09/10/2015 by Eye on Japan
Foreword: This article discusses a tournament that was held several months ago, in May. As a result, the format discussed in this article is quite different from our format today, most notably in the absence of Lysandre's Trump Card. Despite this, this article is still a very interesting read, both because it gives a lot of insight into Japan's tournament structure and because of the unique deck that Ito played to a high level of success. Though the format is "outdated," we hope you enjoy reading anyway.
Hello, readers from all over the world, and long time no see! This is Shintaro Ito. I came back to report on the Rayquaza Mega Battle (abbreviated as “RMB” from now on) held in the Nagoya prefecture on May 5th. I will tell you my result in advance so that you can feel more enthusiastic about reading my article: I finished in Second Place, which means that I qualified for Worlds 2015. Japanese Nationals was held on June 27th, and the Top 4 on that day will be given a travel award, so I still need to prepare for Nationals. [Translator’s note: Ito couldn’t make it to the Top 4 at Nationals, unfortunately. I received this article before Japanese Nationals but all these special tournaments held in June screwed up my time. I’m terribly sorry for the late work.]
Table of contents
To begin with, I will talk about all my thoughts, my feelings, and what I earned from my experiences. First of all, until February 2015, the Japanese meta really depends on the results of big, unofficial tournaments: おーす！みらいのチャンピオン杯 (The “Yo! Champ in the making!” Cup: The biggest tournament in Kanto) and 金ギャラドス杯 (The Golden Gyarados Cup: The biggest tournament in Nagoya). I've explained the origins of the tournaments’ names in my previous articles, so if you are interested then please take a look at them. So now, let's take a look at which decks ended up as in First and Second.
おーす！みらいのチャンピオン杯 (“Yo! Champ in the making!” Cup)
1st Place: Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Yveltal XY
2nd Place: Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Yveltal XY
1st Place: Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Yveltal XY
2nd Place: Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Yveltal XY
金ギャラドス杯 (Golden Gyarados Cup)
1st Place: Darkrai-EX/Yveltal-EX/Yveltal/Absol
2nd Place: Lucario-EX/Donphan/Hawlucha
1st Place: Seismitoad-EX/Slurpuff
2nd Place: M Manectric-EX/Seismitoad-EX/Mewtwo-EX/Bouffant/Eelektrik
As you can see from these results, the meta was clear in Kanto since Yveltal-EX decks were in the Finals twice. On the other hand, the meta has changed in Nagoya since so many different types of decks were seen.
Until March 2015, before Emerald Break (the Japanese counterpart to Roaring Skies) was released in Japan, some of you may have heard or read about how this year’s tournaments worked out. I thought it was all pretty complicated. First of all, you have to finish Top 3 in tournaments held in card shops to earn an Advantage Card. One Advantage Card is valid for only one day, so if you are going to take part in all five tournaments, it means that you had to finish in Top 3 for five times in these tournaments. I've never experienced this system, so I was not sure how many Advantage Cards I could win. Since the officials didn’t announce how many I could win (or I missed the announcement), I set my goal to winning five Advantage Cards. (There were tournaments held in Nagoya, Hokkaido, and Osaka, and two independent tournaments in Chiba.)
The hardest part at this point was choosing which decks to use. I wanted to use decks which wouldn’t influence the RMB too much, but could still win most of the games. (Unlike most of other regions, most of the tournaments held in Japan have single-game matches.) Luckily, I saw a Semifinals match from St. Louis, where both of the players were playing Landorus-EX/Crobat. Looking at that match carefully, I decided to use this deck until the release of Emerald Break. The deck helped me win one Advantage Card.
In March 2015, Emerald Break was released. Now all of the legal cards for the RMB were released, so I predicted the meta, and started making the meta decks. This was my prediction for the meta:
The standard list for M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion, I assumed, was based around Sky Field and attacking with M Rayquaza. (We call this deck 白レック, “The White Rayquaza Deck,” because there were two M Rayquaza-EX released at the same time. Since this one is Colorless, we referred to it with the color of the card.) The second deck I assumed was Seismitoad-EX/Musharna. This deck’s main weapon was Seismitoad’s Quaking Punch, along with Hammers, so that the player can discard the opponent’s Energy cards and disallow the opponent to use Item cards. EX decks that do not have any way to accelerate Energy without using Item cards found it impossible to win against this deck.
The next three decks I mentioned in Tier 2 were decks that have good matchups with the two previous decks. Primal Groudon-EX has a great matchup against both M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX and Sesmitoad-EX/Musharna. On the other hand, Aegislash-EX/Klinklang had great much up with all three of these decks, so I stayed aware of this deck. I assumed that the rest of the decks I didn't list couldn’t win against either M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX or Sesmitoad-EX/Musharna. However, at the same time, I was afraid of turn-one KO decks. I knew it wouldn’t really be a meta deck, but Latios-EX’s Fast Raid was a concern. After the turn-one rule changed, it was rare for a player to get donked unless they started with a lone 30 HP Pokémon and their opponent said, “Hypnotoxic Laser, Virvank City Gym, pass”. However, now Latios-EX can attack going first for one Psychic Energy. Wondering why nobody was using this deck, I made a prototype of a Latios-EX by the time Emerald Break was released.
