The Fighting Force

A Pair of Looks at Buzzwole/Lycanroc and Buzzwole/Garbodor for NAIC

Hello everyone! I am back from a short break after Mexico City Regionals, and I have been playing quite a bit! I finished top eight at Mexico with Buzzwole/Lycanroc, which many of you likely knew I was going to play. I have been a huge fan of the deck since I played it at the Oceania International Championships, and that has not changed since Mexico. In my recent testing, both Buzzwole decks have been incredibly strong, and easily the most reliable. With other decks, it feels like I struggle to close games, and have a lot of sad endings. This means that I will be discussing Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX and Buzzwole/Garbodor today! Without further ado, lets kick things off with an in depth look at both of these Buzzwole decks.

Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX

Pokémon – 14

4 Buzzwole FLI

1 Buzzwole-GX

2 Rockruff FLI

2 Lycanroc-GX

1 Remoraid BKT 31

1 Remoraid CIN

1 Octillery BKT

1 Diancie p

1 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainers – 32

4 Professor Sycamore

4 Guzma

3 N

1 Cynthia

 

4 Ultra Ball

4 Max Elixir

3 Beast Ring

3 Choice Band

2 Float Stone

1 Super Rod

 

3 Brooklet Hill

Energy – 14

9 F

4 Strong

1 Beast p

Card Choices

4 Buzzwole, 1 Buzzwole-GX

Baby Buzzwole is one of the best attackers in standard currently. It’s bulkiness makes it quite hard to deal with for Zoroark decks, and they only get 1 Prize when it is KO’d. Against opposing Buzzwole and Malamar decks, having GXs on the board is a liability because the match turns into a prize race. Buzzwole-GX still serves it’s purpose though, being able to take KOs on Pokémon that are hard for baby Buzzwole to deal with, such as Golisopod-GX.

2 Rockruff, 2 Lycanroc-GX

Lycanroc-GX is an incredibly powerful card in the current metagame. Bloodthirsty Eyes really opens up your options, and makes it harder for your opponent to deny you prizes. Additionally, Lycanroc-GX is a very strong attacker! Dangerous Rogue is my favorite GX attack in the game because it is a cheap attack that is difficult for the opponent to play around. Claw Slash isn’t the best attack, doing only 110 damage before buffs, but it is quite easy for you to make the attack do 180 damage via Strong Energy, Choice Band, and Diancie. What makes Lycanroc-GX such a threat is that most decks can’t deal with it right away, which allows it to take three to 4 Prizes if used at the right time. In my Madison list, I only ran a 1-1 line of Lycanroc-GX, and I still believe that was ideal at the time. Not only was Lycanroc-GX less important in that metagame, but no one was expecting it. Lycanroc-GX has become more important because of all the Malamar decks being played in tournaments.

2 Remoraid, 1 Octillery

While I did make the Octillery and Lycanroc lines thicker, they were done for different reasons. Simply put, the second Remoraid was added to increase consistency. Not only does having a second copy make it more accessible, but your opponent KOing it immediately is not nearly as painful. With only one in the deck, despite having Super Rod, opponents could sometimes take advantage of it. Decks could aim to keep Octillery off the board, and then try to N you out of the game. However, this strategy is not always effective. If the Octillery is Koed, it usually means that one or more attackers are still on the board. This can allow you to draw average and still win the game because you are already setup. With two Remoraids in the deck, this strategy is even harder to implicate.

3 N

Similarly to Lycanroc-GX, N has also grown stronger due to the way the metagame has shaped up. A lot of matches turn into Prize trades, and N is a great way to stop the opponent from responding to a threat. Zoroark and Buzzwole have draw power that can help them get out of it, but their are other decks that aren’t so lucky. Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor and Malamar decks are particarly weak to N due to a lack of protection, meaning they don’t have any Pokémon that draw them cards. This forces them to draw a supporter off the N, which isn’t super easy to do on consecutive turns.

2 Float Stone

It might seem crazy to only run two copies of this card, but it seems to go very well with the list. I was a huge fan of it in Mexico, and I have become an even bigger fan in testing since. With four Buzzwole and one Buzzwole-GX in the deck, you have plenty of great Pokémon to start with. Guzma is also usually a pretty strong play on turn one, which eliminates the need for Float Stone. With two copies of the card in your deck, you certainly still have a chance of drawing into it, and I actually haven’t noticed myself struggling to find it.

