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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 10 Cards Lost To Rotation

#4 - Garbodor


Date Reviewed:
August 4, 2015

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.10
Expanded: 4
Limited: 4.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 being horrible.  3 ... average.  5 is awesome.

Back to the main COTD Page


Ahhh yes, Garbodor. Who could forget a face like that? Seriously, who? I mean it, I don't think you could ever forget Garbodor. He's a Pokemon made of garbage! He's the living incarnation of a dumpster! He's...he's...Garbodor! The should've been Poison/Steel-type that never was!! 

Well, he's definitely made an impression on all of us - whether we like it or not! Sure, his design has always been mocked for being, well, trash (literally), and he may not be the greatest Pokemon to ally with, but here in the TCG, he became notorious. Surprisingly, this was not because of his 3-for-60 vanilla Sludge Toss attack. And here I thought that was powerful. 

(Note: it wasn't.) 

Garbodor's well-known for his Garbotoxin Ability, the kind of Ability that goes way way back to Fossil days with Muk's Toxic Gas. Granted, that was in an era of PokePowers rather than PokeBodies or Abilities, but still! Goes to show the game has evolved quite a bit since then. Similarly, Garbotoxin isn't anywhere near as powerful as Muk's Toxic Gas was, but in today's game, it's had a major impact. 

If these last few years haven't been a lesson in the power of neutralizing Abilities, then I don't know WHAT is. Garbodor's able to completely nullify ANY Ability so long as he's got a Tool attached to himself - like, say, Float Stone for instance. Just looking through what he was used to dealing with in terms of popular Abilities from various Pokemon, there's Pyroar's Intimidating Mane, Blastoise's Deluge, Keldeo-EX's Rush-In, Virizion-EX's Verdant Wind, Mr. Mime's Bench Barrier, and I'm sure there are a few others you guys thought of amidst that list. That's the power of Garbodor - to shut down not just Abilities, but by extension entire strategies! 

With no more Garbodor in the game, our best bet for cancelling out Abilities falls to cards like Silent Lab, which only affects Basic Pokemon, and Wobbuffet, who only negates Abilities while out in the Active slot. In that sense, perhaps it's best if Garbodor makes his exit now - there are a few more dangerous threats now that don't rely on Abilities but rather Ancient Traits, and that makes for a workaround against Garbodor in some sense. Course, there's still a fair usage of cards like Shaymin-EX and Aegislash-EX to warrant some form of negation, and those cards will do it just as well as Garbodor did to perhaps a similar effect.

Now if only there was a Pokemon to negate Ancient Traits... 


Standard: 4/5 (a powerful Pokemon that can remove a core part of any deck's strategy) 

Expanded: 4/5 (he's pretty much the reason cards like Tool Scrapper get teched into decks!) 

Limited: 5/5 (negating Abilities is great! now you just need one of those Tools in the set!) 

Arora Notealus: Fifth generation was strange and unique in a lot of different ways. Of course, there's all the story work and the layout of the map, changing weather, changing seasons, etc., but there's also the 156 new Pokemon that got introduced! A lot of comparisons get made as a result between this generation and the first generation - like how Garbodor is Gen V's version of Muk. Which given that Unova's meant to be in a separate region far from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh entirely, it makes some sense. 

Next Time: The great gadget of 2013!!

Emma Starr

            Garbodor, the Trash Heap Pokémon, at first glance wouldn’t seem as powerful and disruptive as he actually is. That is, until you read that his infamous Garbotoxin ability cancels out ALL Pokémon’s (even ones on everyone’s bench, their hands, or even their discard piles (sorry Ho-Oh EX)) abilities, as long as Garbodor is equipped with a Tool Card! It’s also nice to know this it can be any Tool card as well, so even Spirit Links will work, if you need to use those.

            One may first write off such an effect, as they may not run many abilities themselves, but once you realize that you can effectively shut down many of your opponent’s deadly abilities just by having Garbodor sitting on your bench, you’ll start to understand why many decks rely on Garbodor/Trubbish as deck staples today. Keldeo EX from yesterday can no longer switch in with Rush In. Siglyph (DRX 52)/Suicune (PB 20) can no longer block EX attacks. Blastoise (BC 31), Emboar (BW 20), and Eelektrik (NV 40) can no longer accelerate energy. Jirachi EX can no longer search for Supporters. Shaymin EX (ROS 77) is no longer a card-drawing machine. Darkrai EX can no longer give any of its teammates free Retreat; nor can Hydreigon EX lower the Retreat Cost of any Dragons. Altaria no longer can give free Retreat for Colorless types, either. The list goes on and on, really. As stated before, even if you didn’t run any of these abilities, it was still nice to keep a Garbodor or two on hand, just for insurance against any of these abilities that your opponent may have been running, which made it a very versatile deck staple, and was very worthy of the shiny variant of it printed in Plasma Freeze.

