Grass Pokémon represent a myriad of flora and fauna that could be found in nature. From cacti to sunflower seeds, Grass Pokémon make up the beautiful diversity found in forests and are some of the most resilient and powerful Pokémon! With fan favorites like Venusaur, Grookey, and Zarude, it is easy to see what makes Grass Pokémon so well-loved by the community.
In the Pokémon TCG, Grass Pokémon are known for their quick-to-evolve abilities, tutoring, and status-changing attacks. Today's Gym Leader Challenge deck is focused on how you can use the incredible abilities found on Grass Pokémon to make a deck agile enough to take on any opposing Pokémon without losing any of your own!
While last week's Water GLC deck focused on ramping Water Energy and knocking out Pokémon with one powerful attack, today's deck is about using synergies to make every single turn count and push you toward victory. There are a few Grass Pokémon with strong abilities that can help you tutor through the deck every turn for additional Pokémon, while the rest of the deck aims to take advantage of cheap attacks that can still hit your damage thresholds.
With a full kit of cards that help you switch out your active Pokémon, you can make the most of every single card in your deck and set up difficult scenarios for your opponent to fight through.
1 Accelgor (swsh8-14)
1 Air Balloon (swsh1-156)
1 Applin (swsh2-20)
1 Aromatic Grass Energy (swsh4-162)
1 Bird Keeper (swsh3-159)
1 Boss's Orders (swsh2-154)
1 Bruno (swsh5-121)
1 Capture Energy (swsh2-171)
1 Colress (bw8-118)
1 Combee (bw8-4)
1 Copycat (swsh7-143)
1 Cynthia (sm5-119)
1 Cynthia & Caitlin (sm12-189)
1 Dartrix (sm1-10)
1 Decidueye (sm12-20)
1 Escape Rope (swsh5-125)
1 Evolution Incense (swsh1-163)
1 Flapple (swsh2-22)
1 Float Stone (xy8-137)
1 Fomantis (sm1-14)
1 Grovyle (sm8-21)
1 Guzma (sm3-115)
1 Guzma & Hala (sm12-193)
1 Hoppip (swsh7-2)
1 Jumpluff (swsh7-4)
1 Level Ball (swsh5-129)
1 Lurantis (smp-SM25)
1 Marnie (swsh1-169)
1 Morelull (det1-3)
1 N (xy10-105)
1 Nest Ball (sm1-123)
1 Net Ball (sm8-187)
1 Ordinary Rod (swsh1-171)
1 Peonia (swsh6-149)
1 Pokegear 3.0 (swsh1-174)
1 Professor's Research (Professor Magnolia) (swsh1-178)
1 Raihan (swsh7-152)
1 Rescue Scarf (bw6-115)
1 Revitalizer (g1-70)
1 Rowlet (swsh45-6)
1 Shelmet (bw10-7)
1 Shiinotic (sm1-17)
1 Skiploom (swsh7-3)
1 Tag Call (sm12-206)
1 Tate & Liza (sm7-148)
1 Timer Ball (sm1-134)
1 Treecko (sm8-20)
1 Turffield Stadium (swsh2-170)
1 Ultra Ball (xy6-93)
1 Vespiquen (sm8-32)
1 VS Seeker (xy4-109)
1 Wally (xy6-94)
8 Grass Energy
Hot Swap Grass's goal is to spend the first two turns fixing your bench with Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokémon, then switching out your Pokémon every turn to take advantage of Pokémon like Accelgor (swsh8-14) and Jumpluff (swsh7-4) that can deal at least 120 damage for a single Grass Energy! The abilities of Shiinotic (sm1-17) and Grovyle (sm8-21) can help you get two Grass Pokémon out of your deck every turn to max out your Tool Pokémon that are ready on the bench, and can even set up an every-turn combo of Flapple (swsh2-22) Apple Drop.
Since Grass is so good at getting the right Pokémon from your deck, a Grass GLC deck can have a focused set of Pokémon that attack (Frontline Pokémon) and have a lot more Technical Pokémon that offer synergistic value. Your suite of Frontline Pokémon should all have differing strengths, so that you can swap them in and out of the active slot to make the most impact on every turn. Lastly, your pre-evolution Pokémon should have attacks that can generate you value, either by finding Pokémon or energy cards, or by causing a status effect like sleep, for a single Grass energy. This will allow them to offer immediate value on the first few turns or if they need to be in the active slot in order to take a hit to protect your other Pokémon.
The Pokémon in today's deck can be broken down into these lists:
Accelgor (swsh8-14), Jumpluff (swsh7-4), and Vespiquen (sm8-32) are the primary attackers in the list, while Decidueye (sm12-20) aims to clean up any easy knock-outs that might be on the bench. As long as you have a Switch in hand, or a way to swap your active Pokémon, Accelgor (swsh8-14) can do 120 damage for a single grass energy.
