Japan Championships: Champions and Runners Up Interviews

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. This website is in no way affiliated with Pokemon, Nintendo, Creatures Inc or GAME FREAK inc, and claims no rights to the original article. 


The Pokemon Japan Championships 2019 (PJCS 2019) was held over two days, from the 8th of June (Saturday) to the 9th of June (Sunday). We will be interviewing and introducing the decks of the TCG champions and runners up of each age division.


Masters Champion Kouhei Kurita:

Reshiram & Charizard GX



Interview

Congratulations on your first place finish. Can you please explain the deck you used on the day?

I used a Reshiram & Charizard GX deck.

The reason I didn’t run Mewtwo & Mew GX in my deck was that, since it is so strong, I thought I would end up playing a lot of other Mewtwo & Mew GXs throughout the tournament, and would be hit for weakness.

Further, against Psychic decks with Malamar and Giratina, this would make me disadvantaged. I would prefer to reduce this disadvantage by running Reshiram & Charizard GX alone.

I also thought that Powerplant would be widely played, and rather than have my own Mewtwo & Mew GX unable to attack, I preferred to create a deck where I could play Powerplant myself.

What kind of counters did you include for other archetypes?

For this tournament, I thought the top four decks would be Reshiram & Charizard GX, Mewtwo & Mew GX, Zoroark GX and Malamar Giratina decks.

For Zoroark GX and Mewtwo & Mew GX, I ran two copies of Powerplant.

For the Psychic decks, I ran the Evil Admonition Hoopa. With this, you can knock out Giratina in one shot without being one-shotted back, allowing you to get ahead in the game.

Resiliza                    Unmanned power plant

Were there any particularly memorable games you played at the PJCS 2019?

In the semi-final, I would win if I had Choice Band and Professor Kukui to knock out my opponent’s Mewtwo & Mew GX. I used Dedenne GX’s Ability, “Dede Change” and drew both cards – I even got an Escape Board to retreat my Active Pokemon with! I thought, “I can win today!”

Which card was the MVP of the PJCS 2019?

Powerplant.

It prevents Mewtwo & Mew GX decks from attacking, prevents Zoroark GX decks from using Trade, and allows you to attack into Keldeo GX. I wouldn’t have been able to make do without it.

Please give us some comments regarding the World Championships 2019 (to be held 
in August, hereinafter PWCS 2019)?

In Tochigi [Note: Kurita’s place of residence] there are Senior and Junior players who will also play at the World Championships. I will do my best to practice with them so that I can have a strong performance!


What’s more, Kurita only started playing the Pokemon TCG in September 2018!

While working, he played the Pokemon TCG for nine months and was quickly able to become Japan’s number one! Congratulations!

To continue, the Masters runner up was Kousuke Hibino!


Masters Runner Up Kousuke Hibino:

Necrozma



Interview

Congratulations on finishing runner up. Can you please explain the deck you used on the day?

I played a deck which uses the new Necrozma.

I thought Tag Teams and Mewtwo & Mew GX would be strong at this tournament, so I wondered if there was some kind of strong Psychic type Pokemon I could use. This is when I happened upon the new Necrozma.

Necrozma’s Special Laser attack hits for 160, enough to knock out Mewtwo & Mew GX when weakness is applied. It is also enough to knock out Tapu Lele GX with 10 damage from Giratina’s Distortion Door Ability.

160 damage is a good number as it can knock out all kinds of Pokemon in one or two shots.
Thanks to the Special Energy, Recycle Energy, I could continuously attack. While Necrozma is not a GX Pokemon, it still has a sense of stability and strength.

What kind of counters did you include for other archetypes?

Against Zoroark GX, if one of my Pokemon with Spell Tag were knocked out, I would put 40 damage on a Zoroark, allowing it to be knocked out with a Choice Band + Recycle Energy Necrozma, factoring in the -20 for resistance.

If there are Pokemon with 200HP, such as Persian GX, they can be defeated with 10 damage from Giratina’s Ability, Distortion Door, and a Choice Banded Special Laser for 190 damage.

In practicing against Reshiram & Charizard GX, I found that 160 damage often put them in a difficult position, and realised that I would be able to hold my own against this deck.

Since my deck contains Necrozma GX, the 160 damage from Special Laser and the spread damage from Spell Tag and Distortion Door, you can create a situation where you have more than 170 damage on Reshiram & Charizard GX, allowing you to use Black Ray X to knock it out.


Necro                  Necro GX

Please give us some comments regarding the World Championships 2019.

I really didn’t think I would be able to make it this far. I still have a lot to learn regarding deck construction and in-play skill. I want to practice more to get rid of my nerves and to build up confidence so I can perform my best.


Congratulations!

To continue, we have an interview with our Seniors Champion, Itsuku Kitou!
Kitou won the PJCS 2018 in the Senior Division last year, so this is his second consecutive victory!


Seniors Champion Itsuku Kitou

Zoroark GX Lycanroc GX


       
Interview

Congratulations on your first place finish. Can you please explain the deck you used on the day?

I played a Zoroark GX and Lycanroc GX deck.

I thought this deck was the most reactive deck, and there are a huge amount of different plays you can pull off.

Can you tell us how to play the deck and what its features are?

This deck has three copies of Reset Stamp.

