The Best of the Best: Rayquaza Mega Battles in Japan

Written By taiga1205Jul 1, 2015

Hi! I am Taiga Sakurai, a Pokémon TCG player from the western side of Tokyo. To give a quick information about myself, I became 6th at Japan Nationals last year and also qualified as a competitor for World Championships 2014 in Washington. Today, I will report one of the Japanese spring tournaments in 2015 called ”RAYQUAZA MEGA BATTLE” (RMB).

What’s RMB?

First of all, I have to explain the Japanese tournament system to you. For us Japanese, the Spring Tournament is the only way to qualify for Worlds since TPCI don’t give PLAY! Points for Japanese and Korean players. You could now ask: “Who is in charge of the tournaments held in Japan or Korea?” The answer is: Those two countries' tournaments are held by Pokémon Japan or Pokémon Korea. Both companies are independent from TPCI, so that’s the reason why we don't share the same system used at American or European tournaments.

We also have another big difference in our age divisions. Japanese Pokémon TCG tournaments have only two divisions:

A League (For elementary school children or younger. So basically, it’s Junior Division)

B League (For Junior high or elder. So this division has Senior and Masters Division mixed.)

This time, I’ll report about B League.

Talking back about how-to-be-qualified-for-Worlds, we must first need to reach 1st or 2nd place at a RMB (it's Top 4 for Osaka somehow) to get qualified for Japanese Nationals. RMB was held in Nagoya, Chiba (held for 2 days, with individual tournaments on each day), Sapporo and Osaka. This means that 12 people will qualify for Japanese Nationals. Competitors who finished as 1st through 4th place will win a Travel Award for World Championships. The rest of the competitors will still be qualified for Worlds as long as they pay the trips by themselves.

How Do I Join RMB?

This tournament mainly has two stages, but it has two ways to join the first stage. There are two types of the First Stage - the “Main Tournament” and the “Last Challenge Tournament”.

The fastest way is to reach 1st - 3rd place in "Rayquaza Gym Battle" (RGB) to qualify for the Main Tournament. RGB was held in March - two months before RMB - in card shops that sell the Pokémon TCG. So this means that everybody can join the first step of RMB near their home. People who aren't qualified for the Main Tournament go to the Last Challenge Tournament. A maximum of 64 competitors of the Last Challenge Tournament and the Main Tournament can move up to the “Final Tournament”. I will explain more about it later in this article.

RMB: Main Tournament

The Main Tournament has 16 blocks with 8 players in each of them. A tournament is held in each block and the finalist of the block can move up to the Final Tournament. In order to take part in this tournament you have to reach 1st - 3rd place in RGB, so the number of games you have to play tends to be less than players playing from Last Challenge Tournament as long as the player wins the Main Tournament. Also, most of the Main Tournament winners don't need to play the first round of the Final Tournament, which means that they can start from Top 32. Seven wins in a row to get qualified for World Championships and Japanese Nationals.

RMB: Last Challenge Tournament

Players who aren't qualified for the Main Tournament or lost in the Main Tournament can join the Last Challenge. The Last Challenge Tournament consists of two stages: They have to win twice in LC first stage and three times in second stage. It is required to win those matches in a row. This means that all players who won five times in a row can join the Final Tournament. Ten wins in a row are required to qualify for Japan Nationals and World Championships. Long, long way, huh?

RMB: Final Tournament

There are 32 competitors from Last Challenge and 16 from the Main Tournament. Unlike In the United States or any other countries, we do not have Best-of-three. It's a single game match and once you lose, you are done with the tournament. As I said previously, finalists have to play more than five rounds at least within this tournament, so they must be so tough.

Japanese Nationals

RMB winners can take part in Japan National Championships. 1st place will be rewarded a trophy and the title of “National Champion”. Furthermore, 1st - 4th place will win a Travel Award. It's a long way to the top…

The First Step To RGB (BW1-XY5)

2015 season began on the first day of March. I was willing to go to Boston - to be the World Champion! On the first day, I went to Tochigi (three-hour-drive for me) to join a Rayquaza Gym Battle. It was a long trip but it went out pretty good. We do have Pokémon TCG tournaments in card shops pretty often, but because RGB is a very important tournament, there were a lot of participants - over 50! I'm pretty sure everyone loves the Pokémon TCG!

As I wrote above, the legal sets were BW1 - XY5 (XY6 hasn't been released yet).

