The World Championships have finally passed. Now everyone has their sights set on Furious Fists and trying to figure out how it will impact the metagame. There are tons of cards with potential outside of the Fighting support, which should have everyone excited to try out the new format!
However, I believe Seismitoad-EX is the most threatening card as it can shut certain decks down and alter the way decks are constructed. So rather than giving a brief overview of decklists with the new Furious Fists cards incorporated, I’ll be talking about exactly why Seismitoad is so strong, the shortcomings of Seismitoad, and two decks that I believe are well positioned to stand up to it as a result.
Table of Contents
Seismitoad/Garbodor in some form appears to be the deck to beat, and I believe the decklist that Jay Hornung provided in his article is a great starting point. But what exactly makes Seismitoad so threatening? It seems that locking Items isn’t that big a deal when Seismitoad is only doing 30 damage per turn with Quaking Punch.
1. A turn 1 Item lock can shut certain decks out of the game. This is especially true for Stage 2 decks, since Quaking Punch stops Rare Candy along with all the Items that let you search for your Stage 1. Even if you go first with a Stage 2 deck, Seismitoad has the opportunity to block Items on the first turn going second, making Quaking Punch that much more dangerous than Gothitelle or Trevenant.
In addition, Seismitoad has the potential to stop any deck in its tracks. By preventing both Ultra Ball and Item-based draw, your opponent may be unable to find the correct attacker to deal with Seismitoad or just get stuck with a hand filled with Item cards. Although this is not as common as shutting out a Stage 2 deck completely by stopping Rare Candy, when these games do happen it will be an easy game for Seismitoad to steal.
2. Seismitoad makes Garbodor that much stronger. Yveltal/Garbodor was a force to be reckoned with, but the presence of Garbodor didn’t scare off decks that relied on Abilities completely. These decks could simply run 2 or 3 copies of Tool Scrapper along with Dowsing Machine in order to have a playable matchup. While this wasn’t a foolproof solution and took up some deck space, it allowed Ability-based decks to stand up to Garbodor.
Unfortunately, Seismitoad changes things. If your deck cannot function without Abilities, Seismitoad/Garbodor will shut you out of the game by preventing the use of Startling Megaphone with Quaking Punch. This doesn’t mean that Pokémon with Abilities are unplayable by any means, but it does mean that your deck must have an alternate strategy to deal with Seismitoad so that they can’t simply use Quaking Punch for the entire game.
3. Seismitoad hits Landorus-EX for Weakness. As everyone is well aware, Landorus-EX got a huge power spike with all the new Fighting support, considering it was already a playable card before. The fact that Seismitoad-EX is a Water type makes it a natural counter to one of the other most-hyped cards in the new format. This only helps to solidify Seismitoad’s position in the metagame.
4. Seismitoad ends up doing much more than 30 damage with Quaking Punch. It’s very easy to get a Muscle Band on Seismitoad-EX, but 50 damage is still only Knocking Out the average EX in four attacks. The real card that helps to break Seismitoad is Hypnotoxic Laser. Most of the time, Hypnotoxic Laser is 30 extra damage and useless if you’re playing against Virizion-EX. However, Seismitoad blocks both Switch and Escape Rope, while Garbodor shuts off both Virizion-EX’s and Keldeo-EX’s Abilities.
By preventing all the common ways to eliminate Status Conditions, your opponent is forced to try and retreat, otherwise the Poison damage can add up quickly. Therefore, Pokémon with high Retreat Costs will usually struggle to out-trade Seismitoad in terms of damage. Pokémon with high Retreat Costs are also very vulnerable on the Bench thanks to Lysandre and Quaking Punch preventing switching cards. Additionally, preventing switching cards makes the dreaded Sleep effect from Hypnotoxic Laser that much more dangerous. If you stay Asleep going into your turn, you essentially lose a turn of attacking. With four copies of Hypnotoxic Laser, there’s a good chance that this can happen once per game and it’s difficult to prepare for.
While I’ve hyped Seismitoad up quite a bit at this point, there are several ways to adjust to playing against Seismitoad. A lot of them have to do with deck building, but it’s also important to make the correct in-game decisions when playing against the deck.
1. If you still really want to play a Stage 2 deck, playing one Stage 1 and four copies of Rare Candy will not be sufficient. You need to play multiple copies of the Stage 1 to have a chance and your deck has to be able to deal with Seismitoad without Abilities. Miltank FLF seems like a decent solution, since it requires very few resources to attack with after you are forced to set up a Stage 2 under the Item lock. I’m not sure if there’s a very strong Stage 2 deck at the moment, but I believe that this is the best approach to making them viable.