To start the meta, I used Primal Groudon in rest of my tournaments in card shops. If you ask me why I didn’t use M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX or Seismitoad-EX/Musharna, it was because I thought I would help other people construct these two decks instead. As a result, I saw many Seismitoad-EX decks and played against them, so I was able to win four more Advantage Tickets. In the end of March, I got the results for that month’s unofficial tournaments.
おーす！みらいのチャンピオン杯 (“Yo! Champ in the making!” Cup)
1st Place: Virizion-EX/Genesect-EX
2nd Place: Accelgor/Trevenant
Okay, to tell you the truth, I never expected this result. However, looking at the 3rd Place, they were either playing Primal Groundon-EX or Sesmitoad-EX, and three other players in the top cut (the top cut was 16, usually top 12 and 4 Players in Junior Division) were playing M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/ Virizion-EX, so I thought that my prediction was correct and I decided not to think too much about this result.
After April 2015, while I playtested many decks, I found out many things. With many things to consider, I’ll share my findings.
1. Red Card/Ghetsis
If M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX decks start off going second, the player’s goal is to go for Emerald Break from the first turn. But let's think: what will they do if they go first? That’s a difficult question, especially when this deck is facing Seismitoad-EX. It won't be a good decision to attach Energy because Seismitoad-EX is usually combined with Hammers. Meanwhile, for the Seismitoad-EX player, Hammers won’t do anything when they are going first, so I realized that if I’m going first against M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX, I should play Red Card with Ghetsis, (with Silent Lab if possible) so that my opponent will struggle on their next turn. After I realized this, it became easier for me to make bad matchups into good matchups. Trainers’ Mail and Shaymin-EX made it VERY EASY to get both of these cards, and against any deck, playing them on turn one is often enough to screw up their game and win.
2. Thirty-minute matches with no extra turns
When playing M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX, I always took time to decide which Trainer to pick when playing Trainers’ Mail. Testing games with M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX versus Seismitoad-EX/Musharna, I usually ended up using ten minutes on my first turn when playing M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX. This result led me to the conclusion that I should take Aegislash-EX/Klinklang out of my meta decks because that deck takes a long time to start off.
3. Starting a game with one Pokémon
Let's say you are playing a Seismitoad-EX/Musharna deck or a M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX deck. If you draw more than two Basic Pokémon in your first hand, and one is a Shaymin-EX, Jirachi-EX, or Exeggcute, you probably won’t play it when you first start the game. From my testing, I thought that there would be less than one match out of ten (which means less than 10%) that my opponent will have one Rayquaza-EX Active and another Rayquaza-EX on their Bench, which is a beautiful start for a M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX deck. This theory is based on my first turn, but if you can’t figure what your opponent is playing, it is better for you to keep your Pokémon-EX in your hand since your opponent may play cards such as Head Ringer. This gives you a better chance of winning. (I also predicted that I wouldn’t see too many Red Card/Ghetsis in the first tournament, which was held in Nagoya) This is why you don’t play Keldeo-EX when you are setting up when playing against Seismitoad-EX.
Thinking about all these things, it was time for April’s おーす！みらいのチャンピオン杯 (“Yo! Champ in the making!” Cup). I hoped that some people with Seismitoad-EX or M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX would win so that the meta wouldn't change. Now, let's see how the results ended up.
おーす！みらいのチャンピオン杯 (“Yo! Champ in the making!” Cup)
1st Place: M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX
2nd Place: Landorus-EX/ Raichu/Crobat
In this tournament, we saw many M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX decks, which wasn't surprising at all. Others who made it to the top cut were using Seismitoad-EX or some kind of Fighting decks. Also, I was looking through what everybody was using to see if there were any decks that may win against Latios-EX, but I couldn’t find one.
If I could’ve found a deck that had good matchups with Latios-EX, I would have picked that deck, but because I didn't, I decided to use Latios-EX for the RMB. Here is the list I used throughout the RMB in Nagoya.
- 4x Shaymin EX
- 3x Latios EX
- 2x Lysandre's Trump Card
- 4x First Ticket
- 4x Ultra Ball
- 4x Battle Compressor
- 4x Trainer's Mail
- 4x Acro Bike
- 4x Bicycle
- 4x Roller Skates
- 4x Super Scoop Up
- 4x Plus Power
- 4x Recycle
- 2x Muscle Band
- 1x Hypnotoxic Laser
- 1x Pokemon Catcher
- 1x Red Card
- 1x Scoop Up Cyclone
- 1x Virbank City Gym
- 1x Silent Lab
- 3x Double Dragon Energy
3 Latios-EX/4 Shaymin-EX: I have three Latios-EX, but to tell you the truth, I only need two. I thought that there may be some chance that I might have two Latios-EX Prized, so I just left it at three. For Shaymin-EX, I expect to play through my deck twice in one turn, so four is a must. Excluding Sky Field, you can only play 5 Pokémon on your Bench, so if none of these Pokémon are Prized, you shouldn’t play three Latios-EX. Otherwise, you’ll screw up your game.
