Experts' corner

Zach Lesage

How to Play Pokémon - The Buzzwole GX Bible Pt. 2

Zach goes over some more tips in this multi-series article

07/15/2018 by Zach Lesage

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

The Big Brain Moves

What’s up 60 Cards readers, I have made a promise and three articles have arrived! I will link each of the other articles here so that you can get the full Buzzwole strategy experience:

Article 1 can be found here 

In this article, I go over the deck that I played at the recent Mexico City Special Event #2, 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.

Article 2 can be found here 

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.

Article 3 is the current article you are reading, feel free to scroll below to read this juicy information! In this article, I will be going over my latest Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck and proper play techniques to succeed with the deck. Quite a few players have been questioning themselves on the BEST way to play this deck, so feel free to use this article as a guide when you are play testing. Lets instantly jump into my list:

Updated Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Deck

Buzzwole Sequencing

Have you ever questioned yourself when you are play testing a certain deck and you do NOT have a reliable way to confirm what is the BEST way to play? Well, you are likely part of the masses of players who show any human traits… PERIOD! My goal when writing this section is to apply as many strategic plays that will be able to allow you to grow as a player in order to improve your play habits. Below is a real life scenario that happened to me recently and I advise you to check it out.

In your hand, when you have a decent start, you can quickly determine what is the best way to play your hand; it will usually be in a particular order. In a sample game that I was playing against my Team Carta Magica teammate and testing partner, Bodhi Robinson, this is the hand that I was dealt:

Regirock EX (FCO; 43)

Beast Ring (FLI; 102)

Brooklet Hill (GRI; 120)

Cynthia (UPR; 119)

N (FCO; 105)

Fighting Energy (XY; 137)

Strong Energy (FRF; 104)

I was forced to start with the Regirock-EX, because it was the only Basic Pokémon in my hand, so I went ahead with starting my turn. I started the game by drawing my card for my turn, an Ultra Ball, and I was left to stare at a bunch of paths I could take from the game. Do I want to use Ultra Ball to search out a Pokémon? Do I want to get a Diancie PRISM STAR with a Brooklet Hill to some extra damage? Who do I attach to? Do I play an N? Do I play a Cynthia? At least I know that I can’t use Beast Ring right? Can I use Beast Ring? No, that’s right, we JUST started the game... Where do I actually start? Well, despite myself having urges to play all of these FANTASTIC cards, there needs to be a proper order that is based on the amount of knowledge each card can give me. When playing Pokémon, the ultimate goal is to make each decision with the most amount of knowledge because you can then make the most ideal plus available to you. Looking at this situation, there are many paths to go on, but which one is ACTUALLY the best? Let’s see where I went with it:


I started by playing the Brooklet Hill first because it allowed me to search out to see what was hiding in my Prize Cards. Some may argue that you can also play Ultra Ball in this situation, but that is ultimately WRONG because you are discarding cards to get to that point. The main premise here is to be resourceful, conservative, and find as much free knowledge as possible. Getting back to the game, I decided to search out a Buzzwole so that I could attach my Strong Energy to it. As you can see, I used the Brooklet Hill to conserve resources, plan out my starting turn, and peep through my deck to see what was missing. WHAT WAS MISSING?!?! Well, that’s a WHOLE other section, but let’s dive into it.


In my Prize Cards, I quickly found out that I had the following cards hiding away in my Prize Cards:

Buzzwole GX (CIN; 104)

Cynthia (UPR; 119)  

Guzma (BUS; 115)

Beast Ring (FLI; 102)  

Fighting Energy (XY; 137)

Beast Energy Prism Star (FLI; 117)

In terms of missing out on cards in my deck, the cards that were taken away from me were not overly important, they were mostly tame. It is great that I could quickly, as in under one minute, determine my missing Prize Cards, but how did I determine what should I search for? Well, I looked at the match-up at hand, and determined that there has to be a finite amount of appropriate cards that I will use in the match-up. Look at it this way, would you be looking for a Giratina Promo when you are playing against a Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck? No, right? You would want to search out your Giratina Promo when you are playing against a Greninja BREAK deck! These were the cards that I considered important in the match-up, Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX mirror, and they are also likely important in other match-ups too:

Beast Ring and Max Elixir

Beast Ring and Max Elixir are the blood within our deck! These cards allow you to attach extra Energy to your Pokémon which can allow you to leap ahead of your opponent. It is important to know when these cards are within your Prize Cards because you can makes plays based on the odds of drawing your Prize Cards to get an Energy acceleration card or that you know the odds of drawing it out of your deck.

Damage Modifiers (Diancie PRISM STAR, Regirock-EX, Choice Band, Beast Energy, and Strong Energy)

These cards are especially important because it often means the difference between Buzzwole doing 30 damage with Sledgehammer or doing an additional 80 damage with the assistance from Regirock-EX, Diancie PRISM STAR, a Strong Energy, and a Choice Band. While it is fine and probable for you to have a Strong Energy and a Choice Band in your Prize Cards, it can be game-breaking to notice that Diancie PRISM STAR is missing in action. You want to determine where these cards are in between your deck and your Prize Cards so that you can properly determine the odds of drawing into them from your deck or picking one of them out of your Prize Cards.

