Experts' corner

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Caleb Gedemer

Quaking Punch + Trade = Wins — Seismitoad-EX, Zoroark-GX and Disruption in Expanded

Caleb Gedemer shows off a deck that's gaining a lot of traction in the expanded format going into Dallas, Texas Regionals.

01/12/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

Howdy! 60cards now offers a free first month subscription to new subscribers, so there’s no time like the present to get your hands on our entire staff’s work, and this article too! I’ve been writing about all the decks I’m testing lately, and next up is Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX. This deck is a Seismitoad-EX deck, something that we haven’t seen a lot of lately in the expanded format. Item lock has always been a big threat, but finding the right partner can be difficult. Zoroark-GX with Trade is reminiscent to the Seismitoad-EX / Slurpuff decks from a long while back. Those decks would burn through the deck trying to hit disruption cards and avoid losing a Seismitoad-EX to a Knockout. The combination was dominant and took up a lot of Championship Points at Regional Championships.

That old build did utilize Lysandre’s Trump Card, and while that’s not a possibility anymore, the premise of the deck is still hanging around. Zoroark-GX can jam with Trade to run through your deck and find cards like Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym to boost the attacks of Seismitoad-EX. Since you can recover resources easily with Puzzle of Time, running out of cards in your deck isn’t really an issue. When you’re all done punishing your opponent with Item lock, you can shift to using Riotous Beating and take the remaining Prizes you may have.

Disruption is very strong in the expanded format right now with so many decks just playing a handful of Energy. Some decks like Night March and Zoroark-GX / Lonzo are only playing four Double Colorless Energy! Yes, that’s it! Builds like that are super easily to punish with your array of disruption Supporter cards like Plumeria and Team Flare Grunt, and don’t forget the power of Enhanced Hammer, either. You shouldn’t skip a beat along the way with Trade being a powerful failsafe to drawing the cards you want. Let’s look at my list!

∆List

∆Explanations

3 Zorua DEX 70, 3 Zoroark-GX SLG 53 and 1 Zoroark BKT 91

Don’t think that Zoroark-GX is an afterthought in this deck because of this thinner line; it’s just not prioritized. This is a Seismitoad-EX deck, so you want to be using Quaking Punch more than anything. Trade is all you’re looking for out of Zoroark-GX to start, so this lineup works great. I like the Zoroark with Stand In to offset turns where in a Zoroark-GX matchup your opponent can fill his or her Bench to take a huge one-hit Knockout on a Seismitoad-EX. Since you don’t have Sky Field, playing just three Zorua makes the most sense since you won’t have room on your Bench for four of them in most games if you were to play that many.

3 Seismitoad-EX FFI 20

Four Seismitoad-EX is a luxury, and with so many other Basic Pokémon in your deck, you don’t have the best odds of starting one of the four even if you played that many. Three is a nice count to start with as you will try to get the second turn Quaking Punch off most games. Having access to three in a game is perfect as well if they do get knocked out.

2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60 and 2 Shaymin-EX ROS 77

This support Pokémon lineup has been very strong for me. This deck wants to overextend on a lot of plays in the early game to find things like the Float Stone to retreat a non-Seismitoad-EX Pokémon, or find a Double Colorless Energy to use Quaking Punch. This said, I’ve found myself using more than one Shaymin-EX in most games, so having two has been very well warranted. Two Tapu Lele-GX is sweet to find the cluster of one-of Supporters in this deck when you want them. I highly recommend this lineup for this deck!

1 Sudowoodo GRI 66

This deck isn’t focused on attacking with Zoroark-GX, and that being said, you need a Sudowoodo with Roadblock to hinder other Zoroark-GX decks from going to town on your Seismitoad-EX. You don’t need this card in every matchup, so it becomes nice Trade fodder in the less-useful ones.

1 Exeggcute PLF 4

Propagation is amazing with Trade, and also makes Plumeria insane. You can discard the Exeggcute with Plumeria and make it super easy to pull off. I love having an Exeggcute in every Zoroark-GX deck for its utility.

3 Professor Sycamore and 2 N

These are all you need for draw Supporters. In the early game you’ll want to use Professor Sycamore to discard extra fluff like tech Supporters and in the late game you’ll want an extra copy of N to disrupt your opponent when you can.

1 Team Skull Grunt, 1 Team Flare Grunt and 1 Plumeria

For Energy denial, these are the way to go. Team Skull Grunt is strong for clever opponent’s that might hold an Energy in hand while under Quaking Punch lock. Sometimes you simply can’t play all the Energy in your hand so that card is strong in general. Team Flare Grunt is one of the most cuttable cards in this deck since I wholeheartedly think that Plumeria is strictly better with Exeggcute in the deck. Plumeria speaks for itself, it’s an incredibly strong Energy disruptor with reach even to your opponent’s Bench which is broken while you’re locking your opponent’s Items down.

