Champions League Chiba: Top 32 Pikachu & Zekrom

Please find the original Japanese-language article here. Note my translation is not a perfect translation and I have rearranged and reworded some parts of the original article for clarity and readability. Find also some explanatory comments inside square brackets, italicised.


Hi, I’m Manaty (@midsummer_poke).

I would like to write about my tournament run at the Champions League Chiba as a record for myself.


Pokémon (14)
Trainers (34)
Energy (12)
2 Pikachu & Zekrom GX
1 Zeraora GX
1 Tapu Koko GX
1 Tapu Koko Prism Star
2 Zapdos
1 Marshadow (Reset Hole) 
2 Dedenne GX 
3 Jirachi 
1 Absol 

4 Nest Ball
4 Electropower
3 Electromagnetic Radar
2 Energy Switch 
1 Rescue Stretcher 
1 Field Blower
1 Adventure Bag
2 Choice Band
2 Escape Board 
1 Wishful Baton
2 Lillie
4 Volkner
3 Guzma
1 Thunder Mountain Prism Star
12 Lightning

The deck I chose:

Pikachu & Zekrom/Jirachi/Zapdos

Tournament summary:

Qualifiers

Round 1: (W) Ultra Necrozma, Second, Prizes: 6-4
Round 2: (W) Garchomp/Lucario/Alolan Ninetales, Second, Prizes: 6-1
Round 3: (W) Jirachi/Zapdos, Second, Prizes: 6-5
Round 4: (W) Gengar & Mimikyu/Omastar, Second, Prizes; 6-5
Round 5: (W) Pikachu & Zekrom, Second, Prizes: 6-3
Round 6: (W) Gengar & Mimikyu/Omastar, Second, Prizes: 6-5
Round 7: (L) Pheromosa & Buzzwole, Second, Prizes: 3-6
Round 8: (W) Pikachu & Zekrom, Second, Prizes: 6-0

Main Draw

Round 1: (W) Pikachu & Zekrom, First, Prizes: 6-0
Round 2: (L) Lycanroc Lucario Zoroark, Second, Prizes: 0-3

I finished 17th after the qualifying rounds and 32nd overall.

[I’m not choosing to go second for kicks; I am just no good at scissors-paper-rock…]

Why I chose this deck

When I heard that you could only afford to lose once out of eight rounds at the Champions League, I wanted to bring a deck that:
  •  Had power
  •  Didn’t deaddraw and was consistent.
I tried various decks: Ultra Necrozma, Jirachi Zapdos, Pheromosa & Buzzwole, Gardevoir & Sylveon, Charizard, Hitmontop/chan/lee etc., but I believed Pikachu & Zekrom/Jirachi/Zapdos fulfilled the criteria best.

It had:
  •         The ease of accessing different pieces with Stellar Wish and Volkner
  •          The ability to thin the deck with Dede Change [Note: Dedenne’s ability] and a high rate of being able to find key cards in the late game
  •          Pikachu & Zekrom’s Energy acceleration
Furthermore, even if you went second you are able to dish out damage with Zapdos. You can also send a Pokemon with Escape Board into the Active which allows you to charge up a Pikachu & Zekrom with Tapu Koko Prism. I also liked Wishful Baton, as it could offset the disadvantage of going second and gave me more plays to avoid falling into losing situations. Due to these points, I decided to bring this deck to the Champions League Chiba.

Key Cards

Volkner & Jirachi 

It is great that you can search for any item you want with Volkner, and you can even find Volkner with Jirachi. With these cards you are not relying on luck to be able to form a favourable board state.

Zapdos 

On your second turn, you can knock out Inkays and Jirachis, or put an opposing Pikachu & Zekrom into one shot range from Full Blitz with one damage modifier. On the day of the tournament, I went second nine out of ten times and I was able to win these games thanks to Zapdos.

Adventure Bag and Wishful Baton

Being able to Adventure Bag for two Tool cards from a Volkner search is great. While you can attach Wishful Baton to Zapdos in the early game, you can attach it to Pikachu & Zekrom or Tapu Koko in the late game. This will force your opponent to hit into your benched Zeraora, and you will be more likely to succeed in powering up a six Energy Pikachu & Zekrom with Full Blitz. You will likely attach Escape Board in the early game so if your opponent uses their Field Blower on that you can attach Wishful Baton safely.

Tapu Koko Prism Star

This card was never a free Prize for my opponent  – it was the strongest guardian deity.

If you have any questions about cards that I included or failed to include, please feel free to write a comment or send me a message.

