Experts' corner

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Zach Lesage

Still Buzzed: Big Buzzwole Moves

Zach goes through multiple Buzzwole decks, explains them in detail, and brings some fresh techs to the archetype!

06/16/2018 by Zach Lesage

Buzz Around Town

Bzzzzzz, Bzzzzzz - *swat* *swat* swat* BZZZZZZZZZZZZ BZ BZ buzz buzz, *sucks blood* f!f8dj!$$ DANG! *SUCKS MORE BLOOD* buzz buzz buzz! *SWAT* *PUNCH* *KICK* GOTTUM! Ahem, sorry, I was dealing with some mosquitoes and they were downright attacking me… Aloha 60 Cards readers, I am back with ANOTHER article and the subject of the article today is ummm… BUZZWOLE! If you didn’t watch the stream at the 2018 Madison, Wisconsin Regional Championships, you wouldn’t know, but Buzzwole variants tore up the entire tournament, including crowing Igor Costa his third Regional Championship title THIS YEAR! It doesn’t seem like Buzzwole-GX is slowing down anytime soon so I might as well cover it a few more times on this site to get the message through! In this article, I will be going through the various Buzzwole variants that did will in Madison, explaining each deck in further detail, and showcasing my own ‘experimental’ Buzzwole deck too. Let’s look at the Buzzwole decks that did well in Madison:

Mosquitoes Across the Globe

One of the best things that a player can look into going into their next tournament is to look at the cold hard data available to us. With this past weekend having three Regionals total in the United States, Malaysia, and Chile - it would be wise to look and see how our mosquito friend did overall. I’ll individually showcase everyone who did well (Top 64 or better) with a Buzzwole Variant over the weekend and then tally the Buzzwole variants up. Let’s see how Buzzwole variants did this weekend:

Madison, United States

Igor Costa - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Will Mantho - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc
Ian Robb - Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor
Caleb Gedemer - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Xander Pero - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Joey Ruettiger - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Michael Pramawat - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Ahmed Ali - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Wesley Hollenberg - Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor
Jimmy Pendarvis - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Brendan Acri - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Sam Chen - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Ryan Sablehaus - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Connor Foster - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Jordan Hartman - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Ben Potter - Buzzwole-GX / Lucario-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Glen Henderson - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Drew Allen - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Harrison Burch - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Polo Le - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Andrew Cappy - Buzzwole-GX / Zygarde-GX
Phil Holenburg - Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor
George Triplett - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Peter Kica - Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX

Santiago, Chile

Bastian Silva - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Nicolas Galaz - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Sebastian Lozano - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Claudio Ferla - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Otavio Gouveia - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Francisco Osorio - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Nicolas Silva Perez - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Andres Gosselin - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Vincent Rodriguez - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Cristian Munoz - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Sebastian Cervajal - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Alexandre Braga - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX

Subang Jaya, Malaysia

Keng Fai Lee - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Hariz Hamdan - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Attar Ricco - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Keith Yong - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Rishwyn Singh - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Shane Chee - Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX

Looking at these results, there are the Buzzwole variants that saw the most success OVERALL:

  • Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
  • Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor
  • Buzzwole-GX / Zygarde-GX

 

While Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX took the most spots overall at each Regional Championship that it was played at this past weekend, the North American players who piloted Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX were seemingly at an advantage. Forcing three ‘baby’ Buzzwole down your opponents throat can mean game over for them because they now have to draw three Prize Cards that can be difficult to draw. If you haven’t got a chance to check out the deck list, peep it out here:

Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Deck

Deck Explanation

This deck functions like most Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX decks, except it can use ‘baby’ Buzzwole to provide chip damage to Pokémon before going in with a bigger threat. I have categorized all of the cards in this deck to explain them in further detail. Let’s look at how some of these cards work in this deck:

Three Buzzwole and Two Buzzwole-GX

This count of cards is used to offset the the chance of starting with a Buzzwole-GX because starting with ‘baby’ Buzzwole can often be better! You may be asking yourself why this Buzzwole strategy works better and the simplistic answer is: single Prize Card attackers. If you are able to force your opponent to Knock Out two 130 HP Pokémon that pick a forceful blow in terms of Sledgehammer, you can proceed with Beast Ring after that. The more opportunities that your opponent has to be cornered, you can directly control the outcome of your own game. So the game plan ion most games will ALWAYS revolve around using ‘baby’ Buzzwole before using Buzzwole-GX to win the Prize Trade war. There are SOME circumstances to use Buzzwole-GX before ‘baby’ Buzzwole, but those are few and far between in comparison.

