Newly Identified Toxins – A look at Garbodor variants

Hi, everyone! CutorTap’s Michael Perez, here with my first article. I have been on a hiatus from the game while attending school and getting settled with some life changes, although starting with the Anaheim Open, I’ll be playing again competitively for the 2018 season. Jumping back into the game is tough, so instead of trying to get a good idea of each deck and its matchups, I’ve decided to pick one I have faith will continue to be extraordinary throughout the season and start off deep with it. The Trashalanche Garbodor has been extremely influential on the metagame, and even before it was released in North America rumors from Japan stated that it would be the best deck in the format.


Interestingly yet unsurprisingly, variants of the deck have taken up 38% of Regional placements since its release in Guardians Rising; more than 29% being paired with Drampa GX, and more than 9% being paired with Espeon GX. Tord Reklev’s Garbodor/Drampa also won the North American Intercontinentals; the largest Pokemon TCG tournament hosted yet, and not only that: Garbodor variants took up 32% of the top 64 decks at the NAIC. Drampa received a fair amount of criticism before its release, although it has definitely proven itself worthy. As for Espeon, Peter Kica is the first to pair it with Garbodor as far as I know. Despite its weakness to its own Psychic type, it’s also placed very well, including Jon Eng’s first Master Division win at the latest big ARG tournament. Congratulations, Jon!

Obviously, this card is no joke, only a little trashy. I think the reason why it’s so extremely powerful is that it forces your opponent to 1. Construct their deck with fewer items, and/or 2. Play the game and their hand out with more accurate conservation.

The former means that to combat Garbodor, one may choose to build a deck with less items, causing several consistency issues. Not taking the latter into consideration results in allowing the Garbodor player to hit huge numbers quite early into the game. On the other hand, being too conservative can cause the opponent to draw a bunch of items off a low N, which can be detrimental. The ability to use Trashalanche puts the opponent in a more difficult position than that of Siesmatoad EX’s Quacking Punch, or Vileplume’s Intimidating Pollen because you have to make the tough decision on whether or not it’s worth the extra damage taken by Trashalanche.

This permissive mechanic is also why I suspect the card to have so much versatility in terms of deck building; it slows the opponent down a fair amount. With the release of Burning Shadows, Garbodor has gained a few interesting potential additions. Po Town is the foundation for these additions, and it is also strong in the Drampa version.

Garbodor Box

  1. Espeon EX.  This card can be paired with Po Town to spread damage counters by the threes when the opponent evolves after Espeon’s Miraculous Shine.
  2. Necrozma GX. This card is not as partial to Po Town, although it makes its Black Ray GX attack more useful. While dealing with evolution GX/EX decks like Gardevoir, Decidueye, Golisopod, Mega Rayquaza and Ninetails etc. Espeon EX offers a huge helping hand to this pokemon, who I should mention has an ability that also prevents all effects of attacks from normal types. Considering how prominent Drampa is, the ability is incredible.
  3. Tapu Koko/Hoopa. Both of these cards serve about the same purpose, spreading some damage with a cheap attack. Tapu Koko has a free retreat cost, although its Flying Flip attack costs 2 Colorless Energy and hits each of your opponent’s pokemon. Hoopa’s Hyperspace Punch costs only 1 Colorless and hits only two of the defending pokemon and has a retreat cost of 2. Tapu Koko seems to be the obvious choice here, although it depends on the metagame and how many Float Stone you’re playing, because they each hit different decks for weakness, and some Garbodor lists play less Float Stone, making Hoopa less useful. Hoopa also has a second attack that requires three Psychic Energy and hits for 130, restricting Hoopa from using the attack the subsequent turn.
  4. Tapu Lele. This card’s Promo Blister release date was postponed, although before I knew that I was testing it in this Garb box version and it worked wonders with the additions above. Its Psycho Wave would take 1 psychic energy and hit for 20x the number of energy attached to the defending, and its second attack: Magical Swap allows you to rearrange damage counters on your opponent’s side of the field. Beware of Garb Box after this card actually comes out!

Even though we won’t have Tapu Lele, Garb Box is still viable, here’s the list:

Pokémon – N

Trainers – N

Energy – N

4 Trubish 4 Professor Sycamore 4 Ultra Ball 4 Double Colorless Energy
3 Garbodor 4 N 3 Float Stone 8 Psychic Energy
1 Garbodor BKP 2 Guzma 3 Choice Band
3 Tapu Lele GX 1 Teammates 2 Rescue Stretcher
2 Drampa GX 1 Bridgette 1 Field Blower
1 Espeon EX 3 VS Seeker 1 Enhanced Hammer
1 Necrozma GX 3 Po Town
1 Tapu Koko

This variant focuses on taking knock outs by spreading damage. It’s not as consistent as the heavy Drampa version, although Garbodor’s permissive Trashalanche will occasionally allow a little space for inconsistency. This cuts consistency for attack versatility, I personally love the Necrozma/Espeon/Tapu Koko strategy even though it brings up a significant amount of consistency issues.

