Going Rogue in BLW-on: Episode 2 – Garbodor + Giratina

Never had a chance in Japan.

Episode 2 here we go! With a new format yet-to-be-played, and a tournament structure different from Japan, that allows multiple different kinds of decks to strive when before they had no chance (ex: Garbodor DRX), there’s nothing more enjoyable than trying to find the hidden gems of strategy that everyone has overlooked.

Due to the release structure of Pokémon, we in North America have a stagnated imagination. Months before we get our cards, we have already tested our decks and are ready to hit up our first premier tournament series with a top-tier decklist already constructed, and proven to be effective. That… is a bit silly. I mean, before we even have a chance to be creative, many of the best archetypes have already been refined to a large extent.

However, as I hinted at above, there is a key difference between our tournament structure and Japan’s. In Japan, time constraints are so harsh that any setup deck will take far too long to make sure you can get into the top cut. However in North America, losing one game won’t end your whole tournament (although it will now prevent you from winning Battle Roads). Thus, slower, more intricate strategies are exploitable.

So let’s move on with a couple decks themed around being a little more complex in setup, and a little more disruptive in strategy.

1. Garbodor DRX/Attackers

Garbodor is a deck that had a whole (well-written) article recently published here on SixPrizes, so I don’t imagine I need to explain much of what Garbodor does. Below is the Garbodor/Terrakion list I built, which is pretty similar to one of Kennan’s.

Pokémon – 13

4 Trubbish NVI
3 Garbodor DRX
3 Terrakion-EX
2 Mewtwo-EX NXD
1 Bouffalant DRX

Trainers – 35

4 Professor Juniper
4 N
4 Bianca
1 Cheren


3 Rescue Scarf
3 Exp. Share


4 Pokémon Catcher

3 Heavy Ball
3 Ultra Ball

3 Switch
3 Other Trainers (see below)

Energy – 12

8 F
4 Double Colorless

This card is absolute garbage.

As far as I’m concerned, Trubbish NVI is a pretty obvious inclusion. Neither Trubbish is protected from the Mewtwo donk, and Tornadus EX is not so large a force that you should really remove the versatility that a T1 Garbage Collection for C can offer.

However, the big difference in my list to Kennan’s is the omission of Terrakion NVI entirely, and the inclusion of Bouffalant DRX. Though I can understand wanting to have a non-EX answer to your opponent’s EX, they will likely already be Catcher-KOing Garbodor at least once in a game. This means that you’re not really forcing your opponent to take 7 Prizes by playing a non-EX attacker.

Since your EX attackers are already pretty capable of handling their own, and Garbodor shuts down Sigilyph DRX, I say leave it to them. Terrakion NVI is certainly a worthy tech, but if you notice my list, you’ll actually see it’s only 57 cards.

The remaining three Trainer cards I would love to include but can’t decide on are Energy Retrieval, Super Rod, Energy Switch, a second Cheren, and Potion. The problem being that you really can’t just include a 1-of of any of these techy cards, since that will just prevent you from any sort of consistency. You could potentially remove a F Energy for Energy Retrieval itself, but I don’t see Energy Retrieval being the top of the list.

Pump up the smash, pump it up, while those Rocks are Tumblin’, and the smash is pumpin’, Look at here the bench is chargin’.

Energy Retrieval: This deck already runs three Exp. Share, so you should likely keep enough Energy on board that Energy Retrieval is useless. But Terrakion-EX’s Pump Smash attack is too inviting to not want to try and take advantage of it.

Super Rod: Super Rod would rescue a Pokémon and perhaps an Energy that you didn’t want to discard with Juniper/Ultra Ball.

Energy Switch: Energy Switch would provide some very important and interesting shenanigans for the deck. The ability to preserve Energy via Exp. Share and then move it where you want is very good. Energy Switch also lets you drop cards like Bouffalant from your hand as a surprise to 1HKO your opponent’s Shaymin EX.

Cheren #2: More consistent Supporter line. Cheren is the weakest Supporter in the deck, but I’m still just uncomfortable going as low as 12 without supplemental draw, and 13 is still a bit iffy but I could make peace with it. Nonetheless, a 14th Supporter would be nice to have, just for the sake of having it.

Pump it up, a little more. Get that Energy movin’ round the board.

