Experts' corner

Jose Marrero

"Daaaaang Toad Back at it again with the Quaking Punch."- A 2nd and 3rd Place States Report

Jose talks about his Week 3 and 4 States finishes in Florida and Alabama.

04/19/2016 by Jose Marrero


Hello again 60cards readers! Now that States is over people are going to want to look towards Spring Regionals next month. But first I want to go over my week three and four States finishes just like I did in my last article on week one. Again I'll be going over my Swiss and top cut games as well as go over the deck I decided to play as a whole and the changes I ultimately decided on. For both events I basically carpooled with the same group of friends because it's nice to have a steady group of friends you can depend on when traveling to events. Being consistent at finding a group to carpool with assuming you aren't flying makes you a very dedicated player when it comes to being competitive.

I managed to finish my State Championship run with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finish respectively to put me at a staggering 500 Championship points. Enough to keep me in the Top 16 for now. I know there's plenty of Regionals and still Nationals left, but I'll still be battling it out to stay on top with the rest of you. I'll be at Georgia Regionals for week two of Spring Regionals to see if I can snag a couple more points. I'm unsure yet if I'll be doing a week one or week three Spring Regionals yet. Most likely not week one but there's a possibility for week three depending on if I really want to go into a Regionals with the new set being new to all even though I've done it a number of times for Florida Regionals.

With that said, down below is the deck I decided to play for Florida States giving me a 2nd Place finish. Let's take a closer look.


Let's go over the deck I played for Florida States as a whole starting with the Pokémon. Of course three Seismitoad-EX and two Giratina-EX which is usually a staple in this deck. You basically use Seismitoad-EX as the main attacker until your comfortable attacking with Giratina-EX and because you have your opponent under Item Lock means you almost always have time to power up a Giratina-EX. Three Shaymin-EX as well because hitting a turn one Double Colorless or energy in general is crucial. One Hoopa-EX so you can grab your attackers and draw power at the same time which is something I just love about Hoopa-EX. I noticed a lot of players dropped Hoopa-EX from their Standard lists probably due to not having Keldeo-EX anymore which I can't really argue with because Hoopa-EX is a horrible bench sitter. Then there's also a 1-1 Slowking line. Slowking was mainly added to help against the mirror and M Manectric-EX decks. Moving out of the Pokémon we now have the Supporters which you will notice I went with a lot one-ofs aside from Professor Sycamore which needs no introduction since those speak for themselves. One Judge was really nice because since the deck Item Locks a well-timed Judge can be crucial for the opponent. One Skyla I just love in this deck or decks that play Puzzle of Time because being able to search out the second Puzzle of Time is ridiculous. You literally can't ask for more than that. Sometimes I would search out Fighting Fury Belt but I mean you can search out for basically anything in the deck with Skyla other than Energy unless they are in the discard of course with the help of Puzzle of Time as I mentioned.

One AZ was very clutch when picking up Lysandre upped things such as Hoopa-EX. One Hex Maniac which I barely used was strictly for Aegislash-EX because the deck only runs Special Energy obviously. One Lysandre as well for dragging and locking Pokémon in the Active spot for a free Prize or two depending on what it is and what you’re attacking with. And for the Energy Removal Supporters we have Xerosic and Team Flare Grunt both of which have their merits. Then we have the decks four of Items such as, VS Seeker, Ultra Ball, Puzzle of Time, Super Scoop Up, Crushing Hammer, and Trainers' Mail. Consistency, consistency, consistency is what you see maxing all those out. I don't think I dead drew once in all my games. My losses were to bad matchups so hands almost always don't matter when facing those. I can't express how great Puzzle of Time is in this deck. Even early on when you have to Professor Sycamore away resources as long as it's not Puzzle of Times then you are fine because you can get them back if you need to. Just being able to potentially use 4-8 Crushing Hammers is ridiculous. And against decks that try to Xerosic off your energy means you shouldn't go dry because you can get back two energies at a time. I'll be honest I wasn't a big fan of Trainers' Mail in this deck, but for some reason I was able to play everything I wanted making Trainers Mail very good because of their consistency early on and even in the late game. Super Scoop Up was so clutch to the point where I used three or four of them to finally find a Double Colorless against my round five opponent to basically take the game from there.

