Eye on Japan: Kamex Mega Battles 2016


Nearly five years ago Esa Juntunen helped connect the Western Pokemon TCG World with the Pokemon TCG World of Japan with his first Eye on Japan on The Deck Out. Today I am happy to bring The Charizard Lounge’s first Eye on Japan article thanks to the help of Evan MacPhaul.

A lot has actually changed since Esa’s first look at the Japanese meta game. His original Eye on Japan article was published in October for a format we would use for our State Championships in March of the next year, a five month gap. Now we’re only about a month and a half behind Japan in terms of the TCG.

In this article Evan goes over how Japan’s Mega Battle system works, and then we will go over the results of those Mega Battle tournaments, and then take a look at some of the more unique decks to come out of the Mega Battle tournaments.

The Mega Battle System

By Evan MacPhaul

The Mega Battles are a series of qualifiers for both the World Championships and the Japanese National Championships. The tournament structure is radically different than the rest of the world’s tournaments, and everyone seems to have their own misconceptions on how exactly they work, so allow me to clear things up. In short, Swiss is replaced by single elimination and top cut is replaced by round robin pods.

The single elimination section, rather than having a set number of rounds, is a window of time. This section is further subdivided into three increasingly difficult stages: the First Stage, the Second Stage, and the Premier Stage. At 9am, the tournament starts, and you have until 2pm to successful make it through all three stages. The matches are not timed and once you win a game you proceed to the next one.

It's a race against the clock.

The Mega Battles are a race against the clock.

While this eliminates the between-round waiting that plagues Swiss, it more than makes up for it with the sheer number of lines you have to wait in. There’s a limited number of seats in the First and Second stages, so before each of these stages you get to wait in line until it’s your turn. While there are technically a limited number of seats in the Premier stage, the number of viable competitors dwindle down so that the wait here comes from having to wait for an opponent, rather than a seat.

The First Stage consists of a single round, and then you get to proceed to the Second Stage. The nice thing about this stage is once you do win, you’re out of it forever. Even if you lose further into your run, you get to start at the next stage instead of this one. Some players even get to skip this stage entirely, as winning a Kamex Gym Battle (essentially a league challenge) in April rewarded a First Stage bye.

After securing your first win, you proceed to the Second Stage (or, more accurately, the line for the Second stage). In this stage, you need two wins to proceed. The strange thing about this stage is, more often than not, you’ll be paired against someone who already has a win in the stage. The way pairings work throughout the single elimination stages is you play against whoever is ready to play against you, as long as you haven’t already played them. So when you get to the front of the Second Stage line, if the next available seat is from someone getting their first win in the Second stage, that’s your next opponent. For the First Stage, this means the person next to you in line will be your round one opponent, so you don’t want to stand in line next to a friend playing your worst match up.

Winning twice in the Second Stage sends you right to the Premier stage. Unlike the First Stage, once you’ve made it out of the Second Stage there is no checkpoint. Losing in the Premier Stage puts you all the way back to the Second Stage line. However, each time you enter the Premier Stage you get a special stamped card–in this case, a “Kamex Mega Battle” stamped holographic Fighting Fury Belt. New to this stage is seeding by wins. Once you win your first game in the Premier stage, you get in a new line and wait for an opponent who also has a Premier stage win. Then the same happens after the second win.

Finally, if you’ve managed to win three games in the Premier stage (and are within the first 32 people to do so, as the final stage is capped to 32 players), you qualify for the Climax Stage. After a lunch break, you get put in line in the order that you qualified for the Climax stage. Then, each person takes their turn pulling a letter out of a box, from A through H. These letters determine your group. There are four people per group, and the next three rounds are against the other three in your group. In a more familiar style, these rounds are 30 minute best of one matches.

After three games, the tournament ends. First place in each group gets their invite to the Japanese National Championships (as well as a day one World Championship invitation), second place in each group gets just the Worlds Championship invitation, while third and fourth get nothing. Literally nothing, as the Mega Battles don’t do any sort of prize support aside from invitations to other tournaments.

Kamex Mega Battle Results

Without further ado, here are the results of the winners of each group of each Mega Battle. Note that, instead of the Junior/Senior/Master age divisions, Japan only has two. A League are people younger than middle school, while B League is everyone who’s entered middle school and above. There’s no order to these results, since the structure doesn’t determine a true winner until the National Championships in June. These tournaments were Standard format, XY through Fates Collide.

