Thursday, February 12, 2015

News: Matthew Preston Wins Texas Regional Qualifier with Phantom Blaster “Abyss,” ARG Providing Shop Tournament Kits

ARG Regional champion Matthew Preston (left) and runner-up Austin Funderburg. Original photo by Alter Reality Games.
February 8th, 2015. Over the preceding weekend the first stage of the newly-christened ARG national championships concluded, with regional champion Matthew Preston winning the tournament using his Phantom Blaster “Abyss” deck. Preston's victory is the first time since the BT16-on format shift that “Abyss” has topped in a major US tournament, preceded by Robbie Kohl's victory at Chicago last December. Following the Texas regional qualifier there are now 40 cardfighters eligible for the national championship, sampled from the top 8 of each regional. Preston and Funderburg are among those that have been given point vouchers to pay for their entry into the $2000 finals, to be held this summer. Currently the invited fighters face a 20% majority of pure “Abyss” cardfighters, but these are primarily holdovers from the Atlanta tournament and may not reflect the final makeup of NCS2015. Instead the second most played deck among the top places, Thing Saver Dragon, is gaining the preference of professional American cardfighters as it did among the Japanese.

The Fort Worth qualifier drew 97 participants, compared in preceding order to Orlando's 85, Atlanta's 41 and Chicago's 34. As the tournament attracted more than 50 participants, in accordance with ARG's policy the finalists had the option of receiving either a predetermined cash payout or 150% of the payout in store credit. Preston and Funderburg opted for the former, receiving $200 and $100 respectively. The tournament finals were livestreamed to ARG's Twitch channel on the night of the tournament, and will later be uploaded to YouTube. The top 8 decklist are provided below.

Several of the top decks were easy to foresee; Prominence Glare, Thing Saver-“Abyss” and Cat Butler Raizers are all decks that have done well in Japanese play and been received positively by American fighters. The legion format Spike Brothers deck is something that has generally fallen under the radar outside of a few Doctor O Awards during Bushiroad's Fighter's Climax 2014, where eight draw variants made it into the top 8 of the Sendai, and Sapporo regional tournaments. Their solitary claim to fame in Japan has been second place at Fighter's Road 2014 Okayama.

Capping off the eclectic top 8 were two Overlord cardfighters hybridizing Dragonic Overlord the Great with past Kagerou Overlords, “The Яe-birth” and The End. Sam Hargrove with the End was the top ranked cardfighter following the last preliminary round, and made it to the semifinals before falling to Funderburg's Spike Brothers. Perdition decks have been strong contenders since BT17: Blazing Perdition hit stores in late January, but many Kagerou cardfighters have come to prefer having an offensive vanguard option over purely defensive rearguard control skills, leading them to integrate these past Overlords in place of Vortex Dragonewt and take advantage of support cards specific to the Overlord line like Dragonic Burnout. As several Perdition series cards are not Perdition-specific, there is innate synergy between using the lower costed Perdition card skills with aggressive Overlord variants. By contrast, running Vortex and the Great together tends to fall flat versus opponents that minimize their early to midgame calls, and against Shadow Paladin cardfighters that micromanage their rearguards through “Abyss'” and Raging Form's retire skills to avoid having any present during the Perdition fighter's turn.

Note that while striding was not permitted at the tournament, G Assist was. This is why Harmonics Messiah appears on several of the finalists' decklists, so that they could use the card for G Assist.
ARG Texas Regional Qualifier Top 8
Phantom Blaster “Abyss” - Matthew Preston
Bluish Flames Liberator - Ronald Gilliam
Thing Saver “Abyss” - Russell Graves
Spike Brothers - Austin Funderburg
Cat Butler Raizers - Sebastian Toscano and Russell Smith
Dragonic Overlord the Great/“The Яe-birth” - Jarred McClonahan
Dragonic Overlord the Great/The End - Sam Hargrove
Illust. slifertheskydragon
ARG has also begun providing tournament kits to participating card shops as part of its ARG Point Series, allowing them to host their own sponsored tournaments to have their players earn points that can be used towards merchandise, round 1 byes at ARG events and flights to the national championship. Stores interested in becoming tournament hosts for the ARG Point Series can do so through their official page. Participating stores will receive exclusive playmats designed for ARG in their tournament kits (visible above) to be given to the winners of these tournaments. Cardfighters are encouraged to speak with their local shops about becoming event hosts.

The next stage of the 2015 national championships will be the Louisville qualifier on the 21st, followed by the Fort Lauderdale qualifier on March 8th.

