A couple weeks ago I took my Glaceon GX deck to a 38th place finish out of 1,066 Masters Division players at the Collinsville Regional Championship. I was the only Glaceon GX player to advance to Day 2 in the tournament, and also the only Glaceon to advance to a Day 2 at either of the Regional Championships that weekend as Glaceon failed to make Day 2 in Malmo.
In this article I want to take a look at the Glaceon GX archetype as a whole, look at my list from Collinsville, and then discuss directions that the deck can be taken in the future as we head towards Charlotte.
The Strength of Glaceon GX
Freezing Gaze is definitely a big asset for the deck to have. When going first, Glaceon GX can be completely disruptive to your opponent’s setup. A lot of decks are built to use Tapu Lele GX’s Wonder Tag to search out Brigette to start setting up their board, but Freezing Gaze denies this play. With the Energy Evolution Eevee from Sun and Moon you can get into Glaceon GX on the first turn of the game, therefore you can deny your opponent the turn 1 Wonder Tag when going first.
A lot of deck consistency in the game right now is built around having Supporter outs available via Ultra Ball and Tapu Lele GX. When taking into account Tapu Lele GX’s and Ultra Balls, many decks will have somewhere around a 90% probability of opening a draw Supporter. However, in games where you can establish the turn 1 Freezing Gaze, your opponent’s outs to a draw Supporter is whittled down to only the actual draw Supporters they’re playing in their deck.
Looking at the Collinsville Top 8 decks, these decks played an average of 7.25 draw Supporter cards. That is, these decks played some combination of Professor Sycamore, N, Cynthia, and Lillie that equaled 7.25. These are the solid draw Supporters that give significant enough draw that a player can rely on them. On the low end were 6 of these Supporters and on the high end 10.
With most decks playing so few reliable draw Supporters, there is a very significant probability of the opponent dead drawing to start the game.
In addition to acting as a hinderance towards an opponent’s early game hsetup, Glaceon GX also is solid in the later stages of a game for also cutting off Tapu Lele GX as a Supporter out. Shutting off Wonder Tag not only makes it more likely that the opponent dead draws into a loss, but also makes it harder for the opponent to use the most effective Supporter for a given turn as they will be unable to search out something like a Guzma when it’s a good time to use one.
As solid of an Ability as Freezing Gaze is, I don’t think EX/GX Ability lock is strong enough to build a deck around. There are too many decks that can function well enough against it that it’s not something you should base your main strategy around. Some players have really leaned into the disruption aspect and have played cards like Crushing Hammer with Glaceon, which I don’t really understand as there isn’t any more synergy with Glaceon GX than most other things. It kind of reminds me of the early versions of Espeon GX/Garbodor last season where players were playing Crushing Hammer in it, only for the successful builds to not to include them.
Instead, I think Freezing Gaze should be looked at a bonus attribute of Glaceon GX and not the primary focus of the deck. Instead, I think Glaceon GX should be appreciated more for its solid attacks.
However, I don’t want to downplay the Ability too much as Freezing Gaze can be an absolutely devastating Ability depending on the format. It can greatly diminish the power of big archetypes like Gardevoir GX, Zoroark GX, and Fire variants by shutting off their Abilities. In matchups with decks built upon using strong Abilities on EX or GX Pokemon, Glaceon GX is going to be very strong.
As far as Glaceon’s attacks go, Frost Bullet is a solid attack and with a Choice Band you will be able to 2HKO everything except the 250 HP Stage 2’s, while also softening up something on the opponent’s bench with the snipe damage. At 200 HP, 2HKO’s can often be good enough as lots of stuff won’t be able to OHKO Glaceon GX.
The snipe damage combos very well with Glaceon GX’s GX attack, Polar Spear GX. If you have 30 damage on something from the snipe, you can do 150 damage with Polar Spear GX or 180 damage with a Choice Band. Since the Pokemon will already be damaged from the snipe, this gives you an effective reach of knocking out something up to 210 HP with Polar Spear GX off a single snipe. This gives Glaceon GX a big attack that it can use to try to pull ahead in the prize trade against other 2HKO decks, or something it can use to try to keep pace with the OHKO decks.
