Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

How to Play Pokémon - The Buzzwole GX Bible Pt. 1

Zach goes over his BuzzRoc list, his Mexico City Regionals Report, and details out strategy throughout the article! This part two of a multi series article!

07/11/2018 by Zach Lesage

This is part two 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 had some timeless aspects as the game grows for years to come!


Welcome back to my three part series of FANTASTIC articles, 60 Cards readers! In this article, I will be going over the Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX that I played to a ninth place finish at Mexico City Regionals, go through my tournament report for that same tournament, and go over some solid strategies in the article to prevent possible cheating. Although my friends might have made fun of me for calling a ‘Judge’ slightly too often in Mexico City, I would argue that I helped circumvent cheaters from getting what they want. Throughout this article, I will be dropping sprinkles of tips here, a dash of strategy there, and a bunch of great content in between. This article is filled to the brim with exciting content so let’s jump right into the Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Deck that I piloted at the 2018 Mexico City Regional Championships:

Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Deck

(credits go to Michael Pramawat for the list)

Mexico City Regional Championships Report - Day One

After losing my win-and-in at the Mexico City, Mexico Special Event # 2, which you can read about HERE, I needed to restructure my deck heading into this event. While I enjoyed the linearity of Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor, it was also the decks biggest downfall - it was difficult to outplay your opponents with that deck. Throughout the week of my stay in Mexico City, I tested with my Team Carta Magica teammate, Bodhi Robinson, and we started to perfect our lists as we approached the 2018 Mexico City, Mexico Regional Championships. Our good friend Michael Pramawat joined our hotel on Friday and we started to play test with him that whole day to settle on the above Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck. We went to bed pretty late, woke up early, and we made our way to the venue. Check out the report below:

Tournament: Mexico City Regional Championships
Division: Masters
Players: 233 Masters / 22 Seniors / 8 Juniors
Deck: Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX

I felt slight nauseous before the tournament because I ate a huge breakfast on a super empty stomach. At Pokémon tournaments, I usually try to ‘fast’ throughout the tournament to only eat small protein bars and drink water. I occasionally have caffeine during these ‘fasts’, but that is only if and when I am feeling mentally fatigued. Anyways, I felt slightly better by sitting down for a decent period of time which was due to the tournament starting fairly late.

Round: 1
Opponent: Gonzalo Villanueva
Deck: M Gardevoir-EX (Despair Ray)
Matchplay: L - W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 1W - 0L - 0T

I walked into this game expecting the worst possible outcome and I was pleasantly surprised when Game 1 was much closer than I originally thought. I found that if my opponent struggled to find Diantha, that the combination of Gardevoir-EX, Gardevoir Spirit Link, M Gardevoir-EX, and Energy was fairly clunky. Games 2 and 3 proved that my thought process was correct and I advanced to the next round with a win under my belt.

Round: 2
Opponent: Fernando Castaneda Perez
Deck: Hoopa / Malamar
Matchplay: L - W - L
Outcome: LOSS
Running Record: 1W - 1L - 0T

Despite overcoming an interesting match-up last round, I was faced with another brick wall in the form of another ‘bad match-up’. This match-up is actually much worse than the one previous, M Gardevoir-EX (Despair Ray), because this deck focuses on single Prize Card attackers instead of going in with EX / GX Pokemon that are worth two Prize Cards. Game 1 went as expected and I had a bit of a rough draw, but nothing too awful. It seemed like Fernando Castaneda Perez had mostly everything he could wish for and I was just always a step behind him. Game 2 was more of me running hot than me outplaying him, but I figured out to play my deck perfectly in Game 3. I utilized my army of Buzzwole to two-shot his army of Hoopa whole building up a Lycanroc-GX in the background. Everything was looking extremely favourable for me until my opponent went Max Elixir, Max Elixir, Psychic Energy on Mewtwo-GX and played a Guzma to nab my Lycanroc-GX. I almost followed the game up with my own Max Elixir, Max Elixir, Strong Energy on Buzzwole-GX surprise, but I missed my last Max Elixir for the loss.

Round: 3
Opponent: Jose Ruben Juarez Gonzalez
Deck: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: L - W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 2W - 1L - 0T

I remember that this match-up took me a bit by surprise because my opponent started the game with a Mesprit, played down a Brigette, grabbed another Uxie, attached a Choice Band, attached a Double Colorless Energy, and Knocked Out my Buzzwole-GX for 200 damage. It was at that point that I decided to only attack with ‘baby’ Buzzwole to avoid my opponent taking a huge lead on Prize Cards. I lost Game 1 due to rough draws and being surprised, but I took Game 2 and 3 by being more prepared.

