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JeoshuaObladi @CardBoardWar_ Thursday, February 9, 2023

Coal Madness

It was just big laughs and taunts when there was talk of a Claydol archetype in GLC and it can be memed very well still, but no one expected that something with real potential could be born, let alone a Coalossal archetype or even a whole philosophy on how to understand the fighting type. A whole new engine and game system. I didn't think it was the time but the fighting type is cracked! I dare say broken. Does Fighting need a draw-Pokemon? Not with this engine. Well, if they will print a Flamigo with Trade or with an ability between the old Claydol and the Maintenance card, I wouldn't disdain. But let's talk about the deck, how it was born and evolved, but above all how it moves.

It all started with Claydol and with the constraint of not being able to have supporters in the discard pile. I knew right from the start that it wouldn't be within my reach and I immediately looked for of a few strong and right supporters, recoverable or recyclable or which could get around the limitation. I also needed all possible draw item cards in the format along with Rose Tower and Pokestop as stadiums to slide through, then, team decided, I felt Pokemon recovery was a must-have and Rototiller Excadrill fit the bill perfectly. I could discard much more and Rototiller to recover anything lost, so with this mindset I thought of Hapu. The remaining supporter department has always had Clay, Maxie, Gladion which always hides itself in the prizes for the consistency of Claydol, a Grant that can bounce to your hand whenever you need it, and Judge with Judge Whistle. I also tried Delinquent to take time and work on the sequence in favor of setting up the discard pile for Claydol with the mole active proving to be effective. It is a path that can be beaten in fossil variants, or even simply for being dirty. Many items can be inserted in the Claydol dance: let's see how Gutsy Pickaxe and Max Elixir stand out for energy acceleration and Switching Cups to combo with the first 2. Recycle as a recovery card helps Claydol and Random Receiver which with only 6 supporters will be more effective than Pokegear specially early on. The so-called “cards that flip”, with a heads, can turn any situation and sometimes even their tails are useful, especially with Cram-o-matic it can lighten heavy hands in favor of a Maxie. In addition, there is Order Pad, Stadium Nav and XTransceiver - after all, not many. Paradoxically they are the strongest and worst cards in the deck, too strong to be deprived of if they flip right.

There is still a lot to discuss about the items because each one will have to be optimized according to the moment. It will be easy to get carried away at the beginning and play things at random, without real sense. Instead, have the intelligence and patience to play what you need that turn. We like to go first: don't ruin a turn 1 full of usable cards, they could lead you to Maxie in the next turn. Use the tools wisely and you will be rewarded with proper use since Gallade will be on the field, after having set the first 5 cards with his ability, you will need them to bring combinations for Maxie, Guzma, and special energies to your hand. Among the tools that I am most proud of using is certainly the Custom Catcher to draw up to 3. Exploiting this card is truly particular and brilliant. We met it in standard a few years ago when we were without Guzma and Boss for almost a year, and obviously its use was reserved for the second effect of which in GLC we cannot benefit. Making use of draw which sometimes/often also happened in standard is a smart and fun move in this build. It shows how much creativity can be brought into play in GLC. Better than the Custom Catcher we have the Bicycle up to 4 cards in hand, an excellent draw item, it will be easy to lower the hand down to 0 to exploit it in all its strength, sometimes in order to Maxies we will be forced to discard it or use it as a moderate draw. Trekking Shoes and Acro Bike are similar cards that continue the draw-forward philosophy of the deck with the addition of discarding cards. Synergy take me away. The broth boils more and more!

After some testing I understand what the deck needs most. I also understand that it could offer a strong late game between Machamp, Terrakion and Stakataka/ Stonjourner made of OHKOs or THKOs with walls. I knew right away that you couldn't expect too much from little Claydol, however, I really liked the structure of the deck and the potential he obtained through good old school sequences. So I thought about it, I kept playing it and I talked to other players, I tested something else… Claydol was most likely just training, but maybe also the right training. I understood something more about fighting, and I was thinking about how to improve it, if more basic pokemons or if the fossil variant was better than the one with the Hitmon Bros. Over thinking. I had to lighten up, I had to remove the ballast. I needed more freedom, the best that GLC can give. Of course! A pokemon similar to Claydol for fighting already exists and without limitations! Coalossal went perfectly with the movements of the deck giving greater acceleration of energies and the option of Hisuian Arcanine and I immediately started the restructuring to insert these additions. Gallade's revelation came on the same first day of testing with Coalossal, playing a game with I can't remember exactly who I'd like to remember. He exclaimed like: "Ah if fighting had a stronger support pokemon than Lunatone..." The deck in the initial test phase already had Carbink and Lunatone as setting and consistency cards, ended up being cut looking for more aggressive plays, but after that sentence Gallade came to mind and I understood the potential by looking better at the build. It was perfect. Regi-Gate was the latest entry, an excellent pivot and attacker closing the talks on the team.

