Always recognized as one of the most peculiar archetypes of Gym Leader Challenge, a deck that combines the "amazing" qualities of both Kyogre and Raikou, and probably the deck that remains closest to my heart for a whole series of reasons and events that marked my story. Today I'd like to retrace its entire history, from the first experiments in August 2021 together with Vs_Seeker, to the recent evolutions of the deck, but also a little history of the online GLC.
I will start right from the origins, at the end of July, when many players were still in the laboratory and starting to get to know the format and get to know each other. The first official online tournament dates back to August 14 held by professorpoke with 49 participants in which FreeKim will immediately establish himself, who will make scorched earth in the following months with Amazing Raikou becoming a legend. But there is a background in the creation of the deck... In my first raids in GLC I took so many blows that you have no idea, I was still in the laboratory, studying the format and testing with a lot of people. Freekim and I met after his first win when I was still trying a little bit of everything. We played for a good week with ups and downs. However, I had a list of Amazing Raikou to try, in some ways it was terrible, still full of immature choices, in fact Kim says me: "Your list is really terrible, but I'll steal your Raikou idea, thanks!" In the next tournament he brings his interpretation of Raikou and arrives 6th, but ZeroSaber wins, his friend and mine who loses only against Vs_Seeker at the command of the dragons, the first great pioneer of the type, and beating fighting in the Bo1 final. Raikou's deck turns out to be crazy and immediately gets people talking: the synergy between Zebstrika and Lysandre Trump is at the ban limits, you could easily sprint without worries in some ways thanks to all the Supporter recovery cards like Pal Pad, Vs Seeker. But I remember even ridiculous and embarrassing situations in which the whole sector was discarded. Hilarious and salty. Kim will win the next tournament again with Raikou, which maybe will make me regret not having understood and played it sooner, and in fact in the 4th GLC online tournament I make my first appearance with Raikou making 3-2, Vs_Seeker fifth, 4-1 always with the dragons. Gym Leader Challenge was still young, Lysandre Trump and Forest of Giant Plants were not banned but the Ancient Traits were, the lists were not yet refined and did not have the degree of depth of today, everything to be discovered and at the same time we stumbled over the game’s issues related to the difficulty of resource management and timings that the GLC leads you to face. It was just the beginning and the experience of the format is very important to understand all its facets, be flexible and learn to play with and against different types and strategies, maintaining your style or impersonating another. So not just a workout or a habit, but a way to improve your skills and expand your horizons. Evolving Skies comes out on August 27th and was the first “official” post-creation set of the GLC and from which we could see the first changes and evolutions in the format. The set will contain cards left in the GLC such as Drampa, Flaaffy, a nice trio of legendary birds with abilities, Regieleki and Drago, Wishiwashi, Zoroark. It is precisely in this period, after my first tournament and the set, that I deepen the testing with Vs_Seeker and get to know him better as a player and a person, we help each other and advise on the decks. Vs_Seeker for me was one of those players, a monolith like in “2001: a space odyssey” that acts as an evolution. I saw how he played and thought about improving the first decks he invented, from dragon that at first seemed like a skein too confused to unravel to the first metal tank lists and of course his legendary fossil deck. After a few days from Evolving Skies he tells me that he wants to try a new concept. Let's go into battle. Not having the faintest idea of what he has in mind, after a few turns he develops his edge very quickly thanks to the Forest of giant plants and Grovyle + Shiinotic to look for the evolutionary pieces and bases. In addition he makes a constant loop of Flapple sowing damage and panic. Between a Vespiqueen for 160 with Lurantis and Muscle Band and a Buzzwole that starts hitting for 140 and will hit more and more, a Leavanny on the bench that reduces by 40, I don't notice a small wad in the wind with an assigned energy, not only don’t I notice, but I don't give it importance: I had attackers to recycle every turn and much more to think about. Well that's where I call the deck "a roundabout of slaps". Next turn Guzma and Hala brings the missing pieces, Scroll of Swirls and Rapid Strike energy, Skiiploom instantly evolves, I have no way to hit for 130. That wad in the wind will take two turns. It's over. But the legend had begun.
Vs_Seeker had already arrived after a few days to understand that the deck needed Leavanny to be relevant in the meta at the time, mad and still without any cards in the Hall of Fame, where Kyogre Amazing will start to peep out and FreeKim's Raikou Amazing will win then all the tournaments in September, losing only in October after the long series in swiss and in the final against Tankmin for his first victory, finally imposing himself with Crazy Code and his attacking Slaking, a super talked about deck since the early days of the GLC of the which needed a master like him to build the solid roots it still benefits from. A few days later I will play my second tournament, what will later become the classic weekly appointment with Amy organized by “The Dice Town League”, and I finish second by beating Grant Manley's Kyogre thanks to a turbo play with Runerigus on Feebas and finding Tankmin as final obstacle, to which I give 7 mulligans and the Coalossal line for the t2 in a fight mirror. The online scene begins to get intense, more and more events follow one another and the day after Robin Schulz also appears with Dark Box first classified in the "Gym Leader Challenge Cup #3 by Nite".
