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Henning Gong

Tasting the Toad - an elaboration on Seismitoad/Slurpuff

Everything you need to know (and more) about Seismitoad/Slurpuff, including 3 winning lists!

04/05/2015 by Henning Gong

Hello 60cards readers! I’m Henning, current national champion in Sweden, now sitting at 375 points. For the latter half of this season, I have almost exclusively played Toad decks, and with this article I would like to share the knowledge I’ve gathered with you. Like it or not (probably not), ToadPuff is arguably the strongest deck in the format right now. As you will see, there are many options to consider when building the deck, and I will show you 3 different winning lists, analyzing the differences in each.

But before starting with the main article, I'll go over the workings of a speed Toad list, since understanding that deck is key to understanding why ToadPuff is the better variant. If you don’t have time to read everything, I suggest jumping straight to section 2 though.

Here’s a taste of what’s coming!

Speed variants

These variants rely heavily on item draw to go through the deck at incredible speed, and the unorthodox supporter line is designed for using Juniper every turn.

In contrast to ToadPuff variants, which quickly gained public popularity due to lists being more accessible and easier to understand, these decks were kept somewhat secret by testing groups after the release of Phantom Forces. They had great matchups across the field, but in the end a really bad ToadPuff matchup kept people from playing them. Even in today’s meta, I still believe that these decks are among the strongest – if you could manage to avoid Toad all day (which isn’t realistic of course). Let’s look at a list!

Seismitoad/Garbodor

Shoutout to Finnish player Tommi Lahtela for introducing me to this deck. As you can see, the amount of cards you see each turn is absurd. Combined with a Quaking Punch lock, no deck can keep up. Let’s look at some key cards:

Card Choices

4 Juniper, 3 Random Receiver

Random Receiver has great synergy in this deck. Since you only run one supporter except for Juniper, it’s semi-reliable on your first run-through of the deck, but after Trump Card gets into the discard pile it becomes a guaranteed Juniper (since Trump Card never goes back into the deck).

1 Trump Card

I firmly believe that this card benefits Toad decks more than any other deck in the format. Although counter-intuitive at first - a card that gives your opponent all resources back shouldn’t be good in a disruption deck? One quickly realizes that Toad decks are better classified as tempo decks – it’s not about running your opponent out of resources, it’s about disrupting them quicker than they can keep up. This deck illustrates this concept really well. I can guarantee that your turns will take a lot longer than your opponent’s!

4 VS Seeker

These cards are basically Junipers as well, but it is crucial to keep track of the number discarded, since the last one has to be used for Trump Card in order to prevent decking out.

1 Town Map

I really like this card in this deck, mainly for finding Trump Card in case it is prized. You could also play 2 Trump Cards instead of this card, but that makes Random Receiver a lot worse. Of course, Town Map also has the benefit of finding other crucial cards, such as the 1-1 Garbodor, VS Seekers and DCE.

4 Super Scoop Up

Although flippy, this card is AMAZING since it basically combines 4 item cards into 1: Switch, Max Potion, Tool Retriever and (Special) Energy Switch. The constant healing gets really frustrating for your opponent, since not many things in the format are able to OHKO Toad, and this card alone is what makes many matchups sway in your favor. This is a card I would play more than 4 of if I could.

1 Mewtwo EX

This card is crucial in Toad decks. Mewtwo complements the deck perfectly, since it attacks for a single DCE and punishes your opponent for overcommitting energy to a single Pokémon. As a Toad player, you always try to keep your opponent’s energy off the field, but if they manage to stack up energy for a big attack, Mewtwo is there to rescue you. Sometimes taking a KO is the easiest way to remove energy off the field! I will explain Mewtwo’s uses in more detail in the ToadPuff matchups section.

Matchups

Since this speed variant isn’t the main focus of the article I won’t go too deep into this section. The matchups are generally the same as for the ToadPuff variant (see below), although a little better overall because the deck is so much faster. Opposing Quaking Punches wrecks this deck though (due to your whole draw engine being shut down), so I wouldn’t recommend playing it in a blind meta. If I knew that there would be few Toads I would definitely consider this deck though!

