Experts' corner

Eye on Japan

Yveltal/Archeops & Seismitoad/Slurpuff

60cards presents "EYE ON JAPAN" a section focused on Japanese metagame.

03/09/2015 by Eye on Japan

Hello 60cards readers!


In this section "EYE ON JAPAN" we would like to bring you reports and interesting news from Japan written by different authors. We hope you will enjoy it.

My name is Yuki Fujimori, also known as Ukinin(うきにん)among Japanese players. In case you do not know me, let me introduce myself before moving onto the main topic.

I started playing the Pokémon TCG about 17 years ago, right after the Fossil set was released in Japan. The biggest success in my PTCG career has been making Top 4 in the WCS 2004, with a Team Magma deck and huge amount of luck (This WCS is famous for Yamato-san placing 1st with his great Magma Spirit deck. Sadly, I lost to Chris Fulop’s great Blazeken deck in the semifinals). I'm now living and playing the game in Osaka, Japan.

In my last article, I conducted an interview with Haruto Kobayashi, the winner of WCS 2014 Juniors ( Check it here. ). If you didn't read it yet, be sure to check it!

My last article was an interview, however, I love reading and writing articles about deck strategies and metagame analysis. I enjoy reading these articles on foreign websites and blogs, including (Fortunately I can read and write English a little). In fact, the format is different in Japan, but thoughts on strategies or deck ideas are always helpful in building better decks.

This time I wrote a tournament report. On February 8th, I participated in the Gold Gyarados Cup, held in Nagoya. Every month about 100 players gather to play this tournament. It is named after the famous ornaments in Nagoya Castle and has been held for over 5 years now, being one of the most famous unofficial tournaments in Japan.

I won this tournament with a Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff deck. I found out about this deck on a foreign PTCG website and was very impressed, however I made some changes to the deck to update it to the Japanese metagame. 

I will start with a metagame analysis followed by the deck explanation.

Metagame Analysis

I know Yveltal EX is one of the best decks in the current foreign metagame, and that's the same in Japan. Actually, Yveltal EX is even more dominant here in Japan because we still have Dark Patch in our format. Whilst also benefitting from some great additions from the new set, Acro Bike from Primal Clash is also a great addition to the deck.

Here is the sample list.


You may notice this deck plays the Archeops and Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick combo. This combo is not my own idea, but has been played in the most popular Yveltal-based decks in Japan.

Once Archeops is benched, fearful Mega Evolution Pokemon such as Gardevoir or Groudon cannot be evolved. In fact, you are not always able to play Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick on turn 1 or 2, regardless it's incredible that you can shut down any Evolution-based deck with only one pair of cards. Even though you can't play Archeops on turn 1; Bikes and Dark Patches allow you to quickly power-up a monstrous Yveltal EX which easily knocks out your opponent's Pokemon, while at the same time shutting off your opponent's evolutions in the middle of the game with the fossil bird.

Some players have opted for Rhyperior from Primal Clash along with Archeops. Hard Charm and Rhyperior are especially good in mirror matches because it reduces the damage, allowing Yveltal EX to survive longer. In addition, Rhyperior can never be Lysandre’d thanks to its Omega Barrier, so its Rock Wall ability works throughout the entire game.

Eelektrik variants are still relatively popular in Japan, because of their good match-up against Yveltal. Some play Rayquaza EX and Mega Manectric EX with Eelektrik for its old-fashioned Dragon Burst attack, while others build it like a Big-Basics version such as Bouffalant or Seismitoad EX with thinner Eelektrik lines.

There are of course other decks in the format like as Mega Gardevoir EX, Huntail/Ho-Oh  EX and Donphan variants. Ho-oh EX found its best friend in Huntail from Primal Clash and is strong against almost all the EX heavy decks.

Deck Explanation

When I first found this deck in an article by Zander Banette from "A Roll of the Dice”(You can check it here.), I was so impressed that I immediately started play-testing it.

After some time, I realized that the Hammers were surely powerful, but its power depends on how your opponent's deck functions, and also relied too heavily on a dice roll. Furthermore, as I mentioned before, we still have Eelektrik and Dark Patches in our format, so the Hammers seemed less effective. I didn't like to dedicate 4 spots in my deck to the Hammer strategy, so I started to look for another option. At the same time, I was examining the Yveltal mirror-matches and understood the strength of Max Potion, so I chose to adopt this strategy to my Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff deck.

Here is the list I played.


The main strategy of this deck is simple: keeping your Seismitoad EX alive with Max Potion and attacking your opponent every turn. However, Max Potion gets rid of your DCE, but Slurpuff's Ability "Tasting" will immediately allow you to draw another one.

Four copies of Acro Bike may look strange, but mid-game you often need to draw a Max Potion, DCE and Laser all at the same time, so non-supporter draw cards are really helpful. If you cannot draw into the cards you need with the non-Supporter draw cards, you can still play a powerful Supporter the same turn. In addition, Acro Bike increases your chance to start attacking on turn 1.

You may think Pokémon Centre Lady suffices for Seismitoad EX, but the graceful lady can't heal the deadly 120 damage dealt by Boufallant, Manectric EX and Yveltal EX. 

On blogs I saw some people play Victini EX as a Fire attacker in their Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff decks. I know it would work well in this deck, but opted to play Reshiram, considering it is one of the most useful DCE attackers. Additionally, I valued Seismitoad EX's Grenade Hammer in the late game so I wanted to keep the Water Energies in my deck instead of Fires. 