To start the discussion of Glaceon GX as a functional deck, I want to start by discussing the deck in the context of the list I used in Collinsville. Before I get into breaking this down, I want to note that this is a very early build of the deck so there are definitely imperfections in here, some of which I became aware of very quickly while playing it in tournament. Additionally, some things that I included in the deck were meta calls and should not be played in every meta.
Pokemon – 15
Trainers – 33
Energy – 12
4-3 Eevee, 4 Float Stone
I included 4 copies of Eevee SUM and 4 Float Stone in an attempt to increase my probabilities of getting a Glaceon GX up and active on the first turn of the game.
With this list, there is a 54% probability of starting Eevee. For the games where we don’t start Eevee, 4 Float Stone are included so that you can try to draw into an Eevee off a Supporter and then retreat into it and then evolve into Glaceon GX.
The 4 Float Stone were also very solid in here for giving me the maximum amount of Float Stones possible to have available to attach to my Garbodor to activate its Garbotoxin Ability.
2 Lapras GX
The first surprise thing in my list is the use of Lapras GX as a backup attacker. Lapras GX has spent most of its time underpowered as an attacker, save for a brief time period right after Sun and Moon was first released. However, in the current Standard format and as a partner for Glaceon GX, Lapras works quite well.
Two of the premier decks headed into Collinsville were Buzzwole GX variants and Magnezone decks. Against both of these decks, Lapras GX can OHKO the primary attackers (Buzzwole GX and Dusk Mane Necrozma GX) as long as it has a Choice Band attached, as both have only 190 HP. Additionally, Ho-Oh GX has 190 HP as well and can be OHKO’d by Lapras GX.
Glaceon GX also helps Lapras GX be more effective. The 30 snipe damage from Frost Bullet can be used to setup knockouts for Lapras GX. A singe snipe from Glaceon GX paired with a Blizzard Burn can take down anything with 220 HP or less. Pokemon in this HP range include very popular cards like Zoroark GX and Lycanroc GX.
I’ve heard a lot of people talking about using Collect to get setup with this deck, but I think it’s generally better to avoid that. In some matchups you will want to get into Glaceon GX right away to shut of your opponents’ GX Abilities. More importantly, you want to use Glaceon GX as your early game attacker to setup the damage for later Blizzard Burns and Polar Spear GX, so devoting the first Energy attachment to a Glaceon GX line typically is best for the long game.
One point of debate is whether 1 or 2 Lapras GX is the correct amount in the deck. I’m not really sure of the answer, but I definitely felt like having the second Lapras GX proved to be an asset in many games.
Because of Blizzard Burn’s very intensive [W][W][W] cost, you will typically only be able to power up one Lapras GX, so since you can only power up a single Lapras GX in the majority of your games there is definitely lots of sense to be made with only playing a single copy of the card.
However, by playing two Lapras GX, you increase your ability to be able to attack with an undamaged Lapras GX. When undamaged, Lapras GX has potential to create a prize advantage for you. At 190 HP it is very difficult for most decks to take it down in one hit, and if the opponent fails to take it out, if you can play a Guzma to reset the effect of Blizzard Burn, you can usually take another knockout, and since you typically attack with Lapras GX later in the game, this is often the game winning knockout. (Usually on a Tapu Lele GX).
This made Lapras GX one of the best comeback options for this deck. Attacking with a Lapras GX in the late game and pairing it with an N to 1 or 2 with Garbotoxin active typically meant that the Lapras GX wasn’t going to get knocked out. Then if Lapras GX wasn’t knocked out, you were usually a Guzma away from winning the game on the next turn. This allowed Lapras GX to be used very effectively to flip games from a 4-2 prize deficit for yourself to a win in two turns.
I don’t think you can afford to sleeve up this deck in this format without Mewtwo EVO. Buzzwole GX is simply too popular and without Mewtwo you just won’t be able to ever beat it consistently, while with Mewtwo EVO, you typically run around 50/50 with either Buzzwole variant, typically winning the games that you go first and losing the games that you go second.
