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Counter Play: Spring Cleaning

Garbodor GRI 51Welcome back to Counter Play where we take a look at decks that can potentially counter decks in the current meta game. While it will be lost to rotation, we still have Garbodor with us now. This card has always crept on the outskirts of the metagame since its release. It jumps in and out as decks use more or less items and at times has come out to dominate tournaments. This is all thanks to its attack Transhalanche:

[P] Trashalanche: 20×
This attack does 20 damage for each Item card in your opponent’s discard pile.

For a single Energy attachment, there's potential for massive amounts of damage. There's no higher end limit to Trashalanche's damage either so it has the potential to keep on growing. With Alolan Muk TEU 84 also available with its ability Adventurous Appetite gives the best way yet to get those items in the discard pile. "When you play this Pokémon from your hand to evolve 1 of your Pokémon during your turn, you may look at the top 6 cards of your opponent’s deck and discard any number of Item cards you find there. Your opponent shuffles the other cards back into their deck." To make it even better there's Devolution Spray Z to help give it many repeated uses. 

We're going to show just how much damage this essentially budget deck can deal! It's time for a little bit of Spring Cleaning, let's take a look at the deck then show you some numbers!

Alolan Muk TEU 84Take a moment to consider, how many item cards on average are in the main meta decks? Don't worry, we've done the math for you! Taking averages from recent tournament results, we came up with these numbers:

  • Tapu Koko Spread - 21 Items = 420 Potential Damage
  • Pika/Rom - 21 Items = 420 Potential Damage
  • Zoroark - 16 Items = 320 Potential Damage
  • Zapdos - 22 Items = 440 Potential Damage
  • Malamar - 20 Items = 400 Potential Damage
  • Reshirard - 22 Items = 440 Potential Damage
  • Blacephalon-GX - 14 Items = 280 Potential Damage
  • Baby Blacephalon - 26 Items = 520 Potential Damage
  • QuagaNadel - 22 Items = 440 Potential Damage

Do those numbers baffle the mind? They are quite incredible! Now to be fair, you do need to get those items into the discard pile for the damage to stack on that high. Remember though that your opponent also wants to actually use the Items they have to make their deck run. This forces them to consider carefully which items they can use, limiting their choices. 

Let's do a little more math for you. What are the chances Adventurous Appetite will remove just a single item from the deck? The average of Item cards in all meta decks come to about 20 Item cards a deck. With this in mind you have a 33% chance of managing to discard at least a single item each time. This doesn't include what cards the opponent has in their hand. As the game continues and the deck thins your opponent will have to either play their items or put them back into the deck increasing your chances of discarding more and more.

Devolution Spray Z UNB 166However, you don't need to be doing maximum damage, you need to do enough damage to take down whichever main attacker they plan to field. This makes things get a lot more fun! Time for another list, let's see how many Item cards you need discarded to take down some major meta attackers:

Don't even get us started on Pokemon with a weakness to Psychic types! Remember, you'll be forcing them to discard while they need to use items to get themselves up and running. The simple fact of the matter is with a little luck you'll be destroying your opponent rather quickly. A single Adventurous Appetite could even set you up for some OHKOs! 

So how does this counter meta decks? The meta is highly focused on using Items currently in decks as we've shown. This deck can abuse that to deal the most damage more than almost any other deck. The time is ripe for Garbodor to make a comeback and crush opponents with its trashy might!


We hope you enjoyed taking a look at some of the math behind the trash with us! Now we want to hear what you think. Is Garbodor the strong counter the meta should fear? Did you try out this decklist at a tournament and dominate? Tell us in the comments below or tell the deckbuilder herself over on Twitter @LiteralGrill. Until next time, stay lit trainers!

- Linnea 'LiteralGrill' Capps


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