Experts' corner

Igor Costa

Initial BREAKPoint thoughts and why I love Sableye

Igor Costa discusses his favorite cards from BREAKpoint and analyzes his new favorite Expanded deck, Sableye/Garbodor!

03/08/2016 by Igor Costa

Hey again, 60cards readers! I’m back with another article about the Pokémon TCG. I hope you all enjoyed reading my last one, and I’m happy to be back in the Expert’s Corner. Today I’ll be talking about my favorite cards in the new set, BREAKpoint. Even though this set wasn’t legal for the first two weekends of Regionals in the U.S., it will be for this weekend.

In my opinion this set will influence the standard format more than the expanded format because it will make the Darkness type way stronger, and that’s already a strong type on expanded. Basically, the set brings a few new cards that will make Darkness type decks almost as strong in Standard as they are in Expanded. The new Darkrai has the potential to have an entire deck built around it, it’s that strong. Max Elixir is also a way for way for them to accelerate Energy without Darkness Patch.

I really like seeing more Stadiums similar to Parallel City, like Reverse Valley, because I think the card mechanic is interesting. Cards like Puzzle of Time really make the game more interesting by adding more options. Also, the Trainers on this set are not bad at all. Cards like Fighting Fury Belt will make “tank” decks more playable by making Pokémon harder to KO. I’m interested to see how this card impacts the game, because it will make Pokémon-EX way harder to kill and Entei a lot stronger too.

And, hey! Guess who’s back to Standard? Garbodor is, but I don’t believe Toad/Garb will be that strong now because All Night Party is too good of a counter to Virbank, and Toad/Garb relies on Poison damage.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some of the cards I think will be played both in Standard and Expanded:

All-Night Party

This card is basically a counter to Virbank City Gym. It heals 30 and a Special Condition, usually Poison or Sleep. It’s really good with cards like Hypno, which is also from this set. Hypno puts your Pokémon and your opponent’s Pokémon to Sleep. You can combo this with the Stadium and the new Darkrai. Your Pokémon will be awake, and Darkrai’s attack will deal 80 more damage. The healing can be helpful against other decks too, like any deck that plays Hypnotoxic Laser or relies on multiple hits to KO.


This card is probably my favorite one from this set, because it will be played in standard and expanded. The first attack is really strong and the second attack is not bad at all. In fact, the standard deck that I’ll be talking about plays around using that attack to win, and not the first one. But in expanded I believe the first one is better.

So this set is all about Darkness and Metal Pokémon, and the Darkness decks will get a boost with more ways to play around Manectric too without being weak to it. And with the regular Darkness cards like Yveltal to play around fighting Pokémon, it just makes Darkness the best type in the game at the moment.


This card can be played in decks like Toad, Sableye or Giratina, or even mill decks like Durant and Houndoom. I like it a lot because it makes the Sableye deck a lot stronger, and that’s a deck that has been growing with the past new cards, so this is just another boost to this deck and I expect to see it more in tournaments now.

Fighting Fury Belt

This is one of the best cards in this set, and it can be played in almost any deck. It can be better than Muscle Band, but it can also be worse, because it only gives you 10 more attack. The +20 is usually more helpful to get KOs and reach 170 damage, but the +40 HP is so good. Imagine having a Pokémon-EX with 220 HP. It’s so hard to deal with, and I believe people will be playing more cards like Startling Megaphone because of this Tool.


This is not that great of a card alone, however, Greninja BREAK and the old Greninja from BLW make this card a lot more useful. The first attack is really good, because it works like Hex Maniac. It helps you set up by denying some of your opponent's Abilities like Shaymin’s Set Up. The second attack allows you to one shot Pokémon-EX with the other two Greninja in play.

Greninja BREAK

Finally some good Stage 2 cards! I think Greninja is strong enough to have his own deck again. The BREAK Greninja deals 60 with his Ability, plus the XY Greninja adds 30 by discarding another water, and that’s 90 per turn. After that, you still get to attack. Not only can you take easy knockouts on things like Shaymin-EX, you can set up two turn KOs on Pokémon-EX on the Bench or even one shot the active with the new Greninja.


Like I mentioned before, this card is good in combination with All Night Party. Maybe Pokémon will print more cards that take advantage of your opponent’s Pokémon being Asleep like Darkrai, and that will make this card even better.