2. Seismitoad is Weak to Grass. This just happens to be the type of the deck that performed extremely well at the World Championships: Virizion/Genesect. The deck naturally answers Seismitoad by Knocking it Out with a single Megalo Cannon. All the Pokémon in the deck also have a low Retreat Cost, so Hypnotoxic Laser and Quaking Punch are very manageable. This essentially forces your opponent to play a Big Basics/Garbodor deck with a few dead cards.
3. Play a counter Stadium. Hypnotoxic Laser damage only adds up so fast due to Virbank City Gym. Although Tropical Beach is rotated, any deck that has a Stadium card to help with its overall Strategy will also have another way to deal with Seismitoad under the Item lock. The new Fighting Stadium, for example, would help Lucario-EX trade with Seismitoad’s Quaking Punch.
4. Consider playing more Supporters to set up. This seems pretty obvious, but playing a deck reliant on Bicycle, Roller Skates, and Random Receiver is not going to perform very well under an Item lock. This doesn’t mean to avoid these cards completely, but be careful about playing them in very high numbers. Another way to change your alter your list to be more prepared for Seismitoad is to play one copy of Pokémon Fan Club. This could be a good replacement for Level Ball or Heavy Ball now that they’re rotated in decks that would rather not have to discard important resources by playing the fourth Ultra Ball instead.
However, Skyla is one of the Supporters that are not very good against Seismitoad. Unless you need to search for a Stadium card, Skyla is a bad card to draw when your opponent is using Quaking Punch. It’s not as bad as drawing Bicycle or Random Receiver because you can still search for another Supporter, but you’re essentially losing your Supporter for the turn and inhibiting your setup. You would much rather have more draw Supporters or Pokémon Fan Club if your deck needs a few different Pokémon to get going.
5. Be very careful with what you bench. It feels very natural to play down an attacker when you draw it, but if your opponent is playing Seismitoad then you better think very carefully if that Pokémon has a high Retreat Cost. A combination of Lysandre and Quaking Punch can punish you for a small mistake, so it’s very important to think ahead and decide precisely which attackers you need for the matchup.
The strategy behind Virizion/Genesect has pretty much been beaten to death at this point. Use Virizion-EX’s Emerald Slash to set up knockouts and charge Genesect-EX on the Bench. Then you can Red Signal threats on the Bench or take a huge knockout with G Booster. Despite its simplicity, the deck has proven to be very consistent and was strong enough to win the World Championships. Now Virizion/Genesect has a natural advantage against Seismitoad-EX due to the Grass typing, so I wouldn’t expect the deck to disappear anytime soon. The deck loses a few cards to the rotation, while gaining some new options. I believe the best way to approach this deck is with a skeleton list and then exploring a few different builds:
Pokémon – 7
Trainers – 29
Energy – 13
Free Spots – 11
This feels like a very standard Virizion/Genesect list at this point. Mr. Mime feels more like a staple now because between Genesect-EX, Kyurem PLF, and Landorus-EX, nearly every deck has a way to target Benched Pokémon. Preventing 20 or 30 damage doesn’t always feel like a lot, but if an opposing Landorus-EX uses Hammerhead for three turns, for example, then Mr. Mime prevents 90 damage. When you look at the bigger picture, having Mr. Mime on the Bench proves to be significant.
Due to the rotation, Tool Scrapper has been swapped out for Startling Megaphone, more switching cards must replace Skyarrow Bridge, the Plasma matchup becomes slightly worse without Enhanced Hammer, and the deck is more likely to run out of Energy without Super Rod.
The problem that seems the hardest to fix is the loss of Enhanced Hammer. Every other card can be replaced with something nearly as good, but no two card combination will improve the Plasma matchup as much as Enhanced Hammer did, while being universally useful. With that being said, here is an attempt at a very consistent build that answers all these problems:
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 34
Energy – 15
It’s already apparent that these are essential to the strategy of our deck and the reason for upping the count from three copies to four copies overlaps. When you run four copies of a card, you will start with them and draw them more often. This deck really needs to draw a Virizion-EX and Genesect-EX in order to Emerald Slash on the second turn, so improving the consistency to ensure this happens nearly every game is never a bad thing. Andrew Estrada proved at the World Championships that consistency is essential. It’s not always worth it to clutter your deck with techs for every matchup, when Genesect-EX gets the job done.
