Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"The Toad and the Fox head to North Texas" - Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX

Jose examines Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX and why it's a strong contender for Dallas Regionals.

01/25/2018 by Jose Marrero



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Dallas Regionals is this weekend and because of that, I want to examine a deck that's been getting more hype lately, due to its recent success at League Cups, though there hasn't been much article talk about the deck. Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX basically originated in my home state of Florida by a player named Justin Kulas. Justin let me use his winning League Cup list for this article, so shout out to him. Fellow 60cards writer, Caleb Gedemer, did an article on Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX, so if you want to check out his take on the deck, then feel free to click here and it'll take you to his article.

First, I'll analyze Justin's list card by card, then go over some other card options you can add or change depending on your playstyle. Then, I'll get into the deck's matchups with some of the top decks in the format. Lastly, I'll show Justin Kulas's matchups from the League Cup he won because it'll give you somewhat of a thought on why he won or lost a certain matchup.

With that said, let's get right into it.


3-3 Zoroark-GX

Zoroark-GX in this deck can be used for its Riotous Beating attack and for its Trade ability, though most of the time it'll be used for Trades because you don't want to have to break the Item Lock unless you absolutely have to, or if it warrants a KO. I like that you have the option to do 180 damage with a Choice Banded Zoroark-GX if you combine it with a full bench and Hypnotoxic Laser plus Virbank City Gym. It may seem like a lot but it honestly is easier than you might think to achieve, assuming the opponent doesn't have Sudowoodo in play, of course.

3 Seismitoad-EX

The main attacker of the deck -- and I can see going up to four copies because Quaking Punch combined with Hypnotoxic Laser and Enhanced Hammer can overwhelm the opponent. Item Lock in the current Expanded format can still be troublesome for the opponent. Quaking Punch can also do some nasty damage in this deck, which is one of the sole reasons I think this deck is a strong contender for Dallas Regionals this weekend. There aren't many Pokémon that can one-hit KO Seismitoad-EX, meaning you can Acerola spam and keep your opponent's items at bay for a long time.

2 Tapu Lele-GX

These are needed to find those one-of supporters when need them most. Karen and Team Flare Grunt will be important in certain matchups, so if you can't find them through Trades, then you have to grab them with Tapu Lele-GX. They can be used as attackers as well, though it'll be rare and not likely, because that would mean you aren't Item Locking the opponent.

1 Shaymin-EX

The extra draw Shaymin-EX provides in this deck helps you dig for Double Colorless Energy or other important cards more efficiently. I can even see going up to two Shaymin-EX for this sole purpose. You don't really have to worry about Shaymin-EX's liability on the bench, since you will have your opponent under Item Lock and stripping them of energy at the same time.

1 Sudowoodo GRI 66

It is important to have Sudowoodo in play against decks that play both Zoroark-GX and Sky Field. This way, they can't easily take a one-hit KO on your attackers. To be honest almost every deck should be playing Sudowoodo. To name a few, we have Night March, Trevenant, Wailord-EX and more. You get what I am saying, though.

3 Professor Juniper/3 N

Justin went with a 3/3 split here and I can get behind it because you want to have enough raw copies of N so you don't have to VS Seeker for them, because they pair well with Quaking Punch, in case the opponent took the prize lead early on.

2 Acerola

No matter whether you are attacking with Zoroark-GX or Seismitoad-EX, Acerola is important for healing and denying your opponent prize cards.

2 Guzma

The deck plays VS Seekers meaning you don't need more than two Guzma. Quaking Punch can make certain Pokémon harder to retreat out, so if you can Guzma up a Pokémon with a huge retreat cos,t you can essentially take cheap prizes this way.

1 Colress

Making your hand as huge as possible is what you want to do in this deck so that you have all the options you want. Finding access to Hypnotoxic Lasers and Enhanced Hammers is what you want.

