“The Lock Ness Monster” – A Top 2 Texas States Report and the Future of Seismitoad/Giratina!



Hello, Top Deck Nation readers! My name is Alexander Nichols, and I am a Senior from Houston, Texas. I have won numerous League Challenges, Battle Roads, Cities, and have topped at many large events. I have also gotten Top 4, Top 2, and won at Texas State Championships. Lastly, I can say I have gotten Top 16 and Top 32 at Nationals, and Top 4 at the Boston Open.

Now, with the tedious introductions out of the way, I can say that this year, I got Top 2 at Texas States with a weird Seismitoad/Giratina list.



The story begins at a League Challenge in Houston, a week before Texas States. I was talking to friend and advisor Steve Lewis, saying that I needed some help fixing my Manectric/Garbodor deck I was planning on using the next week.

However, instead of just advice he tells me of a Seismitoad/Giratina deck he had been playing, except with Bursting Balloon. I was intrigued, so I went home and started testing it out to much success.

I can’t really say what my first draft was, partly because of how bad it was and also because of I lost the piece of paper I wrote it on. I can say, however, that I could not really say they were the same deck when comparing against my final list.

After a tedious 5 hour drive (shows how big Texas really is, considering Houston to Dallas is only 1/3 of the distance of Houston to El Paso), I finally arrived at the hotel.

Testing didn’t bring me any changes to the deck, and the most exciting thing that happened was me trading for full art N. But the big day was looming, so I quickly retired to the bed, and woke up not really ready to play.


The List

After hours a day testing, along with constant messaging between Steve Lewis, my group Goomy Squad, and I, this is what I ended up with:

Pokémon: 8Trainers: 44Energy: 8
3 Giratina-EX AOR
2 Seismitoad-EX FFI
2 Shaymin-EX ROS
1 Hoopa-EX AOR

4 Professor Sycamore
2 Lysandre
1 Cassius
1 Judge
1 Hex Maniac
1 Xerosic
1 Team Flare Grunt

1 Fairy Garden

4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Super Scoop Up
4 Puzzle of Time
4 Trainers’ Mail
3 Bursting Balloon
3 Crushing Hammer
2 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Enhanced Hammer
1 Startling Megaphone
1 Eco Arm
4x Double Dragon Energy
4x Double Colorless Energy

Card Choices

3-2 Giratina/Seismitoad Splitgiratina-card-aor

I originally started off with the standing 3 Seismitoad EX and 2 Giratina EX, however after only Day 1 of testing I found myself switching to 3 Giratina EX and 2 Seismitoad EX. Seismitoad is great, definitely, and he single-handedly won me Round 4, but doing 30 damage a turn isn’t putting any KO potential on my opponent.

Giratina, on the other hand, was a solid 100 damage attacker who locks up your opponent nicely (and a Fighting Fury Belt bumps up his Hit Points to 210, which is always nice).

1 Hoopa EX

Honestly, if I see a list with 3 different EX’s in it, I’m having one of these. The ability to Ultra Ball for 3 Pokémon you want (granted, EX) is just too great to pass. On numerous occasions I found myself grabbing a Hoopa EX off of an Ultra Ball, and then taking out a Shaymin EX, Seismitoad EX, and a Giratina EX.

2 Fighting Fury Belt, no Muscle Band

All I have to say on this is why would I want to deal 120 damage at 170 Hit Points when I could do 110 at 210 Hit Points?

3 Bursting Balloon, 1 Eco ArmBursting-Ballooon

On the idea of Steve Lewis, I added in Bursting Balloon and Eco Arm. His main reasoning was for Jirachi, however I quickly found it to be useful in nearly every situation. Also, with the non-EX Yveltal, I would send up a Seismitoad EX with a Bursting Balloon attached, and Quaking Punch.

This led to two situations. Situation 1: they pass without attacking, in which case they lose a turn of energy acceleration and I can get at least one more punch in. Situation 2: they Oblivion Wing me, taking 60 damage (putting them at 90). I then attach a Fighting Fury Belt during my next turn, and Quaking Punch for 40 damage and the KO.

Oh, and it’s just plain annoying.

Cassius over AZ

This is just personal preference, however I chose Cassius over AZ because I do not have to discard the energy whenever I play this card, and so what if the Pokémon goes back in my deck? I can just Ultra Ball for it.

