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Eye on Japan

Taking a look at a few decks from Japanese Championships

Madoka is back with 9 japanse decks and metagame predictions! Check it out!

03/29/2017 by Eye on Japan

Hello again readers! This is Madoka Uehara. It was about 6 months ago that I wrote an article, but now I’m back again to report on a tournament result. I was planning to report my tournament result as well but since I don’t think I can write everything on time, I will split the article: This time, I will be talking about the whole system of Japanese tournaments since we had many changes again this year, my meta prediction for the tournament, and introducing some decks from Japan. I hope you enjoy!

After the release of Sun and Moon set in December, we had many changes to the tournament. Our first tournament was called “Welcome Festa”, which had been an official tournament--but this tournament was just for fun. However, it was a brand new type of tournament which was a collaboration of TCG and VGC: a TCG player and a VGC player get in pairs and try to win as many times as they could during the qualifying round. Then, the top 4 players with the most number of wins can make it to the cut, and the final round was held as a tournament. The winner(s) were awarded with a trophy and a special Promo card, which was a special print of Rare Candy.

Now things turned out differently for tournament players from February this year since a brand new system called “Championship Points” are now introduced in Japan. 

“So, what are Championship Points?”

Championship Points would be given out to players who scored well in the tournament. The points given out to players differs in tournaments since the capacity of the room differs time to time. These are the points given out in Osaka (held on 17th&18th of February), Miyagi (held on 1st and 2nd of April), Aichi (held on 5th of May), Chiba (held on 20th & 21st of May), Osaka (held on 28th of May) and Okayama (held on May 14th).

Osaka: 6points to 1st place, 5 points to 2nd place, 4 points to 3rd & 4th place, 3 points to 5th-8th place, 2 points to 9th-16th place and 1 point to 17th-32nd place.

Miyagi: 6 points to 1st lace, 5 points to 2nd place, 4 points to 3rd&4th place, 3 points to 5th-8th place, 2 points to 9th-16th place. 

Aichi, Chiba, and Osaka: 5 points to 21 Match Points, 4 points to 19 Match Points, 3 points to 18 match points, 2 points to 17 Match Points, 1 point to 16 Match Points.

Okayama: 5 Points to 21 Match Points, 4 points to 19 Match Points, 3 points to 18 Match Points, 2 points to 17 Match Points, 1 point to 16 Match point.

These Championship oints would be very important to those who are eager to play in Japan Nationals--3 points are required to play in Nationals. Also, if you succeed to gaining 5 points, then you would be seeded in Nationals.

(Note: the Miyagi tournament would be a little different from the others since 3players would be playing as a team, so the points would be given out depending on the team result.)

The tournament you can earn these Champion Ship Points would be called “Champion League 2017”. Pokemon Japan has finally decided that they would try to have official tournaments throughout the year, since we only have 2 big official tournaments in a year. Another definitive change for us Japanese was that pre-registering would be required and a sheet with a Deck List written must be handed in before playing in the tournament. (But only for Masters; Juniors and Seniors don’t need to pre-register before the tournament unless they were playing in Open Division. ”Open Division” at this point means “unlimited division”, so this league would be a mixture of Junior, Senior and Master.) Also, now we would have BO3 in each games! I guess we have finally got the same tournament rules as other countries, which we have long desired, so we were pretty happy with the changes--Despite the fact that now we have doubts about whether players can take part in the tournament when they don't pre-register.

Meta Predictions

I guess that was enough explanation of Champion League, so now I would like to carry on to the next topic. The format for this tournament was XY on, so we were able to use every single XY cards, 2 sets from Sun & Moon set. Luckily, we had 2 big tournaments Battle X Road (unofficial) and Welcome Festa before the tournament, so it was easier to make Meta Predictions. This was my prediction of the meta:

 
Tier 1:

Mega Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor 

Volcanion-EX 

Decidueye-GX / Seismitoad-EX


Tier 2:

Mega Rayquaza-EX / Shaymin-EX

Drampa-GX/ Garbodor (Alolan Muk) /Sudowoodo

Vespiqueen / Eevee(s)


Tier 3:

Umbreon-GX / Zoroark

 