Potion: Potion is one of the reasons I want to play without any Terrakion NVI. Pump Smash may be able to give a Terrakion NVI a quick charge, but it is still going to get KO’d quickly by Hydreigon, Shaymin EX, Zekrom + PlusPower, and also effectively gets 1HKO’d by Accelgor DEX. Potion can give my Terrakion-EX the chance to turn a 2HKO from something like Darkrai into a 3HKO, which would be a nice “seal the deal” type of card. Potion also works to throw shenanigans into your opponent’s careful planning, just like Energy Switch.

That said, I don’t really know what I’d want to include. If I had to fill the list in, I would like go with one Super Rod, one Energy Switch and one Potion. That would provide me the one-time shenanigans I crave. Still, with so many 1-of cards, they’re bound to be discarded by Juniper before they can get used, and Juniper is too essential to setup to ignore. So if I were to exercise some self-constraint, I would probably just include two Super Rod and one Energy Switch.

Just as in my last article though, I won’t just leave you with a decklist, we really should look at some other options for Garbodor. This pile of trash has been left unexplored by the Japanese metagame, so we should really leave no stone unturned (at least in the thought tank).

Other Ideas for Garbodor


See, cos’ that’s where the junk is at.

Garbodor alongside Crushing Hammers and Enhanced Hammers will absolutely destroy Darkrai/Hydreigon. Think about it this way. They can’t move Energy to the Active, so their Dark Patch target has to be on the bench. Then they have to retreat from the Active slot while retaining the ability to attack that turn. The concept of hammering them ought to just completely destroy their setup, giving you time to methodically complete yours.

Sableye also forms the core of how you would counter Terrakion/Mewtwo, denying them any energy attachments the whole game through. This matchup would likely be tough, but the only Pokémon that can immediately attack you would be Mewtwo, and it would need a PlusPower for the KO on Sableye. Provided you could get Sableye out and annoying before they get too many energy on the field, I can see this deck having answers to the most direct counter to Garbodor.

The other important matchups I guess one should discuss would be Eels (Rayquaza and non) and FluffyChomp. Well, FluffyChomp is dead in the water as soon as Garbodor has his Tool attached, and Eels without the ability to recover Energy would not appreciate Hammertime. I seriously think this deck has one of the greatest potentials of the Garbodor decks out there, so even though normally I would just discuss the idea, I’ll throw down a list for people to test with for this deck. It shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought, this should be on the forefront of Garbodor development, alongside Terrakion/Mewtwo (Big Basics).

Pokémon – 13

4 Trubbish NVI
3 Garbodor DRX
3 Sableye DEX
3 Darkrai-EX DEX

Trainers – 36

4 N
4 Professor Juniper
3 Bianca
2 Random Receiver


3 Eviolite
3 Rescue Scarf


3 Ultra Ball
3 Level Ball
3 Crushing Hammer
3 Dark Patch

2 Pokémon Catcher

2 Switch

1 Enhanced Hammer

Energy – 11

11 D – Basic

And I’m here to make you mad.

Depending on what you want to prioritize, I might play around with the Item lines a bit, or even throw in a 4th Sableye DEX. But what’s kind of interesting about this option for Hammertime is that Trubbish NVI serves as an alternate Hammertime condition! Beyond that, Trubbish can actually get Supporters back from the discard pile on your first turn, while Sableye can get Random Receivers (alongside your Hammer of choice, or maybe a Catcher/Dark Patch).

Hammertime’s potential is only strengthened by the inclusion of Garbodor, and what’s even better is that if they ever Catcher-KO your Garbodor, you can bring out Sableye to free retreat (provided Darkrai is in play, and Sableye has energy attached), and then use a Dark Patch or two onto Darkrai (or vice versa if you’re going for Hammers + Sableye), and then evolve into Garbodor and re-lock.

This theme of “get around my own lock” was something that a few adventurous Vileplume UD players (myself included) liked to toy around with a bit using Seeker Shenanigans. In my EX Truth lists, I ran 2-3 Seekers and 1-2 Eviolites, such that I could heal damage off of my board effectively, and even Eviolite my EX during the brief moment my lock was down. This provided me with an even bulkier and more difficult attacker to 1HKO when facing down Mewtwo EX.

I know Kumis (maker of Kumis.dec) also used one Pokémon Catcher in said deck (a very fun inclusion I’ve tried myself as well) to completely catch your opponent off guard.

In this spirit, we can move on to the next idea…

Eels N’ Trash

I just want, a new pla-ace to stay.

Eelektrik is undeniably the best Energy accelerator we have in the format, and the power that charging up your attackers in one turn brings to a deck is unparalleled. This is best evidenced by ZekEels being the only deck in the last few formats to actually retain its spot in Tier 1 for… more than two formats. We have literally had such a crazy last few sets that the only deck that can really compete with ZekEels for staying power would be ReshiPhlosion, which is a deck that got significantly worse in the metagame, but just hung around hovering in Tier 2 for a while before being rotated finally.

