Hey guys!

Daytona is only moments away, so here’s a last minute metagame analysis of Expanded. Fortunately Alex has covered the most important decks here in Night March, Turtonator/Volcanion, Turbo Dark, Golisopod variants and Gardevoir GX, Yveltal. Between those he’s gone over most of the Top 8 of the Bilbao Special Event that was held last weekend, as that was won by Nico Alabas with Turtonator/Volcanion. Seismitoad/Garbodor, which I covered here took 2nd place, and most everything else has also been discussed in some way or another.

There’s one deck that I’m very excited about to see in the Top 8 that I want to discuss in depth today, and that’s Manuele Tartaglia’s Sableye/Garbodor deck. I’ve been in love with Sableye/Garbodor ever since Puzzle of Time was released. It looked like the deck was a goner for a while, but it looks like with the bigger emphasis on Expanded this season and the release of Trashalanche this deck has found new life.

By the way, if you’re looking for EU-based tournament results, this website is very useful in that regard. Not only does it keep track of who finished in what place, but it also lists their archetype and if available even shows you their deck list.

Normally I would take the highest performing deck list and use that as a base for analysis, but I’ve talked about the deck at length with a well-known player (both of mine and the community at large)  Mees Brenninkmeijer. We both have a history with playing this deck, loving the amount of options it gives the player and the dilemmas it puts opponents in. I think this is legimitately the hardest deck of any current format to pilot 100% correctly, let alone at the speed it sometimes takes. If you’d like to see the deck in action, Mees plays it on stream here in this VOD (around 2 hours in).

And this is the list he ran – not to the most impressive record ever (3-0-4) but enough to get him into the Top 32. In actual games I believe he went 8-3. Nonetheless, I will also address the differences between his and Manuele’s list after going over the deck in general.


Here’s the list:


Pokémon – 13

4 Sableye DEX
3 Trubbish NVI
2 Garbodor GRI
1 Garbodor BKP
1 Latias-EX
1 Tapu Lele-GX
1 Shaymin-EX ROS


Trainer Cards – 41

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
1 Team Flare Grunt
1 Ghetsis
1 Guzma
1 Team Rocket’s Handiwork
1 Lysandre
1 Delinquent
1 Plumeria
3 VS Seeker
1 Life Dew
1 Trick Shovel
4 Trainers’ Mail
3 Crushing Hammer
4 Ultra Ball
1 Super Rod
3 Puzzle of Time
2 Battle Compressor
1 Field Blower
2 Float Stone
1 Parallel City
1 Hex Maniac
1 Enhanced Hammer


Energy – 6

4 Blend Energy GRPD
2 Darkness Energy


Deck Overview:



Previous editions of Sableye/Garbodor had only one final goal: run the opponent out of cards in their deck. The easiest way to do this was usually to try and get the opponent stuck in a position where they could not attack and use Trick Shovel to control their top decks, discarding useful cards while keeping useless ones on top for them to draw. Once they were low enough you could start discarding with Trick Shovel indiscriminately.

Getting your opponent stuck in that position was always the hardest part though. Even though Sableye has no weakness it only has 70 HP, so just about anything KOs it in one hit, and the few things that do not (Seismitoad, Trevenant) have other nasty Item locking properties that Sableye does not enjoy. However, that smug grin of Sableye’s betrays that it has a lot more up its sleeve than just a fragile body: with Junk Hunt, it has the capability to get back 2 Puzzle of Time over and over again, and with that it opens up a whole toolbox of combinations that can leave your opponent incapacitated.

In the good old days one of the best ways to trap your opponent into submission was to drag up one of their benched Pokémon with Lysandre. This is now a lot less effective due to the existence of Guzma and its inherent switching effect though, so nowadays if you want to halt them in their tracks the best way tends to be to run them out of energy. For this purpose there’s 3 Crushing Hammer: enough so that even if you prize one, you can still get back two at a time with a double Puzzle should you need to. There’s also a Team Flare Grunt and the newer Plumeria for guaranteed energy discarding. Enhanced Hammer is most effective against Night March decks and their limited supply of Double Colorless, ensuring that no matter where they attach it they will lose it before their next turn, without using up your supporter.

To keep your opponent in a lock you’re going to have to find a way to get them a hand that doesn’t give them many options. This deck has a lot of tools to do so that often individually don’t work, but combined in the right sequence will put them in a bad spot. The most obvious way that players of low to mid skill levels will end up locked is by leaving themselves with 3 cards or less in hand, opening them up to a Delinquent to 0. Sometimes this isn’t by choice, but simply because they got N’d into a low hand size and didn’t find or didn’t want to refill their hand by playing a draw supporter. Ghetsis is a common way to get an opponent stuck with nothing right from turn 1. Each of these supporters can be found with the single copy of Tapu Lele GX in the deck, or fished from the discard at any time with VS Seeker or Puzzle of Time.

Once your opponent is drawing dead, you’ll want to make sure they don’t get back in the game by controling their topdecks with Trick Shovel and turning off abilities like Set Up and Wonder Tag with the Garbotoxin Garbodor.

Life Dew is the final piece of the puzzle that makes Sableye so hard to win against. Even if your opponent ends up knocking out your active Sableye, they won’t get a prize. This not only keeps them further away from winning the game before they deck out, but it also makes it harder for them to draw out of a dead hand as they won’t have access to the actual prize card (which cannot be controled unlike their top deck). And just like any card in the deck, Life Dew can be used many, many times throughout a game.

So far, this is mostly the old way Sableye plays with some new options. But with the release of Guardians Rising, it gained a new option and in fact a new way to win a game: Trashalanche.


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