Toad Country

An Overview of the First Week of States
kermit muppet frogs toadshenson.com
The frogs were in full force this past weekend.

Hey guys! It feels good to be writing again, especially on a topic as big as States. In my last article, I talked about my tales from the Texas Marathon and made a few predictions about the Winter Regionals ahead. I placed 45th in St. Louis with a solid 6-3 record, playing the M Manectric-EX/Suicune PLB deck that I had disclosed. I was unable to make it to Florida, but I was able to watch the stream (thanks to Procircuitscrub) nearly the entire time and I learned a lot from it. The deck that I was testing at the time (Yveltal/Seismitoad/Garbodor) ended up placing 1st and 2nd on the first day, which helped me build confidence in my testing. You can check out Dylan Dreyer’s 1st seed Florida Regionals report that includes the deck and more.

In this article, I’ll talk about the two decks I considered playing the first week of States and give you a very brief report of my performance, as well as cover five of the most interesting results from last weekend.

Deck 1 and Deck 2

I spent a lot of time testing with my teammates Andrew Zavala and Will McEowen in the weeks prior to the event since I felt like this was a format where a time investment was necessary to come out on top. We’re all fairly close to earning our invites, so we’ve been pushing as hard as we can to break the format and pick up those last few Championship Points.

Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR

The first deck I want to mention is Yveltal/Seismitoad/Garbodor, which is the deck that I tested the most leading up to the first week of States. My initial, pre-Florida Regionals list ran a heavy count of Crushing Hammer to help against Gardevoir decks in particular and also most other decks in the format. Once the results for Florida Regionals came in and it was apparent Gardevoir floundered, I decided to cut out all of the Crushing Hammer and I began running a heavy count of Enhanced Hammer instead to help against Flareon decks and other Yveltal decks, which began to see more play.

The deck has some of the best matchups against the rest of the field, if not the best overall. When the deck runs well, it is able to take down almost anything, which is why I am such a big fan of the deck. My list was pretty basic, but I included a few cards that other people haven’t been playing, and I made some cuts that others wouldn’t.

This is the list that I decided to play for Texas States:

Pokémon – 13

3 Yveltal-EX

3 Seismitoad-EX

2 Yveltal XY

2 Trubbish LTR

2 Garbodor LTR

1 Jirachi-EX

 

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

2 Lysandre

1 Pokémon Center Lady

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card

 

3 VS Seeker

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

3 Ultra Ball

3 Muscle Band

2 Enhanced Hammer

2 Float Stone

1 Switch

1 Escape Rope

1 Computer Search

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 11

7 D

4 Double Colorless

e=mc hammermemegenerator.net
My rationale.

The main difference you might notice between this list and most others is that I run 2 Enhanced Hammer and a Pokémon Center Lady. These cards are very good in Seismitoad mirrors, and I was expecting a decent amount of those throughout the tournament. They also come in handy against a multitude of other decks, such as Flareon, Night March, Landorus/Crobat, Plasma, and really any deck that plays at least 4 Special Energy, which is nearly every deck in the format.

The Friday before the tournament, I was stuck deciding between Yveltal/Seismitoad/Garbodor and Seismitoad/Crobat (more on that later), and I ultimately decided to play Yveltal/Seismitoad/Garbodor since I had put more time into testing it. My cousin Sean Hipp decided to play the same 60 cards as I did, as did my teammate Jake J. They performed much better than I did, placing 9th in Masters and 2nd in Seniors respectively.

Most of my matches were very boring, and I feel like it’d be a waste of time to talk about every match in detail. Instead, you can see how my tournament went below. I ended up going 6-3, placing 37th out of 253 Masters.

R1 vs. Night March, 2-0 W
R2 vs. Yveltal-EX/Darkrai-EX, 0-2 L
R3 vs. Bronzong PHF/Dialga-EX/Seismitoad-EX, 0-2 L
R4 vs. Night March, 2-1 W
R5 vs. Landorus-EX/Crobat PHF, 2-0 W
R6 vs. Yveltal-EX/Garbodor LTR, 2-1 W
R7 vs. Seismitoad-EX/Crawdaunt PRC, 1-2 L
R8 vs. Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff PHF, 2-1 W
R9 vs. Donphan PLS, 2-0 W

As you can see, I played against eight different decks, and you could even say nine if you consider Night March/Flareon and Night March/Empoleon different decks. I’m fairly pleased with my performance despite not making it to Day 2, and I feel like it’s a decent start heading into the next few weeks of States.

Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF

Earlier I noted that I was contemplating playing Seismitoad/Crobat, so now I’ll talk about that. My friend Chase Moloney sent me a list and I instantly thought it would be a strong play. I began trying it out with my testing partners and we made a few changes. Will ended up playing the deck and finished 5-2-2 after playing against two Bronzong/Aegislash decks that completely shut him down.

Here’s the list that Will played at Texas States:

Pokémon – 17

4 Seismitoad-EX

4 Zubat PLS 53

4 Golbat PHF

3 Crobat PHF

1 Mewtwo-EX NXD

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

3 N

2 Xerosic

1 Colress

1 Skyla

1 Lysandre

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card

1 AZ

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Super Scoop Up

3 Muscle Band

1 Escape Rope

1 Computer Search

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 6

4 Double Colorless

2 W

The deck is very simple, but it takes a decent amount of skill to pilot correctly. It has an edge in the Seismitoad mirror with its higher damage output, as well as against decks like Primal Groudon-EX where other Seismitoad decks struggle to pile on the damage.

The deck had very solid results during the first weekend of States, and I expect to see more of it as we move into the next few weeks.

Week 1-of States

There were twelve State Championships that played out this past weekend, but I’ll only be covering five of the most interesting ones. Credit goes to Andrew Wamboldt for compiling most of the information in the Facebook group Virbank City. We’ll start out with Texas since I actually attended and witnessed the event, and then we’ll go in alphabetical order for the other four.

Texas

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Yveltal took first prize in Texas.

In total we had 253 Masters, meaning we had 5 extra rounds of Swiss after the initial 9 for the Top 32 players. After the 14 rounds, the Top 8 was:

Top 8 (Initial Standings)

1. Brandon CantuSeismitoad-EX/Malamar-EX/Manectric-EX/Aromatisse XY
2. Jordan Roberts – Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR
3. Andy Gray – Donphan PLS
4. John Kettler – Primal Groudon-EX/Hawlucha FFI/Landorus FFI
5. Michael Dones – Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
6. Max Armitage – Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX
7. Long Bui – Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Mew-EX/Seismitoad-EX
8. Brad Curcio – Primal Groudon-EX/Landorus FFI/Masquerain PLB

As you can see, we had a fairly diverse Top 8. Seismitoad-EX was the top card of the weekend by far, and the results show it. With the amount of Seismitoad that did well, it’s no surprise that two Groudon decks made it into the Top 8.

There were also two oddballs that made the Top 8: Donphan and Virizion/Genesect/Mew. I still find it really hard to believe that Andy managed to make it to the Top 8 with a deck that doesn’t have the best time against Yveltal-EX- or Seismitoad-EX-based decks. With the lack of Flareon decks in Texas, I’m not too surprised that Long was able to make it to the Top 8 with his interesting Virizion/Genesect list. He has a very strong matchup against Seismitoad-based decks as well as Groudon decks, which made up most of the tournament.

If you’d like to see most of these decks in action, take a look through MrRen123’s archived streams.

Here’s how the Top 8 ended up:

Top 8 (Final Standings)

1. Max Armitage – Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX
2. Brandon Cantu – Seismitoad-EX/Malamar-EX/Aromatisse XY
3. John Kettler – Primal Groudon-EX/Hawlucha FFI/Landorus FFI
4. Long Bui – Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX/Mew-EX/Seismitoad-EX
5. Jordan Roberts – Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR
6. Andy Gray – Donphan PLS
7. Michael Dones – Yveltal-EX/Darkrai-EX/Crobat PHF
8. Brad Curcio – Primal Groudon-EX/Landorus FFI/Masquerain PLB

A straight Yveltal/Seismitoad deck ended up taking home the glass, and I’m not too surprised that it did. It has very strong matchups across the field, and Max’s list was also very strong. The second place deck was a Seismitoad/Malamar/Aromatisse deck similar to the one Kyle Sabelhaus used during City Championships.