I wasn't too worried about getting something stuck active from Lysandre because between Super Scoop Up, AZ and Escape Rope a long with Puzzle of Time meant I would rarely have that happen unless I let it happen to myself which would be a huge misplay because a big part of Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX is to lock the opponent from using Items or everything Chaos Wheel locks and if you don't have either one going then it can be troublesome. For the Tools I went with two Fighting Fury Belt over Muscle Band because I wanted to make sure I couldn't get KO’d too easy against Night March and Yveltal. For my Stadium of choice I went with two Team Aqua's Secret Base. I was between that or Silent Lab but then I thought "Why would I want Silent Lab out against Mega decks such as Rayquaza or Manectric?" so I went with Team Aqua's Secret Base because I wanted them to forcefully use Hex Maniac to damage Giratina-EX. Then for the one of Items I went with one Enhanced Hammer and Escape Rope. Both of these cards were used a lot more times than I thought. Especially the Escape Rope. Never thought I would love Escape Rope in this deck as much as I did. There was a time where I did Escape Rope up a Jirachi for the KO with Giratina-EX which felt extremely nice. And lastly, the energies are a no brainer, four of each Double Dragon and Double Colorless. I still don't know why some people run only three Double Dragon. Like, I don't get it. People run Jirachi and Xerosic more than ever these days so why not max them out?

Why I chose to play the deck

I chose to play Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX for week three in Florida was because I expected tons of people to play Night March, especially newer players and people who just want to play something safe and simple. They always fall back to Night March which is what I was counting on. Of course there were decks that I was afraid to play against such as, Trevenant and Greninja. But I managed to dodge those decks in Swiss which I also counted on because I didn't expect tons of those decks to be played especially newer players as I said. I also expected players to play my M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX deck which I again was correct on because you will see I played against one in my second round. The only other matchup that I was iffy on was the Dark matchup just because of how strong Yveltal-EX can be against Toad decks. However, a lot of people dropped down to one Yveltal-EX due to Night Marches dominance which was great for me. All I had to do was KO one Yveltal-EX and the rest should be fine. That's basically the reasons why I decided on the deck and I was glad I made a great meta call.

I was also just comfortable playing Seismitoad-EX decks and the fact that I had won week one with M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX and having played it for week two meant that people probably expected me to play it again. A lot of people thought I was which was funny because I knew they all were playing a deck that I know I can beat with Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX. I went into Florida States having people think I ran M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX because I wrote a deck list out in front of a lot of people but it was for a friend who was running late which is the funny part. I'm sure it made a couple people switch back to Night March or something that beats M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX but loses to Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX. I've played the deck at a bunch of other events so I knew how to play Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX. You will see why my meta call was on point as you get to the tournament reports.

Changes from Florida

First off I basically just went with the deck again for Week 4 because I kind of expected the same thing with a lot of people still running Night March. My changes from Florida if you take a closer look were dropping one Team Aqua's Secret Base, one Trainers' Mail, and one Fighting Fury Belt for two Muscle Band and one Latios-EX. Reason being was because I wanted to at least steam a game off of Trevenant and Greninja decks. I notice a lot of times both those decks like to start with a lone Basic such as Phantump or in Greninja's case Remoraid or Froakie. Both of these matchups give Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX trouble. Adding Latios-EX was actually worth the spot because it can be used as another attacker and you can Donk other decks such as, Vespiquen and Night March or even a Zorua in Yveltal decks. So Latios-EX has its uses should it present itself. I dropped down to one Team Aqua's Secret Base because in theory if I am attacking with Giratina-EX once it's out then they can't get rid or bump it anyway and with Skyla I can freely search it out if need be. Dropping down to three Trainers' Mail didn't really mess up the consistency just because sometimes I'm using Trainers' Mail to find a Tool anyway. Dropping to one Fighting Fury Belt did give me a chill just because of the Night March matchup but in the end Night March is already a great matchup no matter the Tools you play. Adding two Muscle Band was mainly because of Latios-EX. Hitting 60 damage gives magic numbers against a lot of Pokémon such as, Zorua, Bunnelby, Jirachi, Froakie and Phantump as I said. I'm sure there are others but you get the point. And honestly if I were to go up against a Ho-Oh-EX deck then now I can potentially two shot them with Seismitoad-EX as opposed to having to three shot them with a Fighting Fury Belt so that was another plus.

