Original photo taken by Brandon Smith, used with permission.
News: Kaden Kawakami Crowned Next National Champion
After three months of fierce competition, the Stand Up Challenge Cup has come to a close with the coronation of the second North American national champion, succeeding Brandon Smith's seven month reign. Crowned at Champion's Gate, Florida, Kawakami is taking home the crystal cup with a radical Dragonic Overlord The End build that has drawn attention for running no critical triggers, instead filling out the space with seven stands and five draw triggers. The End has defined much of English Cardfight’s professional play since February, but what sealed the tournament for Kawakami was the enhanced rearguard pressure of his deck, extending outside of his strong center line.
The runner up for the national title is John Muir, who used a Gold Paladin deck combining Incandescent Lion Blond Ezel and Great Silver Wolf Garmore. Within the best 8 were five The End cardfighters, Muir’s Gold Paladin build, one Majesty Lord Blaster cardfighter and one Great Daiyusha cardfighter. The End having a greater presence is surprising to some due to Majesty Lord’s firm dominance over him in the Japanese scene, but the Blaster deck as a whole has been noted to have a much lower overall presence within the North American play. Its unpopularity is generally attributed to North American fighters preferring The End’s card advantage compared to Lord Blaster’s static critical, and also to general overexposure among American cardfighters to The End from studying top Japanese decks.
With the Challenge Cup having come to a close, the last tournament to be resolved before the next World Championships will be the Team League 2013. The North American branch of the League will be concluded on July 14th, aboard the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. The Asian League will finish on July 7th at the Suntec City Convention Center, Singapore, and the European League on July 27th at Thistle Barbican in London.