Sunday, November 30, 2014

News: Robbie Kohl Wins ARG Chicago Championship with “Abyss,” Great Nature in Top 8

Original photo uploaded by Alter Reality Games.
November 30th, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Illinois. The first of ARG's renewed Cardfight!! Vanguard tournaments has ended with YouTube celebrity Robbie Kohl taking first place with Revenger Phantom Blaster “Abyss.” Runner-up at ARG was Christian Maldonado playing a Cosmic Regalia CEO Yggdrasil deck. This was the first Cardfight!! Vanguard tournament to be held after the shift to legion format on November 21st, and the results reflect general shifts observed in card shops throughout North America. Professional cardfighters are favoring Yggdrassil and “Abyss,” with Genesis and Shadow Paladin's witch subclans as close competitors to the more mainstream Regalia and Revenger decks.

Like a number of Japanese cardfighters, Kohl built his “Abyss” deck with the Mordred Phantom break ride as his secondary grade 3, creating the potential for an overwhelming 32000+ power restanding attack at endgame. Many opponents when confronted with such a deck meet it by trying to control the “Abyss” fighter's damage and keep them out of limit break. However, this tends to keep those fighters at higher damage than their opponent, with the typical response being to ride into “Abyss” without waiting to break ride and go straight for his restanding legion skill the moment the opponent is in the 4 damage range.

Kohl won $200 in store credit for his victory, with prizes for the rest of the top eight descending from $100, to $75 and down to $25 for fourth through eighth place. The Chicago tournament was put together on short notice compared to the rest of ARG's events that weekend, and drew 34 participants. The top four cardfighters at Chicago were Robbie Kohl with Blaster “Abyss,” Christian Maldonado and Lance Bow both playing CEO Yggdrasil, and a currently unknown fighter with Duo Temptation Reit. Kohl defeated the Bermuda cardfighter before advancing to the finals against Maldonado. A Great Nature fighter was commended by those that made the top cut for placing inside the top eight.

The tournament's top cut was streamed to ARG's Twitch channel, attracting over two hundred viewers during its run. Commentary was provided in-house. The full video of the top eight playoffs will be posted to their YouTube channel later, but for the time being one of our editors recorded the decisive third game between Kohl and Maldonado. Followup tournaments for the ARG Circuit will take place on December 7th and January 4th in Atlanta and Orlando. Decklists are expected to go out this week.

In his games with Maldonado, Kohl focused on aggression to draw out early defense from his opponent, making it more difficult to guard the Judgebau-boosted Phantom Blaster later on in the match. Maldonado responded by trying to draw the same guard out from Kohl by attacking his rearguards, leveling the playing field but not overtaking Kohl in the card advantage game. Kohl took advantage of this by punishing his opponent with further rearguard swings, securing his on-hit, but an unfortunately timed heal trigger locked him out of using Judgebau to go into double Sword Breakers. With very little in the way of card advantage and soul setup, Maldonado was quickly backed into a corner, leading him to use an early quintet wall to provide a pool of cards to soulcharge out of the drop zone off Hemera and Shiny Angel.

However, Maldonado had chosen to open with Minerva to serve as an additional card in the soul for Yggdrasil and early crossride defense, and this proved costly as it locked him out of using his legion-based starter Pray Angel to soulcharge; Kohl capitalized on this by using Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss” to retire it, limiting Maldonado's soul options for the rest of the game. This play proved critical, as it stopped Yggdrasil's soulblast 6 from being used a second time. By the time Maldonado rode Yggdrasil, these plays had snowballed into a ten card difference in advantage for Kohl, and Maldonado was left with just two cards in hand. Because of the third game's emphasis on prevention and damage control, it ended without Kohl using his restand skill, winning instead by brute force and capitalizing on early leads so that he ended with upwards of twelve cards in hand even as the game finished.

In addition to his breakthrough as a professional cardfighter, Kohl has been instrumental in helping to organize the Circuit series, working closely with Alter Reality Games to revitalize Cardfight!! Vanguard tournaments in the United States. He has previously experienced some success as a duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh!, and volunteered to help set up tournaments with ARG after their call for organizers last October.