Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spotlight: Shitakawachi Kouta/下河内広太

Fighter's Spotlight is an ongoing project concerned with tracking real-world professional cardfighters across the globe.

 
Shitakawachi, center, holding the first place trophy.
Shitakawachi Kouta/下河内広太
Age: Unknown; Seniors Division
Titles Won: Okayama Regional Champion (Senior Class), National Champion (Japan, Senior Class)
Current Status: National Champion (Reigning)
Deck Type: Royal Paladin (Alfred-Soul Saver)

Initially the fifth regional champion reported, Shitakawachi is today considered one of the original pros. Between his victory at the Okayama regional and his crowning as Japan's first national champion, Shitakawachi's decklist changed very little. Furthermore, his final deck list in the national competition laid out what would become the most prominent set of grade ratios for every fighter regardless of their clan, and while he is not the originator of Royal Paladin strategy, he is certainly the codifier of it. Shitakawachi is not known to have participated in the Grand Prix.

Decks and Play Style
His original deck was an irregular Paladin build featuring slightly off-base trigger ratios intended to confuse the opponent. The deck's lone draw trigger fills this role, as well as as an additional soul charge to fuel Soul Saver Dragon. Leading out from the standardized Barcgal strategy, Shitakawachi abandoned the Akane combo that had been made so prominent by his time in favor of running four copies of Pongal--understandable, as his deck relied on the counterblast-heavy Alfred and Bors.

Shitakawachi originally had very little reliance on especial intercepts, and grade 2 units had a higher overall presence compared to his second deck. Randolf was used as an attacker that could strike high-power units without a booster to aid him, albeit one that did not survive the transition between regional and national events. His deck used a single copy of the powerful Soul Saver Dragon, running only the barest minimum needed to bring her out, while Alfred set up the field on the turn preceding her ride, then going on to cooperatively occupy the rearguard alongside Bors.

Summer 2011 Regional Tournament, Okayama Seniors Division
Card Pool: TD01-BT02, PR 0001-0018 
Grade 0
x1 Barcgal
x4 Future Knight, Llew CT
x1 Margal DT
x4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
x4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
x3 Flogal ST
Grade 1
x4 Flash Shield, Iseult
x4 Pongal
x2 Soul Guiding Elf
x4 Little Sage, Marron
Grade 2
x2 Knight of Truth, Gordon
x4 Knight of Silence, Gallatin
x3 Blaster Blade
x2 Covenant Knight, Randolf
Grade 3
x4 King of Knights, Alfred
x1 Soul Saver Dragon
x3 Knight of Conviction, Bors

Unlike in the regional, Shitakawachi chose to pull no tricks for his final match and instead loaded his deck with as many critical triggers as were currently printed for his clan. As at Okayama, Shitakawachi used a maximized count of perfect guards and eschewed Akane for Pongal. The general train of thought can be seen that, since Alfred can superior call Pongal from the deck anyway, it would be easier for him to simply call Pongal upon riding the King of Knights and then move into his Soul Saver final turn. Seeing as this brought the dragon into his hand easily enough, and his final deck did not run any copies of Margal, there was no real reason for him to include the High Dog Breeder.

One major difference between this and his Okayama deck is the omission of Soul Guiding Elf in favor of Lake Maiden, Lien. This allowed for Shitakawachi to make use of his grade 1 vanguard even if taking the first turn, searching the deck for needed cards. Outside of this his deck did not undergo major changes, being a more perfected form of his original strategy.

Summer National Championship 2011, Seniors Division (Japan)
Card Pool: TD01-BT02, PR 0001-0018 
Grade 0
x1 Barcgal
x4 Future Knight, Llew CT
x4 Bringer of Good Luck, Epona CT
x4 Flogal ST
x4 Yggdrasil Maiden, Elaine HT
Grade 1
x4 Flash Shield, Iseult
x4 Little Sage, Marron
x4 Lake Maiden, Lien
x3 Pongal
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade
x4 Knight of Silence, Gallatin
x3 Knight of Truth, Gordon
Grade 3
x4 King of Knights, Alfred
x2 Soul Saver Dragon
x1 Knight of Conviction, Bors