Vespiquen (sm8-32) attack requires you to have at least four Grass Pokémon on the bench, which is easy to achieve, but can be dealt with if your opponent plays a supporter like Avery. In the right situations, Jumpluff (swsh7-4) can be used to close out games since it can attack twice, potentially earning you two prize cards if each attack knocks out a Pokémon.
The Technical Pokémon in the list all work to constantly add advantage with their powerful effects. While Grovyle (sm8-21) and Shiinotic (sm1-17) can immediately be valuable with a single activation, Lurantis (smp-SM25) is a Pokémon that you will want to protect throughout the game since it can buff all of your attacks. This is particularly devastating with Jumpluff (swsh7-4), since it can buff each attack by 20 to deal a total of 160 damage in a turn! Flapple (swsh2-22) acts as another way to swap your active Pokémon, since it can be sent back to the deck, and can deal a bit of damage to either finish off a wounded Pokémon or help guarantee a knock out with Decidueye (sm12-20) Tracking Shot.
Since the Pokémon in this deck perform so well in keeping your hand full of the right Pokémon on every turn, you won't need too many Trainers that search up Pokémon or Energy. Instead, this deck has a number of cards that you want access to as quickly as possible, so you will want to use any cards that give you that effect or can replace themselves with that card. The most important effects you want in this deck are:
You can break down the trainer cards in the Hot Swap decklist like so:
Swapping/Retreating Your Active Pokémon:
Accelgor (swsh8-14) wants to move into the active slot every turn, which means you need ways to swap them out of the active slot and then swap them back in. Giving Accelgor (swsh8-14) a Pokémon Tool like Float Stone (xy8-137) or Air Balloon (swsh1-156) reduces their retreat cost to 0. You can then start your turn by retreating them to the bench, then using a trainer like Escape Rope (swsh5-125) or Bird Keeper (swsh3-159) to swap them back into the active slot and hit for 120!
Every GLC deck will want to play around 10 supporters that draw multiple cards when played. For this Grass deck, you will want to focus these supporters on effects that shuffle your hand back into your deck, so that you can keep yourself from milling out after tutoring and drawing every turn. VS Seeker (xy4-109) is a trainer of particular note because you can use it to get back any supporter in your discard pile, essentially acting as a second copy of any supporter in the deck! Being able to draw 10 cards multiple times in a game will give you the ability to see your entire deck and increase your odds of winning dramatically.
While the Grovyle (sm8-21) and Shiinotic (sm1-17) can help find any Pokémon you might need throughout the game, you still need to get them into play, so having an assortment of Trainers that tutor for Pokémon is still valuable. The set of Ultra Ball (xy6-93), Turffield Stadium (swsh2-170), and Evolution Incense (swsh1-163) should be used to get these two Pokémon lines into play on the first couple of turns to get the most advantage of the engine. In a pinch, Wally (xy6-94) can tutor for a Pokémon and evolve into it in the early turns, and, while not as good as Forest of Giant Plants (xy7-74), it can help you find the right cards in those early turns.
Because of the light energy costs for your attackers in this deck, you can run a slim energy package. You also won't need to run many special energy, so this deck is only playing two to act as Guzma & Hala (sm12-193) targets that can add additional value.
While status effects are not very common in GLC, having access to Aromatic Grass Energy (swsh4-162) can protect you from the occasional sleep and still give the attached Pokémon a Grass Energy to attack with. Although you will be able to easily tutor for most of the Pokémon with other cards in the deck, having a Capture Energy (swsh2-171) to grab an additional basic Pokémon can help you find Morelull (det1-3) or Treecko (sm8-20).
Grass is probably the strongest type of decks currently in the Gym Leader Challenge format, and even with Forest of Giant Plants (xy7-74) out of the format, there are plenty of valid Grass Pokémon to lead their own decks.
Venusaur (sm35-3) can be an energy-generating monster, while Cherrim (swsh5-8) can act as a grass-based Frosmoth (swsh1-64) to help charge your Pokémon up to attack! Grass decks also have the potential to be based around status effects, so you can fill a deck with Pokémon that can poison, confuse, or put the opponent to sleep!
The sheer power of Grass decks keeps them firmly as one of the best types to build decks for in the Gym Leader Challenge format, and the next set will definitely add more tools to an already supercharged Pokémon type!
If you decide to build this deck or have a Grass GLC list of your own, make sure to share it with me over on Twitter @TheZachkAttack, where I show off each of our in-house GLC decks. I even share the thought process on how we built the deck, and our quest to max rarity each of the decks we build!