While Jirachi-EX can provide a minor consistency boost, its main use is to help Virizion/Genesect pull off big turns more reliably with G Booster and Red Signal. Being able to turn an Ultra Ball into a Skyla or a Shadow Triad allows these plays to happen much more consistently. The obvious downside is that Jirachi is a 90 HP EX, but your opponent won’t always have their last Lysandre after you N them and your opponent can’t always afford to ignore your Genesect-EX with G Booster in favor of taking two free Prizes on Jirachi.
I feel that while Dedenne isn’t necessarily game changing in every matchup, it’s certainly being overlooked. Quite a few Pokémon in this format will attach a 3rd Energy to attack. This gives Dedenne a great opportunity to act as a 7th Prize card for your opponent. The only question is, why Dedenne over another non-Pokémon-EX? The other non-EX attackers that require one Energy to attack are Stage 1s, meaning they are more difficult to set up and require more deck space. The other non-EX attackers that are Basic require multiple Energy attachments to attack.
So what numbers does Dedenne hit? If your opponent is using a three-Energy attacker that isn’t Weak to Lightning, that’s 60 damage for one Energy. Against an opposing Pokémon-EX with 170 or 180 HP, this leaves them in range of Genesect-EX’s Megalo Cannon with the help of either a Muscle Band or 20 snipe damage on the Bench. Dedenne can also Knock Out a three-Energy Kyurem with the help of Emerald Slash and Muscle Band.
The big point to emphasize is that although every Pokémon in your deck already does what Dedenne can, when your opponent Knocks Out Dedenne they don’t get any closer to winning since they still have to Knock Out three Pokémon-EX.
Dedenne is also a potential solution to Lugia-EX. After a Plasma Gale, Lugia-EX will have 3 Energy attached. This means that Dedenne can hit for 160 damage with the help of Muscle Band, making Lugia-EX an easy 2 Prizes with the help of Genesect-EX’s Megalo Cannon. Since so much of Dedenne’s potential relies on drawing Muscle Band, I decided to add a fourth copy. This allows you to Skyla for something more important in order to set up for the next turn.
The most obvious replacement to Skyarrow Bridge is simply to play different switching cards. I decided to play four copies of these switching cards because it’s slightly more difficult to get Virizion-EX active without Skyarrow Bridge. If you started with a non-Virizion-Pokémon-EX, Skyarrow Bridge, and a draw Supporter, you were able to play the Skyarrow Bridge an only need a Virizion-EX off the draw Supporter. However, now you need both Virizion-EX and a Switch/Escape Rope at the same time. This also goes hand in hand with playing the fourth copy of Virizion-EX and the fourth copy of Ultra Ball.
The 1 Escape Rope goes up in value a lot because the deck plays 4 Skyla. Most of the time the Pokémon you want to attack is Active or there is a specific Pokémon you need to target down with Red Signal. However, playing four copies of Skyla allows you to usually retrieve the Escape Rope when it’s beneficial, while still drawing one of the three copies of Switch most of the time when you can’t afford to retreat.
This is another card that I feel has potential in the right metagame, but is being overlooked. It is only useful in Virizion/Genesect builds that play very few tech attackers because it can only be attached to Grass Pokémon. However, Potion has always seemed to fade in and out of playability and I see no reason why Herbal Energy should be much different. If your opponent sets up Genesect-EX for a knockout and plans to 2-shot it, Herbal Energy can definitely mess up their calculations. It also helps the deck deal with the loss of Super Rod by adding a couple more Energy to the deck. In a format full of 1-shots this card could prove to be useless, but it’s certainly a card worth testing until the metagame becomes more apparent.
1-1 Drifblim BW64
This would replace Dedenne and a consistency card in the list. Drifblim’s Shadow Steal loses a lot of power with the rotation of Enhanced Hammer. However, Plasma decks will still play at least 8 Special Energy and even Fighting decks will play 7-8 Special Energy. Mewtwo-EX and Lucario-EX are getting some hype and Drifblim can prey on both of these attackers due to their Psychic Weakness.
Even in other matchups where your opponent only runs a few Special Energy, Drifblim can be used as a 7th Prize card and set up an opposing 170 HP Pokémon-EX to be Knocked Out by Genesect-EX/Muscle Band by only doing 50 damage. As always with Drifblim, its viability is dependent entirely on how many decks play lots of Special Energy in the metagame.
