Experts' corner

Isaiah  Bradner

(Beast) Ring around the rosy, an overview of Buzz/Roc/Tales in standard

Isaiah goes over the recent Buzz/Roc lists that did well in Japan, and talks about his own current list for the Standard Format.

11/13/2018 by Isaiah Bradner

Hey 60cards readers! I’m fresh off of a 4th Place finish at Portland Regionals piloting BuzzRoc, and I’m here today to tell you about that very same deck! While the list varies widely from Standard to Expanded, I believe its ability to compete carries over.

BuzzRoc has been a favorite deck of mine ever since it was released last year, and has accounted for a majority of my accomplishments over the past year. Because it’s a deck I have a lot of experience with, it seemed like the perfect place to start on my Lost Thunder testing journey, and indeed it was.

In a recent Japanese tournament with the new cards, there were three different BuzzRoc lists in top eight; and all eight of them were built differently. First I’ll go over the different choices in each of the three lists, then I’ll show you my updated list for this format. Without further ado, let’s get into it.

What all lists include

Contrary to the popular North American lists, the Japanese lists have a heavy focus on Jet punching in the early turns. The first list plays 2  Lisia (CLS; 137) to search out  Beast Energy Prism Star (FLI; 117) on turn one, the second plays 1 Lisia along with 3 Professor Kukui (SUM; 128) , and the third list plays 4 Professor Kukui. As well as these damage modifiers, they all play multiple switch cards and 4  Buzzwole GX (CIN; 57) to maximize the consistency of getting turn one Jet Punch. Outside of this strategy, that’s where the similarities end.    


Why Ninetales Helps:

Alolan Ninetales fixes one of the main problems the deck had pre-Lost Thunder, missing Beast Ring on the precious one or two turns you had to play it. It also adds consistency by allowing you to search out Switch for mobility, Choice Band for damage, Field Blower for tech tools, and so much more. As well as an amazing ability,  Unit Energy FDY (FLI; 118) gives us access to both of Ninetales attacks. The first attack is especially useful vs Malamar and Lost March, but can also be used to skip Beast Ring in some situations. The GX attack Sublimation is good for closing out the game vs mirror and can take a clutch knockout whenever it's needed.

List #1: Hidehito Jozaki, BuzzRocTales


4 Buzzwole-GX: This is seen in all three of the Japan lists that did well. This is a change from the 1-2 Buzzwole-GX we saw before Lost Thunder was released. I believe this change is because of  Alolan Ninetales GX (JP; 132) being able to grab you two  Beast Ring (FLI; 102) , which requires you to have 2 Buzzwole-Gx on board to be able to use for full effect. It also is your ideal early game attacker, as is evidenced by the Lisia and 3 Escape Board (UPR; 122) Hidehito plays.

2/2  Lycanroc GX (GRI; 74) and Ninetales: Hidehito is the only one who decided to play both Lycanroc and Ninetales in his list, the other two opting for only one of the two. This approach lessens his dependency on either and gives him more attacking options in various matchups. The downside of this is that his bench space is strained, which can force him into awkward situations with benching Buzzwole and Tapu Lele GX (GRI; 60) .

3 Lele: This is quite unusual for a BuzzRoc list, as most successful lists play one at the most. This count reflects his early Jet Punch strategy, as Lele can grab both Lisia and Kukui to buff your damage. In addition, it makes your consistency of hitting situational supporters such as Kukui and  Guzma (BUS; 115) much higher.


3 Kukui - As well as helping with turn one aggression, Kukui can often give you the reach you need to get critical knockouts mid-game. One common scenario is to have 3 basic energy and a  Choice Band (GRI; 121) on a  Rockruff (FLI; 75) with  Diancie Prism Star (FLI; 74) on the bench. You then use Lycanroc's ability to bring up a Benched Lele, and Kukui to push your damage to 180. It also allows to you kill opposing Buzzwol-GX without a Choice Band.

3 Escape Board: This is his Switching card of choice, and works well in his list with the high count of Lele he plays. It has the variety of being able to keep your board fluid mid-game and is especially good with Ninetales to search it out. The downside to Escape Board is that if it’s attached to a Lycanroc or Ninetales they still require an energy to retreat.

1 Field Blower (GRI; 125) : This card was most likely included to combat  Spell Tag (LT; 190) in Malamar (FLI; 51) , and is effective in doing so when combined with Ninetales to search it out. In my opinion, this card should be a staple in BuzzRocTales going forward.


