Experts' corner

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Jeremiah Williams

States and Another Seismitoad Deck

Jeremiah Williams discusses two strong plays for the upcoming State Championships in the Standard format, including a brand-new Seismitoad variant.

03/16/2016 by Jeremiah Williams

Hello, 60cards readers! Jeremiah here, back again to discuss the new decks that I believe will come out on top this year at the State Championships. I don't expect the top decks to change too much with the release of BREAKpoint and Generations; Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade and Manectric decks will still be powerhouses. However, I'm going to give my own take on the new Standard format, so lets get started.

Manectric/Crobat

Manectric/Bats had moderate success at the City Championships this year, and with the release of BREAKpoint I believe it gets a significant upgrade. Manectric becomes so difficult to deal with, now that it can accelerate Energy with Max Elixir, reach 210 HP without having to Mega Evolve, and abuse Rough Seas.  

Card choices

1 Delinquent

This card is, in my opinion, the best new card and a one-of in every deck. You always want to Battle Compressor this card off early in the game, so that if at any point your opponent has one to three cards, you can punish them. Discarding their whole hand will usually just instantly win you the game. Vice versa, you need to play around Delinquent! Unless you know for a fact that your opponent isn't playing Delinquent then you always need to keep at least four cards if possible.

4 Rough Seas

Four may seem excessive, but I think it becomes necessary in the new format. Trevenant BREAK and Delinquent are both going to be very popular, so the more Rough Seas you have the better. Tanking with Rough Seas and Fighting Fury Belt is also going to be an integral part of this decks strategy so you need to take full advantage.

3 Head Ringer

Assault Laser is only a great attack when they have a Tool, so intelligent players will avoid attaching them! Head Ringer just makes every matchup a little easier and removes an opportunity your opponent has to outplay you. Yveltal-EX will struggle to Y Cyclone and conserve Energy, Seismitoad-EX won't be able to Quaking Punch efficiently, and other Manectric decks will be slower.

3 Max Elixir

Before, if you played against Night March or a deck with Gallade, they could potentially go off turn one or two and just win the game because you can't get a return attack off. Now you can, so this card is what makes the deck top tier.

2 Flash Energy

Gallade is absolutely the biggest problem, and Flash Energy is the solution. Against YZG, you have to find these Energy as fast as possible. Pretty simple stuff.

2 Battle Compressor

Early game if you draw it, pitch the situational Supporters. Delinquent, Judge, Xerosic, AZ, Lysandre are all good cards to discard to later use VS Seeker as you have more outs. Late game if you draw the Compressors, use them to pitch any dead cards you don't want to draw. Battle Compressor is worth a spot in just about any deck for these reasons.

The Pokémon line is fairly standard, and doesn't really need an explanation so that's about all there is to go over! Now I will briefly discuss your matchups, and what this deck does well against and struggles against.  

Matchups

Yveltal/Gallade/Zoroark: 60-40

How hard this matchup is unfortunately decided by how early they can Maxie’s, so there is little room to outplay. A huge factor is also limiting your Bench space. With Fighting Fury Belt, you survive a Mind Jack with a full Bench, but next turn you could get punished by a Startling Megaphone or Xerosic and lose all control of the game. If played correctly, this matchup usually goes in your favor due to Yveltal’s Lightning Weakness.

Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet: 80-20

Four Rough Seas will shut this deck down. Turn 1 Trevenant is a pain, but it’s just so hard for it to do enough damage to you. Sometimes, if they go first and get the lock you will just lose. That's the nature of the deck, you can't prevent that, and it will happen a small percentage of the time. In a best of three, however, your odds of winning are great. You're doing so much more damage than they are, so you just overpower and win the game.

Mega Manectric: 75-25

Weirdly enough, you outtrade the Mega with the regular Manectric. With Fighting Fury Belt, you have 210 HP and then with Rough Seas, Mega Manectric actually three-hits you! You can also get early Head Ringers on their Manectric, so they can't Mega Evolve with the Spirit Link to gain further advantage.

Lucario/Crobat 40-60

Lucario decks are what you want to avoid playing against. Hope is not lost, however; you have outs to win! Head Ringer just swings this matchup if you can go first and draw into them, but the problem is when you don't go first or when your opponent is running a Xerosic. Your other out is Flash Energy! You gotta draw into these as early as you can, or else you could just lose control of the game. Attacking with Crobat is also a strong strategy. Lucario struggles greatly to knock out even one Crobat, and it has Weakness. Skill Dive will do 60 damage, so after one of those you can retreat into a Manectric and knock it out with an Assault Laser.

I believe this to be a top deck for State Championships, and I encourage you to try it out for yourself! Next I'm going to talk about the other deck I'll be bringing with me to States in the coming weeks.

