Hello everyone! This time I’m back to talk about the two decks that will be quite hyped in the next format. On one side we have Buzzwole GX / Lycanroc GX (BuzzRoc), which was already very strong and now it’s even stronger than before. On the other hand, we have Necrozma GX / Malamar / Dawn Wings Necrozma GX (UMD) an entirely new deck when it comes to the cards, but with a concept quite similar to the legendary Rayeels deck from the 2012-2013 season. With the arrival of the powerful new UMD deck, the Metagame will be significantly altered. For anyone who has played for a while, UMD is basically an improved Rayeels with greater damage, more consistency, and more features. The deck has good positioning in the Metagame with Psychic typing being great to take advantage of BuzzRoc and also Ultra Necrozma GX has the ability to knock out anything in the format, including Zoroark GX. There is a lot to be said about this deck and we have quite a bit to talk about in BuzzRoc, with the arrival of Beast Ring, Beast Energy, and Diancie Prism Star.
This is the BuzzRoc version that I am currently working on. I decided to play it without Mew FCO and Sudowoodo and bet on the strength of Beast Ring and Baby Buzzwole as my non-GX Pokémon. Baby Buzzwole is able to knock out Mew EX and Zoroark GX, so the deck still has good answers to them. Against Vikabulu and Duskzone, I try to rely on the strength of Beast Ring to have a Buzzwole with three Energies attached whenever you need it.
Baby Buzzwole seems situational since you can only use it when the opponent has four prize cards, but in fact, it is a pretty good attacker. It can also abuse Beast Ring and Beast Energy, meaning that its second attack “Swing Around” is quite useful in this deck. Its attack, in theory, hits at least for 80 damage, but in practice, it is possible to hit for 170 or even more.
I’m using four Strong Energy in addition to Beast Energy because my goal is to make Buzzwole GX hit for 70 on the first turn in virtually every game with the help of Diancie Prism Star. This damage enables knockouts on Pokémon that could not be knocked out before, such as Grubbin or even the new Rockruff that has 70 HP.
Beast Ring is a fantastic card, but I do not see why you should run more than two copies of it in the deck. This is a card that cannot be used either at the beginning of the game or at the end, that is unless your opponent has three or four prize cards. It is a useless card that will always be a nuisance to you. Max Elixir remains overpowered as it always was and the benefit of this card is valid for the entire game, and it works on any basic Pokémon, be it Ultra Beast or not.
There isn’t much to say about Diancie Prism Star, it’s a Regirock EX with better Ability and because it’s not a GX / EX it gives up only one prize card when knocked out. The problem is that when knocked out, Diancie Prism Star goes to Lost Zone, where there is no turning back. Some friends have opted to use a Diancie Prism Star and a Regirock EX to ensure the deck has the option to increase damage. I think Diancie is enough on its own, even more so because it won’t always be a wanted target by the opponent. Both Regirock EX and Diancie Prism Star have more impact in the early game, so they can help to knock out small basic Pokémon from your opponent, thus putting tons of early game pressure on your opponent. After that, the whole BuzzRoc deck itself can reach high damage numbers to take care of most threats without needing the help of Regirock EX / Diancie Prism Star.
Some players have considered taking out Lycanroc GX to invest in the strength of Buzzwole GX, increasing the number of Beast Ring, adding a fourth copy of Buzzwole GX and more basic Energies. It’s a change that makes sense because Buzzwole GX is very strong in the game, but the deck loses precious resources. Lycanroc GX has a very good Ability and this sets up good plays with Buzzwole’s Jet Punch, especially in the first turns. Lycanroc GX’s GX attack is very strong and it costs only two Energies, almost always allowing you to knockout any Pokémon you desire. Finally, its Weakness to Grass makes it mandatory in the deck as it makes the deck playable against any Psychic focused deck, such as UMD and Espeon GX / Garbodor. Usually, these games are bad, but without the Lycanroc GX, they become much worse.
Ultra Necrozma GX / Malamar / Dawn Wings Necrozma GX
This deck came entirely from the Forbidden Light collection and there is a lot of synergy in the cards from the set. Cards like Mysterious Treasure, Malamar and Ultra Necrozma seem to have been made for each other. The Dawn Wings Necrozma arrived in a previous collection, but only now with the arrival of Forbidden Light we will see it being important and strong in the competitive aspect. I started working on this deck based on the list that Ito Shintaro used to win an important tournament in Japan. The Japanese format is XY-FBL, so I made some adaptations to our Standard format.
Ultra Necrozma GX has a very strong and easy to attack with. With a Metal Energy and two Psychic Energy + Choice Band or Beast Energy you can knock out all Pokémon up to 210 HP. I’m not saying that the Ultra Necrozma has problems knocking out Pokémon with more than 210 HP, as it would only take an extra Psychic Energy. Its GX attack “Sky Scorching Light GX” should not be forgotten. Ito Shintaro used this GX attack as his last attack to become champion of the Champions League tournament in Japan with around 800 players. Ultra Necrozma GX has a Weakness to Fairy types and this is good for the format as we only have the Gardevoir GX and Xerneas Break as Fairy Pokémon in the competitive format and they are not currently performing in a high level, being part of the Tier 2 format.
