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The Home Stretch — Finalizing Lists for the North American International

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With Mexico City Regionals concluding, we now have our last major event results before the North American International. Decks have risen and fallen, with major meta presences standing strong for the most part. Other decks, like [card name=”Golisopod-GX” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”17″ c=”name”][/card]/ [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card], have seen a huge surge in play and stand in a much more threatening place in the metagame. As we can now predict the meta for NAIC with the greatest accuracy possible, we can now make final adjustments to lists for each of the top decks with the projected metagame in mind.

In this article, I’ll be going over my updated lists for [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Lycanroc-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Golisopod-GX” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”17″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Ultra Necrozma-GX” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”95″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Malamar” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”51″ c=”name”][/card], and [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Lycanroc-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card], the decks I consider to be at the top of the metagame right now. I’ll talk about techs and discuss how you can improve matchups against whichever decks you’re gunning for next weekend. This should keep you ahead of the meta and well prepared to succeed in the coming weekend!

Zoroark-GX / Lycanroc-GX

As other articles have covered this deck extensively, it’ll be the one I cover most briefly here. I’m currently teetering back and forth on whether I think the [card name=”Counter Energy” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”100″ c=”name”][/card] [card name=”Shaymin” set=”Shining Legends” no=”7″ c=”name”][/card] is needed in here, but the prevalence of Zoroark decks and a thinner line of Lycanroc-GX in Buzzwole makes me lean toward more generally useful cards and consistency. This is my current list for the deck:

[decklist name=”Updated ZoroRoc” amt=”60″ caption=”” cname=”Diancie Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”74″][pokemon amt=”21″]4x [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]4x [card name=”Zorua” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM83″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]2x [card name=”Lycanroc-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”74″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]3x [card name=”Rockruff” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”75″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Tapu Lele-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”60″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]1x [card name=”Latios” set=”Shining Legends” no=”41″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Mewtwo” set=”Evolutions” no=”51″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Mew-EX” set=”Dragons Exalted” no=”46″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Diancie Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”74″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card][/pokemon][trainers amt=”31″]3x [card name=”N” set=”Fates Collide” no=”105″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Brigette” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”134″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Guzma” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”115″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Cynthia” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”119″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Mallow” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”127″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Professor Sycamore” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”107″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card]4x [card name=”Ultra Ball” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”135″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]4x [card name=”Puzzle of Time” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”109″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Field Blower” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”125″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Choice Band” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”121″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Evosoda” set=”Generations” no=”62″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Multi Switch” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”129″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Enhanced Hammer” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”124″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card][/trainers][energy amt=”8″]4x [card name=”Double Colorless Energy” set=”Evolutions” no=”90″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]2x [card name=”Strong Energy” set=”Fates Collide” no=”115″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Fighting Energy” set=”EX Emerald” no=”106″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card][/energy][/decklist] 

This list is more standard than the one I played for Madison, but there are a couple counts and ideas I’d like to discuss.

No Parallel City

[cardimg name=”Parallel City” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”145″ align=”right” c=”none”][/cardimg]

As the metagame continues to develop, we see [card name=”Parallel City” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”145″ c=”name”][/card] fall out of Malamar decks and come into Zoroark decks with great frequency. With ZoroRoc, the goal is to attack with Lycanroc-GX most of the time in the mirror, so our Bench size isn’t tremendously important. With the new space, I’ve been able to add a third Field Blower, which mitigates the effect of our opponent’s Parallel City and gives us a better [card name=”Garbodor” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”57″ c=”name”][/card] matchup, and then a flex spot that I’m currently using for [card name=”Diancie Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card].

Diancie Prism Star

[card name=”Diancie Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card] is interesting because it gives us the ability to take OHKOs with an unboosted Sledgehammer in the mirror and allows our [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”name”][/card] to contest opposing Buzzwole. It also means that we can Knock Out opposing Buzzwole with Claw Slash even if we don’t have a [card name=”Strong Energy” set=”Fates Collide” no=”115″ c=”name”][/card]. An extension of this is the ability to run two Basic Fighting Energy, a very helpful count in the face of heavier [card name=”Enhanced Hammer” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”124″ c=”name”][/card] in Zoroark lists. While I’m not totally sold on the count just yet, it is promising in testing.

Two Float Stone

I keep my two [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”name”][/card] here as I find the deck feels much worse without it. Discarding Energy to retreat is worse than ever now that Lycanroc-GX is your primary attacker in so many situations. It could come out, but it would almost definitely be for another Energy.

