Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Buzzwole-GX: A Peek into my Deck Building Process

Zach goes over his deck building process for Buzzwole-GX and includes two Ultra Prism lists for Buzzwole-GX.

02/20/2018 by Zach Lesage


I was somewhat conflicted into what I was going to write heading into this article, but I ultimately decided that it is helpful to peak into my process for deck building to display how a deck can grow into something magical. In this article, I will go over the steps that I took to make Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor and where it ultimately ended up. I will also go over how the deck looks like in our new Ultra Prism format as we head into League Cups this weekend. Let’s see how this all started:

The Start


I began experimenting with Buzzwole-GX instantly after the release of Crimson Invasion because it was similar to Landorus-EX from Boundaries Crossed. While the nostalgia of cards does get mentioned sometimes, it is something that can easily be overlooked by newer players. As a veteran player since 2006, I can often look at a card, compare it spiritually to other cards, and quickly make a verdict on the playability of that card. Now this isn't a skill that any player who starts today can pick up, but you can get a head-start by having a library of deck lists that you won’t update to see the growth of a deck. I keep digital copies of all of my decks and categorize them by my main strategy and by the year they were created. This might sound like a headache to some, but it is one of the ways that I can always see where my decks have grown and a way for me to recap older ideas as I press forward.

Interestingly enough, I wrote about a Garbodor version of the deck and a Carbink BREAK version of the deck back in Novemever. I will notably add that these versions of the deck were separate, look nothing like my current list, but they were the groundwork for my current iteration nonetheless. Let’s see how these lists looked like so we can see how they have evolved over time:

Buzzwole-GX/Carbink Deck (November)

In this deck, I opted to include “Safeguard” Carbink for no apparent reason, but there was also no current reason to include the “Energy Keeper” Carbink at the time. This deck was also built in a format where “Trashalanche” Garbodor was a threat which made Zygarde-EX seem like a decent fit in this deck. While this deck looks fine on paper, it played out like cluster of ideas that all seemed fine, but it was too messy for me to continue testing. When I am building a new version of a deck, I keep a catalogued version of every iteration I have made of a certain deck to look back upon for inspiration. Let’s look at my Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor deck from November:

Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor Deck List (November)

This deck, upon revisiting it again, seems better than I realized when I first created it. It still has the same issues of being a Buzzwole-GX deck in a Garbodor based format, which is why I made the same mistake of adding in a Zygarde-EX in this list to counter Psychic decks. One thing that I do want to make clear when building a deck is that adding a single card into your deck will rarely counter a complete deck. To elaborate, “Trashalanche” Garbodor won’t be strong versus the single Zygarde-EX in this deck, but what happens after that? Zygarde-EX is not an invincible card and will eventually get Knocked Out at some point or another, this is when the match-up will resume as usual. It is often better to accept a bad match-up than try to tech for everything in the entire meta game. Either way, this deck provided groundwork for the deck that I played in Australia, so I have to be thankful for making some deck building mistakes a few months back.

Getting Closer to an Ideal List


After the results of the London International Championships, I ended up becoming inspired to make Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX one of the best decks in Standard. I thought that this deck, at the time, would be the best Buzzwole-GX variant and that Lycanroc-GX would become the best answer for all of the Psychic-type Pokemon that would stand in my way. I have personally shaped up the meta game by being responsible for cards such as Sudowoodo being standard in Buzzwole-GX decks, Regirock-EX counts, and the general list for the current Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX list. While I think there will be changes to the list heading forward, Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX has a well tested base list available almost anywhere. This is the list that I came up with in December:

Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX Deck (December)


As you can see, this list is very similar to the list that many top players from North America played in Sydney. While my list is slightly different, this list has laid out the groundwork for the deck that we use today. Over time, the second Sudowoodo has not been necessary, the Rockruff in the deck changes to suit the meta game, and Regirock-EX counts fluctuate based on what Basic Pokemon needs to get Knocked Out by Jet Punch. I will note that Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX is a strong deck if you need to get Championship Points at any event so I would consider playing it at League Cups if you haven't settled on a deck heading into the event yet. Another list that was perfected by my friend Frank Percic heading into Sydney is the Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor list below! After talking to Frank on the phone for hours while I was franticly going over what deck to play at a League Cup, he sent me a list close to what I have posted here:

Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor Deck (January)

While I still have issues with this list, I still think that the deck got me to the point of exploring “Garbotoxin” Garbodor in Buzzwole-GX and exploring the other strengths found within this deck. The issues that I continue to have with this list are list exploitive if anything. I am used to a play style in Buzzwole-GX decks that allows me to use Knuckle Impact and Absorption GX quickly in a game to draw Prize Cards early while my opponent tries to set-up their board. I also found that this deck can find itself in odd scenarios where you won’t be able to use Trashalanche or that you may use Jet Punch for too many turns. My mindset may not allow me to play this deck perfectly, but it is a strong deck nonetheless and got me the final Championship Points I needed in order to make it to Worlds 2018 in Nashville, TN. 

Putting it all Together

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