Draw Supporters (Cynthia, N, and Professor Sycamore)

Smooth like peanut butter and sweet like jam - Supporter cards that allow you to draw card or refresh your hand are the backbone of ANY deck. You want to make sure you know how many of these cards that you have in your deck because you might just end up ‘dead-drawing’ or missing out on some sweet treasures in your Prize Cards. When I search through my Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck, I automatically convert the copies of Cynthia, N and Professor Sycamore into a count of eight cards to make it easier when I am trying to search through my deck. When I hit six or seven copies out of the eight copies I play in my list, I can confirm that I have prized a Draw Supporter card or two. That information is extremely valuable because I can now make informed decisions on how I want to play out the cards in my hand, create scenarios that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and play the game to the fullest extent. Knowing information like this is typically the most important to determine when you are debating between discarding cards in your hand or potentially leaving yourself without a draw source in hand. After you learn that you have ANY amount of Draw Supporters in your Prize Cards, you can apply your odds of hitting one of them by doing some simple probability math.

Gust Effects (Guzma and Lycanroc-GX)

When you are playing Buzzwole, you want to have as many options as possible to gobble up your opponents Pokemon. Guzma is one of the best cards available in the deck from that reason and this card can sometimes blend into the Lycanroc-GX category. Lycanroc-GX and Guzma can both be used to gust up one of our opponent’s precious Pokemon so that we can seamlessly Knock it out. Lycanroc-GX can be a strong attacker in the form of Dangerous Rogue GX, an attack that Knock Out any Pokemon if our opponent plays enough Benched Pokemon. Claw Slash can also effectively Knock Out either a Zoroark-GX or maybe even a Tapu Lele-GX. You may be thinking that it is hard to power up a Lycanroc-GX and to solve that, you need to use Max Elixir on a Rockruff before you Evolve into a Lycanroc-GX!

Octillery and Remoraid

This is the draw power behind our deck and it allows us to remain consistent throughout the entirety of the game! Remarried has incredible synergy with Brooklet Hill and that allows us to get our set-up started early in the game. When it comes to playing Octillery properly, there is a strict question that I ask when trying to play this card: Do I have ‘burnable’ cards left in my deck?

Looking at that question, you might be reading this with a confused look on your face, but that is why I am happy to explain this concept to you! Oftentimes I am stumped on using Octillery first or using a Supporter first, that is the first issue. That issue stems from the need to obtain a certain card or a certain group of cards during my turn due to the probability of getting what I need. Here is a real life example of how this situation can actually play out:

I am in need of a Strong Energy or Beast Energy in order to get a crucial Knock Out in my current game. I have seven cards in my hand. The only usually card in my hand is an Ultra Ball, but I can play an N to change my hand up. Looking at this hand, we can use the Ultra Ball to effectively remove three cards from our hand (play Ultra Ball, discard two cards, and fail the search), but that only allows us to draw a single card from Abyssal Hand. In this case, I would look to see the burnable (Cards that I can instantly play) cards available left in my deck (Basic Pokemon, Pokemon that can Evolve, Brooklet Hill, Pokemon Tool Cards, Ultra Ball, Max Elixir, Beast Ring, etc) to see what my options are. If there are enough burnable cards, I will use the Ultra Ball in my hand, search for nothing, play N, try to burn some more cards, and then use Abyssal Hand to improve my odds the most. 

Situations with Abyssal Hand vary on the match-up, the cards available in hand, and the cards that are available in deck so watch your options carefully. Another notable fact, this one being about the Remoraid that I play in this deck, is that it is the bet Remoraid because it is the worst Remoraid. In most games you will not use Ion Pool or Wild River, so what is the point of choosing a Remoraid? Well, the biggest situation that I foresee is games where your opponent has a rough hand and they start a Mew-EX. Mew-EX can copy Ion Pool to discard your Brooklet Hill out of play which is a negative. Mew-EX can copy Wild River to switch to the Bench without being forced to discard any Energy from Retreating. Mew-EX CANNOT copy Water Gun and is forced to Retreat or potentially face what a Buzzwole has to offer the next turn. Until we get a Remoraid that can do something spectacular, the Water Gun Remoraid or as I like to call it ‘flat fish’ is the best option available to us.

Super Rod

You never want to Prize this Card because it gives you many options that allow you to jump back into games that other cards do not offer. If this card is in your Prize Cards, you can almost treat it like the rest of your cards are gone in a way. Did you have to discard an Octillery off a Professor Sycamore? That’s gone for game. Same with Fighting Energy or any other Pokémon in your deck, Super Rod saves you! 

