Friday, May 2, 2014

News: World Champion Steals €4000 of Merchandise from Luxembourg Card Shop, Interview with Paris Regional Runner-up Team SKET

Last week a massive break-in took place in one of Luxembourg's largest card shops, La Caverne du Gobelin; more than €4000 (approx. $5500) in Cardfight!! Vanguard and Yu-Gi-Oh! merchandise were stolen. The break-in at La Caverne was linked to a string of three thefts at the Team League 2014 Paris regional qualifier. Three decks were stolen, two of which were known to be a Dauntless Drive Dragon-Dragonic Overlord the End and a Link Joker deck; one of the decks belonged to an eleven-year-old boy. A player from La Caverne du Gobelin, who requested that his name not be used, volunteered to us information regarding the break-in, and our previous source in the unfolding story concerning alleged cheating at the French regional has likewise come forward to corroborate some of these statements.

Stewart as seen in 2013.
Reigning world champion Almeida Stewart was initially suspected to be involved in the theft at the regional qualifier, but not in the break-in at La Caverne due to the timing of the burglary taking place close to the regional tournament on the 19th. However, after an investigation by the Luxembourg police, fingerprints were used to connect Stewart and both of his teammates back to the burglary. Following this, La Caverne du Gobelin released a statement on their Facebook page on the 21st stating that the burglars had confessed to the Luxembourg police and issued an apology to the store. On the 26th the shop then made the announcement that Stewart, his brother Christopher and their teammate Vladyaslav Khimenko have since been permanently banned from La Caverne's various locations and organized play. Furthermore, the player from La Caverne attested to Stewart having cheated in tournaments by drawing extra cards and putting heal triggers on the top of his deck from his hand. According to this same source, after La Caverne reported the incident to Bushiroad the company placed a ban on Stewart preventing him from participating in official tournaments. However, this last piece of information has not yet been confirmed by Bushiroad and is the only piece of the story that has not been corroborated elsewhere. We granted the company an opportunity to respond, but have yet to receive a statement.

As the reports of the Luxembourg police are not filed as a matter of public record, a police report regarding the theft could not be obtained during our investigation.

With regards to the cheating accusations that have surfaced, tournament host Epitanime issued a statement on on the 24th regarding the existence of the alleged video evidence of Stewart's cheating during the regional tournament;
Contrary to what has been reported, neither Parkage nor Games from Japan, hosting the tournament, nor the judges, have such a video confirming or reversing the suspicion on this player which could likely be used as an evidence.
Parkage and Games from Japan wish to emphasize the attention given to this kind of behaviour during our tournaments by our judges ; unfortunatly such cheating act may remain unnoticed.
Care should be taken with reading the statement that "neither Parkage nor Games from Japan [...] nor the judges, have such a video confirming or reversing the suspicion on this player which could likely be used as an evidence." Epitanime's statement as it is worded does not deny the existence of a video, but denies possessing a video which can be used as evidence for either confirming or denying Stewart's alleged cheating. It may be reasonably inferred that Epitanime is in possession of a video which they consider inconclusive. The denial of possession can also point to having turned the video over to another party, i.e. Bushiroad.

Epitanime's statements are written to deliberately be in conflict with those of on-site witnesses who have stated with confidence that the games were recorded on video, and by depriving the public of the only known visual evidence can falsely give the appearance of there being no incident at all. The possible coverup will ring familiar to veteran American cardfighters, as it can be compared to the 2012 case of Thomas Cassidy; accused of cheating by performing a twin drive while still at grade 2 in order to win the Dallas regional qualifiers in WCS2012, despite a crowd of over 200 onlookers attesting to the incident, none of the six judges noticed the illegal move and Bushiroad USA subsequently refused to release the video of Cassidy's game to the public. While in Cassidy's case the cheating was believed to be accidental rather than intentional, the fact remains that in both instances releasing the videos would resolve the tensions openly by letting the public see the games as they were played and judge the truth for themselves, rather than try to obscure the facts and promote a closed book policy. Epitanime's stance does not expressly deny that the video exists, but dodges the question of what it depicted.

Regarding the regional qualifier itself, the results of the tournament have been published by Bushiroad along with the official decklists, and in addition to that we at Cardfight Pro have secured the decklists of the runner-up Team SKET, as well as interviews with all three of its members. The first place decklists can be jumped to by searching the page for [T14FR1] while the second place decklists can be reached by searching for [T14FR2] These interviews include details on why their team members chose to side with the Invaders instead of Defenders, their favorite qualities of their decks, and what SKET stands for. The translation of our questions and of team SKET's answers were graciously handled by Kyo, a leading figure in the French Cardfight community.