List #2 - Tetsuya Kajita


3/2 Ninetales - Tetsuya elected to play no Lycanroc in favor of a heavy Ninetales line. This allowed him to fit more tech supporters and Items that the others couldn’t fit such as  Lusamine Prism Star (LT; 182) and Custom Custom Catcher (LT; 171) .

Buzzwole (FLI; 77) - This is a feature that I love about his list that the others didn’t include. Playing two “Baby” Buzzwole allows you a burst of power on your opponent's four prize turn, and makes it easier to trade with one-prize decks. It also makes it impossible for your opponent to play around both it and Lusamine Prism star.

3 Tapu Lele/1  Oranguru (SUM; 113) - The high Lele count is included for the same reasons as in Hidehito’s list. The Oranguru allows you a constant draw crutch throughout the game and gives you more stability off of a late game judge. This list can afford to play Oranguru because they have extra bench space from not playing Lyanroc.


Judge (FLI; 108) - The main draw Judge has in this deck is for late gate game turns where you can go Beast Ring (Or Sledgehammer), Custom Catcher a big target, and Judge their hand down low. This can often cause them to whiff the KO, and turn the tides in your favor. As well as being the best comeback mechanic in Standard, Judge is good early game to limit their options while you pressure with Jet Punch.

1 Lusamine Prism Star - This card is BONKERS when played alongside Baby Buzz. Unless your opponent has the ability to take 3 prizes in a turn, it guarantees you’ll be able to use one of these insane effects to swing the game. The reason this card is so good is that it affects all of your Pokémon in play, so if you only have Ultra Beast on the field, your opponent can’t do anything!

4 Custom Catcher - This is played over the Lycanroc line, and can be grabbed by Ninetales if needed. This card is strong because it can come out of nowhere, and doesn’t necessarily force you to evolve if you want to use it. Counter Catcher also brings a decent draw option to the table in its first effect, which only nets one less card than Bicycle.

Switch (SUM; 132) - His choice of switching card reflects the fact that he also plays Baby Buzzwole, which has a two retreat cost. If he started Baby Buzz and drew Escape Board, he would not be able to attack on turn one.

List #3 - Wataru Suzuki

This list is a crazy mash of different things and I don’t understand many of the choices so I won’t touch on it today; but here it is. 



My list:

As is obvious from the lists above, there are many different ways to build the deck. After analyzing the Japanese results and doing some early testing, this is the list I am currently at.


4 Buzzwole-GX/1 Buzzwole FLI - This is the split that I have come to prefer for the deck. The 4 Buzzwole GX allows you to pressure early and always have access to them as your ideal Beast Ring target. The one Buzzwole FLI is especially strong with Kukui and Ninetales to search out Choice Band, which allows it to easily one-shot GXs. Sledgehammer comes into use a large amount of the time with the heavy Buzzwole-GX take the new lists, and the card is just too good not to play.

2/2 Lycanroc - I prefer the Lycanroc over Custom Catcher because I like having more Guzma outs that don’t require me to evolve my Ninetales-GX. Dangerous Rouge-GX can put on a ton of pressure vs any matchup, and Lycanroc is your main attacker vs Malamar.

2/2 Alolan Ninetales - I love this new addition to the deck, and firmly believe it should be in all lists. As well as being able to search out your critical items when needed, the inclusion of Unit Energy allows you to take advantage of Snowy Wind and Sublimation-GX, both of which come in clutch in certain situations. Snowy Wind can be great for skipping Beast Ring in mirror, putting pressure on multiple Malamars, and sniping down GX’s with low HP. Sublimation has a simple, but powerful effect that can easily kill a Buzzwole-GX for two energy. Overall, this is one of the best cards printed in a while.

2 Tapu Lele/1 Diancie - I believe two Lele will become the baseline for many lists in the new format. This is because you will have more GXs on the board normally, and finding individual supporters will be more crucial due to the array you play. A Diancie Prism should be in every list, and shouldn’t need any explanation.


4 Cynthia/4 Guzma/2 Lillie - This supporter count has been enough for me in early testing, especially with the increased count of Tapu Lele. You want maximum  Cynthia (UPR; 119) and Guzma to allow you access to them as often as possible, and simply to allow them to be played four times. The two Lillie are your ideal supporters when you go first, and simply the second best supporter in general. Playing  Lillie (SLG; 62) on turn one is especially effective with this variant of the deck because of all the various evolutions you can hit turn two.