M Scizor-EX

I haven’t seen a Scizor deck in forever, and now it might be back. His attack doesn’t seem that good, but with 220 HP and with only two Energy it can be fast and hard to deal with. I don’t think Scizor will be strong enough to have a deck with just him. A tank Scizor deck with the new Stadium would be good. With Max Potion back to Standard and discarding Energy, it’s not that bad at all. You can also push the discarding Energy strategy and play Crushing Hammers with it.

Max Elixir

This card is okay, because I don’t think it’s that easy to get Energy out of six cards when people play around eight Basics or fewer, so it could be better. It’s way easier to get Trainers out of Trainers’ Mail because people play around 30 Trainers. So, in order for this card to work, you need at least eight Basic Energy, some cards to burn through your deck faster, and of course four copies of this card to make your odds of drawing it and getting the Energy out of one of them better.

But since Standard doesn’t have Energy acceleration for Darkness decks other than this, I think it will be another thing to add to the list, because it kinda replaces Darkness patch.

Puzzle of Time

There was something like this card in the past (Poké Drawer +) but it would draw you one card if you would play one, and get you two cards out of your deck if you play two at the same time, so I think they look almost the same and Poké Drawer + saw play in some decks. This card makes Sablelock that much better. It also gets you cards that you need more than one of, like Special Energy for Giratina decks or Night March, and playing one is not that bad because Shaymin makes it so you can choose the cards you want to draw with it. Either that or you can just try to shuffle your deck with cards like Trainers’ Mail or Ultra Ball if you don’t want to draw them.

Reverse Valley

This Stadium is basically the Special metal and Darkness Energy from the past, but it works for every Pokémon. It’s not that good when there’s better Stadiums like Virbank and All Night Party, but it’s not that bad for Scizor-EX. Also, it makes Darkness decks able to work with the new Tool, Fighting Fury Belt, by adding the 10 damage lost from not using Muscle Band. Consider this card if you’re making a Darkness deck in Standard.

So that’s it for the cards. This set seems to have more playable cards than the last one. I feel like the second set of any new expansion is usually better, because the first one is usually introducing the expansion, and the second set adds a lot more material and cards that work with the first set.

I hadn’t been playing in any tournaments lately, so I went to Virginia Regionals three weekends ago. I decided the night before to play Sableye/Garbodor. I played a few games with the deck, and then went for it. It was a really fun deck to play, because it doesn’t play around Prizes, and is also a deck that can turn a game around with some flips. But it can also be frustrating to play with. I got around 20 tails during my Round 4 match, which was pretty crazy, but the other three rounds provided me a lot of fun and I’ll probably play this deck again in a tournament, so I’ll write a new list for this deck with the new cards that came out. There’s not a lot of counters to this deck in the format right now so I think this deck will be doing good in the next few tournaments.

Deck Explanation

So this deck is not supposed to take Prizes any at all. It’s all about running your opponent out of ways to attack, either by removing Energy or getting something stuck Active with no ways to Retreat. Let’s take a look at the cards that make that possible.

Our Pokémon line is pretty simple.  We only run 2-2 Garbodor because we also run two Super Rod in order to get them back. We need Garbodor out as soon as possible against most decks, because we need to shut off Abilities like Set Up and Metal Links, and many others, so we can deny draws and free attachments of Energy. Four Sableye, because it’s the Pokémon that you will be using most of the time to Junk Hunt because it gets you any card out of your discard. You can only Junk Hunt for Items, but your Items allow you to reuse Supporters and to get Energy and Pokémon out of your discard with Super Rod. Also, the Garbage Collection Trubbish is really good as an attacker to get things out of the discard pile if you really need to use it. I did this at Virginia Regionals and it gave me a game against Toad.

This deck only needs two Bunnelby because Sableye does most of the job. Bunnelby is there to Burrow your opponent’s deck or Rototiller your own if you’re running out of cards. So whenever your opponent is out of a way to attack during their next turn by not having Energy on their board or being stuck with something in the Active, you start to burrow your opponent so they run out of deck and resources.

I like Jirachi-EX a lot in this deck, even more than Shaymin. Because your Supporters are so strong, you can Jirachi turn one to get Hex Maniac and lock Abilities for the first turn while trying to get Garbodor ready on turn two. That sometimes makes it so your opponent can’t even play an Ability all game. It can also get you cards like Xerosic or Team Flare Grunt if you’re being locked by quaking punch or something and you have no way to get them. And of course you can use it for setup, by getting Professor Juniper or N.

Shaymin here isn’t as good at it is in some other decks because you lock Abilities, and you can’t use it later in the game. But one is just enough so you can play it on turn one and later take it out if you need to with AZ. You do get a lot of free turns with this deck where you don’t even need to play a Supporter and you can play AZ to take your Pokémon-EX off the board.