            Oh, and it also has a very expensive attack called Sludge Toss as well, which does 60 for 2 Psychics and one Colorless. But obviously you’d never want to use it, unless Garbodor got Lysandre’d. And even then, I’d sooner use those Energies to Retreat him instead, given his insane Retreat Cost of three (if you’re lucky enough to have Garbodor still alive at this point, with his sad 100 HP…). 

            Modified: 4.2/5 (It’s great even as insurance, but just remember you’ll need to have some Trubbish as well, if you run Garbodor(s). So you’d probably also want to run some Evosodas/Wallys.

            Limited: 4.8/5 (if you can pull this and at least a couple Trubbish, at least.)


Just missing the Top 3 for our list of cards rotating out of Standard play is our fourth place pick Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113), the Pokémon that makes our heads (and perhaps our hearts) hurt when we think about its existence too deeply.  I mean the fact that it is a living, refuse bag where the trash within is a vital part of its anatomy… though perhaps that does apply to the card as well.  It is a familiar sight: besides being one of the cards I often need to reference for a review but hate to as it isn’t the only legal Garbodor and thus (by my own standards) I have to reference the sets in which it is available, we’ve reviewed it twice before.  The first time was… not part of any Top 10 list.  We even did a Top 13 list for that one and Garbodor still missed out.  Searching my e-mails I found my own. personal list (I submitted a Top 25 because “tiebreakers”) and had Garbodor at 10th place… I’m not completely sure what happened but glancing at what did make it, you can tell it was a different time (and some of the cards on the list counter other cards on the list which counter other cards on the list @_@).  The second time (when I actually submitted a review) was… also not part of a Top X list, though at least it was because of the card’s role at the 2014 U.S. National Championship. 


I already violated the dictates of good writing by using one emoticon (among other things); I am so sorely tempted to use a second that I am calling attention to it in order to underscore how baffled I am by this revelation (but not actually resort to an emoticon)... at least until I’d written more of this review and remembered when Garbodor came out and what it was dealing with.  This was prior to Pokémon Catcher receiving an erratum to require you flip a coin for the effect (at the time it was Lysandre as an Item) and as anyone that isn’t truly new (thanks for reading Pojo!) knows (unless you’re combing the archive years from now… thanks for reading old Pojo!) Garbodor is arguable the Bench-sitter.  Still, let us run through the card because as you know by now, it is what I do!  This is a Psychic-Type: Garbodor is rarely in a deck where it can attack (and even if it could, it really shouldn’t) so we won’t worry about Weakness or Resistance.  What does matter is Psychic-Type support but perhaps not how you would expect; sure you might benefit from a Mystery Energy aided retreat in an emergency should you have a Psychic-Type deck already running Garbodor, but the reason this is so crucial to the card is to protect its own Ability from Wobbuffet (XY: Phantom Forces 36/119) and Bide Barricade! 

As a Stage 1 Pokémon Garbodor is a bit more demanding to play than the dominant Basic Pokémon, but easier than the other Stages… yes that includes Restored Pokémon and Mega Evolutions.  Its 100 HP is enough that it isn’t an overly easy OHKO when forced Active or hiding on the Bench, but it is a OHKO for several decks once they are set-up so don’t assume it is safe either.  The expected Psychic Weakness helped attackers like Mewtwo-EX OHKO it a little easier and Sigilyph (BW: Dragons Exalted 52/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 118/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 66/113) a lot easier.  It lacks any Resistance but does have a chunky Retreat cost of [CCC], though when it first released (and now in Expanded) it is nice that it is a legal target for Heavy Ball.  It isn’t nice that such a cost makes it much easier to leave stranded up front with a card like Lysandre. 

