Konami’s exhilarating Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2019 took place in Berlin from August 10-11.
Dozens of players played at the same time, the only sound being the turning of sleeved cards and the occasional hushed clarification from one of the judges roaming between the rows of tables.
The first of the two-day event was a less dramatic affair. Rounds were played in complete silence and gaming areas were restricted to competitors only.
Most of the competition was also live-streamed through Facebook, YouTube and Twitch, so fans could watch the coverage from the comfort of their own home.
Once the main event on Sunday commenced, fans were treated to a duel featuring Yu-Gi-Oh! voice-actors Dan Green (Yugi Muto) and Eric Stuart (Seto Kaiba) on-stage.
For the first hour of the Championship, Green and Stuart narrated in-character while a scripted card-game played on screen, undoubtedly creating a sense of tension and nostalgia before Yugi emerged victorious.
The Championship was divided into three tournaments:
This game was geared toward under 13s, giving younger fans a chance to take part in a major competition and earn the title of Dragon Duel Champion.
Played in best of 3, Taiwanese Shang-En Sun defeated Vitus Krogh, from Denmark, with a score of 2-0. The game was a mirror match, with both opponents playing with the Salamangreat deck (cards with various armoured monsters based on fiery themed animals).
Sun ultimately gained the upper hand, strategically using the mirror match to his advantage with cards such as Salamangreat Sanctuary and Salamangreat Roar, with Krogh’s cards proving to be less impactful.
At the end of the match, both players gave each other a friendly handshake. Sun received a trophy on stage, where he thanked his family and those who helped him practise.
This slightly differs from the main tournament as combatants face each other through a mobile gaming app. This uses a reduced set of rules and cards, so matches finish quicker. This means that the game follows a best of 5 format.
This year put Japanese competitors Takahiro Hamada (who won the Duel Links World Championship in 2018) and Shuhei Kobayashi against one another.
Kobayashi thrashed Hamada in the first round, starting with a Six Samurai deck. Summoning powerful warrior monsters, Kobayashi’s deck drained Hamada’s points with direct attacks.
His finishing move during round three was the Sartorius Desperado Barrel Dragon, leading to a three-game sweep as Kobayashi claimed the returning champion’s title.
— Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (KONAMI Europe) (@YuGiOhTCGEU) August 11, 2019
Trading Card Game Main Event
The Salamangreat Decks featured heavily in the TCG final, becoming a mirror match that kept the audience on the edge of their seats!
Japan’s Kouki Kosaka and last year’s winner, Chia Ching Wang had other similar cards and strategies. There was frequent use of Infinite Impermanence, a TCG that stops the effect from an opponent’s monster, and Mind Control, which allows for control over the opponent’s monster until the End Phase.
This worked in Kosaka’s favour, in an interview with YouTube Lithium2300, the duellist explains that he slipped three Mind Control cards in his Main Deck as he predicted that Salamangreat decks would be prevalent in the World Championship.
It was a close call, but after winning two rounds, Kosaka defeated Wang. After his win, Kosaka was congratulated by Dan Green and exclaimed to the audience that he “feels great”.
Watch the enthralling final match here:
The event finished with a ceremony, where all the entrants gathered together on stage while the three newly crowned champions held up their trophies in celebration.
This year’s World Championship was certainly filled with excitement, we hope next years will be just as intense!
Hey! I’m Sophie, a Crime and Games Writer for iTHINK. I graduated wth a degree in English Literature and Film and Screen Studies. I love to read, play video games and watch “so bad they’re good” films.
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