One Lycanroc-GX, One Rockruff, Four Guzma, and Three Float Stone

This section of cards is based on using Pokémon Catcher-like effects against Switch effects to gain control back over the game. Lycanroc-GX doubles as a massive attacker in this section of cards and is one of the keys to Knock Out pesky opposing Pokémon such as Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX. The reason why you want to use Lycanroc-GX to Knock Out most Psychic Pokemon is because it weak to Grass Pokemon and has that barrier of having 200 HP. Furthermore, it can utilize Claw Slash with damage modifiers such as Diancie PRISM STAR, Regirock-EX, Choice Band, and Strong Energy to hit otherwise unreachable numbers. Looking deeper into Claw Slash, it does a base damage of 110 damage, let’s toss a Choice Band, have a Diancie PRISM STAR in play, and have a Regirock-EX in play to bring that damage to 170. That amount of damage can Knock Out important Pokémon such as Tapu Lele-GX, but you can even Knock Out other important Pokémon such as Buzzwole-GX if you attach a Strong Energy to Lycanroc-GX.

Another notable change about this variant of Buzzwole is that we have utilized the NEW Rockruff from Forbidden Light over the previous Rockruff with Corner due to it having 70 HP. The 70 HP can be massive because it requires Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX to have at least two damage modifiers instead of having a minimum of one with Beast Energy being legal. It can also hold its own against popular Abilities such as Giant Water Shuriken or two hits of Shuriken Flurry. With Buzzwole-GX being one of the most popular decks of all time, it can even survive two hits of Jet Punch while staying on the Bench which furthers its accolades to being included in this deck. While its Surprise Attack is somewhat underwhelming, it does offer outs to a few situations. If you are playing against the ‘Attacking’ Hoopa deck that I piloted at Madison Regionals, you can do some MASSIVE damage if you can get the coin-flip to work. Furthermore, if you find yourself stuck against an opposing Zoroark-GX, you can attach a Choice Band, a Strong Energy, and have a Regirock-EX in play to be able to flip a coin to do 220 damage.

Guzma has been the central part of our Supporter engine in most decks and with due reason, it is one of the determining factors for winning most games. I have heard countless stories of ‘I too decked a Guzma to win out of nowhere’ or ‘my opponent got so lucky that they used a Tapu Lele-GX to grab a Guzma on turn three’! It is apparent that bringing up Pokémon that we want to Knock Out and doing so is one of the greatest assets in the game. Rightfully, we play four copies of Guzma to achieve this feat and we also have Lycanroc-GX to use Bloodthirsty Eyes to guarantee it. In some cases, we can use Guzma as a way to pseudo-Retreat our Pokémon due to their higher Retreat Cost. We also have Float Stone in the deck for Regirock-EX, Diancie PRISM STAR, and Octillery which all have targets on their back to be brought up.

One Octillery, One Remoraid, One Tapu Lele-GX, Three Brooklet Hill, Four Professor Sycamore, Two Cynthia, 2 N, and Four Ultra Ball

These cards are the core of our draw engine in the deck and help make the deck run smooth. Starting with Octillery, we want to use this card whenever possible because it is the key to nab us that one last card needed for most of the strategies that we are trying to achieve with the deck. One of my favourite strategies that allows the full utilization of Octillery is to use Ultra Ball to discard some useless cards out of your hand. Tapu Lele-GX has always been a staple in Buzzwole-GX decks since that decks inception and there is no difference with this list. The deck plays Brooklet Hill because it offers the balance to search out important Pokémon such as Remoraid and powerhouse Pokémon such as Buzzwole! The Supporter line-up in this deck is meant to ensure smooth consistencies as the game progresses without wasting too many resources.

One Diancie PRISM STAR, One Regirock-EX, Three Choice Band, Four Strong Energy, and One Beast Energy

In one of my past articles on this site, I wrote about damage modifiers in the Buzzwole-GX deck and Forbidden Light added a few more. With the use of damage modifiers, Buzzwole-GX turns from a turn-one hard-hitter into a late-game powerhouse! Let’s check out how Knuckle Impact’s math works:

Knuckle Impact base damage = 160 damage in total
Add a Strong Energy = 180 damage in total
Add a Beast Energy = 210 damage in total
Add a Choice Band = 240 damage in total
Have a Regirock-EX on your Bench = 250 damage in total
Have a Diancie PRISM STAR on your Bench = 270 damage total

That being said, Knuckle Impact can Knock Out many popular Pokemon such as Gardevoir-GX, Greninja-GX, Tapu Lele-GX, Buzzwole-GX, Zoroark-GX, and Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX! As for the draw back of not being able to attack during your next turn, Guzma is an easy fix to get around this otherwise nuisance of a side-effect. That being said, remember that this side-effect does exist and it can put a halt on your game plan. Luckily for us, we can also utilize most of the damage modifiers on other attacks and Pokémon such as Buzzwole and Lycanroc-GX.