3 Professor Kukui - Kukui is good for all the reasons already explained, but combos even better with Ninetales. A Snowy Wind with Kukui one shots a Malamar, and does 120 with a Band.

1 Lisia - This card has one simple function for the deck, search out Beast Energy and Diancie for a +50 at any point in the game. This is usually used on the first or second turn of the game, but can also be a powerful late game when finding Beast Energy is imperative for math. Finally, this card can pre-emptively grab Lusamine Prism star if you have a turn where playing a supporter is not needed.

1 Lusamine Prism Star - This card is too insane not to include, and the ability to make your board completely immune for a turn can single-handedly win you games. This card is used best when there are only Ultra Beast-GX Pokémon on the field, but I often find myself using Lele for it to force my opponent to use Guzma.

1 Field Blower - As mentioned earlier, this card is critical in the Malamar matchup for removing Spell Tag. This is especially relevant when attacking with Ninetales or Lycanroc, as they can be difficult to one shot. You can also Blower Shrine Of Punishment if needed.


4 Unit Energy - I maxed out the copies of unit energy to maximize the effectiveness of Ninetales. This card not being basic has very rarely mattered, and I liked the consistency of having 4 options to attack with Ninetales.

1 Beast Energy - This card is amazing for so many reasons, and should be an auto-inclusion into every list.

8 Fighting - This count has been fine for me, and I have very rarely wanted a 9th.


Malamar - Even

This matchup comes down to how much pressure you can put on them with Lycanroc, and whether or not you have to activate Spell Tag. Your general gameplan should be to lead with a Lycanroc-GX by using Dangerous Rouge a Giratina or Malamar on turn two. From there you should Claw slash for a knockout (use Kukui if they have a Giratina), and then usually they will respond KO your Lycanroc after the second prize. This is where I go in with Baby Buzzwole, and Sledgehammer to take myself down to two or three Prizes. They will have to kill the Baby Buzz, and you can then use Lusamine Prism to allow your Buzzwole-GX two turns of life, and essentially seal the game. Try not to bench Buzzwole-Gx unless you have to, and remember that Ninetales can be a very good attacker if you go first.

Buzz/Koko spread - Favorable

This matchup is fairly simple and relies a lot on how your first turn draws go. Your game plan should be to set up an early Lycanroc into a Baby Buzz after the Lycanroc dies. This is fairly easy to do, and you should win most games. If you only have to bench two or three Pokémon and you can get an attack with Baby Buzzwole or Lycanroc off, you will win the game. If your bench ends up being three or more before you can attack, they will probably be able to manipulate the damage enough to win the game.

Blacephalon/Naganadel - Extremely Favorable

This is one of your best matchups and one that you do not have to draw well to win. As in most matchups, you should start pressuring with an early Jet Punch, and when the Buzzwole-Gx goes down, use Sledgehammer. They will probably KO you with Naganadel (SM8) (JP; null) , and you should then be able to explode with Beast Ring and Lycanroc, which will put you far enough ahead to win.

Lost March - Favorable

This matchup is one where you take an alternate gameplan, and try to attack with Ninetales. Against the low HP of Jumpluff (LT; 14) , Natu (LT; 87) , and Skiploom (LT; 13) , Ninetales can easily take three prizes in the first two turns. This pressure is usually too much for Lost March to handle, and you should be too far ahead in the prize race to lose. An important asset of the matchup to remember is that Jumpluff has fighting resistance, which makes it difficult to kill with Jet Punch.

Zoro/Roc - Extremely Favorable

This matchup has always been positive for BuzzRoc and now is no exception. You should go early Buzz-GX and try to take at least two prizes with it. After it dies, I usually attempt to use Sledgehammer, and then to finish off the game with Lycanroc-Gx. One important thing to note in this matchup is that if you hit only one Beast Ring, it is almost always right to use it on the Baby Buzzwole. This forces your opponent to choose between killing the energy already on the board or shutting your Beast Ring off altogether.


As you can see, BuzzRocTales is in an extremely good position in the current meta, and currently my #1 pick for Brazil. I believe that the raw power and aggression of the deck paired with the versatility and consistency of Ninetales will help it show up big in Brazil.

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions feel free to email me at or message me on Facebook. Good luck to everyone in Brazil!

Until next time,






[+24] okko


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