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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day

 

Seismitoad EX

- Furious Fists

Date Reviewed:
Oct. 27, 2016

Ratings & Reviews Summary

S
ee Below

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


aroramage

...okay, so Muscle Band yesterday is pretty much the best Tool ever and pretty much promoted a faster format centered around exploding damage. Kinda like HTLBank before it, only in the form of a single card. So yeah, it's great. 

Seismitoad-EX on the other hand is an even greater card. 

There are few cards in the game that will single-handedly shape the format around them while also promoting several different deck ideas in and of itself. Seismitoad-EX wasn't just a powerful Item-Lock card - he was THE powerful Item-Lock card. And over the course of his time in Standard, he had gone through many iterations - combined with cards like Slurpuff (XY) for draw power, the Zubat/Golbat/Crobat line-up for spreading damage, even with Giratina-EX (AOR) at one point. He was also paired up with Enhanced and Crushing Hammer for getting rid of Energies and Head Ringer to slow his opponents down even further. 

For him though, the best partner was ultimately the one card that would be banned: Lysandre's Trump Card. With it, Seismitoad-EX decks could recycle their Item cards while still locking their opponent in with Quaking Punch. With quick access to DCE and a grab at Muscle Band, Seismitoad-EX could completely lock opponents out of the game, and Lysandre's Trump Card provided just the right amount of recycling and devastation to keep things going...and going...and going...and going... 

This is actually one of the main reasons Lysandre's Trump Card has been banned: it makes games last FOREVER. So while Seismitoad-EX still struggled hard to compensate without the use of such a powerful card, those decks were never as strong as they were when it was legal. Or as annoying, I suppose. In any case though, Seismitoad-EX now gets to live on in Expanded, where he'll have access to Karen, a potential tech against the ever-popular Night March that defined the format. 

Is it really surprising that he's made the #2 spot on every list we've had him on?

Rating 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 4.5/5 (I mean let's face it, Seismitoad-EX was one of the major competitors against Night March decks as well, locking them out of their Items and smashing their Energy with the Hammers to slow them down) 

Limited: 5/5 (he was never a perfect counter to the deck, but he was certainly a major check) 

Arora Notealus: Similarly to Lucario-EX, Seismitoad-EX is perhaps one of the best Pokemon-EX and most well-designed in the game. Sure, his Item Lock is annoying, but it's not impossible to break out of or too overbearing on the game. He promoted several different deck ideas around himself but also helped out other deck ideas that didn't center around him as much - for instance, Water Toolbox! 

Next Time: Our number 1 spot? Well what could be better than the Toad?!


Otaku

Our runner up for the Top 20 Cards Lost to rotation is… really obvious since there is a scan of it above this review, and possibly another review or two as well.  So Seismitoad-EX (XY: Furious Fists 20/111, 106/111) managed to beat out all but one card on our collective countdown, leading to our fourth review for the card.  Why so many reviews? 

·         The first was a special “preview” week for XY: Furious Fists.

·         The second was for our top 10 countdown for XY: Furious Fists (Seismitoad-EX ranked number two).

·         The third and most recent was still from almost two years ago; Seismitoad-EX was again ranked second but this time for the Top 10 Cards of 2014. 

I weighed in on all three, so here we go again. 

