Hey, readers. Portland Regionals is already around the corner. Expanded gives us a new breath of fresh air since most of the new tournaments have been standard recently. Because of that, I’m kind of excited to play some Expanded. This is a new format, and the first major expanded event of the season. Also, the recent bans will shake up the meta quite a bit from last seasons format. So far, my testing has gone well. I was trying a lot of fun ideas, like Bronzong/Metal, Rayquaza GX/Ho-oh EX and Eelektrik/Shining Rayquaza/Giratina EX. They’re solid decks, but, I found a lot of those decks struggled versus some of the more popular strategies in Expanded. The main obstacle in my testing was how these ideas deal with the prevalence of Garbotoxin. Garbotoxin is probably still going to be in the top decks in this format. With Hex Maniac gone, there is one less way to shut off abilities. Garbotoxin was the other way to do it in the past years. Now that Hex Maniac is gone Garbotoxin is the best way to do it.
The cool thing about Garbodor is that is can be played in multiple decks. First as Zoroark/Garbodor using its consistency and power of Skyfield. Zoroark has a lot of deck space so it can use Garbodor effectively while pulling off other combos. Another deck that can use Garbotoxin are tool box variants, using Drampa or a Dimension Valley based deck focused on multiple attackers. Israel covered his version of it so go check his out if you haven’t. The last one version that I think will see play is the dreaded and annoying Sableye/Garbodor. It is the ultimate control deck and it uses Garbodor as well.
Garbodor is such a powerful card that in can be played so many styles. Power like Zoroark, Defensive like Drampa, versatility with Dimension valleys, and a deck out control style like Sableye. This card has been dominant since it came out all the way back in 2012 from Dragons Exalted. I expect it to continue to dominate in different forms throughout expanded this whole year.
In this article I am going to cover my two top plays for Portland: Zoroark/Garbodor and Drampa/Garbodor. These two decks have been testing very well for since they can beat anything. Zoroark is still an incredible card even though it lost Hex maniac and Puzzle of time. sableye gained some and lost some. Drampa/Garb has been a great ever since it came out and the can adapt very well in any given meta.
III. Zoroark/Garbodor Matchup
Max counts for Zoroark is always needed in Zoroark decks to provide max consistency. I chose to include Foul Play to help combat Buzzwole decks. This card can also make neat plays in other matchups as well.
I chose to run the Pound Trubbish since it can attack for a Double Colorless Energy. It can be relevant to do 100 damage to Buzzwole GX if you Pound with Choice Band. I also chose to run three copies of Trubbish so I can reliably get them into play. I don’t want my opponent to be able to target down the only Trubbish on board at any time. There are some spots where you want to bench two Trubbish so situations like that won’t happen. Two Garbotoxin is best count. The deck relies on this card a lot and one would be too risky to play. Garbotoxin essentially fills in the void left by Hex Maniac’s ban.
I chose to run no Trashalanche after talking amongst others. They take up alot of space and Zoroark can already do enough damage as-is. You would have to commit another 3-4 more to slots to make it fit. Expanded’s card pool always makes deck space very tight and I’d rather commit the spaces towards either more consistency or control.
This does look like a very thin line, and it is. Lists from last season would run up to three Leles and/or three Shaymin EX. I chose to to run two Tapu Lele GX because there are already enough ways to search for Tapu Lele and Brigette. Pokemon Communication for Tapu Lele for Brigette, Battle Compressor+Rescue Stretcher for Lele, Battle Compressor+Vs Seeker for Brigette. I also don’t think three is needed since you have more outs to start with it. It makes more sense to me to run a card that can search for it.
I’ve been running one copy of Shaymin EX and it has been fine. Back then, Zoroark decks would run two to three to search to try to hit a Hex Maniac while building up the board. I think one is fine, just to give a good burst when I need it. I think two would also be fine, if you can fit it in.
Not too much explanation here. This obviously synergizes with Zoroark, using Trade for “free” and filling up the bench if needed. I think three is a great count since it can help hit the max potential for Riotous Beating. I do not think four is needed since this list runs enough Basic Pokemon.
This is to combo with Garbotoxin. Klefki functions as a tool to make Garbotoxin live for a turn. It is a cool card in this deck because it is a Pokemon, you can use it under Trevenant and use it to fill up your bench. I think two has been a fine count. I was testing three when I first started playing and I found that two is enough with two rescue stretcher.
I went with three copies of Colress for consistency. I would play four if I had more space. Colress is the strongest Draw Supporter next to Sycamore.
