Monday, September 2, 2013

News: Nova Grappler Places First in Toronto World Championship Qualifiers, Tri-stinger Dragon Turns Heads

Note: To help better organize the community and answer questions about WCS2013, there are now help threads on the Neo Ark Cradle forums and Cardgame!!Coalition.

The World Championship 2013 regional qualifiers have begun, with the first North American qualifier in Toronto having finished yesterday evening. Regional champion Sebastien LeBon fought his way to the top using a Nova Grappler deck, currently believed to be a Beast Deity build. The victory comes as a surprise to the world of pros, as Nova Grappler has never been a strong component of high level play, and even more surprising is that no Dragonic Overlord the End decks placed in the regional. LeBon may have brought some exciting innovations to how the Grapplers are played. Runner up Kevin Perron played a Narukami deck, rumored to be a Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD" build, third place fighter Robert Ewell used an Aqua Force deck based around Tri-Stinger Dragon, and fourth went to Kevin Luu with Majesty Lord Blaster. All four cardfighters have received invitations to the North American national finals in Pasadena, California.

The presence of Tri-stinger in the regional finals instead of Glory Maelstrom has also been a surprise. The deck has been relatively underground up to this point, but those well versed in Aqua Force can attest to its strength. The main strategy of Tri-stinger builds is to use the Dragon's counterblast 2 to power up a rearguard Basil or Benedict by +3000, so that they can swing for 13000 with their initial attack, and then either (in Basil's case) swap places with Coral Assault or have Benedict stand and swing for 13000+ power again with as little as a 5000 power boost. With Tri-stinger's limit break, he unflips the 2 counterblast that he paid when he attacks in the third or more battle of the turn, allowing him to make the maneuver all over again in the next turn. This quality of making four 13000+ power attacks per turn helps Tri-stinger to contend effectively with the crossride decks that have caused so many problems for Aqua Force since their debut, quickly eating up their 5000 power shields and forcing them to drop 10000 shield per each attack by way of not having anything else to guard with. Furthermore, Tri-stinger plays a very vicious game against other limit break decks, deliberately using Astraea to make a 14000 power vanguard line that constantly baits the opponent to guard in a way that they never reach their limit break until they have no resources left to guard with.

According to on-site informants, approximately 300 people attended the Toronto regional. Reigning world champion Brandon Smith was in attendance, and lasted until the final elimination round to make it into the top 16, but took two losses spread across the tournament's third and seventh rounds from gradelock, causing him to be eliminated. As Smith will still be competing for this year's championship title in subsequent tournaments, we will not be disclosing his deck type.

Alarmingly, in the aftermath of the Toronto regional some sellers have taken to selling the WCS2013 regional promo PR/0069EN Creeping Dark Goat at four times the price of any other contemporary promo card, going as high as $18.99 for a single copy, and almost twice the price of Circle Magus, a previous world championship promo released last year. Goat is a promo card whose English-language release was met with celebration earlier this year, as the card has been called Shadow Paladin's most competitive first vanguard, both in the English and Japanese formats. Critics of the high price have pointed out that there is no real market for the pricetag, as without the Revengers in the English format Shadow Paladin is generally ranked lower than Megacolony in competitive application, and only played by hardcore fans of the clan. Consumers are discouraged from buying overpriced Goats, as that price is unlikely to go down unless CDG becomes unsellable at these artificially inflated prices.