Another closed case was the stadium department: Brooklet Hill, PokèStop, Rose Tower and Viridian Forest have always been the favorites for the build. They bring us all the consistency we need in each part of the game, but choosing the turns to use one or the other is not always easy, usually Brooklet is given priority, but in case we prized some basics we could think of already start digging with PokéStop towards the HH Ball, another valid reason to use it is if you already have important pieces in hand for which digging is only good. If you have a double head of Stadium Nav T1, Brooklet followed by a Pokestop or Rosetower are fine, as is a Viridian to help Coalossal or Maxie next turn. The importance of the stadium made me think of Lusamine several times, which, however, will be partially compensated by the inclusion of Cyllene.

I began to work better in other departments. My final choices on the supporters fell on Gladion as it is always reusable by taking it from the prizes and more technical than Peonia to take the prized candy or the Coalossal. Grant bounces to hand in times of need for a damage boost and synergy with energy and Pokemon discard to draw something extra and to set up Maxie. Judge is the sole disruption supporter of the deck - excellent for keeping small hands and his following Judge Whistle which will make us recover it from the discard pile or often also used to draw the card we put on top with Gallade or Cyllene. Clay, because with the amount of item cards we have (26), will almost always have a desired effect, both in discarding energy and Pokemon and in giving access to Candy + Coalossal via combinations of items. Korrina, the original Irida, brings Coalossal and candy or Maxie's settings to hand by taking the missing piece between Ultra/Quick Ball, Battle Compressor or Vs Seeker for the next turn. Sycamore because discard and draw 7 despite the singleton nature of the format will never be outclassed by the shuffling supporters. Many times I lost games by playing Cynthia in a random shuffle 6 into nothing precise instead of a Research. Guzma, a minimum gust with built-in switch; and Maxie who will always be our first target every turn to establish an offensive board, almost unassailable and always with a prompt response. It's always good to save cards if you have nothing else to do during the turn and always keep your hands ready for Maxie. Do they take Coalossal? The same turn we will often be able to have him back in the game and they will have left out attackers already loaded, Coalossal will be able to prepare another one and Sudowodoo in the right match will be able to shine coming out of nowhere, against Wailord SIT for example you can save your special energies to OHKO him or copy a Guzzlord or Raikou. Finally, Cyllene is our joker, a card that can come to the rescue in the recovery phase if too many important pieces have been discarded such as a stadium for consistency, or to plan future plays, or it can top the cards to prepare a Maxie or to leave us a safe exit on top predicting the opponent's moves. An indispensable card with multiple uses, often even anti-deck-out, almost always a target of Pal Pad if in the discard pile. Other considerations for the supporter department could be Green's Exploration if you pay attention to Stakataka, Guzma & Hala, Lusamine already mentioned, Peony despite being an admirer here perhaps excessive but certainly effective with Rose Tower after selecting the cards for Candy and Coalossal; if you want you can play a Cyn Lyn for an extra touch and to prepare Maxie again. In general, in my opinion, the tenth supporter could be too much weight, adoptable in a first approach to the list to learn it.

With the first Gallade-targeted Maxie I realized that the effect of multiple Maxies could be achieved more easily, but I needed to compose everything more smoothly. Random Receiver, Super Rod, and Gutsy Pickaxe started bothering me first, then followed by Carkol, resulting in a dead card almost constantly. With its cut we have one more space and more fluidity for consistency or spice. The reasons behind Random Receiver and Pickaxe are similar: unlike flipping cards that fail, these "random" ones catch something and you can't step back. It has happened to me several times to find energy with Gutsy and having to attach it on the bench when I needed it on the active or having to take a Supporter card I didn’t want. In short, sequences that can be ruined by randomness and coincidences. Rod was simply too much with the addition of Cyllene, and the compulsion to shuffle 3 and no less than 3 also ruined Maxie and Tar Generator plays. Excellent last add was Maintenance in aid always to Maxie, shuffles 2 cards from hand and draws 1, not infallible because one of the same two cards could be drawn back but the tactic is to save important things before a research also, discreet if you want to draw something more before a Bicycle, not the best to draw forward after Gallade because it shuffles, you might prefer Switching Cups, but in my tests the occasions in which Maintenance has acted positively is high, plus it's another way not to deck-out sometimes… we really draw too much! One of the last cards I'm considering is Pokedex Rotom to reshuffle the prizes in too absurd cases, which can happen in a deck with so many variables like this and some deliberately precarious choices, as in the case of the Coalossal line, in favor of explosiveness. Escape Rope and Float Stone are tools that are used for plays with Terrakion and Machamp, added to Guzma, are useful under ability lock. But be careful to keep some energy in the discard pile and choose Terrakion's turns well, force some bosses at the beginning but calculate that then you won't attack with him, so either save Coalossal, which can be equipped with Stone energy, or always keep two solutions on the field. Gallade is an excellent attacker with Grant, you don't want to lose him but in extreme situations keep him ready. Stone energy is always good giving him a 170 HP margin. After forcing the gusts, the Vs Seeker perhaps already used, during the late game our opponent will have to deal with a Terrakion that will act as a barrier with perhaps a strong energy and possibility of Grant, the same goes for a 200 HP Stakataka that mills upon flip, bad when resources start to run low, and a 300 HP Machamp that potentially brings everything down. And here you feel all the strength of this deck! A proper final chain of attackers can be too strong for any deck if we've maintained a certain level, especially if in the right matchup Machoke is bench guarding separately from an attacking Machamp.

