Experts' corner

Gabriel Semedo

Why Mewtwo/Garbodor is the BDIF and How to Counter It

Gabriel Semedo takes a look at what he considers the best deck in the format.

09/19/2016 by Gabriel Semedo

Hello, everyone! Right after Worlds I decided to take a little break from the game and I got back into Pokémon TCG about a week ago. I think this gap where we don’t have any tournaments going on are important to free our minds a little bit of the game and also prepare ourselves to grind again on the following season. People that are really into Pokémon TCG competitive play know that a season can be intense and tiring at the same time, and there are weekends that you will spend it all playing and sometimes traveling from place to place for a few hours as well. At first I thought I’d take little more time off Pokémon TCG but I love this game too much and the maximum time I could get my mind off of it was like 2 weeks. Right, today I’ll bring you some thoughts on my Worlds campaign with M Audino and then take a look at the current Standard format. 

Worlds Recap

Back when I was playtesting for Worlds I’ve always had 3 decks in mind: M Audino/Yveltal, Yveltal/Zoroark and Waterbox. My lists for Yveltal/Zoroark and Waterbox were pretty much completed, so I put some effort towards M Audino/Yveltal. M Audino is a good Trevenant, Night March and Vileplume counter and I felt like it has a decent chance against all decks in the metagame. Eventually I was able to finish my list for M Audino and my testing showed some exciting results. I also had the luxury to spectate the whole day one of Worlds since I had my day two invite, and I thought Vespiquen could see a lot of play on day 2 of Worlds since there were tons of Waterbox decks on day 1.


Unfortunately I did not face any Night March, Trevenant or Stage 1 deck (Zoroark, Vespiquen), I only played against hard matchups, but I still feel like hadn’t I misplayed so much I could’ve got into top 32 and get myself $1500. I don’t regret using M Audino/Yveltal, seeing that Yveltal helped me tons against Zygarde/Vileplume and Darkrai/Max Elixir. If I ran a variant that looked more like Ito Shintaro’s deck I would probably lose those games. In the Worlds Top 8 there were a lot of decks I would’ve liked to face like Night March, Greninja, Vespiquen, etc. I’m happy that M Audino took Worlds, which makes my deck choice not that crazy. 

New Season, new format

Right now with the rotation the whole competitive scene has changed. A lot of cards that did not see play before have the chance to thrive. Cards like Garbodor, Fighting Fury Belt and EXP. Share are way more powerful now simply because there is no way of removing Tool in the current Standard Format. I feel like this is a big flaw in the game and by the next set coming out we can get this sorted if we get a Starting Megaphone reprint, for example. Right now the format is filled with Mega Pokémon like M Rayquaza and M Mewtwo being the big ones, and also M Scizor coming right behind then since it can counter Mewtwo and also can be a pain to M Rayquaza since it gets wrecked by Garbodor and Parallel City that are run in M Scizor. M Rayquaza needs a full 8-Pokémon Bench to OHKO M Scizor. Garbodor is a very strong card since we lack tool removal right now, but also it is a very consistent and easy to bring to the board. It doesn’t take too much space in a deck, all you need is a thin line of Garbodor like 2-2 and a couple of Float Stone and you’re good to go. It can save you from bad spots, like Mew FCO potentially knocking out a Mewtwo with ease. It also shuts down decks that rely on Abilities like Greninja and Volcanion. Garbodor will reign the metagame until we have a way of effectively dealing with tool removal. Your best bet right now is to focus on decks that don’t rely on Abilities like Yveltal/Zoroark, Rainbow Road Xerneas and Mega Pokémon in general. 

Why Mewtwo/Garbodor is BDIF

Like I said before, I just got back into playing Pokémon TCG a week ago and my first choice of deck was M Mewtwo/Garbodor. Mewtwo is my favorite Pokémon and I was really happy that it could see a lot of play in the current format. I studied the deck a bit and started working on my first list for the deck on PTCGO. The deck seemed to have a huge potential and an easy mechanic, but of course had its flaws. After a few days I decided to take it to a local tournament and ended up winning the tourney. While playing I could see more flaws in the list but also realized how powerful the deck is. The main reason of Mewtwo/Garbdor is BDIF right now is because of your consistency, huge and fast damage, easy to play and the security of Garbodor eliminating possible big counters like Mew FCO. Probably when Regionals come out, M-Mewtwo/Garbodor will be countered, because players are getting better in the new rotation and understanding the game every single day, but now where everything in format is new, all you need it's a simple and powerful deck that to destroy every unfinished, inconsist and/or not well tested ideias of Mewtwo counter.

M-Mewtwo/Garbodor deck

4-3 M Mewtwo-EX

At first I felt like a 4-4 line was a must since M Mewtwo is the only attacker of the deck, though by playing Super Rod you can do fine with a 4-3 line.

2-1 Garbodor

Again, another evolution line that could’ve been a 2-2 line, but I already feel there is a huge impact of Garbodor in the metagame where decks are sort of prepared for getting their Abilities shut down. Also, we have the one Super Rod that can get ourselves a second Garbodor if needed.

4 Professor Sycamore, 2 N

It is probably the perfect count for the deck. Playing Professor Sycamore can be painful at times because you can throw away important resources at the wrong time, such as Float Stone, Spirit Links, Mega Turbo, M Mewtwo-EX, etc. Even if you play high counts of this card I feel like Sycamore can be harmful at times. For N, I think is a very strong card in the early game, especially because it keeps your resources in deck. Late game it becomes quite weak since M Mewtwo deck can get fast Prizes.

