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GLC Water Control

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Jebityjebjebjeb @CardBoardWar_ Monday, December 18, 2023

Water Control - All Hail the King!

Water Control in the current Meta

Water type pokemon have long since been my favorite Pokemon type since choosing Squirtle for the first time at 5 years old on Pokemon Red. Something about these bubbling little monsters just soothes my soul. Once learning about the Gym Leader Challenge Format, I knew I had to build the best water deck that I possibly could. Now I have always been one to go against the meta, therefore building Rain Dance was out of the question for me. I wanted something that let me feel in control of the board state the entire game and that is exactly what led me to build this deck. This deck provides so much disruption to our opponents game plan that there is usually never a moment where I don’t feel in control while piloting this deck. When you see that someone has run a water list in a GLC tournament 9 times out of 10 when you click on the list you’re gonna see Rain Dance. Which don’t get me wrong is a powerhouse of a list and a staple decklist of the GLC Format. However, water has never really been utilized as a good control deck even though it has some really solid picks for the control archetype. Other types have just outshined water when it comes to the control style of playing such as colorless, grass, lightning, and psychic but I am here to change that notion.

Slowking? More like Control King!

This Slowking is by far my favorite card in the deck as it is a powerhouse by itself! With GLC being a format consisting of 1 off staples, this Slowking can literally win you games by himself. Your opponent needs the 1 energy in their hand to retreat their currently trapped pokemon? Gone! Your opponent needs that evolution so they can evolve the next turn to start swinging for the fences? Gone! This Slowking’s “Memory Melt” ability can literally pick your opponent’s hand apart while giving you knowledge of your opponent’s hand the entire game! Making it a force to be reckoned with in a Control Style Deck such as this one!

Win Cons

So you may be wondering how do you win with a deck like this when you have no way to take your opponents prize cards? It’s simple! Stall long enough for your opponent to mill themselves out! There are 3 ways to win a match of Pokemon. You can take all of your opponents prizes cards by knocking out six of their Pokemon, you can knock out all of your opponents Pokemon, or you can mill them to where at the top of their next turn, if they have no cards left in their deck, they automatically lose when they draw. That is what we are going for with this deck. The overall strategy of the deck is to stall long enough for your opponent to deck out. So how do we go about stalling for that long? Well overtime your opponent is naturally going to be using their draw resources like Professor’s Research, Colress, and Cynthia in order to draw cards and achieve their proper set up. You want your opponent to do this! The more your opponent draws on their own the less you have to help them along the way with your mill resources such as Team Rocket’s Handiwork and Miss Fortune Sisters.

Stall, Stall, Stall your boat. It's Raining!

Let’s talk about some of the staples in this deck. This deck is jam packed with a plethora of stall and disruption mechanics designed to make your opponent cringe at the sight of them. My personal favorites of which are the 3 Pokemon Dolls in the deck, Snorlax Doll, Lillie's Pokedoll, and Robo Substitute. The reason these 3 cards are so powerful in the control archetype is because when your opponent knocks them out they are not allowed to take any prize cards for them, which essentially grants you extra turns. In a control style stall list like this that is exactly what you want because the longer the game goes t

he higher your chances of winning become. (Note: You can use Teammates after a doll has been knocked out!)

Next we have Galar Mine which can win the game by itself if you play it late game after your opponent has exhausted their own stadiums or stadium removal. Galar Mine and a simple gust effect and your opponent will be wishing they hadn’t played the first stadium!


Lastly, we have quite a few gust effects in this deck and for good reason. We want to inconvenience our opponent at every turn. Particularly by putting pokemon that they don’t want in the active slot into the active. This is the bread and butter of this deck and exactly how to stall someone out. The ways to do this within this deck vary from supporters, to items, and even Pokemon! Cards like Boss's Orders, Guzma, the new Erika’s Invitation from 151, Counter Catcher, and even Phione will have your opponents overheated as you gust up their unwanted Pokemon to the active so be sure to give your opponents a splash of your water!

You might be thinking what is keeping us from decking out before our opponent does? That’s the next best bit about this deck. We have tons of tools that will allow us to never mill out before our opponent such as Pal Pad with Cyllene comb and even some nifty attacks from some of our niche water Pokemon like Azumaril’s “Dive and Rescue” and Floatzel’s “Floatify”! These two attacks are amazing for recurring our supporters and item cards that will help us keep from decking out!

The Game Plan

While there are many different controlling mechanics in this deck such as mill, stall, and energy/card removal. The original game plan for this deck was milling your opponent out either through the Loop Strat which I will cover in a second or by stalling long enough so that your opponent has run out of cards in the deck. While using all of your tech to keep your opponent from taking all 6 of your prizes. This deck is designed to go the distance. Again, the longer the game goes the higher your chance of winning becomes.

The dream set up for this deck is to start with Alolan Vulpix as your opener so that you can make use of its set up attack on your first turn going second. I typically search for Remoraid and Sobble so that I can begin to churn through my deck with their evolutions abilities (Octillery & Drizzle). This will give you all of your control answers as quickly as possible. (Note: Shady dealings allows you to look for trainer cards so you can go get one of your dolls with it. Ideally you want your opponent to knock Alolan Vulpix out after you have set up with it.) This does a couple of things. It puts you behind in prizes which will then allow some of the cards in your deck to function such as Lt. Surge’s Strategy and counter catcher. This is your way to winning the fastest. Once you are behind on prizing you will then be able to start playing 3 supporters a turn with Lt’ Surge’s Strategy. I tend to then begin looping Lt. Surge’s Strategy with a mill card such as Miss Fortune Sisters or Team Rocket’s Handiwork and a recursion card such as Lusamine or Cynthia & Caitlin to put the first two or just Lt. Surge’s Strategy back into my hand. (Note: You won’t have to worry about the recursion card if you currently have Azumarill in play and can make use of its Search and Rescue attack on a turn.) Recurring this loop in tandem with your stadiums, dolls, and other annoying tech cards your opponent will be ready to scoop. In my experience with the deck after a couple turns of your opponent not being able to do anything they will be ready to quit.


In conclusion, the overarching theme of this deck is to exhaust your opponent’s resources in any way that you can. Which is why I have included so many different types of controlling tech cards. In a way, I guess I wanted this deck to be “Water Control Good Stuff”.

Also, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to read about my favorite GLC deck of all time. It truly is a blast to play and I encourage anyone out there who has a love of water type pokemon and a desire to try out control to give it a test run!

Special shout out to Tony, Bryan, Jacob, Jerv & Luke who have helped me tweak and playtest this deck to perfection!