The Ability is why this card is so important: “Garbotoxin” requires you have a Pokémon Tool attached to Garbodor in order for it to work, but when thus triggered it shuts down all other Abilities on the field, in the discard piles and in each player’s hand.  I don’t think there are any Abilities that work from the deck and the Lost Zone mechanic appears to have been totally abandoned so Garbotoxin nixes all Abilities.  Requiring a Pokémon Tool to trigger basically made this card a bit of a preview of Mega Evolutions.  Garbodor may not have 190+ HP but it also isn’t worth two Prizes, can make use of any Pokémon Tool that isn’t prohibited from attaching to it, the Tool can be attached before or after Evolving and if done after your turn won’t end, so the differences are pretty significant, still the general burden of getting it into play is similar.  If this was a Stage 2 (for example) it would be no where near as easy to use, and the Pokémon Tool clause is as useful for exploiting on your end as it is on your opponent’s, such as turning your Abilities back on for a time or not locking them down until after you’ve used a few to aid in your set-up.  The attack (Sludge Toss) requires [PPC] to hit for 60 and that stinks: it’s low quality filler but better than nothing and Garbotoxin is so potent it is probably better that it isn’t a better attack. 

We’ve had a few Trubbish worth considering that helped boost Garbodor, otherwise I was going to fight my usual compulsion and skip this section. All  Trubbish are Psychic-Type, Psychic Weak Basic Pokémon with no Abilities or Ancient Traits, with at least 60 HP and a Retreat Cost of [C] though some have more (good for the HP, bad for the Retreat Cost).  BW: Noble Victories 48/101 is only legal for Expanded play (the rest are Standard legal until the pending rotation).  Its first attack (Garbage Collection) allows you to topdeck something from your discard pile at a cost of [C], while its second attack (Sludge Bomb) just doe 20 for [PC].  BW: Dragons Exalted 53/124 (re-released as BW: Legendary Treasures 67/113) has 70 HP with a Retreat Cost of [CC], while its “Pound” attack does 20 for [CC] and its Poison Gas for [PCC] does 30 plus Poisons the opponent’s Active Pokémon.  BW: Plasma Storm 63/135 has Pile-Up for [P] that allows it to search your deck for a Pokémon Tool to add to your hand, but it is “tails fails”.  It backs this up with Sludge Toss for [CC], doing 20.  BW: Plasma Storm 64/135 just has “Pound” and “Sludge Bomb” again, though this time the former does 10 for [C] while the latter does 40 for [PPC]. 

Trubbish (BW: Plasma Storm 65/135) actually had its own deck for a while and I thought had gotten a CotD but apparently not.  Another version with 70 HP and a Retreat Cost of [CC], it has just one attack:.“Tool Drop”.  This attack requires [PC] to hit for 20 times the number of Pokémon Tools that are in play (both players, not just your own), giving it quite a range.  While it can always hit for no damage (eep) just having a Tool on each of your own Pokémon pumps it up to 120 damage.  Skyfield means that it can hit for up to 180.  Sigilyph (BW: Plasma Blast 41/101) has an Ability (Toolbox) that allows it to have four Pokémon Tools attached to it instead of one, so that is an extra three Tools per copy to a total increase bumping us up to 420! XY: Ancient Origins will have some Pokémon with a new Ancient Trait (Θ Double) that allows you to have two Pokémon Tools attached to them, which could boost this up to 500 damage even before Weakness or cards like Muscle Band were factored in!  You also have Pokémon Tool F (Head Ringer and Jamming Net) to force your opponent into have Tools in play (though those only work on Pokémon-EX) so why did its deck go away?  Oh yeah, Startling Megaphone just wipes your opponent’s side of the field clear of Pokémon Tools.  “Tool Drop” (the deck) had a decent run before Startling Mega Phone released and killed it, with a revival (possibly just “attempted revival”) when Lysandre’s Trump Card came out and provided a means to recycle lost Tools while Dimension Valley dropped the attack cost down to just [P] but… yeah, as you can tell this just isn’t worth it now. 

Still (BW: Plasma Storm 65/135) remains a decent desperation move if you have to attack with Trubbish and a good means of misdirection.  BW: Noble Victories 48/101 is also sometimes used due to reclaiming cards from the discard pile proving valuable again as we go through Lysandre’s Trump Card withdrawal.  The version I see used most is  BW: Dragons Exalted 53/124/BW: Legendary Treasures 67/113, as sometimes that 10 HP comes in handy and if you’ve absolutely got to attack, it just needs a Double Colorless Energy.  If you’re not running a lot of extra Pokémon Tools and definitely if you’re not running a source of [P] Energy, that last one is probably the version to use in Standard, probably Expanded as well.  So what about the other Garbodor?  All other versions have had CotDs and while they are also all outdated, none have proven worthwhile (even in conjunction with today’s) so just check out their old CotDs (only two because one is a double review). 

