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Pojo's Pokémon Card of the Day


Top 15 Sun & Moon: Guardians Rising

#3 - Garbodor
- S&M: Guardians Rising

Date Reviewed:
May 31, 2017

Ratings & Reviews Summary

Standard: 4.67
Expanded: 4.75
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


This is the card of the format right now. No joke, this Garbodor has single-handedly defined an entire genre of deck types as of late and has absolutely dominated a variety of tournaments since its release - here in the States, in Japan, in Europe, everywhere. 

There's a pretty big reason for this, naturally, and it's not Acid Spray. The second attack Garbodor has is a 3-for-70 hit with a coin flip to discard an Energy from the opponent's Active Pokemon, which honestly doesn't mean it's a bad attack at all. Maybe a little underpowered for 3 Energy, but the coin flip is justified for the Energy-discard, which can be beneficial. The truth of the matter though is that the attack is completely overshadowed by his first attack, Trashalanche. 

Trashalanche is the kind of attack people love. They see the 1-Psychic Energy cost, they see the 20x multiplier for damage and get excited, and then they read the description and feel their eyes widen as they find the crazy description that says, "I do 20 damage for every Item in your opponent's discard pile." At first glance, this card seems awfully reactive. It's not quite like Vespiquen or Night March, where you can throw stuff into your discard pile and profit immediately in the early game before steamrolling into the mid-late game. It's reliant on your opponent playing a bunch of Items to be effective, and if you can't fight off their set-up, it's just not as useful. 

That's what I imagine people thought of this card at first. It's alright, it's powerful, it'll be in a couple of decks, but it'll probably not do so well against faster decks. And while that might be the case for some match-ups, it seems for the most part that THAT IS NOT THE CASE FOR THIS GUY AT ALL!! Think of it this way - it takes about 8 Items to OHKO most evolving Pokemon, 9 Items to do the same with Basic-EX and Basic-GX, and only 12 Items to OHKO most any Pokemon in the game that's not a Stage 2 GX or named Wailord-EX. And a quick Choice Band or Muscle Band will change that. And how many decks run 12+ Items? 


Garbodor may not have an amazing early game damage output like some other cards, but looking around at various lists featuring him, he's not usually the early game attacker anyway - he's used as a finisher, a midgame piece to put out to take out your opponent's advantage, and possibly even a counter to switching around. Partners-in-crime include Trevenant (GRI), Espeon-GX (SM), Drampa-GX (GRI) - even Garbodor (BKT) himself! And you can see why - Drampa-GX can set things up quickly, Espeon-GX can spread out damage across a wide field, and Trevenant can be used to inflict early heavy damage on your opponent with Poltergeist! It's a strong card on its own, but partnered with these guys, he ends up becoming a clear top-tier threat - better than Decidueye-GX, better than Vespiquen, better than even Night March. 

Garbodor is going to be the card that people will build every deck around now - less Items will counteract him and other cards like Vileplume (AOR) who love benefiting from your opponent's lack of Items, and there may be decks that stray away from the Prize-costly EX and GX. Needless to say, Garbodor is the card everyone's going to plan around now, and it's something you should strongly consider when building your next deck over the next couple of years. 


Standard: 4.5/5 (despite a slow early game and being a Stage 1, Garbodor is a MASSIVE competitor) 

Expanded: 5/5 (and in the right set-ups against the right decks, he can be a force to reckon with) 

Limited: 4/5 (but in smaller environments or even Limited ones, he might not be so bad...provided you can play around him) 

Arora Notealus: What is it with Garbodor always having to butt into the meta? His previous incarnations have had format-shaping Abilities, and now he gets to be the latest Night March/Vespiquen/Vengeance deck? High damage for a low cost? At least he forces the opponent to play differently instead of working decks to play solitaire. 

Next Time: Speaking of Items...


Anybody wanna argue that Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) isn’t the best card out of the Guardians Rising expansion set after its showings this past weekend in Seattle, Milan, and Austria?


Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?


