Saturday, December 13, 2014

News: ARG Atlanta Championship Top 8 Videos Released

Over December 11th Alter Reality Games released the videos of their Atlanta Circuit's top 8, including the grand finals matches between Atlanta champion Nam Vo and runner-up Matthew An. Vo won the tournament playing Cosmic Regalia CEO Yggdrasil, and his decklist was previously published through Cardfight Pro. Matthew An had previously made top 8 at ARG's Chicago Circuit, as well as won Bushiroad's Tennessee regional qualifier playing a Bermuda Triangle Duo deck. The ARG Atlanta tournament is to be followed up by another ARG Circuit series event on January 4th in Orlando, Florida.

Having access to Judgebau and Macart for superior call options later in the fight, in the opening turns of top 8 Matthew An was able to safely play his rearguards at will, taking the lead through aggressive attacks and maintaining this throughout his games. By the time Boyce rode Yggdrasil, An already had a seven card lead over his opponent, and by retiring Pray Angel early preemptively prevented her soulcharging skill. His aggression also pressured Boyce into trying to retaliate while not having the card advantage options nor handsize to do so. The first fight was cut short by a double grade 3 drive check on Boyce's part and a double critical trigger on An's end, but ultimately the remaining game played out on the same terms of superior aggression and card advantage.

(Note that early on, An made use of an errata on Judgebau that allows his skill to activate when the attack he boosts hits a rearguard. A misprint in the English run of BT15: Infinite Rebirth led many fighters to believe that the skill would only activate on a vanguard hit.)

In top 4 An played an “Abyss” mirror match versus Tony Wong. Both fighters were dealing with poor early setups, unable to call many rearguards until they reached grade 3. By retiring Wong's Judgebau with Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss'” skill, then going after his rearguards with Mordred, An was able to make up for both of his own Sword Breakers being removed from the deck early by decreasing his opponent's card advantage and preventing Wong's Judgebau-Sword Breakers from activating in retaliation. Even so, neither fighter's position was particularly stable until An was able to set up Masquerade and Macart columns on the next turn to force more defense out of his opponent than Wong was putting out per turn.

Wong negated the -1 of “Abyss'” legion skill on the next turn by superior calling with Wily Revenger Mana on the next turn and retiring her call target for “Abyss,” but did not check any triggers on either of his twin drive checks. With An having started Wong's turn at 2 damage, this severely curtailed the impact of “Abyss'” second attack, and left An able to make a decisive next turn by break riding “Abyss” over Mordred, creating both a 21000 power Macart line whose on-legion skill negated “Abyss'” -1 in a more efficient manner than Mana, and a restanding 32000 power Phantom Blaster “Abyss.” This left An with a seven card advantage over Wong at the end of that turn, so that the remaining game played out defined by this gap until Wong was eventually pushed to six damage. An won the round 2-0 due to gaining a severe advantage from Wong being gradelocked at 0 for two turns, which left An with more time to set up his strategy and get in early damage.

Matthew An started out strong in grand finals, winning game 1 handily, punishing Vo for filling his field early by retiring his first vanguard with Dark Revenger “Abyss” and then proceeding to focus wholly on the rearguards for that turn, setting Vo so far back he would be unable to recover without any available draw skills. By the end of An's turn on Modred these combination of rearguard-centric plays and draw triggers left him at -1 to -6, a five card difference that Vo struggled to make up in game 1. An had the freedom to expend the same number of cards per turn as Vo without falling behind, because of Vo continuously trying to block his Judgebau boosted vanguard. This also allowed An to gamble on a double trigger check later on, since he had little to lose by applying the first trigger to the vanguard even if the second check did not bring out anything. By going into his double Sword Breakers this way, An effectively sealed game 1 for himself.

Nam Vo's turnaround came in game 2 and 3; in game 2 An redrew five cards and still ended up gradelocked as Dark Shield Mac Lir, causing Vo to win the game before he could ever reach grade 3. In the third game an early critical trigger from Vo on turn 1 set him ahead significantly. An would have been better off to guard all of Vo's attacks while he was on grade 2, but choosing not to left him at 3 damage before Vo had hit grade 3. Going second allowed Vo to be the first to legion, using two Freyjas and Pray Angel to soulcharge 9, setting up his soulblast 6 legion skill. With CEO Yggdrasil's final power at 33000 power 2 critical and blocking all grade 1 and higher cards from being guarded with, there was no feasible way for Matthew An to guard the attack, and a critical trigger put him from 3 to 6 damage, making Nam Vo the ARG Circuit champion.