Exploring the Gym Leader Challenge Format! (Part 2)
The buzz has continued to be on the rise for the Gym Leader Challenge format, a way of playing Pokemon designed by Andrew Mahone. The format is specially designed with a few rules in mind and deviates off the beaten path from the typical Standard and Expanded format alike. I personally enjoy this format as an in-between when it comes to expansions because it is a timeless way to enjoy Pokemon from a new strategic lens and aids the game is not becoming stale. This is the second part of a two-part series – if you haven’t read the first article, feel free to give it a skim here. I’ll provide a brief review of the rules below, and we’ll talk about another solid pick in the GLC. Let’s hop into it!

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Rules of the Gym Leader Challenge (GLC) Format:

• Only one type of Pokemon in your deck
• No Rule Box Pokemon; e.g. V, GX, EX, TAG TEAM, Prism Star, BREAK Pokemon
• The format is Black & White on, meaning all cards in the Black & White block, XY block, Sun & Moon block, and finally the Sword and Shield block.
• The regular Expanded bans do NOT apply, meaning you can play Chip Chip Ice Axe, Lysandre's Trump Card, Lt. Surge's Strategy, Forest of Giant Plants, and many more you wouldn't usually be able to play in the Expanded Format!
• And finally, one of the most important rules, you cannot have more than one of every card in your deck except for Basic Energy, even if the cards have different attacks; same name, same card!

Grass Gym Leader Challenge Deck List

  • Pokemon - 14
  • 1 Bulbasaur SLG 1
  • 1 Ivysaur SLG 2
  • 1 Venusaur SLG 3
  • 1 Grookey SSH 11
  • 1 Thwackey SSH 12
  • 1 Rillaboom SHF 79
  • 1 Morelull SUM 16
  • 1 Shiinotic SUM 17
  • 1 Pheromosa FLI 11
  • 1 Treecko LOT 20
  • 1 Grovyle LOT 21
  • 1 Sceptile CES 10
  • 1 Shining Genesect SLG 9
  • 1 Zarude CRE 19
  • Trainer Cards - 33
  • 1 Brock's Grit TEU 172
  • 1 Ball Guy SHF 57
  • 1 N FCO 105
  • 1 Super Rod DRV 20
  • 1 Sonia RCL 192
  • 1 Professor Juniper PLF 116
  • 1 Evolution Incense SSH 163
  • 1 Timer Ball SUM 134
  • 1 Gladion CIN 95
  • 1 Marnie SSH 200
  • 1 Tate & Liza CES 148
  • 1 Escape Rope PLS 120
  • 1 Stadium Nav UNM 208
  • 1 Evosoda XY 116
  • 1 Ultra Ball SUM 161
  • 1 Nest Ball SUM 158
  • 1 Teammates PRC 141
  • 1 Boss's Orders RCL 189
  • 1 Guzma BUS 115
  • 1 Forest of Giant Plants AOR 74
  • 1 Colress PLS 118
  • 1 Float Stone PLF 99
  • 1 Cynthia UPR 148
  • 1 Brigette BKT 161
  • 1 Revitalizer GEN 70
  • 1 Rare Candy PLB 105
  • 1 Net Ball LOT 187
  • 1 Quick Ball SSH 216
  • 1 Great Ball SUM 119
  • 1 Muscle Band XY 121
  • 1 VS Seeker PHF 109
  • 1 Level Ball NXD 89
  • 1 Copycat CES 163
  • Energy - 13
  • 13 Grass Energy EVO 91

Our Pokemon

1-1-1 Venusaur – Venusaur is an integral part of our deck, as it is a very speedy way to accelerate energy onto the field. Venusaur’s ability is a mainstay in our deck as it will allow us to hit hard early on with minimal resources, however, I would always prioritize setting up Rillaboom as the main form of energy acceleration first. This Pokemon should be on our field every single game we play unless it is in the Prize Cards or if it gets KO’d during one of the early turns of the game. Venusaur has excellent synergy with some of the other cards in our deck, such as Rillaboom as well as Shining Genesect. You’ll often find Grass’ best strengths include energy acceleration in many forms, as well as the ability to search out Pokemon with immense ease. This consistency factor is what puts Grass amongst the top of all GLC archetypes.

1-1-1 Rillaboom – Much like Venusaur, Rillaboom is included in this deck in an effort to accelerate more energy into play. Rillaboom serves a similar purpose, however, it is differentiated because instead of doubling the value of each energy card in play, Rillaboom instead just searches your deck and attaches two extra energy. This is slightly better than Venusaur because we can still attach an energy card from our hand, meaning we can attach three energy per turn; with Venusaur, we are dedicating our energy attachment to a single Pokemon, however, it supplies the value of two energy in lieu of one. Rillaboom has solid HP and can attack in a pinch. Important to note is that this card is a very good deck thinner, and should be sequenced with other cards properly! Together with Venusaur, you can essentially attach “six” energy cards to your Pokemon per turn.