Having lost track of Vs_Seeker in mid-September, I had continued Jumpluff's work in secret: I had rediscovered Tracking shot Decidueye with which I had already enjoyed that year with my friend JT by inserting it in a Professor's Cup deck, but the skeleton made by Vs_Seeker was unchanged, except the Leavanny line, I just conformed the list with the new ideas, then Bird Keeper for the combo with Rowlet, a double colorless dedicated to the owl, more draw cards, a security like Lysandre Trump Card and some spice such as Elusive Master Beedrill. And just a week later, in my third tournament JMershon's GLC Mirror Series #1 - Grass Edition, Jumpluff will make his debut. Before the event I know a guy who will participate, CoolKnight, a very nice guy who immediately likes the list, makes some changes to his style and we make a great tournament. He finished first tied with Andrew Mahone, me 2-3 with very close matches and a final round against Mahone himself who, despite me being 4 prizes down (1-5 for him), wrote to me in the last round: “I lost?" I answer no. Ah but if I could have split a Flapple in 2… the last round the apples flew I think at least 4 for 80 damage, obviously thanks to the forest, and the wad in the wind takes 3 prizes with the Scroll. Genesect and Nuzleaf remain with 10 HP. Mahone writes: "This is insane!" I'm starting to really believe in Jumpluff. The next day I try again at the "Gym Leader Challenge Cup #4 by Nite" finishing 6th by beating Freekim in swiss and then losing in the quarterfinals in bo3, he will then win his seventh tournament again with Raikou. The Cup is renewed a week later at the fifth round: 3rd, Tankmin first with Crazy Code and Slaking. In November, for who knows what reason, I have a small metal interlude, to then return third with Jumpluff, losing only one match in Cup number 7.
Here is a small setback at least for me, Lysandre Trump Card and Guru are banned, the Ancient Traits are left free instead. FreeKim also abandons the format, mentioning that he tried the decks after the ban and didn't like them, but he doesn't close the door completely. Even my game is affected a lot at the beginning, I am not comfortable with resource management and plays without Lysandre Trump and for a month I continue to test without participating in any tournament and I meet new players including TDollaz, very passionate about Jumpluff which creates its own spicy version with Venomoth and special conditions, aggressive and lighter.
In the first round of Season 2 of the Nite Cup, a Jumpluff revisited after the ban, with Leaf Draw Shiftry, takes first place. Only Celebi would be missing, now also unbanned. Season 2 continues date 2 with a win by Mike Gibbs with a Classic Grass, then countered in week 3 by Tankmin's fire call. 1st and second place for them. Then again Tankmin who wins his 5th tournament using 4 different types, Classic Grass, will finally go for the 6th after a few good tries playing Psychic. 5 different. Phenomenal.
Christmas brings some courage and on New Year's Eve I participate in a Mirror Series Battle and another Amy event with Jumpluff, for the first time with Leavanny. Even then, Kyogre was starting to make itself felt. I find a top 8 at the beginning of the month at the 6th round of the Nite Cup, won with “siummantive sincerity” by “Sincero Cornelio Silla” Nicolò Castignoli with Raikou in the final against Andrew Mahone and his Classic Raindance; then again Mahone a few days later brings him Raikou and ends up undefeated in 6 rounds of swiss at the second Carbink, I leave this round for psychic, while Tdollaz brings his variant with Buzzwole, making an honest 3-3 with a bad matchup in between like metal.
It is precisely in this period that I try in every way to get a trade for Celebi, luck wants me to use the tickets for an event on the PTCGO and unpack the won packs: one of Plasma Blast gives me a Gold Rare Candy which I decide to add to the packs I had gathered for the Celebi. With a sum equal to 85 packs, it finally comes into play and on January 8 I make my first presence with Celebi, closing 13* leaving the stage to Kyogre brought to triumph for the first time online by Eph. Tomorrow the ban for the Forest of Giant Plants will go into effect. Last day, last chance at the tournament organized by Carbink. 6 Swiss rounds where he ends up undefeated with a match against Alexp27's classic grass, a great opponent of many battles of all these first months, in which I had often lost precisely for the Forest, I will always remember his answer when with Decidueye. I shoot Venusaur and Rillaboom after a turn Jumpluff + N for 3. I had Leavanny on the court, shooting Deciduey meant dealing 180, or Zarude with 3 energy plus Venusaur, Zarude was on the bench with two. Jungle totem and Voltage beat not. Well… FOGP, Rod for the Venusaur line, double head of Timer ball, Grovyle for the base, Cynthia for the energy. 22 cards in the deck. No words.
