Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spotlight: Watanabe Hiroki/渡辺紘生

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

Watanabe Hiroki/渡辺紘生
Age: Unknown (Senior Class)
Titles Won: Nagoya Regional Champion (Fighter's Climax 2012)
Current Status: Nagoya Regional Champion (Reigning)
Deck Type: Kagerou (Dragonic Overlord The End)
Watanabe Hiroki is the first senior class cardfighter to be qualified for the Fighter's Climax national championship, and an advocate of the The End build. Entering with it despite the deck being disproven in both divisions of the previous championship, Watanabe remains an advocate for the crossride and a strong candidate for the senior title.

Decks and Play Style
While Watanabe's build, with its six-draw, six-critical trigger setup, certainly calls to mind Nakamura Seishirou's setup from the previous championship, Watanabe's is geared toward deception by including two different single-copy draw triggers, giving the illusion that he is running nine to twelve draw. Like many Kagerou cardfighters, Watanabe has coopted Nakamura's technique by including single-copy cards for Conroe to search the deck for, in this case the Flame of Hope to sift through his deck for extra copies of Dragonic Overlord The End, and Guard Gryphon for one-off defenses against Silent Tom and trigger-empowered rearguards. Dragon Monk, Gojo makes full use of the first turn when he takes it, while Berserk Dragon allows for field control and Burning Horn forms his main rearguard offense. Typical for a Kagerou fighter of the time, Watanabe uses a full eight grade 3s, four Dragonic Overlord and four The End so that even in the rearguard he can have difficult-to-assail 11000-power units and to maximize his odds of creating a 13000-power defense. Surprisingly the deck does not include the long-championed Raopia for vanguard support, but The End tends toward tenacity rather than raw power.

All of these are very safe elements of deckbuilding that have been tried and proven by cardfighters that came before him. However, Watanabe is missing a key element in his build; the national championship has not been won without innovation since Shitakawachi's time. Gotou Kiyomi and Rikino Sakura's decks were both left-field contenders that while interesting, were passed over in the days leading up to the finals as unlikely title candidates in favor of the deep influx The End decks. Gotou's Alfred deck was innovative for removing Soul Saver Dragon, Majesty Lord Blaster and all other heavy-hype candidates in favor of a deck that was designed to mow down crossride, while Rikino's CoCo build was considered inferior to Tsukuyomi until she proved how effective the deck could be. Even Masuda Yuusaku's 2011 deck had some innovation from the Galahad line, which many at the time had considered passing over for Stardust Trumpeter and the extra deck space they would make from not using the grade 1 and 2 forms of Galahad. In a highly diverse and developed pro scene, Watanabe is potentially too cautious compared to what he is potentially up against post-BT09.

Winter National Championship 2012, Seniors Division (Japan)
Card Pool: TD01-BT08, PR 0001-0079
Grade 0
x1 Lizard Soldier, Conroe (FVG)
x3 Embodiment of Speaer, Tahr CT
x1 Dragon Dancer, Monica DT
x4 Dragon Monk, Genjo HT
x4 Gatling Claw Dragon DT
x3 Blue Ray Dracokid CT
x1 Red Gem Carbuncle DT
Grade 1
x1 Flame of Hope, Aermo
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x1 Guard Gryphon
Grade 2
x3 Berserk Dragon
x4 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Cross Shot, Garp
Grade 3
x4 Dragonic Overlord
x4 Dragonic Overlord The End