The sixth generation brought a lot of change to Pokémon, competitive or otherwise. It saw the introduction of Fairy types (which also changed the typing of many older Pokémon), new moves, and a special battle gimmick – Mega Evolution..
Despite all this deviation from established norms, Garbodor remained much the same as it always had. Although, that isn’t to say that the changes to the game had no impact on it. The Fairy type being introduced not only further cemented Garbodor’s mono-Poison typing as a fantastic defensive type, but it also provided it with a much needed offensive boost given the Fairy type’s weakness to Poison. Unfortunately, Generation VI also buffed Defog, allowing the previously quite useless move to remove Hazards. With Defog being more widely spread than Rapid Spin, that meant that Garbodor was bound to have a somewhat harder time maintaining Spikes and/or Toxic Spikes, which was still its primary function. The presence of Mega Pokémon also made it more difficult for Garbodor to make adequate use of its impressive bulk on account of their generally higher power, especially given Garbodor’s lack of reliable recovery.
Still, this isn’t to say that Garbodor had completely fallen from grace. It still had all the same positives going for it. This allowed Garbodor to remain in the NU tier instead of falling to the new lowest tier, PU, all while retaining a niche in RU as well.
In Generation VI’s NU, Garbodor isn’t just good, it’s fantastic. It is unquestionably one of the best hazard setters in the tier, and certainly the best of those that focus on Spikes or Toxic Spikes. Naturally, this is because of the same attributes that made it successful in the NU of the previous generation and gave it niches in multiple higher tiers.
Constantly switching into Spikes is not at all enjoyed by anything grounded, but especially the frailer sweepers of the tier like Jynx or Tauros. Bulkier options with more HP to spare or recovery have slightly less to be concerned about there, but Toxic Spikes cripples them and greatly reduces the effectiveness of that bulk over time. A great number of the common offensive threats in tier, Lilligant, Hitmonchan and Gurdurr can also do very little to Garbodor. This means that with some clever switching, Garbodor can very consistently keep its hazards up to deal chip damage and spread poison.
The biggest hurdle to this task in the tier is the presence of Xatu. Xatu, especially the bulkier variety, is one of the best Pokémon in the tier. Not only is it a Flying type, meaning it is immune to either hazard itself, but it also carries the Ability Magic Bounce. This means that Garbodor cannot attempt to set either hazard with Xatu in play as they will just be bounced back onto the player’s side of the field. Thankfully, Garbodor is one of the few Pokémon that can still poison Xatu despite its Ability by forgoing Toxic in favour of Gunk Shot. This means that Garbodor can not only do a decent amount of damage to a Xatu coming in to deflect hazards, but also potentially inflict it with poisoning to put a timer on its ability to do so. Choosing not to run Toxic also leaves Garbodor free to run Drain Punch, Seed Bomb or Rock Blast in its last move slot, allowing it to hit other problematic Pokémon like Rhydon, Scyther or Steelix that may come in on it.
Interestingly enough, Garbodor also has a slightly more offensive niche here, although it is arguably not nearly as useful as the more standard defensive Spiker. With an offensively focused EV spread, Garbodor has the capacity to do some hefty damage to several prominent NU Pokémon in Gen V. Gunk Shot is a powerful move than can nab the 2HKO on threatening Pokémon like Xatu or Mega Audino. Additionally, Drain Punch allows for a reliable way to hit the tier’s Rock and Steel types, although Focus Blast is arguably preferable despite its lesser accuracy since it does a lot more damage to the generally more physically oriented Pokémon of those types. Meanwhile, Seed Bomb can take a chunk out of any of the Ground types that are likely to try and threaten Garbodor.
The offensive version of Garbodor still runs Spikes as well. This not only makes it easier for it to successfully faint opposing Pokémon, but combines well with Garbodor’s coverage. Being able to threaten and force out a surprising number of Pokémon can allow for Spikes to spread a lot of chip damage over the course of the game. Some instances of this Garbodor will also opt to run Explosion over Seed Bomb, allowing Garbodor to remove Spinner or Defoggers from the equation completely, permanently leaving your hazards behind to hinder your opponent if you time it right.
Of course, there are several Pokémon who have a lot more offensive utility on a team than Garbodor does, but switching it up and going for this variation can catch opponents by surprise while still providing your team with a fairly bulky Spikes setter to contend with if you’re willing to sacrifice maximised bulk for that opportunity. Regardless of which variation you choose, Garbodor is an excellent asset in this generation’s NU.
