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John Hoegerl

"SLEDGEHAMMER" - A Top 4 Greensboro Regionals Report

John discusses his recent Top 4 finish at Greensboro Regionals in Seniors, using a surprising Buzz/Garb/Shrine deck.

04/17/2019 by John Hoegerl



Hey, 60Cards readers! What’s up? I just recently got a Top 4 finish at the Greensboro, North Carolina Regional Championship in Seniors with a surprising Buzzwole FLI/Garbodor GRI/Shrine of Punishment CES deck (a.ka. BGS). This under-the-radar deck was definitely considered to be a non-contender heading into the event, especially because of the hype surrounding Trevenant BREAK BKP decks, an autoloss for BGS. Still, I managed to take BGS to a Top 4 finish in Greensboro in Seniors.


Why Buzz/Garb/Shrine?

The weeks before Greensboro Regionals, I was very unsure of what the best play would be. I really liked the Trevenant archetype, but I felt it didn’t have a very good matchup versus Pikachu & Zekrom GX TEU decks (a.k.a. Pikarom), a very popular Expanded deck heading into Toronto Regionals (which I did not attend). To my (and many people’s) surprise, Trevenant dominated Toronto and Pikarom was almost nonexistent, making only one spot in the Top 32. In addition to this, Night March managed to win the whole event, another deck I was not expecting to do well. I needed to figure out something that could counter the expected Greensboro metagame.

Enter Buzz/Garb/Shrine, a deck suggested to me by some friends from my local league, Logan and Joel, soon before Greensboro. I expected Pikarom and Zoroark GX SLG/Garbodor BKP decks (a.k.a. ZoroGarb) to dominate Greensboro, especially because of their favorable matchups against Trevenant. BGS could quite easily beat both of them, in addition to Blastoise BCR decks. The deck’s only auto-losses were to Trevenant and stall/control archetypes (stall/control decks are almost always bad matchups for Shrine decks). The reason I chose BGS over the other Expanded Fighting Shrine deck, Hitmonchan TEU/Wobbuffet PHF, was because I liked being able to use Garbodor GRI to hit for OHKOs. Hitmonchan decks can rarely ever actually OHKO other Pokemon.


How the Deck Works

Here is how the deck works: apply lots of early pressure on your opponent with Buzzwole FLI and then use it and other cards like Garbodor GRI to take knockouts. Buzzwole FLI’s Sledgehammer attack only hits for 30 damage, but cards like Muscle Band XY and Diancie Prism Star FLI can increase its damage output. Plus, the attack hits for 120 base damage when your opponent has exactly four Prize cards remaining, enough to OHKO a Pikachu & Zekrom GX TEU (thanks to weakness). Garbodor GRI’s Trashalanche attack does 20 damage times the amount of Item cards in your opponent’s Discard Pile. Decks like Pikarom and Blastoise play lots of Items. Garbodor GRI can do a ton of damage against these kinds of decks. This deck also plays some Tech cards, such as Oricorio GRI to help you beat Night March and Vespiquen AOR decks. Here’s the list:


4 Buzzwole FLI/3 Trubbish BKP/3 Garbodor GRI

These are the deck’s main attacking Pokemon. As mentioned previously, Buzzwole is perfect for applying early-game pressure and Garbodor is perfect for taking huge knockouts. They work perfectly together to form one busted deck.

You may notice that I don’t play any of the Garbodor with the Garbotoxin ability from Breakpoint. This is because my BGS list just wants to be very aggressive and do a lot of damage quickly, not establish an ability-lock. However, you still could include a Breakpoint Garbodor if you really want to stop your opponent from using abilities.

1 Oranguru SUM/1 Diancie Prism Star FLI/1 Oricorio GRI

Oranguru is used for a little extra draw power. This is an important card to play because this deck plays no Shaymin EX ROS to draw more cards (this is so the deck can remain all non-EX and -GX). Diancie allows your Buzzwole FLI’s attacks to do more damage. In some matchups, the extra 20 damage it absolutely crucial. Oricorio helps this deck to more easily beat Night March and Vespiquen because of its Supernatural Dance attack that spreads damage for each Pokemon in your opponent’s Discard Pile. Many decks that did well at Greensboro played Oricorio for this exact reason.

1 Ditto Prism Star LOT/1 Machoke GRI

These were probably the most interesting cards I played in the deck. Logan (one of the people who gave me the idea of the deck) suggested that I play Machoke because of its Daunting Pose ability. The ability prevents all spread damage done to my bench from decks such as Trevenant, a deck that spreads a lot of damage. However, I am considering cutting this card from future BGS lists because it still doesn’t make Trevenant an auto-win. This is because Trevenant XY and Trevenant BREAK BKP have too much HP to be easily knocked out by the Pokemon BGS plays. However, Machoke can still stop bench-sniping Tag Bolt GXs and Towering Splash GXs, even if your opponent plays Silent Lab PRC.