Tournament report

Round 1: Ultra Necrozma, Second, Prizes: 6-4

My opponent went first, getting three Inkays out after using Tapu Lele and ending their turn with Jirachi in the Active. My turn wasn’t bad either: I started with Volkner and got a Dede Change off, benched Absol, used Tapu Koko Prism for two Energy on Pikachu & Zekrom, and then used Thunderous Assault to knock out Jirachi. 

My opponent then set up two Malamars and used Giratina for a return knock out on my Zapdos. I then used Guzma on a Malamar, attached Wishful Baton to Pikachu & Zekrom and attacked with Full Blitz. I debated attaching to the Active or to the bench, but given my opponent had a hand of four cards and their bench was one Inkay and one Malamar, with no Ultra Necrozma and multiple Myserious Treasures in the discard, I figured the chances of my opponent being able to set up the knock out on my Pikachu & Zekrom were low. I also had Wishful Baton attached so even if the worst-case scenario happened, I would still be able to conserve some Energy. So I decided to accelerate to the Active. 

As I expected, my Pikachu & Zekrom remained on board and my opponent passed back to me. My following turn, I knocked out a Tapu Lele and Malamar, and while my opponent managed to use Marshadow after this, I was able to knock out Marshadow with one of my benched Pokemon.

Round 2: Garchomp Lucario Alolan Ninetales, Second, Prizes: 6-1

I opened Pikachu & Zekrom with Tapu Koko Prism on the bench.

My opponent opened an Alolan Vulpix and two Gabite. I attached Escape Board to Tapu Koko and managed to get Jirachi in the Active, but could not pull off an attack. My opponent then set up a Riolu and Ditto. I was nervous seeing the Riolu, but it later evolved into the non-GX Lucario. My opponent flipped double tails on Timer Ball and failed their PokeGear and could not evolve any of their Pokemon. They ended with a Beacon.

While I had Tapu Koko Prism benched, I wasn’t able to get Energy in the discard and couldn’t attack. So my second turn also ended with Jirachi in the active. I thought I would want to go into another Jirachi after my Active Jirachi was knocked out, so I benched a second one from my hand. But on my opponent’s turn Ditto evolved into Muk. I had two Jirachis and a Tapu Koko out… This was no good. My opponent started evolving Pokemon on their fourth turn, but they were unable to find a way to attack. On my fourth and fifth turns, I attacked into an Alolan Ninetales GX with a Choice Banded Zapdos for the knock out. The next turn, my Zapdos fell prey to a Garchomp. I was unable to use Tapu Koko Prism Star but my hand was full of Energy, so I began to attack with Pikachu & Zekrom. I continued to take Prizes with Guzma and took out the game.

Also, Alolan Muk was sitting on my opponent’s bench the whole time. There was a moment where I played Dedenne by accident. It was very embarrassing. It meant I had a bench of effectively four Pokemon.

Round 3: Jirachi Zapdos, Second, Prizes: 6-5

On my first turn I got a Thunderous Assault off, and knocked out a Jirachi while setting up an Absol on my bench. My opponent set up an Absol of their own. My next turn, I was able to use Electropower and Thunderous Assault to knock out an opposing Zapdos. My opponent had benched baby Buzzwole, and it was Sledgehammer turn. I opened Pikachu & Zekrom so I was scared of a Guzma, however when my opponent played down a Volkner I breathed a sigh of relief. 

After this, I kept swinging with Pikachu & Zekrom and my opponent didn’t even have one Energy down. I attached to a benched Zeraora. My opponent used Beast Ring to accelerate Energy which allowed them to knock out my Pikachu & Zekrom with Tapu Thunder GX.

At this point, my opponent had one Prize left. I knocked out the Tapu Koko to even up the Prize race and my opponent was unable to take a knock out on their following turn, so I won on my next turn.

Round 4: vs Gengar & Mimikyu Omastar, Second, Prizes: 6-5

I was playing against someone who I had met through the game, so we chatted as we set up. My opponent mulliganed and I realised they were playing Gengar & Mimikyu Omastar. My opponent opened Gengar & Mimikyu and I opened Zapdos with three mulligan draws. I knew of the turn 2 Horror House GX play but my hand was very large. Ideally, I would get three Energy onto a Pikachu & Zekrom at the end of my turn, and if that were impossible, a three Energy Tapu Koko wouldn’t be bad either. 

As I was thinking this, my opponent attached Choice Helmet to both their Active and benched Gengar & Mimikyu. Without access to Field Blower, I would need to two shot with Tapu Koko. If I lead with Tapu Koko, I would need to attach Wishful Baton or else I would not have enough Energy to follow up with and would lose. I could not lead with a Choice Banded Tapu Koko.  

