Interview w/ Derick Dao

Today we have a Cardfighter Spotlight! I’ll be having the opportunity to interview the Pale Moon player that recently accomplished two Premium Bushiroad Spring Fest Online (BSFO) 2021 events! He got 3rd place overall in NA and 4th place overall in AO! His name is Derick Dao (aka The Derick Dao) and is from Australia! Let’s get right into the interview!


Jaime: First off, congratulations to Derick Dao (aka The Derick Dao) for topping at 2 Bushiroad Spring Fest Online (BSFO) 2021 events! He got 3rd place overall in NA and 4th place overall in AO! Those are both great accomplishments and within 24hrs of each other! Today I wanted to do an interview with you about your overall experience and even get to know you a little bit for the readers. Sounds good amigo?

Derick: Sounds good! Always happy to do an interview to share my experiences and to also share my knowledge with the viewers around the world.

Jaime: Great to hear, it’s super helpful when we all can learn from someone else’s experience! It’s also a pleasure to have you on the blog since you’re a good amigo! 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.

Derick: For those of you guys who do not know, I am Derick Dao, one of the players from Wirab Cardfight Consulting (WCC). I am from Perth, Australia, on the western side of the country.

I won my first Bushiroad Championship Series event in Perth back in 2017, winning with Zodiac Time Beast (Gear Chronicle). Following from that, I attended my first World Finals that year, placing Top 8 with Overlord (Kagero).

The year after, I won the Bushiroad Championship Series Premium event in Melbourne with No Life King (Dark Irregulars), additionally placing Top 8 again at Worlds with that same clan but a different variant of the deck.

In 2019, I won with my fellow teammates Andy and Toby in Sydney at the Bushiroad Spring Fest Team League with Ichikishima (Oracle Think Tank). That same year, I travelled to Cebu in the Phillipines, winning the Bushiroad Championship Series for Premium with Ezel (Gold Paladin).

Lastly, I went back to Worlds that same year for the third time in a row and placing 3rd with GB8 Ezel.

With the previous weekend, as mentioned, I came 4th in the first Bushiroad Spring Fest Online event held for the Asia-Oceania region with Harri, then following that, coming 3rd in the North America region. I also play Vanguard Zero and came Top 16 in the most recent Open Qualifier for the Vanguard Zero Spring Circuit.

Jaime: That’s an impressive track record! With any great player, there’s a start to it! How did you start playing Cardfight Vanguard?

Derick: Back in high school, my friends and I played Yu-Gi-Oh! When Vanguard first got introduced in 2011, our local game store stocked in the English version. Us three, we decided to give it a shot and it was the best decision we have ever made. We made countless friends along the way, and more so for me, I got to see more of the world, meet incredible people, have some insanely heart wrenching matches and meet some icons of the game such as DifferentFight and Maxime Solemn.

Jaime: That’s amazing that one single decision can introduce so many blessings in our lives. That’s awesome that single decision you made has produced amazing results. During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.

Derick: During the preparation for Bushiroad Spring Fest Online, going into the Premium format, there were a few factors that I had to consider:

  • Loop decks – Fenrir Loop, Valkyrion Loop, Blademaster Loop
  • 0-to-6 decks – Nue Daio and Gastille Daimonas
  • Fan-favorite decks – Luard, Ezel and Granblue
  • Standard+ decks – Vanquisher and Overlord

With these decks in mind, I also needed to consider:

  • Availability of the decks and cards contained in the deck.
  • Skill cap/skill level.
  • Number of rounds.

To explain further, the loop decks and the 0-6 decks are the most prominent decks in the current format; being able to loop with near no conditions the moment you ride up to Grade 3 is insane, to the point where it gives your opponent no way to react but to hope on defensive triggers or the loop player to get unlucky. Majority of the player base would have easy access to Blademaster Loop as it is considered a Standard+ deck, meaning someone can have the V-Premium Blademaster deck, slap on some strides and stand triggers and they are ready to win BSF Online.

