Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Eye on Japan: Worlds' Qualifiers 2013 results and analysis



Hello everyone!

It was fun to see how the Gothitelle/Accelgor article started great discussions all over the web (and
Genesect EX is nothing without the support
cast

especially on my blog), but as Gothitelle/Accelgor has already established itself as a truly competitive deck (it even did well in the first weekend of the U.S. Battle Roads!) there really is no reason anymore to debate whether it’s competitive deck or not. It sure is.

Today, I’m discussing – as the title suggests – a lot easier and less controversial topic - Japan World Championships Qualifiers of this year. They all have finally been played and now it’s time to break down the results. RestlessBob has already made a huge work when combining the results of Worlds Qualifier tournaments in Japan on the Pokegym with the help of Papa Seedot’s blog, which is probably the most known Japanese blog there is and I suggest you check it out if you for some reason haven’t checked it out before.

Time sure flies. It feels like it was yesterday when I did Eye on Japan: Worlds’ Qualifier-entry a year ago (which is one of the most popular articles ever in my blog) and now I'm already on the second one!

First, I’m going to break down all the results from the 4 Qualifiers (excluding the one played in the Palace Format) and after that I’m going to look at some of the speculated and real winning decklists of the most common decks and best decks in the tournaments as well as revealing for example how some of the famous Japanese players did in the tournament series.


 
Note: All the tournaments discussed in this article were played in a Black & White – Megalo Cannon format, so some of the cards played there are not available in the west until after World Championships . And all the translations are provided via Pokebeach.com or Bulbapedia.

The tournament Locations and dates


May 4, 2013 - Fukuoka
May 12, 2013 - Nagoya
May 18 and 19, 2013 – Chiba (18th the Palace format, which will not be included in the analysis of this entry)
May 26, 2013 - Osaka



The tournaments are played in two age groups as you very well know. The age groups are as follows:

A-League: Born 2002 and later
B-League: Born 2001 and before

The way of getting an invite from Japan is very rough. Only the winners of the tournaments get a invite and a trip to Worlds, when rest of players don’t even get an invite. As there are already 2 invites for the Japanese Junior players to World Championships from the previous World Championships, it seems that there are 6 Japanese Juniors (unless one or more of the Juniors aged up to the Senior division) going to Worlds for sure, whereas there are only 4 Masters. Even players like Yuta Komatsuda and Tsuguyoshi Yamato missed the invite and trip and they will have to use the Grinder to get to Worlds Championships just like Japanese players often do. Pretty tough to be a Japanese player, huh?


Week 1

A-League

1. Team Plasma w/ Keldeo EX
2. Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Moltres /Kecleon
3. Team Plasma w/ Cobalion EX
4. Team Plasma w/ Mewtwo EX and Zekrom


B-League
1. Virizion EX /Genesect EX
2. Hydreigon /Darkrai EX /Virizion EX/Absol
3. Plasma Klinklang w/ Keldeo EX
4. Team Plasma

Top 8
Team Plasma w/ Keldeo EX
Team Plasma
Weavile/Exeggcute
Blastoise /Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX (PLS)


First weekend analysis

First weekend pretty much showed the way for the following weeks. B-league was won with Virizion EX/Genesect EX that would become very popular in the upcoming weeks and take a title and two in the upcoming weeks. Due to its superior performance, it’s one of the decks; I’ll take a quick glimpse on. However, there is also something else worth noting in the results.

Team Plasma is the dominant force in the A-league and you don’t have to guess two times after these results what will the Japanese Juniors play in the World Championships – it’s Plasma all the way. So, if you happen to be a Pokédad of the Worlds Junior competitor or happen to know some Junior playing the Worlds, make sure he won’t have a bad match-up against Plasma, it will probably be the most popular deck in the Juniors age division.

Team Plasma had also the most top8 spots in the B-league even though it didn’t win the whole thing. I’m not surprised by the popularity of Team Plasma decks in the B-league, because as you know when I visited Japan, all I faced was Team Plasma decks! What I think IS surprising in the results is the top8 spot of Weavile/Exeggcute. The deck is insanely difficult to make into tier1 contender, but someone obviously succeeded in it. I would very much love to see his/her list.

Now, let’s take a look at the results of the rest of the weekends.




