Hello again, everyone. It’s been a few short weeks since my last article that detailed my choice for Hartford, the first of three Regionals throughout the month of October. I’ve had little time to prepare for Daytona Beach because of the difference in formats, but it’s one I welcome despite my preference for Standard. There were fewer Expanded Regionals last year, but this year has the formats in almost equal amounts. Variety is the spice of life!
I’m a fan of Standard more than Expanded because the decks follow a linear progression of strength. In Standard, most decks cannot dish out huge amounts of damage within the first few turns consistently, aside from the Ho-Oh-GX and Kiawe combo. Stage 2 decks are required to ramp up their damage, or at least wait a few turns before being able to take knockouts. In Expanded, more decks can start taking prizes sooner. Night March, Turbo Turtles, and Turbo Dark are examples of sprinting decks, while Primal Groudon and Garbodor are marathon decks.
The past weekend for Ho-Oh/Salazzle was all but extraordinary. In total, 5 of us were playing the exact same 60, and none of us made Day 2. I was the closest with my record of 6-3, but I couldn’t manage to get that last win. I echo Christopher’s sentiments on the deck, but I would play the deck again if I could redo the tournament. The deck never failed me, whereas the poor matchups I hit were the deck’s downfall. There were Golisopod and Metagross decks in the room, but they seemed to elude me continuously. Here’s a record of how my day happened:
R1: Gardevoir-GX LWL (0-1)
R2: Gardevoir-GX WW (1-1)
R3: Gardevoir-GX WW (2-1)
R4: Volcanion-EX LWW (3-1)
R5: Alolan Ninetales-GX WW (4-1)
R6: Golisopod-GX/Garbodor BKP WW (5-1)
R7: Golisopod-GX/Gumshoos-GX WW (6-1)
R8: Xerneas BREAK LL (6-2)
R9: Vikavolt SUM/Tapu Bulu-GX LL (6-3)
A devastating way to end the tournament; one reminiscent of my Seattle experience last year. My resistance wasn’t strong enough to tie out the last two, nor would I have tried to. The deck performed as expected, slaughtering anything that wasn’t a bad matchup. Xerneas BREAK is unfavorable since the list ran 0 Field Blower and 0 Fighting Fury Belt, both correct choices for the event. I can say with certainty I’m not upset at my performance, merely the weekend didn’t play out as well as I had hoped.
In my defense, I can explain the lack of Field Blower and other questions when seeing the list. I removed Field Blower entirely since I didn’t expect to find it in the necessary scenarios anyways. It could’ve been useful in many situations, but only on that specific turn. Alex and others argued that the deck struggles heavily with Garbotoxin, but it should never evolve into a problem. Even more so, Field Blower wouldn’t help unless it was drawn under that N to 2 anyways. Another Supporter card would fulfill the same role as Field Blower, but also increase consistency alongside it.
The argument for inclusion of Field Blower against Parallel City is legitimate, however overshadowed by the lack of assurance in drawing Field Blower. Another reason for disregarding Parallel City is the type of decks that run it. I’ve only found it in Gardevoir, which is a match already difficult. Field Blower’s only use in that matchup is to remove Parallel City, which isn’t even found in all lists! There isn’t enough motivation to dedicate 2 slots to it, meaning there isn’t a reason to run any.
Professor Kukui is my answer to the aforementioned problems, as it can act as a means of +20 damage, but also functions as consistency. I never had a chance to play against Parallel City since my opponents didn’t play it or couldn’t use it effectively. I can safely say that I did get use out of the +20 damage occasionally. Regarding Judge: it was better than the potential N in 4/5 situations. I did Judge myself to nothing once, but that also happened to my opponent once. It fulfills the same purpose as N—a shuffle-draw Supporter for both players—but better fits the deck.
I’m still deciding what to play for Vancouver, so it may or may not be Ho-Oh/Salazzle. I wouldn’t make many (if any) changes to the list. I recognize that Volcanion could have been a better play—seeing as it won the event—since it has space for Field Blower and has better matchups against Gardevoir or Greninja. Regardless, it’s a strong deck I’ll continue to consider in the future.
