Hey there PokeBeach readers! I’m back with another article for you all, and this time I will be talking about my potential plays for the upcoming Sheffield Regional Championships happening in England June 16th-17th. The current Standard format metagame is somewhat of a triangle in that there are three decks — Buzzwole-GX, Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX, Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar — that stand out above the rest, and those three decks all beat one and lose to another top deck. Metagames like this usually leave many people struggling to decide on what deck they want to play, including myself. As someone who is considering all three of the top decks currently for this weekend’s Regional, I will be going over my list for each deck, as well as talking about why I am considering each deck and what it brings to the table.
Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX
ZoroRoc is currently my number one choice by a significant margin. While I tended to stray away from Zoroark decks in the past, I tried it once Malamar variants started popping up regularly in the top cuts of foreign Special Events. I have finally come around on this deck. Currently, ZoroRoc has a strong matchup chart. It slaughters Psychic Malamar variants, is favored versus the Ultra Necrozma / Malamar variants, and outside of Greninja it does not really have an auto-loss against the rest of the meta. Its BuzzRoc matchup is only about 50-50, but this is only if the ZoroRoc player plays perfectly and has a list teched for this matchup, which is something that I think will prohibit some players from picking this deck up.
The main thing I love about ZoroRoc is the insane number of options you have every turn; the ability to see so many extra cards per turn, thanks to Trade, lets you regularly make plays that other decks usually cannot. Also, as fellow writer Connor LaVelle recently detailed, the deck can be teched out in many different ways, which allows me to put my own spin on an established archetype and make it my own. Since Connor went over the deck in so much detail recently, I will not be doing an in-depth section on my list, but instead I will highlight some of my techs and explain their purposes:
One Mewtwo from Evolutions
I want to highlight the importance of Mewtwo in this section, as I have seen some lists online that have taken Mewtwo out. In the BuzzRoc matchup, their most threatening attacker is a Buzzwole with three Energy on it. While this list does have many ways to Knock Out baby Buzzwole by design, Mewtwo is still the best response you have — as it is a one-Prize attacker that only needs one Energy. I highly advise against cutting this card; every card that helps versus BuzzRoc is an absolute must right now.
One Professor Kukui
Over the past two weekends, I have played in three League Cups with ZoroRoc. In my first event, I did not play Professor Kukui and while I ended up winning that League Cup, I kept wishing I had played Kukui the whole day as it would have been useful in many matchups.
The biggest uses I have found for Kukui so far have been with Lycanroc-GX‘s Dangerous Rogue, allowing you to Knock Out big Pokemon-GX even if your opponent does not have a large Bench, as well as allowing Zoroark-GX to one-shot a baby Buzzwole without needing to hit Reverse Valley.
After playing the deck with and without Kukui, I would highly suggest including one copy in your list, as the ability to take unsuspecting Knock Outs and eliminate huge threats in the process is huge.
One Energy Loto
I have been going back and forth between Energy Loto and one Fighting Energy as they both serve similar purposes in my deck, but currently I have settled on Loto as being the superior option. The rationale behind this card slot is that versus BuzzRoc, it is important to get an Energy down on Rockruff turn one. Energy Loto and a ninth Energy both achieve this, but offer different benefits. The benefit of running Loto is that it helps you dig for other Energy later on if you do not use it turn one, helping increase the consistency of your attacks mid game. The benefit of running one basic Fighting Energy is that it allows Mew-EX to copy Claw Slash, giving you another attack to copy and one-shot Buzzwole-GX. Currently, I am favoring the consistency provided by Energy Loto over the Fighting Energy and have been testing it online, but have been playing the Fighting Energy in my League Cups as I do not own an Energy Loto, as sad as that is.
One Reverse Valley
If you have not gotten the theme of my techs so far, nearly all of my tech slots have been devoted towards helping the BuzzRoc matchup, and Reverse Valley is no exception. With a full Bench, Reverse Valley lets you hit for 130 damage with Riotous Beating, letting you Knock Out baby Buzzwole. This is huge, and swings the matchup entirely, as you are no longer forced to two-shot baby Buzzwoles with Zoroark and can instead trade two for two on Prizes. It is much harder for them to replace two baby Buzzwole on the field than it is for you to set up another Zoroark, so trading evenly with them is usually in your advantage.
While Reverse Valley is mostly included specifically for this math, it does help set up some other Knock Outs; with only three Benched Pokemon, Riotous Beating can Knock Out 90 HP Pokemon such as Octillery and Malamar; and with two Benched Pokemon, Zoroark can Knock Out 70 HP Basics like Rockruff, Wimpod and Trubbish.
Four Strong Energy
While this isn’t exactly a tech in the strictest sense, I did want to talk about my Energy line and why I have chosen to run four Strong Energy without a mix of basic Energy. As I have mentioned before, any edge that I can create with this list against BuzzRoc, I do. I am running four Strong Energy, as it lets me hit 130 damage with a Claw Slash. Plus, the more damage modifiers, the better.
I am choosing to forgo playing any basic Energy, as I do not believe the mirror matchup will be popular; moreover, ZoroRoc can really only be piloted currently if the pilot knows how to play the BuzzRoc matchup, something I do not expect most players can do. As such, I have decided to make myself vulnerable against Enhanced Hammer and decks that could run it such as Greninja and ZoroRoc.
Buzzwole / Lycanroc-GX
My second option currently for Sheffield is the current best deck in the format, BuzzRoc. After its incredibly successful showing at Madison Regionals last weekend with 12 people piloting it to day two, as well as the unveiling of the new “three baby Buzzwole meta”, Buzzwole currently has a lot going for it. Baby Buzzwole is such an incredible attacker that you can play many games without ever needing to bench Buzzwole-GX, allowing you to force your opponent to play the six-Knock-Out game. This is huge, as that means you are guaranteed to get a turn of boosted Sledgehammer, as well as at least two turns of access to using Beast Ring.
This is a pretty standard list at the moment, but since we have not posted an article yet detailing what the new Buzzwole lists look like, I will take a bit of time to explain some of the more odd choices in my list compared to the norm.
This concludes the public portion of this article.
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