Hey everyone! I’m back from Brazil and with me I’ve brought 100 CP and a complication to the NA Top 16 race! All jokes aside, I’m incredibly happy and lucky to have ended up with a Top 128 finish in Sao Paulo. My day ended up on a sour note after a 3-0-1 start so I was just excited to snag some points at 5-3-1.
I ended up playing Buzzwole/Lycanroc, a list similar to what Christopher played. The only change was that I played an Enhanced Hammer and an Oricorio instead of the Muk line. When we tested it, I found it to be too difficult to get out in the matchups that it was supposed to help in (Zoroark, mirror to an extent). You either couldn’t prioritize it or you can’t both get it out and set up anything else. And in most cases, if you don’t have to care about the Mew until T4-5, you’ll have Sudowoodo, Lycanroc, or a Psychic Pokémon as an answer.
I wanted to add Enhanced Hammer to give me a small edge against mirror and Zoroark decks. I knew that even if the Hammer didn’t have a huge impact on my games, it would be nice to have a list with “unknown” cards and catch my opponent off guard. I considered Energy Switch or Multi Switch in this spot as well, but thought I’d pick a card that brings more of a tempo swing. The Oricorio was my shot at a Mew-EX counter since Mewtwo was very underwhelming in Collinsville. Christopher and Alex swore that Oricorio was better than Mew FCO, but I’m not sure I agree after losing to Hoopa…
Moving forward, I hope you guys like Buzzwole because it’s not going anywhere! It has proven itself to be a consistent performer, especially in Internationals where players are looking for safe and reliable decks. And when Forbidden Light drops, it only gets better to be a “Fight Guy”. Beast Ring and “baby” Buzzwole give you a super strong push through the midgame and into a late game that can feature 6 energy on the board. Disgusting.
For today’s article, I’ll be discussing some of the changes you can make to Buzzwole in the coming weeks, plus a deck for post-Forbidden Light play that could give us a good counter to it. Let’s get started.
As we’ve seen from this weekend, you can play Buzzwole in any number of different ways. There are 2-3 tech slots that you can use for some number of the following cards:
- Fighting Energy
- Energy Switch (Multi Switch)
- Super Rod
- 2nd Mew-EX counter (Oricorio, Mew FCO, Mewtwo, Sudowoodo)
- Enhanced Hammer
That seems to be the exhaustive list, and allows you to take the deck in a handful of different directions. Extra Fighting Energy and/or Super Rod help you be more consistent with Max Elixir. The 2nd Mew-EX “counter” and Enhanced Hammer give you a bit of an edge against Buzzwole and Zoroark decks. The Zygarde and the Switch cards give you some flexibility with your routes of attack and potentially explosive turns.
I expect that Toronto will be full of Buzzwole, so one of the first two options would be my suggested course of action. Hitting Max Elixir and conserving your energy on board are incredibly important in that mirror. Another thing that impacts the matchup is efficient, 1 prize attackers, which is where the Mew-EX counters come into play. The 2nd Sudowoodo is becoming extra appealing as it can OHKO Buzzwole with less investment than Mew, but you’re constrained by the attack they used last turn. However, Sudowoodo proves its worth in other matchups like Vikavolt, an often problematic matchup when you miss a few Elixir.
Here’s the list I’m most interested in for Toronto:
Pokémon – 15
1 Mew FCO
Trainers – 31
Energy – 14
I cut the Super Rod that I played in Sao Paulo for a 10th Fighting. I want that spot to be devoted to the idea of hitting more Elixir, but I’d rather have the higher % to hit Elixir in the early game than the late game. Some players took this a bit further in Sao Paulo with an 11th Fighting over the 4th Strong, but the +20 from Strong is too impactful on so many knockouts.
Christopher and myself seem to be the only holdouts on the 4 Float Stone and I really don’t get why. Choice Band only helps a few important knockouts, and can be replaced with a boost from Strong Energy or an extra turn of attacking with Jet Punch. How do you get that Jet Punch off? By retreating a non-Buzzwole Pokémon into a Buzzwole to attack on T1, thanks to Float Stone! Just try it out, you’ll be surprised at how it helps the deck’s flow.
If you’re looking to make changes based on the tech cards I’ve listed above, the Enhanced Hammer and 10th Fighting are the easiest cuts. The Mew FCO (Mew-EX counter slot) and 7th Tool card could also be taken out, and I’ve seen players experiment with 7 draw supporters, but I wouldn’t particularly recommend either of those
If you’re not playing Buzzwole, you really need to be countering it. Espeon/Garbodor is probably the best “hard” counter, and Xander has been doing rather well with that recently. Vikavolt/Tapu Bulu is a decent option for players who want to “high roll” a Buzzwole player. If you hit the T2 Vikavolt or the Buzzwole player hits 2 or less Elixir, it’s often a favorable matchup.
Otherwise, your best option is to lock Buzzwole out of the game with something like Sylveon or Hoopa. I don’t particularly like either of these decks, and they often struggle against players who know how to conserve resources well, but they both have strong matchups against Buzzwole. Greninja also has a shot to lock Buzzwole out of the game, but that matchup is much closer as Buzzwole can outspeed the frogs.
When the new set drops, Buzzwole players will have some decisions to make with the list. Instead of a 56-57 card skeleton, I think we’ll see more of a 50 card skeleton, maybe even less. Beast Ring is the card that brings this change on and could be used to replace or compliment Max Elixir. Ideally, I think playing both would be insane, and lead to explosive and unbeatable midgames. My biggest fear with such an idea is actually that you wouldn’t have the draw power to find these cards when you need them, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Once you decide how you’ll be retrieving your energy, you have to decide which energy to play! Beast Energy is a potential addition in place of or alongside Strong Energy, but not every list is going to be able to make full use out of it. It just depends on how many Ultra Beasts you’re running. And there’s always the question of just how many Basic Energy you need.