If you can use Reset Stamp when your opponent has four Prize cards remaining it is very powerful. You can reduce the chances of your opponent playing Reset Stamp while you maintain a big hand. You can also use Reset Stamp after your opponent takes a Prize.
For this reason, I didn’t really care about falling behind in the Prize race in the early game. What was most important to me was that I would be able to take six Prizes.

Was there a card which stood out as particularly strong?

You can use Persian GX’s Ability, Cat Walk, to find Reset Stamp and Jessie & James. This was very strong.

Cherish Ball also had an influence on the deck, making Dedenne GX strong. There were many situations in which I was saved by Dedenne GX.


Recessor                    Precious

Were there any particularly memorable games you played at the PJCS 2019?

The game I played in top 16, against Takumi Kaji, was very memorable.

He was playing the same Zoroark GX Lycanroc GX deck as I was. I had decided on a play, but when the time came I played it out incorrectly, which made the game very difficult.

Please give us some comments regarding the World Championships 2019.

When I go abroad, I will not be a Senior but a Master.

There are lots of strong players in Masters, so I will do my best to achieve top 8 in the Masters division.


Congratulations!

Next, we have the Seniors runner up, Hinata Tsukiyama!


Seniors Runner Up Hinata Tsukiyama

Reshiram & Charizard GX



Interview

Congratulations on your second place finish. Can you please explain the deck you used on the day?

I used a Reshiram & Charizard GX deck.

I didn’t have enough time to test against new decks, so I thought if I could use Kiawe going first I would be able to hold my own against any deck, which is why I decided to play Reshiram & Charizard GX.

Were there any particularly memorable games you played at the PJCS 2019?

The game in top 16, against my friend Fukase, was very memorable. Playing against Gourgeist was quite memorable in itself.

We had one win each after time had been called, which meant our final game would be sudden death. My opponent went first, and I was suddenly hit by a Reset Stamp, and I had to begin my first turn with one card in hand. Luckily, from Jirachi’s Stellar Wish I was able to find a Lillie and was able to draw a hand where I could knock my opponent out.

Which card was the MVP of the PJCS 2019?

Heatran GX.

It’s strength as a starter when going second was more than I'd realised.

If you attach Choice Band, Steaming Stomp can knock out Dedenne GX in one shot.


Hedran                    Koda bee

Please give us some comments regarding the World Championships 2019.

I would like to make top 8 and aim to be the top performing Japanese player.


Congratulations!

Next, we have the Juniors Champion, Shunsuke Miyake!

Miyake won in Juniors at the last PJCS, making this his second consecutive victory!


Juniors Champion Shunsuke Miyake

Reshiram & Charizard GX



Interview

Congratulations on your first place finish. Can you please explain the deck you used on the day?

I played a Reshiram & Charizard GX deck.

I tried out other decks too, but at the Kyoto Champions League 2019 I played this deck well and had a good result, so I was able to decide upon a deck without thinking too much.

In the Qualifiers, I ran the Mewtwo & Mew GX build, but after seeing the result of the Qualifiers, more Reshiram & Charizard decks made it to the Main Round than I had expected. So, expecting mirror matches during the Main Round, I ran Slowking.

What kind of things did you keep an eye out for in your matches?

This format is one in which huge damage can be outputted, knocking out even Tag Team GXs. I made sure to be aware that I could take most of my Prizes by dealing lots of damage with Turtonator and Slowking.

Depending on the situation, I would also attack with Tapu Lele GX.


Bakugames                    Yadoking

Were there any particularly memorable games you played at the PJCS 2019?

I played a match against a Fossil deck, that was very memorable.

Since Reshiram & Charizard GX can be knocked out in one shot by Carracosta, I had to make sure to attack with specific Pokemon so that I didn’t fall behind in the Prize race, while still dealing large amounts of damage.

Please give us some comments regarding the World Championships 2019.

I want to practice more than I do currently, and return to Japan with a win.


Congratulations!

Next, we have an interview with the Juniors runner up, Tsubasa Yanagibashi!


Juniors Runner Up Tsubasa Yanagibashi

Reshiram & Charizard GX




Interview

Congratulations on your second place finish. Can you please explain the deck you used on the day?

I played a Mewtwo & Mew GX deck which ran the Flare Blitz GX Charizard GX and the 
Crimson Storm Charizard GX.

I thought it would be strong if I could discard those two different Charizard GXs and use their attacks with Mewtwo & Mew GX.

Can you tell us how to use this deck and give us some tips?

You want to get the two different Charizard GXs in your discard as soon as possible so you can use their attacks with Mewtwo & Mew GX.

With Flare Blitz GX and Crimson Storm you can deal 300 damage for two turns, allowing you to take all six Prizes if your opponent is running Tag Team GXs.


SML Charizard                    SMH Charizard

How do you normally practice?

I practice with a team of about 20 to 30 members.

Before a tournament, there are days where I practice Pokemon all day.

This time, I thought Reshiram & Charizard GX and Aerodactyl GX were strong, so I practiced these decks with my team members.

Please give us some comments regarding the World Championships 2019.

Though this will be my first time going abroad, I will try to win the World Championships!


Congratulations!

Next up will be the Pokemon World Championships held in Washington, USA, in August!
To all the players participating in the World Championships, please do your best!


Please find the original Japanese-language article here.

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