So where were we?  Right, explaining why Garbodor (BW: Dragons Exalted 54/124; BW: Plasma Freeze 119/116; BW: Legendary Treasures 68/113) is the Garbodor people use, how it has shaped this format and why it rotating out is such a huge deal.  Abilities remain a huge deal in this game, especially as most can be used quickly alongside an attack, speeding the pace up even more.  We’ve had several that would be utterly broken if there was no way to shut them down, and in all honesty even with such counters I’m not sure they are balanced, just not unopposed: it is kind of like Superman and his handful of vulnerabilities: if you don’t have kryptonite (the right kind even) handy, can hit him with solar radiation from a red star or are attacking properly via magic, you’ve just got to be as overpowered as a yellow or blue sun fueled Kal-El to compete with him, and our metagame has a similar vibe to it.  Garbotoxin is in many ways the green kryptonite (or red sun radiation) of the format.  It isn’t alone; there is also Silent Lab and the aforementioned Wobbuffet.  Wobbuffet only works against non-Psychic-Types and while Active so unless you’re using a hit-and-run tactic you can’t use it while on the offensive unless Wobbuffet is your attacker.  Stadiums are once again quite important and so Silent Lab can be an issue even though it technically is the easiest of all three to both run and get into play and of course it only affects Basic Pokémon; neither offer the coverage of Garbodor. 

Garbodor is also important because as something that works from the Bench, it has been successful combined with Seismitoad-EX so that a player can shut down both Items and Abilities.  While the damage yield is poor, such decks can not only run a few tricks to help fake hitting harder, but also can add in Energy denial tactics.  When you have no Abilities, no Energy for more than a turn and no Items, there isn’t a lot you can do.  Toss in how often your best attackers are Pokémon-EX and Seismitoad-EX/Garbodor will also add in Head Ringer so that you’ll need at least two Energy to attack and you’ll easily find yourself doing nothing as you slowly lose the game, with only the hope of some amazing luck and near-perfect plays on your part or horrible luck/misplays on your opponent’s to keep from a literal automatic loss.  This is actually one of the worst parts of the game (though somehow still an improvement over the lopsidedness of when players could abuse Ability-based-draw-plus-Lysandre’s Trump Card for an infinite deck). 

Seriously… this should really creep you out: instead of enjoying a game where we both play, this just turns it into a sadistic form of solitaire.  I’m not sure if the slightly greater chance for your opponent to suffer bad luck or a misplay but taking so long is better or worse than losing quickly to a donk or FTW combo.  I enjoy control decks and locks, but just like I also enjoy raw offensive power, once it gets to this point the only way to enjoy the game is for the raw pleasure of winning… or torturing your opponent.  It takes the TCG to a rather disturbing place.  Okay, enough of my soap box.  So Garbodor is still a powerhouse for Standard, but it also needs other cards, probably why it isn’t one of the top three.  Expect it to remain important in Expanded, though the card pool differences will slightly alter its use in a few specific circumstances.  If you get it in Limited, make sure it is in a set that also contains a Trubbish and then consider carefully whether or not you are that worried about Abilities.  Even by Limited standards Garbodor isn’t good as an attacker, and unless you can get a Pokémon Tool attached you won’t even be able to shut off Abilities! 


Standard: 4/5 

Expanded: 4/5 

Limited: 2/5 

Summary: Garbodor normally would score lower but though it is a Stage 1 and naturally clashes with decks that run heavy on Abilities, the format adjusted to it so that Garbodor is practically a “generic” card to run.  It was an important play for Nationals both last year and this year, even with everything going against it.  A great example of how when you make something insanely strong and then release a strong counter for it, you don’t usually get balance and diversity, but instead “run this or run counters to this”... even when we what we are talking about it the counter! 

Still it really is almost useless on its own: you need a Pokémon Tool and preferably useful ones, plus something else attacking.  Throw in that we do have some Abilities so great players would rather use those than shut them all down, and you can understand why it wasn’t in every deck.  Since there is little point in stacking them save as insurance against one Garbodor being KOed, even decks running Garbodor wouldn’t max it out.  As such, the way I crunched the numbers it only showed up as my 8th place pick, and I didn’t think it worth bumping up via fiat because the seven that beat it were even more impressive. 

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