Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Interview and Tournament Report with the 2015 Alabama State Champion"

Interview with the AL State Champion and his rundown of the tournament.

03/25/2015 by Jose Marrero





Hello 60cards readers! Week 1 of States have now concluded and people are going to want to see what has performed the best or what has won. If you want to see the list of week 1 States and what managed to win/or top 8, check out Andrew Wamboldt's site, The Charizard Lounge. There he gives an excellent run down of all the week 1 States. For this next article I am going to do an interview with the Alabama State Champion, Nathan Brower and ask him a few questions about his deck and card choices. He was also kind of enough to do a tournament report and share his list and thought process behind the deck he used. I myself also went to Alabama States where I finished 4-1-2, placing 12th. I ended up playing Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff/Dragalge. Here's a short run of my rounds. I start the day off at 2-0-0 and I'm feeling confident only to see my round 3 opponent, Ryan Sabelhaus. Ryan and I were playing the same 60 card list so we just decided to ID. Because we were confident in the deck and we figured we would have to ID at some point anyway.

My round 4 opponent was the one and only Orion Craig who just won the FL Regional Championships with Flareon. Only this time he did not play Flareon. He actually played his creation of Aromatisse/Seismitoad-EX/Malamar-EX, which he was able to best me 2-0. I'm now sitting at 2-1-1 and I know I can't take another loss or tie. I basically have to win out. I win my round 5 and in round 6 I'm playing down to Kyle Warden, who was piloting Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat. Game 1 Kyle takes a convincing game as he was able to hit a couple Head Ringers on my Seimsitoad-EX's before I can get going. However game 2 goes my way with a clutch Cassius play and Xerosic sticking for a turn getting me out of the lock and giving me game 2. Game 3 Kyle opts to go first and opens with Seismitoad-EX and Rock Guard. However I open with Xerosic and Head Ringer while also locking him with Quaking Punch turn 1. I eventually was able to hit another clutch Cassius and seal the game from there.

My last round was the win and in round since I was 4-1-1 at this point. I knew I was facing Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Game 1 starts and I have my opponent Seismitoad-EX locked all game and I take a convincing game 1. Game 2 however gets really close to where I basically have game next turn, but my opponent does an interesting play by Lysandreing up one of my Slurpuffs to try and stall for a turn hoping to break my lock. He was able to achieve what he wanted as I was unable to retreat the Slurpuff. Because of this, my opponent was able to toss a Tool onto his Garbodor while at the same time Ning me down to 1. All I need to win is a Hypnotoxic laser or Lysandre.

I draw nothing for 2 turns as my opponent barely squeaks out the win. I was so bummed at this point knowing we may end up tieing now. So I try to play fast game 3. We get going and eventually time gets called with me being turn 0. Since time was called on my turn I knew I would be 1 turn shy of winning. I had my opponent locked all game and draw passing. Since my opponent was turn 3 I was unable to take another turn and the win. I had the Lysandre and Hypnotoxic Laser to KO his Trubbish on the bench for game with just 1 prize left to my opponent's four. So we end the series in a tie and both miss the cut.... I was really disappointed that it went to a tie when I clearly had game next turn. But what can you do... 

With that being said here's the list Ryan Sabelhaus and I ended up playing. Ryan ended up taking 2nd place as I ended up taking 12th. 

Ryan and I opted to go with 3 Head Ringers over the 4th Crushing Hammer at the last minute, which overall was the right choice with Seismitoad-EX decks being so popular week 1.

1-1 Dragalge:

This card was actually quite effective if you managed to get him out. As for me I prized 1 of the pieces a lot. So I personally wasn't able to use it to it's full extent. But when I did manage to get it out it was really impactful. For when you Lysandre something up and keep it locked.

1 Cassius:

This card was really clutch in a few of my games against other Seismitoad-EX decks. Being able to heal off a Seismitoad-EX while being trainer locked at the same time proved to be successful in the long run.

