Foreseeing the Future

Looking at Garbodor GRI/Espeon-GX from Past to Present and Examining its Place in the Metagame

Hola amigos! I hope you guys are enjoying the SixPrizes Article Marathon so far and that the information has been useful to you. We are only one week away from the biggest Pokémon tournament/event in history, the North American International Championships!

I personally never had the opportunity before to attend the US National Championships, so being able to participate in this new event has me incredibly excited! I’ve attended the Europe, Oceania and Latin America International events so far, so there’s nothing in this world that could stop me from making it 4/4! I’m actually passing on a family trip to Acapulco to attend, as even though I certainly don’t need any extra CP to secure Worlds Day 2, I’m certain this event will be on a whole new level.

Eeveeloution of Espeon: Espeon/Garb History

Some of you might recall that I bubbled Seattle Regionals at 33rd place with Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI. It’s no surprise to me that this version of Garbodor GRI is now the most talked about and feared. Don’t get me wrong, of course Drampa-GX/Garbodor GRI will be a big threat in any and all metagames, but Espeon-GX and the Ancient Origins Eeveelutions certainly offer Garbodor decks a lot more depth.

After analyzing and reviewing the Japanese metagame results, the evolution of their metagame was very clear. Garbodor GRI was going to dominate no matter what, and decks were going to have to shift their engines to accommodate. However, the latest tournaments show almost no Drampa-GX variants placing, with as Espeon-GX was the only Garbodor GRI variant actually doing well. I tried to get ahead of this metagame and use the “next step” Garbodor GRI variant in Seattle, and the fact that I went 6-0 in games against Drampa-GX decks seemed to solidify my understanding. Unfortunately though, the tie breakers played their part and I was not able to pilot my deck into a Day 2 with 75% good matchups.

As more tournaments have taken place, we’ve seen Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI take a Top 4 placing in Madison, another in Mexico City by our very own Xander Pero, and finally a double Top 8 placement in the Origins Special Event by the Schemanske brothers, who have been on a tear lately. Even though it hasn’t won a big tournament yet, it’s certainly recognized by the top players as a superior option to Drampa-GX variants, and the latest results go hand in hand with this. It is of no surprise to me that other people came to the same conclusion as myself — it’s just unfortunate I wasn’t able to put the deck on the map sooner at Seattle.

Espeon-GX was always good but it never stood out as great simply because it needed other ways to increase it’s damage output, such as Professor Kukui or a full Decidueye-GX line to reach critical numbers. With the release of Choice Band and the decrease in use of Fighting Fury Belt, Espeon-GX finally became one of the biggest threats as 180 HP and frequent 3 Energy attacks make for perfect math with Choice Band to get 1HKOs.

Divide-GX is also an incredibly underrated attack — justifiably so, as before Guardians Rising came out, 170+ HP basics were the norm. However, now that evolutions and set up decks are being played, being able to snipe a crucial Grubbin SUM, Beldum GRI, or even Trubbish BKT on the Bench became that much more valuable. Top this off with Eevee’s incredible Energy Evolution Ability, and you have an incredibly consistent and threatening attacker which, at worst, gives you a 50/50 chance to not receive any damage during your opponent’s next turn via Confusion.

Purple Haze: Espeon List

Pokémon – 19

4 Eevee SUM

3 Espeon-GX

1 Flareon AOR

4 Trubbish BKP

3 Garbodor GRI

1 Garbodor BKP

1 Oricorio GRI 56

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainers – 29

4 Professor Sycamore

3 N

2 Lysandre

1 Hex Maniac

1 Brigette


3 VS Seeker

4 Ultra Ball

4 Float Stone

3 Choice Band

2 Rescue Stretcher

1 Field Blower


1 Parallel City

Energy – 12

8 P

4 Double Colorless

This is Xander’s Mexico City Top 4 list, which he based off of mine before making a few changes such as including a 2nd Hex Maniac. He posted his list in his report, and mine is only a few cards different. Let’s break down the list in detail and the specific card choices.


4 Eevee SUM: The deck’s main starter, hence the 4 copies. Getting a turn 1 Espeon-GX in play is very threatening due to the Confusion it can inflict, but also it thins out your deck immediately by 1 card, which in the long run can be crucial when you need to hit Energy or specific Supporters/Tool cards to keep pressure on your opponent. Energy Evolution is also the reason why I play the 8th Basic Energy over Super Rod, as having more basic Energy available means better odds of pulling off that Turn 1 evolution.

3 Espeon-GX / 1 Flareon AOR: Espeon-GX is definitely the main attacker of the deck. Garbodor GRI is, of course, great, but decks and players are adapting to it quite well, so Espeon-GX usually carries most of the weight in the early and mid games. Flareon AOR is the only Eeveelution which survived from the Seattle list, simply because Decidueye-GX and Metagross-GX are very popular and would arguably be bad matchups without it. Garbodor BKP helps in both of these, but Flareon AOR provides a more definitive swing to make it favorable.

