Monday, January 5, 2015

News: Christian Rivera Tops ARG Orlando with Thing Saver Dragon

Six of the top 8 games. Orlando champion Christian Rivera is on the left, in the center game.
The first major tournament of 2015 concluded earlier today with the lauded Thing Saver Dragon in first place, under the command of Orlando Circuit champion Christian Rivera. Beginning at 11:00 AM and lasting over ten hours, the six round tournament saw a payout of $500 to the top 8 cardfighters, with Christian claiming $200 of it and an exclusive champion's playmat. The top 8 fighters included the first Deletor top in the United States, as well as two Gold Paladin, one Blue Storm and one Yggdrasil top. The day was primarily stolen by Thing Saver Dragon, who accounted for three places in the top 8 and a significant portion of the tournament's participants, both as a pure Royal Paladin deck and as a mixed Royal-Shadow Thing Saver-“Abyss” deck. The top 8 decklists are provided below.

85 cardfighters participated at the Orlando Circuit, making it the largest fan tournament ever organized on the North American continent. Some of those fighters came from as far as Miami, more than three hours from the tournament salon at the Ramada Gateway hotel. The Cardfight!! Vanguard portion of the Circuit was organized by judge Harris, a veteran cardfighter from Jacksonville who has been specifically hired for his experience by several tournament hosts in the past. The tournament format was held in best-of-3 with a 40 minute time limit on rounds. Six rounds of Swiss determined the top 8 cardfighters, who then played out to determine the pecking order on prizes.

Photos property of Cardfight Pro.
Clan mixing was permitted at the event. While Thing Saver-“Abyss” proved a population option as it had in Japan, no fighters were observed taking advantage of the rules to run mixed Genesis-Shadow Paladin witch decks. Importantly, while the Spike Brothers' legion grade 2s Bloody Ogle and Silver Blaze have been seen to tear apart the competition in Japan's Extreme Fight format, these were also not seen outside of pure Spike Brothers decks.

The tournament's time limits fell under some scrutiny by the cardfighters present. The most common complaint of the evening was of only having 40 minutes versus 50 to 60. The introduction of legion format has stretched the midgame of each fight considerably, with a strongly defensive and stall-oriented gameplay developing around legion skills removing most damage restrictions. Judge Harris was available for comment on the matter; while he was sympathetic to the fighters' problems, he cited the encroaching length of the tournament even under the current system as one reason for the limits. The difficulty of organizing large groups of players to complete their games in a timely fashion also came into play. Harris suggested a 50 minute time limit with double elimination rules as a future solution, so that every fighter that had lost two best-of-three sets would be cut from a given competition, effectively halving the number of players needed to be paired for every round following the second.

Photos property of Cardfight Pro.
Perhaps the most striking image of the day was that of the tournament's unintended mascot, top 4 cardfighter Joshua Harvie. Referred to during the tournament as "the Teletubby," Harvie cut an intimidating figure to those competing, as he attended the tournament in a Laa-Laa costume juxtaposed with a Guy Fawkes mask. Adding fuel to the fire is that Harvie was extremely proficient with his Thing Saver Dragon deck. When he abruptly won a game after an announcement that there were two minutes remaining until the time limit, his opponent was admonished by audience members for "activating The Tub." Harvie became the first of the top 8 fighters to be put on stream, but was eliminated in the top 4 in a mirror match with Christian Rivera.

Tournament runner-up Brian Villamil carved out a place for himself with the recently released Bluish Flame Liberators. Noticeably Villamil chose not to run Prominence Core with his Prominence Glare copies, opting to run Percival instead. This is a preference emergent in the American pro scene similar to that of the Americans' Japanese counterparts. Percival's direct card advantage is seen as more valuable over Core's neutral superior calls, and the additional critical from Core is much more easily dealt with than that of Glare or Percival's unboosted center lane. Villamil was joined in top 8 by Daniel Pelaez also playing Bluish Flames, but Pelaez was eliminated quickly by Rivera. Rivera poked fun at Pelaez's mass chaining of skills--Prominence Core to Oath Aglovale to Zorron to Ketchgal to call Bruno--that his opponent had "taken his turn for a year."

Note that when going through the decklists below, the copy of Kevin Carlson's Aqua Force list currently in our possession does not have the quantities of the cards he used list on it. As such, only the names are provided at this time.

The ARG Circuit series is publicly endorsed by Cardfight Pro as a professional tournament system. Those who place in the tournament will be recognized by Cardfight Pro as professional cardfighters of the same caliber as those that qualify in the world championships and VGCS tournaments. 

First place: Christian Rivera
Grade 0
x1 Advance Party Seeker, File (FV)
x4 Seeker, Loving Healer HT
x4 Margal DT
x4 Impact Seeker, Modoron CT
x4 Seeker, Hallowed Breath Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Defending Seeker, Shiron
x4 Honest Seeker, Cynric
x3 Grynngal Seeker
x3 Lake Maiden, Lien
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x4 Full Bloom Seeker, Cerdic
x3 Great Crossbow Seeker, Gildas
Grade 3
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
x1 Light Source Seeker, Alfred Exiv
x3 Seeker, Sacred Wingal