Seismitoad/Jynx

This is a new variant that has seen some success recently, topping some State Championships. It basically utilizes the same turbo engine, but opts for Jynx instead of Garbodor, plus some other minor changes. This swap has several pros and cons:

The most important benefit is that Jynx gives you a shot at defeating opposing Toads. Since mirror is all about throwing Quaking Punches for 30 damage back and forth, the healing really messes up the prize trade for your opponent. Jynx also helps against cards that normally 2HKO Toad – Hawlucha being the main example. Dropping Garbodor allows you to play Keldeo EX as well, for added mobility.

The downside is, of course, that certain matchups get harder without Garbodor. VirGen most of all, but also Yveltal, Fairies, etc. It’s a meta call.

Slurpuff variants

Alright, now we’re talk… tasting! Instead of relying on item cards, these variants utilize Slurpuff’s ability in order to gain tempo. The benefit of this is, apart from the “flavor”, that you get a much stronger resilience against N and opposing Toads. It makes for a very stable deck with stable matchups without any real autolosses.

We’re going to look at three different versions of this deck, analyzing the pros and cons of each: my own variant, followed by two top players’. This first list is the one that took me to 3 Regional top cuts (top 2 and 2x top 8):

My variant

Card Choices

1-1 Ninetales, 1 Fire Energy (Yes, it is Standard legal, BW66.)

Many thanks to Danish player Simon Obro for inspiring me to use this! The sole 1-1 line does so much in so many matchups, it’s incredible. I would never play this deck without it.

Since the main counter to Toad is grass attackers, it makes sense to tech in a secondary fire attacker. The added free Lysandre, and the ability to dish out 150 damage for a single energy (Muscle Band + Laser heads) just makes the card a perfect fit.

3 Seismitoad EX

Although 4 would be optimal just to start with it, you never need the 4th copy. At any given time, you never want to have more than 2 Toads on your bench, so running 3 is no problem at all, saving you a slot for an important Trainer instead.

1 Mewtwo EX, 1 Town Map, 4 Super Scoop Up

See above, the reasoning is the same. These counts are a direct heritage from my testing with speed Toad. SSU is EVEN better in this variant, since after scooping an active Toad you promote a Slurpuff with Float Stone, giving you an extra card as well! SSU also enables you to reuse that Ninetales (and Jirachi).

2 Acro Bike

Of all the cards in the deck, this is the count I’m least sure about. Some people love this card, playing it as an automatic 4-of (look at Simon’s list below), while others don’t play it (see Igor’s list below). Me myself I’m somewhere in between. The card is really good in the early game, or when you’re digging deep for a specific card, but mostly during the mid-game you don’t even want to play it because of the risk of having to discard a good card. I can’t give a clear answer about this.

1 Xerosic, 1 Team Flare Grunt

Of all the “tech supporters” (Xerosic, Flare Grunt, Cassius, Center Lady), why did I choose these 2? The answer is that I think they give you the best shot at winning the mirror match. Sure, Cassius and Lady can heavily swing the prize trade, but making your opponent miss a Quaking Punch is decisive! Of course, they have many uses in other matchups as well.

1 Head Ringer

I would love to play 2, but corners had to be cut to fit everything into this deck. I also think that this card gets dramatically worse without Megaphone, since you practically have to go first to be able to use it. If I up the count to 2, I would find another spot to fit Megaphone as well.

2 Silent Lab, 0 Virbank

Virbank feels like an auto-include because of 4 Laser, but when you think about it – in which matchups would you prefer Virbank over Lab? As far as I see, only 2. See the matchups sections below to find out which ones I’m thinking of.

Matchups

Classic Virgen (no stadiums) - favorable/Virgen with stadiums - even

I’m sure that people are going to disagree with me on this, but this is backed up by both tournament results and testing. 2 Silent Lab and Ninetales give this variant a much better matchup compared to other Toad decks. Basically, your game plan is divided into 2 parts:

Pre-Emerald Slash: Do everything in your power (Hammers, Head Ringer, Lysandre) to prevent that first Emerald Slash, while stacking up damage with Quaking Punch and Laser. If they bench a Deoxys, that’s 2 free prizes with Lysandre + Quaking lock. Simultaneously, make sure to get a Mewtwo + DCE and Ninetales + Fire ready on the bench.