2 Lysandre’s Trump Card: This is the key card for hitting 180 damage with Fast Raid. I only really needed one copy, but I ran two in case I Prized one since it’s much harder to get the donk sometimes without it.
3 Double Dragon Energy: I have three in there not because there are three Latios-EX, but because I have the chance to hit Light Pulse on my second turn when my opponent has more than one Pokémon on their Bench. This fact convinced me that I don't need a Basic Psychic Energy, although it would make it much easier to KO Aegislash-EX. However, I went with the increased chance of getting a Light Pulse instead, since this attack can really take the game.
4 PlusPower: There’s nothing to say, PlusPower is what I need to increase the amount of damage First Raid deals since I need to hit as high as 180 sometimes.
4 Battle Compressor: I need two Battle Compressor on my first lap through my deck in the beginning, while I need another one at the very end of my first lap. I will still need another Battle Compressor by the time I'm halfway through the deck on my second lap, which means that I actually need three Battle Compressors on my first lap, so I concluded that I would need four Battle Compressors in this deck.
4 Ultra Ball: A card that can discard cards I don't need, and exchange them for Latios-EX or Shaymin-EX. Never thought of having fewer copies of this card.
4 First Ticket: I debated whether I should have fewer of this card, but when I thought of having mirror matches, I concluded that I should have four of them in this deck since it would be a big disadvantage if I didn’t have them.
4 Trainers’ Mail/4 Acro Bike: “Card exchangers” is what I would call for these cards. Some people actually call Acro Bike a “resource-drawer”, but I hate it being called that. It makes it sound like you can always benefit as long as you draw Acro Bike. Although Acro Bike may draw only one card from your deck, the number of cards you have in your hand won't change. As for Trainers’ Mail, in my deck, I don’t have much risk of drawing four non-Trainers since there are many Trainer cards in the deck. However, Acro Bike may discard a card that you don’t really want to discard and you may be forced to pick a card you don't really need so much. Therefore, I even discard Acro Bike when I use Ultra Ball.
4 Super Scoop Up: If I can get heads and pick Shaymin-EX up, then I can reuse Set Up to draw more cards from my deck. This card really depends on the result of the coin flip, but this card can be really effective based on how many times I used it. This card can also switch the Active and the Benched Pokémon, so I sometimes stick Muscle Band on a Pokémon I was planning to Scoop Up. This lets me thin my hand a bit to draw more cards from Set Up or Bicycle
4 Roller Skates: If I can get heads, than I can draw three cards. The average number of times I use this card is about three or four, but I actually think that I should have changed it to another card.
4 Bicycle: This card guarantees more cards in your hand when you use it. I've tested my deck with two and three copies, since I might have trouble drawing if I have more than two Bicycle in my hand, but I actually didn't have to worry much. With only two or three Bicycle, I tended to fail to donk my opponent since I had trouble drawing far enough into my deck, and through my testing, I found out that having more than two Bicycle in a hand wasn’t a problem at all. I need to draw cards from my deck in order to use Recycle and PlusPower, so I concluded that I would need four Bicycle in my deck.
4 Recycle: This card is to return PlusPower into the deck. Using Lysandre’s Trump Card, I can use eight PlusPower, a Hypnotoxic Laser along with Virbank City Gym, and a Muscle Band, which adds up to 170 when using Fast Raid, so I actually don't always need to use this card. However, since I might Prize some of those cards, I need to use Recycle to have a higher chance of donking my opponent.
2 Muscle Band: I always want to have this card, but it doesn’t mean I lose if I don't have one. This made me decide that I only needed two copies. I have Super Scoop Up and a Scoop Up Cyclone, so it won't be a problem to attach Muscle Band onto Shaymin-EX first, since I can Scoop it up afterward.
1 Hypnotoxic Laser: Since this deck was made to donk my opponent on my first turn, I didn't think it was a good idea to put more than one Hypnotoxic Laser into this deck. This really depends whether I Prize my copy, but here’s example of my thought process: if I use Hypnotoxic Laser for the first time and get heads, that means that my second Hypnotoxic Laser will be dead through the first lap of the deck. Also, this deck was designed to go for another lap, which means that there will be two dead Lasers the second time around, so that’s three dead cards in total. I had two games in total where I had to KO a Pokémon-EX, but I didn't have any problem having only one Hypnotoxic Laser.
1 Virbank City Gym: This is another card I’d like to have, but won’t lose if I don’t have it, so I kept it at one. This card can increase damage done to a Poisoned Pokémon by 20, and it can also crush opponents’ Stadiums such as Silent Lab.
1 Red Card: This card is to help me out when I can't donk my opponent. If my opponent is slowed down enough, it can be easier for me to hit 170 using Light Pulse, and take six Prizes.
1 Silent Lab: Another card to help me out if I can't donk my opponent. “Hit a Red Card and a Silent Lab, and there's a higher chance of my opponent struggling” was my thought. (I know it's not a deep thought at all.) Also, I have this card so that I can KO Suicune, Sigilyph, and Aegislash-EX.
