Hello everyone! I haven’t been to any tournaments since Madison Regionals where Buzzwole showed us its full potential, but I have been testing quite a bit to get ready for upcoming tournaments. I definitely still love Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX, but my list hasn’t changed for that deck since Madison.
I have found a couple other decks I like in my testing so far, which have been Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor and Psychic Malamar. They both feel a bit more consistent than Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX, and have more of a game plan as opposed to just attacking. As Tord has been saying recently, Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX feels somewhat like a theme deck, in the sense that you just attach energy and attack.
Anyways, without further ado, let’s take a look at two decks that currently look like good plays for Mexico City Regionals and the NAIC.
Pokémon – 11
Trainers – 37
Energy – 12
1 Beast ♢
This is a great inclusion in the deck, and certainly isn’t special by any means. The reason that this deck only plays one copy of this card, as opposed to the heavy counts we see in Buzzwole/Lycanroc lists, is because of how the deck plays. With Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor, you aim to simply Jet Punch until you can Beast Ring, and then take over the game. This doesn’t leave much room for baby Buzzwole to be very impactful, as it is only a great attacker when your opponent is at 4 prizes. This is because you don’t have “buffs” to allow Buzzwole to do a ton of damage like Buzzwole/Lycanroc does, and commiting three energies to a non-EX/GX is painful for a deck with such little energy. The absence of Max Elixir also makes using Buzzwole a lot harder, as all of your Beast Rings want to be used to power up Buzzwole-GX most of the time.
Tapu Lele-GX is played in every deck, but I wanted to talk about why this deck plays two copies. When playing Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX, benching Tapu Lele-GX is honestly painful, and really only happens to make a big play or avoid dead drawing. The bench space with that deck is precious, especially if the list contains thicker lines of Octillery or Lycanroc.
However, with this deck, the bench space is less necessary and Mysterious Treasure is included in this list. I have actually had games where I use two Tapu Lele-GX, and I feel like I use at least one Tapu Lele-GX almost every game. It might seem like the deck wouldn’t have a ton of opportunies to use Abilities because of Garbodor, but you have until you get Garbodor out to take advantage of them which is more time than you may think. Additionally, decks are increasing their Field Blower counts, which gives you plenty of chances to use Tapu Lele-GX.
This may seem like a weird supporter line, but I assure you it is perfect for the way this deck attempt plays. I originally started with one Professor Sycamore and it took me a few games to notice, but I was not a fan of the card at all. I took it out for a fourth Cynthia and have liked the change thus far. There are simply too many cards that you want to keep in the deck for later use, such as Beast Ring, Order Pad, and N. All of these cards are incredibly important for the mid to late game, and discarding them decreases the amount you can use and the odds of finding them. N is important in the deck because of how strong it is in combination with Garbotoxin. N is also nice in the deck because you don’t mind playing a shuffle draw Supporter in the early game, and it essentially functions as a Cynthia in those moments.
This combination has been working great for me thus far, and the only change I could really see making to these counts is adding a fourth Mysterious Treasure. I absolutely wouldn’t remove any of these, as they are crucial to your early game setup. Both of them are outs to Trubbish, which is important to get into play as soon as possible. Getting out Garbotoxin on turn two is ideal, but I have actually been having trouble doing that. I usually find myself getting Trubbish into play with no problem, and I find the tool by turn two, but I can’t seem to find the Garbodor consistently. I plan to play a larger number of games and monitor this, because I could see changes needing to be made in order to improve it.
The reason why I don’t like Ultra Ball in the deck is because the deck really dislikes having to discard a lot of cards, so Ultra Ball can cause some pretty awkward hands to be drawn. The deck is so low maintenance that it is very rare to miss finding the Pokémon you need, especially past the first couple turns. One could argue that the inclusion of Ultra Ball, in addition to the current search lineup, would increase my chances of finding Garbodor as soon as possible. While that is likely true, I just don’t see enough space in the deck to make room for multiple search cards.
