Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

The Other Side: Counters to Buzzwole

Wanna counter Buzzwole-GX? Peek inside this article to find two cool concepts that Zach lays out for you!

06/21/2018 by Zach Lesage

 The Grass Might be Greener...

What’s up 60 Cards readers, it is your boy, Zach Lesage, back with another jam-packed article for our wonderful Standard format. Do you like Buzzwole-GX right now? Do you hate it? Do you want to be countered? Do you want to counter it? I am sure you must have an opinion on our mosquito-man Pokemon and quite frankly, I don’t blame you at all. I have personally played a combination of Buzzwole-GX decks this season and a handful of decks that counter it - I guess it all depends on how I feel on any given day. In this article, I want to provide you with two offbeat decks that are going against the Buzzwole-GX grain - they are aiming to beat Buzzwole-GX! Beyond including deck lists, I will also provide a brief explanation, some quick match-ups, and a list of cards that can counter Buzzwole-GX. If you are a Buzzwole-GX fan, no worries, I have dropped quite a few Buzzwole-GX lists recently on 60 Cards so check out my most recent articles. If you are hating Buzzwole-GX, you better put on your reading glasses, grab some popcorn, and peep below for all of the juice:

Looking for that Purple

Ok, so you apparently hate Buzzwole-GX, that’s cool! If you haven’t faced a Buzzwole-GX deck in a tournament recently, you are part of the minority and I would personally say that your odds of facing this deck increase by the daily. In case you were wondering, I already did a brief data mine of some recent tournaments since the release of Forbidden Light to showcase the amount of play Buzzwole has seen. Let’s review that list here again:

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

After reviewing that list, we can come to only once conclusion, Buzzwole-GX is super duper strong right now. OK, OK, WE GET IT ZACH!!! You are right, so let’s work on a solution to this mosquito-man problem, but where do we start? Well, I am going to start by creating a list of Pokémon that will beat Buzzwole-GX by Weakness alone:

Cresselia UPR
Dawn Wings Necrozma PR
Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX UPR
Espeon-GX SUM
Garbodor GRI
Giratina PR
Gourgeist BUS
Hoopa STS
Latios SLG
M Gardevoir-EX STS
Meowstic SUM
Mewtwo PR
Mewtwo EVO
Mewtwo GX SLG
Mimikyu GRI
Mismagius BUS
Naganadel-GX FLI
Necrozma-GX BUS
Nihilego-GX BUS

While this list may or may not be the definitive end all list of Pokemon that are either able to Knock Out Buzzwole-GX or handle themselves well against it - it is something! All of these Pokémon can work in either part of a deck, as a wholesome deck themselves, or as those special techs to be a thorn that pricks Buzzwole-GX on its backside. I would use this list to have some fun because I already found the purple for you and just build some decks. One aspect that I appreciate about Pokémon is showing your creative side, building a bunch of fun decks, and competing with others for the top spot at tournaments. After reviewing this list, I have come up with two concepts that fit in with my criteria in this article that utilize some of the Pokémon included in this list. The first of the two concepts, Mewtwo / Malamar is a big Psychic Attacking deck that takes advantage of MULTIPLE Pokémon from the above list and puts them all to great use. Let’s peep out this list and then move into the explanation of these deck:

Mewtwo / Malamar Deck

Deck Explanation

In an article about a month ago, I actually wrote about a mono Psychic-type Malamar deck after the results of the first Mexico City Special Event. While the two decks are different, the underlying core strategy of the deck of the deck is similar so let’s look at the passage that I wrote a while back:

‘As for the strategy of this deck, it follows a similar suit to the above Ultra Necrozma-GX / Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX / Malamar Deck because the decks core is extremely similar. One of my favourite plays in this deck is to attach a Float Stone to a Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, Retreat, use Psychic Recharge a few times, and use Invasion to bring up our fully powered up Pokémon. While a strategy like that is often seen as an easy play, you would be surprised at how many players overlook simple plays such as that.’

