Garbodor: Trashing Every BLW-on Strategy

Hey everybody! I’m back with another article, this time to talk about an older card – Garbodor NVI. This card hits Mewtwo-EX for Weakness and stops your opponent from retreating for only two Energy while also doing a little damage. Clearly, it’s an overlooked gem…

Just kidding! I’m actually going to discuss a much better Garbodor card – the one that was just released in Dragons Exalted. If you’re not already familiar with him, here’s a scan:


A quick look at Garbodor should reveal that its Ability is the only thing that makes it worth playing. As long as the card has a Pokémon Tool attached to it, all Abilities in play stop working. Before taking a closer look at the Ability itself, let’s see how many popular cards actually rely on Abilities. There’s no point in using an Ability-locking card if there are no good Abilities to lock.

Here’s a list of most popular and semi-popular Abilities:

That’s quite a list! Looking at it more carefully, we’ll see that almost every metagame card is listed above. The only ones that aren’t are some Basic attackers (Terrakion NVI, Terrakion-EX, Mewtwo-EX, etc.), Garchomp DRX 90, and Accelgor DEX. However, Accelgor and Garchomp rely on other cards’ Abilities very heavily in order to function well. This leaves us with a pool of Basic attackers which, although frequently used, are not as popular as what is basically the rest of the format combined. We should take two things away from this list:

1. Virtually every metagame deck relies fairly heavily on Abilities for setup and/or executing its main strategy.


Some of the main cards in pretty much every metagame deck are listed above. Hydregion/Darkrai-EX, Eelektrik/Raikou-EX, Garchomp/Altaria, Gothitelle/Accelgor, Empoleon/Terrakion, and Ho-Oh-EX/Terrakion all rely on Abilities to an extent. The only decks in the metagame that don’t rely on Abilities are some Basic rush decks, namely Mewtwo-EX/Terrakion-EX, but we’ll cover that later.

2. Virtually every Evolution card is used for its Ability.

Aside from Accelgor and Garchomp, there aren’t any Evolution cards being used solely for their attacks. Sure, some Evolutions like Empoleon are great attackers, but it’s safe to say they wouldn’t be played if they didn’t have their Abilities. This means that almost every game with an Ability-locking deck will be reduced to a Basic war. If your deck is designed to win that war, you’ll be in good shape (especially if your opponent doesn’t have any good Basics to attack with).

Based on that, it looks like Ability-locking is certainly a viable strategy. In BLW-on, Garbodor is actually the only way to shut off the opponent’s Abilities. So let’s take a closer look at it now.

I (fortunately) haven’t been living under a rock, so I know that the majority of players have dismissed Garbodor as a sub-Tier 1 deck, despite the fact that everything I’ve said up to this point in the article is fairly common knowledge and implies Garbodor is great. Therefore, my first goal will be to prove that Garbodor is in fact a good card.

Outside of the Ability, Garbodor admittedly isn’t great. However, it’s intended to be a support Pokémon. We’ve seen cards like Eelektrik and Altaria, which hardly have better stats, do very well simply because they have a good supporting Ability. Garbodor is no different; its Ability is just as good, if not better, than the aforementioned cards and its other stats aren’t significantly worse – certainly not to a point where it would render the card unplayable.

Even so, I know some people will remain unconvinced. So we’ll come back to this topic later. For now, let’s take a closer look at Garbodor’s Ability and try to get a better understanding of the card in general.

We’ll notice that Garbotoxin shuts off both players’ Abilities, not just your opponent’s. Because of this, a lot of players have tried to compare it to Vileplume. They both attempt to lock the opponent, and they each lock the user as well. In order to better understand Garbodor and how playable it is, let’s compare it with Vileplume since most players already understand how Vileplume works and agree that it was a very good card.

Garbodor vs Vileplume

Locking Abilities vs Locking Items – Advantage for Neither

The biggest, most notable difference between Vileplume UD and Garbodor is that they lock different things. To be completely honest, I believe that Ability lock and Item lock should be considered completely separate mechanics, so they shouldn’t be compared. However, we can look at which one is more advantageous in a format. Since Vileplume and Garbodor were in different formats, however, it is hard to do this too. We established that locking Abilities is a very viable strategy above, so it doesn’t really matter whether or not Item locking is better; locking Abilities should be good enough.

The other thing related to this topic that people claim Vileplume had going for it is that it could render a large part of your opponent’s deck completely useless as part of its lock, and this would clog their hand late-game. This is true, but Garbodor does a similar thing. Any card being used solely for its Ability is completely useless against Garbodor, and this includes that card’s pre-evolutions as well.

Even though it can still be put in play, it’s complete deadweight on the field, and a lot of the best Garbodor variants are able to capitalize on the opponent over-benching. So Garbodor can attempt create some dead-draw for the opponent as well, although it admittedly does not do it as well as Vileplume.

It should also be noted that there is one particular card, which happens to be an Item, that is a very huge deal to lock:

The Pokémon Catcher Factor – Advantage for Vileplume

One of the big reasons Vileplume was so playable was because it shut off Pokémon Catcher. This meant that once Vileplume was in play, it almost always stayed in play for the entire game, as did any other cards you didn’t put in the Active Spot. You could set your deck’s strategy up and keep it set up for the entire game without fear of a Catcher KO on one of the cards you built.

This allowed for very complex strategies to be viable; the Accelgor/Darkrai-EX/Vileplume/Mew/Chandelure deck never would have worked if it didn’t have Vileplume to prevent the opponent from taking out key parts of it with Catcher. The same applies to Vileplume/Reuniclus, Vileplume/Victini/Vanilluxe, and a countless other strategies revolving around Vileplume.

Garbodor, on the other hand, does not offer this protection. This means that strategies involving Garbodor have to be simpler with few or no key components; the deck can’t attempt to build a complex setup because Catcher can just destroy it. While this is clearly a huge disadvantage for Garbodor, it does have some other things going for it that can make up for it.

One of the main advantages is that Garbodor decks can use Catcher, even if it can be used against them too. It’s also worthy of note that very few decks have the luxury of shutting off Catcher in the BLW-on format and that in this particular format, it can hardly be considered a disadvantage to have to deal with it.

Setting Up – Advantage for Garbodor

Getting a Vileplume in play was hard. You needed to get two Oddish out one turn to guarantee that one could evolve, then the next turn you needed to get a Vileplume and Rare Candy in the same hand just to set one up. If you failed to do this, you could lose all your Oddish before they evolved. Because of this, most Vileplume decks ended up using Twins for setup. But if could take turns and turns to get Vileplume out if your opponent wasn’t Knocking anything Out or if you didn’t see Twins when you needed it.

Garbodor also needs an Item and a pre-evolution in play for a turn to get set up. There are a few things that make Garbodor easier to set up though. Most notably, Garbodor doesn’t have to be in the same hand as the Item. You can evolve into Garbodor, play a hand refresh Supporter to get a Tool, and then attach it to Garbodor. Even if the Tool doesn’t come for another few turns, you can still attach it to Garbodor for the same effect. This also works inversely; you can attach a Tool to a Trubbish and then fish for the Garbodor with a Supporter.

Also, you could only play a maximum of four Rare Candy, whereas you can play as many Tools as you want so long as you can find room for them. If you’re running eight Tools, your odds of drawing into one double compared to the odds drawing into Rare Candy. Furthermore, Vileplume would lock all the remaining Items in your deck after it came into play. The Tools in a Garbodor deck, however, can still be incredibly useful attached to other Pokémon, even after Garbodor is in play. So cards that set Garbodor up aren’t complete deadweight after it is setup, unlike Vileplume, which always ended up with a few dead Items in its hand/deck.

Garbodor is also searchable with Heavy Ball, so it’s a bit easier to search out than Vileplume, provided your deck is capable of getting other worthwhile uses out of Heavy Ball.

Last and arguably least, Trubbish has 60-70HP, depending on which version you’re using. Oddish, on the other hand, had a measly 40. While this isn’t a big deal in most cases, it does prevent Rayquaza donks, Kyogre-EX snipes, and it can prevent Tornadus-EX donks, Darkrai snipes, and more if you use the 70HP version.


