What’s good with it Some1sPC readers? The time has finally come… the era of Guardians Rising! I’m hyped to discuss all the new decks and strategies that will benefit from the release of this set and the diverse meta we should expect for Seattle and Madison Regionals. For now, the team is grinding out testing sessions and ideas on what to play so there will plenty of articles coming out with constant updates due to any new data we collect during practice. I wanted to start off our Guardians Rising articles with the most anticipated deck of the format, Tapu Lele/Garbodor. Let’s get into it.

I.Tapu Lele/Garbodor/Tauros GX
II.Decklist
III.Tech
IV.Matchups
V.Tapu Lele/Drampa GX/Tauros GX

Tapu Lele

It should be no surprise to any competitive players that Tapu Lele GX is going to change the format in some fashion. It’s ability, Wonder Tag, allows the player to search their deck for a Supporter card and put it in their hand, when they play Tapu Lele from their hand to their bench, and it is something that the Standard Format has needed for some time. I feel as though the consistency in games has been a bit off, due to the high number of dead hand each deck is capable of drawing. I’ve witnessed far too many “draw pass” games throughout multiple tournaments to think that the current format is fine the way it is. For the most part, 1 player draws well while the other starts out slow and ultimately has to hope to N an opponent into a dead hand and make a comeback. While this isn’t completely unhealthy, it makes for some rather non-interactive and boring game play. I’m hoping Wonder Tag will give the format the consistency it’s needed, instead of Shaymin EX which sometimes turns into “I hope this setup for 4 gets me a Draw Supporter.”

With its amazing ability out of the way, I wanted to talk about what makes a high number of Tapu Lele GX and Garbodor great in this deck together. Let’s look at its first attack, Energy Drive.

Energy Drive 2 Colorless

This attack does 20 damage times the amount of Energy attached to both Active Pokémon. This damage isn’t affected by Weakness or Resistance.

At first look, this attack looks insane. You get the benefits of Lele’s Wonder Tag, coupled with the strength of Mewtwo EX’s X-Ball to create an overall amazing Pokémon. Energy Drive lets us push decks that need to over commit Energy to a single attacker while only needing a single energy attachment. The best thing about this attack is its limitation of being unaffected by Weakness or Resistance. This keeps the format from turning into a  mayhem of Tapu Lele wars. Combined with Garbodor, this decks is able to output solid 2HKO scenarios on a consistent basis. Let’s look at its GX attack.

Tapu Cure GX 1 Psychic

Heal all damage from 2 of your Benched Pokémon.

Tapu Cure GX is being overlooked by a majority of the player base. I believe it’s because a high number of the current Standard Format decks aim to OHKO an opponent instead of working on 2HKOs, or rather focus on a control based deck where an opponent burning an attack to heal 2 Benched Pokémon doesn’t change their game plan too much. While Tapu Cure GX doesn’t completely break the game state, I believe in the future healing 2 of your damaged Benched Pokémon can be the turning point in a game where each player needs to 2HKO or 3HKO the opposing Pokémon. Considering how Garbodor should slow down the speed of the format, I think we’ll eventually reach a state in the meta where Tapu Cure GX is going to be a nice win condition. For now, I’d say this attack is good but not great.

Tapu Lele GX should sculpt the meta quite a bit. Having no Weakness certainly brings a nice flavor to the game so many decks that are focused on taking quick prizes off OHKOs will have a problem KO’ing it since they can’t deal double damage against it. This means every deck in the format can play it without being punished too heavily. Let’s move onto the best attacker coming out of Guardians Rising, Garbodor.

Garbodor

I’m going to put this frankly, Garbodor is busted. Its attack, Trashalanche, is going to sculpt the meta in an aggressively healthy way. If you don’t know, Trashalanche does 20 damage for each Item Card in your opponent’s discard pile for a single Psychic Energy. Some may think “Okay, so just don’t play your items and you’re fine.” The problem with this logic lies in our current fashion of deck building. Most decks play 4 Ultra Ball, 4 VS Seeker, 3 Trainers’ Mail, 3 Float Stone, ETC. We got Items for days! Can you consistently avoid playing that many throughout a game or even avoid discarding them through Professor Sycamore? I believe that definitely won’t happen, so the solution will be found in adapting our deck building habits around Trashalanche and further pushing the meta to a slower game state. I’d love for this to happen. I think it’s going to bring our game into a great spot where Max Elixir and the speed of a player’s opening hand will not dictate the entire game. I don’t want to go too much into Acid Spray as it’s not nearly as impactful as Trashalanche and I think it’s a nice backup attack if your opponent was able to keep their discard pile free of items.

