Experts' corner

Aaron Tarbell

Win San Jose Regionals With Board-state

Aaron presents some of his favorite decks for taking down the San Jose Regional Championship.

11/23/2017 by Aaron Tarbell

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The Old but New


Hello 60cards readers! I'm so angsty today. I hate missing out on San Jose Regionals; I feel it's a tournmaent I could win! Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend, but hopefully, some of these ideas might lead to your success this weekend. Today I will be bringing you two exciting deck ideas for the upcoming expanded regionals in San Jose.

In order to know what to play in a Regional, it is important to know what you might be playing against, and given that there have only been two new sets added to the already-large card pool, it would be too Farfech’d to expect some of the same decks from Florida to perform well again. This means we should be prepared to play against the Garb box list that Ryan Sablehouse piloted to a win, Bob Zhang’s Trevenant, and old favorites--including Sableye/ Garbodor, Turtonator Ho-oh, Speed Darkrai, and Night March.

The rising popularity of Lycanroc/ Zoroark leads it to be a strong contender for this weekend as well. Looking at Zoroark/ Golisopod’s recent success with taking down the London Intercontinental Championship (coupled with my affinity for the deck in Expanded) it should definitely be included as one of the potentially strong decks for this weekend as well.

Of these decks, the ones to benefit from Shining Legends and Crimson Invasion the most are the ones that can take advantage of strong, new cards like Zoroark-GX, Counter Catcher, Gladion, Counter Energy, Latios, and Silvally-GX. So now that we have a pretty concise list of what decks we might see, let’s decide on what we might want to play into this meta, and how we want to adjust these lists to integrate some new cards.

Sableye/ Garb

Firstly, if I were attending San Jose this weekend, I would be heavily inclined to play Sableye/ Garbodor. While this deck has traditionally been more skill-intensive to play; in fact, a mighty sponge once claimed, “This isn’t your average darkness. This is…ADVANCED darkness!” Sableye has a very strong spot in the current meta and has the potential to dominate the top tables. The deck focuses on using energy denial and hand manipulation to run the opponent out of resources, and the end game is to eventually deck out the opponent. The problem with the deck before was that it didn’t have a way to knock out big threats, its initial setup could be rocky until it established full control of the board state, and it had a hard time dealing with not being able to play its items. As of last format, though, these lists have adapted to run a few Guardians Rising Garbodor and PFGD Blend Energy to give the deck access to Trashalanche, taking knockouts on Pokémon that manage to become threats even after a dozen Crushing Hammer flips. Having access to some potentially devastating attacks also gives the deck some ability to race for prizes if game three of a match is reached and going for an unbeatable board state would take too much time. That was tossed in with Latias-EX, a card that can beat the scariest item lock deck, Trevenant. And then they added some Garbage Collection Trubbish to get back Team Flare Grunt against Seismitoad EX, propelled the whole garbage creation to become the best deck in format. Some of the most well-known names in the game including Igor Costa, Jimmy Pendarvis, and Mees BrenninkmeijerWerbenjagermanjenson have all seen some success with this deck at recent regionals and special events, including multiple Top 32 and higher placements.

The deck has a win condition of making its opponent go through 54-59 of their cards every game and that is pretty much stagnant (give or take a few from effects that add cards from the discard to the deck). Since Sableye/ Garbodor is a deck that abuses the most powerful items in format, the more powerful items in format, the stronger the deck becomes. Since I have had success with renditions of Mees’s decks in the past, rivalling Travis Nunlist as my choice for the number-one deck builder in the game, I have chosen to use his Bilbao Special Event Top 32 list as the base list. Prior to writing this article, I am not sure if Mees has included his reasoning for some of his card choices, so I will try to explain some of the necessary counts and then get into how we can change the deck to make it abuse some of the new cards.

Initial Card Chocies

Here is how I see the uses of some of the important cards in the deck.