Baby Buzzwole

I do not consider [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”name”][/card] droppable at this point. It’s far too powerful against Zoroark decks and has the ability to trade effectively with Buzzwole and even one shot the GX if they hit the four Prize mark. In fact, the card is so powerful that I’m considering upping the count to two or possibly three to be even stronger against matchups like Buzzwole and Zoroark.

Possible Changes

Other counts that can be played with are [card name=”Professor Kukui” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”148″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Enhanced Hammer” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”124″ c=”name”][/card], and [card name=”Latios” set=”Shining Legends” no=”41″ c=”name”][/card]. Kukui is great to bump numbers for Knock Outs on [card name=”Tapu Lele-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”60″ c=”name”][/card] with Riotous Beating, [card name=”Mewtwo” set=”Evolutions” no=”51″ c=”name”][/card] Psychic on many Fighting and Psychic types, and most of the format with Lycanroc-GX and Buzzwole. That said, it is barely on the edge of necessary and can be cut for something else. Enhanced Hammer is to help with Zoroark matchups, primarily the mirror, by making it as difficult as possible for your opponent to attack with Lycanroc-GX. Latios SLG is a newer inclusion that is phenomenal against [card name=”Malamar” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”51″ c=”name”][/card] and Buzzwole decks alike. It also has the added benefit of being able to set up Knock Outs in tons of different matchups across the board.

Counter Energy

I do still like the [card name=”Counter Energy” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”100″ c=”name”][/card] [card name=”Shaymin” set=”Shining Legends” no=”7″ c=”name”][/card] combo, and I think that [card name=”Sudowoodo” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”67″ c=”name”][/card] is gaining power as well. If I decide to play it, I’ll be dropping the third [card name=”Guzma” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”115″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Diancie Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card], and either [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Latios” set=”Shining Legends” no=”41″ c=”name”][/card], or [card name=”Professor Kukui” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”128″ c=”name”][/card], although it’s still up in the air regarding which I’ll ultimately decide on. In Mexico, Buzzwole decks jumped back up to the 2-2 Lycanroc-GX line, and that means you need an answer to it more often than in the weeks prior. Add to that the increasing popularity of Zoroark decks across the board, and Counter Energy is a highly appealing asset.

Along with ZoroPod, [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Weavile” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card] and BuzzRoc, this deck is among my top choices for the upcoming International. It has versatility, power, and excellent consistency that keeps it strong in any metagame.

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Zoroark-GX / Golisopod-GX

This deck has gone from unexpected powerhouse to king of the format to weak tier two deck since [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card]’s release in October. After the past two weekends’ results, it has forced its way into tier one once again and is poised to have a solid showing at the NAIC. This is my current list:

[decklist name=”ZoroPod” amt=”60″ caption=”” cname=”Mew-EX” set=”Dragons Exalted” no=”46″][pokemon amt=”18″]4x [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]4x [card name=”Zorua” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM83″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]2x [card name=”Golisopod-GX” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”17″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]3x [card name=”Wimpod” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”16″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Tapu Lele-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”60″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Mew-EX” set=”Dragons Exalted” no=”46″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card][/pokemon][trainers amt=”35″]3x [card name=”N” set=”Fates Collide” no=”105″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Brigette” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”134″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Guzma” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”115″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Cynthia” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”119″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Professor Sycamore” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”107″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Mallow” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”127″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Acerola” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”112″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card]4x [card name=”Ultra Ball” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”135″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]4x [card name=”Puzzle of Time” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”109″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Field Blower” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”125″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Enhanced Hammer” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”124″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Choice Band” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”121″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Counter Catcher” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”91″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Max Potion” set=”Emerging Powers” no=”94″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card]2x [card name=”Parallel City” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”145″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card][/trainers][energy amt=”7″]4x [card name=”Double Colorless Energy” set=”Evolutions” no=”90″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Grass Energy” set=”EX Emerald” no=”101″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card][/energy][/decklist] 

This list is a single card off of the one that won Mexico City Regionals: -1 [card name=”Tapu Koko” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM31″ c=”name”][/card], +1 [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”name”][/card]. I’ve never liked Tapu Koko in this deck, and as Bench space is a hot commodity, I would prefer to run the extra Float to stay mobile instead. I would actually run [card name=”Latios” set=”Shining Legends” no=”41″ c=”name”][/card] over Tapu Koko in here, but the extra Float Stone would still be needed due to Latios’s one Retreat Cost. I consider the Tapu Koko and second Float to be interchangeable, so you should pick the one you like best.

