Experts' corner

Eye on Japan

An Introduction to Karen Night Battle

A flashback special! Taiga Sakurai shares his story about Karen Night Battle! Check it out!

03/19/2017 by Eye on Japan

Hello readers, I'm Taiga Sakurai. This is my first time posting an article to 60cards, so let me introduce myself. I've been playing Pokémon TCG for 7 years and competed in WCS in 2014 and 2015. Also I am one of the players who can open up tournaments and judge in events, who are called as "Organizers" and "Rule Experts". My main role for the moment is to judge in tournaments while I work on big projects such as "Battle X Road" coming up on last January.

Other significant statements about myself is that I belong to a team called Team L.O.L.I.
The translator who's translated this article, Madoka Uehara, is one of my Teammates.
If there are some parts that are difficult to understand, then I would probably say that it's her fault.

This year, I wasn't qualified to play in Worlds, so being ashamed, I've watched Twitch with a glass of beer in my hand. While I've heard the whole cast about Night March, one of my teammate managed to pronounce "Night March" and "Quaking Punch" perfectly which was a very big deal for us.

So, on to the main topic, I would like to introduce what Pokémon Japan came up to for players who play Pokémon casually. The event was called Karen's Night Battle, held from August to the end of September. This tournament was held in Card shops after 5P.M. This might seem something new, but similar event was held last year too, called Umbreon Night Battle. Interesting facts about this type of event is that:

1. Participants tends to be high ages since fathers who finished working or University Students who are dismissed from the classes may participate.

2. The maximum number of players who can take part was 16. Also, there were four groups with four people playing BO1. (This was something different from Umbreon Night Battle)
This format made everything quick that most people were able to go home while the trains were operating. Also players who won as first place were given an special Promo card "Absol".

3. Two types of Badges will be given out!

There will be an election of who had the most unique deck after the group tournament ends. I wanted to both win and use a unique deck so I tested out a few decks I would introduce in the later part of this article.

To start with, I will start with a fun deck to play with. I have to note that Japan’s format is from XY on, so this deck will include cards that are out of present format in most countries.

Concept & How-to-Play

I wanted to use Hydreigon BREAK since it has the potential to give 250 damage (total) to 3 Pokémon at once. However, Hydregion BREAK requires many Energy to attack, so I would play either Yveltal in the beginning since either Yveltal has 130HP which won’t be too easy for my opponent to KO. Once Hydreigon BREAK gets ready, it will give a great damage in the end of the game.


This card would be one of the least Darkness Pokémon-EX played in decks. Other Darkness Pokémon-EX would be Yveltal-EX, Darkrai-EX, Krookodile-EX, Malarmar-EX. Yveltal-EX can switch Energy Cards to Benched Pokémon by Cyclone Y, Darkrai-EX can hit big damage to the opponent’s Active when many Darkness Energy Card is attached to Player’s Pokémon, Krookodile- EX has the chance to hit bigger damage to opponent’s Pokémon when Yveltal-EX(XY8) gave 2 hits of 60 to opponents Pokémon, and Malarmar-EX may make your opponent’s Active asleep and may also have the chance to hit big damage.

Sharpedo-EX may discard opponent’s Energy Card while attacking opponent’s Active. Its attack “Hunt” ("Switch one of your opponent’s Benched Pokémon with his or her Active Pokémon. This attack does 30 damage to the new Active Pokémon") would be effective to opponent’s Vespiquen decks which had trouble starting out. If it’s a low HP, and you have a Rare Candy or a Reverse Valley, then you won’t have to play Lysandre in order to KO opponent’s Benched Pokémon. Also,
this could be useful against opponent’s Hoopa-EX. If you use Hunt and opponent’s Hoopa-EX couldn’t retreat, you may play Yveltal (XY8) so that your opponent’s Hoopa may not retreat by attaching Float Stone. Once you do so, you may have the chance to give yourself an extra few turns to settle.

Otherwise, you may choose to attack with Sharpedo-EX’s Jagger Fang. (100 damage, "Discard an Energy attached to this Pokémon. Then, discard an Energy attached to your opponent’s Pokémon") By doing so, your opponent needs to attach an Energy back again so it would be pretty effective to slower your opponent’s pace. On the other hand, your opponent may choose to retreat the attacked Active, but it won’t be a problem at all since Hydreigon-EX or Yveltal (XY8) would KO it or Sharpedo-EX may KO it with its attack “Hunt”.

The Second deck I would like to introduce is Carbink BREAK / Golurk / Eeveelutions. I’ve played this deck in one of the Karen’s Night Battle. That day was Saturday, so there were many participants. My group had two Seniors and a Master, so I knew this won’t be too easy.