Max was nice enough to share his list so that I could include it:

Pokémon – 13

3 Yveltal-EX

3 Yveltal XY

3 Seismitoad-EX

2 Darkrai-EX DEX

1 Jirachi-EX

1 Keldeo-EX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Colress

2 Lysandre

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card

 

3 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

3 Energy Switch

3 Muscle Band

2 Head Ringer

1 Computer Search

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

8 D

4 Double Colorless

His list is very simple and consistent, which is very important in a tournament with so many players. There aren’t really any surprises in his list, and it doesn’t really need them. The deck proved to be very strong, and I expect it to be a top contender over the next few weeks.

Alabama

swampert tidal storm artebay.com
‘Bama drew out some neat draw engines.

I’m choosing to cover Alabama because there were a lot of big name players in the top cut, as well as some interesting decks to boot. I don’t have the Top 8 before it finished, but we can look at the final results below:

Top 8 (Final Standings)

1. Nathan Brower – Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff PHF/Swampert PRC 36
2. Ryan SabelhausSeismitoad-EX/Slurpuff PHF/Dragalge FLF
3. Justin Crossley – Landorus-EX/Hawlucha FFI/Lucario-EX/Crobat PHF
4. Brandon Salazar – Seismitoad-EX/M Manectric-EX/Crobat PHF
5. David Lopez – Seismitoad-EX/M Manectric-EX/Crobat PHF
6. Mike Canaves – Empoleon DEX/Magnezone PLS 46/Miltank FLF
7. Orion Craig – Seismitoad-EX/Malamar-EX/Aromatisse XY
8. Grafton Roll – Flareon PLF

The first thing that I noticed was Mike Canaves’ strange Empoleon/Magnezone/Miltank deck. If you’re not sure what Magnezone PLS 46 does, its “Dual Brains” Ability allows you to play an extra Supporter during your turn. Unfortunately, he lost in the Top 8, but it’s still cool that he was able to get far with a neat deck.

When you look at the results, you’ll see that five of the Top 8 were decks focused almost completely around Seismitoad-EX. Two of them were based on locking the opponent by playing heavy disruption and Slurpuff for draw. Two of them were paired with M Manectric-EX and Crobat PHF, similar to a deck we saw place in the Top 8 of Florida Regionals. And the last was the same deck we saw place 2nd in Texas States, this time piloted by the newly crowned Florida Regional Champion, Orion Craig.

We also had our first showing of Flareon, which there weren’t many of over the course of the weekend. According to Andrew Wamboldt’s data, there were five Flareon PLF decks that made the Top 8 in the first week of States. The best placing it had was a 2nd place in Colorado, where it lost to Night March in the finals. The deck is still fairly strong, but with the amount of decks that were geared to counter Flareon being played Week 1, it didn’t have as strong of a performance as expected by most (notably Andrew Zavala).

The winning deck is similar to the deck that I talked about in my previous article, but Nathan decided to include Swampert PRC 36 and Archie’s Ace in the Hole in his list. I was surprised that he decided to include Swampert considering Slurpuff also allows you to fill your hand and is easier to get into play.

Nathan was nice enough to share his list with me and let me include it in this article. You can check it out below:

Pokémon – 13

4 Seismitoad-EX

3 Swirlix PHF

2 Slurpuff PHF

2 Swampert PRC 36

1 Jirachi-EX

1 Exeggcute PLF

Trainers – 43

4 Professor Juniper

2 Xerosic

1 N

1 Archie’s Ace in the Hole

1 Lysandre

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card

1 Team Flare Grunt

1 Cassius

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Acro Bike

4 Ultra Ball

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

3 Muscle Band

3 Battle Compressor

3 Crushing Hammer

2 Float Stone

1 Town Map

1 Scoop Up Cyclone

 

2 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

His list is definitely the most interesting version of Seismitoad/Slurpuff that I’ve seen to date. He includes a lot of my favorite cards (namely Acro Bike and Battle Compressor), and like most Seismitoad/Slurpuff decks, he runs many 1-of Supporters.

I’m not sure how often he was able to hit the Turn 1 Swampert, but I can only assume that would give you a huge advantage over almost any deck instantly. With an insane draw engine that lets you search out any card in your deck and effectively put it into your hand, you shouldn’t have any problems with Seismitoad mirror matches.