Reliability of the Lock – Advantage for Vileplume

Garbodor’s ability to set up quickly does come with a price. There are quite a few ways to break the Garbodor lock; Tool Scrapper and Catcher + KO come immediately to mind. There are ways for the deck to minimize the number of turns the lock is broken, but the fact remains that it’s significantly easier to break Garbodor’s lock than it was to break Vileplume’s.

Minimizing Drawbacks – Advantage for Garbodor

One frequently overlooked aspect of the Garbodor vs Vileplume debate is how effectively each deck can deal with locking itself. There is absolutely no reason not to play a good number of Items in any deck, unless you’re playing Vileplume. The cards are simply too good not to play them or lock them.

However, there have been quite a few successful cards and even decks that haven’t used any Abilities. This means that Garbodor decks are naturally going to run better, more effectively, and more smoothly than Vileplume decks did. Garbodor is restricted in terms of the number of cards it can be paired with, but not to the same extent that Vileplume was. Basically, Vileplume decks were hurting themselves and their opponents with the lock, but Garbodor decks are completely unaffected by the self-lock when built properly.

This also works against the card in a few cases because if a Garbodor deck plays against a deck without Abilities, it’s at an automatic disadvantage. Vileplume, on the other hand, would always be locking cards, even in mirror. Even so, when Garbodor is playing against a deck with a lot of Abilities (this type of deck is vastly more popular than non-Ability decks), its lock is significantly more one-sided than Vileplume’s was.

Clearly, both cards have their ups and downs, but all in all, it looks like Garbodor has enough advantages over Vileplume to make up for the disadvantages it has.

Tool Time!

themagazine.caNow, let’s backtrack and take a look at the one aspect of Garbodor’s Ability we haven’t discussed yet – the fact that it needs a Pokémon Tool attached to it to activate its Ability. Currently, we have quite a few Tools in the format: Eviolite, Rocky Helmet, Exp. Share, Dark Claw, Giant Cape, and Rescue Scarf.

Because Garbodor is an Evolved, non-Dark Pokémon that we never want attacking or in the Active Spot, we can decide that Eviolite, Dark Claw, Exp. Share, and Rocky Helmet are not going to give any benefits to Garbodor as a card, aside from the fact that they activate his Ability.

This leaves us with Giant Cape and Rescue Scarf – the two Tools that were just released. Let’s take a look at what they do and how they can benefit Garbodor.

Rescue Scarf makes it very hard for an opponent to ever remove your Garbodors from play. If you have a Garbodor on the Bench with a Rescue Scarf and a Trubbish on the Bench, even if your opponent KOs Garbodor, you can immediately re-evolve it and attach a Tool if one is available. By putting a Rescue Scarf on all your Garbodor and Trubbish, you’ll usually be able to keep them in play the entire game unless your opponent has Tool Scrapper.

Giant Cape will boost Garbodor’s HP by 20. This puts it out of snipe range from Raikou-EX, it means Garchomp can’t 1HKO it, it messes with Empoleon’s math, and it brings a few other benefits to the table. Because of all of this, a lot of people have tried to pair Garbodor with Giant Cape. While this isn’t all together a bad idea, Rescue Scarf offers many more benefits than Giant Cape can. Because only one Tool can be attached to a Pokémon at a time, Rescue Scarf will almost always take priority over Giant Cape.

Because we’re going to want at least six Tools in our deck to ensure Garbodor always has one attached, we should theoretically run four Rescue Scarf and 2-4 Giant Cape. However, barring a few exceptions, neither of these cards will combo well with the attackers in your deck.

As stated above, Garbodor is almost always going to want a Rescue Scarf attached to it. Therefore, most Garbodor decks will end up with 3-4 Rescue Scarf and 3+ Tools that are more beneficial to the deck’s attackers. These Tools will only be slightly less beneficial to Garbodor than Giant Cape would, but they will be significantly more beneficial to the rest of the deck.

Some players have attempted to only run Tools which benefit their attackers, but having Rescue Scarf on Garbodor is so valuable that I don’t believe this is a good idea. It’s too easy for your opponent to break the lock when you don’t have a Scarf attached to Garbodor. This is an option that I would like to try out more, however.

Deck Building

wchfh.orgNow that we have a full understanding of Garbodor itself, let’s try to make a deck based around Garbodor. In order to understand how we’ll need to build the deck, let’s take a look at the types of decks in the format right now so that we can construct our deck accordingly. There are three basic types of decks:

Decks that rely on Abilities to set up. Garchomp/Altaria, Empoleon, and Ho-Oh-EX decks are some of the best examples of this type of deck. The best way to beat these decks is to get a fast Garbodor to stop them from setting up. From there, you can sweep with one or two fully set up attackers.

Decks that rely on Abilities to execute their main strategy. Darkrai/Hydregion, Eelektrik/Attackers, Gothitelle/Accelgor/Mew-EX, and to a lesser extent Garchomp/Altaria are great examples of this type of deck. The best way to win here is by keeping a Garbodor with a Pokémon Tool in play the entire game. This will completely shut off their strategy, once again allowing you to sweep with only one or two attackers.

Decks that do not rely on any Abilities. All of the Basic rush decks fall into this category. In order to beat them, we need to minimize the number of cards focused on Garbodor within our deck. That way, we can play Basic-on-Basic wars without being at a huge consistency/focus disadvantage.

So, from this we can draw the following conclusion: The best Garbodor deck is the one that is able to consistently get a Garbodor in play as soon as possible and keep it in play the entire game while devoting the smallest possible number of deck spots to doing so.

The best way to get a fast Garbodor is to run a lot of search cards and Tools, the best way to hold it in play is to run Rescue Scarves, and the best way to avoid over-focusing on it is to run a minimal number of Tools which don’t benefit your attackers and cards that will search Garbodor/Trubbish but not your attackers. So as the meta develops and the deck adapts, the count of Rescue Scarves and other Tools will be the main thing that fluctuates in the deck.

Before getting into specific combinations, let’s take a look at the cards we’re going to need in every Garbodor deck.

Between a 3-2 and 4-3 line of Garbodor. Seeing that it’s the main focus of the deck, we’re obviously going to want some Garbodor. Builds with a lot of Rescue Scarf and maybe some Super Rod can get away with a very light line of Garbodor. Builds without out it will have to run a heavier line. Obviously the more Garbodor the better, but most decks don’t have the space for a lot and the extras do tend to clog the hand late-game. I find a 3-3 line to be ideal, but a 3-2 line generally works so long as it’s combined with four Rescue Scarf.

I generally favor the Trubbish from Noble Victories. It has a great first attack that actually has numerous uses and can fix dead hands by putting a Supporter on top of the deck. The lower Retreat Cost is also great. This usually makes up for the 10 less HP, although that occasionally hurts when staring down a Darkrai-EX snipe or early Tornadus-EX.

13-16 draw Supporters. These are pretty necessary in every deck; it’s a hefty space investment but important for drawing everything else in the deck.

6-10 Pokémon Tools, usually including 3-4 Rescue Scarf. We’ll need these for Garbodor’s Ability to activate, and we’ll want a high number to get them out quickly and keep them out the entire game, even when dealing with Tool Scrapper and other threats. Most Garbodor decks will run 7-8 Tools, but it’s possible to get by with a few less, and a few more would be ideal.

7-8 Search cards: Level Ball, Heavy Ball, Ultra Ball, and/or Pokémon Communication. We’ll need these to get Garbodor and our attackers out. Pokémon Communication won’t work in most builds since they usually run 15 or fewer Pokémon. Most Garbodor decks will run 3-4 Ultra Ball and 3-4 Level Ball or Heavy Ball, depending on which works better with the other Pokémon in the deck.

~8 Item staples: Pokémon Catcher, Switch, Super Rod, etc. These cards are just too good not to run. Garbodor decks need a very high count of Switch to get Garbodor out of the Active Spot.

10-13 Energy. Necessary for attacking and retreating.

