Report on the First Ever “FINAL FANTASY Trading Card Game” World Championships!
The very first “FINAL FANTASY Trading Card Game” world championships were held over a period of two days – 18th to 19th November 2017 – at the Square Enix headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
The first ever “FINAL FANTASY Trading Card Game” (henceforth FF-TCG) world championships were held over a period of two days – from 18th to 19th November 2017 – at the Square Enix headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This article follows the semi-finals and finals, as they happened on the 19th.
FF-TCG – a trading card game which pits the characters and summons of the FF series against each other in battle - first went on sale in Japan in 2011. In 2016, the game made its international debut, rebranded as the “Opus” series with improved game balance.
The world championships involved a total of 16 competitors, including the top four players from Japan, Europe, Oceania, and North America respectively. The preliminary rounds on the 18th were held Swiss style, working on a system of best of three. On the 19th, the players competed fiercely in the single elimination style, still operating on best of three.
The producer of FF-TCG, Mr. Taro Kageyama of Hobby Japan, also came to observe the proceedings.
After the intense battles of the 18th, the six players that fought their way through to the final rounds were KUROSAWA, Master, and Kakka of Japan, alongside Tobi, Federico and Alex of the EU region. In a surprising turn of events, the Japanese and EU teams were cleanly split down the middle, meaning that the Japanese team would have to compete amongst themselves.
The semi-finals saw KUROSAWA, the champion of the previous day, pitted against Kakka, who had beaten Master in the quarterfinals. On the EU side, Alex, who had beaten Federico in the quarterfinals, took on Tobi, the second place winner of the previous day.
While KUROSAWA took the first game, Kakka swooped in to win the second, and the two remained toe to toe. In the decisive third round, Kakka had the lead right until mid-game, but at the last minute KUROSAWA turned things around to take the lead and ultimately win the match.
Left: Kakka Right: KUROSAWA
The other match saw two members of the European team, Alex and Tobi, pitted against each other. Tobi easily took the first game and seemed on track to take the second, but Alex managed an impressive counterattack and pulled through to win the second game. In the third game Tobi came back with a vengeance, defeating Alex and securing himself a place in the final round.
Left: Tobi Right: Alex
At last, it was KUROSAWA versus Tobi – a fitting match between the first and second place winners of the preliminary rounds. As the players who had already been eliminated looked on, the intense competition for the title of world champion began.
In the first game, KUROSAWA played his Forwards to take control of the field. Undaunted, Tobi struck back, but the first game was KUROSAWA’s. In the second game, KUROSAWA followed the same pattern, but by mid-game, Tobi had made a clean sweep of the field, taking control back from KUROSAWA and winning the game. That put them at one for one. As the final showdown began, things started to heat up, and the tension was palpable even amongst the onlookers.
As the end of the deciding match drew nearer, each player deliberated longer over their turns. KUROSAWA tried to break the deadlock by using a Forward to attack, but Tobi brought things back around by using the EX Burst of a cost 7 Odin to break his Forward. This was the final push that set the beginning of the end in motion. The NA/EU team watching the match let out a cheer, and a cry of lament spread through the Japanese team, starting with KUROSAWA himself. He did his best to stand his ground, but it was too late to turn the tides – the end of the game was drawing near. Making up for his loss in the preliminaries, Tobi took the match. Throughout the games, both players could be heard laughing, and although serious, they played with an air of friendly harmony that left a strong impression.
The awards ceremony featured an appearance by Mr. Shinji Hashimoto, the FF series brand manager at SQUARE ENIX. “I’m so happy to be holding a world-level championship during the 30th anniversary of the FF series. This first world championship is just the beginning – we’re going to make FF-TCG even bigger,” Mr. Hashimoto said, announcing his plans to hold further world championships.
In his role as a presenter, Mr. Hashimoto expressed his gratitude to the players.
The scoop from Tobi, the EU/Belgium representative who took the trophy after a series of fierce matches
――Congratulations on your win! How are you feeling?
Tobi: Thank you! I’m so happy right now.
――Think back on the tournament and tell us what you think lead to your victory.
Tobi: I drew an EX burst at the right time, and I had a bit of luck as well. I think the biggest reason, though, is that I spent a considerable amount of time building the deck I used in this match.
――Which cards in your deck are your favourites?
Tobi: Genesis and Shantotto! The cost 7 Odin in the deck is also a pretty exciting card.
――That Odin card really saved the day in the finals. You looked like you were really enjoying yourself while playing – what about FF-TCG do you find the most appealing?
Tobi: The way the rules are put together is really interesting. Generally speaking, if you go up against a strong opponent in other TCGs, there’s really only one way that the game is going to go. But with FF-TCG, there’s also a pretty strong element of luck, which keeps things fresh and makes it fun to play.
――So where are you going to go from here?
Tobi: I’m just so happy right now that it’s hard to think about it yet, but I want to enter more tournaments and get even stronger!
Next year’s tournament will be held in Europe, and our winner Tobi will automatically be given a spot. FF-TCG is on its way to becoming even more popular. Who can say what next year’s world championships will hold? We look forward to seeing what both Tobi and the Japanese team have to offer in the second world championship and in tournaments to come.
Reprint of a Famitsu.com article (Originally published on 30th Nov, 2017)
Watch or Rewatch the World Final stream here!
Follow our finalists for a day in Tokyo!