Green’s Exploration / Reshiram & Charizard-GX – or Greenzard for short – is one of those decks, like Pikarom, that seem to never fade away completely from the metagame. After a strong showing in its initial SUM–UNB format, the deck kept a strong presence after rotation, including a Top 4 finish at Worlds 2019. The new first turn rule introduced in Sword & Shield was a huge blow to Green’s Exploration decks, but Greenzard still saw some play afterwards. And even this season, in a format without Acro Bike or Custom Catcher and with Power Plant as its weakest (since it doesn’t prevent Crobat V from drawing cards), Greenzard clings to life. While it doesn’t have the same relevance as Pikarom, AzulGG still ranked it in his top 10 decks a few times and he backed it up by getting Top 8 at the Limitless Online Series Weekly last week with it.
Greenzard has a few weaknesses that, in my opinion, prevent it from being a reliable deck: notably, a very tough Eternatus matchup. That said, there are also several reasons not to dismiss it! Green’s Exploration decks may not be in the best place right now, but they have unique advantages (and drawbacks). By focusing on targeted search rather than draw, they give players a lot of control over their hands and reward those who plan, rather than make them hope they hit what they need off Dedechange or Dark Asset. This means, among other things, that Greenzard has probably the least luck-based ADP / Zacian matchup among all decks in the format. It doesn’t mean that the matchup is unlosable, but simply that its issue will be based mostly on quality of play and what techs the players brought and not by uncontrollable factors such as starting the game with Dedenne-GX. If you’ve read my Know Your Enemy: ADP / Zacian article, you’ll remember that ADP / Zacian’s tendency to win some games due to this kind of circumstances is one of its strengths and its most infuriating aspect.
Speaking of techs, Green’s Exploration is the ultimate tech enabler. Thanks to it, Greenzard can run an incredible amount of tech cards, especially Items, such as Vitality Band, Fan of Waves, Tool Scrapper, etc.
There’s a good chance that you’ve already played a Green’s Exploration before. If you did and, like me, you love the playstyle (or if you don’t, but are interested), read on to learn what Greenzard looks like, why it works and how to play it!