Pokémon – 12

3 Trubbish NVI

3 Garbodor DRX

6 Attackers


Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

6 Other Draw Supporters

4 Rescue Scarf

4 Other Tools

4 Ultra Ball

4 Level Ball/Heavy Ball

4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

Energy – 12

12 Energy

This skeleton averages the above things, leaving some room for attackers. And it comes out to 58 cards. This should really drive home how tight of a deck Garbodor is; it has effectively no extra space.

The only notable difference between it and another deck’s skeleton is the inclusion of a lot of Tools. While this doesn’t sound like a big difference, it’s an additional 6+ cards, which is six less free spaces.

Even if we run the bare minimum of everything above, we’ll still end up with 51 cards in the deck. Since running the bare minimum of everything is never a good idea, we’ll usually end up with something like the skeleton in the table above.

Clearly, this is going to create a few problems. Namely, it means that main variation among Garbodor decks will be in the Pokémon lines because there isn’t another area with flexible cards. And because there only about six spots for variation in the Pokémon lines, even that is restricted.

Fortunately for Garbodor, it has an exceptionally large number of Pokémon it can work with which will take up minimal space. Let’s take a look at some of those cards now.

Plausible Partners

Because, as established above, the only large variation between Garbodor decks is in the attacker lines, I decided it was better to talk about each attacker rather than throw a bunch of decklists at you that are all within 10 cards of each other.

An ideal partner for Garbodor will not have any Abilities, it will not rely on Abilities to attack or set up (basically, it will be easy to set up), and it will be able to exchange blows with the top attackers in the metagame. If it’s able to search out or recycle Tools or it works well with Level Ball or Heavy Ball, even better. This is all important to keep in mind when looking at the following cards.

Zebstrika NXD

A lot of people immediately realized that Garbodor mainly has issues when the opponent uses Items – specifically Tool Scrapper and Pokémon Catcher. Zebstrika is able to prevent the opponent from playing these Items, so it seems natural to partner Garbodor with Zebstrika.

However, Zebstrika is a Stage 1 attacker with 90 HP that does 40 damage a turn for two Energy. Without any Energy acceleration, its second attack won’t do much, so it literally is doing 40 damage each turn. Because it’s a Stage 1, it takes up so much space in the already tight deck that it’s hard to fit any other more powerful attackers on top of Zebstrika.

This means that if the opponent does set up a low-resource attacker like Garchomp or Darkrai-EX, you’ll be losing at least four Zebstrika before you can finally take it out. And if at any point you can’t set up a new Zebstrika, you’ll have to break the lock and be in an even worse position.

If your opponent can get an Eviolite on an EX before you start locking them, it’s basically an auto-loss right there. Zebstrika is great early-game, but it fizzles badly late-game thanks to its terrible HP and lack of a big damaging attack. Because of this, it won’t work well with Garbodor despite the hype it’s getting.

Terrakion NVI

Terrakion is by far the best partner for Garbodor. Almost every variant is going to run it. Combined with Exp. Share, a swarm of Terrakion will be hitting for 90 damage almost every turn for minimal resources. And without Abilities, there isn’t much that can 1HKO it. So it’s able to Prize trade very well against the popular threats in the game, especially considering that most of them are harder to set up.

The other plus of Terrakion is that it has type advantage over Eelektrik-based decks and Darkrai-EX-based decks. Garbodor naturally has an advantage over these decks too, especially if Darkrai is paired with Hydregion. So combining the two creates some very one-sided matchups in Garbodor/Terrakion’s favor. Even though there is no such thing as an auto-win in Pokémon, being able to play a few games every tournament where you know you’re the clear favorite before the game even starts is a big deal.


This card dominated the game for six months, but it’s lost a little steam thanks to various factors. New cards like Sigilyph counter it and there are a lot of low-cost attacks. Garbodor blocks Sigilyph’s Ability and also stops it from being charged in one turn, and this can really help Mewtwo. However, Mewtwo is best with Energy acceleration and Garbodor shuts off most Energy acceleration.

This doesn’t mean Mewtwo can’t be paired with Garbodor, but it does mean he can’t be used as the main attacker in the deck. It’s particularly effective in Garbodor decks using Terrakion-EX and DCE since these cards give it acceleration options.


Although it hasn’t proven itself as much as the above two attackers have, there’s no denying that Terrakion-EX is a good card. It’s the only truly effective way to accelerate Energy without Abilities, so it seems like a natural pair for Garbodor. It also works very well with the aforementioned two attackers, especially Mewtwo.

Durant NVI

As much as I want this card to go away forever, it’s possible Garbodor could “revive” him. He loses a lot with the rotation – Junk Arm, Rotom, and Twins were huge factors behind the deck’s success. But on the other hand, he gains Garbodor.

The card’s main problems come in when it’s easily 1HKO’d and when its stalling tactics fail. Garbodor can force Garchomp to have two Energy to 1HKO (generally one of those will be Special), and in order to do so, it has to mill itself. It shuts off Eelektrik, which makes Crushing Hammer more effective, and it stops Darkrai-EX from “cheating” its way around Catcher stall.

Furthermore, Durant protects Garbodor to an extent because it makes it less likely the opponent will have Catchers or Tool Scrappers when they need them. Not only is Durant likely to discard them, but the opponent will be less likely to play draw Supporters to find them after they see your Durant.

Furthermore, both cards work very well with Rescue Scarf. Add all of this up, and they really do combo well. However, I’m still unconvinced that this would work well. I often find Garbodor useless; my opponents usually don’t set up enough to have Abilities worth locking. And fitting Revives and Hammers is a major struggle; it requires dropping other very important cards. Hammers are also a lot less effective without Junk Arm.

Cobalion NVI

His bad typing makes him unusable in most decks despite having two very good attacks. He’s really just a card to keep in mind when playing with Durant.


Although it’s certainly not a good attacker most of the game, it’s a great finisher and can really swing games against Terrakion/Mewtwo, which is otherwise a very hard matchup. Garbodor actually makes it hard to 1HKO Shaymin-EX, so it’s safe charging it in two turns most of the time.


This card is a great low-maintenance attacker in any deck already running DCE. It’s great at taking out Altaria, Eelektrik, and a few other cards. Of course, in a Garbodor deck, Altaria and Eelektrik aren’t particularly threatening. Even so, it’s good to have that alternate Weakness and spreading is a nice thing to have; it can allow for some crazy comeback wins. He’s not my favorite attacker in Garbodor, but certainly one to keep in mind.

Virizion NVI

While his second attack is underwhelming, a T1 Double Draw is great for getting a T2 Garbodor and Double Draw is just a good consistency attack in general. Leaf Wallop is also decent for forcing out the opponent’s Catchers early and it gives you more T2 options if you attach to Virizion T1 to Double Draw. Really more of a starter than an attacker, but a good card to have around nonetheless.

Bouffalant DRX

This card does have an Ability, but even without it, it’s decent against EX cards. It’s not as good as it could be against Raikou-EX, but it’s still pretty nice against Darkrai-EX, Mewtwo-EX, and Entei-EX.

Excadrill DEX

This card is a little better than people give it credit for being. Its second attack can set up KOs for Terrakion and other cards while offering card advantage at the same time. It can get Tools back, it can double as clutch draw, and it can get almost any resource you need late-game. Its first attack is also decent for setting up KOs after Catchering a big retreater.


This card was also considered one of the BCIFs before rotation. It notably does have an Ability, but it also has a great attack. I’ll talk more about this card later since it takes a little explaining to show how it works with Garbodor.

All of these cards can be combined in virtually infinite ways to decent effect, but there are a few combinations that work exceptionally well. Let’s take a look at these combinations, and while we’re at it, take a look at some specific decklists.



Pokémon – 11

4 Trubbish NVI

3 Garbodor DRX

4 Terrakion NVI

Trainers – 37

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

3 Bianca


4 Exp. Share

3 Rescue Scarf


4 Heavy Ball

3 Ultra Ball


4 Pokémon Catcher

4 Switch

Energy – 12

12 F

pokemon-paradijs.comI won’t lie and say this is my favorite Garbodor deck. That title is reserved for a pretty crazy variant my friends and I have been testing, but for now we want to save it as an SD for Regionals or maybe Battle Roads if we lose patience.

