Hey, Some1sPC Readers! I'm back to bring you one of our final articles leading up to North American Internationals. I'll start out the article with my current "read" on the meta and how I think will shape up at this huge event. Then I'll dive into the 2 decks I've been testing heavily for NAIC, Buzzwole/Lycanroc and Zoropod. Let's go!
Expected Meta for NAIC
It'll come as no surprise to anyone that Buzzwole Lycanroc, ZoroPod/ZoroRoc, and Malamar are going to be the most played decks at the tournament. I personally think we're going to see more Malamar than most have expected and with that more people jumping off Buzzwole as they believe it is a pretty hard loss to it. The different Buzzwole/Lycanroc lists will differ in counts of Octillery/Lycanroc line but not much will change around the trainers and number of Baby Buzzwole used. By now, almost every competitive player is aware that they should be playing 3 or 4 copies of Baby Buzzwole. If I'm playing against a Buzzwole/Lycanroc deck, I'd use the first game as a nice way to gauge their deck counts based upon their reacts to their prizes or deck searching off mid-game Brooklet Hills. If you Guzma OHKO a Rockruff or Remoraid on turn 1 or 2 and the following turn they go to Brooklet Hill and make a face when the 2nd copy isn't there, it's fairly easy to read. They could also be looking to find their Super Rod but that's usually something checked on the opening turn by most players in a rush or feeling lazy with their first Brooklet Hill check. They'll use the first search to browse and think "Ok got Super rod, at least 1 copy of this, and a copy of that." Overall, I think Buzzwole/Lycanroc is the best deck in the format and it should definitely be among your top 2 decks to play at the event.
Zoroark varients have had a huge resurgence in both play and performance after placing well at Sheffield Regionals and the Mexico events following Sheffield. ZoroRoc builds, in particular, have switched to playing nothing but Special Energy with 4 Strong and 4 Double Colorless Energy and have been able to keep up with the awkward prize exchange against Baby Buzzwole in Buzzwole/Lycanroc through Strong Energy'd Claw Slash and Mew Ex. Timer Ball is now played over Evosoda in order to keep both consistency and the ability to use Blood Thirsty Eyes from Lycanroc GX somewhat available to the pilot depending on how well they flip Heads on a coin flip. Zoropod lists are now playing Counter Catcher and 2 copies of Mew EX and 2 Float Stone to have bigger overall consistency in controlling Buzzwole/Lycanroc. Golisopod allows the deck to OHKO Lycanroc GX and Zoropod offers a 1 Energy attachment OHKO option against Buzzwole/Lycanroc which ZoroRoc does not have. I will say, I think neither deck can put themselves in a position to have a favorable BuzzRoc matchup but more so, they actively build to try and bring it as close to a 50/50 that they can. However, the necessity of multiple card combinations to deal with all the different problems BuzzRoc presents will lead to more and more being added in place of other tech counts like lower N, lower Parallel City, and lower Evosoda counts.
Malamar is spoken about a lot throughout the community but has yet to take down a major event since it's release. While it may have come close to winning at some of these events, I believe it will take a player with both a great build and a lucky day to dodge both Zoroark varients and draw well against Buzzwole/Lycanroc. There are 3 different builds this archetype and all lose to the same consistency issues. These versions are Psychic Malamar (Necrozma GX based), Single Prize Attackers Malamar (based around Hoopa STS, Mewtwo SM77, and Clefairy EVO), and Ultra Necrozma Malamar. All run different forms of tech ranging from Baby Dawn Wings Necrozoma, Mimikyu, and Giratina Promo all aimed to be single prized attackers that can OHKO Baby Buzzwole and Buzzwole GX. I don't believe this deck has an extremely positive matchup against BuzzRoc. I think when BuzzRoc is piloted by a strong player and a 2/2 Lycanroc line, the matchup is close to 50-50 if not 55-45 for Malamar.
Now that the Rock, Paper, Scissors thing is out of the way, I want to talk about the current skill ceiling of BuzzRoc. A ton of top players has been throwing around the term "Good BuzzRoc players" which helps to define the skill level the deck takes. It is this high skill ceiling but low skill floor that lead most of the community to believe that the deck takes such a hard loss to Malamar and is relatively brainless to pilot. They either take free wins off Bad BuzzRoc players with Malamar or pilot the deck incorrectly with BuzzRoc. I will say previously (before Beast Ring and Baby Buzzwole), I was in the group that thought BuzzRoc was relatively easy to pilot with only Energy attachments and BloodThirsty eye targets being your only real line of thinking. The latest build, however, are quite skillful and are tough to pilot in a field full of Malamar and Zoroark varients hoping to counter you with weakness. I wanted to help our subscribers bridge that gap with this article and hope that you can take away a huge portion of how to properly pilot the deck during your testing and tournaments.
Buzzwole GX/Lycanroc GX
Thanks for reading the free portion of this article! The rest of the article can be viewed by Elite PC members only. Click on the Ultra Ball below to catch this article and become an Elite PC Member today!