Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spotlight: Horikawa Eiki/堀川詠生

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

Horikawa Eiki/堀川詠生
Age: Juniors Division; Exact age unknown, 9 years old in August 2010
Titles Won: Kanazawa Trio Battle Runner-up (Fighter's Road 2012 National Championship), Osaka Regional Finalist Third Place (Junior Class)
Current Status: Osaka Regional Finalist Third Place (Junior Class, Summer 2012)
Deck Type: Royal Paladin (Majesty Lord Blaster), Oracle Think Tank (Scarlet Witch, CoCo)
Horikawa Eiki is the third place fighter for the Fighter's Road 2012 Junior Osaka tournament, who was unable to qualify for the national championship over Ushinohama Tetsuya and Yokoyama Yoshiya. Interestingly, this was by all appearances not Horikawa's debut in the pro scene; he was previously a participant from the Kanazawa Regional Trio Battle's runner-up team. Before this, Horikawa had an established background in card games, being the 2010 junior national champion in the Pokémon Trading Card game, and he had appeared on the Pokémon Sunday TV program along with several other members of the 2010 Japanese junior team before then.
Horikawa's brief TV appearance.

Decks and Play Style
Horikawa used a Majesty Lord Blaster deck at his debut, working alongside Nova Grappler and Gold Paladin teammates. His particular build was notable for featuring two copies of Wingal Brave, likely as a counter to the dominant Dragonic Overlord The End decks of the time, which could retire the card freely with Gatling Claw Dragon. The second copy was mainly accessible with either Alfred or Akane, and room was made for it by cutting the grade 3 count down from the more standard 8 to 7. Since Majesty was searchable through Brave in the first place, this made sense as a means of pressuring the opponent to stop even weak attacks while also aiding his strategy's longevity over the course of a game.

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

Horikawa was an early adopter of the witch deck, using the then-new Oracle Think Tank build as his Osaka deck. Osaka was in fact the witches' professional debut and it performed above expectations, with one deck placing in each age division, possibly serving as an eventual inspiration to Rikino. Horikawa chose to focus on the deck's battle potential, using the four-card increase in advantage from LuLu and CoCo to allow for an unprecedented twelve critical triggers, while Mocha, Silent Tom and Promise Daughter each functioned as additional pressure on any guards the opponent chose to make. Miss Mist and Apollon are taken as alternative single-card techniques to occasionally force the opponent into an unusual situation by stopping early damage altogether, or making them choose whether or not to give Horikawa one more card on top of his existing advantage by letting a lesser rearguard attack through.

The greatest flaw of Horikawa's deck that Rikino seemed to recognize over him was LaLa, whose on-call card change skill never did live up to the expectations that marketing hype put on her.

Summer 2012 Regional Tournament, Osaka Juniors Division
Card Pool: Card Pool: TD01-EB03, PR 0001-0066
Grade 0
x1 Little Witch, LuLu (FVG)
x4 Lozenge Magus HT
x4 Oracle Guardian, Nike CT
x4 Psychic Bird CT
x4 Battle Sister, Ginger CT
Grade 1
x4 Battle Sister, Chocolat
x4 Oracle Guardian, Gemini
x2 One Who Gazes at the Truth
x3 Emerald Witch, LaLa
x1 Weather Forecast, Miss Mist
Grade 2
x2 Battle Sister, Mocha
x3 Oracle Guardian, Wiseman
x4 Silent Tom
x2 Promise Daughter
Grade 3
x1 Oracle Guardian, Apollon
x4 Scarlet Witch, CoCo
x3 Goddess of Flower Divination, Sakuya