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GLC Psychic Spread Deck

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AllAboutThatBaisch @JeffBaisch3 Tuesday, January 16, 2024



After spending so much time working on my Fighting lists, I decided it was time to finally bite the bullet and... draw some cards. Psychic has been a type that I’ve enjoyed playing in the past, especially a build centered on BCR’s Dusknoir. The previous versions of the deck were fun to play, but felt clunky and unpolished. Something was missing. However, I threw some recently printed cards into the Dusknoir shell, and it exceeded my expectations. 

When Paradox Rift spoilers were released, I, like many, incorrectly evaluated the TMs and their impact in the Gym Leader Challenge format. While it’s easy to see that Turbo Energize and Evolution have found their place in the format, the verdict is still out on where Blindside and Devolution fit. While neither is likely to reach “staple status” in the current GLC environment, they both intrigue me as someone who enjoys the playstyle of spread decks. 

When I look at Technical Machine Devolution, I see a card that needs precision and placement to be successful. A typical spread deck is usually spreading 10 to 20 damage to their opponent’s Pokémon in the early turns with no real control to hit specific damage targets that correlate to HPs. Without control over the placement of damage counters, TM Devolution is often not a useful card, filling a spot in your hand or becoming discard fodder to a Quick or Ultra Ball. In some cases, devolving an opponent’s Pokémon without KOing it can actually be beneficial to opponents as well- think Inteleon or even Fairy’s Whimsicott. So when I sat down to build my deck, I took all of this into consideration to make sure that TM Devolution could actually be an effective and realistic win-con.

The Deck

The Spreaders

The most obvious home for Technical Machine Devolution was a Psychic Spread list. The Psychic type has some of the best, early spreaders in the game, and the fact that they primarily place damage counters instead of dealing damage gets around the bane of most traditional spread decks - bench barriers. SIT Mismagius, XY Promo Meloetta, XY Promo Azelf, Unbroken Bonds Mew and Lost Thunder Giratina are all great ways to get damage counters on the board early. The majority of them can start attacking for a single energy allowing the deck to get into its gameplan early and often. 

The Engine

Psychic has some of the most versatile and consistent support engines in the format which keeps the deck chuggin’ along. SIT Kirlia is the most important piece to your early game setup. Its refinement ability allows you to discard a card to draw two. Since the deck has a lot of discard synergies you’ll rarely find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to discard something key in the matchup. If you do find yourself presented with a difficult choice, the deck runs some of the best recovery cards in the form of Pal Pad, VS seeker, Tulip and Rescue stretcher. Your best discardees are Giratina, basic psychic energy and easily recoverable, additional spread attackers. 

Next up is SM-Forbidden Light Malamar whose Psychic Charge ability is the key to chaining attackers in this build. Even though most of the attackers require only one energy to attack, Malamar allows you to not have to make aggressive plays to find energy each turn. Tempo is key to spread decks, and not spreading damage even for a single turn can be a big setback for the deck. In addition, Malamar can power up some of the heavy hitters in the deck when you find yourself forced to pivot from your original gameplan. Gallade and Giratina can be powered up in a single turn with the help of Raihan or Dimension Valley to take KOs on some of the formats chunkier pokémon. Alternatively, having the option to power up Blacephelon in a single turn while keeping it safe in your hand until the all-important three-prize turn is another impactful use of the Psychic Charge ability. 

In my original list, I experimented with PAR Xatu. The card seemed so good, not only accelerating energy from hand, but also permitting us to draw two cards! At almost every single point in testing, I found myself rarely ABLE to use its ability as my psychic energy was not in hand, but rather in the discard pile. PAR Xatu is a powerful card and will see play in other psychic lists for sure, just not this one. 

Astral Radiance Gallade is really the Heart and Soul of this list. Its Buddy Catch ability lets you grab any supporter from the deck allowing us to hand pick the card we need for the situation at hand. Having access to Raihan directly after a KO, being able to get a supporter immediately after using Pal Pad, or just insulating yourself from hand disruption is just a little slice of what Gallade can give you. Furthermore, Gallade’s Swirling Slice attack can do 160 damage which will take prizes from the majority of Pokémon in the format. It’s hard to find a more well-rounded card in the Gym Leader Challenge format. 

The Trainers

The Trainer line-up for this deck is centered on consistent, no-thrills deck building. You’ve got a ton of pokemon search, some of the best card draw/hand disruption supporters in the game, and other staples found throughout the format. The psychic-type allows for a decent amount of tech cards so be sure to tune your trainer line-up to what you’re expecting to play against. 