Anyway, if I were to pick a second favorite, this would be it. The deck does what it’s supposed to do very well and very consistently. It locks Abilities, generally starting on T2, and it exchanges Prizes very well against pretty much every card in the format. All the big-damage attackers are reduced to Terrakion’s level (or generally lower) thanks to Garbodor blocking the Abilities that support them.

The reason behind the high Trubbish count is simple – the only way to search it is Ultra Ball and you don’t want to have to use those a lot because they can burn your resources very quickly. So drawing into them is the most effective way to get them into play. The high Garbodor count follows naturally since you don’t want Trubbish to go to waste, but the third Garbodor could admittedly be dropped to make room for an extra Rescue Scarf, Super Rod, or other card of your choice.

The deck is very simple and consistent, and that’s what makes it good. It reduces every game to simple exchanges and usually wins those exchanges.

This version is exceptionally weak to Tool Scrapper, however, because both Terrakion and Garbodor rely heavily on it to function. This can be remedied to an extent by adding a couple more Tools, but losing the Energy thanks to Exp. Share being Scrappered is always devastating whether you re-attach later or not. Furthermore, it occasionally runs low on attackers and/or Energy in close games. A couple Super Rod can fix this, and that would be a GREAT addition to this list.


Pokémon – 14

4 Trubbish NVI

3 Garbodor DRX

3 Terrakion NVI

2 Terrakion-EX

2 Mewtwo-EX NXD

Trainers – 34

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

3 Bianca


3 Exp. Share

3 Rescue Scarf


3 Heavy Ball

3 Ultra Ball


4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

Energy – 12

8 F

4 Double Colorless

This version of the deck is very similar to the above one, but it has more utility thanks to its extra attackers. Mewtwo lets you attack for one Energy, which is huge, and it also makes your opponent think twice about using Mewtwo for an easy kill on your Garbodor. Terrakion-EX makes Mewtwo more effective and it makes the deck less reliant on Exp. Share.

In exchange for these benefits, the deck has to cut out a couple Trainers that are nice to have. It also doesn’t Prize exchange as well as the above version can against most cards because of the high number of EX attackers. Personally, I don’t believe this is worth it for the extra options but some players will appreciate the utility. It’s certainly one of the better Garbodor variants and it ties up a couple loose ends the above one doesn’t.


Pokémon – 11

3 Trubbish NVI

3 Garbodor DRX

4 Durant NVI

1 Cobalion NVI

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

4 Cheren

2 Bianca


4 Rescue Scarf


4 Level Ball

3 Ultra Ball


4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

3 Revive

2 Enhanced Hammer

1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

11 M – Basic

We can see here why I’m not in love with Durant/Garbodor. This list only runs four Tools and it doesn’t have any room for Crushing Hammer. Revive and Hammers are too large of a space investment; the deck doesn’t run as well as other variants. When it does run well, however, it’s very effective. It shuts down almost all of the opponent’s options.


Pokémon – 12

3 Trubbish NVI

3 Garbodor DRX

3 Darkrai-EX DEX

3 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 36

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

1 Cheren

2 Random Receiver


3 Rescue Scarf

3 Eviolite


4 Ultra Ball

2 Level Ball


4 Dark Patch

3 Pokémon Catcher

3 Switch

Energy – 12

12 D – Basic

pokemon-paradijs.comThis list attempts to be a little more aggressive than other variants, often getting a T2 Night Spear. An Eviolited Darkrai can be very threatening alongside Garbodor; even Garchomp’s second attack will fail to 2HKO. Anything that is 2HKOing most likely needs Energy acceleration to do so the entire game, and Garbodor can shut that off.

This deck also gets a nice little trick with Dark Cloak; if you’re ever left without a Garbodor + Tool in play, Dark Cloak will activate, giving you very easy access to Sableye’s Junk Hunt, which can get you the resources you need to get the Garbodor set up next turn.

We again have to remember that since Darkrai is an EX, it won’t Prize exchange as well as Terrakion will against a lot of cards, even with Eviolite. Its typing doesn’t help it much either, at least not when compared to Terrakion. It also gets destroyed by a lot of Fighting-type cards which are very popular, Terrakion included. The deck also has to cut out a few fairly important cards to make room for Dark Patches. Even so, this deck gets quite a few tricks that make it viable and Sableye is nice for consistency.

Any of these lists could slightly modify their Pokémon line to include cards like Shaymin-EX and Registeel-EX if they wanted since those can swing particular matchups quite a bit. Now let’s see how Garbodor matches up against the popular decks in the game.


Note that these matchups assume that you’re running one of the Terrakion versions of Garbodor even though the descriptions are fairly general.

Garbodor vs Darkrai-EX/Hydregion – Very Favorable

This matchup depends, of course, largely on the cards being run. However, if Garbodor is running Terrakion or a sniper like Excadrill or Registeel-EX, Darkrai struggles so much that it’s crazy. Even Deino has two Retreat and they don’t run Switch, so Catcher + snipe tactics are amazing against this deck when Dark Cloak is shut off. Even if they run Tool Scrapper, they’ll be reluctant to drop Deino (not to mention evolve them) since that leaves them in major trouble if you attach a Tool. This prevents them from ever really capitalizing on the turns they can use Abilities.

Even without a sniper, Terrakion can deal with this deck very well. It just destroys Darkrais.

Garbodor vs Garchomp/Altaria – Even to Favorable

BulbapediaAgain, this matchup will change depending on the cards each deck is running. If you’re able to get a Garbodor out before they get more than 2-3 Dragon Call and you have attackers able to take out 2-3 Garchomp, you’re almost always able to win; it’s too hard for them to swarm Garchomp without Dragon Call.

However, if you’re slow in getting Garbodor out and they explode, the matchup can get a little harder. Also, if they run Tool Scrappers, they can activate their Altaria for a turn or two, which is enough to net a couple 1HKOs you really don’t want to deal with. Most lists don’t have anywhere close to enough room for Tool Scrapper, so this isn’t too important, but if they do run it, this can be a bad matchup.

Garbodor vs Eelektrik/Attackers – Very Favorable

Terrakion can handle all of this deck’s attackers, but they’ll have even more trouble with Garbodor out since it makes it hard for them to charge their attackers. Registeel-EX can really pressure this deck’s Energy attachments by Catchering an Eelektrik and sniping around it. This forces them to waste attachments on an Eelektrik just to Retreat, and if they’re not using DCE, that’s devastating when they can’t Dynamotor them back. There’s not a whole lot Eelektrik can do in this matchup, even with Tool Scrapper.

Garbodor vs Empoleon/Terrakion – Favorable

Once again, a fast Garbodor is key to winning. After they’re shut out of Diving Draw, they’ll have trouble setting up more than one or two Empoleon. Terrakion or really any attacker can take care of these, and from there all you have to deal with are their Terrakion. With most Empoleon decks cutting out a few draw Supporters in favor of techier cards, they might not even be able to get Terrakions or extra Empoleons out.

However, if you’re very slow in setting up Garbodor, they might be able to get set up enough to give you a run for your money. Unlike with Garchomp, giving them access to one or two turns of Abilities isn’t a big deal because either way they can’t 1HKO you and one Diving Draw usually isn’t enough for the deck to explode. So Tool Scrapper isn’t incredibly important in this matchup.

Garbodor vs Gothitelle/Accelgor/Mew-EX – Favorable to Very Favorable

This is an interesting matchup because each deck has the potential to shut the other deck down. If Gothitelle gets out fast enough, it can prevent Garbodor from ever getting a Tool attached. However, the Tool can get in play as early as T1, so this is generally not an issue, especially since it’s possible to remove Gothitelle from play with Terrakion after a couple turns.

If they can’t stop you from getting Garbodor out, which happens most of the time, it’s basically game over right there. Without Musharna and Mew-EX, it’s basically impossible for them to stream Accelgor the entire game and even when they do Deck and Cover, Switch can be used to negate it. Without Dark Cloak, Catcher can be extremely disruptive, forcing them to waste attachments to get cards out of the Active Spot.