Tapu Lele GX/Tauros GX/Garbodor

Pokemon (16)

  • 4 Trubbish
  • 4 Garbodor
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX
  • 2 Tauros GX
  • 1 Wobbuffet
  • 1 Tapu Koko (Hoopa STS until it’s legal)
  • 1 Shaymin EX

Trainers (33)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 2 Lysandre
  • 2 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Professor Kukui
  • 1 Ninja Boy
  • 1 Olympia
  • 1 Pokemon Fan Club
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 3 Choice Band
  • 3 Float Stone
  • 2 Field Blower
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher

Energy (11)

  • 7 Psychic Energy
  • 4 Double Colorless Energy

Deck Breakdown:

 

4 – 4 Garbodor

It’s optimal for us to play 4 Garbodor in this deck as it’ll serve as one of the main attackers in the deck. I choose to play the Acid Spray Trubbish as I valued its potential Energy removal more than the deck out potential from Stomp Off Trubbish. I already ranted about Garbodor earlier in the article so let’s not push it’s strength any more than need be.

3 Tapu Lele GX

We’re only playing 3 in this list because we have Rescue Stretcher and Super Rod to fish them back if need be. It’s a decent starter, but most of the time you want to be applying pressure with Tauros GX and Choice Band or benching a Tapu Lele for Ninja Boy into Tauros GX to take surprise KO’s. You can push this count to 4, but 3 has been more than enough for me to work with.

2 Tauros GX

Tauros GX has a ton of value for this deck. To start, I’d say Choice Band gives Tauros GX a ridiculous power boost in the new meta. Instead of hitting for a potential 3HKO with Horn Attack, Choice Band gives Tauros the strength to 2HKO a majority of the meta. Hitting 90 then 90 pressures an opponent to draw into an early Field Blower to combat it, or burn through items to OHKO him. Both are perfect scenarios for Garbodor, as the more resources they spend to deal with Tauros, the stronger Garbodor becomes.

1 Wobbuffet

I’m still unsure if I want to continue using 1 Wobbuffet, but figured I’d include it in this initial list. I’m hoping with the release of Garbodor less Vileplume will see play, but as long as it’s somewhere in the Meta I want to include 1 in my lists to have instant access to Items. Since you can fish him out with Ninja Boy you can use him for unexpected 2HKOs if you poked their active Pokemon with Tauros GX or Tapu Lele for hefty damage. Bide Barricade can help keep some of these Decidueye GX decks at bay, so it’s potential to be an attacker in this deck has quite a bit of value. This is an easy card to cut should you want more tech for a matchup.

1 Tapu Koko/Hoopa STS

This card may seem a bit wild giving this deck’s strategy but I believe Tapu Koko is going to be included in a majority of decks in the future. Until Tapu Koko is legal (which I believe is the June 9th) then I’ll play Hoopa STS in the meantime. Both cards are used to spread solid damage across the opponent’s bench and soften them up to get popped by Trashalanche. Tapu Koko is overall better as it has Free Retreat and automatically spreads 20 across their entire board, unlike Hoopa STS which just hits 2 Pokémon. Starting this card also plays into our “Ninja Boy into Tauros GX” play, should they hit Tapu Koko or Hoopa for critical poke damage, allowing you to just Mad Bull GX their attacker in response.

1 Shaymin EX

Even though Tapu Lele is this deck’s main form of ability consistency, playing a single copy of Shaymin EX gives us an option to burn a tech supporter, then draw into more cards. This can be a copy of Garbodor, Energy, or a Choice Band we may need to take a critical KO.

1 Ninja Boy

I’ve mentioned it earlier in the Pokémon but this card offers a ton of value for utilizing the strengths of Tauros’s Mad Bull GX and for recycling Tapu Lele. Against Vileplume, it allows us to instantly access Wobbuffet and can ruin the game for an opponent who is looking to 2HKO one of our Pokémon EX/GX, because we can just Ninja Boy a damage EX or GX into a Trubbish, to feed them only 1 prize.