Drampa GX/Garbodor

This version is the best version for a skilled player, despite its apparent simplicity, there is tons of room for mistakes as well as misuse of time. Check it out:




4 Trubish 4 Professor Sycamore 4 Ultra Ball 4 Double Colorless Energy
3 Garbodor 4 N 3 Float Stone 8 Psychic Energy
1 Garbodor BKP 2 Guzma 3 Choice Band
3 Tapu Lele GX 1 Teammates 2 Rescue Stretcher
3 Drampa GX 1 Bridgette 2 Field Blower
1 Oranguru 3 VS Seeker 1 Enhanced Hammer
3 Po Town

The biggest differences between this version and the former are:

  1. Oranguru. Oranguru is no doubt an amazing card. Its ability may seem unhelpful, but imagine getting N’d to a low number, being able to play your hand down and using its Instruct ability to draw up to three cards. This might sound mediocre on paper, but in practice this ability will often play an important part in winning games. I suppose its Psychic attack isn’t so bad either. I’ve used it in a pinch before. It can be helpful in he Gardevoir matchup.
  2. 3rd Drampa GX. This additional Drampa GX of course is not necessary, unless you plan to not use Trashalanche at all, but it’s crucial to get it into play on the first turn to have something to attach an energy to opposed to a Trubish when you could attach to the Garbodor on the following turn. Attaching to Drampa GX turn one opens up a couple avenues for starting off the game strong and staying somewhat unpredictable. One could say that the 3rd Drampa is redundant, for Bridgette is in the deck to make sure you get Drampa Down early, although expecting to play her every first turn is unrealistic.

Espeon GX/Garbodor

The Espeon GX version is not too bothered by inconsistencies early game. Why? because setting up Espeon GX is a combo of itself. Attaching with Energy Evolution offers an out to get Espeon into play early, which is very convenient in the mirror match, and you don’t really prefer to do much for a couple turns after getting it into play. Remember Espeon’s weakness to Psychic type? That can be a really large problem against the Garbodor mirror, this is why setting up Espeon is delicate and one should do their best to just sit on items rather than discarding them. It only takes having five in the discard pile for Trashalanche to KO a fresh Espeon.

Espeon has a lot of potencial advantage in the mirror, in fact it can be amazing if you keep the item count low. In that case, the mirror’s best option from there is to go with Drampa, this can be problematic for Espeon, but withholding Double Colorless Energy to prevent a Righteous Edge until after you Psybeam to prepare for the spare KO with Psychic puts the Espeon Player in a phenomenal position. Even if the opposing Garbodor has the opportunity to use Acid Spray with a Choice Band, it puts that Garbodor in a vulnerable position with a couple turns of energy dedicated and easily lost.

In my initial testing I preferred the Espeon Version to the Drampa version, and even though Espeon proves to assist in the mirror match up -which should be common due to the deck’s popularity- I’ve found that consistency plays just as large a part on who comes out on top in this format. as Tord Reklev’s win at the NAIC shows, consistency is king. This format is very messy, in turn favoring consistency even more than in the past.

Phinnegan Lynch said to me the other day in testing, “Imagine this format as if it were Luxchomp.” He’d said it to me in the past, but it didn’t click for me until recently. The difference is that we don’t have as powerful search cards as Cyrus’s Conspiracy, Roseanne’s Research, or Bebe’s Search. Bridgette and Skyla are nowhere near as helpful, but they’re what we’ve got. The knock out trade offs have a similar dymanic to the 2010 format, however. Knowing this gave a lot of insight as to how to play in this format, personally.




4 Trubish 4 Professor Sycamore 4   Ultra Ball 4 Double Colorless Energy
3 Garbodor 4 N 3 Float Stone 8 Psychic Energy
1 Garbodor BKP 2 Guzma 3 Choice Band
3 Eevee 1 Teammates 2 Field Blower
2 Espeon GX 1 Bridgette 1 Nest Ball
1 Drampa GX 3 VS Seeker 1 Rescue Stretcher
1 Oranguru 1 Parallel City 1 Super rod
2 Tapu Lele GX 1 Enhanced Hammer

Parallel City is the most powerful one-of counter-stadium. It offers a solution to Mega Rayquaza, and can be devastating to most decks, because it isn’t popular right now. It has an immediate effect on your opponent, so even if they counter it, it has served a purpose.