1 Xerosic:

This card was added for Seismitoad-EX decks yet again. Because if you ever get that turn where your opponent can't find another Double Colorless Energy to keep the lock going then your basically going to take the game from there as you can now drop down your Muscle Bands and use Hypnotoxic Lasers.

1 Silent Lab:

Ryan and I were off and on about adding this card. Overall it was just too clutch in some small situations. Whether it's your opponent opening with Zubat and denying the turn 1 attack or against Flareon decks to prevent them from healing with Audino or using Ditto and Eevee's ability.

Everything else in the deck is pretty standard so I won't go over the rest. With that being said let's get into Nathan's State winning list.

Interview Questions


For those that don't know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm Nathan Brower, a player from Georgia. I've been collecting cards and playing with my brother for as long as I remember, but didn't start playing competitively until 2008. In Seniors my biggest accomplishment was a Regional win in 2010. In Masters I have not done anything exceptional other than a few Cities wins and States top cuts.

What was your deciding factor to go with a Seismitoad-EX build for week 1 of States?

Honestly, the deck is just plain good. Besides that, the format just seemed right for it. Flareon and Night March were bound to make a presence, especially in Alabama, and I expected to see Landorus-EX/Crobat as well. All of these decks are at worst even match-ups for Seismitoad-EX, and make quick work of Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX, a deck that Seismitoad-EX decks have the most trouble beating.

Can you tell us what gave you the idea to add the Swampert/Archie engine to your Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff list?

Adding Swampert to Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff was Georgia player, Cody Lovingood's idea. After he won a League Challenge a week prior to States with the deck, I was inspired to build it. I spent the next several days playing the deck, getting a sense of it's matchups and trying out different card counts until I came up with the list above.

With Swampert in play, one is able to Diving Search for any card in the deck, and then use Slurpuff's Tasting to draw into it. Paired with Lysandre's Trump Card, this combo allows you to have ready access to Scoop Up Cyclone, Hypnotoxic Lasers, or the ability to almost guarantee a Quaking Punch each turn by finding the missing piece. 

What was your reasoning behind adding the Xerosics,Team Flare Grunt, and Cassius?

I knew Seismitoad-EX would be at States in abundance, so I added the 2 Xerosic, Team Flare Grunt and Cassius to help with the mirror. Getting Swampert in play against Seismitoad-EX is almost impossible, so I figured if I could beat Seismitoad-EX with those supporters, I could have Swampert against everything else.

What was your reasoning behind adding the Exeggcute and Town Map?

Exeggcute is a card that I am still unsure about, but it seems to be pulling it's weight. It is only in the deck to make it easier to discard your hand down to 0 for an Archie's Ace in the Hole, just like Flareon/Empoleon. For instance, if you have an Ultra Ball, an Archie's Ace in the Hole, and one other card in your hand, you can Propagate the Exeggcute to your hand before playing the Ultra Ball and leaving you with just the Archie's Ace in the Hole.

Town map is one of my favorite cards in the deck, for a few reasons. First of all it's a card you can always play when attempting to Archie's Ace in the Hole by getting your hand down to 0. Also, if you are planning on an Archie's Ace in the Hole next turn and you have to take a knockout, you can be sure to grab a card you will be able to burn. It's also nice to know where your one-of supporters and items are. If your Lysandre's Trump Card is prized for instance, you will want to grab that ASAP. I sometimes hate to see Town Map show up in Acro Bikes because most of the time the other card is going to get discarded.

You ran 3 Crushing Hammers. Did you ever miss not running any Enhanced Hammers or a 4th Crushing?

I did not. I figured that with Swampert in play I could Diving Search the Xerosic or Team Flare Grunt for the turn rather than Professor Juniper and Tasting into Hammers. The heavy presence of Seismitoad-EX also contributed to the decision for less Hammers because I would be unable to play them. An Enhanced Hammer would have been nice though, and if I were to play this deck again I would consider dropping something for one.

I see you went with Scoop Up Cyclone over Computer Search, why did you opt to go this route instead?

