GLC Grass Deck

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Tankmin @Tankmin5 Sunday, August 28, 2022

A Forest of Giant Plants


Hey, I'm Trevor Redding, also known as Tankmin. You may know me from the Tricky Gym community. I've been playing Gym Leader Challenge since its inception and have been pretty successful; I've won several online tournaments and made top 8 at most of the official Full Grip tournaments. With grass getting so many strong cards in the last few sets, I've started to rely on it for events where I want to maximize my odds of success. I frequently practice with Mike Gibbs, one of the strongest Gym Leader Challenge players I know. I piloted his list to a top 4 finish at the Full Grip 2.5k, which is very similar to the list I'm writing about in this article.

Unique Inclusions

With this grass list, there isn't anything too terribly interesting. Usually when grass sets up, it's able to churn out attackers with huge HP and more than enough damage output to knock anything out in the format regardless of the cards in hand. With that in mind, I think it's best to just focus on setup consistency rather than cute options. There's only about four cards that have any wiggle room, in my opinion:

Float Stone

It sounds crazy I know, how could float stone be optional? But grass usually doesn't need a pivot. What I found, though, was against decks that can one shot grass's attackers while also playing avery or parallel, not having a pivot was a problem. Lately it seems like everyone and their brother are playing parallel, which is not optimal in my opinion, so for this particular tournament I ran float stone. Usually though, it's better to have an escape rope as an additional out to pushing Galarian Weezing, Wobuffet or Slaking to the bench to get your abilities back for a turn to set up an attacker, or to deal with the various other shenanigans in the format.


Originally this was Peonia, but after repeated testing I think it has to be Gladion. There were two times in the last Full Grip tournament where I had to get a specific card off Peonia or lose, and both those times I was lucky enough to get what I needed. Usually I've found you only prize one important card, and can play around the rest of your prizes in some way. In those cases, I would much rather guarantee that card with gladion. But there are arguments for Peonia as well.

Tropical Beach

This deck doesn't play field blower, and in my opinion a Gym Leader Challenge deck needs at least 2 outs to bumping a stadium. Stadium cards in this deck specifically allow Thwackey to have free retreat, which is sometimes incredibly useful. This deck usually needs a couple turns to set up before getting a near-checkmate board state, so in those couple of turns it's great to have a draw option like beach when you can't attack anyways. A lot of decks can't afford to take a turn off to beach, but if they do then they're giving you another turn to set up your board. I don't like playing beach in a lot of lists since most decks have ability-based draw and would rather set up that than give their opponent the ability to draw out of a dead hand. But this list has no ability-based draw so beach works really well. Lately though, I haven't been able to utilize it as often as I'd like, so I could see cutting it for a Chaotic Swell to block Parallel City.

Tate and Liza

Having another draw supporter and switching out is sometimes important, but sometimes I've also hit an energy crunch. I could see cutting this card for a 12th energy.

Strong and Weak Matchups

I think this is currently the overall strongest deck in the format right now. Even if it falls behind on prizes, as long as it sets up it can easily power up attackers turn after turn until the other player misses a knockout.

Usually this deck only loses when a deck is faster at setting up and also repeatedly gusts Grookey in the early game, or a deck can keep pace and take a knockout every turn. Most decks can't do that consistently.

Water is probably the best at repeatedly gusting in the early game thanks to Shady Dealings Inteleon. Unfortunately, there's no counterplay to a water player setting up an attacker turn 2 and searching out gust multiple turns in a row. This isn't a weakness specific to grass, you just have to take the loss when that happens. Even with that, I'd say the matchup is at least 50/50 or 45/55.

Fire obviously hits this deck for weakness, so if a fire deck gets the first knockout it can pretty easily one shot everything grass throws at it and sometimes put it through a resource crunch. Unfortunately, a lot of the fire decks I've seen take too long to set up and give grass too much initiative.

I think most other matchups are favored, but I also think there are some cards coming out in Lost Origin that could change that.