Seismitoad/Slowking/Empoleon

Another set, another new Seismitoad deck. For those of you who haven't seen the new Slowking yet, it has an Ability called “Royal Flash” which does, once per turn flip a coin, if heads move an Energy from your opponent’s Active Pokémon to one of their Bench. At first glance not the best Ability, but when you get multiple Slowking out along with Item-lock, it becomes increasingly annoying. It's very difficult to play against Slowking’s Ability, because even if your opponent only Benches attacking Pokémon, you simply move all the Energy to the same attacking Pokémon! Soon enough it'll be Knocked Out and you have a huge advantage. Now let’s get into the list.  

Card choices

4 Slowking

Strength in numbers! Your goal is to use Slowking’s Ability as much as possible, so the more the better. It only really becomes oppressive once you set up three or four. Then, playing against it along with Item-lock just becomes a nightmare. Get as many Slowking you can on the Bench as fast as possible; it’s more important than Quaking Punch.

1 Empoleon

Empoleon is here for the Ability; it adds +20 damage to all of your Basic Pokémon attacks. Seismitoad’s 30 to 50 damage just is not enough so Empoleon is the solution. Using Archie’s Ace in the hole, you can put Empoleon right to the Bench from the discard. Getting this card on the Bench however is not the priority! Focus on setting up Slowking’s above all else, get an Empoleon down comes second to that.

1 Slowbro

No really, Slowbro is a solid card here! Seismitoad can easily struggle to take six Prizes when it has a poor start. When it gets ultra late game and you’re running out of resources, this is a great way to win. Put a Water Energy on a Slowpoke and you can surprise them later in the game.

2 Sky Field

You need a ridiculous amount of Bench space for this deck and without Sky Field, I wouldn't even play it. An ideal board would be two Seismitoad-EX, four Slowpoke, one Empoleon, and a Shaymin-EX. So this is pretty self-explanatory.

3 VS Seeker

With Puzzle of Time’s release, cutting a VS Seeker just makes sense. You rarely need four of both in a game, so this is fine to cut in a tight list. Do be careful when using Battle Compressor to get rid of Supporters early on. You should check your Prizes for how many VS Seekers and Puzzles are in there, it may be better to keep the situational Supporters in the deck.

2 Lysandre

Most lists I've seen have started to run just one Lysandre because of VS Seeker and Puzzle of Time but I disagree. I still think two Lysandre is optimal, because prizing it just hurts so much so the second copy earns its spot.

3 Water Energy

Unfortunately, you have to play Water Energy. This is because of Shaymin-EX, which can theoretically loop Sky Return forever unless you have a way to one-hit Shaymin. They also help you out against the random Aegislash-EX. Initially, I thought that with Puzzle of Time, Waters could be cut, as you now have more outs to Double Colorless but it’s still a necessity because of Sky Return.

The rest of the list is fairly standard for a disruption deck, so I'll get into the matchups now. If you have any more questions about the list feel free to comment below.

Matchups

Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade: 75-25

Fairly easy game against Yveltal. Once you set up some Slowking, it’s just so hard for Yveltal to do any meaningful damage. You want to move the Energy to any baby Yveltal or a Benchsitter like Unown or Trubbish if your opponent runs it.

Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet: 60-40

This is hard, because a bit over a third of the deck is Item cards but it’s still favorable beyond the first couple turns. Going first is huge in this matchup to avoid the turn-one Item-lock that can potentially just win them the game. However, in a best of three, the Seismitoad deck does have a slight advantage because you can just load up all their Energy on a Wobbuffet and knock it out. Slowbro can be used to win the game fairly often as you won't be knocking out many Pokémon-EX.

Mega Manectric: 20-80

If Manectric plays correctly there won't be any Benchsitter to move Energy to. It's just too difficult to Knock Out a Mega Manectric with Seismitoad, so winning is dependent on your opponent dead drawing or making a mistake. For example, if they lay down a Hoopa-EX, you’re golden! Unfortunately, this won't happen too often and we just have to accept this is an awful matchup. Not impossible to win, though.

Lucario/Crobat 80-20

Basically every deck that has a Benchsitter, is what you want to play against. Simply Hammer Lucario and move all the Energy to a Zubat/Golbat/Crobat and Quaking Punch your way to victory. You want to move the Energy to a Zubat if possible, and Lysandre it up for the knockout before it Evolves into Crobat. Slowbro can be helpful to win this match as you usually end up having to take knockouts on non-EX Pokémon.

Conclusion

Week one of states is less than a week away, and I personally think these two decks have the potential to win. The format allows a lot of creative new decks to shine, and I think it’s the best format we've had in a while. I'll be at Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa states and I hope to see some of you there! Thank you for making it to the end of this article and supporting me. Have a great day!

-Jeremiah

[+18] okko


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