Two Brigette has been fine for me. You do not want to play one since it can be prized. I would rather play a Pokemon Communication than a third Brigette for more consistency and versatility.
This is thin because this deck is very tight on space. As long as you do not prize Guzma when you need it, one is fine. You do are not really aggressively using it like in decks such as Buzzwole since Zoroark can one shot everything in the active.
There are points in the game where you have a Supporter that can be played, since you do not need Colress anymore when your board is set up. Delinquent fills the role Ghetsis and Hex once did as a disruption supporter. Zoroark has always been a deck that uses this supporter effectively since it has Trade to not use Supporters for turn to draw cards.
1 Pokemon Communication
This is a consistency card that can be versatile. It can be an out to Tapu Lele GX for Brigette if you open a Pokemon, or it can a Zoroark GX turn two as well. I’ve been liking this card a lot because of the options it can give you.
This is for consistency and discarding Exeggcute. Thinning the deck helps you hit what you want more efficiently. I listed some examples earlier on how this card helps to find a supporter. If you open Dowsing Machine, Rescue Stretcher or VS seeker, Battle Compressor makes those cards live to find Supporters.
3 Vs Seeker
I found that 4 was excessive since you are not abusing Hex Maniac or Ghetsis repeatedly. You also do not need to VS Seeker for Colress regularly when you set up since you have Trade. However, VS Seeker is still great since you use it for versatility.
2 Field Blower
Like many of the other counts in this deck, you need to play another copy to compensate for the loss of Puzzle of Time. This is pretty much to remove tools off Garbotoxin from either side of the board. You will be facing Garbotoxin yourself, which means you cannot rely on one Field Blower. You want to remove your own tool of your Garbodor to have access to abilities again when needed.
3 Sky Field
I was testing 4 copies of this at first, but I found three to be fine. Even without Puzzles, I was not needing a 4th one at all. If you need a 4th one, you can just save your Dowsing Machine for it.
2 Red Card
This card is still very strong in this deck. The Hex Maniac + Red card was a very powerful combo last season. Now Red Card+Garbotoxin is a excellent way to replace it. Zoroark uses this card very well since it can access well from its powerful draw. This is just one of the aspects on why Zoroark is such a great card, it allows you to make ridiculous combos and run extraordinary cards like red card because of its insane draw.
3 Choice Band/2 Float Stone
I was testing two Choice Band at first. But, I found that to be incorrect since you can’t Puzzle for more when you need it. Choice Band is critical in matchups like the mirror and Buzzwole. I also think running more Choice Bands is fine since it’s another tool to activate Garbotoxin.
I found two Float Stone to be fine since you run enough other tools, like Klefki and Choice Band for Garbotoxin.
2 Rescue Stretcher 1 Special Charge
Since Puzzle of Time is gone, this deck needs to add more to recovery options to compensate. Two Stretcher has been great since you constantly need to recycle Pokemon to keep up your board and hit max damage with Sky Field.
Special Charge was not really a staple when Puzzle was around, but now it is because this deck only runs Double Colorless Energy.
1 Dowsing Machine
I switched Ace Specs from Computer Search to Dowsing Machine to help compensate for the loss of Puzzles as well. I think of the card a 1/4th of a Puzzle since I can recover any card I want. I can recover Pokemon from reusing Rescue Stretcher, VS Seeker for Supporters, and re-use Special Charge. I’ve been liking the card slot since it can be that extra precious resource now that Puzzle is gone. Sometimes it can hurt opening with it, since you would rather have it be Computer Search, but, I found that to happen less often than I thought. I think this is worth the trade off for Computer Search.
This is an excellent card for the mirror match up. The reason why I did not fit it in is because I normally have to Brigette for two Zoruas and a Trubbish. You don’t really have the opportunity like during last season to bench it since you run another stage one line to set up. It is still a card worth playing and I would not mind running it
This card is for mill matchups and Drampa/Garbodor. Oranguru would single-handedly win you matchups versus Wailord or Sylveon. It would also give you a chance at beating Sableye/Garbodor. It helps versus Drampa/Garb since that matchup is all about them running you out of resources. You would be shuffling back cards like Dowsing Machine. Field Blower, Special Charge etc. They also can’t effectively knockout Oranguru very quickly since they would need to find their Rainbow Energy to activate Berserk.
I didn’t really like playing this card because I feel like this deck can beat Night March without it. If you do expect Night March, this card can tilt the match even further in your favor.
