Wednesday, October 9, 2013

News: Dark Irregulars Soar to First in World Grand Prix 2013 Fukuoka

Demon God Marquis, Amon “Я”
The final official competition of the Japanese tournament season began Sunday, with the Bushiroad World Grand Prix 2013 Fukuoka Stage ending with a surprising champion standing at the top of its open class competition; a Dark Irregulars cardfighter wielding the clan's latest boss card, Demon God Marquis, Amon  “Я.” This is the first time that Dark Irregulars have made first place in a major tournament since their initial release in Japan almost three years ago, and the introduction of a Reverse card has provided them a long-sought after combination of strong defense and overwhelming power bonuses not just to the center lane, but to the entire field. However, Amon “Я” has up to now been panned as the least effective of the Reverse units, lacking their field consistency and ability to pull out other cards from various zones or destroy the opponents', and his subgroup has done little to remedy the Irregulars' consistency problems with actually drawing and searching cards, a setback that has been pervasive since BT03. His sudden debut in the 2013 Grand Prix is a shock not just in Japan, but in the greater global community as well.

The remaining spots in the top 4 were taken by Shadow Paladin, Narukami and Great Nature cardfighters. Meanwhile first place in the junior tournament went to a Link Joker fighter. There is some confusion among Japanese players, mainly over Great Nature which is perceived to ultimately lose the damage race against Chaos Breaker. The prevailing theory at the present time is that the deck's strategy hinges on combining Chatnoir with Leo-pald “Я” and a base of supporting grade 1s, with Tank Mouse as a designated target for Lock to capitalize on Great Nature's Reverse card's limit break, using the consistent filtering combo of Coiling Duckbill with Binoculus Tiger to build up a midgame strategy in the form of consecutive break rides, Chatnoir into Chatnoir and then into Leo-pald “Я” for the endgame.

The World Grand Prix 2013 is unique as the first international Japanese language CFV competition. Previously, Bushiroad's WGP tournaments only encompassed other properties like Weiss SchwarzCardfight!! Vanguard first debuted as a TCG in Japan in February of 2011, and many overseas fans from different countries across the globe began importing the game from the release of trial decks and the earliest booster sets, but the English-language TCG has received much greater attention worldwide and through Bushiroad's intensive marketing has come to eclipse it in importance. Nevertheless, many longtime cardfighters have been campaigning to be able to use their Japanese cards in their own international tournaments ever since the division of English and Japanese formats was established. The inclusion of Japanese Cardfight!! Vanguard in the World Grand Prix will bring this three year history full circle, with locations currently announced for China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. While Hammergirl Anime is scheduled as a location for the Weiss Schwarz regional, there are no American qualifiers listed for the Japanese edition of Cardfight!! Vanguard. This may be to avoid the possible confusion of having WCS2013 and WGP2013 running concurrently. Furthermore, the majority of American cardfighters that play in the Japanese format cannot actually read Japanese. These cardfighters have instead depended on unofficial fantranslations of the cards since early 2011, and their illiteracy would be problematic when making rulings and filling out forms.

Several of the events in the World Grand Prix last two days, with day one being a WS tournament and day two being for Vanguard. Within Japan the remaining qualifiers are scheduled for Sapporo on the 20th, Kanazawa on the 27th, Sendai on November 4th, Nagoya on November 24th, Okayama on December 1st, Osaka on December 15th, and Tokyo on December 21st. The national finals will be held in Tokyo. These tournaments will consist of both Fighter's Climax 2013 singles tournaments for open and junior class cardfighters, and VF High School/VF Koushien triples tournaments for high school students participating as a group. Those participating in open class tournaments will have to win at a shop qualifier first to receive an invitation, then register online for their regional, while junior class cardfighters can register for their division without prior invitation. Only cardfighters born on or after April 2, 2001 can participate in the juniors' division, limiting participation to those 12 and under.