Popular decks (BW1 - XY5):

Tier 1
- Seismitoad-EX FFI20 / Munna BCR68 w/ Hammers and Lasers
- Yveltal-EX XY79 / Darkrai-EX DEX63 w/ Maxie’s Archeops
- Keldeo-EX BCR49 / Black Kyurem-EX PLS95 w/ Archie’s Blastoise

Tier 2
- Virizion-EX PLB9 / Genesect-EX PLB11
- Night March

My deck was Aegislash-EX PHF65 / Klinklang BW76 & PLS90 / Bronzong PHF61. This EX-killer deck worked out perfectly and I qualified for the Main Tournament in Nagoya.

BW1 - XY6: Introducing "Emerald Break"

After XY6 was released (it was released on 14th of March), I could not win a RGB at all. Everyone knew that M Rayquaza-EX ROS76 decks were strong while everyone’s decks had some key cards against M Rayquaza-EX. Because I loved to say ”Emerald Break”, I kept on using my M Rayquaza deck but I couldn’t win against the Anti-Rayquaza decks. I ended up getting only one qualification for the Main Tournament.

Rayquaza Pokémon Center Battle

One of the biggest RGB held was at the Pokémon Center - more than 100 players were there. I took part in Mega-Tokyo and I decided to use the Metal deck again. Below is a quick chart of the meta decks. See how crazy it is!

Popular decks (BW-XY6):

Tier 1
- Seismitoad-EX FFI20 / Keldeo-EX BCR49 / Munna BCR68 with Hammers and Lasers
- M Rayquaza-EX ROS76 / Shaymin-EX ROS77 with Sky Field
- Primal Groudon-EX PRC86 / Wobbuffet PHF36 with Robo Substitute

Tier 2
- M Rayquaza-EX ROS61 (Dragon) / Reshiram ROS63
- Garchomp DRX90 / Altaria DRX84

Taking a look at Tier 1 and Tier 2, I came to the conclusion that a Klinklang deck would do well. My decision was right and the deck led me to eight wins in a row. This result turned out very good as I placed 2nd and earned another qualification for the Main Tournament in Chiba Day 1!

Rayquaza Mega Battle Nagoya, 2015/05/05

My deck: Zekrom-EX NXD51 / Seismitoad-EX / Keldeo-EX / Zapdos ROS23 / Zekrom BW47 / Eelektrik NVI40

My first opponent was my teammate so I knew his Seismitoad-EX deck well and he knew my Eels deck well. I lost the match and went to the Last Challenge quickly.

The next deck I faced was a Tyrantrum deck. I won this match but I lost against two decks that had Garbodor. Another Lucario-EX deck stopped my Eelektrik. I ended up losing three games in a row. Tough.

My results from Nagoya:
Main: X
Last Challenge: O / X / X / X

Winner of the day (Senior & Masters Division):

- Wobbuffet / Garbodor DRX54 / Raichu XY43
- LatiosEX ROS58 / Shaymin-EX with First Ticket (“To-Shin” Shintaro Ito / WCS 2013 competitor)

Can anybody imagine to lose before his or her first turn?

Probably, most of the readers have question marks over their heads while they read this sentence - but believe it or not, half of Ito's games ended before his second turn.

One match is limited to 30 minutes, so with no doubt he used most of the time on his first turn. Was he playing too slow? Nope. Ito was playing his deck not too slow but not too fast either. The trick was that “he was playing many, many trainer cards”, so that it was possible for him to steal a lot of time. However, many players still blamed him that he used too much time for his first turn. Some even said that playing slowly can bring players to the top. After the tournaments in Nagoya, many players tried to mimic Ito’s skill to use the match time wisely but the judges had keen eyes on them: Some players were given sudden defeat for playing too slow.

“Only quick and accurate play can take Latios-EX deck to National Championship”, I would say.

Team L.O.L.I / My teammates. (Excuse me for the man in the back…)

Rayquaza Mega Battle Chiba (Day 1), 2015/05/09

My deck: Trevenant XY55 / Raichu XY43 / Keldeo-EX / Shaymin-EX with Wally

One of my teammates built a better deck than my Eels. I won the first match and lost the second match. If you win the first match in the Main Tournament, it will be counted as two wins in the first stage. This means that I can go to the second stage of Last Challenge.

In the Second Stage of the Last Challenge Tournament, I won against a Rayquaza-EX deck, a Raichu / Leafeon deck and a Garchomp deck.


Top 64 to 32:

I won against Raichu / Leafeon. I used Wally on my first turn to beat Pikachu down.

