Today I intend to cover a style of deck that was popular, fell out of favor, and is looking to make a comeback: Sableye DEX/Darkrai EX/Garbodor DRX! Darkrai/Garbodor made its first big splash at U.S. Nationals, where it was played by Jason Klaczynski and piloted to 2nd place in the Seniors Division by Orrin Wilson.
Later on at Worlds, Takuda Yoneda went undefeated in Swiss and made it to Top 8 with Darkrai/Garbodor. Dustin Zimmerman advanced all the way to Top 4 with his HoverToxin deck. The last big success for Darkrai/Garbodor came when Lex D’Andrea won the Klaczynski Open with it, defeating none other than Ross Cawthon in the finals. It also had limited success at Autumn Regionals.
With the massive changes in the game and the format that have recently taken place, where does Garbodor stand when the dust is settled? I intend to discuss that as well as what changes both Darkrai/Garbodor needs to make in order to adjust to the new format and rules changes.
Where Garbodor Stands
Garbodor actually stands to become very good with the rule changes that have taken place. Trubbishes can no longer be donked by a Deoxys-EX and a Hypnotoxic Laser. Garbodor is a card that takes two turns to evolve. The extra turn of protection and the shift in the format away from decks that can do a lot of damage by T1 or T2 gives Garbodor a much easier time of setting up.
The new Pokémon Catcher Errata rule greatly increases the playability of Garbodor because Garbodor is no longer simply a Pokémon Catcher + Tool Scrapper target for Catcher stall (if you are not playing Darkrai/Garbodor). Also, decks that rely heavily on their Abilities, such as Blastoise, will most likely drop their Pokémon Catchers for extra consistency cards.
The only reliable way they have to break the Ability lock you have set up is to Tool Scrapper your Pokémon Tool, which, if you hold your Tools correctly, will enable you eventually lock them out of Deluge with no way of getting it back. Teching cards such as Ninetales DRX or Genesect EX and Plasma Energy do nothing because those Pokémon Catcher effects are Ability-based, which Garbodor shuts down.
Because many decks will be dropping their Pokémon Catchers in favor of more consistent cards such as Genesect and Plasma Energy or Ninetales, decks that run Garbodor can afford to run other Pokémon Tool cards instead of Float Stones. Tech Pokémon Tool cards may begin to replace 1-2 of the four copies of Float Stones Garbodor decks used to run. These Tool cards include Silver Mirror, Rescue Scarf, Exp. Share, and Eviolite.
However, these cards will not be included in Darkrai/Garbodor because of how Float Stone increases the mobility of Sableye and allows you to open with Trubbish safely.
There are a couple different ways to build this deck, which include but are not limited to speed/power and stall/Hammertime. I intend to focus on the former version today. Here is a list that has been testing very well that is more of a power and speed style of Darkrai/Garbodor deck.
Pokémon – 10
Trainers – 41
Energy – 9
The Pokémon line for this build is pretty standard. The three copies of Sableye and Darkrai are complemented by the copy of Super Rod. The Super Rod is very important in this deck for recovering when your Darkrai gets Knocked Out by putting D Energy back into your deck.
My Supporter lines are a little scarce, but I think that just under a quarter of your deck being an out to draw support (4 N, 4 Juniper, 1 Colress, 2 Bicycle, 2 Random Receiver, 1 Computer Search, = 14) is good enough here, especially as Sableye can recycle both Bicycle and Random Receiver with Junk Hunt.
The four copies of Dark Patch, Ultra Ball, Float Stone, and the single copy of Energy Search help this deck achieve a T2 Night Spear fairly consistently, which greatly swings any matchup toward your side. The four Ultra Balls also help with getting Garbodor out quickly. Float Stone is the best Pokémon Tool for Garbodor in this deck because it allows you to dish out free retreat when you have to promote a Darkrai with no Energy attached for a turn while you have the Ability lock up.
Hypnotoxic Laser gives Darkrai the ability to do the correct math for 1HKOs with Night Spear snipe + Night Spear + Dark Claw + Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym = 170 damage. That is enough to 1HKO Deoxys-EX, Thundurus EX, Mewtwo EX, Genesect EX, Virizion-EX, and Tornadus EX, all of which are cards that are currently very playable and are key components of decks in the top two tiers.