Ah…Garbodor. It continues to be strong as we move into Expanded again, despite not taking up many spots at Ft. Wayne. I’m going to feature 3 dissimilar Garbodor variants from Bilbao’s Top 8. One was heavily focused on Seismitoad-EX and Laserbank, one was a Drampa/Seismitoad hybrid, and the last was the Necrozma-GX version. The former two posted their lists, and the last variant will be covered by my idea of a list I’d play for Daytona.
Pokémon – 16
Trainers – 36
Energy – 8
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 34
2 Po Town
Energy – 11
Upon first inspection, both lists are designed with different strategies in mind, so it’s unfair to critique them against each other. Fabien’s list is reminiscent of a typical Seismitoad/Garbodor deck pre-Guardians Rising, but has the modern Trashalanche package. Quaking Punch is even stronger in combination with Acerola, since that can reuse the same Double Colorless than previously possible with AZ. Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym is the last piece of the deck, increasing the damage output since Quaking Punch only hits for 30 base damage.
Philip’s list is much more traditionally comparable to Drampa/Garbodor. It features Seismitoad-EX as well, but isn’t as focused on it. Laser/Bank is absent to make room for more Tapu Lele-GX, Po Town, and more Energy. Turtonator-GX is missing too, since Drampa-GX can handle itself against Grass decks well enough. Choice Band is ran here to hit better numbers with Berserk, since 160 falls short of KOing anything. 180 is a great number against most decks, but some basic GX Pokémon manage to live with 10 HP. Finish those off with Quaking Punch or resort to Trashalanche for OHKOs.
There isn’t much in either list that I’m unhappy with. Personal preference would dictate some changes of mine, but the lists look strong subjectively. Both lists are incredibly tight for space and do well at managing consistency vs. 1-of Supporters and spare Items. Dedenne is an ingenious idea—it hunts Ho-Oh instead of Yveltal now, after a quick Kiawe or it’s taken some prizes. I’m curious how the finals match played out, since I predicted Garbodor to win. Seismitoad and Dedenne seem like enough to deal with Turtonator, but perhaps not.
After seeing this deck for the first time, I was incredibly shocked at how creative it was. People knew Black Ray GX was powerful, but I never stopped to consider it in anything but a Trevenant deck. It makes perfect sense in here since Tool Drop and Trashalanche can do 80+ damage easily, which finishes off all Pokémon hit by Black Ray GX. Oricorio and Mimikyu are more 1 prize attackers that are broken with Dimension Valley in play.
Pokémon – 15
3 Tapu Lele-GX GRI
1 Necrozma-GX GRI
1 Turtonator-GX GRI
1 Drampa-GX GRI
Trainers – 34
Energy – 11
This list is based off of Brad Curcio’s from last month, but features a few key changes. I’ve added a 4th Dimension Valley for insurance, split the Muscle Band/Choice Band count, and added Mimikyu. All of these changes are to improve the Fire matchup, even if it is slightly. Mimikyu is another tool for retaliation before it’s possible to set up Necrozma-GX or Garbodor. It can OHKO Turtonator-GX or Ho-Oh-GX with a Choice Band and Copycat after they Bright Flame or Phoenix Burn. Mimikyu is also great against Primal Groudon, should Christopher ever make a resurgence in playing it.
One important piece of information I’d like to mention is that I’ve been a huge fan of Teammates in Garbodor decks since Worlds. Before then, I deterred myself from using it, thinking the deck needs more than “just” 2 cards. Teammates was the inarguable MVP at Worlds for mirror matches and any match where Garbotoxin was important. Teammates can grab both Garbodor and a Tool at the same time, which ultimately conserves resources and preserves hand size. Discarding cards is usually negative in Garbodor decks, so other means of card retrieval are better.
It’s hard to fit a vast pool of cards into a 60 card deck. I could write endlessly about why cards are fundamentally strong, but that’s a complete waste of my time and yours. So for now, just go along with it.
