Aichi Champions League Results (Sword & Shield Format)

The second Champions League of the season was held in Aichi at the tail end of 2019, the first major tournament in Japan to feature the new Sword & Shield expansions. Even more exciting, this tournament marks a new rotation in Japan, bringing their format more in line with the rest of the world. Although, there are still a few slight differences – for example, the Japanese format no longer has access to Rainbow Energy.

Nearly 2000 players battled it out over ten rounds to earn ever-important Championship Points (which are important for both earning a World Championships invite and gaining guaranteed entry to the next Champions League). The combination of newly released Sword & Shield cards with the rotation made for a potentially unpredictable format (that said, City Leagues had been held throughout December).

Find the results for the top 70 players (8-2 or better) including deck lists here: English | 日本語

As usual, this information has been collated predominantly from Twitter so we cannot guarantee its accuracy. Unfortunately, we are also missing three deck archetypes. If you have any leads to these missing deck archetypes or any other deck lists, you can contact us on Facebook or Twitter. Alternatively, you can email us at pokemoncardjp@gmail.com


Results Summary



  • Most of the high performing decks built upon previously successful archetypes, meaning the Champions League was once again dominated by Tag Teams
  • All but four decks in the top 70 were reliant on Tag Team Pokemon 
  • Arceus & Dialga & Palkia decks were again the most popular archetypes for players with a score of 8-2 or better
  • Zacian V was a particularly influential card, contained in nearly 40% of top performing decks 
  • Despite Zacian V being such a prevalent card and Reshiram & Charizard being hugely popular before the rotation, only four Reshiram & Charizard decks found themselves in the top 70, with both deck lists that are publicly available being Green’s Search variants
  • There was almost a complete lack of single Prize attackers, even though Galarian Obstagoon decks saw some popularity in City Leagues (resulting in many players in this tournament running Phione to counter it)
  • No VMAX Pokemon or Cinccino made the cut and they have not performed well at City Leagues either, even though there has been some hype regarding these cards

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian

 

Koshi Kodo's Top 8 list.


Taisuke Sano's Top 8 list.

Arceus & Dialga & Palkia decks once again dominated the Champions League, but this time with Zacian V instead of Keldeo GX. Keldeo GX is no longer the effective wall it was with the release of V Pokemon, and Zacian V is superior in that it has higher HP and can deal far more damage. Accordingly, Chaotic Swell has been dropped from all decks, being replaced with some combination of Lysandre Labs, Shrine of Punishment, Power Plant and Viridian Forest. With Zacian V requiring three Metal Energy, it is vital to run a high count of Metal Energy while having outs to search for Water Energy (Viridian Forest, Energy Spinner, Guzma & Hala etc).

Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword gives an alternative method of Energy acceleration in the early game. In a format where it is generally advantageous to go second (as a result of the new first turn rule changes that came into effect with Sword & Shield), this can be game-changing. A few decks also ran Energy Switch, allowing this Energy to be moved off Zacian V and onto Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX, enabling an easy turn two Altered Creation GX. Energy Switch also has great synergy with one of the new useful tools: Metal Saucer. Almost all Arceus & Dialga & Palkia Zacian decks ran maximum counts of Metal Saucer, and for good reason: it gives the archetype a reliable source of Energy acceleration (especially compared to, say, N’s Resolve).

Galarian Zigzagoon, Shrine of Punishment and Vitality Band were included in some decks, giving an additional damage modifier to Altered Creation GX. These cards enable Zacian V to hit 270 damage (260 + 10 after Altered Creation GX), one-shotting Pokemon like Mewtwo & Mew GX. Further, Galarian Zigzagoon can pull off some spicy plays with Shadow Box Mimikyu.


Mewtwo & Mew


Ippo Kito's Top 8 list.


Kaito Kimura's Top 8 list.

Mewtwo & Mew decks generally came in two variants: a Fire variant dependent on Welder (not unlike the ones dominating outside of Japan) and a Psychic variant depending on Malamar for Energy acceleration.

For the Fire variant, decks were running Reshiram GX, which has seen next-to-no play in the rest of the world. Reshiram GX has a good attack to use in the early game if the player is unable to find Welder.

A Sword & Shield addition is Victini V, despite Mewtwo & Mew GX being unable to copy its attacks with Perfection. Its first attack, Spreading Flames, can help re-establish a depleted board, especially as the deck burns through many cards due to Professor’s Research and Dedechange. Its second attack, Energy Burst, is a versatile move which can be set up out of nowhere with Welder, and can one shot a powered up Zacian V or Lucario & Melmetal GX. The Fire variant also has access to Charizard GX, the perfect attacker to use in response to the popular Altered Creation GX.

The Psychic variant includes Indeedee V from Sword & Shield as well as cards like Trevenant & Dusknoir GX and Gengar & Mimikyu GX, neither of which have seen much play in Mewtwo & Mew archetypes in the Cosmic Eclipse format. Indeedee V can negate Shrine of Punishment damage and can prevent Mimikyu’s Shadow Box from becoming active in certain situations. It is the perfect bench sitter, unable to be targeted by Great Catcher since it is a V Pokemon. Being a non-Tag Team Psychic Pokemon, it can be a great in the mirror as well, being able to attack through Tag Purge.

Trevenant & Dusknoir GX’s Night Watch gets a huge boost from Marnie, as it is easier to reduce the opponent’s hand size. Pale Moon GX is also very good against Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX after Altered Creation GX and against Pikachu & Zekrom GX after Full Blitz. Further, this card is a fantastic attacker in Mewtwo & Mew mirrors as it is weak to Dark, not Psychic. It is also a basic Pokemon that can attack even under Mimikyu lock - Gengar & Mimikyu GX can serve a similar purpose.

