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Bert Wolters

Killing the Buzz - How to beat Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX in Standard

Bert goes over how to counter one of the biggest decks in the standard format: Buzzwole-GX/Lycanrock-GX.

03/09/2018 by Bert Wolters

Do you have a problem with strangely buff mosquitos? Are wolves causing trouble for your poor foxes? Are you sick of seeing your metal lions losing to a tree? Then this might be the article for you!

Introduction

 

Hello readers, Bert here, coming to you with an article on how to beat Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX (BuzzRoc) in standard. If you have been watching the result of tournaments in the past two months you would see this deck consistently at the top. With a first place at Leipzig Regionals, 2 top eights at Sao Paulo Regionals, 4 top eights (including a second place finish) at the Oceania Internationals, 3 top eights at Malmo Regionals and 2 top eights at Collinsville Regionals, there is no doubt that this deck is one of the top contenders in the format and it shows no signs of slowing down. My opinion, and I don’t think it’s that controversial, is that BuzzRoc is the best deck in the format. Its early aggression and great typing gives it great matchups across the format, especially against the other top contenders in the format: Zoroark-GX decks. So if you want to do well at an upcoming standard tournament, you will need an answer against this deck. But how do you beat BuzzRoc?

Analyzing the Deck

 

Well to beat the deck I think it’s important to first know how the deck works and what its strengths and weaknesses are. Luckily for you I’m just the guy for the job! I won Leipzig Regionals, got top 8 at Malmo Regionals and won a League Cup with the deck, so you could say I’m experienced with it. Let’s start off with a list. This is the list I used at Malmo Regionals and it contains pretty much all the cards you could expect from a BuzzRoc list:

The strategy of a BuzzRoc deck is to take some early cheap prizes using Buzzwole-GX and then creating such a board state that it is able to take the last 3 to 4 prizes using big attacks. Early on Buzzwole-GX, with the help of Regirock-EX and Strong Energy is able to take out many of the weak 60 HP basics in the format to get a quick lead. Helping with this are the 2 Lycanroc-GX and 4 Guzma, giving you so many outs to gusting effects that you can almost always target those basic Pokémon, even if they are hiding on the bench. During this you can power up threats on bench, by using Max Elixir, for big hits for when your opponent is able to get a strong Pokémon out. For this we are looking at Lycanroc-GX its GX attack and Buzzwole-GX its Knuckle Impact, which can KO any Pokémon with the help of Strong Energy and Choice Band. But also Sudowoodo can be useful for this, especially for countering Pokémon like Dusk Mane Necrozma-GX and Tapu Bulu-GX. Octillery is also crucial for this deck, as it lets you play Guzma and still draw cards, it protects you from N and its extra draw adds even more aggressiveness to the deck.

The Weak Points

 

Reliance on Octillery

It doesn’t seem very appealing to deal with a Remoraid or Octillery, when there is a Buzzwole-GX smacking your Pokémon. But if you’re able to take it out without taking too much damage yourself, it is definitely worth it. Without their Octillery in play you will often find BuzzRoc players whiffing crucial cards for knockouts and them not being able to close out a game after a late game N. This by no means guarantees you will win the matchup, but without Octillery they will have to rely more on luck to close out games, which is helpful for you.

Charged Pokémon on the bench 

Often it is not the active Buzzwole-GX which is going to lose you the game, but the Buzzwole-GX or Lycanroc-GX (potentially still a Rockruff) being charged on the bench. If you are able to neutralize these threats before they come out, there is a high chance the BuzzRoc player runs out of steam before he’s able to take his last prizes.

Weakness

Okay, so this is a really obvious one, but certainly not less important because of it. BuzzRoc has two big weaknesses: Buzzwole-GX weakness to Psychic and Lycanroc-GX weakness to Grass. A quick Psychic type can hold back some of Buzzwole-GX its pressure and KO a Buzzwole-GX before it’s able to get a Knuckle Impact off, neutralizing Buzzwole-GX’s early game pressure. And a strong Grass type can provide an answer for when you get hit by Lycanroc-GX’s GX attack.

Reliance on easy early game knockouts

BuzzRoc heavily relies on early game pressure to take the first two prizes. Therefore if you are able to prevent (some of) the early game knockouts you will have a better chance at beating BuzzRoc.

How to Target the Weak Points

 

Reliance on Octillery

This one is pretty easy in theory: knockout the Octillery and N the BuzzRoc player to a low hand size. However I do want to add a nuance here: If you only focus on the Octillery and let the Buzzwole-GXs and Lycanroc-GXs do what they want, you still might lose, so analyze your opponent’s board state before deciding to do this. If they already have a Buzzwole-GX with 3 Energy and a Lycanroc-GX with 2 Energy and only 4 prizes remaining, it might be more important to target those first. Another option to neutralize the Octillery is to play Garbodor (BREAKpoint) to shut off Octillery (and Lycanroc-GX as a bonus). This is also a very strong option as BuzzRoc decks tend to play 0 to 1 Field Blowers and therefore have very little outs to Garbotoxin.

Charged Pokémon on the bench 

The strategy to combat this is to target the Energy. The more Energy you are able to clear of the board, the better. Knocking out a Rockruff with an Energy is always a good and easy way to do this, as it removes an Energy and also removes an option of Dangerous Rogue GX. And removing Buzzwole-GX with two or more Energy is always great. Another option is to remove the Energies from those Pokémon and that will lead to my first recommended techs:

Enhanced Hammer: Enhanced Hammer is a great card in this matchup and works against a lot of other matchups as well. A well placed Enhanced Hammer plus a knockout can lead to a BuzzRoc player to be left with little to no Energy in play and thus no way to respond. A smart BuzzRoc player however knows which decks tend to run Enhanced Hammer and will try to play around it. This is not always possible though, so Enhanced Hammer will always have a use against BuzzRoc, but it might not always win you the game.

Another tech I want to point attention to is Plumeria. Plumeria gives you assured removal of one Energy, whether it’s special or basic and can definitely tip the scales in your favor. I would only recommend this in a deck with a lot of draw Abilities, like Zoroark-GX decks, as the steep cost of two discards and it being a Supporter card would hurt too much in other decks.


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