Week 2


A-League
1. Team Plasma /w Keldeo EX and Absol
2. Team Plasma /w Keldeo EX
3. Team Plasma /w Keldeo EX
4. Team Plasma /w Keldeo EX

B-League
1. Suicune/Terrakion (NVI)
2. Team Plasma /w Keldeo EX
3. RayEels/Victini/Zebstrika (NXD)/Mr. Mime
4. Darkrai EX/Absol

Top 8

Quad Snorlax
Team Plasma 
Virizion EX/Genesect EX
Darkrai EX /Absol

Week 3

A-League

1. Trubbish (PLS 65)/
Sigilyph (Megalo Cannon)/ Sawk (Megalo Cannon) /Masqurain
2. Team Plasma w/ Keldeo EX and Cobalion
3. Team Plasma
4. Team Plasma w/ Keldeo EX and Absol


B-League
1. Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Driflbim (DRX)/Drifblim (Megalo Cannon) /Mr. Mime
2. Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX /Victini (NVI 15)
3. Darkrai EX /Absol
4. Gothitelle/Accelgor

Top 8
Blastoise/Keldeo EX /Black Kyurem EX (PLS)
Virizion EX/Genesect EX/Drifblim
Hydreigon/Darkrai EX/Mr. Mime(PLF)/Virizion EX
Garbodor /Terrakion (NVI)/Mewtwo EX /Virizion EX


Week 4


A-League
1. Plasma Klinklang


B-League

1. Virizion/Virizion EX/ Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant
2. Thundurus EX /Deoxys EX/Kyurem
3. Virizion EX /Genesect EX/Drifiblim
4. Darkrai EX/Absol/Keldeo EX

Top 8
Darkrai EX/Mewtwo EX/Absol
Virizion EX/ Genesect EX
Darkrai EX / Absol
Landorus EX/Sawk /Mewtwo EX /Bouffalant



Metagame development analysis and interesting facts



When it comes to A-league, Plasma reigned in all of the tournaments. There was always some random deck that surprised the Plasma dominance (like the cool Trubbish/Sigilyph), but in the end, it’s pretty obvious, which deck is the most suitable for younger players in Japanese players’ opinion. All of the weeks pretty much just made the argument I said earlier even more valid – all the Juniors should heavily playtest especially against Plasma if attending Nationals / Worlds.

What I like about all the weeks in B-league is that the results are very different. Suicune/Terrakion was a very hard counter against the dominating EX-decks of the format and that’s why it’s the other deck I’ll take a quick look at in this entry.

Soon after Suicune/Terrakion won the tournament, Genesect EX decks were prepared against them and teched some non-EX attackers to their decks. This brought immediate results as Virizion EX/Genesect EX rose to the top spot of the week 3’s tournament. The deck kept strong even though morphed a little for the week 4 as Virizion EX/Mewtwo EX/Bouffalant/Virizion won the tournament. In the end, no matter how we look at these results – Virizion EX will be one of the best cards in the current format. And in the end it’s no surprise, it can energy accelerate your attackers and it gets you rid of Special Conditions thus countering very popular things like Hypnotoxic Laser and Accelgor.

Also, the questions which often pops up when talking about Worlds’ qualifiers is did the most legendary Pokémon TCG player  Tsuguyoshi Yamato get in to Worlds Championships via these tournaments? No he didn’t! Once again he was just two games away from getting the invite and travel award to Worlds as he placed third in the week 3’s tournament with Absol/Darkrai EX. Also, Amu-san who helped me around in the Japanese shop tournament got 2nd in the very same tournament with
Blastoise/Keldeo EX/Black Kyurem EX /Victini (NVI 15)! It must have been one heck of a tournament. According to my information Yuta Komatsuda didn’t get the invite either and as he was “only” in top8 in the Worlds last year, we’ll probably see both Yamato and Komatsuda trying to Grind themselves into Worlds once again. 

Next, let’s take a look at the winning decklist of the interesting Suicune/Terrakion rogue.




The winning Suicune/Terrakion decklist


Pokemon:

4x Suicune(Blastoise + Kyurem EX Combo Deck)
3x Terrakion(NVI)
=7


Trainer:

4x Professor Juniper
4x N
4x Skyla
2x Bianca
4x Pokemon Catcher
4x Switch
4x Silver Mirror
4x Eviolite
2x Ultra Ball
2x Energy Search
1x Revive
1x Tool Scrapper
1x Dowsing Machine
2x Tropical Beach
=39
Energy:

5x Water Energy
5x Fighting Energy
4x Double Colorless Energy
=14


Suicune – Water – HP100
Basic Pokemon

Ability: Safeguard
Prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to this Pokemon by Pokemon-EX.

[W][C][C] Aurora Beam: 70 damage.