So that’s it for the Pokémon. I was playing two cards that I’m not any more (Jirachi and Wobbuffet), but I feel like Hex Maniac is just better than Wobbuffet to lock your opponent turn one. The other one was Jirachi to discard Energy but I feel like we don’t even need it with so many Supporters to discard and cards to get them back.

Now on to the Items and Supporters. We play three Team Flare Grunt because this deck is all about discarding Energy and ways to attack, so we need as many cards related to that as we can fit, and I would play four but there’s only room for three and there’s cards that I would play still instead of the fourth one.
Team Flare Grunt is a lot better against decks with Toad that don’t allow you to play Crushing Hammer. They won’t have an Active Pokémon with Energy every turn, so you want to have them at the right times.

Xerosic allows you to discard Tools too, and that's what makes it so good. Because you can also discard your own Tools and get them back with Junk Hunt to play them on different Pokémon. This might sound silly, but it is really good to get Tools for Garb or to have them in your hand so if they take the Tool off your Garb you can just replace it, and also to get your Pokémon free of Tools so you can play Life Dew. Tool Scrapper does the same thing with the Tools but allows you to also discard it from your opponent at the same time. It’s really versatile and I would play two if I had more room because if it gets Prized you have to do it with Xerosic even time. Ways to discard Float Stone from your opponent will be huge because we don’t want them to retreat for free, and it’s a way to play Head Ringer if they already have a Tool.

Making Pokémon-EX need one more Energy to attack with Head Ringer can really give us a lot of turns, especially if we keep discarding Energy whenever they put them down. They might never get to attack.
Also, the way people need to play against this deck is to use Shaymin and get it back with Sky Return and DCE, but Head Ringer can stop this if you can get it on a Shaymin early enough.

As always, four VS Seekers will be the card you’ll get out of Junk Hunt most often. Your Supporters basically do everything and it’s your way to recycle them infinitely with Junk Hunt.

Crushing Hammer is another way to discard Energy. These are the best kind of Hammers. Enhanced is useless most of the time because in order to play Enhanced you need to have it before the Crushing or at the same time. Xerosic can do that for you too and it’s easier to have Xerosic than Enhanced Hammer because of VS Seeker. It’s a 50% chance card but you’ll use it so many times with Junk Hunt that even if you get 4/10 Heads or less than 50% you will be okay.

Float Stone is the Tool you need to set up Garbodor in every deck. But it also works really well with the Team Aqua Stadium and Bunnelby so you can change attackers without losing Energy.

Life Dew is a good way to make your opponent take more time to end the game, and the more time they take the stronger this deck is, because they will run out of cards and we won’t. We’ll just have every card we need ready. It’s also an Item so you can get it back with Junk Hunt. Against the Shaymin strategy, you just Junk Hunt Life Dew with the new Sableye and it won’t die so your opponent won’t take Prizes ever.

With this deck you don’t Lysandre to take KOs on the right Pokémon. You just play it to stick Pokémon that don’t have a Float Stone or have the highest retreat cost on their board. Keldeo is usually the target or Hoopa.

N in this deck is amazing because we never take Prizes so we will get the full value every time, and it can change matches at the end like we all know, but we won’t get punished by it. AZ is here so your opponent doesn't try to lock something like Garb and Quaking Punch at the same time, and it can also heal Special Conditions like Sleep. As I said before, you use Hex Maniac early in the game before getting Garbodor out. It will shut off most of their turn because they won’t be able to play things like Hoopa, Shaymin and many other Pokémon with Abilities.

Puzzle of Time is new to the deck. But it’s actually so good because it doesn’t work like Sableye at all. It seems like just the same thing, getting two cards back, but you can actually Life Dew lock with this card for the game. Junk Hunt two Puzzle of Time, and whenever they KO your Active with Life Dew, you just get it back in your turn with Puzzles of Time. So you can tell how good this deck is just with the synergy with all of these cards.

I know it’s not easy to find Team Aqua’s Secret Base, but this card is really crucial in this deck because it makes your Active lock way stronger and without it the deck plays around discarding Energy more. But it should play around both at the same time, and without it you won’t be able to do it against Manectric or Vespiquen.

I think this deck might be so good as to even be broken. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for Pokémon to ban ACE SPECs so that the Puzzle of Time/Life Dew combo can’t be used. Either that, or make it so Puzzle of Time can’t retrieve ACE SPEC cards from the discard.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on the new set and my new favorite deck. Until next time!


[+3] okko


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