1 Fairy Gardenfairy-garden-xy

This may be a bit out of place, but combined with Double Dragon Energy, your Giratina’s get free retreat, along with the ability to bump your opponent’s stadium. A seemingly small but important factor in this is that as long as you keep the Chaos Wheel lock, your opponent cannot replace your Fairy Garden with a stadium of their choice.

Card Changes I Would Make Now

None. I felt like my deck was a great call for the tournament, and my list was as best as I could make it (using my own funky cards, of course).


Night March: 80/20

This matchup is incredibly good, because even if they play basic energy, I can hammer it off. Quaking Punch locks 50% of their deck, and Chaos Wheel makes them not attach energy. The hardest part of this matchup is deciding which lock you want.

Yveltal/Zoroark/Gallade (YZG): 60/40

This is completely dependent on their list, so it can go to 50/50 or 70/30. If they run Zoroark, 60/40. No Zoroark, 70/30. Big Zoroark focus, 50/50. You may see a trend there. Of course I can limit my bench, but that means a slower start and only 1 Giratina EX, and maybe 1 Seismitoad EX.

Mega Manectric/Jolteon: 50/50-60/40jolteon-ex-generations

Some may be surprised that this matchup isn’t terrible. I originally thought so myself, until I tested it. With your immunity to Mega Manectric EX, normally your opponent will only bench their Jolteon’s and try to Flash Ray you too death. However, a simple enhanced hammer followed by a Chaos Wheel prevents them from Flash Raying next turn.

Since you are doing only 100 damage, you will need to hammer away another energy next turn so they can’t do another Flash Ray. Burst Balloon helps to hit magic numbers in this matchup, also. If they bench Mega Manectric EX, this whole round will be one giant mind game.

Trevenant BREAK: 25/75

ToadTina’s only bad matchup (in my opinion) is definitely a bad matchup. Scroll down to find the Twitch link to experience this first-hand like I had to.

Speed Darkrai or Darkrai/Hypno: 70/30

Item lock. Item lock, item lock, item lock. That is all you have to do for the Speed Darkrai. For Darkrai/Hypno, just time your Hex Maniac’s with your Chaos Wheels and you should be fine.

Mirror Matchup: 50/50

This match-up is funny. You have to Quaking Punch to protect yourself from the Hammers and VS Seekers, and you have to Chaos Wheel to prevent your opponent from attaching Special Energy. I don’t even know how to explain this. Xerosic is key. If you aren’t under item lock, you hammer. If you are, you Team Flare Grunt. This whole game is a mess of energy disruption and locking. Whoever runs out of Energy Disruption first loses.

Houndoom Mill: 70/30

Not the worst matchup on the board. Houndoom EX is weak to Seismitoad EX, who is preventing your opponent from playing hammers. Keep a Double Colorless Energy on Seismitoad EX and you will be fine.

Surprises: ?/?

Seismitoad/Giratina is very adaptable, so if you ever come against a rogue deck, just play a standard setup, unless, of course, their deck needs to have some special play to counter it.


The Tournament

Day 1

After waiting in an incredibly long registration line, and a delayed roster, I finally sit down at my table. This was a surprisingly small tournament, especially for States, at only 59 Seniors. That means I was facing only 6 Rounds and Top 8 ahead. Dang.

Round 1: YZG 2-0 Win

Game 1 he dead drew, so an easy victory. Game two he played an astonishing 41 cards (not including the energy he attached, pokemon he benched, tool cards, etc*) leaving 9 cards left in his deck. I quickly checked through his discard pile to find an AZ, two float stones, and 3 DCE in there, so I Lysandre’d a bench Yveltal EX with no energy attacked, attached a Double Colorless Energy, and Quaking Punched. With no way to retreat except attaching basic Dark Energy, (which I removed via Team Flare Grunt/Crushing Hammer) I decked him out for the game.

Round 2: Turbo Darkrai 2-0 Win

Game 1 was similar to last round with my opponent dead drawing and me taking the victory. Game 2 I went second, and, after a average turn of all 4 Max Elixers being played, I Quaking Punched an active Darkrai EX (following two Crushing Hammer Head Flips, a Team Flare Grunt, and 3 Ultra Balls). Stopping the Darkrai EX war machine effectively for at least 5 turns, I set up two Giratina EX, Cassius’d my active Seismitoad EX (who had 170 Damage on it), and started the Chaos Wheel. With no reliable energy acceleration henceforth, I took the game.

