Back-Alley Cats — Everything on Espeon-GX / Garbodor

I usually don’t change my mind about decks. When I faced my friend Ryan Grant in the Top 8 of a League Cup all the way back in late May, I was repulsed, for lack of a better word, by his Garbodor deck which also included Espeon-GX. In the match, I never had a problem taking one-hit Knock Outs on the Espeon, and I wrote the deck off as a worse version of Garbodor, especially in the mirror match. After Seattle, Washington Regionals, my opinion still didn’t change, even though the deck saw widespread success. Once again, I played multiple opponents using the deck, and I had no problem with the matchup with my own Garbodor deck at the time.

Skip ahead to right after Mexico Regionals, and you’ll see me finally give Espeon-GX / Garbodor a chance. I played one game with the deck, and since then, I’ve never looked back. I played a lot with the deck from that point on, as you could figure, and I’ve grown fonder and fonder of it by the minute. Maybe it was poor play from my opponents, or maybe it was great luck on my part; I can’t be sure what made me dislike the deck so much in the past. No matter, though; that’s behind me, and I’m glad I could overcome that mental rut, because I was missing out on something beautiful.

Right after picking it up, I saw one glaring problem for the deck: the Zoroark matchup. Zoroark was everywhere right after it picked up a Regionals win, and I expected it in swarms wherever I played. I needed to figure out a way to win the matchup. Today I’ll be teaching you the best way to beat Zoroark, as well as how to win against all the deck’s other matchups, too. You’ll see my current deck list, which is a few cards off the lists you’ve probably become accustomed to seeing. I hope you enjoy!

Starting Off

Like I said, I had some very bad blood for this deck when I first heard about it. I thought Espeon-GX was an awful inclusion, and I believed it was atrocious in any mirror match. As it turns out, I couldn’t be more wrong about that. Espeon is truly fantastic against any other Garbodor deck, and I guess it just took me playing the deck firsthand against other Garbodor builds to truly solidify that notion for myself. After a while of playing, I noticed that the deck only had two glaringly bad matchups, those being Greninja BREAK and Zoroark BREAK decks.

Ohio Special Event

I went to Origins with a group of friends, including Cody Walinski and fellow PokeBeach writer, Ryan Grant. The three of us weren’t entirely sure what to play at first, but after a few games the night before, we decided it was definitely best to go with Espeon-GX / Garbodor. Cody was originally going to play the rogue Gallade deck that’s been going around, but I talked him out of it. Ryan and I considered Greninja for a bit, but were turned off from it because of the best of one match format for the event and ‘ninja’s inconsistencies. Espeon with Garb seemed to have the best overall matchups of anything, and beat the decks we expected most at the event: Decidueye-GX / Vileplume, Garbodor / Drampa-GX, Garbodor / Espeon-GX, and Metagross-GX. Now we weren’t forgetting about Zoroark, because we did expect it, but the matchup was close enough to feel comfortable about, as well.

06/16/2017 | Columbus, Ohio

Espeon-GX / Flareon / Garbodor / Oricorio | Standard Format

Round 1 versus Volcanion / Volcanion-EX / Starmie / Turtonator-GX 0/1/0

Round 2 versus Decidueye-GX / Vileplume / Drampa-GX / Tapu Koko 1/1/0

Round 3 versus Espeon-GX / Garbodor / Oricorio 1/2/0

Round 4 versus Tapu Bulu-GX / Vikavolt 2/2/0

Round 5 versus Tapu Bulu-GX / Tapu Koko-GX / Vikavolt 3/2/0

Round 6 versus Alolan Ninetales-GX / Zoroark / Octillery / Tapu Koko 4/2/0

Round 7 versus Decidueye-GX / Vileplume / Glaceon-EX / Jolteon-EX 5/2/0

5/2/0 | 16th Place

Overall, I did okay. I got the points I was looking for to fill my last finish from Regional Championships and Special Events for the year, but I missed out on a higher point-bearing finish from my two losses, which were from drawing dead when it mattered most. The first was a loss after my second turn, and the next I actually made close, but drawing and passing for multiple turns really cost me the game, especially since I went first and had the advantage. The list you’ll see soon has a Brigette in it, which I did not play. While up to the event I had been testing Brigette over Pokémon Fan Club in the deck, at the last minute, my friends convinced me to make the switch to the Club. While I agreed in theory at the time, I think the advantage you gain with Brigette and grabbing three Basics is monumentally better than the off chance that you open with just a Pokemon Fan Club, and no other Supporter (that being the reason I decided to play it). As far as my other games went, they were generally simple, and not very stressing. My last game was awesome since I won with Oricorio’s Supernatural Dance to finish a Knock Out on a Decidueye-GX.