As for the cards in common between the lists:

  1. Bridgette. Bridgette is somewhat of an inconvenience. There’s always something else to fit in a Garbodor deck. Its main use is in the mirror, where you’ll want to have the resources to initiate as well as win a Garbodor war. A good portion of the time you’ll want to attach an energy when you Bridgette and may not have one in your beginning hand, that’s the one problem with it. Also using a Tapu Lele GX’s Wonder Tag to Search out Bridgette kinda bites. The most use out of a Wonder Tag comes from avoiding a late or early game dead draw.
  2. Enhanced Hammer. Enhanced Hammer is extremely powerful. Right now it’s unexpected, meaning people won’t be too weary about attaching their Special Energy at times where you can gain a huge advantage by discarding their energy. This pairs well with Drampa’s Righteous Edge in matchups where they play more Special Energy.
  3. Garbodor (Garbotoxin). This is a must. In the past the lists I used have favored Hex Maniac over the Garbotoxin Garb, although with 2 Rescue Stretcher, there isn’t much of an issue with it. In fact, I’ve previously even had 2 Garbotoxin Garbodor in the Box version, because you will usually focus more on spreading damage and can be patient with Trashalanchers while trying to slow the opponent down with Garbotoxin.
  4. Teammates. Teammates is extraordinary when it is the correct time to use it. I’ve found myself often in situations where I have teammates but because my opponent just took a knock out, I am very inclined to N instead to decrease their chances of having a Gust of Wind effect card to wiin the game. Despite this, when Teammates is useful it’s extremely useful.

Garbodor’s matchups In The Burning Shadows On Format

The fact cannot be ignored that the release of Burning Shadows could set this deck back a little. Gardevoir seems like a powerful pick for the Worlds format, and the release of Kiawe – Pronounced: Ki-Ah-Ve – makes Volcanion/Turntonator a quick and hard-hitting deck. Even if you are confident in how well you can play the deck’s variants, it can help to know how their matchups across the board typically go:

X Espeon Drampa Box
Decidueye​/Plume -50 / +50 -50 / +50 -45 / +55
Decidueye Ninetails +55 / -45 +55 / -45 50 / 50
Darkrai 60 / 40 60 / 40 60 / 40
Vespiquen -40 / +60 +45 / -55 +45 / -55
Greninja -65 / +35 -50 / +50 45 / 55
Volcanion/Turntonator +55 / -45 -55 / +45 -60 / +40
M Rayquaza +55 / -45 55 / 45 60 / 40
Gardevoir 50 / 50 50 / 50 -60 / +40
Metagross 40 / 60 40 / 60 +50 / -50
W/L/T ratio total 5-2-2 4-2-3 5-3-1
% points awarded total 470/900* 460/900* 475/900*

Garbodor Espeon: If you were to play against each deck in the table above, your record should look something like 5/2/2. Its average overall percentage points add up to 470/900* putting it between Drampa’s and Box’. This says some good things about the deck in relation to the other variants, although the table should be taken with a grain of salt. The thing I’m sure of is that its only hard loss is to Metagross, and attempting to dodge it won’t be so bad. This list isn’t as consistent as the Drampa version, but is more so than the Box version. Taking this into consideration means it has the capacity to swing some of those 50/50’s in its favor. I’d say it has the potential to be as strong of a choice as the Drampa version.

Garbodor Box: This deck should go about 5/3/1 against each deck in the table. This deck has the highest percentage point average of the three: 475/900* meaning it has more positive one sided matchups than the other two decks. It has some trouble against non EX/GX decks as well as some consistency issues. This variant doesn’t seem to be as flexible in terms of matchup outcomes, and its level of consistency will make the deck stutter significantly. And Espeon GX’s Divide GX can serve a similar purpose to Necrozma’s Black Ray GX.

Garbodor Drampa: Drampa’s average matchup outcome record is easily the most intriguing. 4/2/3 is not a record that would let you advance to day 2, although those three 50/50’s can be more easily swayed with this version than either of the other two. This deck is straightforward enough to be able to play faster with precision, and also complex enough that it can be played very slow with excellence and pressure. Time should be partial to the outcome of each round with this deck. Remember that 4/2/3 is quite a rough estimate on matchup outcomes. Its overall matchup percentage points add up to 460/900*, the least impresive of the three; indicating that the matchups are less one sided and more reliant on skill and how well the deck draws. As I stated above, this list needs a more skillful pilot than the other two variants and than a good number of other decks in order to be successful.


I wouldn’t call any one of these three any ‘better’ than another, each of them have impressive stats in different areas.

If you want to dodge a few decks and have easy wins against the rest, while sacrificing some consistency, you’d wanna play the Box version.

If you’re confident in your play while admitting to not be at the top of the skill chain, Espeon is a great option for you. When I first checked out Garbodor it was the Espeon version that peaked my interest and got me hooked. It is very well-rounded.

The Drampa GX version is best suited for veterans. This variant has the highest skill cap and versatility. Its victory at the NAIC proves that with the freedom of choice comes responsibility. Even though I’ve been out of the game for a while, If I were to play the deck, I doubt I’d play either of the other two versions over this one. Safe travels and good luck to all of my friends coming to Cali! Hope to see you here!