Finally, Arcanine is one of the best fighting attackers in the format and in this build with the Stone he reaches 170 HP and with Strong + Grant he can even oneshot Wailord thanks to its burned bonus damage. Despite everything, I sometimes miss the Muscle Band, less the defensive tools. You've gotten to know me and until there is a Garbotoxin meta that forces me to play Field Blower I can do without it, but if you find the space and feel the need, go ahead, super rarely have I found myself in the need of it, I tried to make the deck as fluid as possible and leave out these types of cards in favor of the idea. My approach to creation is based entirely on respecting the idea and knowing how to best serve it by sacrificing my own style and taste but always ethically. As with a piece, you have to dedicate in understanding it, and understanding means going to the void sometimes to look in yourself for something else.

As final considerations, a few concrete chats about weaknesses: we beat decks as fast and precise as water only by being crazier. We are not slow, we can set up much faster with some luck, keeping the pace won't be easy if they target the Machoke to let free Kyogre from causing a mess, but we have our shots in late game and will try to save the Maxies to recreate our bench barrier. In general with grass, the matchup is terrible due to the weakness, but by starting fast we can take a considerable advantage and try to manage in the late game with Machamp and Gallade who are weak to psych and with Terrakion that will wall, their target will be Coalossal which will go down like butter due to weakness. Without our mountain it will be possible to miss some hits in the end game. Among the bad matchups we also include mill and control decks, the build does not claim to have a positive approach against these strategies, the dig we make to find the combinations become counterproductive, but we do not lack a few cards in response and if we start strong we will play all our chances, in any case it will be really easy for a control deck to find a valid quibble against us and often with our short hands and a stadium in play we are subject to Delinquent who sometimes plays in our favour, sometimes destroys us completely if they also control our topdeck.

Rich gameplay

A rich turn 1, Pokestop into level ball, trainers' mail and custom catcher

Turn 2, Pokestop into Cram, Acro Bike and Stadium Nav for Viridian Forest

Still turn 2, Acro Bike into Maxie's, energy and trainers' mail for quick ball

Turn 2 ends with a Maxie's and an incredible board.

Turn 3, countering Garchomp with Korrina

Looking for candy with Clay

Missed candy, 5 cards in deck

Stone energy preventing return knockout

After a stall attempt, Cyllene heads into rope, attach, and draw with tower. Don't want to lose to Marnie


I know you still don't believe it, that you think the draw isn't enough, that multiple Maxies aren't that continuous. I challenge you to learn it. It's a crazy deck yes, that I never thought I'd be able to create or know how to develop. I have to give a lot of credit to all the players who have added themselves to the Tricky Gym Discord in the last few months and who show up to the tournaments that we CardBoard Warriors organize. Especially since September, the "turbo" concept in GLC has been experimented a lot and the format has evolved contrasting personal spheres of style and philosophies, also causing discussions. I'm not a fan of fast formats or t1-t2 technical-tactical planning, especially in a format like the GLC where each hand is different, I think it's a particularly fragile and counterable strategy depending on the type. This Coalossal instead can be turbo but at the same time have a respectable late game and it’s unpredictable. The routes are different than a linear building where you could shuffle with a supporter and maybe don’t get what you want, here from Pokestop everything could happen. Tzubi, one of the most creative player in the scene, was another key player to understand this way of thinking and build, since summer he created the HitmonTurbo and Lost Circle, now he’s on metal. Give that man THE engine now, vrooom! Then we have Phoenixfire also on the concept trying to crack every possible Hustle belt archetype around, during the season a frequent test partner was JK” LikklePaulinki, and I got a lot of the deck from him: he is a regular player of Aggro Psych (Deoxys, Necrozma & co.) with a very particular style made of draw items and accurate supporters. Together with Rodger who often accompanied me late into the night to perfect it, were the first supporters of the idea and encouraged me in its development.

