Experts' corner

Daniel Altavilla

quakingXpunch - Hardcore Seismitoad

Daniel goes over some Seismitoad-EX lists for the last couple weeks of Cities and interviews the qXp king, Kevin Kobayashi.

01/15/2016 by Daniel Altavilla


What's up, 60cards readers? Cities are well under way now, with only one weekend left in North America. And one thing I've noticed throughout all of this confusion is that Seismitoad-EX has survived the whole time through. What is it that has kept the card alive? What makes it so strong? I've taken three of the best Seismitoad-based decks I've seen thus far, paired them with the infinite wisdom of Kevin Kobayashi, the one guy I know who ONLY plays Toad, and put them into this article so that you and I both can realize exactly what makes this card live even when it is specifically countered by the Pokémon Card Laboratory (looking at you, Vespiquen!).

Personally, Seismitoad-EX is a card I hate. The only time I ever enjoy playing the card is when it makes the people who go to my League mad, so I pretty much have never used it in tournament. From the other side of the Quaking Punch, it isn't very hard to dislike the card. But if you refer to my last article, being the pilot of the lock deck/card can really give you a strong sense of control in the game, which is something that will keep you composed and alert during games, and it won't put you on tilt because it's very rare that you're ever in a situation you can't prepare an option for. Although your opponent can play out of what you do sometimes, the fact stands that you have created most of the situations within your games, and that is something incredible. But now that I've gone over my thoughts on the subject, I'll share my top three Toad variants of Cities.


Here's the first deck I'll be going over. This is a deck that Jeremiah Williams piloted to great success so far, and it is one that will continue to grow and evolve, especially when more Basic Pokémon are announced to throw into it. The idea for this list is to aggressively attack with Seismitoad-EX while trying to prevent your opponent from attacking. Most Seismitoad-EX decks couldn’t get the job done against certain cards like Raichu and Yveltal in the past, but now Toad can hit up to 60 more damage with Empoleon! This means you're two-shotting Yveltal-EX with a Muscle Band attached! (Even though you have Manectric-EX in here for that specific matchup).

You also should have a very positive matchup against the mirror because you're able to hit more damage than them and because of your Team Flare Grunt and Xerosic. Another interesting thing you can do with this deck is actually use Shaymin's Sky Return for 70-90 to OHKO Vespiquen, Pumpkaboo, Raichu, and to two-shot Seismitoad-EX or anything with Hammers. It's obviously not the best attacker, though, as Quaking Punch is the main thing that makes this deck competitive, but it's still very solid and it's a wonderful option in a pinch.

Something to admire about the deck is the ability to use Crushing Hammer and Team Flare Grunt/Xerosic to prevent attacks from ever happening. In Standard, we have a bunch of decks to deal with that have trouble getting Energy into play. YZG, or Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade, is a deck that manages one Energy attachment per turn when not using Oblivion Wing. When the attack does go off, you can just Team Flare Grunt the Energy off of the Active Yveltal XY, use Quaking Punch, and then expect a low chance of another Energy drop the next turn. Two-hit-KOs on Yveltal XY and Yveltal-EX as well as potential OHKOs against Zoroark and Zorua leaves you with boundless power in the matchup.

Mega Mewtwo-EX based decks are also big on using cards like Mega Turbo to set up Mewtwo, and when their Energy is getting removed under Item-lock, it's near impossible for them to hit high enough numbers with their attacks. And once they're able to hit, you'll have at least drawn a couple Prizes and can clean up on Shaymin-EX or with Assault Lasers for 180-200.

I have yet to test this list versus Night March, but that should be a free win. Seismitoad can OHKO Joltik and Pumpkaboo, can avoid getting OHKO'd, and can use Red Card on turn one to give Night March a hopefully bad hand.

Entei/Charizard, Manectric/Toad Bats, and Lucario Bats are all matchups that you should come out on top in, but they're probably the most even out of all of your matchups. Primal Kyogre and Primal Groudon variants are autolosses for you, unless a well-timed Red Card/Quaking Punch can draw them dead while you clean up and take some cheap Prizes.

I would like to go into the deck further and discuss each count one by one, but it seems that pretty much every card in this deck is self-explanatory, so I'll just mention that the whole point of two Maintenance is to take cards you can't use, such as extra Energy cards and Rough Seas (if there is one in play), or your Empoleon (which can be made into targets for Battle Compressor again after this, by the way) and nets you one new card which, if playable, can help you set up an Archie's late game. It's very difficult to Archie sometimes because of the clutter in your hand and the inability to play certain cards at times, so it's best to run this card to shuffle some cards back into your deck as an alternative to using Ultra Ball and discarding them. Maintenance also makes your hands two cards smaller, so you can use Shaymin-EX's Set Up to net even more cards.

