysandre's Trump card can prevent you from decking. Players ask me why I play Lysandre's Trump card, when I play cards like crushing hammers, enhanced hammers etc. It is not very logical I must admit: first discard energies and then return them to your opponent’s deck. However you play with the rule: "you can attach 1 energy card per turn" so even when you return energies to your opponent, you return your removals as well and with Slurpuff you are able to remove every energy drop from your opponent’s board. Lysandre's Trump Card is also useful against Night March and Metal decks. You beat Night March on the sole premise of returning all his Night March Pokémon back to the deck. With Quaking Punch, your opponent can never use battle compressor again. Metal deck can be a problem because recycling energies with Bronzong counters your energy removal strategy with hammers, but Lysandre's Trump Card returns energies to the deck and your opponent can only attach one energy per turn.


Battle Compressor

This is a very useful card in this deck. You play many situational supporters and you want them at the right moment. Battle Compressor allows you to take 3 of these supporters and put them into the discard pile. Now you can use them with VS Seeker. If you draw Battle compressor in the middle or late in the game, you can just use it to thin your deck. For example if you play against Yveltal decks,  playing Virbank City Gym, you can easily discard the remaining Virbank City Gyms, to have a better chance to draw the cards you need.


What about Victini-EX?

Nearly all Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff decks that placed well at USA Regionals played Victini EX. You need to replace water energies for fire and probably cut some situational supporters from the list. I am not fond of Victini EX. I know without Victini EX, the Genesect EX/Virizion EX match-up is about 40-60 or 30-70 for you and all depends on having “Lady Luck“ on your side on your Crushing hammers flips and ability to draw Head Ringers and Team Flare Grunt. But you can still win without Victini EX. I prefer situational supporters to Victini EX. I am also more likely to use Seismitoad's Second attack Grenade Hammer, which won me many games. Additionally, in my area there aren‘t many Virizion EX/Genesect EX players, so if your meta-game is full of them, you probably need Victini EX with Victory piece.

 

Tournament report

 

Round 1: Straight Fairy deck

This deck is hard for Seismitoad EX. If your opponent is fast with their Florgeses you are in trouble. Game 1, I started decently with a T1 Quaking Punch. However, my opponent woke up to my laser and making it very hard to win. However, I kept using Quaking Punch, so my opponent could not play any max potions, which is very important. Also Cassius helped me a lot, because straight fairy is unable to OHKO your Seismitoad EX. The second game was very bad for me, I drew dead and my opponent played well and drew an important AZ at a crucial time. However, I had a good turn when I N‘ed him to 1 and poisoned his Florges to knock it out into my turn. My opponent drew nothing to stop this and therefore decided to retreat Florges for 2 energies (he had no Fairy Garden in play), meaning he was out of energies. Time was called and he was not able to take his last prize card.

1-0-0

Round 2: Yveltal/Mewtwo/Seismitoad

In both games I had a great start with plenty of Slurpuffs and energy removals. My opponent tried to put pressure on me with his Mewtwo EX, but I was able to play Head Ringers and hammers at the right time and was able to win relative easily. Funny fact: in the first game I had Swirlix active for 2 turn and my opponent used Oblivion Wing twice for just 10 damage.

2-0-0

Round 4: total mirror

I faced my brother with the same 60 card list. My record was 2-0-0 while he was at 1-0-1. We wanted to ensure that one of us would make cut, so my brother allowed me to win and I am very thankful for that.

 3-0-0


Round 4: Seismitoad/Slurpuff/Manectric

My list is better for a mirror match considering the supporters allowing me to remove energies out of play. When both players use Quaking Punch all the game, everything depends on what situational supporters you play. My opponent only played Cassius. So I had 3 more crucial supporters to improve the mirror match: Team Flare Grunt, Xerosic and Pokémon Center Lady. The first and second supporters can change the game in your favour. When you discard Double colorless energy from your opponent‘s active Seismitoad, followed by a Quaking Punch, there is a good chance you can play items during your next turn if your opponent doesn‘t draw a Double Colorless Energy. In this match I drew dead in the first game, but in second game I ran well and so the match ended in a tie.

3-0-1


Round 5: Donphan with 4x Hawlucha

I was in a good position. I secured my place in Top 4 even if I would lose this match. However, my opponent needed to win to get into Top 4. I wanted to enter top cut as 1st seed because a possible 3rd place was rewarded with better prizes than 4th. So we played. I learned the hard way that 4 Hawluchas is extremely painful for Seismitoad EX. However, I drew Virbank City Gyms and Lasers at the right times and was able to knock out some of his Hawluchas. Pokémon Center Lady and Cassius were really useful in both games and I won both matches without much effort.

 

Top 4 Donphan with 4x Hawlucha

My previous opponent was able to make top cut afterall resulting in us playing again. The first game was very interesting. I had a very slow start and my opponent put pressure on me with Hawucha early on. I often had to discard my Lasers when playing Professor Sycamore. I used Lysandre's Trump Card 3 times in the first game. The game was very close; there were 2 Lasers in my last three prizes and luckily took them one after another when knocking out Hawlucha. I think if I didn't take my last laser from the prize cards, I would have lost the first game. In the second game my opponent drew dead and I was able to win my fourth game in a row against this player.