So I’m feeling pretty good right now about listing Garb as my number one card … but that’s all the bragging I’m going to do about it because I’m sure there will be a HUGE swing the other way this upcoming weekend for regionals in Madison, WI USA and Birmingham, England.  I have no doubt that many people will be playing decks specifically designed to beat Garb.  Some ideas:

·         Greninja Break (Breakpoint, 41/122)

·         Excadrill (Primal Clash, 97/160) Dhelmise (Guardians Rising, 59/145)

·         Gyarados (Ancient Origins, 21/98)

·         Decidueye (Sun & Moon, 12/149) Vileplume (Ancient Origins, 3/98)

·         Vespiquen (Ancient Origins, 10/98)

Obviously, the most favored pairing with Garb this past weekend was Drampa GX (Guardians Rising, 142/145).  I personally have had more success with Trevenant (Guardians Rising, 7/145) than Drampa, but I just got a couple of Team Magma’s Secret Base (Double Crisis, 32/34) last night and haven’t had the chance to work those into the deck yet.  But if you’re a regular reader, then you know me – when I saw all those Drampa Garb pairings, my instinctual reaction was to go the other way.  I don’t feel that Garb & Drampa are the best partners… but just looking at the top 32 from Seattle is pretty good evidence and makes it hard for me to argue that.

What I am very happy to see, however, was that we did NOT have a repeat of Anaheim regionals.  If you remember, very few cards from Sun & Moon were used at Anaheim.  That was the first major tournament where SUM cards were legal, but very few players took advantage of them.  That changed, obviously, a few weeks later at Oceania, but it makes me happy to see that players weren’t tentative about using the new cards from GRI. 

And for those of you who are freaking out about how Garb is SOOOO broken and needs to be banned… stay calm and find a counter.  Like I said above, Madison and Birmingham will be filled with anti-Garb decks.  And there are plenty of decks that can beat it: I’m 7-6 against Garb with decks that don’t include Garb.  The pendulum always swings the other way, and it’s going to be swinging really quickly this week.


Standard: 5 out of 5


I know that this review didn’t really talk about what Garb does, but I’m pretty sure that anyone reading this already knows how nasty this card is.  I didn’t initially have this as my number one card, but it didn’t take long for me to figure out that it would be more impactful to the meta than any other card in this expansion… maybe more than any other card since Night March.

Quick post-script: just learned today of a new GX coming out in Burning Shadows that will save us from Garbodor: Gardevoir GX has a GX move that allows you to take TEN (yes, as in one more than nine one less than eleven) cards from your discard and put them back in your deck.  While it’s not Karen (XY Promo 177), it’s at least something to help stem the tide against Garbodor.


Today we look at our pick for the third best card of SM: Guardians Rising, and that card is Garbodor (SM: Guardians Rising 51/145), a Stage 1 Pokémon.  Being a Stage 1 means it takes twice the space as a Basic, and either an extra turn or additional resource (like Wally) to hit the field.  Basic Pokémon are the dominant force in the game, but this slight slowdown hasn’t kept the best of them from proving competitive.  Being a Psychic-Type comes with a few perks, and the only real drawback is how most Darkness-Type and Metal-Type Pokémon are naturally Resistant.  Psychic Weakness is typical of many Fighting- and Psychic-Type Pokémon.  Psychic-Type support is fantastic in Expanded, mostly due to Dimension Valley and Mystery Energy; for Standard play you’ll have Altar of the Moone (though that works with [P] Energy and not just [P] Pokémon) and… nothing else relevant springs to mind.  Let us move on; Garbodor has 120 HP, a decent amount that has a chance of surviving a hit, though not a great chance.  Psychic Weakness is not a surprise and enables a Psychic Type a probable OHKO.  Lack of Resistance is the worst, but also the most common, and even while present Resistance doesn’t usually mean much, so it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  The Retreat Cost of [CCC] is chunky; you want to avoid paying this if you can, but it has a small chance of helping if the deck can make adequate use of Heavy Ball. 

Garbodor has two attacks, “Trashalanche” and “Acid Spray”, priced at [P] and [PCC], respectively.  While not optimally splashable, needing a single source of [P] Energy isn’t too bad a cost and the staggering of the attack costs makes attacking while building viable.  The first attack does 20 damage times the number of Item cards in your opponent’s discard pile; with the way decks have been running for the last several years, even in the face of Item lock, this adds up quickly.  Just five gets Trashalance into 2HKO range for all Evolutions that aren’t Mega Evolution or Pokémon-GX cards, and 2HKO range for almost all Basic Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX.  Without radically altering one’s deck to plan ahead, your opponent is not only going to hit this amount but sooner or later, reach about 10 Items in the discard pile, at which point you’re OHKOing those same targets.  15 Items, a not unrealistic amount, means only cards with extensive protective help are safe; even a Wailord-EX sporting Fighting Fury Belt is a OHKO for Trashalanche at that level.  The 70 damage and coin flip to discard an attached Energy from the opponent’s Active of Acid Spray are much less impressive, but not useless.  Some decks and players will adjust to Trashalanche by running and playing few Items (Item lock decks already reward this to an extent).  While even just four Items in the discard means Trashalanche hits harder than Acid Spray, if you’re not getting the OHKO and 70 damage still sets up for the 2HKO (or 3HKO), taking a chance to discard the Energy could definitely be worth it. 

