Hey everyone! My name is John Rosen, and this is my first time writing for the front page. As some of you may know, I’m 15 years old, reside in Miami, FL, and I’ve been playing Pokemon for a little more than a year now. I’ve had a few small accomplishments in the TCG, which include two 2nd places in Spring Battle Roads and one 4th place in a City Championship.
I was originally going to write an article about VirGen, but since I can see that ship has sailed I figured why not go in the opposite direction. This time around I won’t be discussing the deck everyone is talking about, but rather the deck overshadowed by that deck.
Most of you know it as Toolbox, Tool Time, or Trubbish PLS/Sigilyph PLB/Masquerian PLB, but today I hope to provide you with enough insight as to what it really is.
The whole point of Toolbox is to set up a Trubbish, usually by turn two, and hopefully get enough Tools out into play with the help of Sigilyph so that you can power up Trubbish’s attack Tool Drop. For the cost of a Psychic and Colorless Energy, this attack does 20x the amount of Tools in play.
Sigilyph who has an Ability called Toolbox, hence the name of the deck, that allows you to attach up to 4 Pokémon Tools to it, which breaks the normal limit of one Pokémon Tool per Pokémon opening up the gate to getting more Tools out.
Together, the two make a perfect pair.
On the topic of Sigilyph, if you run a high amount of Tools, you can now put those Tools down whenever onto Sigilyph and hopefully get Masquerain out later.
Masquerain has an Ability as well called Tool Reversal that allows you to pick up any of your Pokémon Tools in play and return them back to your hand as often as you like during your turn. This gives you the power to switch Tools on your Pokémon at any time and is extremely helpful in most situations.
Focusing on the attack, you realize that you need 9 Tools in play (between you and your opponent) to OHKO any Pokémon-EX as well as other playable non-EX Pokémon. This may seem like a hassle, but when your deck is almost 1/4th Tools, you shouldn’t have any difficulty in going through 9 Tools in 2 turns.
Once you achieve this, you just sit back and go Tool Droppin’ while streaming Trubbish with Exp. Share until you take your 6 Prizes.
So first off, this is the list I have been using:
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 41
4 Level Ball
4 Exp. Share
Energy – 7
Since this deck revolves solely around both Pokémon, and both are of low to mid HP, it should be common Pokésense to play four of each.
I really like Masquerain because it plays a part in most of my wins. Whether it’s moving Silver Bangles around to get the extra damage I need for a KO, or moving Exp. Shares around so that I can set up another Trubbish, Masquerain is by far the best reason Sigilyph and Trubbish have some much synergy.
As I explained before, the combination in using Sigilyph as a Tool bank and Masquerain as the means to withdraw those Tools, can be very rewarding indeed. However, I have learned that Masquerain is more of a convenience than a necessity.
After all, the deck can still function properly without it, though you may need something else to provide the other important task it does as well. This would be the option to retreat. With a single Masquerain and Float Stone in play, you essentially give all your Pokemon in play free retreat.
You simply Tool Reversal the Float Stone to your hand and then Tool Reversal the Tool (if any) on your Active Pokemon, then place the Float Stone onto the Active Pokemon, retreat and Tool Reversal the rest of your Tools in play so that theirs hosts are prepared for the new existing play conditions.
For the most part, I highly advise running a 2-2 line of Masquerain, but the deck can still function properly without them. It just depends on what type of list you’re running.
These are lines that I strongly believe should not be altered because of the key roles they play in Toolbox. These roles consist mainly of drawing through your deck so that you can gain multiple cards that you may need during your turn.
The draw engine in both Juniper and Bicycle is so important that I don’t see why someone would take out just one of these cards to make room for something else, since there aren’t any other cards that could possibly accomplish the tasks they provide better; Juniper is the best draw Supporter in format being able to increase your hand size to seven new cards from your deck regardless of any play conditions besides discarding your original hand first, while Bicycle’s reason is a little bit harder to explain.
Because Toolbox consists of mostly auto-playable cards meaning that you can easily get cards out of your hand and reduce your hand size quickly and sometimes unknowingly, this card is perfect. It isn’t a Supporter which lets you still use your Supporter for the turn on top of being able use as many Bicycles as you can play regarding your hand size.
Even though you can only draw up to four cards with Bicycle, these can be 4 very crucial cards that you could not have gotten otherwise.
N should be self-explanatory in a deck made up of easily OHKO’ed Pokémon that only cost one Prize each.
The other 2 Supporters in my list are Bianca and Colress. I have been testing both in an effort to cut down on inconsistency and have found out that running both together as one-ofs works very nicely.
Bianca is pretty much a super Bicycle Supporter and Colress is more or less your big hand-late game type of draw card. Both can work in Toolbox, except Bianca functions better since you can easily get rid of cards from your hand any time in the game to draw more, especially early game, which gives it the advantage over Colress.