[cardimg name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ align=”right” c=”none”][/cardimg]

Overall, I was a huge fan of this list as it includes tons of powerful tech items to disrupt any matchup’s game plan. The double Enhanced Hammer makes it very difficult for ZoroRoc to attack with Lycanroc-GX if they don’t run Basic Fighting and can be a nuisance for Buzzwole as well. Two Mew-EX make for great attackers against Buzzwole, both GX and FLI, and bring the matchup much closer to ZoroPod’s favor. [card name=”Max Potion” set=”Emerging Powers” no=”94″ c=”name”][/card] and [card name=”Counter Catcher” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”91″ c=”name”][/card] are huge tempo cards that swing games singlehandedly if played well, and [card name=”Puzzle of Time” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”109″ c=”name”][/card] and [card name=”Mallow” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”127″ c=”name”][/card] keep them accessible.

Cards I would consider cuttable are the third [card name=”Field Blower” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”125″ c=”name”][/card], second [card name=”Enhanced Hammer” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”124″ c=”name”][/card], and [card name=”Acerola” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”112″ c=”name”][/card]. All these cards are useful in plenty of situations but are not completely necessary. The third Field Blower especially has felt occasionally superfluous, but this deck really thrives on having its own Parallel in play. The third Blower almost guarantees that.

Cards you may want to add are [card name=”Tapu Koko” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM31″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Latios” set=”Shining Legends” no=”41″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Professor Kukui” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”148″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Evosoda” set=”Generations” no=”62″ c=”name”][/card], and the [card name=”Sudowoodo” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”67″ c=”name”][/card] [card name=”Counter Energy” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”100″ c=”name”][/card] combo. These cards can help find difficult Knock Outs or improve consistency, but I don’t feel as though they’re more powerful than anything in the list currently. Of course, that may change come NAIC, and I have a strong feeling that Evosoda will show up in my list if I end up playing it.

[card name=”Oranguru” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”114″ c=”name”][/card] UPR is another powerful card that would give yet another win condition against Zoroark mirrors. It would also provide insurance against stall and mill decks, an archetype that may see a resurgence at NAIC in the newfound absence of its counters. Resource Management is an incredibly powerful attack in general in this build as Puzzle has so many high impact Items to recover.

While this deck is undoubtedly strong, I worry for its place in the metagame come NAIC. The decks that it aimed to beat before have now had ample time to alter their lists to be more effective against it, and I think that will cause the deck to lose a great deal of its edge over the metagame. As ZoroRoc includes more Basic Fighting and BuzzRoc brings Mew back in to the mix, we may see the metagame become very hostile for ZoroPod once again. If neither of these things happen, however, ZoroPod will be poised to dominate yet another event.

Ultra Necrozma-GX / Malamar

Of the two [card name=”Malamar” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”51″ c=”name”][/card] variants, this is my favorite headed into NAIC. It has a much better Zoroark matchup, especially with [card name=”Beast Ring” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”102″ c=”name”][/card], and is not as prone to fall as collateral damage of Buzzwole hate. That said, Malamar decks have been plagued with inconsistency since their arrival, and I’ve yet to find a build where I didn’t feel this to some extent. This one is no different, and that’s my leading reason for avoiding it come NAIC. That said, I think it has the best matchups across the board for any Malamar deck, and this has kept it in my testing pool.

[decklist name=”Ultra Necrozma-GX/Malamar” amt=”60″ caption=”” cname=”Mewtwo” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM77″][pokemon amt=”16″]3x [card name=”Malamar” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”51″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]4x [card name=”Inkay” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”50″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]2x [card name=”Ultra Necrozma-GX” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”95″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”63″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Tapu Lele-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”60″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Mew” set=”Fates Collide” no=”29″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Giratina” set=”XY Black Star Promos” no=”XY184″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Mewtwo” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM77″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card][/pokemon][trainers amt=”33″]4x [card name=”Professor Sycamore” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”107″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Guzma” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”115″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Cynthia” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”119″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”N” set=”Fates Collide” no=”105″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Lillie” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”125″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Brigette” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”134″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card]4x [card name=”Mysterious Treasure” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”113″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Ultra Ball” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”135″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Choice Band” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”121″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Beast Ring” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”102″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Field Blower” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”125″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Professor’s Letter” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”146″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Super Rod” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”149″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card][/trainers][energy amt=”11″]7x [card name=”Psychic Energy” set=”EX Emerald” no=”105″ c=”deck2″ amt=”7″][/card]3x [card name=”Metal Energy” set=”HeartGold and SoulSilver” no=”122″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]1x [card name=”Beast Energy Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”117″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card][/energy][/decklist] 

This build is something of a hybrid between previously successful Malamar lists and newly successful non-GX based versions. There are a few cards I’d like to draw attention to specifically as they’re either newer developments or targets for potential cuts.

