May 28, 2023

Formatted by Cipher

Today we have a Cardfighter Spotlight! I will be having the opportunity to interview the Pale Moon player that accomplished Top 8 in the Bushiroad Rumble Online (BRO) 2021 EU for the Premium format! His name is Derick and is from Australia! Let’s get right into the interview!


Jaime: First off, congratulations to Derick Dao for getting Top 8 in the Bushiroad Rumble Online (BRO) 2021 EU! Today I wanted to do an interview with you about your overall experience. Sounds good amigo?

Derick: Absolutely. Thank you for having me again after my first interview for the Bushiroad Spring Fest Online. A pleasure to be here!

Jaime: 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 where you came from. So without further ado, let’s start!

During your preparation, what are some things that you mainly focused on? Certain matchups, deck builds, strategies, etc.

Derick: The main focal point for this tournament in terms of preparation were on the decks that people would potentially take after the nuclear ban list that excluded out the Big 6 (Tahro, Nue Daio, Gastille Daimonas, Visible Songster, Blademaster, and Valkyrion) and some other entities such Jamyocongo, Chaos, and Harri.

There are some decks that were minorly affected by this ban list such as Harri and Granblue variants, and then there are others that weren’t such as Overlord and Regalia. With a slower meta meant more time to set up or to farm resources on your turns which meant Luard would be another contender to be seen in the meta. Rising from Clan Collection was Eradicators with the support they received from Vowing Sword Dragon and Demolition Dragon, which gave them a deck that could play the Grade 2 game well. I also thought of decks that were previously relevant too such as Ezel and No Life King which made a huge impact in 2019 and still see play until this day.

Collectively, the decks that stood out to me as contenders are:

  • Luard
  • Granblue Variants
  • Regalia
  • Overlord
  • Ezel
  • Eradicator
  • No Life King (NLK)

I also needed to consider fan-favorite decks such as Dailiner, Vanquisher, and Harri as well to name a few.

Jaime: Wow, very well throughout matchups that were some contenders. What made you decide on Pale Moon to play with? Why a Nightmare Dolls variant?

Derick: I decided to play Pale Moon as it is a clan that I profession in and with the help of some friends, we were able to come up with the best deck for this format.

With the relevant decks in mind, I needed to construct or play a deck that can deal with all these decks. The deck needed to be able to contest first stride by playing a Grade 2 game as well as have enough defensive options to cope through a stride turn to get to its win con.

Exploring the world of Pale Moon, I found that Harri was too fragile and had no early game. With the introduction to heal guardians, it was hard for Harri to deny at zero damage and expect to come out on top with the aggressive nature of the meta. In doing so, exploring the avenues of Nightmare Doll was next. I saw a few lists that previously topped Bushiroad Spring Fest Online so I decided to give it a try.

A great friend of mine, Kevin Cho, also decided to test it out and collectively, we came up with a Nightmare Doll list that had a defensive component in Earth Elemental, Rollock. This allowed the deck to have access to eight perfect guards at any point in the game due to the interaction in Nightmare Doll, Carroll. With her effect, you can ride down to Grade 2 and have a pseudo-perfect guard to guard against your opponent’s turn.

Concluding from this, we determined that this Nightmare Doll list was the best list and best contender to the meta which had the highest win rate in our testing and across the board, there was no deck that could counter what this deck could do.


Jaime: Very well thought out and tested too! Awesome, let’s dive into your deck list. I see that you’re playing a good amount of G3s (Alice, Carroll, etc.), as well as the G3 Heal Guardians. Were those cards/ratios key for specific plays? How did it work out for you?

Four Carroll and four Alice is a must as it is the core of the deck. You always want to be on Carroll as you then have the option at the end of turn, based on your hand, can ride down to Grade 2 to defend against your opponent’s turn. Alice is your attack extender and with the combination of Nightmare Doll, Ginny and Nightmare Doll, Leslie, you can launch 2 to 3 attacks per counter blast you have open. Heal Guardians in this meta (and potentially forever) are necessary to cope with any aggressive plays your opponent decides to play on you.

