2020 Tokyo Champions League Top 8 Masters – Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Keldeo

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, nice to meet you. I’m Johnny, the guy who went from 0 to 200 CP – twice.

I managed to achieve Top 8 at the recent Tokyo Champions League, so I thought I’d write an article about it.

I actually wrote an article on Shironeko’s (@shironeko_mokemoke) Hatena Blog previously [Note: A blogging platform], but I thought I might be seen as more of an individual now, so I created my own note. [Note: A different blogging platform].  

I want my article to have the furthest reach possible and I don’t like paywalls, so I will be publishing this for free.

However, just in case, I’ve included a payment option. I would be very happy if people generously decided to support me.

My Chiba Champions League Top 8 (Pheromosa & Buzzwole) article is here: http://umaru-shironeko.hatenablog.com/entry/2019/02/22/102551

Why I chose the deck

What I prioritised when choosing my deck for the Champions League was that it was an easy deck to play and was consistent.

I don’t have the brain power to play Zoroark or Silvally for ten rounds, and I’m not very skilled so I didn’t want to play a difficult deck.

Additionally, if my deck was so teched out that it had different strategies for all ten rounds, it would surely brick at some point in the tournament. (Accordingly, I was able to receive priority for the Aichi Champions League.)

So I took Ls to autolosses, and played a deck similar to Pheromosa & Buzzwole, which had lots of good matchups and all it required was attaching Energy. I can’t help playing these kinds of decks…

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As you can probably see from my list below, the deck I used for this tournament wasn’t a deck I played to win the tournament but a deck I played to go 8-2.

Unlike other Arceus & Dialga & Palkia variants, I eliminated almost all tech cards. To put it simply, against Tag Team decks I would use Keldeo GX, and against non-Tag Team decks I would use Alter Genesis GX and then keep attacking to win.

Deck List

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The list I used was based on the list of the runner up of the Kenty GX Cup, as seen here: https://www.pokemoncardjp.com.au/2019/09/top-8-decks-at-kenty-gx-cup-149.html

As it’s hard to go into detail about everything, I’ll just talk about my reasoning for major cards.

4 Victini

I wanted to open with it so I ran four copies. If you’re going first, you should use it if you’re planning on setting up Keldeo, and if you’re going second you should use Victory Sign in every matchup to set up either Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX or Keldeo GX.

Depending on the situation, you can use this card even past the mid-game, suddenly being able to set up your board.

Different to other set up cards, Victini can target two different Pokemon so that is very good.
I think the reason that Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Keldeo variants have a bad matchup against Reshiram & Charizard is because they don’t include this card.

3 Keldeo GX

Against Reshiram & Charizard and Mewtwo & Mew decks, the opposing player must take down three Keldeo GX and one Victini, so the number included is the number used. Even if a Keldeo GX is Prized, I felt that I would usually be able to draw into it at some point.

2 Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX

I wanted to use this card as little as possible, but without it, some matchups become very difficult so I ran two to avoid awkward Prizing. There are also some matchups which you can win by playing two Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX (one Prize decks, Zoroark GX, etc.) so let’s just accept having to play two copies of this card.

In my streamed Top 8 match, I played down this card and it got knocked out and I lost. What an annoying card. I will never forgive it.

1 Field Blower

I wanted to get rid of Choice Bands so I had no option but to include this card. If you don’t get rid of the Choice Band in the Arceus & Dialga & Palkia mirror, two attacks result in 2 x 210 = 420 damage, and even if you use Mallow & Lana 300 damage is still dealt overall. However, if you use Field Blower, you can reduce it to 210 + 180 – 120 = 270 damage and just survive.

Field Blowering Choice Band can also make the situation more favourable against Mewtwo & Mew when they are using Haze Slash.

1 Wishful Baton

You should attach this onto the first Keldeo GX against Reshiram & Charizard. The first Keldeo GX can use Resolute Blade GX to knock out Reshiram & Charizard GX, so Choice Band isn’t needed. This makes setting up for the late-game easier.

You can also use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX to attack. Wishful Baton also makes it easier to deal with surprise scenarios.

1 Enhanced Hammer

I was going back and forth on this card a lot.