If they run Tool Scrapper, you’re in pretty big trouble though. With Gothitelle out, you can’t just re-attach the Tools. Fortunately, most lists don’t have room for this luxury.

All in all, this is arguably the most Ability-reliant deck in the format so it’s only natural that an Ability-locking deck would beat it.

Garbodor vs Basic Rush – Unfavorable to Slightly Unfavorable

You’re basically playing mirror, but with you having about 10 useless cards. This puts them at a pretty big advantage, although if you run well enough, the matchup is not unwinnable.

A Shaymin-EX tech can really swing this matchup, especially alongside Mewtwo-EX. Being able to 1HKO all their attackers without much fear of being KO’d back is pretty big, especially when these attackers are all EX’s giving up 2 Prizes apiece. Watch out for Bouffalants though. Make sure you’re only using Shaymin-EX to take 2 Prizes, or Energy Switch + Bouffalant + DCE can come out and put them in the lead.

This matchup largely comes down to how much you tech for it and how well you draw. It’s certainly a struggle, but it’s not unwinnable.

Garbodor in Japan

BulbapediaLooking at all these matchups, it would appear that Garbodor is some kind of god in this format. It basically destroys anything with any sort of reliance on Abilities and, when built to do so, can even run with decks that don’t use Abilities. However, it hasn’t been doing very well in Japan, which has been playing in the BLW-Dragons format for awhile. Tournament result after tournament result would come in, and none of them involved Garbodor in top cut.

For the most part, we’re completely shut off from from Japan’s playerbase, so it’s anyone’s guess as to why this is happening. Basically, there are four possibilities: Garbodor is not being played, the best players are not playing Garbodor, the players playing Garbodor are using bad decklists, or Garbodor is a bad deck.

I believe that it’s most likely that Garbodor simply isn’t being played. We’ve seen this kind of thing in the past, so it’s not impossible for it to happen again. LostGar was a big deck in Japan, but saw basically no success in the United States. We completely neglected Gyarados SF until the French decided to play it at Worlds, so it’s possible the Japanese just don’t see that Garbodor is a good card.

Regardless of the reason, we’ve hopefully established that Garbodor is in fact a good card at this point. Therefore, it shouldn’t matter what the Japanese are doing. Believe it or not, a good deck is still good even if people thousands of miles away from us don’t think so.

So if we assume that Garbodor is in fact going to be a threat, let’s take a look at how we can beat it.

Beating Garbodor

This was touched upon in the matchups section to an extent, but there are a few ways to beat Garbodor that haven’t been touched upon or explained. I tried to rank these in order of effectiveness, but that’s very opinion-based so take the order very seriously.

Don’t play decks with Abilities. You can always go this route if you’re really worried about Garbodor. It won’t affect a deck like Terrakion/Terrakion-EX.

Play Garbodor. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Garbodor decks will naturally be able to run with other Garbodor decks unless one is using an attacker with type advantage over the other’s attacker.

Use a spreader or sniper. As much as Garbodor loves using Registeel-EX or Excadrill, these types of cards can also be used against it. Catchering Garbodor and then spreading around it is a decent counter strategy. Most Garbodor decks are running 3-4 Switch and maybe some DCE to deal with this, but even so, playing this strategy really puts pressure on their resources. It’s certainly not foolproof but it’s a great option to keep in mind when looking for a soft counter.

Play Tool Scrapper. This is the most obvious counter. However, how effective it is is up for debate.

Good Garbodor decks are going to be running at least six Tools. This means that in order to eliminate all their Tools from the game, we’ll need to play three Tool Scrapper. One or two Scrapper usually doesn’t go the distance considering that most decks need Abilities throughout the entire game in order to be successful. Furthermore, in order to play Tool Scrapper, you have to have it in your hand, so you’ll basically need four Tool Scrapper in most decks to really beat up on Garbodor.

That’s a very hefty space investment. Devoting 1/15th of your deck to beating one deck isn’t a very good idea unless it’s as crazy popular as LuxChomp or Plox was. And we won’t know if Garbodor will achieve that level of popularity until Battle Roads have been going on for a few weeks. It most likely won’t, considering that, like every other deck in the format, it does have a couple bad matchups.

Of course, some decks like Eelektrik and Garchomp/Altaria can benefit from about two Tool Scrapper enough to occasionally swing the matchup. But these decks also tend to be incredibly tight on space and need every free spot they have for draw and search cards.

People haven’t fully realized the importance of every single card in a decklist in BLW-on. Without Smeargle or something similar, the only way to get out of a dead hand is to topdeck. When in this position, drawing into a Professor Juniper is going to be significantly more helpful than drawing into a Tool Scrapper. Similarly, if you play a Professor Juniper looking for a Max Potion, but dropped your 4th for a Scrapper, your odds of hitting the Max Potion start to dwindle. Max Potion is a more useful card overall than Scrapper is, so it’s better to run the Max Potion.

magiccards.infoMost decks simply don’t have room for techs anymore. The simplest, most consistent lists with the best all-around matchups are going to be the ones that do the best. Sure, Scrapper can help in multiple situations against various decks, but when it comes down to it, the vast majority of decks do not NEED it to function. There are about 60 cards each deck absolutely has to have to function and capping out search/draw is almost always going to take priority over running Scrapper, especially considering that decks need to run 3-4 Scrapper for it to be truly effective against Garbodor.

This is also the reason why Garbodor is good. It doesn’t need to do any heavy teching, but decks need to tech for it fairly heavily in order to beat it if they’re not naturally advantaged over it.

If you can fit 3-4 Scrapper in your deck and keep it consistent then props to you, you’ll probably able to beat Garbodor unless it’s running attackers with type advantage over your attackers. Most decks will not be able to do this though.

Play Mewtwo-EX. Garbodor has a Weakness to Psychic, so Mewtwo can 1HKO it for three Energy and 1HKO Trubbish for two. It’s such a low-resource attacker that it doesn’t really need cards with Abilities to let it do this (as long as you’re running DCE). Being able to put pressure on your opponent’s Trubbish as early as T1 is a big deal, and although Mewtwo is a 2-Prize liability, it can run through a Garbodor deck with a little luck.

You’ll still run into trouble if they have their own Mewtwo-EX or if they are able to chain Rescue Scarf, because you’ll run out of Catcher before they run out of Tools. Even so, it’s able to pressure the deck better than most attackers are able to.


Is Garbodor good? Certainly. Is it a Tier 1 deck? I’d say it’s very, very likely that it will be. Can it be countered? Yes, but not easily. Will it be played? Well, that’s partially up to you to decide. So I strongly recommend at least testing with it; you don’t want to be caught off-gaurd at Battle Roads.

Reader Interactions

37 replies

  1. Joshua Pikka

    Cool article. Garbador certainly needs more hype than its been getting, but is it going to be a good deck right away? probably not.

    I think you are under-estimating its potential as a tech. Sure it would be nice if a Garbador deck had 8 tool cards in it, but could it work with 2 or 3? Yep. Your argument was that Garbador will be the Vileplume of Abilities, I don’t see it. I think its more like Mr. Mime was a couple formats ago, a nice defensive tech that you can throw in to a deck when you need it.

    I could see something like Troll incorporating Garbador into the list without changing the deck too much. It just is not as powerful as Vileplume was, it can’t make a comparable impact. The format isn’t quite ready for a Garbador based deck right now, it could be in the future though.

    • untitled96  → Joshua

      Those were my first thoughts as well. I tried for a long time to make it work without the Scarves and with a lighter line, but it just didn’t. I’d usually get it out Turn 3-4, at which point it would be met with an immediate Catcher + KO. Without Rescue Scarf attached, I couldn’t keep it in play and without the extra Tools, it was slow coming into play.

      I could see a build working with ~4 Rescue Scarves and no other Tools, but that would require the attackers not to be dependent on the Tools since Garbodor uses up quite a few in most games. And Basic attackers tend to really like Tools.

