Hey everyone, my name is Henry Prior, a first year Master from Ohio. I joined organized play in 2005, and have played in every Modified format since then. I like to think I know a little something about many aspects of the game due to my experience. I’ll be writing my first article in a long time for this site on an interesting topic that a lot of the player base doesn’t know about, which is the Japanese Battle Carnivals.
For those of you that don’t know, the Battle Carnivals are the most important tournament in any competitive Japanese player’s year and will be played with BW1-BW9 (Black & White through Megalo Cannon). They are very similar to the Gym Challenges that used to be held in the rest of the world; the winner of the tournament earns a Worlds invite.
With only 5 possible Carnivals to attend from May to June many players and their teams (the “team” state of mind is really big in Japanese Pokémon with a lot of the best players working together on deck ideas, lists, and even sharing a card pool in some cases) are scrambling to make the best possible decks.
I would like to thank my Japanese friend for helping me out with much of the information in this article including decklists and the metagame.
The metagame before the tournament, taken from shop tournament results, testing results, and speculation is very similar to what the United States format is turning into right now. The only deck that is added with BW9 is Virizion EX + Genesect EX, but the rest of the decks seem very standard.
“But why isn’t Blastoise + Keldeo-EX + Black Kyurem-EX PLS on the list? It should be tier 1, right?” Although Blastoise is one of the best decks right now I decided not to add it to the tier list. Because of the cost of Japanese Tropical Beach, which is about $180-200 , the deck isn’t an option for the majority of their player base.
- Team Plasma
- Virizion EX + Genesect EX
- Darkrai EX + Absol PLF
- Klinklang + Cobalion EX
- Garbodor + Attackers
Pokémon – 10
2 Thundurus EX
Trainers – 27
3 Plasma Ball
Energy – 13
1 Blend WLMF
This list is pretty unique in my opinion. The deck is focused around Kyurem attacking quickly and being able to 1-shot every Pokémon your opponent can get out. Thundurus isn’t as crucial to this build as others, and although it is a great starter and helps a lot versus Cobalion-EX and Enhanced Hammer, Kyurem is usually the preferred starter.
Being able to do damage to the bench isn’t that much more important than getting a Special Energy from the discard, but being able to get Energy on Kyurem turn 1 in preparation for the turn 2 Blizzard Burn is crucial. Kyurem has the potential to 1-shot any card the the format turn 2 with a few Deoxys-EX and a Silver Bangle.
There are a few card choices that people are probably wondering about after looking at the list. First of all, no Hypnotoxic Laser + Virbank City Gym combo. Both cards get a lot weaker with Virizion-EX coming out, which would make 6 cards in your deck dead-draws. Silver Bangle essentially serves the same purpose; to allow Kyurem to one shot an EX. Kyurem can take out any non-EX in the format, which makes Silver Bangle the perfect alternative. This also frees up 3 spots in the deck that can be used to add Supporters and make your deck more consistent.
Another card choice that differs from our current format is 2 Tool Scrapper. The new Pokémon Tool that was released in BW9, Silver Mirror, can wreak havoc on this deck, so 2 Tool Scapper is needed to take care of it.
Keldeo-EX + Black Kyurem EXBlastoise +
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
This list doesn’t need very much explanation in my opinion. It is based purely on consistency and being able to get set up before the faster decks in the format can stop you from getting a Blastoise out. Although Beaches are hard to find, 3 is the best number to be running to make sure you can get one turn 1 in anticipation for the turn 2 Blastoise.
One thing I would have changed from this list would be to take out 1 or 2 Superior Energy Retrieval and make a 2/3 split with regular Energy Retrieval. This list is still great and doesn’t even need any cards from the new set to perform well.
My friend along with his teammates played Blastoise + Keldeo-EX + Black Kyurem-EX PLS for the tournament. I was able to pick up some cheap Tropical Beaches for them a couple months ago so they had enough for their whole team to play Blastoise.
To get into the top 32 each player had to win 7 games in a row. Each player starts a “challenge” and gets paired with another player. If you lose 1 game you have to start over at the end of the line for a new challenge.
The biggest issue was the amount of players at the event, players would have to wait until tables opened up to start a new challenge and the top 32 filled up quickly with so many players. This system is new this year and many Japanese players have complained about it. I find it really funny how players in the US complain about our Swiss rounds and try to push for a change when my friend said that most Japanese players would kill just to have Swiss rounds.
Sadly, even though he was 4-0 he still didn’t get a spot in top 32, which is outrageous. Takuya made it to top 32 and Sho made it top 16, which shows that the deck had potential and he could have made it into cut given more time. Although they didn’t want me to reveal their team’s decklist because they still might play the deck for upcoming Battle Carnivals, this list is still similar and shows off a few of the unique cards choices.
Pokémon – 13
Trainers – 34
Energy – 13
Here are the results for the tournament:
1st – Virizion-EX + Genesect EX
2nd – Hydreigon DRX 97 + Darkrai EX + Virizion-EX + Absol PLF + Sableye DEX
3rd – Klinklang + Cobalion-EX + Keldeo-EX + Cobalion EPO
4th – Thundurus EX + Deoxys-EX + Kyurem PLF
The only deck that was a surprise was Hydreigon, especially making it to 2nd place. The format seems too fast for the deck, but someone obviously made it works, so props to them! I hope some of you found this article interesting and useful. I thought this topic would be a nice change from all the current format stress and Nationals preparation. Thanks for reading!