In the end, I couldn’t set up a Pikachu & Zekrom or Tapu Koko GX, but I did get a Dance of the Ancients off and attached an Energy to a benched Pikachu & Zekrom. I attached Wishful Baton to the Zapdos I started with and used Thunderous Assault for ten damage. While Horror House GX would mean that my Zapdos would just get stuck in the Active and unable to do anything next turn, the Wishful Baton meant I could set up Pikachu & Zekrom for the turn after. With a damager modifier, a three Energy Tag Bolt could knock out the Gengar & Mimikyu in one shot. I actually wouldn’t have been able to pull off this play without the ten damage from Thunderous Assault, so I am grateful for Zapdos. 

I was able to use the Trainers in my hand well, so when the second Gengar & Mimikyu used Poltergeist after a Startling Box, it hit into my Pikachu & Zekrom for 200 damage. After that, I just used Full Blitz and Plasma Fists to win the game. As an aside, after I used Full Blitz my opponent used three Moo-Moo Milks so that was scary.

Round 5: Pikachu & Zekrom, Second, Prizes: 6-3

On my first turn I hit my opponent’s Pikachu & Zekrom for ten damage with Thunderous Assault. My opponent benched a Reset Hole Marshadow and played down Thunder Mountain, getting the Full Blitz off and knocking out my Zapdos. My opponent charged up a benched Pikachu & Zekrom.  I was thinking of going into Pikachu & Zekrom after this, but after searching my deck carefully I realised I had my second Pikachu & Zekrom Prized. If I Full Blitzed and attached to a different benched Pokemon, I realised it would be difficult to knock out a second Pikachu & Zekrom. My hand only had one Energy, along with Thunder Mountain and Choice Band. On my Bench I had an Escape Boarded Jirachi. In my next turn, if I could hit Electropower or Volkner to knock out my opponent’s Pikachu & Zekrom, I thought I would win. 

I dropped my Tapu Koko GX and knocked out the Pikachu & Zekrom. I didn’t mind my opponent getting rid of the Thunder Mountain with Reset Hole Marshadow, but then I was hit with a Judge. I was getting quite nervous but I managed to draw very well and hit my own Thunder Mountain again. However, I missed getting Energy from my topdeck so I was relying on hitting a Volkner with my Jirachi. If not, I would lose. I prayed, and I hit the Volkner off the Stellar Wish. I attached Choice Band and played Electropower and knocked out the second Pikachu & Zekrom GX. 

The turn I went into Tapu Koko GX, I played Adventure Bag and got two Choice Bands – in hindsight, I could have gotten Wishful Baton and attached this to Tapu Koko GX and I could’ve won without relying on my topdeck. I misplayed. I got the Choice Band because I thought I would need it to attack into my opponents Pikachu & Zekrom…

Round 6: Gengar & Mimikyu Omastar, Second, Prizes: 6-5

While setting up, my opponent did not get a Basic so I saw their hand and knew they were playing Gengar & Mimikyu Omastar.

My opponent mulliganed twice, and looking at my hand I realised I could pull off a turn one Full Blitz, so I prayed that I would not be forced to reset my hand. My opponent used Green’s Search so I was able to play down my Thunder Mountain and discard the Abandoned Power Plant, and got off a turn one Full Blitz as planned. As my hand was on the smaller side, I was scared of quadruple Startling Boxes and Poltergeist, so I decided not to drop the Pikachu & Zekrom I had in hand. I was only able to attack for 120 damage because the Gengar & Mimikyu had Choice Helmet attached, but I figured I would be able to win with Tag Bolt GX.

My opponent used Green’s Search again, getting two Mixed Herbs and healing 90 damage, leaving the Gengar & Mimikyu with 30 damage. My opponent then used Horror House GX, meaning I was unable to take the knock out.

I had a Zeraora and Zapdos benched, so I was torn between using Tag Bolt GX and using Assault Thunder. If I retreated Pikachu & Zekrom my opponent could have Guzma and knock me out. If I didn’t retreat, my opponent may be able to find healing cards or Acerola. I didn’t think there was anything else that could one shot the card, so I promoted Zapdos. My opponent dug for Guzma using Pokegear, but missed and knocked out my Zapdos.

The next turn I found Wishful Baton and attached it to Pikachu & Zekrom. My opponent wasn’t too pleased. With a six Energy Pikachu & Zekrom, I attacked the Active Gengar & Mimikyu and put 140 damage on the Benched Gengar & Mimikyu. If I wasn’t Field Blowered, (and thinking back to my fourth round and considering my opponent’s current situation), I figured I would be OK, so I prayed for this. My opponent knocked out my Pikachu & Zekrom and I put the Energy onto Zeraora to win with Plasma Fists.