1 Professor Kukui

I wanted to include 1 Professor Kukui to help reach 2HKO numbers against an opponent who’s looking to take a lead in prize exchanges. If they perfectly plan out how much damage my Trashalanche or Energy Drive can output (with or without Choice Band) then I want to have a nice little surprise factor in Kukui to ruin their tactic.

1 Olympia

This is another card slot I’m unsure if I want to keep. I believe a ton of Garbodor and Energy Denial decks are going to pop up after Guardians Rising’s release so I wanted to play a copy of Olympia, so I’m less reliant on Item based switch cards and Float Stone to retreat.

1 Pokémon Fan Club

The final tech supporter included in the list. Pokémon Fan Club is here for us to search our Pokémon without having to waste Items. This can come in clutch in the mirror match and against Vileplume, so I expect more decks to play at least one copy of this.

2 Field Blower

I’m considering bumping this up to the 3 but for now, I feel like 2 is sufficient. Field Blower lets us up trap Pokémon that are reliant on Float Stone to retreat active, and supplies us with a nice way to remove an opposing Choice Band. I doubt Silent Lab will see much play with this card in the format, but it provides a nice way to clear it off the field so we can use Tapu Lele with ease.

3 Choice Band

There’s really nothing to talk about here other than Choice Band is going to ramp up the damage each of your Pokémon does to Pokémon EX and GX. Since a majority of the format will be filled with Basic Pokémon GX, playing a higher count of Choice Band is ideal. This let’s early pressure from Tauros GX and Tapu Lele GX create 2HKOs on the opposing active Pokémon.

1 Rescue Stretcher/1 Super Rod

I went with a 1/1 split of this combo, as Rescue Stretchers offers an immediate way of grabbing back a Pokémon from my discard pile to my hand. This has been absolutely insane with Tapu Lele as you’ll be able to grab one back from your discard pile then immediately bench it and fish out Supporters you need in tough spots. Super Rod still offers a way to recycle my Energy, so I want to include a copy of that in case I prize a few too many Psychic Energy or lose them to an early Professor Sycamore.

Tech:

Crushing Hammers/Team Flare Grunt/Enhanced Hammer

A few players are testing the concept of running heavy Energy Removal alongside Garbodor but I don’t think there’s much value in it. I feel like Trashalanche should be able to keep your pace up against any opposing decks that fly throughout the opening turns. The Energy Removal may help in a few matchups, but for the most part you should be able to OHKO their Active once you get to the halfway point in the game.

Delinquent/Altar of the Moone

Since we have instant access to Delinquent via Wonder Tag, we can play a single copy of it in our decks to empty an opponent’s hand if they throw a stadium in play. If I were to play Delinquent, I’d include a few copies of Altar of the Moone just so I have a way to use Delinquent without having to rely on my opponent to play the stadium.

Carbink Energy Keeper

If you really want to beat Sylveon GX or Lapras GX then include a copy of Carbink Energy Keeper so they can’t remove any Psychic Energy on Tapu Lele or Tauros.

Bunnelby

Bunnelby’s inclusion is for the mirror match so you can use Burrow to dump Items in your opponent’s discard pile. You can also use Rototiller to put Items back into your deck to lower their damage. Keep in mind, he’ll more than likely be instantly KO’d the following turn by Tapu Lele so I didn’t like using him too much in testing. I got a few deck out wins from my opponents through Lysandre + Field Blower + Burrow, but it wasn’t so significant that I’d instantly include it in my list.

Matchups:

Volcanion 40/60

The matchup with Volcanion is fairly close due to their high damage output and ability to OHKO Tapu Lele and Tauros GX with ease. If you played a heavier line of Hex Maniac it should help the matchup quite a bit. This matchup really comes down to how disciplined an opponent will play and how fast they want to get their Volcanion EX online. Azul started testing a build using Brooklet Hill, which searches your deck for a Basic Water Pokemon and it impacts this matchup quite a bit. By using Brooklet Hill, the Volcanion player is able to keep themselves from playing Trainers’ Mail and Ultra Ball, while still getting their preferred setup. If they’re able to do this and you can’t find yourself stringing Hex Maniac 3 turns in a row then you’ll more than likely lose once they get a sufficient amount of Fire Energy on board. Against novice players, Garbodor was able to destroy this matchup by the Mid Game swing, as I was able to use Tapu Lele to damage a Volcanion EX, followed by a string of Garbodor + Hex Maniac to sweep their follow-up attackers, closing out the game by knocking out a benched Shaymin EX. Against experienced players, I felt like Garbodor’s Trashalanche output was never high enough to factor into the game without me falling too far behind in prizes.