Fan-favorite decks are always going to be relevant in any meta, especially in the early rounds where you can be paired against everyone in the player cap. The decks that would come up most would be the decks that people register with comfortability and having some sort of affection or attachment to the deck. Whether this means their favorite unit, or a deck one of their idols play, or simply a deck that they have been playing for the longest of time. To add onto that, Standard+ decks are also a consideration as there are players who want to try out the Premium format so they would grab their V-Premium deck, put in a G-Zone and start playing the format.

In terms of deck choices, I also had to consider the availability of decks and cards accessible to the community, the skill level of the community as well as the number of rounds I would be playing. For example, cards such as Witch of Oranges, Valencia and Witch of Grapes, Grappa are VERY hard to obtain because they are old cards and they never got reprints. Having access to those cards means you would have played a long time ago or you would have forked out money for the cards. Assessing the skill level of the tournament is very important because as you start to reach the top tables, you expect players to play at your level or even beyond your level, optimizing plays so that they have even the slightest bit of advantage each turn to put them in a position to win. The number of rounds dictates the possibility of running into a casual, fan-favorite deck as opposed to a top tier meta deck like Fenrir Loop or Gastille Daimonas, so that way, you can see how well your deck will perform in the earlier rounds to see if you can make that 1-loss bracket to head into top cut.

For most of the decks, I tested quite thoroughly each match up to ensure that every time I met that deck during each round, I would execute my game plan in a similar way. For example, Valkyrion Loop and Fenrir Loop, I try to damage deny at zero to ensure they don’t have the counter-blast cost to use their Force generating skills or skills to tutor cards from their soul. For decks such as Gastille Daimonas, I try to play aggressively early to chip through their hand the moment they get to stride, to minimize the chances of them reaching 20 souls to fulfil Evil God Bishop, Gastille’s 20-soul condition. Against Nue Daio, I played 6k Grade 1 units and 8k Grade 2 units to try and swing under their Vanguard’s power given they ride 7-8k Grade 1s or 9k Grade 2s. Some decks opt to run the 3k Vanilla for Murakumo, but in that case, I try to minimize the damage output I give to my opponent to ensure I live through a turn before setting up to push for damage and to guard through their next turn. The only deck I had trouble dealing with was Blademaster but that is because the deck is quite unfair in that, it only requires the opponent to discard two cards to generate a Vision token and randomly check stands to loop their token’s attack. In that matchup, I would try to deny damage so that they are restricted in using their Tempest Spheres to increase the power of the non-Vision token column as well as limiting the chances of them getting a Wyvern Strike, Garan or Wyvern Strike, Doha, to nuke my field. Keeping one rear-guard on field to have the off chance of reducing the Vision Token’s power by 10000 if they cannot blow up my field is quite important so that my small hand size could cope with the multiple incoming attacks. Outside of that, usually I would pray that my opponent bricks and I would capitalize on it the next turn.

Jaime: Wow, your analysis and play testing was very thorough and well thought out! Very good observations on things such as the Witch cards being hard to get cards, fan favorite decks, and even counter play strategies. What made you decide on Pale Moon to play with? Why Harri?

Derick: The few reasons why I decided to play Pale Moon were:

  • I wanted to play a deck with multiple outs.
  • I wanted to play a deck that counters the loop decks.
  • Pale Moon is my favorite clan.

Playing a deck with multiple outs allows you to play and adapt into any situation and for Pale Moon in its entirety, the toolboxing capabilities is as good as clans such as Granblue or Shadow Paladin. You can run lean engines such as my Alice-Ginny-Leslie combo alongside the main Starry Pop Accel Engine. I also wanted a deck that countered the loop decks. I found that if the loop decks gave me a turn to stride, I could set up a Denial Griffin pseudo play to ensure I retire rear-guards on my opponent’s turn. Playing a deck like Harri allows me to do that without relying on heavy resource such as counter-blast costs but more so, relying on availability of cards in soul which is easy for Pale Moon to achieve. To top it off, Pale Moon has been my favorite clan since the dawn of time; the aesthetics, gameplay, versatility and explosiveness the clan provides gave me all the more reasoning to play it in a large-scale tournament like BSF Online.

