Experts' corner

Alec Geissler

A Grass Knot in the Format?

Alec goes over Tangrowth - a rogue deck reviving itself with the release of Rebel Clash.

03/30/2020 by Alec Geissler

Before We Start...

Before we start, I want to quickly talk about the current pandemic going on across the world. I hope everyone is taking this virus seriously and is aware of what is going on. There are a lot of people struggling to survive from this virus and we all need to do our part to make sure it doesn't spread/affect anymore people. With that being said, please wash your hands as much as possible, use hand sanitizer, disinfect wipe down tabletops/handles, etc., social distance yourself and don't hoarde supplies from others at retail stores. If you feel any of the symptoms for COVID-19, please go get tested immediately so you can receive the best care as fast as you can. Let's overcome this together and without further ado, let's get rollin' with the article!

Hey Everyone! 

Hey Everyone! It's been a while since I have wrote for the site, but I am very excited to be back and bring you something very obscure and out there. Today, I am going to be covering a deck that I have been thinking about alot recently after reading the set list for Rebellious Clash and V-Max Rising. As you can probably guess by the title, the deck is indeed Tangrowth. What makes Tangrowth (CoE; 6)  better with these sets being released you may ask? I was reading the Rebellious Clash set list and towards the end of the list, I saw the stadium Galar Mine which reads "The retreat cost of each active Pokemon (both yours and your opponent) is [C][C] more". I thought that was significantly better compared to Shrine of Punishment (CLS; 143)  and I started rambling through matchups in my head and whether this deck could really function pass having the tools there to succeed. We haven't seen Tangrowth really exceed in results such as Top 8+ at a regional, but I think with hitting the right matchups and not drawing badly, the new tools give it a chance to exceed that mark. I am really excited to show off the list, so let's not waste any more time and jump right on in!


Pokemon - 20

4 Absol TEU 88

3 Tangela UNB 16

1 Tangela CEC 5

4 Tangrowth CEC 6

3 Jirachi TEU 99

1 Marshadow UNB 81

1 Mimikyu TEU 112

1 Mimikyu GRI 58

1 Mimikyu CEC 97

1 Weezing CEC 77

Trainers - 33

4 Cynthia

4 Marnie

4 Net Ball

4 Pokemon Communication

3 Switch

2 Evolution Incense

2 Galar Mine

2 Rosa

2 Tool Scrapper

1 Counter Gain

1 Escape Board

1 Great Catcher

1 Lana's Fishing Rod

1 Reset Stamp

1 Roxie

Energy - 7

5 Grass Energy

1 Fairy Energy

1 Psychic Energy

The list is not perfect by any means as I still have a ton of testing to do with the deck but this is what I am originally starting with. When I started to build this, I had a decent amount of influence from Luke Kirkham's list from Bochum regionals as it was the most recent list that did well at a major event with the exception of the release of Sword and Shield. I made a good amount of draw supporter changes because at the time of Bochum regionals, they didn't have access to Marnie (S&S; 169)  which I think is a major part ot the deck's potential in the extra consistency. Let's jump ahead and go over a couple of the inclusions I included in the deck, in addition to any potential additions I would make once I test the deck more.

Card Inclusions


When Tangrowth was built in the first place a while back, the original stadium that was played was Shrine of Punishment so the Shadow Box Mimikyu would normally work from the shrine tick, but now that we have Galar Mine as our stadium, we need another way to shut off those abilities that set us back like Zeraora-GX and Mewtwo & Mew-GX. In addition, Roxie is just a good draw supporter if you have those Mimikyu's clunking up your hand in the games you don't need to use them. Finding the one of Roxie seems a little bit hard I agree, but I think being able to dig through your deck with Jirachi would be enough to get you there as you continuously refresh your hand with Cynthia/Marnie. I'm contemplating just playing heavy stadiums, but I think the Roxie package is correct for draw purposes.

Mimikyu (Fairy and Psychic)

One of each Mimikyu is simply for the weakness advantage we gain on ADP/Zacian and Mewtwo Variants. Being able to Rosa for Mimikyu, Counter Gain and the respected energy for whichever Mimikyu you're using is also a very cool combo and fast way to pull it off. I was trying to think of other matchups you could use the Mimikyu's in, but none were really coming to my head that you would rather just attack with a Tangrowth. Being able to benefit yourselves in two very popular areas of the meta is a huge part of why I think this deck can succeed.


I don't currently have Heracross in my list right now as you saw, but it may be worthy of a spot in the deck to try and improve my ADP matchups. Once they Altered Creation, you can shuffle their big guy right back in and it basically never happened except they still got the effect. I am hesistant because of Zacian V being such a good energy accelerator and Metal Saucer existing. This is probably my 61st or 62nd card currently.

Shrine of Punishment

The main reason I would want this one of Shrine is to improve my Pikarom matchup and against Mewtwo variants. Getting that damage counter on the Zeraora-GX and their Mewtwo is very big because Shadow Box shuts that off immediately and you can start doing relevant damage/shut them off from attacking. It also is a one card piece that you need compared to Roxie in addition to Weezing, but it isn't a draw supporter and can be dead in other matchups.

Professor Research / Quick Ball

Tangrowth has been a very clunky deck in the past due to the low amount of draw support/search we've had in the standard format. I think discarding in this deck is very bad and not how the deck would function properly, but I think as I test the deck more and how it functions, I may change the structure of the deck and add these two cards for boosted consistency. I don't like the thought of having to discard an important resouce in a matchup I need it in and having that awkward moment of "if I discard this, I lose the game".


