Experts' corner

Ryan Sabelhaus

"Takin' Out the Trash in Daytona Beach" - A Look at the Deck that Won Daytona Regionals and Two Other Favorites for the Expanded Format

After winning the Daytona Regional Championships, Ryan goes over the deck he used to win the event, along with two of his other favorite decks for the Expanded format!

11/02/2017 by Ryan Sabelhaus

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What’s going on, 60cards readers?! If any of you have been paying attention to the competitive Pokemon TCG scene, you would know that I recently won the Daytona Beach Regional Championships down in Florida! For this Expanded event, I piloted a Garbodor/Necrozma deck all the way through the field of around 650 players to take home the gold for CCG Castle and everybody here at 60cards. With the expected rise of Turtonator-GX builds of fire decks and Night March after their success at Ft. Wayne Regionals, Garbodor/Necrozma became a flexible pick that could match up with nearly any opponent that I sat across from. In an Expanded format with so many viable decks to choose from, it can be very tough to pick the “correct” deck with the best odds of winning the tournament. After many games of playtesting this format, two decks always stick out above the rest as the best choices in my eyes. These two decks are the Garbodor/Necrozma build that I played during Daytona Regionals, and the Turbo Turtonator-GX build that was very successful at Ft. Wayne Regionals. Both choices are extremely consistent and have very different strategies for achieving victory. While Turbo Turtonator-GX focuses on blind aggression and taking knockouts as quickly as possible with the use of Blacksmith to accelerate energy, Garbodor/Necrozma utilizes many different attackers to map out the best way to draw 6 prize cards against every matchup.

In this article, we will focus on my top 2 deck choices for the Expanded format and reasons for why these deck lists are great choices for large-scale tournaments. Both Garbodor and Turbo-Turtonator-GX are fantastic for these big Regional Championships that have 500+ players, as they offer great matchups across the board, and can make up for less than great matchups with other advantages, which we will discuss. Even with new sets coming out, these two decks will remain viable unless any of their crucial cards get banned from tournament gameplay, so be sure to consider them for future Regional Championships. As a final thought in this article, I’ll quickly go over the deck choice that was probably my favorite deck of the Daytona Regionals tournament and was a great call in the Expanded format, which was Aaron Tarbell’s Golisopod-GX/Zoroark deck that he finished in the Top 16 with. Without further ado, let’s jump into this article!

Garbodor/Necrozma – 1st Place Daytona Regional Championships

Deck Analysis

Here is the list that I used to win Daytona Beach Regionals! The list was originally created by Brad Curcio and my fellow CCG teammate Azul Garcia Griego. They had been working on the list for months in advance of the tournament. Both of these players are very keen on using Garbodor as the main attacker of their deck in major tournaments, which makes perfect sense, as Trashalanche is one of the strongest attacks in the history of Pokémon TCG. While Trashalanche is extremely powerful, this deck also focuses on using many different tech attackers, which are in the deck for any and every matchup that may be faced. These various tech attackers annoy the opponent by forcing them to deal with an array of threats. Most opponents will burn through items in an attempt to stop these tech attackers from overwhelming their board, which only strengthens the Trashalanche attack that Garbodor/Necrozma relies on. Let’s look at some of these tech attackers and learn why they found a place in the deck.

Trubbish PLS

While this may not be a “tech attacker,” it’s still very important to remember that Trubbish can be used to swing for big damage in many matchups. This can allow Garbodor/Necrozma to hit for a decent amount of damage on even the first turn of the game, when opponents are trying to play slowly and not use their item cards. Just hitting an opposing Pokémon-EX or Pokémon-GX for 80 damage with a Tool Drop attack can setup a possible Black Ray GX KO in the future. Tool Drop Trubbish is crucial in the mirror match because it can take cheap prizes without wasting a Trashalanche Garbodor, which is vital to keeping up in the prize exchange. If Trubbish is knocked out instead of a Garbodor, you are only losing one basic Pokemon. It’s fairly obvious that losing one card is much more manageable than losing two cards in addition to the one-turn time investment that evolving required. Since almost every single deck in the format plays a large number of Pokemon Tool cards, your opponent's board will likely fuel Tool Drop's damage as well as your own.


