Buzzroc 2.0: Ain't no Buzzwole Swole Enough
Hello Flipside Gamers! My name is Luke Morsa and today I will be telling you all about the new and improved power of the standard format archetype Buzzwole/Lycanroc that Forbidden Light has brought. But first, a quick introduction of who I am as this is my first article for the site.
About the author: I am a 23 year old full-time college student. I am receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in the fall semester of 2018 and I plan to continue my studies in a Master’s program following that. As for work, I direct productions at a community theatre in the summer and substitute teach at an elementary school during the school year. I have been playing the Pokemon TCG ever since base set when I was about 5 or 6. I started competing in tournaments when I was 12 and I have been attending Organized Play tournaments ever since. Due to school, finances, and confounding interests and hobbies (being in theatre productions, being in a touring band, marching band in high school, etc), I have yet to compete through a full season of Pokemon up until the current season. A few accomplishments I have are top 16 at Philadelphia Regionals 2010, Top 64 at Roanoke Regionals 2017, four 9th place finishes at State Championships, and several League Cup, City Championships, and Battle Roads finishes and wins. I currently run the Youtube channel Celio’s Network and I also stream on twitch under the same name. I love analyzing the meta-game as well as playing the game itself, and I hope that it shows in my content. Enough about me, let’s talk about one of the strongest decks of BKT-FOL!
History of the Archetype
Lycanroc-GX (GRI) had little impact on the game when it was first released outside of Japan. We saw it have a part in the vaguely remembered Raichu(GEN)/Lycanroc of the PRC-GRI standard format. Other than that, I was worried that this well-designed card with a very strong GX attack and an ability that we have seen prove useful in the past would never see the amount of play and respect that I thought it deserved. As we now know, it found two partners with the release of Crimson Invasion and Shining Legends, one of them being Buzzwole-GX.
Buzzwole-GX (CRI) has the attack Jet Punch which deals 30 base damage and 30 damage to one of your opponent’s benched Pokemon. This attack alone allowed the card to gain hype because it is the exact same attack that Landorus EX (BCR) has. Landorus EX was a player-favorite in its prime, being paired with other big basics like Mewtwo EX (NXD) or with other pokemon that could help it spread damage like Golbat and Crobat (PHF). A possible partner for Buzzwole-GX was anticipated to be Garbodor (BKT) to lock abilities with its Garbotoxin while you spread damage around with Buzzwole. This archetype has seen a fair amount of success, but the more popular Buzzwole-GX archetype turned out to be Buzzwole/Lycanroc. We saw the first incarnation of this archetype at the London International Championships in November 2017 used by Teodor Skjaeveland (5th place) and Fredrik Wold (6th place) who both finished in the top 8. Below is the list that they used.
An early list compared to the Buzzroc lists we have become accustomed to, this deck was built to be as aggressive as possible with a combination of Jet Punch as early as turn 1, Lycanroc-GX to target down specific Pokemon with its Bloodthirsty Eyes ability, and both main attackers having heavy hitting attacks for only 2-3 energy. Add in the damage modifiers available to fighting type decks ie: Strong Energy and Regirock-EX, and it all makes perfect sense that this archetype would work. Below is a more recent Buzzroc list which Ryan Sabelhaus used to win Charlotte Regionals 2018.
The most notable adaptations that have been made in the Buzzroc lists since its beginning back in London are Sudowoodo(BKP) and Mew(FCO). Sudowoodo has the Watch and Learn attack, which for 1 fighting 1 colorless uses the attack that your opponent used last turn. With heavy hitters like Tapu Bulu-GX and Lycanroc-GX around, it is considerably useful to use your opponent’s own one-shot attack against them with a one-prize attacker. Mew (FCO) is an inclusion based on the meta adapting to Buzzwole-GX being so prevalent. Nearly every Zoroark-GX based deck in the Standard format has been allotting at least one spot in their deck to a Buzzwole-GX counter, namely Mew-EX. Mew-EX can copy any attack on the field for the same energy, so Zoroark-GX decks use Mew-EX to copy Zoroark-GX’s Riotous Beating to take an easy knock out on opposing Buzzwole-GXs. This is where Mew (FCO) comes in. Mew (FCO) can use the attacks of any your basic pokemon, so a Mew (FCO) with a Choice Band and a Fighting Energy can use Jet Punch for 120 damage on Mew-EX since it is weak to Psychic (30+30 x2 = 120) to knock it out in one hit. Mew (FCO) is also useful in the mirror match to hit your opponents Buzzwole-GX for a considerable amount of damage coming from a one-prize attacker.