Top 32 to 16:

My opponent was Michikazu Tsuda (WCS 2014 3rd place). His Donphan deck had a 2-2 line of Zoroark BW71 which was effective against Trevenant. We had a very close, good match, but what made it tough for me was that my deck had no Muscle Band. Since Zoroark is a Darkness type and Trevenant is weak to Darkness, it knocked out my Trevenant so easily. The match ended up as 4-6. If I had another turn, I would have won the match.

My results from Chiba Day 1:

Main: O / X
Last Challenge (2nd stage): O / O / O
Final: O / X (Top 32)

Winner of the day (Senior & Masters Division):

- Yveltal-EX XY79 / Darkrai-EX DEX63 / Absol PLF67 with Maxie’s Archeops NVI67
- Primal Groudon-EX PRC86 / Wobbuffet PHF36 with Robo Substitute (Takuya Yoneda / Team Torchic / 2004 Sr. Division World Champion)

At Finals, Yoneda had a terrible start, but I could see that he was not giving his game up at all. For example, he was attaching an Energy card on the Robo Substitute, because he might have some chance by switching Energies to Groudon using Scramble Switch. After all, Yoneda lost the match because his opponent had taken more prizes when 30 minutes had passed. Anyways, he still won a qualification for Japan National Championships and for Worlds 2015! Congratulations to Yoneda!!

Rayquaza Mega Battle Chiba (Day 2), 2015/05/10

My deck: Trevenant XY55 / Raichu XY43 / Shaymin-EX / Keldeo-EX / Gengar-EX PHF34 with Wally

I could figure out what my deck needed: I thought that I will need Gengar-EX, so I bought a box of Phantom Gate (XY4). I got a Full Art! Yes!

First Stage:

Two of my opponents used Virizion-EX / Genesect-EX / Raichu. This deck was not a bad choice since it can KO Yveltal-EX and Primal Groudon-EX. I had a good game with those decks, but I was able to go first and used Wally before their first turn so I got a better start than them. Two wins made it a good start of the day.

Second Stage (Game 1):

My first opponent in second stage of the Last Challenge Tournament was using a M Rayquaza-EX deck. After his long long first turn, my opponent had M Rayquaza-EX active. My opponent had a really good start. I mean it. It was very good!

However, I was not in a bad situation since his bench had no Altaria while my Active Pokémon was Pikachu. I had a DCE, Jirachi-EX, Shaymin-EX, Silver Bangle in my hand. I got Wally from my deck and used Shaymin-EX to set up. I had more than 4 Pokémon on my bench - here I go for two prizes! My Raichu did a great move to seal the victory.

Second Stage (Game 2):

My opponent was one of my teammates using a Garchomp deck. I played Wally at my first turn to get an active Trevenant. Played how I always do for the fourth win of the day.

Second Stage (Game 3):

My opponent looked like she was using Exeggutor deck. I played Trevenant active so she can’t play any items. She had many balls in her hand, so Trevenant was doing a good job. Through out the game, I was really surprised when she used Team Flare Grunt 3 times. However, it wasn't a big problem for me since I had more than 3 DCEs, I was able to knock her Shaymin-EX.


Final Tournament of Chiba (Day 2)

My deck: M Gardevoir-EX / Shaymin-EX(BW) / Keldeo-EX / Aromatisse / Ninetales(XY)

To prevent my opponent from playing Sky Field, I used a Ninetales and three Fairy Garden.

There were many friends in the tournament, including 3 of my teammates and my special friends:
M. Tsuda (WCS 2014 3rd place)
K. Onodera (2014 National Champion of Japan)
T. Miyamoto (2014 Charizard Mega Battle Osaka winner & WCS2014 competitor)
All of them are WCS 2014 competitors. We had great days in D.C. last year. We live far away and we do not see each other so often. Although there were more than 1000 players in this whole tournament, 4 of 4 guys reached Top 32 in the same tournament! I asked the Head Judge to give us a minute to take some pictures.

Great picture, Great memories.

I had three games against strong opponents including WCS2012 competitor. With all these great games and victories, I believed that I’ll be the winner of the day.

Top8 to Top4:

I started out with a Spritzee. My hand consisted of two M Gardevoir-EX, an Aromatisse, a Fairy Garden, a Colress and a Lysandre. The first draw was Super Rod.

My opponent had Hypnotoxic Laser, Dark Patch, two Darkness Energy and Energy Switch. It didn’t take long for my opponent to KO my Spritzee, so it was an quick loss for me.