Trubbish (SM: Guardians Rising 50/145) actually matters; while not a fantastic combo, this 70 HP Psychic-Type Basic with Psychic Weakness, no Resistance, and Retreat Cost [CC] has one good not bad attack.  For [P], “Stomp Off” discards the top card of the opponent’s deck.  Even if your opponent is trying to not use Item cards, this is a chance to add one to the discard pile.  “Drool” is the usual filler attack, though: [PCC] to do 30 damage.  This isn’t a strong enough combo to make it the guaranteed best Trubbish, but it puts it in the running.  The only other related card we’ll worry about is Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122); “Garbotoxin” is still a fantastic Ability and is a perfectly fine Bench-sitter to partner with today’s Garbodor.  You don’t have to, though; either Garbodor might be run on its own or run as partners with various splits. 

Guess who became the new top deck?  This ‘mon!  I’m hoping some of it is growing pains, but Garbodor (XY: BREAKpoint 57/122) backed decks are now sometimes Garbodor (SM: Guardians Rising 51/145) or both.  The popular Decidueye-GX plus Vileplume (XY: Ancient Origins 3/98) deck was hit far harder than I expected.  There are multiple variants using Garbodor(s) and they’re doing great.  Just this last weekend, Drampa-GX/Garbodor won the Seattle Regional Championship in the Masters Age Bracket.  Also, it took third, fourth, and sixth place!  Seventh and eighth place went to Espeon-GX/Garbodor builds.  If you want decklists, keep checking the official website or try your luck with Google… or maybe another reviewer will provide one.  Besides running out of time (like usual), I don’t think I really need one to explain the merits of this card.  Even needing a specific Energy Type, even being a Stage 1, even potentially competing with an older version of itself, Garbodor is pretty plainly potent.  We’ll see if it lasts, or if this ends up being more like Night March and Vespiquen (XY: Ancient Origins 10/98) decks; everywhere because the deck isn’t too hard to learn or build, but horribly overhyped because it still ends up being difficult to master. 

Wait!  How can you say such a thing Otaku?  How much have you tested this?  Tested against this? 

Oh, I haven’t run or faced Garbodor yet.  I named two other decks built around a Stage 1 that had the mixed blessing of not relying on the opponent to fuel their attacks but having to dedicate space in themselves for damage-boosting discard-fodder.  There aren’t any glaring weaknesses here to exploit, at least of which I am aware.  If you have something like a nice, chunky Stage 2 Pokémon-GX up front, do your best to go light on Item usage in that matchup and hope the Garbodor player can’t force you to discard some as well.  Yes, some builds do include cards like Team Rocket’s Handiwork to force discards in the hopes of hitting your Items!  Even if your opponent uses Choice Band backed by a Professor Kukui, though, he or she will need you to have at least eight or nine Items in your discard pile for the OHKO.  So if you OHKO two Garbodor before it 2HKO’s you, you that’s breaking even.  Yeah, the resource costs and/or whoever scored the KO first matter, but most of the Garbodor decks I am seeing still run Pokémon-EX and Pokémon-GX as well.  So, just like with Night March, you try to remain calm, adjust to the situation at hand, and power through.  I am not guaranteeing you victory if you do, but if you don’t only pure luck can save you.  This is the new face of Standard, might be the new face of Expanded, and is even pretty good for Limited; there might not be many Items to fuel Trashalanche, but being a 120 HP Stage 1 with Acid Spray is still pretty good. 


Standard: 4.5/5 

Expanded: 4.5/5 

Limited: 4/5 


Garbodor is here, and it’s already winning tournaments.  Just remember not to panic, or you’ll make things worse.  It isn’t unbeatable, just the hot new thing that isn’t too hard to come by (it is a Normal Rare), isn’t too hard to learn, and is already being heavily played.  The event I mentioned it had already won and dominated the top eight?  If the ratio from the top 32 was similar to that of general participation, two-thirds of the decks used were Garbodor backed or based.  When you outnumber all other decks combined two-to-one, you should have a commanding presence. 

Garbodor edged out Choice Band by eight voting points, and only missed tying tomorrow’s second place finisher by one single point.  One.  Single.  Point.  Which is my fault as Garbodor was my fifth place pick.  Yeah, I ranked it below Aqua Patch and Choice Band above it, plus our last two cards.  Aqua Patch, I regret, but the other three are as good or better.  Yes, that sounds insane, but there are two more amazing cards left in this set!

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