Tournament Report


Round 1 - Martin Roman - Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX/Slowking: WW (1-0-0)

Right off the bat, I have to face up against the mirror match. Martin was a cool guy because he flew all the way from Puerto Rico to play in our States. I believe he needed to top 4 to get his invite which he was able to do so grats to him. Going into game one I knew my game plan was to get Slowking as fast as possible while at the same time keeping Martin under Item Lock. I was able to keep pressure on Martin the whole game and denying a chance to Quaking Punch me back so I take a convincing game one. Game two Martin was able to get out his own Slowking, however he flipped a bunch of tails resulting in me never missing a beat. He did manage to put two Double Colorless Energies on my Hoopa-EX, however because he was unable to Item Lock me at the same time meant I was able to use my Items freely so I simply just Super Scoop Up’d the Hoopa-EX with two Double Colorless allowing me to keep Martin locked for the rest of the game.

With that I was able to take two very convincing games. I don't believe Martin was able to attack either game because he was trying to power up a Giratina-EX early on instead of attacking with Seismitoad-EX first. In the mirror you almost always go Item Lock over Giratina-EX because sure you can lock your opponent from attaching Special Energy for a turn but then all the energy on your Giratina-EX will be drained which makes it not worth going Giratina-EX unless you know for sure your opponent is out of Energy Removal cards.

Round 2 - Jacob Schroff - M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX: WW (2-0-0)

This round I'm up against the deck I created. I noticed Jacob ran Trainers' Mail as well but I still knew the list he was running wasn't too many cards off mine. Both games went exactly as planned with a turn two Giratina-EX attacking and locking Double Colorless Energy, Sky Fields, and Tools. Jacob was trying to power up Jolteon-EX but I just kept Crushing and Enhanced Hammering off his energy. There wasn't much Jacob could do because he didn't run Jirachi or Aegislash-EX which are cards that can help against Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX decks. The only thing Jacob could do is try and Lysandre stall me out, however every time he tried I always had the AZ or Double Colorless Energy to get out of the active spot so I again take two very convincing games and start the day 2-0-0.

Round 3 - Isaac Loop - Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade: WW (3-0-0)

I was somewhat worried about the Darkness matchup in Standard because my damage output is much less than it would be in Expanded and either way an Yveltal-EX can do lethal damage and potentially two shot my attackers. Game one I'm getting destroyed, but somehow I finally get a Giratina-EX attacking and denying his Double Colorless Energy. I know my only hope of winning was to go all or nothing with a single Giratina-EX because Isaac was at two prizes to my five or six still. I'm taking KO after KO and hitting some nice Hammer flips and I eventually drain Isaac out of energy to steal game one after being so far behind. That's one thing I learned about Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX you just never know how you’re going to win sometimes. Game two is much better for me with a quick Item Lock early on. I was able to keep the pressure and when Isaac would try and power up Zoroark I would immediately get it off the field with Giratina-EX. In game one he could have won by powering up a Zoroark with two Darks, however I was able to Lysandre it up before it could evolve which was a huge play in game one that turned the tides to my side. I had to play both games with a lot of thinking due to Isaac having so many attackers.

Round 4 - Alex Degicomo - Night March: WW (4-0-0)

This round I'm up against a good friend and former Florida and Georgia State Champion, Alex Degicomo. I knew the matchup was in my favor, but knowing it's Alex piloting Night March meant I had to still keep calm and not misplay. Game one I was able to get the Giratina-EX lock while Alex kept trying to Xerosic off my Double Dragon Energies and hope I would miss the energy drop even just once. However, I never missed an energy drop and kept the lock the whole game until I was able to take all my prizes due to Puzzle of Time. Game two pretty much goes the same way except I was able to get a quick Item Lock while Alex didn't have many Night Marchers in the discard this time giving me a huge advantage. Alex played the best he could but at the end of the day it comes down to matchups and I was fortunate enough to have the better of it.