My opponent won the match after this, so he was qualified for WCS 2015. However, one of my teammate I. Kito also won the next match. This means that finals were my teammate against the boy I lost to. I hoped my teammate to win, and he did it!! He won!! RMB finalist! A competitor for Nationals from our team! 4 years in a row! Nothing to say, I. Kito’s victory was one of my happiest moments.

My results from Chiba Day 2:

Last Challenge (1st stage): O / O
Last Challenge (2nd stage): O / O / O
Final: O / O / O / X (Top 8)

Winner of the day (Senior & Masters Division):

- Shaymin-EX / Keldeo-EX / Zapdos NXD41 / Zapdos ROS23 / Zekrom / Bouffalant DRX110 / Eelektrik NVI40 (“Chip” Ippo Kito/ Team L.O.L.I)
- Yveltal-EX XY79 / Darkrai-EX DEX63 / Absol PLF67 with Maxie’s Archeops NVI67

The key of this match must be Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick. Once Archeops hits the field, Chip needs to plan his game with a few energies and some useless Tynamo. I prayed that his opponent won't use Maxie’s Hidden Ball Trick and luckily, Archeops was not played during the game. Chip played his Bouffalant effectively throughout the game. In the end, Eelektrik’s “Lightning Ball” knocked Darkrai-EX out for the victory! WOW! Amazing!

Rayquaza Mega Battle Sapporo (Day 1), 2015/05/23

My deck: Trevenant / Raichu / Shaymin-EX / Keldeo-EX / Gengar-EX with Wally

BEER!!! In Sapporo.

Sapporo Tournament came out very different compared to other areas - over the half of the players who took part were not residents of Hokkaido. There were many player from Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo or other places in Japan, so it was hard for me to decide which deck to use. I thought really hard, but I could not find the best one, so I used the Trevenant deck again.

Last Challenge Tournament (First Stage):

My opponent used a Rayquaza-EX deck. I started first and the only Pokémon I was able to play was Jirachi-EX. However, I didn't have a good hand either so I left Jirachi as active. In my opponent’s first turn, M Rayquaza-EX got ready and my opponent had 2 Lysandre in his hand as well so it was a quick game and a quick lose.

First Stage Again (Take 2!):

During the match, I had a feeling that Jirachi-EX was hating me for some reason today. This time, my Jirachi-EX was prized with the other 2 Trevenants. I got my First Trevenants knocked out by Seismitoad-EX and because I couldn’t get another Trevenants out, my opponent was now able to play Item cards. In the next turn, many hammers started to crash my energies, but I couldn't do anything and lost the game.

First Stage Once Again (Take 3!):

I changed my deck to M Gardevoir-EX / Manectric-EX / Shaymin-EX LTR / Keldeo-EX / Aromatisse / Xerneas / Ninetales ROS

In game 1, I played against Raichu / Leafeon / Deoxys-EX. I evolved Vulpix to Ninetails so my opponent won't be able to play other stadiums. Without Sky Field, Raichu couldn’t KO my Pokémon, so I was able to heal my Pokémon by Max Potion.

I faced a Landorus-EX / Raichu / Hawlucha deck in game 2. My Manectric-EX was discarded when I played Ultra Ball to pick Keldeo-EX from my deck. Keldeo-EX becomes a great attacker when a Muscle Band and a Rainbow Energy was attached. My opponent couldn’t get enough Energies attached to the attacker and I KO’d some Raichu and Haulucha. With two wins, I proceeded to the second stage.

Second Stage:

My deck: Trevenant / Raichu / Shaymin-EX / Keldeo-EX / Gengar-EX with Wally

I changed my deck again and played quickly. During the game 2, Final Tournament was closed due to the number of competitors picked out for the Final Tournament.

My results from Sapporo:

Last Challenge (1st stage): X / X / O / O
Last Challenge (2nd stage): O / O (Time was up during 2nd game)

Winner of the day (Senior & Masters Division):

- Seismitoad-EX / Zoroark BW71 / Keldeo-EX / Shaymin-EX with Red Card and Ghetsis
- Primal Groudon-EX / Wobbuffet with Robo Substitutes (“Kackey” Junichi Kakinoki / Team Torchic / WCS 2013 competitor)

Everyone knows that Team Torchic’s Primal Groudon is one of the best decks. Players playing Seismitoad must find a way to deal with this card, so the finalist picked Zoroark BW as a counter tech. Although Zoroark’s attack depends on the Defending Pokémon’s attacks, it can still hit 200 when Primal Groudon-EX is active, while it only requires DCE. It is not a bad choice to combine Zoroark with Seismitoad-EX. In finals, the game was slow paced.