Seismitoad-EX is of course a Pokémon-EX.  That means even though cards based on Seismitoad are normally Evolutions, this one is a Basic but will have higher HP than it usually receives.  It can also mean other stats are better than normal, as well as effects, but this is not guaranteed.  The powerful drawback of being a Pokémon-EX is giving up an additional Prize when KO’d.  The largely inconsequential drawback is how certain beneficial card effects exclude Pokémon-EX.  In between are various card effects that provide negative consequences for you (and/or positive for your opponent) should you be using Pokémon-EX.  Being a Water Type has varied in significance since Seismitoad-EX released; early on it was important for slapping around Landorus-EX, and at times it has been relevant for dousing Fire Types.  When Virizion-EX was a popular opener, its Water Resistance made you wish Seismitoad-EX had been a Fighting Type (it is a Water/Ground Type in the TCG).  Actually, this card would have been sick as a Fighting Type, so let us be glad it was never able to abuse Strong Energy, Fighting Stadium, Korrina, etc.  It took a bit but eventually the Water Type brought it Dive Ball and Rough Seas and both are quite useful to our amphibious sometimes-overlord.  Being a Water Type also backfires a bit thanks to Parallel City being a popular play on and off through the months.  Most decks run Parallel City for its Bench shrinking effect, but the other side drops the damage done by Fire, Grass, and Water Types by 20.  Which means its preferred usage that Seismitoad-EX decks might want to utilize reduces their damage output by 20. 

Being a Basic means Seismitoad-EX can hit the field ASAP, requires minimal deck space, can function as your opening Basic, enjoys a natural synergy with certain card effects, and can access Basic Stage support; the only drawback are certain card effects which specifically punish a player for running (usually attacking with) a Basic Pokémon.  180 HP is the higher of the two typical Basic Pokémon-EX scores, making Seismitoad-EX a bit tricky to OHKO (and as we’ll soon discuss, ultimately making it difficult to OHKO).  The Grass Weakness provides an exception, but even when Grass Type attackers have been strong, Seismitoad-EX has never fully gone away.  Grass Weakness isn’t great, but it still isn’t the worst.  Lack of Resistance is typical and (again) as we’ll see, this is one of the cards where any Resistance would make Seismitoad-EX too good.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] has also been an important balancing agent for Seismitoad-EX: you’ll want multiple methods for dealing with a Seismitoad-EX stuck in your Active slot. 

Not that you don’t want Seismitoad-EX Active; it predates Ancient Traits and has no Ability, so you’re using it to attack.  The first attack is “Quaking Punch” for [CC], which does 30 damage and places an effect on the other player, preventing him or her from playing Item cards from hand.  The second attack is “Grenade Hammer” and requires [WWC] to do 130 damage, but then it requires you also do 30 damage to two of your Benched Pokémon.  Quaking Punch is what made (and still makes) this card; one-sided Item lock in an attack with any damage has potential.  In this case it is on a big, Basic attacker and still does 30 damage… an amount that is decent when it can be fueled by a Double Colorless Energy and great given the effect attached to it.  It can be tedious without proper support, as as we’ll get to next, the card most definitely has said support.  The kicker is that Grenade Hammer actually is a very good attack in its own right, it just gets overshadowed by Quaking Punch.  Grenade Hammer is difficult to use in an off Type deck while Quaking Punch can be splashed into pretty much anything.  Quaking Punch slows your opponent down, so needing time to attach two [W] Energy (plus a third of any Type) becomes feasible even if the deck lacks a good source of Energy acceleration.  130-for-three is good, OHKOing most non-Pokémon-EX Basics (all of them without Resistance or protection until a few sets ago) and 2HKOing almost everything else; with some damage buffs you also want for Quaking Punch, it reaches OHKO level.  There are four ways to deal with the Bench damage - block it, heal it, use it, or skip it - and even when Seismitoad-EX was brand new there were multiple options for each. 

