Experts' corner

Bert Wolters

Making a Big (Knuckle) Impact

Bert goes over his Regional-winning Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX deck and considers its chances in Australia and post Ultra Prism!

02/08/2018 by Bert Wolters

Hello readers!

As this is my first time writing for 60Cards, I’ll start off with a quick introduction:

I’ve always been a huge fan of Pokémon and the card game, and I have been playing competitively since the release of the Platinum set (around nine years ago). I live in the Netherlands in the beautiful city of Groningen, which is also home to great players like Mees Brenninkmeijer and my regular testing partner Steffen Eriksen.

My accomplishments include:

Multiple wins at League Cups/Cities and lower level tournaments

Multiple second places and top 8s at smaller Regional Championships (before the change to the new Regional system)

Top 32 Leipzig Regionals 2017

Top 16 Dortmund Regionals 2016

Top 16 Dutch Nationals 2015 and 2016

Top 8 Dutch Nationals 2011 and 2014

First place at Dutch Nationals in 2012

Top 32 European Challenge Cup 2016

Sixth place at the European Challenge Cup 2015

Qualified for Worlds every year since 2011

Fifth place at the World Championships 2016

And a first place at the 2018 Dreamhack Leipzig Regional Championships, which I will be going over in this article.


I didn’t have a lot of time to test for Leipzig, as I just started my full-time internship after the Christmas break, so I wasn’t able to test a lot of different decks. I started with a focus on Decidueye-GX/Zoroark-GX as it performed decently in Memphis. I’ve played Decidueye decks before, and I really like the playstyle of Decidueye decks. However the deck didn’t do as well as I hoped in testing: I had trouble with the big decks in the format, Zoroark-GX decks and Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX, and it’s best matchup, Gardevoir-GX, was seeing less and less play. And thus I moved on to other decks.

While testing Decidueye, I had been playing a few other decks on the side: Gardevoir and Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX. I didn’t feel like Gardevoir could handle decks that have a high amount of early game aggression, like Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX and Buzzwole-GX, which I expected to see in Leipzig, so I didn’t continue testing that deck. Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX on the other hand really caught my eye: I liked how much early pressure the deck applied. I liked its good matchups against Zoroark-GX decks, and I liked the explosiveness that Max Elixer gives to the deck (especially compared to Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX, which is limited to only one attachment per turn). In the last few weeks leading to Leipzig, I almost exclusively played this deck during the little time I had for testing and I got a good feeling of how to play it and how its matchups worked. Because of that, and because Zoroark-GX variants were expected to be the biggest decks going into Leipzig, I chose to play Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX.

The List

This is the list I used:

I used the Memphis lists from Andrew Mahone and Pablo Meza as inspiration for this list, so shoutouts to them!

The key words for this list are straightforward and effective. Just playing a lot of copies of the cards you need, like Buzzwole-GX, your Supporter cards and your Trainer cards, means you will hit the cards you need when you need them, and that makes this a very powerful deck.

As this is a very straightforward list, I won’t explain every single card, but I will go over some off the choices I made:

1 Zygarde-EX, no Sudowoodo

I chose to play the Zygarde-EX as an answer for Psychic-type techs in Zoroark decks as a Pokémon where you can safely stack Energy. Its second attack with a Strong Energy and a Choice Band can OHKO Zoroark-GX, which is very helpful. It also is a good early game attacker against Greninja, as it can KO Froakie and especially Frogadier a bit easier then Buzzwole-GX can. Sudowoodo didn’t feel like a great fit for the deck, as it is a very reactive card and this deck is very aggressive. I also felt there wasn’t really a matchup in which you would need the Sudowoodo to win, therefore I felt Zygarde-EX was the better choice.

The one-off Trainers

As I felt Garbodor decks might pop up in Leipzig, I wanted to include the one Field Blower in the list to be able to get out of Garbotoxin at a crucial point in the match. Of course it was also very useful in removing other annoying tools like Fighting Fury Belts, Float Stones, and Choice Bands. The one Rescue Stretcher is needed to have a safety net for when you have to discard good evolution pieces on early game Sycamores. I have thought about switching it to a Super Rod, in case you have to discard a lot of basic Energy in the early game, but Rescue Stretcher for a Tapu Lele-GX or a Lycanroc-GX have been clutch in certain points during the tournament. Multi Switch is an amazing card, which can set up for some really cool plays, and it gives you some flexibility with your Energy even after you’ve played most of your Max Elixir. It definitely won me a few games throughout the tournament.

