Oranguru Control

Hey everyone! My name is Joe, AKA Carbink44 from the Tricky Gym Discord. I hope you’re having fun creating and testing new decks for the Gym Leader Challenge Format! It’s great to see so many people testing in the Discord. Decks are improving at a rapid rate, and it’s encouraging to see members of the community help each other out with different ways to play each Type.

This article will focus on how my Oranguru Control deck functions and how to play it, but even if you are not interested in playing control, reading this article can help you learn how to beat it! As much as it pains me to say it, I think everyone should tech for control because it’s a very strong deck in this format.

The idea of a control deck is to run the opponent out of key resources (like Switch or Energy) before pressuring them to use these resources later in the game – if they can’t they are likely to deck out. This unorthodox method of play takes a lot of skill to pilot successfully, along with being (despite common opinion) extremely reliant on the opponent’s decision making. It is crucial that you as the control player constantly take into account what resources the opponent is down, along with how you plan to deplete them of their remaining cards. As shown by the deck list (below) we aim to slowly rid the opponent of important cards like Float Stone or Guzma over the course of the game. 

Deck List:

* 1 Meowth UNB 147

* 1 Minccino SSH 145

* 1 Munchlax UNM 173

* 1 Oranguru UPR 114

* 1 Pidgey TEU 121

* 1 Regigigas CIN 84

* 1 Snorlax VIV 131

* 1 Cinccino SSH 147

* 1 Persian TEU 126

* 1 Pidgeotto TEU 123


* 1 Lusamine CIN 96

* 1 Mars UPR 128

* 1 Chip-Chip Ice Axe UNB 165

* 1 Steven’s Resolve CES 145

* 1 Cynthia & Caitlin CEC 189

* 1 Buff Padding TEU 136

* 1 Professor Juniper PLF 116

* 1 Cape of Toughness DAA 160

* 1 Peonia CRE 149

* 1 Pal Pad UPR 132

* 1 Acerola BUS 112

* 1 Robo Substitute Team Flare Gear PHF 102

* 1 Boss’s Orders RCL 154

* 1 Marnie SSH 200

* 1 Tate & Liza CES 148

* 1 Team Flare Grunt XY 129

* 1 Reset Stamp UNM 206

* 1 Bird Keeper DAA 159

* 1 Echoing Horn CRE 136

* 1 Nest Ball SUM 123

* 1 Quick Ball SSH 179

* 1 Brigette BKT 134

* 1 Lt. Surge’s Strategy UNB 178

* 1 Teammates PRC 141

* 1 Delinquent BKP 98

* 1 Galar Mine RCL 160

* 1 Field Blower GRI 125

* 1 Guzma BUS 115

* 1 Colress PLS 118

* 1 Klara CRE 145

* 1 Ghetsis PLF 101

* 1 Level Ball BST 129

* 1 Scoop Up Net RCL 207

* 1 Winona ROS 96

* 1 Counter Catcher CIN 91

* 1 Bellelba & Brycen-Man CEC 186

* 1 Ultra Ball SUM 135

* 1 Lillie’s Poké Doll CEC 197

* 1 N FCO 105

* 1 Jessie & James HIF 68

* 1 AZ PHF 91

* 1 Float Stone BKT 137

* 1 Plumeria BUS 120

* 1 Max Potion BKP 103

* 1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork FCO 112

* 1 Random Receiver DEX 99

* 1 Red Card XY 124

* 1 VS Seeker PHF 109


* 1 Recycle Energy UNM 212

* 1 Capture Energy RCL 171

The Strategy

The idea of this deck is to buy time with cards like Lillie’s Pokedoll, Robo Substitute and Regigigas, while removing Energy or utility cards like Float Stone with the use of Field Blower, Plumeria, and Team Flare Grunt. You can also use Munchlax to recover these cards, which will often be enough to run decks out of energy. All of this will keep the opponent at bay while you dig through the deck as quickly as possible with cards like Cinccino and Pidgeotto. 

However, due to the singleton nature of the format, depending on just one strategy is unreliable. So, we also have the ability to ‘hand lock’ the opponent towards the end of the game. Cards like Reset Stamp, Jessie and James and Chip Chip Ice Axe allow us to remove the opponent’s hand all together wnile ensuring that the card on the top of the deck is also useless. By recycling cards like Chip Chip Ice Axe and Bellelba and Brycen man towards the end of the game with Oranguru, we can quickly discard all of the opponent’s resources and deck them out.  

With multiple strategies at its disposal, Oranguru Control has proven to be a formidable deck in Gym Leader Challenge format. It doesn’t doesn’t lack much compared to an Expanded control deck and still has access to powerful cards like Ghetsis, Delinquent and Oranguru which are banned in Expanded.

Card Inclusions:

Some of the cards i have chosen to include in this deck might need some explaining – cards that would normally seem useless become incredibly powerful in control decks. This section will hopefully answer most questions you might have:


At first Glance Regigigas might seem horrible in GLC format. It has an Ability, Seal of Aniquity, which says that it cannot attack without having three different types of Pokémon on your Bench which, in this format, is impossible. However, there are a few factors which make this one of the best cards in the deck. First off, it has a ginormous 180 hit points. With the vast majority of attackers doing around 130 damage, Regigigas is almost impossible to take down in one hit, even without any buffs. 

Most decks will struggle to take this Pokémon down in less than five turns, giving the control player plenty of time to set up. The control player can also gust up ineffective attackers on the opponent’s Bench, forcing them to launch suboptimal attacks into Regigigas. As if 180 HP wasn’t already enough, Regigas is also a Basic Pokemon with a retreat cost of four, meaning that it can take advantage of Buff Padding and Cape of Toughness to reach a towering 230 HP, taking it out of range of most attackers in the format. 

