Hello SixPrizes readers! I am back with another article, fresh off of blowing another 8-0-1 record in Day 2, and I am ready to share my thoughts on some of the most popular Standard decks! Forbidden Light definitely had an impact on the format, as it brought Malamar to the table and caused for a revamp for Buzzwole/Lycanroc lists. I was, and still am, a huge fan of Buzzwole decks, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I played the deck at Madison Regionals. In testing, Buzzwole and Zoroark were the only decks that felt reliable to me, so those were my final choices headed into the event. Without further ado, let’s take a look at each deck!
Bring Back the Buzz: Madison Regionals
First off, I want to thank Chris Leandro for giving me the decklist on Friday morning. He put a lot of time into the deck and felt it was the best list for handling Malamar, and he was absolutely right. I knew Buzzwole was strong but I really underestimated how good baby Buzzwole is, which led to me playing a singleton copy in the lists I was testing. The three baby Buzzwole list that we all played at Madison Regionals is certainly the way to go, and I was very impressed by it in testing on Friday.
Leading up to the event, I was hearing that Buzzwole was expected to be somewhat unrepresented due to Malamar having a seemingly great matchup against it. This really opened up the door for Zoroark decks to run the table, which had me considering Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX. My previous issue with the Buzzwole that I was testing, is that it was unfavored against Necrozma-GX/Malamar. On the other side of things, my biggest issue in testing with Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX was Buzzwole. These issues certainly weren’t great, and it made it feel a lot like Rock/Paper/Scissors. I hated the idea of this, because the games felt a lot harder to win via skill, and felt mostly determined by the matchup.
I spent a lot of Friday trying to come up with something that had more even matchups all around, which led to a few games with the infamous Greninja. Never in my life have I seen a deck brick so many games in a row. The deck fully setup and won maybe two out of a dozen games, so that cat went right back in the bag. Obviously, when I found out about this newly created Buzzwole list that could handle Malamar, it had me fully sold on going with the Mosquito. I no longer had to worry about the dreaded RPS format that everyone was talking about.
Pokémon – 12
Trainers – 33
Energy – 15
1 Beast p
3 Buzzwole, 2 Buzzwole-GX
With the release of Forbidden Light, many players were unsure of the deck’s future. For most, the decklist was looking a bit tight and no one really knew the best build for it. Additionally, Malamar decks seemed to give the deck a lot of trouble.
With the inclusion of three baby Buzzwole, the Malamar matchup is much more winnable, and I would label it as a 50-50. The heavy non-EX attacker build makes Weakness much less of an issue, and also allows games to be a bit slower. I personally am a huge fan of this because games that end after just 3 knockouts are generally too quick for any sort of counter play.
Buzzwole-GX becomes less important due to the three baby Buzzwole, and we have Lycanroc-GX and Super Rod to provide more heavy hitters when we need them. Outside of Greninja, I would only use Buzzwole-GX in the early game if I started it or didn’t have access to baby Buzzwole. The bench damage, at least in the current metagame, is not worth giving up 2 Prizes when the attacker inevitably gets Knocked Out. Buzzwole-GX is your main target for Beast Ring most of the time, so I try my best to save them for that crucial turn.
1-1 Lycanroc, 1-1 Octillery
These might seem like very thin lines, and that is because they are. Lycanroc is no longer as important as it once was in the deck, which I mostly attribute to the extra attackers that are now included. However, Lycanroc-GX is such a big threat that I didn’t want to remove it from the deck. It is so threatening to some decks that even benching a Rockruff can change how they play the game, which is especially true against Lycanroc-GX/Zoroark-GX and Garbodor/Zoroark-GX. In these matchups, Lycanroc-GX can often take 2 Prizes with Dangerous Rogue-GX, and then take another 2 Prizes with Claw Slash on the following turn.
As for Octillery, the narrative is somewhat similar, but not quite the same. Octillery obviously isn’t an attacker, so it wasn’t “replaced” like Lycanroc was. The issue here was space in the deck, and a 2-2 Octillery line was not something that could reasonably be fit into the deck, at least without removing cards that seemed more important. Octillery is obviously too good not to play, so a 1-1 line is what made its way into the deck.