Decidueye/Vileplume 60/40

We all know Vileplume is currently plaguing our format, but I think that’s going to change after the release of Guardians Rising. Decidueye/Vileplume needs to use a ton of items on their opening turn to consistently get their wanted setup so naturally, it’s going to make our Trashalanche huge. Tapu Lele’s Wonder Tag is also able to get immediately search up a Hex Maniac from our deck to negate Irritating Pollen and regulate Feather Arrow. A combination of Hex Maniac and Energy Drive should apply a serious amount of control on the opponent so our Garbodor can start to clean up Decidueye GX after we string turns of Hex Maniac. If they fail to set up their appropriate Pokemon, Tauros GX is able to apply heavy early pressure with Tapu Lele granting immediate access to Lysandre to take a quick KO on a Rowlet or Oddish. The downside of this tactic is Tauros has a hefty retreat cost and may fall victim to a consistent string of Lysandre while being limited to a damage output of 60 until they start attacking you. If you take this route of play, try to get a Float Stone or Choice Band down on Tauros GX once you play it down so it can retreat with ease or dish out 90 damage a turn against Decidueye or Lugia EX.

Turbo Darkrai 80/20

I think Turbo Darkrai is all but dead after the release of Field Blower. For the sake of mentioning all the current top tier decks, I wanted to talk about its matchup here. This matchup is a bit of a stomp for Garbodor, as Turbo Darkrai tends to run through a bunch of items quickly while playing a heavy line of Exp. Share and Fighting Fury Belt. Our Field Blower can remove their Exp. Share and Silent Lab so they’ll be unable to control your Tapu Lele’s Wonder Tag outside of Hex Maniac. You’ll basically be hitting their Darkrai EX with Energy Drive for a solid 2HKO (since Energy Drive doesn’t factor in Resistance) or get to OHKO their Darkrai with Trashalanche and be able to remove their Exp. Share from keeping their Energy ramp up high. Overall, this is a positive matchup for the deck and I don’t expect Turbo Darkrai to be around much longer.

M-Mewtwo EX 80/20

Just like Turbo Darkrai, I think Mega Mewtwo decks are going to fade out after the release of Field Blower and Garbodor. The fact that Mewtwo cannot hit Garbodor or Tapu Lele for weakness while Garbodor can double its damage is game changing. With most Mewtwo decks playing 4 Spirit Link, 4 Mega Turbo, and a high count of Trainers’ Mail, I don’t see how they can optimally play without falling victim to a Field Blower and Trashalanche turn. For this matchup, I’d just poke down the first Mewtwo with Tapu Lele’s Energy Drive, then once you get to your Field Blower you can start using Garbodor to OHKO Mewtwo’s and sweep the game.

Ninetales GX 30/70

Ninetales is one of the decks I’m hyping going into Seattle Regionals. I think Alolan Vulpix’s Beacon, to search the deck for Pokemon without any Energy cost and Ninetales’ Blizzard Edge attack are extremely underrated. I found during testing that Ninetales’ cost to discard 2 Water Energy to attack helps them more in this matchup than hurts them. Since we don’t play any Fighting Fury Belt, a simple Choice Band attachment into a Blizzard Edge lets Ninetales OHKO Tapu Lele and Tauros GX with ease. I initially thought that Aqua Patch may be holding Ninetales back and lets Garbodor build up the damage to OHKO it during the Mid to Late game but I’ve found myself rarely reaching over 100 damage with Trashalanche in this matchup. In order to swing this matchup, Tauros GX will need to OHKO any early Alolan Vulpix that touch the field then pressuring any Alolan Ninetales with Horn Attack and Rage after they poke you with a Tapu Lele. Ultimately, if they get Ninetales to start streaming OHKO’s off Aqua Patch or Double Colorless Energy, you have a tough time trying to take out 1 Ninetales GX, let alone two.