Another Garbodor (GRI or BKP) would increase the chances of drawing them. Tool Drop is great for doing approximately 80-100 damage with some Tools down, but Trashalanche can easily exceed that amount. A 4th Garbodor GRI would largely help against the fast decks that can dish out large amounts of damage quickly. It also is an attacker that isn’t OHKO’d with Shell Trap retaliation damage, since Trubbish and Mimikyu only have 70 HP.
Garbodor BKP would help against bad prizes and decks that rely on Abilities. Greninja and Gardevoir are the first to come to mind, but many other decks utilize Oranguru or Octillery for consistency. An N to 1 against all decks is much more threatening under Garbotoxin, because those Pokémon become useless. Garbotoxin also shuts off Shaymin-EX, Tapu Lele-GX, and Jirachi-EX which increases the amount of dead cards in the deck.
Seismitoad-EX would be strong against Night March early in the game before they use Battle Compressor and Items to set up. Garbodor isn’t as efficient as Trubbish in this matchup, since Tool Drop can KO low HP Pokémon. Quaking Punch can also 2HKO Turtonator-GX with either a Muscle Band or Choice Band, which would improve the Turbo Turtles matchup. I’d consider removing Mimikyu for Seismitoad-EX, since both are niche attackers.
The argument against Seismitoad-EX is rooted in the fact that it doesn’t adhere to the deck’s strategy. Black Ray GX is used to soften up opposing Pokémon, which are then KO’d by Trubbish or Garbodor. Oricorio also puts in work to deal the final 10 damage against any opposing Shaymin-EX. Quaking Punch for 30-60 doesn’t help math too much, since that won’t even finish off any standard EX/GX Pokémon at 180 HP. Against Night March, Item lock is also much less effective without Karen. Joltik or Pumkaboo can continue to trade evenly or favorably against Seismitoad-EX with the Pokémon already accumulated in the Discard.
A card commonly hated, Ghetsis is incredibly powerful anytime throughout the game. Games can be won with a T1 Ghetsis, but Ghetsis also has utility to remove potential VS Seeker or other key Items as the game continues. This card is most important against Archie’s Blastoise, which surprisingly saw some amount of success in Ft. Wayne. Ghetsis all but ensures the victory when played on the first turn. Shaymin-EX, a draw Supporter, or a way to find one are the only ways of getting around it. It’s unlikely—but entirely within the realm of possibility—that Ghetsis depletes the opponent’s hand of everything. These moments are rare, but feel amazing when they happen!
Golisopod: This matchup seems unfavorable because 120 damage is enough to trade with our non-GX Pokémon. Crossing Cut GX can deal with Necrozma-GX too. Because of this, Drampa-GX and Turtonator-GX are the proper attackers to utilize. Turtonator-GX works well because of 190 HP and its Fire typing. The goal is to do 80-100 with Shell Trap, then clean up with Tool Drop, Mimikyu, or Trashalanche. The 80 damage they will always take when attacking into Turtonator is necessary to whittle it down to a manageable HP range. 210 HP is near impossible to OHKO, and if that isn’t achieved, Acerola is nuts.
My rationale for using Drampa-GX: it’s simply a means of discarding their Energy early on. It can be OHKO’d by Crossing Cut GX, but that won’t be a problem if their Energy is removed continuously. Golisopod/Garbodor runs no Basic Energy, only Blend GRPD, Rainbow, and Double Colorless. Therefore, it’s possible to continuously use Righteous Edge to good effect.
Night March: Even with Oricorio, I don’t feel incredibly comfortable in this matchup. A good Night March player will only attack with Pumpkaboo, resulting in very little advantage through Oricorio, since it will only be trading prizes. The best we can hope for is to continuously use Tool Drop as a means of trading singular prizes, with some hope of Guzma on a Shaymin-EX or Tapu Lele-GX later. I think a smart avenue could also be to use Black Ray GX to put 100 damage on 2+ EX targets, preferably Shaymin-EX. Oricorio can then clean up those Pokémon relatively easily, since 7 Night Marchers were required to KO Necrozma-GX with Choice Band.
