Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Spotlight: Kakuhara Misaki/角原美咲

Fighter's Spotlight is an ongoing project concerned with tracking real-world professional cardfighters across the globe.

Kakuhara is at the center; at left is Watanabe Genki and at right is Sawada Yuu.
Kakuhara Misaki/角原美咲
Age: Unknown
Titles Won: Osaka Trio Battle Champion (Vanguard Festival 2012)
Current Status: Osaka Trio Battle Champion
Deck Type: Shadow Paladin (Phantom Blaster-Overlord)
Kakuhara Misaki is one of fifteen Shadow Paladin fighters to gain recognition as a Japanese pro, and one of the only women in the Japanese format active in senior class competitions. An Osaka native, she was important as one of the key figures to first introduce the Phantom Blaster Overlord deck as a competitive deck to the Japanese pro scene, reversing the at-the-time typical view of the clan as being outside the bounds of professional play.

Decks and Play Style
Kakuhara's deck is an Overlord-based Shadow Paladin build, characterized by its reliance on the vanguard's self-empowering skills and disposable rearguards. She is not as vested in the philosophy as comparable fighters; Kakuhara eschews reliance on the Blaster Dragon's damned charging lance, in favor of using counterblast-heavy skills like those of Macha and Nemain to superior call her reserves and draw cards to build up a lead over an extended period of time. Aside from the standard Charon, Macha's alternate targets include Javelin, whose own rearguard skill can easily add the original Dragon to her hand, and Nightmare Painter who can add the necessary units to the soul if she misses her opportunity for an evolution ride.

Cursed Lancer is notably absent. In spite of being a PR card, the Lancer was very widely circulated in the Believe in My Existence single, so this absence is likely deliberate. Although he could potentially increase Kakuhara's efficiency by unflipping damage, Lancer would take space away that she already devoted to Masquerade, who could be considered the single indisposable grade 2 of her deck. Masquerade is her only rearguard capable of reaching 20000 power, climbing up to those ranks with Charon's boost. Lancer himself also could not form a line exceeding 17000 base power, when 18000 was the dominant number of Kakuhara's format, a problem which Masquerade answers consistently, due to her grade 3 makeup consisting of entirely of Blaster units to trigger Masquerade's power-gain skill.

The sheer prolificacy of her sacrificial units gives Kakuhara an alternative play style centered purely on her original Blaster, retiring her own rearguards to force a quick finish before she would even need to ride the Overlord. Being able to use either strategy freely makes her deck variable and difficult for the opponent to gauge, which in 2012 brought her an edge in Osaka's otherwise-predictable environment.

March 2012 Vanguard Fight Team Festival, Osaka Trio Battle
Card Pool: TD01-BT06, PR 0001-0054
Grade 0
x1 Fullbau
x4 Grim Reaper CT
x4 Abyss Freezer DT
x4 Abyss Healer HT
x4 Death Feather Eagle CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Shield, Mac Lir
x4 Black Sage, Charon
x4 Blaster Javelin
x2 Nightmare Painter
Grade 2
x2 Darkness Maiden, Macha
x3 Skull Witch, Nemain
x2 Blaster Dark
x4 Knight of Nullity, Masquerade
Grade 3 
x4 Phantom Blaster Dragon
x4 Phantom Blaster Overlord