Monday, July 16, 2012

Spotlight: Yamaguchi Kouhei/山口晃平

Fighter's Spotlight is an ongoing project concerned with tracking real-world professional cardfighters across the globe.
Yamaguchi Kouhei/山口晃平
Age: Unknown; Seniors Division
Titles Won: Tokyo Regional Champion (Senior Class)
Current Status: Tokyo Regional Champion
Deck Type: Royal Paladin (Majesty Lord Blaster)
Yamaguchi Kouhei is the 2012 Tokyo regional champion and a past contender for the national title. One of two favorites for the title alongside Shibata Yuusuke, in his time he ranked among the stronger of the participating cardfighters.

Decks and Play Style
Yamaguchi's deck is a take on the popular Majesty Lord Blaster build, integrating the King of Knights, Alfred and Palamedes in addition to his Blaster-type support cards. Draw triggers previously made essential for this deck by Shinhori Kentarou's version of it are abandoned altogether by Yamaguchi, in favor of a three-criticial trigger base that complements Majesty's aggressive skills. Including Kay in the deck effectively allows him to run six early game attack units, while Toypugal supports a Palamedes rearguard strategy, forming a 21000-column with him the turn after Majesty's skills have drawn Blasters Blade and Dark into the soul. Akane is included to support Toypugal, while Starcall Trumpeter brings out either of his grade 2 Blasters, through which Yamaguchi's Wingal Brave first vanguard can support to prepare him for Majesty Lord Blaster.

The King of Knights' inclusion is somewhat surprising but sensible. While the deck does not have the same focus on superior calls as other Royal Paladin decks, even in the rearguard Alfred can bring out Blaster Blade just as Starcall can bring out Blaster Dark. Dark's inclusion can potentially hamper the King's vanguard skills, but with Wingal Brave included in the deck, the likelihood of Alfred taking point is low. Like many of his contemporaries including other Royal Paladin cardfighters, Yamaguchi faces criticism for what is seen as a lack of originality in his deck build, and the perception that his Majesty Lord deck in particular is simply emulating a deck type seen as strong. How much of this criticism is true or false cannot be determined, due to the lack of open interviews with Yamaguchi himself, but the same views tend to pervade his Kagerou rivals.

Summer 2012 Regional Tournament, Tokyo Seniors Division
Card Pool: TD01-EB03, PR 0001-0066
Grade 0
x1 Wingal Brave (FVG)
x4 Future Knight, Llew CT
x4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
x4 Alabaster Owl CT
x4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
Grade 1
x4 Flash Shield, Iseult
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x1 Lake Maiden, Lien
x3 Toypugal
x2 Knight of Friendship, Kay
Grade 2
x3 Blaster Blade
x1 High Dog Breeder, Akane
x3 Blaster Dark
x3 Starcall Trumpeter
x1 Knight of Loyalty, Bedivere
Grade 3
x2 King of Knights, Alfred
x3 Swordsman of Explosive Flames, Palamedes
x3 Majesty Lord Blaster