[City League Aichi: Runner Up] Blacephalon Naganadal Deck List [Hikki Commentary]

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.

Hi, PokemonCardNews.com here.

This time we will be discussing the Aichi City League that occurred on the 30th of December. We interviewed Hikki (@06269029), the runner up of the tournament, and have gotten some deck commentary as well. Please read ahead to learn about Blacephalon Naganadal, an archetype which can thrive in all sorts of metagames.

Deck List

Hikki explained his Blacephalon deck is characterised by the copies of Kiawe he runs. The ability to pile Energies onto either Blacephalon or Naganadal with Kiawe may become an increasingly common strategy in the future. 

It is also interesting to see that the line of draw Supporters is quite thin, with only one Cynthia, four Lillie and one Erika's Hospitality.

Find out more detail about the deck in the interview below.

Interview with Hikki

PCN: Hello. Congratulations on your recent finish at the City League. Could you please give us a brief introduction?

Hikki: My hobbies include anime, manga and video games, and I often go to conventions – you could say that I am an “otaku.” I started playing the Pokemon TCG last August thanks to my friend getting me into it. This is the first time I've played in a big tournament.

PCN: Wait, you only started in August and you've managed to place so well at a City League already? I've heard that one of the top 8 players in the tournament, “AuAu Poyochan”, also started very recently, in September, but still this is an amazing feat.

Hikki: I didn’t think I would be able to win this many games. In fact, I think I was the one who was most surprised about my finish!

PCN: This seems like the year for new players to get ahead, doesn’t it? We’ve heard that you played Blacephalon at the tournament, but could you please elaborate on why you chose the deck?

Hikki: Originally, I planned on using a Lost March deck which ran Emolga and Pokemon Communication, but the matchup against Electric decks was very tough, so I decided against that. After that, I decided to play Blacephalon for the following reasons:

  •          It is a straightforward deck where everything is laid out for you
  •          With so many searching cards, it is uncommon to dead draw.

As this was my first time playing in a big tournament, I was sure to get nervous and overthink my plays, which could lead to ties, so these features of the deck stood out to me.

There are few unfavourable matchups and I thought the deck would be able to hold its own against Pikachu & Zekrom. While I thought Pikachu & Zekrom would be the most played deck, I believed there would also be a number of Venusaur & Celebi and Lycanroc Zoroark, which my deck is favoured against.

After I made this decision, three days before the tournament I realised the deck actually struggled against Pikachu & Zekrom. I thought I should change to a Venusaur & Celebi deck but I had run out of time, so I ended up sticking with Blacephalon.

PCN: There wasn't much time to prepare for the new format at all. Decks which can hold their own in different formats are gaining attention - the ability to win convincingly across all kinds of metas is more important than ever. Would you mind telling us a bit more about the deck?

Hikki: My deck differs from most other Blacephalon builds because I run Kiawe. Compared to a standard Blacephalon deck, you are able to apply more pressure by playing Kiawe. With so many copies of Guzma, you are also able to knock out your opponent’s beefy GX Pokemon. However, playing Kiawe did not always go as expected against Pikachu & Zekrom. Retrospectively, for the Pikachu & Zekrom matchup it would have been beneficial to switch out Choice Bands for Choice Helmets. It may have also been good to include Viridian Forest to open up another avenue for discarding Energy.

PCN: Playing Kiawe is quite the act of bravery. I imagine there are quite a few players who wouldn't take the risk of your turn ending upon playing Kiawe. Do you still think it is a key card in the deck?

Hikki: It can go either way, really. If you can play Kiawe with good timing, it can really swing the game. However, if you find a Kiawe using Tapu Lele GX with no other Supporters in hand, you run the risk of not getting the cards you need for next turn, so you need to play very carefully.

PCN: Following this result, the Kiawe variant of Blacephalon will probably rise in popularity. It is a result that other Blacephalon players should be aware of. Are there any specific things to keep in mind while playing this deck?

Hikki: One thing is deciding whether to use Lillie or Kiawe on the first turn after seeing your hand and your opponent’s opening. After that, you must formulate a plan to take six Prize cards.

PCN: That does sound like a difficult decision to make. It looks like we will need a lot of practice. Hikki, what do you think about the current meta?

Hikki: I would call this meta a Pikachu & Zekrom meta. Dedenne GX and Electromagnetic Radar will come out in the next set, which will strengthen the deck even further. I think it will remain incredibly strong if no good Fighting type cards are released.

PCN: Your prediction of a thunderstorm sounds quite accurate. While Electric type Pokemon were not widely played for a long time, they will likely have a place in the meta from now on. Can you give us some details about your City League experience?

Hikki: There were seven qualifying rounds and three final rounds. Because I played ten intense games with almost no break, I needed a lot of physical strength and I got very tired. I was very nervous at the tournament, which, coupled with my tiredness and lack of experience, led to me making quite a few misplays. So, I feel the following are important for tournament success:

  •          Being able to adapt to various environments
  •          Practicing against all types of decks and opponents
  •          Tournament experience.

PCN: Yes, having energy is necessary for playing in big tournaments. Top players also feel a lot of pressure so it is difficult for them. I am looking forward to hearing about further successes in the near future, Hikki. Do you have any goals moving forward from this tournament?

Hikki:  I would like to participate in the Champions League and finish in the top 16.

PCN: I am looking forward to that happening. This year, it seems that newer players like Hikki will be more active in the competitive scene. Do you have final words about how to improve your skill in the Pokemon TCG?

Hikki: The player base increased dramatically last year, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it did turn into a year where many newer players see good results! Since I am still quite new to the game, I can’t give too much advice. But I will say that you should make friends who play the game. If you have players who are just as passionate about the game as you are, your motivation will skyrocket. By practicing together and exchanging ideas with each other, you can play in tournaments together and have a good time while increasingly getting better at the game.

PCN: As with teams, it is very important to have friends to learn the game with. The importance of having a strong community to rely upon is a topic that many top players have spoken about. Thank you for participating in our interview. Best of luck with your future tournaments!


I was able to interview the City League Aichi runner up. While Hikki has said that he has had some experience with TCGs, the Pokemon TCG is the first he has played competitively. Another new player who did surprisingly well was “Au Au Puyochan”, who made top 8 at the same City League.

This was an interview which made me think that 2019 may be the year when players who began before and after the "Pokemon TCG boom" will make their mark.

I also extend my gratitude to Hikki, who kindly participated in this interview.

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.