I was worried about Seismitoad-EX when I first saw it and given its history, I would like to think I was mostly right.  Even though Seismitoad-EX predates Battle Compressor, the current releases of VS Seeker, and Shaymin-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 77/108, 106/108) decks were still heavily reliant upon Items… oh, Shaymin-EX gets a nod because we are so used to using Ultra Ball to search it out and aid preparing and maintaining our field.  Prior to Shaymin-EX, the reliability Pokémon for most decks was Jirachi-EX, which still meant Ultra Ball (and sometimes Level Ball) were Items that increased a decks reliability.  We got even more Items to help with all of that after Seismitoad-EX making it seem like the designers were just toying with us.  Creating a competitive deck that did not need Items for optimal performance was an impossibility, and even creating one with minimal reliance on Items still meant a good quarter of your deck being shut down by Quaking Punch.  It was like the designers were punishing us for playing the game they way their releases both before and after Seismitoad-EX were telling us we needed to play.  Wait, isn’t a counter to an overpowered aspect of the metagame a good way to balance things out?  Actually it usually is not; if something is so powerful it needs a similarly powerful counter, it probably means you just need to not make (or at least scale back) the first thing.  A good rule of design should also be “Can the cards I am trying to use Card X to balance out still be abused by Card X?”  Unless you’re facing another form of Item lock, Seismitoad-EX decks would evolve to spam most of the Items one might argue they were meant to counter. 

Thanks to how easy it is for most decks to fuel Quaking Punch - both then, now, and in between - Seismitoad-EX is a great opener in general.  Some decks need a fast open that doesn’t deviate from the deck’s core strategy, while others simply have no room, but otherwise Seismitoad-EX can work.  Much of the time it works well and only because the metagame has Evolved in the presence of three fast, strong forms of Item lock - Seismitoad-EX, Trevenant (XY 55/146), and Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) - is Seismitoad-EX not a loose staple just for what it means to your open.  Toss in power creep and you have why Seismitoad-EX is not a top deck, either… well that and the fact that it thankfully has a low damage output.  Still we have had multiple decks where Seismitoad-EX was the main attacker, either on its own or with a partner.  The first time Seismitoad-EX held the format in a stranglehold was a little after XY: Phantom Forces released.  Lysandre’s Trump Card and multiple Slurpuff (XY: Phantom Forces 69/119) on the Bench, along with a deck full of mostly Trainers and some Double Colorless Energy.  Slurpuff has the Ability “Tasting” that allows you to draw an extra card once per turn (two if that particular Slurpuff is Active).  That might not seem like much but the combo enabled a deck that would rip through much of itself, spamming Items left and right (except in the mirror) and then recycling it all as needed via Lysandre’s Trump Card.  Once Shaymin-EX came along, Slurpuff was kicked to the curb: the deck already liked AZ and Super Scoop Up to bounce Seismitoad-EX (shedding its damage in the process), so re-using the “Setup” Ability on Shaymin-EX was no problem. 

Most Seismitoad-EX decks still spam Item cards, even without Lysandre’s Trump Card to recycle it all; Seismitoad-EX variants never dominated by as large of a margin as they did during this time but more than once they’ve clawed their way back to the top.  Early on the low damage output could be supplemented by Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym, in addition to Muscle Band.  At times when you didn’t need an Ability to for backup (Shaymin-EX doesn’t count because you can spam it first turn), Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) allowed Seismitoad-EX decks to deny an opponent of both Items and Abilities.  As an Item was the most common means of dealing with Tools (and thus turning off “Garbotoxin”) the combo was pretty insidious.  This could further be supplemented by Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, Head Ringer, Team Flare Grunt, and/or Xerosic keep an opponent Energy poor; losing three major components of your decks hurt, and usually it really took away a fourth as how could you attack for a significant amount of damage without Items, Abilities, and only keeping attached Energy for a single turn?  Even if you had something with a good, single Energy attack Seismitoad-EX would often use bounce effects like AZ and Super Scoop Up to shed accumulated damage before a KO could be scored. 

