CanYouSayG(G): Hello everybody, this is CanYouSayG, and you are reading the Zero Damage Gaming Blog, the blog where YOU get to meet the people of vanguard from around the world!
G：Today, we are glad to feature the Malaysian top ranker Ryan Kai, with almost annual WGP and BCS Tops under his belt all across South East Asia. Recently coming in 2nd at WGP Indonesia, Ryan Kai is known across the globe as a top ranker, high profile player, and pioneer in deck building, influencing players in Europe, America, and across Asia.
G: Thank you for coming to this interview today. Let’s begin with some basic introductions.
When did you first start Cardfight! Vanguard, and what are some of your previous achievements? Do you mind giving a short introduction of yourself?
Ryan Kai (RK): My name is Yong Soon Hoy, but I’m mainly known as Ryan Kai. I got into Trading Card Games more or less at the age of 16. My very first TCG was Yu-Gi-Oh which I mostly played casually with my classmates and one of my best friends, Chee Wai Kee. I started playing Cardfight Vanguard when BT04 was first introduced and Shadow Paladin was my first deck. Below are the Official Bushiroad events that I have topped so far from 2012 to 2018:
- Cardfight Vanguard Regional Qualifiers 2012 (Champion)
- Cardfight Vanguard Team League Invasion 2014 (Champion)
- Cardfight Vanguard Asia Championship Regional Qualifiers 2015 (Champion)
- Cardfight Vanguard Asia Championship Final In Japan 2015 (1st Runner-Up a.k.a 2nd place)
- Cardfight Vanguard Autumn Team League Regional Malaysia 2015 (2nd Runner-Up a.k.a 3rd place)
- Cardfight Vanguard World Grand Prix Singapore 2015 (Top 8)
- Cardfight Vanguard Bushiroad World Championship Regional Malaysia 2015 (Top 8)
- Cardfight Vanguard World Grand Prix Malaysia 2015 (Top 16)
- Cardfight Vanguard Asia Championship Regional Qualifiers 2016 (Champion)
- Cardfight Vanguard Bushiroad World Championship Regional Malaysia 2016 (Top 8)
- Cardfight Vanguard Asia Championship Regional Qualifiers 2017
- Cardfight Vanguard Bushiroad World Championship Regional Malaysia 2017 (2nd Runner-Up a.k.a 3rd place)
- Cardfight Vanguard Bushiroad Comic Fiesta Malaysia 2017 (Champion)
- Cardfight Vanguard Singapore Springfest Regional Team 2018 (3rd place) -March, 2018-
- Cardfight Vanguard Azone x AnimeSaiko G-Format Regional 2018 (Champion) -14th July, 2018-
- Cardfight Vanguard Singapore Bushiroad World Championship 2018 (Top 16) -22nd September, 2018-
- Cardfight Vanguard Singapore World Grand Prix V-Standard 2018 (Top 8) -23rd September, 2018-
- Cardfight Vanguard Malaysia Bushiroad Championship Series Premium 2018 (Top 8) -7th October, 2018-
- Cardfight Vanguard Indonesia World Grand Prix Premium-standard 2018 (1st Runner Up) -15th October, 2018-
G: Ryan, you are primarily known across the world as a Shadow Paladin player. What clans do you usually use? What is your favorite card?
RK: Mostly Shadow Paladin and Dark Irregulars. I played Aqua Force for quite some time in stride era, it certainly has problems, but it can make some good plays when things go right. My favorite card of all time was “Phantom Blaster Dragon” and the classic “No Life King.”
G: What, in your opinion, is the one best thing about Cardfight! Vanguard?
RK: The luck factor, I guess? The game that leaves you aching to see what the top card is, which makes players interact heavily with each other. Overall the best thing about Vanguard is that you will be able to make friends regardless of their job and age. I’m quite surprised that I got to make friends with doctors and lawyers via Yu-Gi-Oh and now we’re playing Vanguard together.
G: Thank you for sharing your experiences. Over the years, you have used both of these clans in standard and premium tournaments to consistently top. What was the reason for taking Luard as your main deck in Premium until the release of AL4, even before it started becoming popular, instead of decks such as Gyze or Blaster who were very popular at that time?
RK: I always want to prove to everyone that I’m able to win with a tier 1 or tier 2 deck instead of using top tier deck like Blaster, GC, and Granblue during that time. Another reason why I’m using Luard is I found that the flexibility in Luard was slightly similar to Infernity to me (easy access to combo with no hand).
G: Your build you developed for NoLifeKing Assassin in October that you used in WGP Indonesia has since become extremely popular, winning events across the world and it's very different from the stride based style that was previously popular. What were the things you were thinking about when you were designing the deck? What are some mistakes you see in the thought process you think other people had when those people built the deck?
RK: I love to be creative and that makes me a hipster. The Turbo NLK is the fastest deck that I ever invented and nearly unbeatable. The only counters are those decks that are able to out speed the Turbo like Ezel Turbo and the mirror match. Certain players are able to deck themselves out with Turbo NLK if he or she runs 0 Blade Wing grade 3 like Sullivan or runs too many draw triggers. In my opinion, the stride based style is actually more stable compared to Turbo, but it's much weaker in the mirror.