This card was crucial in so many matchups throughout the weekend, as it helped to even the playing field and allowed for Trashalanche to take knockouts much earlier than expected. In most situations, A Black Ray GX hitting at least 2 Pokemon-EX/Pokemon-GX was already enough to help swing some matchups and get crucial knockouts. The specific matchups that Necrozma-GX was most useful were against opponents that were using Night March, Speed Darkrai, Turbo Turtonator-GX, Gardevoir-GX, and Golisopod-GX decks. The card was amazing against nearly every opponent that I ended up facing, but these were the matchups that Necrozma-GX was most useful. Being able to use Black Ray GX for just a Double Colorless Energy with the help of a Dimension Valley in play made this attack almost impossible to play around. Just two cards were needed to pull off this powerful GX attack, which could easily be found through the use of Teammates. Very rarely was there a situation in which I could use Necrozma’s 1st attack, so I suggest trying to focus on the GX attack whenever piloting this deck.


Without the ability to utilize Dimension Valley to make attacks easier to use, Drampa-GX is the oddball of these tech attackers, but is simply too strong to keep out of this deck. With Righteous Edge being able to slow down opponents and force them to play cards to find resources, a simple one energy attack becomes a method of forcing opponents to use item cards and power up the Trashalanche attack. Not only that, but being able to use Big Wheel GX whenever a dead hand is drawn can help in sticky situations that would normally result in a loss. It isn’t the best GX attack in this deck, but can be used whenever necessary to avoid just outright losing from dead draws. The main reason for the inclusion of Drampa-GX is the Berserk attack, which hits for a massive 150 damage and can reach the crucial 180 damage mark with a Choice Band attached. This can be activated from a benched Pokemon with damage, which can just happen from natural damage or attaching a Rainbow Energy to a benched Pokemon. The only downside of this would be the 3-energy attack cost. If only there were some attacker that could copy Drampa-GX’s Berserk attack and also utilize Dimension Valley to only have this attack cost a Double Colorless Energy…


And here it is! The main inclusion for Mew is to work in combination with Drampa-GX to use Berserk for just a Double Colorless Energy, which can be a huge surprise against opponents that aren’t expecting 180 damage to come out of nowhere. If any of your Pokemon have any damage on them, all it takes is a Teammates to grab Mew and a Double Colorless Energy to have Berserk as an immediate option. With a Choice Band you’re swinging for knockouts on nearly every Pokemon-EX and Pokemon-GX that is viable right now. Aside from this combo, Mew is a fantastic attacker that can protect the main attacker during situations in which they aren’t needed in the active position. Prime examples of this would be against Night March, as Mew can come into the active position and copy a benched Oricorio attacking to spread damage around the board, while also forcing an opponent to use a Guzma on the next turn if they want to get Oricorio off the board. This will allow you to keep whatever is in your hand and not have to worry about N, as Oricorio can just come into the active position unless it was dealt with. Another good thing to remember is that Mew can copy any GX attacks as well, which can result in a Black Ray GX coming down without having to endanger two prize cards from Necrozma-GX being active. With so many different possibilities for attacking, along with a free retreat cost, Mew is an amazing addition to this deck.


This card is the MVP of my entire tournament run for sure. Mimikyu allowed me to stay in so many games by being an absolute menace against opponents that were using strong attacks. I’ll go over some of the attacks that I ended up using Copycat against:

  • Gallade came up to swing for a big knockout without any way of getting a return knockout from myself. A Teammates for Mimikyu and a Psychic energy fixed that and allowed me to get an easy prize card. 
  • An opponent used Zoroark’s Mind Jack to hit for 130 damage against one of my Tapu Lele-GX’s. I then played a Guzma and attached a Choice Band to copy Mind Jack for a knockout on their benched Tapu Lele-GX. 
  • Against an opponent that was using Sableye and Raichu to infinitely paralyze a Pokemon until they deck out, I played a Guzma to get out of paralysis and used Copycat to Junk Hunt back 2 of my VS Seekers. This allowed me to always have VS Seekers and never get locked in the active position. 
  • Against Trevenant BREAK, I was able to use Copycat on their Silent Fear to soften up all attackers to be one-shot by a Drampa-GX using Berserk. 