1 Pokémon Catcher: The last card to help me out if I failed to donk my opponent. In games against decks such as Wobbuffet/Primal Groudon-EX, I will use it to drag Groudon-EX Active so that I can get Light Pulse Ready. If I KO Groudon, and a couple Wobbuffet, I might rule the game. It’s just for insurance, so I left it to one.
1 Scoop Up Cyclone: I was not certain with what ACE SPEC I wanted to play. This card was for Shaymin-EX, so it’s effectively a Bianca (without using my Supporter) for the first turn when I play it, but if the game continues, it functions like Max Potion.
Gym Medal: This card was only distributed in Japan, so if you’re not familiar, this is its effect: “Look at one of your face down Prize cards. If you wish, you may swap that card with the top card of your deck.” When I had two copies of this card in my deck, I had two Latios-EX and two Double Dragon Energy. However, I decided not to play this card for three reasons. 1. It was hard for me to scoop up the Prized cards, especially when both pieces of Latios-EX or Double Dragon Energy were Prized. 2. I am eager to see what I actually swapped for the Prized card. 3. Two Double Dragon Energy made it hard for me to hit Light Pulse. For these reasons, I concluded that I would be exhausted and would make a human error while playing Gym Medal so many times, which means Gym Medal won't be a good card for me to play.
Ditto BCR: I thought of playing this since I don't have many Basic Pokémon in my deck. Even adding one Ditto can be effective since it can increase the rate of opening with a Basic Pokémon to from 60% to 65.5%. However, I can't attach a Double Dragon Energy to Ditto and if my opponent starts with a Wobbuffet, I’ll need to scoop it up. These facts were enough for me to use other cards instead.
Exeggcute: This could make it easier to use Ultra Ball. I was testing Exeggcute with Dowsing Machine, but found it difficult to get Exeggcute into the discard pile, not to mention picking it up if I started with it. (I would need to get heads on a Super Scoop Up because my ACE SPEC was Dowsing Machine.) Also, I wanted to keep one Ultra Ball in my hand at the end of the first lap during my first turn so it was definitely hard for this deck to play Exeggcute.
Dowsing Machine: The good news about this card is that it functions as another PlusPower, but the bad thing was that I was using Scoop Up Cyclone from the beginning when I made this deck. Scoop Up Cyclone was a perfect card to help me draw more cards from my deck, so if I played Dowsing Machine, I would have to get more heads from cards like Super Scoop Up and Roller Skates. I didn't feel like it was easier for me to hit 180 with Dowsing Machine, so I just chose Scoop Up Cyclone instead.
Float Stone: This is a perfect card for Retreating, but with Scoop Up Cyclone, there was no worry of retreating since I can Scoop Up my Active Pokémon and the only Pokémon that would like to Retreat would be Shaymin-EX.
Professor Juniper: I had one copy when I first made this deck. If my opponent’s Active Pokémon had lower than 130 HP, I wouldn’t need Lysandre's Trump Card. This card really makes it easy to donk my opponent, but once I got used to playing this deck, I realized I don't really need this card anymore.
There were many other cards that I didn't choose to play, but I won't list all of them since there's not much to explain. Therefore, I’ll just move on to my next topic.
1. There is a greater than 70% chance to go first. Look at your top seven cards and see if you have a Basic Pokémon and a First Ticket. If you do, than you would be going first. However, if you don't see one, you'll have to try your best to go first by winning the rock-paper-scissors fight. (That’s how we decide who goes first in Japan.)
2. If your opponent has no Pokémon on their Bench (unless your opponent has a lonely Wobbuffet), then be aggressive and try to KO your opponent’s Active. It won't be too hard to KO a non-EX Pokémon, but you will need to check your resources in the deck if it's a Pokémon-EX. These are the priority rankings when checking the resource in your deck.
S: PlusPower, Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym
A: Battle Compressor, Lysandre’s Trump Card
B: Recycle, Super Scoop Up, the number of Latios-EX and Shaymin-EX left
C: Red Card, Muscle Band
D: Ultra Ball, Super Scoop Up, Roller Skates
F: other cards that are not listed
N/A : First Ticket, Silent Lab, Pokémon Catcher. The number of these cards left in the deck doesn't matter since you will be discarding these when you use Battle Compressor.
One exception is when you draw Lysandre's Trump Card before you check your resources in the deck. If that happens, check if there is another Lysandre's Trump Card in the deck before you check if Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym are there. Also, if you discover that more than two PlusPowers are Prized, then check the quantity of Red Card and Recycle. If you see your second Lysandre's Trump Card, that means you’ll probably need to put Lysandre’s Trump card back in the deck with Recycle. This means that you have to check whether there's a Recycle left for it and how many Shaymin-EX and Bicycles are left in the deck. Checking the number of Bicycles by the first lap of the deck is really important, because you'll have to keep in mind that you need these cards to draw into Lysandre’s Trump Card.