Four Max Elixir, Three Beast Ring, One Super Rod, and Ten Fighting Energy

These cards help expedite the strategy of this deck and make Buzzwole-GX the fast beast of a card that it actually is. The game plan for attaching Energy is to make sure that you always have an ample supply of Energy in the deck to utilize with cards such as Beast Ring and Max Elixir. We can preserve the Energy by being careful not to discard them by playing cards such as Cynthia instead of Professor Sycamore and by utilizing Super Rod to keep your deck refreshed. With cards such as Beast Ring just being released in Forbidden Light, it is key to remember that your chances are higher of retrieving an Energy from Max Elixir if you use Max Elixir before you use Beast Ring. Remember to utilize your single Prize Card attackers and even your Double Prize Card attackers to force your opponent into activating Beast Ring on your side of the field.

Let’s look into the deck that Ian Robb took to Madison Regionals with a few of his friends and ended up having a lot of success with:

Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor Deck

Deck Explanation

This deck, while similar to the above deck, strips down bare on a bunch of concepts in the deck to focus more on a Garbotoxin lock strategy. The key focus on this deck is to enhance Jet Punch for some big splash damage while setting up Garbotoxin to slow down your opponent. The bigger plays come later in the game after you drive your opponent to draw two or three Prize Cards to then use Beast Ring to set-up your board. Once you have your board set-up, your goal is to use Knuckle Impact and Absorption GX to do some massive amounts of damage to win the game. In most cases, you should expect a Field Blower to turn off Garbotoxin, but your plan to bounce back into the game should be to have another Garbotoxin ready to go! Let’s look into some of the cards in this deck:

*You can use the deck explanation and some card explanations from Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX for this deck due to similarities*

Four Buzzwole-GX and One Buzzwole

This line up of Buzzwole-GX and Buzzwole is slightly different than the above deck because we need to focus on our bigger of the two attackers to survive. As stated above, our strategy is to force our opponent into activating Beast Ring and then utilizing Garbotoxin to lock them from doing much else.

Two Garbodor, Two Trubbish, Four Float Stone

Garbodor is used to combat many different Pokemon in the format that have some worry-some Abilities. Here are some of the most common Pokemon with Abilities that you will see in Mexico City, Sheffield, and League Cups:

 

  • Octillery BKT
  • Diancie PRISM STAR FLI
  • Oranguru SUM
  • Tapu Lele-GX GRI
  • Regirock-EX
  • Hoopa SLG
  • Mr. Mime GEN
  • Lycanroc-GX GRI
  • Zoroark-GX SLG
  • Zoroark BKT
  • Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX UPR
  • Malamar FLI
  • Volcanion PRISM STAR FLI
  • Manaphy-EX BKP
  • Mew FCO
  • Mew-EX DRX
  • Mewtwo PR
  • Greninja-GX FLI
  • Starmie EVO
  • Frogadier FLI
  • Greninja BREAK BKP
  • Trevenant BKP

 

All of these Pokemon have Abilities that can win entire games on their own so being able to shut them off with Garbotoxin is going to be a huge deal. If you look at the most popular archetype, Buzzwole-GX, you can shut off their Ability to draw, their Ability to do extra damage, and their Ability to search their deck for Supporter Cards. Well, what is left? They can attack with a moderately useful Jet Punch to face a Knuckle Impact in return. That being said, Garbodor wins games through it’s hard lock on your opponent. We play four Float Stone in this deck to shut off Abilities and to gain free Retreat on our Garbodor.

Four Fighting Fury Belt and One Choice Band

Fighting Fury Belt offers us a chance to stay alive when we lock our opponent with Garbotoxin because Field Blower is often hard to search out when you are under lock. Beyond giving us the extra 40 HP, we gain an extra 10 damage that adds up nicely with Strong Energy when doing damage with Knuckle Impact. Choice Band is more of an experimental card in my list right now as I explore different counts in the deck. The Choice Band is mainly used to do extra damage to Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX because it has that glaring Resistance to Fighting Pokemon. If I were to cut either Fighting Fury Belt or Choice Band for anything, it would likely be for an additional copy of Order Pad. I am also not entirely opposed to cutting that spot for a copy of Max Potion or Super Potion to secure the Buzzwole-GX mirror match-up.

Three Order Pad, Four Nest Ball and Three Mysterious Treasure

Order Pad is played in this deck to guarantee or at least improve the odds of getting Beast Ring in that limited three / four Prize Card window when it gets activated. While that is the main use of the card in the deck, I often find uses for it as a consistency crutch to search out a Mysterious Treasure to grab a Tapu Lele-GX or to nab that necessary Float Stone to activate Garbotoxin. Mysterious Treasure finds a place in this deck due to the amount of Psychic Pokémon that are played in this deck - it can easily search out a Trubbish, a Garbodor, or a Tapu Lele-GX. Lastly, Nest Ball pulls this deck all together to give a universal search for any Basic Pokémon in the deck.