As mentioned before, Divide-GX is incredibly versatile, and can be used to get a quick KO on a potential set-up Pokémon early on, can finish off a weakened Pokémon on the Bench and can also set up for some nice Oricorio GRI plays too.

3/1 Garbodor GRI / Garbodor BKP: Both Garbodor are excellent cards, yet Garbodor GRI is mostly useful in the later stages of the game. Garbodor BKP adds another dimension of disruption to this deck and can be essential to swing some matchups such as Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu in your favor. I personally found Garbodor BKP to be a lot more crucial at Mexico City, and actually regret not running it in Seattle.

1 Oricorio GRI: With Vespiquen having taken 2nd place in Seattle and 1st place at Madison, this card was a very easy inclusion. It has synergy with your main attacker’s GX attack, allows you do deal damage to the Bench and is essentially a 1 card counter to one of the best decks in the format. I definitely expect to see this card splashed into any and all decks out there.

2 Tapu Lele-GX: The single best and healthiest card in the current format, and arguably a 2-of (at least) in every deck, provides the consistency you need to help you set up in the early game. Also keep momentum through the use of N, Lysandre or Hex Maniac in the later stages of a match.

Potential Techs

Jolteon AOR: Turning your Stage 1s into Lightning type give you easier win conditions in the later stages of a game allowing you to pick off Shaymin-EX, but also gives you an easier time against M Rayquaza-EX. I lost my win and in at Regionals to that deck, and it left me wishing I had Jolteon available to me.

Sudowoodo GRI: Another card to “counter” M Rayquaza-EX, yet it provides disruption against any deck in the format. Espeon-GX/Garbodor GRI doesn’t need that many Pokémon set up on the Bench, while potentially limiting Metagross-GX or Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX’s Benches can actually prove crucial.

Drampa-GX: A single Drampa-GX can add a lot of versatility to the deck. Righteous Edge offers disruption, Berserk gives you raw damage output, and is great when combined with the 4 Float Stone. Finally, Big Wheel-GX can sometimes be a life saver in dead hand situations.

Tapu Koko PR30: With 4 Double Colorless Energy in the deck, Tapu Koko could certainly find some spots to deal damage everywhere, and potentially soften up big threats — which Espeon-GX could then finish off without needing Choice Band. It also combines well with Espeon-GX’s Divide-GX attack.


The Supporter lineup is as standard as it can be. I personally am a consistency freak and wouldn’t go lower than 4 Professor Sycamore, 3 N, and 1 Brigette, but it certainly seems to work out for some people. Some cool potential inclusions, which could replace the 4th Professor Sycamore, would be a 2nd Hex Maniac, a Pokémon Center Lady or a Teammates.

2 Lysandre and 1 Hex Maniac give you some utility, but I always wished I had the space for a 3rd Lysandre. Not only does it mean it appears in your hand as an option more often, but it’s also an extra target for Tapu Lele’s Wonder Tag.

The Items are also pretty standard in this deck, however, I loved having 4 Float Stone as it helps a lot in mirror matches when dealing with Confusion and also makes it more likely to always have Garbodor BKP’s Garbotoxin Ability activated during those crucial matchups.

With 8 basic P Energy, there really isn’t any benefit to playing Super Rod over one of the Rescue Stretchers, but it’s certainly possible if that’s your preference.

Finally, the single Parallel City was the “spicy tech” of choice for the tournament, as it’s definitely not an expected card in today’s metagame.

If you do play this card, you have to be careful with your Flareon AOR usage as you can potentially lower your own damage output in certain situations.

I chose to run Parallel City simply because a well timed Garbodor BKP + Parallel can be quite devastating to your opponent’s set up.

Potential Techs

A second Field Blower is a strong inclusion in the deck, potentially over the Parallel City. It can act as a +40 damage for Garbodor GRI’s Trashalanche attack while disrupting your opponent’s plans by removing Choice Bands or Float Stones.

As previously mentioned, a 3rd Lysandre would be a very welcome addition to the deck, and we’ve seen some decks run up to 4 of these.

If Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu and Metagross-GX start getting out of control, a second Hex Maniac is a great option to counter them. However, with Garbodor BKP, I feel like 1 is enough.


I don’t feel like there’s any room for changing things here. 8 Basic Energy are essential to supply your attackers and have a high chance of a turn 1 Energy Evolution. Anything less than 4 Double Colorless Energy in this deck would be underwhelming. And unless you’re running the Drampa-GX, there’s no need to include Rainbow Energy to potentially attack with Flareon AOR.

Future Sight: Espeon’s Meta Prospects
I see…lots of favorable matchups.

Now solidified as the Garbodor GRI variant to beat and with enough high placings on its belt, I think this deck is on par or just slightly behind Zoroark BKP and Vespiquen AOR decks in terms of raw power. Not only can the deck deal huge amounts of damage with either attacker, but it can also turn woeful situations around by simply forcing a 50/50 Confusion flip. Switch and Escape Rope are at an all time low in usage, which makes the Confusion special condition quite strong.