British Columbia

primal kyogre-ex prc art 16-9
No surprise Kyogre won — the orca (killer whale) is native to the North Pacific.

The next States (technically Provincials) I’ll be covering is British Columbia. There are quite a few really strong Canadian players that made the Top 8 with interesting decks, including Chase Moloney who I talked about earlier.

Top 8 (Final Standings)

1. TJ Traquiar – Primal Kyogre-EX/Keldeo-EX/Kyurem PLF
2. Eric Wallig – Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff PHF
3. Trevore Read – Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
4. Chase Moloney – Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
5. Jazmyn Crouch – Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor DRX
6. Ricky Gao – Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff PHF
7. Kabir Virji – Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor DRX
8. Jeff Anderson – Mew-EX/Manectric-EX/Virizion-EX/Shaymin-EX

In this Top 8, you’ll once again find a lot of Seismitoad decks. But this time, it didn’t win! Instead, a player named TJ Traquiar was able to come out on top with an interesting Primal Kyogre-EX deck. The deck was hyped up a lot when Primal Clash was first released, but it has since died off and saw little to no play at Florida Regionals.

This is the list that TJ piloted to first place, courtesy of Squeaky and Team Fish Knuckles:

Pokémon – 10

4 Kyogre-EX PRC

3 Primal Kyogre-EX

2 Keldeo-EX

1 Kyurem PLF

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Shauna

3 Lysandre

 

3 VS Seeker

3 Dive Ball

3 Kyogre Spirit Link

3 Float Stone

2 Professor’s Letter

2 Energy Retrieval

1 Tool Retriever

1 Weakness Policy

1 Computer Search

 

4 Rough Seas

Energy – 12

12 W

As you can see, the list is pretty interesting. It plays 4 Shauna, which is a card that sees very little play nowadays. It also plays 4 Rough Seas, which is another card that hasn’t seen a lot of play since its release. The deck performed very well, most likely due to its ability to power through Seismitoad-EX decks with its healing, Keldeo-EX to circumvent status conditions, and high HP.

I expect Primal Kyogre-EX to see a lot more play over the next few weeks, and it may even become a top contender. It has some very strong matchups currently, and the decks that it doesn’t fare too well against (like Virizion/Genesect and Flareon) aren’t being played as much as they once were.

It’s interesting to note that there were six decks utilizing Seismitoad-EX in the Top 8. None of them are too interesting unfortunately. There was also a Mew-EX/Virizion-EX/M Manectric-EX deck that managed to make the Top 8, which most likely played against quite a few Yveltal and Seismitoad decks during the day.

Illinois

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Hit-and-run Gengar made the semis.

Next up is Illinois States, which featured two of the best players to ever play the game in the Top 8. There are also two very interesting decks that we haven’t seen yet that placed well. Below you can see how the Top 8 looked after was said and done:

Top 8 (Final Standings)

1. Daniel Lopez – Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
2. Adam Vernola – Yveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX
3. Ross Cawthon – Gengar-EX/Trevenant XY/Raichu XY
4. Bryan Bruckner – Landorus-EX/Crobat PHF
5. Yehoshua Tate – Landorus-EX/Hawlucha FFI/Mewtwo-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
6. Paul Cheville – Yveltal-EX
7. Phil Hollenberg – M Manectric-EX/Landorus-EX
8. Jason Klacynzki – Exeggutor PLF/Empoleon DEX/Archie’s Ace in the Hole

This time I won’t be covering the 1st place deck since I talked about it earlier in the article. Instead, I’ll talk about the deck that Ross Cawthon piloted to the Top 4, since most of the other decks are pretty standard (aside from Jason’s).

Below is a list I collected from On The Bubble’s BC Provincials stream:

Pokémon – 19

3 Phantump XY

3 Trevenant XY

3 Pikachu XY

3 Raichu XY

3 Gengar-EX

1 Voltorb XY

1 Electrode PLF

1 Jirachi-EX

1 Mr. Mime PLF

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

2 Lysandre

1 Colress

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card

 

3 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

3 Muscle Band

3 Float Stone

1 Computer Search

 

3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 12

4 P

4 Mystery

4 Double Colorless

This may not be the exact list that Ross played, but I’m almost positive that it’s the same 60 that his teammate Tyler Ninomura played at the British Columbia Provincials. The deck seems very different from what we’ve seen lately, and it’s pretty cool. It’s definitely not unheard of, and I know a decent amount of people tested similar lists when Phantom Forces first came out.