Round 7 vs Pheromosa & Buzzwole, Second, Prizes: 3-6

Although it was a Pheromosa & Buzzwole deck, I was unable to receive any mulligans. My opponent went first and played Abandoned Powerplant. I disliked Lusamine Prism, so my plan was to knock out two Pheramosa & Buzzwole at once. I Full Blitzed to a benched Pikachu & Zekrom. 

However, my Pikachu & Zekrom with Wishful Baton attached was knocked out after my opponent played Field Blower. I thought it would be OK if I could accumulate six Energies in hand, but after deck searching I realised there were four in my Prizes. With three in my discard and three in play, I had only two left in deck. I accumulated Energy with Volkner and was thinking I could attack using Thunder Mountain and Zeraora, but my Energy was disrupted by a Crushing Hammer. I gave up on my “knocking two Pheromosa & Buzzwole out in one turn” plan and knocked out one Pheromosa & Buzzwole. Unfortunately, my opponent got the Lusamine Prism Star so I lost.

Round 8 vs Pikachu & Zekrom, Second, 6-4

My opponent got two Energy on the Active Pikachu & Zekrom and Let Loosed, then played down Lysandre Labs and passed. I sent up Jirachi and used Guzma on Marshadow to knock out it out with Thunderous Assault. My opponent then Full Blitzed me. I couldn’t win even if I got a Full Blitz off, so my win condition then became attaching Wishful Baton to Tapu Koko GX and Tapu Thundering for the knock out. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pull this off, so I finished my turn with Jirachi in the Active. 

My opponent Full Blitzed again to knock out my Jirachi. My opponent had a Marshadow GX with three Energy, a Zeraora with two Energy, two Dedenne and a Tapu Lele on their bench. Going into my third turn, I had assembled the pieces I needed to play for the win. I used Aero Tail and Tapu Thunder GXed the Active Pikachu & Zekrom. I had a Zeraora with Choice Band attached on my Bench, and realised my opponent needed to get rid of my Wishful Baton to win. If it was the standard Pikachu & Zekrom list with Lysandre Labs, it would probably not run Field Blower, and my opponent already had two Lysandre Labs in their discard, so I thought I would be OK and prayed. My opponent used Dede Change and Judge, digging for cards but was unable to discard my Wishful Baton and just knocked out my Tapu Koko. I moved the Energy to my Benched Zeraora and won.

Main Draw Round 1: Pikachu & Zekrom, First, 6-0

In nine rounds, I finally was able to win scissors-paper-rock! I was happy. I opened Dedenne but still managed to use Jirachi and Dede Change. I also got a Dance of the Ancients off, preparing for a turn two Full Blitz. My opponent also got a Tapu Koko Prism and was unable to get Energy out and passed. I used Guzma on the Tapu Koko Prism and knocked it out with Full Blitz and was able to win as my opponent could not get Energy into play and could not attack. I took all my Prizes and won.

Main Draw Round 2 vs LycanZoro, Second, 0-3

I opened Jirachi with Zeraora in hand. My opponent started Riolu. My opponent used Tapu Lele and got two Zorua, one Rockruff and an Alolan Grimer. This was not looking good.

I didn’t have any cards in my hand that could access Pokemon, so I Stellar Wished and hoped to hit a Volkner or Electromagnetic Radar, but sadly, no such luck. I saw Electropower and Thunder Mountain instead. With no other options, I benched the Zeraora. My opponent set up Lucario GX and Lycanroc GX and knocked out my Zeraora, leaving me with a lone Jirachi. 

I managed to topdeck Nest Ball and got out a Zapdos, but my Jirachi was then knocked out by a Zoroark with Double Colourless Energy. Next turn I was unable to find another Pokemon and so I was benched out. My opponent’s deck was on a roll, so even if I drew better I still would have struggled.

Summary

Looking back on it, apart from the last round, my deck did not brick. I had the impression that where I needed my deck to run, it ran, and I was able to win. I practiced a lot against Pikachu & Zekrom, Jirachi Zapdos and Ultra Necrozma, so when I was faced with Alolan Muk (although I didn’t write about this in detail) and Abandoned Powerplant, I played messily. I am currently reflecting upon this.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading up to this point. Thank you to everyone who I played on the day, and my deepest apologies for taking too long to think over plays. Thank you to everyone who helped me practice and people who I played against in local tournaments. If you have any questions or comments, I would appreciate it if you sent me a message on Twitter (@midsummer_poke).

Please find the original Japanese-language article here.


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