Round 5 - Steven Bates - Night March: WW (5-0-0)

These games were streamed by TheMetaDeck. Click this link to view the games. If you don't want to watch it then I'll just go over the games anyway. Game one I play first and keep it simple with a Giratina-EX on the bench with a Double Dragon Energy. Steven takes his first turn of the game and I kid you not it's about a fifteen-minute turn one. He's digging and digging trying to find his Enhanced Hammer but fortunately for me he was unable to find it with about six cards left in his deck by turn one. Steven was left with two choices when he played his Lysandre turn one. He can drag up my Giratina-EX with the Energy and hope to hit three Battle Compressors after he already used a Supporter, or just drag something else up and not risk it. Steven went with Plan B and dragged up my Hoopa-EX instead only to find out he actually did hit three Battle Compressors off a Shaymin for five. We were both shocked but eventually Steven just took the KO on the Hoopa-EX. I then turn-two Giratina-EX-lock and then Steven responds with an Enhanced Hammer and Xerosic play on the same turn to drain my Giratina-EX, which I knew was coming, so I just went into a Seismitoad-EX and eventually took the game from there. Game two I play first and get a Seismitoad-EX with a Fighting Fury Belt going and I Judge us both to four and pass the turn with Steven's double-Joltik start. Steven has nothing off the Judge other than bumping my Team Aqua's Secret Base with his Parallel City, however I had a second one in hand ready to bump his Stadium right back. Steven is forced to pass so I take a KO one a Joltik as Steven again draws nothing and I Bench Steven in two turns.

Round 6 - Andrew Palm - Night March: ID (5-0-1)

I was 5-0-0 at this point and I knew my opponent was playing Night March, but my opponent was 4-0-1 meaning he needed to win and ID his last two rounds and since he knew I was playing Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX he agreed to ID with me guaranteeing myself Top 8. I didn't want to try and beat him because I obviously want him in Top 8.

Round 7 - Brandon Salazar - Night March: ID (5-0-2)

This round I'm up against yet again another Night March which Brandon and I just ID’d anyway because I wanted Brandon in Top 8.

Top 8 final standings after cut

1. Santiago Rodriguez – Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet
2. Jose Marrero – Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX
3. Brandon Salazar – Night March
4. Martin Roman – Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX
5. Hunter Butler – Night March/Vespiquen AOR
6. Rahul Reddy – Vespiquen/Raichu/Gallade AOR
7. Kyle Theaker – Night March
8. Branden Jackson – Tyrantrum-EX/Giratina-EX/Bronzong PHF 

Top 8 - Kyle Theaker - Night March: WW (6-0-2)

These games went pretty much how you would expect. Kyle got a couple Battle Compressors on turn one and a DCE down on Pumpkaboo before playing a Sycamore, but wasn’t able to get a really explosive start Night March is known for. On my turn I discarded DCE with a Crushing Hammer and used Quaking Punch. Kyle didn’t see another Energy, drawing and passing for the rest of the game. In the second game, I opened with Giratina-EX and Kyle opened with a lone Pumpkaboo, played Hex Maniac, and passed. I had Seismitoad-EX and DCE in hand, so I used Skyla for Escape Rope and once again locked down Items with Quaking Punch. Kyle managed a Set Up for one next turn but didn’t get anything and was forced to pass, so I Quaking Punched to Knock Out Pumpkaboo and Kyle promoted the lone Shaymin. Kyle played Teammates for DCE and used Sky Return, picking up Shaymin and going out honorably. There's really not so much a player can do in that situation. Either way I was happy to see Kyle in the Top 8, as well as Branden Jackson.

Top 4 - Brandon Salazar - Night March: WW (7-0-2)

These games were streamed by TheMetaDeck. Click this link to view the games.

Finals - Santiago Rodriguez - Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet: LL (7-1-2)

These games were streamed by TheMetaDeck. Click this link to view the games.