Round: 4
Opponent: Arturo Alejandro Miranda Urrutia
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: L - W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 3W - 1L - 0T

This was actually a frustrating game because there was a Judge call game three that lasted 30 minutes over a he-said / he-said situation. After a rough Game 1 and a normalized Game 2, my opponent and myself find ourselves getting ready for Game 3. Everything is going fine in the game until my brain clicks in that something is wrong and I double-checked the field to make sure I was just seeing things. It was at this point in time that I asked my opponent how many cards did they have in their hand and they answered, ‘eight!’ I told my opponent to stop their game plan and that they instantly had an extra card in their hand because here is exactly what happened:

My opponent drew a card, played Cynthia, plays down a few cards, and uses Abyssal Hand to draw up to five cards. At this point in the game, we can determine that my opponent has to have EXACTLY five cards in their hand. My opponent then attached a basic Fighting Energy to a ‘baby’ Buzzwole, Knocks Out my Active Buzzwole-GX, and draws two Prize Cards. If you are following along closely, you would realize that my opponent was at an undefined amount of cards, used Cynthia to bring that number back to six, used Abyssal Hand to bring that number to five, attached an Energy to bring that number to four, and drew two Prize Cards to bring that number to six. I played out my turn, I didn’t play N to change my opponents hand size, I believe I played a Professor Sycamore because my hand was low in cards remaining. After passing ten by attacking his Active Pokémon, I realized that my opponent had one too many cards! Remember how they were definitely at six cards in their hand before my turn ended? They should only be at seven cards because they had to draw a card for their turn, but they were at eight cards!!! EIGHT CARDS?!?! My opponent pleaded that he didn’t draw an extra card, changed his story up many times, and he realized that he was caught by myself and the judges. I don’t want to accuse him of cheating, but what good does it do to change your story every time you talk to a judge? Don’t get caught in the pressure of a tournament to perform well or to win Prize Money by drawing an extra card. My opponent was issued a Double Prize Card Penalty causing me to win the game.

Round: 5
Opponent: Eduardo Arturo Gutierrez Sanchez
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 4W - 1L - 0T

This was another game that was really weird! My opponent lost a quick Game 1 in which I accidentally moved too quickly during the game and my opposing was super nice about it. I thought my opponent Knocked Out a Buzzwole-GX yo activate Beast Ring, so I played down a Brooklet Hill, used it to search out a Buzzwole-GX, and played a Beast Ring to attach a couple Energy to that Pokémon. My opponent quickly stopped me, reminded me that they had five Prize Cards remaining, and said not to worry about the Beast Ring because I just used Brooklet Hill. I apologized and moved on with the rest of the game. They fizzled out really quickly after that by dead draws alone. Game 2 was over within the first couple turns because my opponent used a Guzma to bring up one of my Pokémon and then instantly used a Cynthia to try and draw some more cards. I tried to stop my opponent immediately, but the damage was already done - the hand was shuffled within the deck. My opprobrium already knew it was a Game Loss, but we called a Judge over anyways in hopes to fix the situation if possible. My opponent was super cool about everything and wished me luck for the rest of the day!

Round: 6
Opponent: Juan Espinola Ortega
Deck: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: L - W - L
Outcome: LOSS
Running Record: 4W - 2L - 0T

There wasn’t really much to be said about these games beyond me having some poor draws, a lack of understanding of his deck construction, and my opponent drawing fairy well. I’m not sure if I just had a bit of a mind gap this round, but I ran to the Oxxo (a convenience store) across the street after this round to buy a bottle of water and some snacks. I always stress it, but you can become dehydrated by playing Pokémon all day long. I just tried to clear my head after this game and mentally prepared myself for the next game.

Round: 7
Opponent: Erick Liera
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: W - L - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 5W - 2L - 0T

This game had me confused from the start because they announced in broken English that they were going to stop the tournament after this round and play out the remaining rounds the next day! I originally was upset, but the tournament was so poorly ran that I was super excited to get a quick rest after this match! Game 1 was fairly close, but my hand was appropriate for mirror and he just couldn’t fully keep up. It is important to note that during this game I called the Judge on my opponent for not fully sufficiently shuffling his deck! The de-escalated it to a Warning, but it was still written down! Game 2 consisted of me dead drawing. Game 3 went down to the wire, time was called, I played my turn ‘zero’, my opponent played their turn ‘one’, I played my turn ‘two’, and my opponent played two Supporters on their turn ‘three’. I am not sure if the double Supporter was malicious or not because I would never instantly accuse my opponent of intent, but I was able to take two less Prize Cards to win the game due to my opponent getting a Double Prize Card Penalty. Additionally, it should be noted that I tried to stop my opponent before he played his Professor Sycamore, but the previous Warning caused him a Double Prize Card Penalty. Ultimately we take any free opportunities like that to advance in the tournament.