Forbidden Light has brought a massive buff (no pun intended) to Buzzwole-GX in the form of Beast Ring, Beast Energy Prism, and Diancie Prism. We have also received in this set a non-GX Buzzwole and a new non-GX Lycanroc. I have omitted the latter 2 in my latest draft of Buzzwole-GX/Lycanroc-GX, but I will explain why and where I believe those cards fit better (if they fit anywhere at all) later in the article. This is the current Buzzroc list that I am testing with.
Part of Buzzwole-GX’s power comes from Zoroark-GX’s weakness being fighting. You can take a knockout on a zorua for just a fighting energy while setting up another 30 damage on the bench with Jet Punch. Not only can you knock out Zorua for just a fighting energy, but with a strong energy attached and a Diancie Prism on the bench Jet Punch is dealing 70 damage to the active Pokemon, which can knockout almost every pre-evolution basic Pokemon in the game. Knuckle Impact has a base damage of 160, but with damage amplifiers like Strong Energy, Beast Energy, Choice Band, and Diancie Prism, it can potentially do enough damage to one-shot any Pokemon in the game. Absorption-GX can hit very high numbers in the beginning of the game and is great if you don’t want the side effect of Knuckle Impact which states that Buzzwole-GX cannot attack next turn, but you want to save your GX attack for Lycanroc-GX’s Dangerous Rogue-GX when you can. Beast Ring is an amazing tool that Ultra Beasts received with Forbidden Light and Buzzwole-GX makes incredible use of it. I’ll speak more about that when we get to Beast Ring. Buzzwole-GX is the main attacker of the deck, so we want a high count of the card for sure. 4 is too many because it is common that you’ll only use two in a game and we don’t want superfluous cards in our list, and 2 is not enough because you want to get them out consistently.
Diancie is an upgrade from Regirock-EX. All of your Fighting type Pokemon deal 20 more damage to the opposing active Pokemon. This allows you to hit 70 damage with Jet Punch with a strong energy. This is huge because of all of the 70 HP basic pre-evolution Pokemon that are around.
1 Rockruff FLI 1 Rockruff GRI
I won’t go into incredible depth on my selection of Rockruffs, but every card can make a difference. We got a 70HP Rockruff in Forbidden Light, and when looking at Jet Punch damage on the bench we know that there is a huge difference between 60HP and 70HP. There are obscure opportunities to trap an opponent’s Pokemon active with Rockruff GRI’s Corner, so I do think that having 1 of it in the deck has its merit. So, I have been playing with one of each and nothing has made me regret the decision thus far.
Lycanroc-GX is Buzzwole-GX’s main partner in crime. I’ll be honest though, Buzzwole-GX sure does steal the spotlight a lot with Forbidden Light cards added to the deck, namely Beast Ring. Lycanroc-GX serves a critical utility to the deck with its ability Bloodthirsty Eyes, which allows you to bring one of your opponent’s benched pokemon to their active spot upon evolving Rockruff into Lycanroc-GX. Claw Slash can be a good attack if you accelerate an energy or two onto Rockruff with max elixirs, but it is rarely a great attack to be using in matchups outside of Zoroark-GX decks. Dangerous Rogue-GX will either make your opponent play less Pokemon on their bench to avoid the damage scaling, or they will bench more than 3 Pokemon and Dangerous Rogue-GX will hit hard enough to KO any Pokemon with the help of damage amplifiers.
1 Mew FCO
Mew is firstly here as a Mew EX counter, but with the retaliation potential this archetype gained with Beast Ring, Buzzwole can often take out the opposing Mew EX on its own. I tested the deck without Mew, but I immediately missed it in the mirror match. An early hit on an opposing Buzzwole-GX with your own Buzzwole-GX for 70 damage or more leaves it vulnerable to a Mew KO with a choice band. Mew can also be helpful against any Lucario-GX variants.
1 Tapu Lele-GX
Tapu Lele-GX is an amazing card that helps decks set up more consistently and maintain consistent supporter availability throughout the game. This deck needs minimal set up and also has Brooklet Hill and Octillery to help with drawing and getting your Pokemon into play. 1 Tapu Lele-GX is almost always enough.
This is an aggressive deck that can empty its hand in the mid-late game by attaching energy and playing items like ultra ball, max elixir, tools, and beast ring. Octillery’s draw to 5 works great with this deck and also has synergy with Fighting type Pokemon because Brooklet Hill searches out Remoraid.
3 Brooklet Hill
Brooklet Hill boosts the consistency of this deck by allowing you to search out any of the basic Pokemon in your deck aside from Mew and Tapu Lele-GX. Definitely worth the 3 spots.
4 Professor Sycamore
Best draw supporter in the game, and this is an aggressive deck. You usually don’t mind discarding your hand to draw 7.