Round 1 - Austen Vance - Yveltal/Vespiquen/Zebstrika/Gallade: W (1-0-0)

Going into this round I wasn't sure what Austen was playing until he flipped over a Combee. Little did I know all the other attackers he had including two Jirachi. Game one I was able to lock with Giratina-EX pretty fast and forcing Austen to attack with Yveltal while powering up the Bench. However, I was able to hit back to back Lysandres on his Combee to drain him out of attacking with Vespiquen. Now he's forced to try and Jirachi off my Energy. He was able to attack with one but I eventually KO’d it. Nonstop attacking with Giratina-EX paid off and so I was able to take a long game one. Game two ended on time so I take the series because I won game one.

Round 2 - James Miller - Night March: WW (2-0-0)

This round I'm up against Night March which of course is what I want to see. Game one I play first and I notice James opened with a lone Jirachi so I immediately went for the turn one donk with Latios-EX. I was able to find Latios-EX and Double Dragon with ease but I still needed a Muscle Band. My last option was to Shaymin for two and so I do and hit the Muscle Band to take a quick game one. Game two I get a quick Giratina-EX attacking and just steam roll through James. James did play one Psychic Energy for his Jirachi but it was never to be found along with Jirachi in game two so I take a quick and convincing series and start the day with a comfortable 2-0. James did however, manage to make it all the way to the finals and win the whole event so grats to him.

Round 3 - James Hart - M Manectric-EX/Raikou: WW (3-0-0)

I wasn't too sure on how these games would go other than the fact I knew I had to get Slowking out. Both games I was able to hit heads on Crushing Hammer turn one and deny James from attacking. I kept this up the entire game in both games while attacking with Giratina-EX with Team Aqua's Secret Base on board denying his free retreat. James just couldn't keep Energy on the board due to Hammer flips and forcing James to attach to the active because of Team Aqua's Secret Base. James did play two Hex Maniac but again he was never able to attack both games because of my disruptions so I take two very convincing games.

Round 4 - Blake Pennington - M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX: LL (3-1-0)

These games were recorded by Team Fish Knuckles. Click this link to view the games. If you don't want to watch it then I'll just go over the games anyway. Long story short in game one Blake completely destroyed me with me flipping all four tails on my Crushing Hammers all on the same turn. Yes you heard that correctly. All I needed was one heads to get rid of his Lightning Energy on his active M Rayquaza-EX so I can Xerosic off the Double Colorless Energy but missing every single Crushing Hammer made for an easy win for Blake. Game two however, I'm playing as fast as I can and am Lysandre-ing up KO after KO on Shaymin but Blake keeps AZ-ing up his Aegislash-EX every time I would Hex Maniac and threaten the two shot. Eventually I was down to my last VS Seeker because my very last Prize was my fourth VS Seeker. I know I just have to Lysandre up Blake's Hoopa-EX and attack into twice with Giratina-EX to win game two, however Blake Skyla's for his very last VS Seeker and I knew at this point I have lost with me sitting at one Prize to Blake's five because I was about to deck out. No matter what I Lysandre’d up or Hex Maniac’d Blake can just AZ it up and go right back into Aegislash-EX to deck me out and that's what happened because of my very last Prize being my last VS Seeker. It was crazy that Blake didn't Prize a VS Seeker with still having five Prizes. If he did I had game two in the bag but instead I was the unfortunate one so Blake takes both games off me.

Round 5 - Ahmed Ali - Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade: ID (3-1-1)

This round Ahmed and I just decided to ID because either way we both needed to win the next two rounds. We both had a loss at this point so we didn't want to knock each other out of Top 8.

Round 6 - Night March: WW (4-1-1)

After ID-ing with Ahmed I was saying how I wanted to hit back to back Night March in my last two rounds and that's exactly what I got. These games were fuzzy because I can't even remember my opponent's name let alone our games but I just know game one was actually really close to where my opponent thought he had the KO on my Fighting Fury Belted Seismitoad-EX hitting me for 200 damage thus resulting in me using Super Scoop Up and the game was over from there because my opponent ran out of attackers. Game two I believe I just locked with Giratina-EX like I usually do against Night March and steamroll.

