Dumpster Fire

How I Piloted Ho-Oh/Garbodor to the Finals of Charlotte Regionals
That’s me!

Hey SixPrizes readers! My name is Benny Billinger and I’m a player in the Junior division. I recently finished second at the Charlotte Regionals and this is my tournament report with my rogue Ho-Oh/Garbodor deck (Dumpster Fire), and the story of how it came to be.

Basically, the idea started because I don’t really like the metagame in Standard. I feel like its Buzzwole, Golisopod, and Zoroark everywhere and that’s it. My good pal Zach Lesage thought I should try a Ho-Oh deck, so he gave me two lists to try. I played one of those lists at a League Cup and I came 2nd, with my only loss being Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu. On the drive home I thought about that loss, and I started thinking about how a Ho-Oh with Garbodor might be a good play, to shut down abilities like Zoroark’s Trade as well as tough matchups like Vikavolt

I asked my mom what she thought and she said it sounded like an abomination (Mom – I did, but in a nice way), but to go ahead and try and put a list together. I tried to find one online but I couldn’t, so I created my own with the simple skeleton of 3 Ho-Oh, 2 Turtonator and a 2-2 line of Garbodor BKP.

I had a League Cup the next day, so I decided to try it out there. The Garb ended up being huge for me. I faced decks that were heavy on abilities, including a Zoroark/Gardevoir and two Magnezone/Dusk Mane Necrozma decks. I was able to set up Garb in all of the matches that I needed to, and was pretty impressed at how setting up the Garb made those matches that much easier for me (although Dusk Mane had weakness). I ended up winning the Cup, and seriously began thinking about this deck as a play for Charlotte.

Since it was March Break (think Spring Break for all of you Americans), I had time to put a lot more testing in than I normally would. I tested with Danny Altavilla and online with PTCGO during the week. Since it’s a rogue deck, we tried to practice it against the meta decks as much as we could. I especially focused on the counts of Field Blowers, Choice Bands and Fighting Fury Belts to see what would work best. Before we left for Charlotte, I settled on two Field Blowers, two Choice Bands and two Fighting Fury Belts. I wanted the Field Blowers to get rid of any FFB on Buzzwole so I could 1-shot it with a Ho-Oh and Choice Band. However, I also liked the idea of Fighting Fury Belt to increase my HP and get me to the magic 190 damage number, which would still let me 1HKO Buzzwole as well as Ho-Oh in the mirror match.

210 HP? No problem!

On the day before the tournament in Charlotte I tested this build with Brady Guy. It was not going well for me that day. Brady tested Zoroark/Lycanroc with four Parallel City. I really struggled against that deck, and I was starting to get frustrated especially since I knew there was a good chance I would face it at some point. Brady suggested cutting out Fighting Fury Belt entirely, and upping my counts to three Field Blower and three Choice Band. I found that made a big difference. Although I was nervous about dropping the Belts, I wanted to be sure I had the extra Blower as an out to Parallel City since it basically killed my deck. We also talked about adding in the third Band since the extra 30 damage would be huge in getting rid of Zoroark, which was a tough matchup in that day’s testing session.

Here’s the list I ended up with:


Pokémon – 11

3 Ho-Oh-GX

2 Turtonator-GX

2 Trubbish BKP

2 Garbodor BKP

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainers – 37

4 Cynthia

3 Professor Sycamore

3 Guzma

3 Kiawe

1 Skyla


3 Ultra Ball

3 Nest Ball

4 Max Elixir

4 Float Stone

3 Choice Band

3 Field Blower

2 Switch

1 Super Rod

Energy – 12

12 R

The basic strategy for this deck is to set up two Ho-Oh’s, the first with Kiawe and the second with Nitro Tank. Along the way, you want to swing for 1HKOs with Phoenix Burn, using Choice Band to hit the right numbers, and Float Stone/Switch/Guzma to keep attacking turn after turn.

The key to this deck is to get set up fast. Kiawe is important to get on the first turn to power up a Ho-Oh or a Turtonator. Ideally you will have an Ultra Ball, Tapu Lele or a Kiawe on the first turn of the game, and a Nest Ball to get out a Trubbish or Ho-Oh. By the next turn, you should have a draw supporter to get out Garbodor and you typically just start using Phoenix Burn from here on out

Turtonator-GXTurtonator GX is very helpful in the BuzzGarb matchup, and in late game overall. In turn 4-5, you will probably have one Pokémon Knocked Out. If you can get a Turtonator into the active with just one energy, you Nitro Tank four energy from the discard to a Ho-Oh and another energy to the active, giving you two big threats to finish out the game.

In the Buzzwole/Garbodor match up, what I like to do is Nitro Tank to load up a Turtonator with three energy (crucially one less than Ho-Oh), attaching a Choice Band, using Field Blower to remove any Belt and getting the 1HKO. I found I relied more on the Turtonator than on the Ho-Oh in that matchup, especially since it was so strong for me late in the game.

