Sunday, September 23, 2012

Interview: Brandon Smith & Brandon Bastianelli

Shortly before the award ceremony of the World Championship 2012 Chicago Qualifier, our team was able to interview regional champion Brandon Bastianelli and his teammate, Canadian regional champion Brandon Smith. Below is a transcript of the interview, which is also hosted above with photos from the event. This interview was taken at around 1824, as the tournament went more than two hours over schedule and the closing ceremonies were over around 1830.

Interview Transcript
CFP: Brandon and Brandon, you two are not only from the same team...
Smith: Same team.
CFP: ...but you are also both now qualified for the North American national championship, and if you take this far enough, you could take that to a world title. How do you two feel?
Bastianelli: I feel fantastic. I don't know why, but it's probably the best thing that's ever happened, ever. Like, not only am I getting to go on a trip that I really wanna go on, but I get to go there with a bud. Like, you can't get better than that. It's a dream.
CFP: And what about you, Brandon?
Smith: I've been excited because I won, but I came even though I had my championship title already, to just let my teammate get a chance and Brandon was the one that worked diligently, playtesting night and day and day and night. So it's a really really sweet end to see that you know, my feeling is that we worked so hard together and it actually pays off in the end. And you know I'm honored to be the Canadian national, even though I'm from the United States but I'm just really really excited right now, especially to have a teammate in top two and then also a teammate in third and fourth place. I really like it but Brandon for sure will be there.
CFP: How did you two get into Cardfight?
Bastianelli: That's—
Smith: I got it. All right, a lot of people don't know this, but Cardfight!! Vanguard came out in roughly November of last year, they came out with the English version, the very second they came out with the English version I had my store owner spearhead the whole bringing Cardfight to America, so a lot of vendors like GTS and Ed Storey at Global Enterprises in New York, a lot of distributors besides Hammergirl, Hammergirl was like the beginning. But besides Hammergirl, we were like one of the first people. Our state probably had like a little bit of an advantage, cause we had it the day it came out. So, that's like how I started in Vanguard, and then I got him started in Vanguard. I taught him basically, not him everything he knows, but a lot.
Bastianelli: Even though I was slightly before you in playing Golds to begin with.
Smith: Yeah, true.
CFP: That's a very heartwarming story. What's the philosophy behind your deck?
Smith: My deck?
Bastianelli: He fine-tuned it, so...
Smith: All right, so I'm an Oracle Think Tank player originally, and I love the control and the draw aspects of the game, and I played against him in one of our tournaments. He was playing Spectral Duke, never heard of it, you know I'm just like new to it, he's like "It stands again." I'm like "Wait. This is broken." So, I decided to play the same deck, he ends up dropping it for a little bit--he plays Royal Paladins--he also made top 8 in Canada. But besides that point, so he basically introduced me to Spectral Duke and the Gold Paladins, I fine-tuned the deck and I went undefeated, and he's playing my build today and he went undefeated.
CFP: There have been various controversies regarding the double elimination format of tournaments, the single match nature of individual rounds, the alleged nonrandomity of the matchups, and how the top eight were determined. Do you two feel that any of these factors have hurt the legitimacy of the tournament?
Bastianelli: No, I don't believe that a game would ever come here--I don't believe that they would come here and not have a system. They have a system, but America's not used to [it.] We're used to best two out of three, or best of the Swiss format, we don't understand the inner workings of double elimination. The tiebreaker system is very weird in double elimination, and we've never even experienced it before until this game started because this is more of a Japanese style of tournament structure. So, I know they have a system. I know they wouldn't lie about it, that's stupid like no one would ever lie about--they have too much to lose by doing that.
Smith: Exactly.
Bastianelli: It's so weird to us, and when people don't make it, they get upset no matter what. So first thing they're gonna do is attack the judges.
Smith: Yeah. Like I feel very sorry for people who didn't make it, who were like X-1 and didn't make it, but it's a fact that not every X-1 is gonna get in all the time. Like it was a fact that I lost to him also and so did Kyle Warfield, and it was a fact that I might not have made it. I came in sixth place, I was expecting third or second and I was second with Kyle instead of third or second--I came in sixth. And just because it was double elimination, and the way tiebreakers work are different from most things that North Americans are used to, like I'm used to Konami Software, I'm used to Magic Software, but this is a little bit different, you know maybe later on down the road they might switch over to a two out of three format, so right now it is what it is, I mean it's brand new. At this point in Konami's tournament organized play, there was none. So we gotta take what we have, you know?
Bastianelli: Konami doesn't even hardly have organized play here back then. We're only what, not even--
Smith: Yeah, we're less than a year in playing Cardfight!! Vanguard--
Bastianelli: --and we already have a tournament that sends you across the country and then possibly across the world, for free.
Smith: Where Konami did not. So like with the advancement of play, I give Bushiroad and Cardfight!! Vanguard a very very very high plus, because of their being ahead of the curve, you know what I mean? I know it sucks for some people who didn't make it, and I feel sorry and I definitely can understand how they feel, but you know we can't be mad at the fact that that's what happened. I'm very sorry you know, like I apologize and I'm not even that far.
Bastianelli: And even to suggest that they possibly are lying about this system, that's just asinine--there's no reason for that--I understand that people are mad, but they would never do that.
Smith: Exactly.
CFP: Okay, it's great to hear that player input, we better wrap this up seeing as the ceremony is starting. Thank you for the interview, guys. This has been Brandon and Brandon.