But leaving that aside, I used the forest that day, among other things, very little, a turn or 2, countered immediately or in the discards, unexploited. Jumpluff wins and I say he needs rest, but spring will return. The ban comes the next day, but I'm relieved like a dandelion in the wind to know that I managed to give him a win too. The deck goes into hibernation for me.
In winter, Torterra and Grotle come out with Brilliant Stars. Some hope is rekindled and I baste the first list. Torterra proves to be a very strong card for the archetype that can also replace both Sceptile and Shiinotic lines very well. I had said that spring would return, and even if with a month delay at the first release on Friday Night 12 I placed 1st, now inevitable Leavanny, the Chaotic Swell is added because in that period players start to tech with Parallel City to fight the overwhelming power of water and grass. 5th a week later and a tragic 0-4 while experimenting with Accelgor Deck and Cover, it seemed nice to try it with a doll. Failed experiment. Then again a third place at Friday Night 14 and a second at Cup Season 2 #11 By Nite losing against phoenixfire7127 with psychic. I close the season badly with 1-3 and, in June in the first tournaments we organized for fun with CardBoard, a 2-3 and a 6th 3-2 to then leave it permanently after a 0-2 drop in early July. It was hard, there was something wrong and I had to change. Grovyle had already been cut and I honestly didn't miss it. Again I let it rest for more mature times.
The Astral Radiance sets and then Pokemon GO in its small way, bring many beautiful cards for the GLC, but nothing that can really help the archetype. September with Lost Origin gives us Beautifly, the definitive missing piece. Drawing up to 6 allows us to develop our hands and bench more solidly and have more control of the game even in late game with N-heavy disruptions. Sometimes you have to leave something behind. Flapple and Buzzwole say goodbye, I decide to bet more on Celebi spam and recovery with Jumpluff in the middle to activate Decidueye. You lose the possibility of opening damage on the opposing bench immediately, but it is a good compromise. I check the supporters and decide that I still want something immediate to deactivate the Bench barriers, and Silent Lab is the best answer because Hex would also cancel Jumpluff. The Lab cancels Celebi and must be played at the right time, Lusamine returns to the deck as it was at the beginning so as not to lose the stadium war. I put it to the test and it immediately proves to be very strong, I like it and can't wait to wear it, but I miss a lot in the months of September and October with the Broskys to make them win with Machamp and with WaterStorm, an archetype that I have immediately loved to experiment. November however is his month, immediately second place against my friend DaveToy who beats me with Dracovish in an unfortunate bo1: t1 Dracovish followed by Marnie t2 in total nothingness. Then 2-2 at the Dice Town League Weekly and again 2nd at Friday Night 35 lost in the final to Tankmin which adds one more victory our way but with a great match in swiss. 4-0, 1st finally, in early December by Amy.
I'm happy with the results, I sum up and decide to close it in the drawer again after having made some considerations on the meta which is starting to be more and more full of Psychic Spread. The match is favorable if you have the opportunity to bench the right, perhaps prevent some damage with Leavanny and be able to dodge Mismagius and Dusknoir by taking them as soon as possible.
I think the deck has reached a certain maturity, with the exit of Kyogre we can also afford lighter versions without Leavanny, versions with special conditions spiced by Venomoth can return and why not the return of Flapple. I have seen many players interested recently and with nice speed ideas. It's a crazy deck, crazy as a dandelion in the wind can be, combining fun and competition.