Potential Inclusions

Field Blower

This is a potential inclusion that I talked about in a previous article, so I still have similar reasoning for it. Field Blower can be used to gain an advantage against Garbodor decks, such as Buzzwole/Garbodor. Field Blower is also not a card that is frequently played in this deck, so you might be able to catch someone off guard by removing a crucial Float Stone or Choice Band.

3rd Float Stone

This is not a change that I would currently make, but I could see why it could be useful. I would definitely include a third copy of Float Stone if I ever decided to put Regirock-EX back in the deck. Otherwise, I feel comfortable with the low count of Float Stone in the deck and will be keeping it that way unless I feel it can be easily exploited, but that hasn’t been a problem thus far.

2nd Super Rod

This is a count that we saw Tord Reklev implement at the Sheffield Regional Championships. While his list did differ in many other aspects, I still think a second Super Rod should not be ruled out as an option. When testing the two Super Rod, I didn’t mind it at all, and there were definitely games where I used the extra recovery. However, the decklist is very tight, as shown by the low Float Stone count. If I do find some space, a second Super Rod might be going in, but I am not convinced I will be able to do so.

Buzzwole/Garbodor

Pokémon – 11

4 Buzzwole-GX

1 Buzzwole FLI

2 Trubbish GRI

2 Garbodor BKP

2 Tapu Lele-GX

Trainers – 37

4 Cynthia

4 N

3 Guzma

1 Lillie

 

4 Nest Ball

4 Order Pad

4 Float Stone

4 Fighting Fury Belt

4 Beast Ring

3 Mysterious Treasure

1 Random Receiver

1 Counter Catcher

Energy – 12

7 F

4 Strong

1 Beast p

Card Choices

4 Cynthia, 4 N, 0 Professor Sycamore, 1 Lillie

This is the supporter line I had and talked about in my last article, and I am still convinced that this is correct. If a Professor Sycamore were to be included, it would have to be in addition to these counts. This is because “shuffle draw” supporters are very strong in this deck, mostly because you want to avoid discarding precious resources such as Beast Ring. This makes maxing the amount of Cynthias and Ns you play a great idea, especially because N is a great supporter in this deck for other reasons too. In the beginning of the game, you will almost always be slower than your opponent due to a lack of energy acceleration. This will lead to you falling slightly behind, and N becoming a very useful start to your “comeback”.

I like Lillie in this deck for a couple reasons. First off, it is obviously an incredible card to use on the first turn. Outside of Beast Ring and Garbodor, you can almost always thin your hand out really well to maximize the value of Lillie. Lillie is also a supporter you can use in the mid to late game without discarding any cards.

4 Order Pad

This is what makes the whole deck tick! I am pretty sure that this deck wouldn’t be played if Order Pad were not a card. Order Pad just has so many chances to win you the game with a deck like this, it is too good not to play. In the beginning of the game, Order Pad is great for quickening your setup. Not only can it help to find a supporter via Random Receiver or Mysterious Treasure, but it can help establish Garbodor or find a crucial Float Stone too. As the game goes on, Order Pad is really only used to find Beast Ring or Random Receiver. The whole point of the deck is to flood the board with energy via Beast Ring, make your Buzzwoles harder to kill with Fighting Fury Belts, and N the opponent to limit their options.

Random Receiver

This is a very strong card in this deck! I would definitely not remove this card from the deck, even if it might seem like a weird inclusion. Obviously, it can fail to find you a draw supporter because of Guzma, so it is a little risky. However, outside of the first couple turns, Guzma is a very acceptable result of Random Receiver. Once you have energies on the board, you don’t need much else, which makes Guzma a powerful option a lot of the time. Without Random Receiver in the deck, Order Pad would not be able to get you a supporter if you have Garbodor on the field. Additionally, having the potential to find Random Receiver in your opening hand increases the consistency of the deck just a tad.

Counter Catcher

This is the new hot tech! Popularized by our very own Christoper Schemanske at Mexico City Regionals, this tech has gone on to be played in pretty much every Buzzwole/Garbodor list I have seen since. The card is very strong in this deck because of how much synergy it has. Not only is it very easy to use due to the slow nature of the deck, but it is also much easier to find than in other decks because of Order Pad. Counter Catcher is especially strong in the Malamar and Buzzwole matchups, as it can allow you to avoid a baby Buzzwole or help get around a Moon’s Eclipse-GX.

