Interview With Cameron Stewart

Today we have a Cardfighter Spotlight! I’ll be having the opportunity to interview the Granblue player that recently accomplished 2nd overall in Vision’s Online Standard Tournament! His name is Cameron Stewart (Grim#0405) and is from the United States! Let’s get right into the interview!

Interview

Jaime: First off, congratulations to Cameron for getting 2nd place in Vision’s Online Standard Tournament! When I saw the results and you were playing Granblue, I was happy to see Granblue being represented. Today I wanted to do an interview with you about your overall experience and even get to know you a little bit. Sounds good amigo?

Cameron: Your Captain has arrived. Thanks for the opportunity!

Jaime: Of course! Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Are you from any specific Vanguard teams/communities? Any other events that you and/or team have done well? Etc.

Cameron: I been playing Vanguard for 7 years online and 2 years in real life. Granblue was the first clan I started with. I am from Atlanta, GA. I also am an active local at Wasteland Gaming and Supergames Inc. in GA. Personally I do not have any BCS accomplishments; however, plenty of others at that shop have many top 8 BCS under their belt. The highest achievement out of my locals was a top 8 at worlds in Premium last year.

Jaime: That’s awesome that you have plenty of players that have gotten tops in your locals! How did you start playing Cardfight Vanguard?

Cameron: I started playing Vanguard on Tradescardsonline, it was my older brother who got me into it. I choose Granblue because my favorite color is blue and I preferred the art of the Grade 0s of Granblue then Bermuda Triangle or Aqua Force. Funny enough if I was to go back, I most likely would have chosen Aqua Force if I had started with the Grade 3s.

Jaime: The clans in Magallanica are all really cool with their arts! During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.

Cameron: I focused on my 3 areas of how to be successful in Vanguard.

  1. Making a winning image
  2. Make it as consistent as possible
  3. Pull it off before your opponent does theirs.

I also built the deck around the possibility if I was damaged denied early on. Mainly because the CFA community I play with they will constantly do that tactic. The goal of my deck is to “dig for bones” which is mill to you get Negrobone.

Jaime: I like how you have a simple 3 step philosophy! Yes damage denial is becoming more of a prevalent tactic in Standard. What made you decide on Granblue to play with? Why Nightrose?

Cameron: Granblue is just my main and favorite clan. Whenever I get a chance to play it, I 90% of the time going to go for it. Plus I like the deck’s consistency and tutoring as well as how you can build both a strong defense and having a strong offense.

Jaime: Agreed, Granblue has so much versatility! Let’s dive into your deck list. II see that you’re playing 2 Navigators and 2 Ruin Shade, how were they able to help out in the tournament? How come not 4 Navigators?

Cameron: The reason I do not like to play 4 Navigators is because it affects the way I mulligan and plenty of times I will try to hold the pieces needed for Navigator, As a result, I get screwed into G Assist or just not open the other pieces and it’s simply “dead in the water” but not the type of dead in the water I want. Also you just need one Navigator, afterwards the rest are just vanillas. Push come to shove, you can call it with Colombard once you know you have the set up for it. I play ruin shade because its a good option to help build drop, it does work when you are damage denied, and it’s a good beater. The early rush also saves your resources and gives you some cards in drop. Then you can follow up straight into Nightrose with it. I also cheesed a win in one of my matches with Ruin Shade because I took a chance and went with it. In that scenario, I felt I had non triggers on top of my deck and I won that round by using its skill to mill 2 non triggers and my twin drive was able to check double critical triggers for the win.

Jaime: That is a different way of looking at it, especially since it seems you use Ruin Shade to push on your Grade 2 turn. The mulligan takes a bit of practice and I get what you mean. I also see you’re playing 4 copies of Skull Dragon. Typically, players play 2-3 copies. What made you max out in copies?

Cameron: I want to see them as fast as possible. Also the Nubatama (Shiranui) match up will bind out your Skull Dragons and you will most likely not have them to push for kill. I definitely need to finish with the 4 Skull Dragon attacks turn and many times RNG messed me up when I ran very few.