In Generation VI’s RarelyUsed, Garbodor’s lesser offensive power and low Speed render its offensive variant completely out of the question. Similarly, as a defensive Spiker, it loses out on some of its previous utility in exchange for maximising its chances to keep its hazards up and spread poison. That being said, Garbodor is still plenty usable in this tier, although it does require slightly more cautious play by comparison to NU.
Without mincing words, there are a lot of Pokémon in this tier that can cause Garbodor problems. There are high number of both viable Steel and Poison types present. In fact, several of the best Pokémon in the tier are of these types. This means that there is simultaneously a greater number of Pokémon around that have nothing to fear from Toxic or Toxic Spikes (several who remove the latter upon being switched in), but also greater competition for the role of spreading poison to begin with. There are also plenty of Pokémon with Rapid Spin or Defog that can remove Garbodor’s hazards, as well as Garbodor’s old nemesis, Magic Bounce Xatu.
Additionally, the tier is also home to several powerful Ground and Psychic types for Garbodor to contend with such as Flygon, Sigilyph and Rhyperior. Along with a large jump in the power level of the tier in general, this seriously compromises Garbodor’s ability to fulfil its role, especially as it can no longer justify carrying Drain Punch for coverage/recovery. Flygon and Sigilyph in particular are very dangerous for Garbodor. Flygon is immune to Spikes and Toxic Spikes thanks to Levitate and is also the preeminent Defogger of the tier. Unfortunately for Garbodor, it’s also a Ground type with a powerful Earthquake that can easily OHKO it. Unable to do much to combat Flygon, Garbodor is forced to drop either Toxic Spikes or Pain Spit, it’s only somewhat useful recovery option, to make sure it has room for Toxic to cripple it. Sigilyph, is even worse for Garbodor as its Magic Guard ability renders it completely immune to any form of passive damage. Sigilyph, however, can easily defeat Garbodor with a STAB Psychic or Psyshock or use it as setup fodder to further increase its power.
These factors definitely make the higher tier more of an uphill climb for Garbodor, but it still has its uses here. The fact still remains that nothing in this tier appreciates being poisoned or taking chip damage and Garbodor is still very good at reliably setting up both Spikes and Toxic Spikes. The ability to carry Toxic instead of, or as well as, Toxic Spikes also provides it with an opportunity to reliably poison non-grounded Pokémon that would otherwise be able to avoid being poisoned. Its resistances to Grass and Fighting also allow it to serve as a solid check to Virizion, an otherwise very threatening Pokémon. Garbodor has nothing at all to fear from Calm Mind Virizion and can survive a +2 Zen Headbutt from the Swords Dance version, although it won’t live through a second. The ability to make use of Haze or Clear Smog can allow Garbodor to be an effective check to setup Sweepers like Scrafty or the aforementioned Virizion, although it has to sacrifice some of its support utility to do so.
All in all, Garbodor does take a large hit to its viability in climbing from NU to RU in Generation VI, but it can still be a great support Pokémon with the right team combination behind it.
In the seventh generation of Pokémon games, not a lot changed for Garbodor. Changes in the competitive metagames and the additions of new Pokémon and moves – as well as Z-moves, give Garbodor a little more to play with and change the setting around it some. However, Garbodor itself continues to fill much the same role in the same Smogon tiers. Lacking the offensive power to really make use of the new Z-move mechanic, Garbodor once again finds itself primarily serving as a hazard setter.
That ever consistent bulk and dual spikes-access continues to see Garbodor as one of the most reliable hazard setters in its home tier. In fact, Garbodor is still arguably one of the best Pokémon in the tier thanks to these assets. However, long term rival, Weezing, gives it a run for its money on account of its immunity to the ever present Earthquake and new Stomping Tantrum/High Horsepower, better physical defence and access to Will-o-Wisp – a move which cripples the common physical threats in USUM NU. Golbat also presents itself as a viable alternative thanks to reliable recovery, an Eviolite boost and its own Ground immunity.
Garbodor’s primary coverage options here are Seed Bomb and Stomping Tantrum. Seed Bomb allows for Garbodor to hit threats such as Slowking, Rhydon and the problematic Rapid Spinner, Blastoise, super-effectively. Stomping Tantrum also threatens Rhydon but also other highly viable Pokémon in the tier such as Incineroar, Steelix, Heliolisk and other Garbodor.