Q: What kind of people are you, and why did you decide to play your decks?
A: We are 3 friends who happened to know each other on a forum which gathered the big part of the French community. Thus, we met through Internet and became friends ; and today two of us (of the Team) are playing in the same card shop. Initially, we intended to come in order to support the whole Event, as we did not get a French event last year. It was really important for us to show Bushiroad how much France loves this game, and how much we want the game to expand. Ultimately, we came in order to have fun, to laugh, and to spend a good time with our opponents, while showing our skills.

(Arnaud "JUN" Faber): I played Eradicator, based on Vowing Saber Dragon "Reverse", Gauntlet Buster and Dragonic Descendant, mainly because of their artworks ; I also happen to play the clan since its original release in BT06: Breaker of Limits. Regarding Vowing Saber Dragon "Reverse", I love its gameplay, which makes you wonder about the right timing about activating its Limit Break ; in order to counterbalance the Lock cost.

(Axel "Shinigami" Verdier): I love Link Joker artworks, are they are both futuristic and fiendish, Chaos Breaker Dragon in particular. I was really pleased by Nebula Lord Dragon's playstyle, mixing both control and aggressive strategies ; up to the point that Stand Triggers can become really nasty.

(Anthony "Snake" Lamontre): I played Pale Moon as I love their artworks since the beginning, and I also like Soul-based gameplays. I chose the Silver Thorn series as I find the archetype fitting my playstyle.

Q: Why did you go to Invaders instead of Defenders ?
A: For some RP aspect. It was funnier to act as the evil ones instead of the heroes, but also because many of the key units in the BT12: Binding of the Black Rings format are Reverse units.

Q: What are the favourite qualities of your Decks ?
A: (Arnaud "JUN" Faber): I was initially going to play a regular Crossbreak Ride Deck. However, it was too weak in terms of early gameplays. I then decided to remove the Break Ride units from my Deck in order to put 3 Gauntlet Buster, which is able to pull off a brutal early gameplay thanks to Ginkaku (Damage Pluser). As such, I think that the main quality of my Deck is its versatility : I can pull off pressure thanks to Ginkaku and Gauntlet Buster's extra Critical, while taking into account Chou-ou or beatstick units ; without giving the Limit Break to my opponent if I cannot manage it. Or if I need to wipe out the opponent's units as I suffered from being rushed, thanks to Vowing Saber Dragon "Reverse" while having powerful Rearguard columns. Third point, Descendant is here to finish off my opponent through the remaining Counterblasts. Therefore, I am able to adapt myself to the current situation and act accordingly.

(Axel "Shinigami" Verdier): I love playing this Deck for several reasons. The first of them is that they are able of both controlling my opponent, but being aggressive. The former part is thanks to Nebula Lord Dragon's Limit Break, powering up my front-row units ; plus units like Lanthanum and Niobium and the usual Neon and Radon stuff. All of these units are able to take advantage from Stand Triggers in order to widen the gap. As for the control part, it is made possible through the Lock mechanic itself ; like in Infinite Zero Dragon, Dust Tail Unicorn and Moebius Breath Dragon. Draw Triggers and Opener of Dark Gates are also important as you cannot "control" your own hand. The second reason is that this Deck doesn't have a "bad Ride". Of course you would prefer some order of Riding, like in any other Deck. But with some mastery, you can do something regardless of what you Ride first, and make the Deck work.

(Anthony "Snake" Lamontre): The Luquier "Reverse" Deck has a great advantage of doing a controlled Soul Charge rythym, let alone you have a better range for what goes into the Soul ; this is made through Irina or Dancing Princess of the Night Sky who will feed the Soul for further Limit Break moves - with Luquier. She is able to provide a quality Card Advantage, while providing me the regular Crossride defense if the original Luquier is in the Soul. Further more, the main goal is to Break Ride Luquier "Reverse", in order to perform 5 attacks in the same turn with 2 Purple Trapezists in the Soul. All of this in order to finish off my opponent, or to make him give up his hand by making use of the Soul thanks to Luquier "Reverse" +5000 bonus. Like Arnaud, I think that this Deck has several uses.

Q: And what does "SKET" stand for ?
A: Support Kindness Encouragement Troubleshot. It actually comes from the "SKET Dance" manga, the three of us love it. In "SKET Dance", the heroes are 3, they are nice, considerate, motivated, but the main point is that they have a quirky humour ; and we hope that people felt the same way towards us during this event.

We thank you a lot for your time.