3. Priority rankings when using Battle Compressor:
Turn one, lap one
1. First Ticket
2. Pokémon Catcher
3. Silent Lab
5. Extra Double Dragon Energy
6. Red Card
7. Roller Skates
8. Muscle Band
9. Acro Bike
Turn one, lap two
1. First Ticket
2. Silent Lab
3. Double Dragon Energy
4. Red Card
5. Pokémon Catcher
7. Ultra Ball (if you have played all of the Shaymin-EX in the deck, but be sure to keep one less than the number of Bicycles you see in your deck)
8. Two Roller Skates
9. Four Acro Bike
4. If your opponent starts with a Suicune or a Sigilyph, it is debatable whether you should KO it on the first lap of the deck or the second lap. Usually you can KO it on the first lap, but if you draw a Silent Lab from the very beginning of the game, I would recommend discarding it instead of playing it. Then, simply play Lysandre’s Trump Card, and use the Silent Lab after you are very sure that you can KO it.
5. If your opponent starts out with an Aegislash-EX, since Aegislash-EX has 170 HP, it is obvious that you will be using Lysandre's Trump Card to go for a second lap of the deck. As I said previously, I will discard the Silent Lab in the first lap, and play it on the second.
6. If your opponent starts out with a Wobbuffet, without Shaymin-EX’s Ability, there might be not too much you can do, but you can draw an Energy, a Muscle Band, a Virbank City Gym, a Hypnotoxic Laser, and two PlusPowers using the four Bicycles in the deck. Otherwise, you should pray that your opponent gets a poor draw when using Red Card.
7. If your opponent plays more than two Pokémon, I won't write too much about it since it’s a rare case. KO your opponent’s Active Pokémon and be sure to hit Red Card. If you don’t need to use Virbank City Gym in order to KO the first Pokémon, then you might want to play Silent Lab instead of Virbank City Gym.
M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX (80:20): If I can go first, there’s a 70% chance of my opponent starting with one Active Pokémon. If so, I would usually end up winning with one First Raid for most of the games. If I go second, then I will drag Shaymin-EX out three times and KO them. It is harder for the deck to win if I start off second, but still I have 60:40 odds, so in total, I can say that I can win against M Rayquaza-EX/Shaymin-EX/Virizion-EX about 80% of the time.
Seismitoad-EX/Musharna (70:30): If I go first, then I usually won't have any problem since my opponent won't have any Benched Pokémon most of the time. Even if I can’t donk my opponent, I still have a Red Card to get my opponent to start their turn with a poor hand. If they do, then it will be hard for my opponent to hit Quaking Punch. Also, my opponent won’t have the chance to play Xerosic either. That will give me a 65% chance of winning. If I go second, then it will depend on whether I can KO a Seismitoad-EX with a Double Colorless Energy; otherwise, I have to do something so that my opponent won't be able to use Quaking Punch. If they get a Quaking Punch off, the matchup becomes 20:80 at best.
Primal Groudon-EX (40:60): Things will change depending on what my opponent starts with. If my opponent starts with a Groudon-EX, then I will be going for the OHKO, while I’ll have to hit twice with a Muscle Band if my opponent starts off with a Wobbuffet. Most of the Primal Groudon-EX decks have four Groudon-EX and four Wobbuffet, so I'd say there's an even 50% on which one I will face against. If I can start off first, I would probably say that there's about 50% chance or a bit more for winning, but if my opponent goes first, my opponent will probably be able to end their turn with Wobbuffet Active. Once Wobbuffet is Active, it won't be too hard to set up Primal Groudon-EX, eventually giving me an automatic loss. From these points, I'd say I have about a 40% chance of winning against Primal Groudon-EX.
Garchomp/Altaria (95:5): I'm pretty sure I won't lose against Garchomp decks unless I get a very poor hand. Fast Raid can definitely take these Pokémon down, no matter if I go first or second, even if I failed to donk my opponent.
Klinklang (70:30): This match clearly depends whether I go first or not. If I go first, my plan is to donk my opponent as always. If I can’t, then I have to KO Aegislash-EX and let my opponent play with fewer cards by using Red Card. It will be an automatic loss for me if my opponent gets a Klinklang PLS out, so my goal is to prevent my opponent from playing Wally. For Aegislash-EX, I will set a Silent Lab and use Light Pulse. However, if I go second, my opponent will probably have two Klink, evolve in to Klang, and use Wally for Klinklang PLS, which means I have a higher chance of losing if I go second. It might change depending on what my opponent draws from a Red Card, but it will be a tough game for sure. Although it really depends on whether I can go first, I still think that I can win against Klinklang decks about 70% of the time.
Trevenant/Accelgor (90:10): Most of the Basic Pokémon they run have low HP, so in most cases I can donk my opponent. If I fail to donk my opponent, it won't be such a problem since my opponent won't have a quick Trevenant in play, unless they play Wally on their first turn. However, once I can hit Light Pulse, nothing will be scary for me. The base damage of Light Pulse is 110, so I can OHKO Trevenant, and Latios-EX won't be Paralyzed because of the effect of Light Pulse. My opponent probably won't have time to hit Lysandre, so I don’t have to worry much about Trevenant/Accelgor.