This card is one that I considered quite weak when it was first released, and up until now it was essentially a joke card that occasionally squeaked its way into some Stage 2 decks. However, I think this card is fantastic in this deck, and I could see it being included in similar decks moving forward. Not only does Order Pad improve the consistency of the deck overall, especially in the early game, but it helps find Beast Rings when you are able to play them. I would absolutely label Beast Ring as the most important card in the deck, and would even say that they deck is basically built around Beast Ring.
I have seen players argue that the card is bad because it is a flip, and while I am usually not a fan of said cards, I have to say that this card is worth the flip. Even going 50% on Order Pad is a fantastic result because the card is just that strong, and even just one heads on Order Pad usually has a big impact on the game. I would compare this card to the days where everyone played Pokémon Reversal. You certainly don’t need to flip heads on all of them, and you can win games without flipping heads, but some super strong plays can be made when a heads does occur. Obviously Order Pad is not quite as good as Pokémon Reversal was in its 2011 prime, but I still think the comparison gets my point across.
This is a card that I haven’t seen played in a while now, but I am a big fan of the card in this deck. Having this card in the deck allows you to use Order Pad to get a supporter, which otherwise couldn’t be done when Garbodor is on the field. Additionally, simply having Random Receiver in the deck adds a tad more consistency to the deck because it acts as an additional draw supporter most of the time. It is also another out to finding Guzma at the end of the game which is nice.
7 Fighting, 4 Strong, 1 Beast
This is the ideal energy count for this deck, so I will definitely not be changing it. You don’t want too many energies in the deck because you don’t want your early game being clogged up because of them. On the other side of things, you don’t want to run out of energies, especially before you get to use Beast Ring once or twice. With no Ultra Balls or Professor Sycamores in the deck, it is a lot easier to manage your resources. Discarding “too many” Energies is almost impossible, which makes it easy to get value out of Beast Ring. Once you have access to Beast Ring, games end fairly quickly, and Energy attachments become less necessary.
I talked about struggling to get out Garbodor on turn 2 earlier in the article, and that is the main reason I am considering this inclusion. Having the fourth Mysterious Treasure would slightly increase my consistency on the first couple turns, as it would make it easier to find Trubbish/Garbodor, or a Tapu Lele-GX to grab a supporter card. In order to make this inclusion, I am not completely sure of what I would remove, but I certainly won’t be removing a Nest Ball.
2nd Random Receiver
The Random Receiver that I have in the deck already has really impressed me, so much to the point where I somewhat want a second copy. Random Receiver turns an Order Pads heads into a supporter, and sometimes I want to be able to do that multiple times in a game. Additionally, having a second copy would eliminate the issues of prizing it, and having to use it before the Order Pad play becomes relevant.
Pokémon – 18
Trainers – 32
Energy – 10
With the deck being based on non-GX Pokémon now, I have decided to just run a thin line of the two prize attackers in this list. I decided to run one of each because it gives me options, and they all serve their purpose. Necrozma-GX and Mewtwo-GX can both allow for some heavy hitting attacks to occur, and Mewtwo-GX is a fantastic attacker against Greninja decks. Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX also has a sick GX attack that can really swing some games in your favor, especially against decks that don’t play Lycanroc-GX. Decks that don’t play Lycanroc-GX have to use a Guzma for the turn, otherwise they don’t get to attack that turn. Even Lycanroc-GX decks can miss a response to Moon’s Eclipse-GX, but they certainly have an easier time.
My favorite strategy, assuming I can avoid benching a Tapu Lele-GX, is to force my opponent to take a KO on five non-GX Pokémon, and then force them to deal with a GX in order to win the game. Obviously this doesn’t happen every game, but it is a nice thing that can happen with the deck.