Potential Inclusions

4th Mysterious Treasure

This is not a necessary inclusion, but I have found it to be especially strong against Zoroark and Malamar decks. Getting Garbodor out immediately is a key to handling some of the stronger Zoroark starts, which can otherwise get out of hand. In a similar fashion, Malamar is also heavily reliant on abilities, and getting a turn two Garbodor can force them to find a Field Blower in order to attack. Garbodor is also very strong against Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX, as they also have some crucial abilities, but you can afford to be a bit slower about getting it out. I would definitely recommend this inclusion if you find yourself losing games due to Garbodor being slow to come out.

2nd Random Receiver

I just talked about how much I like the Random Receiver, so you might have been wondering about why I only play one. I have not tried the second copy of this card yet, but I have been tempted to on many occasions, especially now that the deck only plays three Guzma. Random Receiver increases the consistency of the deck, mostly because it is a great Order Pad option. Sometimes I find myself wanting to use Order Pad to get Random Receiver, but couldn’t because I had either already done that play, or I had to discard it earlier in the game. Situations like this are where another Random Receiver can turn a loss into a win. If you play games with the deck and feel similarly to me, I recommend giving this inclusion a try.

Matchups

Garbodor

Buzzwole/Garbodor vs Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX

This is definitely a close matchup, but I would have to say it is slightly favored for Buzzwole/Garbodor. Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX’s damage output gets reduced severely when it doesn’t have abilities, so KOing a Buzzwole-GX with Fighting Fury Belt on it is quite difficult. It can deal with one belted Buzzwole by using a GX attack, but after that it requires a very beefed up Buzzwole-GX to handle it. Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX should aim to keep Garbodor off the board, which can happen in some games. These are the games where Buzzroc will just run away with the game, as it is strictly the better deck at that point. Buzzwole/Garbodor should aim to get a Garbodor out, start attaching energies, and then use Beast Rings and N to take over the game.

Buzzwole/Garbodor vs Malamar

This matchup is the worst matchup for the deck by far. You definitely have a chance against it, even more so if the opponent is skimping on Field Blower. Unlike the Lycanroc/Buzzwole deck, you can’t outspeed Malamar, so your goal is to simply slow them down. Getting out Garbodor on turn two is the most important part of your early game setup, it is especially strong if you go first because you can completely prevent your opponent from using Malamar. This will force the opponent to have Field Blower in order to power up their attackers.

This opens up a window for you to be able to N them out of the game, because they won’t be able to respond to a KO unless they find a Field Blower. Using baby Buzzwole to take a KO at some point is super strong in this matchup because it forces them to spend resources KOing it but doesn’t get them any closer to winning, as they will almost always have to KO three Buzzwole-GX anyway.

Buzzwole/Garbodor vs Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX

This is a good matchup for Buzzwole, I would say it is favorable, but not as favorable as a matchup as Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX has. Buzzwole/Garbodor can apply a decent amount of pressure in the early game by using Jet Punch and establishing Garbodor quickly. While you don’t have the same flexibility as Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX when it comes to taking KOs in the early game, you make up for it by denying the opponent “Trade” with Garbodor.

In games where Buzzwole gets its ideal first couple turns, it is quite difficult for Zoroark to keep up. Zoroark’s best bet is to KO a GX, and then hope Buzzwole doesn’t find Beast Ring. This can allow Zoroark to then take another GX ko the following turn to prevent Beast Ring from ever being played. This results in Buzzwole simply running out of steam and not being able to finish the game, but this scenario is likely not one you would run into too much.

Buzzwole/Garbodor vs Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX

I am not sure where other people stand on this matchup, but this is one that I have found to be extremely close. Christopher was taken down by a Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX in the finals of Mexico, but I haven’t gotten a chance to watch the games and see how they played out. It is somewhat difficult for Buzzwole to KO a Golisopod-GX if it doesn’t have access to a big Absorption-GX. This is because the Buzzwole deck plays Fighting Fury Belt instead of Choice Band.

However, Golisopod-GX can’t really KO a Buzzwole-GX anyway, so this is really only relevant in certain situations. The ZoroPod has plenty of answers to Garbotoxin and usually doesn’t struggle with it too much, but Buzzwole is still Buzzwole and can simply take over the game with Beast Ring. Parallel City is somewhat annoying to deal with in the matchup, but it really only plays a huge roll if a Tapu Lele-GX is hogging a spot on the bench already.

