[City League Top 16] Rowlet & Exeggutor GX Venusaur

Please find the original Japanese-language article here. Note my translation is not a perfect translation and I have rearranged and reworded some parts of the original article for clarity and readability. Find also some explanatory comments inside square brackets, italicised.

Hello, everyone. This is Shishamo.

On the 19th of May (Sunday) I played at the City League hosted in Tokyo Bay, achieving a result of top 16 after being the first seed.

I would like to discuss the deck I played at the tournament, which was Rowlet & Exeggutor Venusaur.

Meta Predictions

To explain my deck choice of Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor Venusaur, you will need to understand my prediction of the meta.

I thought that Reshiram & Charizard and Zoroark were the two strongest decks.

Reshiram & Charizard had been largely unchanged since its release in Double Blaze, and it has performed consistently well at City Leagues all over the country. The “Uon-Tei” variant was particularly strong. [Note: From my understanding, Uon-Tei is a player who piloted Reshiram & Charizard to a top 16 finish at the Kyoto Champions League.]

Zoroark has been strengthened significantly with the release of Sky Legend, gaining access to Jessie & James. It is easy to increase your card advantage with Trade, and if you can combine Reset Stamp with Jessie & James in the late game you can reduce your opponent’s hand size down to 0. The list of a professional player, Alice-san, was released the other day.

Other decks which were successful at City Leagues include Ryujin-san’s Jirachi Zapdos (City League Osaka Winner Jirachi Zapdos Magcargo | Ryujin | note) and Ultra Necrozma, which dominated PokemonCardMemo Cups (18th PokemonCardMemo Cup Successful Decks). I wanted to pick a deck that was not disadvantaged against these four decks.

After analysing various decks, I thought a viable deck would be one that used Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX which could also win against Reshiram & Charizard.

Deck Commentary

My deck list is as follows:

The skeleton of the deck was Webirio-san’s idea, and in order to improve upon it I played opening hands. Basically, the idea is to set up Venusaur on the first turn with Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX’s Super Growth attack and continue attacking with two Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GXs. Vileplume is used only in specific matchups and is often discarded with Ultra Ball. Therefore, the deck is essentially made up of 54 cards. On top of being able to heal with your own attack, we use Choice Helmet, Gardenia, Aether Paradise Conservation Arena and Life Forest Prism Star to increase Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX’s durability.

This deck has more space than the Vikavolt based variant. With Vikavolt, you must run Lightning Energy and Energy Recycler and you cannot fit in the Vileplume line. The Vileplume gives us a chance against Reshiram & Charizard, so we opted to run the Venusaur variant.

Now, I will explain how to approach each matchup.

Reshiram & Charizard

Set up a Vileplume with Super Growth. If your opponent runs a card which can defeat Vileplume you lose, but if they don’t, you win. Due to the popularity of Zoroark, Vileplume has decreased in popularity so I don’t expect many Reshiram & Charizard decks to run measures for Vileplume.


Your ideal board state is two Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GXs, Venusaur and Shaymin. Since Rowlet & Exeggutor GX cannot be knocked out in one shot, you can use Gardenia to continually heal. Save your GX move for knocking out Persian GX.

Jirachi Zapdos

One option is to tank with Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX and the other is to prevent your opponent from even attacking with Vileplume. Both routes are fine and you can decide which to take by considering the cards in your hand and which cards are Prized. When you tank, be careful of Tapu Thunder GX and make sure you attach Energy to your second Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX at the right time.

If you decide to block with Vileplume, you must knock out the 2-2 line of Magcargo. If you use Gardenia, you can survive Magcargo’s attack twice. With either route, make sure not to play Shaymin, as it may be taken down by Beast Game GX.

Ultra Necrozma

This matchup is a bit tighter than the three above. Firstly, set up a Vileplume and attach Energy to it. On the next turn, if your Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX survives, set up another Vileplume. Else, set up a Venusaur. Once Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX is knocked out, it will become a battle with Malamars. As you can heal with Gardenia, you should be able to win with two Vileplumes. Conversely, if you have only one Vileplume, it will be very difficult to beat Malamars. Hence, a second Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor must be set up when a Malamar is knocked out, and the match will become one of endurance.

Pikachu & Zekrom

You are disadvantaged. To win, you must:
  • Set up two Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GXs
  • Not Prize any part of the Vileplume line
Before your opponent can get off Full Blitz -> Tag Bolt you need to set up two Vileplumes. If you try to tank with Venusaur, your opponent will use Full Blitz -> Tag Bolt to knock out both Venusaur and Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX and you will not be able to make a comeback.

Gardevoir & Sylveon

This is a match between tanky Tag Teams, but the GX of Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor is very powerful. If you have Venusaur, if you attach three Energies you can use the additional effect of the GX move, shuffling your opponent’s Energies back into their deck. Use this when your opponent has five or more Energies on their board. As Gardevoir & Sylveon tends to run Secret Hood, there is no point in using Vileplume.

Other than these decks, you will generally want to set up Venusaur. Against Unown HAND, Gourgeist and other Stage One decks you are unfavoured, but I don’t think they will be played much.

Tournament Report

I will explain my matches at the City League below.

Qualifying Rounds

Round 1: Rinrin-san (Articuno Naganadal) Second, Win

I struggled to set up Venusaur in the early game and could not attach Energy, while my opponent continually attacked with Articuno.

I used Gardenia to recover, using my GX move in the middle of the game to shuffle my opponent’s Energies back into the deck, and I was able to gain enough time to win.

Round 2: Nagi-san (Jirachi Zapdos Ultra Beasts), Second, Win

I set up both Vileplume and Venusaur, knocking out my opponent’s Magcargo with Calming Hurricane. My Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX was knocked out by two Elegant Souls, but I was able to knock out the second Magcargo with Vileplume and won.

Round 3: Pie-san (Jirachi Zapdos Ultra Beasts), Second, Win

Similarly to the second round, I set up Vileplume. My Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX was knocked out by Tapu Thunder GX but I was able to knock out Magcargo and won.

Round 4: Kikukawa-san (Articuno Quagsire), Second, Win

My opponent was unable to find Energy in the early game and hence couldn’t attack. I just used Rowlet & Alolan Exeggutor GX to attack and won.

Round 5: Mocchi-san (Pikachu & Zekrom), First, Win

I proposed to ID, but it was rejected so we played as normal. My opponent could not use Full Blitz on their first turn and I was able to set up two Vileplumes so I won.
I was in first place at the end of the qualifying rounds with a record of 5-0.

Main Round

Round 2: Koji349-san (Gourgeist Zebstrika) First, Loss

My opponent was able to set up very well and naturally, I lost. It is impossible to deal with a Gourgeist deck that sets up perfectly.

With that, I ended up in the top 16. To be honest, I wanted to win more rounds as this would put less stress on me for the JCS, but I think the result is reasonable as I had a lot of bad matchups in the field.

Thank you for reading thus far.

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.