The deck plays a heavy Raichu line to help against Yveltal decks, which is arguably one of the worst matchups for the deck. It also includes a 1-1 line of Electrode as a draw engine, something Ross is known to play quite often.

Michigan

jynx kiss pikachuoutbreakblog.tumblr.com
“Just a peck?”

The final event I’ll be covering is Michigan States, which showcased a lot of great players. It also featured a deck that we haven’t seen yet, which ended up winning the entire event. Here’s how the Top 8 looked after it played out:

Top 8 (Final Standings)

1. Curtis Lyon – Seismitoad-EX/Jynx FFI
2. Aaron TarbellSeismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
3. Kevin Baxter – Primal Kyogre-EX
4. Christopher SchemanskeYveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR
5. Travis NunlistSeismitoad-EX/Crobat PHF
6. Alex HillYveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR
7. Eric GansmanYveltal-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor LTR
8. Chris Fernier – Seismitoad-EX/Jynx FFI

Once again, Seismitoad-EX ran rampant here. Seven of the Top 8 decks were either completely focused around Seismitoad or ran a decent amount of them. At this States, a new version of Seismitoad popped up, and it managed to take two spots out of the Top 8.

Unlike other Seismitoad decks, this one only focuses on using Quaking Punch, and it has a very high amount of draw cards to ensure that you hit it on Turn 1. It also includes multiple Jynx, which are very strong in Seismitoad-EX mirrors since they’re able to almost completely wipe away the damage that an opposing Seismitoad-EX would deal in one turn.

I was able to get the 1st place list thanks to a few friends who were at the event:

Pokémon – 9

4 Seismitoad-EX

3 Jynx FFI

1 Keldeo-EX

1 Jirachi-EX

Trainers – 47

4 Professor Juniper

1 Lysandre’s Trump Card

 

4 VS Seeker

4 Random Receiver

4 Acro Bike

4 Roller Skates

4 Super Scoop Up

4 Hypnotoxic Laser

4 Ultra Ball

4 Muscle Band

4 Float Stone

1 Town Map

1 Startling Megaphone

1 Computer Search

 

3 Virbank City Gym

Energy – 4

4 Double Colorless

The deck is all about consistency, which means you’ll be able to get off a Quaking Punch on the first turn a majority of the time. With its high count of Jynx, as well as a Keldeo-EX and 4 Float Stone, you should have an easy time against opposing Seismitoad decks. The only downside is that over half of your deck becomes unplayable as soon as they use their own Quaking Punch, and if they run cards like Xerosic and Team Flare Grunt, you could easily miss a Quaking Punch mid game and fall behind. It’s also interesting to note that the deck has zero “gust” effects such as Lysandre or Pokémon Catcher, which means the deck has no way to hit Pokémon that retreat or are on the Bench.

It doesn’t have the best Primal Groudon-EX matchup, but if you can avoid playing against that, I feel like you’d have a pretty good run with this deck. It was obviously very effective for Curtis and Chris, and I could see this deck becoming very big as long as other Seismitoad-EX decks are still around.

Conclusion

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Time to think: “How will Week 2 bode for the Toad?”

Overall, the one thing you should know about after reading this article is that Seismitoad-EX-based decks were the top decks of the first week of States. They took home four 1st places, six 2nd places, and in total had 25 Top 8s, making up 31% of the decks in Top 8 out of the 11 reported States. Yveltal-EX-based decks came right behind and took home two 1st places, as well as two 2nd places. It had 17 total Top 8s, making up 18% of the decks that made Top 8 out of the 11 reported States.

I hope you enjoyed my article! I put a lot of work into this right after States ended so I didn’t have much time to put this together, so if you enjoyed please leave a like below! I’ll be heading out to Arkansas this weekend for Week 2 and will hopefully be back soon to write another piece. If you’re playing in a State Championships in the next few weeks, I wish you luck!


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