Granbull (Lost Thunder)
Granbull (Lost Thunder)

– Lost Thunder

Date Reviewed:
November 28, 2018

Ratings Summary:
Standard: 3.67
Expanded: 2.88
Limited: 3.33

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is horrible. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below:

aroramage avatar

There are a lot of iterations of certain animals in the Pokemon world, like cats and rats and dogs and birds. What’s even more interesting is where they’ll draw inspiration from, as well as what their actual Types will end up being! Course I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed a bulldog would end up as a Fairy-Type Pokemon. Just seems a tad…bizarre.

Granbull is a Stage 1 Fairy Pokemon, 130 HP, with a Metal Weakness, a Dark Resistance, and a Retreat Cost of 3. Its first attack is All Out, a 1-for-30 move that will deal an extra 130 damage if you have no cards in your hand. Giant Fangs follows it up as a 3-for-110 vanilla strike.

More or less, the All Out attack is what draws attention to Granbull, since the move can do 160 damage for just 1 Energy – an absolutely unheard of number up until this point, even among Pokemon-EX/GX! It’s not something you hear about every day, but how are you going to keep your hand at no cards? Sure, you could top-deck a card and play it every turn once you get to that point, but until then? Supporters and Energy are only once a turn, and you can’t evolve in the same turn you play down a Pokemon.

Well, you could start by keeping your Energy low, probably to around 6-7. Then you can use cards like Oranguru and Tate & Liza to draw an early set-up, putting down Ditto <Prism> as your fifth copy of whatever you need – which could be Granbull or even Magcargo, who can stack your deck to fit whatever you need on your next turn. Combined with cards like Mysterious Treasure and Fiery Flint – quick reminder that you only have to do as much of the card text as possible – you can get rid of your hand easily enough such that Granbull can consistently have his attack up and running. Quick KOs with Guzma help, recovery with Diantha, a ton of Ball options with Apricorn Maker used to grab the right ones, and you’re practically all set to go.

Turns out doing 160 damage – 190 with a Choice Band – every turn can be absolutely devastating for the majority of decks in the game. In fact, there have even been a few lists popping up since the recent tournaments, so be sure to check those out when you can! And keep an eye on that Granbull, since historically Pokemon that have dealt a lot of damage and only offered 1 Prize for the opponent in turn tend to do pretty well in the long run.


Standard: 4/5 (definitely a strong contender in Standard)

Expanded: 3/5 (not entirely sure how this would compete with other decks, but it might actually end up going faster – worst case, an N will ruin his day)

Limited: 4/5 (potentially a major threat here, being able to OHKO most anything in the format)

Arora Notealus: Granbull offers something only a few Pokemon in recent memory have brought – Empoleon and Greninja come to mind in particular, offering up powerful competitive potential without having to worry about the Prize trade-off. When normal Pokemon can compete with EX/GX, the game becomes way more interesting.

Next Time: Time to look back at an oldie…wait, this guy’s not that old?

vince avatar

Granbull has been making tournament showings revolving one of its attack, All Out. It does 30 for Y, plus 130 more – yes, one hundred and thirty – damage if you have no cards in your hand. It’s actually manageable with cards that help reduce your hand size such as Ultra Ball and Lost Blender, and the deck uses NO draw based Supporters. With Choice Band, All Out does 190 damage, enough to KO most Basic EX/GX Pokemon.


  • Standard: 3.5/5
  • Expanded: 3.5/5
  • Limited: 3/5
21 Times Avatar

Granbull (LOT 138) bulls its way into the meta from the Lost Thunder expansion set.  This Stage 1 Fairy Pokemon has surprised many of us with its attack All Out.  I am 100% convinced that the designers whiffed on this card.  In a little bit of fairness, when you have two hundred and however many cards in an expansion, you can’t possibly devote enough time to properly test them all.  I’m sure that when they worked on Granbull they said, “Meh novelty deck.  There’s no way players will be able to use All Out consistently.”


So maybe the Pokemon TCG designers need to bring in some of the best players in the game to do some testing with new cards.  Right now, my confidence level isn’t real high in their level of testing and new card development.  Especially with these new uber overpowered Tag Team cards that will be dropping before too long, it seems like it’s going to be a question of when and not if a serious imbalance is going to be revealed and the quality of the game will suffer because one of these Tag Team cards will become absolutely dominant.  One of them will combo with something that the developers didn’t anticipate, and it’ll be 2015 Lysandre’s Trump Card all over again.

But I digress … so this Granbull archetype was so good that Tord Reklev (amongst others) chose to run it at the most recent Latin American Regionals a couple weeks ago.  Considering Zoroark GX is his favorite card and was also well represented in Brazil, that tells you something about the pink bulldog with a huge underbite.  This card can fairly easily pull off All Out every turn.  In matches against it, there have only been a couple of times when my opponent has gotten stuck and only been able to hit for thirty.  I’m 4 W 3 L against it, but I’m sure I’ve come across players on PTCGO who aren’t as experienced and skilled as many of those who played Granbull at LATAM.  Plus, I played Dragon decks in two of the three losses.  I went 3 W 0 L against it with Lost March decks.


Standard: 3.5 out of 5


I haven’t tried this archetype myself.  It seems like it’s a LOT of work and requires absolute perfection in precision of play.  Your tactical execution as well as your ability to visualize the correct choices to make ahead of these complicated moves combine to make this an exacting deck.  Probably a worthwhile one, but an exhausting “Big Brain” deck nonetheless.

