Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spotlight: Uemura Shouhei/上村昌平

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

Uemura Shouhei/上村昌平
Age: Unknown
Titles Won: Asia Circuit Memorial Tournament Event Champion (Osaka), Fighter's Road 2013 National Runner-up
Current Status: Fighter's Road 2013 National Runner-up
Deck Type: Narukami (Eradicator)
Uemura Shouhei was one of the leading fighters of 2013, first appearing as the victor in the Osaka Memorial Tournament held in March of that year. Uemura proved to be a trendsetter for his time, with his deck prompting many cardfighters to follow suit in adapting a Dragonic Descendant-based Narukami deck as a replacement for Dragonic Overlord The End, who had been restricted in January. Regarded as one of the most influential cardfighters of his period, Uemura used his qualification to contend for the Japanese national title, coming in second behind one of his former imitators Kokubo Hikaru. While other fighters, Kokubo included, would drop away from the Eradicator deck after the new restricted list was set in place to limit its key card to 2, Uemura remained with the build throughout the tournament season.

Decks and Play Style
Uemura's deck as a whole evolved from the standard Narukami build of the time, based out of Dragonic Kaiser Vermillion "THE BLOOD." Spark Kid Dragoon as Narukami's first vanguard and the eight-critical four-draw trigger setup were already endemic to Uemura's format as a normal part of playing his clan. Rising Phoenix was likewise a holdover from the Vermillion build that had emerged during the previous Trio Fest tournament, used to take advantage of the clan's multiple 11000 base grade 3s and build on the lead in advantage from their limit breaks. Uemura's innovation came from adapting the framework for the Eradicator subgroup and applying his keen understanding of what needed to change versus what needed to be left alone.

Uemura chose to avoid the break rides that were projected to be dominant in his format, opting for a faster paced game by combining Dragonic Descendant and Gauntlet Buster Dragon. As a result, there is no bad grade 3 ride for his deck, and their 11000 bases allow them to still act as useful rearguards. Both units have skills that can be activated outside of their limit break, which gives them greater use throughout the entire match rather than just in the endgame, and discourages the opponent from baiting them by leaving the fighter at three damage. Gauntlet Buster's especial counterblast 2 forces the opponent to retire a unit, while his limit break gives him +3000 power and +1 critical whenever an opponent's unit is retired. Meanwhile, Descendant's counterblast gives him +5000 power, and his limit break acts as Narukami's The End, discarding 3 Eradicators in a battle in which his attack did not hit to stand and gain +1 critical. Uemura, knowing that both of these units had skills which gave them power and critical, recognized the Photon Bomber Wyvern that had long been a staple of Narukami decks as superfluous and chose not to run the unit at all, bringing out greater consistency and especial counterblast synergy with additional Eradicator units like Castor.

Dragonic Deathscythe on the other hand, was a unit that firmly supported Gauntlet Buster and gave Narukami better control of the field. Uemura's Eradicator deck retained it for this reason, showing some powerful foresight and mastery over the clan. In general, Uemura's build was not wholly Eradicator or standard Narukami, but represented a skilled fusion of the two to better play to the deck's strengths.

Grade 0
x1 Spark Kid Dragoon (FV)
x4 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seioubo HT
x4 Divine Spear Eradicator, Pollux CT
Grade 1
x2 Rising Phoenix
x1 Dust Storm Eradicator Tokou
x4 Eradicator of the Ceremonial Bonfire, Castor
x4 Eradicator Wyvern Guard, Guld
x4 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
Grade 2
x4 Eradicator, Thunderboom Dragon
x4 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
x3 Dragonic Deathscythe
Grade 3
x3 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon

Uemura eventually came in second place for the national championship, continuing to use his original Eradicator deck after having modified it to account for the restricted list. This new build adapted many of the strategies that other Eradicator cardfighters had developed in the interim period, using cards from BT11: Seal Dragons Unleashed and BT12: Binding Force of the Black Rings. Uemura made the transition to a much more Eradicator-like deck in this period, using the new Cho-ou to retire the opponent's rearguards and build up soul for Rising Phoenix and maintain better overall synergy, as well as Zuitan to unflip his damage and again build that soul. Castor and Phoenix together allowed Uemura to see many cards from his deck in a game and dig through for one of those Dragonic Descendant copies, with Vowing Saber Dragon sometimes employed as a buildup ride prior to reach limit break.

Grade 0
x1 Spark Kid Dragoon (FV)
x1 Eradicator, Blue Gem Carbuncle DT
x3 Eradicator, Dragon Mage DT
x4 Eradicator, Yellow Gem Carbuncle CT
x4 Demonic Dragon Eradicator, Seioubo HT
x4 Divine Spear Eradicator, Pollux CT
Grade 1
x4 Eradicator Wyvern Guard, Guld
x4 Eradicator, Demolition Dragon
x3 Rising Phoenix
x4 Eradicator of the Ceremonial Bonfire, Castor
Grade 2
x3 Fiendish Sword Eradicator, Cho-ou
x2 Supreme Army Eradicator, Zuitan
x4 Dragonic Deathscythe
x2 Eradicator, Spark Rain Dragon
Grade 3
x4 Eradicator, Gauntlet Buster Dragon
x2 Eradicator, Dragonic Descendant
x1 Eradicator, Vowing Sword Dragon