ADP/Zacian - Favorable

When I was originally putting this deck together, I had 0 idea how this deck was going to be able to beat this. Once I sat down and thought about it for a minute, I realized that Tangrowth can actually one shot an ADP without Big Charm and Zacian V without a Metal Frying Pan. For example, ADP has 3 retreat base so that's 100 damage base. With 4 Absol and Galar Mine, thats 180 additional damage. Yes, that sounds like a lot to ask for, but it is possible. The same thing for Zacian V, Tangrowth does 70 base. If you have 4 Absol and Galar Mine, Tangrowth caps at 250 - 30 due to Zacian's resistance to grass hitting 220. This matchup is the main reason that I play two Tool Scrapper because if I prize one and I can't OHKO that ADP, the game is basically over. We also have the Mimikyu package which is a huge swinger in our favor being able to one shot an ADP for one energy while powering up a benched Tangrowth or if we can't find all our Absol's.

Mewtwo/Malamar - Favorable 

This matchup is a little bit harder than the ADP matchup simply because Tangrowth doesn't OHKO their big tag team, but Roxie/Weezing is very good in this matchup being able to shut off their Mewtwo and Mew's Perfection ability allowing them to copy any attack they want. That means if they want to attack without the stress of Shadow Box, they have to attack with the actual GX's themselves such as Trevenant and Dusknoir, Gengar and Mimikyu, etc. If they do attack with those, you're able to one shot pretty much anything they use assuming you can get that many Absol's out. We also have the psychic Mimikyu package which is a good swinger for us. This matchup is part of the reason why I potentially want a one of Shrine of Punishment because if you tick their Mewtwo early and then Roxie/Weezing in the mid game, you bring their Mewtwo down to 250 HP which makes them one hit potential by a Tangrowth. If they have a Big Charm attached to the Mewtwo and you bring them down to 250, we have Tool Scrapper to help clean it up.

Pikachu & Zekrom - Even

This matchup has a lot of testing to go into it. On paper, I think this matchup is either terrible or very favorable and it's whether you're able to pull off the Roxie/Weezing when they have Zeraora out while setting up Tangrowth, Absol's, etc. If you can't pull that off, the matchup is awful because you quite literally do nothing. I have a lot of testing to do into this matchup and this matchup is why I really want the one of Shrine of Punishment to make this matchup better than I think it is. I plan on testing this matchup the most mainly because I think PikaRom is going to shift into the BDIF  and if I can't beat the BDIF then there is zero point in playing the deck.

Baby Blacephalon: Even/Favorable

I think this matchup is decent for Tangrowth. A one prize mirror is pretty coin flip based, but I think Tangrowth has an advantage in the one prize mirrors because of the utility of Absol being able to slow decks down a ton due to starting something clunky such as Oricorio-GX or Dedenne-GX. Blacephalon-GX being able to Burst-GX throws the matchup off a little bit as they only need to play for taking 5 knockouts, where as we have to take 6, but sometimes they have to bench a GX such as Dedenne or Oricorio to continue digging through their deck or take a knockout which is huge for us to capitalize on in the prize race.

Mill: Unfavorable

I think this matchup is horrid and there is nothing you could do to save it. There isn't room for catchers in the deck and Oranguru UPR doesn't really do much when you don't have catchers. Maybe you could throw their setup off with an early Marnie, but their deck is so consistent with all their ours to Zacian V, Cynthia & Caitlin, Minccino/Cinccino, etc. that I wouldn't worry about it and take the loss. When you plan to win a major tournament, that's what happens anyway and Mill would be that deck for me.

"Rest of Format": Even

Aside from Dragapault VMAX (pictured) coming out in the new set which seems like a pretty unfavorable matchup, I think this deck takes a lot of 50-50 matchups and your games are based on how you draw. I don't mean for that to sound like a cop out or to be too general, but the whole deck really is if you draw well you win a lot of your games. Dragapault is the one deck where I can't see myself winning a game because of the spread 5 damage counters effect. That matchup seems terrible and I think I'm fine taking that loss if I am favorable to even in everything else which it feels like I am. If the deck becomes super popular, I may try and work the deck's engine into making the matchup a 50-50, but as of right now since we don't have a good grasp on it, I'm fine losing to it.


In conclusion, I think Tangrowth has some serious potential in the format that we are shifting up to have. Do I think it's the best deck in the format? Not by any means, but I do think it is the rogue deck to go far into a tournament and see success. I have a lot of testing to put into this deck, but I feel fairly condifent on the list I have currently. I am looking forward to what the new sets bring to the game since they reprinted Lysandre and Double Colorless energy in a way. Aside from those, I don't think there are many good cards/cards that impress me. A lot of testing will be coming out while we are locked down, so I may be wrong! Thank you guys so much for reading, please don't hesitate to tell your friends to subscribe if you like my/our content. If you REALLY like my content, there is a donation button down below. Anything you give is appreciated greatly and I appreciate you guys just making it to this point of the piece. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy during this time of the pandemic. We are in a very rough spot and everyone needs to do their part to not spread this terrible virus. Again, please wash your hands, keep your hands to yourself and social distance yourself for the time being. Until next time, you guys have been awesome and I'll catch y'all later.

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