That's essentially the gist of the deck. Not much else to it, just a simple Toad list that can remove Energy and hit for a bunch of damage very quickly, with a backup attacker or two included in the mix. That's all we've needed out of Seismitoad-EX for a long while, and with the loss of Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym in Standard, Empoleon is an adequate replacement to add extra damage to Toad's attacks. But now that we've covered a Seismitoad variant that relies heavily on Archie's to hit big damage, let's go over one that is starting to see play due to its versatility.

This is a sick deck! I love seeing cards and combos get pushed further and further until they're competitively viable, and that's exactly how this deck came to fruition. Recently at the Sarasota City Championships, a guy had created a deck similar to this (not sure exactly how close the lists are, but they are probably not very far off) and he won the tournament, destroying Kevin Kobayashi and I in Finals and in Top 4. He hadn't Intentionally Drawn until Round 5 of Swiss, entering Top 8 at first seed and at 4-0-1. That's very impressive for a newer player who wasn't playing an archetype seen on the internet before, and I had thought it was a fluke until he completely smashed an Entei in Top 8, and then we met again in Top 4. He destroyed my Mega Mewtwo deck, simply because it was impossible for me to pull off an attack. He then beat Kevin's Manectric-EX/Bats list, and it was impossible for Kevin to do anything. Whenever Kevin tried to use Quaking Punch, the dude had a Team Flare Grunt or Xerosic in hand, along with a Quaking Punch of his own. He proceeded to charge up multiple Regice on the Bench, and once a Regice started attacking, Kevin lost. It was impossible to deal enough non-EX damage to combat one Regice, so the two made it an autoloss. 

Seeing this deck perform so strongly didn't process for me until Travis Nunlist and Christopher Hoag piloted two different versions of it to CC wins. Travis got the idea from Kevin, who saw potential in it, and Christopher obtained it from Travis, so the deck has slowly been picking up ever since the Sarasota player won. I hope for this deck to become an archetype come States, and I hope it sees play for the last weekend of Cities. Also, I apologize to the guy that came up with this deck, because if I remembered the dude's name I would give credit where credit is due.  Anyways, time to go into the counts and why they are what they are.

3-2 Zoroark

Zoroark is an awesome card in this deck! Switch out between two different Seismitoad-EX/Regice so that they absorb blows and last longer, or use him as an attacker, especially versus M Rayquaza-EX and Raichu decks. He is an awesome addition to this deck and I feel that some of the success with this list was simply based on going all-in with Zoroark and hitting for numbers your opponent didn't expect. The coolest thing about Zoroark for me was that when I was losing to this deck, I was only losing to the mixture of Quaking Punch and Energy removal. I was so focused on getting my Energy onto the board strategically that I forgot Zoroark had the ability to attack me for 110 and I ended up losing a game because of it. This isn't the best example of the card in practical use because not everybody is going to face this deck without a strategy, but it just shows how many different options this deck truly has. It's astounding!

2 Regice

Regice is a great counter for Entei, opposing Toad decks, M Manectric-EX, Kyogre, Groudon, Lucario Bats, any deck involving an EX attacker. If the dude who created this deck even needed it against Kevin and me, it would've been the MVP, but it seemed he was able to get the job done with the mixture of Seismitoad-EX and Energy removal cards. This card is sick with Toad period, and has seen play in the past, but I feel that right now is the best time for this card to exist in the Standard format. It can steal games with ease. 

2 Team Flare Grunt

People are always angry when they see a second Flare Grunt come down after the first one has been played, because it's simply annoying when you can't attack or use your Items. This card had three slots in the original list according to what I was told, but I brought it down to two in favor of a fourth Crushing Hammer. I feel that this card as a two-of, along with one Xerosic, is enough to take care of any Toad wars, especially with Trainers’ Mail at a four-of, allowing you to burn through your deck a bit more on turn one and with Head Ringers to potentially allow you a second turn of Items. Flare Grunt also can take an Energy off of whatever is Active to potentially prevent an attack from your opponent on a turn where you've missed a Quaking Punch. Yet another versatile card in a deck with infinite options!