I could go on and on about situations in which Mimikyu helped to save me in many matchups, but it’s probably just better to say that Mimikyu is a mandatory addition in any Garbodor Toolbox deck. This card fills a role that cannot be filled by any other card in the game right now, which is to completely counter any opponent that is using one strong attack to take big one-shot knockouts. Whenever piloting this deck, always keep Mimikyu in your head during every turn and remember that attacks can be copied after a Guzma, to be used on benched Pokemon as well. Don’t sleep on the ghostly Pikachu-looking Pokemon!


Now that we’ve looked at the deck and some of the tech attackers being utilized, let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of Garbodor/Necrozma. For strengths, this deck obviously has a huge number of different attackers, which allows for the deck to be extremely flexible against anything being faced. Depending on the matchup, a player can choose which attackers to use that are most effective against that deck. An opponent is playing Night March? Use the initial Brigette to find an Oricorio and the Mew, which are both very strong attackers against Night March. You are facing a Turbo Turtonator-GX list? Go and find the Mimikyu to copy their Bright Flame attack to one-shot their Turtonator-GX right back with a Choice Band attached. More tech attackers means more options to choose from.

Another strength would be that Trashalanche is an unavoidable attack in some situations, in which it inevitably sweeps through games. Even if an opponent is attempting to play around Trashalanche through conserving their Item cards and playing very slow, there are situations in which an opponent MUST discard Items and strengthen the Trashalanche attack. A great example is when an opponent draws into a hand that only has a Professor Sycamore and a couple of Item cards. There is no way of avoiding the situation, as those Item cards are going to hit the discard pile and inevitably will allow Garbodor to reach one-shot potential on high HP attackers. Garbodor is just unavoidable in most situations, unless an opponent is drawing perfectly.

With so many positives, Garbodor/Necrozma honestly doesn’t have that many weaknesses. One of the main weaknesses that this deck can go through would be prizing an attacker that is crucial against certain matchups. Examples of this would be prizing Oricorio against Night March, or prizing Necrozma-GX against Speed Darkrai. Only playing one of each tech attacker, can cause for some awkward situations in which less-than-optimal attackers for that matchup must come up and try to help. Regardless, there are 3 games to be played throughout each series and it’s very unlikely to prize the same crucial tech attacker in 2/3 games.

Turbo Turtonator-GX – 2nd Place Ft. Wayne Regional Championships

Deck Analysis

So many of you may recognize this deck as the list that Sam Chen used to get 2nd place at Ft. Wayne Regionals. This was also the same 60 card list that I used to get Top 16 at the same event, and it ran perfectly throughout the entire tournament for me. During the win-and-in to make the Top 16, I ended up facing a tricky matchup against Sylveon-GX with 4 Silent Lab to completely shut down abilities throughout most of the games. This match ended in a tie, with both myself and my opponent missing out on the Top 8 from not having a winner.

Rahul has already covered this deck in his article, but I stated that I was going to discuss my favorite decks for the Expanded format and didn’t want to leave out Turbo Turtonator-GX. Since this deck has already been discussed in detail by Rahul, I’m going to quickly analyze the deck, go over the strengths and weaknesses that come with playing Turbo Turtles for a Regional Championship, and move on to a third deck choice in Golisopod-GX/Zoroark.

The point of playing Turbo Turtonator-GX is to go on the aggressive side and completely overpower an opponent before they even have a chance of retaliating. This is accomplished by rapid energy acceleration, which can come through multiple Blacksmith or Kiawe. Turtonator-GX is the main attacker of the deck, which means that energy must be re-attached to it nearly every turn to make up for the energy being discarded with Bright Flame. To get energy in the discard pile, this deck has a multitude of resources that include Battle Compressor, drawing through Scorched Earth, using Volcanion-EX’s Steam-Up ability, playing down an Ultra Ball, etc. With so many different outs for getting energy in the discard pile, utilizing Blacksmith on nearly every turn becomes easy to accomplish. Whenever Turtonator-GX can’t hit for quite enough damage, Volcanion-EX’s ability can come in handy for adding extra damage to swing for big one-shot knockouts. With such a simple strategy of utilizing blind aggression, it’s easy to see why this deck can perform very well at large-scale tournaments.