Post-Emerald Slash: Go aggro to kill that Genesect they just powered up. Ninetales + Laser + Muscle Band + Fire Energy gets the KO regardless of coin flip outcome, and Mewtwo + 2x DCE + Muscle Band + Laser does as well. At this stage, Toad is practically useless, but that’s fine. I have won this matchup many times by taking all prizes with Ninetales/Mewtwo!

MewVirGen - unfavorable

This is a new deck that has been popular recently, and for good reason. Mew + Dimension Valley helps in many matchups, including this one. They usually play 3 stadiums, countering your Labs. Mew can Emerald Slash for one energy, making it harder to prevent. Mew also easily return KOs your Mewtwo for one energy, copying X Ball. Even so, Silent Lab becomes an even bigger nuisance for them since it also shuts off Mew, and being able to stick it in play determines the outcome of the match.

Yveltal – slightly favorable to even (depending on tech Supporters in Yveltal)

The great thing about this matchup is that you have many different options depending on the game state. If you manage to stick a Lab in play, lock a Darkrai/Keldeo/Toad active for two free prizes. If they counter you with Virbank, they allow 2HKOs with Toad on EXs, or even OHKOs with Ninetales + Muscle Band + Laser heads!

Their best tactic is to stall with their own Toads while charging Yveltal EX, but you have Xerosic/Flare Grunt/Lysandre/Bright Look to combat that strategy. If they manage to build up a large Yveltal, you have Mewtwo for the easy counter KO.

This is probably redundant to say, but make sure to always discard energy off their active baby Yveltal if they’re using Oblivion Wing. This forces them to constantly attach new energy from hand, making them whiff sooner or later.

Donphan - even

The odds get worse the more Hawluchas they play. Also, you can’t OHKO Donphan with Toad with this variant. This, together with Landobats, are the only matchups where I would swap Labs for Virbanks (in order to OHKO Hawlucha and Donphan). The matchup is very much winnable anyway though, thanks to SSU – they never OHKO your Toads.

The newest versions of this deck play a 1-1 line of P Groudon, which actually becomes a liability. A simple Ninetales Bright Look for 2 free prizes!

Landobats – slightly favorable

This matchup basically feels like Donphan, but easier. Their EXs are bad against Toad, and Crobat doesn’t affect the Hawlucha 2HKO on Toad. The better strategy is to use Crobat’s ability in conjunction with its attack to take out Slurpuffs, but you have SSU to combat that. Laser flips are huge in order to prevent Crobat and Hawlucha from retreating. Don’t forget that Ninetales OHKOs Crobat with heads on Laser!

Groudon – unfavorable

The great Toadslayer. This is undeniably a hard matchup, but you have several options to make life difficult for them, depending on game state:

Early game: You have a 1-turn window of disruption before they mega evolve their Groudons. Dig deep to find that Lysandre, and Head Ringer if you’re lucky and they didn’t attach a tool. Try to take as many prizes as possible on baby Landoruses while you can.

Mid game: Ninetales is your MVP. Bright Look that P Groudon that they are powering up in order to get some Punches in before they start to sweep. The damage will help tremendously during the next step.

Late game: After they kill your active Toad with P Groudon, immediately respond with Mewtwo’s X Ball + N. If you were lucky to get at least two Muscle Banded Quaking Punches (100 damage) in during the previous step, this will be a KO. Otherwise, pray that they don’t draw a stadium off their N.

A nice tech to consider for this matchup is the new Barrier Shrine Ninetales, dropping 1-1 Slurpuff to fit a 2-1/1 Ninetales line. The ability prevents the Groudon player from playing out new stadiums after their first attack, capping their damage output at 100+ a turn, which enables you to heal it off with SSU.