1 Xerosic

Xerosic is the best utility supporter in Standard. Hands down. This card can be used in so many different ways and for so many different purposes that I just can't rationalize not having it any deck that isn't an aggressive one. It's been used to take off Assault Vests off of Entei to sneak a Prize, it's been used to remove DCE's off of any Pokémon attacking with one, it's been used to take off Spirit Links before they are used to skip the Mega Evolution rule, and for so many other reasons. So obviously it deserves a slot in this deck! I couldn't see running a second one, two Grunt, and three Crushing Hammer, though. So keep it as a one-of.

1 Giovanni's Scheme

I wasn't sure why this card was included in this deck so randomly, considering it's 10 extra damage short of hitting an opposing Seismitoad-EX for one less turn to get the KO, it isn't very strong against Vespiquen or Raichu because you can still hit them both for a 2HKO with a Muscle Band, and it doesn't have much of a place in this deck period. But I think it's mostly for using two turns in a row to 2HKO a baby Yveltal XY, or even for Zoroark to hit 180 damage under Item lock while your opponent's Bench is full. 

4 Trainers’ Mail

This card is simply for running through your deck on turn one and hitting either Head Ringer, Team Flare Grunt, or Crushing Hammer. This deck really doesn't have an incredible draw engine, and it has some thin lines that only Trainers’ Mail can help find. It's also pretty much the only card that can sort of find your Silent Labs, which are pretty big turn one versus anything that runs a Battle Compressor/heavy Shaymin-EX engine. 

4 Crushing Hammer

Four Hammers paired with Seismitoad-EX is the best combo in this deck. It's been a solid combo for a long time and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. 

1 Startling Megaphone

One word: Entei. This card isn't necessary to win the matchup, but it makes it go from sort-of 60-40 to a guaranteed autowin, which I like. It also takes off Muscle Bands and Focus Sash which is also pretty important sometimes. Xerosic does essentially the same thing, just not with EVERY tool, so the degree of disruption here is just much stronger, warranting a slot. 

1 Super Rod

Super Rod is good because it gets you back any Waters you'll need to finish out the game, as well as another Regice or some of your Zoroark line. I chose this card over a third Zoroark because it's more versatile. 

2 Silent Lab

The point of Silent Lab is just to slow down decks that require a lot of Set Up. It's the only acceptable stadium besides Rough Seas or Parallel City which isn't very good considering it either limits your Bench space to three or causes Zoroark AND Seismitoad-EX/Regice to hit for less at the same time. Rough Seas could be a thing in this deck, but I'm not sure how often you'll actually need to use it, because the only matchups it matters in are Lucario Bats which is an autowin already and YZG which is a very solid matchup. 

Other Options for This Deck


Christopher Hoag ran a Lugia-EX in his winning list. The deck is one that relies on your opponent's Bench or on a Grenade Hammer to close out games, meaning that cards like Yveltal-EX can play around you and hit for a bunch with a large Evil Ball. This card, with one DCE and a Muscle Band attached, hits an Yveltal-EX with enough Energy attached to OHKO a Seismitoad-EX which had a DCE attached (meaning five Energy and a Muscle Band) for 160, so with Giovanni's Scheme, that's an OHKO. And without Dark Patch in the format, you can just use Deep Hurricane on your next turn to do up to 170 damage either on a new Yveltal-EX or on a Gallade. This card is also very important in the Yveltal/M Mewtwo Y matchup, where they stack up Energy with Baby Yveltal so that you can't take them all off and then hit for big numbers. Regice is also very good for that matchup, so having Lugia-EX gives you the option of being the aggressor. 

Target Whistle

Target Whistle allows Zoroark to hit for another 30 damage and it can put a Shaymin-EX on your opponent's Bench to force Active and obtain four Prizes from. This card can be very interesting, and isn't too hard to find with 4 Trainers’ Mail.

Team Aqua's Secret Base

With Stand In and two Float Stones, you get around Team Aqua's Secret Base, so you can Lysandre an opposing useless Pokémon and hit it for a bunch of damage while setting up your Bench vs those matchups where Toad just isn't enough. This card could be a very interesting one-of, and I would like to see how it is incorporated into this deck.

There you have it for Standard Seismitoad-EX, where Energy removal and some form of aggression is the way to go. Now for Expanded, where Seismitoad is more of a support card instead of a card to base an entire deck around.