Hoopa is a pretty strong attacker all around in the current metagame. Decks are either focusing on non-ex attackers or fighting Pokémon, both of which Hoopa can trade with quite well. Hoopa is also the best non-EX attacker against Zoroark-GX that I have played with because it sets up a two shot on Zoroark-GX, and it is hard for them to OHKO. Sure, they can burn their GX attack on it or ignore it for a turn, but neither of those answers are good ones. The only answer that really “punishes” Hoopa is Kukui, but that isn’t even always a foolproof response. The Zoroark-GX will then just get KOed by another Hoopa, and you put the opponent back in the same spot. They are trading EXs for non-EXs, so you can attempt to win a prize race, even if the trades are unfavorable at times. This Hoopa is also a great non-ex attacker against Greninja, because you can KO Greninjas with it, which couldn’t be done with something like Mewtwo SM77.
This is a card that I was unsure of when Malamar decks were being built after Forbidden Light’s release, but now it is pretty clear that Clefairy is sick in this deck. It is a fantastic answer to Lycanroc-GX, which the deck can otherwise struggle to deal with. Lycanroc-GX has become a huge part of the meta in recent weeks, so Clefairy is now more valuable than ever. Additionally, with the meta turning into somewhat of a non-EX war, Clefairy is just another non-GX attacker to trade with.
This has been in many decks before in order to counter Greninja BREAK. While it also does that here, the reason why you will see it in every Malamar list for the near future is because of all the Fighting weak Pokémon running around right now. Yes, that’s right, Giratina is also used as an attacker in this deck! It has a relatively high HP and resistance to fighting, which makes it solid against Buzzwole. The effect of its attack is also pretty strong, especially if you can ever catch an opponent with just one card in their hand.
While some other lists have only been including three of these recently, I wouldn’t recommend playing less than four. Max Elixir is fantastic in this deck and has a wide range of uses. Not only does it make Malamar less necessary in the early game, but it can also help to get extra energy onto Necrozma-GX when going for an important OHKO. I have occasionally used two Max Elixirs on the first turn successfully, and gotten to attack with Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX right away.
Obviously that doesn’t happen very often, but it is very strong when it does. More importantly, I have found Max Elixir to be very strong against ability lock decks. Against Greninja BREAK and to a lesser extent Garbodor, Malamar is going to be useless during parts of the game. This makes getting energy in play much harder, but Max Elixir really helps to make up for the lack of Malamar.
A heavy Field Blower count is simply too important in this deck, so I would absolutely not recommend removing one. I would certainly include a fourth copy before I removed one of them. Field Blower helps solve two of this deck’s biggest problems, Garbodor and Parallel City. Both of which are becoming increasingly popular, with Zoroark decks and Garbodor decks being a fair share of the meta.
I haven’t been having any consistency issues with this deck so far, but I feel like almost every list I have seen has 9 draw Supporters. I could see this deck being a bit more inconsistent than the few games I have played with makes it feel. After a bunch more games, I will have a good feel for this and should be able to make my decision. If you play with this deck and feel like you’re either bricking off the bat or simply running out of steam, I would recommend tossing in a third copy of Cynthia.
4th Field Blower
As I discussed earlier, Field Blower is incredibly important in this deck, and I would never play less than three. If Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor and Zoroark decks are expected to be more popular at NAIC than they currently are, this is a change I would like to make. While three is a lot, four will make it even easier to find, and will give you a bit more freedom as to when you can use them. Having your bench limited to three for a couple turns against Zoroark is almost always going to result in a loss, and the same usually goes for having your abilities locked by a Garbodor.
That is all for today everyone! I hope you enjoyed getting an in-depth look at two of the strongest decks in the current format. If you are going to Mexico City Regionals or the NAIC, I strongly recommend trying these decks out in testing. They are both looking like very strong plays currently, and changes to the lists can be made when the event is closer based on the expected meta. I have another article coming out right before the NAIC, where I will take a look at the Buzzwole decks and give all my thoughts on them. Until then, keep on testing and if you are going to Mexico City Regionals, feel free to come up and say hi!
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