I asked JK for some thoughts on the engine having himself discovered it before me and showed it to me:

“I feel that has more layers to it, like, you can build an idea based around items and supporters, then add in combos of different Pokémon, like a deck within a deck kinda. Of course then you can go back to the supporters/energy and tweak again. I'm really flattered you had the vision to see something in the way I was building the deck. I know there's a little something to it because nearly everyone I play half complains about my 'luck'. It seems they've underestimated how many routes to an outcome there can be and, possibly, that the chances of 'hitting your play' can be stacked within different combinations of cards. I was really impressed with your fighting-Maxie deck because it's so different on the surface to my Psy build but I instantly saw similarities. I think the cards offer a lot more outlying possibilities.” I'll steal the last few seconds, I swear, to tell you briefly about the Fossil and Hitmons variants. For the fossils I decided to completely remove the Unidentified Fossil itself and Fossil Excavation Map to get straight to the point. The priority becomes Archeops to block everything, which we will be able to do out of nowhere even with a Maxie. Mandatory become Pokemon Breeders and Evosoda as well as the Carkol and the Pokedex Rotom, immediate to fix catchups with prizes and then we always have the very faithful Terrakion and Sudowodoo bases, as well as in the Hitmons variant. This in some ways among the variants is the simplest but the most deficient, in fact tutoring and planning a Silent Lab or a Hex Maniac will not be easy and we will miss the shot against the wrong deck. However, it has its potential and it is always an interesting box that can also be equipped with Palossand or mixed with fossils. Alternative builds with different attackers are very possible, the same earthquake Pokemons or different basics like Zygarde or Landorus. I really invite you to have fun because there is something for all tastes.

It's just up to seeing the future cards and hoping for some spice that enriches it and facilitates it in some play or structure, I'm certainly impatient for Annihilape, a devastating and energy-efficient card playable via Maxie's explosiveness that will allow its use without the earlier stages. Not bad to fix some math without the use of Grant, it could turn out to be the Hawlucha of the first set of SV, if you play it from hand to the bench he will put 1 damage counter to 2 Pokemons on the opponent’s bench.

Still surprised to be able to introduce you to this new technology which, if tested properly, could fit as a framework for other types. Walls and coal today to build tomorrow's fighting decks. Nice how all this started from Claydol, that mysterious whirling Pokemon.

Deck List

##Pokémon - 12

  • 1 Hisuian Growlithe ASR 070
  • 1 Machop EVO 057
  • 1 Regirock ASR 075
  • 1 Rolycoly BST 078
  • 1 Stakataka PR-SM 209
  • 1 Sudowoodo BKP 067
  • 1 Terrakion SIT 097
  • 1 Hisuian Arcanine ASR 071
  • 1 Machoke GRI 064
  • 1 Coalossal DAA 198
  • 1 Gallade BKT 084
  • 1 Machamp PR-SW 243

##Trainer Cards - 39

  • 1 Gladion CIN 109
  • 1 Professor Sycamore BKP 107
  • 1 Maxie's Hidden Ball Trick PRC 158
  • 1 Grant ASR 185
  • 1 Clay CEC 188
  • 1 Guzma BUS 143
  • 1 Cyllene ASR 183
  • 1 Judge SIT 240
  • 1 Korrina FFI 111
  • 1 Level Ball BST 129
  • 1 Escape Rope BST 125
  • 1 Bicycle PLS 117
  • 1 Pokégear 3.0 SSH 174
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
  • 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
  • 1 Maintenance FFI 096
  • 1 Acro Bike CES 123
  • 1 Pal Pad SSH 172
  • 1 Heavy Ball NXD 088
  • 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
  • 1 Battle Compressor Team Flare Gear PHF 092
  • 1 Nest Ball SUM 123
  • 1 VS Seeker ROS 110
  • 1 Ultra Ball BRS 150
  • 1 Rare Candy PGO 069
  • 1 Hisuian Heavy Ball ASR 146
  • 1 Custom Catcher LOT 171
  • 1 Quick Ball FST 237
  • 1 Judge Whistle TEU 146
  • 1 Xtransceiver NVI 096
  • 1 Order Pad UPR 131
  • 1 Cram-o-matic FST 229
  • 1 Trainers' Mail ROS 092
  • 1 Trekking Shoes ASR 156
  • 1 Float Stone BKT 137
  • 1 Brooklet Hill GRI 120
  • 1 Rose Tower DAA 169
  • 1 PokéStop PGO 068
  • 1 Viridian Forest TEU 156

##Energy - 9

  • 5 Fighting Energy Energy 6
  • 2 Fire Energy Energy 2
  • 1 Strong Energy FCO 115
  • 1 Stone {F} Energy VIV 164