Mewtwo

[cardimg name=”Beast Ring” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”102″ align=”right” c=”none”][/cardimg]

The first card I want to look at is [card name=”Mewtwo” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM77″ c=”name”][/card]. Generally, I would agree with the consensus that [card name=”Hoopa” set=”Steam Siege” no=”51″ c=”name”][/card] STS is superior to this card, but there are two instances where I’d rather have Mewtwo. The first is against [card name=”Greninja” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”40″ c=”name”][/card] with [card name=”Giratina” set=”XY Black Star Promos” no=”XY184″ c=”name”][/card] Promo in play. This combination either caps Greninja’s damage at 20 per turn or gives you the ability to Psychic Recharge and take favorable prize exchanges as a result. The second situation is against BuzzRoc. In the early game, Pressure can be a huge detriment to Buzzwole’s damage. It makes their early Sledgehammers weak and early Jet Punches even weaker. In addition to that, it Knocks Out all of their Psychic weak attackers just as well as Hoopa does, so the only downside is the loss of Hoopa’s first attack.

Beast Ring

[card name=”Beast Ring” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”102″ c=”name”][/card] is the card that keeps this deck competitive, and it’s so good that I desperately want a third. Playing a Beast Ring or two can cement an advantage or swing a losing board state against Zoroark decks, and it’s an extremely powerful option against just about any deck that you could encounter. It takes pressure off of your Malamar and search cards as well, giving you another avenue to get your Energy in play if you’re short on Psychic Recharges. I prefer Beast Ring to [card name=”Max Elixir” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”102″ c=”name”][/card] in this variant due to the diversified Energy count, though I would play Max Elixir in a straight Psychic version.

Super Rod

[card name=”Super Rod” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”149″ c=”name”][/card] over [card name=”Rescue Stretcher” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”130″ c=”name”][/card] is another somewhat controversial change. While Rescue Stretcher’s immediacy is nice, Super Rod maintains the ability to recover multiple Pokemon with the advantage of also recovering Metal Energy. This can be especially important with such a thin Energy line, and I’ve repeatedly encountered situations where Super Rod’s Energy recovery allowed me to take a game.

Professor’s Letter

I consider [card name=”Professor’s Letter” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”146″ c=”name”][/card] integral to this deck’s ability to attack. Without it, you miss Metal Energy all over the place and frequently take an extra turn or two to get the number of Psychic Energy you need. Two seems like a perfect count, and I don’t see this changing at all.

Possible Changes

Options for drops are [card name=”Mewtwo” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM77″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Giratina” set=”XY Black Star Promos” no=”XY184″ c=”name”][/card], an [card name=”Inkay” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”50″ c=”name”][/card], the third [card name=”Choice Band” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”121″ c=”name”][/card] and a [card name=”Dawn Wings Necrozma-GX” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”63″ c=”name”][/card]. Each of these drops will have varying impact on different matchups, but none of them are key to the deck’s ability to function. It’s important to note that I would only consider dropping Dawn Wings if you were playing [card name=”Mew” set=”Fates Collide” no=”29″ c=”name”][/card] FCO and at least one other non-GX attacker to give you attackers against Buzzwole. In addition to that, three Float Stone can feel a bit light with only one Dawn Wings, so you may need to investigate that addition as well. As for the other drops, Mewtwo and Giratina can be swapped out for other non-GX Psychic attackers depending on your preferences and fear of Greninja. If you’re not worried about Greninja, Giratina is an easy cut, though I wouldn’t consider it myself at the moment. Hoopa STS is a great replacement for each of these, packing a solid first attack and a second attack that takes two shots on every attacker in the format at minimum. The fourth Inkay is almost entirely a protective measure against bad Prizes as only having two can be game losing. I keep flip flopping on it, but it’s staying for the time being. Choice Band number three is great against Zoroark and unnecessary against everything else. Seeing the incredible popularity of Zoroark recently, dropping it seems somewhat irresponsible, but Beast Energy can help compensate for its absence.