      The difference between Garbodor and Mr. Mime is that Mr. Mime could not be KO’d by the cards it was countering. So one Mr. Mime could last until it wouldn’t serve a purpose anyway. It also wasn’t in a format with Catcher (sans Bright Look), so the player using it had a lot more control over what happened to it. It made for a great tech, but Garbodor needs more focus in order to work effectively.

      I’m curious to hear your thoughts on why the format isn’t ready for Garbodor yet. All but one or two decks need Abilities to work, so this appears to me as a perfect format for Garbodor to succeed.

    • Jason Shook  → Joshua

      I have to disagree with your assessment that this isnt the format for a Gardabor deck I think the article very astutely points out many reasons that the format is ripe for it.
      Also in my testing at least, none of the decks I have been trying have any room for techs, especially not a 2-2 + tools line that is not easily searchable.

  2. Twan van Vugt

    Nice article about Garbodor. One thing to mention is that your skeleton list has 62 cards (2 too many in the T/S/S). Still worth a +1

    • untitled96  → Twan

      Thanks. :)

      I’ve just counted that list five times and came out with 58 every time.

      The Pokemon and Energy are clearly right… 3+3+6+12 is 24. So that means to get 58 we should have 34 Trainers, which I claim to have.

      4 Professor Juniper
      4 N
      6 Other Draw Supporters
      =10 Supporters

      4 Rescue Scarf
      4 Other Tools
      =8 Tools

      4 Ultra Ball
      4 Level Ball/Heavy Ball
      4 Pokemon Catcher
      4 Switch
      =16 Other Items



      I think that’s right. Let me know if I missed something. :)

      • Twan van Vugt  → untitled96

        Indeed. The article was again still good. It described the main advantages and disadvantages of Garbodor really well. I hav read about people saying to include garbodor as a tech with a 2-2 line. I don’t really like this idea since Garbodor is not searchable with Level Ball (just 10 HP too much). Not running as thick of a line also inlcudes it will be harder to get it out and that provides decks like Garhcomp/Altaria with room to set-up further until it is too late.

        Maybe Count Count can help you count ;) I mostly use a calculator (because I am lazy) to see how many cards i have in my deck.

  3. Colin Moll

    This is a fantastic article! You framed it in a very logical and “proof-like” came across very, very well.

    I will point out a few things that I either disagreed with or you should have addressed.

    1. Empoleon does not rely on Diving Draw as much as you imply. Furthermore, even if Empoleon did not have Diving Draw, I think people would still play it. Attack Command is a very, very good attack. I would go as far as to say that it might not be worth playing Garbodor against Empoleon. The benched Garbodor will +10 for Attack Command and I imagine you’ll want a Trubbish (to reuse the Garbodor w/ Scarf that will likely die as a result of Catcher) in play so another +10 there. It doesn’t seem worth it to me.
    2. T2 Thundurus, Tornadus EX or Mewtwo EX (or T1 for the last 2) seem very problematic for Garbodor since it will be a challenge fishing for 2 Trubbish on your first turn. Assuming they can knock out your 1 Trubbish on the 1st or 2nd turn, it will be hard to set up the Ability-Lock. Even if it does get set up, the opponent could easily have enough energy in play already to make Garbotoxin completely useless.
    3. I think you’re overestimating how strong the Garbordor decks are against Darkrai/Hydreigon for two reasons. The first is that the Dark deck could make some smart plays with Sableye which completely nullify Garbodor (reusing Pokemon Catcher or Tool Scrapper for example). The second is that Shaymin EX is very strong against these Garbodor variants, assuming whatever variant your running relies heavily upon Terrakion.
    4. I’m not sure why people are not addressing Sableye/Darkrai (Hammertime) anymore because I think it is significantly stronger in this format. The reuse of Hammers against these variants would be devastating.

    Otherwise, fantastic article!


    • untitled96  → Colin

      First of all, thanks! In response to your points:

      1. I suppose this all depends on the build. The Empoleon builds I’ve played with/against are reliant enough on it that they use it every turn and start to draw dead when they can’t. Even outside of that, the fact remains that Terrakion can go 1-for-1 with Empoleon and Terrakion is a Basic. This is admittedly one of the matchups I haven’t played a lot though.

      2. Occasionally, they can be, especially Mewtwo (that one I touched upon in the article). Thundurus isn’t very problematic because it can’t attack T1, so I can either evolve or at least get more Trubbish out, depending on which player goes first. It’s actually not terribly hard to get multiple Trubbish out T1 anyway; you have eight or more outs to it in most lists, so between the opening hand and a Supporter, it’s usually possible. Even if you can’t, Trubbish + Rescue Scarf will give you the Trubbish back and only delay Garbodor for one turn. Against Eels and Terrakion/Mewtwo, which are most likely to be playing these cards, that one-turn delay isn’t a huge deal. I really haven’t been having trouble getting Garbodors out; if I was, I’d probably add some Emolgas to get more outs to that double Trubbish.

      3. I actually hear this a lot. The deck can indeed be problematic if you’re not running Registeel because of the exact reasons you mentioned. I don’t think Tool Scrapper will be incredibly popular in that deck though; I just can’t find enough room for it and it’s not as important to that deck’s attackers as it is to others. Also, every time you attack with Sableye, you’re handing me a Prize. When Darkrai already doesn’t match up well against Terrakion, that’s a fairly big deal.

      I also think you’re underestimating what Registeel does to that deck. If you drop Deino, I can Catcher it and you’re stuck for at least two turns. That’s two free turns of spreading. If I Catcher Hydregion, that’s at least three turns of you being stuck, and if you get it out of the Active position, I can just Catcher it again. Even if I’m not running Registeel, I’m basically guaranteed to KO a Catchered Hydregion unless you Tool Scrapper. If you’re not running a lot of Tool Scrapper, it’s really risky to play any part of that line; even dropping Darkrai without Energy really hurts. This makes it harder to use Shaymin effectively because it can’t be charged in one turn without the Hydregion + Scrapper play.

      4. I admittedly did not test against Darkrai/Sableye/Hammers. I could definitely see that as being a pretty harsh Garbodor counter, at least against the Terrakion builds. I’ll have to play that out a few times.

      • Colin Moll  → untitled96

        I appreciate your points and I have a few in addition to make.

        In regards to the Empoleon matchup, I do agree that Terrakion v.s. Empoleon is an even prize trade assuming the Empoleon variant is not running several Max Potion. However, if they are running this card (I’m not sure why any Empoleon deck wouldn’t want to), it is not an even prize trade.

        I did not consider the option of using Pokemon Catcher with a Registeel and Garbodor in play against Hydreigon. This is indeed very strong if they do play down this line carelessly.

        Your article seems to imply that this deck largely depends on whether or not people will be including at least 2-3 Tool Scrapper in their decks. If this is the case, there is no way this will become a popular, Tier 1 deck because that is an easy tech for any deck.

        However, I can see Garbodor fitting into some kind of secret deck that people will not be prepared for. It will probably not ever be popular though because of how easy it is to tech against Garbodor.

        • untitled96  → Colin

          Well, a deck with a heavy Terrakion line ran through Darkrai decks really easily. One Terrakion could take four Prizes against Darkrai before it went down. But Darkrai was still incredibly popular and successful, despite the fact that Terrakion only took one or two more spots than Tool Scrapper will. We’ve seen other hard counters in the past as well – Dugtrio on Empoleon/Bronzong, Machamp & Mewtwo LV. X on SP, Unown G on Gengar, Magby, Mew Prime, & Kingdra Prime on Truth & Gothitelle, etc. But those decks have still been successful. And those techs were searchable and all in all better counters than Tool Scrapper is to Garbodor.

          You also have to keep in mind that running 3-4 Tool Scrapper is quite a hefty space investment and can really hurt your odds against the rest of the format if your attackers don’t get any other significant benefits from it.

          In the past, especially in the DP formats, decks had quite a bit more free space than they do now. Teching for a deck wasn’t terribly hard or costly, but now most decks don’t have the space to do that. Once I decided Garbodor was a large threat, I tried to include at least three Tool Scrapper in all my decks. But it took so much space that it was hurting my other matchups enough that I couldn’t justify playing it.

