So you want to be a Water type Gym Leader, following in the footsteps of Nessa and Crasher Wake? You’ve come to the right place. Water type Pokémon have a wonderful history in the Pokémon TCG, after all, the Pokémon TCG’s very first Energy accelerator was Water type! If I have to pick a type, I may be a Water Gym Leader myself. Water Pokémon have some of the best support across any type, with access to multiple Energy accelerators, draw support, Energy recovery and search options! What can I say? I love me a good Rain Dance deck.

Support Pokemon

Blastoise and Frosmoth have great synergy together, allowing you to attach as many Water Energy from your hand to your Pokémon in play as you like. Having two Rain Dancers gives Water some excellent protection against Prizing, as you only need to set up one of them in order to get moving, which is really powerful in GLC. Alolan Vulpix is also arguably the best lead in all of Gym Leader Challenge with its free Beacon attack, which allows you to search your deck for two Pokémon and put them into your hand. Beacon combined with Octillery or the Inteleon line can allow for some explosive early turns! When a Water deck is set up, it feels like you have complete control over the board, with multiple powerful Abilities firing off per turn.


What Water lacks in “low maintenance” attackers, it makes up for with substantive bulk and damage output. Wailord and Wishiwashi are two of the biggest fish in the sea with 200 and 180 HP respectively. Many Water attackers have Hydro Pump style attacks, which do more damage for each Water Energy attached to that Pokémon. These attackers thrive once Frosmoth or Blastoise have hit the board! Water also has access to some of the best spread attackers in the game, with Amazing Rare Kyogre, Shining Volcanion and Kyurem (NVI) on the roster.

Deck Lists

Rain Dance

This deck aims to power up Water’s biggest attackers as fast and consistently as possible with Frosmoth or Blastoise. In my mind, this is the “quintessential” Water deck, and one of my favorite decks to pilot in Gym Leader Challenge.

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Water Spread

This deck takes a bit of a different approach than the previous list by aiming to soften up the opponent’s board with Kyurem‘s Glaciate and Shining Volcanion‘s Dual Pump before taking sweeping knock outs with Kyogre‘s Amazing Surge or Starmie (FST)‘s Multishot Star. This list has a bit of a well rounded approach, but I have also seen lists that focus solely on powering up Amazing Surge with Milotic (FLF)‘s Energy Grace. The possibilities are endless!

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Water Control

Credit: Ryan Ferry

For the more devious Water Gym Leaders, here is a Water control deck. Like most control decks, this deck aims to trap one of your opponent’s support Pokémon in the Active Spot, remove their hand, then mill them with Bellelba & Brycen-Man! To recover resources, this list uses Azumarill (FST) and Floatzel (BRS) to recover resources every turn. Control decks are generally difficult to pilot, and your friends might not want to play with you much if you get the lock to stick, but strategies like these are undoubtedly powerful in Gym Leader Challenge format!

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