Roc Your Socks Off — Gedemer’s Guide to the LAIC

I am almost certain I will be playing Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX or Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX for the Latin American International Championship in late April. Pound for pound, Lycanroc-GX has one of the best Abilities in the game right now, one that can hinder nearly any deck’s setup. This debilitating effect is not powerful beyond reason, but it is strong enough to give Buzzwole-GX or Zoroark-GX a way to deal with higher HP Pokemon threats. I want this piece to be as informative as possible about all factors leading into the event, but I am going to focus mainly on the prowess of the aforementioned decks.

Standard Mainstays

These decks are not going anywhere. They will be among the most played builds in Brazil for Internationals. Their strategies are well known and many players, old and new alike, know how to play them well so it makes sense for them to be extremely popular. Not to mention these are frankly the best decks in the format and generally the most consistent, too.

Both of my picks can beat each of these decks. Strangely, I feel comfortable facing Buzzwole-GX / Lycanroc-GX when playing Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX, as well as when I am on the other side of this same matchup. This might have to do with the matchup between the decks being extremely close to event; I will say that there are some very strategic things you can do to get an edge in either matchup. The better player with the most experience testing usually wins! If you pick either of these, be sure to test like crazy against whichever one you do not pick, whatever your choice is it is going to be a very important matchup to have proficiency in.

Beating Buzzwole-GX with Buzzwole-GX

You will need to get luckier in most cases; Max Elixir plays have a lot to do with this, unfortunately. Use your Mew wisely, and make sure to get a good crack in on a Buzzwole-GX to get the best value out of it. Target down Rockruff before they evolve because taking down the 60 HP Basic is much simpler than popping a huge Stage 1 with 200 HP.

Make sure you use the correct GX attack. This can be hard to pinpoint, but generally I like to Absorption GX only if the Buzzwole-GX I use to attack can take out another Pokemon-EX/GX with Knuckle Impact a turn later. I think the most commonly used GX attack in the mirror match is generally Dangerous Rogue GX, though, as it will almost always get you a two-Prize Knock Out if you use it at the most optimal time.

Beating Buzzwole-GX with Zoroark-GX

Lycanroc-GX should be your biggest priority, setting it up can buy you upwards to four Prizes if things go right. Mew-EX and Mewtwo are both amazing counters, obviously, due to their type advantage over Buzzwole-GX. Your opponent does need to play into Mewtwo so that it can do more damage. The plus side of playing it is that, if your opponent gets lucky starting off with lots of Max Elixir, then you can use Mewtwo to counter that immediately and punish your opponent for investing lots of Energy onto the same Pokemon. Using an N in the late game and using Bloodthirsty Eyes to bring up Octillery to take it out will be devastating for your opponent. That is something you can move towards doing as things progress. Zoroark-GX can be a solid attacker in situations where your opponent cannot take it down in one attack, so be on the lookout for those opportunities — they are rare, however.

Beating Zoroark-GX with Buzzwole-GX

I will start of with one of the most underrated plays in this matchup: hitting a Zorua that may or may not evolve to Zoroark-GX, or a Zoroark-GX, so that it can be easily taken down with Jet Punch later with a combination play. That combination play takes a lot, but it is very doable with the Brooklet Hill engine, it is as follows: Buzzwole-GX using Jet Punch with a Choice Band, Strong Energy, and Regirock-EX in play, equaling 90 damage times two! I think that too many Buzzwole-GX players go in blindly attacking rather than planning their Prizes, which is what makes the deck so great. Setting up double Knock Outs when you can will accelerate the process of doing so.

Using your Mew with a Choice Band to counter Mew-EX will be strong throughout the game and against Mewtwo. I like to either avoid Mewtwo by using Bloodthirsty Eyes or Guzma or just hit it with a Buzzwole-GX donning a single Energy so that Psychic will not punish you too hard. The last consideration on the table is Lycanroc-GX. If you can power it up, you will be in an incredible position where your opponent, most likely, won’t have a counter if you limit your Bench to avoid Dangerous Rogue GX plays.

Beating Zoroark-GX with Zoroark-GX

Lycanroc-GX makes all your Zoroark-GX mirror matches favorable in my extensive testing. The biggest tip is simply to target things that are not Zoroark-GX! If you are against Zoroark-GX / Gardevoir-GX, take down the Ralts as soon as you can with Bloodthirsty Eyes or Guzma. You should be afraid of Gallade or Gardevoir-GX, but not the previous Stages which are easy pickings. Lycanroc-GX can sweep Zoroark-GX, you just need to pave the way to making it a viable attacker that will not be easily taken down in response. Not to be redundant, but against something like Golisopod-GX or Lucario-GX you want to target down the Wimpod or Riolu, respectively, to get an edge. Do all you can to deny Prizes if you happen to fall behind, whether that be using Acerola while you build things up again or using N to slow your opponent down (it is still a great disruptor even with many Zoroark-GX in play).

  • Hot Techs: Acerola, More Parallel City, Sudowoodo
  • Not-So-Hot Techs: Counter Energy

This concludes the public portion of this article.

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