Interview w/ Noman Irfan
Today we have a Cardfighter Spotlight! I’ll be having the opportunity to interview the Shadow Paladin player that accomplished 4th place overall in the V-Premium Bushiroad Spring Fest Online (BSFO) 2021 NA! His name is Noman Irfan (from WCC) and is from the United States! Let’s get right into the interview!
Jaime: First off, congratulations to Noman Irfan from WCC for getting 4th place overall in the V-Premium Bushiroad Spring Fest Online (BSFO) 2021 NA! 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?
Noman: Sounds good to me! Thank you so much for having me here!
Jaime: Of course! It’s a pleasure to have you on the blog 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.
Noman: Hello! I am Noman Irfan from team WCC. I live in Alabama in the USA, but was born in Queens, New York. I used to play Yu-Gi-Oh! as my main game and have accumulated my fair share of tops through that, but since I have been playing Cardfight!! Vanguard within the last 3 years, my tops are:
2018 Bushiroad Spring Fest Team League Houston/USA – Champion
2019 Bushiroad Spring Fest Team League Premium Atlanta/USA – Top 8
2019 Bushiroad Spring Fest Team League Premium Houston/USA – Champion
2019 Bushiroad Championship Series Standard Atlanta/USA – 2nd
2021 Bushiroad Spring Fest Online V-Premium North America/Latin America – 4th
Jaime: That’s an impressive track record! It’s also amazing that you had success Yu-Gi-Oh! and were able to transfer it into Cardfight!! Vanguard. How did you start playing Cardfight!! Vanguard?
Noman: I didn’t really know about the game until I stumbled upon a fun casual game in my local shop being played by 2 of my friends. I saw one player go “activate skill” and then saw the other player grab all his cards aside from the one in the front center and put them to the bottom of the deck. I was just astounded and went “Did you just use a Castel for an entire board??” The play that occurred in front of me turned out to be the skill of “Interdimensional Dragon, Chronoscommand Revolution”, which I didn’t know what happened at the time. After Gabe and Tyrell showed me their deck, I fell in love with the artwork and just knew I had to check out that game. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever stumbled across in my life, I am thankful for everyone I have met and have became friends with during my time of playing Vanguard!
Jaime: As soon as you mentioned the whole board was bottom decked, I thought of Chronoscommand lol. It basically is a big Castel Yu-Gi-Oh! play ha! During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.
Noman: I was originally going to play in Premium format as well, but had all 3 of my Genesis decks lost in the mail, so I couldn’t enter that format. My main focus ended up going into V-Premium which I decided to play Luard. I knew Prism was the best deck to actually play into the event, but I really wanted to finally get a top with my favorite clan for once and decided to play Luard.
I had my deck list made by Ryan Kai, who then gave me the run down on how to play against all the relevant match ups as well as him teaching me all the combos needed for the deck. I was confident with the list he gave me, so I spent the rest of the time just testing out match ups first hand, the hardest part was finding out when I should be farming for cards, setting up the bats combo, or when I should go all in aggro. After learning all the above, I was confident for this event!
Jaime: That’s really cool that Luard is one of your favorite decks and wanted to top with it. It does have a good chance with a player that knows the deck well. That’s amazing that the Ryan Kai helped with both a deck list and how to play it in matchups! Was there any other reason you decided on Shadow Paladin to play with? Why Luard?
Noman: When I first started Vanguard, my first deck and clan I got was Shadow Paladin. I loved the artwork, the lore, and the mechanics of the deck. I have tops with various other clans, but I really wanted to get a top with my favorite clan and unit in all of Vanguard. I knew it would be hard to win the event with Luard, but I was confident I could at least top with it.
Jaime: That’s really cool that you went into the tournament with your favorite deck and were also confident in it! Let’s dive into your deck list. I see that you’re playing 3 copies of Dragdriver Luard, have you considered going up to 4 copies? Also, I’ve seen players tech Phantom Blaster Dragon, Blaster Darks, with Freezing Witch Bendi, to ride up to G3 faster and have the 2 G3s in Soul faster. Did you feel that engine wasn’t great for your build/metagame?
Noman: The 3 copies of Dragdriver Luard was perfectly fine since you can keep Soul blasting them out with Abyssal Owls and Charons and then put them back into deck with Dragheart Luard’s skill, which made it to where you pretty much just have endless copies of it. I tried out the superior ride version of Luard for quite a bit and found there were major issues of it watering down the actual power and consistency of the deck, the deck is already as tight as it is so I would rather just focus on a consistent powerful deck that does well going either first or second rather than a highroll deck that only shines going first.