I feel the best card to drop for Shaymin-EX would be Jirachi-EX. First off, it’s very risky to play two low-HP EXs in your deck because it increases the chance of starting with one of them and giving up two free Prizes. But Shaymin also fulfills a similar role to Jirachi; it gives you more options to pull off a big play toward the end of the game. Shaymin and Energy Switch is just as powerful a combination to end the game as is using Jirachi to search for a Skyla/Shadow Triad for G Booster. The reason I’m favoring Jirachi right now is due to the slight consistency boost on the off chance you have an Ultra Ball and no Supporter, but I think that Shaymin is also a very strong option right now.
Bear with Me
While the list above is very consistent, it has an auto-loss to Pyroar and a closer Landorus matchup with all the new Fighting support. Below is an attempt to deal with these threats more effectively while sacrificing some consistency and an explanation of the key card differences:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 32
Energy – 15
2-2 Beartic FFI
Beartic is the new answer to Landorus-EX and Pyroar. It also functions as a 7th Prize card and can dish out decent damage to any Pokémon with a Retreat Cost of two or more. The downside to Beartic is that it requires more Energy to attack and comes with a much higher Retreat Cost than the other non-EX attackers the deck can run. It is also metagame dependent because it’s a terrible attacker against decks with a low Retreat Cost, such as the Virizion/Genesect mirror matchup.
2 Double Colorless Energy
Double Colorless Energy allows Beartic to attack while still being able to charge Genesect-EX with Emerald Slash. It can also save you from discarding an extra Energy card with G Booster. Having a non-EX attacker does you no good if you run out of Energy to charge your third Pokémon-EX, so saving an Energy attachment is crucial. It’s also important to run a higher Energy count now that Super Rod is rotated and there’s no way to recycle Energy.
One way that Landorus-EX can deal with Beartic is by attaching a Float Stone to eliminate its Retreat Cost. This means that your Beartic can no longer Knock Out a Landorus-EX, thus ruining the entire purpose. If Landorus-EX is run alongside Garbodor, this might become quite common. The second copy of Startling Megaphone allows you to remove the Float Stone off Landorus-EX more reliably.
While this card doesn’t feel absolutely necessary, it definitely aids Beartic in countering Landorus. If you choose to devote a large portion of your deck to Beartic, it makes sense that you expect to play against several Landorus-EX decks, so you want to ensure they don’t counter your counter with a single Item card.
Since this version of the deck runs Double Colorless Energy to support Beartic, Mewtwo-EX fits naturally. With the predicted rise in play of Lucario-EX and opposing Mewtwo-EX, this card gains a lot of strength as it can earn you an easy 2 Prizes. However, if Lucario-EX and Mewtwo-EX aren’t widely played then this spot can be devoted to consistency.
Both Dedenne and Shaymin-EX are playable in this deck for the reasons listed above. Dedenne could replace Mewtwo-EX, Startling Megaphone, or a consistency card, while Shaymin-EX could replace Jirachi-EX. If Pyroar becomes popular and you are set on playing Virizion/Genesect, a third copy of Cubchoo will go a long way in the matchup. If you only play two Cubchoo and one is targeted down on the Bench, then you only have one Beartic to fight an army of Pyroar. The third copy of Cubchoo helps you get two Beartic into play.
Virizion/Genesect doesn’t have to take Seismitoad into heavy consideration when making card choices because its typing gives it such a huge edge. However, most other decks must adapt or accept a poor Seismitoad/Garbodor matchup. Aromatisse has barely been getting any attention with the rotation of Prism Energy, but I believe it still has the tools to adapt to the rotation and have a playable Seismitoad matchup. This list is largely based upon Michikazu Tsuda’s Aromatisse deck that made top 4 at the World Championships with a few key changes that I’ll highlight:
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 32
Energy – 12
Adapting to the Rotation and the Format
This deck lost Level Ball, Heavy Ball, and Super Rod in the rotation. As a result, it’s going to be slightly more difficult to set up Aromatisse. It’s also going to be more devastating if Aromatisse is Knocked Out and your second copy of Aromatisse is Prized since you lack recovery. Running a third copy of Aromatisse makes it just as likely to draw Aromatisse as before and solves the recovery problem.
However, the deck still has no way to recover Energy. This is the same problem Virizion/Genesect suffers from with the rotation of Super Rod. The simple solution is simply to add a 12th Energy! This also has the added benefit of getting your Energy attachment every turn more consistently.