Round 3: Mienshao 2-0 Win

This game wasn’t really a fight, because Giratina EX’s Chaos Wheel prevented my opponent from attaching their Focus Sash. The most exciting event was when the game next to us, a YZG mirror matchup, both set up 2 Gallade on their second turn.

Round 4: Darkrai/Hypno 2-0 Win

I was facing my good friend Blake, who was 2-0-1 at the time, so I kind of felt bad having to fight him. But still we played, and I kept my streak of not losing a single game. I almost ruined it, however. Game 1 we both had excellent starts, me hitting a lot of heads on my Super Scoop Up’s and Crushing Hammer’s. He got all of his Max Elixer’s, and set up two Hypnos. I only won due to some timely Hex Maniac plays, and my opponent prizing two Dark Energy.

Game 2, I almost killed myself. My opponent had a mediocre start, not playing a single Max Elixer, and me starting pretty good. I established a Quaking Punch lock, which held the next 10 turns. By the time of Turn 15, he had a hand of 21 cards. Now, being a tired me, I decide to get greedy and take the KO with my Giratina EX, breaking the item lock. He then procedes to promote a Hypno, attach a float stone, put a Dark Energy on his benched Darkrai EX, and Max Elixer’s successfully, twice. He retreats, plays down All Night Party, uses Hypno’s ability, attaches a muscle band, and does Dark Head for 180 damage and the KO. I quickly recovered, though, (thank god for Toad/Tina’s energy disruption) and my superior start won me the game.

Round 5: YZG 1-1 Tie

I do not remember much of this match, however I do know I once again got down paired, this time against a 3-0-1. I offered an ID, which he declined, so I sadly opened my deck box and started shuffling. Game 1 takes forever, with me getting a quick Quaking Punch lock and his hand full of items. However, I was also Quaking Punch locked by his tech Seismitoad EX, so I could not play my beautiful hand of all items. However, I am the first to get out of it because I attacked first, so I get one turn ahead of him and take the game. Game 2 is where I dead draw terribly, but, wanting to tie, decide to play it out as long as I can, making disruption plays and never scooping. We barely get into turn five of Game 3 before time is called, in which there is no way either of us can win. So I got my tie, however that was a lot more thinking than an ID would have made me do.

Round 6: YZG ID Tie

We opted to ID this final round.

Final Record: 4-0-2 4th Seed


For my Top 8 game, I was to face my opponent from round 5. I felt confident I could beat him, because if I could get a quick Seismitoad EX followed by a Giratina EX the combined locks would lock him out of the game.

I turn in my deck and leave the room, feeling elated. I go to the treadmill, run a hard mile, lift some weights and go to the room. Apparently, my Mother and I decided to nullify our previous workout and order some Domino’s, and watch TV. Pokémon life.

Day 2

I go into Day 2 knowing what everyone is playing except for Kayden Shivvers (my Top 2 opponent). Kayden’s Top 8 opponent wasn’t able to play on Sunday and conceded, so Kayden immediately went into Top 4. Lucky.

Top 8: YZG 2-0 Win

Game 1 starts with him just attaching a Double Colorless Energy to his active Seismitoad EX and then passing. I start by attaching a Double Colorless Energy to my active Seismitoad EX, and using Xerosic on his Double Colorless Energy, VS Seeker for my Xerosic back, Ultra Ball away two trash cards and grab a Hoopa EX. I then use that Hoopa for two Giratina EX and a Shaymin EX. I then proceed to bench my Seismitoad EX I had in hand along with two Giratina, and then Set Up for 6. His hand is filled with items so I win. Game 2 I don’t remember much about, but I do know he was 10 damage off from winning, and I accidently stopped him from getting that last 10 damage. He was doing 200 damage to my fresh Giratina EX with a Fighting Fury Belt attached, and he needed his last Reverse Valley, one of the cards in his two-card deck. He had the Shaymin EX in hand, who would have grabbed him his last two cards, however I played a Hex Maniac last turn, because I was dead drawing and it was my only card in hand. With him unable to get the extra ten, I just Chaos Wheel his Yveltal for the last two prizes.