3 Brooklet Hill, no Parallel City

I think Parallel City would be very good in this deck, especially to limit decks like Zoroark-GX even more. However, I really liked the consistency three Brooklet Hill provided, and I didn’t want to cut any other cards, so therefore I chose not to play Parallel City.

The Tournament

And now let’s move on to the tournament!

Round 1: vs VikaBulu (Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu-GX)

This matchup really depends on how well your opponent gets set up. If your opponent starts, gets a turn one Brigette and is able to get multiple Vikavolt in play, it is usually over. The key in this matchup therefore is to hunt down all the Grubbin and Vikavolt as fast as possible, but fortunately this deck has the tools to do so.

Game one, my opponent doesn’t get much after a turn one Brigette, and I’m able to quickly take him out.

Game two, my opponent gets a great start and is able to take the lead. I am able to keep up in the prize race. And after my opponent misplays before a Sycamore and misses the KO on my active Buzzwole-GX, I’m able to take the game-winning KO next turn.


Round 2 and 3: vs ZoroPod (Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX)

I honestly don’t remember these matches to well, but I think I won them both quite comfortably, with maybe losing one game. The strategy in this matchup is usually to take some early prizes on Zorua, while damaging Wimpod, then to take out their Golisopod-GX with Lycanroc-GX’s GX attack. You clean up with a Knuckle Impact on a GX.


Round 4: vs Simon Eriksen with Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX

Game one, I get caught off guard by his Mew-EX, and I’m not able to recover. In game two, I try to be prepared for his Mew-EX, by getting out my Zygarde-EX, however I whiff the Strong Energy to KO it when he uses it. I think I whiff a Max Elixir and maybe one more important draw during this game, and I’m not able to come back.


Round 5: vs Golisopod-GX/Garbodor

I get a bad start game one, and my opponent sets up well to lock me out of the game, so I scoop pretty quickly. Game two, I get a good start and overwhelm him. In game three, he gets a pretty big lead, but I’m able to N him with his Garbotoxin active, and I go down to tow prizes to his one. He draws dead of his N (as that deck does), and I’m able to lock a Garbodor with a Choice Band up in the active and simultaneously KO his tow Garbodor with Jet Punch for my last two prizes.


Round 6: vs Julius Brunfeldt with Ho-Oh-GX/Kiawe

This matchup literally depends on who starts, as the player who starts gets their Energy in play first and is able to take their opponent’s Pokémon with Energy off the field and will therefore win the prize race. This round my opponent wins the flip, so he wins game one and three.


Round 7: vs Gardevoir-GX/Sylveon-GX

I lose a long game one, so I’m not feeling well about the rest of this round, and I hope I can pull out a tie. I win the next game, but there isn’t much time left. Luckily both me and my opponent play at a fast pace during game three allowing me to win the game on the third turn after time is called.


Round 8: vs Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX

My opponent starts off with a turn one Brigette but has nothing beyond that. I set up normally, so he scoops after a few turns. In the second game, my opponent starts off better and gets his Mr. Mime into the active on the first turn. I start off amazing and I’m able to gust up his benched Pokémon for quick prizes in the first few turns, and I close out the game before he can start making a comeback.


Round 9: vs ID

Both me and my opponent didn’t want to risk anything, so we agreed to ID to get into top 32 safely.


I go into top 32 as 19th seed, and I know I have to get a score of 3-0-2 or better to move on to top 8.

Round 10: vs Patrick Landis with Volcanion

The Volcanion matchup is usually pretty even. In this round, however, that was not the case. My opponent started explosively both games and hit all cards needed, so there wasn’t much I could do. The games were still fun, but not the way you want to start your top 32.


