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Japan National Championships Winning Deck Info!

Japan’s Nationals recently took place, and some information is circling the internet about it, including the winning deck, which I thought you guys might be interested in hearing about.

First of all, it’s important to know that their format is different to ours in more way than one. As well as being a couple of sets ahead (and having the Dragon cards in their format), they also play in a BW-on format, meaning they play without Junk Arm. It’s interesting to see that a lot of Dark decks ran heavy counts of Sableye, so I would guess that they use that as a substitute to Junk Arm, and use it’s attack ‘Junk Hunt’ to get any needed trainers back towards the end of the game.

From what I can understand, their Nationals is invite only, with a Swiss and then Top 16 cut. Yamato lost his final game needed to win an invite to the Nationals and was unable to play in it, but used Hydreigon/Darkrai. He explained that he lost due to some simple misplays, and that the deck itself took a degree of thinking and skill to use, which is great news for the future of the game.


You can see a picture of the winning deck here:




From what I can make out, the list was:


Pokemon: 15

3-1-3 Hydreigon

3 Darkrai EX

1 Shaymin EX

3 Sableye

1 Sigilyph


Supporters/Trainers: 31

4 Professor Juniper

4 N

3 Bianca

4 Pokemon Catcher

3 Rare Candy

2 Level Ball

2 Eviolite

3 Max Potion

3 Ultra Ball

2 Random Reciever

3 Dark Patch


Energy: 12

8 Darkness Energy

4 Blend Energy




Some of these cards haven’t been released yet, so like me, you might not understand what they do and why they were included in the deck. I’ll post the translations here:


Hydreigon – Dragon – HP150
Stage 2 – Evolves from Zweilous

Ability: Dark Trance
As often as you like during your turn (before your attack), you may move a Darkness Energy attached to 1 of your Pokemon to another of your Pokemon.

[P][D][D][C] Dragon Blast: 140 damage. Discard 2 Darkness Energy attached to this Pokemon.

Weakness: Dragon (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 3


Blend Energy GRPD – Special Energy

This card provides 1 [C] Energy. As long as this card is attached to a Pokemon, it provides either [G], [R], [P], or [D] Energy, but only 1 Energy at a time.


Sigilyph – Psychic – HP90
Basic Pokemon

Ability: Safeguard
Prevent all effects of attacks, including damage, done to Sigilyph by your opponent’s Pokemon-EX.

[P][C][C] Psychic: 50+ damage. Does 10 more damage for each Energy card attached to the Defending Pokemon.

Weakness: Psychic (x2)
Resistance: none
Retreat: 1


Thoughts on the deck: 


Firstly, it’s interesting to see that Dark decks will at least be very competitive in the future, considering Dark Explorers has just been released for us. It’s also cool to see a Stage 2 Pokemon at the centre of this deck, so perhaps a BW-on rotation is needed to bring the format back into balance, with Basic, Stage 1 and Stage 2 Pokemon.

Hydregion is the main hitter in the deck, and it’s pretty easy to see why. It has 150HP, can deal 140 damage at a time and doesn’t give up two prizes when knocked out either. It’s ability has a lot of synergy with Dark Patch, which usually has two limitations – that the energy must be attached to a Dark Pokemon, that’s on the bench. Not only can any energy be moved onto an active Hydregion, which is important since it discards two for it’s attack, but they can also be moved onto Sigilyph or Shaymin EX if needbe.

Shaymin EX from Next Destinies

My guess is that Shaymin EX was included to help against any opposing Terrakion which obviously give this deck a tough time. Sigilyph provides a nice option against any opposing Mewtwo EX, which are hit for a x2 weakness, and can’t attack it in return. Blend Energy is particularly useful here, as it can provide what ever energy is needed for each Pokemon, but isn’t limited to Basic Pokemon like Prism Energy is.

The final Pokemon I thought I’d talk about is Sableye, which we’ve just had released in our format here, and it’s obviously a big part of his deck considering three copies were included. Does this mean that we’re underestimating here? I don’t think so, I just think that instead it’s a direct replacement for Junk Arm, which is now rotated out in Japan. Although all trainers will be useful in different situations, this deck clearly has a huge reliance on Dark Patch, and needs a lot more than three to function throughout a whole game. Sableye’s ‘Junk Hunt’ can put two trainer cards back from the discard pile into the hand with one attack, and would prove pretty useful towards the end of the game. It also makes a decent starter Pokemon, if you use a lot of trainers in the first few turns to set up, or need to discard any important cards with Ultra Ball for example.