Shuffle, draw 6. Nothing else to say really, it’s a great draw supporter.
If your opponent takes prizes before you do N is sometimes preferable to play over Cynthia. In the end game it is also nice to play N to try to limit your opponent’s options.
Guzma assists the deck with being aggressive and taking out whatever Pokemon we want to. Sometimes we will discard one or two of them when we use Sycamore, and it’s nice to have 4 regardless to see them more consistently.
4 Ultra Ball
This is a staple in most decks. It’s the best universal Pokemon search item that we have.
3 Max Elixir
I dropped down from 4 max elixir to 3. With the addition of Beast Ring, we needed to cut some cards to make room. Max elixir is really nice to accelerate energy onto Rockruff, but it is still used for Buzzwole-GX frequently.
3 Choice Band
You want to be hitting for as much damage as possible, and Choice Band helps you get there.
3 Float Stone
It’s nice to have the utility of retreating for free, especially because a lot of our Pokemon have 2 retreat cost.
3 Beast Ring
In my opinion, this is the best card out of Forbidden Light. The turn where Beast Ring becomes active, you have the chance to make an unprecedented comeback. Some people will try to play around it by holding off on going down to 4 or 3 prizes, but ultimately this just gives you more time to set up. I would consider going up to 4 if you aren’t getting them consistently at the right times.
1 Beast Energy Prism
Beast energy is an instant include. In this deck it can only be attached to Buzzwole-GX, but the +30 damage it provides is insane.
4 Strong Energy
All of our attackers aside from Mew can use Strong Energy. This is one of the key cards that make this archetype successfully aggressive and powerful.
10 Fighting Energy
We’re playing 10 fighting energy to increase our odds of hitting max elixir and so that we have enough energy in our deck to utilize beast ring.
When your opponent has exactly 4 prize cards remaining, this card hits for 120 damage for a single fighting energy. If this was less specific like Beast Ring is, it would be much better. In the right situation it is very strong, but it almost becomes a dead card if your opponent goes from 5 to 3 prize cards and is never at 4.
If you’re interested in having another 1 prize attacker, this is an option. I personally don’t think that you need a card like this if you are using my list.
If you encounter a matchup where +10 damage would consistently help you get KOs, I definitely suggest trying out a Regirock-EX in addition to Diancie Prism.
This matchup ended up being much closer in testing than I thought it would be. Malamar can have consistent energy accel throughout the game if they have a good early game. Buzzwole is fairly reliant to hit 1 or 2 Beast Ring on the applicable turn to stay in the game of an average game of this matchup. Dawn Wings Necrozma can be a pain to take care of since it hits Buzzwole for weakness, is resistant to Fighting, and has a GX attack that leaves it invulnerable for a turn. Early KOs on Inkays can stunt their set up and is a viable way to gaining the upper hand. I classify this as a slightly unfavorable matchup because Buzzroc needs cards each turn like energy from hand, Max Elixir, Beast Ring, Choice Band, etc. while Malamar/Necrozma needs very little as long as they have Malamars set up.
Zoroark Golisopod has consistency on its side, while Buzzwole has type advantage, damage output, and early aggression. It’s easy for Buzzroc to overrun Zoroark Golisopod by taking out several Zoruas and/or Wimpods early. Setting up Zoroark-GXs on the bench with 30 and then going in for a Jet Punch to clean up later is fairly simple because of the damage modifiers. Zoroark Golisopod usually runs Mew-EX and sometimes Mewtwo (EVO). Mew-EX can be answered by another charged up Buzzwole-GX if one is available. If Zoroark Golisopod is able to chain Mew-EXs with Puzzles, they can take the lead. Buzzroc should be conservative with using Lycanroc-GX, as that is an easy two prizes for an opposing Golisopod-GX.
Let me preface this by saying that in the Standard BKT-UPR format, I did not regard Espeon/Garb as having any more than a 60/40 matchup vs Buzzroc. In my testing against Espeon/Garb with the release of Forbidden Light, Buzzwole is able to power through the ability lock and type disadvantage to have a close match as long as the Buzzwole player hits Beast Ring. Oftentimes, Espeon/Garb will struggle to set up multiple attackers because of their lack of draw support, their own Garbotoxin shutting off Wonder Tag, and N being played after they have taken prize cards. This is absolutely one of Buzzroc’s tougher matchups, but I believe that it is very winnable for either player.