1 Skyla

At first Skyla was a 3rd N, but I feel Skyla can be good at any stage of a game. Even though it can be seen as a rhythmical type of card I see a lot of value in it. If I get it on turn 1 I can turn it into an Ultra Ball, Spirit Link or a Float Stone, depending on what I need at the time. By the late game, Skyla is not as powerful as Sycamore, but definitely stronger than N. It can turn itself into a VS Seeker/Sycamore, Mega Turbo, or an Ultra Ball for the last Shaymin in deck. Skyla is an incredible card to find key cards in deck without being destructive.

1 Lysandre

I could definitely run a second copy of it, but M Mewtwo can be quite defensive if I want to if I try to explore the Damage Change route. This way Lysandre doesn’t seem to be as needed. If you really want to run a 2nd Lysandre in the list, I’d drop a Parallel City for it.

1 Pokémon Ranger

At the local tournament I took the deck, I faced a deck that played two Regice and simply could not inflict damage to them. My route was to keep “healing” my M Mewtwo via Damage Change until their deck was left with no cards. Keep in mind that Damage Change transfers the damage but it is suddenly denied by Regice’s attack effect. Had I not been able to do that, I would’ve lost for sure. Pokémon Ranger can be good against Glaceon, Jirachi and Giratina-EX as well. Against Giratina, if they knock out Garbodor then we’re unable to attack them with M Mewtwo-EX. We need to go for another Garbodor, and in order to attach Float Stone onto it we need Pokémon Ranger to deny Chaos Wheel’s effect.

3 Trainers' Mail

I believe it is a good count to bring speed and consistency to the deck. We need a lot of little pieces in order to get our board set up, like Spirit Link, Float Stone, Professor Letter, Mega Turbo, etc.

4 Mewtwo Spirit Link


4 Mega Turbo

This card can be way too clunky in the early game and there is not a lot you can do about it. If you need to discard it you will discard it, unless you can go with N instead. But still I feel it’s worth the space since you will be able to have like 2 left in the mid game and the extra Energy are crucial to the deck in order to deal a lot of damage or be able to Damage Change effectively.

2 Parallel City

This card is incredible in my opinion. Garbodor along with Parallel City can be all it takes to defeat a M Rayquaza deck. The other side of the Stadium can let you discard Pokémon from your Bench and also reduce damage from stuff like Flareon-EX, Volcanion-EX, Greninja, Glaceon-EX, Vespiquen, M Sceptile and many others.

1 Professor’s Letter

It fits perfectly into the deck since we now lack Battle Compressor and the only way of discarding Energy is via Ultra Ball or Sycamore. By using Professor’s Letter I can guarantee a turn of Energy drop and also discard the other Energy to retrieve it back later with Mega Turbo. It also thins out the deck a little bit in order to get better draws.

6 Psychic Energy

This is probably the lowest count you can go with. I feel like 5 is way too risky and 7 Energy is probably ideal, but since we run Professor’s Letter we can easily run 6 Energy.

Even though the deck is solid, strong, consistent and easy to pilot I still think it has a really bad late game. The high counts of Spirit Link, Mega Turbo and Stadium can be troublesome when you see yourself getting N’d to three cards. Moreover, sometimes you need to commit 4 or 5 Energy onto a single M Mewtwo to score a big knock out, and if your opponent is able to knock out you back and also N you, the chances of getting back into the game are slim. Still, I feel this deck is the strongest right now even though there are hard counters for it right now like M Scizor.

How to counter it

There are a few ways to counter M Mewtwo/Garbodor deck, and I’ll talk about three consistent ways of doing that.

M Gardevoir EX: This card pretty much can autowin against M Mewtwo. It only need two Energy to score a knock out on a M Mewtwo, while M Mewtwo needs 5 Energy to Knock it Out in return.

Zoroark BREAK: It can copy Psychic Infinity with a single Energy. Moreover, if we attach an Assault Vest onto Zoroark and sum up its resistance to Psychic, M Mewtwo will need 6 Energy to knock out a Zoroark BREAK with Darkness attached.

Giratina-EX: Most M Mewtwo decks run 2-2 Garbodor, with no Hex Maniac or Pokémon Ranger. If Giratina-EX is able to score a knockout a Garbodor, M Mewtwo won’t be able to get back into the game since it can no longer attack Giratina-EX, thanks to its Ability and also they won’t be able to attach Float Stone to a second Trubbish/Garbodor since Chaos Wheel denies it.


These are my first thoughts on the rotation. Right now, M Mewtwo is the strongest and most consistent deck and the other decks are trying to adapt against it, especially to deal with Garbodor and M Mewtwo’s insane attack. I believe there are a lot of things to happen in the metagame, with new decks coming out. On my next article I will talk about M Mewtwo counters, new decks in the format, and some strategies that are still available in the new Standard format like Exp. Share that can be huge in decks like Darkrai-EX decks and Xerneas BREAK decks. Another big card is Fighting Fury Belt that makes huge Pokémon-EX so hard to Knock Out, but right now it cannot be countered with ease.

Anyway, I hope you liked it and thanks for reading!


[+14] okko


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