After finishing the first seven rounds of Swiss with a 5 - 2 record, I knew I needed to win one game out of the two remaining Swiss rounds to advance forward into the Top 32 play offs. It has been a season with multiple ups and downs leaving me to not advance to Top 32 since the 2018 Collinsville, United States Regional Championships. Its not like I haven’t been close, I was very close at the following tournaments:


  • LATAM International Championships - one win away
  • Salt Lake City Regional Championships - one win away
  • Madison Regional Championships - one win away
  • Mexico City Special Event #1 - bubbled out of Top Cut
  • Mexico City Special Event #2 - one win away


With myself missing a few win and ins and bubbling at another Mexico City Event, I was hungry for that win heading into the next day. I feel like players sometimes need to DESIRE to win in order to succeed! So make sure you are in a good headspace whenever you are playing in a tournament.

Mexico City Regional Championships Report - Day Two

I woke up the next day, walked over to the Regional Championship venue with Michael Pramawat and checked to see who I was paired against! Going into this round, I had quite a few options do strong players to play against such as, Igor Costa, Joe Ruettiger, Jimmy Pendarvis, Gustavo Wada, Daniel Altavilla, and Michael Pramawat to name a few! I looked at the pairings, saw that I was facing against fellow 60 Cards writer Altavilla, and prepared myself for a big game!

Round: 8
Opponent: Daniel Altavilla
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: L - W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 6W - 2L - 0T

Our series was not very fascinating because it was a back-and-forth battle of both of hitting the right cards at the wrong times! I hit a brick wall Game 1 by losing within the first few turns, but I was able to miraculously pull Game 2 Around out of nowhere! I hit everything that I could possibly need during Game 3 and I proceeded to win over Altavilla. We both commented that it is weird for two friends and two 60 Cards writers to get paired up against each other three times in Mexico, but I guess that is the game of Pokémon sometimes!

Round: 9
Opponent: Jonathan Enrique Olguin Suarez
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Garbodor
Matchplay: W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 7W - 2L - 0T

After finishing up my game with Altavilla, I was relieved to know that I would automatically be guaranteed Top 32 regardless of the outcome in this round! With Top 32 being secured, I decided that I would need to crack down on this tournament and attempt to go as far as humanly possible!

During Game 1, I had a decent start, but my opponent started to make some weird plays. What I mean by weird plays is offering me a deck to be cut / shuffles , while being streamed, without shuffling it! I told the table judge that this is unacceptable and the player was given a Warning at that time! Immediately after this fact, my opponent accepts the Warning, cuts his deck twice, and passes it back to me! If you could read my mind in that moment it would scream, ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!’ I again told the table Judge that my opponent didn’t properly shuffle their deck for the second time this game! After a decently long discussion, my opponent received a Double Prize Card Penalty for improperly shuffling their deck and I promptly won that game! During Game 2, I had a strong set-up and I felt pretty confident that I would win this series because there was limited time remaining for the rest of our game. Unbeknownst to myself, my opposing played a Cynthia, the Judges stopped the game, and they asked my opposing where the Cynthia went! They searched through his Discard Pile, his deck, and it ended up going back into his hand! They issued him a Game Loss and I won the game! It’s awkward to win games like this, but I played the game with the intent to play a fair game! If your opponent does not shuffle their deck, picks up their Supporters after playing them, looks at the top cards of their deck - CALL A JUDGE!

Like that, I advanced to the Top 32 playoffs with a 7 - 2 record! I knew I had to get to either 30 Match Points or maybe even 29 Match Points to make Top 8. That equaled into me needing to win three games or win two games with two Intentional Draws. Regardless, the Top 32 was completely stacked with many fantastic players

Round: 10
Opponent: Alex Schemenske
Deck: Zygarde-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: L - W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 8W - 2L - 0T

It would be fitting for myself to play a fantastic player right off the bat and I decided that I wasn’t going to let Schemenske’s name tilt me into losing! Before the game started, my Carta Magica teammates told me that the match-up should be easy due to the opposing deck focusing on double Prize Card attackers and my deck focussed on single Prize Card attackers! Beyond making a game-breaking misplay Game 1 that caused me to scoop quickly, I confidently won the next two games! If I remember correctly, there was a brief moment that Schemenske could have taken back control over Game 3, but he missed a Float Stone to Rereat his Active Pokemon.