There are other various changes to this deck over a Standard Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck, but the concept still stays similar to the original strategy. Let’s look into some of my experimental thoughts:

Experimenting on Buzzwole-GX

So this next deck, while holding extreme similarities to Igor Costa’s Madison, Wisconsin Regional Championship winning list, has some minor differences. I took Costa’s winning concept, utilized some concepts from Ian Robb’s high placement, and seemingly mashed those into one. The premise is that most Buzzwole-GX Variants do not include a copy of Field Blower to discard the Fighting Fury Belt that are played in this deck - this can lead to some situations where your Buzzwole are stronger than your opponents. Another inclusion that I enjoy in this deck is the fourth copy of Buzzwole, a card that can provide massive amounts of ‘chip’ damage, and the Fighting Fury Belt inclusions in this deck can make it seemingly indestructible. Going forward with this list, I wouldn’t mind experimenting with a thicker line of Octillery for the increased consistency that the card would add to the deck, not to mention that if it gets Knocked Out that we would have a ‘back-up’ copy to utilize. Furthermore, Lycanroc-GX is in a similar boat as the Octillery because having a second set of Bloodthirsty Eyes to use can be absolutely game-breaking! Whichever direction the deck decides to take, I am sure Buzzwole will continue to poise itself in a position to overtake the meta game whenever possible. Let’s check out the list that I have made below:

Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Deck Updated

Deck Explanation

While already briefly explained above, this deck is very much Costa’s winning list with a new change added into it by the change of five cards. The decks function COMPLETELY the same at this moment and the biggest change is the inclusion of Fighting Fury Belt over Choice Band. The biggest reason for this change is the meta game switching to more of a ‘baby’ Buzzwole meta game which means that Choice Band is going to less mileage against a Buzzwole than an EX / GX Pokemon. This is where Fighting Fury Belt shines because it adds 40 HP and it can do an additional ten damage to any Pokémon... ANY! The extra 40 HP can become clutch because your opponents Buzzwole will likely have to take three shots in order to get the Knock Out instead of two now and you will likely only have to take two shots to Knock Out in return. The difference between the two lists going forward might end up becoming null because Fighting Fury Belt seems to have little draw backs - especially considering Diancie PRISM STAR and Regirock-EX add extra damage anyways.

*You can use the deck explanation and some card explanations from Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX and Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor for this deck*

Bring Your Fly Swatter

While it may pain you to read this, I don’t think that anything is going to stop Buzzwole from dominating our format for the next while. I think Malamar has the best chance, but I also feel like our mosquito Pokémon friend can steal games from that deck time-to-time. The biggest thing to watch out for going forward is the human element of Pokémon and that means people who decide to hard ‘tech’ against Buzzwole. This can include Malamar decks adding in copies of the ‘baby’ Dawn Wings Necrozma, Giratina promo, Giratina PRISM STAR, and Lunala PRISM STAR to combat Buzzwole. Overall, I feel if the meta divulges too deep in its hatred for Buzzwole, we might even see some new decks emerge out of nowhere due to the new meta game. The last part of advice that I can give going forward is to watch the meta game closely, keep yourself brushed up on recent articles, and make an informed decision as we approach major tournaments such as the 2018 North American International Championships in Columbus, Ohio. As for me, I am still on my ‘world’ tour as a professional Pokémon player so feel free to reach out if I am in your area! This is where I am going to be for the last few weekends of the season:

June 16 - June 17
Mexico City, Mexico Special Event

June 23 - June 24
Mexico City, Mexico Regional Championships

June 30 - July 1
League Cups in the Greater Toronto, Ontario Area

July 5 - July 8
Columbus, Ohio North American International Championships

As you can see, I am out there doing my best to find compelling content to write about all while chasing my goal of being one of the Top 16 best players in North America. In all of this travelling, I have made many new friends so feel free to chat with me at any time. I always enjoy talking to new players, people from around the world, and aspiring Pokemon trainers! For updates on my travel plans, tournament schedule, premium deck lists, strategies, and my most recent articles, feel free to check out and follow my professional Pokemon Twitter @ zlesage_pokemon. Also, remember to give this article a ‘like’ to let me know what you thought of this article - it gives me the motivation needed to write! Thanks for supporting 60 Cards, reading my articles, and watching me grow as a player!

Until next time,
Zach

#TeamCartaMagica #60Cards #PokeAcademy #PlayPokemon #Pokemon

[+3] okko


 

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