Getting into real, more contemporary partners, Seismitoad-EX has been known to tagteam with Giratina-EX (XY: Ancient Origins 57/98, 93/98).  Mega Evolutions that managed to hit the field and power up could be a real issue for Seismitoad-EX, but as long as Abilities were still working Giratina-EX could wall thanks to its “Renegade Pulse”, while its “Chaos Wheel” attack would take 2HKOs and block your opponent from playing Pokémon Tools, Stadium cards, and Special Energy from hand.  Another notable partner has been Crobat (XY: Phantom Forces 33/119) as the low damage output of Quaking Punch could be supplemented by its “Surprise Bite” Ability, and the “Sneaky Bite” Ability of Golbat (XY: Phantom Forces 32/119; Generations 31/83).  Again, the deck already was fond of spamming bounce effects, so they were a natural fit.  At times Seismitoad-EX has had other partners - as stated it's a good opener in general - but the last one of relevant is Manectric-EX (and sometimes M Manectric-EX as well).  Once again so many of the tricks Seismitoad-EX used could work well with its co-conspirator, but with the added bonus of Rough Seas to heal all Water and/or Lightning Type attackers in the deck.  Virbank City Gym rotated out of Standard play in 2015; various other Stadium cards proved useful but Rough Seas solved the problem of Quaking Punch not hitting hard enough by making Seismitoad-EX that much tougher to KO and thus lasting long enough to still take a KO before the opponent.  Eventually other Water support was combined with Seismitoad-EX and Bluebox (Water Toolbox) decks were born; where Seismitoad-EX could be the opener or the main attacker as needed, with other Water Types stacking their bonuses together. 

So… what about now?  There were a few other counters attempted, but Pokémon Ranger finally gives decks some hope of dealing with attack based Item lock, but most decks cannot afford to run the card in multiples and the usual Battle Compressor to VS Seeker to [insert Supporter] combo only works if you pull it off before the Item lock and can use a VS Seeker each turn to keep reusing Pokémon Ranger.  Which presumes you’ve already got a good enough set up (give or take Shaymin-EX and Items you may once again use) to win before you run out of re-uses for Pokémon Ranger.  I mentioned power creep earlier, and so the real “counters” for Seismitoad-EX are all about how crazy the game can be.  Some decks could just prep a strong attacker regardless of the Item lock, like Primal Groudon-EX (XY: Primal Clash 86/160, 151/160) decks.  Others were so fast that they could mount an offensive with only a turn’s worth of Item usage, like M Rayquaza-EX (XY: Roaring Skies 76/108, 105/108) decks and Night March.  Another major issue has been Grass Weakness, but not all the time as Grass only sometimes fields a decent enough attacker.  VirGen decks built around Virizion-EX and Genesect-EX (BW: Plasma Blast 11/101, 97/101) combined bits and pieces of the above plus Weakness to turn “Emerald Slash” into a 2HKO machine that accelerated Energy and “Megalo Cannon” into a OHKO, so that the lack of G Booster wasn’t an issue.  At this time the Hypnotoxic Laser/Virbank City Gym combo was big as well, and so the “Verdant Wind” Ability protected those two from being Poisoned or put to Sleep. 

Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) would later combine the speed of Night March with exploiting Weakness like in VirGen decks.  Night March can own a Seismitoad-EX deck if the Night March deck gets a strong enough open (and Seismitoad-EX doesn’t), but a weak or mediocre open pretty much dooms it; Night Marchers are so small that even Seismitoad-EX can score OHKOs!  Vespiquen has that Grass Weakness to fall back upon, allowing a weaker open to still hit OHKO territory awfully quick.  So Seismitoad-EX must be terrible in Expanded?  It is not the one deck to rule them all, but based on what results we have for recent events, Seismitoad-EX and at least some of its variants are still a serious threat.  Plus they might become even stronger because Karen gives them an answer against Vespiquen.  Which means if Seismitoad-EX were to receive a reprint, it could still prove impressive in Standard.  Plenty of decks love Items, Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) if you want to go the Item/Ability lock route.  Bounce isn’t as easy, but we’ve still got Crushing Hammer, Enhanced Hammer, and Team Flare Grunt.  Bluebox is trying to stay relevant without Seismitoad-EX but would definitely have some chops if it got Seismitoad-EX back.  Damage output wouldn’t be as good; no more Crobat or Muscle Band, but Fighting Fury Belt and Rough Seas are still around so even without bounce, tanking could be an option.  As for Limited play, if you pull Seismitoad-EX, you run Seismitoad-EX… except maybe if you pull yet another Basic Pokémon-EX.  Since Seismitoad-EX is so good and - even while wanting to use Grenade Hammer - can work in a multi-Type deck, I would just run both and start with whichever one I get. 