To get started, here are the 3 Buzzwole lists that I’ll be testing to try out the new cards:
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 31
Energy – 14
I’ve started us off with the list most reminiscent of the “old” way to play Buzzwole. In fact, I really just upgraded the Mew and Regirock to their nearly strictly better counterparts. Diancie ♢ brings a lot to the deck, giving you a way to OHKO Grubbin and other 70 HP Pokémon. It’s also not a liability on the bench like the 2-prize giving up, Grass weak, 3 retreat cost behemoth we had before in Regirock.
The new Buzzwole is too good to not include in the deck, dealing up to 190 with 1 energy. It serves the same purpose as your Mew-EX counter, provided your opponent has 4 prizes left. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this card hits for exactly 120. Since this list doesn’t rely on Mew’s free retreat as much as others (4 Float is clutch), and Sudowoodo has better utility against decks like Bulu, I’ve cut the Mew instead of the Sudowoodo. That cut will be one of my “focus points” as I test this deck out, considering a 2nd Buzzwole or some other Mew-EX counter in the Sudowoodo slot.
I also have the new Rockruff in this list, as the 70 HP may prove to be more important than the admittedly great attacks of the other Rockruff. This will let you survive 2 Jet Punch attacks, as well as other fringe attacks like Tauros’s Horn Attack. With Brooklet Hill, you could even potentially run a split of Rockruff, with one Corner for utility or one promo for dealing with Hoopa.
Pokémon – 15
Trainers – 31
Energy – 14
This list is trying to do a lot, and it’s likely trying to do too much. In theory, it plays similarly to the old Buzzwole but you can find Beast Ring in the midgame and it’s like you hit 2 Elixir! You still have some of your early game explosiveness with a few Elixir and you don’t lose the option of accelerating onto your Lycanroc (Rockruff). But you have to cut some corners with card counts to fit everything.
I could also see this list with Energy Switch instead of Max Elixir. That way, you could still have the option to power up your Lycanroc but also run a full count of Beast Ring. And you remove the restriction of Max Elixir only attaching to Basics, so you don’t have to wait to power up your Lycanroc.
The point of including this list is to think about how necessary Lycanroc-GX really is in a Buzzwole deck. I’ve called it the best card in the format for several months now, but we might finally be moving to a format where other cards are just more important. You already play 4 Guzma so it’s not like you’re hurting for gust outs. And if you can consistently fully power up Buzzwole, you don’t really need the OHKO potential from Dangerous Rogue.
So, what would a Buzzwole deck look like without Lycanroc?
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 33
Energy – 15
This is the list that I’m most interested in, and should have a ton of explosive potential. As I mentioned before, I’m slightly concerned with this deck’s ability to find cards like Elixir and Beast Ring when it needs to. To help this, I’ve flip flopped my N and Cynthia counts, giving you more draw power in the mid game. I upped the Brooklet count to 4 to help find Remoraid in the early game, but that count might not be correct as it’s a dead card in your hand when you otherwise want to play your hand out to draw more with Octillery. Hard to find a middle ground there.
A 4th Choice Band could find it’s way into this list, as well as any other list that I have Beast Energy in. The overall boost from Choice + Beast + Diancie lets Buzzwole OHKO a Zoroark with Jet Punch, and I wouldn’t want to deny myself such a flashy play. However, this list doesn’t have any problems getting Energy out so being able to OHKOing Zoroark for 1 attachment isn’t as impactful to your board state as it would be with a different list.
I have a 2nd copy of baby Buzzwole in this list to further take advantage of the Ultra Beast cards. Even with just 80 base damage, there are plenty of damage modifiers to score big OHKOs or clean up after your early game Jet Punches. I also like that it gives you a Hail Mary option of “flip 2 heads, get a big OHKO”. I guarantee that this attack will break some hearts, on both sides of the table.
Alright I hear you, you’re tired of Buzzwole. In fact, you really just want new cards that can help you beat it. Thankfully, Forbidden Light may have given us a new threat to our king bee.
Pokémon – 17
2 Mew FCO
Trainers – 30
Energy – 13
This is a very rough list but you get the idea. Ultra Necrozma hits for insane amounts of damage, and needs very little investment to be impactful. With a single Malamar on the board, you can swing for 160+ turn after turn, assuming you have an energy in hand. Choice Band and Beast Energy up that damage cap without finding more Malamar, but you can always just find more Malamar.
With 2 Mew and 2 Dawn Wings Necrozma, there are plenty of good attackers against Buzzwole. Moon’s Eclipse-GX is a surprisingly good way to gain momentum in the game, especially when combined with a full set of N. Speaking of which, since this deck plays off the board more than out of the hand, I think an N focus in the supporter line is going to be very strong. I also included a Counter Catcher for a bit more comeback potential, and just like the option to close out a game with it.
Moving foward, the counts I’m looking at the most are Field Blower, Choice Band, Lele/Brigette, and Mysterious Treasure/Ultra Ball. The former two will be metagame calls, as we find out how much Garbodor exists in the new meta and also what numbers are important to hit. The latter two will take a lot of games to iron out exactly how much of each card you need to play to see them when you want to. I also wonder if an Ultra Ball focus might be necessary to get more Psychic in the discard pile on time.
That’ll do it for today! I’m really excited to get my hands on the new Forbidden Light cards and start grinding more with a new Standard format. We’ve had the current Standard for over 3 months and it’s really getting stale, so I’m glad that the new set brings some pretty impactful changes to the next few months of tournaments.
I’ll be in Toronto, Virginia, Madison, and probably Mexico in the coming weeks. Feel free to say hi if you see me, and good luck at your upcoming tournaments!
Until next time,
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