This deck is similar to ZoroPod in that I doubt not its strength, but its position in the metagame. The advantage here is that Ultra Necrozma can hit for ridiculous damage and beat basically anything, but it lacks the raw consistency and heightened versatility of ZoroPod. It’s not in my top considerations at the moment, but it’s still in my testing pool. If I see or hear the projected metagame shifting heavily in Buzzwole’s favor, this will be the deck I turn to.

Buzzwole / Lycanroc-GX

BuzzRoc is the reliable king to ZoroPod’s volatility. Since its creation, BuzzRoc has maintained a dominant position in the metagame and won countless tournaments in the process. As the metagame has shifted more in favor of Zoroark decks, Buzzwole becomes an even more appealing deck choice than it once was. The deck is at the forefront of my considerations right now, and I think that the right build has the potential to take the whole event. My current list is this:

[decklist name=”BuzzRoc” amt=”60″ caption=”” cname=”Mew” set=”Fates Collide” no=”29″][pokemon amt=”15″]3x [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Lycanroc-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”74″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]2x [card name=”Rockruff” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”75″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Octillery” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”33″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]2x [card name=”Remoraid” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”32″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Buzzwole-GX” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”104″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Diancie Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”74″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Tapu Lele-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”60″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Regirock-EX” set=”Fates Collide” no=”43″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card]1x [card name=”Mew” set=”Fates Collide” no=”29″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card][/pokemon][trainers amt=”31″]4x [card name=”Professor Sycamore” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”107″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Guzma” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”115″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”N” set=”Fates Collide” no=”105″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]1x [card name=”Cynthia” set=”Ultra Prism” no=”119″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card]4x [card name=”Ultra Ball” set=”Sun and Moon” no=”135″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]4x [card name=”Max Elixir” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”102″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]3x [card name=”Beast Ring” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”102″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]3x [card name=”Choice Band” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”121″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card]2x [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”deck2″ amt=”2″][/card]1x [card name=”Super Rod” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”149″ c=”deck2″ divide=”yes” amt=”1″][/card]3x [card name=”Brooklet Hill” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”120″ c=”deck2″ amt=”3″][/card][/trainers][energy amt=”14″]9x [card name=”Fighting Energy” set=”EX Emerald” no=”106″ c=”deck2″ amt=”9″][/card]4x [card name=”Strong Energy” set=”Fates Collide” no=”115″ c=”deck2″ amt=”4″][/card]1x [card name=”Beast Energy Prism Star” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”117″ c=”deck2″ amt=”1″][/card][/energy][/decklist] 

This list is an updated version of the BuzzRoc decks that succeeded in Mexico City over the weekend adjusted for Zoroark decks moving to include two [card name=”Mew-EX” set=”Dragons Exalted” no=”46″ c=”name”][/card]. Builds of the deck that focus primarily on [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”name”][/card] FLI struggle to deal with Mew-EX far more than previous builds that included [card name=”Mew” set=”Fates Collide” no=”29″ c=”name”][/card] FCO, and I’ve added the ever-popular attacker back in to help stem the Weakness. Other than that, I’ll address some of the more unusual counts here to shed some light on the newest build of the deck.

One Buzzwole-GX

[cardimg name=”Buzzwole-GX” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”57″ align=”right” c=”none”][/cardimg]

One [card name=”Buzzwole-GX” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”104″ c=”name”][/card] is a count that I’d been bouncing back and forth for awhile but never pulled the trigger on. Seeing it succeed gave me the confidence to make the drop, and it’s worked quite well. Swing Around has ridiculous damage potential and is plenty in most cases, though the complete loss of Knuckle Impact would be too much of a detriment to drop it completely.