I did consider Computer Search because it would be nice in the early game and almost guarantee a Swampert if I see it in my hand. However Scoop Up Cyclone is incredibly strong in the mid-game after you have the Mud Fish in play. As long as your hand contains a VS Seeker, you can Lysandre's Trump Card and Diving Search the Scoop Up Cyclone each turn. Often I find myself preparing for this by searching out an extra VS Seeker or two before I start the cycle.

Anything else you would like to say?

Not sure what to say here other than how happy I am. I know I got lucky a few times. I know I misplayed a few times. But overall, I'm proud of how I did in Alabama and am very excited to be put so close to an invite to Worlds. I hope you all enjoy the brief report below, and thanks for reading!


Nathan Brower's Tournament Report

Round 1- Vicente Maya with Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff, WW, 1-0-0

Vince is a good friend of mine from Georgia. While I do like playing against people I know because it's fun to chat, it is a bummer that one person has to lose, especially so early.

Game one I go second and open with Jirachi-EX and no supporters, however I have a Double Colorless Energy, Scoop Up Cyclone, Virbank City Gym, Hypnotoxic Laser and two other cards. After thinking this will be a quick game one, my top deck is Ultra Ball. So I play it discarding the other two cards for a Seismitoad-EX, attach the Double Colorless Energy, play the Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym and then Scoop Up Cyclone the active Jirachi-EX before playing it back down to find a Professor Juniper.

The game goes on and we Quaking Punch each other for a while until he misses an attack after I discarded his Double Colorless Energies with my Supporters. With the ability to play Items again I get a Swampert in play with Archie's Ace in the Hole and am now able to get any card I need every turn. Both games went in a similar manner: After an opening, Swampert comes in and I am able to find Xerosics and Team Flare Grunt almost every turn.

Round 2- Cody Lovingood with Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff/Swampert/Archie, WW, 2-0-0

As I said earlier, Cody Lovingood originally came up with the idea to add Archie's Ace in the Hole and Swampert to Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff, so I was not surprised to see him play it again. He opts to play the deck more conservatively, without Acro Bike and Battle Compressor. This does not get Swampert into play as easily, but it does have a better Seismitoad-EX match without all the extra Items. I do not remember much about our games, other than that they went similar to Vicente's games. Cody could not get his own Swampert into play, and I think I did both games. Cody is a great guy, perhaps one of the nicest guys I know. It really stinks that we had to play so early.

Round 3- Zack Patterson with Night March, WW, 3-0-0

Zack opts to go second and gets the Turn 1 180 on my active Seismitoad-EX. He's able to get down to one prize to my five before I finally get the right cards in my hand to Lysandre's Trump Card and Quaking Punch in one turn. He plays Virizion from LTR to counter Seimsitoad-EX, because it resists Water and can pack a punch with it's second attack. However he is never able to get two energy on it thanks to Crushing Hammer and Swampert finding Team Flare Grunts each turn. Both games played out in a similar manner with me eventually playing Lysandre's Trump Card to freeze his damage output.

Round 4- Rex Hurley with Landorus-EX/Crobat, WW, 4-0-0

I forget how the first game goes specifically, but I am able to get Swampert out early and stream Scoop Up Cyclones to deny knockouts. Game two runs quite long and I fail to get Swampert out all game. He takes 5 prizes and I take 4. Time is called after he put 30 damage on one of my benched Slurpuffs with Crobat's attack. I'm turn 0 with an active Seismitoad-EX and two benched Slurpuffs. I use Hypnotoxic Laser and Quaking punch his active Bat and he wakes up. After his turn he puts 30 more on my Slurpuff meaning he wins on turn three because he has a benched Landorus-EX with a fighting energy to finish off my poor Cotton Candy thing.

With nothing useful in my hand, I desperately Tasting twice into an Ultra Ball. Having Trump Carded a couple turns back, I knew Jirachi-EX and Cassius were still in the deck, so I searched out Jirachi-EX to grab Cassius and shuffle the nearly dead Slurpuff safely back into the deck. He is unable to take his last prize on turn 3 so game two was a draw, and the match defaulted to the winner of game one,which was me. This was for sure one of the most stressful and close games of the day.