Round 11: vs Phong Nguyen with Volcanion

I was a bit discouraged when I saw I had to play another Volcanion deck. This time my draws were a bit better, and my opponent whiffed on one or two crucial draws, so I was able to take the match 2-0.


Round 12: vs Simon Eriksen with Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX

This was one of my losses from day one, but this time I’m prepared for the Mew-EX, so I feel confident for the match. In game one, I start off nice and aggressive, taking out multiple basics, while charging my bench to answer a Mew-EX. At some point my board state is too developed for him to come back, so he scoops. In game two, he gets a mediocre start, at which point Buzzwole just walks over the deck.


Round 13: vs Jack Old with Sylveon-GX mill

My first matchup against any mill deck during the tournament, and I’m glad it is Sylveon-GX, as I feel more confident against this than against the Wobbuffet decks. I get a lucky break in the first game, as he starts off with two Eevee but no Energy, so I win in two turns. Game two, I start with a dead hand and scoop a few turns in when he Skull Grunts my hand of only two Energy. Game three, I get a great start, and I’m able to Absorption GX his Sylveon-GX turn two. He then misses a crucial Crushing Hammer flip, which allows me to KO his second Sylveon with Knuckle Impact. At this point, he’s only left with a Hoopa, and I’m trying to get two Strong Energy under my Rockruff to KO it. In the end, I’m able to draw the second Strong Energy I need to KO his Hoopa before he draws his Enhanced Hammer. I’m able to win the game.


Round 13: vs Julius Brunfeldt with Ho-Oh-GX/Kiawe

Now I face my other loss of day one and, unfortunately, this flip-dependent matchup is going to decide which one of us makes top 8. Luckily for me this time I win the coin flip, and I’m able to win games one and three to move on to top 8!


Top 8: vs Benjamin Cheynubrata with Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX

Both games we played he struggled to get set up, and I got set up well, at which point Buzzwole destroys this deck.


Top 4: vs Jonathan Hansen with Greninja BREAK

Game 1 was over pretty quickly as he prized two Frogadier, and I was able to clear his board before any BREAKs hit the field. In game two, he gets a better start with a turn-two Water Duplicates to get all four Frogadier in to play. But in the mid game he struggled to get more than one Greninja into play. He does hit me with a well-timed Tapu Storm GX, but I’m able to bounce back and take my last two prizes on his benched Tapu Lele-GX.


Finals: vs Sen Caubergh with VikaBulu

And in the end the tournament comes full-circle, and I’m facing the same deck as I did in the first round: VikaBulu. I win the flip, but unfortunately I have to start with Zygarde-EX with Rockruff and Remoraid on my bench. I attach an Energy and pass my turn. My opponent starts off with two Tapu Bulu-GX, but he has a bad hand. However, he is able to get the KO on my Rockruff with a Guzma and a Grass Energy. Next turn I get my Octillery in play, but I draw completely unplayable cards, like Max Elixirs and Guzmas, off Abyssal Hand. I attach a Strong Energy to my Zygarde-EX and hit his Tapu Bulu-GX for 80. My opponent attaches a Lightning to his benched Tapu Bulu-GX and a Choice Band to his active and hits me for 120. I’m not able to play down my hand or get another basic in to play, so I attach a second Strong to my active and KO his Tapu Bulu-GX, while healing 30 damage. My opponent is still not able to find anything and has to pass. I have a Choice Band in my hand, but I’m 10 damage short of winning the game, so I hit him with Cell Storm, putting me outside of the range of getting KOed by a Horn Attack with a Choice Band from Tapu Bulu-GX. On his next turn my opponent finally gets a Tapu Lele-GX for a Sycamore to get going and he hits my Zygarde-EX for another 60 damage. On my turn I also find an Ultra Ball to get my Buzzwole into play and play my hand down. I whiff all my Elixirs, but do draw a supporter off Abyssal Hand, and I’m able to KO his Tapu Bulu-GX and go down to two prizes. After this it is too late for my opponent to make a comeback as I can build up my field to respond to anything he can do.