Jaime: I also see that you’ve included 4 copies of Rollock. I’ve been seeing this Cray Elemental card in multiple deck lists. What were some key things that made you feel to have this card? In the tournament, can you give an example?

Derick: The key things I found with Rollock are:

  • It serves as a perfect guard at any stage of the game due to Carroll’s re-ride skill
  • It allows you to commit less cards early in the game to cope with restanding Vanguards such as Overlord and Regalia
  • It is a 10k shield as opposed to other cards that could be used such as Purple Trapezist which are 5k shield

In the tournament, at one stage I had a Grade 3 with Magia called off from Yvette and at the end of turn, the Grade 3 went back to soul which procs Nightmare Doll, Carroll’s skill, allowing me to re-ride into a Grade 2.

At that point, I have 3 draw-perfect guards and 3 Rollock’s which meant I had a total of six perfect guards in my hand to cope with my opponent’s turn.

Jaime: Very solid points! I see you’re playing 4 copies of each of Marissa, Ginny, Abigail, and Leslie. They seem really important to your strategy. Can you eleborate why you came to those choices/ratios? Any other card choices you’d like to point out, perhaps the strides? The 4 copies of Masquerade Harri, 3 copies of Darklord Princess, and 1 copy of Beatrix stood out to me the most.

Derick: Maxing out on 4 of each of these cards were crucial. Marissa allows you to dig and compress your deck out of Grade 1s and Grade 3s. Abigail allowed you to recycle Grade 3 Workeroids which also works with your Heal Guardian as it is also a Workeroid. Ginny and Leslie at 4 each is a must as it boosts consistency to see these pieces when you are setting up for your kill turn.

Harri is needed for the Link Joker matchup. Darklord Princess at 3 was necessary as I found myself sometimes striding more than twice and having a free restanding Vanguard is quite rewarding. Beatrix was used as a Workeroid Vanguard to proc Chelsea. Chelsea’s role was to retire rear guards such as Honoly which slows down the Dolls deck.

Dust is there as my primary win con as well as Fairfield if I am playing against a deck without any battle phase disruption. One copy of Yvette was enough as I would never go into the stride first which implies I will always have access to it through Darklord Princess.

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?

Derick: The win con is striding into Zeroth Dragon of the End of World, Dust. To get there, you want to find your Leslies and have them in hand. Although, you need to commit her behind an Alice in the early game if you are playing the Grade 2 game to push aggression. You always want to find Carroll and having Marissa to thin your deck early is very valuable. You optimally want a Ginny in soul when you start to push with Alice as it can chain Alice attacks for each counter blast you have available. Otherwise, you would commit Abigails to counter charge to ensure you have all open counterblast to maximise your Dust turn in the later game.

Jaime: During your games, which decks/clans did you face?

Derick: The clans/decks I faced throughout the day were Granblue variants, Luard, Ezel and NLK.

Jaime: Was there a game you would like to highlight? Like your toughest matchup, best game, break or deal moments, etc.

Derick: The best game of the century goes to my close friend, Kelvin Yap in Top 8. I had pushed him to high damage and low hand before my first stride. When I got to my first stride, after restanding my Vanguard into Yvette, he one-to-break my Vanguard and I checked the Dark States Overtrigger, giving my rear guard 100m power and inherently, my Vanguard gained 10k and an additional critical. Previously to that, Kelvin has healed at 4 and taking a crit from the Vanguard at 5 damage, he healed at 6 and at 7 damage. Proceeding from that, he pushed an insanely strong Bad Bounty turn which I was one card short from surviving and ending up losing the Top 8 match.

That game was the most insane game I’ve played in my career and to be able to have it streamed for the world to see was a moment that I could never forget.