Turbo Turtles: I think this matchup is favorable by design. Necrozma-GX can weaken all opposing GX Pokémon, which leaves them with 90-130 HP. Tool Drop, Trashalanche, and Mimikyu take the reins and finish them off easily! At least that’s how it should go. Shell Trap can interfere with this plan, but Guzma or attacking with Garbodor are easy means around this.
Turbo Dark: This is the other Energy overflow deck, but once again heavily relies on Basic EX/GX Pokémon. The key in this matchup is to hold off on benching Tapu Lele-GX, since those give up 2 prizes after Necrozma-GX is knocked out. We win by sacrificing the first 2 prizes with Black Ray GX, but then sweep our next 6 in 3 turns with Tool Drop/Trashalanche.
Garbodor Variants: Since there are so many versions, I’m going to separate them and write what the most important strategy is. The matchup is going to boil down to Garbodor wars, but what determines the winner of that comes from the utilization of the sidekick.
- Seismitoad/Turtonator—Use Drampa-GX to discard Energies, Trashalanche to trade when possible
- Drampa—Use Tool Drop to 2HKO Pokémon early, Mimikyu to copy Berserk
- Golisopod—Turtonator-GX for Shell Trap, Black Ray GX when they have multiple Golisopod-GX in play
- Espeon—Initiate a Tool Drop/Garbodor war by taking the first KO on their Espeon-GX; Mimikyu works as a 5th attacker.
Archie’s Blastoise: A good matchup when they don’t find Field Blower, but one bad when they do. Trashalanche is the best attacker by far, but they can target your GX Pokémon to win the prize race. If you worry about this matchup, Ghetsis is great for winning the game on the first turn.
Trevenant: Unfavorable because there isn’t much in our deck to deal with Trevenant. The best idea that comes to mind is try and swing early with Berserk + Muscle Band.
Gardevoir: This matchup isn’t terrible since Tool Drop is unaffected by the strength of Twilight GX. In Standard, Garbodor becomes useless since it only attacks for measly amounts of damage. However, Tool Drop is good because it’s a non-GX attacker that can 2HKO Gardevoir in combination with Black Ray GX. Mimikyu is great in this matchup after they KO Necrozma-GX, since they’ll already have 4 Energies on them. Mimikyu can then do 150 and clean up those 2 prizes.
Primal Groudon: Race through Wobbuffet with Tool Drop, but be prepared to soften 2 Groudon-EX with Black Ray GX. Mimikyu works wonders in this matchup to do 200+ damage easily, as well as Oricorio to break any Focus Sashes.
Golisopod-GX and Espeon-GX are the other two partners commonly found in Garbodor decks. Christopher, Alex, and I all played the Espeon-GX version at Ft. Wayne, while Mike and Pablo played Golisopod. Our articles from Ft. Wayne are still relevant on those decks, since not much has changed since then! Expanded is still the crazy jumble of decks it was a month ago.
Due to personal preference, I’m not considering either of these variants for Daytona Beach because they ultimately fail against Turbo Turtles. The lists I included above are better equipped to deal with the current Expanded meta, but are also decks I haven’t played ever before. I’m looking forward to trying one out this weekend and seeing how the tournament fares.
Garbodor is slowly finding a home in Expanded. I expect it to perform well at Daytona Beach coming out of Bilbao; all variants of it can succeed. For me, Garbodor is a deck I know how to play compared to others in Expanded. The archetype carries over into Expanded, unlike a majority of the decks that see success.
I’ll be attending both Daytona Beach and Vancouver in these next two weeks. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up better finishes than I’ve gotten this year at Regionals, potentially even making Top 8. This year I’ve had a laid-back approach to making Top 16; so many people that have more time on their hands are trying to do it. My Day 1 invite from Worlds isn’t changing the amount of tournaments I go to, solely because I enjoy the game and seeing friends. I’ve had fun at these past few tournaments—even the treachery of League Cups—despite the fabled “grinching” of points that’s thrown around. Play the game how you want to, despite what others think.
Until next time,
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