Monday, October 22, 2012

Eye on Japan: Sneak Peak to Freeze Bolt and Plasma Gale

Is Landorus EX the western
Lands' Judgment as well?

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since my last Eye on Japan article, and as Regionals were just played and so were Battle Roads, I thought it would be a great time for another Eye on Japan. I’ve been discussing about both formats with Yuki, the BW- Boundaries Crossed and the BW- Plasma Gale format. However, in this article I’ll concentrate on the format, which is more important for everyone in the near future – the BW – Boundaries Crossed format.

The article will include lists that are the most interesting in my opinion. They all include one of the best cards that will be released in Boundaries Crossed – Landorus EX. Anyways, I’ve also decided that I’ll try to get a more in-depth with Japan by interviewing the local players (older and younger players) with the help of Yuki and I’m asking you, if there is anything you would like to ask from a Japanese players. Send me a question request on

- Facebook
- Twitter

Or put in the comments field.

Rant: I wrote this article before Ether was revealed not to be released in the new set, so I apologize for the Decklists that have the Ether/Pokédex engine. However, there are other things in this article as well and not just the deck lists so I hope you still enjoy.

There are lots of interesting things on the way, so without further chit-chat, let’s get in the business.

The Impact of Boundaries Crossed on the Japanese metagame

So, Landorus EX is obviously one of the best EXs in the new set. However, just how much will this card affect the metagame? When I first theorymoned Landorus EX, I was pretty sure that the whole metagame would turn up-side down, but if Japan is a good indicator – this won’t happen. In fact, when I asked just how much did Boundaries Crossed affect the metagame when it comes to the already popular decks, the answer was that almost no impact happened.

The current clear BDIF in Japan is Hydreigon/Darkrai EX. This was due the release of Skyla and Computer Search, which together form a very cool draw engine. I’ll not touch this engine in this article, but I’m sure I’ll be discussing it tons of times in my future entries. Anyways, one reason that might affect the small effect of Boundaries Crossed on the Japanese metagame is that no big tournament was played with BW-BC format. The rotation will happen in Japan after December and after that will also become the most important tournaments (Worlds Qualifiers etc.), so players in Japan might not just been so interested in developing Landorus EX based decks. This time, I believe that the Japanese metagame will not be a good indicator of the City Championships metagame.

If you have read my SixPrizes Underground article “Welcome to the new format”, you’ll notice that there is one same deck as in the entry, but the difference here is that in this entry all the lists are card by card from Japan and have no modifications by me. I think that’s the point of Eye on Japan overall. I also hope that everyone is familiar with the cards from Boundaries Crossed, because I won’t be providing translations of BC cards, I’ll be discussing in this entry.

Anyways, let’s get to the three different Landorus EX variants that were played in Japan!.

Landorus EX/Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Terrakion


3x Landorus EX
3x Darkrai EX
1x Mewtwo EX
1x Terrakion(EPO)


4x Professor Juniper
2x Bianca
2x N
3x Ultra Ball
1x Computer Search
4x Pokemon Catcher
4x Ether
4x Dark Patch
4x Pokédex
4x Bicycle
4x Energy Switch
1x Tool Scrapper


9x Darkness Energy
6x Fighting Energy


I’ll start with the deck I came up with myself as well and, which I already analyzed in my UG article. However, my own list of this deck is very different compared to this deck, so it’s really interesting to look at this list, because the deck’s draw and energy acceleration engine is something we have never seen before.

The concept of this deck is pretty simple: just put 3 of the format’s best EXs in the same deck and you have a very good deck. Then add the best counter-Pokémon in the format (Terrakion) and your deck will be even better. With the new energy acceleration engine, I’ll introduce in this entry makes playing all these EXs in the same deck possible.

Probably the most controversial thing in this deck is the very low number of draw cards. The deck only has 8 draw supporters and 4 Bicycle. However, Bicycle is a bit controversial in my opinion, because the deck runs 15 energy cards. In my experience, you’ll get stuck with Bicycle too many times. This deck also only runs 3 Ultra Balls and 1 Computer Search, so you don’t really discard that many cards.

When it comes to the energy acceleration, this deck has the new “normal” energy acceleration engine – Pokedex/Ether/Dark Patch combined with Energy Switch. I believe that Pokedex is the only way to make Ether playable, because Lunatone has a retreat of 3 and you can’t play many of them on your bench. Lunatone only looks at the top2 cards while Pokedex looks at top5 cards. Pokedex not only combos with Ether, but it also helps you with consistency, because it lets you arrange just the cards you want in the order you want them.