Second place: Brian Villamil
Deck Name: Gold Paladin Liberator
Grade 0
x1 Flaming Passion Liberator, Guido (FV)
x4 Numinous Tree Liberator, Elchea HT
x4 Liberator of Hope, Epona CT
x4 Great Wish Liberator, Esus CT
x4 Flame of Victory CT
Grade 1
x3 Halo Liberator, Mark
x1 Light Formation Liberator, Erdre
x4 Fast Chase Liberator, Josephus
x4 May Rain Liberator, Bruno
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, Percival

Third and fourth place
Michael Housely
Deck name: Saver of Things
Grade 0
x1 Advance Party Seeker, File (FV)
x4 Seeker, Loving Healer HT
x4 Margal DT
x4 Impact Seeker, Modoron CT
x4 Seeker, Hallowed Breath Dragon CT
Grade 1
x4 Defending Seeker, Shiron
x3 Honest Seeker, Cynric
x3 Flail Seeker, Isbuzzard
x2 Lake Maiden, Lien
x2 Grynngal Seeker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x4 Full Bloom Seeker, Cerdic
x3 Great Crossbow Seeker, Gildas
Grade 3
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
x2 Seeker, Sacred Wingal
x2 Light Source Seeker, Alfred Exiv 

Joshua Harvey
Deck name: XXMLG420YOLOSWAGXXMTNDEWDORITOSXX
Grade 0
x1 Advance Party Seeker, File (FV)
x4 Seeker, Loving Healer HT
x4 Margal DT
x2 Messegal Seeker DT
x4 Impact Seeker, Modoron CT
x2 Seeker, Hallowed Breath Dragon CT
Grade 1
x3 Defending Seeker, Shiron
x1 Seeker, Plume Wall Angel
x3 Honest Seeker, Cynric
x3 Flail Seeker, Isbuzzard
x2 Lake Maiden, Lien
x2 Grynngal Seeker
Grade 2
x4 Blaster Blade Seeker
x4 Full Bloom Seeker, Cerdic
x3 Great Crossbow Seeker, Gildas
Grade 3
x4 Seeker, Thing Saver Dragon
x2 Seeker, Sacred Wingal
x2 Light Source Seeker, Alfred Exiv

Fifth through eighth place
Michael Luo
Deck name: Need Prize Money for PGs
Grade 0
x1 Regalia of Prayers, Pray Angel (FV)
x4 Regalia of Compassion, Eir HT
x4 Mirror Regalia, Achlis ST
x4 Regalia of Far-sight, Clear Angel CT
x4 Battle Maiden, Kukurihime CT
Grade 1
x4 Cold Blast Regalia, Svalinn
x4 Exorcism Regalia, Shiny Angel
x2 Regalia of Well-wishes, Preach Angel
x4 Witch of Oranges, Valencia
Grade 2
x4 Midday Regalia, Hemera
x4 Regalia of Fate, Norn
x1 Regalia of Fertility, Freyja
x2 Twilight Regalia, Hesperis
Grade 3
x4 Cosmic Regalia, CEO Yggdrasil
x4 Midnight Regalia, Nyx

Zarvani Grant 
Deck name: Team Ubermensch
Grade 0
x2 Acquire Deletor, Igor (FV)
x4 Taunting Deletor Goto HT
x4 Exulting Deletor, Maestol DT
x1 Squeezing Deletor Id DTx4 Override Deletor, Olg CT
x3 Marching Deleteor, Maze CT
Grade 1
x4 Refusing Deletor, Evil
x4 Idolizing Deletor, Guim
x3 Breaking Deletor, Gatario
x2 Looting Deletor, Gunec
Grade 2
x4 Greedy Deletor, Jail
x4 Juxtapose Deletor, Gaele
x3 Pursuing Deletor, Egotte
Grade 3
x4 Daunting Deletor, Oksizz
x4 Juxtapose Deletor, Zaele

Kevin Carlson
Deck name: Wipeout!!!
Grade 0
Blue Storm Cadet, Anos (FV)
Blue Storm Soldier, Kitchen Sailor HT
Battle Siren, Mallika DT
Supersonic Sailor CT
Blue Storm Soldier, Missile Trooper CT
Grade 1
Emerald Shield, Paschal
Blue Storm Guardian Dragon, Icefall Dragon
Mako Shark Soldier of the Blue Storm Fleet
Blue Storm Marine General, Hermes
Light Signals Penguin Soldier
Mola Mola Soldier of the Blue Storm Fleet
Blue Storm Battle Princess, Electra
Grade 2
Blue Storm Marine General, Starless
Blue Storm Marine General, Gregorios
Blue Storm Marine General, Spyros
Tidal Assault
Grade 3
Blue Storm Wave Dragon, Tetra-burst Dragon
Blue Storm Marine General, Demetrius

Daniel Pelaez
Grade 0
x1 Flaming Passion Liberator, Guido (FV)
x4 Numinous Tree Liberator, Elchea HT
x4 Ketchal Liberator ST
x4 Strike Liberator CT
x4 Steel Blade Liberator CT
Grade 1
x1 Sword Formation Liberator, Igraine
x3 Light Formation Liberator, Erdre
x4 Fast Chase Liberator, Josephus
x4 May Rain Liberator, Bruno
x2 Physical Force Liberator, Zorron
Grade 2
x4 Oath Liberator, Aglovale
x4 Regulation Liberator, Aglovale
x3 Liberator, Lawful Trumpeter
Grade 3
x4 Bluish Flame Liberator, Percival
x4 Bluish Flame Liberator, Prominence Core