3 Puzzles of Time

Puzzle of Time was one of the greatest assets this deck ever received, and therefore is the main engine of the deck. By cleverly using Junk Hunt every turn for Puzzles of Time, the deck is then able to have access to all of its own resources rather than just its items, and it able to evaluate and respond to the opponent's turn. Before this card, the deck pretty much had to guess if the opponent was going to attach an energy the next turn or do nothing. If the opponent were to do nothing, it was more beneficial to grab Trick Shovels to try to continue to force the  opponent into dead drawing. However, if the opponent were then able to attach energy, getting back a combination of cards like Crushing Hammer and/or VS Seeker was more appropriate in order to remove the energy until the opponent was unable to attach again. Now that Puzzle of Time gives the deck the option to decide what it wants back on the player's turn, there is no more guessing at whether or not to grab those Crushing Hammers, which may or may not be helpful on that turn. These cards are super important, so why run just three? Sableye/ Garbodor is a deck that needs options in order to win. With so many powerful Trainers to use, there has to be some point where the deck sacrifices a little bit of consistency in order to fit in all the situational cards that make winning games easier. Having three Puzzle of Time cards make it so the deck can still win even if one is prized, but since Sableye only needs to have two in the discard or hand to make them usable cards, cutting the fourth allows for even more of the much-welcomed resources and options that the deck thrives on such as Delinquent, Trashalanche Garbodor, and more.




The Uses of the One-of Supporters

I will not spend too long on this since Expanded is a format full of one-of supporters, but this gimmick warrants some explanation. Most decks in expanded play four VS Seeker, coupled with several nice one-of supporters, so the VS Seekers become super powerful by the end of the game, since they can activate so many different effects. The one-of supporters in this deck are even more effective than in others, since Puzzle of Time and Junk Hunt can effectively recycle them infinitely.

- Delinquent: This, combined with the one-of Parallel City, makes it easy for the deck to put the opponent down to a hand of zero at any time their hand reaches three or less. Since the goal is to get the opponent to do nothing for a few turns while Trick Shovel makes sure they draw nothing useful, this is probably the most powerful (or, at least, my favorite) combination in the deck.

- Ghetsis: It is a beautiful turn-one supporter, especially in this deck, since if it hits a good amount of cards, and the opponent is unable to draw well early on, Sableye can establish the lock early, and the game can just end. Also, as with all expanded decks that run it, a well-timed Ghetsis when an opponent is choosing to hold a VS Seeker instead of play it can end the game. So just having one in the deck leads to being able to gain knowledge on what will happen on the following turn, and Sableye is the best deck at abusing gained knowledge such as what supporters an opponent will play.

- Guzma and Lysandre: Having both provides every option for the player to choose which two Pokémon to be in the active position. Half of the time, deck out options come from an opponent being unable to retreat to something they want active. Though having Guzma in the format has now given most decks a ton more outs to switching Pokemon to the active spot, forcing an opponent to play Guzma over a draw supporter can lead to establishing the deck’s ultimate lock earlier.

- Hex Maniac: This card might be a little underwhelming because of how often the situation for it arises, but, for the situations it’s needed in, it can be necessary. It is a fine first-turn supporter to potentially ability lock the opponent the entire game, inhibiting their entire set up. It’s a nice supporter for when the opponent tries to knock out the ability-lock Garbodor to get abilities back the following turn and the deck is unable to re-establish ability lock without it. It is also good for getting around Trevanent’s item lock early in order to Ultra Ball for Latias-EX.

- Team Flare Grunt: Guaranteed Crushing Hammer on the active is always good, and the guarantee of removing a basic energy off of the active makes it a guaranteed spot in the deck.

- Plumeria: Like Team Flare Grunt, but worse. The situations it is better in makes it a pretty nice card to have though.

- Team Rocket's Handiwork: Whenever the lock has been established, and a few turns need to be shaved off the game, or Trick Shovel has not guaranteed that the opponent will draw nothing the next turn, these bad boys and girl speed up the game. It also helps to get items in the discard for early Garbodor if necessary.

4 PFGD Blend Energy and 2 Basic Dark Energy

Garbodor is a very good attacker and being able to abuse it early is nice. Four Blend Energy help the Trashalanche attack be consistent when it is necessary, and BrenninkmeijerWerbenjagermanjenson stated on his post that he ended up winning by taking prizes more often than decking out his opponents.