Rayquaza Mega Battle Osaka, 2015/05/31

This tournament was the last chance of the year, so I wanted to qualify for both Japan Nationals and for Worlds. Last year, I was in 3rd place of Osaka Tournament. I was counting on my deck, my playing skills and my luck.

My deck: Trevenant / Raichu / Shaymin-EX / Keldeo-EX / Gengar-EX with Wally

I chose this one again because I thought I can play this deck the best.

Last Challenge (First Stage)

Game 1 vs. M Rayquaza-EX/ Shaymin-EX/ Aegislash-EX/Bronzong: Bronzong was one of the tough Pokémon to knock out, so I used Lysandre’s Trump Card twice, before his Bronzong started to attach Energy to his benched Pokémon. My plan worked perfectly, so my opponent couldn’t do anything without energy.

Game 2 vs. M Rayquaza-EX/ Raichu/ Shaymin-EX/Altaria (Koujiro Tsuruta/Team Screen Hero/WCS 2009 semi-finalist): He and I had a great game last spring.Top8 to 4, the most important game at that time and the best game of 2014 for both of us. It was last year, at the same time of the year, and now we are having a game again, at the same place.

His Rayquaza-EX deck was not so fast, but it was good enough against my Gengar-EX deck. He got M Rayquaza-EX and Altaria ready and took 2 prize cards away. I had two Raichu on my bench so I thought I should KO his Altaria first with Gengar-EX with Muscle Band attached. Now I thought that I was ready to OHKO his Rayquaza-EX with Raichu. But to my surprise, his deck had another line of Altaria. He catchered my Jirachi-EX and said. ”Emerald Break”.

Last year, in a tournament called Charizard Mega Battle, he used a Charizard deck.
This year, in a tournament called Rayquaza Mega Battle, he used a Rayquaza deck.

He lost a game with Charizard last year.
He won a game with Rayquaza this year.

Last Challenge (First Stage Again)

My deck: Rayquaza-EX / Shaymin-EX / Victini (I needed speed. This was my fastest one.)

Game 1 vs. Emolga / Raichu: My opponent had only a few Pokémon in his deck. It was a quick 6-turn-game.

Game 2 vs. Primal Groudon-EX / Wobbuffet with Robo Substitute: Only 1 Wobbuffet was there and both of us could do nothing for a while. As soon as Groudon-EX was played, I caught that, made it active and played Shaymin-EX to use its ability. My Rayquaza-EX KO’d his Primal Groudon and I ran to the next stage.

Last Challenge (Second Stage)

Game 1 vs. Raichu / Leafeon / Deoxys-EX / Shaymin-EX: My Altaria did a great job preventing weakness from Electric type. My opponent’s Raichu could only hit 160, which was not enough to KO M Rayquaza EX.

Game 2 vs Seismitoad-EX / Shaymin-EX: My opponent’s Active Pokémon was Shaymin-EX, so I thought his deck was Rayquaza. I threw most of my basic energies away, until it was too late when I realized which kind of deck it was. Without Energy, I could do nothing.

My results from Osaka:

Last Challenge (1st stage): O / X
Last Challenge (1st stage): O / O
Last Challenge (2nd stage): O / O / O

Winner of the day (Senior & Masters Division):

- Primal Groudon-EX PRC86 / Gengar-EX PHF34 with Robo Substitute (Masataka Hirano / Team Torchic)
- Yveltal-EX XY79 / Darkrai-EX DEX63 / Absol PLF67 with Maxie’s Archeops NVI67 (“Rex” Hiroyuki Oishi / Team L.O.L.I / WCS 2012 competitor)

Top 4:
- Seismitoad-EX / Crobat
- Seismitoad-EX / Musharna

Not so many things to say about the Primal Groudon-EX Deck. Although Hirano constructed his bench slowly, Rex only took 2 prizes from Wobbuffet because Hirano had the Robos as his Active Pokémon for uncountable times. 30 minutes had passed, but there was no stadium. Hirano had two Primal Groudon-EX and two Robos in play at that time. Another two turns passed from the limit of time and finally, Hirano pulled out a stadium for victory.

My Rayquaza Mega Battle journey ended here. I couldn’t go to National Championship this year, but two of my teammates succeeded to win a qualification. I’ll support them to get a Travel Award and to be National Champion of this year.

Thanks for every guys who played with me and thanks for my teammates. And thanks for everyone who loves Pokémon TCG! The next big event in Japan will be the “BATTLE FESTA 2015” which will be held in 4 places: Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Hiroshima.

Written by Taiga Sakurai
Revised by Majyo (Madoka.U)