The Pokémon Catchers are a necessity in this deck, but Darkrai/Garbodor is not nearly as reliant on it as much as straight Darkrai is because Garbodor turns off Mr. Mime PLF’s Bench Barrier Ability, allowing Darkrai to finish KOs with the snipe damage from Night Spear.
The Energy Search is mostly there as a method of getting D Energy in the discard pile by playing it, grabbing an Energy, and then putting it in the discard pile through Ultra Ball or Professor Juniper. It is also useful because you can Junk Hunt for it.
Max Potion is a card I used to shy away from in this deck because it forces you to clean your Darkrai of Energy as well as damage. However, after giving it another try, I like it a lot more because you can clean up a damaged Garbodor with it or use it to reset the damage clock if you are stalling with a Darkrai. You can also use it to put D Energy in the discard pile if you have a viable Dark Patch target on your Bench.
Tool Scrapper is basically a tech against Virizion/Genesect so I can take out my opponent’s G Booster. The Tool Scrapper is also effective against Tool Time because I can Catcher out my opponent’s non-attacking Pokémon, such as Sigilyph PLB, and then Tool Scrapper my opponent’s Float Stones, which then forces my opponent to divert his Energy to his Pokémon that is stuck Active instead of using it to set up another Trubbish.
The single copy of Switch is useful against decks running Hypnotoxic Laser because you can use it to switch out of a poisoned Darkrai and into a Garbodor with a Float Stone. You can then simply retreat the Garbodor and keep whaling away with the Darkrai.
Super Rod is essential because of the low Energy count this deck is forced to play as well as to compensate for when you are forced to discard Garbodors or Trubbishes off of cards such as Computer Search, Ultra Ball, or Professor Juniper.
The nine copies of D Energy is high enough to the point where you do not sacrifice consistency, but low enough that you can fit in a lot of other tech cards to help deal with certain matchups.
This entire matchup is really a question of when the Virizion/Genesect player’s G Booster hits the field and how crippling it is. If it wipes out your only Darkrai or takes the last 2 Prizes of the game, Virizion/Genesect wins nearly every time (every time for the last situation).
However, if your opponent is forced to drop it in order to keep it from getting discarded by the effect of a Professor Juniper, seizing the opportunity and putting it in the discard pile with a Tool Scrapper is critical to victory.
If you manage to get 2-3 Darkrai set up by the time your opponent gets the G Booster in play, you will most likely be able to come out on top.
Blastoise can give this deck a rough ride if your opponent plays two or more Tool Scrapper and Dowsing Machine. Speed is also a key factor in this matchup. If your opponent gets off a T2 Black Ballista, you will most likely be in for a long game. If you can get a Garbodor with a Pokémon Tool attached to it in play by T2-T3, you will mess up the flow of the Blastoise player and cruise to victory.
I believe this to be a positive matchup for the Darkrai/Garbodor player because of the new Pokémon Catcher rules and just how heavily Blastoise decks depend upon their Abilities (even more so if they choose to play Electrode PLF).
This is a very even matchup against this particular version of Darkrai/Garbodor. Both have about equal set up speed and run a similar amount of core Pokémon (Darkrai/Garbodor has one less copy of Darkrai). The main difference between the two decks is that straight Darkrai has Energy Switch and two more attackers.
However, locking your opponent out of their Abilities can change a lot of things in this matchup, as Darkrai decks may start to run Spiritomb LTR instead of Tool Scrapper to counter G Booster, which would mean that once you get the Garbodor with the Tool attached set up, it is going to stay that way. This would allow you to snipe your opponent’s Bench as well as keep the poison status on your opponent’s attackers because Keldeo-EX and Mr. Mime become irrelevant when you have the Ability lock up.
