GLC Turbo Water - Archie's Kyogre

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Baaauz @@CardBoardWar_ Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Blue Orb

I really believe that the playstyle of item-based decks contains something essential of how I want a water deck to feel like. Playing an unstoppable stream of cards, drawing and drawing, where you sometimes don’t even know for sure where your turn will lead you. Water already has a huge repertoire of strong and consistent decks that almost always use the power of the Inteleon engine as well as Octillery as search and draw support. While it might be true that probably every water deck will use at least one of these cards in their most competitive version, I am not a fan of axioms in deckbuilding, especially in a format like GLC which is a lot about experimenting. Seeing a good deck in Coal Madness that can be fast and consistent without any consistency Pokemon brought me to the idea to do something like a cover version of the Coal Madness for water.

It started with a fun project, a literal water copy of the Coal Madness deck that tried to get Blastoise on the board with Archie’s Ace in the Hole to attack with the new Kyogre as fast as possible. The fun project turned out to be a surprisingly good deck. After finalizing my first version of it I brought it to the EUIC in London. I played it in two tournaments of three rounds each as well as some additional games against fellow GLC players I met and it went undefeated throughout the entire event. Thereafter I continued testing and working on the deck. Here, I am very thankful for Babautettes additional testing of the list resulting in some very helpful input. I really feel like this list, while surely not being a meta deck, can do well in most matchups. Our worst matchup is probably mill as we usually assist them in their mission by milling our own deck. Nevertheless, this deck is incredibly fun to play and can pull of incredible combos out of nowhere. Hence, when I was offered to write about it I was grateful and honored to get this chance.

Core Cards

The obvious replacment for the Coalossal from the Coal Madness deck is the deluge Blastoise with Frosmoth as an additional option to get energy into play. The new Kyogre is an amazing partner for Blastoise, since Blastoise is able to help Kyogre attack turn after turn without the need of switching cards as it is the case in a Frosmoth build. Archie’s Ace in the Hole allows us to bring Blastoise to the board fastly and recovering it if it is gusted. We end up with a deck that seems to tell the Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire story arc where you are Archie doing your thing - this time with the correct blue orb - to literally deluge your opponent with Kyogres powerful attacks.

The deck also uses the Pokestop and drawing item engine, which I won’t discuss here since it has already been done in recent articles, better than I ever could. This engine offers consistency, while allowing to play on a small handsize which again helps to resolve Archie’s. Especially Viridian Forest can be very helpful here, since it allows you to discard a card from your hand and fail the Energy search to free your hand from cards that prevent you from using Archie’s.

For the attacker lineup we use mainly strong and versatile basic attackers as we can always play them from our hand. They are selected in a way that each of them is strong in different situations to create a diverse attacker toolbox.

The Lapras has to be one of my favorite attackers in the GLC for its flexibility. Its Hydro Pump attack is able to take huge knockouts on tanky Pokemon. In contrast to most other Hydro Pump users its attack can already be used at one energy. This, compared with its acceptable bulk turns it into an annoying early-game threat that will often either take fast knockouts itself or prepare them for Articuno. Finally, just as Articuno, it doesn’t have a lightning weakness which makes the electric type matchup a lot more playable.

Articuno is a go to Pokemon for low HP targets which helps to get positive prize trades in close games. It get’s a special use in this deck if you demolish the opponent’s support engine with Kyogre since they will have to think twice if they want to re-bench their basics.

Finally, Hisuian Basculegion is a strong attacker which is even better since the Basculin is such a great setup card. While Water Shot is a decent early game attack its main purpose is the Upstream Spirits attack which will often be your final attack of the game. Keep in mind though, that your energies are often easier accessible in the discard pile than in the deck as you play cards like Nessa and Superior Energy Retrieval to recover them directly to your hand.

Nessa is probably the most important Supporter card in this deck. We play recycling tools, so we will often play a supporter card more than once in a game. From my experience, these are typically either Archies, Nessa or Guzma.

The Warp Energy is searchable with Guzma & Hala and abuses Kyogres ability to send any attached energy back to the hand. As a result you can use it after every Kyogre attack to retreat the Kyogre and either bring up another attacker or recharge it with Frosmoth. As a result it will help avoiding situations where Kyogres high retreat cost would let you miss an attack.

