Saturday, January 12, 2013

News: New Years' Trio Festival 2013 Osaka Championship Results

Just today the first results of the commemorative New Years' Trio Festival were posted on CF-Vanguard, welcoming the new year with the opening to 2013's pro season. This event can be seen as a continuation of the Vanguard Fight Team Festival begun in January-February 2012; such team-based tournaments are the norm for beginning the new year. Today's results come from Osaka, a city home to many famous pro cardfighters like Kakuhara Misaki and 2012 National Runner-Up Kanamaru Makoto. While last year saw Royal Paladin, Shadow Paladin, Kagerou and Oracle Think Tank as the dominant decks of the time, this year is divided between Royal Paladin, Gold Paladin, Narukami and Oracle Think Tank decks.

An important development on the Narukami side is that the clan has a clear, distinct identity now due to the onset of Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD." Beyond being a less powerful clone of Kagerou, Narukami has struggled to establish itself as both a distinct and viable clan within the past year, but now pro decks are finally settling into a niche for it as multiple grade 3 rides become an exploitable center of the deck's strategy in addition to its retire strategy. "THE BLOOD" has proved to be the most popular deck of those presented today, though he has not quite lived up to The End's legend as a format-defining unit.

Much to the chagrin of classical purists, this is also the first time in history that Blazing Lion, Platina Ezel-based Gold Paladin has really proved itself in a professional environment. Criticized for being a blank card at less than five damage, and for his strain on counterblast, Platina has been a difficult unit to gauge and build around effectively. His lack of a persona blast or soulblast-based boosting unit for the rearguard has also weakened the idea of running both the crossride and its preceding ride at four, a trait unique to this particular generation of crossride. The format of team tournaments however, better lends itself to the emergence of a wider variety of decks, as less powerful builds have more of a chance in the trio fights than in the juniors' and seniors' divisions. This was demonstrated in the last 2012 championship, where the Dark Irregulars, Pale Moon, waning Shadow Paladin and pre-crossride Aqua Force all placed within the team tournaments despite being heavily unpopular in the other two divisions.

The Blaster deck has also been firmly established as still kicking, with a variant having emerged that similar to the now-restricted Tsukuyomi variant runs just four grade 3s, using a grade 2 lineup which consists exclusively of Blaster units and Starcall Trumpeter to ensure that Wingal Brave's skill goes off. With one new pro, Tachibana Souten, going so far as to add a single Blaster grade 1 to the deck, this new variant is extremely dangerous. Blaster Blade Spirit seems to have replaced Gallatin altogether for the foreseeable future due to his compatibility with Wingal Brave, and his retire combo with Starcall Trumpeter. While the deckbuild does not seem to have been widely circulated prior to the Osaka tournaments, future events are projected to see a resurgence in Blaster decks due to Majesty Lord Blaster now having the winning qualities of both its past self and the restricted Tsukuyomi, with Blaster Blade Burst arriving at the end of January to replace Soul Saver Dragon in the deck. For some fighters, concern over further amendments to the restricted list because of this indie deck potentially seeing mass adaption is already budding.

Of all these surprises however, the most directly shocking of all is that a possible revival of standardized three perfect defense is at hand; in a curious trend, two of the three A Block, all three B Block, one from C Block, and one Trio Championship deck from F Block have reverted to the old style of play, a model which was outmoded in the parallel English pro scene by the introduction of the limit breaks that are now endemic to the Japanese format. Until these tournament results came in, running four perfect defense cards was a nigh-unquestionable part of the tournament scene. How this will be resolved remains yet to be seen; the 2013 Trio Festival will pick up again further down the line with the Tokyo results.

New Year's Trio Festival 2013 Trio Championship, Osaka
A Block Championship Team
Gotou Hiroshi/後藤啓志
Phantom Blaster Overlord (Shadow Paladin)

Tokumitsu Kenta/徳満健太
Spectral Duke Dragon (Gold Paladin)

Kawachi Yoshirio/河内良弘
Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD" (Narukami)
B Block Championship Team
Tonoi Wataru/殿井渉
Blazing Lion, Platina Ezel (Gold Paladin)

Nakaya Haruhi/中矢一日
Battle Sister, Fromage (Oracle Think Tank)

Ueyama Naoki/上山尚樹
Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD" (Narukami)
C Block Championship Team
Maeda Atsushi/前田惇
Scarlet Witch, CoCo (Oracle Think Tank)

Hisano Masanori/久野雅徳
Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD" (Narukami)

Tachibana Souten/立華奏天 (Note; this name is most likely a pseudonym, lifted partially from the anime/light novel series "Angel Beats!" If this is their actual birth name, then they have supreme, all-surpassing luck.)
Blaster deck; Majesty Lord Blaster, Exculpate the Blaster with Soul Saver Dragon (Royal Paladin)
D Block Championship Team
Kubo Yoshinori/久保慶典
Blazing Lion, Platina Ezel (Gold Paladin)

Nakamura Koujiro/平岡晃次郎
Galactic Beast, Zeal (Dimension Police)

Umehara Shunei/梅原俊瑛
Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD" (Narukami)
E Block Championship Team
Scarlet Witch, CoCo/Battle Sister, Cookie (Oracle Think Tank)

Tanabe Kazuki/田辺一樹
Blaster deck; Majesty Lord Blaster with Soul Saver Dragon (Royal Paladin)

Matsushita Shin'ya/松下晋也
Spectral Duke Dragon (Gold Paladin)

F Block Championship Team
Sakagami Ryouta/阪上良太
School Hunter, Leo-pald (Great Nature)

Fujii Taichi/藤井太智
Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD" (Narukami)

Yagi Ryousuke/八木亮輔
Spectral Duke Dragon/Blazing Lion, Platina Ezel (Gold Paladin)