Earlier today, Konami hosted the KC Grand Tournament in place of worlds this year, where the 16 qualifying players from the preliminary tournament competed for the championship and prizes. The format was a single elmination Best-of-3 bracket, where each player had to use three different decks, having no more than 3 copies of any card, no more than 2 copies of Limit 2 cards, and no more than 1 copy of Limit 1 cards across all decks. After a epic tournament of back-and-forth matches, former TPC members kwrowe and zaidking found themselves duking it out in the finals, with zaidking taking the gold! You can watch the entirety of Konami's broastcast, hosted by Nadhir Mazouni (Farfa), Ed Templer (Game Hog), and Luke Withington from Konami here
Interview with zaidking
First of all, congratulations on your victory! How do you feel?
I'm still in disbelief, it was really unexpected to win the event since I had some missing cards and decks so it made deckbuilding very challenging, my initial thought for the event was Witchcrafter needed to be a must to reach far in the event but it ended up underperforming which was surprising. My guess for that would probably be it can easily brick and since every deck can be used once only, not having a second chance hurt it a lot.
Anything you want to tell us about yourself?
I'm 18 years old and I started playing the game in 2017. I used to play the Trading Card Game a lot back in the day so it was a big part of my childhood, and that nostalgia is what initially made me download the game.
What's your favorite deck in Duel Links and why?
My favorite deck in Duel Links was Red-Eyez Zombie, I would say that time period was the most fun I've had on the game, thats when I first started meeting the community and also around that time the game was less complex, it felt like old school Yu-Gi-Oh! which I'm a big fan of.
How does it feel to participate in an official Konami Event?
It's a pretty cool experience honestly, I always wanted to play in an official event like this because since it always seemed fun to be a part of whenever I'd watch
How is it playing in an official Konami event, how does it compare to DLM events?
I think I prefer DLM's current format for tournaments more than KCGT's format since it relies less on luck and you have second chances for bricks/bad matchups. The experience was also completely different from each other in regards to preparation, since konami events are usually once a year players usually spend weeks testing for it, but in DLM events you could have the luxury of trying out potential ideas people may have and if you fail you can try again next week which is really good to have, allowing you to make room for improvements. I don't know why, but I found it less stressful to be on the KCGT stream than on DLM's streams, probably has to do something with the environment of the stream or hype build up.
Do you think DLM should make tournaments with the same format as Konami?
Not as a regular thing, I could see doing a Konami format occasionally to change it up a bit, otherwise Side Deck format is the superior format in my opinion.
How was your experience during the Preliminary Tournament?
It honestly didn't feel like it was something too special, there was a lot less hype to it and I'm not sure if there was even a stream for it. I guess it was still cool to give 105 players a chance for Stage 2, so I shouldn't have expected something big for it. However, I do think people also tested a lot for it since its a once in a year chance, so it was sort of a major event nevertheless
What was your strategy in your deck line-up
I had a ton of mixed opinions for my deck lineup. I decided on the decks 1 hour before the deadline. Neos felt like the best deck for a Best-of-1 format with its power hands so it was the easiest pick out of the 3 decks, the 1-of's in the deck were basically to cover some weaknesses the deck had, Loading... would usually win me the game against Shiranui and Blue-Eyes, it's also a pretty technical card against other decks as well, like by shuffling back Elementsabers in grave to prevent my opponent from Fusion Summoning. Loading... felt like a card that could steal games since Loading... easily fulfils its requirements. It's also great against Blackwings which I expected would be played a lot given the popularity of Witchcrafter in the event. For my second slot, which I planned for a backrow-heavy deck, I was so stuck between Ritual Beasts and Shiranui. I tested both a lot and barely went with Shiranui because I made a risky prediction of what my first 2 opponents would run and it paid off. I expected I would not play against Witchcrafter until Top 4 so I tried going for that as my goal. For my third deck, HEROs felt like one of the best picks honestly after watching RedY do good in a tourney with the same format as KCGT, it's a consistent sack deck and it fits the Best-of-1 environment.
What would you want to see added to Duel Links to help with more Tournaments
It might be too much to ask for, but if there was an option to lock in your decks the same way Konami did for the KCGT. Also, if they could implement a side feature where you can Side Deck right after the game ends. It would make tourneys run faster with no room for cheating.
Do you think we should see more official Konami Duel Links Tournaments?
I'm not sure how they would decide players for their tourneys if they made multiple a year, but if they at least make KC Cups have more incentive to play, that's a step in the right direction
How do you feel about the meta right now?
It's really fair I think, we have had a lot worse back in the day but I do think it needs something new since we have stayed in the same meta for months now. I do have high hopes for the new world coming soon so looking forward for that
Any balance changes you would like to see to shake up the meta?
I'd rather see new stuff added than nerf anything honestly, nerfs usually either just eliminate a deck from the meta or make it weaker but still viable.
Lastly, do you have any Shoutouts you would like to make?
Yeah shoutout to kwrowe for sharing this experience with really glad he did amazing in the event, shoutouts to machdragon and Eduu16 for their help and support as always, shoutout to Snyffus for testing, shoutout to Negative1 for pushing me to test constantly and try his best to help me out, and shoutout to TZ and FM for their support everyone who cheered me on, really sorry if I missed anyone else.
That's all we got for this KCGT Champion spotlight! What kind of questions should we be asking in the future? Comment down below!