Slyveon GX or Lapras GX 50/50

As I mentioned earlier, Carbink Energy Keeper helps this matchup quite a bit. If you’re not playing it, then you’ll want to be rather aggressive with your Energy attachments and pressure Sylveon GX hard. Tapu Lele’s Energy Drive is a solid opening attack against Sylveon if they ever attach 3 Energy to it, but most of the time they’re going to be using Team Flare Grunt or Enhanced Hammer to remove your Double Colorless Energy before searching for 3 more cards. Timing when you drop down your Choice Band is key here. You can trade a few Energy Drive and Trashalanche in the early stages of the game to hit Slyveon, but don’t drop down Choice Band until you’re in range to make immediate use out of the 30 damage. There are times when I use Trashalanche for 80 damage onto Sylveon and if they choose to leave that Sylveon active without healing it, I can retreat Garbodor into Tapu Lele, attach a Choice Band it then KO them off of an Energy Drive for 130 (under the circumstances that they have 3 Energy). If they only have 1 Energy on it then I’ll continue my game plan of using another Trashalanche and sitting on Choice Band until it can reach the numbers I want. I’m considering adding Brock’s Grit for this matchup to consistently refuel Psychic Energy, but I’ll need a bit more time to test it out if it makes a significant impact.

Drampa GX/Garbodor

Here’s my current working Drampa GX/Garbodor list. It deals a lot more damage and in a quicker fashion than Tauros GX, which is why I’m favoring this deck as I enjoy hitting for hefty damage over controlling with Tauros GX in the new meta.

Drampa GX/Tapu Lele/Garbodor

Pokemon (16)

  • 4 Trubbish
  • 4 Garbodor
  • 3 Tapu Lele GX
  • 3 Drampa GX
  • 2 Shaymin EX

Trainers (33)

  • 4 Professor Sycamore
  • 3 N
  • 2 Lysandre
  • 1 Hex Maniac
  • 1 Professor Kukui
  • 1 Pokemon Fan Club
  • 4 Ultra Ball
  • 4 VS Seeker
  • 3 Choice Band
  • 2 Float Stone
  • 2 Escape Rope
  • 2 Field Blower
  • 1 Super Rod
  • 1 Rescue Stretcher
  • 2 Team Magma’s Secret Base

Energy (11)

  • 4 Psychic Energy
  • 3 Rainbow Energy
  • 4 Double Colorless Energy

Takeaways:

3 Drampa GX

Drampa GX hits like a truck once you get Berserk online with a damaged benched Pokemon. This is going to help out the early game of Garbodor decks a lot considering your opponent can build their deck to use as little Items as possible.  Overall, we’re looking to get to Team Magma’s Secret Base or Rainbow Energy in play early so Berserk can start taking KO’s. Righteous Edge is useful in removing opposing Double Colorless Energy and it works out quite well with Tapu Lele’s Wonder Tag since you have access to Lysandre at any given moment. I’ve found a ton of players still attach Double Colorless Energy to a benched Pokemon during the early game and I just end up using Wonder Tag to grab Lysandre, attach a Psychic Energy to Drampa GX, benching Shaymin EX to fish for more cards I need to set up, then finally using Righteous Edge to knock off their Double Colorless Energy.

2 Team Magma’s Secret Base

As I mentioned above, we play Team Magma’s Secret Base to get the extra attack boost off Berserk as well as soften up any opposing Pokemon GX so they can get OHKO’d by our attackers. I’m back and forth on whether or not I need to include this in the deck or if I want to increase its count. It seems like at times it’s insanely strong and in other games, where I’m able to easily use Escape Rope or Float Stone to retreat a damaged active Pokemon to my bench, it feels completely pointless. I’ll need a bit more testing to see how much I like it.

Conclusion

I think Garbodor is going to sculpt the new meta, but it shouldn’t remain the best deck in the format for too long. It’s easy to counter once the player base decides to change up their deck building habits and soon enough we’ll start entering a format where 1 or 2 Garbodor lines will be included in lists alongside 2 or 3 Rainbow Energy. I think the Drampa GX variant is stronger than the Tauros GX variant, but right now I’m not sure if I want to play Energy Removal in my lists as I don’t like Crushing Hammer and Enhanced Hammer deciding my games. They also hurt more in the mirror match, as they’re more Items added into my deck that could cost me dearly.

As always, thanks for reading my article and thank you for your endless support of Some1sPC.

-Russ