Colress, on the other hand, can net you a huge hand late or even mid game and get those key cards you may have been looking for. All in all, both are good, but again, both are optional.
I wanted to make a separate category for RR aside from the draw cards because unlike the Trainers mentioned so far, this only guarantees you one Supporter from your deck. The reason for it being included is so that you can have a choice of Supporters depending on the variety in your deck and for consistency purposes. I usually suggest 1-2, with 2 being the sweet spot, but go past that number and you’re better off putting in an actual Supporter card in its place.
4 Level Ball
Everything in Toolbox has 90 HP or less. So why not just run 4 Level Balls instead of any other Pokémon search card?
In a deck that can OHKO anything in format, you won’t need to use Catcher as much as most decks would, which is why a typical Toolbox deck (take my list for example) tends to run around 2-3. You can run 4, but a lot of times you’ll be stuck with one more than you need and it could often ruin your draw.
The reason I run only 2 is because there were still other things I wanted to fit into my deck, and a third Catcher seemed like it would play less of an important role than the cards I had in mind.
The whole point of Catcher for this deck is to take out the biggest imposing threat your opponent has to offer. In most cases, that threat is already active and as such does not require the use of Catcher. Overall, Catcher should be in the deck, you should just run a little bit less of it than you normally would.
Silver Mirror along with Eviolite is in the deck as a defense mechanism; Silver Mirror keeps your Pokémon from being damaged or KO’ed by Plasma Pokémon while Eviolite reduces damage done to the Pokémon it is attached to by 20. Both are extremely helpful in keeping Toolbox from being overrun by speedy decks like TDK and help out with the low HP issue. After all, the longer you can keep your Trubbish alive, the more Prizes you are likely to take.
Silver Bangle on the other hand, serves the complete opposite purpose. This would be adding damage done to your opponent’s Pokémon-EX. One might think that such a purpose is irrelevant when you have so many Tools you can put into play, but when you don’t it helps to have a card like Bangle to do the extra 20-30 damage you were originally off by.
Exp. Share is, in my opinion, the best Tool for this deck overall. You see, once you get a Trubbish going around turn 2 or 3, there is a good chance it will be KO’ed soon. You would then need to get another Trubbish set up and attacking, but if your opponent just KO’ed the first Trubbish, it’s very likely they won’t waste any time starting on the next one. So in order to keep up the Tool Drops, you need to “stream” Energy or move it around from one Trubbish to the next so that you can keep attacking and nothing does this better than Exp. Share.
The last Tool I recommend playing in Toolbox is Float Stone. Float Stone works very well with Masquerain, essentially giving all your Pokémon free retreat with only one copy of the card. However, it only gives free retreat, which means any existing effects or Special Condition preventing retreat will stall you unless you run Switch.
Thankfully, Toolbox will be riding on the Virizion EX’s coattails in the sense that because of Virizion, cards like Hypnotoxic Laser will see less play. Nonetheless, I prefer to run a limited amount of Float Stone, should space in the deck become tight.
All in all, l can see most people running 3 of everything except Exp. Share which I would put at 4 due to its importance to Toolbox.
These are cards I feel should be included in the deck but only a single copy of each. We’ll start with Tool Scrapper: While some of you may question my sanity in putting a card that gets rid of Tool in a deck that lives off Tools, this is more for your worst matchup: Garbodor.
If I were writing an article about Toolbox’s matchups, you’d probably get an earful about how bad the Garbodor matchup is. It’s so for two reasons: Reason one, Garbodor shuts off both Sigilyph and Masquerain’s Ability. And if you read Sigilyph’s Ability, you will see that if its Ability is negated, then you discard all Tools attached to this Pokémon until it has one remaining Tool. That’s up to 3 Tools per Sigilyph gone because of your opponent’s Pokémon’s Ability.
The second reason is Hypnotoxic Laser. Since Garbodor shuts off all Abilities when it has a Tool attached to it, it has no reason to fear Virizion’s Verdant Wind which was the main reason Lasers were going out of style. I’ll go into more detail about Laser’s importance later, but for now understand that this isn’t good.
Tool Scrapper can give you that one chance to get your 9 Tools back in play and have Trubbish OHKO EXs again. It also comes in handy when your opponent is foolish enough to play Rock Guard or Life Dew as their ACE SPEC, assuming Toolbox doesn’t run Scrapper.
Super Rod use is also limited to one time. Usually, towards the end of the game, you will have a majority of your Energy and Trubbish in your discard pile and you’ll probably want to get them back in your deck and into your hand. And that is exactly what Super Rod does.
Also, I don’t think I need to explain again that when every Pokémon in your deck has 90 HP or less you will be easily OHKO’ed by everything, but since all your Pokémon are only 1 Prize, you will sometimes find yourself using certain Pokémon card all 4 (on rare occasions 5 or 6) times in a single game. So I’d try to run at least one of each.