Empoleon doesn't only have a great synergy with the item engine since its ability is easy to resolve out of a small hand, but it is also a great target for Battle Compressor. Finally, the attack is good for sniping your support Pokemon, in particular if you find Battle Compressor in your opening hand.


Many evolution decks, e.g., normal raindance decks, will depend on their support evolution Pokemon such as Drizzile or Octillery. As a result they will often include several setup supporter cards and try to go second. Since our consistency comes mainly from item cards and all our attackers are basic Pokemon, we can easily go first and play for a first knockout on our second turn. Normally, I will only try to get a Snom onto the bench on my first turn to maximize the probability of getting an energy acceleration in play on my second turn, even if I miss the Archie’s play.

Obviously, if you go second, it is possible to have a Blastoise on board on your first turn and attack with a card like Articuno or Lapras which will most likely win you the game. Nevertheless I prefer going first to play for a more consistent strong second turn. The main trap in playing item-based decks is playing too greedy. Instead, even going first, it is often important to hold some of your items to stay flexible in the second turn. After that, your gameplan is pretty simple: If you have Frosmoth and Blastoise on board they will mostly decide to fight your attackers. In such a game your focus will be on cards like Nessa, VS seeker, Pal Pad and Superior Energy Retrieval to outlast your opponent by using your powerful basic attackers. Your last prize will mostly be taken by a Hisuian Basculegion. Try to look for chances to get ahead in the prize trade by using Articuno. If you only manage to bring out a single energy acceleration Pokemon you should often expect them to take it out first. Here, we have the option to immediately bring our support Pokemon back using Archie’s.

Don’t forget about Squirtles ability. It is incredibly useful if we have to play around Frosmoth and it acts as our major pivot if we want to loop Kyogre with the Warp Energy.

A lot of players might naturally avoid the usage of coin flipping cards. If we are good at flipping heads, we have overpowered targeted search. But obviously flipping heads is nothing you can be good at. However, this deck is build in a way that flipping heads is more like a shortcut than a necessary condition to do successful plays. In many cases an item card does its job by just going to the discard allowing you to draw more cards, e.g. with Bicycle. Keep in mind that the order in which you play your cards is crucial as you can easily block your own plays by bad sequencing. This is especially important for the coin flip cards as you should be prepared for both outcomes.

We are good at seeing many cards and getting almost our entire deck to the discard pile fast, which is the phase of the game where this deck thrives due to the large amount of recycling cards. In general, with this deck you will often do plays that might seem unorthodox at first. I really started thinking of the discard pile as something like a sideboard for cards we want to use later in the game. You can discard almost anything, especially supporters. You don’t need to worry about playing cards like Clay or Pokestop since they can never discard VS seeker, Pal Pad or Superior Energy retrieval. As a result you can always recover Nessa or Cyllene and with them basically every card you want.

Other possible inclusions

While the Inteleon engine can use its target search to help with Archie’s plays, the Octillery line can be especially effective in an item based deck that plays on low handsize since it will allow you to see many cards. Even though I didn’t include them on purpose I want to share my thoughts on a possible inclusion of Inteleon and Octillery in this deck. In general, additional Pokemon could be added to the deck by replacing a few items. One has to keep in mind though, that every removal of item cards reduces the efficiency of the item engine since cards like Pokestop are less likely to find items. Additionally, Evolution Pokemon can always get stuck in your hand and prevent an early Archie’s play if the respective basis Pokemon isn’t on the bench. So adding sevral new evolution lines might weaken your options for going first as you will be interested in bringing out more basics on your first turn. Another possibility would be to replace Pokemon with the Inteleon engine to not decrease the item ratio of the deck.

There are other possible inclusions that I consider promising. Due to its focus on basic attackers this deck might really benefit from cards like Fighting Fury Belt to make Kyogre even more annoying to take out. Additionally, several people suggested the inclusion of Manaphy which is for sure reasonable. Finally, there are even more supporter cards that synergize well with the item engine such as Peony.

Deck List