Jaime: I see you prepared for the Shiranui match up. Shiranui is a really good currently in the format, so good call! Any other card choices you’d like to point out?

Cameron: No everything else is pretty standard. I do not play Tommy nor Samurai Spirit because I am tight on the G1 space. Samurai Spirit is pretty good; however, it is not
out in English. Tommy I just don’t feel it’s worth cutting anything else for it. Hitting G3 on a top 5 search isn’t guaranteed and plus I like running a lot of G2s in my decks.

Jaime: Awesome, thanks for explaining those card choices. With this build, what was your winning image for most of your games? Like did you have a setup, game state, or strategy that you focused on?

Cameron: What I want is to open Colombard and get key pieces such as Ruin Shade, Nightrose, Navigator, and Cutlass. A typical turn is if I go 2nd, damage deny my opponent if I know it is a wise decision based on the deck. Ride into Colombard if I have damage and can get my Ghost Ship or Ruin Shade. I want to rush my opponent and build drop asap. Then use Negrobones to revive double Ghost Ship. Then Nightrose skill to call Colombard to grab Negrobone from deck while calling Ghost Ship and Ripple Banshee. Then repeat the process if my opponent is still going strong else go for the 4 Skull Dragon attacks turn. Also, I can do the 4 Skull Dragon attacks turn if my hand is stellar and my opponent is playing very passive.

Jaime: Yep that’s a very good strategy overall with Nightrose! I also love playing aggressively with that build. During your games, which decks/clans did you face?

Cameron: In the preliminaries:

  • 2 games with 2 different Nubatama players
  • 1 game against Aqua Force Maelstrom
  • 1 game against Great Nature Isabelle
  • 1 game against Nova Grappler Blaus
  • 1 games against Shadow Paladin

In the top 8:

  • I won a 2/3 against Nubatama
  • A 2/3 against Aqua Force Thavas
  • Lost to Shadow Paladin Luard for 2nd place.

Jaime: Wow your top 8 matches were against very strong solid decks! Was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.

Cameron: Definitely fighting the Luard player was the toughest. Also, against the Blau person, I only won by double critting him twice against him. Not going to lie, they went first and started rolling me but then I cheesed the last twin drive with double Critical triggers using the Ruin Shade.

Jaime: Yes, I can see Luard being a tough one. I’m surprised about Blaus, I guess that’s payback for rolling you early on ha. During your games, what is something that you appreciated about your deck from the preparation you’ve done? The strategy of it, consistency, power, plays, etc.

Cameron: How fast it can dig for Negrobones or any key pieces needed. Also milling with Ruin Shade to help mill my non triggers to check double Criticals.

Jaime: Absolutely, digging for key pieces is always appreciated! How many rounds were in the tournament? How was your record throughout? Was there a Top 8?

Cameron: I won all 6 rounds in Swiss. Then in top 8, I won 2/3 rounds only losing in the finals to Luard.

Jaime: How were your final’s games?

Cameron: Final game was trash because I had to ride Skull Dragon and all of my Negrobones were near the bottom. So I could not use them to call Greed Shade to add Nightrose from drop. When I got to them, I only had 12 cards left in deck and 0 available CB while my opponent just stalled me out.

Jaime: Ouch! It does hurt riding Skull Dragon and not seeing Negrobones soon enough. After the tournament, did you take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experience?

Cameron: After the tournament, I learned how important it is to read the situation in Nightrose. When to draw a ton, when to do the 4 Skull Dragon attacks turn, and when to go into Greed Shade to grab a PG.

Jaime: Awesome, glad you recognized more insight on how to play Nightrose more effectively. Would you like to do any shout outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journey?

Cameron: Shout out to all the people on my CFA team, Elemental Spectacle!

Jaime: That’s great stuff! I’m sure your friends are happy and excited for your accomplishment! Just one more question and we’ll be done amigo. While preparing with Granblue, did you use/see any social media to help you solidify your build? Such as blogs, YouTube videos/channels, Facebook, Reddit, etc.