In game two, my opponent starts off with a Brigette and ends his turn with a Grubbin active and one Grubbin and two Tapu Bulu-GX on the bench. I start Zygarde-EX again, and I’m able to bench a Remoraid, Rockruff, and Buzzwole-GX. I hit his active Grubbin for 40 damage. He gets a turn two Vikavolt and KOs my Remoraid using Guzma. I recover my Remoraid with Rescue Stretcher and I Guzma his Vikavolt, play a Multi Switch to move my Strong Energy to my active Buzzwole-GX, and attack it for 100 and KO his Grubbin. He has another Guzma to move his Vikavolt out of the active and KO my Remoraid again. On my next turn I use Bloodthirsty Eyes to get his Vikavolt active again, and I knock it out after attaching to my second Buzzwole-GX. This leaves him with no Vikavolt or way to get it out in play. However, he does have a Tapu Bulu-GX with three Energy and another with two. In his turn, he gets a Guzma KO on my Lycanroc-GX, preserving his Energy, and he goes down to two prizes. I put Buzzwole-GX active, attach and hit a Max Elixir on my benched Buzzwole-GX, giving it 3 Energy and play N. I’m able to hit my Float Stone off my N, and I knock out his active using Absorption GX, tying the game up at two prizes each. My opponent has to hit a Grass Energy and a Choice Band of the N to win the game: he whiffs, and I’m able to take the game-winning KO the next turn using Knuckle Impact, winning me the tournament!

Looking forward: Australia

I think Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX is in a good position for the Australian International Championships. It has a lot of strong matchups against some of the best decks in the format, like Zoroark-GX decks and evolution decks like Greninja and Gardevoir-GX. It has 50/50 matchups against many other decks, too. Also, because of its explosiveness and aggression, it can get some easy wins if your opponent has a mediocre or poor start. However, the deck can struggle against Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX if they play a Mew-EX, or against VikaBulu when it sets up perfectly. Against ZoroPod, you would have to take out the Wimpod and Golispod-GX quickly and then focus more on Lycanroc-GX and Zygarde-EX as attackers, but depending on your start, this might not always possible. Against VikaBulu, the strategy is to take out their Vikavolt before they are able to get a lot of Energy into play. If you’re able to do that, the matchup is in your favor, but if they can get out multiple Vikavolt, it is usually very hard to win.

Unfortunately, I won’t be attending the Australia International Championships, but if I would be, I would play the same deck with maybe one change. Mill decks popped up in a big way at Leipzig Regionals and if this trend continues in Australia it might be smart to tech against them. A Lycanroc from Burning Shadows should be enough to swing the matchup from slightly unfavorable to favorable. But if you really want to auto-win the mill matchup, you can play a 1-1 Carbink BREAK line.

Looking forward: Post Ultra Prism

This deck doesn’t gain any cards from Ultra Prism that other decks don’t get, so it doesn’t get better with this set. The only inclusion from Ultra Prism I would make is to add a couple of Cynthia at the cost of 1 or 2 Sycamore and 1 or 2 N. Cynthia does make sense in this deck: Early game it can be better than a Sycamore to conserve valuable resources or shuffle back in basic Energy to have higher odds of hitting your Max Elixirs. Late game it draws you more cards than N, allowing you to hit your combo pieces more easily and get KOs you wouldn’t have gotten with the lower draw of N.

In my opinion, there are two big new decks coming with Ultra Prism, Magnezone/Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX and Glaceon-GX, and they don’t really threaten Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX. Magnezone is basically another VikaBulu-like deck and therefore could be handled through early pressure and KOing their Magnezone. Glaceon-GX decks shouldn’t be much trouble for Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX as they rely on slowing down your opponent by locking their abilities and then taking 2HKOs. Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX doesn’t rely on abilities to get set up and has a higher damage output, so this should be a favorable matchup. One older card that would be worth considering is Sudowoodo (from BREAKpoint) as it not only is very good against VikaBulu, but it is also great against the new Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX. An example Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX list post Ultra Prism would look something like this:

And that concludes my article, I hope you learned something about Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX, and I hope you are able to get some good results with the deck.

Check me out on Twitter @Pokebert1, where I post updates from tournaments I attend, the lists I play and other stuff. And if you have any questions or remarks about the article please send me a message!

Thanks for reading!

Bert Wolters

[+8] okko


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