1 Shaymin-EX and 1 Tapu Lele-GX

As stated priorly, one of the major flaws with this deck is that it can lose when it does not set up as quickly as it would like to. The early Set Up from Shaymin-EX is welcomed to hit the necessary combination of cards to start recycling Puzzle of Time and Junk Hunt over and over. The Tapu Lele-GX makes hitting Ghetsis on turn one much more accessible than just Battle Compressors combined with VS Seeker. The Tapu Lele GX coupled with four Ultra Ball provides five additional single card outs to choosing a turn one supporter, assuming the Tapu Lele GX is not prized.

So, now that we understand some of the choices Mees BrenninkmeijerWerbenjagermanjenson made for his successful list, now it is time to spice the list up with some cards from new sets and maybe a card or two from before to adjust to the new meta.

Cards to Consider

Here are a few cards that I would like to include in the deck to bring it up to date in the new format.

Counter Catcher

Back in the day, when Pokémon Catcher was first printed, it did not require a flip, and it was the definition of busted. As soon as the card came out, it became a three to four card staple in almost every deck, with most favoring a consistent four. Now that the card has become a flip, and there are guaranteed switch effects as supporters, which allow them to be recyclable with VS Seeker, Pokémon Catcher has been made almost unplayable in Expanded. But if the card was able to be used without a flip and had the potential to be recycled in some way, there would be no way the card would not see play in almost every Expanded deck. Now, while Counter Catcher might have a stipulation that makes it not the most busted card in every deck, Sableye Garb intends to go down on prizes in the majority of games. Also, the card here is able to be recycled with consistent use of the secondary effect of Puzzle of Time, and it now almost regains the brokenness of the original Pokémon Catcher. Pulling off the same effect of Lysandre for 99% of a game, while not wasting a supporter, gives Sableye/ Garb much more control of a board state: for example,  abusing plays such as Counter Catcher/ Delinquent while locking non-threatening Pokémon active. Or, using Counter Catcher to bring up something with energy active and using Team Flare Grunt to remove it. While the latter option can, effectively, be done with a Plumeria, Counter Catcher typically provides more control over a game than Lysandre, and I am convinced this extra control means that Sableye/ Garbodor is now the best deck in the expanded format.


This card is not entirely necessary for Sableye/ Garb to succeed, which makes it a solid card to cut, but it can provide Sableye a way around one of its main loss conditions. Gladion can give Sableye/ Garbodor a chance to set up and not have to go for prizes if essential cards to decking out opponents are prized such as Trick Shovel, multiple Puzzle of Time, Enhanced Hammer, Team Rockets Handiwork, both Float Stones, etc. If any one of these unlikely scenarios occurs, Gladion is incredibly helpful, because it is much, much more unlikely to have two of these occur in the same game. Gladion also provides out to getting surprised by weird Ultra Beast GX attacks, such as Xurkitree’s, which can add important cards to the prizes after a game has started. Taking prizes with Garbodor GRI is another answer to these situations, but Gladion would definitely be a helpful option if space permits.

Peeping Red Card

This card offers Sableye unprecedented control over the opponent's hand by showing it you, and even replaces it with an equally random hand. One of the typical strategies for card management in Pokemon is to use all of the cards in the hand, except for one, that is usually a draw supporter or something that gives access to one for the next turn. Any deck can play Peeping Red Card to punish opponents that play their hand down to one, but it is weird in Sableye/ Garb since most opponents will try to keep their hand size above three to prevent Delinquent plays. Though it is less likely to have the impact that it would against other decks in situations where opponents have low hand sizes, it can make some plays that can be awkward a little easier to make by giving the Sableye/ Garb access to all information that both players have. First turn, this card can be used to look at the opponents hand to see if a Ghetsis play is appropriate, and if the turn one Ghetsis play would not lock the opponent out of the game from the beginning, it can force the opponent to refresh their hand to the same size for an extra chance to lock them out of the game. Since the card is a powerful item for controlling the opponent's hand, Sableye can definitely abuse it to win games it might not be able to without it, but the situation where it would allow an extra chance or guarantee to lock an opponent out of the game might be too rare to justify the space.