Cameron: Nope only consistently testing using my formula via CFA fighting random players, my teammates, and other teams on CFA.

Jaime: That’s great you play tested consistently! That usually helps more than the intensity of play testing. Especially in a deck like Nightrose. The reason I ask is that the more social media resources that we can refer to for all Granblue players, the better. I can even reference new resources onto the Rogue of the Seven Seas blog. Thanks again for joining me in this interview!

Cameron: Thank you for the interview invitation. It was a pleasure to chat with you as well.

Jaime: That’s a great goal and I wish you the best! I hope to see more from you in the metagame! Till next time amigos!

Takeaways

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview! I just wanted to highlight some takeaways that can help Granblue players out!

Asses The Skill Level Of Your Group Of Players

Cameron mentioned, “Personally I do not have any BCS accomplishments; however, plenty of others at that shop have many top 8 BCS under their belt. The highest achievement out of my locals was a top 8 at worlds in Premium last year.

This is very key in developing your skill level as a player. The players you consistently play against with and collaborate will greatly dictate how your skill level grows. If you’re playing against and even collaborating with players that have achievements, you’ll recognize on how they think, how they execute their plays, and how they deck build.

Sometimes being with a group of friends that are more focused on casual play than improving themselves for competitive play can be a frustrating situation. If you’re the only person in the group that actually wants to improve and top at events, I recommend finding other players to play with for competitive purposes. That can be online, in real life, or even just discussing mindset on social media.

I’ll be a bit vulnerable and transparent with you because this situation happened to me late 2015. I was playing both Yu-Gi-Oh! and Vanguard mainly for competitive play. I participated in locals and did really well once I’ve learned how to top at my locals. However, every regional at that time I always came close but didn’t make it to the top cut. Literally, for Yu-Gi-Oh! events I came as close as 35th and they did top 32 ha.

The close group of players that I mainly played with at those local stores weren’t exactly in line with my goals. A few wanted to improve but only with their own deck and weren’t as willing to give advice to others. Probably because they felt it may hurt their chances in winning at locals. But overall, that hurts everyone and our skill level as a whole doesn’t elevate to the level required to top at regionals.

Fortunately, I got in contact with David Adipratama (Wirab from WCC) and he essentially became my mentor. We discussed mindset a lot and had a few times on actually getting on CFA to play test but also go in depth with some plays and long term game planning. With his help, I finally broke through and topped in Yu-Gi-Oh! and then the next Vanguard event I also topped. Which earned me 2 national level invitations one for each game.

Sometimes some of your friends or associates have to see consistent topping results from you before they get over their ego and actually ask for some help. Of course, you stay humble always so people respect you and can go to you if they wish to seek improvement. I’ve NEVER EVER made someone else feel inferior or belittle them. That’s just humanly wrong and it shows a unhealthy self-esteem of the individual doing so.

As a result, with topping consistently and being humble, the close group of friends and I collaborated more and really as a whole started elevating our skill level. Furthermore, it’s important for Vanguard because there’s team league events. What’s awesome is that it builds true unity and that gives an extra level of improving your chances winning as a team.

Learning More Insight During An Event

Cameron also mentioned, “After the tournament, I learned how important it is to read the situation in Nightrose. When to draw a ton, when to do the 4 Skull Dragon attacks turn, and when to go into Greed Shade to grab a PG.

I’m glad Cameron mentioned that he actually learned some more important insight from the tournament itself. Yes it’s recommended to learn and fine tune your deck beforehand in play testing. But realize you can still learn more in actual tournaments too!

In fact, if you have multiple events that are within weeks of each other, you can use the first one or two to learn more and win big on the latter ones. It’s another way to prepare the big event that you want to win or top 8.

You can even do that at the locals level. If there are multiple different stores that host locals with different players, it’s a great opportunity to expand the type of opponents you face to help prepare.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again for reading this Cardfighter Spotlight article! It’s great to see Granblue take 2nd in an event! Thanks again to Cameron for joining us today as well! Til next time amigos!

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