I'm confident about the deck and almost satisfied with the outcome, but if I could make a change to it, I will play two Xeroxics instead of 1 Xeroxic and 1 Flare Grunt.

I don't think additional explanations are needed because Seismitoad EX/Slurpuff is one of the most popular Seismitoad EX variants in the U.S. and other countries, not including Japan. The key determining factor I chose this deck was its surprise effect on the Japanese metagame, considering it is fairly unknown here in Japan.

Let's move onto the tournament report. The were almost a hundred players, and after 5 swiss rounds only top 16 made the cut. (Oh I need to say that every match is BO1 in Japan)


Tournament Report

Round 1: vs Yveltal EX/Darkrai EX/Seismitoad EX

I tested this match-up countless times and knew it would be beneficial for me if my opponent didn't know how my deck functions, and in fact he was unaware of its powers. I started attacking him, while taking away his precious DCEs with Xeroxic, and soon he drew dead.



Round 2: vs Huntail/Ho-Oh EX

My opponent drew a poor opening hand, while I started off well, and could attack from the first turn. I Lysandre’d her Ho-oh EXs and used Quaking Punch until I won. I think this is a very favorable match-up for Seismitoad EX.



Round 3: vs Huntail/Ho-Oh EX 

Well, this is a deja-vu, isn't it? I started attacking him from the first turn again, meaning he couldn't play Battle Compressors due to Quaking Punch’s item lock, so the damage from Huntail's Powerful Storm never increased. I Lysandre’d his Ho-oh EXs and used Quaking Punch until I won, using a similar strategy as in game 2.



Round 4: vs Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik/Mega Manectric EX


This was a very tough game. He quickly set up Mega Manectric EX and started using Turbo Bolt. However, he couldn't discard enough Lightning Energies due to Quaking Punch, preventing discards with items such as Ultra Ball. I used Pokémon Centre Lady and Max Potions to keep my Seismitoad EX alive while continuing to attack him in combination with Lasers until his Mega Manectric EX was knocked out. I continued to use Quaking Punching until time was called and I won due to my prize lead.



Round 5: vs Rayquaza EX/Eelektrik/Mega Manectric EX


He set up his Manectric EX and Eels, while I started with Seismitoad EX and Slurpuffs. I attacked with Quaking Punch, as usual in this match-up. Different from my previous game against a similar deck, my opponent could discard enough energies for his Eels to power up a devastating Rayquaza EX. I Lysandre’d one of his Eels to reduce the  amount of energies he could recycle, but he drew a timely Skyarrow Bridge, discarding my Virbank City Gym, making the Eel survive an additional turn (the Eel would have been knocked out at the end of his turn if Virbank City Gym was still in play). Somehow , I restricted the Energies in play to just one Lightning and two Fires, but the remaining energies were moved to Rayquaza EX, with the help of his tech Eelektross, and with the third Fire Energy from his hand, the dragon knocked out my Seismitoad EX for the 5th and 6th prizes.



I made the cut and advanced to the top 16 match.


Top 16: vs Donphan/Hawlucha


This match-up is more difficult than it looks on paper; simply because Hawlucha can deal a great amount of damage even under Item-lock. Furthermore, I couldn't draw into Lasers  at crucial times, so my opponent's Hawlucha could retreat to the bench after taking 50 damage and a new Hawlucha came to the active to take 50 damage. Max Potions, however, kept my Seismitoad EX from being knocked out and I gradually started to dominate the field. Time was called and I won by the amount of prizes taken, but with a few additional minutes, I could have taken all the prizes anyway.


Quaterfinals: vs Zekrom/Eelektrik/Seismitoad EX

This match-up is relatively less difficult for my deck compared to RayEel because Zekrom/Seismitoad EX can never OHKO my Seismitoad EX under item-lock. In addition, he drew so poorly that I could win the match a bit easier than I expected.


Semifinals: vs Seismitoad EX/Mewtwo EX/Ninetales

Mewtwo's X-Ball is one of the most powerful attacks against Seismitoad EX. My opponent's Mewtwo EX start attacking my Seismitoad EX with DCE, however I max-potioned my Seismitoad EX to stay alive. Halfway through the game, my Laser hit his Mewtwo EX and fortunately it remained asleep, so my Seismitoad EX survived instead of his Mewtwo EX. In hindsight, that laser was really game-deciding. I continued attacking his active to keep an advantage until I won.


Finals: vs Eelektrik/Manectric EX/Seismitoad EX/Bouffalant


I started off with Jirachi EX, while my opponent started with Seismitoad EX... this seemed the end of the game to me, however when I Xeroxice’d off the DCE on turn 2, he didn't draw into one the turn after, which allowed me to use items the next turn. I quickly set up my own Seismitoad EX, used Laser and started attacking his Seismitoad EX. After KOing his active, his Mewtwo EX and Bouffalant dealt some damage ranging from 100 to 120 to my Seismitoad EX, but I Max-Potioned my Seismitoad EX almost every turn. He couldn't draw into any supporters and I knocked out his attackers with Quaking Punch and Grenade Hammer!




The tournament was well organized and really fun (And it is like this every time. That's why this Gold Gyarados Cup is being held every month for over 5 years). I could win this time, biggest factor being that  my opponents didn't know how my deck would work. Seismitoad EX, Laser and Max Potion are actually very powerful, but I believe information is the strongest weapon after all. 


Thank you for your reading! Looking forward to seeing you again. 

Written and translated by Yuki Fujimori


[+1] okko


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