Alter Reality Games National Championship Series Texas, February 2015
Regional champion: Matthew Preston
Deck name: Ridiculous Peanut Butter Adventure
Grade 0
x1 Judgebau Revenger (FV)
x4 Healing Revenger HT
x4 Freezing Revenger DT
x4 Grim Revenger CT
x4 Revenger, Air Raid Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Dark Revenger, Mac Lir
x4 Transient Revenger, Masquerade
x4 Barrier Troop Revenger, Dorint
x2 Black-winged Swordbreaker
Grade 2
x3 Fighting Spirit Revenger, Macart
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger
x4 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
Grade 3
x4 Illusionary Revenger, Mordred Phantom
x4 Revenger, Phantom Blaster “Abyss”
Grade 4
x2 Harmonics Messiah

Second place: Austin Funderburg
Deck name: Spike Brothers Beatdown
Grade 0
x1 Mecha Trainer (FV)
x4 Cheer Girl, Tiara HT
x4 Silence Joker CT
x2 Sonic Breaker CT
x4 Cheerful Lynx DT
x2 Cheer Girl, Pauline DT
Grade 1
x4 Cheer Girl, Marilyn
x4 Wonder Boy
x4 Reckless Express
x1 Oasis Boy
Grade 2
x4 Froxen Ogle
x3 Dudley Mason
x3 Silver Blaze
x2 Devil Summoner
Grade 3
x4 Bloody Ogle
x4 Bad End Dragger

Third and Fourth Place (Unsorted)
Sam Hargrove
Deck name: The End shall never fall!
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Dragon Dancer, Therese HT
x4 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biella CT
x4 Embodiment of Spear, Tahr CT
Grade 1
x4 Perdition Dragon, Rampart Dragon
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x3 Perdition Dragon Knight, Gia
x3 Calamity Tower Wyvern
Grade 2
x4 Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame
x4 Dragonic Burnout
x3 Burning Horn Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great
x4 Dragonic Overlord the End

Russell Smith
Deck name: ROBOT HOUSE
Grade 0
x1 Transmigrating Evolution, Miraioh (FV)
x4 Cat Butler
x4 Raizer Girl, Kate HT
x4 Raizer Crew DT
x4 Meteoraizer CT
x4 Shining Lady CT
Grade 1
x3 Shieldraizer
x1 Twin Blader
x3 Cannonraizer
x4 Screamin' and Dancin' Announcer, Shout
x3 Energy Charger
Grade 2
x4 Ultimate Raizer, Dual-flare
x4 Phoenixraizer Flame-wing
x3 Street Bouncer
Grade 3
x4 Ultimate Raizer Mega-flare

Fifth through Eighth Place (Unsorted)
Jarrod McClonahan
Deck name: Reduce everything in this world to ashes, flame of apocalypse!
Grade 0
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid
x2 Perdition Dancer, Agafia HT
x2 Dragon Dancer, Barbara HT
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x3 Perdition Dragon Knight, Tovare CT
x3 Perdition Dragon, Buster Rain Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x4 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Calamity Tower Wyvern
x2 Violence Horn Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Perdition Dragon, Dragonic Neoflame
x3 Burning Horn Dragon
x3 Dragonic Burnout
x2 Perdition Dragon, Menace Laser Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Perdition Emperor Dragon, Dragonic Overlord the Great
x3 Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth”
Grade 4
x4 Harmonics Messiah

Sebastian Toscano
Deck name: Raizer
Grade 0
x1 Transmigrating Evolution, Miraioh (FV)
x4 Cat Butler
x4 Raizer Girl, Kate HT
x2 The Gong DT
x4 Raizer Crew DT
x3 Meteoraizer CT
x3 Minimum Raizer CT
Grade 1
x3 Shieldraizer
x1 Beast Deity, Solar Falcon
x2 Energy Charger
x4 Screamin' and Dancin' Announcer, Shout
x2 Carvingraizer
x2 Jetraizer
Grade 2
x1 Marineraizer High-torpedo
x2 Street Bouncer
x4 Ultimate Raizer, Dual Flare
x4 Phoenixraizer Flame-wing
Grade 3
x4 Ultimate Raizer Mega-flare
Grade 4
x4 Harmonics Messiah

Ronald Gilliam
Deck name: It's Time for a Gold Rush
Grade 0
x1 Korongal Liberator (FV)
x1 Flaming Passion Liberator, Guido
x4 Numinous Tree Liberator, Elchea HT
x4 Ketchgal Liberator ST
x2 Fortune Liberator ST
x4 Flame of Victory CT
x2 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
Grade 1
x4 Halo Liberator, Mark
x4 May Rain Liberator, Bruno
x3 Fast Chase Liberator, Josephus
x2 Physical Force Liberator, Zorron
Grade 2
x4 Regulation Liberator, Aglovale
x4 Oath Liberator, Aglovale
x3 Liberator, Lawful Trumpeter
Grade 3
x4 Bluish Flame Liberator, Prominence Glare
x4 Bluish Flame Liberator, Prominence Core

Russell Graves
Deck name: Thing  “Abyss”
Grade 0
x1 Wingal Brave (FV)
x4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
x4 Margal DT
x1 Blazing Jewel Knight, Rachelle CT
x1 Jewel Knight, Noble Stinger
x1 Seeker, Hallowed Breath Dragon CT
x1 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
x1 Alabaster Owl CT
x3 Future Knight, Llew CT
Grade 1
x4 Defending Seeker, Shiron
x4 Lake Maiden, Lien
x4 Knight of Friendship, Kay
x1 Grynngal Seeker
x2 Battle Instinct Revenger, Lifechur
Grade 2
x2 Blaster Dark Revenger “Abyss”
x3 Blaster Blade Spirit
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x4 Fighting Spirit Revenger, Macart
Grade 3
x1 Revenger, Phantom Blaster  “Abyss”
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
Grade 4
x1 Harmonics Messiah