Top 4: Night March 2-1 Win

Night March is a great matchup. I can’t say anything about this. The only reason I lost Game 1, though, is because three Double Dragon Energy were prized, and the only Chaos Wheel I ever got off was then countered by a Xerosic on my last Double Dragon Energy. Oh, and I missed the donk on the lone Joltik with my Seismitoad. I’m just that good

Top 2: Trevenant BREAK 1-2 Loss

This was streamed, so here you go: https://www.twitch.tv/mrren123

I will make it short and sweet for those who don’t want to watch. Game 1 he drew dead. Game 2 I drew dead. Game 3 I get good start, I get item start which I sadly cannot use even on my first turn, because I dead draw. I do make some sort of a comeback when I top deck a Lysandre on his Shaymin EX, but it is quickly brought down to Kayden’s victory.

Final Record: 6-1-2 2nd Place    


Once again, big thanks to Steve Lewis for the deck idea. I’m sure if I played my Manectric/Garbodor deck I would not have gotten second place. Also thanks to Erica Miller, who helped me test, and my group, Goomy Squad, who threw out so many suggestions I’m sure I would have ended up with a Sceptile EX Deck had I followed all of them.

Also thanks to my mother, who drove me up to Dallas and who was forced to sit down for 8 hours a day, doing nothing but reading and talking.

Overall, it was a fun experience, but unfortunately I cannot travel to any more states or even Spring Regionals. That’s okay, because I am sitting on a comfortable 410 points.


The Future of the Deck

Seismitoad/Giratina doesn’t gain much from the new set, except for N. However, that one card is a big help in much of the same way he was great for classic Seismitoad EX decks. The list doesn’t change much, however if you see any changes I should make to my XY10 Sesmitoad/Giratina deck, message me on Facebook (my name on there is Alexander Smith). If I were to play with deck next format, this is how I would play it.

Pokémon: 8Trainers: 44Energy: 8
3 Giratina-EX AOR
2 Seismitoad-EX FFI
2 Shaymin-EX ROS
1 Hoopa-EX AOR

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
2 Hex Maniac
2 Lysandre
1 Cassius
1 Delinquent
1 Xerosic
1 Team Flare Grunt

2 Fairy Garden

4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
4 Super Scoop Up
4 Puzzle of Time
4 Trainers’ Mail
3 Crushing Hammer
2 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Enhanced Hammer
1 Startling Megaphone
4 Double Dragon Energy
4 Double Colorless Energy

Card Changes

-3 Bursting Balloon, -1 Eco Arm, -1 Judge

The Bursting Balloon/Eco Arm combo just won’t be the same during the next set, plus it provides 4 more spaces for mischief and consistency. The Judge is kind of obvious, we have N now.

Welcome back, old friend.

+2 N, +1 Delinquent, +1 Hex Maniac, +1 Fairy Garden

N gives us more consistency, so it is always welcome. Fairy Garden I add for free retreat on my Giratina EX, and it pairs with Delinquent, however I plan on using Delinquent on my opponent’s stadium. If they have 3 or less cards in their hand, BAM! Not anymore.

Hex Maniac is for overall use, and I found that whenever I get a turn of a lot of Shaymin EX Setup’s, I just play Hex Maniac and end my turn. Those games are normally a victory.

Threats from XY10

Barbaracle is the only one I notice, but once again I will most likely be wrong on that. But to counter Barbaracle, I play 2 of my own Stadiums, a Delinquent, and can use a little attack called Chaos Wheel.

Trevenant BREAK will still be at large, possibly even more so with the addition of N into the format. To counter this, I play added Supporters, along with another Hex Maniac. Delinquent also helps to rid them of their Dimension Valley

Crobat BREAK is an interesting card, however I do not think it is much of a threat. For one, it is technically a Stage 3 so that much on its own gives me a huge advantage. Also, it needs a Dimension Valley to attack reliably, and Delinquent/Fairy Garden/Chaos Wheel stops that. It they somehow do manage to attack. I could Cassius or Super Scoop Up to get out of the Paralysis.



Overall, I don’t see Seismitoad/Giratina going away any time soon, and recommend it on the testing list of anyone going into a big event, Standard or Expanded. It is just too powerful and too disruptive to not be a good play, however much results go against it. I played Seismitoad/Giratina after Trevenant BREAK won Florida Regionals, taking a big risk that people would counter the deck, not play it.

Thank you all for reading, and have a great day! Peace!

Featured image credit: Pokémon.com

Alexander Nichols is a 13 year old Senior from Houston, Texas. He began playing the Pokemon TCG at age 9 and has won numerous Battle Roads, League Challenges, City Championships, and more. He has also made Top 16 and Top 32 at U.S. Nationals and was recently runner-up at Texas State Championhips.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here