[Special League Ginza] Interview with Finalists and Deck Lists!

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. 

To give some background, this was an official invitational event with only eight players, and therefore was not cancelled unlike other events. The players involved ranged from top-performing players to media personalities. The tournament used the current Standard format (i.e. up to Rebel Clash with minor differences). The players were split into two groups of four, where they played round robin. The overall winner of each group proceeded to the final. Links to the video of the livestream are included at the end of the article.

On 21 March, the Special League Ginza was held by the NicoNico Broadcasting Organisation. We bring to you interviews with Champion Takuya Yoneda and Runner-Up Shintaro Ito!

Further, we’ll be including the deck lists of all participants, along with their comments! 



Runner-Up Shintaro Ito (left); Champion Takuya Yoneda (right). 

Overall reflection on today’s tournament:

Yoneda: I was able to play against people I normally wouldn’t be able to, so it was a great opportunity. I had fun until the end.

Ito: I haven’t been able to do well at large tournaments recently, so I was glad I could build a solid deck and play it well. I genuinely enjoyed each match. I was able to play serious games in a slightly different way to Champions Leagues.

On the Dragapult VMAX deck both finalists used:

Yoneda: Dragapult VMAX’s attack, Giganto Phantom, only requires two Energy so it’s consistent and easy to set up. This was my main reason in choosing this deck. Otherwise, I wanted to use new Pokemon VMAX and was initially torn between Toxtricity VMAX and Dragapult VMAX.

Ito: I, like Mr Yoneda, was also torn between Toxtricity VMAX and Dragapult VMAX. The reason why I chose Dragapult VMAX was because it was similar to Mega Audino EX, a card I used to win the World Championships in 2016. They both have high HP and their attacks are similar. Even regarding their Energy requirements, Mega Audino EX’s Magical Symphony requires a Double Colourless Energy and a Basic Energy, while Dragapult VMAX’s Giganto Phantom requires two Basic Psychic Energy. However, most of the time I attached a Horror Energy, so they were similar in that they both used one Special Energy and one Basic Energy. From that, I thought the deck would suit me and I decided on it.

On the build of your Dragapult VMAX deck:

Yoneda: My deck is built around Dragapult VMAX’s attack. I thought it would be strong to attack while using cards like Team Yell Grunt, Boss’s Order and Marnie. I included cards like Galarian Zigzagoon and Giant Bomb to reach a damage output that I couldn’t hit naturally. Since I had cards like Phione, Galarian Zigzagoon and Mewtwo, I realised my deck could take advantage of Retrieval Net, so I included that too. On the other hand, I didn’t run damage-healing cards like Mallow & Lana. While I originally ran Mallow & Lana, I felt that it was stronger to use consecutive Team Yell Grunts.
In summary, my deck is one that runs cards to maximise the number of times I can use Dragapult VMAX’s Giganto Phantom.

Ito: I built my deck in a completely opposite way to Mr Yoneda. If Mr. Yoneda’s deck increased the number of times it could use Dragapult VMAX’s attack through using “aggressive” cards, I increased the number of times I could use Giganto Phantom through using “defensive” cards. Mallow & Lana and Indeedee V fit this category. My deck is one which recovers from opponent’s damage and keeps attacking.

Yoneda: We both thought we wanted to “use Dragapult VMAX’s attack as much as possible.”

Ito: Yes. We had the same idea, but the cards we implemented were very different in our final deck lists.

To current Pokemon players:

Yoneda: Since there aren’t a lot of opportunities to play these days, I imagine a lot of people are wondering whether it’s worth playing now. But if you want to do well at tournaments, it’s absolutely worth practicing. I think it’d be good if you could use this time to research various ideas.

Ito: While this goes for anything, if you practice while other people aren’t, you’ll become better than them. It’s even worth building two decks and playing against yourself.

Yoneda: You can watch videos of Pokemon matches easily. If you watch these videos with a critical mind, I think it’ll help when it comes to your own matches.

Ito: Yes, it’s good practice to watch videos of matches while being engaged. It gets you into the habit of thinking.

To people interested in Pokemon:

Ito: Today, people of many backgrounds gathered, and everyone said they had fun. Even if you aren’t aiming to win tournaments like me, it can be fun to get together with people and play. Of course, the game itself is also really enjoyable, so I’d like to see you give it a try! 

Deck lists and comments

Champion: Takuya Yoneda



I used Retrieval Net, which allows you to reuse Mewtwo and Galarian Zigzagoon’s Abilities. It can also be used as a substitute for Switch. You can slow down your opponents with Team Yell Grunt, and you can use Mewtwo’s Mind Report to do this consecutively. 

Runner-Up: Shintaro Ito



I chose this deck because Dragapult VMAX’s attack reminded me of Mega Audino EX’s attack, which I used to win the 2016 World Championships. I altered the deck to match the current Standard format.

Top 4: Yuya Hirata (Actor)



This is a Trevenant & Dusknoir GX deck. As I thought I would play against Mewtwo & Mew GX and Dragapult VMAX decks, I centred my deck around Trevenant & Dusknoir GX as it’s weak to Dark types. This deck attempts to slow down opponents by using Night Watch and Crushing Hammer. Pale Moon GX was also very useful.

Top 4: Eriko Yamaguchi (2-Dan Shogi Player)



Instead of running four Speed Energy, I ran two to ensure I could use Pikachu & Zekrom GX’s Full Blitz and reliably accelerate Energy. I built the deck around attacking with Pikachu & Zekrom GX and Boltund V. When I play shogi, I use all the allocated time, and this habit transferred to Pokemon so I spend a lot of time thinking about my moves. I’ll practice so I can play faster, and I’ll work hard to win more at the next tournament!

Dan no Ura (YouTuber)



One feature of my deck is that it features Silvally GX’s Disk Reload, which allows me to draw cards from my deck even without a Supporter. Thanks to that, I ran lots of Supporters like Boss’s Order and Mallow & Lana. There’s synergy between Dragapult VMAX’s high HP and Mallow & Lana, so my deck can handle more drawn-out matches.

Kento Hama (Voice Actor)



My Lapras VMAX deck is quite slow, so I used cards like Jirachi to get as many necessary cards as I could in the early game. When I face against a Dragapult VMAX deck, I can promote Lillie’s Poke Doll to the Active, and forcibly extend the game.

Takeshi Fuji (9-Dan Shogi Player)



I used a Dragapult VMAX deck. It’s a bit different because I ran Gengar & Mimikyu GX. I use its Horror House GX either on my first turn going second or my second turn going first. This will give me time to evolve my benched Pokemon which will carry me through the match.

Raibarori (YouTuber)



I thought I would be playing a variety of decks today, so I ran a Zacian V and Arceus & Dialga & Palkia GX deck. With Alolan Ninetales GX’s Ability, Mysterious Guidance, I can quickly gather cards I need to use Zacian V. I ran one Zamazenta V so I could handle going up against VMAX Pokemon too.

For readers who haven’t yet watched the broadcast, you can watch it here. Please enjoy watching the great matches! 

Please find the original Japanese-language article here


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