Lycanroc

Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX vs Malamar

This is a matchup that is easily the hardest one available, but I still think it it 50-50 to favored depending on the Malamar list. You are favored against the Ultra Necrozma-GX variants for sure, and are even slightly favored against Psychic Malamar that has a GX focus. Things get a lot closer when you’re playing against Psychic Malamar that has multiple non-GX attackers, such as Mewtwo or Hoopa. Now that the deck has a thicker Lycanroc-GX line, and a greater focus on baby Buzzwole, even this matchup is winnable. Pretty much all of the matchups are played the same, as you are essentially just using baby Buzzwole early to apply pressure, and then taking some KOs with Lycanroc-GX once the opponent KOs the baby Buzzwole.

You can use Beast Ring to power up multiple baby Buzzwole, which is how you keep up with Malamar’s incredible energy acceleration. In the late game, your advantage is Octillery. You can use N to limit your opponent’s options, and you don’t have to worry about N yourself. In the late game, Malamar has no draw power and struggles to keep attacking, they often run out of steam. This can allow you to be a bit behind, and then comeback into the game with an N.

Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX vs Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX

This is one of Buzzwole’s best matchups, if not the absolute best. Since Beast Ring has come out, I haven’t lost a single match to this deck, and I have played against quite a few of them. Baby Buzzwole is difficult for them to kill, outside of using Claw Slash, which isn’t a great response. The opponent using Claw Slash on a baby Buzzwole leave them very vulnerable to a return KO, which would almost always end the game on the spot.

This Zoroark deck also has no answer to Lycanroc-GX other than their own Lycanroc-GX, so if you are able to Dangerous Rogue their Lycanroc, they will struggle to respond adequately. Octillery is important in this matchup, and the opponent will likely target it down in an attempt to N you out of the game. The best way to deal with this is to be extremely aggressive. The opponent going out of their way to KO Octillery means that your attackers remain untouched. If you are able to get board control and start taking prizes before the Octillery is Koed, you won’t even notice that it is gone. As always, you should be trying to thin your deck as much as possible to strengthen yourself against N.

Buzzwole/Lycanroc-GX vs Zoroark-GX/Golisopod-GX

This is a deck that has been increasing in popularity recently, which is great news for our friend Buzzwole. Buzzwole boasts a very positive matchup here, despite Lycanroc-GX being weak to grass. I always like to think that the longer the game goes, the worse it is for me as the Buzzwole player. So again, the key in this matchup is to just be aggressive. Every game feels different, in the sense that you don’t have much of a plan coming in. Your goal is to just take 6 Prizes as fast as possible, in whatever way it takes.

Using Dangerous Rogue-GX to KO the opponent’s Golisopod-GX is usually a game winning play, especially if the opponent does not have a Wimpod in play to potentially deal with Lycanroc. In the early game, KOing the opponent’s Wimpod is a very strong play. Keeping the opponent’s Wimpods/Golisopods off the board leaves them with no answer for Lycanroc-GX, which means that Lycanroc will take at least 3 Prizes. Just like the Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX matchup, Octillery also plays an important role here. They will attempt to use Counter Catcher and N in the same turn, in an attempt to cut off your draw power. You can play around this in the same way you do against Zoroark-GX/Lycanroc-GX.

Why Buzzwole for NAIC?

After reading the article up until this point, it should be obvious that I think very highly of both Buzzwole decks. I plan to play one of them at the NAIC because I think they are the best decks at giving me a chance against anything. When I sit down at the table with Malamar, I feel like I will almost always lose to Zoroark decks. I hate the feeling of being at a huge disadvantage before the game even starts, as I’m sure everyone does, so I tend to choose decks that have a wide range of close matchups as opposed to a deck with very polarized ones. In this format, Buzzwole really doesn’t have any abysmal matchups. It was originally thought that Malamar would dominate Buzzwole, but as time went on, decklists shifted and the matchup turned out to be 50/50ish. Knowing that even Malamar is a winnable matchup should be a great feeling for any Buzzwole player, and is one of the main reasons why I am so confident in the deck.


Well, I hope you like Buzzwole decks now! If you started the article as a Buzzwole fan, I hope that I was able to strengthen your confidence in the deck and help you refine your list. If I just convinced you to take a look at the Buzzwole decks again, I am glad! These decks are without a doubt my favorite decks in the format, and easily two of the strongest. I would certainly recommend getting some games in with each deck before the event, and potentially join me in playing it in the tournament. I would truly be shocked if I ended up playing a non-Buzzwole deck. That is all for today everyone! If you’ll be at the NAIC, feel free to come up and say hi to me! Either way, I wish you goodluck. I will be back later in the month with another article, so keep your eyes peeled for that!


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