Flareon - favorable

The most important thing to keep in mind in this matchup is to never have more than one DCE in play at a time. This way, their Leafeons are forced to take 3HKOs on Toad, and that just doesn’t cut it when you’re healing with SSU. You have 2HKOs on Leafeon with Muscle Band + Laser going into your turn. If they attach Grass + DCE in order to use Leaf Blade, KO with Mewtwo + DCE or Ninetales.

Silent Lab counters their Audinos, and played early also has a high probability of heavily disrupting them, since they often rely on Jirachi for setup (playing 2 copies of it). It’s also really fun to lock a Ditto on the bench with Lab, making it completely useless!

Kyogre - ?

This is also a new deck that made a splash recently, which I have had little experience with. The constant healing with Rough Seas should make for very drawn-out games, and hammers should probably be your main strategy. Silent Lab should help more than Virbank also in this matchup, since lists usually play 2 Keldeo EX and Suicune.

Mirror – favorable

This is a bold claim to make, but I have yet to lose a mirror match with this deck. I believe that this version has several advantages compared to most other Toad decks:

1 Xerosic, 1 Flare Grunt, 1 Lysandre: Many other Slurpuff variants play some/all of these as well, but when limited to 3 "tech supporter" spots, I believe these to be optimal for the mirror. They are the only ones that can prevent your opponent from using Quaking Punch, since whiffing DCE is a very real possibility. I believe this to be a much better strategy than healing with Cassius or Center Lady.

1-1 Ninetales: This is essentially an extra Lysandre, that they don’t have.

1 Fire Energy: This is essentially an extra Switch, that they don’t have.

2 Silent Lab: This shuts down Jynx if they play that. In the ToadPuff mirror, neither Virbank nor Lab really helps, but Lab has the small chance of preventing your opponent from using Jirachi if they need it. It’s a small chance, but nonetheless an advantage.

That’s it for my ToadPuff variant! We’re now going to look at two other variants, piloted by two top players:

Simon Eriksen’s variant

Simon is one of the top players in Denmark, currently sitting at a healthy 735 points. This list won him a recent Regional Championship in Odense, Denmark.

¤ His list is more straightforward and consistent than mine, playing 4-4 Puff and 4 Acro Bike, and it really highlights the fact that consistency is all it takes to win most of the time.

¤ His list proves me wrong about my “2x Trump Card or Town Map”-rule, showing that one Trump Card is all you need, but I wonder if he did come close to decking during any matches?

¤ He opts for Cassius instead of Xerosic, which he told me saved him a lot of times. I can definitely see why Cassius is good, even though I personally like Xerosic better for the mirror match.

All in all, this is a very consistent list which does exactly what it’s supposed to do!

Igor Costa’s variant

I doubt that I need to introduce this name to you. Igor has had some great success with this deck, winning 2(?) Regionals. Kudos to him for sharing this list on his new Youtube channel, you should definitely check it out!

https://youtu.be/36_svPE9RFA <- Igor’s video about this deck

As you can see, this list differs quite a lot from Simon’s and mine. No Bikes, no Mewtwo, 2 Flare Grunt + Enhanced, only 3 VS Seekers and a generous count of 3 Virbanks are the biggest differences.

¤ His list proves that Acro Bike isn’t really necessary for the deck to function well, which frees many spots from the previous lists to experiment with.

¤ He has a much larger focus on energy denial, which makes sense with 3 Virbank. Verdant Wind can’t block poison if you don’t have a Grass Energy! I guess that’s why he doesn’t play Mewtwo, since the goal is to keep energy off the field at all times.

¤ His list has a very good mirror matchup, thanks to all the tech supporters.

¤ I cannot understand why he only plays 3 VS Seeker though. It’s such a versatile card, especially with so many tech supporters. I understand why he opts for 2 Flare Grunt instead of the 4th VS Seeker, but then I would cut the 4th N instead. Maybe he just felt it wasn’t needed.

All in all, this is a different and inspiring ToadPuff list to try out, with a heavy focus on energy denial.

That’s all for this article. It came out a lot longer than I anticipated, but I hope that you enjoyed it nonetheless. Please take a moment to give it a thumbs up if you did, I would really appreciate it.

If you’re going to Worlds in Boston, hope to see you there! Good luck with your tasting!

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