Hypnotoxic Laser

This is the oldie but goodie card I definitely would want to include going into a format where Sableye/ Garbodor is the best deck in format. This card basically acts as an extra Confuse Ray as an item. It is definitely helpful against decks that try to rely on a single, energy-heavy Pokémon by giving extra damage and potential preventing a turn of getting knocked out through sleep flips, but the card really shines in the mirror. The idea in the mirror is very similar to other decks where the player really wants to force the opponent's hand down to zero, and one of the easiest ways around a hand of zero in the mirror is to Junk Hunt. By using Hypnotoxic Laser, additional pressure of potentially losing active Sableye is applied, and if a player misses the chance to Junk Hunt, they can fall behind to the point where they will not win. With Sableye/ Garbodor not being nearly as popular as it was at that time, there was not a great reason to run the card last format. Even in the mirror, the card is not essential to winning, but its addition definitely takes a lot of thought out of a very thought-intensive mirror match and adds an additional and welcomed win condition in the mirror.

Now! The brand new special ultra list of Sableye Garbodor we have all been waiting for.


While the only two differences from this list are cutting the Lysandre and Plumeria for a Counter Catcher and a Hypnotoxic Laser, I feel this list is stronger than the old list for this tournament in just the right ways. I wanted to cut the Hex Maniac for a Gladion as well, but given the probably high percentage of Zoroark-GX in the meta, I feel the potential to cut off Trade is more than worth the spot over Gladion. Another option that might be nice for this weekend’s tournament would be to go to multiple Break Point Garbodor and a single Guardian’s Rising Garbodor in the list to keep draw abilities under control. I did not include a Red Card, even though I wanted to, because I do not think it is necessarily more helpful than any of the other disruption cards. With Counter Catcher in the deck, cutting Plumeria for Hypnotoxic Laser was acceptable since the Sableye Garbodor deck can force something active and then play Team Flare Grunt, but I do like the versatility of Plumeria in the deck.

Final Thoughts of Sableye:

The extra skill it takes in order to play the deck is showcased in that, the primary win condition for the deck requires intensive knowledge of the format, and decking a person out is not the most straight forward strategy. I do think that a few games of experience, coupled with some general knowledge of what to do against popular Expanded decks can leave even new players with some strong results this weekend.


Now, it is time for a look at the other side of the coin. My boy Trevenant just saw some success in Florida, but a very scary opponent in Zoroark-GX, which is liable to see a lot of play this weekend, might force some of even the most die-hard Trevenant players off of the deck. In fact, with the rise of Zoroark-GX and Sableye/ Garb with Latias-EX, the old school Trevenant is looking like a pretty scary play right now, but I am stoked to announce an updated list that can compete with the formerly auto loss decks. Let’s begin by looking at Bob Zhang’s awesome Daytona Regional runner-up list first.

Card Choices

We'll start by going over some card choices and discussing how they fit into Trevenant's strategy.

Three Dimension Valley and One Silent Lab

The three Dimension Valley were necessary at the time in order to accomplish one-energy Silent Fear attacks with Trevenant Break, and they were also nice to do spicy things like pay the retreat on the active and then use Ascension on turn one. One Silent Lab was also included in Bob’s list. While I do not know his thought processes on including this card other than for Giratina promo, it is now also a way for Trevenant to get around Latias-EX, though it is manageable for them if they can just hold out till they hit a Delinquent or Parallel city. Silent Lab is generally nice for preventing abilities that can help an opponent set up like Wonder Tag, Set Up, and Instruct.

The One-of Supporters

-Karen: This card can make matchups like Vespiquen and Night March as close to auto wins as possible for the deck by stripping away their damage output. Trevenant is also one of the decks that can benefit greatly from getting back all of its Pokémon pieces. This is due to effectively being a stage two deck that cannot use Rare Candy to skip the first evolution, and, preferably, everytime the opponent takes a prize, three Pokémon would be placed in the discard (Phantump, Trevenant, and Trevenant BREAK , since preferably all six prizes would be off of Trevenant BREAK).

-Guzma/Lysandre: This is the same drill as with Sableye/ Garbodor running both. Having one of each allows for late game VS Seeker to player to decide which Pokémon both players have in the active position.