1 Hex Maniac

A well-timed Hex Maniac can win games. This is one of the hardest cards to play perfectly, to be honest. However, if you do pull off that turn where your opponent is sitting on a Tapu Lele-GX, or has to rely on Trade next turn, then you have done it.

1 Karen

This card is needed to help combat Night March and Vespiquen decks. Quaking Punch in conjunction with Karen can be disastrous for the opponent, because now they can't use Battle Compressors to fuel Night March or Bee Revenge.

1 Team Flare Grunt

If you have to get rid of an active Basic Energy, such as a Grass Energy on Golisopod-GX, then Team Flare Grunt can come in handy. It's also useful in the mirror.

4 VS Seeker

I've been seeing decks go down to three or even two VS Seekers, though in this deck you should be playing four for sure. It will be important to have as much access to Team Flare Grunt and Acerola as you can, depending on the matchup.

4 Puzzle of Time

Great card in this deck to get back resources whether it is Hypnotoxic Laser, Enhanced Hammer or whatever you need at the time. If you Trade enough times you will surely find them at some point.

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

Poison and the possibility of Sleep on the opponent can make for awkward spots and faster KOs.

3 Enhanced Hammer

I can see upping the count to four, because these are how you win the Zoroark-GX matchups. Quaking Punch plus Enhanced Hammer followed by Hypnotoxic Laser will be horrifying for the opponent.

3 Choice Band

If attached to Zoroark-GX it's Riotous Beating attack can dish out up to 180 damage. If you Quaking Punch then it can do 90 damage if you add all damage modifiers. Quaking Punch for 90 damage can be frightening.

2 Float Stone

Having free retreat can go a long way, especially if you need to retreat out Seismitoad-EX because it does, in fact, have a three retreat cost.

1 Field Blower

You never know when you need to discard Tools or stadiums, so having at least one copy of Field Blower is essential.

1 Computer Search

The best Ace Spec for this deck by far. Finding Double Colorless Energy is too important and Computer Search can find one if needed. You need to Quaking Punch as soon as possible while disrupting energy from your opponent.

3 Virbank City Gym

This stadium adds 20 more damage to Poison, meaning Riotous Beating can potentially do 180 damage. That's enough to one hit KO Tapu Lele-GX's. Quaking Punch can also potentially two hit KO Pokémon because of Virbank City Gym.

Other card options

Exeggcute PLF 4

I personally think every deck in Expanded that runs Zoroark-GX should be playing Exeggcute. The free draw without having to discard resources makes no sense to me why you wouldn't play it. Also only having to discard one card for Ultra Ball and Computer Search is too good to pass up on.

Zoroark BKT 91

Both Mind Jack and Stand In can be useful in this deck depending on the situation, so I wouldn't hate a copy in here. Getting rid of status effects like Paralyze or Confusion can come in handy against decks like Sableye/Garbodor and any Zoroark-GX deck that plays the Paralyze Zorua.

Zorua DEX 70

Justin ran the Ram Zoruas. This could be because he couldn't find the Paralyze ones with their price increase. However, I'd much prefer the Paralyzation Zorua because of the mirror match. You can potentially Paralyze the opponent's Seimisotad-EX and because you didn't do damage means they can't Acerola out and instead have to Guzma out. If you are able to break the Item Lock, then you should be in a great spot moving forward.

Seviper BUS 50

The extra 10 damage Seviper provides to Poison can help with faster KO's. It can also make better math to where your opponent's Pokémon can potentially be KO'd coming back into your turn, and if that scenario ever happens then it is likely good game from there.

Pokémon Ranger

This card is strictly for the mirror match but still useful againt Giratina-EX. If you can pull it off and rid your opponent of energy and Hypnotoxic Laser them at the same time then you can flip the match back into your favor real fast. Chaos Wheel can be annoying, though this deck plays a number of energy disruption cards to help combat it.


I wouldn't hate this card in this deck because it plays stadiums that help with your damage output, so getting back Virbank City Gym can be crucial while also getting back a supporter of choice.