This card is a way of removing tools instead of using a second Field Blower. The great thing about this card is that it’s versatile and be reused with VS Seeker. Removing Special Energy gives this another control option as well. I think you swap out a second Field Blower for this card, if you want to play it. I’m probably going to test this card out more to see if I like it.
This matchup really depends on whether or not they run Sudowoodo. If they don’t, then you easily beat them since you run two Field Blowers and Three Colress. This Matchup is a lot tougher if they run Sudowoodo because when you want to remove the tool from Garbodor, you have to deal with their Sudowoodo. The best way to combat this is to try use your abilities and activate your Garbotoxin so you can one shot their Drampa. You also want to play around Trashalanche. Zoroark tanks very well against their deck so conserving to play less than 11 items is not that hard. This is a matchup that I would recommend for a lot of testing since there so many intricacies.
I feel like Trevenant decks will probably still run the combination of four Enhanced Hammer and Espeon EX so that they can beat Zoroark. The greatest thing you have to combat Trevenant now is the ability to use Klefki to activate Garbotoxin. With Forest’s Curse offline, you are able to play your precious item cards like Special Charge, use VS Seekers for Supporters and play more cards to thin your deck.
You also want to play around Espeon EX by not benching all of your Zorua early. You want would bench a Zorua once your Zoroark have 6 or more damage counters on each of them. You really want to prevent their Miraculous Shine from wiping your entire board at once.
Guzma is very important in this matchup if you can’t establish Garbotoxin. You can get access to trainers again and pick off GXes. I always try to VS Seeker for Guzma after playing it so that I have access to it again later, even under Trevenant lock.
I think the matchup is fine, but can be complicated to play since there are minor plays that can decide the game.
This matchup is close, but is still hard since my list does not have Oricorio. Zoroark can tank hits from their Night Marchers. 210 is hard to stream without Puzzles to get back cards such as Choice Band and Battle Compressor. The problem still is when they can hit 210 with Joltik. Marshadow is annoying, but can be dealt with by using Garbotoxin. Marshadow is also two prizes as well. What I try to do is set up Garbotoxin and Sky Return their Joltik, then bringing up a Zoroark or one prize pokemon depending if I think if they can hit a 210 damage knockout. I also try to use disruption supporters as much as possible to push the momentum back to me. Delinquent can be very good since you may able to rip away some precious resources from them.
This match is hard without Oricorio, but I do think it is not a bad matchup. If you run Oricorio, then it becomes pretty favorable.
I think this matchup is pretty close. The problem is, whoever goes first has a major advantage. If you can go first and get three basics out, then can you reliably set up. When they go first, they get to set up Buzzwole and a Rockruff, pressuring your Zorua via Guzma or Lycanroc which really hurts your set up. It’s really annoying when you are only left with one Zorua in play, or have they knocked out your only Trubbish in play while having Sudowoodo out.
The strategy in this matchup is trying to evolve into as many stage ones as you can. You want use Foul Play on their Buzzwole GX and Lycanroc to take knockouts. Two copies of Rescue Stretcher really help in this matchup to recycle Zoroark pieces.
You also want to set up Garbotoxin as well since their deck uses a good amount of abilities. I would try to use disruption as much as possible in conjunction with Garbotoxin. Eventually, they will miss a beat and that is all you need to win the game.
This is definitely one of your easier matchup, but it can still be scary since you get blown out if you have slow start. With Archie’s Blastoise lists running cards like Articuno, Wishiwashi GX and Kingdra GX, all those cards are bothersome if they get going. If you set up, taking a knockout, and activating Garbotoxin, you pretty much win the game. I’ve seen lists play 0-1 to Field Blower. Even if they run one, their deck maybe forced to discard it early because the deck is turbo-centric.
This is very tough matchup since we can’t Ghetsis them out the game anymore. You still have a shot of beating them by using Red Card early, but it’s not the most reliable play. What I would try to do in this matchup is try to knockout their Garbotoxin as early as possible. If you get to keep using Trade, you will able to keep attaching Double Colorless Energy even when they removed the previous ones. Oranguru can be useful in this matchup, but when you go into a passive strategy, you let them set up Garbodor.
The matchups are mentioned are decks I expect to see this weekend. Expanded has a huge card pool, so there probably will be other decks that pop up. I still think decks like Turbo Dark or Fire are still bad. I tried Rayquaza a decent amount, but it has an atrocious matchup against Garbodor decks. I would not be surprised to see ability-reliant deck such as Eels, Bronzong, or Malamar show up too.