Aichi Mega Battle (5/5)

A League:

  • Seismitoad EX/Giratina EX/Slowking
  • Carbink BREAK/Zygarde EX/Hawlucha/Regirock EX
  • Trevenant BREAK/M Alakazam EX
  • Greninja/Octillery
  • Yveltal EX/Yveltal/Seismitoad EX/Garbodor
  • Lugia BREAK/Lugia EX/Bronzong

B League:

  • Genesect EX/Bronzong BREAK/Aegislash EX
  • Zoroark BREAK/Vespiquen/Seismitoad EX
  • Yveltal EX/Yveltal/Mew
  • Trevenant BREAK/M Alakazam EX
  • Zoroark BREAK/Vespiquen/Yveltal/Ariados
  • Night March/Milotic

Note: For whatever reason, the Japanese results page only has the top six listed for each age division, rather than the full eight.

Osaka Mega Battle (5/15)

A League:

  • Night March/Mew
  • Night March/Mew
  • Night March/Mew/Jolteon EX
  • Night March/Milotic
  • Night March/Mew/Milotic
  • Darkrai EX/Giratina EX
  • Giratina EX/Vileplume
  • Zoroark BREAK/Vespiquen/Yveltal

B League:

  • Greninja BREAK/Seismitoad EX
  • Greninja BREAK/Octillery
  • Carbink BREAK/Zygarde EX/Lucario EX/Vileplume
  • Carbink BREAK/Medicham/Zygarde EX/Recirock EX
  • Trevenant BREAK/M Alakazam EX
  • Night March/Milotic
  • Jolteon EX/Glaceon EX
  • M Manectric EX/Zoroark BREAK/Yveltal EX/Yveltal

Chiba Mega Battle (5/22)

A League:

  • Night March/Mew
  • Night March/Mew/Jirachi/Latios EX
  • Entei/Zoroark/Jirachi
  • M Sceptile EX/Seismitoad EX/Mew
  • Genesect EX/Bronzong BREAK/Aegislash EX/Scizor EX/Mew
  • Darkrai EX/Giratina EX/Yveltal/Mew
  • Trevenant BREAK/Wobbuffet
  • Carbink BREAK/Zygarde EX/Lucario EX/Vileplume

B League:

  • Night March/Mew/Octillery/Zebstrika
  • Night March/Octillery
  • Night March/Mew
  • Night March/Mew
  • Zoroark BREAK/Lugia EX/Yveltal
  • M Rayquaza EX(Delta Wild and Theta Max split)/Jolteon EX
  • M Manectric EX/Jolteon EX/Glaceon EX/Garbodor
  • Greninja BREAK/Octillery

Fukuoka Mega Battle (5/29):

A League:

  • Night March/Mew/Jirachi
  • Night March/Mew/Jirachi/Jolteon EX
  • Night March/Mew/Jirachi
  • Night March/Mew/Jirachi
  • Night March/Milotic
  • Genesect EX/Bronzong BREAK
  • Zoroark BREAK/Vespiquen/Eeveelutions
  • Darkrai EX/Yveltal EX/Yveltal/Mew

B League:

  • Night March/Garbodor
  • Night March/Mew
  • Night March/Mew/Jirachi
  • Genesect EX/Bronzong BREAK/Aegislash EX
  • Greninja BREAK/Octillery
  • Carbink BREAK/Medicham/Zygarde EX/Regirock EX
  • M Manectric EX/Jolteon EX/Glaceon EX/Seismitoad EX/Garbodor
  • Trevenant BREAK

Overall A League Results

Deck Placements Meta Share
Night March 12 40.00%
Bronzong 3 10.00%
Carbink BREAK/Zygarde EX 2 6.67%
Trevenant BREAK 2 6.67%
Yveltal EX 2 6.67%
Darkrai EX/Giratina EX 2 6.67%
Vespiquen 2 6.67%
Seismitoad EX (Hammers) 1 3.33%
Greninja 1 3.33%
Vileplume/Giratina EX 1 3.33%
Entei 1 3.33%
M Sceptile EX 1 3.33%

Overall B-League Results

Deck Placements Meta Share
Night March 9 30.00%
Greninja 4 13.33%
Trevenant BREAK 3 10.00%
Carbink BREAK/Zygarde EX 3 10.00%
M Manectric EX 3 10.00%
Vespiquen 2 6.67%
Bronzong 2 6.67%
Yveltal EX 1 3.33%
Jolteon EX/Glaceon EX 1 3.33%
Yveltal/Zoroark 1 3.33%
M Rayquaza EX 1 3.33%

Meta Game Synopsis

With only four tournaments and 30 players worth of results for each league being reported on there isn’t as large of a sample size to determine a clear cut meta game as we are able to do with the larger sample sizes we can gather from American tournament series such as City Championships and State Championships. Still, there is enough data to make some conclusions about the XY-Fates Collide meta game.

joltik-phantom-forces-phf-26-312x441The one clear thing from the Japanese results is that Night March is clearly the best deck in the format still gaining similar meta shares in the Kamex Mega Battles as it did stateside during State Championships.

