As the first day of the biggest Yu-Gi-Oh! event of the year draws to a close, there are several surprises that occurred. For those who are still unaware of the Top 8 players who are moving on to Day 2 for the single elimination rounds of the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships 2013, read below for the information:
1. Aaron Riker (USA) - Dragon Rulers (15 points)
2. Sergio Soldani (Italy) - Prophecy (12 points)
3. Kei Murakoshi (Japan) - Dragon Rulers (12 points)
4. Robert Boyajian (USA) - Dragon Rulers (12 points)
5. Weerapun Suebyoubol (Thailand) - Dragon Rulers (10 points)
6. Huang Shin En (Taiwan) - Dragon Rulers (9 points)
7. Hiromi Kudou (Japan) - Dragon Rulers (9 points)
8. David Keener (USA) - Prophecy (9 points)
As it could be seen, there are 4 OCG'ers and 4 TCG'ers in the top 8, which is quite an even spread, although the OCG is still doing significantly better because out of the 26 competitors this year, there are only 12 OCG players whereas there are 14 TCG players. Therefore, the OCG has sent 1/3 of its players to the Top 8 while the TCG only managed 2/7.
Sadly, our Singapore rep could not make it to the Top 8 this year and have to settle for 10th place. However, that aside, it is hardly surprising that all the 26 competitors for the World Championships this year chose either Dragon Rulers or Prophecy, and as expected, Dragon Rulers made up the majority of the spread due to its consistency and flexibility.
However, what was surprising this year was that despite Japan sending the cream of its crop this year (everyone knows who Joker is), only two out of the five reps made it to the Top 8. USA having three reps making it to the Top 8 is hardly surprising because they send the most number of reps each year and this should be the results that they are delivering.
For the defending world champion, Akikazu Saito, not making it to the Top 8 was not much of a surprise. What was surprising is that he finished in 18th position, which is way below par for a Japanese player, much less the defending world champion. On that note, there were also two other Japanese players who finished in the bottom half of the Swiss tables, Nobuhiko Kuroiwa and Atsushi Fujiwara.
Patrick Hoban finishing out of the Top 8 was not much a surprise to me because I'm a firm believer that you should not main Vanity's Emptiness when you are playing Swiss (Patrick Hoban maindecked 2 copies of Vanity's Emptiness during the NAWCQ). This is because during Swiss, you would meet a huge variety of decks, especially in a tournament like the NAWCQ where there are a lot of players, thus, a huge variety of decks. It is in this situation where Vanity's Emptiness may not be always useful unless you are playing mirror matches all the way. Therefore, I feel that Patrick Hoban simply got the better of pairings in Swiss and is unable to repeat his feat in the World Championships.
Looking at the current standings, it is still unclear who will win Worlds this year, but one thing is for sure, this is one World Championships where deck variety does not play a part.