Jaime: I totally agree with your reasons! When I faced you in NA for both Swiss and Top 4, I really learned a lot about Harri by how you played it. You’re definitely a well seasoned Pale Moon player. Let’s dive into your deck list. I see that you’re playing 4 copies of Pigeon Pop, 2 of Pop Dragon, and 1 Alice. Were these your go-to attack extenders? How did it work out for you?

Derick: I primarily used Lore Pigeon, Pop to push for damage as well as use it not so much as an attack extender, but a resource extender. Calling out Starry Pop Dragon to the stage meant I could use Masquerade Master, Harri to cycle the Starry Pop Dragon multiple times, generating multiple accel circles onto the stage as well as farm cards into hand, having more chances to hit into perfect guards or heal triggers to proc my battle phase retires on my opponent’s turn.
Nightmare Doll, Alice in conjunction with Nightmare Doll, Ginny and Nightmare Doll, Leslie was primarily used as a win con. Trying to guard a multiple restanding Leslie is quite hard especially if it was called out from Midair Megatrick, Yvette, giving it +15000 power. Although, during the tournament, due to the nature of the AO tournament being flooded with Blademaster, my attack patterns were slightly altered because Blademaster decks would have access to Flame Wing Steel Beast, Denial Griffin. This meant that I needed to play around the battle phase retire as well as try to output as much offense as possible in multiple ways outside of relying on one card to combo.

Jaime: Very good point on using Starry Pop Dragon to generate more advantage! I also like how you’re able to alter your battle phase to deal with Denial Griffin plays. I also see that you’ve included the 2 copies of Tricky Assistant, 4 copies of Lovely Companion, 4 copies of Flying Peryton, and 4 Purple Trapezist. You have essentially a Pseudo Denial Griffin play. In the tournament, can you give an example of it helping you win a game? Would you change those ratios now looking back?

Derick: The pseudo–Denial Griffin play came up in all my games in AO and all but one game in NA. This play is the reason why I decided to play Pale Moon as it is not reliant on anything on my field like Granblue does but more so on how my soul is set up as well as the cards I draw into my hand. Drawing cards into hand with Pale Moon is relatively easy even if your opponent doesn’t give you counterblast to use your Lore Pigeon, Pop. Looking back, I would not change the ratios of Tricky Assistant, Flying Peryton, Lovely Companion or Purple Trapezist. Originally, I was running 3 Lovely Companion is the earlier iterations of my build, but I found that the meta never called for a Draw Perfect Guard to be useful and having an extra chance at the Denial Griffin play is so important against the loop decks and Nue Daio.

The cards I would change out would be the Alice-Ginny-Leslie line. I rarely used the combo and would have rather 10k shields in my hand to guard through Blademaster or Nue Daio. I would swap those three cards for additional Light Elemental, Honoly or the Masquerade Bunny (either G or V). If I swapped for the G-Era Masquerade Bunny, I would have swapped out Critical Stride Fodders for Draw triggers instead to keep the same number of Stride Fodders I had in deck as well as have the chance to draw more into my pieces to cope with the early game.

Jaime: Wow, that’s amazing how often the Denial Griffin play came up for you! Sounds like you really made the right call! I see you’re playing 4 Masquerade Master, Harri and 2 Darklord Princess. You must get a lot of attacks during those turns. What was an ideal turn for you look like and were you able to do it consistently during the tournament? Any other card choices you would like to point out?

Derick: Fancy Megatrick, Darklord Princess is such a versatile card because you get to choose your attack pattern based on what your opponent gives you following the first Vanguard attack. There were times where I preferred going into Masquerade Master, Harri and there were times I would go into Midair Megatrick, Yvette.

If my opponent provides me with counter blast to use, then maintaining a board with Starry Pop Dragon and farming hand with Masquerade Master, Harri is more plausible. In the case where my soul is not set up for the pseudo-Denial Griffin play, then I would need to pre-plan to see what cards I need in soul to ensure that the play is live come my opponent’s next turn. Sometimes I find that the cards in my hand need to be in soul which makes it more realistic to use Yvette over Harri to trade cards from my hand into soul for a draw from deck. That way, I can assure that I will always have access to my Denial Griffin play regardless of if I get counter blast denied or not.