Three Buzzwole FLI, One Mew FCO

Four [card name=”Buzzwole” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”77″ c=”name”][/card] was a common count across successful lists in Mexico. Instead of running with the full four, I dropped one to make room for another non-GX attacker in [card name=”Mew” set=”Fates Collide” no=”29″ c=”name”][/card]. Mew gives the deck a less resource-intensive option for dealing with opposing Mew-EX’s and can also be an option to pressure Malamar in the early game. A Mew-copied Sledgehammer can knock out anything Psychic Weak in the game when the opponent is at four Prizes, giving Mew lasting relevance against several decks, notably the mirror. Left unrestrained, Mew can Knock Out anything that Buzzwole-GX can, so it’s not a Pokemon that can be [card name=”Guzma” set=”Burning Shadows” no=”115″ c=”name”][/card]’d around and ignored. In addition, Mew can make up for the omission of the third [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”name”][/card] by providing a free retreating pivot. The downside to Mew over Buzzwole is in its tiny HP total, of course, but it’s easy enough to [card name=”Brooklet Hill” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”120″ c=”name”][/card] or [card name=”Ultra Ball” set=”Shining Legends” no=”68″ c=”name”][/card] and retreat into a better Active Pokemon if you start with it.

Lycanroc-GX and Octillery

The support counts here are pretty thick with a 2-2 [card name=”Lycanroc-GX” set=”Guardians Rising” no=”74″ c=”name”][/card] and 2-1 [card name=”Octillery” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”33″ c=”name”][/card]. I desperately want the second Octillery, but this deck is so tight on space that it competes with three or four other cards for that space. Right now, I would consider the second Octillery to be in closest contention with the fourth [card name=”Max Elixir” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”102″ c=”name”][/card], but I fall narrowly on the side of the Max Elixir right now. The 2-2 Lycanroc-GX is roughly equal priority, but it allows for the drop to three Guzma thereby making space for itself. Lycanroc is an extremely powerful attacker right now as well, so it has a bit of a bump from that. I would almost definitely not consider dropping below a 2-1 of each as they’re both incredibly important to this deck’s ability to succeed, with Lycanroc-GX bringing diversified Weakness and aggressive pressure and Octillery being the only thing keeping BuzzRoc from being an inconsistent mess.

Two Float Stone

Two [card name=”Float Stone” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”137″ c=”name”][/card] is uncomfortable sometimes, but it’s one of the few places you can find the space for some more important cards. While I want a third, I see it as very unlikely that I’ll find the space to bring it back in.

Super Rod

I almost want to drop [card name=”Super Rod” set=”BREAKthrough” no=”149″ c=”name”][/card] as the Energy recovery is often unnecessary, and Pokemon recovery needs can be mitigated with thicker lines. I’m going to be testing the deck without it in the coming week and will hopefully have made a decision before Thursday on whether it’s needed or not.

As [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card] decks smother [card name=”Malamar” set=”Forbidden Light” no=”51″ c=”name”][/card] out of the format, BuzzRoc becomes a better and better play. With the inclusion of Mew, I’ve really been liking it with consistency being its biggest issue. Don’t be surprised to see this deck succeed, and I won’t be surprised if I end up playing it myself.

Other Decks

I neglected to mention three decks that are quite powerful at the moment, and this was not because I overlooked them. These three decks are [card name=”Greninja BREAK” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”41″ c=”name”][/card], [card name=”Buzzwole-GX” set=”Crimson Invasion” no=”104″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Garbodor” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”57″ c=”name”][/card], and [card name=”Zoroark-GX” set=”Sun and Moon Black Star Promos” no=”SM84″ c=”name”][/card]  / [card name=”Garbodor” set=”BREAKpoint” no=”57″ c=”name”][/card]. While I acknowledge that each of these three decks is strong, I am not considering any of them for NAIC for various reasons. Greninja is plagued with inconsistency and will inevitably be teched for, at least to some extent. Unlike Buzzwole or Zoroark, being teched against makes Greninja a significantly worse deck than it would be otherwise. Zoroark-GX/Garbodor is fairly controversial in that some players love it and some hate it. I am closer to the latter; I think the deck’s win condition is weak and its matchups are generally poor. Buzzwole-GX/Garbodor is only absent from my list because I have put very little time into testing it and feel I have little of value to add. It is a very powerful deck and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it finish very well. That said, it is the weakest of all Buzzwole variants against Mew-EX, and Field Blower counts in Zoroark are currently quite high. These factors as well as inherent inconsistency that comes with Garbodor make me shy away from the deck, but I will be putting a fair bit of time into it in the coming week.

Conclusion

With that, I’d like to wish you all good luck at the North American International Championship! This article should give you a strong testing base, if nothing else, and hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought as far as metagame developments and tech choices. I’ll be getting in on Thursday around noon, so feel free to come up and say hi or ask any questions you may have! As always, thank you for reading!

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