Outside of Night March, it looks as if there is a fairly diverse and unfocused meta game. Other top decks appear to be Greninja BREAK, Trevenant BREAK, Bronzong, Carbink BREAK/Zygarde EX. Other decks worth considering are Yveltal variants, M Manectric EX, and Vespiquen variants.

The one noticeable absence from the Japanese meta game was Vileplume/Vespiquen. When I asked Evan why the deck didn’t show up in the results he said people were scared of playing against Aegislash EX for the deck (Evan, for example, played against at least one Aegislash EX deck in all of his tournament runs). The people who did play the deck tended to include Miltank FLF and Basic Energy in their lists, decreasing the potency of the deck.

Giratina EX Reinvented

giratina_exTo finish things off I want to look at two of the Giratina EX decks that made Top 8’s at these tournaments – Darkrai EX/Giratina EX and Giratina EX/Vileplume. These are two of the decks that stand out the most when looking at these tournament results as stuff that isn’t really being played out West.

With quad DCE Night March decks being the gold standard of Standard format, it would make sense for Giratina EX to have a chance to shine as it is one of the strongest counters to quad DCE decks.

One thing to note is that these Giratina EX variants only made Top 8’s in the younger age division.

Giratina EX/Darkrai EX

darkrai-ex-breakpoint-bkp-74-312x441When I first saw the results of the tournaments this is the result that stood out to me the most. The deck has two strategies in play, the first is to hard lock Special Energy decks with Giratina EX, and the other is to deal out damage with Darkrai EX’s Dark Pulse attack.

Giratina EX actually combos very well with Darkrai EX, as you can attach a Double Dragon Energy to Giratina EX and it counts as two Dark Energy, giving Darkrai EX’s Dark Pulse +40 damage.

Here is the list I came up with for the deck:

Pokemon – 10

3 Darkrai EX
2 Giratina EX
1 Latios EX
1 Malamar EX
1 Hoopa EX
2 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 38

4 Professor Sycamore
2 N
1 Lysandre
1 Hex Maniac

4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Max Elixir
4 Puzzle of Time
4 Ultra Ball
4 VS Seeker
1 Escape Rope
1 Super Rod
2 Muscle Band
2 Fighting Fury Belt
2 Float Stone

2 Sky Field

Energy – 12

8 Darkness
4 Double Dragon

After testing a few variants of the deck, I liked a fast and focused beat down version the most over a slower variant more heavily relying on non-EX attackers like Zoroark BKT.

I’ve included Latios EX in the deck as it gives you an out for easy wins against Greninja, Trevenant, Night March, and Bronzong if you go first and they start a lone low HP Pokemon.

The other inclusion is Malamar EX, which can act as a soft counter to Jolteon EX for the deck and also opens up using Darkrai EX’s Dark Head attack.

The deck isn’t very versatile and wouldn’t be a top choice for me headed into Nationals, but the deck can lock Night March out of the game and can win many games based on its raw speed and power.

Giratina EX/Vileplume

vileplume-ancient-origins-aor-3-312x441This was actually one of the most hyped decks headed into this season but the deck fell flat to start the year and was never really re-visited, even after Float Stone was reprinted in BREAKthrough. The concept between the deck is simple, quickly lock your opponent with Giratina EX and Vileplume on turn 1, hope they can’t deal with it, and lose if they can.

With a Chaos Wheel and Vileplume in play, you lock your opponent out of playing Item Cards, Stadium Cards, Special Energy, and Tool Cards (which are already shutoff from the Item Lock). This limits your opponent to only being able to play Pokemon, Supporter Cards, and Basic Energy, preventing them from playing a lot of their deck.

Here is the list I made for this deck:

Pokemon – 13

3 Giratina EX
1 Miltank FLF
2 Oddish AOR
2 Gloom AOR
2 Vileplume AOR
3 Shaymin EX

Trainers – 35

3 Professor Sycamore
2 AZ

4 Trainers’ Mail
4 Acro Bike
4 Max Elixir
4 Puzzle of Time
4 Ultra Ball
2 Revitalizer
1 Battle Compressor
3 Float Stone

4 Forest of Giant Plants

Energy – 12

4 Double Dragon
4 Grass
4 Psychic


It’s always interesting to see what’s happening with the Japanese meta game as different cultures can take different mindsets towards playing the game leading to different styles of play. At least for now, it looks like Japan is in sync with the West in showing that Night March truly rules the World.

Once again, thanks to Evan for bringing us the results for the tournament series!

Featured image credit

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