Wobbuffet/Bats (60:40): This really depends on what I draw. If I can donk my opponent, then I don't have to think about anything. However, one thing that might trouble me is Wobbuffet. If it becomes Active, then I can’t use Shaymin-EX, which is my draw engine, so everything will depend whether I can draw a Double Dragon Energy and a Muscle Band and whether I can get heads when using Pokémon Catcher. Including donking, I would say I can win against Wobbuffet/Bats about 60% of the time.
Other decks (70:30): The seven decks I just mentioned were the biggest decks in Japan so I won't say much about the other decks since the only thing that this deck does is donk my opponent.
The structure for this tournament was pretty complicated, as I mentioned previously. Tournaments were held in card shops in March, but the Main Tournament and the Final Tournament is held in May. Players who finished Top 3 in Card Shop Tournaments qualify to take part in an eight-person mini-tournament. The winner of these tournaments (which requires three wins in a row) will be qualified for the final tournament, while the loser of the tournament still gets a little advantage for the Last Challenge Tournament. For the Last Challenge Tournament, a player will need five wins in order to take part in the Final Tournament. This Last Challenge Tournament is for players who couldn't make Top 3 in Card Shop Tournaments or players who lost in the mini-tournament. Since I had won five Advantage Cards, I was able to take part in all of the mini-tournaments.
Mini-Tournament Round 1 (versus Eelektrik/Rayquaza-EX): I was able to draw a First Ticket in my first hand, so I got to go first. My opponent had a lonely Tynamo Active. I used Shaymin-EX’s Set Up and drew a Double Dragon Energy to donk it.
Mini-Tournament Round2 (versus Mega Rayquaza-EX [Colorless]): I won the rock-paper-scissors match and got to go first. My opponent had a lonely Active Pokémon again, which was a Colorless Rayquaza-EX. Using a Battle Compressor, I checked how many PlusPowers I had in my deck. I had all four, so I didn’t focus too much on checking how many Recycles I had in my deck. I only had one Hypnotoxic Laser and a Virbank City Gym in my list but I found both of them in my deck. The last thing I checked was how many Shaymin-EX I had in my deck, and this time I had one Prized, so there was no problem playing an extra Latios-EX if I drew one. Everything I need to be careful about was revealed, so the only thing left for me was to be careful not make any mistakes when I play this deck. I didn't make a mistake, so I was able to play eight PlusPowers, Muscle Band, Hypnotoxic Laser, and Virbank City Gym and use Fast Raid to KO Rayquaza-EX.
Mini-Tournament-Round 3 (versus Klinklang): Watching the game right next to me in the last round, I felt a little depressed to see Klinklang winning. However, I didn't have to worry much: I saw a First Ticket in my hand, and my opponent left his Bench empty. He turns over his Active and it was a Jirachi-EX! It didn’t look too hard after all to take the game, but I checked my deck to make sure everything important was there, and it was. I was able to hit 90 with Fast Raid, winning up mini-tournament. There were twenty-one Players in total who won the mini-tournament and thirty-two players from the Last Challenge Tournament, meaning that there were fifty-three Players in the Main Tournament. I decided to continue the Main Tournament with my Latios deck. I wanted to see how far I could get with it.
Main Tournament Round 1 (the winner will be in Top 32)—Bye: Since I didn’t want to use my time sitting in a chair and doing nothing, I looked around to see who was playing in the Main Tournament. There were a whole bunch of players I knew and some of them were really good. Although I had no doubts in my Latios deck, it made me wonder if I had made the right decision. Although getting byes in a tournament is like earning advantage, it was not a good time for me since I ended up sitting in my chair thinking negative thoughts.
Round 2 (the winner will be in Top 16)—Seismitoad-EX: My opponent was a player who I knew pretty well, and I suspected that he would be using Wobbuffet/Groudon-EX, so I prayed he didn’t start Wobbuffet. We set up our Active Pokémon and the Prizes and did rock-paper-scissors. (We decide who goes first after we take a look at our hands, which is probably different from most countries.) I won, so I was going first. I still remember my first seven cards since I had a terrible start: Roller Skates, Lysandre’s Trump Card, Shaymin-EX, Acro Bike, Bicycle, Muscle Band, Recycle, and Double Dragon Energy. I drew a card from my deck—First Ticket. Ugh. Roller Skates, HEADS!!
I drew an Ultra Ball, First Ticket, and a Battle Compressor. Using Ultra Ball and Battle Compressor, I checked the number of Lysandre’s Trump Card, PlusPower, Shaymin-EX, Hypnotoxic Laser, Virbank City Gym, and Recycle in my deck. Everything was there except for one PlusPower. This meant that I had to get three heads for Recycle in order to OHKO my opponent’s Seismitoad-EX. Since I had a terrible start, I played three Shaymin-EX in my first lap, and I only got one heads with Recycle, I had in mind that I might have to stop my opponent by using Red Card. However, I was able to get my second heads with Recycle in my second lap, so I thought I could go for the OHKO, and yes—I got my third heads with Recycle! 180 Damage with Fast Raid, and I won the game.