1-1 Shiinotic – Our mushroom line is pretty consistent at giving us the ability to setup our Pokemon with relative ease. You can use Shiinotic to set up a Grovyle, in which you can then search out two Pokemon per turn.

1-1-1 Sceptile – This Sceptile is one of our most powerful attackers in the whole deck. While it does have a very interesting ability, you’ll find it to be underwhelming in such a diverse metagame. That being said, it can come in handy against things like Xurkitree in Lightning-type decks, and Buzzwole in Fighting-type decks. With Venusaur and Rillaboom in play, you can really pop off with the attack for a lot of damage – you can realistically KO anything in the format with that attack. The Grovyle is also a warmly welcomed addition to this deck, as you can use the ability to set up your energy acceleration Pokemon in preparation for a large OHKO in the late game.

1 Shining Genesect – This feels like a glass cannon version of Sceptile, but essentially this Pokemon is one of the main attackers because it can abuse Rillaboom and Venusaur to great avail. It can also move energy off of a damaged Pokemon onto itself in an effort to preserve resources.

1 Zarude – Zarude is another excellent attacker in this deck, being a flexible Pokemon that can either help us accelerate our setup by searching out Pokemon or posing a threat with its second attack. This card is very valuable in our deck, and if you can start it going second, will help you to win any game.

1 Pheramosa – This Pokemon can double as a free retreat pivot, or it can deal the finishing blow with that White Ray attack. This makes Pheramosa the ideal finisher: it can sit on the bench, and then strike at any time after being powered up by Rillaboom.


Our Trainers

Ball /Pokemon Search Cards

Quick Ball
Ultra Ball
• Timer Ball
• Level Ball
Nest Ball
• Evolution Incense
• Evosoda
• Ball Guy
• Brigette
• Sonia
• Great Ball
• Net Ball

These cards are all 1-ofs that will help us to find key Pokemon in our deck. They’re essential to having a strong board state and eventually getting our thin Pokemon lines up and running. Our wide variety of cards means we will have options for any occasion.

Gust Cards


• Guzma
• Escape Rope

Simple concept, very powerful. Especially when you know your opponent only can play 1-ofs in their deck, taking out threats on the opponent’s side is so important.
Draw Supporters


• Professor’s Research
• Tate & Liza
• Colress
• Teammates
• Copycat

This list is a little light on draw Supporters but I think that’s alright given how many consistency cards there are in this deck in the form of Pokemon. Once you set up Grovyle/Shiinotic and Rillaboom, you’re pretty much good to go. That, and there are so many good Supporters in this deck that you want to play that aren’t draw-based. Here’s a few interesting cards we play in this deck that are interesting points of conversation:

1 Brock’s Grit – You will need many energy recycled throughout the course of the game, and Brock’s does a great job of that. Your opponent will also try to target down your Venusaur and your Rillaboom so this will help you to get them back.

1 Super Rod – The same purpose as Brock’s Grit however it is an Item card.

1 Revitalizer – A very strong Grass-only Pokemon retrieval card.

1 Gladion – This card can help you get any of your precious 1-of cards out of the Prize Cards. I’ve considered playing Town Map alongside this because Prize Cards are such a burden in this singleton format. This card is very necessary.

1 Float Stone – An excellent card for mobility that can give you a pivot. Very good if Pheramosa is prized.

1 Rare Candy – We have a plethora of Stage 2 Pokemon, this just makes it easier to get them into play. It also helps getting out a Stage 2 when you prized your Stage 1s.

1 Forest of Giant Plants – This card is usually banned within the Expanded format due to many in-game mechanics being faltered to certain card combinations, but in the GLC format this card is able to be played! It is one of the best cards in this entire deck, and can really accelerate how quickly you can setup your all-star cast (depending on how early you find FOGP). It’s also a neutral Stadium card that doesn’t benefit the opponent in any way possible.

1 Stadium Nav – A helpful card that can help us in finding Forest of Giant Plants out of the deck.

1 VS Seeker – An additional copy of any Supporter card from our deck; use this wisely!

1 Muscle Band – A useful damage modifier that almost always comes in handy at hitting key numbers.


This format is a labor of love from the people who love to play this game the most; every single match is just played in the spirit of Pokemon, and it really shows how creative people can get in the middle of a pandemic. I would suggest trying this format out with your friends and I’d consider trying out different types of decks (as well as different types of cards). The whole expanded format is your oyster, so choose your slots wisely! The decks discussed in this article can be updated with some stuff from the newest expansion Evolving Skies, as well as some old stuff from previous expanded expansions, so you should check out our shop for your PTCGO code needs. This format will consistently grow and evolve alongside card expansions that become released; I’d suggest nabbing some PTCGO codes and building some GLC format decks online because this format will only get more popular as more online tournaments are released for it. Until next time, have fun!

If you’re looking for codes for Pokemon TCG online play, feel free to pick some up in our shop. We offer Pokemon codes at a very competitive price, and ensure instant delivery of your PTCGO codes directly to your email. Thank you for reading this article today on BuyPTCGOCodes.com! Have a great day.

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