As I have previously mentioned, this deck won 1st place in Welcome Festa, while it also won 1st place in Battle X Road. (Battle X Road was an unofficial tournament held in Japan). These results told many players how good this deck can be. One of the powerful decks in this format was Rayquaza-EX / Shamin-EX and Volcanion-EX, but the appearance of Mega Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor made players stop using them. This deck contains only 2 Parallel City, but some players play 3. Playing this stadium can easily stop Rayquaza-EX decks since the player playing it needs to pick up the discarded Pokemon from the discard pile, play Sky field, and play number of Pokemon in order to KO Mewtwo-EX while Ability may be unable to use. Also, it wasn’t easy for Volcanion-EX to win since it won’t be able to KO it when ability is unable to use. Mewtwo-EX can easily take Volcanion-EX down with Psychic Infinity. This power told players that they have to be sure that they can win against Mega Mewtwo-EX / Garbodor when constructing a new deck.

 
Tier 2: Volcanion-EX (2nd place in Champion League Osaka in Junior Division)

+ 1 Choice Band (The Pokemon this card is attached to does 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon-EX or Active Pokemon-GX.)

+ 1 Otorico

(Ability: Once during your turn when you play this pokemon from your hand. You may search your deck for 2 Energy Cards)

I would say that Kojiro Tsuruta, who ranked at 10th place at Worlds 2016, made a big boom of Volacanion-EX Decks. He used a very stable deck at Worlds, and after the leak of his Volcanion Deck in World, I remember many players in Japan were eager to play it.

Actually, a Volcanion-EX Deck won 1st place as well in Juniors, but I quoted 2nd place since there are 2 significant cards from this deck.

1.Oricorio (Psychic Type, Ability: You may draw 2 Energy Cards from your Deck when this pokemon was played as benched Pokemon from your hand.)

This card was released after the Sun & Moon Set. If you have 2 Volcanion-EX and an Ultra Ball, you may now easily bring 2 Fire Energy from your deck and add another 60 damage to your Fire Pokemon’s Attack. Since this Pokemon’s HP is 90, you may also easily play it by either Level Ball or Nest Ball. 


2. Choice Band ( 30 damage is added when you hit damage to either Pokemon-EX or Pokemon-GX.)

Another card released after the Sun & Moon set, this text surprised many Japanese Players since it affects both Pokemon-EX and Pokemon-GX. 

Unlike Fighting Fury Belt, this card may be attached to any Pokemon. It is pretty easy to OHKO non-Pokemon-EX or non-Pokemon-GX when using Volcanion or Volcanion-EX since their HP is usually less than 150. However when it gets to Pokemon-EX or Pokemon-GX, its’ minimum HP may be 170, (110 for Shaymin-EX) up to 240 in current meta. (I would say that the maximum HP would be 220 since Decidueye-GX is weak against Fire.) A pump of 30 damage means that we can cover 1 shot of Volcanion-EX’s Steam Up which would sure be handy.

I’ve seen a few other decks that contained Sudowoodo, but both of the players did not run 1. I will be introducing more about Sudowoodo in the latter part of the article.

Decidueye-GX / Seismitoad-EX (Champion’s League Osaka, Top16 Masters Division)

+1 Choice band

(The Pokemon this card is attached to does 30 more damage to your opponent’s Active Pokemon-EX or Active Pokemon-GX.)

I’m pretty sure that even though it’s a brand new deck after the release of Sun & Moon, I think that there isn’t much to explain about. Basically you use Quaking Punch while you set Decidueye-GX as fast as you can. It is debatable whether you run a Choice Band or Fighting Fury Belt, but I would say most people would rather run Choice Band since this card could be both attached to Decidueye-GX and Seismitoad-EX. I would say that this deck is a pretty stressful deck. 

Tier 2:

Mega Rayquaza-EX / Shaymin-EX (Champion’s League Osaka 1st place, Masters Division)

+1 Sudowoodo

The appearance of Sudowoodo made players hesitant to play Mega-Rayquaza-EX / Shaymin-EX decks. Sudowoodo has an ability to make your opponent play only 4 Bench Pokemon when it is in play. (Note that the player playing Sudowoodo may play 5.) This is very bad news for Emerald Break fans because they can only play 4 Benched Pokemon, which means that the maximum damage would be 120 damage, so they can’t play many Shaymin-EX because you also have to set up another Mega Rayquaza-EX at least. Your opponent, on the other hand, may play up to 8 benched Pokemon if you or your opponent plays Sky Field. 