1 Karen

Most decks want a Night March counter and this deck is no different. Karen and Quaking Punch along with Energy disruptors will spell down for any Night March playing opponent. Karen can be randomly useful to fill an opponent’s deck with useless cards as well, or even to recover some of your lost Pokémon that you would like to get back.

1 Guzma

Every deck wants a gust effect card, and Guzma is the best one for this deck. The switching of your own Pokémon is too great of an effect not to have when compared with the likes of Lysandre. You have Zoroark with Stand In to use if you need a Pokémon to switch out with Guzma and you pack plenty of Float Stone to compensate for this strictly better card.

1 Ghetsis

Putting Items back into your opponent’s deck seems weird when you’re locking them, but it’s actually nuts. You’re going to be filling your opponent’s deck with more random fluff that he or she won’t want. On turns where you move into a Zoroark-GX to attack, you can drop a Ghetsis on your opponent and take away some of the threat of Items being played. This card is a crucial disruptor in the expanded format that you almost need to be playing.

1 Colress

Big Bench, big Colress? You got it, play this card in at least a one-count in any Zoroark-GX deck going forward. It’s too dang good not to play!

1 Acerola

Part of the reason this deck is strong is that you can repeatedly deny Knockouts with Acerola and conserve your Energy while you’re at it, too. Acerola can help you chain between two Seismitoad-EX which is so powerful. You can even save a Zoroark-GX from a Knockout, also.

4 Ultra Ball

These are a must if you want to set up each game. An Ultra Ball becomes an instant out to a Shaymin-EX which can in turn extend your turn and get you the crucial pieces to a sick turn one or two turn Quaking Punch play.

4 Puzzle of Time

Puzzle of Time is busted in every Zoroark-GX deck. I love them in here because they can get back Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, which is pretty crazy. Getting things back like Enhanced Hammer is even strong, so I would certainly play four of these if you want to win in the long game. Even getting VS Seeker back sometimes is good.

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

Making Seismitoad-EX do more damage is no fun for your opponent, but it will be pretty fun for you. Poison damage gets boosted with the use of Virbank City Gym, so you want to have four of these in your deck at all times to finish up Knockouts. The best thing about Hypnotoxic Laser is the fact that you can sometimes “pass your opponent into Knockouts”. That’s a difficult concept to explain, but let’s use this as an example:

  • Quaking Punch for 30 damage. Your opponent’s Active Pokémon was also Poisoned with a Hypnotoxic Laser on your turn. His or her Active Pokémon goes up to 40 damage in between turns. That Pokémon only has 50 HP, so at the end of your opponent’s turn it is knocked out. This can be devastating, forcing your opponent to make a weird choice about what to promote up next. You always want to look for openings to do that to your opponent’s Pokémon as it can buy you “free” Knockouts.

3 VS Seeker

A fourth would be nice, and perhaps taking out the Team Flare Grunt would be a fine choice for that extra copy. I like lower VS Seeker counts in most expanded format decks since the format is so fast, but this deck is built to play a longer game so you’re going to want as many copies as possible. Many of your Supporter plays for the turn are invested to disruption Supporters so having extra outs is always nice to have.

3 Float Stone and 2 Choice Band

I like to favor Float Stone in this list because getting a quick Quaking Punch off is crucial to success. Choice Band is a little less important since you’re not aiming to be super aggressive. You can always get it back with Puzzle of Time as well and the whole Acerola chain in general can stop you from ever losing a Choice Band on one of your Seismitoad-EX.

2 Enhanced Hammer

Removing Special Energy is super strong right now. A high percentage of the field is only playing Special Energy, specifically just four Double Colorless Energy, so getting rid of those has never been better.

1 Special Charge

This deck only plays four Double Colorless Energy itself, so this deck has some value. I don’t like it that much, so it might be on its way out. Puzzle of Time can do the same thing, and with Acerola loops you generally don’t lose many Energy anyways.

1 Field Blower

Sometimes you want to get rid of a Float Stone from one of your opponent’s Pokémon. This is another cuttable card in this deck, though, since that’s more of a luxury. I think a third Virbank City Gym might just be strictly better.

1 Computer Search

This is the best Ace Spec for this deck since it can find an early Double Colorless Energy or a missing piece to the first turn Quaking Punch combination. Any card in your deck is fair game, so it’s broken. Consistent setups are king for this deck!

2 Virbank City Gym

Virbank City Gym is part of what makes the magic happen for this deck. Poison is strong on its own, but you love to make it hit harder and boost your damage output. A third Virbank City Gym would be pretty nice, as I mentioned earlier, but this can do the trick if you’re trying to find space for other cards.