4 Professor Sycamore/4 Cynthia/3 N/2 Guzma

I feel that this is a pretty standard amount of Supporters to be played in an Expanded deck. I play no Tapu Lele GX GRI, so a good Supporter count is absolutely necessary.

1 Acerola/1 Teammates

Acerola is a strange, but good, play for this deck that allows you to pick up damaged Pokemon. Decks like Trevenant don’t often OHKOs, so Acerola is very strong in those kinds of matchups. Teammates is perfect for a deck that sometimes needs combos of different cards to take huge knockouts, and it was very useful throughout the weekend.

4 Ultra Ball/1 Nest Ball

4 Ultra Ball is standard for any deck. Nest Ball is also very useful, but it can’t search for Garbodor GRI, so I only play one of them.

1 Computer Search Ace Spec

As stated before, this deck is slightly more likely to dead draw than other Expanded decks because of its lack of Shaymin EX ROS and Tapu Lele GX GRI. This makes Computer Search, a card that lets you search your deck for any specific card, the perfect Ace Spec for the deck. It can allow you to grab a Supporter or the card you need to knockout another Pokemon. I would never play any other Ace Spec in this deck.

4 VS Seeker

VS Seeker is a phenomenal card in Expanded, allowing you to get a Supporter out of your Discard Pile and into your hand. Four of them is necessary for a deck that sometimes needs to draw out of bad hands.

1 Field Blower/2 Float Stone

I don’t think there is any matchup where Field Blower is absolutely crucial, but it’s always a good card to help get rid of those pesky Stadium and Tool cards. Float Stone is very important, especially if you’re forced to start a game with Oranguru SUM or Diancie Prism Star FLI as your Active Pokemon and need to retreat them. Float Stone allows you to retreat more easily (especially since almost every Pokemon played in this deck has a retreat cost of two or more).

3 Muscle Band/1 Rescue Stretcher

A deck like BGS needs a Tool card that can boost its damage output. Of my two options, Muscle Band and Choice Band GRI, I chose Muscle Band since it boosts damage against all Pokemon, not just EXs and GXs. This helps versus non-GX decks, such as Night March and Hitmonchan TEU/Wobbuffet PHF. Rescue Stretcher is also crucial for a deck whose Pokemon can be destroyed easily by powerful GX decks. I strongly considered putting two Rescue Stretcher in the deck, but I ended up having to cut one of them.

3 Shrine of Punishment

Shrine of Punishment is put in almost every non-GX in both formats. Its ability to add some extra damage on EXs and GXs is one of the reasons I enjoy playing non-GX decks so much. I could not see playing any less than three Shrines in BGS.

3 Strong Energy/4 Rainbow Energy/1 Beast Energy Prism Star

One of the best parts about Fighting decks is that Strong Energy can be used to easily increase the deck’s damage output while powering up an attack at the same time. It’s especially good in a non-GX Fighting deck that needs to hit for higher numbers. The same goes for Beast Energy Prism Star, except it’s just for Ultra Beasts (Buzzwole FLI). Rainbow Energy can be used to power up Buzzwole FLI’s or Garbodor GRI’s attacks.

1 Fighting Energy/1 Psychic Energy

Right before the tournament, I cut a Strong Energy FCO and replaced it with a Basic Fighting Energy. The reason I did this was to help me beat Pikarom decks with Xurkitree GX PR in them. Xurkitree GX PR’s ability, Flashing Head, prevents damage done to it by Pokemon with Special Energy attached. I didn’t want to lose to Pikarom just because of that card. That’s the same reason the Basic Psychic is in the deck. There’s other reasons to play basic Energy than just to beat Xurkitree GX PR, but that was the primary reason.


The Tournament Experience

Going into the tournament, I’m very worried about my deck choice of BGS. I know that if I play against too many Trevenant decks, there would be no way I could do well….

Day 1

Round 1 VS Trevenant BREAK W (1-0-0)

As soon as I learn that my opponent is playing Trevenant, I brace myself to start the day off as 0-1-0. However, Game 1 my opponent goes second, fails to get Turn 1 Item-lock, and gets Espeon EX BKP stuck in the Active position. This string of bad luck gives me the lead I need to win a lengthy first game. We had far too little time to finish a second game, so I won the round.

Round 2 VS Buzzwole/Garbodor/Shrine of Punishment (Mirror Match) LL (1-1-0)

I didn’t playtest much against the mirror before the tournament, not expecting to play against any BGS. I make some crucial misplays at the end of Game 1, causing me to lose. Game 2 my opponent takes the first knockout and easily wins the prize race.

