Experts' corner

Caleb Gedemer

The Babies Take Flight — Triple Baby Buzzwole Dominance

There is a reason three identical lists made the Top Eight at Madison, Wisconsin Regionals. Find out what made the deck in question so strong!

06/11/2018 by Caleb Gedemer

Wisconsin Regionals was a weird one for me. Going in I was playing Greninja BREAK or Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) . The latter of the two looked decently positioned against the rise of the many Malamar (FLI; 51)  decks that were on the horizon, but Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  was still a big threat, even though it was assumed to die down in popularity for this event. Greninja BREAK was the dark horse of my choices, just a glass cannon deck that could beat all three of the biggest decks, Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104) , Malamar (FLI; 51) , and Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) , if all went well. I don’t like handicapping myself with a deck that won’t award wins based on skillful play, so Greninja BREAK seemed like a foolish choice. I decided against it rather early on Friday and started to let the idea of playing a Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  deck sink in…

It felt bad, so bad in fact that I scrambled for something else. I played a few Zoroark GX (SLG; 53) / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  mirrors with a friend and it was just a mess. I was ready to just lock it in as my deck choice when I honed in on a Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  list that Chris Leandro was playing with Jimmy Pendarvis nearby. The list used three baby Buzzwole, just like James Arnold did at Virginia Regionals in the Expanded format. This was intriguing for a variety of reasons, namly for the fact that it improved the matchup against Malamar (FLI; 51)  decks. This past weekend exposed Malamar (FLI; 51)  as a weak deck in my eyes, but I, among almost everyone else out there, thought it was a very strong contender going into this tournament. Buzzwole is very hard for the deck to effectively deal with since it can chip away at a Dawn Wings Necrozma GX (UPR; 63)  and set up Knockouts, all the while just giving up a single Prize.

Not only were the three baby Buzzwole strong against Malamar, but they were incredible in the mirror match. While the old mirror match approach was to Jet Punch your opponent into oblivion while building big threats up on your Bench, this version of the deck opts to go in with a completely non-EX/GX front and avoid putting two Prize Pokemon down altogether. By doing this, you force your opponent to go through numerous one Prize Pokemon, making it incredibly hard for the “old Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) ” decks to win the game since they don’t have many non-EX/GX attackers. Mirror matches became very easy in that way, and the Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  matchup was even further improved as well since you had so many ways to deal with Zoroark GX (SLG; 53)  without giving up a Pokemon-EX/GX. All this in mind, knowing Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)  / Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74)  was the best deck in format’s past, this build looked like it could take its new weaknesses to at least an even playing field, and I ran with it.

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