4 Double Colorless Energy

Every meaningful attack in this deck takes a two Colorless Energy, so four Double Colorless Energy is all you really want to make things work properly. If you ever lose one, you can use a Puzzle of Time play to recover it if you need to.

∆Options

This deck is pretty set as-is. If you’re finding a problem in a certain matchup, there’s generally another disruption card you can slip in to fix things. I have been having a lot of success with this exact list. The only changes I find myself making periodically are switching a few of the counts around (I covered those switches in the card explanations). If you’re looking for a simple last-minute choice for an event, I really like Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX as a choice. Anyone can learn it fast!

∆Competition

Fighting / Variants | Highly Favorable

Fighting decks have had a notoriously poor matchup with Seismitoad-EX decks throughout the years. While Buzzwole-GX lacks the Water Weakness that Landorus-EX totes, it still can’t do enough reliable damage each turn to combat such an oppressive force. Item lock is very devastating for Fighting decks as they usually rely on Max Elixir for extra offense. While they may put up some of a fight, you can stave it off with disruption cards like Enhanced Hammer and Plumeria to limit your opponent’s damage output since Strong Energy will be dealt with so easily. I would love to play against this deck every round, and I’m confident I’d win each one of the matches.

Garbodor / Golisopod-GX | Unfavorable

Any deck with Golisopod-GX is going to be super difficult to beat. The Grass Weakness of your Seismitoad-EX makes it really hard to execute your strategy, so you have to wiggle around and hope to hit some heads on Hypnotoxic Laser. Golisopod-GX will be extremely difficult to knock out in general, so Zoroark-GX will have to pitch in to do the job. Quaking Punch can still be super strong in the early game or randomly in the late game if you catch your opponent off guard. For the most part, though, I’d try to avoid playing down Seismitoad-EX altogether. You’ll want to use Acerola on your Zoroark-GX to avoid Knockouts and see if you can squeak out the win.

Garbodor / Necrozma-GX | Slightly Favorable

This matchup is pretty simple. Seismitoad-EX is strong against most Garbodor decks on its own, since it prevents them from setting up as fluidly as they otherwise would. If that strategy doesn’t work in your testing, then just a Zoroark-GX approach is fine, too. I like to stagger my Zoroark-GX so that Necrozma-GX and Black Ray GX don’t punish me too bad, and in doing so I basically make Zoroark-GX an impenetrable threat that my opponent can’t take down in one hit or even two.

Garbodor / Sableye | Favorable

Seismitoad-EX is very strong against Sableye. You have Puzzle of Time and Special Charge to recycle your Energy and never stop using Quaking Punch. Item lock is so difficult for Sableye decks to beat, and poison damage makes it even tougher. Confuse Ray can flip heads and make you flip to attack, but in reply you can just use Zoroark to Stand In and get rid of the Special Condition or just use an Acerola. You should have access to Trade for most of the game since your opponent won’t be able to get Tools onto Garbodor, so you just need to watch your Item count to make sure that Trashalanche doesn't go crazy. Lastly, watch out for Trubbish with Garbage Collection so that it doesn’t get to chain Energy denial Supporters like Team Flare Grunt to the top of your opponent’s deck. You can just play an N on the turns that your opponent uses that attack to finish things off and remove that threat.

Garbodor / Seismitoad-EX | Even

Seismitoad-EX mirror matches are so annoying. It really comes down to who plays more Energy disruption Supporters. If you want to improve this matchup, then add a couple more in. I wouldn’t expect this deck much, though, so I wouldn’t worry about it. If you can Quaking Punch before your opponent gets a Tool on a Trubbish, as well, then you’ll have the advantage because of Zoroark-GX and Trade.

Gardevoir-GX | Even

Quaking Punch is one of the only ways you can win this matchup, outside of some lucky results on Hypnotoxic Laser flips. Gardevoir-GX can mow through Zoroark-GX, so you’re going to want to hope that Quaking Punch disrupts your opponent enough to the point that you win. It’s a good idea to use Guzma to pull up Kirlia and Ralts before they Evolve, because once they become Gardevoir-GX they will be much harder to deal with. Your Energy disruption cards will still be great in the middle of the game to hopefully maneuver around a Seismitoad-EX getting knocked out.

Giratina-EX / Darkrai-EX | Slightly Favorable

Darkrai-EX relies on getting lots of Darkness Energy into play to boost its damage output. To do this, this version uses Double Dragon Energy to attach to Dragon Pokémon to boost those Energy to provide two Darkness Energy apiece. If you focus on knocking those Special Energy out of play, which is super easy with Enhanced Hammer, you’ll be able to storm to victory since Dark Pulse won’t be doing very much damage. In the late game you can use Zoroark-GX to clean things up if you need to. Acerola will be your friend throughout as it can heal your Seismitoad-EX that haven't been knocked out just yet.

