Still the King of Standard? — A Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX Breakdown

I’d never played Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX at an event before. I was nervous, and I wasn’t exactly confident; starting 2/2/0 didn’t help either. These are a collection of thoughts and feelings from Portland, Oregon Regionals, an event at which I finished in the Top 8. Taking a new deck to a tournament usually gives me some moderate anxiety, especially one that I barely practiced at all. Usually this sort of change backfires as I tend to do my best with lots of reps with a particular deck. The release of Lucario-GX completely changed my testing regime heading into this one as it was extremely difficult to pinpoint how much it would be played. Lucario-GX is a polarizing card, as it was said to completely shift the flow of Zoroark-GX in the metagame. Zoroark-GX has been dominating the Standard format for some time now and the advent of Lucario-GX meant that change would likely be on the horizon.

I originally planned to play Zoroark-GX with Lucario-GX myself for this event. However, as time progressed, I become wearier of Zoroark-GX decks in general because of the rising Lucario-GX-themed menace. I was not at all confident in winning that matchup, so I turned my attention to Lucario-GX itself, and Tapu Bulu-GX… Lucario-GX was my preferred choice of the two, but it lacked the general consistency I like to find in a deck. I felt like Lucario-GX was a one-trick pony against competent players, meaning those that wouldn’t attack into it and beef up the power of Cantankerous Beatdown GX. Dumbing Lucario-GX down to a Pokemon that eats up most of its power the turn you evolve it was very unattractive to me after a handful of games that weren’t going extremely well.

My teammate and fellow PokeBeach writer, Rukan Shao, tried to sell me on a Buzzwole-GX / Lucario-GX deck at the last minute. This deck ran decently, but again, I felt like it was just lacking a little something. This is when I turned my attention to Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX, a deck I had never played before, and locked it an as my deck choice for the event after a couple games. I trusted its power after dominating results from North Carolina Regionals, so I figured I’d give it a go. Not much about the deck changed with the release of Lucario-GX, and the matchups against the deck seemed just fine. I still think Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX is an amazing deck so let me break it down for you!

Portland, Oregon Regionals

Pokemon (16)

3x Buzzwole-GX (PRSM #SM69)2x Lycanroc-GX (GUR #74)1x Rockruff (PRSM #SM06)1x Rockruff (GUR #73)2x Octillery (BKT #33)1x Remoraid (BKT #31)1x Remoraid (BKT #32)1x Sudowoodo (BKP #67)1x Regirock-EX (FAC #43)1x Tapu Lele-GX (GUR #60)1x Oricorio (GUR #56)1x Mew (FAC #29)

Trainers (31)

4x Professor Sycamore (BKP #107)4x Guzma (BUS #115)2x N (FAC #105)1x Cynthia (ULP #119)4x Ultra Ball (SM #135)4x Max Elixir (BKP #102)4x Float Stone (BKT #137)3x Choice Band (GUR #121)1x Energy Switch (SM #117)1x Super Rod (BKT #149)3x Brooklet Hill (GUR #120)

Energy (13)

9x Fighting Energy (GUR #169)4x Strong Energy (FAC #115)

8th Place | 10/4/1

  • Round 1 versus Tapu Bulu-GX / Tapu Koko / Tapu Lele-GX / Vikavolt 2/0; 1/0/0
  • Round 2 versus Lucario-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Octillery / Regirock-EX / Tapu Lele-GX 0/2; 1/1/0
  • Round 3 versus Alolan Vulpix / Metagross-GX / Necrozma-GX / Tapu Lele-GX 2/0; 2/1/0
  • Round 4 versus Hoopa / Mewtwo / Oranguru / Tapu Koko 0/2; 2/2/0
  • Round 5 versus Ho-Oh-GX / Oranguru / Tapu Lele-GX / Turtonator-GX / Volcanion / Volcanion-EX 2/0; 3/2/0
  • Round 6 versus Lucario-GX / Mew-EX / Tapu Koko / Tapu Lele-GX / Zoroark-GX 2/1; 4/2/0
  • Round 7 versus Buzzwole-GX / Lucario-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Octillery / Tapu Lele-GX 2/1; 5/2/0
  • Round 8 versus Lycanroc-GX / Mew-EX / Mewtwo / Tapu Lele-GX / Zoroark-GX 2/0; 6/2/0
  • Round 9 versus Mew / Oranguru / Shaymin / Tapu Bulu-GX / Tapu Lele-GX / Vikavolt 2/1; 7/2/0
  • Round 10 versus Greninja BREAK / Starmie / Tapu Fini-GX / Tapu Lele-GX 0/2; 7/3/0
  • Round 11 versus Hoopa / Mewtwo / Oranguru / Tapu Koko 2/1; 8/3/0
  • Round 12 versus Greninja BREAK / Starmie / Tapu Fini-GX / Tapu Lele-GX 2/0; 9/3/0
  • Round 13 versus Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX / Octillery / Oricorio / Regirock-EX / Sudowoodo / Tapu Lele-GX 2/1; 10/3/0
  • Round 14 versus Intentional Draw 10/3/1
  • Top 8 versus Drampa-GX / Espeon-GX / Garbodor / Tapu Lele-GX / Tauros-GX 1/2; 10/4/1

As you can see, things didn’t start well but I was able to pull back! This deck can really get on a tear and I think I progressively got better at playing it as the rounds went on. I was immediately blocked from further advancement in Top 8 by a horrendous matchup, but that’s okay. I was able to take a game on it which made me happy. It turns out a Lycanroc-GX with three Strong Energy and a Choice Band is pretty good against Espeon-GX…

Explanations

Three Buzzwole-GX | Cut Factor: 0%

Your main attacker is very strong and deserves all the spots it can get in this deck. You’re going to want to start with Buzzwole-GX as often as you can and find it early and often during all parts of the game.

Two Octillery, One Remoraid, and One Remoraid| Cut Factor: 0%

Without Octillery this deck would be garbage. It can be inconsistent sometimes even with it, comparatively to a Zoroark-GX deck; but Octillery provides you with some much-needed draw support to get you going in games where you’re running on fumes. Most of the cards in this deck are immediately playable (Max Elixir, Tools, etcetera) so you can generally get a strong yield from Octillery to the tune of around two or three cards on average, just enough to give you the boost you’re looking for!

Two Lycanroc-GX, One Rockruff, and One Rockruff | Cut Factor: 0%

Lycanroc-GX is what made me play this deck for Portland because I think it gives the deck some much-needed versatility to win games. Bloodthirsty Eyes is an amazing Ability and instantly makes decks better, so I really like it with Buzzwole-GX to make Knock Outs more accessible. Most decks are playing upwards to two Psychic Pokemon counters like Mew-EX and/or Mewtwo. These techs are easily combated by Lycanroc-GX if you commit to powering it all the way up to use Claw Slash. A split of Rockruff is very valuable as they both have their merits. Corner has won me multiple games, including a game against Jon Eng’s Greninja BREAK deck in Oregon! The Rockruff with Tackle helps give you a chance against silly Hoopa decks or to soften up a threat with a poke for somewhere in the 30-damage range with a Strong Energy.


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