There are two odd choices in my G-Zone which are Dreamiy Axel, Milward and Parallel Megatrick, Fairfield. Dreamiy Axel, Milward allows me to have counter charge on demand with Magia Doll, Darkside Mirror Master. If Mirror Master is in soul, I can unlock counterblast to use Alice or to use Lore Pigeon, Pop for multi-attacks. Fairfield is used for the instance where my Overtrigger is in my soul or drop zone so I can return the Overtrigger to the deck to apply it to my Starry Pop Dragon or my Leslie to restand it multiple times with Alice. He also serves a second purpose in that, if your opponent is at high damage and you have a compressed deck, you can make it so the deck has multiple Critical triggers to check on your Vanguard’s attack, making it a confirmed hit with multiple Criticals to dodge my opponent healing or hitting an Overtrigger to survive the turn. This is one of the cases with my Top 8 match in AO where my opponent had nearly no hand and if I hit one or two Criticals, then they would be taking 2-3 damage with an Overtrigger and, or a few heals in deck which confirms my win.

Jaime: Awesome thanks for explaining those card choices. All very well thought out! 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?

Derick: My winning image for this deck is to set up my Denial Griffin play to live through my opponent’s following turn. In general cases, my first stride would never be enough to kill my opponent due to the lack of power with my rearguards as well as my opponent having the chances of hitting defensive triggers on their damage check. To win, I would want to see another stride turn where my opponent has been pushed up to high damage and launch multiple attacks to melt my opponent’s hand so they cannot perform another turn and put myself in the position to win the turn after, or even in the best-case scenario, win on my second stride.

In terms of setup, by the time I give my opponent a turn after my stride turn, I want to see the following:

  • Tricky Assistant, Flying Peryton in soul.
  • Either Purple Trapezist or a second copy of Tricky Assistant in soul.
  • One to three Lovely Companions either in hand or in soul.
    • If the Lovely Companion is in soul, then I need a heal trigger in hand.

For majority of the match ups, I would want to see a minimum of one Lovely Companion for Blademaster and Valkyrion as they only have one rear-guard to deal with. Whereas in the Fenrir Loop, depending on how much damage my opponent gives me, then I would need 2 to 3 Lovely Companions (in soul or in hand), to retire double Unappeasable Biter, Gleipnir on their first swing and if you are high damage, then the third Lovely Companion to kill the third one they call out using Mythic Beast, Fenrir’s skill.

In terms of the setup for Nue Daio, I want to see:

  • Flying Peryton and Light Elemental, Honoly in soul.
  • The whole Denial Griffin setup mentioned above.
  • One to two Lovely Companions to call a Honoly, or a Tricky Assistant to blow up their rearguards.

In the Nue Daio matchup, seeing Honoly and limiting their counterblast is the best way to do as each rear-guard for Murakumo is considered as two attacks. If I only need to deal with five attacks with reasonable guardable numbers, then I would be in a better position than if I prioritize the Denial Griffin play instead.

Offensively, I want to explode as much as possible but always keeping in mind how much counterblast I need to use my Denial Griffin plays in the next turn as well as control my opponent’s damage in the case where I need Honoly to put in its work. Otherwise, try to generate as many Accel markers as possible for your stage and have multiple different attack extending options on the board to keep your opponent guessing and quickly adapt depending on what they prioritize to give to you in terms of rearguards they blow up or the amount of resources you have remaining.

Jaime: Wow, very well thought out in specific matchups! It’s very smart to recognize your deck’s strengths and have your matchups fall into your Winning Image’s strategy. For both events, during your games, which decks/clans did you face?

Derick: For BSF Online Asia-Oceania region, my battle report is as below:

  • Round 1 [WIN] – Battle Sister (Oracle Think Tank)
  • Round 2 [WIN] – Victor/Azure Dragon (Nova Grappler)
  • Round 3 [WIN] – Vanquisher (Narukami)
  • Round 4 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Round 5 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Top 8 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Top 4 [LOSE] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • 3rd/4th Place [LOSE] – Fenrir Loop (Genesis)

The Top 4 match for AO, the player drew into the V-Series Doha and Garan which made it awkward to guard through his loop turn and I hit only one defensive trigger which wasn’t enough to guard through everything. He ended up going forward and winning the whole event so props to him. Going into my 3rd/4th place match, I played against my fellow teammate, Toby Jones from WCC. He drew Zarzan and had an insane hand which only an Overtrigger could stop and unfortunately, he looped with raw power and multiple Tahros which ended up sending me to 4th place.