With the popularity of Buzzwole, Espeon GX/Garbodor also has made a comeback and Mewtwo EVO is great for being able to dish out large amounts of damage against an Espeon GX.
In Collinsville, I had 4 matches against Buzzwole variants and 2 matches against Espeon GX/Garbodor. 40% of my tournament were against decks that Mewtwo EVO can be particularly effective, so as a 1-of tech, I don’t think there is a card that will provide a better value than Mewtwo.
Mew EX is generally seen as a better counter to Buzzwole variants than Mewtwo, but since you don’t have a good one attachment attack to copy with Mew EX it’s not going to be very effective in here. If you move to a Zoroark GX build you can copy Riotous Beating with Mew EX, but I’m not sure if that’s the best route to take as you probably wouldn’t ever play a thick Zoroark line and that would make effectively using Mew EX harder to do than it is in a more dedicated Zoroark deck.
In addition to countering Buzzwole GX and Espeon GX, you can also use Mewtwo’s Psychic attack to poke at enemy Pokemon to set them up for Polar Spear GX or Blizzard Burn knockouts.
2-2 Garbodor BKP
The Garbodor line is totally a meta dependent inclusion. The Garbodor is primarily used to shutoff the Energy Acceleration Abilities in the VikaBulu and Magnezone matchups. When those decks can’t use their Abilities, Glaceon will beat them. They do have outs for winning if they’re able to make good use of their Field Blower turns, but at least when you go first, Garbodor generally gets you the win in the matchups.
In addition to these matchups, Garbodor also covers some ground against more fringe stuff. It can shutoff Abilities of Xurkitree GX and Hoopa SGL in the mill matchup, shutoff Greninja BREAK and Starmie EVO’s Abilities in the Greninja matchup, Starmie again in the Alolan Dugtrio matchup, and it shuts off Octillery’s Abyssal Hand for any deck using that.
If I was playing in a meta in which I expected Magnezone and VikaBulu to see minimal play, I would look at dropping the Garbodor line to create some space for other cards.
1 Tapu Lele GX
Tapu Lele GX gives you a Supporter out from Ultra Ball and also serves as a solid one attachment attacker that can work decently for finishing a 2HKO that Glaceon GX started on.
I chose to only play a single copy as I was playing Garbodor, so I wouldn’t be able to use Wonder Tag after Garbotoxin was established, save for turns when the Tool was removed from Garbodor with Field Blower. I think two Tapu Lele GX would be fine in here as well though, as it’s a solid attacker and in matchups where you don’t need the Garbodor, you would have a 2nd Lele out for consistency.
4 Professor Sycamore, 3 N, 3 Cynthia, 3 Guzma, 1 Pal Pad
As I was playing a Garbodor variant with no supplemental draw Abilities, I decided to go with a thick Supporter line. I went with 4 Professor Sycamore as it gave me the most draw, and the more cards I saw on turn 1, the better the chances I had of getting the turn 1 Glaceon GX. Professor Sycamore also works well at getting Water Energy in the discard pile to be gotten back with Aqua Patch.
I chose to play a Pal Pad over a 4th copy of any of the other Supporters. This generally worked out well. Being able to target whatever Supporter I wanted to see in the late game to maximize my probabilities of drawing into it worked out great. The most common Supporters I found myself putting into deck were Professor Sycamore and Guzma. Being able to bump up your counts of these cards headed into the late game N’s is very strong.
4 Aqua Patch
Aqua Patch helps the deck keep tempo throughout the game, allowing you to always have a powerful attacker ready if you’re drawing decently. Glaceon GX can be powered up with an Aqua Patch + DCE attachment and Lapras GX could be powered up with a Water Energy attachment + 2 Aqua Patch in a single turn.
This deck’s strategy really wouldn’t be possible without the acceleration that Aqua Patch allowed.
1 Field Blower
I primarily included Field Blower as a counter to Parallel City. The Red Side of Parallel City reduces the damage of Glaceon GX’s and Lapras GX’s attacks by 20, so it’s super important to get it out of play. 90 + 30 snipe is pretty strong, but 70 + 10, not so much. You can bandaid over the damage to the Active with a Choice Band (100 damage is still solid), but only doing 10 damage to benched Pokemon is very bad as it prevents you from setting up knockouts on GX’s with Polar Spear GX.