Unfortunately, Garbodor is beginning to severely suffer from “four moveslot syndrome” and running both of these cover options carries problems. Specifically, as it is essentially mandatory for Garbodor to run Gunk Shot and Spikes in two of its slots, to use both coverage moves you would be forced to give up on Toxic Spikes and the last resort nuke that is Explosion. Given that two generations of power creep have rendered Garbodor’s base 95 Attack comparatively underwhelming, most would opt to select only one coverage move in order to leave room for Explosion or Toxic Spikes.
Defensively, Garbodor is better off. While Ground types like Rhydon, Seismitoad and Steelix and Psychic types like Slowking, Sigilyph and Xatu (always a thorn in its side) remain prevalent in this iteration of NU, this is nothing new for Garbodor. Good team construction and smart plays can keep your Garbodor around.
Meanwhile, Garbodor can continue to capitalise on its defensive assets checking several Pokémon. This includes Passimian, Comfey, Scrafty, Dhelmist and Whimsicott – some of the most annoying and threatening Pokémon in the tier to deal with. Garbodor also has the option to run Pain Split to further increase its longevity, but it is generally not worth giving up on the coverage or utility you’d lose to do this
In Generation VII, Garbodor continues to be one of NU’s finest, even with its threats and weaknesses starting to stack up.
Garbodor maintains a small niche in Generation VII’s RU tier. However, the steady power creep as tiers are ascended has started taking a severe toll on Garbodor’s viability at this point and its options are steadily starting to drop off.
Most notably, Garbodor is now almost never seen as dual-Spiker. There are too many Steel and Poison types as well as numerous good hazard removers. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of Toxic Spikes and makes it inefficient to waste turns trying to set them up on top of Spikes. Instead, it is much more effective to run Toxic instead as this creates more opportunities to badly poison hazard removers that are likely to switch in such as Mega Blastoise, Donphan and Mandibuzz (who is immune to Toxic Spikes and Spikes).
Unlike other tiers, Garbodor in Generation VII RU tends to forgo Black Sludge in favour of Rocky Helmet. The extra recovery from Black Sludge is always nice as it takes some of the weight off from the extremely unreliable Pain Split. However, Rocky Helmet allows Garbodor to make maximum use out of its hefty physical bulk and pure Poison typing. By choosing Rocky Helmet, Garbodor can not only check dangerous physical attackers like Toxicroak, Passimian and Machamp but also passively punish them while it sets up Spikes or hits them with Toxic. The damage they can do to Garbodor is minimal and can easily be healed away by Pain Split. As an added bonus, Garbodor can do much the same to attempts to remove its Spikes with Rapid Spin too.
Unfortunately for Garbodor, that utility is all it has going for it here as even Gunk Shot doesn’t amount to enough power to compensate for underwhelming offenses. There are multiple Poison and Steel types in this tier who can easily tank a Gunk Shot or two and either take out Garbodor to remove your hazard setter or use it as setup fodder to later sweep your team. Several powerful Psychic and Ground types that can OHKO Garbodor without much trouble like Necrozma, Slowbro and Nidoqueen also call the tier home. Thanks to her immunity to Toxic, Nidoqueen is especially problematic.
Garbodor remains functional in Generation VII RarelyUsed and can fill a highly useful niche on the right team, but the meta is not friendly to it and much of the time you’re better off forgoing it in favour of other options such as Roserade or Registeel.
As far as tiers go, as of Generation VIII, Garbodor can’t fall any further. While the new generation brought with it a lot of new tools for many Pokémon and some big metagame shake-ups, Garbodor didn’t really gain anything new of note. It did get a Gigantamax form thanks to its status as Oleana’s ace, but that upgrade is only usable in Anything Goes where it is vastly outcompeted regardless. Between a lack of new tools, a slight continuation of the usual power creep and the introduction of new checks and threats, Garbodor has finally found itself Untiered. This means that while technically PU, it isn’t even popular enough to earn an official place in that lowest tier’s listings.
Despite everything going against it though, Garbodor does still manage to carve out a small niche for itself in the PU tier as well as back in NeverUsed.
While it’s not exactly saying a lot to say Garbodor is far from the worst option in a tier with a name that is a pun on how much its residents stink, the fact does remain that Garbodor is considered a B+ rank Pokémon. While this doesn’t place Garbodor in the high ranks of the tier, it does mean that it is still completely viable.