I would guess that if you can snipe Oranguru and Magcargo, that will go a long way in helping your cause, and any sort of Item or Ability lock would be devastating, so maybe think about running a one of Alolan Muk (SUM 58) except that some of these decks are playing Zebstrika.

Otaku Avatar

This week’s reviews are not only runners-up from our recent countdown but cards that have already been showing up in high-performing decks at recent events! I know I’ve talked about it a little in some of my other reviews, but it is finally time to officially look at Granbull (SM – Lost Thunder 138/214). There are enough competitive [N] Types that Granbull’s [Y] Typing will sometimes be able to exploit Weakness, and nothing released has been [Y] Resistant. I don’t recall any anti-[Y] effects, so even if there are any, I doubt they’d be an issue. There are some [Y] beneficial cards, with at least one likely mattering to this Granbull (Diantha). Being a Stage 1 is solid; it’d probably be “too good” as a Basic, but as is it shouldn’t be too hard to reliably field Granbull. Its 130 HP is just on the happy side of the divide between “more likely to be OHKO’d” and “less likely to be OHKO’d.” Don’t expect Granbull to survive most of the time, but at least in some matchups, it has a chance of soaking an attack. That will not be the case against [M] Types, and we are starting to see [M] Types show up a bit more often, though I don’t recall any making the top cut in the last two major tournaments. What has shown up frequently in high-performing, competitive decks are [D] Types like Zoroark-GX and Granbull enjoys Resistance to the Type. Rioutus beating needs a full Bench, a Professor Kuikui and a Devoured Field to swing for a OHKO!

The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is a minor pain, but mostly because Granbull is purely an attacker. For [Y], Granbull can use “All Out” to swing for 30 damage, but if your hand is empty when you use the attack, it does 160 damage instead! Setting up and maintaining your field while also burning through your hand each turn is not easy, though a bad build can make it very hard. Your opponent can also try to thwart this playing a card like Judge to force you to shuffle-and-draw four… though if you just KO’d a Pokémon-GX, that’s only two extra cards over what you would already have in hand. 160 is a little shy of what you need to OHKO most Basic and some smaller Stage 1 Pokémon-GX, but you can use Choice Band and Shrine of Punishment to help with that, and you may still be able to win trading two single-Prize Pokémon for a 2-Prize Pokémon-GX. [YYY] pays for “Giant Fang”, which does 110 damage. It isn’t too easy to pay for this, and the damage is low for three of a specific Energy, but you might need it in an emergency. Before we move on, I’ll also mention that Snubbull (SM – Lost Thunder 137/214) is probably your best option for Snubbull; its “Make a Mess” attack costs [Y] and does 20 damage per Trainer you discard from your hand via the effect of Make a Mess. It isn’t good damage, though it can OHKO a Ditto {*}, and if you’re desperate to thin your hand, it can help.

So yes, you can build a competitive deck around this card. The trick is to use Magcargo (SM – Celestial Storm 24/168) and Oranguru (Sun & Moon 113/149; SM – Black Star Promos SM13), in addition to many easy-to-burn Items as well as search cards with discard costs. Unless you’re afraid of Weavile (SM – Burning Shadows 86/147) – and if you run this deck, you should be – then you should try to quickly get two Granbull, Magcargo, and Oranguru into play. This lets you use one “Smooth Over” and “Instruct” to snag a card you need for maintaining your field presence and a second instance of the combination to get whatever you need to clean out your hand. The deck only runs one draw Supporter, and it is for its non-draw effect: Tate & Liza. Instead, you just use several Ball Item cards and Apricorn Maker to get Oranguru (and preferably a Magcargo) to the field ASAP. I’ve been testing similar (but not identical) lists for the deck since shortly after SM – Lost Thunder released on the PTCGO, and it is a good, solid deck. It doesn’t like facing Alolan Muk, [M] Type decks, most damage spread, Zoroark Control or Shuckle-GX; there are cards one can include to help deal with each, but making room for them is another thing.

The deck also doesn’t like having things stranded up front or losing its Smooth Over/Instruct combo but these are such obvious weaknesses that most players learn to turn them around… and taking out something on the Bench means ignoring a Granbull that still has a good chance of clearing out its hand.  While early builds of this deck were using Lost Blender, I’m pretty sure that is a mistake. Just use more Mysterious Treasure if you need the discard, or PokéNav if you don’t.  No, you don’t have to take my word for it, nor did I come up with the idea: we had two Granbull decks make the Top 8 in Sao Paulo, though none managed that in Roanoke, VA. All in all, I am enjoying it in the Standard Format.  Regrettably, I did run out of time to try modding it for Expanded. I’m thinking it cannot cut it here; you just cannot afford to lose Items or Abilities for too long with Granbull, and it is just too likely you’ll run into just such strategies in Expanded. For Limited Format, you probably won’t have what you need to clean out your hand… possibly at all, and certainly not consistently. Fortunately, its stats are still solid and Giant Fang is decent here. Not a great pull, but as long as you’ve got a deck running on mostly [Y] Energy, it’ll be solid.


Standard: 3.65/5

Expanded: 2/5

Limited: 3/5

I must admit, I like Granbull. I also need to admit that, knowing it only from translations and before it proved itself in Japan, I thought it was Johnny Bait: a card with an intriguing effect and almost enough payout to make it worth the hassle. I am glad I was wrong; even if it ends up not lasting much longer, Granbull is a tournament viable deck. If you can find it for a decent price, pick up a playset and give it a go. Most of the deck will be cards you have or can easily acquire.

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