As stated many times throughout this article already, the main strength of this Turbo Turtles deck is the use of aggression. Playing an aggressive deck at these large-scale tournaments has helped many players achieve victory. This can be said about every major tournament that Night March has won. Night March is another deck that focuses on blind aggression and just swinging for big damage as many times as possible until all prize cards are drawn. If an opponent never has any chance of setting up their strategy and falls behind too far to come back, they will just lose games without ever having a shot. The same can be said about opponents that draw into bad hands, as aggressive decks can capitalize on these moments through taking prize cards fast and not allowing any comeback potential. Turbo Turtonator-GX is similar to Night March in terms of aggression, which is proven by these two decks being top contenders for the Expanded format currently. All it takes is a Battle Compressor and a VS Seeker for this deck to start using Bright Flame every turn.

Another strength of this deck is not having to rely on the baby Volcanion to power up all attackers, as normal fire decks in Standard must do. With Blacksmith being an amazing addition for the Expanded format, attackers can be powered up with ease by this supporter card during every turn, which allows for attacks to come down faster. After every time that a Turtonator-GX attacks, the only card necessary for a follow-up attack is going to be another Blacksmith or VS Seeker, which makes each turn very easy to navigate.

A major weakness of this deck is the inability to come back from a late game N, as an opponent can sometimes make a comeback after this happens. Turbo Turtles needs to constantly have energy cards to use for Steam Up, along with a Blacksmith or VS Seeker to get energy flowing on the board. Without any forms of internal consistency to keep drawing cards or get back energy cards, such as Oranguru or Starmie, there are situations in which dead hands are drawn and Turtonator can’t swing for a knockout. Whenever these situations happen, there is always the option to just use Nitro Tank GX to refuel up all attackers, but a supporter card will still need to be drawn to help keep the attacks and Steam Up’s flowing. With the list being extremely tight, it’s difficult to find room for these types of internal consistency to be added in, which basically means that drawing out of late game N’s and being a little lucky is sometimes a necessary evil to winning games with this deck.

Another weakness that comes with playing Volcanion-EX is the inability of a Brigette to get out every attacker like most other decks. Volcanion doesn’t have the luxury to waste a turn playing Brigette anyway, as the first turn is usually spent trying to get energy in the discard pile and capitalize on a Blacksmith or Kiawe to accelerate energy. Despite this, without a card to get out all of the deck's attackers at once, starts can sometimes be slow and games can be lost by not having a target to accelerate energy onto.

Golisopod-GX/Zoroark – Top 16 Daytona Regional Championships

Deck Analysis

While this deck wasn’t even on my radar for deck choices at Daytona Beach Regionals, I saw the strength of this deck when Aaron Tarbell piloted it to a Top 16 finish. Golisopod-GX is a very strong attacker, especially when paired with Zoroark to constantly accomplish the task of Golisopod-GX becoming the active Pokemon every turn. Just like the Garbodor/Necrozma deck, this Golisopod-GX/Zoroark deck is extremely flexible and has many different ways of attacking and avoiding knockouts. Whenever an opponent can’t reach a knockout, Golisopod-GX can be picked up through using an Acerola or Scoop Up Cyclone to negate all damage that was done. If an opponent is playing down too many Pokemon on their bench to execute their strategy, Zoroark can come in to punish them by using Mind Jack to hit for big one-shot knockouts. This damage can also be strengthened through the use of Target Whistle, which forces another Pokemon to hit the board and adds an extra 30 damage to Mind Jack. If an opponent is just focusing on using one strong attack to sweep through your attackers, the other Zoroark BLW can be used to copy any attack and throw them directly back at an opponent.