My BSF Online North America/Latin America battle report is as below:

  • Round 1 [WIN] – No show
  • Round 2 [WIN] – Valkyrion Loop (Genesis)
  • Round 3 [WIN] – Hanzo (Nubatama)
  • Round 4 [WIN] – Nightmare Doll (Pale Moon)
  • Round 5 [WIN] – Harri (Pale Moon)
  • Round 6 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Round 7 [WIN] – Fenrir Aggro (Genesis) – props to Commander Jaime
  • Top 8 [WIN] – DOTX
  • Top 4 [LOSE] – Fenrir Aggro (Genesis) – (also Commander Jaime)
  • 3rd/4th Place [WIN] – Fenrir Loop (Genesis)

The Top 4 game was so unfortunate for me. It was the only game out of all the games I played over the weekend where I did not see Masked Magician, Harri to ride on Grade 3. If I saw Masked Magician, Harri, my odds of winning would have amplified to around 90% which unfortunately was not the case. Commander Jaime took this into his advantage and props to him, he capitalized on my deck bricking and took the W to go onto the Top 2 game. That game was rough; G-Assisting at Grade 2 and failing, then drawing for turn into Tricky Assistant and not getting a chance to G-Assist pretty much spelt “GAME OVER” for that match. All in all, I think the way I played was the only way out of the situation. Hitting my Overtrigger would have won me the game but the likelihood of hitting it was quite slim.

Jaime: Wow, you definitely got a wide variety of strong decks! It’s very impressive that you won every game in the swiss rounds for both tournaments!

It was a pleasure to play with you twice in the NA event! I learned a lot from you by seeing how you played with Pale Moon. For both events, was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.

Derick: There were two games over the course of the weekend that I would like to point out. That would be my Round 6 game in NA against Blademaster and Top 8 game in NA against DOTX.

In my game against Blademaster, Dumjid Valor put in so much work as the player (Bryant Nguyen) realized I had set up the Denial Griffin play and decided to go a different route to kill me. If he hit two stands, he would win but didn’t check any stands on the Dumjid attack which I raw guarded to bypass the restand skill. I also played against him in AO which was kind of a revenge match but he seemed quite unlucky when playing against me. Super cool player though! I would love the opportunity to play against him again.

My Top 8 game in NA was insane. Some people may have seen my remote fight match on DifferentFight’s channel where I played Bruce against Magnolia and this game gave me flashbacks to that game. My opponent played a multitude of critical triggers which made my guarding awkward against his three attack Vanguard swings. I survived through the first three swings and farmed a bunch of hand and pushed for damage. The second time around, he swung another three times and I survived that too. Going into my second stride, I pushed him to five damage and he one-to-break’d my Vanguard and I checked a Critical trigger, applying it to my Vanguard, dealing two damage. He checks his first damage, and it was an Overtrigger which I was content with because that means he would need to heal once more. The seventh damage was an effective heal trigger which allowed him to survive my turn. The remaining rearguard waiting to attack was a 62000 Masked Magician, Harri but was negated by the Overtrigger. Following from that turn, I was on two damage and took his first Vanguard swing. He checked double heal, putting him back to 3 damage. By this stage, he had already healed 3 times. I ended up surviving through his turn and got to my third stride. I went to stride Masquerade Master, Harri and healed on my Vanguard attack and checked a Critical trigger, dealing him two damage. He checks a blank and another effective heal trigger. He had gone through four effective heals (one in the early stages of the game) and an effective defensive Overtrigger which was insane. I ended up having high powered rearguards which ended up winning me the game regardless of additional defensive triggers. That game was the most insane game I have played in years and more so, gave me a thrill and motivation going into the next round. Shout out to Gonzalo Diaz for an amazing game.

Jaime: Wow, so many Heals resolving! It reminds me of the anime itself ha! That is insane, thanks for sharing. For both events, 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.

