|AEON Mall Makuhari New City concept image.|
|Bushiroad Store concept image.|
|Prism Hall circa FC2012. Image from cardbox.sc|
In other news, Bushiroad USA released the names and decklists of the North American, European and Asia-Oceania continental championships' respective top 4s through the English Cardfight portal and Facebook earlier this week, providing a look at the upcoming World Championship 2013 finalists. The WCS2013 finals will be taking place on January 12, 2014 in Tokyo, and will see the respective top 4, top 2, top 3 and national champion of North America, Europe, Asia-Oceania and Japan facing off for the world title. Incumbent national champion Albert Lee seized his title with a more developed form of Dragonic Overlord the End deck, incorporating Dauntless Drive Dragon as its supporting break ride just two days after the card's release in VGE-BT11: Seal Dragons Unleashed. (The North American finals took place on October 27th.) Albert Lee had previously qualified for the national championships through taking first place in Hawaii's qualifier, using a somewhat unconventional PRISM decklist using Charlotte and Fundy that had received no small amount of criticism.
Although not an especially radical deck when compared to such departures as preceding national champion Kaden Kawakmi's DOTE, Lee's build does stand out for more than being in first place. Red Pulse Dracokid is a card that is commonly put down in favor of the tried and true Lizard Soldier Conroe, as Conroe is useful in a variety of situations whether he's searching for an effective boosting unit, tech cards like Heatnail Salamander or Aermo, a perfect defense card, or bypassing grade 1 lock. All of these positive characteristics have been negatively contrasted by the community with Red Pulse's low percent chance to search for a grade 3 from the top 5 cards of the deck for a similar cost. Those in favor of Red Pulse have argued for a long-term strategic value in that even when Red Pulse fails, because the grade 3 was not in the top 5 cards of the deck, and the cardfighter using him was unlikely to go through more than 5 cards within the next turn, the subsequent shuffling of the deck opens up more opportunities by taking away a known negative situation for a potentially better one--which it can be argued is worth the one card loss in card advantage. As Red Pulse's search skill also has synergy with both break ride and persona blast skills, the card does have a convincing case as one option for The End cardfighters.
Considering DOTE's international legacy, Lee's use of Seal Dragon triggers is also surprising because his deck does not make use of Seal Dragon Corduroy's especial counterblast. Contemporary cardfighters in Japan like 2013 junior national champion Niida Kazuki and VF Koushien Hiroshima champion Okabe Mizuki have adapted Corduroy at 4 to take advantage of the cheaper retire that leaves more room for The End's persona blast to threaten the opponent with. In Lee's deck this is instead dealt with through Bellicosity Dragon, Kagerou's damage unflipping grade 2 and one more unit that the opponent does not want to let through but must concede on because of the threat of The End's persona blast. Probably the most subtle difference in the deck is the 3 Burning Horn Dragon, which on the surface is a minor point but will look strange to veteran fighters. Since the Overlord deck's introduction to the world in December 2011, Burning Horn has been a staple card run at 4 in the majority of DOTE decks. With the introduction of BT10-on in Japan however, Burning Horn has been gradually scaled back in favor of grade 2s with skills, like Bellicosity in this list. The same transition is now taking place, reflecting the shift away from base 10000 vanguards, and the resulting decreased importance of the 20000 power line. Cards like Burning Horn are not likely to go away because their empty 12000 swings are still very useful in the early and midgame, but they are no longer 4-card staples in the decks with other options.
Winter 2013 National Tournament, North America
National Champion: Albert Lee
Decklist name: What are you running? Exodia!!
x1 Red Pulse Dracokid (FV)
x4 Gattling Claw Dragon DT
x2 Seal Dragon, Artpique DT
x4 Seal Dragon, Biella CT
x2 Blue Ray Dracokid CT
x4 Wyvern Guard, Barri
x4 Embodiment of Armor, Bahr
x2 Dragon Monk, Gojo
x4 Seal Dragon, Kersey
x4 Berserk Dragon
x3 Burning Horn Dragon
x4 Bellicosity Dragon
x4 Dragonic Overlord the End
x4 Dauntless Drive Dragon