If you’re thinking about the strategy of this deck, it really doesn’t have any complexity in it. You want to open with Landorus EX against everything, except something with Fighting resistance. The early pressure with Hammerheard combined with the heavy damage by Darkrai EX, Mewtwo EX and Terrakio is just too good. It’s pretty cool how well Landorus EX and Darkrai EX work together, because they both snipe 30 damage to the benched Pokémon. Especially Eelektrik variants will be crippled by the early pressure and continuous bench damage that this deck is able to inflict all the time.  

Landorus EX/Tornadus EX/Bouffalant/Mewtwo EX/Lunatone


3x Tornadus EX
2x Landorus EX
2x Bouffalant(Dragons Exalted)
1x Mewtwo EX
2x Lunatone
1x Ditto


4x Professor Juniper
3x Bianca
1x N
2x Ultra Ball
3x Bicycle
1x Computer Search
4x Pokémon Catcher
4x Ether
4x Eviolite
4x Pokédex
3x Switch
1x Max Potion
1x Super Rod


10x Fighting Energy
4x Double Colorless Energy


This deck is the another coming of Landorus EX. If you don’t want to combine it with Darkrai EX, you can combine it with the other great basic attackers in the format. This deck proves how well Landorus EX really works with different Pokémon. This deck is a bit more straightforward and easier to use due it’s “monotype” since Mewtwo EX, Bouffalant and Landorus EX all work with Fighting Energy.

As you can see, the draw engine has been built very similarly to the Darkrai EX/Landorus EX deck. However, this time the amounts of Ultra Balls has been dropped to 2! Naturally the deck also has Computer Search.

Since the deck doesn’t run Dark Patches, there is space for a whopping Eviolite. This deck is very close to the Bouffalant/Terrakion EX/Mewtwo EX, which was very successful in the Japan’s World’s Qualifiers.

There is one thing, which really caught attention in this deck. The deck runs 3 Tornadus EXs, but it doesn’t include ANY Stadiums. What’s up with this? The reason for this is the Ether energy acceleration. Ether plays a very big role here, because the deck not only plays 4 Pokédexs, but also 2 Lunatones. The player really wanted to get the energy from Ether EVERY single time.

The deck is all about straightforwardness and tanking. 4 Eviolites combined to big HP EXs with the right resistances and even Max Potions is core of this strategy. I’m very excited to see if this concept can work well. However, I must say that I would like to add at least 1-2 Stadiums to the deck. It’s true that there really isn’t a stadium that works well in this deck and playing Skyarrow Bridge will probably help you more than your opponent, but you can always play something like Pokémon Center or Battle City.

Landorus EX/Empoleon


4x Piplup
2x Prinplup
4x Empoleon
2x Landorus EX
2x Emolga
1x Ditto
1x Mew EX


4x Professor Juniper
4x N
1x Bianca
2x Skyla
4x Level Ball
2x Pokémon Communication
1x Bicycle
4x Pokemon Catcher
4x Rare Candy
3x Switch
1x Max potion
1x Gold Potion
1x Super Rod
1x Revive
1x Tool Scrapper


3x Water Energy
3x Fighting Energy
4x Blend Energy WLFM


This deck was played by Yuki in one of the local tournaments. This is once again a very different concept compared to any other deck e.g. in the current format. I’ll go the card types through one-by-one, because they are pretty interesting.


Obviously the deck’s main attacker and support Pokémon is Empoleon. Empoleon has been around for a few months new, so there really isn’t anything new in the Empolein lines of this deck. What I especially love in this deck is the use of Ditto here. Ditto is my favorite card of the new set and when you combine it with my favorite card of the format – Mew EX. Mew EX itself is able to use any attacks of Pokémon in play and with Ditto you can play the different attackers on the bench even if your bench is full.

Landorus EX is of course added to the deck, because Empoleon is weak to Lighting. As we know, Terrakion was first combined with Empoleon, because of Empoleon’s weakness. However, know we have the most broken Fighting Pokémon ever – Landorus EX – so it’s obviously combined with Empoleon. Landorus EX itself gives so much difficulty for Eelektrik decks that Landorus EX turns the normal Empoleon vs. Eelektrik match-up completely around.


Juniper and N are still the best draw cards in the format, so there are 4 of both. Skyla is a very interesting card and I think it works very well in Empoleon, which draws cards from the deck even without Supporters. I think that even playing 3-4 Skylas could be reasonable here, because you’ll get to draw cards with Empoleon and search the most important cards with Skylas.

There are two 1-copies of cards that need attention. First, Gold Potion. Not Computer Search as the ACE Spec, which is very interesting. Computer Search isn’t a must card in this deck, because Empoleon has a built-in draw to it. However, Gold Potion works better than well in this deck, because Landorus EX really makes it difficult for your opponent if you’re able to heal it with Gold Potion. The same goes with Empoleon.