Well, as I mentioned, your opponent will likely be gracious enough to KO your Garbodor for you, and then let it be your turn. This means that you can conceivably use Dynamotor on your turn before re-evolving/Tooling another Garbodor, giving yourself an option to accelerate your Energy mid-game. This acceleration won’t be as efficient as a standard ZekEels list, but I would say that you will likely use Dynamotor about as often as CMT used Forest Breath.

And we all know that having access to Forest Breath even just 3-5 times a game is enough to apply some serious pressure on your opponent (though Celebi Prime could use it on the first turn, but I digress).

Get that energy on the board tonight, that’s my 1st turn play.

The question then really becomes, what do you include with Eels N’ Trash? I would say you can’t really expect to get two Eels on board, since you’ll need two bench spots for Garbodor at a minimum. Thus your standard 4-3 Eel line is probably overkill. You probably also want one spot for some sort of free retreater to effectively use Dynamotor (Emolga DRX makes a great example, but Skyarrow Bridge can open up options for you). Thus, we’ll have about two spots free for attackers, one in the Active and one on the Bench waiting to be charged.

Therefore, you’ll likely be restricted to attackers with only two Energy card costs. I might recommend Thundurus EPO though, to pull Energy out of the deck and apply quick pressure. Colourless attackers to consider are Mewtwo EX, Tornadus EX, Registeel-EX and even Regigigas-EX (haven’t heard that name in a while have you). However, if you want to include Prism/Blend Energy, a couple more attackers become viable.

Shaymin EX becomes a powerful finisher, Terrakion NVI becomes a strong anti-meta choice. Additionally, any EX with an attack cost of two specific Energy and one Colourless could be charged over the course of two turns, which is very possible considering they will need to deal with Garbodor, the Benched attacker and your currently-set-up attacker simultaneously. One of those three has to be put on the back burner, and it’s likely to be the thing that isn’t ready yet.

Trashy Entei

Okay… enough technotronic…

Entei-EX won Canadian Nationals, proving the deck was at least pretty solid in the top tiers. Well… Entei’s time is likely past now… or is it! Entei is a big, bulky, 2-shotting and getting 2-shotted EX that can accelerate Energy from the discard. That sounds absolutely wonderful for a deck that wants to slow down a fast paced metagame. Entei can 1HKO Eelektriks and Zweilous, while also at least 2HKOing everything in the format.

The problem really comes with what to pair Entei with, if anything at all? Reshiram-EX makes a decent argument. It can be charged by Entei relatively quickly, hits like a truck, and has a 50% chance to have no drawback for 1HKOing whatever with 150 HP or less. Then there’s the 50% chance that you do damage to yourself, putting you in a precarious situation.

Eviolite can mitigate this, and running Potion to heal Enteis and Reshiram-EX’s could also be useful. The question then becomes… is Reshiram-EX really worth it? It has potential? I feel like it does, but I’m not sure it would be better than just straight Entei.

The other option is to just use cards like Mewtwo EX and Registeel-EX to supplement Entei. I would say Mewtwo is a good inclusion, especially with Mewtwo no longer being a definite inclusion in every tier 1 list (although every tier 1 list does have a way to deal with Mewtwo).

Almost out in tins.

The main idea would be that with Garbodor support, you’re the only one with energy acceleration, which ought to put you in a good position to win Mewtwo wars. But charging Mewtwos a turn prior isn’t the greatest way to Mewtwo war, so you’d probably have to combo the charging turn with a well timed N.

The other, and less thought-out option is Blaziken DEX. Blaziken can dish out 130 damage every turn after it’s set up, has a respectable 140 HP, and is generally a very good card overall. That said, Garbodor has space issues due to the necessary Tools to be included, so including a Stage 2 line would be difficult to say the least.

Concluding Garbodor

Garbodor has one of the more powerful game-changing abilities available, and is not a Pokémon to be underestimated. However, Garbodor never did see much play in Japan. It’s true that the Japanese format doesn’t favor setup decks… but Garbodor really isn’t THAT slow. It’s not a deck that tries to go behind in prizes or anything. I’ll give the Japanese players credit on this one and say that they didn’t all just miss out on an obvious tier 1 contender. I’m sure that some of the better Garbodor lists possible were constructed, and just didn’t quite make it to any Battle Carnival top cuts.

