Experts' corner

Franco Takahashi

What Happened in Kyoto, Didn't Stay in Kyoto

Franco goes over Japan's recent Champions League 2018 that happened in Kyoto, explaining its tournament structure and what decks were present and did well in Kyoto.

05/15/2018 by Franco Takahashi



Hello 60 Cards readers! In this article I’d like to go over the Kyoto Champions League event that recently happened in Japan which is the same equivalent event as our Regional Championships, and since some of you guys might be wondering what the scene in Japan is currently looking like, I figured I decided to write an article about it based on what I was able to see.  Hopefully this article can be something entertaining and interesting for you guys to read, so let’s take a look at Japan’s current tournament structures and their meta prior to Kyoto Champions League and after Kyoto.



Tournament Strucutre 

About Champions League 2018 and Invite Strucutre in Japan

The Champions League events are the same equivalent event as our Regional Championships in Japan.  In this event, generally over 1000 players show up to compete in order to earn their championship points for their Worlds invite.  As far as I know, there were only 4 Champions Leagues this season.  For the 2018 season, players needed to earn 400 championship points to earn their “Day 1” invite to Worlds. Just like our system, they also have a Championship Points rankings system, which means that the top 8 players from that ranking will able to receive their “Day 2” invite to Worlds at the end of the season. 

So this year Japan has a very similar invite structure to ours, but what makes the difference is that aside from their Championship events, there are other events such as “City League” and “Trainers’ League.” These events are very similar equivalent to our League Cups and League Challenges.  Along with another event called “Pokemon Station League 2018 1st,” which was an event where they held the preliminaries at several locations then eventually gathered the winners from those that made through to determine the true winner of the event. Of course those events provided Championship Points as well during the preliminaries and at top cup. 

So there are several events and opportunities where you can earn a decent amount of Championship Points.  However one of the major differences between Japan and our events are that Japan has much less regionals and cups that we do.  For example, as I just mentioned, Japan only has 4 Champions Leagues this entire season, and unlike how we have 4 different quarters for League Cups here, Japan only really has one quarter to play and earn their cup points.  Not to mention that many players in Japan struggle under this system due to high numbers of attendance in certain areas, and some stores have caps where they even have to do a “lottery” to earn your spot to participate at those events rather than having pre-registrations. 

In addition to this, yes, Japan has a tournament called “Japan Championship 2018” in June, which is the equivalent of National Championships but because their Championship Points are exclusive to the Japanese invite system, even if a Japanese player travels to another country to play an event there, those points that were earned will not count towards their Championship Points in Japan.  Therefore, all Japanese players must earn their points within the events that are hosted in Japan to earn their invites.  Another difference is that points distribution for the kickers, where in events like Champions League the points are rewarded fairy high for the top finishers, but the points given to the lower finish such as Top 128 and Top 256 are lower than our regionals, and since there are only 4 of those major events, I personally heard that many players were struggling to earn enough points due to this.


**The Event will not fire if there are less than 15 participants




Champions League Tournament Structure


So now that we have a better image of Japan’s invite structure for this season, I’d like to quickly go through the tournament structure of Champions League events.  The tournament structure is very simple -- Format is XY-on and basically there will be 9 rounds of Swiss, then there will be a Top 16.  Unlike our Regionals which are 2 day events, the Champions League events are only 1 day events, therefore all the matches, including finals, will be best-of-1.  Also, each game is 30 minutes +3 turns, and unlike our Regionals, if no winner was determined after the 3 turns, it will become a double loss for both players during Swiss Rounds; then in top cup it’ll be determined based on whoever takes the first prize,  so there’s a major difference there compared with our regionals here.


The Meta 

The Meta Before Kyoto

As many of you guys may know, the Champions League that was held before Kyoto was in Nagoya and it occurred about a month and a half ago.  And during Nagoya Champions League, there were 6 Buzzwole Lycanroc decks in top 8;  (top 4 ended up being all Buzzwoles) and there were 2 Zoroark Lycanroc in the Top 8 as a result.  Since Buzzwole Lycanroc proved to be a very strong deck in Japan, the meta before Kyoto was in a huge debate over whether players should play something that could beat Buzzwole such as Trevnant, Mega Gardevoir, etc., or simply join the Buzzole bandwagon.  While despite that, Buzzwole has a good matchup versus Zoroark Lycanroc, so choosing to play Zoroark Lycanroc was still not a bad choice to consider -- the deck proved its consistency ever since the deck was debuted at events and it also had good matchups to decks that were trying to counter Buzzwole as well.  As a result, there was this triangular scenario between Buzzwole, Zoroark, and Counter Buzzwole decks.  In the end, the Kyoto event started with each player choosing what they thought could be the optimal deck choice, hoping that they could avoid their bad matchups. 

The Meta During Kyoto Champions League

So now that the event started, here are the decks that made noticeable appearances during the Kyoto event despite its final results. 


Despite the previous Buzzwole hype, the presence of Zoroark / Lycanroc was still very strong in Kyoto, mainly due to the fact that the deck is very consistent with its ability Trade from Zoroark-GX, and the ability to be able to one shot many things (Riotous Beating with Sky Field can pull many strong knockouts along with Lycanroc’s Blood Thirsty Eyes).  I believe another factor that made significant appearance during Kyoto was also that it was the most popular deck since the beginning of this season in Japan, and due to its strength, many players felt comfortable to play something that is consistent, strong, and familiar.  In addition to that, it also had fairly positive matchups to counter Buzzwole decks, therefore, many players chose this deck with the belief of as long as they play well and dodge or beat a few Buzzwoles, there might be a chance to make it into the cut. 


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