Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

Aiming High - Mexico City Report and Skill Set Growth

This is a part one of a multi-series article where Zach goes over Buzzwole-GX variants and some game changing skill-sets.

07/02/2018 by Zach Lesage

This is part of a multi-series of articles that are focused on empowering yourself as a player, learning Buzzwole-GX variants, and going over some hidden skill sets within the game. All articles *should* be released before NAIC, but all should have some timeless aspects as the game grows for years to come!

Greetings from Mexico

Hola 60 Cards readers, cómo estás hoy? Hopefully you exclaimed, ‘muy bien!’, because I like it when the readers of my articles are feeling great! If the [insert Spanish here] lines don’t make sense to you, I’ll explain it, I am still in Mexico City on vacation for another week! I can’t say enough great things about this city - the food is great, the people are welcoming, and the cultural values are inspiring! Anyways, let’s get back into the more important subject matter, making sure you know what is up with this article today. In my article today, I want to go over the deck that I played at the recent Mexico City Special Event, my tournament report, and I will detail some valuable tournaments skills! At the end of this article, I want you to understand how to play the game at a deeper level so that you can experience the highest level of success available to you as a player. Without wasting a moment, let’s jump straight into the rain forest as I showcase the Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor deck that I played at the Mexico City Special Event # 2:

Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor Deck

Quick Explanation

This deck is quick, has a locking capability, and is surprising consistent due to the inclusion of Order Pad. This deck focuses on attacking with Jet Punch during the early game, setting up a Garbodor with Gabotoxin, and using Beast Ring during the latter half of the game. You can disrupt your opponent with Garbotoxin and by playing an N to get them to a lower hand size under Ability lock. The biggest advantage that this deck has over the other Buzzwole-GX variants is the inclusion of Fighting Fury Belt, a card that brings Buzzwole-GX to a whopping 230 HP. This deck also brings match-ups to a realm of probable “luck”, something that quite a few decks in this format can’t say the same in any matter. What I am trying to say, this deck pops off out of nowhere, locks your opponent out of playing Abilities, and just steals wins sometimes. Other decks can still get “lucky”, but not to the degree of winningness that this deck expels. It was due to this reason that I decided early on that I would be playing this deck at the 2018 Mexico City Special Event #2 in Mexico City, Mexico. I knew that I would likely run into a few Malamar variants, just like the last time that I was in Mexico, but that I would have a solid chance against them. Lets look over my report and see how I did:

Mexico City Special Event # 2 Report

My journey to Mexico City was slightly better this time due to me flying on a better airline, Delta, and having an overall better morale heading into the tournament. So I eventually got to Mexico, got in to my hotel, met up with my Carta Magica teammate Bodhi Robinson, and started to test the above list. We settled into the same deck, got to the venue, and prepared for the exciting day ahead of us.

Tournament: Mexico City Special Event # 2
Division: Masters
Players: 38
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor

As I stated above, I went into this tournament with Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor because of its linearity, its ability to steal games, and my comfortability with the deck. I had played this deck at League Cups the prior week in Alymer, Quebec. I had a strong weekend at those League Cups, piloting a similar list to a first place finish, and the rest of the Carta Magica squad told me it would be a strong play.

Round: 1
Opponent: Daniel Altavilla
Deck: Hoopa / Malamar
Matchplay: L - L
Outcome: Loss
Running Record: 0W - 1L - 0T

This was actually one of the games that I was not feeling because it is a friend and a rough match-up. The games went pretty much as I expected, I had a rough go because Danny used Giratina to snag my Cynthia out of my hand, leaving me Supporter-less. Game two was a blow out because I just dead drew hard and eventually scooped to Altavilla.

Round: 2

Opponent: Yasser Moreno
Deck: Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: W - W
Outcome: Win
Running Record: 1W - 1L - 0T

These games seemed to take only ten minutes because I had enough time to get some snacks after this round. I got a quick set-up, got Garbotoxin set-up quickly, and had plenty of resources left over. Game two went the exact same way so I took a quick lead.