Given all these potentials, it is worth talking a little about all the derivatives of the deck, which can vary from more aggressive and light lists or versions such as that of Tdollaz and hit and run with a doll. Recently I'm seeing more and more, turbo versions even with Boost Shake or Beedril Elusive Master and Roserade to be exact. There is a return of Vespiqueen perhaps also given the Combee released in Astral Radiance with the Honey Courier attack that looks for an instrument in the deck, becoming a good pivot. Yanmega, Sawsbuck, Hisuian Lilligant, but also Accelgor with annexed paralysis and poison mixing in the deck with Twin or Dce. All attackers who strike leaving something else to their credit, spreading damage to do favorable maths and deny prizes with a robot or maybe even with Heracross Guts. In short, taking time to build a double snipe with Tracking Shot. Another excellent Accelgor is Fusion Strike: with Escape Rope, Guzma and switch cards, it can immediately create problems and undermine the foundations that the opponent is setting. Then there are many Dustox to go crazy, between poisoning and extra prizes that could synergize with many of our already present pieces. Among the worst match ups we have metal, but if we are quick enough to prepare a knockout with Torterra on Copperah it won't be too difficult, the craziest can play crazy techs like Volcarona Dual Type who with a Triple can shot all metal without the Pan or the Coating energy and in a grass mirror. Tomokazu Komiya's only Larvesta available. All the more reason to play it. At the beginning in the absence of Decidueye I also played it with Shiftry leaf Draw, an excellent striker also from dce target. In short, the choice is vast and I have not mentioned many with different strategies. Grass is a type that has been seen more in its most classic form with Rillaboom and Venusaur but has many other things to say, especially in recent times of the format that all types have gained a lot while the classic has remained a bit too unchanged and predictably, it hasn't lost any steam but players have learned to play against it and it also seems to have just sorted out the gap between types. The classic version remains too linear unlike the options presented by the opponents.
We close with a brief explanation of the deck, because it doesn't require many complicated things to know even if there are subtleties that I hope to remember in some match ups, but more than anything else knowing how to choose the timing of the game and the evolution rounds of your Pokemon, knowing how to safeguard the combo with the scroll and play it when you are sure. Key word is "Don't rush". Every flower has its own flowering time, sometimes to be an orchid you need the right time and conditions. With Leavanny holding the edge solid and Celebi spreadingda you have plenty of time to prepare a nice round of slaps, however be careful of the opponent's edge, Torterra in extreme cases if there is a threat can be quickly charged in the same turn via Raihan or Counter energy. Back in Flapple's days, maths got back to apple dropping, now it's more worked with Celebi trying to deny rewards until the ideal situation. Flapple also had the utility of saving tools or special energies (except Rapid) before researching or shuffling, so as to draw even better, then the ability was used by shuffling the saved one into the deck with him. Be patient, sometimes you can alternate Celebi with a Rowlet with Poultry and others in which you will have early Jumpluff also with Wally, early in the game you can exploit this aggressiveness with Spinning Attack to put yourself in an advantageous position and drop the bait on Jumpluff while you develop everything else. With three ways to recover Pokemon you will have time to do it again, there is no real order, sometimes Jumpluff can come after Decidueye, he can close the game himself. The owl at the end is a support killer if you spread quickly, getting Octillery and Drizzile or the Raindancer will be very strong obviously. In short, it will be enough to combine Jumpluff with Decidueye and aim well, making few mistakes. What remains will be finished off by Torterra, but often if Leavanny hasn't been kicked it will be difficult for your opponent to hit our owl for 180. With Lurantis in play, the same supports can attack for complementary damage after the spread, plus Beautifly will be able to heal for 30 like the Buzzwole that was originally in the deck. It has always had some weakness for recently lived Pokemon, Leavanny is there for this, but nevertheless in the recent meta the psychic spread is very strong and present as far as I'm concerned and it's hard enough, the counters of pumpkaboo and mismagius are heavy to bench with we have to develop, but Blacephalon can be boring too. In these matches with Bench Barrier, use the silent Lab well, it will be useful in Jumpluff and Decidueye's turn, if there is the possibility that it will be countered and the Mew or Manaphy will be re-proposed, try to program a Lusamine, especially if you have to do back to back snipe. Rahian is excellent for not mixing the pieces of the combo with Scroll and doing Jumpluff even out of nowhere as well as Guzma and Hala, the counter energy under prizes acts as fight energy, but be careful not to get equal prizes after the first attack because then you can only use spinning attack which in some cases can be alternated and indeed come in very handy for timing issues and if the opponent's active pokemon faints on the first try. Bulk anecdotes, everything I remembered, I hope I haven't forgotten too much.
I've gone on a lot but I hope I haven't bored you, I wanted to review a bit the history of the deck and its results and evolutions over the seasons, talk about all the knowledge made along the way and also review 2022 as a positive year , I found two friends like Wheatr and pkmnJohn with whom I play weekly paper and online and we share experiences. Nice how the GLC brings people together a lot too, the tests often get incandescent, and we talk for hours and hours with the partner found on the discord through the Matchmaker. Jumpluff reflects with his story a continuous evolution and recognition, getting lost and finding himself, he embodies the essence of the GLC in many of his peculiarities knowing how to renew himself. Just as that dandelion flies and goes in the wind, I'm sure the format will do the same. Also because the flight has already taken off.
##Pokémon - 18
##Trainer Cards - 33
##Energy - 9