Charlie’s Popo Invitational Recap

I love Janemba. His powers are a very fresh take on the game and offer an extremely fun playing experience. When building a deck for him I looked over each different style and landed on Red, since Goku’s Power Strike, Red Power Punch, and Red Pulverize have great synergy together and all work with his “other world” power. Plus Red Shielded Strike offers nice energy defense and the aforementioned “other world” bonus. When I began building a deck, I decided that a mix of physical beats (obviously due to his insane power stages) and some kind of combo would be ideal, my theory being that Janemba’s power allows you to create combos over multiple combats by tossing cards that’ll be valuable later (Red Annihilation, Red Pressure Technique) under your mastery for cards that are valuable now (Goku’s Power Strike, Majin Buu’s Heel Kick, etc.)  I really also like the Red cards that mess around with your opponent’s Sensei deck, especially with the popularity of HAT. Once I checked out Red Fireball Drill and Red Aerial Force I knew I had found my strategy. Red Pulverize for three Fireball Drills followed by Red Pressure Technique can be the end of the game if your opponent can’t answer, and a single Red Aerial Force after you’ve emptied out their Sensei is absolutely brutal even without Fireball drills. Combined with Red Power Block and Red Passive Block discarding the top cards of your opponent’s life deck (once again even better with Fireballs), and physical beats decks will have a very rough time with Janemba. In choosing the mastery I noticed that outside staples Red Energy Blast and Red Left Bolt, I really didn’t have the energy attacks to make the Red WGS mastery useful so I opted for the MBS red mastery, giving my physical beats strategy a bit more punch by focusing when needed, and allowing me to shuffle my blocks back in after use (especially useful since they each have endurance). Finally, I noticed in testing that I needed some amount of regeneration. My first big change from the norm was to opt for a Supreme Kai Sensei, since it offers regeneration that my deck needs (with no other way to cycle drills in the event they get discarded) and red annihilation still allows me to tech against essentially any deck without the need for North Kai. I also tossed in two Red Cross Slash for the same reason. Hopefully that covers the basics of my theory, so here’s the list:

Deck List

Janemba 1-4

Red MBS Mastery


Supreme Kai Sensei (11)

You’re Invited

Goku’s Quickness Drill

Land in Pain

Red Annihilation

Red Pressure Technique

Red Energy Blast

Red Mouth Blast

Red Aerial Force

Red Pulverize

Red Plasma Catapult

Black Scout Maneuver


Non-Combats (13)

1 Fatherly Advice

1 Champion Drill

1 Victorious Drill

1 Red Striking Drill

3 Red Fireball Drill

1 Red Bullrush Drill

1 Red Hunger Drill

1 Red Dueling Drill

1 Red Knee Pick Drill

1 Red Meditation Drill

1 Red Majin Spopovich’s Bane Drill


Physical Combats (38)

3 Red Axe Heel Kick

3 Red Whiplash

2 Red Pulverize

2 Red Aerial Force

2 Red Shielded Strike

2 Red Pressure Technique

1 Red Annihilation

3 Red Power Punch

3 Red Power Block

3 Red Passive Block

3 Piccolo’s Destruction Attack

3 Majin Buu’s Heel Kick

3 Goku’s Power Strike

3 Dimension Sword Attack

1 Vegeta’s Physical Stance

1 Nappa’s Physical Resistance


Energy Combats (13)

1 Energy Lob

2 Red Energy Blast

2 Red Cross Slash

3 Red Left Bolt

3 Red Clap

1 Nappa’s Energy Aura

1 Red Rapid Deflection


Combats (15)

3 Hercule’s Amazing Techniques

3 Trunks Energy Sphere

3 Android 18’s Stare Down

3 Red Power Slam

1 Time is a Warrior’s Tool

2 Champion’s Aura


Casey Burks and I decided to get a tournament together as part of his brother Tyler’s bachelor party celebration. We had participated in the South Kai tournament last year and all had an amazing time (Casey and Tyler placing 1st and 2nd, respectively), so we wanted to have something along those lines. Once we spoke with the Area 51 card shop in Grapevine and worked out hosting, Darryl Fisher over at the DBZCCG Championship Series helped set us up with a Facebook event, and Garrett and Joshman worked with us on ironing out all the rest of the details. In the end we had 12 participants, which I was thrilled with. That meant four rounds of Swiss followed by a top cut of 4. I’ll caution that being a little hungover combined with not taking any notes means these match rundowns might be a little off. Sorry to anyone if I forget anything important! But without further ado, on to the tournament report!