With the lack of Level Ball and Heavy Ball, it seems natural to add a fourth copy of Ultra Ball. You need more ways to search for Spritzee since you will most likely have to use Ultra Ball to search out the correct attackers, but an Aromatisse deck cannot afford to discard too many important resources. This is reflected in the list since it only plays three copies of Professor Sycamore. Pokémon Fan Club provides you with a way to search for Basic Pokémon and has the added benefit of aiding the deck’s setup when under Seismitoad’s Item lock.
With the rotation of Enhanced Hammer, this deck can safely play more Special Energy. Although Drifblim is still a minor threat, you can use Aromatisse to ensure your Pokémon that are going to be Knocked Out have Y Energy attached, rather than Rainbow Energy. Although Rainbow Energy can’t be searched out by Xerneas’ Geomancy, six copies of Y Energy is still plenty if you decide to use Geomancy for a couple of turns.
The obvious gimmick of the deck is to shift Energy between attackers and to abuse Max Potion with no drawback. While this concept is strong, it fails quickly when your opponent can Knock Out M Kangaskhan-EX with a single attack. Therefore, it seems ridiculous at first glance to try and support a Fighting-Weak EX after a set just came out to support Fighting Pokémon.
The deck sets up very consistently by using Triple Draw or Geomancy by the second turn. This buys time to set up Aromatisse and to build up Energy in play. If your opponent cannot deal with Mega Kangaskhan and Max Potion, then the game is essentially over. If they can, you can easily respond to their threats. Suicune and Keldeo-EX deal with Landorus-EX. Mewtwo-EX deals with Lucario-EX and opposing Mewtwo-EX. Although Double Colorless Energy cannot be moved with Aromatisse’s Fairy Transfer, it’s very useful in saving you an Energy attachment when you know the attacker it’s attached to will most likely be Knocked Out next turn. Losing three Fairy/Rainbow Energy cards is much worse than losing a Fairy/Rainbow Energy and a Double Colorless Energy.
Outside of trading effectively with Landorus-EX, Suicune acts as a wall against Lugia-based Plasma decks and Fighting decks without Garbodor as they play very few non-EX attackers.
Xerneas-EX allows you to setup M Kangaskhan for knockouts with a relatively uncommon Weakness. As a bonus, it can Knock Out Dragonite-EX due to the Fairy Weakness and ruin their entire strategy of healing with Super Scoop Up. And on top of all that, M Kangaskhan-EX is a natural answer to Pyroar.
While Virizion/Genesect focused on beating Seismitoad through a huge type advantage, this Aromatisse build exploits Seismitoad’s other weak points. A full four copies of Fairy Garden mitigates the effectiveness of Seismitoad and Hypnotoxic Laser while you set up a more powerful attacker. This forces your opponent to break the Quaking Punch lock because your attackers are now dealing much more damage than Seismitoad by countering Virbank City Gym and having the option to retreat for free out of Poison.
While the deck is certainly not invincible and many games against Fighting decks can come down to whether they draw well off an N to 1, Aromatisse is still very well rounded and viable. By playing more Supporter-based draw and counter Stadiums, it is able to adapt to Seismitoad without having to tech in a hard counter, such as Genesect-EX. It’s hard to say how well Aromatisse will perform with no knowledge regarding the rest of the metagame, but I believe it has a lot of potential.
The one card that I’m seriously considering in place of the third Aromatisse is Sacred Ash. The biggest issue I have with this card is that you often are forced to put excess Pokémon back into your deck that you’d rather not draw off of a late game N. However, getting back Suicune against a Fighting deck without Garbodor can be very hard for your opponent to deal with. Since it’s not often that I ever want a Pokémon back in my deck outside of Spritzee, Aromatisse, and Suicune I’m opting not to run Sacred Ash for now. But at the same time it is a very safe card to play and can open up some options late game if you don’t mind clogging your deck with a few extra Pokémon.
There really is so much information to cover between the rotation and a set with so many playable cards! It’s always interesting to see how accurate everyone’s predictions are when they try and predict a metagame based off of no tournament results. I hope my article shed some light on how to counter Seismitoad and gave some inspiration on how to build two decks that were just successful at the World Championships in the current format.
I personally am very excited for Philly Regionals, as I feel like there’s going to be a lot of creativity in deck building between BCR-on and the Extended format. I think the most difficult part is going to be extensively testing two formats in the same timeframe we as players had last year. Hopefully all the insight of the Underground writers will make the process much easier! And as always, feel free to send me a message or comment below if you need help or have any questions.
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