This deck is strongly focused on opponent’s Mega Pokémon. When you take a look at what Mega Pokémon is played, you may see these type of decks:

1. Mega Rayquaza-EX 2. Mega Manectric-EX 3. Mega Sceptile-EX 4. Mega Scizor-EX

5. Mega Alakazam-EX 6. Mega Audino-EX
7. Mega Mewtwo-EX

Looking at these 7 decks, you can see that these decks has weakness to either Fire, Lightning, Psychic or Fighting types. If I can give a basic 120 Damage, I can KO most of these Pokémon when the damage is doubled due to weakness. Therefore, I have Flareon and Jolteon with a Golurk that can be both Psychic and Fighting Type.

Tournament Report

Game 1 vs Carbink BREAK / Zygarde-EX / Vileplume

Sadly, my opponent’s deck wasn’t a Mega-EX deck, but I ended up winning. This deck is a popular type of deck, not to mention about Japan’s Nationals. Zygarde-EX would be the main attacker, with a high HP and the ability to recover itself. Since Zygarde-EX’s Weakness is Grass type, and this deck doesn’t have any grass type, you have to think that Zygarde-EX’s HP is either 250 or 320 since it may heal 30 damage every single time it hits Heal 30 Damage. From these facts, you can say that it is very hard to KO Zygarde-EX, but what makes things sad is when my opponent Plays AZ, returns Zygarde-EX, and sends Carbing BREAK out. Now I have to KO Carbink BREAK by either using Hex Maniac or non-EX Pokémon, and after that a Zygarde-EX with 2 strong Energy with Full HP- I’m pretty sure that would be a headache. Other way to shut out Zygarde-EX may be
playing Pyroar’s (Flash Fire) Ability “Intimidating Mane” (Prevent all damage done to tis Pokémon by attacks from your opponent’s Basic Pokémon.) or Regice’s “Resistance Blizzard” (During your opponent’s next turn, prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to this Pokémon by Pokémon-EX.). Otherwise, you may choose to play Yveltal (BREAKthrough), play Lysandre and pull out Vileplume, and attack with Pitch-Black Spear. Either way, it would be very hard to win against Zygarde-EX if there aren’t any way to get around with it.

So, back to my deck, I decided to KO only Carbink or Carbink Break with Golurk. Golurk may OHKO Carbink by Superpower, also has resistance to Fighting type and a 130HP. Since my deck also includes Carbink BREAK, Zygarde-EX won’t be able to attack Carbink without stopping its’ Ability. I knew that if I can KO 3 Carbink, all I would have to do is play Carbink and hit Power Gem. Also, doing so, I may have the chance to deck out my opponent since my opponent’s deck would include many Item and Supporters to draw the deck to settle Vileplume quickly.

The game ended up slower than I expected, but it went out what I wanted it to be. I played 2 Golett, 2 Carbink BREAK, and a Flareon (to KO a Vileplume without attaching a Fighting Energy). I KO’d my opponent’s Carbink BREAK by Golurk, and KO’d Zygarde-EX by Carbink BREAK. My opponent ran out of deck, so the game ended.

Game 2 vs Talonflame (Steam Siege) / Mewtwo-EX (Damage Change)

This deck’s main weapon would be Mewtwo-EX’s Damage Change. Zygarde-EX’s durability is surprising, but Mewtwo-EX’s durability is also amazing. I had 2 plans to win this game:

Plan A: Give the amount of damage that won’t KO my Pokémon when Mewtwo-EX’s “Change Damage” is used. If my opponent uses “Change Damage”, then I would give the same amount of Damage to Mewtwo-EX. Then my opponent would try to KO my Pokémon, so I would play another Pokémon to KO that Mewtwo-EX.

Plan B: I would OHKO Mewtwo-EX, then Mewtwo-EX won’t be able to use “Change Damage”.

I didn’t have a good start since I didn’t have any Supporter. Therefore, my opponent’s Talonflame had four chances to use “Aero Blitz”, ("Search your deck for up to 2 cards and put them into your hand. Shuffle your deck afterward") but I didn’t worry too much since I had a Carbink BREAK with a Safe Guard and a Pokémon that can OHKO Mewtwo-EX. I had the chance to use Carbink BREAK’s “Diamond Gift”, (Attach 2 Energy cards from your discard pile to 1 of your Fighting Pokémon.) so I was able to settle 2 Golurk, and ready to KO Mewtwo-EX. Another Mewtwo-EX came to counter, but since I had another Golurk with 1 Energy attached, I had no problem striking back. Having Dimension Valley in play and attaching Double Colorless energy, I was able to strike back. I KO’d Talonflame by Golurk with Strong Energy attached, and now my opponent didn’t have any way to KO Carbink so I was able to win the game with my opponent’s deck Out.
Game 3 vs Mega Manectric-EX / Electivire / Magmotar

Both Electivire and Magmortar was released in Furious Fists set. The combination of these 2 Pokémon are very effective if you can provide enough Energy. When enough Energy is provided, you may KO Pokémon-EX. Usually this deck won’t be played when you see decks like Water Tool Box and Volcanion-EX, but it is true that this type of deck is a fun deck to play with. I would say that choosing Manectric-EX for a support was a clever idea.

