Saturday, August 17, 2013

News: Link Joker Places First in Pitarui VGCS

After a somewhat slower start late in this tournament season, the Link Joker clan has clawed its way to the top in the Pitarui Vanguard Championship. The news comes as a pleasant surprise to many, as Link Joker has consistently placed inside the top 8 at previous VGCS and regional qualifiers, but this is the first time that it has actually taken first place in a large tournament environment.

While the Nebula Lord deck in particular has been integral to the upper echelons of professional play since its debut in early July, in part due to overdependence on the Infinite Zero break ride, Link Joker decks have experienced trouble in attaining the same status as contemporary builds like Alfred Liberator and Luquier “Я,” the latter of which recently gained fame as the deck of Japan's 2013 Summer national champion. As there has not been much time to refine how the build is played compared to its competition, this most recent VGCS may indicate the maturation Link Joker's Lock-based play style into a more calculated strategy. Notably, unlike past tournament Link Joker decks where 6 critical and 6 draw triggers were the norm, this new one is being reported to run 8 draw and 4 critical triggers, likely playing to a more long-term game that uses Lock to prolong the match.

Second place in the tournament went to an Eradicator cardfighter. So far it has been reported that the top 16 consisted of 4 Link Joker, 3 Eradicator, 3 Revenger, 1 Spike Brothers, 1 Pale Moon, 1 Bermuda Triangle, 1 Genesis, 1 Gold Paladin and 1 Kagerou cardfighters. The total attendance of the tournament is unknown, but accommodations were made in preparation for up to 64 participants. First place prize was a Nintendo 3DS LL handheld, second place a normal 3DS, third place two boxes of VG-BT12: Binding Force of the Black Rings and for fourth place one box of the same. The entire event, from the opening to the awards ceremony, lasted seven and a half hours, and it was organized by the FR2013 Nagoya runner-up.

The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's larger official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best of 3, Swiss tournament model, with entry fees in the vicinity of 1000 yen per person that go toward grand prizes like booster boxes, Nintendo 3DS handhelds and other merchandise. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events.