Round 7 - Brandon Salazar - Night March: WW (5-1-1)

Before the last round started I was hoping to play against Brandon and that's exactly who I got. Brandon was not happy about it to the point where he was grumpy the whole series. There was actually a repair before we started and Brandon was praying he was repaired, but nope we still had to play. Game one I just run through Brandon with both locks and in game two Brandon chose for me to go first and he opened with a lone Joltik. So I again am trying to go for the Latios-EX donk. I was able to get Latios-EX and a way to get it into the active spot but I miss the Double Dragon Energy so we had to play a real game. Still I was able to get Seismitoad-EX attacking even when I had a full Bench due to trying to get the donk so I take the series yet again over Brandon 2-0. If you read my Florida report you will notice we played in Top 4 playing the same matchup.

Top 8 final standings after cut


1. James Miller – Night March
2. Blake Pennington – M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX
3. Jose Marrero – Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX
4. James Hart – M Manectric-EX/Raikou BKT
5. Zakary Krekeler – Greninja BREAK
6. Austin Long – Night March
7. Jacob Dudzik – Vileplume AOR/Vespiquen AOR
8. Marc Goldstein – Lucario-EX/Hawlucha FFI/Machamp-EX/Groudon-EX/Octillery BKT

Top 8 - Austin Long - Night March: WW (6-1-1)

Yes! Another Night March only this time in Top 8 so I knew I would at least make Top 4 that's how confident I am against Night March with my Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX list. I still haven't dropped a game against Night March and I don't plan on it anytime soon. Both games yet again were simple with me locking with Giratina-EX once I knew Seismitoad-EX was done doing its job. Basically all my games against Night March are the same because that's how the matchup should go at least for me it has. I've seen other Seismitoad-EX/Giratina-EX decks lose to Night March and honestly I don't know how.

Top 4 - Blake Pennington - M Rayquaza-EX/Jolteon-EX: LWL (6-2-1)

These games were recorded by Team Fish Knuckles. Click this link to view the games. If you don't want to watch it then I'll just go over the games anyway. Game one is really close to the point I think that I can win but Blake does a play I had no idea was coming. He's at two Prizes and I have him under Giratina-EX lock and his active M Rayquaza-EX has only one Lightning Energy. However, Blake uses two Mega Turbo and Trainers' Mails for his last VS Seeker for the Lysandre to KO one of my Shaymin-EX to steal game one. In game two I notice Blake doesn't Battle Compressor away AZ so I start to lock up his Aegislash-EX with Seismitoad-EX and a bunch of turns later I was able to finally deck Blake out because he did actually Prize his AZ. In game three Blake gets off to an early lead but time is called and Blake is ahead on Prizes which I kind of figured I would lose that way in game three versus a deck that can easily one-shot my Pokémon. Still Blake and I had some great games and I was happy to see my deck go far once again even though Blake made some personal changes mainly dropping Puzzle of Time for Trainers' Mail and the two Float Stones for a Switch and Escape Rope. Blake's updated list was quite consistent and he played extremely well in both our Swiss and top cut games.

Closing Thoughts

That will conclude this article about my State Championship 2nd and 3rd place finish. I know people are going to be looking away from Standard now that States are over, however that’s mainly in the US so other countries may have more use for this article if they don't have Expanded yet. Either way I hope you were able to learn something from this article. I'll have another article at the end of the month which will be about Regionals next month so be sure to look out for that when it's published. As I said I'll be going to Georgia Regionals next month so be sure to come say hello if you want to play some games or something non-Pokémon related such as Love Letter or Exploding Kittens. I'm always down to play those games when I'm finished with my rounds.

With that said, if you have any questions then please feel free to leave me a comment down below or message me on Facebook and I'll be sure to get to them as soon as possible. As usual, if you enjoyed reading this article, then please consider giving it a thumbs up. If you want to see a specific type of article or topic next time, then don't hesitate to give me ideas down below and I'll consider them. Or if you have any other deck ideas and want to see an analysis on it, then by all means post it and I'll take a look. As always, keep an eye out for more articles to come. Until next time!


[+5] okko


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