Pokemon (19)

4x Eevee (SM #101)3x Espeon-GX (SM #61)1x Flareon (AOR #13)3x Trubbish (BKP #56)3x Garbodor (GUR #51)1x Garbodor (BKP #57)2x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Shaymin-EX (RSK #77)1x Oricorio (GUR #56)

Trainers (30)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)3x N (FAC #105)2x Lysandre (AOR #78)1x Hex Maniac (AOR #75)1x Brigette (BKT #134)4x VS Seeker (PHF #109)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x Float Stone (BKT #137)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)2x Super Rod (BKT #149)2x Field Blower (GUR #125)

Energy (11)

7x Psychic Energy (EVO #95)4x Double Colorless (SM #136)

Deck Breakdown

4 Eevee, 3 Espeon-GX, and 1 Flareon

Playing four Eevee maximizes your chances of drawing it and, more importantly, starting with it. Using Psybeam on your first turn is super powerful. You only need three Espeon-GX, and sometimes two, even, so that’s all you should play. A Flareon is clutch for the Metagross-GX matchup, which is otherwise close to unwinnable.

3 Trubbish, 3 Garbodor, and 1 Garbodor

Three Trubbish is unconventional; most players use four. This deck is an Espeon-GX deck first, in my opinion, and you rarely use Garbodor. This being said, I’ve had a lot of success with just three Trubbish, and it frees needed space for other cards in the deck. As for the Garbodor, having three with Trashalanche is perfect for matchups where you don’t need the Garbotoxin one. You will never need more than one Garbotoxin, since you don’t use it every game.

2 Tapu Lele-GX and 1 Shaymin-EX

These are your support Pokemon, and most lists are just playing two Lele. Shaymin-EX is still incredibly good, especially in this deck. I have found myself using it often to dig for an Energy if I miss one after my Supporter for the turn, or to hit something useful after an N. Having an extra draw Pokemon is great to have in general.

1 Oricorio

This deck can struggle against Vespiquen without this card, and Oricorio is surprisingly good in general against other decks in this format to finish Knock Outs.

4 Professor Sycamore, 3 N, and 2 Lysandre

Here are the staple Supporters of this deck. Four Professor Sycamore are important in this deck to have consistent draw throughout the game, and I like playing a fourth so that Tapu Lele-GX still can have a solid draw Supporter target in the late game to draw more cards. N is obviously fantastic in this deck as well, and it’s crucial to have multiple copies so you can avoid playing down many Item cards in mirror matches. Having three is just right so that you have a consistent stream of them in the early game, and in the late game you can rely on using VS Seeker to retrieve N and replay it. Two Lysandre is just fine, as you use it semi-frequently and having two is great to avoid Prizing issues.

1 Hex Maniac and 1 Brigette

Both of these cards have niche use, but Brigette is the more important of the two. In my Origins list, I did play a Pokémon Fan Club. I had been testing Brigette over the Club for a while, but my friends convinced me otherwise at the last second. The thought behind Pokemon Fan Club is pretty simple: if you start with a Fan Club as your only Supporter in your hand in the beginning of the game, you use it to grab a Tapu Lele-GX. You can also use it do fetch a Shaymin-EX, and draw a few more cards. I think Brigette’s upside of grabbing three Pokemon is far too much to pass up on, and it is the better option overall. There were a few times in the tournament that I wished I had a Brigette — it would have made my life much easier. Hex Maniac is fine in a single copy, and I’ve even thought about taking it out altogether. It is, however, very nice to have against Decidueye-GX decks, as well as Volcanion-EX builds, so it’s still worth the inclusion.

4 VS Seeker and 4 Ultra Ball

Having four of each of these is crucial in this deck for consistency purposes.

4 Float Stone and 3 Choice Band

Four Float Stone is integral to achieving the turn one Psybeam with Espeon-GX. Aside from that, it has many uses, and it’s particularly good on Espeon-GX itself. In the mirror match you can Retreat for free out of Confusion, and against decks that play Field Blower, you can have a steady supply of Float Stone for your Garbodor’s Garbotoxin. Three Choice Band is just right, and two, to be honest, could be sufficient. I do like three, though, to increase your odds of drawing it when you need it.

2 Super Rod

Here’s another thing I have a differing opinion on than most. While I like Rescue Stretcher as a card and think it’s good and all, I think that in most decks Super Rod is better overall. I think it becomes “live” earlier than Stretcher, since this deck plays a lot of Psychic Energy, you’re going to be finding yourself discarding them at times. I love the extra utility of Rod in general, and especially in this deck, it’s just superior to a Rescue Stretcher package.

2 Field Blower

Since you don’t play any Stadium cards, having two of these is super important, and additionally, it’s great to use to discard Tool cards from your opponent’s field to make Psybeam more powerful, and to fuel Garbodor’s Trashalanche attack.

7 Psychic Energy and 4 Double Colorless

Some lists are playing eight Psychic Energy, but the odds of opening with one are affected so slightly, that by playing one less you can make room for the second Super Rod, which I love. Four Doubles is obvious, as you need it to attack with Espeon-GX’s Divide GX and Psychic attacks frequently.

Other Options


This could replace the Shaymin-EX, because sometimes I like the ‘guru more. Against late game Ns, Oranguru is always fantastic, especially in mirror matches.

A Fourth Trubbish

While I have three right now, that’s not to say I don’t want a fourth. I do very much! It was a tough cut to make, but I just couldn’t find room anywhere else in the list.

An Eighth Psychic Energy

This would be for increasing your odds of starting with one, and like I said, the change isn’t enough to warrant this inclusion. You would probably have to cut the second Super Rod, and I love having the recovery of two Rod in this deck.

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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