Round 3 (the winner will be in Top 8)—Wobbuffet/Groudon-EX: I didn't have a First Ticket again, but this time I was able to go first again! This was the third time in a row that I won the rock-paper-scissors match, so it was pretty lucky. Also, this was the first time my opponent started with a Benched Pokémon. My opponent flips his Active and Bench Pokémon—it was two Groudon-EX. Since my plan was to KO my opponent’s Active Pokémon, I checked what was Prized, as always, and I found Red Card, Virbank City Gym, three PlusPower, and two Recycle in my deck. I had to discard a Recycle in order to use Ultra Ball from my first hand, so my plan was to hit 120 damage with Fast Raid and another 30 with Hypnotoxic Laser and a Virbank City Gym so it gets KO’d going back into my turn. I played Red Card as well, but my opponent drew a Silent Lab, attached Strong Energy on the Benched Groudon-EX, and Benched a Wobbuffet.
My opponent’s card screwed up my plan, so I couldn’t KO Groudon-EX, and Silent Lab had prevented me from drawing cards with Shaymin. Therefore, I planned to strike back by returning Virbank City Gym with Lysandre’s Trump Card. I had nothing else do but KO Groudon-EX, earning two Prize cards. Then, my opponent put Wobbuffet Active, attached an Energy to a Groudon-EX on the Bench, and ended his turn. I had another Double Dragon Energy attached to Latios-EX, so I was able to use Light Pulse to earn my third Prize. My opponent played a Robo Substitute to his Bench, and used Groudon-EX’s Rip Claw! I had in mind that I wouldn't be able to OHKO Groudon-EX if it Mega Evolves, so it was a surprise. He also got heads for Groudon-EX’s Rip Claw, so my Double Dragon Energy was discarded. (Honestly, I completely forgot that Latios-EX’s Energy can't be discarded since I had used Light Pulse in my previous turn. I noticed this fact after this whole tournament was done.) I sighed and hit PlusPower for 70 damage with Fast Raid. My opponent finally pulls out a Professor Juniper, Benched a Wobbuffet, and used Rip Claw again. HEADS AGAIN!!!
I was finally able to draw a Virbank City Gym using Trainers’ Mail, so I used Super Scoop Up on Latios-EX to fully heal it. Then I used Lysandre's Trump Card, hitting 110 damage with Fast Raid, and KO’d Groudon-EX. Now it was 5-0, and my opponent used N for revenge. I was a bit scared that my opponent would strike back, but then I heard the whistle—the game was over. Since I had taken more Prize cards then my opponent, I got the win.
Round 4 (Winner will be in Top 4)—Shaymin-EX: I won the rock-paper-scissors match again, so I got to go first. That was my fourth win in a row, so I can really tell that I had luck that day. In this round, my opponent started with only one Active Pokémon and no Bench! When my opponent flipped their Active, I saw that they had a lonely Shaymin on the field, so I only checked to see if Hypnotoxic Laser and Virbank City Gym were in my deck. I found both of them, so it wasn't hard at all to take Shaymin-EX down. Just one more win away from qualifying for Worlds, so I was pretty anxious by then.
Round 5 (the winner will be a Finalist)—Wobbuffet/Groudon-EX: It had been a while since I last saw a First Ticket in my first seven cards, but for once I got one in my hand and I got to go first. Before the Semifinals started, the moderator talked gave a brief introduction to the players who made Top 4, so I was forced to wait for a pretty long time. Meanwhile, I looked at my opponent’s field. There was one Pokémon on their Bench and since I already knew that my opponent was using Wobbuffet/Groudon-EX, I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to use Shaymin-EX’s Ability because of Wobbuffet’s Ability. I took a look at my hand again, looking at Trainers’ Mail and Bicycle. I counted on these cards to draw me a Double Dragon Energy.
Finally, our introduction by the moderator was done, so we flipped over our cards—I was so surprised to see two Groudon that I was a bit panicked. I calmed myself down, and thought that all I needed to do is what I did in Round 3. I used Ultra Ball first in order to see if Red Card and all four PlusPowers were in my deck. I saw a Red Card, but I only saw three PlusPower, so I used Battle Compressor to check my deck again. I saw a Virbank City Gym, a Hypnotoxic Laser, and three Recycles. If my opponent had only one Active Pokémon on the field, I would have just tried to KO it, but since I already saw another Pokémon on the Bench, I planned to for it to be KO’d by Poison coming into my turn. However, I got a risky hand with two Acro Bike, so I used Recycle to pick up Scoop Up Cyclone. Then, I used Acro Bike and saw Scoop Up Cyclone and a PlusPower, so I ended up hitting 160 including 30 damage from Poison, which was a pain.