Weakness: Grass (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 2


Silver Mirror – Trainer
Item

Pokemon Tool: Attach a Pokemon Tool to 1 of your Pokemon that doesn’t already have a Pokemon Tool attached to it.

If the Pokemon this Tool is attached to is not a Pokemon-EX, it is unaffected by damage and effects from Team Plasma Pokemon.

You may play as many Item cards as you like during your turn (before your attack).


Strategy


In short, this deck is a combination of Quad Terrakion and Quad Sigilyph on steroids. The deck plays Suicune and Terrakion, because Suicune prevents all the attacks from EX-Pokémon while Terrakion is just the best non-EX attacker there is. When you combine these two with Silver mirror, which gives the Pokémon a “Plasma Safeguard” you have an autowin against all the Plasma decks that aren’t prepared against them.

The magic in this deck is very similar to Quad Terrakion and Quad Sigilyph, it counters directly to the core of the metagame and getting 6 prizes against it is a complete pain in the butt. Even though G-Booster Genesect EX is able to OHKO Suicune, because it hits through the Safeguard, it still burns a lot of resources. Straight Genesect EX/Virizion EX doesn’t have a straight answer against this deck and they will always run out of resources against this deck. This deck is the only deck in the whole format, which doesn’t play ANY EX-Pokémon in it.

I’m sure the deck will see play in the west as well, because sometimes people just forget about counter decks and concentrate mainly on countering the most popular decks (i.e. EX decks). This deck and variants of this deck will pop up from time to time whenever people let their guard down, but the deck can’t really become a tier1 variant, because countering it is way too easy. The deck doesn’t run energy acceleration and no Pokémon in it hits with 1 energy, so in theory the deck is horrible. In fact on paper I wouldn’t have thought the deck would be able to win anything, but after all it’s a rogue, not a metagame deck and that’s what makes it so interesting, but also explains at the same time its lack of success in the next weeks.

One time wonder? Nope. A tier1 contender? Nope. A very good deck at the right place at the right time? Damn right.





Virizion/Genesect concept list


This list is not directly from anywhere, but just a concept list, which I gathered after looking at several Japanese lists and combined them to my whopping 5 test games. Still, the deck is simple but deadly.



Pokemon:

4x Virizion EX
3x Genosect EX
=7


Trainer:

4x Professor Juniper
4x N
3x Skyla
2x Bianca
1x Cheren
4x Ultra Ball
3x Shadow Triad
4x Pokemon Catcher
4x Eviolite
3x Energy Switch
2x Switch
2x Skyarrow Bridge
1x Tool Scrapper
1x G Booster (ACE Spec)
1x Super Rod
1x Max Potion
1x Town Map
=41

Energy:

11x Grass Energy
1x Plasma Energy
=12





Virizion-EX – Grass – HP170
Basic Pokemon

Ability: Spring Breeze
Pokemon with [G] Energy attached to them cannot be affected by Special Conditions. (Remove all Special Conditions from your Pokemon with [G] Energy attached to them.)

[G][C] Emerald Slash: 50 damage. You can attach 2 [G] Energy from your deck to one of your Benched Pokemon. If you do, shuffle your deck afterwards.

When Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

Weakness: Fire (x2)
Resistance: Water (-20)
Retreat: 1


Genesect-EX – Grass – HP170
Basic Pokemon (Team Plasma)

Ability: Red Signal

When you attach a Plasma Energy to this Pokemon from your hand, you may switch your opponent’s Active Pokemon with 1 of his or her Benched Pokemon.

[G][G][C] Megalo-Cannon: 100 damage. Does 20 damage to one of your opponent’s Benched Pokemon. (Don’t apply Weakness and Resistance when damaging the Bench.)

When Pokemon-EX has been Knocked Out, your opponent takes 2 Prize cards.

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


G-Booster – Trainer
Item (Team Plasma)

Pokemon Tool: Each Pokemon can have only 1 Pokemon Tool attached to it at any time.

If this card is attached to Genesect-EX, it gains the following attack:

[G][G][C] G-Booster: 200 damage. Discard 2 Energy cards attached to this Pokemon. This attack is not affected by effects on the Defending Pokemon.

ACE SPEC: You can’t have more than 1 ACE SPEC card in your deck.

You can use any number of Item cards during your turn.