The other card is the one copy of Bicycle, which I think is very interesting (even though it won't be released just yet). I think the point in Bicycle is to leave it into your hand, until you NEED to play it. I believe that’s the best way to use Bicycle in a deck, because as a pure raw Bicycle doesn’t work as well. However, as a “tech” draw it works better than well and I believe we’ll be seeing 1-copies of Bicycle A LOT in the tournament winning decks. At least I will start using it!


Energy lines in this deck are pretty normal. There is the same number of energy for both – Landorus EX and Empoleon. Even though the deck runs less Landorus EX than Empoleon, you want to have the same amount of energy for both of them, because you need to attack in T1 with Landorus EX, while you have a few turns to get the energy on Empoleon.

A Sneak Peak to Plasma Gale

As Plasma Gale was only just released in Japan, there isn’t real metagame yet. Also, the possible rotation will happen in December alongside with with new tournament types, so there really is no point of creating new decks for the new format. However, there are two cards has caught a lot more attention than the other cards. Another of these cards is Lugia EX, which is obviously a very good card and isn’t a real surprise to be hyped. If you aren’t familiar with Lugia EX, here is the translation for it. (via.

Lugia-EX – Colorless – HP180
Basic Pokemon (Team Plasma)

Ability: Overflow
For each of your opponent’s Pokemon that is Knocked Out by damage from Lugia-EX’s attacks, take 1 more Prize card.

[C][C][C][C] Plasma Gale: 120 damage. Discard 1 Plasma Energy attached to this Pokemon or this attack does nothing.

When Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.
Weakness: Lightning (x2)
Resistance: Fighting (-20)
Retreat: 2

However, the other card that has gotten a lot of hype was a big surprise for me. The other card is Victini EX. Yes, Victini EX. At least I was very surprised by it, because I needed to double-check what it did! I remember the first I saw it, I didn’t like it, but the more I look at it, the more I become to like it.

Here is the translation for it if you didn’t yet know what it did (like I didn’t). (via

Victini-EX – Fire – HP110
Basic Pokemon

[R] Energy Turbo: Search your deck for two Basic Energy cards and attach them to your Benched Pokemon in any way you like. Shuffle your deck afterwards.

[R][C][C] Rising Burn: 50+ damage. If the Defending Pokemon is a Pokemon-EX, this attack does 50 more damage.

Weakness: Water (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1

Let me hear from you!

BW-BC will be the official format in just a few weeks and then Cities will start. I hope this article gave you some insights about how to properly use Landorus EX even though Ether wasn't released yet. I think Landorus EX is still viable, while it won't be as good as it would have been with Ether. If you are thinking about pre-ordering Landorus EXs with 40 dollars, don't do it.

As said earlier, I hope I’ll get help from you to ask the right questions from Japan. What do YOU want to know. Are these kinds of deck entries what you wish to see, or would you like to see more of general info about Japan? I’ll try to modify these entries based on your wishes so be sure to let your opinion hear! I'll also quickly try to get another Eye on Japan article released based on your wishes, since the BC was a very bad set thanks to the lack of the good cards.

Also, remember to let me know what you would like to ask from a Japanese players. Any kind of questions are welcome.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to ask, comment on anything! I’ll answer anything.


  1. Hey Esa. I always love the Eye on Japan articles. Nice to see what they've come up with! One thing I've yet to understand is the point of Ditto though. I just haven't gotten much analysis on it, and I can't find justification to put even one in a deck. Why would you use Ditto in a deck without Stage 2s? Maybe you can even write out a small article solely on Ditto! You seem to be very fond of the card! Thanks for the articles!

  2. Anonymous: Yeah, I have gotten a lot of questions about Ditto and I would love to write an article about it, so I'm pretty sure I'll write it in the next few weeks. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Which part of Victini EX do you like so much? It seems like a very versatile card, with the potential for big energy acceleration on the first turn, a “Gold Breaker“ like attack, and the potential for a dedicated turn 1 deck with Skyla to find that Ace Spec tool. (I don‘t really think Victini EX donk will become a thing, but it‘s a cool idea.) Accelerating into a turn two Darkrai or Tornadus EX looks cool too.

    All in all, there are enough reasons to like it (I personally think the acceleration is the best part), but I would like to hear more explanation on your thoughts about it.

  4. Hey Esa
    Do you think Ray-eeles will stay a top tier deck when BC is out?

  5. No ether, no bicycle, no virbank gym, no escape rope in the coming release and TPCI has thrown a wrench to most deck plans and the masses are in an uproar!

    Most likely we may have a very different meta compared to Japan during cities.

  6. so you use terrakion NVI or EPO? list says you use EPO terrakion. unfortunately some cards are missing in BC (like ether, bicycle?).