If you look and see how all of these cards can put a stick in the wheels if they are Prized, I am sure you will take a second look when you search through your deck the next time you play. On the other hand, you may want to learn more about searching through your Prize Cards because that is something that you just haven’t been able to get into. Well, don’t think that your boy Zach would leave your hanging, that would be too silly right? Here are a few of my methods for searching out Prize Cards that have effectively helped me this season:

Search Your Prize Cards

In the days leading up to Columbus, I decided that I would overview Prize Card searching with my teammate and testing partner, Bodhi Robinson. This is a technique that I have trained myself on for over the past decade, but I have really kicked it into high gear when it comes to playing the game as a seasonal pro! It all started really making sense when my brother, Jay Lesage, and I went to Melbourne, Australia last year to play in the 2017 Oceania International Championships. Our flight was way too long, we quickly got bored of testing, and we wanted to grow ourselves as players in a different way. We effectively made a game, ‘The Prize Searching Game’, and we tried to perfect our craft for about 10 hours. Think about your Prize Cards for a moment... You have read this article up until this point, but how effective is knowing information to the success for you as a player? Well, I would deem it absolutely necessary to know more information to become a more successful player! That makes sense right? Here are some of the rules of the game:

- You must time yourself and keep everything accurate
- The winner is the player who can find their six Prize Cards within the shortest amount of time
- You must set out ANY random seven card hand (even if it doesn’t include a Basic Pokemon) and you must place down six Prize Cards
- You ARE allowed to write down your Prize Cards on a BLANK sheet of paper as you search through your deck
- Have fun and good luck!

The rules seem simple enough, but where is the strategy beyond repetition is what you may be asking yourself? Well, there are only a handful of ways that you can quickly determine your Prize Cards and I will break them up into methods:

The ‘No-Method’ Method

This method truly explores the root of Prize Card searching because you are able to search cards out in any direction without rules! Look at your hand, see what you have there and look at your deck to see what is hiding away in your Prize Cards! If you want to search out Professor Sycamore Out of your deck first, do it! If you have Energy that really catch your eye, do it! This method is really all about searching out your Prize Cards in whatever way that you feel comfortable and making sure that you can at least get that basic task done! The biggest thing that I have found when I have used this method in the past is that I usually end up missing a few Prize Cards due to one-of Cards in the deck. Looking at the above Buzzwole list, you might end up finding that your Super Rod is Prized and you simply missed it! While this isn’t my favourite or the most effective method, it does offer a basic glimpse at what you can do to find your Prize Cards in general! 

The ‘Important Cards’ Method

This is a method that I frequently use, but that frequently should read more as at League Cups or when I am pressed for time at a major event. In order to use this method to the best of your ability, you want to determine which cards are the most important in a particular match-up, and then search your deck for exclusively those cards. You might not find out all of your Prize Cards, but you will find out about the cards that matter the most to you in that particular instance. Looking at the above article, there was a moment where I searched out my Prize Cards in a Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Mirror Match and the particular cards that I was searching for were:

Beast Ring and Max Elixir

Damage Modifiers (Diancie PRISM STAR, Regirock-EX, Choice Band, Beast Energy, and Strong Energy)

Draw Supporters (Cynthia, N, and Professor Sycamore)

Octillery and Remoraid

Super Rod

As you can see, these cards are generally important every game and they are easy to identify when searching through a deck. These cards do not equal up to the sixty cards in total of the deck which means that this method should take you less time than the ‘No Method’ Method overall. In the real life example that I gave above, the following cards were Prized:




Beast Ring 

Fighting Energy

Beast Energy

That being said, the only cards that I would have searched for in this scenario would have been the Cynthia, Guzma, Beast Ring, and Beast Energy! While that leaves the Buzzwole-GX and Fighting Energy behind, those cards were NOT important to that match-up and I learned about the overall status of my Prize Cards very quickly. If you are ever missing a card or were wrong on a Prize Card search, feel free to use your auxiliary searches to find out MORE information.

The ‘Three Way’ Method

This is the method that I use the most often and the one that I find the most effective overall! Looking through a deck, there are three categories of cards: Pokemon, Trainers, and Energy! If you look at my above Buzzwole / Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX deck, you will see that there are 13 Pokémon, 33 Trainers, and 14 Energy within that deck. When I search through my deck, I search out the two lowest numbers of categories, in this case13 Pokemon and 14 Energy, to find the largest category of cards remaining. All of this can be hard to explain, but let’s look at it from the above example of a real life game with the following cards Prized:




Beast Ring 

Fighting Energy

Beast Energy

I would look through my deck, count for 13 Pokémon, and 14 Energy and come up with the following:

12 Pokemon

12 Energy

That number equals up to only 24 Cards, but we quickly realized that we are missing one Pokémon and two Energy. That means that if we are supposed to have 27 Pokemon / Energy in the deck, we also need to have 33 Trainers in the deck. Looking at this information, in about 15 seconds, I was able to find that I am missing the followings cards:

1 Pokemon 

3 Trainers

2 Energy

Quickly glancing through my deck, I can now target what I need to search through my deck, try to gain more specifics on those cards, and I am no longer search for cards that do not exist (such as wondering if I have a Buzzwole Prized even though I can only have Buzzwole-GX Prized). This method is great at finding information quickly and allows you search for more specific cards on a subsequent search! 

With that being said, you should be able to find a way to search through your Prize Cards and effectively learn more information per game! I challenge you to try each one fo these methods and see exactly what way you are able to find your Prize Cards the quickest. Best of luck fellow trainers.

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

[+17] okko


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