Round: 11
Opponent: Juan Espinola Ortega
Deck: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: L - W - L
Outcome: LOSS
Running Record: 8W - 3L - 0T

Already know if what my opponent was playing, I was ready for a comeback! Throughout our series, I continued my pattern of dead drawing throughout the entirety of most games, but at least I was playing against a Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck! Throughout the entirety of the game, my opponent did NOT sufficiently shuffle their deck for a total of THREE times! In the rule book, the recommended starting penalty is a Double Prize Card Penalty and not a Warning! I am usually pretty forgiving, but I do want my opponents to receive Warnings when applicable because the Judge team can track that throughout the day to notice if there is a pattern! The second and third time that my opponent was caught, the Judges stopped giving out Penalties to my opponent! They told me that because my opponent only had ten cards left in his deck, that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for him to shuffle his deck properly! I responded by saying, “He cut his deck three times ONLY, with him having three Zoroark-GX in play, he can possibly stack his deck to draw the remaining cards he needs to win the game!” The Judges more or less told me that they didn’t want to issue my opponent a Double Prize Card Penalty because that would cause me to win the game! While I was upset, I did tell the Judge that I respected his decision, my opponent drew into last few cards he needed to win the game, and I went into the next round pretty upset.

Round: 12
Opponent: Mario Lopez Cantu
Deck: Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Matchplay: W - W
Outcome: WIN
Running Record: 9W - 3L - 0T

As soon as I found out that my opponent was using Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX, I told myself that I wasn’t going to lose to this deck two rounds in a row! My opponent started a lone Mewtwo, no Energy, and no Supporters... I promptly Benched him within the first few turns of the game! During Game 2, my opponent could NOT find his copies of Double Colourless Energy to Dave his life and lost the game by not being able to keep up at all!

Round: 13
Opponent: Jimmy Pendarvis
Deck: Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX
Outcome: TIE
Running Record: 9W - 3L - 1T

I offered Jimmy Pendarvis an intentional draw here because I liked my chances of making Top 8 with a record of 29 Match Points! Pendarvis thought about this for a moment and eventually agreed to intentional draw with me! It was nice to get a little bit of break after playing the pst five rounds straight today!

Round: 14
Opponent: Fernando Castaneda Perez
Deck: Hoopa / Malamar
Outcome: TIE
Running Record: 9W - 3L - 2T

I offered Fernando Castaneda Perez an intentional draw here because I liked my chances of making Top 8 with a record of 29 Match Points! Perez thought about this for a moment and eventually agreed to intentional draw with me! It was nice to get a little bit of break after playing the pst five rounds straight today! I was pretty stoked to get the intentional draw here because my opponent was playing a rough match-up for me, Hoopa / Malamar!

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the Top 8 pairings to go up, I finally saw that I came 9th place by 1% underneath Jimmy Pendarvis! It would be minimal to say, but I was heartbroken and defeated, but it was hard to complain about my day! I was up an additional 80 Championship Points, earned 500$ USD, and jumped back into 15th place in North America!

I also learned a bunch of valuable lessons throughout the tournament and the main thing that I will hold to me is to call for a Judge whenever something is wrong! As a player, I am not qualified to punish other players for potentially cheating, but I can ruin the integrity of the tournament if I don’t call a Judge whenever I see anyone do anything wrong! Despite my friends joking around that I called a Judge quite a few times, I personally view my day as exposing potential cheaters throughout a tournament! Heading into the NAIC, I would recommend watching your opponent like a hawk because 10,000$ USD is plenty of money for someone to cheat in order to try and get some of it! Regardless, best of luck!

Columbus is Near

I hope that this article has inspired you to become the best possible player you can be and that the advice in this article helps you win some more games. I know that a lot of you readers might need that final League Cup placement for your invite or need to do well at the 2018 North American International Championships in Columbus, Ohio so that is why I went with this type of article today. Whenever you are in a moment of darkness when playing Pokémon, just remember to keep you head up high, think your plays out, and keep on playing. I can’t believe how many tournaments that those words echo through my head when I am playing. The season can be rough from time to time, but we all ultimately enjoy playing in as many tournaments as possible. That being said, I will be at the following tournaments for the rest of the season:

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

After a heartbreaking bubble out of the Top 8 to finish ninth place at Mexico City, Mexico Regional Championships, 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

[+5] okko


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