First round: I was matched up against Joshman’s Red Krillin deck first. This was on the live stream, and I had a little bit of the nerves. Since our play group doesn’t normally run anger decks, my only real counter to it is a red mouth cannon in the sensei (which I hit with a HAT towards the end of the game). Unfortunately with how quick Josh’s deck sped to lvl 5, I’m not sure there was much I could do to slow him down. He got to lvl 5 after 3-4 combats and took the match handily. In retrospect had I focused more on hitting him hard and fast I may have been able to do enough damage to win early, but realistically I just didn’t have much of an answer to anger in the list. It also didn’t help that Krillin wasn’t doing damage to put cards in my sensei from endurance. Props to Joshman for an extremely effective deck. (0-1)

Second round: I play against a friend we drove to the tournament with: Steven and his Trunks Freestyle sword deck. This is actually the first deck I built coming back into DBZ, so I know very well how it functions and knew I had a massive advantage against it. He focuses on board setup and physical beatdown, but I manage to get Red Majin Spopovich’s Bane drill on the field pretty early in the game with a focused Red Power Punch, and he can’t keep his sword of trunks or trunks finds the answers in play long enough to use them. On top of that, I pull Red Power Block Turn 1 to remove his swordplay drills almost instantaneously, and managed to keep cycling it into my hand with Red Left Bolt (since MBS mastery allows me to put it at the bottom of the life deck after use). He couldn’t keep swordplay drills down for any amount of time, which stalled Trunks out badly. Eventually I hit Red pulverize and start emptying out his Sensei / milling him with blocks. Combined with Janemba’s insane power ratings the physical beats took trunks down pretty quickly. (1-1)

Third round: This game was against Chris and his Cell TS Saiyan ally deck. An interesting match, Chris actually didn’t run a Sensei so a good portion of my cards were going to be practically useless against him. Fortunately the biggest advantage with Janemba is hand manipulation, so it’s usually pretty easy to swap out useless cards for good stuff under your mastery. I get a very lucky Red Dueling Drill on my first turn of the game, so completely shut off his Cell Jr. Ally assault pretty quickly. On top of that, he didn’t have a fast way to deal with Red Hunger drill once it hit the field a turn or two later after a Power Strike. With 0 base damage being done to Janemba it doesn’t matter how many physical attacks Cell has… Chris ran a pretty thin beatdown style deck without much in the way of endurance, so once Janemba got him to 0 power stages and started doing 5+ life cards per attack, he was whittled down pretty quick. (2-1)

Fourth round: I play against Logan and a TS Black Frieza deck. He has a relatively uneventful first turn, forced to pass if I remember correctly. I draw a very good attack hand and begin whittling away at his life deck before he hits any allies. He hits into two double whammy off one of my more fruitful attacks and gets a successful dodoria physical attack off. Fortunately for me he is very low on power stages from my Janemba physical assault so I think most of his energy attacks are pretty stalled out. I think the key to this matchup ended up being a good physical attack hand on T1 that essentially kept him at 0 or close to 0 power stages for the entire game. Victorious drill helped cap his anger levels, so he couldn’t advance and get any free stages. (3-1)

2014-03-22 15.40.40

At this point I’m ranked in the top 4, along with Tyler, Casey, and Josh. I go into my top 4 match against Tyler’s Majin Vegeta TS Stasis having literally played this matchup last night against Tyler and having an extremely close match. This one is recorded as well, so I’ll cover the high points: I knew it would be difficult, since this deck is one of the only decks to consistently keep Janemba at 0 power stages over multiple turns. He pulled off the lock on Janemba almost instantaneously. My big break comes when I draw a Red Power Slam and hit an aura clash in his sensei deck. Not only does it wipe out his Jeering Drill, but I’ve got a fresh Janemba with two new attacks in the form of his personality powers ready to be unleashed. This was an extremely close match, but the aura clash and fresh attacks that turn give me just the edge I needed to keep attacking and do enough damage to finish him off.

