Wednesday, May 6, 2015

News: “∞” Glendios Tops West Japan and Kansai Championships, Kagerou Disappears Overnight

"The unending apocalypse, infinite Ω."
Link Joker made an unanticipated return at the apex of two major tournaments yesterday, with both the West Japan VGCS and Kansai Spring Cup seeing Death Star-vader “∞” Glendios in first place. In both cases, Link Joker represented a minority among the participants. At the Spring Cup 35 3-man teams (105 persons) participated, but only two cardfighters played Link Joker among them. At the West Japan CS there were 86 participants, with the 5 Link Joker fighters split between Glendios and Blaster Joker. With the support that it's received in Fighter's Collection 2015, “Ω” has come out as a dark horse answer to the swarm of “Diablo” decks now flooding tournament play.

"Sold out." Photo by inaisekai.
Unusually for a post-Generation Stride tournament, no Kagerou cardfighters were present at the 86-person West Japan Vanguard Championship. The clan collapsed entirely in the face of “Diablo,” with many cardfighters jumping ship to Shadow Paladin and Narukami. Meanwhile at the Spring Cup only 10% of all fighters present played Kagerou--occupying the same niche that “Abyss” filled prior to the Legend Deck's debut. Meanwhile the Legend Deck is selling out in stores across Japan, and Japanese card shops are struggling to keep up with demand. “Abyss” made up 24% of all tournament entries at the West Japan CS, and 41% of the entries at Kansai. Glendios' top at the Spring Cup was complementary to this; while team forward Shokushu lead the way for his mates by going undefeated in the nine rounds he played, both of his teammates were playing Revenger decks with “Diablo” support. (Unlike other team tournaments, the Spring Cup did not prevent teammates from using the same clan.)

Shokushu's “Ω” Glendios deck focused on using its Fighter's Collection 2015 upgrade Death Star-vader “∞” Glendios. (Read as "Omega Loop" Glendios) For counterblast 2 and by turning a copy of itself face-up in the generation zone, “∞” places a card from the top of the opponent's deck onto their field locked for every “Яeverse” rearguard the Omega cardfighter controls. The stride's skill also effectively incorporates an ultimate break of its own, as if the Glendios fighter has five damage then the opponent's rearguards will not unlock during their end phase. This means that, barring any changes in damage as a result of trigger checks, an “∞” deck with five “Яeverse” units in play and five damage will guarantee themselves to automatically win through “Ω” Glendios' World End ultimate break during the main phase of the next turn, provided that the opponent does not have any unlock skills attached to their vanguard and that the Link Joker cardfighter is able to defend through their opponent's turn.

By cutting out even more grade 2 space than is standard, Shokushu was able to make room for both thirteen grade 1s and twelve grade 3s, helping accommodate  “∞'s” stringent requirements. His opponents were forced to avoid granting him five damage, only having the option to send him directly from four to six or not at all. Shokushu reported his individual matchups; six of the nine rounds he played were against Shadow Paladin cardfighters. (Shokushu's other rounds were against Narukami, a team that forfeited and Aqua Force.) He did not lose a single game during the tournament, despite some of the advantages Phantom Blaster “Diablo” had in those matchups. This record may be attributed to his teammates--the team's midfighter Nero and its captain Buretan both played Revenger decks, hence Shokushu had ample opportunity to practice for the matchup. Shokushu was also no stranger to playing Glendios, as he had topped the third Kansai CS sub tournament with it back in July 2014.

Another potential reason for Shokushu's success was the tournament format. Prior to top 16 the Spring Cup used a five-round Swiss system, with each round lasting 20 minutes and being constrained to best-of-one games. The first round began at 11:00 AM, the second at 11:35 AM, and so on. The tournament finals were best-of-three with a 50 minute time limit, and clan fight rules were enforced throughout. But because the initial five rounds were in best-of-one and every opponent facing “∞” Glendios had an incentive to keep the deck at four damage, the format was arguably biased in Glendios' favor. In any given game the looming threat of “∞” hitting the field prevents opponents from putting Glendios fighters to five damage, while still staring down 22000-power “Яeverse” rearguards every turn and having higher damage incentivized by the time limit. Conflicting priorities force poor decisions out of the opponent, to either risk putting the Glendios cardfighter at five in the belief that they will be unable to guard the next turn's stride attack, or to go to five damage themselves to scramble for an additional counterblast while in the immediate short-term putting down less guard. With a 20-minute timer, trying to send a Glendios cardfighter straight from four to six damage becomes less viable as the clock may finish counting down before that can happen.
Kansai Spring Cup Clan Distribution (105 participants)
43 Shadow Paladin
16 Narukami
11 Royal Paladin
11 Kagero
6 Aqua Force
4 Megacolony
4 Oracle Think Tank
3 Great Nature
2 Dimension Police
2 Link Joker
1 Nova Grappler
1 Pale Moon
1 Spike Brothers
The Kansai VGCS Spring Cup took place over the course of two days from May 4th to 5th at the Naniwa Citizens' Hall. 48 teams (144 participants). Entry was 4500 yen (approx. $38) and first place won a carton of G-BT03: Sovereign Star Dragon and were qualified for two byes for the second day of the tournament. Second place won six boxes of Sovereign Star Dragon, third place three boxes, and fourth place one box. Clan fight rules were implemented. The decklists for Shokushu's teammates are still forthcoming.