Again, you want a consistent ACE SPEC card, one whose use is not dependent on whether or not the opponent plays their Tool Scrapper in time. That limits the choice down to either Computer Search or Dowsing Machine. Computer Search, as we all know, is best early to mid game while Dowsing Machine is good mid to late game.
I personally prefer Dowsing Machine over Computer Search because it often gives me that extra copy of a certain card that I wouldn’t normally have like Tool Scrapper, Silver Mirror, or Pokémon Catcher which is why I chose it over Computer Search.
Computer Search, however, can get me any card from my deck that I might be missing early on like Energy or Pokémon which is really helpful too, but not as critical.
7 Psychic Energy
The best number for Energy in Toolbox is, in my opinion, 7-8. 6 and below just seems too little when it can only provide you enough for 3 Trubbish and 9+ is just too much when you normally won’t use all that Energy. Not to mention, if you run Super Rod, you’ll often get stuck with more Energy than you need in your deck at times.
I had to be precise, so 7 Energy seemed like enough for me. I also preferred extras in my list such as an increased Tool line or an added Supporter, but you can run 8 if you feel you are missing Energy drops on your Trubbish.
For this part of the article, I will be discussing the other cards I’ve seen people play in Toolbox and explain why they shouldn’t be played played in this deck in the first place.
Both are at the top of my list when it comes to how many amateur lists I’ve seen run one of the two, but allow me to keep you from making the same mistake. These are ACE SPEC Tools. This means that you can have only one in your deck, but more importantly, you can only have one of them attached to only one of your Pokémon.
This also means that your opponent can play around that Pokémon, focusing on other threats until they have the proper resources to take it out. What I mean by this, is that sure you can attach your Life Dew or Rock Guard to a Trubbish, but with Catcher still being a largely played card in today’s format, unless your opponent can get rid of that Tool, they’ll probably work around your other Pokémon in play.
The biggest factor here is Tool Scrapper. If you ever need a reason not to run an ACE SPEC Tool in this type of a metagame, Tool Scrapper would always be there. I’ve seen this happen countless times to know better; player puts down Life Dew onto Trubbish and attacks. Other player plays Tool Scrapper and gets rid of Life Dew and other random Tool.
The moral of the story is that you always want to get the most out of your ACE SPEC, but how can you do that when your opponent simply negates that goal by discarding it before you can put it to use?
Your opponent also can’t discard something like Computer Search or Dowsing Machine. Furthermore, Computer Search and Dowsing Machine, as I explained before, are consistency cards because they can realistically get you almost anything in your deck, from Supporters to Energy making them far better competitors for the one spot in your deck.
And as I go on, you’ll find out that this deck is going to need all the consistency it can get.
Skyla, in my opinion, is not even the third best option for Supporters in Toolbox, because unless you design your list to have the Skyla engine, you always draw into it wishing you drew into an actual draw Supporter.
A problem involving Toolbox is that most of the time you want multiple cards in your hand by drawing into those cards through draw designed Items and Supporters. When you can only get one specific Trainer card at a time with Skyla, your decisions become overcomplicated and don’t often end well.
These are Tools mostly used for Trubbish, and as such compete with other Tools for those single spots on each Trubbish. As I will explain later, Exp. Share is the top Tool for benched Trubbish because of its ability to power up one Trubbish after the other.
So why would you want to waste that space just so you can get back a Trubbish to your hand when it gets KO’ed by an attack? One common area of knowledge required to play this deck well is knowing when to place the right Tools down on certain Pokémon.
Making that mistake once can get you into a lot of trouble, especially if it turns your offensive into recuperation. Such is the case of Rescue Scarf.
When it comes to Giant Cape, his only competitor is Eviolite, which still surpasses him.
When you have a low HP Pokémon hanging on by the thread of a needle because they have so much damage on them, the last thing you want your opponent to do is play Tool Scrapper and kill that Pokemon because without that Tool, you lose the HP keeping you alive. All in all, it’s better to reduce damage done to the Pokémon in Toolbox than to stall it.
Sableye DEX, Darkness Energy
The biggest downside to running these two is you wasting your Energy attachment for the turn. Since this deck has no Energy acceleration, it relies on turn by turn Energy attachments and Tools like Exp. Share to keep a steady stream of attackers going.
But when you waste that attachment or Energy drop so you can get back a certain Tool or Item, you take one step forward and two steps back. In other words, the deck itself is so fragile that you won’t often find yourself not being OHKO’ed.
So you have to rely on responding OHKO’s to keep up and whenever you slow down, or in this case Junk Hunt, you give your opponent an opportunity to take back the offensive position and put you in a deep hole, a hole of which you could have avoided in the first place.