Then, with cards like Max Potion, AZ, Acerola and Scoop Up Net, you can constantly heal this defensive wall while recycling those cards with Munchlax. Regigigas is a useful way to buy time for control while you attempt to setup your win condition. 


You might have noticed by now, but this deck is not built to take any Prize cards. Since we’ll be playing every game without access to six cards, it is crucial that we have at least one way to retrieve essential cards from the Prizes. My favorite way of doing this is by using Peonia.

Peonia allows you to pick three cards from the Prize cards and put them into your hand before swapping them with three cards from the hand. Prize retrieval is one of the more obvious inclusions in control, but some people prefer Gladion over Peonia. With Gladion, you get to take a specific card out of the prizes, and swap it out with Gladion. In a singleton format, the chances of prizing something crucial are drastically increased – so you want to be able to cope with multiple bad prize cards, making Peonia a more effective option in my opinion.

Only Two Energy?!

In most decks, Energy fulfill a hugely important role by allowing your attackers to go on the offensive. However, in decks like this, you really only need to attack later in the game! It is not a problem if you can’t find an energy until the 20th turn with this deck! (Yes, I said 20 turns.) With games lasting longer in Gym Leader Challenge, you can afford to wait until the end of the match to use attacks like Resource Management, or to punish a large hand with Persian’s Make ‘em Pay. In fact, Capture Energy is only really there to improve consistency and outs to your Basic Pokémon! Since Recycle Energy comes back from the discard pile when it gets discarded, it’s the only Energy you’ll need!


As far as I can tell this early in the format, (it’s only a week old at the time of writing this) Grass, Fire, Water and Psychic seem to be the strongest types, or at least the most popular. [Editor’s Note: Lightning is busted, you’ll see!!!] Most of these types have access to a ‘Rain Dance’ style Ability which allows players to flood the board with Energy. While this may seem like a problem for control, it really isn’t. There are always going to be Pokémon with a high retreat cost on the opponent’s board for you to drag up, and forcing them to retreat will quickly burn through their Energy.


The majority of Grass decks are playing Shining Genesect, which does more damage for each energy attached to it. This can quickly ramp up to 200 damage with the help of Venusaur, which effectively turns each grass energy into two! However, committing this many energies to one Pokémon can be costly. It opens up the option for us to gust up a support Pokémon like the aforementioned Venusaur and trap it in the Active Spot. Each turn that they fail to get this liability out of the active is another turn where we can Plumeria another energy off of their board and slowly setup a hand lock. 

The larger they are… the easier they get stuck.

Water is able to flood the board with energy, which can often lead to huge amounts of damage being dealt by their Hydro Pump attackers such as Lapras. Against decks like this, which often have Energy acceleration both from the hand (like Frosmoth) and the deck (like Blastoise with Powerful Squall), our best option is to hand lock the opponent with Reset Stamp, Delinquent and Galar Mine along with a Counter Catcher. This will buy us time to mill crucial resources and, with a lot of Water decks probably only playing about 5 switch cards, we are likely to run them out of resources and win the game. However, this matchup can easily get out of hand if they have a quick start and you struggle to set up. It can also be tough to hand lock the opponent if they can set up Abyssal Hand Octillery.

This guy makes hand lock tough, but can still get stuck in the Active Spot.

The last matchup we will go over is Fire. These decks tend to be extremely aggressive and consistent, as they have access to cards like Magcargo with the Smooth Over Ability and Delphox with Mystic Fire, which allows you to draw until you have 6 cards in your hand. This invalidates the strategy of hand locking the opponent. Which is pretty sad, if you’re a control player anyways. In addition, they play cards like Fire Crystal and Blacksmith to recover Energy, which makes Energy denial pretty tough! Honestly, control players shake at the sight of such a deck. However, a good control player should have a plan for every matchup, and there is always a way to run them out of resources. My plan is to use cards like Echoing Horn and Counter Catcher, in conjunction with Galar Mine, to force my opponent to use vast amounts of Energy to keep up the pressure. Another weakness of Fire decks we should exploit is their lack of ‘Hydro Pump’ style attackers. This increases the effectiveness of the mighty Regigigas, who we can now sit behind and support with cards like Max Potion whilst we try to run them out of energy with gust effects. Regigigas should easily be able to take a few hits before we need to heal him, provided you can force them to attack with their weaker support Pokémon. Persian is also extremely powerful in this matchup, as we can discard crucial cards like Float Stone or Guzma – buying us even more time. 

Final Thoughts

As always, control is extremely reliant on how the best decks in the format are built. Currently, decks tend to play about 6 switch cards (a float stone, air balloon, guzma, Tate and Liza and others) which makes it pretty easy for us to trap support Pokémon in the active, as they won’t find their switches as quickly in a slower format. Teching for control has always been very easy, so the archetype will have to change based on how people decide to build their decks. But the fact is, this deck is extremely similar to expanded control, one of the most powerful decks of all time. So, in a format full of single prize Pokémon and slower games, control is a force to be reckoned with if you play it correctly. If you want to make sure you can beat control in Gym Leader Challenge, make sure to play plenty of switch outs in your deck, a healthy amount of energy recovery and always look out for Persian’s Make ’em Pay attack!

Thank you so much for reading my first article! If you’re still here at the end, I would really appreciate advice on how I could improve my future blogs. 


2 thoughts on “Oranguru Control

  1. Joe

    Hey readers! since writing this article about a week ago, i have added some pokemon to this deck: Stoutland (with sentinel), talonflame (with aero blitz) and delcatty (with search for friends).

    i would consider trying these out too!

  2. 10types

    The easiest way to beat this deck and most dangerous for control players is Lysandre’s Trump Card. The counter to this by the control player is Stoutland. The counter to Stoutland is Escape Rope.

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