Strategies and Tips

Always go second. This is true for most decks in glc, but especially in grass. You don't want to lose a game by getting donked by a Zapdos or Hoopa. You want to play Brigette or Gloria or Ball Guy first. You also want a chance to use Zarude's Pack Call for full effect or use Kricketot's Bug Hunch. Prioritize setup so you your mid to late game is hard to disrupt.

Against spread decks like Psychic and Lightning, don't even bother trying to set up Kricketune. If you start Kricketot, then try to avoid setting up Roselia. These are easy prizes for those decks, so they don't provide a lot of value (unless you're bricking, then Roselia has a lot of value). Remember, you want to force your opponent to knock out Zarude and Shining Genesect with hp boosting tools attached and Rillaboom and Torterra every game.

Against Amazing Rare Kyogre, set up Rillaboom and 1-2 attackers. Do not bench anything else until after the Kyogre attacks the first time, then bench another attacker and accelerate to it. Do not bench Kricketot. I see a lot of players blindly set up a full board against Amazing Rare Kyogre, which is a terrible strategy. If you bench your attackers in waves, then they're not knocking out your entire board all at once. Grass is one of the only decks that can operate efficiently with a small board state, thanks to the power of Rillaboom.

Make sure you use your recovery optimally. I see a lot of players recover stage 1 or 2 attackers or support pokemon when there's so few prize cards left that they couldn't possibly use them in time. That's just cluttering up your deck at that point. For instance, if my opponent only has 2 prizes left, there's no point in me recovering Turtwig and Torterra unless I'm banking on a rare candy play next turn since my opponent will probably win in 2 turns. Don't blindly accelerate energy to your board, know how much energy is in your deck to accelerate with Rillaboom and think about how you need to allocate it to win the game.

Try to have a backup plan if your opponent has ability lock next turn, but don't overcommit to the backup plan.

Always keep in mind an energy stuck on something not optimal can be moved to Shining Genesect via it's ability. This can save you in a tough situation by allowing you to pull a huge attack out of nowhere.

Learn how to play around your prizes. A lot of games you will prize something important, usually a Rillaboom piece. If that happens, you have to optimally lean into Torterra and Venusaur.

Know when to retreat. This deck is full of big attackers, and you can use that to deny prizes. For instance, if you know for a fact your opponent can't do 170 damage next turn, attack with Rillaboom to deny a prize.

Deck List

1 Bulbasaur DET 1 1 Ivysaur DEX 2 1 Venusaur SLG 3 1 Grookey SSH 11 1 Thwackey SHF 12 1 Rillaboom SHF 13 1 Kricketot BKP 5 1 Kricketune ASR 10 1 Roselia DRX 12 1 Roserade DRX 15 1 Turtwig UPR 6 1 Grotle BRS 7 1 Torterra BRS 8 1 Shining Genesect SLG 9 1 Zarude CRE 19

1 N FCO 105 1 Marnie CPA 56 1 Professor Juniper PLB 84 1 Avery CRE 130 1 Gloria BRS 141 1 Gladion CIN 95 1 Tate & Liza CES 148 1 Bird Keeper DAA 159 1 Brigette BKT 134 1 Cynthia UPR 119 1 Teammates PRC 141 1 Boss's Orders BRS 132 1 Guzma BUS 115 1 Colress PLS 118 1 Ball Guy SHF 57 1 Super Rod BKT 149 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163 1 Revitalizer GEN 70 1 Ordinary Rod SSH 171 1 Timer Ball SUM 134 1 Ultra Ball BRS 150 1 Nest Ball SUM 123 1 Evosoda GEN 62 1 Rare Candy PGO 69 1 Level Ball BST 129 1 Net Ball LOT 187 1 Hisuian Heavy Ball ASR 146 1 Quick Ball FST 237 1 VS Seeker PHF 109 1 Cape of Toughness DAA 160 1 Fighting Fury Belt BKP 99 1 Float Stone BKT 137 1 Tropical Beach PR-BLW 50 1 Turffield Stadium CPA 68

11 Grass Energy 1