Why It’s Good
Toolbox is both a mix of speed and inconsistency where you can get a turn 2 OHKO on a Pokémon EX but at the same time you could draw dead for 5 turns straight and call it a normal occurrence.
The important part of this randomness is that Toolbox is potentially the strongest deck in format because of the combination it makes by OHKO’ing Pokémon-EX with only Basic Pokémon that only cost one Prize, making the Prize trade outrageously favorable for the little guy, but then gets balanced out with those Pokémon having 70-90 HP in a 180 HP format.
For the most part, this deck relies on getting a consistent stream of Trubbish, one after the other, where the opponent kills a Trubbish and another one takes its place without missing a beat.
Some of you may continue to question how in the world a deck can get and keep 9 Tools in play starting on and continuing from turn two. The answer is another reason for the deck’s power: speed.
Toolbox is built on fast cards like Bicycle and Juniper whom take advantage of the ability for the user to play Item cards out of their hand quickly. If you take another look at my list, you will notice that I run 16 Tools. The average amount of Tools in a Toolbox deck should be between 16-18.
As I mentioned before, the deck is 1/4th Tools, so drawing into these cards combined with Sigilyph which can store up to 4 Tools will definitely make room for speed plays.
However, that isn’t always a good thing.
Why It’s Bad
Continuing on the subject I left off of, which is the high count of Tools in Toolbox, we reach the biggest hurdle for this deck. Consistency.
Consistency is what separates Toolbox from the tier decks just enough so that it can’t really compete with them, but at the same time it can. During my vigorous testing with Toolbox, I found myself drawing completely dead for almost 4 turns and to my dismay, dead draws with Toolbox occurred on a regular basis.
Some games this happened, some it didn’t, but when it did, depending on how far the game had gotten, it often ended up with me going down 3-4 Prizes. Most of those games I lost because I drew into the wrong Tools at the wrong time or because I drew only Tools.
Yes, you can say that dead draws happen to even the best of decks, but when your deck is made up of 70-90 HP Pokémon that require two Energy to attack, you often go too slow down the Prize road to where you can’t keep up and you lose.
Furthermore, are the other nuisances for Toolbox: Garbodor and Hypnotoxic Lasers. I’ve already gone over why Garbodor wrecks Toolbox, so I’ll finish off with Lasers. I keep returning to the subject of low HP in this deck, and while it may be a problem in this deck, I hope I’ve explained enough as to why it’s a problem so that I don’t have to go over it again.
Of all the cards out there that capitalize on Toolbox’s low HP, Hypnotoxic Laser takes first place. It has the ability to not only stall the deck with sleep, but add in Virbank City Gym, and it has the power to kill everything in the deck as well. The worst fear I have ever had when I played my Toolbox deck, besides drawing dead, is being put to sleep and not waking up.
If my opponent were to put down a Virbank the turn they played the Laser, this would result in whatever Pokémon they Laser’d dying on the turn after my next turn. Meaning I would only get one chance to wake up before I would lose my active Pokémon. This effect can be devastating when you just setup a Trubbish, and while your other Trubbish have Exp. Shares on them, Exp. Share doesn’t work when the Pokémon faints from Special Conditions.
Another downside to running Toolbox is the expectation of most decks to run Tool Scrapper. Even though Tool Scrapper won’t make that big a dent in your execution when playing Toolbox, a well-timed Scrapper can prove to be obnoxious, regardless of your board position.
Overall, if people really want to make this deck competition ready, they’re going to have to put a little bit more thought and consideration into how they want to build it and what cards to choose based on their meta.
So… Why Use Toolbox?
It’s like the point of any underwhelming deck, which is to have fun.
I remember when I first built my own list at a prerelease several weeks ago and played people with a proxy deck. At first they’d read the cards and see what they did, but when I got set up and starting Tool Droppin’ for 180-200 damage the looks on their faces were priceless.
Those looks now are probably lost because most people are aware of the deck’s existence, but I still get a kick out of dropping my whole hand on the field plus a Supporter and having a 70 HP Basic Pokémon KO’ing EXs turn after turn.
I personally believe that Toolbox is the best “rogue” (don’t quote me on this, it’s just a comparison) so to speak that’s out in our format today. That is, because unlike the rest of the not tier decks, Toolbox can actually give most tier decks a run for their money every time it hits the playfield.
Moreover, Toolbox is a fun deck and should be treated like such. Yes, you should probably give it a little bit more respect than the other fun decks out there, but I’ve heard people say they are going to tech Chatot PLB because Toolbox completely wrecks such and such deck and, to be honest, I laugh a little inside.
Will Toolbox see as much play as something like Garbodor or Virizion/Genesect? It shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.
Well, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading!
I would also like to wish you the best of luck playing this deck, and happy Tool Droppin’.
Under and out