Now, at first glance this deck isn't anything like the last two. Toad is barely a card in here! One Toad in this list doesn't justify putting it in an article all about our Toad God, so why even include it? Well, my reasoning is simple: Toad does not have to bear the burden alone in Expanded. This card can sit on the sidelines and be used to put your opponent into tough spots unexpectedly, while Yveltal and Darkrai both do all the hard work. For certain matchups like against Landorus/Crobat, Night March, and the first couple of turns versus Vespiquen, Seismitoad-EX could be incredible, but it is more often left as an extra option. Seismitoad-EX/Crobat is a force to be reckoned with in expanded as well, but I've gone over that deck one too many times in my articles to throw it into this one too! Anywho, back to the deck itself.

The list should look extremely familiar. It's Frank Diaz's list off of, which he used to finish Runner-Up and then Champion two weekends in a row at Fall Regionals. The two differences are adding a BKT Yveltal in place of a second Yveltal XY, which is an incredible tech that I'll discuss further later, and I added a Ghetsis over the third N. I piloted this list to a City Championship win this past weekend, and I think the deck is so consistent for this coming Weekend that it deserved a spot in this article, especially because of how easily it can shift from an Yveltal deck and become a full-fledged Seismitoad-EX deck. I'll go into the counts and why they're so important.

1-1 Yveltal XY/BKT Split

Two Yveltal XY is your win condition against Sableye/Garb and it's very good against Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX, but I felt I wanted to test this new monster of a card with its crazy Fright Night ability and its sniping attack. The coolest thing about Baby Yveltal BKT is its 60 damage attack. 60 damage plus 30 from LaserBank is an OHKO on a Vespiquen and 60 to a Shaymin-EX or a Jirachi-EX on the Bench, which means they both fall into the KO range of your other Baby Yveltal! Fright Night also shuts off Float Stone, so in decks like Seismitoad/Giratina where they need to Rush In and retreat with Float Stone because they didn't start with an attacker, they simply can't do anything for a turn, unless they waste their Super Scoop Ups early, which hurts the deck considerably. Very interesting plays are possible with this baby, and that's why I love it so much.

3 Yveltal-EX XY

People always immediately go for a 2/2 Yveltal/Toad split. That number just isn't good! If one of your Yveltal are Prized and one is Knocked Out before it becomes useful, you only have one to close out a game, and one just isn't enough anymore! I love this card at three, and I've never once had trouble finding it. Note that it's always important to have two Yveltal in play to allow you the option to Y Cyclone to one on the Bench, warranting the three count.

2 Darkrai-EX
Darkrai-EX is so important in this deck that Frank runs two of them. The chances of Prizing one is already slim but if you manage to do so, then your Keldeo-EX is useless for the entire game. If you manage to Prize both, you can still try to get by with AZ and manual Retreating, but the chances of Prizing them both are too small. Two is the perfect number, and one in favor of a second Yveltal XY could be good, but I personally do not want to risk prizing Darkrai ever.

1 Toad God

Seismitoad-EX is another important card in this deck. When mixed with LaserBank, it hits big numbers, and it can fall back on Yveltal-EX big time. The best matchup for this card in my opinion would be the mirror match, because you slow them down and deny them their Lasers and Dark Patches while you set up big Yveltal. If they're running the Archeops variant, it's even better, because they can't burn through their deck. Although Ghetsis destroys that version enough already.

1 Keldeo-EX

Keldeo works so well vs Seismitoad-EX, because it neutralizes the threat of Hypnotoxic Laser. It also can be used as an actual attacker in a pinch, and it's easy to find with Hoopa-EX's Scoundrel Ring. This card is one that pretty much always should be included in any Yveltal-EX deck.

1 Ghetsis

My reasoning for Ghetsis was just to test it out and see exactly what it could do. So far, its major purpose has been to turn Blastoise into an autowin and to take Toad/Bats out of the game. Most players will not expect a random Ghetsis and will hold VS Seekers in their hand, so you can Ghetsis them in hopes of completely taking them out of the game. A well-timed Ghetsis also helps a ton versus Hexquaza and other decks that are completely item-based. I'm still unsure whether to switch this card into a Hex Maniac, though, as Hex Maniac is almost exactly as useful while being guaranteed to slow your opponent down to some degree.

2 Battle Compressor

This card is awesome in this deck. Battle Compressor makes it a ton easier to find your Ghetsis on turn one, and it gets your darks into the discard as well. It thins your deck out and discards things you just don't need for certain matchups and I love this card in here, especially at a two-of. 

