Yesterday, 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 (also known as KernowKing) and zaidking found themselves duking it out in the finals, with zaidking inching it out over kwrowe in three close matches. You can check out our interview with the champion here and watch the entirety of Konami’s broastcast, hosted by Nadhir Mazouni (Farfa), Ed Templer (Game Hog), and Luke Withington from Konami here
First of all, congratulations on your making it to the Finals, How do you feel now that the dust has settled?
Amazing but it’s still not entirely sunk in. I’m just so proud to have got so far and so overwhelmed by the huge amount of support I had both from community members and even friends and family who watched me without understanding anything that was happening
Anything you want to tell us about yourself?
I started the TCG when I was 9 around 15 years ago and played it for 5 or 6 years. I got into Duel Links because of a friend’s recommendation about 2 and a half years ago and had some success with Aliens, one of my favourite decks. My favourite deck of all time is Ritual Beasts which I used in every single stage of the KCGT.
How does it feel to participate in an official Konami Event, how does it compare to DLM events?
It’s a very different experience. For starters the format is different with 3 decks which made it very exciting for a one-of event but I’m not sure if it would be a better format long-term. Secondly, I had to be on camera for the entire event which was a strange feeling because I’m not used to being watched while playing Duel Links. I think that showed when I was streamed in the Finals and Semifinals when my emotions were clearly all over the place.
How did that compare with your experience in the Preliminary Tournament?
I went into the preliminary tournament with absolutely no expectations of doing well. This was nothing against my own ability. However, 6 best of one matches is not balanced so I knew the only way I would succeed was with some luck. Thankfully I was lucky because that meant I could compete in the finals. I would say the finals felt less luck-based because they were Best-of-3. Of course it is still a card game so there is always a level of luck involved.
What was your strategy in your deck line-up
So as stated Ritual Beasts are my favourite deck and the only deck I truly felt like I was the best with so I had to pick that. I then had to work out two other decks. Unfortunately because I missed the event I had no access to Witchcrafter which I believe is currently the best deck in the game. I chose Neos because I think it is a very consistent deck with no terrible match-ups so I could rely on it. The third deck was tricky but I went for Blue-Eyes because I believe it is a deck with an incredibly high ceiling if it draws well and it has good matchups against Witchcrafter and Neos, the two best decks. I’m glad I picked it as Blue-Eyes ended up being my best deck winning every match I used it, including OTK-ing through Winged Kuriboh which is probably the best turn of Duel Links I’ve ever played.
Interesting that you went with both Blue-Eyes and Invoked Neos, how did you deal with the overlap of Backrow cards?
So I got around this in Blue-Eyes by dropping 2 of the discard Traps in favour of 2 Enemy Controllers, a card that is really strong in the meta right now, even if it does not see much play (this might be because very few decks can use it). I also shared my Karma Cuts between my decks (2 for Neos 1 for Blue Eyes) as I believe it is the strongest discard Trap. I then added Raigeki Break to fill in where necessary.
Would you like to see more official Konami Duel Links Tournaments?
I think it would be interesting if Konami did some sort of Duel Links series where after qualification a number of top players competed over multiple events and got ranking points. Other online card games do this and I think it’s a better way to judge top players because luck matters less over multiple events because since it’s evened out more.
How do you feel about the meta? Are you excited for the potential changes coming at the end of September?
I feel mixed. On one hand there is a sentiment currently that the meta is very stale and I can understand this and I do agree. Some decks have been around for too long and are oppressive (Dark Magician) or sacky (Blackwings). On the other hand, it has to be said this is one of the healthier metas the game has had in terms of overall game play. Lots of different decks are able to compete which I think is a good thing.
That being said, I do think it is time for a meta shift and I am very much looking forward to that happening at the end of September.
Lastly, do you have any Shoutouts you would like to make?
I just want to congratulate zaidking. Of course I wanted to win but I don’t think there is a more deserving player and I do truly believe him along with Negative1 are the best players in the game currently. I would like to thank both of them along with Tenma and ASAP for helping me decide on decks and testing. I would also to thank all of the UK-based players who have been supportive and hugely contributed to my enjoyment of the games in recent months. Also just everyone for all the support. It’s been the most humbling experience in my life by far!
That’s all we got for this KCGT spotlight! What kind of questions should we be asking in the future? Comment down below!