Round: 3
Opponent: Gustavo Wada
Deck: Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX
Matchplay: L - W - W
Outcome: Win
Running Record: 2W - 1L - 0T

After already facing Altavilla, a friend and top 16 competitor, I was upset that I was facing against another strong opponent, this one being the strongest of all LATAM players. Wada smashed through my weaker set-up game one because I just couldn’t find a way to get out my Garbotoxin lock or use Beast Ring. Game two was looking slightly similar, except I was able to pull a last minute N late in the game that set Wada up for failure. With time almost running out, we began to play game three as quickly as possible to get the game out of the way. We both realized that time was going to be an issue so we played the absolute quickest we could. The game eventually resulted in a series of back and forth moments of dead draws and successes that ended up with me nabbing a Guzma on the last turn before I would lose. Super solid games, but the match-up is favourable for me in normal circumstances.

Round: 4
Opponent: Abe Morales
Deck: Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX / Malamar
Matchplay: W - L
Outcome: Tie
Running Record: 2W - 1L - 1T

After Round 3 we had a lunch break and I was not particularly happy to know that the pairings for the next round went up early so that we could find our opponent. Throughout my entire lunch break, I knew that I was playing against a decent player from the the United States who was playing a deck that I would likely lose to. During our actual game one, I took a quick lead that got me decently far in the game, but Morales was not too far behind. There was one turn where he needed to hit a Max Elixir and an Energy off of a Cynthia and he immediately attached the energy. He played down a Max Elixir and my heart sank... FAIL. Ok, we made it... He played down another Max Elixir down... FAIL. I got through game one with my heart beating, but I was ecstatic that I could squeak out such a close game. Game two was going fairy similar, except I had some awkward draws during the middle of the game that kept me from winning. Morales ended up check-mating my deck by having three fully powered up Pokémon that were more than enough to close out the game. Within the first few minutes of game three, time was called and I agreed to tie Morales based on my board being unable to draw all of my Prize Cards in two turns.

Round: 5
Opponent: Adrian Flores
Deck: Zoroark-GX / Trevenant BREAK
Matchplay: W - W
Outcome: Win
Running Record: 3W - 1L - 1T

Going into this game, I actually didn’t want to see myself sitting across from Adrian, a really good friend who I met a month ago at the last Special Event in Mexico, because he needed his invite to Worlds. He was bittersweet about facing me because he wanted to see me get my Top 16 placement in North America, but he really wanted his invite. Upon sitting down, Flores scooped to me out of nowhere and I was shocked at his actions - we were playing in a “‘major” tournament and I never expect any player to scoop to me ever. I told him to do as he wanted, but I still wanted to play him for fun to see what would have happened. I ended up getting everything I needed whenever I needed it, during both games, and I absolutely obliterated him. I wished him luck in his last round and I proceeded to get myself ready for my next round,

Round: 6
Opponent: Caleb Gedemer
Deck: Hoopa / Malamar
Matchplay: L - L
Outcome: Loss
Running Record: 3W - 2L - 1T

Unfortunately, I found myself paired up in the last round, to a fantastic player, to a great friend, to a fellow 60 Cards article writer, and to an awful match-up. I’m not sure why my luck takes me all the way to the top sometimes just to let me down, but this match was very infuriating because I really needed those points. From what I saw at the top tables, most of the other remains decks that I could possible face would have been Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX decks, which would have been fantastic match-ups. Looking back at these games against Gedemer, I had decent hands, but I kept on playing N, only for him to draw a Supporter and a Field Blower each time. Game two followed a similar suit and the game was over quite quickly.

Final Record: 3W - 2L - 1T
Final Placement: 15 / 38
CP Earned: 0 CP

So had there been ten more players, I would have walked away with 80 CP and I would have propelled myself into the Top 16 of North America. Unfortunately, I gained zero CP by losing my last round, and Zak Krekeler earned 50 CP by making Top 64 at the Sheffield, United Kingdom Regionals. It was at this point that the fight in me had kicked into high gear and I tried to dedicate my week in Mexico to fighting for CP at the upcoming Regionals (read my report on 60 Cards when it comes out either this week or next week). The whole week allowed me to take an introspective view on myself, re-visit some strategies that have got me this far, and to really pinpoint where I need to grow as a player. The rest of this article will go over these strategies and explain them as much as possible:

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