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 have Mr Andre Lee , the Singaporean representative of BCS2018, and CHAMPION of BCS2018 Standard, taking Great Nature to first place at the world finals in Tokyo in January 2019.
G: Thank you very much for coming to this interview today. Lets begin with some basic introductions for the people reading at home who don’t know you very well.
Do you mind giving a short introduction of yourself?
When did you first start Cardfight Vanguard, and what are some of your previous achievements?
Andre Lee (AL): I started playing in 2012, back then I was still a 12 year old kid so I did not really get into the competitive scene. I started being competitive in 2014 when BT15 came out. Here are some of my past achievements:
- BCS Spring Circuit 2017 Singapore: Top 8
- BCS Spring Circuit 2017 Malaysia: Top 8
- Singapore WGP 2017: 3rd place
- BCS Autumn Circuit 2017 Malaysia: 4th Place
- BCS Singapore 2018: Champion
- World Finals Standard Format 2018: Champion
G: What, in your opinion, is the one best thing about Cardfight Vanguard?
AL: Well, it is a luck game. If you are good at opening triggers, you're likely to win. But to be honest the best thing about Cardfight Vanguard is the circle of friends I have. Most of my friends I met are from Cardfight Vanguard.
G: So, in a few words, what does becoming the world champion feel like?
AL: I felt like I accomplished something not many can achieve. To be honest when I won a free ticket to japan, I did not have a winning mentality for the World Finals. I just wanted to come and enjoy japan as much as possible because it is a rare experience for me. That is probably why I did not feel stressed out or nervous in the top cut, which helped me win.
G: Let us enter the main topic: The World Championship!
What was, in your opinion, the best part of your world championship experience?
AL: Japan. Just being in Japan made it the best experience as a whole.
G: And moving onto your deck choice. Great nature. Great nature was a clan that was always looked down upon in most of the history of vanguard, never taken as a competitive choice. On top of that, the current standard iteration of Great nature has a lot of "random" elements to it. What made you choose Great Nature as your deck as your deck for the world championship?
AL: I chose Great Nature because my friend Terry Tai (Malaysia standard champion) inspired me to play that deck. For the 2 weeks before Worlds, I got destroyed in top 8 and top 4 at my local shop tournament multiple times by Terry with his great nature. So I was wondering to myself "why not bring Great Nature to worlds as it looked both fun and easy to play." So I managed to get my hands on the deck right before my flight. I never used standard Great Nature before so the World Finals was my first time bringing Great Nature to the competitive scene and surprisingly I won with it.
G: On top of that, you also choose to play Hamusuke, an engine that relies heavily on your opening hand. What are some differences between the hamusuke build and the deck that plays bison instead? If you had a chance to go back and re-do worlds and your build, would you make any changes?
AL: Great Nature is a high roll deck. Well if I failed my Hammsuke ride chain, I still have other cards such as Leo-pald, Binoculus Tiger and Tank mouse to generate advantage. Bison uses counterblast so I'd rather not use him and rather use my counterblast for Binoculus and Tank Mouse instead for card advantage. The hammsuke engine also helps filter out normal units out of the deck so it increases the chance to open triggers. And if I manage to pull off the full engine by riding both the grade 1 and 2, it will just hit my opponent even harder and I get to filter out 2 normal units from deck. I had some matches in Swiss round where I top decked Leo-pald after that and won.
G: What is some advice you would give to fellow Great Nature players?
AL: Don't feel bad if you don't high roll, it is vanguard after all :)
G: A lot of Accel clans in standard need to choose between using Cricial Triggers and Front triggers in their deck building. What are some points that you think about when choosing between Criticals and Front triggers?
AL: Fronts are good in accel clans such as great nature if you are able to flood the board easily, which Leopald will help you do. Front triggers are to counter your opponent opening defensive triggers and can push hard if your opponent does not open any defensive triggers.
G: At the start of the V series, Accel was considered the weakest of the 3 deck types between force, protect, and accel. However, you have proven many in the world by taking it to the world finals. What are your thoughts on the three deck types and their balance over the past year? Which of the deck types do you like the best?
AL: To be honest I think Accel is the best among the 3 types. Seeing how although Protect clans counter Force Clans and Accel clans counter Protect clans, the Force vs Accel is like a 50-50 matchup. So I think in this era, Accel is the best among the 3. This is just my opinion, I hope no one gets offended LOL. I think people put accel as weakest because of Pale moon and Nova grappler. However, accel started getting better after Narukami and Great Nature were released.