The Top 16 Decks


For anyone who is interested, here’s the rest of the decks that made the Top 16, thanks to the Pokegym:


1st – 4th (in order)


1st – Hydreigon + Darkrai EX

2nd – Garchomp + Altaria

3rd – Eelektrik + Zekrom + Mewtwo EX + Raikou EX

4th – Mewtwo EX + Terrakion EX + Bouffalant


5th-8th (not in order)


Empoleon + Terrakion + Mew EX

Gothitelle + Accelgor + Mew EX + Darkrai EX + Musharna

Ho-Oh EX + Tornadus EX

Eelektrik + Zekrom + Mewtwo EX


9th-16th (not in order)


Hydreigon + Darkrai EX

Eelektrik + Zekrom + Mewtwo EX + Raikou EX

Eelektrik + Zekrom + Mewtwo EX + Raikou EX + Tornadus EX

Darkrai EX + Mewtwo EX + Tornadus EX + Tornadus

Mewtwo EX + Terrakion

Garchomp + Altaria

Darkrai EX + Mewtwo EX + Bouffalant

Mewtwo EX + Terrakion EX + Terrakion + Sigilyph + Stunfisk




That’s all the information I have for the moment. What do you guys think of this information, does it suprise you to see these decks dominating the format in Japan? I don’t know about everyone else, but seeing the decks doing well there really excites me for a potential BW-on format, if we get one next year.


Let me know all your thoughts in the comment box below!


  • Quarter-Turn

    This is really interesting information! Curious to see Stage 2s back in the format. I’m very excited about the upcoming sets with Dragon Pokémon.

    Thanks so much for keeping us updated!

  • awwatford

    Does Garchomp-Altaria have the potential to beat hydreigon Darkrai? 

    • Balasar

      yes actually. any deck has potential. some more than others. for example, solo-terrakion has a LOT of potential against any darkrai.dec, but lucario/luxray may not have a lot of potential.

  • Nathan

    Quarter-Turn: No problem, I’m glad you liked the article! I found it really interesting as well, I’d like to know the thinking behind some of the other decks on that Top 16 list. I might plan some follow ups to this article, try and get hold of deck lists for some of the other decks, then analyse how they work. 

    awwatford: To be honest, I don’t even know what Garchomp or Altaria do! If I write a follow up article on it, like I mentioned to Quarter-Turn, I’ll talk about some of the matchups it has against other decks. I know theorymon isn’t always accurate, but it can usually give a good idea.

    • Maximus

      It uses Garchomps first attack, 1 fighting energy for 60 damage, while you have as many altaria on the bench as possible. Altaria boosts your Dragon Pokemon’s attacks by 20 damage.

  • Jayyounger1

    where can I find the garchomp/altaria deck list? 

    • Nathan

      I found out this information from other websites like Pokegym and Heytrainer, but I believe the people on there just found small bits of information from different Japanese player’s blogs. It’s hard to find a website which covers everything that people want to know, and when I was researching results for this article, I couldn’t find any deck lists for Garchomp/Altaria I’m afraid.

  • Hephestus15

    After trying out theDarkrai-Hydregion deck, I can say that it is… INTENSE, the combination of pokepowers from Darkrai and Hydregion allow chains of moving pokemon as well as protecting / covering damage and using max potions with little/no setback, truly a bulky deck. 

    I hope to see some Darkrai/Hydregion decks at the Regionals in Japan in the coming weeks! 

    • Nathan

      I really want to try it out now! The whole deck concept looks really fun to play, and it looks like there’s a lot of thinking and potential combinations involved. What decks did you test it against?

  • Johnathon McDowell

    is there any where i can get a list for the ho-oh ex tornadus ex im really interested in it.

    • Nathan

      I haven’t seen it posted on any main websites, or any real information about it. If I find anything out about it, I might make another article about it. 

  • Robin Love

    the first deck only has 58 cards what are the other 2 missing?

  • Robin Love

    wheres terrakion/Groudon EX/landorus in the tier list i used it bw-on at nats and got top cut 

  • Robin Love

    Does anyone have the japan deck list for tornadus ex ho-oh donk with out the first ticket

  • 1004437H

    How does this deck face against a mewtwo terrakion n bouffalant deck?

  • Jermsky

    This deck is good but people cheat with it. Sableye’s card specifically says you can junk hunt item cards, not supporters or stadium cards. Too often I see videos where people junk hunt supporters and get an unfair advantage. Sableye came out in the black and white series where trainers were divided into different categories. Think about it, why wouldn’t the card say “put 2 trainer cards from your discard pile into your hand”? The developers were fully aware of the brokenness of the card so they specified “ITEM” on it so smart people would get the fact that it’s only item cards that can be junk hunted! Lol sorry I’m just tired of losing to that deck where people junk hunt N and mess up my hand!

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