Team League 2014 France First Place: Team United Force [T14FR2]
Liu Bo Chen's Decklist: Sacking to the Max La
Grade 0
x1 Liberator, Cheer Up Trumpeter (FV)
x4 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
x4 Strike Liberator CT
x4 Armed Liberator, Gwydion DT
x4 Elixir Liberator HT
Grade 1
x4 Little Liberator, Marron
x2 Future Liberator, Llew
x4 Halo Liberator, Mark
x4 Fast Chase Liberator, Josephus
Grade 2
x2 Liberator of Silence, Gallatin
x4 Liberator of Royalty, Phallon
x2 Blaster Blade Liberator
x3 Liberator of the Flute, Escrad
Grade 3
x4 Liberator of the Round Table, Alfred
x4 Wolf Fang Liberator, Garmore

Edwin Talahatu's Decklist: Sackmeester weet raad, idd La :P
Grade 0
x1 Ambush Dragon Eradicator, Linchu (FV)
x3 Eradicator, Blue Gem Carbuncle DT
x3 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x3 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x3 Eradicator of the Divine Spear, Pollux CT
x4 Worm Toxin Eradicator, Seiobo HT
Grade 1
x4 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x4 Eradicator, Wyvern Guard Guld
x4 Steel-blooded Eradicator, Shuki
x2 Rising Phoenix
Grade 2
x3 Eradicator, Thunder Boom Dragon
x4 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-Ou
Grade 3
x4 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon

Vincent Van Der Schee's Decklist: Mijn Bunshin is OP LA :P
Grade 0
x1 Frontline Revenger, Claudas (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorin
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x4 Transience Revenger, Masquerade
x2 Sacrilege Revenger, Baal-berith
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x3 Dark Cloak Revenger, Tartu
x4 Nullity Revenger, Masquerade
Grade 3
x4 Revenger, Raging Form Dragon
x4 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom

Team League 2014 France Second Place: Team SKET [T14FR2]
Arnaud "JUN" Faber's Decklist: Narukami - Eradicator'tue Ninja/Ninja Eradicaturtle
Grade 0
x1 Ambush Dragon Eradicator, Linchu (First Vanguard)
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle (CT)
x4 Worm Toxin Eradicator, Seiobo (HT)
x4 Eradicator, Red Gem Carbuncle (DT)
x3 Sacred Spear Eradicator, Pollux (CT)
x1 Eradicator, Old Dragon Mage (DT)
Grade 1
x4 Eradicator Wyvern Guard, Guld (Sentinel)
x4 Steel-blooded Eradicator, Shuki
x3 Dragon Monk, Ginkaku
x3 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Chou-ou
x3 Double Gun Eradicator, Hakushou
x2 Homing Eradicator, Rochishin
x2 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
Grade 3
x3 Eradicator, Vowing Saber Dragon "Reverse"
x3 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x1 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x1 Eradicator, Vowing Sword Dragon

Axel "Shinigami" Verdier's Decklist: Link Joker - Nebulamitié <3/Nebulafriendship
Grade 0
x1 Star-vader, Dust Tail Unicorn (FV)
x4 Star-vader, Stellar Garage (HT)
x3 Keyboard Star-vader, Bismuth (ST)
x3 Star-vader, Scouting Ferris (DT)
x2 Star-vader, Moon Commander (ST)
x2 Star-vader, Nebula Captor (DT)
x1 Star-vader, Weiss Soldier (CT)
x1 Star-vader, Meteor Liger (CT)
Grade 1
x4 Barrier Star-vader, Promethium (Sentinel)
x4 Demon Claw Star-vader, Lanthanum
x4 Mana Shot Star-vader, Neon
x2 Opener of Dark Gates
Grade 2
x4 Unrivaled Star-vader Radon
x4 Furious Claw Star-vader, Niobium
x3 Star-vader, Moebius Breath Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Star-vader, Infinite Zero Dragon
x4 Star-vader, Nebula Lord Dragon

Anthony "Snake" Lamontre's Decklist: Pale Moon - Silverpop "Reverse"
Grade 0
x1 Innocent Magician (FV)
x4 Poison Juggler (CT)
x4 Rainbow Magician (DT)
x4 Silver Thorn Juggler, Nadia (HT)
x3 Silver Thorn, Barking Dragon (DT)
x1 Silver Thorn Marionette, Natasha (DT)
Grade 1
x4 Silver Thorn Hypnos, Lydia (Sentinel)
x4 Silver Thorn Assistant, Irina
x3 Purple Trapezist
x2 Silver Thorn Beast Tamer, Ana
x1 Midnight Bunny
Grade 2
x4 Silver Thorn Rising Dragon
x3 SIlver Thorn Beast Tamer, Maricica
x2 Silver Thorn Marionette, Lilian
x2 Dancing Princess of the Night Sky
Grade 3
x3 Miracle Pop, Eva
x3 Silver Thorn Dragon Queen, Luquier "Reverse"
x2 Silver Thorn Dragon Tamer, Luquier