Quick Ball helps immensely with setting up Malamar in the early game, serving as a valuable search card in addition to Mysterious Treasure. Some decks ran a Ditto instead of a third Inkay, allowing for flexibility with evolving into Naganadel GX, which provides a countermeasure for Shadow Box Mimikyu and Galarian Obstagoon (which prevents damage from Basic Pokemon).

Dragonite GX’s attack can deal with a Zacian V (even with Metal Frying Pan attached) so is an important inclusion in the Psychic variant of the deck. Further, this variant has the flexibility to run Chaotic Swell (instead of Giant Hearth in the Fire variant), helping defend against Power Plants and Prism Star Stadiums. 

Pikachu & Zekrom



Kousei Saito's winning list.


Shogo Kitagawa's Top 4 list.

This is the deck that took out the entire tournament, despite the archetype lying somewhat dormant outside of Japan. The strategy of the deck generally appears to be the same as before Sword & Shield was released.

With a reduction in Mega Lopunny & Jigglypuff GX (due to the introduction of V Pokemon), one of the deck’s natural counters, Pikachu & Zekrom was able to rise to the top once again. Additionally, Tapu Koko V decreased the deck’s reliance on GX Pokemon. Further, some decks (including the winning list) have chosen to forego Zeraora GX and all are opting to run high counts of Switch.

Pikachu & Zekrom’s sheer speed makes it a force to be reckoned with, and can deal with the slower Arceus & Dialga & Palkia decks. The deck can knock out Arceus & Dialga & Palkia in two Full Blitzes, meaning the deck has a high chance of knocking it out before it can use Ultimate Ray, which can greatly slow its setup.

Most decks opted to run a combination of Custom Catcher and Great Catcher, which are easily searchable thanks to Volkner. Further, Custom Catcher has synergy with Oranguru (as does Electropower).

Lucario & Melmetal Zacian



Ryoji Satomoe's second place list.

While attacking Lucario & Melmetal variants had seen success prior to the rotation (notably winning the Tokyo Champions League), its strong performances were dependent on Double Colourless Energy (which it has since lost). However, the release of Metal Saucer makes the deck viable, allowing it to easily get a turn one attack (and if the deck goes first, it can similarly take advantage of Zacian V’s Intrepid Sword). Oranguru is great with Metal Saucer, as it can be used to preserve cards in the early game before using Professor’s Research.

The combination of Metal Frying Pan, Mallow & Lana and Lucario & Melmetal GX’s Full Metal Wall GX can make for an incredibly tanky Zacian V (effectively giving it 280 HP). Full Metal Wall GX’s purpose is twofold, being especially useful after an Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX uses Altered Creation GX.

Dusk Mane Necrozma, despite not being able to target V Pokemon, is a handy sniper which can take down a damaged Mewtwo & Mew GX or Pikachu & Zekrom GX as Brave Blade does only 230 damage without Altered Creation GX. It can also make some important plays with Mimikyu. 


Key Cards from Sword & Shield Expansions


Air Balloon: While obviously not as good as Float Stone, this card gives increased mobility to decks which can’t run Escape Board or which don’t care to retreat from status conditions (e.g. non-Jirachi decks). It is an extra switching out many decks will be able to make use of.

Aurora Energy: This card may have a different influence outside of Japan. In Japan, it has essentially replaced Rainbow Energy but in the rest of the world, the release of this card means that decks can functionally run eight Rainbow Energythis could lead to some interesting deck creations. Further, this means players can pick their poison in regards to multi-coloured Energy – to take one damage counter or to discard one card?

Big Charm: This card will likely make its way into many decks, (especially replacing Choice Helmet), as it can prevent would-be one hit knock outs. Unlike Choice Helmet, this card doesn’t depend on the opposing Pokemon being a GX.

Marnie: This card is a better alternative to disruption than Judge, and has reduced counts of Reset Stamp all round. One of its uses showcased in the Aichi Champions League is its synergy with Trevenant & Dusknoir GX's Night Watch.

Metal Saucer: Has great synergy with Zacian V, as well as with Lucario & Metal GX. It is a reliable form of Energy acceleration, essentially an Aqua Patch for Metal Pokemon.

Oranguru: Oranguru can save necessary cards before using Professor’s Research or Dedenne GX, allowing players to conserve their resources. For example, Custom Catcher can be switched with the top card of the deck instead of discarding it, allowing the player to more easily dig for the elusive double Custom Catcher. In general, it gives the player card advantage, which can be important after an opposing Marnie, for example. In decks where a player is seeking to discard certain cards, it can be used with Acro Bike.

Pokemon Catcher: This card is back! With no reliable gusting option, which Catcher line to run doesn’t seem to be established from the results. Some decks ran both Great Catcher and Pokemon Catcher, while others relied on Custom Catcher. Running a coin flip card may be the best gusting option for certain builds.

Professor’s Research: This is an insane card (as were Professor Juniper and Professor Sycamore) and will become the main draw Supporter – no explanation needed.

Quick Ball: Almost every deck ran four copies of this pseudo-Nest Ball. This card gives us long-awaited search, improving the consistency of all decks that run it.

Vitality Band: This Tool card allows Pokemon to deal an extra 10 damage indiscriminately, allowing some attackers to hit necessary numbers for one shots (particularly Zacian V).

Zacian V: This card was the main attacker in two hugely successful variants. It can take advantage of Metal Saucer, has an incredible Ability (especially on the first turn) and deals a huge amount of damage.



If you are interested in watching the stream of the Aichi Champions League, you can watch it here.

We’re looking to post some translations of articles by successful Aichi Champions League players in the near future, so make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter to keep updated!


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