Choice Band and Field BlowerBrady’s suggestion to increase my field blower and choice band counts was clutch. We expected a lot of Buzzwole and Zoroark-GX, so I was able to blow off Belts, and use the Bands for 1HKOs. Not only could I get the 1HKO against Zoroark, which I expected to see, but it was key to Knocking Out Pokémon that I wasn’t expecting, like Glaceon-GX and Silvally-GX.

There weren’t as many Belts in the field as I thought there might be, especially against Buzzwole decks. However, there were quite a few Parallel City, which made me glad we put in the extra Blower. Upping the count to 3 Bands and 3 Blowers definitely gave me the extra help I needed against the Buzzwole matches, and I’m not sure I would have been able to win those matches without being able to draw into them as easily.

Charlotte Report

Round 1: Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu (WW) vs. Caleb K.

My first match of the day was against Caleb, who was playing in his first Regionals. He played Vikavolt very well but I was able to get the Garb up on my second turn for both games and that was the key to the win. He was unable to get set up without Vikavolt’s abilities and I was able to get Kiawe first turn on both matches.

Round 2: Glaceon/Zoroark (WLL) vs. Xavier W.

The first match I was able to get 2 Ho-Oh and the Garb set up quickly. In the second match it was close but Xavier drew a Field Blower that turned off my Garb and he went on to win that game. In the third game, I dead-drew and Xavier was able to set up quickly.

Round 3: Ho-oh/Kiawe (LWW) vs. Caiden J.

I lost the coin flip the first game and also drew dead, so Caiden was able to take advantage of that and won quickly. In the second game I got a turn 2 Nitro Tank and set up two Ho-Oh so I was able to take that one. In the third game I was able to get Garb up for the first time and that slowed my opponent down enough for me to get an edge.

Round 4: Buzzwole/Lycanroc (WW) vs. Nicholas R.

The first game was very close. I was able to get Garb set up so that shut off Octillery and Lycanroc which made the difference. The second game Nicholas dead-drew and I had a fast turn one. I started with a Lele, but drew a Float Stone, Turtonator, Energy, Max Elixir, and a Sycamore. I was able to set up the Turtonator and end the game on turn two! He played the deck really well but luck was not on his side in Game 2.

Round 5: Silvally/Metal Toolbox (WW) vs. Noah A.

Noah was a great opponent but this match was hard for him since many of his attackers (especially Celesteela) were weak to Fire. There was not much he could do since I was able to get set up quickly both games.

Round 6: Buzzwole/Lycanroc (WW) vs. Dominic C.

I got a turn one Kiawe and a turn two Garb in Game 1 and used Guzma to get Phoenix Burn off each turn. In game two it was pretty much the same. I had a fast set-up and was to use my Float Stones and Guzma to get off 1HKOs with ease.

Round 7: Buzzwole/Lycanroc (ID) vs. Roan G.

I ID’ed the final match with one of my friends to get into cut.

Swiss Record 5/1/1 4th seed

Swiss went well for me. The deck ran consistently, and I was able to get the first turn Kiawe and a second or third turn Garb out most of the time. I dead-drew a few times, including my round 2 loss but other than that, the deck ran hot.

Top 8: Buzzwole/Garbodor (WW) vs. Bodhi R.

My derpy-looking MVP!

Bodhi is one of the very best players in the world, especially with Buzzwole/Garbodor, and a great friend of mine. Naturally, I was very nervous going into this match. I knew it would come down to whether I could get a Turtonator set up consistently. I was able to turn one Kiawe both games, which was key for me. This is where the Choice Bands made a huge difference. Bodhi also prized three Float Stone in game one which made it very hard for him.

Top 4: Zoroark/Lycanroc (WW) vs. Sebastian E.

Sebastian is another one of the very best players in the world and he is coming off of his Internationals win in Australia with this deck, so I knew this would be a hard match. I had an advantage by being able to get Garb up quickly in both games, so he was unable to use either Trade or Bloodthirsty Eyes. I also was able to get my Ho-Oh’s set up quickly with turn one Kiawe’s, but Garb definitely made the difference for me in this matchup by shutting down his abilities.

Finals: Ho-oh/Kiawe (LWL) vs. Theo P.

I made into the finals to face one of my first friends in the game, and it was exciting to see Theo do so well in top cut. I was very happy to go up against him.

Unfortunately for me, my deck tanked out. In the first game, I drew a Ho-Oh, 5 energy and a choice band. RIP. I came back in Game 2, but dead-drew again in Game 3 and it was over quick. I was really happy for Theo. He played his Ho-Oh deck extremely well throughout the tournament and it was great to see him win it all.

I was pretty surprised I didn’t play against any Zoroark/Golisopod this tournament, which I expected to see a lot of. I also think that my opponents were a bit surprised I played this deck and weren’t sure how to counter it, and I think that may have helped me win a few games. I don’t know what I would change about the deck, or if I’ll even keep playing it, but I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

So remember, it’s a garbage can, not a garbage cannot. Even dumpster fires can burn hot! Thanks for reading!

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