Derick: Something that I appreciated about my deck from the preparation I have done would be the consistency of the deck to achieving the Denial Griffin play. I had multiple days thinking about how to bump the consistency of the deck to ensure I always get access to two Denial Griffin plays on my opponent’s turn was gut wrenching.

I started once-upon-a-time with three Lovely Companion, which slowly turned into four. I also played three Prankster Girl of Mirrorland which also changed to four. I played one Tricky Assistant and two Nightmare Doll, Alice which then swapped its ratios to ensure that Tricky Assistant didn’t get sent to damage. There were a lot of things I had to consider when building this deck, especially for the main deck. My G-Zone went through multiple iterations with four Masquerade Master, Harri, two Fancy Megatrick, Darklord Princess and two Midair Megatrick, Yvette staying as the core of the strides. I had Light Element, Agleam at one stage but found that I needed a second Chainsaw Megatrick, Furnival because there would be situations where I need to use two of them to dig through six cards from the top of my deck in hope to find pieces for my Denial Griffin play, which surprisingly came up quite a bit. I also found that running two Jester Demonic Dragon, Wandering Dragon wasn’t enough if I had soul-charged all my Lovely Companions into soul on my setup turn so turning heals into Denial Griffin plays was definitely the best bit about the deck and its versatility. This concluded me in the decision to remove my Zeroth Dragon of  End of the World, Dust for another Wandering Dragon G-Guardian.

Jaime: That’s awesome that you went through many stages on tweaking your ratios! It’s part of the process and you got to the point, where those small ratio changes actually make a difference! For both events, how many rounds were in the tournament? How was your record throughout? Was there a Top 8?

Derick: As explained above, my BSF Online AO tournament was five rounds of Swiss and then three rounds of top cut.

  • Round 1 [WIN] – Battle Sister (Oracle Think Tank)
  • Round 2 [WIN] – Victor/Azure Dragon (Nova Grappler)
  • Round 3 [WIN] – Vanquisher (Narukami)
  • Round 4 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Round 5 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Top 8 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Top 4 [LOSE] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • 3rd/4th Place [LOSE] – Fenrir Loop (Genesis)

Additionally, my BSF Online NA experience counted seven rounds of Swiss and three rounds of top cut.

  • Round 1 [WIN] – No show
  • Round 2 [WIN] – Valkyrion Loop (Genesis)
  • Round 3 [WIN] – Hanzo (Nubatama)
  • Round 4 [WIN] – Nightmare Doll (Pale Moon)
  • Round 5 [WIN] – Harri (Pale Moon)
  • Round 6 [WIN] – Blademaster (Kagero)
  • Round 7 [WIN] – Fenrir Aggro (Genesis)
  • Top 8 [WIN] – DOTX
  • Top 4 [LOSE] – Fenrir Aggro (Genesis)
  • 3rd/4th Place [WIN] – Fenrir Loop (Genesis)

Jaime: I still find it really impressive that you were undefeated in both swiss rounds. Thanks for sharing again. For both events, how were your last games?

Derick: For BSF Online AO, Toby opened an insanely crazy hand which only an Overtrigger could stop because it was outputting twelve damage worth of attacks with four Goddess of Sound Sleep, Tahro in soul and a Unappeasable Biter, Gleipnir on a Force II rearguard.

For BSF Online NA, my opponent didn’t draw into many pieces which allowed me to capitalize on my first stride turn, setting up triple Denial Griffin plays which immediately confirms the win for Pale Moon in the case where he can get the infinite loop off as he would be with only one card left in deck after attacking with all units.

Funnily enough, my last two games were against Fenrir Loop which tells me that the first region somewhat prepared me for the second region. Ultimately, both players were great, and I had a lot of fun playing against a high-skill capped deck.

Jaime: Definitely tough matchups, but great that you still did your best. It can be really hard to win against someone that opens up really strong in a really strong deck. After the tournaments, did you take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experience?

Derick: After big tournaments, I always take the time to reflect on what went wrong and what went right. I did not like the state of the format as there are way too many decks that does not allow players to play the game which a lot of people can attest to in the wider community.