Dawn Wings Necrozma GX is now a strong and important Pokémon in the format. Its attacks are viable with the help of Malamar and its Psychic-type is perfect for knocking out Buzzwole GX. Its Ability “Invasion” makes the strategy of the deck easier to execute, allowing you to energize and attack with the Ultra Necrozma GX consecutively. Finally, we have the GX attack “Moon’s Eclipse GX” which is very good. This is the main GX attack of the deck and this attack has the power to win “lost” games. In practice, this attack will knock out an opponent’s Pokémon GX and force them to have a Guzma to deal damage; otherwise, it will have to pass the turn as the Dawn Wings Necrozma GX will be immune to any damage and effects from the opponent.
This deck is only so good because of Malamar. Its Ability “Psychic Recharge” allows you to power up these Pokémon GX with high Energy costs to attack consecutively. So in many games your opponent will focus on knocking out Malamar instead of trying to knock out Ultra Necrozma. This will be common from now on, without Malamar it is not possible to reuse the Ultra Necrozma’s attack with consistency, and although the deck features Beast Ring and Lunala Prism Star, nothing compares to the ease, speed and consistency of Malamar’s Ability. The same goes for good old Garbodor “Garbotoxin” which has the ability to turn off Malamar’s Ability and prevent Ultra Necrozma from doing its job. The deck can count on Beast Ring and Lunala Prism Star which are ways of energizing without needing any Ability. They are not the best ways to get stuff energized, but they are cards that can solve your Energy drought in moments when we cannot count on Malamar. Naturally, in addition to these cards, we have Field Blower to deal with Garbodor.
This is a deck that would already be good with everything I have said so far, but the people from the Pokémon Company decided to give extra help to the deck and released the Item Mysterious Treasure. This item is so good that for the first time in the format we have a competitive setup deck that does not need to use four Ultra Ball. Mysterious Treasure is an Item that searches for any Psychic or Dragon Pokémon from the deck, but you must discard a card from the hand for it to take effect. Discarding a card from hand has never been a problem, especially with this deck if it is a Psychic energy. Searching for a Psychic or Dragon Pokémon means you have access to 100% of your Pokémon in the deck, including Tapu Lele GX. The Mysterious Treasure in this deck simply functions as an Ultra Ball that discards only one card from the hand. It is better than the Ultra Ball, but it is not Ultra Ball, which means we can still use copies of Ultra Ball along with the Mysterious Treasure, in order to obtain greater consistency in the deck.
As weird as it sounds, the deck still has free spaces to place “tech” cards. In the list I am using, cards like Lunala Prism Star, Mew FCO, Beast Ring and Parallel City are the “tech” cards of my choice, without them the deck continues to function normally. Otherwise, it is possible to also remove some consistency cards, such as the forth Guzma, ninth Psychic Energy, fourth Malamar or even Brigette (I often get setup without Brigette).
The skeleton below is the list to get a sense of the necessary cards in the deck that cannot be left out at all. We have a skeleton with about 48 cards and 12 free spaces.
Ultra Necrozma/Malamar Skeleton
These free spaces are not always 100% free. For example, if you do not use Lunala Prism Star and/or Beast Ring, then I advise you to increase the Field Blower count to two or three copies to be able to play against Garbodor decks, which is a Pokémon that should increase in popularity in this new format. You have to make the correct adjustments to keep the deck balanced in order to play against the entire Metagame.
Even with the arrival of the Forbidden Light expansion, I’ve tested a deck that was always in my heart, which is Waterbox. The only new feature of the deck is Volcanion Prism Star, but it is a card that makes a lot of difference and considerably improves the deck. Also in a format filled with cards such as Buzzwole GX and Ultra Necrozma GX that have 190 HP this opens up space for Lapras GX, which can easily reach 190 damage on Turn 1, so I believe that the change in the Metagame might be another opportunity for Waterbox to show up again.
Volcanion Prism Star brings Waterbox back to the field
The Waterbox deck is like a son to me and I have a lot of affection with this deck. It was a very strong deck in the past thanks to the Seismitoad EX and gained a new life and a new way to play it with the arrival of Lapras GX, but it has been practically a year since Waterbox left the format and was forgotten in the Metagame. I did not believe the deck could return to the competitive aspect, but the Metagame changes and the arrival of Volcanion Prism Star showed me that Waterbox may have a chance.