In addition to Parallel City, Fighting Fury Belt also made a big comeback in Collinsville, seeing play in Metal variants and Buzzwole GX/Garbodor, and some VikaBulu decks as well.
I would look to try to fit in a 2nd Field Blower to more consistently deal with Parallel City in future tournaments as things can get messy without it.
1 Multi Switch
This was leftover from an earlier version of the deck that I had that played multiple copies of Multi Switch. The card is pretty solid as it lets you manipulate your Energy on your field allowing you to transition between different attackers. Another play you can make with it is to Aqua Patch to one of your benched Pokemon and then use Multi Switch to move it up to the active.
While I certainly had some good uses of it throughout Collinsville, I don’t think I would play it again. There were too many games where I got it in hand and it didn’t have a good use then, and with no way to search it out, it wasn’t something I could rely on anyhow.
1 Super Rod
This was included to recover Pokemon as well as Energy. With the Aqua Patch engine versus the Max Elixir engine, getting Energy back wasn’t super important with it, so this most likely should have been a Rescue Stretcher.
4 Choice Band
Having Choice Band attached allows the deck to unlock some better numbers than it does without it. If you have Choice Band attached when using Frost Bullet, you will generally be able to get 2HKO’s with Frost Bullet. Since most of the relevant meta GX Pokemon have 200 or 210 HP, just having the Choice Band attached during one of the two Frost Bullet will get the knockout.
Additionally, with Choice Band, you can do 180 damage with Polar Spear GX on something that you sniped for 30 damage previously, giving you 210 total damage, hitting the magic number against Zoroark GX and Golisopod GX.
Choice Band is great with Lapras GX too. It allows you to hit for 190 damage, which is good for taking OHKO’s on Buzzwole GX and Ho-Oh GX. It also lets you reach up to 220 damage against something that you previously sniped with Glaceon GX.
You can probably get away with 3 Choice Band, but 4 makes it so you almost always have it when you need it. Additionally, it gives you an additional Tool card that can be attached to Garbodor. While it’s not ideal to attach a Choice Band to Garbodor, it can still get the job done.
Wishlist / Alternate Card Choices
Here are some of the card choices that I have been thinking about as inclusions in the deck. I think all of these have some strong potential depending on the meta.
Zoroark GX or Octillery BKT
In a meta game with little Magnezone/VikaBulu presence I would look to swap out the Garbodor line for a draw Pokemon. This would make the deck inherently more consistent and would allow it to see more cards in a turn, which would increase its ability to setup something like Lapras GX in a single turn.
I think that Zoroark GX is the right call for these slots if you decide to drop Garbodor. Adding Zoroark GX would give the deck another single attachment attacker and in most instances Zoroark GX will probably be doing more damage than Tapu Lele GX.
The argument for Octillery would be that it would give you draw Support that isn’t weak to Fighting Pokemon. Additionally, in metas where Glaceon GX is seeing significant play, Octillery could potentially provide an advantage in the mirror match.
By playing either of these draw Pokemon, you’re probably safe to drop a draw Supporter from the deck. I probably wouldn’t go as far as dropping two though to maintain early game consistency.
If you go the Zoroark route, you could also mess with adding in Zoroark BKT as a non-GX attacker as well. Mind Jack + the 30 snipe from Frost Bullet can add up to some good knockouts.
I think the deck could potentially cut one of the Water Energy for a Professors’ Letter. Both act as an out for Water Energy for the turn 1 Energy Evolution, but Professors’ Letter would also allow you to grab a 2nd Water Energy which could be discarded with Professor Sycamore or Ultra Ball. Adding this would make it a little bit easier to get the Energy you need into the discard pile for Aqua Patch.
This could also be added in addition to the 8 Water Energy, making a cut from somewhere else. This would increase the turn 1 probability of getting the turn 1 Glaceon GX.