When I was playing against my testing partner, Himo, and his Mewtwo & Mew deck, he realised that when he wanted to use Haze Slash against Keldeo GX he wouldn’t be able to play down Viridian Forest due to Chaotic Swell. So he had to use Guzma & Hala to find Rainbow Energy. This is why I included one copy of Enhanced Hammer.

On the day, my opponent would go first and use Viridian Forest to find Water Energy and then be able to use Haze Slash. Further, barely anyone was playing Guzma & Hala anyway!
A third Reset Stamp definitely would’ve been stronger. Even so, I managed to make Top 8 with Enhanced Hammer so please forgive me.

At least it was good for discarding Double Colourless Energy attached to Tapu Lele GX or Lucario & Melmetal GX, though this would disappoint my opponent. Oh well.

1 Guzma, 1 Great Catcher

I thought about the split a lot, but as I had no way of directly searching out either card, I decided upon one Great Catcher which I would be able to draw off of a Cynthia and one Guzma to use against non-GX Pokemon.

However, a different split might have also worked as I didn’t win any matches due to drawing Great Catcher.

2 Guzma & Hala

I ran two copies of this card because it is really strong.

Every time I declared this card, I would say “Hala & Guzma!” but then I would try to fix it and say “Guzma & Hala!” but I would always say it in a Sekigahara accent which tilted me.

2 Mallow & Lana

If you don’t run this card, I think you will easily lose against Haze Slash or the mirror if you go second. I wanted to use it as a searchable Switch with Tag Call, so I ran two copies.

2 Cynthia & Caitlyn

This is the only draw Supporter searchable by Tag Call. It can also recover Supporters so it’s a seriously good card. I felt like I mainly picked up Mallow & Lana or Cynthia when I used it.

Basic Strategies

As I mentioned in my reasoning for picking this deck, there are only two strategies in running this deck, one used against Tag Team decks and one used against non-Tag Team decks.

Tag Team decks

Win the Prize race with one Victini and three Keldeo GXs.

If you can attach Wishful Baton to the first Keldeo GX and set it up, you should almost always be able to follow up. Although your Baton can be discarded, if it is not Field Blowered away you should be fine.

In the unlikely event that you use Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX against your opponent’s one shot deck, using Alter Genesis GX isn’t always a bad idea. If you attach Wishful Baton, you can safely use Ultimate Ray.

If you go second in the mirror it is pretty much impossible to win (so the winner is basically determined by scissors-paper-rock), but if you pray that they don’t run Mallow & Lana and allow you to attack two Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GXs, you have a chance. On the day, I didn’t run into any Mallow & Lana so my face looked like this: ?????

Why was no one was playing the cards that I thought were strong??

Non Tag Team decks/Slow Tag Team decks

Use Alter Genesis GX as quickly as you can. That’s it.

Favourable matchups: Tag Team decks in general, Non Tag Team decks in general

Unfavourable matchups: The mirror going second, Granbull, HAND, Vileplume

Tournament report

In the two weeks leading up to the tournament, I didn’t feel like I could win at all and I was falling apart mentally.

If I missed the priority lottery once, and then failed to make it in the normal lottery I would be finished… if I missed the first tournament, I would have to retire from Pokemon…” [Note: In Japan, since there are so many players each tournament holds a lottery system. If you did well in the previous Champions League, you will receive priority.]

The day before, when I was practicing against Reshiram & Charizard, a matchup that I should be able to win, I was getting destroyed. So I played “Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs 2” until night-time.

On the morning of the tournament, I had completely given up and I was the calmest I had ever been. Maybe it was effective to not think about the tournament…?

Round 1: Giratina & Garchomp Malamar, First, W

Ready for GG End GX, I used Alter Genesis GX. Even if I was GXed against, I had Victini which would easily allow me to set up again with no risk. I just kept attacking and won.

Round 2: Dark Box, Second, W

Non-GX Darkrai was able to attack for 160 damage out of nowhere, but for some reason my opponent attacked Keldeo GX without Choice Band, so it was able to survive. I returned with a knock out, wiping the Dark Energy off of my opponent’s board, and won.

Round 3: Reshiram & Charizard, Second, W

I used three consecutive Keldeo GXs and won.