Vs ZoroRoc 60/40
Once again, another matchup that was close to 50/50 has become slightly more favored for Buzzroc because of the new Forbidden Light buffs. Just like the Zoroark/Golisopod matchup, Mew-EX can be scary, but easily dealt with via Beast Ring or Mew (FCO). ZoroRoc does have a viable one-shot attack in Dangerous Rogue-GX, but that is their only OHKO potential on a 2-prize attacker outside of using Mew-EX which is a great liability. Buzzroc has a tight grasp on any early game where you are able to Jet Punch a Rockruff or Zorua for a one-shot and set up damage on the bench for later. Since this is an easy task for Buzzwole-GX to achieve, I look at this matchup as an uphill battle for ZoroRoc, but still winnable if a few things go their way and they play well.
Vs Gardevoir-GX 65/35
This was already a favorable matchup for Buzzroc, but a Gardy with 3+ energy previously had the potential to sweep through your board. Because of Beast Ring and our new damage amplifiers Beast Energy and Diancie Prism, this lasting board presence via a powerful Gardevoir-GX will be much harder to maintain. Buzzwole-GX’s early aggression is even better now and that is its greatest strength vs Gardevoir-GX. Short of a very bad start for myself or a godly setup from my opponent, I am very confident going into this matchup.
Vs Zoro/Garbodor 50/50 - 55/45
You might think that this would be favored since the deck is basically Espeon/Garb with Zoroark-GX in place of Espeon-GX; but while we gain a type advantage, our opponent gains draw support and consistency. I believe that this is very close to a 50/50 matchup, but because we are playing Buzzwole-GX we have the opportunity to rid our opponent’s board of Zoruas or Trubbish’s quickly. Which basic we choose to target relies on how our opponent starts the game. If there is only one trubbish in play going into our first turn attacking, killing that trubbish is our main priority. Likewise, if there is only one Zorua in play, we want to knock that out. If there are two of each, I strongly suggest going after the trubbish to make them choose between evolving it into Trashalanche Garbodor or Garbotoxin Garbodor. The ability lock can potentially hurt us as we get farther into the game and rely on Octillery for draw support. Trashalanche will likely be able to one-shot our Buzzwoles as the game progresses, so Lycanroc-GX becomes a very good attacker after the early game as it one-shots Zoroark-GXs with an un-buffed Claw Slash and it one-shots Trashalanche Garbodors with Claw Slash + 1 Strong Energy.
Vs Naganadel/Buzzwole (Beast Box) 55/45
Let me start off by saying I do not think that Beast Box will be any higher than Tier 3 and I don’t think the deck is very good against a diverse meta. I do however, think that it can beat BuzzRoc due to Naganadel-GX one-shotting Buzzwole-GX for 1 energy as long as the Naganadel player has 4 Ultra Beasts on their bench. If you hit at least one Beast Ring on the turn that it is live, I believe that this matchup will be decided by who doesn’t return a KO first. Also note that Naganadel-GX cannot one shot a Lycanroc-GX so attacking with Dangerous Rogue-GX is a good game plan. Since Naganadel-GX has to evolve and needs 4 ultra beasts on the bench to OHKO, I consider Buzzroc more consistent than Beast Box and favored to win the prize trade.
Vs VikaBulu 55/45
This matchup is very close and I mostly favor Buzzroc slightly due to Vikabulu needing rare candy/vikavolt to get going. I also think that Buzzroc gained a slight boost in this matchup due to Diancie allowing easier KOs on Grubbin. Pre-Forbidden Light, I considered Sudowoodo a large part of Buzzroc’s game plan in this matchup, but now with Beast Ring available to us, Sudowoodo is no longer necessary. Like many of the matchups, drawing into a Beast Ring on the turn that it is usable can be the deciding factor of this match. We play 3 Beast Rings so that we can see it frequently, but if you feel that you don’t hit it enough I do suggest adding a 4th.
Vs Lucario/Octillery/Lycanroc and Zoroark/Lucario 60/40
I tested these matchups because I anticipate that players will revisit Lucario-GX due to Diancie allowing it to hit 190 more reliably: Evolve Lucario-GX, Aura Strike 120 + Strong Energy 140 + Choice Band 170 + Diancie 190. In the case of either the Zoroark variant or the Lycanroc variant, they are inherently a combo deck searching for pieces almost every turn. The draw power and consistency that the Zoroark-GX variant gains is evened out by its weakness to Fighting type, leaving me to evaluate both matchups as 60/40 in Buzzroc’s favor.
Vs Greninja Break 50/50
This matchup can really go either way. If Buzzroc can take 4 prizes (maybe 3) by the time Greninja Break is set up and ready to go, Buzzroc is poised to win. On the other hand, if Greninja sets up fluently and Buzzroc has taken less than 3 prizes, it’s likely that Greninja Break will take control of the game.
BuzzRoc is a great pick in the new format and it utilizes the powerful Ultra Beast support from Forbidden Light. Best of luck battling!
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