Still, I’d say both the Terrakion variants and Hammertime variants hold a lot of promise, and are worth considering for Battle Roads. I wouldn’t let your deck choice be influenced by the matchup though, unless it really takes off.

2. Giratina EX/Hydreigon/Leavanny NVI

Pokémon – 19

3 Deino NVI

1 Zweilous DRX 96

3 Hydreigon DRX 97

3 Sewaddle EPO 4

3 Leavanny NVI

2 Giratina EX

2 Darkrai-EX DEX (Gives free retreat, your out to running 4 Switch)

2 Sableye DEX

Trainers – 30

4 N

4 Professor Juniper

3 Bianca

2 Random Receiver


4 Rare Candy

3 Pokémon Communication

2 Level Ball


4 Max Potion

3 Pokémon Catcher

1 Super Rod

Energy – 11

4 Blend GRPD

4 D – Basic

3 Prism

I still kinda think Reshiram-EX owns the title of “Most useless EX.”

So this decklist is clearly based around the same philosophy of Darkrai/Hydreigon. Heck, it’s really just a teched Darkrai/Hydreigon. But both Giratina and Leavanny bring something to the deck that is highly desirable.

Giratina’s Shred attack is actually the more interesting option. Shred will 2HKO every Pokémon in the format regardless of Eviolite, and will 1HKO Rayquaza EX, Hydreigon and Garchomp. Giratina also can’t be walled by Sigilyph DRX, and will 1HKO Eelektriks, which covers most all of the bases of the current metagame. Of course, the problem with using Giratina is that every Dragon he can 1HKO, can also 1HKO Giratina thanks to Weakness. That’s where Eviolite comes in.

Just kidding, that’s a bad idea. Leavanny is what can save Giratina’s chances at being used in the current format. What’s great is that Leavanny also protects Hydreigon from being 1HKO’d by other Hydreigons, Garchomps and Rayquaza DRX’s. Rayquaza EX also has a harder time 1HKOing Hydreigon, while Giratina EX can drop in out of nowhere and 1HKO back.

Leavanny also serves as a counter to Mewtwo/Terrakion, preventing terrakion from 1HKOing Darkrais. Leavanny will protect everything in your deck from everything. A heavy 3-0-3 line will provide you with your Leavanny when you need it.

A bad idea.

Considering this deck is really just an alternate way to run Darkrai/Hydreigon, I won’t go over a list of potential decks you could also run this strategy with. What I will say is that the way you actually run the deck is probably more similar to Klinklang EX than Darkrai/Hydreigon. You don’t need Dark Patches, and you’re using so many Pokémon, Pokémon Communication can be your efficient form of search instead of Ultra Ball. A couple Heavy Balls round out the list to search for Giratina, Zweilous and Hydreigon.

The one strategy I would consider against FluffyChomp is to try and get as many Basic Dark energies in play as soon as possible, allowing you to use Darkrai as your attacker. Leavanny can protect your Hydreigon from being KO’d provided you have an Energy on it, but you do have to worry about getting outsped. With so many Special Energies in the deck, you might want to consider a fifth D Energy and drop one Prism.

But Giratina will serve as an attacker that can 1HKO their Garchomps, and provided they don’t get the Energy you’ve attached in the first two turns, you’re set up to just attach per turn to keep up with their discarding potential. Thanks to Hydreigon, you can attach your Energies anywhere, so you can hopefully avoid letting them go to waste.

Concluding the Article as a Whole

I’m tailored for this job.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! We’ve got over two weeks before we actually experience the BLW–DRX format first hand, so we might as well at least be having fun with it beforehand. These lists aren’t tested heavily against the metagame, I’ve more just refined them to the point that they are at least functional decks, which have a respectable shot at the metagame.

True testing at this point is pretty difficult to come up with since it’s mostly limited to within friend-groups. I know PlayTcg.me has updated with DRX scans, but there’ll be a while yet before the metagame is fully defined.

So throw down and have fun with some of the ideas I’ve posted here. Or, better yet, hopefully I’ve even inspired you to test out your own rogue deck/strategy! This has been the 2nd in what is becoming a series of rogue articles. So if you do want to see more, be sure to give this a +1!


~Crawdaunt out

Reader Interactions

22 replies

  1. Alex Hedge

    ” Well, FluffyChomp is dead in the water as soon as Garbodor has his Tool attached”

    Um what? If you go first, that is usually true. However if they do, they set up all their Gabite and get another Pokemon out (Garchomp). They Level Ball for Altaria. It does slow them down, but they can still get a turn 3 attacker out.