At this point I'm 4-0 and on cloud 9!

Round 5- David Lopez with Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat, LWL, 4-1-0

I finally face the deck I was not looking forward to playing against. Seismitoad-EX mirror of course is never fun, but this Seismitoad-EX mirror has a solid attacker with Manectric-EX and extra damage with Bats. Game one I whiff supporters for a few turns and am unable to Quaking Punch while he sets up. I scoop this one early and opt to go first for the second game.

This time I'm able to get Muscle Band on my Seismitoad-EX turn 1 to stop his Head Ringers and play VS Seeker for Xerosic at the end of my turn. Later in the game after he whiffed Quaking Punch I was able to Archie's Ace in the Hole. As I thought about what to discard with Ultra Ball so I could get my hand down to one, he scoops and we set up for game three. I open lone Exeggcute as he shows me the Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym for game. Despite the ending, it was overall a great series.

Now at 4-1-0, I start to worry a little because if I lose one more I'm out of the running for Top 8.

Round 6- Brandon Salazar with Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat, LWT, 4-1-1

Great, another Seismitoad-EX/Crobat. I forget how these games played out exactly, but I should have scooped game one earlier. Using up so much time meant that we wouldn't have much time for game three. In game three, I was able to Archie's Ace in the Hole very early on and had total board control. Unfortunately, time was called and we each had 6 prizes. A tie didn't put me out of cut, but it meant I had to win my next round.

Round 7- Isaiah Williams with Flareon, WW, 5-1-1

Game one we both start with no supporters. I have two Swirlixes in play and a Scoop Up Cyclone in my hand. We draw and pass for a few turns each until I topdeck a Seismitoad-EX. I was then able to Scoop Up my active and Quaking Punch for the knockout on his active Eevee FFI. He scoops soon after. Game two we each get better starts and I'm able to get Swampert in play. I'm unsure how the rest of the game played out, but I know it was a lot better than the first.

This is what Top 8 looked like:

1. David Lopez w/ Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat
2. Michael Canaves w/ Empoleon/Magnezone/ Plasma Cryogonal/Miltank
3. Orion Craig w/ Aromatisse/Seismitoad-EX/Malamar-EX
4. Grafton Roll w/ Flareon/Empoleon/Archie
5. Nathan Brower w/ Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff/Swampert/Archie
6. Justin Crossley w/ Lucario-EX/Crobat (1 Landorus-EX)
7. Ryan Sabelhaus w/ Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff/Dragalge
8. Brandon Salazar w/ Seismitoad-EX/Manectric-EX/Crobat

I was ecstatic to have made Top 8 and secured those valuable 50 points! I didn't care if I lost first round, I was just happy that I was put in a good spot to get my invite.

Top 8- Grafton Roll with Flareon/Empoleon/Archie, WW, 6-1-1

I worried a little when I found out I was facing Grafton with his Flareon deck. I knew that he had to have it heavily prepared for Seismitoad-EX, especially after making Top 8 in a field full of it. Game one he has to discard a few energy with a Professor Juniper on the first turn. I am able to knock out his only Leafeon and he scoops soon after, unable to do anything. Game two is even worse for him regarding poor Professor Junipers: First turn he discards two Leafeon, and the third one is discarded the turn after. Without any grass attackers to work with, he invests in Flareon. One turn he hits my Seismitoad-EX for 170 damage, just short of the knockout.

The next turn I heal my Seismitoad-EX with Scoop Up Cyclone after finding it with Swampert and then Quaking Punch for what I thought was the knockout. Nope, he played Training Center down and I totally forgot about it! After placing 100 damage on his Flareon, he Professor Junipers one more Pokemon away to hit for 180 on my Seismitoad-EX. A few turns later he benches Audino and Hip Bumps me for 30. My hand is bad, and even with Swampert in play, there was no way to get rid of Hip Bump's effect and still Quaking Punch that turn. I end up playing Lysandre on his benched Deoxys-EX, hoping that even if I flip tails he won't be able to get out of the active. I flip heads and he scoops. I got quite lucky overall.