This deck is one of my other picks for this weekend. It has always been good since the archetype came out, back when Guardians Rising released. I believe it will continue to be good since it’s such a great control deck. I started by testing last season’s Drampa/Garb with Sudowoodo and Parallel City. I edited that list and made it a little more offensive by adding a 1-1 Banette GX line.
I don’t need to cover this deck too much since it has been explained before. I’ll just talk about changes I made and the reasoning for them.
I found this deck to be very underpowered when it was not playing against a Zoroark deck. Banette gives you some offensive power to deal with other decks. I found Banette deals with Buzzwole very well since it can tank hits and hit them back for a lot of damage.
I chose to run the Shuppet from Roaring Skies since it’s attack, Bleh, can be quite useful, removing Special Energies.
I like really having this combo in here. I still think Zoroark is a great deck and running these counts makes the matchup more favorable versus them. We all know how strong Parallel City is. Two Drampa annoys them a lot. And Sudowoodo makes it that much more harder for them to take knockouts and set up.
I really want to run a third Mysterious Treasure in this deck, but the space is too tight. I chose to run a split since I want to able to search for Drampa and Sudowoodo when I can. Treasure is excellent in this deck since it allows you to conserve one more card when searching.
I chose Computer Search over the popular Dowsing Machine as the ACE SPEC for this deck. I think Dowsing Machine is less necessary now since it was mainly an extra resource to combat Zoroark when they use Puzzle of Time. I favor consistency more with this deck. If I ran another Mysterious Treasure, I think I would try out Dowsing Machine instead, since I still think it’s a great card for this deck.
4 Psychic Energy 4 Double Colorless 2 Rainbow Energy
I chose to include a 10th energy, rather than the typical nine, since I felt that was too low. I think more Rainbow Energy is fine in here, too, since it can give you more outs to use Berserk quicker. Banette GX using Shady Move can move the damage counter put on from attaching Rainbow Energy as well.
The cards I want to add are either a Muscle Band, 4th Choice Band or a 3rd Mysterious Treasure. I chose techs such as Oricorio and Sudowoodo over them, but I think some of those cards can be interchangeable.
If you set up Banette in this matchup, you should be fine. Banette tanks really well versus them and one shots all of their Buzzwole. You can do some very nice plays with Banette by trying to skip their Beast Ring or Sledgehammer turns if you use Shady Move to knock out a Pokemon. Both Garbodor are good in this matchup as well. A smart Buzzwole player will play around Trashalanche early, which is why we run Banette GX. Like I said before with Zoro/Garb, we want to establish Garbotoxin since their deck uses a good number of abilities.
This matchup is favorable since you have Oricorio. They usually have Dimension Valley out for you, which means you get use Supernatural Dance for free. You also can use Tool Drop Trubbish to trade more efficiently with their attackers. I would try not to bench many GXes and use Teammates to help trade with their attackers. If you get to use Oricorio multiple times, you should be able to beat them.
This matchup is pretty much an autoloss since you only run 10 Energy and six them can be removed with Enhanced Hammer. It’s too easy for them control the board since Drampa/Garb is slow. This is one matchup you want to avoid.
You just want out-resource them with Parallel City, Drampa, Garbotoxin and Sudowoodo. Eventually they will start draw bad off of N and then you can start controlling the game. Trashalanche is your late game closer since they will probably have a large number of items in their discard pile. I always want to Brigette for multiple Trubbish/Drampa and Sudowoodo. I would try to get a Drampa and Sudowoodo since you can’t use Mysterious Treasure to search for them. I also don’t think you need to evolve into Trashalanche early and leave your Trubbish evolved since you want a backup if your opponent knocks out your Garbotoxin.
The matchup can be very hard if they run Lycanroc GX since you can’t really one shot it. It take a lot of prizes and it is annoying to knock out.
You basically want get out as many Trubbish as you can in the matchup. They run way too many items and Trashalanche will be good early. You want to set Garbotoxin as well to shut off their Deluge. As long you can set up, this matchup is pretty easy.
Garbodor is still going to be one of the best decks in Expanded throughout the entire year. It’s so well-rounded and has answers to everything. It can be played in multiple decks, which shows how versatile it is. I think Zoro/Garb and Drampa/Garb are excellents plays this weekend since it is a unfamiliar open meta. I am still going to be testing to see which I like more. Like always, thanks for supporting us at Some1sPC. Good luck to everyone at Portland and future events!