G: As the world champion, I'm curious as to your thoughts on the standard format. Some players don’t like standard for many reasons such as reduced complexity compared to premium standard and limited card pool, but other players really enjoy standard due to its return to simplicity, ease and cost of building decks, and the really interesting cards and effects they have designed recently. What are your thoughts on Premium and Standard formats?
AL: I personally prefer standard format because the meta in this format is very diverse. For example, OTT when it first came out dominated standard but slowly faded away when Murakumo was released. It is like a triangle with murakumo counter OTT and OTT to counter Force.
People will have the mentality to want to counter decks with their choice. In the 1st swiss round at Worlds, I saw a lot of Angel Feather players. But none of them made it to top 8 as they got countered hard by the accel clans such as Murakumo and Great Nature. I think that people chose accel clans just to counter angel feather as angel feather loses to accel clans most of the time.
I personaly don't really like Premium Format as it is seen as ''cancerous''. If a clan is supported strongly, it will easily dominate the premium format. Eg: Gold Paladin Ezels, No Life King Assasins, or Gyze.
G: A lot of players watching the stream really enjoyed your performance at Worlds! Lets talk a bit about your experience at World Finals. What did being able to play and meet the absolute best players of the game from around the globe feel like?
AL: Feels normal to me as I always see all my opponents as equal competitors.
G: Not many people have been to the World Championship and seen the world level. In fact most people don’t even make it to the Continental Championship level. What are some things that you have learned or experienced at the World Championship?
AL: Most surprising thing to me is that people actually tried to cheat to win even at the World Finals. Throughout the event, me and my friends were talking about the event and they told me how people tried to add cards from drop zone/deck to their hand but they got caught. Even myself at the 1st round, my opponent tried to stand and draw twice but I caught him and he stunned, then returning the extra card he drew back to his deck and shuffled. It does feel bad that I did not call the judge.
Sorry I had to put this out because there are really lots of cases like this at worlds after hearing from stories from my friends and my personal experience. But people who are reading this, do note what your opponent is doing and observe them closely so they won't cheat against you.
G: What is something you experienced at the World Tournament of Vanguard that you want to share with the world?
AL: I had a great time at japan, finally visited a country that has cold weather unlike Singapore, which is so damn hot throughout the year. The food there is great, people is so nice, girls are pretty and cute and I can't wait to visit japan again!!!
G: Thank you for your answers. I hope other players aspire to join players like you at the world level, and that you can once again come to world finals next year!
G: Do share with us what the Vanguard Community is like in Singapore. How does it differ from the other countries you have visited?
AL: The vanguard community in Singapore is great! Even in competitive scenes such as BCS Singapore, we all played like it is a casual game. We allow our opponents to ''rewind'' small mistakes because in Singapore we would like to win against our opponent with their very best play.
I have seen other countries that do not allow people to ''rewind'' after small mistakes. FOR EXAMPLE: I attacked with my vanguard, after considering it would be better to attack with my rearguard first, I want to rewind and attack with my rearguard first instead of my vanguard but my opponent said u have already chose to attack with your vanguard first and does not allow me to rewind.
Another example from my personal experience at worlds, I rode Leopald and used its skill to mill a card. However I forgot about tank mouse's ability to retrieve the milled card and had attacked with my vanguard already (My opponent had not used any cards to guard). I then remembered about tank mouse's effect and asked my opponent if he would let me use tank mouse's skill to retrieve the milled card to my hand and he said NO!
But yeah in Singapore the community would let people rewind. Because all humans makes mistake. Like just think about it, I’m sure if you made small mistakes like this, you would want your opponent to let you rewind. Unless the mistake is really un-rewind-able then it’s understandable.
G: Regarding playing, As a high level player, what are, in your opinion, some mistakes you see a lot of players (newer as well as veterans) make?
AL: Probably not making the best plays. For example once again: I've seen new players waste unnecessary guards. For example, for a 5k-guard attack and a 20k guard attack. New player tends to take damage for the 5k guard attack and guard the 20k guard attack instead of doing it the other way round. But yeah these are some mistakes I see newer players make.
G: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us today. We are nearing the end of the interview. What would you like to tell the readers today as parting words?
AL: I love lolis.
G: And now for our classic final question: If you had the chance to go to the Finals of the World Championship again, which three fighters, of all the fighters in the universe, would you like to fight on the greatest stage of Vanguard?
AL: Well I don't really have any preference of who I really want to face. However if I manage to be on the final stage of the world championship again, I hope my match against my opponent will make the crowd go wild!!
G: Thats all for today folks, thank you to Andre Lee for coming to our interview tonight, and congratulations once again for winning the WORLD FINALS! 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.