Mega Manectric-EX was a bit slow, so I was able to give big damage to my opponent’s Pokémon with Golurk. Although I had a bitter time when my opponent played Hex Maniac and also discarded Special Energy, it wasn’t too hard for me to KO my opponent’s Pokémon. I took down Electivire in the end and got my 3rd victory.

Winning for 3 times in a row means that I would be rewarded a Promo Absol, but there’s one more thing we had to elect- The unique deck in the group! As I wrote above, there were: Carbink BREAK, Golurk, Eevolution / Carbink BREAK, Zygarde-EX, Vileplume / Flametalon, Mewtwo-EX / Mega Manectric-EX, Electivire, Magmotar, As a result, 2 votes were given to my deck and Flametalon/Mewtwo-EX. We did rock, paper, scissors, and I ended up losing. I couldn’t obtain the Karen’s Badge but I was satisfied since the other 2 players said that my deck was unique.

I would say that Karen’s Night Battle was a unique Battle for sure. It gave us some chances to look back at what kind of decks were played. The event was pretty casual, but it required us to think about unique decks if you want to obtain a badge. This way, it may power up player’s constructing ability.

Although Participants deck varied from popular decks played in tournament to copied deck to Worlds such as Shintaro Ito’s Audino deck as well as Kojiro Tsuruta ‘s Volcanion-EX deck, I was very fascinated with a deck I will be describing below.

Another unique deck I would like to introduce is Scizor-EX / Loppuny. I have to note that this deck was played by other participants, so I don’t have the complete list.
When I took a look at Scizor-EX, I had the image that it needs a Spirit Link and a Metal Energy must be attached before it evolves to Mega Scizor-EX. Otherwise, it is played in Gensesct-EX / Bronzong deck in order to attack from 2nd turn against Greninja decks.

On the other hand, I had the image that Lopunny was played to keep Item and Damage Counters- and don’t forget about it being played with Weavile. However, when these 2 Pokémon was combined, Scizor-EX with a Float Stone attached managed to give 110 damage by using “Gale Thrust” (If this Pokémon was on the Bench and became your Active Pokémon this turn, this attack does 60 more damage.) Sadly, the girl using this deck couldn’t win the game when I took a look at
her deck, but it was enough for me to give me a great impact. I don’t know if she will read this article, but thank you young lady for your inspiration. I would say that I was lacking this sort of inspiration since I have been thinking about decks to win in big tournaments pretty close to Regionals and Nationals.

Let me talk about myself again. I started playing PTCG from 2009 before Arceus Series in Platinum Series was released. I liked using evolution decks that I always had 2 chains of 2nd Stage Pokémon. In 2011, I was playing a deck with 4 chains of 2nd Stage deck with a few Basic Pokémon. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any Tropical Beach at that time. I personally don’t like playing really quick decks and I liked playing decks that stops my opponent’s move. This Karen’s Night Battle sure became a great chance for me to make many new type of decks including quick decks. I used to debate those quick decks without playing them so, now I was able to get a clear vision about these quick decks.

Investigating Karen’s Night Battle

As a Event Organizer in Japan, I would like to investigate Karen’s Night Battle.

What was the purpose?

Some may say that this was the chance to stop Night March with Karen, but I think that Pokémon thought that this event might change the meta. Also, with this exclusive promo given out, many players attended in card shop tournaments which would be a good thing for the shop itself.

The perfect number of games to play

This event is BO1 with 3 games. Let’s say you came up with a combo and you want to test it. Would you take it in big tournaments with BO3 and nine Rounds? I would say it is too risky. Since 3 games to play is a perfect number to test, I would say that this event is a perfect place to test decks. If you lose, you can probably see what you have to improve!

Event time

Usually, it would be difficult for players who work for a company to play PTCG during week days, but because of Karen’s Night Battle, some players had the chance to play on weekdays. With the chance to test the deck, those players had an improved deck to play with on the weekends.

Exclusive Promo (Karen) being distributed

As I have written previously, the Promo card, Karen, was distributed if you take part in the event. Every player who saw this card in the first sight would probably say that this would be a key card to “Night March” and “Vespiquen”. Also, if you win as the first place in the group, you would be rewarded an Absol Promo. However, this card may be an effective card but there won’t be 4 of
them in the deck like “Professor Sycamore“ or “VS Seeker”. On the other hand, the badge given out was also fascinated players. There were two types of Badge so some players were eager to make fascinating decks in order to complete their collection. Players who obtained many Asol(Promo) will be given a respect for winning many times, but players who won many badges would be respected for making fascinated decks.

I hope that players who will be organizing events could find something interesting from this event. As a conclusion, I would like to use Karen’s famous quote again:

"Strong Pokémon. Weak Pokémon. That is only the selfish perception of people. Truly skilled trainers should try to win with their favorites."

- Taiga Sakurai 


[+11] okko


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