1 Escape Rope

Escape Rope is a crazy card. It applies so much pressure to your opponent so suddenly and it also sets up turn one attack plays that can be very strong. Not much to say about this card besides that it really puts in work for a one-of.

8 Darkness Energy

Darkness Energy is played between six and eight in this deck, and I think eight is the best number. You can Battle Compressor away two or three and still have a few to use under Item-lock and for late game. I could see seven working almost the same, but eight is just so safe and I think what makes this list so good is how safe it is.

Other Options for This Deck

Giovanni's Scheme

For when you just need that extra 20. One situation where this would be incredible is when using Seismitoad-EX in the Vespiquen matchup. LaserBank plus Muscle Band to hit 80, and then 20 more from Giovanni's Scheme, giving you the last little bit you need to OHKO a Vespiquen. Sometimes it's also just going to be more accessible than Dark Patch, and in that case it's a very strong card.

Jirachi XY67

For Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX and maybe for Vespiquen. It's really useless in most other matchups, so it's a meta call. But then again, so is every other tech most of the time. Jirachi with LaserBank is also pretty strong, and it really wouldn't hurt to add it, but the issue is finding space in this deck, considering almost everything in it already is pretty much necessary.

That's all I have for you as far as those sweet, sweet Toad decks. These are very strong lists though, so don't sleep on them. They're all worth testing and pushing further and further until they become the best they can be. I hope that good results are obtained during this last weekend of City Championships, because I love seeing when Seismitoad-EX does well, even if it does annoy me when I lose to it. But that's enough from me about the Toad God, let's see what Kevin Kobayashi has to say about the subject.

 Interview with Kevin Kobayashi


How are you doing at Cities so far?

Out of six Cities I have four finishes. My first two Cities went horribly wrong. I forgot Trainers’ Mail at my first event and drew poorly in the other. However, my last four Cities I have managed to place Second or better. I have 170 points from Cities so far, and my goal is to win the rest of the Cities that I attend, to cap out at 200 points.

Do you feel that Seismitoad-EX is the one card you have the easiest time basing a deck around?

The card itself is quite simple. Reminiscent of Dialga G, you only need two cards to create a lock. The rest of the space goes to disruption and increasing the damage output and/or Prize prevention. There are so many different disruption cards right now and Seismitoad really takes advantage of that.

Why is it that you're so comfortable using the card? Personally, I haven't seen you piloting a deck without Quaking Punch since Florida States! [Exeggutor]

I feel very comfortable when limiting my opponent's options. I prefer to stress my opponent out of resources slowly throughout a game and Seismitoad does a great job of that. I have tried playing other decks but always find myself coming back to Toad. #ToadGod #BlessUp

Do you feel that you prefer a total lock variant of Toad over an aggressive one? [i.e. HaxToad over ToadBats]

While I have played countless Seismitoad-EX variants, each has pros and cons. Seismitoad/Garbodor gave me some good memories, I whiffed cut at 6-2-1 US nationals but still had such fun playing the deck. Seismitoad/Crobat is probably the strongest overall, so I suppose that's what I prefer. Whatever takes 6 Prizes easiest.

Do you have any advice for somebody afraid to pilot Toad because of how difficult some of the decisions it has to make are?

Seismitoad is a very strong card but requires a player who is patient and willing to play slow games. Practice as often as you can, understand why each card is in your deck, and don't be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand something. "The master has failed more times than the student ever will."


Kevin is correct in what he says, and if you're unsure of whether to play the card or if you're wondering what makes it so good, heed his words! He knows the card better than anybody else I know. It's important to note that out of all the Seismitoad-EX variants, Kevin feels that the Crobat variant takes Prizes easiest. It's definitely possible that an aggressive version of Toad may even be better than a version that completely locks.

That's it for this article! It's been fun showing off some of the best examples of Seismitoad-EX in both formats as of right now, and it was very eye-opening getting some info off of Kevin Kobayashi. It'll be cool seeing exactly how these decks are morphed for their metas all around the US and the World and it would be wonderful seeing one of these lists winning one of the final City Championships this weekend!  As always, make sure to check out my YouTube channel The Tuff Puff for further discussion on certain decks and for other sweet content such as pack openings and trades, and check out the running joke/potential band created by Christopher Hoag and Tyler Lersch that I will potentially be playing bass for, Quaking X Punch

For now, I'll leave you all with an inspirational quote that has found its way into the hearts of many over a very short time: "Quaking Punch." - Unknown. Until next time,

-Daniel Altavilla

[+12] okko


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