- Team Flare Grunt and Xerosic: These make decks not attack as easily, and they provide options similar to running one of each Guzma and Lysandre. The fewer times the opponent attacks, the more Silent Fear attacks this deck is able to use, and the more likely this deck is to win.

-Delinquent: I have always loved Delinquent in Trevenant. Whenever an opponent typically notices that someone plays delinquent, they attempt to keep their hand size as comfortably above three as they possibly can, but no so much against Trevenant. The pressure of an early item lock is immense, as shown by the deck's prior successful finishes, and when people manage to escape it, they tend to play down their hand as much as possible and gain as much usage of their powerful items as they can. This results in most opponents playing down to having three or less cards in their hand anytime the item lock is broken, and Delinquent can usually allow the Trevenant deck to regain the advantage by taking away their hand and forcing the opponent to top deck a draw supporter in order to keep up with Silent Fear Pressure.

(Her name is Sharlene, thanks.)

-AZ: Talk about a blast from the past. I have not played AZ in my Expanded Trevenant list since Florida Regionals almost two years ago. The heal provided from the card is much appreciated, since the longer the Trevenant live, the more Silent Fear attacks can eat away at your opponent's board, and the faster Trevenant wins. Now it has an extra benefit, because if most people have started to run Guzma over Lysandre, we can use AZ to pick up the Trevenant’s deck only benched Pokémon. It is now unlikely that the opponent will be able to go off and take the knockout on a Trevenant Break under item lock, and the opponent is then unable to change their active with Guzma. This means, if a Garbodor without a Float Stone, or other high energy cost retreaters are in the active, the Trevenant deck is likely to get off enough extra Silent Fear attacks to win most games if they never retreat.

1 Head Ringer Team Flare Hyper Gear

This card is a little awkward for my taste, but it gets the job done. One of the most common tactics against Trevenant is to play down two Shaymin EX and just use Sky Return over and over. This sick combo can create a board state where Trevenant is just unable to deal enough damage to ever knock these dumb deer out. This has single-handedly altered every successful Trevenant list in some way. Some used Mewtwo-EX to Psydrive Shaymin-EX for a knock out, some used a combination Red Card and N to try to make the opponent lose access Shaymin-EX and knock them out with successive Tree Slams, and Bob opted to use a one-of Head Ringer that makes Shaymin’s attack cost too high to perform the strategy. This way prevents just two Shaymin-EX from performing the combo, but if the opponent can find three, they can continue the loop, and, therefore, it is not my personal favorite way to deal with it. Playing Head Ringer and Captivating Poké Puff over Mewtwo-EX also meant that Bob did not have to worry about running Float Stone or Mystery Energy to have ways to retreat the homie early.

Captivating Poké Puff

What a dandy card. This one-of is very smart. Though this boy can be unreliable, it is an easy answer to the most common strategy used against Trevenant. Against the deck that deals damage slowly to a lot of Pokémon, people tend to put less Pokémon in play, so the deck that deals damage to everything deals less damage. If Captivating Poké Puff is in the deck though, people are more likely to play their Pokémon that have effects that activate when played from hand including heavily played cards such as Tapu Lele-GX and Shaymin-EX. This ups Trevenant’s damage output, but then, the real kicker for this card comes into play. If it is used early and well, it can bench crucial Tapu Lele-GX and Shaymin on the first or second turn, and when this is coupled with Trevenant’s Forest Curse, the opponent begins the game with almost no usable cards and has to start top decking early if they do not start out with a supporter.

3 Bursting Balloon

There is no other way to run Trevenant than with Bursting Balloon. The tool supplements the Pokémon’s low damage output onto threats by putting the damage there for you. While there have been successful lists with Red Cards instead, Bursting Balloons deal with threats that build up while there are other, better disruption cards with Team Flare Grunt and Delinquent that slow down the opponent's whole field.

Zero Level Ball

Bob went for Trainers’ Mail over Level Ball, which is more of how the deck used to be built in old, standard formats; but I have never liked this build. It did couple well with Bob playing strong one-of item cards that he could search out easier. Level Ball is also underwhelming without Jirachi-EX in the deck, but having a 1-1 Jriachi-EX and Tapu Lele-GX split and two Level Ball cards is more consistent for turn one item lock. Jirachi-EX might just be too squishy for this format though, so this combination might not be as strong as it once was.