          With regards to the Empoleon/Max Potion idea, you are right that Max Potion swings the Prize trade in Empoleon’s favor. However, I still feel it’s hard to stream Max Potions without Diving Draw. You need Max Potion + Energy every time you want to play it. And even without that, Empoleon is significantly harder to set up than Terrakion so if Terrakion does manage to take out a couple Empoleon, it can be hard for the deck to get more out without Diving Draw. Even when I’m playing against a deck that doesn’t shut off Diving Draw, I start to struggle if my opponent is able to take out 2-3 Empoleon and drops an N when I have 0-1 Empoleon in play.

        • DrMime  → untitled96

          I gotta agree with untitled on the Tool Scrapper–not having Junk Arm makes teching Trainers so much more costly to a deck’s strategy. I just don’t see opponents putting lots of Tool Scrapper in when they’ll be facing Hydreigon and Garchomp most of the day. (I guess Scrapper works okay against Eels. So it would have that going for it.)

        • theo Seeds  → DrMime

          Eels was BDIF in Japan in this format, I wouldn’t necessarily say that you’ll only face dragons.

    • Tom Filbey  → Colin


      Alright after your first point, I found it VERY hard to continue to read the rest of your comment(s). The idea of the diving draw ability being a “bad” or “non-reliant” ability is honestly hog wash. This ability make’s the deck causing it to speed ahead, or keep up with, all other decks in format. Secondly N is a HUGE factor in this format, most decks playing 3-4 N. This “non-reliant” ability, counters the idea of Ning someone down to 1 card. Also, it is a strong play IN empoleon to run N; Ning both players down to 1-3 card hands, then bringing yourself back up. Yes I agree that attack command is an AWESOME attack but it just make’s the deck that much better because of the high damage for one energy, but it does not MAKE the deck. Just the combination of 140 health, 1 energy cost, and high damage make empoleon average, but the ability pushes it to a “strong” deck.

      Now secondly, it appears you have not tested against this Garbador tech at all because I had the exact same theorymons as you did, but now that I have tested against it in many decks and with many decks, I have seen it’s actual potential. I suggest you do the same before commenting on how it actually works, because combined with the right cards, it is almost unstoppable.

      Finally, the reason why disruption-darkrai isn’t being played or considered is because of all the energy acceleration or low costing attacks in format. Darkrai-Hydreigon, Zekrom-Eels, and garchomp-altaria all have the ability to counter it quite easily and hardly slows them down taking the time and consistency out of a deck to be worth it. I played disruption darkrai at nationals, making it to top 64, but lost because it wasn’t consistent enough and fast enough to keep up with energy acceleration decks.


      • Mark Hanson  → Tom

        … Jumpluff HS says hi. It has 90 HP and won worlds in the Junior divison 2010. It had no ability, and the attack continued to be useful with Mew Prime when BW came out, providing a cheap attack. Mew has 60 HP.

        Compare this to Empoleon, a 140 HP behemoth with an unfortunate weakness to one deck in the format. Diving Draw certainly is not the only aspect of Empoleon that makes it playable. It is merely a great touch on an otherwise, already-good, card.

        • untitled96  → Mark

          Well, we have to take a look at the two different formats. In Jumpluff’s time, 60 damage was considered a lot as long as it was for a low amount of Energy. Then Jumpluff comes in hitting quite a bit more than that most of the time.

          Nowadays, we have cards like Garchomp hitting 100-120 for one Energy regardless of what the opponent has in play and Basic attackers hitting quite a bit more than Jumpluff and Empoleon are able to most of the time. The HP has also shot up… in the past, 110HP was good on a Basic LV. X and HPs as low as 110 were good on a Stage 2. Now, 140HP is good on a Stage 2 and Basics are anywhere from 120 to 180HP! That’s a pretty big difference. Jumpluff also didn’t have to deal with Max Potion.

          Also, Jumpluff did have great “Ability” support in Vileplume and Sunflora. It wasn’t built-in, but it still really liked the consistency Sunflora offered and wouldn’t have been as good without it. (Let me know if this is wrong; I wasn’t playing when Jumpluff was in its prime.)

          So it’s not really a valid comparison.

        • Mark Hanson  → untitled96

          I agree that Jumpluff was more effective in it’s time, but Garchomp doesn’t hit for 120 more often than Empoleon does. Garchomp is often hitting for about 100, and I’d say the same is true of Empoleon. If nothing more, Empoleon’s minimum damage output in most games is hovering around 90, which is definitely respectable. Empoleon’s problem is ZekEels, and Eviolite which is just a thorn in it’s side in terms of damage output. That said, Tool Scrapper, which is a card I see as being much more of a staple than you do, is Empoleon’s best friend to be able to return KO Zekroms without fighting support, and hit a variety of Pokemon to ensure the 2HKO exchange.

          The difference in formats isn’t the power creep, I’d say it’s really just Eviolite. So I’d say it is a valid comparison, especially with the onset of Scrapper.

        • untitled96  → Mark

          I still don’t understand how you can say that Empoleon’s attack is as good as Jumpluff’s was when HP is now 30-50 points higher than it was when Jumpluff was around.

          I definitely see Scrapper as a staple in anything with Terrakion, which includes Empoleon. However, I don’t see it being popular outside of those decks.

          I don’t think Mew-EX is as good as Mew Prime + Jumpluff was either. Unless you OHKO a Mewtwo, it’s too risky to drop it because it’s worth two Prizes. Both Mew Prime and Mew-EX are usually going to be OHKO’d, but Mew-EX gives up two Prizes when it is. I agree it’s great if your opponent is ever in a situation where they can’t OHKO it though.

        • Mark Hanson  → untitled96

          To put it simply, Jumpluff traded OHKO’s, Empoleon trades 2HKO’s. Both Empoleon and deck “X” can abuse Max Potion so Max Potion isn’t a concern in the trade factor. I’d argue trading 2HKO’s is even better than OHKO’s, since it makes it more viable to actually trade a stage 2 for a basic, like Jumpluff was doing against the SP format.

          I think the way to approach the format is to not let tools get in my way. You don’t, that’s all there is there.

          I more just mentioned Mew to say that he’s an option out there for Empoleon to OHKO Mewtwo, meaning that the most commonly played EX is not going to run you over. With Terrakion and Mew EX, the bases are covered, and you should be trading 2HKO’s. Though the clunkiness will probably limit Empoleon’s success to tier 2.

    • theo Seeds  → Colin

      I do believe that Empoleon doesn’t rely too much on Diving Draw and Empoleon would still see play without it, but being able to shut it off does make the matchup a bit more favorable for Garbodor.

  4. Eric Smith

    Though it’s not competitive, I’d love to try Garbodor/Slaking just for the lulz

  5. Mark Hanson

    I really like the effort and thought process put into this article. It’s well-thought out and argues it’s case point-by-point.

    But I do feel like you’ve just underemphasized crippling weaknesses, and over-promoted general strengths. Like… I don’t disagree with most of what you’ve said, but I do disagree with how important you feel each point is. For the same reasons you feel Garbodor can succeed, I see Garbodor failing. Like… ZekEels really isn’t as destroyed by Garbodor as you imply (even with Terrakion).

    They run Mewtwo EX, they can charge with Thundurus, they can eviolite Tornadus, they can just whack into you with a manually set up Zekrom etc… etc… And for some perspective, I know a guy who forgot to put Eels in his list at our states, and he had to replace them with Lightning energy for top cut.

    He won his Top 16 and lost out in top 8. Zeels appreciates Eels, but by no means is the deck over-reliant on them. Beyond that, you’re going to be slower than them no matter what.

    Garchomp/Altaria? More consistent, easily 2HKO’s by using Garchomp’s second attack, and can take benched Trubbishes for a single energy one turn, and then a Garbodor the next. It’s not getting OHKO’d by Terrakion, and can just Catcher for easy prizes, or whack into Terrakion when it misses the Catcher. Not as easy as I’m making it sound, but I’d bet on FluffyChomp to win any day.