I believe that Buzzwole GX will be the Pokémon to be beaten in this new Metagame and it will appear in different versions of decks, be it Buzzwole GX with Lycanroc GX, Buzzwole with Garbodor, Buzzwole with Zygarde, Buzzwole with Zoroark GX or even Buzzwole itself. The Ultra Necrozma deck will also appear quite a bit because the deck has a favorable matchup against any Buzzwole deck.
Both Buzzwole and Ultra Necrozma have great features to beat Zoroark GX decks and so I think Zoroark GX is going to lose a little bit of popularity in the Metagame. If Zoroark GX drops in popularity, it means that Zoropod will also fall. The arrival of Golisopod GX is one of the reasons that forced Lapras GX out of the competitive scene.
Because of these possible changes in the Metagame, I believe that the Waterbox can be an interesting choice. Lapras GX in this deck can hit for 190 damage on Turn 1, thanks to the four copies of Max Elixir and four copies of Aqua Patch. The 190 damage is the perfect damage to knock out Buzzwole GX and Ultra Necrozma GX.
Outside of the Metagame changes, we have the arrival of Volcanion Prism Star, which significantly improves the quality of this deck in several points. This single card can help solve various problems of the deck. Its Ability “Jet Geyser” discards Water Energies from the hand to be used with the Aqua Patch which will help Waterbox’s life a ton. The Ability lets you switch the opponent’s Active Pokémon with a Benched Pokémon of your opponent’s choice, which can be a constant nuisance to them. Remember I talked about the incredible GX attack of the Dawn Wings Necrozma GX and how strong the effect of being immune to damage for an entire turn is? Well, if we use the “Jet Geyser” Ability combined with Guzma, we would be able to undo the effect of the GX attack and manage to knock out the Dawn Wings Necrozma, even after its GX attack. In addition, we have the attack “Sauna Blast” from Volcanion Prism Star which hits for 100 damage to the Active Pokémon and 20 to all Pokémon on the opponent’s Bench. At first, this attack cost seems too high and not even that strong, but if we analyze it well, this attack is very good for the deck.
First forget the Energy cost, when it comes to energizing, Waterbox is easy and fast, so Volcanion Prism Star’s attack is doable and it will not complicate the process of powering up the other attackers of the deck. The 100 damage attack is enough to knockout any Pokémon in two hits with the help of the Choice Band, plus the spread damage of 20 on the Bench is perfect for Lapras GX in matchups in which the opponent has Pokémon with 210 HP, such as Zoroark GX or Silvally GX. The maximum damage Lapras GX can get is 190 damage with Choice Band attached, so to get at 210 you would need Professor Kukui or use Volcanion Prism Star’s attack. Finally, the Volcanion has 160 HP which means it will not be easily knocked out and its Electric Weakness is one of the best in the current Metagame.
Apart from this addition, we have a traditional Waterbox deck with Lapras GX as the main attacker, Manaphy EX for mobility, enough Energy to use the Max Elixir and Aqua Patch with consistency and the Supporter count needed to make the deck work throughout the whole game. There is nothing secret, the deck is built to make Lapras GX hit 190 damage as soon as possible. It is a very strong strategy if the Metagame is focused on Pokémon of 190 HP or less. We currently do not have popular Grass type Pokémon in the format. I believe the game might be drawing itself to this exact Metagame.
Turbo Lapras GX
- 14 Water Energy
It is still possible to make some changes to the deck to make it more versatile or even more consistent. We have Octillery as another option to draw cards instead of Oranguru. I prefer Oranguru because of deck space management. In addition, the deck needs to be strong in the first few turns and the Oranguru can be used as soon as Turn 1 because it is a basic Pokémon.
From my point of view, Buzzwole GX / Lycanroc GX is the best deck of the format without a doubt but that does not mean that it is the best option to use in a tournament. Because it is the best deck, it is only natural that players will do everything they can to defeat it. The Ultra Necrozma GX / Malamar Deck can do this, but we’ll soon see other strategies focused on defeating BuzzRoc that does not necessarily have to be a full Psychic deck. Our old-fashioned Mewtwo EVO is easy to use for its low, Colorless attack cost and it is the perfect Pokémon to knock out a Buzzwole GX with three Energies. Another card that I saw recently being used was Latios SLG, which can hit 120 damage for two Colorless Energies with the Choice Band and can also knockout Inkay and Malamar with ease making it a Pokémon that has an excellent response against two popular Pokémon of the format. Finally, when facing a big change in the Metagame, we should consider strategies that were not good in the past but now seem to be a good idea, like the Waterbox deck. With four Max Elixir and four Aqua Patch, do not be surprised if you are able to hit 190 with Lapras GX as soon as Turn 1. This strong pressure from the start really messed up the life of decks like BuzzRoc and UMD. We cannot forget the fantastic Volcanion Prism Star, which managed to significantly improve the Waterbox deck as only a single copy of a card.
That’s all for today readers. I hope you enjoyed it and I will see you next time!
Edited by Neil Essymer