The Win-Cons

Winning a game of GLC with this deck always feels fresh and different. Every decision is super contextual and the way you go about attacking your opponent’s deck depends on the match up. The “playing in a vacuum” win-con is to spread damage early and then use BCR Ducknoir’s Sinister Hand ability to meticulously place damage counters on your opponent’s pokémon to set up a multi-prize turn by applying additional spread damage or by using TM Devolution to hit the HP’s of the prior evolutions. To help get the necessary counters, you’ll need some help beyond just your early spread attackers. Mismagius’ Spiteful Magic ability, Spell Tag, Old Cemetery, Horror Energy and Giratina’s Distortion Door ability all help add fuel to fire.

Of course, one of the most important cards to the success of the deck is Cosmic Eclipse Blacephelon. Its Fireworks Bomb attack can place 12 damage counters if your opponent has three prize cards remaining KOing pokémon with precision or setting up that beautiful TM Devolution board wipe without the hassle of Dusknoir. With PAR’s Luxurious Cape attached, Blacephelon can survive the majority of return attacks, allowing you the chance to use the three-prize-turn attack twice!

When you find yourself struggling to spread damage or to KO a beefier mon, you can just pivot to your more powerful attackers in the form of Gallade and Giratina. While their attacks each cost three energy, psychic has the tools to consistently power them up with Malamar and Dimension Valley lending a helping hand. Guardians Rising Mimkyu is another Pokemon that really helps when the spread game plan isn’t working. Mimikyu’s Copycat attack can easily take down the deck’s most difficult cards to handle such as LOR Snorlax or other high HP mons with powerful attacks. These three alternate attackers give the deck an extra cutting edge allowing you to win games in different ways.

Gameplay Tips

  1. The deck can function well going first or second. I tend to like going second since it denies your opponent that same opportunity. 
  2. Prioritize benching Ralts so that you can have early access to Kirlia and Gallade. Since you have combo potential, you’ll want to keep a full grip of cards. 
  3. Slow the game down! You’re playing the long game so making things awkward for your opponent plays to your benefit. Use Horror energy, Spell Tag, and Mismagius’ ability to make your opponent’s attacks work for you. Marshadow can also be great at slowing down your opponent’s gameplan, just make sure to time it correctly. You don’t want to slow yourself down, too. 
  4. Save your Field Blower! Since you’re dealing damage counters you won’t benefit from the 2 prize KO if a pokemon is wearing a Luxurious Cape. The extra 100 HP is difficult for the deck to deal with so you'll want to make sure to save your field blower for it. 
  5. Don’t worry about being behind! You are very unlikely to ever go ahead on the prize trade, but that’s how the deck is supposed to operate. Don’t try to keep up on prizes by abandoning the spread gameplan and pivoting to your big attackers too early. There are some cases when you’ll have to do that (i.e. against Rough Seas or Blessed Salt Garganacl), but for the most part stick to the plan and you’ll reap the rewards. 
  6. Scoop up net is great with Marshadow, but you can also use it effectively with Giratina and Kirlia. Benching Giratina from the discard, scooping it up and discarding it to Kirlia can be a winning line.
  7. Luxurious Cape can work well with Blacephelon like I mentioned above, but I usually find myself attaching it to Gallade. Protecting my key support pokemon is definitely worth the two-prize downside. In addition, you’ll often find yourself attacking with Gallade to take the last few prizes. 
  8. It’s ok to evolve Duskull the old fashioned way. Duskull’s Spiritborne Evolution ability states that by discarding 3 cards you can search your deck and evolve it. While the deck has a lot of discard synergies, there’s really no rush to get a Dusknoir online and discarding three cards early is a steep cost. 
  9. Manage your resources! The deck is light on traditional recovery as it only plays Tulip, Rescue Stretcher, and Malamar as Pokemon and Energy Recovery. Make sure to play these cards efficiently to get the most out of them, and know that you’ll likely be able to use Tulip more than once per game due to VS Seeker and Pal Pad + Gallade’s Buddy Catch ability.


Thanks for reading and to keep up with the changes I make on this deck list check out this link.



To sum it all up, Devo-Dusknoir is a new and interesting twist on an old classic. It can hang with the best decks in the format and it’s an incredibly flexible deck that can change gameplans on the fly. If you’re looking for a way to play TM Devolution in the format, Dusknoir is the way. 

Also, be sure to check out my YouTube and Twitch channel to keep up with my GLC videos!

Thanks for all the support!