This strategy stays relatively true as this deck is a spiritual upgrade over the vanilla Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX / Malamar Deck that I featured before. The deck now includes a few copies of Mewtwo PR to soften up opposing blows with its Pressure Ability, a copy of Giratina to keep Greninja BREAK at bay, and a slew of GX attackers to pack a punch. The Mewtwo is the newest card to be added into the Malamar variant and with due reason, the card is a true contender in our current format! Giratina can also be used as an attacker, something that hold it beyond it’s usually anti-BREAK mentality, with the added benefit of having some disruption in its attack. I actually played against a Giratina that attacked me at the recent Mexico City Special Event - my opponent luckily discarded my only Supporter in my hand. In any case, when you are trying this deck out, look for cool opportunities to utilize different attackers, such as Giratina, when you are playing out your games. Let’s look into some other cards in more details:

Card Explanation

In this section of the article, I will be going over some of the key cards in the deck to explain them in much fuller detail:

Four Malamar

This is the gas in the deck because Malamar can use its Ability to power up all of the Pokémon in the deck. In almost all cases, Malamar is one of the most sacred Pokémon in your deck that you should do your best to protect it from getting Knocked Out at almost any cost. You want to utilize Brigette, Mysterious Treasure, and Ultra Ball to get out Inkay to be able to get our many Malamar. When faced against extreme decks, such as ‘Attacking’ Hoopa, you can also attack with Malamar if absolutely necessary. While it is easy to remember for most, you need to realize that Malamar can ONLY use its Ability to attach to your Benched Pokemon. Furthermore, always try to keep a Field Blower handy to discard a Pokémon Tool against an opposing Garbodor with Garbotoxin. If you can follow all of these tips to keep your Malamar healthy throughout the game, you should see some major success!

Four Inkay

This is the card that can pull you out of a peanut butter or better yet, a jam, when absolutely necessary. This is due to the fact that the card carries an attack, Hypnosis, which puts your opponents Active Pokémon immediately to a Sleep Condition. I have played multiple games against Malamar decks in which I pressure them to the point where they used Hypnosis against me. In most cases, I seem to roll TAILS in circumstances like this which leads to some awkward situations. So yeah, when you are in doubt, absolutely look at EVERY Pokémon in your deck to progress your board state!

Three Mewtwo

This is really the star of the deck and it’s due to its nifty Ability, Pressure, which usually allows it to stay alive a little bit longer! Beyond that, Mewtwo is a vanilla attacker that can Knock Out a Buzzwole-GX with a single blow by using its only attack, Super Psy Bolt! Super Psy Bolt Knocks Out a Buzzwole-GX because of the glaring Psychic Weakness which brings us to the simple math of 100 damage X 2 = 200! With Buzzwole-GX having 190 HP, Super Psy Bolt takes care of this Pokémon for a handy Prize Card trade of a Single Prize Card attacker for a Double Prize Card attacker. The goal of playing Pokémon is to do the most you can with giving up the least, similar to any aspect in life, so utilize Single Prize Card attackers the best you can. In a Psy article, I wrote about this concept in a bit more detail so I will share that here again:

“[When it comes to the value of trading] I am not talking about trading a play set of Dark Patches for a Zoroark-GX... I want to explain that some Pokemon hold different values to our deck throughout the game. Looking into my recent article on Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX, I introduced the value of Sudowoodo and how it can be a game-changer! If your opponent uses a Buzzwole-GX’s Knuckle Impact with three Fighting Energy, we can quickly respond with Sudowoodo’s Watch and Learn to trade [for] a Knock Out. The difference is that Buzzwole-GX is worth two Prizes and used three Energy while Sudowoodo is a Single Prize Card attacker that uses only two Energy. Try to find opportunities to exploit other cards in a similar way when you play your next game.”

After the recent placement of the Hoopa / Malamar Deck from fellow 60 Cards writer, Caleb Gedemer, it may end up being a stronger concept to either split the Mewtwo count with Hoopa or to go with a full Hoopa line-up. I am struggling to find reasons on why each card is better, but the premise for this spot in the deck is to play Single Prize Card attackers. There is also an argument for cards such as Clefairy EVO, Dawn Wings Necrozma PR, and / or Mimikyu GRI because they all fall within the threshold of Single Prize Card attackers. Whatever Pokémon you decide to use, remember that there are options to fit your play style and some Pokémon are better in certain meta games.