Giratina-EX / Seismitoad-EX | Slightly Favorable

Much like in the Garbodor / Seismitoad-EX matchup, Zoroark-GX and Trade give you the edge. You need to focus on denying any Energy that come onto Giratina-EX, though, since Chaos Wheel can lock you out of attachments for the rest of the game if you’re not careful. Again, Energy disrupting Supporters will be very important as they can force your opponent to miss a turn of using Quaking Punch if he or she doesn’t have a follow up attachment. On turns that you break the lock, you can get ahead with Hypnotoxic Laser and use of other awesome Items.

Greninja BREAK | Slightly Unfavorable

Quaking Punch is your best friend in this matchup, too. A Muscle Band could help you a lot if you were super scared of Greninja BREAK, but it shouldn’t be too popular unless people catch on to how strong it is in the expanded format. Against Greninja BREAK you don’t want to break the Quaking Punch lock starting off. Hypnotoxic Laser can make Knockouts a whole lot easier but once the Greninja BREAK get out then it’s going to get tough. Zoroark-GX can’t really do enough on its own because the minute it comes up your opponent will be free to use Items and get set up even more. You’ll have to cross your fingers and go deep on some late game N to pull this off, but it’s certainly possible.

Gyarados | Favorable

Gyarados is a highly Item-reliant deck. An early Ghetsis might just lose your opponent the game, and if that doesn’t happen, then Quaking Punch can just lock your opponent down. Gyarados is completely crippled by Item lock, so you’ll be in great shape. Energy disruption is super strong against Gyarados too, since it only has four Double Colorless Energy and no way to recover it outside of Items. This matchup will be difficult to lose.

Trevenant BREAK | Favorable

Zoroark-GX really helps you out a ton and to add to that, Seismitoad-EX can be decent against Trevenant BREAK as well in the early game! Zoroark-GX should be able to just stop your opponent’s field, and having Acerola should avoid any Knockouts plays that almost become reality. I know that most Trevenant BREAK decks have four Enhanced Hammer, but I think you can just out speed them and force your opponent into bad situations that are too hard to recover from.

Wailord-EX | Favorable

This matchup is pretty free with Puzzle of Time and Special Charge also. A Wailord-EX generally has around ten Energy disruption Supporters at most, which is on the high end of things. That being said, you’ll be able to Quaking Punch away and render most of your opponent’s stall techniques useless.

Zoroark-GX / Golisopod | Unfavorable

Golisopod-GX again in this type of a matchup is pretty bad for you. You don’t have many ways to disrupt your opponent either since he or she will have Zoroark-GX, too, so Quaking Punch won’t even be that effective. I would just be hoping to avoid this matchup altogether in a tournament.

Zoroark-GX / Lonzo | Slightly Favorable

So as with any Zoroark-GX matchup, you want to lead off with Seismitoad-EX and draw Double Colorless Energy from your opponent. He or she will only have four of them, so if you can discard them all you will win the game. If you need to take Knockouts, Hypnotoxic Laser can help a lot to nailing those last few Energy.

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX | Even

Lycanroc-GX can be annoying to deal with because of Bloodthirsty Eyes, and your opponent having Basic Fighting Energy that can’t be discarded with Enhanced Hammer is frustrating as well. I would say this is one of the hardest Zoroark-GX decks you can face, but the same strategy applies: disrupt those Energy cards.

Zoroark-GX / Night March | Favorable

Karen and Quaking Punch make this matchup a wrap to begin with, but Energy denial and Poison make things nearly unwinnable for the Night March player.

Zoroark-GX / Seismitoad-EX | Even

The mirror match is just like the other Seismitoad-EX matchups that I’ve talked about. Focus on removing your opponent’s Energy cards with Supporter card disruption and use Trade to draw out of bad spots. Do that and you’ll come out on top.

Zoroark-GX / Vespiquen | Slightly Unfavorable

Vespiquen can hit your Seismitoad-EX for Weakness which can be scary at first. You want to have Karen on tap and still be focusing on removing Energy cards from your opponent’s side of the field as well. Your opponent’s Zoroark-GX can use Trade to discard more Pokémon and refuel Bee Revenge, but he or she still needs to get lucky to hit the numbers. Anything Grass is something you want to try to avoid.

∆Farewell

That’s all for today! I love this deck in the expanded format and it’s another one of the best picks for the tournament. I don’t like playing any deck without Zoroark-GX at this point, since Trade makes decks so unfathomably consistent. Greninja BREAK is one of the only things I’d play without the Ability to extend turns at this point. Item lock has been so disrespected until recently and most decks aren’t prepared for it. Keep this deck in mind in your testing if you love Seismitoad-EX and want to still be playing Zoroark-GX, too. Good luck in your testing and upcoming events and always remember to have fun!

~Caleb

[+16] okko


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