Simple yet (too?) good


My first impression of this deck wasn’t exactly a good one. I think the deck in general is step into wrong direction when it comes to the general game play. The deck is super strong. It’s straightforward. It wins all the EX-decks hands down when correctly played. And to make matters worse, prizing or not prizing the one precious G Booster decides pretty much how the game goes. Especially in mirror matches. If the other player has G-Booster in prizes and the other doesn’t the game is over as soon as you lay down the prizes. 

The problem with G-Booster is that even though it’s an ACE Spec it can be taken back from the discard pile with Shadow Triad. An Ace Spec that can be recycled without Recycle or Junk Hunt? Not fun at all. I don’t want to hype the deck too much before it’s way too early, but I think everyone looking at G-Booster and the list of this deck knows that printing G-Booster isn’t the best decision ever. Virizion EX naturally counters all the Special Condition decks and G-Booster counters all the EX AND Plasma counters, because it hits through everything from Sigilyph, to Silver Mirror and Plasma Klinklang’s Ability. It’s obviously good, because a variant of the deck won 3/4 of the tournaments and a counter deck was made against it, but just how good it is – that we’ll see when the cards are released in August.

Thankfully there are lot of time for the rotation to do its tricks for this deck and since there are a lot more important tournaments upcoming this season that have nothing to do with this deck, I’ll leave my small rant to this.







Conclusion

Despite my little rant, I still see a bright future for the future metagame. Suicune/Terrakion is a very good example how nothing is set in stone in Pokémon TCG and counters can be made even for the best decks out there (yes, even Gardevoir/Gallade was counterable, been there done that). These result show a very strong dominance of a few decks that are very EX-based (especially in the Juniors division), but counter are always cheaper, so I believe that the creative players will have the advantage in the next season, which is only a good thing.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek to the future and that it got you excited about the upcoming season. Now that Worlds’ qualifiers are once again over in Japan, it’s time to look ahead to National Championships and World Championships. It’s only under 2 weeks for my Nationals and I’m super pumped up and nervous since I haven’t had that much success this season!

Anyways, as always, feel free to question or comment on anything regarding this article. I’ll try to dig up any information you may be interested in.

Thanks for reading!



35 comments:

  1. Great article!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great article, going to be very helpful in preparing for Battle Roads and Regionals come fall.

    Please give us more of this when you can. I would personally love to see analysis of the Palace format when you get the chance.

    Also, please continue with your history reports, I loved those!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Always good to remember that players can switch their deck choice after they make Top Cut. So though a deck like Weavile/Eggs made Top 8, that doesn't mean it went 7-0 through the grinder stage. Same with Quadlax or say... Watchlock back a while ago.

    Always interesting to see!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Which Cobalion were people including in the Plasma decks, EX to get rid of special energy or NVI to KO Plasma Kyurem with Energy Press?

    ReplyDelete
  5. So... Darkrai/Lasers is basically as good as dead.

    Blastoise/Keldeo/Black Kyurem will be on it's way out also.. with all these grasses, etc.

    It really is Plasma or anti-plasma. Nothing else works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darkrai/Absol is played... Darkrai/Absol is Darkrai/Absol/Lasers...

      Delete
  6. We shouldn't forget G scope, the sniper, it can hit 100 damage to a benched Pokemon, it can really hurt blastoise and other stage 2's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you would rather do 100 to a bench than 200 to the active?

      Delete
    2. What i'm saying is that in a game against blastoise or even hydregion, you could just attack the support pokemon and destroy the setup without discarding 2 energy and playing cacther, but either way, there is really no way you could go wrong, to be honest, I was thinking about playing it with eels and raikou ex to just destroy the setup of stage two's.

      Delete
    3. Why would you ever play G-Scope in a Genesect Deck?
      1. You probably have 4 Catcher in your deck...
      2. You could use Genesects Ability to play more Catcher by just attaching a Plasma Energy from your hand...
      3. You will lose the mirror matches and some matches against Thundurus/Kyurem because you are not able to onehit their mainhitters...

      G-Scope is only the better Ace Spec in one situation, and thats when you Catcher out a high retreat Pokemon and your opponent is not able to retreat it...but thats not given in any deck of the Current format...so tell me...why would someone ever use G-Scope over G-Booster??

      ~NFreeze

      Delete
    4. It waw just an idea to throw some people off, it probaly will never become a staple in the deck.

      Delete
    5. You seem to have forgotten Genesects catcher ability. Attach an energy and you pull out another pokémon as the active. so, G-scope is unnecessary - though still good.

      Delete
  7. I was wondering how the format works in worlds. Are you allowed to use megalo cannon cards? Do Japanese players have to switch back to our format?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that Japanese players play in whatever format we use.