This would be to replace Super Rod. I think this is the correct play in the deck as you rarely need to recover Energy. Adding Rescue Stretcher into the deck would give you greater access to Mewtwo in the Buzzwole and Espeon GX/Garbodor matchups which should help improve those matchups a little bit.
2nd Field Blower
As discussed above, the red side of Parallel City is immensely damaging to the deck and Fighting Fury Belt has also started to make a comeback. Because of these two factors, a 2nd Field Blower should be good for making sure you can remove these cards more consistently.
Another benefit of having an additional Field Blower is that you are more easily able to remove Pokemon Tool cards from your own Pokemon to transition between Float Stone and Choice Band.
While ideally you completely lock Zoroark GX out of the game with a turn 1 Freezing Mane, in reality things don’t always work out that well and if you don’t establish the quick Glaceon GX, you can very easily lose to Zoroark variants. Additionally, if you go second, the Zoroark player might be able to set themselves up for a solid first two turns of the game.
Enhanced Hammer is the way to really hammer home the Zoroark matchup. If you Enhanced Hammer and then N a Zoroark deck in the mid and late games with Glaceon GX active, they generally won’t be able to draw out of that. Without Enhanced Hammer, when you fall behind a Zoroark GX deck it can be rough to make a comeback.
Dawn Wings Necrozma GX
This is a more distant and theoretical choice that I’m not close to putting into the deck yet, but similar to Yveltal decks of old, Dawn Wings Necrozma GX would be able to take advantage of all the Float Stone in this deck to give you complete mobility across your field. This would help you be able to attach your Choice Bands freely while not having to worry about something getting stuck active. Additionally, you could use Dawn Wings Necrozma GX to reset Lapras GX so it can use Blizzard Burn in consecutive turns.
Glaceon GX for Charlotte
If I were to go to the Charlotte Regional Championship, I think this is the 60 cards that I would sleeve up for Glaceon GX for the weekend.
Pokemon – 14
Trainers – 35
Energy – 11
After the dismal performances of Magnezone in Collinsville, I think that it should mostly disappear from the meta. VikaBulu should still have some presence in the meta, but I think there’s only around a 50% probability that you even play it once in the tournament.
With the Ability based decks being a small part of the meta, I think it’s going to be a good weekend to drop Garbodor and add Zoroark GX to get some extra draw and add another attacker to the deck.
The big decks should be Zoroark GX variants and Buzzwole variants. Espeon GX/Garbodor might still be floating around in solid numbers to counter Buzzwole.
With Buzzwole being prominent, Mewtwo EVO stays in the deck. I swapped out the Super Rod from my Collinsville list for a Rescue Stretcher which should make it easier to have access to Mewtwo multiple times against Buzzwole variants.
From the Collinsville list, I cut a Lapras GX, a Cynthia, and the Multi Switch. With Zoroark GX’s draw power, it’s a bit easier to power up the singleton Lapras GX in one turn, so it’s easier to get a clean Lapras GX up and attacking. Zoroark GX also can serve as a backup attacker, slightly lessening the need to rely on Lapras GX. As we are now getting supplemental draw through an Ability, I think it’s fine consistency wise to cut down a Supporter. The Multi Switch was cut because it was too situational, as discussed earlier.
These cuts allow me to fit in a 2nd Field Blower to deal with Parallel City and then two Enhanced Hammer to strengthen up the Zoroark GX matchup. Enhanced Hammer also helps improve the Buzzwole matchup slightly by allowing us to remove Strong Energy from play.
The last change was cutting a Water Energy for a Professors’ Letter to make it easier to get Water Energy in the discard pile for Aqua Patch.
Moving from Garbodor to a Zoroark GX support variant will make the deck more susceptible to some decks on the fringe of the meta (Magnezone, VikaBulu, and mill), but should help to strengthen its matchups against the core decks of the meta game.
I think Glaceon GX has a great opportunity to shine in Charlotte. The card is still very underrated headed into the tournament, but it can be included in decks that are one of the few decks that can throw down with both Zoroark and Buzzwole variants.
With Magnezone’s failure at Colinsville and even the Metal/Garbodor variants not fairing all that well, the meta should be solid for Glaceon GX headed into the tournament.