    • Max Douglas  → Alex

      Once Garbodor is out their Altaria are powerless, leaving the Chomp with 60 for one and 100 for two.

        • Max Douglas  → theo

          That’s true, I think a more accurate statement would have been ” Well, FluffyChomp is dead in the water while Garbodor has his Tool attached”

          On the subject of Tool Scraper, the card seems like a Heatmor to me. Players mention it as a reason why tools aren’t as good anymore but when making a deck list not many actually put it into their list and instead focus on consistency or other techs.

        • Cilan Connoisseur  → Max

          Yes they do… In almost all my games on PlayPokémon I’ve encountered deck with 2-3 Tool Scrappers included. It’s almost used as frequently as Pluspower was before.

        • Mark Hanson  → Alex

          I forgot… so many times… that Garbodor existed while making this article. At first, I wanted to use Ninetales DRX, and Blissey DRX with Entei… then i realized…

          Also, Hammertime will keep you from ever hitting for 100, and you can’t even OHKO Sableye >.> So it’ll be a 3HKO on Darkrai at best. And don’t forget Eviolite. That’s a 5HKO on Darkrai with Eviolite.

  2. Stephen Botha

    Very, very nice ideas you have here. I’ve been waiting to use Leavanny for such a long time, so will def make an effort to get it to work :) thanks for the article*

  3. Adam Waddell

    Well i was unfortunate enough to pull 2 giratina EX and i’ve been desperately trying to find something to use them with. I still feel its a terribly circumstantial card, but you may be onto something with Leavanny. I think the deck could work better with 2 emolga than 2 sableye, especially for setup. When you need to set up the bench you really don’t need to concern yourself with the items because you aren’t running any dark patch. You can setup a darkrai and a deino on your first turn. Most cards can’t one shot emolga first turn anyway, so you can even use it as a sacrificial lamb to set up a backrow. I usually don’t like decks with 2 stage 2 pokemon in them because you only have 4 rare candys (but i guess that is an argument for junkeye), but leavanny can ohko terrakions and that is a good thing. I think this matchup’s greatest weakness is the darkrai mirror match because it doesnt have energy acceleration without dark patches and a turn 2 night spear can be devastating.

    • Mark Hanson  → Adam

      Haha, I suppose you could use Leavanny to hit Terrakions. but if you have Leavanny out, why not just attack them with Giratina’s Dragon Pulse or just Night Spear. Leavanny protects from weakness so your Darkrai is a 3HKO with Eviolite attached.

      I think the big thing I want Sableye there for is RR, Catcher, Max Potion, and Search cards. I was torn between Heavy Ball and Level ball as my supporting search of choice, but I decided Heavy Ball. However I wouldn’t fault the Level Ball to grab Sewaddle’s, Deinos and Sableye. In fact, I’m probably going to just throw the Level Balls in instead, since the setup is most important.

      Emolga’s problem is that it doesn’t do anything after the first turn, whereas Sableye has late-game utility, and also makes a great starter. So I’d run Sableye personally.

  4. Oliver Barnett

    I am honestly surprised no one on the site has seen the best way to play Garbodor yet? Or does no one here go on HT o.o

    • Mark Hanson  → elliott

      Can’t say I have :(

      Giratina gets eaten alive by Garchomp, Hydreigon, Rayquaza DRX and Rayquaza EX though. So you really need to protect it well, since practically every tier 1 deck has a quick and easy counter to Giratina. Psydrive Mewtwo is always fun, but trying to get it to work is another story.

  5. Aaron Minjoot

    I really enjoy rogue analyses, this was a good read. Could you perhaps do a Ho-Oh EX one? So that I can make use of my 4 copies that I pulled from 2 boxes. :P

    • Mark Hanson  → Aaron

      xD 4 copies! That is some awesome luck. Because Ho-Oh EX has some of the best artwork on EX’s atm! And that is clearly what we all care about.

      Sounds good! I haven’t really looked much at Ho-Oh, but not because I didn’t want to! I’ll see if I can pump out a concept that I think has a chance at competing in the metagame, but I feel like currently, Ho-Oh is limited by the heavy emphasis on discard and specific energy requirements.

      • Aaron Minjoot  → Mark

        Can’t argue with the artwork, but I really want to feel better about pulling these birds from my boxes. :P

        The only idea that has been floating around seems to revolve around Rufflet and Tornadus/EX. Not too sure how that works though. Looking forward to your coverage!

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