For me personally, this is quite a big milestone as I have always wanted to top with the clan that I love and to be able to do something like that in a meta that is not desirable for any players is a milestone in itself. It taught me that you can play in a meta despite having the odds against you that, if you build your deck correctly and play correctly, then the odds can be in your favor. In this case, it was, except for the Top 4 match in NA but that is another story.

One of my aspirations during this tournament was to bring Pale Moon to the top and show people around the world that Pale Moon is a great clan to play and very appealing to watch. Even though I was short of my goal, I felt that I really achieved majority of that and really showcased what the clan is all about. Taking in this opportunity was a blessing and I hope to be able to play more variants of this clan as the years go on.

Jaime: That’s really good that you do take the time to reflect and realized that with your Pale Moon deck and your skill level, your odds of doing well were really good. Furthermore, your records were incredible and shows for it. I know that you “bricked” in the Top 4 in NA, but it still happens with all decks. I actually “bricked” myself in the Finals in NA as well. I’m sure next time you’ll go even farther! Would you like to do any shout outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journey?

Derick: Quite a few shout outs to make.

First of all, and the most honorable mention is to WCC, Wirab Cardfight Consulting. All the people who rode along the journey throughout the whole weekend, those who went X-2 and X-3 or those that went bubbled in X-1 and stayed around to support me and other fellow WCC members, it means the world to me. To know that there is always a family to go back to even if you do bad, the support you guys give me throughout the whole tournament was impeccable. Albert, Cho, Steven, Tyler, Levi, Phil, Toby, Ken, Kelvin, Mark, Kai, Darcy, Simon, Big Cam, Noman, Solemn, it is always amazing to know you guys have my back throughout the whole thing! Check out our website at and on all our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Discord).

Secondly to my best friend, Celine Devina, who gave me super good luck over the two tournaments, waking up at 4am to wish me good luck and give me good vibes. I love your support and I hope I do well in the second series of tournaments for BSF Online.

Next, to all the boys in Perth; Thanh, Jeremy, Darren and Orrey, for checking in during their busy day to see how I was going and supporting me from Round 1 AO to 3rd Place in NA. Love the support!

To the best workplace in the world, Lindentech. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go out and achieve my dreams day in and day out. Giving me the play space for me to conduct the remote fight tournament is amazing as well as an amazing coffee machine to binge on coffee to keep me awake. No words can describe the culture we have here. Check us out at

Most importantly, I want to take all the people who watched the BSF Online AO and NA stream and those who supported me throughout the two tournaments. I hope I played Pale Moon well and have inspired you to go and explore the clan itself, try out new things and see for yourself the potential in your own favorite clans. Please continue to support me and WCC as we try to build the Vanguard community around the world and hopefully shed meaningful insight into the game to help you improve and enjoy the game we all love.

Feel free to follow me on my social media platforms!




Jaime: That’s all great stuff! I can tell that you have a lot of people that support you and that helps with your confidence. I’m sure your amigos are happy and excited for your accomplishments! Just one more question and we’ll be done amigo. While preparing with Pale Moon, did you use/see any social media to help you solidify your build? Such as blogs, YouTube videos/channels, Facebook, Reddit, etc.

Derick: Most of my inspiration came from internal testing with WCC. A lot of the niche situations came out suddenly while testing which made me adjust ratios in the cards I put in my deck such as running an extra Lovely Companion, an extra Furnival and the addition of Honoly. The skeleton of the deck I crafted when the booster set V-BT09: Butterfly d’Moonlight came out as the Harri engine in G-Era was so stable that experimenting with the engine Harri got in that set would be quite fun to juggle around. I remember taking my old Pale Moon video which is on WCC’s channel into account when putting in the Alice-Ginny-Leslie loop. More or less, I would consider this deck to be my own. There are probably deck lists published on social media platforms which are quite close to this list so credits to them. Although, I did not see many lists when I started to experiment this back when the new Harri set came out.

Jaime: Wow, that’s great that you’ve built this mainly on your own and play testing with WCC! I feel that Pale Moon didn’t get as much represented years ago and now has started to see more play. You’re definitely one of those players that really show the power and versatility of Pale Moon. Thanks again for joining me in this interview!