Two Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX

This Pokémon is namely played because it has an Ability, Invasion, that allows you to gain pseudo-free Retreat which seems like a throwback to Keldeo-EX that was played in Eelektrik decks of the yesteryears. Beyond that, it has some solid stats on its side with a bulky 180 HP and a Fighting-type Resistance to keep Buzzwole-GX away. It can do some decent chip damage with Dark Flash or it can Knock Out most Pokemon that suffer a Psychic Weakness in a single Blow. It’s GX attack, Moons Eclipse GX, can bounce you back into a game by offering a turn of immunity if your opponent doesn’t have a coveted Guzma in their hand.

One Necrozma-GX

While Colorless Pokémon don’t hold a place in our current Standard format, Necrozma-GX will stop those Pokémon dead in their tracks! This Pokémon is mainly used for its attack, Prismatic Burst, which is able to do a bunch of damage once you load a few Psychic Energy on it. This attack is used to Knock Out bigger threats such as Zoroark-GX, Golisopod-GX, and Gardevoir-GX with relative ease. Black Ray GX can be used in some circumstances, especially once you spread your seed of chip damage from previous attackers across their board, to snag a few Prize Cards. The key thing to note here is that Prismatic Burst discards ALL of your Psychic Energy - be prepared to have a way to get that Necrozma-GX back to the Bench. You need to get the Necrozma-GX back to the Bench so you can power it up with Malamar to attack with Prismatic Burst again!

One Giratina

This Pokémon is the main counter to the semi-popular Pokemon / Deck, Greninja BREAK, because its Devour Light Ability blocks BREAK Pokémon from using their Abilities. In recent events, Giratina can also shut off a Trevenent BREAK that has Evolved from a Trevenant BKP - successfully allowing your Basic Pokémon to attack for the regular amount of Energy. Giratina has similar stats to Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX, a decent chunk of HP at 130 HP and a Fighting Resistance to boot. Fortunately, even if you don’t see a large amount of BREAK Pokémon when piloting this deck, you can use Giratina to attack because our deck plays the Psychic Energy requirements! While the attack isn’t great at only 110 damage, it can OHKO a Buzzwole-GX and ‘randomly’ snipe an important card out of their hand.

Two Parallel City

The two copies of Parallel City in this deck are used to limit our opponents Bench, especially when playing against a difficult Zoroark-GX variant. We can limit the damage of Riotous Beating, limit their Bench of important Pokémon, or discard heavily damaged Pokémon from your side of the field. This card adds an element of higher play to the deck and allows for layers of opportunity when available.

Four Professor Sycamore, Four Mysterious Treasure, and Four Ultra Ball

These cards are meant to boost the consistency of the deck and discard Psychic Energy to gather back with Malamar. As always, with any cards that force decisions about discarding cards, make your choices wisely because the wrong choice might just end up costing you the game.

Let’s look over some of the decks match-ups in a nutshell. While the below match-up spread is brief, there are tidbits of information in the Deck Explanation and Card Explanation section to explain the following match-ups slightly better:

Quick Match-Ups

The following match-ups are based on the general meta game that is expected after the Mexico Special Event:

Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX - SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE / FAVOURABLE
Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX - FAVOURABLE
Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX / Malamar - EVEN
Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar - EVEN

Let’s jump into the deck that my homie Jeff Deka graciously gave me to discuss in this article. I have recently learned that my homie Richard Halsall invented this concept so shoutouts to him for coming up with such a cool deck! While he didn’t invent this deck, he did pilot this list at a League Cup this past weekend to earn his World Championships at that very event! The deck is super cool so let’s check out his list:

Zoroark-GX / Trevenant BREAK Deck

Deck Explanation

I played against this deck at a recent League Cup, my friend Jeff Deka was playing it, and I became inspired to share the list that got him his invite. This deck is a smorgasbord of tech cards, different attackers, and a Zoroark-GX spine of draw power mixed around in a cauldron to form a wacky deck. The premise of this deck is to have a Zoroark-GX deck that has multi-typing to handle the current rock-paper-scissors format we are currently in with Buzzwole-GX, Malamar, and Zoroark-GX variants. Trevenant BKP is used to slow down Basic Pokémon attackers, to hit Buzzwole-GX for Weakness, and to provide a Single Prize Card attacking experience. Trevenant GRI is in a similar boat, except it punishes your opponent for having Trainer Cards in their hand and / or being weak to Grass-type. Trevenant BREAK offers a ‘cat-phishing’ effect of swapping Trevenant GRI from Grass-type to Psychic-type with the bonus added effect of gaining a spread attack and a solid HP boost. Beyond all of the bells and whistles in the deck, there are techs, such as Jolteon-EX, to counter specific decks like Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor in their entirety. The deck functions very similar to a utility knife - there are plenty of options and opportunities to make interesting plays. Lastly, the deck has a decently solid match-up against Malamar variants due to Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX being weak to Darkness-type and Zoroark-GX being a general bulky attacker.

Let’s check out some of the cards in the deck with a magnifying glass to look deeper into their inner circle of strategy:

Card Explanation

In this section of the article, I will be going over some of the key cards in the deck to explain them in much fuller detail:

Two Trevenant BREAK

As explained above, this card is used to turn the Trevenant GRI in the deck into a Psychic-type attacker from its original Grass type. You also have the option of slapping this BREAK Pokémon on top of a Trevenant BKP to keep your previous Ability, keep your Energy conscious attack, and to gain some extra HP. I have used Silent Fear a few times to soften up my opponents field before swinging with Riotous Beating.

Two Trevenant BKP

This Pokémon has a solid Ability, Nervous Seed, which greatly slows down Basic Pokémon from attacking as long as Trevenant BKP is your Active Pokemon. While it has a lower HP than most Pokémon nowadays, it does have a Resistance to Fighting-type Pokémon, which continues to push Buzzwole-GX out of the format. It’s attack, Energy Press, punishes Pokemon for having a few Energy on them and can even OHKO a Buzzwole-GX naturally when you have a Choice Band attached.

One Trevenant GRI

The Grass-type Trevenant, this Pokemon is used to offset the typing in the deck to bully Pokémon such as Lycanroc-GX, Lapras-GX, and Regirock-EX. This Pokémon can attack for a single Energy attachment, a Double Colorless Energy, to start punishing your opponent for having any Trainer Cards in their hand. As stated above, you can always turn this Pokémon into a Psychic-type Pokemon by Evolving it into a Trevenant BREAK!

One Jolteon-EX

This card, while seemingly pointless at first, is used to counter the popular deck, Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor. It accomplishes this feat by utilizing Flash Ray against the Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor deck and keeping Benched Pokémon targets on the low side. If you eventually get your opponent facing against a lone Jolteon-EX, they can only attack you with Evolved Pokémon - something that Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor does not have in their deck.

One Mew-EX and one Mewtwo

As much as Trevenant BKP is a Strong counter to Buzzwole-GX, Buzzwole-GX can still come back with a vengeance as it finds insane ways to adapt to any situation. The inclusion of Mewtwo and Mew-EX are meant to further the punishment towards Pokémon with Psychic-type Weakness do you have a much better match-up

Let’s look over some of the decks match-ups in a nutshell. While the below match-up spread is brief, there are tidbits of information in the Deck Explanation and Card Explanation section to explain the following match-ups slightly better:

Quick Match-Ups

The following match-ups are based on the general meta game that is expected after the Mexico Special Event:

Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX - SLIGHTLY FAVOURABLE
Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX / Malamar - EVEN
Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar - EVEN

Véase en la Ciudad de México

As I finish writing this article, I am relaxing in my room at Le Meridien downtown Mexico City awaiting for this Regional Championships to happen. While I am unsure if the decks featured in this article are going to make a huge splash at the Regionals this weekend, they do have the capability to succeed. That being said, I will be at the following tournaments for the rest of the season:

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

After a heartbreaking loss in the final round of this past weekends Mexico City Special Event to fellow 60 Cards writer Caleb Gedemer, I need to pave way this weekend to gain some CP. this season has had its ups and downs for sure, but it has been a crazy adventure for sure. While I can’t be certain if I want to do this all over again next season, I will still continue to fight with every amount of willpower that I have left in my body.

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 PokeBeach, reading my articles, and watching me grow as a player!

Until next time,

#TeamCartaMagica #60Cards #PokeAcademy #PlayPokemon #Pokemon

[+21] okko


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