This card can discard any of your opponent's energy in play, but you have to discard 2 cards from your hand to do so. The first scenario that comes to mind is when you are faced up against Golisopod-GX and the opponent has a Grass Energy on the bench. That is where Plumeria can shine and can be reused with VS Seeker.


Getting rid of Tools and Special Energy while having the opponent under Item Lock can go a long way. The more disruption the better especially if you expect to face the mirror match more often than not.

Team Skull Grunt

Getting rid of two of your opponent's energy from hand can be crucial and game-changing especially if you able to remove three energy at once while keeping the Item Lock.


I was surprised to see Justin not playing Ghetsis in his list. An early Ghetsis followed by a Quaking Punch can be devastating for the opponent and can easily steal games this way. I would definitely make room for Ghetsis moving forward especially since this deck doesn't have to rely on a turn one Brigette.

Shadow Triad

This card can get back Hypnotoxic Lasers and Colress if need be. This way you don't have to use Puzzles of Time on Hypnotoxic Lasers but instead can use VS Seekers to get them back.

Fighting Fury Belt

I'm unsure if this card is more effective than Choice Band, though the extra hit points can come a long way against decks that can easily hit up to 180 hit points. Quaking Punch will surely force a two-hit KO over a one-hit KO if Fighting Fury Belt is involved.

Special Charge

The deck only plays Special Energy, so having access to Special Charge can come in handy. However, if you are attacking with Seismitoad-EX anyway then you shouldn't have to worry about cards like Enhanced Hammer. Plus you still have Puzzles of Time to get back energy if needed.

Nest Ball

This card can assist in finding your Basic Pokémon easier. The deck does not play Brigette, so having extra Ball cards can be nice, though just playing one Nest Ball doesn't seem that great.


Night March/Zoroark-GX -- Favorable to Very Favorable

Quaking Punch in conjunction with Karen will cripple this deck. Hypnotoxic Laser also helps because what is more scarier than being KOed while still under Item Lock? Night March plays so many items making Seismitoad-EX one of its biggest threats in Expanded. I say favorable to very favorable because ff they play Pokémon Ranger then it could be troublesome, however, they will have to find it while under Item Lock. It won't be easy to find between all the disruption happening.

Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX -- Even to Favorable

The only reason I put even here is that Lycanroc-GX decks could be playing Basic Energies and Bloodthirsty Eyes can be annoying and could potentially help break the Item Lock. You basically play this matchup just like any other Zoroark-GX variant because you still want to deny their energies while having them under Item Lock. Lycanroc-GX could potentially one hit KO a Seismitoad-EX with its Dangerous Rogue GX attack, though you can Enhanced Hammer and Team Flare Grunt to strip them of energy. Hypnotoxic Lasers will also be important in this matchup as well as Sudowoodo. However, if you can rid the opponent of Double Colorless Energy while Quaking Punch is still in effect then you should win from there and that should be the game plan in this matchup.

Golisopod-GX/Zoroark-GX -- Unfavorable

The only real unfavorable matchup for Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX aside from Vespiquen because Golisopod-GX one hit KOs Seismitoad-EX for just one Grass Energy. You just have to hope and pray the opponent misses energy drops and Acerola plays. You can Team Flare Grunt the active Grass Energy, however, it is only a matter of time until they get another Golisopod-GX going and ready. They will have access to Trade so Quaking Punch might not be that effective in this matchup because all they will be looking for is Grass Energy and Acerola and if you ever stop attacking with Seismitoad-EX then you are in a rough spot anyway.

Zoroark-GX/Alolan Muk aka LonZo -- Very Favorable

This matchup is pretty straightforward because the game plan here will be to rid your opponent of all four of their Double Colorless Energy and once done you basically win the game as long as you keep them under Item Lock. To do so you lead off with Quaking Punch and Energy denial cards as they warrant themselves. You just keep using Acerola and Enhanced Hammers until they run dry on energy. Sudowoodo will be important in this matchup to deny one-hit KOs from the opponent. Also be ready to have Guzma at your disposal in case your opponent flips heads on Paralyze with Zorua to try and break the Item Lock.

