There’s a lot of amazing deck archetypes in GLC. It’s a very balanced format, with several powerful decks from every type consistently placing well in online tournaments. There’s a lot of room for skill expression and comeback potential, with the format both rewarding careful decision making and good deck building skill.
Some deck archetypes do stand out above the others in terms of how strong they are in the metagame and how often the decks place well in online and IRL tournaments. If you’re looking for a metagame spotlight on what to expect when going to a GLC tournament, this is an excellent list of decks to know about and get inspiration from.
The decks on this list aren’t in any particular order, so if a deck is at the bottom of the list or in Part 2 that doesn’t necessarily show how the deck is in strength in relation to the others. Here’s Part 1 of my thoughts on the best deck for each type right now.
Let’s get this one out of the way, shall we? This deck stands far above most of the other decks in its raw power and ability to completely dominate a game. Considered the best deck in the format, Archeops is one of the strongest GLC decks the world has ever seen. There are many ways to play this card, and many successful variations of Archeops have seen success in the online scene. The deck has a higher win percentage online (65%) than even some of the cards on the GLC ban list did during their prime.
What makes this deck so strong? With DCE, Twin Energy, and DTE, Colorless essentially has access to 3 Double Dragon Energies for their type. Archeops can accelerate two special energies from the deck into play every single turn, and can do this as soon as the second turn of the game using cards like Rare Candy and Pokemon Research Lab to cheat Archeops into play faster. The Lost Origin Snorlax is one of the most broken attackers the format has ever seen, with 150 HP, a gnarly ability preventing effects of attacks, and a whopping 180 damage for three energy. With cards like Therapeutic Energy Snorlax doesn’t even have to go to sleep after it attacks. Archeops Colorless is one of the best picks for any given GLC tournament, and if you don’t pick Archeops then you should have a plan to defeat it.
Water has always been one of the best types in the GLC metagame because of its consistency and the strength of its support and attacker lineup. This is a deck that is incredibly customizable, and there are many great ways to build this deck. If you love attacking with huge Pokemon hitting for a near limitless amount of damage, this deck is a great fit for you. Here’s one of the versions that has been performing very well online.
This variation of the deck is called Fishy's Jump, and it is especially good at dealing snipe damage to the opponent’s bench. The Rapid Strike Starmie is incredibly flexible with taking KOs, enough energy on this card can lead to upwards of a 2-4 prize card turn! It’s great at cleaning up KOs and finishing off the game. Wishiwashi can have up to 180 HP with its ability and can hit for gigantic amounts of damage. The goal of the deck is to continuously cycle these two attackers and win by running your opponent out of resources. At the end of the game, when all of your water energies are in the discard, Hisuian Basculegion can take a massive OHKO and shuffle all of the energies back into the deck to be used again! While this list is one of the better Deluge-style lists, this archetype is very flexible, with lots of room to experiment with different attackers and trainer lineups.
This is one of the newest archetypes on the list, it is a very recent discovery in the online metagame. Fire has traditionally been a type that has not seen a lot of success, partially due to its difficulty to build and play correctly. Another reason it tends to struggle is Water’s popularity in the metagame, Fire struggles in that matchup for several reasons. Extreme Speed is a much faster build of Fire than a traditional list, and can respond to threats much more effectively. While it is a recent addition to the metagame, I’m confident that this is the best way to build Fire in GLC right now.
Extreme Speed is what’s called an “item-based build” by the competitive GLC community. It plays a much lower count of supporters, Pokemon, and energy than a traditional GLC deck. Instead, it plays a much higher count of item cards, and uses cards like Pokestop to draw through the entire deck in just a couple turns. The idea of the deck is to use cards like Pal Pad to reuse the best supporters in this deck several times each. Decks that use this item-based build are very difficult to build and play, but very fast and consistent when they are built correctly. This Fire build can draw lots of cards each turn and set up gigantic attackers like Entei and Arcanine very consistently. Don’t underestimate the strength of cards like Wishful Baton that can keep energy in play and let your big attackers keep swinging.
Much like Water, this archetype has always been one of the most popular and most powerful decks in GLC. Since the release of Torterra in the Brilliant Stars set, Grass has had some of the highest HP Pokemon and hardest hitting attackers in the entire format. With cards like Kricketune and Leavanny to increase that tankiness even more, Grass is an extremely difficult deck to beat once it gets set up, but can occasionally struggle when dealing with weakness or faster decks. Recently with some of the online success of turbo attacking decks like Extreme Speed, Turbo Dark, and Metalzone, and spread decks like Lost Zone Psychic and Hitmonbros, classic Rillaboom/Venusaur hasn’t seen a lot of tournament success. However, that does not take away from its strength as a deck. Against a Grass deck that has all of its support Pokemon and best attackers in play, good luck getting past that.
Lightning has always been a pretty strong type when built and played correctly. It’s a difficult type to play correctly, but it has a very good matchup spread when played well. If you want to pick up a deck that is very fast and explosive, Lightning is a great type. Online Lightning hasn’t seen a lot of competitive success, but that’s more because it’s a difficult deck to play and the current online metagame is somewhat hostile to the low HP Pokemon low frontload damage that lightning utilizes best. Lost Zone Psychic is a pretty difficult matchup for lightning, along with Archeops Colorless and Hitmonbros. That said, the deck has a great Water matchup and does pretty well into the rest of the metagame, Lightning has always been a solid pick into any given tournament.
That’s about it for Part 1! This list isn’t a comprehensive list of what’s playable in GLC and what’s not, decks like Colorless, Water, and Grass have several different tournament winning archetypes I could have showcased. If you want to read some in-depth articles on these decks, most of these lists have articles here on cardboardwarriors.net with more information about how these archetypes work. Stay tuned for Part 2 later this week containing the rest of the types!