Derick: Thank you for the interview invitation. It was a pleasure to do this!

Jaime: I wish you the best and hope to see more from you in the metagame! Till next time amigos!


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

Assessing The Current Metagame

Derick mentioned, “In terms of deck choices, I also had to consider the availability of decks and cards accessible to the community, the skill level of the community as well as the number of rounds I would be playing. For example, cards such as Witch of Oranges, Valencia and Witch of Grapes, Grappa are VERY hard to obtain because they are old cards and they never got reprints. Having access to those cards means you would have played a long time ago or you would have forked out money for the cards.

In any tournament, it’s highly recommended assess the current metagame so you have an educated guess on what to expect. Once you have a really good idea on what to expect, then you can start making smart deck/card choices to help improve your odds in making it to Top 8.

Some players just assume it’s only a few decks that “always” dominate the metagame. But that’s not entirely true. There are many other decks that are being played and you’re more than likely to face them in the swiss rounds. Those other decks, can be the ones that prevent you from making it to Top 8 as well.

I recommend to research the top decks and also what other decks have been topping/are being popularly played.

The level of research and thought process that Derick did, was very thorough. The fact that he even considered card availability was one that most players don’t even think about.

One thing to note, from my experience I’ve realized regardless of prices/supply for top decks, players WILL get those cards to play those decks. So I know those top decks will still be played regardless of prices/supply in most cases. So I expect to face them at least once.

Deck Building Considerations

Derick also mentioned, “The few reasons why I decided to play Pale Moon were:

  • I wanted to play a deck with multiple outs.
  • I wanted to play a deck that counters the loop decks.
  • Pale Moon is my favorite clan.

Playing a deck with multiple outs allows you to play and adapt into any situation and for Pale Moon in its entirety, the toolboxing capabilities is as good as clans such as Granblue or Shadow Paladin.”

When deciding and building a deck, it’s important to remember the key highlights of that deck. The Winning Image and other considerations are important in the deck building process.

When you know what to really focus on the most, then choices become straightforward and your deck build will keep being refined until it really gets to that “optimal” build for your specific considerations.

There usually isn’t a “100%” correct list for every deck. Most of the time it varies typically from 1 to 20 cards from player to player. So don’t let other players discredit or discourage your build if isn’t 100% like the prior topping lists. Especially when new cards are released, formats/matchups can drastically change even by just one card (cough cough Over triggers LOL).

Reflection After Each Tournament

Derick mentioned, “After big tournaments, I always take the time to reflect on what went wrong and what went right.

Every event, I recommend taking some time to reflect on what you can learn from and improve on. The biggest lessons are often learned from our own mistakes and also new experiences that we didn’t anticipate.

The definition of Insanity, is defined as, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So if we expect to go into a tournament and we don’t do well, and we don’t take the time to reflect to learn from it. It’s insane to think that we’ll get a better result in the next tournament.

Most players struggle with improvement in their tournament performance because they don’t do this.

Also, it’s important too to remember what went well too! Keep doing what you’re doing that went well and improve from what went wrong. And in time, you’ll make it to Top 8.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again for reading this Cardfighter Spotlight article! It’s great to see Pale Moon take both 3rd place and 4th place overall in multiple events! Thanks again to Derick for joining us today as well! Till next time amigos!

4 responses to “Interview w/ Derick Dao”

  1. […] to Commander Jaime and Derick Dao for inspiring me to once again pick up this deck with their Interview w/ Derick Dao article. Ciao for now and I wish you all the best in learning this immensely fun […]


  2. […] Moon. However, Pale Moon is still a clan that only a few players can perform well. Players such as Derick Dao (known as the Harri player) are ones that can be seen to succeed with it. Looks like more players have been playing Pale Moon […]


  3. […] Moon. However, Pale Moon is still a clan that only a few players can perform well. Players such as Derick Dao (known as the Harri player) are ones that can be seen to succeed with it. Looks like more players have been playing Pale Moon […]


  4. […] Also, welcome back to a 2nd interview! I’ll link your prior interview with this “link” so readers can also get a chance to read your prior success and even […]


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