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Wheatr @CardBoardWar_ Friday, April 7, 2023

Gym Leader Challenge in the Prehistoric Age

Crown Zenith came and went rather quickly, and with its passing, the meta has shifted quite a bit! Archeops has proved itself the dominant meta deck of the season with the vast majority of the winningest Pokemon belonging to the Colorless type. Archeops is an enabler for many types of unique decks, whether that be disruption-based builds, turbo attacking, or some variation of the two. Fortunately, Archeops decks only take one prize at a time, so the deck is not as oppressive as the now banned Kyogre.

Let's take a quick peak at some of the best Pokemon and Trainers of the season as well as some very unique builds that arose during this time frame.


Well, it's no surprise that in the Archeops era, Archeops decks dominate the top of the win rate board. The 8 winningest Pokemon are all Colorless, and they are all played in Archeops builds. Persian and Munchlax make a special appearance here from the non-aggro variant of Archeops. Maggara introduced an updated version of his unique disruption focused build, one of the best of 2022. This new version runs Archeops to power its various attackers but can also win with stall and control tactics thanks to Persian and Munchlax. Gengar and Kricketune were the lone non-Colorless Pokemon in the top 10 mostly thanks to Tzubi and Pelet's decks, respectively.

Out of the top 25 Pokemon, 16 (!) were Colorless. Wild stuff.


The top trainers list, as usual, is mostly comprised of trainers that are heavily played in the top type and the top decks of the season. There are several Colorless-specific trainers in here, like Fossil Excavation Map, Roseanne's Backup, Pokemon Research Lab, and Sparkling Robe - all widely used in Archeops builds.

Another unique style of play is poking its head in though. Xtransceiver, Custom Catcher and Judge Whistle are favorites of a new item-based engine that was created during Crown Zenith by JeoshuaObladi. The style runs many items, most rarely used before in GLC, few supporters, and a list that is cohesive and forms a powerful engine tailored to the type that it is built for. Among the amazing decks he built are the Coal Madness, an item-based Coalossal fighting list, and Lost Zone Water which runs Dracovish, Cramorant and Empoleon.


Other than Colorless winning 60% of its games, a big note in this set is how Dragon fell off hard. Dragon was recently at a 55% win rate, but has fallen to a sub-50 winning percentage. Less people are playing Dragon at the moment, so it is probably due to variance. However, Dragon struggles against the speed and power of Colorless, so that may play a factor in the low performance. Water, Psychic and Colorless continue to be played the most, and Grass and Dark are still strong types. Fighting has reached a 50% win rate for the first time that I can recall thanks in part due to JeoshuaObladi's Coal Madness. Metal has some help that arrived with Scarlet & Violet and I'm interested to see if it can climb from the doldrums.


Here is a very effective Archeops that Esna used to win several tournaments. It is accurate and fast. Archeops is resistant to control due to its ability to dump energy effectively from the deck, it is able to chain attackers endlessly and it is fast to get online thanks to Pokemon Research Lab. Research Lab not only gets Archen in the game, but it also puts the incredibly strong Aerodactyl on the bench. A typical Archeops deck is full of 160 and 180 damage attackers that can be streamed endlessly once Archeops is in play. Archeops is held back just a little because it is not as consistent to get into play. As we've seen from standard, once it is in play, it is very difficult to stop.

Due to the deep card pool Colorless has and the plethora of incredilby strong basic attackers, it is a powerful type in the current meta. Options to slow Archeops down are hard to find. An early Chaotic Cwell can prevent the Research Lab from coming online, while Hex prevents a turn of Archeops play. At worst, you have to hope Snorlax gets sleepy and can't attack repeatedly. However, with the news of Therapy Energy coming in Paldea Evolved, Snorlax may never go to sleep. Archeops continues to get stronger with each set. Perhaps Pokemon will print something to help deal with the best support Pokemon in the game.

New and Unique Decks

Here is the aforementioned Coal Madness, truly a unique deck with absolutely beautiful synergy all over the place. JeoshuaObladi (Baba) has won tournaments with this list and usually places well. The deck is designed to Maxie's multiple times in a game, use Coalossal to get tons of energy in play, and win late game (although occasionally early) with an impenetrable wall of attackers.

PhoenixFire, a fellow CBW member, is the first in a long time to come out with a tournament winning twist on Dark. It is so refreshing, yet a bit scary, to see a new Dark deck with such power. The deck can donk most any other, but it can also play to the late game by looping the very powerful and flexible Spiritomb. Guzzlord can also sweep the end game.

The final list I'd like to share today made its appearance towards the very end of the PTCGO era. I think we would have seen many more wins from it if had time to continue in online play. Leondaro made a very unique Regigigas stall control list with an unkillable wall in the front while in the back he removes your resources time after time. He perfected the deck after a few tournaments and much practice. I wonder if he would have made his way towards causing a ban with how strong this deck is.

PTCGO Sunset

A special farewell to PTCGO. I had a lot of fun hosting and playing tournaments with all the good people in the GLC community. PTCGO and Gym Leader Challenge gave me many great memories, and I'm glad to have shared them with all of you.

Moving to Webcam

I hope many of you will join me in webcam tournaments as the webcam era begins. We are holding weekly tournaments with real cards in the prize pool! Scarlet and Violet brought many great cards and GLC is sure to continue to be the most fun way to play Pokemon cards.