This card is something that was played in the original Buzzwole lists, and then never saw the light of day for the longest time. It was considered unnecessary by many players, including me, and other cards took precedent in most lists. This brings me back to my previous point, where I discussed the thin Pokémon lines in the list. Super Rod makes having so many 1-of cards a lot more manageable, which is truly the main reason why the counts were acceptable. Additionally, Super Rod can help manage your Fighting energies in the late game, which gave me a safety net to fall into. I often discarded two or three F Energy by turn two, and wasn’t worried in the slightest because of my trusty Super Rod.
10 Fighting, 4 Strong, 1 Beast
This is a lot different than the energy line that was played pre-Forbidden Light, but it should be no surprise that the deck was going to take an even more aggressive approach. For starters, Beast Energy has no downside and is simply too good not to play. You will see this card in any deck that contains a couple Ultra Beasts for sure.
The fourth copy of Strong Energy made its way back into the deck, which is not something I was a fan of before the release of Forbidden Light. The fourth Strong Energy is a lot better in the deck now, for multiple reasons. For starters, the math it can hit due to having Regirock-EX and Diancie p in the deck is somewhat nuts. Killing Trubbish is now a piece of cake, and even Swing Around has 1HKO potential. Additionally, having five damage boosting energy cards makes your odds of hitting one on the first turn pretty solid, and I think everyone wants to maximize their odds of that. Even if you aren’t KOing an innocent basic, you can attack into their attacker and set it up to get Knocked Out the following turn.
This brings me to the last energy in the deck, the plain old F Energy. Previously, eleven seemed like the best count to play in the deck, with three Strong Energy accompanying it. As you can already tell, the deck now plays more energy overall, with a whopping fifteen being included. The damage boosting energies are too good in the current metagame not to play, so they are sitting put. Finding the correct basic energy count is the hard part, for many reasons. You don’t want to play too many, as including even just one more F Energy makes the list even tighter and makes your deck feel packed with energies. On the other side of things, you don’t want to play too little energy and miss Max Elixirs left and right. This reasoning is why I can say with confidence, that these energy counts are optimal.
2nd Rockruff, 2nd Remoraid
I talked about the line counts of these earlier, and while I don’t think that I am a huge fan of including additional copies, I can see why other people would be. I think that the second Rockruff is more valuable than the second Remoraid, as I feel Lycanroc is a bit more important than Octillery most of the time. Additionally, benching two Rockruff at once could be a game changer some of the time, as this prevents the opponent from denying you Lycanroc. Space in the deck is quite an issue though, and is the leading reason behind these thin lines. Perhaps the meta will adapt, thus causing the list to change, which could open up some space in the deck.
This is a really interesting card right now, and I think it has potential. Not only does this card help your Garbodor matchups out, but it serves many other niche purposes. My main reason for this inclusion is to help against Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor matchup. While I did play this matchup multiple times throughout the weekend and feel favored, the matchup is definitely close. I could see Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor being quite popular at upcoming tournaments, so that is definitely something I would watch out for. The Field Blower can remove Fighting Fury Belts from their Buzzwole-GXs, and knock the tool off Garbodor, so it brings a lot of value to the table. Against Greninja, removing their Choice Bands can help limit their damage output, as they almost always want to be attacking with Shadow Stitching. Field Blower also gives you an additional out to dealing with Parallel City, which is something that annoyed me a bit throughout the weekend.
Round 1: Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX WW (1-0)
Round 2: Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX WLW (2-0)
Round 3: Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX WLW (3-0)
Round 4: Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX WLW (4-0)
Round 5: Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX WW (5-0)
Round 6: Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX WLW (6-0)
Round 7: Zoroark-GX/Garbodor WW (7-0)
Round 8: Buzzwole ID (7-0-1)
Round 9: Greninja WW (8-0-1)
Round 10: Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor WLL (8-1-1)
Round 11: Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor WLW (9-1-1)
Round 12: Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX WLT (9-1-2)
Round 13: Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX WLT (9-1-3)
Round 14: Greninja LWL (9-2-3)
9-2-3, 12th place
Zoroark/Lycanroc: My Second Choice
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 34
Energy – 8
This is a card that I thought most people would overlook when building an updated Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX list, but that was certainly not the case. This card was in almost every list I encountered over the weekend, and that is for great reason. The card is the best non-EX attacker we have seen in a while, and is pretty easy to use with this deck. Professor Kukui makes it even easier to hit the number you’re looking for, and Lycanroc-GX makes it easier to bring up the ideal target. This Buzzwole is especially hard to deal with for other Zoroark-GX decks, and can swing some games against Buzzwole if you are able to get use out of it.