Ratings 

Standard: N/A 

Expanded: 4.35/5 

Limited: 5/5 

Summary: The good news is my original fear of Seismitoad-EX being the one deck to rule them all proved wrong, though that is in part due to a card ban (Lysandre’s Trump Card) and power creep (so cards that I also think are too strong) keeping it in line.  It remains a strong card in the crowded Expanded Format field, either as an opener in general and at least partial focus of certain decks.  The score I gave it for the Expanded Format is an aggregate, as for general usage it would be about a point lower but for the decks specifically built for it, obviously it’s essential and deserves a higher score.  Were it to suddenly be reprinted, Seismitoad-EX would be strong in Standard play, though probably not as good as many of its solutions to its low damage output are also Expanded only. 

Seismitoad-EX accrued 42 voting points, beating out yesterday’s Muscle Band by two but missing tomorrow’s Top card by 16.  On my own Top 20 list, Seismitoad-EX secured the seventh place position; the six cards above it were all potent (more or less) general usage cards, with the exceptions representing key tricks now lost to Standard play like Trainer based bounce or Tool discard.  I am okay with Seismitoad-EX clocking in this high, as by the time I got to the Top 7, they were all close decisions.


Zach Carmichael

Item cards have been dominant during the Black and White era and on. They let you do a number of actions – from drawing extra cards and searching for Pokémon in a pinch, to healing damage and removing Tool cards – and easily take up 30-40 cards in most decks. So what would happen if your Items were suddenly dead cards in your deck? Enter Seismitoad-EX, one of the most controversial cards in the modern game. 

For a single Double Colorless Energy, Seismitoad’s Quaking Punch quickly shut off a number of decks by preventing your opponent from playing Item cards. While the attack only did 30 damage, this was irrelevant – often times players would simply have to draw and pass as they hoped to top deck one of maybe 10-12 Supporter cards. Of course, you can imagine that this process of using Quaking Punch over a period of several turns is tedious and unexciting, so for some reason Pokémon decided to keep a deadly combo in the format to aid the heap of garbage. Virbank City Gym and Hypnotoxic Laser made Seismitoad-EX one of the most hated decks in the game, and with good reason. The pair not only inflicted Status Conditions – Sleep and Poison – but also provided a damage boost to Quaking Punch. This was not in the age of Fighting Fury Belt, so within a couple turns the math was enough to take down most Pokémon-EX. Combined with Garbodor and Shaymin-EX, it would eventually win both 2016 Spring Regional and US National Championships, piloted by Pojo’s own three-time World Champion Jason “Ness” Klaczynski. Lysandre’s Trump Card would eventually be one of the first cards banned in years because the ability to cycle through the entire deck and reuse Hypnotoxic Laser alongside Item lock was simply too powerful. 

In Expanded, Seismitoad-EX is still a dominant force. It is the bread and butter of Water Box variants, as its Quaking Punch provides quick disruption and Grenade Hammer can finish things off in a snap. It is also frequently paired with Giratina-EX to further disrupt your opponent by preventing them from playing Special Energy, Stadium, and Tool cards. Despite the release of Pokémon Ranger, Seismitoad continues to be annoying to deal with and will always have a place in the format. 

Ratings 

Standard: n/a

Expanded: 4/5

Limited: 3/5 

Summary: Seismitoad-EX changed the game by shutting off Item cards that were the majority of most player’s decks. It provided a means to quickly win games in a matter of a few turns through quick disruption and ongoing damage thanks to the – excuse the pun – poisonous Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym. While it will rotate from Standard, it will continue to be a popular choice in Expanded thanks to most of its partners continuing to remain.


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