Round 4: Clay Arceus & Dialga & Palkia, Second, L

Going second in the mirror is absolutely impossible, so I lost.

My opponent took their Prizes after using Ultimate Ray but before searching his deck for Energy, so I called the Judge over and he was unable to attach those Energies.

However, I attached my Energy to the wrong Pokemon, onto my Victini… which meant I missed Energy to retreat Arceus & Dialga & Palkia…

Round 5: Mewtwo & Mew, Second, W

I won by chaining three Keldeo GXs.

Round 6: Mirror, First, W

My opponent ran Froslass, which could be used strongly in the mirror.

However, the mirror is just scissors-paper-rock in the first place, and whoever goes first wins. It’s a trap.

Round 7: Clay Blastoise & Piplup, First, W

I hadn’t seen this deck before, so I freaked out a little bit, but I figured it was an endurance deck. I used Alter Genesis GX to ensure that Keldeo GX could two shot Tag Teams. 

Greninja GX hit the discard, and my opponent was in a position where they could use Haze Slash without me being able to heal, so I had to sacrifice a Keldeo GX.

However, my opponent wasn’t able to both heal and attack on the same turn, so I won.
We didn’t have enough time and I may have rushed my opponent so I am sorry for that.

Round 8: Green’s Reshiram & Charizard, Second, W

When I saw Green’s Exploration it brought back memories of when I was destroyed by Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Pheromosa & Buzzwole, and although I had a moment of panic my opponent was only able to get out one Volcanion with no other Basics and I attacked and won. It was an easy win. At this point, I was really wanting to get to the tenth round.

Round 9: Melmetal Lucario HAND, First, W

This was the biggest climax. My opponent mulliganed and I saw Steven’s Resolve and Misty’s Favour, and my heart stopped and died.

I also felt like dying within the match, but I used Alter Genesis and took down two Hoopas to take four Prizes.

After that, my Energy kept getting discarded, and I thought I was going to be beaten, but my opponent misplayed. Somehow, they forgot to recycle Lusamine with Lusamine.

Then, for some reason, Girafarig began to Lost Zone things from my discard. After confirming that I had Switch left in deck and Water Energy on Board, I remembered the match at the JCS where the Hoopa Umbreon player was able to win with Unown HAND.

The strategy was to not do anything and to just keep drawing, and when HAND’s condition had been fulfilled to play it down and win an astonishing victory.

I continued to draw pass until I had gotten the cards I needed in my hand, and played them all down and won. I felt really good about this match.

Round 10: Mirror, First, W

In the mirror, the player who goes first wins. That is all.

With that, I had a miracle 9-1 finish in the Qualifying Round…

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Koya Oda, 5th place
By a miracle, I was in 5th place!!! I managed to advance to the Main Round!!!

To be honest, I never thought I would be able to get into the top 16, so I was really happy.

And so, the Main Round.

Round 1: Mewtwo & Mew, Second, W

I thought I would be set by powering up a Keldeo GX, but my opponent targeted Keldeo GX with Dark Mist GX! It shouldn’t actually work, but for some reason, my opponent, the Judge and I didn’t notice it. It was fine because I played down another Keldeo GX. Afterwards, the Judge apologised to me.

Round 2: Reshiram & Charizard, Second, L

This round was streamed. If you want to know what happened, you can check out the video! I was put in a situation where I was forced to play down Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, and I ended up five Prize cards behind. However, I set up a Keldeo GX and made a comeback, but after Let Loose my opponent drew Professor Kukui and I was knocked out. Just when I thought I had a chance of winning too! That was painful…


The moment Professor Kukui was drawn, I wilted.

However, I was able to act happy in the interview afterwards.

With that, I was able to achieve a top 8 finish at the first Champions League of the season. I will probably be known as “that guy who lost in top 8 on stream” in the Pokemon world. I’m frustrated by this so I will definitely put effort into this season! I swear!

This concludes this Tokyo Champions League article. I wrote this in a rush, so I don’t think the content is good, but thank you very much for reading thus far. I will work hard to achieve more results so I can write articles about the Sword & Shield expansions.

If you have any questions, please contact me on Twitter.

Please find the original Japanese-language article here