Vespiquen/Zoroark-GX -- Unfavorable

I feel this matchup is still unfavorable even with Karen because Vespiquen doesn't need that many Pokémon in the discard to one hit KO Seismitoad-EX. However, you can still potentially rid your opponent of energy because they only play four copies of Double Colorless Energy. If they play Pokémon Ranger then you will likely lose then. You just have to hope Item Lock and Hypnotoxic Lasers can do enough and pray they whiff energy here and there. If they play anything less than a 4-4 line of Vespiquen that could also help as well.

Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX -- Even

An even matchup since it is the mirror match, so it'll come down to whoever misses Double Colorless Energy first usually. The more Energy disruption supporters the better against the mirror match, so whoever plays more, will have the advantage as well. Remember to keep trading so your hands can be more useful and so you find those Energy denial supporters faster.

Sabelye/Garbodor -- Favorable

Between Quaking Punch and Hypnotoxic Laser, this should be a fairly easy matchup because they rely so heavily on items. You should never stop Quaking Punching in this matchup. They will have to try and Confuse Ray you and if so then you just Acerola into a different Seismitoad-EX. You also stop them from getting Garbotoxin in play because of Item Lock assuming they didn't already have a Tool attached to Trubbish. Another thing to keep in mind is that they could also try and spam Garbage Collection to get back Energy denial supporters and if so then N is best to be used to disrupt their top deck. Overall the matchup should be pretty straightforward.

Trevenant BREAK -- Favorable

If you play this matchup correctly it'll be favorable for sure. Zoroark-GX will obviously be the main attacker here due to its one hit KO potential and Trevenant being weak to Dark types. If they are playing the heavy Enhanced Hammer build then you have to use your Double Colorless Energies one by one. Eventually, you can Hex Maniac or Guzma to use items and get back Double Colorless Energy with Puzzles of Time if need be. Acerola can also help to deny prizes and sneaky plays with Espeon-EX. Overall this matchup should be fine.

Gardevoir-GX -- Even to Favorable

Quaking Punch will be your best friend in this matchup because it denies the use of Rare Candy by the opponent. You don't really want to attack with Zoroark-GX because then they will just Gallade them back to the stone age. Try to pick off Ralts and Kirlias if possible. Hypnotoxic Lasers should help a ton unless they play Comfey then it'll get more difficult. You have to hope that Quaking Punch and Hypnotoxic Lasers can take you the distance in this matchup. Your Energy disruption cards will have use as well so don't forget about those. Hex Maniac can also come in handy since it shuts off Secret Spring.

Wailord-EX -- Favorable

In this matchup, you again basically Quaking Punch like your life depends on it. You also have to make sure you never miss an energy attachment after they use energy removal supporters. They don't play that many hard copies because they rely on Puzzles of Time and VS Seekers, so you should be favored in this matchup if you play it correctly.

Primal Groudon-EX -- Even to Favorable

This matchup is a little tricky because you can't use Hypnotoxic Laser or any form of Energy disruption on Primal Groudon-EX once it hits the board. However, Item Lock can still slow them down drastically because their deck plays tons of items so it is possible to force them into a clogged hand. The match comes down to how fast the opponent can get a Primal Groudon-EX out and if they keep drawing energy or not. You will have to take KOs as fast as possible because the slower the game is the better for the Primal Groudon-EX player because eventually, they will find energy. If they play Wobbuffet then it will shut off Trade but that shouldn't be too bad. Hypnotoxic Lasers should make for faster KOs as well.