I left something like: Recycle, Battle Compressor, Lysandre’s Trump Card and Acro Bike (I don't exactly remember) in my hand before I hit Fast Raid. In return, my opponent attached an Energy card to the Benched Groudon, played a Silent Lab and used Lysandre's Trump Card. (I assume that this was a mistake on her part since my Virbank City Gym went back to my deck—she should have played Lysandre's Trump Card first and then played Silent Lab.) I didn't expect to see Lysandre's Trump Card, so I was very surprised, but because I had made a good choice to keep Battle Compressor in my hand, it wasn’t a big problem at all. I drew into Virbank City Gym and played it, kept a Double a Dragon Energy in my hand, and decided not to use an attack since my opponent may play a Teammates, but I actually regret my decision now (although I actually won this round). After my opponent’s Groudon-EX got Knocked Out by Poison, my opponent drew a Silent Lab from top of her deck, and used Professor Juniper, which was a big surprise to me. (I actually asked why she used Lysandre’s Trump Card instead of Professor Juniper in her first turn and she told me that since she played a Silent Lab, she expected that using Lysandre's Trump Card may give her a few more turns to set up.) She drew a Strong Energy, attached it to Groudon-EX, and used Rip Claw—heads AGAIN!! Why does everybody gets heads?!
My hand was not prepared for the second Silent Lab, so I hit for 70 damage with Fast Raid, looking for another opportunity to strike back. Then, my opponent used Korrina, picked Primal Groudon-EX and a Professor’s Letter, taking two Fighting Energy from her deck. She attached the third Energy to Groudon-EX and Mega Evolved her Groudon-EX into Primal Groudon-EX. Primal Groudon-EX was left with 170 damage and I needed to KO this turn. I drew a card and I drew a Hypnotoxic Laser. I was about to play it, but I stepped back since I just realized that Primal Groudon-EX had Ω Barrier. I had no choice but to use Light Pulse, so I was about to play Ultra Ball to search out Shaymin-EX when I heard the whistle.
If this game continued, I can’t tell which of us would have won. If I was able to KO Primal Groudon-EX, then I would have two Prizes left, but my opponent may use Gaia Volcano to KO Latios-EX would be pretty tricky for me. However, if my opponent used Gaia Volcano, then my opponent wouldn’t have any Stadium in play so I can use Shaymin-EX’s Ability for sure. Anyways, it was a good match, and winning this round meant that I got qualified for Worlds! Never expecting to get this far, I was now in the 6th Round, which was the Final Round of this whole day.
Round 6 (Final Round)—Wobbuffet/Garbodor/Raichu/Gengar-EX: I had no idea what my opponent was using at this point, but I was actually satisfied already since I qualified for Worlds. But still, I do remember how the game went. My hand started out with Latios-EX, Double Dragon Energy, Muscle Band, Red Card, Battle Compressor and two Ultra Balls. My opponent debated which Pokémon to play, but he played one Benched Pokémon and waited until the moderator finished introducing us. Then we did the rock-paper-scissors match and I finally lost. For the first time all day, I was going second. My opponent starts with a Wobbuffet, and had a Shaymin-EX on the Bench! He knew the concept of my deck, so he was well secured that he had a Shaymin-EX on the Bench. As I said previously, it is important to have a Double Dragon Energy and a Muscle Band when I have to go against Wobbuffet, but I already had both of them in my hand so I thought I still had luck until my opponent played an N.
My hand swooped away into the deck and I got another six cards: Double Dragon Energy, Muscle Band, First Ticket, PlusPower, Acro Bike and a Shaymin-EX. Looks like I still have the luck! My opponent played another Wobbuffet and a Trubbish on the Bench, attached a Mystery Energy to the Active Wobbuffet, and ended his turn. Things would be tough if Garbodor came into play, so I had to do something about the Trubbish. Luckily, I got a Trainers’ Mail, played it, and found a Pokémon Catcher. I flipped the coin and got tails. I used cards such as Bicycle, but I couldn’t do much, hitting for 60 on Wobbuffet. My opponent Retreats Wobbuffet to Shaymin-EX, plays Sky Field, plays another few Pokémon including Pikachu on the Bench, uses Sky Return, and promotes Wobbuffet with no damage.
I couldn’t pull out a Double Dragon Energy so I had no choice but to use Fast Raid for 60 Damage. In return, my opponent Evolves Pikachu into Raichu, attaches Double Colorless Energy on Raichu, puts Float Stone on Wobbuffet, Evolves Trubbish to Garbodor, and attaches Float Stone Garbodor. Raichu uses Circle Circuit to Knock Out Latios-EX, and now I only had Latios-EX left with no Energy attached. I only had one PlusPower left in my hand. Then I drew for my turn and saw Scoop Up Cyclone! I made the best play I could—I used Scoop Up Cyclone to pick up Latios-EX for an auto-loss. I was just one win away from First Place. Maybe I should have played Lysandre instead of Pokémon Catcher since I only used it in the Final Round.
Lysandre’s Trump Card was banned in 20th of June in Japan, (15th in most other countries, I suppose) so we probably won't see this deck anymore. Maybe this ban was not preferable to some of the players, but even as a player who used this type of deck, I’d say the ban was a good decision. Anyway, I would like to thank the readers for reading this really long article, and I hope you enjoyed. See you again some day!
[Translated and edited by 60cards staff]
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