It’s not too hard to see why this is the case either. While its bulk is not nearly as impressive as it was back in Generation V by the standards of the higher tiers, it’s still really good down in PU. This means that it can still easily fill its previous NU role here, tanking hits while setting up Spikes and spreading Poison. What’s more, down in PU, Garbodor’s base 95 Attack starts looking a lot healthier again. Thanks to that, it can potentially run a more offensive Spikes set again instead.
PU is filled to the brim with Fairy and Fighting types. In fact, several of the tier’s prominent threats are of those types – Ribombee, Whimsicott, Passimian, Aromatisse, Scrafty and so on. This is fantastic news for Garbodor as a bulky Poison type since it gives it a consistent niche to fill in the meta. Furthermore, compared to higher tiers, there’s not a huge number of viable Ground, Poison or Steel types. This means that it’s relatively easy for Garbodor to come in to play and set up its Spikes or spread Poison.
Furthermore, the lower power level of the tier means that Garbodor has an easier time fighting back against problematic Steel and Poison types with Stomping Tantrum or Body Press – although the former is usually a better choice since it hits both. For example, the two most prominent Pokémon of those types in the tier are Toxicroak and Togedemaru. They are much more fragile than is typical of Poison or Steel, so they struggle to switch in against Garbodor. That being said, Weezing and Golbat cannot be poisoned and are immune to Ground attacks – making both strong competition for a team slot and a solid counter to Garbodor. Golbat can also potentially removed hazards with Defog. Bulkier Steel types like Aggron or Silvally-Steel can also be problematic.
Garbodor is definitely a solid pick for a PU team and has a comfortable place in the meta. That being said, it does face strong competition for a place on a team and is not without checks and counters.
Interestingly enough, Garbodor doesn’t rank much lower in NU that in PU, sitting in the B- rank. This means that, despite facing strong opposition and competition for a team slot, it is still surprisingly viable in the tier. Naturally, it continues to fill the niche of a bulky hazard setter.
Less fortunately for our favourite trash Pokémon, the NU environment is not particularly kind to it, despite this. First and foremost, Garbodor still faces competition from fellow PU (Toxic) Spikers, Qwilfish and Weezing for a place on a team. Additionally, NU also introduces Drapion and Dragalge to the meta who are both more powerful, with comparable bulk, and capable of filling the same role on a team – although they are usually used in a more offensive capacity. Vileplume is also present and outclasses Garbodor as a wall/pivot thanks to its ability to use Sleep Powder and Strength Sap.
Worse still, there are not as many viable Fairy, Grass, Bug or Fighting types in NU – and of those that are present, most have a secondary type that counteracts, or even invalidates their poor Poison match up. There’s also plenty in the way of Psychic types and Earthquake coverage to threaten Garbodor.
So, how is Garbodor still in the B-ranks with all this against it? Well, the fact does remain that Garbodor is very bulky and has access to great utility moves. The plethora of other Poison types around largely invalidates the use of Toxic Spikes, but Spikes is still an excellent way to get chip damage and Toxic can still be crippling to Pokémon trying to switch in. Garbodor can also run Corrosive Gas to remove the enemy’s held items and Stomping Tantrum to deal with Steel and Poison types attempting to counter it. Amusingly enough, these strengths actually make it a great check or counter to many of the Poison types that compete against it for a team spot.
Garbodor has never exactly been a stand-out Pokémon beyond its unique design. It has never been an OverUsed threat, it lacks power and recovery and neither of its Abilities are particularly impressive. What Garbodor does have going for it though is reliability.
A good defensive typing and an excellent utility movepool have led to it being able to consistently fill the niche of a bulky Spiker in every generation since it first appeared back in Generation V. While it’s true that power creep and strong competition have seen Garbodor steadily fall down the ranks until it hit the very bottom, Garbodor has always had the capacity for usage a tier or two above where it sits in the rankings with the right team behind it. What’s more, it has always had a prominent place in its home tier and has arguably been meta-defining more than once.
So, is Garbodor a good Pokémon? No. The fact remains that it’s an Untiered Pokémon that faces a lot of competition for a place on a team. But it’s also far from being terrible, still being usable, with a not-insignificant impact on tiers well above its station in every generation it has been a part of. If anything, it’s a testament to Garbodor that even with the odds placed squarely against it, it has always had a niche somewhere.
It’s never going to be top-tier, far from it. But, maybe Garbodor isn’t as trash as you’d think.
Edited by Aldo, bobandbill and Arcaneum.