Professor Kukui is a card that brings a lot of options to the table, as it makes hitting all sorts of numbers a whole lot easier. Additionally, even if you don’t have the means to make a big play with this card, your opponent will sometimes play around it, making a less optimal play sometimes. The reason that this card is playable in this deck is simple, the abilities of Zoroark-GX and Lycanroc-GX. Not only can you draw cards before using your supporter, you can also use a gust effect without using your supporter for the turn. This means that you’re very flexible in terms of what you can pull off, and gives Professor Kukui plenty of opportunities to come in clutch.
Timer Ball might not be everyone’s favorite card due to the flipping that must be done, but I am a huge fan of Timer Ball in this deck. It is a great follow up to a turn one Brigette, as you will usually get at least one evolution to put into play. Timer Ball is strictly better than Evosoda in this deck because it allows you to grab Lycanroc and put it into your hand, which means you get to use Bloodthirsty Eyes. Without even getting into the Timer Ball odds, this already makes it worthwhile in my mind. I play three of these because I really want my second turn to be strong, as it often feels like one of the most important turns in the game. Late in the game, Timer Ball gives you a greater chance of hitting Lycanroc-GX if needed. If not, you can simply trade those excess Timer Balls away.
This card is what I find myself trying to play around whenever I play against this deck, because I think denying them the option to use Lycanroc-GX as an attacker usually results in a win. This often means I might KO a less desirable Pokémon just to knock their only energy card off the board. This just goes to show how powerful Lycanroc-GX is, and Multi Switch is often the best way to power it up. Multi Switch allows you to take a knockout with Zoroark-GX, and then start attacking with Lycanroc-GX on the very next turn. I would absolutely never take this card out of the deck, as it is just too game changing in my mind.
This card is definitely good against Buzzwole decks, don’t get me wrong. I even understand that is occasionally useful in other matchups, and a decent starter due to its high HP. The issue for me, however, is that I still couldn’t beat Buzzwole decks with this card in the deck. It helped a bit, but it didn’t change the result of the game most of the time. It can be ignored without causing too much damage, as the opponent can just Guzma around it without putting too much energy on anything. Baby Buzzwole can KO it rather easily, especially if 4 Prizes are left for the Zoroark player. Additionally, Lycanroc-GX can simply take over the game for the Buzzwole player, and while Mewtwo can attack into it to set it up for a KO, you almost never win as the Zoroark player if Lycanroc-GX gets to attack twice.
3rd Parallel City
This card is okay against Buzzwole decks, which I expect to be the most popular deck moving forward. However, two copies of this card will usually be all you need in that matchup.
The other two most popular decks, Zoroark-GX and Malamar, are where Parallel City is going to be the MVP. Both decks rely on having a large bench in order to function, which means Parallel City is going to play a role every single time it touches the field. It has a big impact both when you are forcing them to discard Benched Pokémon or just playing it preemptively. In the early game, especially on turn two, Parallel City in combination with a KO on a crucial basic can sometimes be too much for the opponent to recover from. Parallel City often makes the opponent leave themselves with either one Zorua or one Rockruff in the mirror match, and you should just KO the singleton Basic every single time. This is just an example of how far Parallel City can put you ahead, and having a third copy could increase your likelihood of finding it on those early turns.
That is it for today everyone! I had a lot of fun talking about the Buzzwole deck my friends and I played at Madison Regionals. The deck was a great call and it showed! I expect Buzzwole to be incredibly popular at upcoming tournaments, as it truly does have a shot against everything.
That being said, I plan to either play Buzzwole myself or try to find that perfect counter for the deck. I have a few League Cups coming up, which I have honestly struggled with so far this year, so I guess only time will tell what my local metagame will look like.
In terms of big tournaments, I have Mexico City Regionals in a few weeks, and then NAIC in July! I am excited to have a break between tournaments, but I am also quite excited for another International tournament. If you happen to see me at any of these events, feel free to come up and say hi! I love meeting people at events, and enjoy hearing that people like my articles. Until next time!
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