This deck isn’t necessarily the easiest deck to pilot throughout a large-scale tournament and can have some issues setting up two stage 1 attackers, but it is an extremely strong combination when it sets up correctly. With so many different strategies to use throughout each game, an opponent must constantly be afraid of over-benching Pokemon, discarding frail Pokemon-EX that can be Target Whistled back into play, or even just benching an attacker that can have their attack copied through Zoroark BLW. However an opponent decides to play will decide which strategy is most effective to use for this deck, which adds layers of complexity to this deck. This is certainly not one of those decks to just randomly pick up before an event to play, as it would take many games of practicing to learn exactly which strategies are most effective in different situations.


The main strength of this Golisopod-GX/Zoroark deck is going to be the variety of strategies that can be implemented against different opponents. No matter what deck is across from you, this build has attackers that can help against any matchup and multiple Rescue Stretcher to re-use them again and again. If you’re facing a Night March deck, just spread some damage around with Tapu Koko and then abuse Oricorio multiple times to take knockouts on their frail attackers. You can also get a free knockout on a discarded Joltik with Target Whistle, which can be a prize card that an opponent wasn’t expecting you to take. When you find an opponent that is using Gardevoir-GX, just use Golisopod-GX with only one energy attached to two-shot all of their attackers, while negating any damage done with Scoop Up Cyclone and Acerola. Even against an expected bad matchup like Turbo Turtles, this deck can just use Zoroark BLW to copy Bright Flame and stay ahead on the prize exchange. Even Golisopod-GX can start swinging for knockouts after just one Tapu Koko spread thanks to the help of an added 20 damage from Professor Kukui. After 20 damage has been done to a Turtonator-GX, First Impression with a Choice Band and a Professor Kukui will reach the needed 190 damage to take a knockout. Factor in some big hits from BKT Zoroark using Mind Jack, and this matchup against fire Pokemon doesn’t seem nearly as bad as would be expected.

A big weakness of this deck is the entire setup process, which involves setting up two different stage 1 lines and can be difficult without a good start. If a player gets the Brigette down and gets out many different basic Pokemon to evolve on the next turn, everything will work out just fine! If Brigette isn't used, every different basic Pokemon will need to be found quickly to assure that the stage 1 attackers get out quickly. With the Expanded format being extremely fast-paced, decks can’t afford to stutter for a turn and miss crucial damage, which can sometimes be the case for this deck. Another weakness is the lack of internal consistency that can cause a late game N to hit very hard. Without a copy of Oranguru or any other type of Pokemon-based draw, Ns to low numbers can be rough if resources are still needed to finish the game. This weakness is somewhat countered by Golisopod-GX only needing one energy card to swing for big damage, but when a crucial Guzma is needed to close out the game, it won’t always be the top card of the deck after an N to 1.


Well everybody, that wraps up another article. Hopefully everybody enjoyed the content and has been loving the current state of the Pokemon TCG. With both formats semi-healthy and a ban list being incorporated to clean up the game, the Pokemon TCG is really becoming more and more fun with each expansion! If you aren’t currently following me on any social media platforms, be sure to add me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter (@Sabelhaus_TCG). You can also find updates on the CCG Castle Pro Team on our Facebook page called “Team CCG Castle Pro-Pokemon” or through our Twitter (@CCGCastle_TCG). If anyone is looking for some great customized Pokemon TCG damage counter dice and GX markers, also be sure to check out TC Evolutions. They’ve got some amazing products and have colors to match any deck box or sleeves that you’re currently using. When ordering products from, be sure to use the promo code “ccgcastle” to get free shipping as well!

Also, be sure to check out as well for any of your trading card game needs. You can also use the promo code “CCGTEAM5” to get 5% off of your next purchase at their website, which could help if any cards are needed for the upcoming Regional Championships or InterContinental Championships. Thanks again to everybody that comes and reads my articles and is hopefully enjoying the content. If you have any questions or comments about the article or any deck ideas, feel free to message me with anything!

-Ryan Sabelhaus<3

[+10] okko


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