After a few month hiatus, I’m happy to be back with my newest article! This article will be focused on BuzzRoc, going over how it changes with the new set, what you can expect from new matchups and its place in the Metagame going forward. I’ve been doing a ton of testing and logging every single game, so you’ll see a healthy dose of numbers as well. In preparation for this article, I played out a 40 game testing sample, logging changes to the list along with some notes on each game. Ultimately, I aim to incorporate a lot of raw data with meaningful insight to paint a full picture of the current state of BuzzRoc.
Before I go too heavily into the analysis, I’d like to start with the new list and analysis on some of its FLI cards. My first draft of updated BuzzRoc was this:
Rockruff FLI – There is a fair bit of debate on which Rockruff is superior, but I firmly stand by the 70 HP Rockruff in most cases. The loss of a damaging attack is rarely important as BuzzRoc has so many one-Energy attacks and the extra 10 HP is huge when trying to avoid KO’s from residual Jet Punch damage. In Zoroark/Fighting variants, the Promo Rockruff can certainly be valid as a means to KO opposing Zorua, but even that is a decreasingly compelling reason for inclusion as Zoroark variants begin to fall out of favor.
Diancie Prism Star – This card is Regirock-EX but almost universally better. More damage, only worth one prize and one less retreat. There are only two downsides to Diancie, lower HP and being unrecoverable. These downsides are far less significant than the upsides, however, since Buzzwole has higher priority targets and typically plays little to no recovery. This card is as powerful as predicted and should be in every BuzzRoc deck.
Buzzwole FLI – I’ll fully admit that I underestimated this card. At first glance, I said the card may have potential but was likely bad due to the strict condition on Sledgehammer’s damage bonus. This could not have been farther from the truth. When your opponent is at four prizes, Sledgehammer is an absolutely brutal attack that is capable of easily hitting 170 and even 190 damage with BuzzRoc’s slew of buffs. When your opponent has any other number of prizes, Buzzwole FLI is a reliable non-GX attacker with two decent attacks.
A largely understated aspect of this card is its effectiveness against Mewtwo EVO and Mew-EX. Any time a deck takes their first KO with either attacker, Sledgehammer is a clean and resource-light response that forces your opponent to either attack around Buzzwole FLI or commit a large amount of resources to knocking it out. No deck in the current Metagame is happy attacking into Buzzwole FLI and “spending” 130 damage on a single prize KO is fundamentally unappealing. If your opponent is unable to take a prize immediately after hitting the four prize mark, Sledgehammer will sweep the game. It’s happened a surprising number of times in my testing alone.
This card has warped the way games are played as a boosted Sledgehammer is deadly. I tiptoe around the four prize mark any time I reasonably can regardless of the deck I’m playing. I expect players to do this at an increasingly high rate as the format matures.
This card is incredibly powerful in Zoroark decks as well and I expect this to be a trend across any deck that can include it.
Beast Ring – Beast Ring was widely heralded as the most powerful card of FLI and threatened to ruin the Standard format. Has it lived up to the hype? Somewhat. Beast Ring is undeniably powerful, but it’s ultimately a dead card two-thirds of the time. That said, I find landing a Beast Ring to be the single most important thing to winning games with BuzzRoc in the current format. Without it, you rely very heavily on Max Elixir to push you through a format that one-shots Buzzwole-GX with more ease than ever before.
A pronounced issue I find is that it makes BuzzRoc a nearly impossible matchup for anything that can’t repeatedly one-shot a Buzzwole. This means that anything with a middling Buzzwole matchup previously can’t stand up to the deck anymore. It also stifles the development of new decks terribly as it becomes a game of “keep up with 200+ damage a turn from Turn 2 or lose.” I’ve seen and worked on a ton of new concepts that can’t accomplish this and ultimately falter. While I don’t think BuzzRoc is overpowered in the context of the Metagame, I do think it’s more oppressive than other decks and is unhealthy for the game overall with the addition of Beast Ring.
Beast Energy – Beast Energy is more or less a better Strong. Honestly, I hesitate on calling it “better” and it might actually be worse than Strong Energy given how useful Lycanroc-GX is in so many matchups. For now, I’ll be leaving it as-is, but I would consider dropping Beast Energy for a fourth Strong completely valid.
I had a few thoughts in mind when making this list:
- I want to be highly aggressive. This meant maxing out on Strong/Beast Energy to get the most possible opportunities to buff my damage.
- Landing Max Elixir is not as important due to Beast Ring. This means Basic Fighting Energy are valid drops.
- Buzzwole FLI and Beast Ring to provide cheap, high damage attacks and powerful mid-game refueling eliminate the need for non-GX attackers like Sudowoodo and Mew.
- The core of the deck stays the same. No need to reinvent the wheel.
These assumptions were of varying correctness. While the third and fourth points have held true quite well, I ended up making changes that directly contradicted the first and second. This list was short lived after achieving an unsatisfactory win-rate of 50%. While a 50% win-rate is theoretically fine and in a game like Hearthstone it would be of no issue, a 50% win-rate at a tournament in Pokemon is an undesirable result. As a result, I immediately moved to make changes. By the 12th game in the sample, the list had evolved into this:
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