The final match of the day is against Casey, who is running a Freestyle Tien’s Mafuba / Double Whammy deck. Casey reverse engineered the double whammy / Yajirobe / Z Warriors Gather combo after we heard of the Tien Freestyle deck at the North Kai event, and after a few games of testing Casey decided he wanted to try it out. I’ve played against this deck twice now prior to the top cut, and I knew a big portion of the match would be whether I could get rid of his Z Warriors Gather either in the discard pile or before he had a chance to use them on the field. I managed to stall him out a little with a heel kick in the first turn, and this turned in to a pretty close match. He gets rid of my dueling drill with the West Kai Sensei, so I’m looking down the barrel of a lot of energy attacks once he managed a Z Warriors Gather in the second turn of the game. Toward the end things aren’t looking good since I’m taking 6-7 energy attacks per combat, and I think my big chance comes along once I draw into Red Annihilation, since his sensei deck only has 5 cards remaining and I’m also holding a Red Aerial Force to empty it further. I enter and use the Aerial Force to give me 5 spots to fill, but make what I would consider my biggest misplay here. First off, I didn’t check whether I had hit Earth’s Spirit Bomb with my Sensei removal. It was a very big oversight, but in the heat of the moment it didn’t even occur to me. Second, I was so focused on Casey’s allies that I flat out forgot I could get rid of his Uub’s Energy Drill and save myself a ton of damage. Instead I opted to get rid of Jewel, Yajirobe, Oolong, Mariakoh, and King Kai (I think), thinking this would save me against the bomb (which in actuality was already removed from the game). Another error on my part: turns out I didn’t really need to get rid of Jewel either, so I really am cringing hard thinking about this turn. Either way, Casey tells me he had enough energy attacks in his hand to bury Janemba regardless, so I’ll console myself with that thought while plotting my revenge. I think I overestimated how much endurance I would have in my deck, and since he blocked a Dimension Sword Attack I didn’t get to rejuvenate the ridiculous Champion’s Aura and higher endurance cards that might have staved off my ultimate destruction at the hands of his allies. In the end I was overwhelmed by his energy beats and lost, finishing second in the tournament. In retrospect, another Red Dueling Drill in the list likely would have made the difference and allowed me to bury Casey, which is a change I’m very likely to make in future events with this deck.

I cannot stress enough just how fun Janemba is to play. He’s got so many options, I’m already thinking through an Orange WGS version of the deck that has me very excited. I had an amazing time at the event, which I think will show through on the videos of each of our matches. Thanks to everyone who came out to the first Popo Invitational (and to Garrett and Josh for bringing video and streaming equipment!), and we’re looking forward to many more (and hope to see you there)!

7 Comments to "Charlie’s Popo Invitational Recap"

  1. miyamoto1 says:

    How Popo version of YI look like?

  2. S. Dashy says:

    simple question: how does this deck beat Baba control or Roshi stasis (or any stasis deck) given that you don’t run Gohan’s Kick or Majin Buu’s Fury mainboard or sideboard?

    • charlie says:

      As far as baba is concerned, i don’t think i’ve played that matchup. It’s likely not going to be favorable, but baba is a pretty unfavorable matchup for most decks i’ve found. Red dueling drill certainly helps! As for regular control decks my normal strategy is to focus on emptying out their Sensei and hitting hard with the fireball drills / discard effects. Being able to focus essentially any attack and knowing they’ll take life cards whether it’s successful or not can be a very effective strategy. Also, red annihilation is one of my favorite cards in the game, and can instantly turn the tide in your favor (especially against control).

  3. Sayjin says:

    It probably isn’t enough to beat Baba, but the Red MBS Mastery kind of rips normal stasis a new one.

  4. Chris S. says:

    I think it’s funny people worry about Baba and yet no one plays her, outside of us at Team Baba. Cause mindless beats is fun.

    • One day I’ll get around to building Baba, her play style interests me, but my list is so long!

      • Chris S. says:

        Here’s something to consider : (not counting the Tien/Goten craziness) mindless beats loses to Janemba which loses to control which loses to mindless beats (cause losing die rolls 🙁 ). So once Janemba is spammed control will rise again. 😀

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