The following table shows, in my opinion, Espeon-GX / Garbodor GRI’s best and worst matchups (if you’re running the list above or something very close to it).


Very FavorableMetagross-GX, Volcanion-EX, Gallade BKT/Octillery BKT, Vespiquen AOR, Lurantis-GX

Slightly Favorable – Vikabolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX, Greninja BREAK, Drampa-GX/Garbodor GRI, Waterbox, Decidueye-GX variants, Gyarados

EvenRaichu XY/Lycanroc-GX

Slightly UnfavorableZoroark BKT/Drampa-GX

Very Unfavorable – Darkrai-EX/Yveltal XY, Darkrai-EX/Dragonair SUM, M Gardevoir-EX

The Very Favorable matchups are quite linear as you either hit for weakness (Metagross-GX, Lurantis-GX and Gallade BKT) or you overwhelm them with the damage counters between Divide-GX and Oricorio GRI (Vespiquen AOR).

Slightly Favorable matchups can be more tricky and definitely require more careful play.

  • Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu: It’s a tough overall deck, and even though it can be clunky in setting up, Garbodor BKP and Hex Maniac are essential in keeping the deck in check. The fact that they have limited Field Blowers means Garbotoxin will eventually stick, but any turn you don’t deny their Abilities can be a problem for you as Tapu Bulu-GX can 1HKO Espeon-GX with a Choice Band.
  • Greninja: This deck can be difficult to deal with if they manage to set up with low Item usage. Greninja’s high HP and low Energy attacks means Espeon-GX is essentially useless outside the first few turns. Then, you can trade 2HKOs of Greninja vs Garbodor, but on any turn they get access to their Abilities, they can turn the tables. This matchup is slightly favorable mostly because of the early pressure you can apply, but also because of Greninja’s inherent inconsistency.
  • Waterbox: Once again, 200 HP is critical to this deck. If you can shut down Manaphy-EX, Confusion from Psybeam and paying for heavy Retreat Costs becomes a nightmare for Lapras-GX. However, Lapras-GX’s attack, the combo of Choice Band + Professor Kukui and low Item usage definitely gives them a fighting chance to try and get back at your Espeon-GX.
  • Decidueye-GX variants: These decks usually end up using a lot of Item cards to eventually set up, and Flareon AOR can be quite good to easily with Decidueye-GXs. Ninetales-GX can be a bit tricky to deal with due to the GX attack. Once again, Psybeam can be really clutch in this matchup to slowly pile up the damage and get you some free turns where either they try to attack and flip tails, or simply retreat and pass.
  • Gyarados: Gyarados is a monster that can 1HKO anything that goes up in front of it, and its raw speed and recovery, along with being a non EX/GX, means it can be more risky with its Confusion flips and still recover in case it flips tails. However, Divide-GX and Oricorio come in clutch once again to aid in the matchup, and taking 2-3 easy KOs against a Confused Active Gyarados is usually more than enough to seal the game. Worst come to worst, they really can’t limit their Item usage, so you can go toe to toe with your Garbodor GRIs.

The Slightly Unfavorable matchup of Zoroark BKT/Drampa-GX can be a deterrent simply because it’s so far the most succesful deck since Guardians Rising came out. The Psychic resistance can prove tricky to deal with, and they have much more efficient attacks with Zoroark BREAK. However, smart bench management can be used to force Drampa-GX to come out to deal heavy damage, and that’s where Espeon-GX is able to trade well. Confusion not being a tool at your disposal due to Zoroark BKT’s Stand In Ability is what makes this matchup Slightly Unfavorable.

The really bad matchups include Darkrai-EX variants, which are unaffected by Confusion thanks to Altar of the Moone, and have low Energy attacks and Psychic resistance. M Gardevoir-EX, while being almost extinct at this point, simply overwhelms you with your Psychic weakness.

Troubling news for Espeon?

This deck is one for the strongest candidates for Indianapolis, not only due to its strong showings, but also by the fact that top players are playing it and acknowledging it is the superior Garbodor GRI variant. It is quite flexible as it has room to adapt the list to the metagame by including different techs.

One thing possibly holding this deck back however would be its Zoroark matchup. It definitely looks like Zoroark will be the deck to beat for Internationals so it comes down to predicting whether people will stick with Zoroark or try to counter it.

There’s still a week left before the tournament so I’m not sure about that answer quite yet. Despite the fact that I had lackluster showings at Seattle and Mexico City, this deck remains as a solid choice for the tournament in my opinion.

This will be my last article before the tournament, so I wish you the best of luck and hope to see many of you there!

…and that will conclude this Unlocked Underground article.

After 45 days, we unlock each Underground (UG/★) article for public viewing. New articles are reserved for Underground members.

Underground Members: Thank you for making this article possible!

Other Readers: Check out the FAQ if you are interested in joining Underground and gaining full access to our latest content.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

You are logged out. Register. Log in. Legacy discussion: 0