Hey everyone! I’m glad to be writing another article, this time on the Standard format heading into Madison and beyond. There’s plenty of time to prepare for NAIC and any remaining events you may be attending.
Also in the line-up of topics to discuss is a recap of Roanoke Regionals. To say the least, I did not do very much preparation for Expanded. My goal heading into the remainder of the season past-Brazil was to get pity points and a finish at NAIC so that I stayed in Top 16. My plan was destroyed the week before because I played Gourgeist in Mexico and ended with a stunning 3-3 record. My safety net of points I created after Brazil had decreased plenty because of that poor finish and my absence at Salt Lake City and Toronto.
The preparation I can claim doing was reading articles of other writers here and at Some1spc. The Buzzwole list I played was derived from Christopher Schemanske’s and Russell LaParre’s posted last week. Reading articles and updating myself on the meta is one of the most time-efficient ways that I “practice.” I use quotes because it’s a different type of preparation—choosing what deck should be played—as opposed to learning how to play a deck. For those of you like myself who have other priorities like school or a busy job, this is a great way to choose the right deck, and more importantly the right list.
However, this does not wholly replace practicing with the deck that you play. You need to have some understanding of the deck or else you’ll lose regardless.
Here’s how the tournament went for me:
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
1 Beast ♢
R1 Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX (2-0)
R2 Zoroark-GX/Exeggcute (1-2)
R3 Donphan PLS (2-0)
R4 Zoroark-GX/Exeggcute (2-1)
R5 Quad Seismitoad-EX (2-0)
R6 Trevenant BREAK (2-0)
R7 Turbo Fire (2-1)
R8 Trevenant BREAK (2-1)
R9 Zoroark-GX/Exeggcute (2-1)
R10 Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX (1-1)
R11 Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX (2-0)
R12 Trevenant BREAK (0-2)
R13 Buzzwole FLI/Landorus-EX BCR (2-1)
Top 8 Buzzwole FLI/Landorus-EX BCR (2-0)
Top 4 Zoroark-GX/Exeggcute (2-0)
Finals Wailord-EX (2-0)
There isn’t anything unconventional about this list. The 1-1 Octillery came from Russell’s list, which I opted for because the 2-1 seemed weird. I didn’t think I would have enough time to set up Octillery in most games, nor was it as important to do so in Expanded because of Korrina and Colress. Another cool card was Scramble Switch which had a wide range of uses from resetting Knuckle Impact to switching the Energy off of a useless Buzzwole FLI. I wouldn’t play Computer Search because there isn’t an important card to be searched for that can’t be searched somehow else. The other neat split was 3 Max Elixir/3 Beast Ring from Christopher’s list. I loved the 3rd copy of Beast Ring so that any unlucky Prizes or discards wouldn’t cost me a game.
There weren’t many matches that I thought were super interesting. The matches I won were ones in which I did Buzzwole things; the ones I lost were ones in which I didn’t. I was able to dictate my own matches based upon how well I played rather than if I drew the perfect combo. Obviously, some matches are out of control because of bad hands, but I truly think that Buzzroc is the most linear, efficient, and consistent deck in both formats. I always felt like I was in control of the pace, and that I would lose if I messed up or if the opponent drew the right cards. This could be seen against James Arnold in R13 and Top 8. I felt like I hadn’t locked down a surefire strategy against him in R13, but by Game 2 I knew how to handle his deck.
The matchup against Trevenant is difficult without Zygarde-EX because every attacker is inefficient. It’s important to get down a Muscle Band on a Buzzwole early because the extra 20 damage adds up enough to KO the first Trevenant BREAK. Bloodthirsty Eyes is the most efficient way to break Item Lock because it can target a Phantump while playing a draw Supporter in search of Beast Ring and Max Elixir. My strategy was to cycle attackers and target Energy attachments so that one Trevenant couldn’t overrun my field. I never had the opportunity to attack with Diancie ♢ but it could be worthwhile if it isn’t too damaged.
Moving forward, I’d say that Buzzwole is the BDIF in expanded. An Oricorio or Zygarde-EX could be worth adding if Night March and Trevenant resurge, but thankfully none of that matters. Like many, I am excited to be playing Standard again. It even felt like I was playing it this weekend!
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