Grafton did get his invite with that Top 8 placement, so congrats to him!

I was excited to learn Justin won his Top 8 match, not only because he is my friend, but because he knocked out Orion and his Aromatisse/Seismitoad-EX/Malamar-EX deck; a deck that I would have a really tough time with.

Top 4- Justin Crossley with Lucario-EX/Crobat, LWW, 7-1-1

Justin is an Alabama player that comes to Georgia for certain events and he and I have become pretty good friends.

Game one I start Jirachi-EX and can't attack until turn 4. He sets up a field of Hawlucha and I scoop after I realize there is no coming back. Game two I get the turn two Quaking Punch and he sets up a bunch of Hawlucha again. We trade knockouts for a while until he has two prizes left and I draw the Scoop Up Cyclone to prevent a crucial KO. The next turn I am able to set up Swampert and stream Scoop Up Cyclone whenever my Seismitoad-EX gets close to a knockout. Game three transpired similar to the previous game, except I get Swampert in play much sooner and he is unable to keep up with the energy and prize denial. He plays Lysandre and puts a lot of damage on Swampert, trying to knock it out next turn with Crobat's attack.

Unfortunately he misses the attachment and my Swampert stays alive. Even if the Mud Fish had been taken down I was ahead in both prizes and board position, however it would have opened him up to perhaps a timely N to take me out of the game for a few turns as I only had one Slurpuff set up. He played three Fighting Stadium so he is able to keep it in play quite consistently. It seemed like every turn we played a stadium card. I found myself Diving Searching for the Virbank City Gym a couple of times to keep him from scoring the crucial 2HKO. He also only plays one Landorus-EX and opts for a more Lucario- centered build to help the Seismitoad-EX match-up. Overall, a very close series indeed.

Finals- Ryan Sabelhaus with Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff/Dragalge, LWW, 8-1-1

Game one Ryan goes first and gets two Head Ringers down on my Seismitoad-EX's and two Muscle Bands on his own. I eventually run out of Double Colorless Energy after I prized one and had to discard another. Seeing as there was no winning, I scooped. Game two I was able to get a Muscle Band down turn one to stop the onslaught of Head Ringers and he whiffed the turn two Quaking Punch. Later in the game I'm able to pull off a Xerosic on one of his Double Colorless Energies which caused him to miss a turn of attacking. Able to play Items, I VS Seeker for a couple of disruption supporters.

He scoops, and we move onto a game three. He goes first and gets the Head Ringer on my active Seismitoad-EX. In my hand is Jirachi-EX, Float Stone, Double Colorless Energy and Scoop Up Cyclone. I Stellar Guidance for the Professor Juniper, Scoop Up the active Seismitoad-EX and attach Float Stone to the now active Jirachi-EX. In my Professor Juniper I hit Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym and am able to hit his active Seismitoad-EX for 80. Eventually he runs out of Double Colorless Energy and goes to deck himself out for the heck of it. Seismitoad-EX mirror is never really 'fun', but I can't help but to have a great time when playing someone such as Ryan. I really enjoy the chatting and banter in our games.


Closing Thoughts


Well there you have it guys. I hope this article helped you in some kind of way. Whether it's how you want to make your Seismitoad-EX deck or if some of Nathan's matchs helped you know how to handle certain match-ups. Come week 2 of States I still see Seismitoad-EX decks being the most played, because quite frankly it's still too overpowered in our meta. Will we see a rise in Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX decks? Only time will tell I guess. With that being said that will conclude this article. I hope you enjoyed Nathan's tournament report and I hope to see all of you at Georgia and Florida States. Please be sure to give a thumbs up if you enjoyed reading this article and as always; keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time.


[+6] okko


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