Jaime: Good points, consistency is key! I also see that you’re playing 8 G2s in both Liafail and Morfessa. You didn’t have issues with being grade stuck? What were some key highlights/plays that the both Morfessa and Liafail helped? In the tournament, can you give an example?
Noman: Since my list ran 4 copies of Dragwizard, Knies, I was okay with having only 8 G2s in the deck since I could check top 7 to get a Liafall to hand. The best play I did with Liafall was opening up 2 of them, and then adding the 3rd with Dragwizard, Knies, which lead to me brutally rushing down my opponent on my g2 turn. The only times I really used Morfessa was to go into the Bats combo and swing at the opponent with 5 attacks total that turn, which I felt was vital to have against the prism match up and various other protect decks.
Jaime: Good points! I see you’re playing a lot of G1s in general. As well as a lot of them being at 2 copies, can you eleborate why you came to those choices/ratios? Any other card choices you’d like to point out?
Noman: Playing 1 and 2 of’s for G1s is okay in Luard since you can tutor them out to the field with Dragdriver Luard’s skill when you need them, and also being able to return them to the deck with Dragheart Luard’s skill, it honestly felt like I was running infinite copies of all my normal units in this deck.
Ryan Kai built this list, but I fully agreed on everything he did, the Apocalypse Bats was the MVP of this deck and allowed me to play through so many games and get the win with their 5th attacks.
Jaime: It does help out a lot when you have access to a skill that can specifically search for key cards you need. 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?
Noman: You generally want to set up on your main G3 turn. It all varies between match ups and what you have in hand, but the most common instance was setting up a Sage of Risk, Decremps in the backrow so you have intercepts with your g1s to defend with on your opponent’s next turn as well as either calling out a Apocalypse Bat if you didn’t have one in hand/drop already or calling out a Abysal Owl to draw more cards.
Once you get through setting up on your first G3 turn, the next turn will be calling out a Nightmare Painter to put the Apocalypse Bat into your soul and then have a board with that, a Morfessa, and preferably 1-2 Strict Order Knight, Lluails in the backrow. The attack pattern is as follows:
-Swing with a front row G1
-Swing with Morfessa
-Morfessa skill, call a Apocalypse Bat from drop zone to the circle Morfessa was on
-Apocalypse Bat skill, call a copy of itself from your soul to the other front row circle
-Swing Vanguard (assign triggers to whatever fits the game state)
-Then swing in with the final two columns for a total of 5 attacks that turn
You really want to push your opponent to 4 damage before going in with the Bats turn just so everything is lethal due to Dragdriver giving your G1s an extra critical, I normally achieve this by swinging in very heavy on my G2 turns with Liafalls and being more aggro on my first G3 turn if I didn’t get to push hard enough on my G2 turn.
Jaime: I like you had a game plan of early rush on your G2 and first G3 turn to help setup for the Final Turn. These types of decks feel like you’re always doing something every turn. During your games, which decks/clans did you face?
Noman: I don’t remember the exact order of all the match ups I played against since I was running on low sleep the whole event, but all my match ups consisted of mostly Prism, Nightrose, and Angel Feather Hamiel turbo. I faced against only 1-2 “rogue” match ups, which was Chaos Breaker and Nightmare Dolls.
Jaime: Wow, you definitely got a wide variety of strong decks! Was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.
Noman: Honestly the toughest match I had the entire event was in Top 4 against Yoann Barszezak. Yoann was an incredible player and I had a fantastic time playing against him. We had a very back and forth match, but he ended up winning and then proceeded to win the entire event! It was great to meet such a talented player as himself and to play against him too!
Jaime: I really respect players that have a humble and great attitude with other players. It adds to the positivity to the community. 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.
Noman: Honestly almost all the work put into the deck is thanks to Ryan Kai, I consider him to be one of, if not the best, Shadow Paladin players I know. I felt at 100% ease with the list he provided me and was perfectly confident with the knowledge he provided me. The only change I really see myself out trying is teching in 1-2 copies of G1 PGs and cutting out however many copies of draw PGs for them. With G1 PGs in the deck, not only can they go back into deck with Luard’s skill, but it would provide me with more shield against the Hamiel match up. This idea has been untested so far, but I am looking forward to trying it out in the future!