      Delete
  8. Victini Ex just got even more popular.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree there isn't really a strong counter to Genesect/Virizion. No doubt we'll get some strong fire attackers when X&Y comes out. G-Booster, even though its an ACE-SPEC is without doubt broken. A cheap OHKO attack that can hit through Sigilyph,Suicune, Silver Mirror and Plasma Klang. What were they thinking?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Better start stocking up on those Victini EX's :-D

      Delete
    2. Tool scrapper.

      Delete
    3. Let's go to japan and burn the virizion and genesects, DIE EVIL AND OVERPOWERED CARDS, BE DESTROYED DIE! DIE! YEAH!!!!!

      Disclaimer: the author of this comment does not support or recommeds sneaking into a factroy and burning cards for the heck of it.

      Delete
  10. Why only one Plasma Energy in the Genesect deck? Genesect needs a Colorless Energy to attack anyway. Couldn't the deck make use of another Catcher or two (or maybe cut down on a Catcher for another tech)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no need for Plasma Energy if you are not running any Colress Machine.
      I think the idea of this built is to have enought Grass Energy to accelerate with Virizion Ex and to be less vullnerable to Enhanced Hammer.

      ~NFreeze

      Delete
  11. I would ike to know:
    If you could make a deck with old and new cards, would be awesome D:
    Like energy removas; professors oak D:

    Anybody here have a deck in mind?
    The best old/new deck?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You probably mean Unlimited. If you play it without any gentleman's agreements/restrictions/bans, it's actually a real shitstorm.

      But since you asked, the BDIF is PoryDonk(google it and you'll get a good list and explanation of it, but basically it uses Porygon2 GE's Poke-Power with Seeker to make your opponent pick up all his benched Pokemon while you play it down again with Broken Time-Space, and you win by using Drifblim UD's Take Away). The only other significant decks are Trainer Lock and Sabledonk.

      Delete
  12. The Genesect/Virizion list seems a bit off to me. You have to have 4 Genesect since it's your main attacker. Virizion is just a tech to heal and set up if you're struggling. I'd also do 8 grass + 4 plasma energy + 4 colress machine. It increases your chance for a turn 2 attack and you can reuse the plasma energies and colress machine via shadow triad. You can probably take one ultra ball and the Cheren out too. HTL + Virbank works great in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I made a proxy deck and ran 8 grass, 4 plasma, 4 colress machine, and 3 plasma badge so that I could get a T1 emerald slash and go on from there.

      Delete
    2. im looking for a list to try it out, but nothing likes me, what do u think about hypnotoxic? i mean, with virizion in the game looks like 6 dead cards (HTL + VC), but i don't know. Anyway, great article like always ^^

      Delete
  13. I've been thinking about playing ninetales/amonguss, but this deck will be the death of me!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Do you have the deck list for the Darkrai Hydreigon deck.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I noticed a lack of the gothitelle deck. Is it because the Japanese didn't play it, or did it just get beat out of the format?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind of hard to pilot Gothitelle to victory when one of the best decks (Genesect/Virizion) is immune to Deck and Cover status shenanigans. It just blows through that fragile deck with Megalo Cannons, which are unstoppable by any means, and it doesn't care too much about Items(only G-Booster would be significant after Genesect EX starts swinging. and you don't need it in this matchup).

      Goth is kind of stuck in a time warp now, it'll only get worse as time passes by in my opinion(assuming no rotation ofc, and that's a big assumption to make), since it kinda has peaked with Float Stone. It's already super-cramped; it cannot update itself beyond this state without losing important stuff.

      But this is just me, somebody might find something huge that makes it a real BDIF.

      Here's a question for Esa: Could you please show us a sample Sigilyph Tool list and/or a sample Team Plasma deck in the Megalo Cannon/Plasma Blast metagame? It doesn't have to be an artile; a simple sample list would be helpful in understanding how those 2 will possibly worl in the future.

      Delete
    2. I completely forgot about the fact the new virizon makes grass immune to status effects. I guess there isn't too much hope fort it, and I'm betting the Snorlax deck won't last either.

      Delete
  16. Highly regard running plasma badge and running doexys in the Virzion/genesect deck. Also, why didn't some Virzion/genesect decks have virizion(NVI) to counter anti-plasma/ex decks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's because The ace spec gives an attack that gets around any defense

      Delete
    2. And when its prized...

      Delete
  17. Is there a list for the winning Trubbish deck? I can't seem to get my list right.

    ReplyDelete

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