Although many players insisted that Mega Rayquaza-EX would be gone due to the appearance of Sudowoodo, some thought that there wasn’t much point if nobody actually played it. We didn’t see many of them being played right after the release, but we ended up seeing some of them in the tournament. I actually didn’t have the idea to play Sudowoodo in a Mega Rayquaza-EX deck, but I guess it’s a good idea to play it since your Opponent won’t be able to play 8 Bench Pokemon if you have Sudowoodo on your bench.


Yveltal / Drampa-GX/ Garbodor (Alolan Muk) /Sudowoodo (Champion’s League Osaka, Masters Division, Top8)

+ 1 Sudowoodo

+ 3 Altar of Full Moon (Each defending pokemon's retreat cost will be reduced by 2 If psychic or darkness energy is attached)

+ 2 Drampa-GX

I suspect that this deck was the most interesting deck throughout the whole article.

The main attackers in this deck are Yveltal-EX and Drampa-GX. With the acceleration of Max Elixir, Yveltal can hit 90+ damage with Cyclone Y, while it can switch Energy to its next attacker. A brand new Stadium called “Altar of Full Moon” (I would call it) can reduce 2 retreat cost if either Psychic or Dark Energy is attached to the Defending Pokemon, which means that either Yveltal or Yveltal-EX can easily retreat if a Dark Energy is attached. What happens if you can’t OHKO Yveltal or Yveltal-EX? Then a Drampa-GX with 3 Energy would be switched out to hit 150 damage with its “Frenzy!"

(Note: Drampa-GX has 3 attacks in total, with 1 GX attack. Its GX attack can be used with 1 Colorless Energy, the player being able to shuffle all of his or her hand in to the deck and draw 10 cards. Its other usual moves are “Righteous Edge” ([C] discard a special energy card attached to your opponent’s Defending Pokemon, 30), and “Frenzy” ([C] [C] [C], 80+ This attack does 70 more damage if you have a benched Pokemon with damage counters on it.) ) You also need to watch out for Ninja Boy since a damaged pokemon can suddenly be swapped to a Tauros-GX! 

This deck also plays Sudowoodo. You may also notice that this deck can run either with Alolan Muk or Garbodor since this deck runs Floatstone, but there aren’t so many Evolved Pokemon with Ability you would like to stop, so I would say Muk would be much handy for this Deck.

Yveltal-EX / Tauros-GX / Alolan Muk (Welcome Festa 3rd place)

 + 1 Rayquaza


I would predict that this deck was the first form of the Yveltal-EX/ Drampa-GX / Alolan Muk deck, and basically played in the same way. Because we had a special tournament rules in tournaments held in card shops during January (you had to play at least 8 cards from Sun & Moon sets), few of the cards listed above may be played to meet the rules. 

+ 1 Choice Band

Espeon-GX was played by a number of players since it’s a great meta call against Mega Mewtwo-EX. Not only that, its damage can be doubled by weakness, but 100% confusion would be harmful to Mega Mewtwo-EX since it needs to retreat to snap out of confusion. Since Mega Mewtwo-EX Decks don’t run Mystery Energy, Mega Mewtwo-EX would need to pay the cost in order to retreat or otherwise flip a coin whether it can attack or not. Vespiqueen is effective against Seismitoad-EX, Flareon to watch out for Decidueye-GX, Jolteon for Mega Rayquaza-EX and Drampa-GX, and Vaporeon for Volcanion-EX.

Tier 3:

+ 2 Choice Band

This Deck reminds me of Darkrai-EX / Absol from the BW era, however with multi-colors. Originally, Umbreon-GX / Zoroark did not have a good match up against Seismitoad-EX / Decidueye-GX. Therefore, this deck runs 2 Flareon to have a better match up against Decidueye-GX. Also, another surprising card would be the 2 Rough Seas. Because both Zoroark and Umbreon-GX are Stage 1 Pokemon, they both could be a Water type when Vaporeon’s Ability is in effect, which means that both Pokemon may be cured by Rough Seas. This makes it harder for Seismitoad-EX / Decidueye-GX to KO Pokemon so I would say that this card was played to take care of it. 

So these were my meta predictions and lists that got good results. I will be talking more about decks that surprised me through the tournament and my tournament report in the next article. Hope to see you soon!

Madoka

[+13] okko


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