Top 2 Seismitoad/Slurpuff/Manectric

The first game was one of the funniest while at the same time most painful game I ever played. Both of us drew dead. My opponent started with Manectric EX while I opened with Swirlix. Eventhough, I evolved Swirlix into Slurpuff on T2 and started Tasting for 2 cards, I was not able to draw the cards I needed. In this game, the power of Swirlix XY was visible. My opponent had no energy in play, when I drew Swirlix, I attached a muscle band and played Hypnotoxic Laser followed by a Tackle for 30 damage + 30 from poison to his Manecric EX. It was ridiculous, but it gave me an advantage, after I drew my Seismitoad EX I was able to fully take control of the game. During the second game, my opponent couldn’t set up and I drew well. He made a misplay by not playing Hypnotoxic Laser, after which I played N immediately on the first turn. The N was very favourable to me as I drew an absolutely perfect hand with Double Colorless Energy, Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym and Professor Sycamore. My opponent did not get his Hypnotoxic Laser back nor any Head Ringers and therefore I was able to control the game once again. The situational supporters helped a lot and my opponent conceded about 4 turns later.

 

Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff with Primal Clash

Personally I think that Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff will be as strong in the new metagame as it was in previous one. However, I am not certain if you can improve this deck with the cards from the new set. Of course, Teammates is a good addition to this deck. Potentially, Repeat Ball can make this deck faster. To ensure you keep the large amount of damage and agression, you will still play Virbank City Gym instead of the new stadium cards. Maybe add 1 Silent Lab to the list, as this could help you against the Virizion EX/Genesect EX match-up because Virizion EX/Genesect EX normally doesn‘t play stadiums and so you will be able to keep your opponent's grass pokemon asleep and if you are lucky, it can help a lot.

 

Let‘s look into match-ups with some decks that we will probably see in the new meta.


Primal Groudon-EX

Decks with this Pokémon want to set Primal Groundon-EX up as soon as possible and knock out all Pokémon for 200 damage. Problem for Seismitoad EX is the new tech that Primal Groundon-EX has. Omega barier prevents you from using items and supporters on Primal Groudon so you must be fast to get a lead before they are fully set up. You need to discard energies before Primal Groudon hits the field. When it does, you should use Lysandre frequently and play around Primal Groudon.  Many pokemon in these decks have high retreat costs, so it could be a good tactic to win.

 

Medicham / Celebi EX

This deck can deal 180 damage for just one energy. Thanks to Celebi EX‘s ability, Medicham can use the Meditite attack for just one 1 fighting energy to deal 20 damage. With a strong energy, the Fighting Stadium and a Silver Bangle, Medicham does 90 damage and with the barrage mechanic he is able to do 180 damage to EX Pokémon. So your tactic is simple: don't allow to your opponent to do this. So you should knock out Pokémon with Silver Bangle attached to it first, keep Virbank City Gyms in hand to Counter Fighting Stadiums and if possible knockout Celebi EX.

 

Primal Kyogre-EX

This match-up is not hard as it looks. Without items your opponent cannot play Professor Letters, so it may occur that your opponent doesn’t have two energies in hand. Additionally, you can use all your items and supporters. A big advantage to us is ironically, Primal Kyogre's attack. When he uses it, he must move 2 energies to the bench. So when he moves them and if you will have good turn: like crushing hammer heads and a Team Flare Grunt, your opponent‘s Primal Kyogre will be out off energies. Watch-out for Rough Sea, it can be annoying. With Rough Sea in play, it is extreme difficult to deal damage from Quaking Punch.

Aggron-EX

I personally didn't test Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff against Aggron. Aggron needs many energies to attack and if you prepare Seismitoad EX for Grenade Hammer you can win. However Dialga EX can be a problem as well. Chromo Wind ensures Seismitoad EX cannot attack the next turn and we only play 1 switch. On top of that, your opponent has Bronzong to reattach energies, so your removals are not that useful. I think this match-up will not be good for Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff. 

Gardevoir EX

The strategy against this deck is similar to the strategy used against the straight fairy deck. However, the fairy deck has more potential now as it can OHKO your Seismitoad EX. The key to winning this match-up is not letting your opponent use Max Potion and if possible remove Gardevoir Spirit link from the unmegaevolved Gardevoir-EX. Ending a turn without attacking is bad for fairy decks and allows you to take a lead in prizes. Also try to control how many energies are in play, you should keep the number of energies under 6 because 6 fairy energies OHKOs a Seismitoad EX.

In case you are afraid of Genesect EX/Virizion EX or you just happen to play in matageme full of metal here is a decklist I previously playtested against those deck. Unfortunately, since Victini is necessary, I had to cut 1 energy and change Computer Search for Victory piece. Since you can no longer attack with Grenade Hammer, you don't need 3 energies more (excluding Double colorless energy). You have Victory piece now. In the previous format, everything depended on your luck and how to get victory piece in play fast. But now, you have Teammates. It is really good in this deck. You can search for Victory piece, or you can search double hammer to discard energies and make your lock more cruel for opponent. When your Seismitoad EX would be knocked out, you will take 1 more card from Tasting (since you promote Slurpuff) and on top of that you take 2 specific cards from your deck: definitely good since you can discard Teammates with Battle Compresor. I cut Pokémon Center Lady from this deck. I think with Teammates you would have a better control over your game anyways and 1 heal card (Cassius) is now enough.

Conclusion

Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff will still be very strong. Probably we will see this deck at the top tables frequently and I wouldn't be surprised if Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff will win many states in USA and regionals in Europe.

I am really happy that lock decks with Seismitoad EX are revived because I am fond of lock decks and it is the most comfortable deck for me to play. I would like to see how Seismitoad EX will put up with the new set. If you remember, when Phantom Forces came out, we didn't hear about Seismitoad EX so much and if we did, it was Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor. However, when playtesting, this version was invented, so maybe there is a hidden combination that we will see in upcoming tournaments.

 


Good luck to all with this deck.

 

Martin "Onix" Janouš

 

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