Do-re-mi Town. Original image by Morichan.
Second place at the West Japan VGCS was Sanctuary Guard Royal Paladin, third place Thavas-Strikehead Aqua Force, and fourth place Exxtreme Battler Nova Grappler. The tournament was sponsored by Cardbox, one of the original shops to support Cardfight!! Vanguard in Japan. It was a singles division tournament, held on the third floor of Do-re-mi Town, an entertainment center in Okayama prefecture. The first round began at 11:00 AM, with each round lasting 20 minutes. The tournament finals began at 2:30 PM, and the closing ceremony was held at 6:30 PM. Entry at West Japan was 1000 yen for those that preregistered and 1200 yen for those that registered on-site. First place won eight boxes of Fighter's Collection 2015 as well as a voucher for 5000 yen. Second place won four boxes of FC2015 and a voucher worth the same, third place two boxes and a 3000 yen voucher, while fifth through eighth places won a single box.
West Japan VGCS Clan Distribution (86 participants in total)
21 Shadow Paladin (Revengers and Blaster Dark "Diablo," 1 Witch reported)
12 Royal Paladin (Thing Saver, Jewel Knights)
9 Narukami (Brawlers, Eradicators)
5 Link Joker (mostly Glendios, a few Blaster Jokers reported)
5 Nova Grappler (Exxtreme Battlers, Raizers, and Asura reported)
5 Aqua Force (Thavas, Maelstrom)
4 Oracle Think Tank (2 Tsukuyomi, 1 CoCo, 1 Susanoo)
3 Murakumo (Hyakki Vogue)
3 Dimension Police (Metalborgs)
3 Gold Paladin (reported no Pellinores, Ezel, Liberator)
3 Great Nature (Tester Fox)
3 Gear Chronicle (reported no Upheavals)
3 Megacolony (1 made it to Top 16)
2 Granblue
2 Neo Nectar (Musketeers, 1 with Captain Cecilia, 1 without Captain Cecilia)
1 Pale Moon
1 Dark Irregulars

1 Genesis (Legion)
The VGCS tournaments are a series of unofficial tournaments organized by fans and cardshops. Unlike Bushiroad's official tournaments, most VGCS events are done using a best-of-three, Swiss tournament model. Turnout is typically 70-80 persons, but some events see 100 or more participants, all of whom compete using pseudonyms and internet handles rather than their real names as in official events. The VGCS model of fan-organized play has begun to gain popularity internationally, with the bi-monthly BeNeLux tournaments serving as their European equivalent, and there are now similar grassroots organizations emerging in the United States like the ARG Circuit series tournaments and the King of Cardfight competition in the American midwest.

Kansai VGCS Spring Cup
Championship team
Forward: Shokushu/しょくしゅ
Grade 0
x1 Star-vader, World Line Dragon (FV)
x4 Star-vader, Pixie Powder HT
x3 Star-vader, Jailer Tail DT
x3 Star-vader, Nebula Captor DT
x4 Apollo Nail Dragon CT
x1 Star-vader, Meteoliger CT
x1 Star-vader, Spark Doll CT
Grade 1
x4 Refusing Deletor, Evil
x4 Star-vader, Ruin Magician
x4 Taboo Star-vader, Rubidium
x1 Star-vader, Volt Line
Grade 2
x3 Star-vader, Magnet Hollow
x3 Companion Star-vader, Photon
x2 Star-vader, Colony Maker
Grade 3
x3 Star-vader, “Ω” Glendios
x3 Star-vader, “Яeverse” Cradle
x1 Eradicator, Vowing Saber Dragon “Яeverse”
x1 Dark Dimensional Robo, “Яeverse” Daiyusha
x1 Silver Thorn Dragon Queen, Luquier “Яeverse”
x1 Deadliest Beast Deity, Ethics Buster “Яeverse”
x1 Cleanup Celestial, Ramiel “Яeverse”
x1 Broken Heart Jewel Knight, Ashlei “Яeverse”
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x4 Snow Element, Blizza
x4 Death Star-vader,  “∞” Glendios

Midfighter: Nero/ネロ
Decklist pending

Captain: Buriten/ブリテン
Decklist pending

West Japan Vanguard Championship
Grade 0
x1 Star-vader, World Line Dragon (FV)
x4 Recollection Star-vader, Tellurium HT
x3 Star-vader, Nebula Captor DT
x3 Vortex Star-vader, Molybdenum DT
x3 Star-vader, Weiss Soldat CT
x3 Apollo Nail Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Refusing Deletor, Evil
x4 Star-vader, Ruin Magician
x4 Taboo Star-vader, Rubidium
Grade 2
x4 Star-vader, Magnet Hollow
x3 Companion Star-vader, Photon
Grade 3
x4 Star-vader, “Ω” Glendios
x4 Star-vader, “Яeverse” Cradle
x1 Covert Demonic Dragon, Hyakki Vogue “Яeverse”
x1 Dauntless Dominate Dragon “Яeverse”
x1 Eradicator, Vowing Saber Dragon “Яeverse”
x1 Maiden of Venus Trap “Яeverse”
x1 Dragonic Overlord “The Яe-birth
x1 School Punisher, Leo-pald “Яeverse”
Grade 4 (Generation Zone)
x1 Miracle Element, Atmos
x3 Snow Element, Blizza
x4 Death Star-vader,  “∞” Glendios