G: With your repeated tops and wins many people consult you for decklists and builds across the globe. How does it feel to be asked by top rankers from across the world about deck builds?
RK: I’m honored, hahaha. I’m glad that they recognize me as one, I truly appreciate it and thanks.
G: What are some things you think contributed to you becoming famous?
RK: “Time” and “Ego.” I suppose. I have invested a lot of time on Vanguard just to get good. The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else and I hate that. Never give in and never give up. ☺
G: Looking forward to qualifying for and playing in worlds, what do you think the premium meta will look like at Premium Worlds? Will NLK still be the most played deck, especially with Angel Feather Gyze and Gold Paladin in the picture, as well as decks from VBT03 coming to the fray?
RK: Yeah, NLK definitely will be the most played deck after VBT03, because it’s easy to pilot. Recently, I found some potential of beating NLK using Ezel Turbo in premium format. I’m still working on it though.
G: As someone who has represented their country at Asia Championships and Continental events before, what does it feel like to represent your country?
RK: Hmmm… It’s wonderful, I had no idea… I feel honored hahaha.
G: Since we’re on the topic of worlds and qualifying for worlds, do you have any specific training routine? Any specific plans to get ready for the highest level in the game?
RK: I always train myself; trying to imagine the best scenario on my opponent’s side (opponent = yourself). To me, playing Vanguard the worst enemy is always yourself, and also the biggest solution of all time. I’m not a good writer, but I’m pretty sure I’m not a weak player, haha.
G: As an avid player of both Standard and Premium which, to you, is the better format?
RK: Hmmm… I would say “Standard Format.” The Meta in standard format is pretty diverse according to what I had observed with many players playing different decks.
G: Lets move on to your own experiences. Regarding playing; As a high level player, what are, in your opinion, some of the most common mistakes you see a lot of players (newer as well as veterans) make?
RK: hmmm ... over guard and failing to catch your opponent of cheating in the game. The most common one is where the cheater draws 2 cards instead of 1 during his/her draw phase. It only happens to those who are not paying full attention to their opponent. If you ever wonder why you can't make it to top 4 or top 8 (in a big event) but you think you're actually not bad , try adjusting your play style and start paying full attention to what your opponent does. It might increase/buff your knowledge and skill at the same time.
G: Let's talk a bit about Vanguard in your country. What is Vanguard like in Malaysia? How does it differ from other countries you have seen?
RK : hmm ... Malaysia has no sponsored teams like other countries . I'm quite envious of Indonesia and the western world for having them. They're trying to make the card game more competitive and professional in different way .
G: And who are some famous players you know about from other countries?
- Chow Yee Shean : He is the first player I ever looked up to . He wins alot in nationals and made it to worlds a couple of times . He is one of my best rivals and also my best friend in Singapore .
- Maxime Solemn: I believed one day he will be an artist . He got a lot of potential in the music world . In vanguard , he is an Aqua Force fanboy who just won Europe BCS qualifiers 2018 piloting No Life King . I admired his passion of keeping on trying no matter how many times the game failed him and also his sexy voice.
-Kristijonas Brazas : He is one of the famous YouTubers I know. He does a lot of commentary and makes a lot of videos about card games in his youtube channel " Different Fight " . He loves card games so much . He's also one of the big fans of Dimension Police.
-Simon McGoldrick : A very charismatic guy , very friendly and funny . He wins a lot in regionals and made it to worlds a couple of times. I love his attitude which is doesn't care how other people think about him. He's just being himself. So KFC , so delicious .
- Seiji Andrew Keong : He is a kinda hot-tempered but kinda good in a deck that's able to rush and be aggressive like Royal Paladin and Neo-Nectar .
- Joshua Lee : One of the PPG member with the K-pop look. He is the one who recruited me and told me about the sponsorship. He is not only pro in card games, I heard. He is also very good in computer games like Dota or LOL.
G：And now to our traditional final question. Imagine you have made it to the finals of the World Championship!! Who, of all the cardfighters in the universe, would you like to fight on the grand stage of the World Finals?
- Chow Yee Shean (Singapore)
He is my best rival and also my bestfriend . He has consistently topped in VG official events since 2012 ~ 2016 .
- Seiji Andrew Keong (Japan/Ireland)
He is a very strict player. I fought a very hard game against him in BCS Malaysia 2017. He allows me to play casually and talk shit about him in front of anyone ( I do it on purpose ), but at the end of the game I win it fair and square. He is my 12 years buddy after all hahaha
- Richard Sugianto (Indonesia)
I never met a guy soooooooooo patient and soft in top tables. Most usually show me a poker face or the face of a "debt collector" . Love to play with him in finals once again if possible .
G: Thats all for today folks, thank you Ryan Kai for coming to our interview tonight, and all the best for your road to qualifying for worlds! Let's all give him a round of applause.
Information about the author:
CanYouSayG/Dr Sei-Ji A. Keong is an avid Cardfight Vanguard blogger by night whom has played in Europe, Japan, and South-East Asia, bringing you new and enjoyable insights to the world of Vanguard for both the card game, competitive environment, and the community. He plays Neo Nectar and Royal Paladin.