Jaime: I agree with you that I would also have 100% trust and ease if the Ryan Kai built a Shadow Paladin for me to pilot at an event ha! How many rounds were in the tournament? How was your record throughout? Was there a Top 8?
Noman: Forgive me that I don’t exactly remember since I was still exhausted that day and still am in a blur of the whole event, but I think there was 7 rounds of swiss with a cut to Top 8. One of the unfortunate things was running into members of my own team throughout swiss and Top 8, which lead to a lot of team kills sadly.
Jaime: Yes, it can be unfortunate running into your friends in early swiss rounds and early Top 8 rounds. We’d all like to face our friends in the finals for an epic showdown! How were your finals games?
Noman: My finals game was playing for 3rd place against one of my teammates Steven Le, it honestly felt very relaxing to know at least one member of our team will be taking 3rd place so I played very casually and had a lot of fun against him knowing it doesn’t really matter who wins this as long as there is at least one WCC member taking 3rd place! He ended up beating me and taking 3rd place!
Jaime: That’s cool that you faced a good friend of yours! Glad it worked out in the finals for you like this too. After the tournament, did you take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experience?
Noman: I pretty much just went straight to sleep after everything was settled down. However after I woke up, I reflected back on a lot of the plays I did and realized there was much better plays I could have done through out the tournament. I have a long way to go before I become the optimal player I dream to be and couldn’t be more thankful and excited about having my team help me towards that goal!
Jaime: Awesome, it’s great that you did take some time to reflect and saw where you can still improve! Would you like to do any shout outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journey?
Noman: For sure! I want to give a huge shoutout to Ryan Kai for making my list and taking so much time to teach me the deck and giving me a run down for every match up, I truly appreciate you!
I want to also give a huge shout out to Cam, Solemn and Toby for testing with me and discussing card choices and match ups, I wouldn’t be here without you guys!
Another big shoutout is actually to John Tjaden, he is the one who actually got me this deck which gave me the chance to play in BSFO, thank you so much for being a fantastic friend and looking out for me so much!
I could go on forever with shout outs, but I’ll keep it short! Shout outs to all my team mates in WCC for cheering me on and all the great times and talks we had in voice before and during the event, I couldn’t have asked for a better team to motivate me to keep on going! Also want to give a shout out to all my friends that cheered me on during the event, thank you so much!
Jaime: That’s great stuff! I’m sure your amigos are happy and excited for your accomplishment! Just one more question and we’ll be done amigo. While preparing with Shadow Paladin, did you use/see any social media to help you solidify your build? Such as blogs, YouTube videos/channels, Facebook, Reddit, etc.
Noman: Even after getting the list and run down from Ryan Kai, I went to his channel to watch all gameplay of him playing the deck. There is honestly so much I learned from watching such a talented player as himself playing the deck first hand, I would highly recommend watching any of his gameplay that can be found on his channel if you want to see a deck being played first hand!
Jaime: Thanks for sharing! That’s even better to watch Ryan Kai play with the clan! I’m happy to hear it was helpful for your accomplishment amigo! Thanks again for joining me in this interview!
Noman: 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!
Success Bleeds Into Other Areas Of Your Life
Noman mentioned, “I used to play Yu-Gi-Oh! as my main game and have accumulated my fair share of tops through that…”
We all learn from our prior experiences and can use them as foundations for newer things. Noman actually transferred his experiences, knowledge, lessons, etc. from one TCG game into another.
Even though the games may be very different, there are similarities that you can still lean on as a foundation. Then build upon from it to do well.
Working Together And Giving Credit
Noman mentioned, “I want to give a huge shoutout to Ryan Kai for making my list and taking so much time to teach me the deck and giving me a run down for every match up, I truly appreciate you!“
Some people would read that and think negatively about it. However, it’s really good for the community to realize that you don’t have to do everything alone.
We all learn from each others’ experiences and if others are willing to help out, then it accelerates that process! A player such as Ryan Kai, who is well respected in the community, was willing to help out a fellow amigo! Which is himself a great amigo!
At the end of the day, we all want to have a good time and grow from it. It’s a much greater experience when others also help out!
Thanks again for reading this Cardfighter Spotlight article! It’s great to see an awesome Cardfighter like Noman winning 4th place overall! Thanks again to Noman for joining us today as well! Till next time amigos!
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