Cards to Consider

Now let's talk about some brand new cards that are going to push this deck straight to the top tables! I'm so excited with this new version of Trevenant, and I really see this deck winning regionals this weekend.

Counter Energy

I am too excited for the possibilities this card offers to Trevenant. The deck always used to run Double Colorless Energy just to Tree Slam whenever there was only one psychic on Trevenant and there was no Dimension Valley in play, and now we have on that can count as the colored energy necessary for Silent Fear without Dimension Valley in play? Sign me up. Trevenant usually takes most of its prizes at once and towards the end of the game, so whenever opponents take prizes on Trevenant earlier than Trevenant does, which they really need to do to keep up, the Counter Energy cards are turned on for Trevenant for most of the rest of the game. It also can be used as the extra colorless energy needed to Tree Slam, Ascension, and Silent fear when the deck is not behind on prizes, so a low amount of these energies would rarely get in the way. Also, having outs to Silent Fear for a single attachment that does not need Dimension Valley allows Trevenant to play more Silent Labs that can be super disruptive and beneficial whenever Dimension Valley is not needed. Also, this allows the real spice to be included in the deck!


Oh my, boy did this deck regain some hype whenever the psychic Tapu Lele non GX promo was announced! That card said for a Psychic and a Colorless, all damage counters on the opponent's side of the field could be moved around. That meant Trevenant could deal its spread damage, and when there was enough to take six prizes, Tapu Lele Promo could move them to the easiest targets to knock out EXs/GXs. This would speed up Trevenant’s clock by multiple turns and make Trevenant more resilient to decks that would have high HP Pokémon and heal their threats. That card probably had the potential to make Silent Fear a strong enough deck even if Trevenant did not ability lock the opponent. Whenever we give this deck the ability to attach two of any colored energy to a Pokémon in a single turn, we regain this option that we were never allowed to have. Unfortunately, we never got to experience the true golden age of Trevenant where Tapu Lele Promo and no Zoroark-GX was in format.

Bbut now we at least have a Tapu Lele Promo proxy in the form of Steam Siege Spiritomb. This boy is worse than the promo in many ways. First, its first attack is not X Ball, and, instead, its first attack is garbage. Second, the typing makes it harder to use than Tapu Lele Promo to pull off the good attack. Third, its attack is a little worse, but it works almost the same. This Spiritomb combined with Counter Energy is liable to allow Trevenant to at least enter an iron age if it can keep up with Zoroark-GX.

The Good Red Card

Peeping Red Card is the Red Card that Trevenant always kind of wanted. Rather than just telling an opponent to draw less cards and then praying the hand consists of mostly items, this new and improved red card can force opponents to keep their item-filled hands rather than needing to guess on it. Due to Trevenant wanting their opponents to draw specific hands rather than relying on manipulating the opponent’s draws like Sableye Garb, this card belongs in here a little more.

Lusamine (The Hot Mom Card)

This card is awesome (imho). It may not seem like it given the results of London and how little play it saw, but this card can shine in any deck that wants to get back multiple different supporters or needs to control stadiums, at least whenever it can be played multiple times. In a format with VS Seeker, a one-of Lusamine is much better. In Trevenant, being able to get back Silent Labs against Latias EX or both energy control supporters with one VS Seeker is awesome even if the supports cannot be played on the same turn. This Silent Lab recycle also makes a single Silent Lab much stronger against things that run Giratina Promo which has been a scary counter to this deck for a while, though it has not had a lot of success.

(How can you not love a hot, yandere mom?)

Mewtwo is Back in Town (Mewtwo-GX)

Sometimes the best school is old school, but even old school needs some new twists to keep it competitive. When I was looking for a way to counter Latias-EX without having to play Silent Lab, I came instinctively went back to Mewtwo-EX, because it definitely could go the distance with enough energies on it to Psydrive twice. But with Lysandre and Guzma in format, I was wanting something that could do it in one elegant attack. Whenever I discovered the new Mewtwo, I was much more excited. Not only could the GX attack take the knockouts that Trevenant direly needs sometimes, but whenever there was only one energy and dimension valley, it was able to deal significant damage while healing itself. This would definitely be my second choice for dealing with Latias, since I have fallen in love with Lusamine and a stadium split between Dimension Valley and Silent Lab, but I feel it definitely warrants some looking into.