    Hydreigon/Darkrai? Yeah, that one’s a bit more of a doozy, but it’s all about the techs in both player’s decks. Frankly, I see Tool Scrapper as being a 1-2 of in almost any BW-on deck. Eviolite will already ruin people’s math enough that it warrants the 2 spaces, so a proper list should already be able to take advantage of their abilities during the game AT SOME point, evening the odds.

    • untitled96  → Mark

      First off, thanks for the reply. :)

      States was awhile ago, and I’d bet the guy you know didn’t have to play a deck with heavy Terrakion in his Top 16 match. I’m expecting Zeels to become more Raikou-based with the new format, and the ones that aren’t will probably be Rayquaza-based. These cards are more reliant on Eelektrik than the lists from States were.

      I also do have to ask: how much have you actually played that matchup out? Manually charging Thundurus and Zekrom to do a little damage, only to be OHKO’d by a Terrakion proved to hugely favor the Terrakion side of things. That’s 2-3 turns of attachments, and you still don’t do enough damage to KO Terrakion.

      Garchomp/Altaria is incredibly inconsistent without Gabite! That card holds the entire deck together. Most lists can’t even search Garchomp without it. And you’re really underestimating what Rescue Scarf does for Garbodor. Sure, Garchomp can OHKO Garbodor and Trubbish, but that doesn’t mean it will be removed from play. Four Rescue Scarves will negate four Catcher from your side of the field, assuming you don’t discard any with Garchomp’s attack or Juniper. And afterward, I’ll still be left with a couple Garbodor in my hand/deck/field that you can’t Catcher. Besides, focusing on KOing Garbodor and Trubbish leaves Terrakion untouched, and it’s an arguably more important target if Garbodor is Scarved.

      I made my stance on Tool Scrapper pretty clear in the article. 1-2 copies makes it unlikely you’ll have it when you need it and it’s not enough to discard all the Tools in a Garbodor deck. When looking at a 10+ turn game, having Abilities for less than half those turns is still devastating. 3-4 copies takes up way too much space and would basically be ludicrous in any deck unless Garbodor was clearly the #1 most popular deck around.

      • Mark Hanson  → untitled96

        An interesting perspective… I know RaiEels with definitely be a thing, but I don’t think the balance of attackers in your standard Zeels list will have changed drastically from HS-NXD to be honest. Secret Rayquaza probably being the main new inclusion outside of fringe techs. I do see Max Potion lists having more trouble, but at the same time, all Eels needs to do is start with Mewtwo + DCE to ruin the Garbodor start. After all, your position was to play 4 Trubbish so you could draw into them since your only search option was Ultra Ball. That is not going to guarantee you 2 Trubbish when you need it. And the fact that Trubbish is T1’d by Mewtwo doesn’t help.

        I’d add your only search option for Mewtwo in the toolbox list is also the same option to search for Trubbish, so starting a Mewtwo war and also having shut them down the turn prior seems unlikely.

        I admittedly haven’t played the matchups out as much, but our difference comes in the stance on tool scrapper. I see most proper lists trying to find room for 2, and the fact that it’s a “2 for 1” card (removes 2 tools) is just too powerful a plus for most people to not include it. Tool Scrapper is a deck’s out to eviolite, and Garbodor will be caught in the backlash. And having access to abilities like Dynamotor for even just one turn is all you need to set yourself up for long-term success.

        I also think you’re probably overplaying the sort of consistency you’ll be getting out of running 3 Rescue Scarfs. You won’t be getting a T2 Garbodor with Rescue Scarf as often as they’ll get a T2 powerful attack off. :

        And… tbh, I never played Zeels much, but everyone I know who did play Zeels in tournaments never really had a problem with Terrakion. I’d say the loss of Pluspower could change that a bit, but a T2 Thundurus is probably the new face of Zeels, and a T2 Terrakion Land Crush is impossible, so either you’re giving up a Terrakion on T3, or you’re losing a Trubbish/getting hit on their T2 if you went first. But that’s all a bit theorymonical…

        Like I said, I don’t really disagree with your analysis of what is an advantage and what is a disadvantage, I just think that you feel like your disadvantages are less crippling than they are, and your advantages are stronger than they are. I’m definitely interested to see how Garbodor fares in Battle Roads, since a lot of people will probably just play fun decks. I might even play Garbodor myself :D

        • David Sun  → Mark

          I agree with Crawdaunt`s stance on tool scrapper that 1 turn is enough in many cases. It doesnt really matter if the garbodor player can have a tool ready next turn, as long as the eel player drop scrapper and go double dynamotor and catcher sth for an explosive turn, it would be devastating for the garbodor player.

          “I’d say the loss of pluspower could change that a bit” We didn’t lose pluspower. But yeah terrakion is NOT the absolute counter to eels (maybe to darkrai but not eels). Especially since the author’s preferred list of terrakion/exp.share/garbodor makes it very very weak to tool scrapper: I have played enough pure quad-terra games to say it is an autoloss to a well-timed tool scrapper. We can’t play these exp.share reliant decks anymore. I’m not saying exp. share is a bad card right now, it’s just we cannot base a whole deck’s engine around it.

          And would people actually run tool scrapper? The big thing tool scrapper counters is eviolite. Like that is huge. That is the most broken tool of all. The fact that tool scrapper can also provide other great uses like getting rid of all the other kinds of tools is gravy on top. But of course, space issues. People keep on saying “oh, there’s no junk arm anymore, so if i wanna run this card, i need to run 3 or 4 copies of it or else it wouldn’t work.” I respectfully disagree. For example, if u were forced to juniper away ur only copy of tool scrapper in the early game, so what? big deal u just need to find another way to deal with garbodor or eviolite. And besides, we also have N to conserve resources early game (which is also a big deal).

  6. theo Seeds

    Garbodor/Terrakion/Terrakion EX is the variant I’ve been using, and it’s pretty good. I’m also glad Garbodor is playable because it’s my second favorite Pokemon ever to Loudred.

    And you forgot to mention the most controversial Ability, Inferno Fandango.

  7. Richard Stephen

    Garbodor/Hammertime is amazing tbh. Hammer away the energy early game while Junk Hunting the hammers back, all the while setting up Darkrais to sweep.

    • DrMime  → Richard

      VERY interesting idea–definitely something to test. One nice thing this would do is improve the deck’s matchup against “random” deck opponents in the first couple of rounds.

  8. elliott feazell

    I’m working on a deck with garbodor/bouffalant/giratina EX. Bouffalant takes on all the heavy ex, and giratina takes on all the non-EX and can really hurt all the dragons for 3 energy. It has done really well in my testing but the biggest matchup for this deck (much less any other garbodor deck) is FluffyChomp And ZekEelz those decks are so hard to fight without any energy excel and especially if you are using special energy with a dragon pokemon such as giratina. I do encourage all of you to try this out :) it works for me somehow :P idk lol

    • untitled96  → Chuck

      Yeah, this was already pointed out in one of the comments below. Leave it to me to have more cards in my skeleton list than in my actual lists, lol. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

  9. Taylor Jeffers

    This might be the best Sixprizes article I have ever read. I surprised, but happy that it wasn’t a part of underground. lol. I absolutely love the Garbador/Terrakion?Terrakion EX build. It’s disruptive and has plenty of power to get those late game KOs. It just doesn’t seem to run out of steam. I love this deck, but I am so intrigued by the idea of Garbardor/Darkrai/Sableye (Hammertime) that I feel like I will eventually switch to that. Does it have enough power to make it through to the end of a game though? I’m not totally convinced.

    The fact that Terrakion can trade 1 prize for 2 on mist EXs is really appealing. Darkrai can’t do that and instead is victim to the opposite.

    Also, any thoughts on relicanth in the Terrakion list?

  10. Tyson Schmidt

    Finally some love for Garbodor. I’ve been raving up this card everywhere and I’m finally glad there’s been an article over it.
    Garbodor will rise to Tier 1, I predicted it from the second the scans hit.

  11. Cilan Connoisseur

    You mentioned Excadrill as a possible partner. I’ve playtested with it, but I tend to only go for the Terrakion. Do you have any ideas or tips for this recipe?

    On another matter, I really loved your article! Good and readable, love the structure. +1

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