Round 3 VS Charizard/Volcanion EX WW (2-1-0)

Round 3 I play against a surprising rogue deck - Charizard TEU with Volcanion EX STS. My opponent bricks boths games we play and I easily take the series. Charizard TEU/Volcanion EX STS is an interesting idea, but it probably has no place in the Expanded metagame.

Round 4 VS Pikarom WW (3-1-0)

It is at Round 4 that I begin to play against Tier 1 Expanded decks. I feel that Pikarom is an exceptionally good matchup for BGS, especially because Pikarom usually plays a lot of Items (increases Trashalanche’s damage output). Game 1 my opponent is able to skillfully utilize Xurkitree GX PR. However, I am able to use Teammates PRC to find my Basic Energy cards and knockout the Xurkitree GX PR. My opponent has no way way to respond and I am able to take Game 1. Game 2 my opponent is not able to draw very well. I’m able to establish a very commanding board position, and my opponent scoops once time is called.

Round 5 VS ZoroGarb LWW (4-1-0)

Game 1 my opponent is able to win, thanks to me whiffing some crucial knockouts. Game 2 my opponent bricks horribly, only able to get a Zorua TEU in the Active position and no benched Pokemon Turn 1. This allows me to take a very quick second game. Game 3 is a very close game, in which we both go down to two Prizes, and it becomes a race to see who can take the last wo. I am able to pull off a clutch Supernatural Dance with Oricorio GRI in order to knockout a benched Zoroark GX SLG and win the final game.

Round 6 VS Pikarom WW (5-1-0)

Once I see my opponent flip over Lightning Pokemon, I am very excited because I get to play against another Pikarom. Both games I am able to destroy my opponent thanks to Pikarom’s weakness to Fighting and my opponent playing far too many Items. Some highlights of the series include me being able to use Machoke to stop an incoming Tag Bolt GX to my bench and being able to OHKO a Pikachu & Zekrom GX TEU with a Buzzwole FLI on my sledgehammer turn. Both games went tremendously well for me, allowing me to take another round and be 5-1-0.

Round 7 VS Zoroark GX/Seismitoad EX ID (5-1-1)
I decide to ID this last round to give me a good chance of making Top 8. I could have played it out to try to guarantee me making Top 8, but decide against it to eliminate the chance of me losing the round. At this point there were 9 players with a record of 5-1-1 or better, so one person would bubble out of Top 8. I hope that person isn’t me, but I have very bad resistance. Luckily, I manage to bubble into Top 8 as the eighth seed.

Day 2

Top 8 VS Zoroark GX/Seismitoad EX LWW (6-1-1)

As stated before, stall/mill/control decks are horribly matchups for BGS, especially since they often play cards like Acerola BUS to heal their damaged Pokemon. Game 1 my opponent essentially locks me out of the game, establishing Item-lock and taking knockouts on my Pokemon. Any time I try to do damage, I don’t take OHKOs and my opponent uses Acerola BUS to heal their Pokemon. Game 2 my opponent doesn’t draw very well and decides to concede early in the game.

In the third Game, my opponent whiffs a few Acerola BUS plays and is forced to play too many Items. This allows me to two-hit KO or OHKO several Pokemon with Garbodor GRI. My opponent then proceeds to use Oranguru UPR to put Items from his Discard Pile back into his deck. Once time is called, he has only taken two Prize cards while I have taken four, and there is no way he can take four more during the three turns of time. Because we are in Top Cut, whoever has taken the most Prize cards after the three turns of time is declared the winner, so my opponent simply concedes. If we had more time, he actually would have decked my out.

Top 4 VS Trevenant BREAK LL (6-2-1)

It’s no surprise that the deck that would end up knocking me out of Top 8 would be BGS’s primary auto-loss, Trevenant. Game 1 I was able to establish my Machoke GRI but not a Garbodor GRI. Buzzwole FLI alone doesn’t do nearly enough damage to take on a board full of Trevenant XY and Trevenant BREAK BKP, so I am forced to scoop it up and go to Game 2. The second game is much closer and I am able to establish a Machoke GRI and multiple Garbodor GRI. I just need a Guzma BUS to win the game, both both of my Guzma BUS and all of my VS Seeker PHF are already discarded, so I have to concede again. I was eliminated from the tournament, putting me at 4th Place.

The T.O. decided that at this Regional, the Junior and Senior finals would be streamed and would be commentated on by the two Top 4 finishers. The 3rd Place Senior has to leave early, so I commentated with the 5th Place player. You can watch it here:



That’s all for this tournament report. I really enjoyed playing Buzz/Garb/Shrine and feel it’s a very strong deck that can counter much of the Expanded metagame. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Until next time, trainers.


- John

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