Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fighter's Spotlight: Thomas Cassidy

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

Cassidy is on the left, next to Doctor K.
Thomas Cassidy
Age: Unknown
Titles Won: Dallas Regional Champion
Current Status: Dallas Regional Champion (Reigning)
Deck Type: Gold Paladin (Spectral Duke Dragon-Ezel)
Thomas Cassidy is one of two out of 240 participants to have placed high enough at the 2012 Dallas regional to qualify for the 2012 world championships. A Texas native, Cassidy is noted for the upset he cemented by coming out as no less than the fifth Gold Paladin deck to qualify, completely beating out the audience-favorite Kagerou and Oracle Think Tank clans at his regional. This completed a shift in professional favor away from the traditional view of Royal Paladin and Kagerou dominating, to the Gold Paladins for the national title, while also creating a six-way Gold Paladin mirror match in the public eye.

Additionally, a minor controversy surrounds Cassidy due to cheating allegations surrounding the Dallas regional. Cassidy was spotted by eyewitnesses performing a second drive check while at grade 2, illegally adding a card to his hand. As this took place in a crowd of over 200 onlookers with six judges observing the match, the allegations can be difficult to believe but have been almost universally corroborated by those present. Furthermore, the video of the match has been deliberately kept from the public eye, allegedly due to presenting direct evidence of the second check. The cheat itself was reported as accidental and was not noticed by Cassidy himself. Regardless of the truth behind the alleged cheating, Cassidy has been officially recognized in writing by Bushiroad as the regional champion, effectively shutting the door on further investigation.

Decks and Play Style
Cassidy brought a Spectral Duke Dragon deck to Dallas, championing the deck's full ride chain for grade security while avoiding counterblast-heavy cards. This eliminates the need for Tripp and helps Cassidy press the opponent earlier by way of Providence Strategist; while the card has been mostly panned since its release, Strategist proves vital to Cassidy's play style because even though it cannot exceed 15000 power with the strongest rearguard boost available, every attack that it makes must be guarded to prevent him from gaining hand advantage. Furthermore, Strategist's conditions are easy to meet and Cassidy's personal customization of the build to include Tron plays into the ease with which Strategist's skill comes off, due to them having similar activation conditions. 16000 power lines were also unnecessary in the format that Cassidy fought in, due to the ever-increasing popularity of Garmore-based Gold Paladin, which had only 10000 power units in play.

The final nail sealing Strategist as a key card for his deck is his use with the Duke Dragon centerpiece. Each Strategist that goes off works towards offsetting the disadvantage that the Dragon's limit break creates, similar to Nemain's use in Shadow Paladin decks, and with two Strategists in play alongside Spectral Duke, the opponent feels required to block all four attacks of that turn even at three or four damage. With Duke benefiting from Tron's 10000-power boost, this turns prolongued games into mortal affairs for the opposition. Compare how Chiku Fumiya in Japan similarly applied Brave General, Zachary to score free damage with a unit that would no longer exist at the end of his turn, or Field Driller to offset Dudley Emperor's cost; the two decks employ similar hit-and-run tactics that counter their own disadvantages by cutting cards away from the field and drawing replacements.

Winter 2012 Regional Tournament, Dallas: Vortimer the Strong
Card Pool: TD01-BT03, BT06-EB03, PR 0001-0029
Grade 0
x1 Black Dragon Whelp, Vortimer (FVG)
x4 Elixir Sommelier HT
x4 Falcon Knight of the Azure DT
x4 Weapons Dealer, Gwydion DT
x4 Silent Punisher CT
Grade 1
x4 Scout of Darkness, Vortimer
x4 Halo Shield, Mark
x4 Knight of Elegant Skills, Gareth
x2 Little Battler, Tron
Grade 2
x4 Black Dragon Knight, Vortimer
x4 Knight of Superior Skills, Beaumains
x4 Providence Strategist
Grade 3
x4 Spectral Duke Dragon
x3 Incandescent Lion, Blond Ezel