The New List!

Now let’s get into the current format list. Firstly we’ll cover one that is similar to my tried and true old school version.

This list is literally what I always wanted Trevenant to be. I keep juggling the Poké Puff with a Peeping Red Card. Both of these cards are pretty sick in the right situation, so it is probably up to personal preference. This list took away the Trainers’ Mail from Bob’s list in favor of having more options with Spiritomb. Not having to play Trainers’ Mail against Garbodor Box is definitely a plus as well. With Lusamine, I would consider an even split between Silent Lab and Dimension Valley, because after a few attachments, Silent Lab tends to be better than Dimension Valley, but early Dimension Valley is super necessary for set up and early pressure.

Unfortunately, without Float Stone or Mystery Energy, I do not want to have a Pokémon with a two retreat cost, since it could easily get stuck in the active position and allow the opponent to set up using various powerful item cards. No Head Ringer leaves the deck without a direct answer to perpetual Sky Return attacks, but being able to get two N back from Lusamine and effectively make each VS Seeker two N leads me to believe that it is likely that the opponent will miss their combination needed for the Sky Return loop before this deck runs out of N. Necrozma-GX would be a great addition if you do not mind having a two retreat cost Pokémon in the deck. It can close out a game with Spiritomb in just a few turns, and counter energy does not impact it negatively for its GX attack. I know I am just glancing over it, but Necrozma GX’s attack is a way to get an additional three silent fears into play for Spiritomb so it should definitely be looked into.

Now it is time for the most degenerate version. This is not better,  simply much more luck based, but it does not require as much thought to win and you are not reliant on going down in prizes.

This is just Jonathan Crespo’s regionals winning list with better Red Cards and a Lusamine. While I feel this deck is typically worse against everything, especially with Zoroark-GX being the biggest threat, this list likely will not perform as well, but if you are ready to get on the Trevenant hype train and are not very confident playing with counter energy, this is the list for you. If you see they have a bad hand, let them keep it, and if they have a good one, make them redraw. If you do not know if it is good, if they have a draw supporter or a way to get one, make them shuffle it back. As gross as this version performs against opponents that manage to get Zoroark-GX into play, the deck is relatively solid against everything without Zoroark. The Silent Lab is recyclable and helpful now, and the list is consistent if nothing else. The list basically tries to donk the opponent by locking them out before they get going, and it does it well, but most matchups across the board are worse if the opponent can get going. Of the two versions, the first probably has a better time in the mirror, but Lusamine probably adds a welcomed amount of skill to the mirror.

Overall Trevenant seems like a bad play due to likely seeing a lot of decks with strong dark Pokémon, but each of these builds have the potential to have incredible success, and the worse that people imagine a deck will perform, the more likely the deck is to perform well due to not being teched for as much.

And now the moment that you all have been waiting for! Do you need something in this game? Do you sometimes not know what actions to take on your turn? Are you a fan of monotonous decks that have a chance to win and definitely take people by surprise in tournaments? Or do you just own some newer cards and need a deck to play this weekend? Well look no further, your boy Aaron has got your back, and I am here to provide you with one of the cheapest and easiest to pilot deck lists in the game that has a shot at the title.


Here are my quick thoughts on this new deck.

Talonflame and Greedy Dice are not necessary to win, but definitely can take the edge off. Start Talonflame if you can, search out Brigette, Eat Sloppily, take prizes with the GX attack as soon as possible, and attach Choice Bands when the opponent’s Pokémon has a lot of HP. This deck will beat Trev and probably Sableye.


Good luck everyone who competes in San Jose! I hope you have enjoyed my Thanksgiving special about Sableye/Garb and Trevenant. I really want to see one of these decks win San Jose Regionals. This is a great time to play Pokemon, and I am very excited about the new format. I will be back with new articles next week, and will be able to tell you about my Thanksgiving weekend League Cups. Thanks for reading!

[+14] okko


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