This is another fairly even matchup, but it favors the Darkrai/Garbodor player for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that, unless your opponent runs a copy of the Landorus Promo, your opponent cannot 1HKO you while you can consistently 1HKO if you use your 30 snipe damage wisely to set up KOs on Kyurems. The second reason is that your opponent cannot hit Blizzard Burns every single turn because they cannot use their Rush In + retreat when the Ability lock is up.
If I had to give a number, I would say 60/40 in favor of Darkrai, but the Landorus Promo can really swing this matchup toward Plasma.
Flareon is a somewhat easy matchup for Darkrai/Garbodor to win. The main reason for this is how easy it is for Darkrai to 1HKO Flareon. It is possible through Night Spear with Dark Claw, Night Spear + Hypnotoxic Laser (no Virbank City Gym necessary), or through Night Spear with snipe damage already on the Flareon (Garbodor shuts down Mr. Mime, which all Flareon players should be using).
Stunfisk DRX, Terrakion LTR, Landorus-EX, and other Fighting-type attackers can make a difference in this matchup, but there is generally not enough of them to finish the job on their own. A late-game Flareon with a lot of Pokémon in the discard pile can swing the matchup late. Leafeon PLF can 1HKO Darkrai if you have eight Energy in play (which happens a lot with this deck, surprisingly) and the Leafeon has a Silver Bangle attached to it.
Flareon decks can range in difficulty from near auto-win to around 50/50 depending upon tech attackers already mentioned.
Silver Mirror can vastly improve your matchup against Plasma and Virizion/Genesect, as both decks rely heavily on attackers that are Team Plasma Pokémon (Kyurem PLF, Lugia EX, and Genesect EX). With a Silver Mirror attached to a Sableye, you can then begin to chip away at your opponent’s Pokémon with Hypnotoxic Laser damage while Junk Hunting Item cards to set up your field, such as Energy Search, Dark Patch, and Ultra Ball.
The last thing a Plasma player wants to see in a mulligan is D Energy and an Enhanced Hammer. The reason I say this is because of the reliance Plasma players have on Special Energy cards. A single copy of Enhanced Hammer will usually be enough to cripple a Plasma player for the entire game.
Crushing Hammer is great in Darkrai decks because you can use Sableye’s Junk Hunt attack to recycle two every turn and completely strip your opponent’s field of Energy cards. I would encourage including 2-3 Crushing Hammers in your deck if you play in a meta filled with Virizion/Genesect decks because of just how effective Crushing Hammers are in that matchup. Crushing Hammers have the power to reduce your opponent’s field to nothingness in that matchup if he or she does not play Super Rod.
Crushing Hammers are also useful against Blastoise and RayBoar decks because you can target L Energies, which are necessary for both decks’ 1HKOing attackers, Black Kyurem EX and Rayquaza EX, to attack at all.
Absol is a great attacker in this deck, especially against Plasma, as you can hit for 170 damage with Mind Jack if your opponent has a full Bench, you have a Dark Claw attached, and you play a Hypnotoxic Laser with Virbank City Gym in play. It is also similarly effective against Virizion/Genesect decks, which tend to fill their Benches quickly as well.
Sneasel is the only viable counter to Gothitelle/Accelgor this deck has. Corner allows you prevent your opponent’s Gothitelle from retreating, thus slowly Knocking it Out over the course of thirteen turns. This card is not good in any other matchup, but is definitely worth considering including if there are a lot of Gothitelle/Accelgor decks in your local meta.
Darkrai/Garbodor has somewhat gone under the radar after Israel Sosa won two Regional Championships with straight Darkrai. However, I believe it is time for Darkrai/Garbodor to shed its Dark Cloak and flex its muscles at City Championships.
The other great thing about this deck is that you can tech it against your local meta. For example, if you play in an area where Plasma is very popular, you could easily include 1-2 Enhanced Hammers and a fourth Hypnotoxic Laser to improve your matchup against those decks. If you are in an area where Virizion/Genesect is heavily played, increasing your speed and consistency could help you improve your matchup there. Darkrai/Garbodor’s drop below the radar also gives a slight rogue aspect to it.
I would highly recommend playing this deck at League Challenges and maybe even giving it a shot at City Championships.
Thanks for reading,