This just in PUCLonians, breaking news informs us that the Ultra Beast Buzzwole does not learn the move Fire Punch. Coincidentally, Buzzwole is also our Pokemon of the Week and I think it is past due we got a chance analyze one of our other-worldy Ultra Beast friends. Buzzwole is famous from his promotional material and early game cut scene where he faces off against Tapu Koko in Pokemon Sun.
Most Ultra Beasts are visually similar to an in game human character, such as Pheramosa and Lusamine, but Buzzwole carries no such resemblance. Many have tried to pass him off as Gladion’s counterpart because it would fill in the Lusamine family tree, but I don’t buy it.
Before we jump into the physical analysis of Buzzwole I would like to take a moment and analyze the deep thoughts he probably has with a Haiku.
Swept through the Wormhole
New world with new mysteries
I must punch it all
Description: The Swollen Pokemon
Abilities: Beast Boost
Competitive: [Smogon OU] [Prebank OU – PokeaimMD] [VGC 2017]
Origin: Buzzwole is designed after a bodybuilding mosquito (aka the ones in my backyard). “Buzz” comes from the sound mosquitos make and “Wole” comes from the term swole commonly used to describe muscular individuals.
Original Appearance: Pokemon Sun and Moon
Dex Entry [Sun]: This Ultra Beast appeared from another world. It shows off its body, but whether that display is a boast or a threat remains unclear.
TCG: No cards yet available.
Buzzwole is big bug, no really he is the biggest bug, weighing in at 735.5lbs it is far more likely that you would get swatted like a mosquito than him. I played Pokemon Moon so I never really encountered Buzzwole, and to be honest I am not the biggest fan of his design. He simply does not look like a Pokemon to me, albeit that is true for many Ultra Beasts, this one in particular seems more like a comic book character than a catch-able companion. All that leads to me not having much experience with the Pokemon, until Thatch put him on the monthly Patreon team (check out the PUCL Patreon if you would like to receive an OU Showdown team each month!) and I have to say he is interesting to play with.
Buzzwole is an OU tier Pokemon and, being an Ultra Beast, has seen lots of usage after the release of Sun and Moon. He has not faired as well Post-Bank as his counterpart Pheramosa but that hasn’t limited the sheer variety of sets that are available to him. The things that make Buzzwole stand out are his high Defense, Attack, and HP compared to his typings which normally lack in the defensive categories. To put it in perspective, he survives a non-boosted Jolly Talonflame Brave Bird 100% of the time. Despite Talonflame not being that common any more it is still a crazy calculation. With a base-stat total of 570 his remaining stats don’t suffer too badly from the physical lopsidedness. On top of that he has an insane physical movepool with access to many coverage moves including Stone Edge, Earthquake, Gyro Ball, Poison Jab, Ice Punch, Thunder Punch, Payback, and all the Z-moves that come along with them (of course he does not learn Fire Punch…did I mention that yet?). This means that Buzzwole can be run as a bulky attacker in most situations. To reinforce its survivability even more Buzzwole can learn Roost to heal up throughout the battle or Bulk Up to boost his already strong Defense and Attack.
Before I go into the proven sets I have to give Thatch and Shamu serious props for coming up with the Choice Scarf set, running Ice Punch, Superpower, Leech Life, and Earthquake. It was super fun catching Landorous with a fast Ice Punch before it can U-Turn or healing up with a Leech Life on an opponents switch in. On top of that, getting an Attack Beast Boost to counteract the negative effect of Superpower is neat and reminds me of some Moxie interactions I used to play with. I love it when moves have utility on top of just their damage effects. However, if your Buzzwole has really been hitting the gym then Smogon has a Choice Band set with similar moves that will allow you to show off those muscles in all their glory by hitting like a truck.
As the podcast mentioned, the most common set is the Roost/Hammer Arm/Ice Punch/Lunge set. It runs Lunge over Leech Life because it is relying on Roost for recovery instead so the attack drop is more valuable, although they can be swapped if you like. This set can take hits and send some heavy blows of its own right back, allowing it to take on common bulky threats such as Tapu Bulu and Zygarde effectively. It is even capable of using Roost/Leftovers to heal up on the currently suspect tested, Pheramosa, which is something that not many Pokemon can boast. An alternate set runs one of my favorite move combos by replacing Roost with Substitute and Hammer Arm with Focus Punch. Once you get a Substitute off you are able to start swinging safely with Focus Punch. The best way to use this set is to switch in to counter a Pokemon and then Substitute predicting them to switch out in response. It is a great stall breaking set and satisfying to pull off but it is inferior in its consistency since Focus Punch is almost useless without a Substitute up.
Finally, I have my usual fun set that I encourage you to try or even better improve on. Get in fighting shape today with Fell Stinger Buzzwole. When you get a knock out with Fell Stinger you gain +3 Attack, add that to Beast Boost and you will end up with +4 attack. To make this set viable you would need to run Salac Berry which boosts your speed +1 when your health is below 25%. The strategy I have in mind is to switch in on a weakened Pokemon that you resist and take two hits while Fell Stingering them to get the KO. If you chose the moment right then you will end up with +1 Speed +4 Attack and be ready for a good time. I think the coverage for this set should be Poison Jab/Ice Punch, Leech Life, Superpower. Leech Life is very important to be able to heal back up after the Salac Berry triggers. I was actually debating getting rid of Superpower in favor of both Poison Jab and Ice Punch because the coverage is so much better, but it will depend on what your team is looking for. Hopefully I will get to try this set soon and at least get it to work once!
In the VGC Buzzwole performs about the same as in OU with a few unique tricks. He has access to Tailwind which is very valuable in the VGC and he is a Pokemon that performs well with speed control so it is a good fit. He has access to Taunt which is always valuable. Finally, with Trick Room being so popular it opens a space for him to be part of a Trick Room team as a heavy hitter or even a finisher if you give him Bulk Up.
Buzzwole didn’t get his name for nothing, this Pokemon is in the gym every day working hard and he doesn’t just lift, he lifts the other members while they are lifting.
Until next time, SumtimesIFly.