  7. Could you write something of the new Hydreigon deck with skylas etc.

  8. I would like to know what kind of Darkrai/Hydreigon is used in their current format. I guess they don't use Dark Deinos, since Landorus can easily OHKO 3 of them in T2.

  9. I still can't believe TPCi took out those trainers from the set. There's no reason for me to buy a box if the trainers (the set's spotlight, IMO) are going to be replaced with lame reprints. I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again with the Plasma set.

  10. Esa, do you feel as though Keldeo is viable or do you think it will fall flat on its face? I've heard from a few different people its a very good deck, while others are telling me its complete butt. From my personal testing, I've had great success with the deck personally, only having issues late game, but still had enough overall aggression to finish the job, yet people are telling me it fizzles too quickly. I don't agree, and I've been looking forward to playing it for months.

    However, judging by your statements on the current meta in Hydreigon, it seems this water pony hasn't made a splash. Thoughts?

  11. Anonymous1: Probably I like it the most with Lugia EX. With Colress Machine and Victini EX, you have a T2 Lugia EX taking prize cards, which can end the game in just 3-4 turns. Of course it opens up chances for cards like Gallade as well. It can also make Fire decks viable at last since it will work the best in Fire decks.

    josh graham: Definitely. Landorus EX will cause some donks, but the right kind of Rayquaza/Eels builds will be able to stand the early aggression of Landorus EX. However, you are never able to avoid all the donks.

    Anonymous2: Indeed. The Cities metagame won't probably differ a lot from the Battle Roads format, which will be a HUGE shame.

    Anonymous3: It's the EPO Terrakion just as stated. And yeah, as I noted in the beginning of the article, I wrote it before it was released that no really good trainer cards will be in the new set. So mad about it.

    Anomymous4 / João Motrena: I'll probably do a whole article based on the new trainer engine, which will fit the Hydreigon/Darkrai. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Youngster: Yup, just ugly.

    Naki: Keldeo is viable, but it isn't NEARLY as viable as it would have been if Ether was around. It's good to remember that most of the Keldeo EXs playability comes from its type. And since Landorus EX (which is a Water weak Pokémon) won't be played as much as it was expected to be played, Keldeo will lose a big part of its playability as well. Is Keldeo EX unplayable? No. But I'm pretty sure it won't be a tier1 deck until Ether will be released and Water weak decks will be more popular.

  12. In future i'd like to hear about the oppinions of japanese players on matters such as us not getting the trainers, and other ideas about the game in general, such as their structure of releasing sets over there vs ours. Also, how will tournaments such as worlds be affected? will Japanese players still be able to use ether?

  13. Hey Esa, I am wondering if in Japan, Eelektrik/Rayquaza or Zekrom/Mewtwo/Eelektrik is still played even though Landorus EX has been released. Also, what tier would it be in Japan? Eelektrik had the most combined success at Battle Roads and Regionals, so i would like to know if it has been affected in Japan due to the release of Landorus EX.
    Thank you.

  14. I realised the the nee set does not give rayeel deck any new possibilty to explore, it would seem that darkrai deck are gaining more and more cards assisting it...

  15. Esa I thought we had a small ''disagreement/argument'' if Bicycle would be good or not and you used it in the first decklist at 4x, 3x in Landorus/Bouffalant/Lunatone/Tornadus/Mewtwo/ and even 1x in Empoleon/Landorus. Granted you find it a bit controversial as you said, but it is nonetheless a good card.

    ''Jos väittää Bicyclea hyväksi, en tajua miksi pelaa tätä peliä.'' :pp

    Anyways I'm very interested in seeing your Skyla/Comp search engine article. This was a great article as well, but slightly hindered by the fact that Ether and Bicycle were not released.

  16. Anonymous1: They are still played in Japan, and since Landorus EX didn't get the Ether, it isn't nearly as good as it was in Japan after Freeze Bolt. So, yes, Eelektrik will still be a playable tier1 even though Landorus EX is released. When Ether is released, it's another story, but that's 4 months away.

    Madnessloid: Yup, Darkrai EX will still be too awesome.

    Freze: As I said in the article, these aren't my lists. That's the whole point of Eye on Japan - looking at the lists directly from Japan - without my modifications. When Bicycle is released, in deck where it will be played, it's probably only copy-of-one. Japanese decks have always been weird in the western plaers' opinion, but that's what makes them so interesting in the first place. Don't expect these decks look like this in the western metagame. So yeah, Japanese players playing any card, doesn't make the card any better.

  17. Anyways Esa, Jon here, do check your email as i've sent you a long email about my experience and thoughts from my country's pre release last weekend. Think it might be of some use esp for rogues :D


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