Gyarados -- Very Favorable

This matchup should be very free for you because Gyarados relies so much on items. You can also potentially donk the opponent if they open with a lone Magikarp because you can Hypnotoxic Laser plus Virbank City Gym. The combination of Item Lock and Energy disruption should cripple them because Gyarados only plays four Double Colorless Energy as it's means of energy. Shutting off their Rescue Stretchers, Puzzles of Time and essentially their whole deck should make an easy win.

Buzzwole-GX/Landorus-EX/Lycanroc-GX -- Favorable

This matchup is favorable because Landorus-EX is basically useless in this matchup and Quaking Punch can slow this deck down hard. They rely on cards such as Max Elixir so shutting those off will limit their damage output. Once they use Dangerous Rogue GX then you can stream Acerola after Acerola whole Poisoning them. Enhanced Hammer can get rid of Strong Energies too.

Necrozma-GX/Garbodor -- Favorable

This deck fell off the map after Ryan Sabelhaus won Daytona Regionals with it. This is because of the release of Zoroark-GX. This matchup is favorable because Zoroark-GX can one hit KO all of the deck's attackers including Necrozma-GX thanks to Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. You still have to be wary of your item count usage because Trashalanche can still be a threat. Be sure to watch out for Black Ray GX as well because it can do some huge damage to your EX/GXs, so try not to have too many out at once if you see it coming.

Brief tournament report

Round 1 - Lonzo: W

Round 2 - Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX: L

Round 3 - Lonzo: W

Round 4 - Darkrai-EX/GX/Zoroark-GX: W

Round 5 - Lonzo: W

Round 6 - ID

Swiss record: 4-1-1

Top 8 - Zoroark-GX/Bats: WW

Top 4 - Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor: LWW

Finals - Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX: WW 

Overal record: 10-2-1

As you can see, Lonzo seems to be a pretty good matchup. Justin defeated all three of the ones he faced. Justin's only loss in swiss was to Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX. He may have drawn bad because that matchup should be fine, and plus you can see he bested it 2-0 in the finals. He also beat a Darkrai-EX/GX/Zoroark-GX in swiss. This matchup should be easy, because you can one-hit KO both Darkrai-EX and GX with your own Zoroark-GX if they don't have Sudowoodo out, of course. Hypnotoxic Lasers can make any matchup better just for the sheer possibility of the Sleep effect. In Top 8 it looks like Justin faced up against Zoroark-GX with Bats. This is an interesting take and something we aren't used to seeing. However, Justin was able to best it 2-0, so that deck probably is not the best going into Dallas. In top 4 Justin had to play against Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor. I haven't seen this deck in forever. I feel this matchup is even and it comes down to whoever plays more energy denial supporters or whoever misses Double Colorless Energy first and breaks the lock. I expect Lonzo to be the most played Zoroark-GX variant moving into Dallas Regionals this weekend. That is why I believe Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX is one of the best plays for Dallas. Overall I think Seisitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX has solid matchups across the board aside from Grass-types.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article on Seismitoad-EX/Zoroark-GX and why it's a strong contender for Dallas Regionals this weekend. Item Lock has always been a threat in the format and I wouldn't be surprised if the deck made Top 8 in Dallas, because I know how devastating it can be. It's one of my top deck choices going into Dallas, mainly because it has great matchups against every Zoroark-GX deck aside from Golisopod-GX and I expect tons of Zoroark-GX decks this weekend. The combination of Item Lock in conjunction with Hypnotoxic Laser has always been a powerful combo to deal with. If you see me in Dallas this weekend, don't be shy and come say hello if you want to meet me. If you are attending the main event, then I hope the best for you. If you are close to your Worlds invite, then I hope you are able to achieve it in Dallas this weekend. I can't wait to see who wins the biggest Regionals yet. I'm pretty sure it'll be a deck that implements Zoroark-GX because there are so many good variants with it including Night March as we saw it come out on top in San Jose Regionals last November.

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If you have any questions, then please feel free to leave me a comment below or message me on Facebook. I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible.

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-Twitter @Jose_MarreroTCG

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