Jaime: Wow, that is insane and quite the turnaround! 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: I really appreciated how the deck can cope with Grade 2 gaming as well as have access to eight perfect guards. Not to mention, the deck being constructed by multiple people made it all worthwhile. Additionally, from our testing statistics, this deck against every single other clan has a 76.9% win rate which lead in front of Ezel with 56.6%. The flexibility of the deck was quite limited but what you could do with the limited capabilities was incredible and having the option to ride down to Grade 2 to deny your opponent was game changing.

Jaime: How many rounds were in the tournament? How was your record throughout?

The tournament consisted of eight rounds. The matchups I faced throughout the Europe tournament are as follows:

  • R1: Granblue (W)
  • R2: Granblue (W)
  • R3: Shadow Paladin (W)
  • R4: Gold Paladin (W)
  • R5: Granblue (W)
  • R6: Dark Irregulars (L)
  • R7: Granblue (W)
  • R8 & Top 8: Granblue (L) (L)

Jaime: How was your last game?

Derick: IN-CRE-DI-BLE. No game in my Vanguard career so far has even come close to how insanely peaked that game was in Top 8 against Kelvin Yap. When the VODs go up for this game, I would highly recommend everyone to watch it as the game was so incredibly close despite Kelvin triple healing out of an Overtrigger which is complete insanity!

Jaime: After the tournament, did you take some time to reflect? Anything that you learned from your experience?

Derick: I reflected on the last game and had I done two things differently (one or the other), I would have won my Top 8 game and moved on. The two things that stood out to me were:

  1. If I used the Abigail behind my Chimera, I would have an extra card in hand to use for my perfect guard, allowing me to have enough cards to guard through the turn.
  2. Had I perfect guarded the Bad Bounty instead of hard guarding it, I would have won the game with the way the attack pattern followed from that Vanguard attack.

For future, I would take out Fairfield from my G-Zone and replaced it with the Progenitor Dragon to give me an option to retire my opponent’s board.

Jaime: Awesome! Would you like to do any shout-outs to people that you know and/or have helped you along your journey?

Derick: There are a few people or groups I would like to shout out for sure!

Firstly, to Kevin Cho, one of our fellow WCC players who collaborated with me to develop what is definitively the best deck in format for this meta. As shown by the champion of the AO region and NA region from WCC, Simon Zheng (the reigning Premium World Champion) and Mark Guan, the deck had nearly no weaknesses and was very suited for the meta. All credits for this deck go to you, buddy!

Next, to Kelvin Yap for an incredible game to add to our list of memorable games apart of our rivalry. Peak performance from the both of us which gave the world the best experience on stream and an incredible watch of two highly skilled decks against each other.

To everyone at WCC, those who were and weren’t playing. The support is always great, the Discord call was fun and interactive, and it really felt like an in-person event with everyone around. From testing to developing an innovation, it is always great to be playing on a team with amazing personalities.

Lastly, to my best friend Celine, for always supporting me and making sure my mind was in the right place. Setting me straight and keeping my competitive spirit after a daunting three straight losses in the AO region, it fueled me to do even better in EU. Always appreciate you and the things you do to support me 😊

Jaime: That’s all 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 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: I used the previous Nightmare Doll lists from BSFO earlier this year as a base and collaborated with Kevin Cho to create the deck that brought home two championships over the weekend.

Jaime: Awesome! Thank you for sharing that as well, very much appreciated. Thanks again for joining me in this interview! 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!

When Things Don’t Go As Expected

Derick mentioned, “I checked the Dark States Overtrigger, giving my rear guard 100m power and inherently, my Vanguard gained 10k and an additional critical. Previously to that, Kelvin has healed at 4 and taking a crit from the Vanguard at 5 damage, he healed at 6 and at 7 damage. Proceeding from that, he pushed an insanely strong Bad Bounty turn which I was one card short from surviving and ending up losing the Top 8 match.

When I read this, I couldn’t have expected how it would have turned out! Essentially, Derick was about to close a game but then Kelvin made a miracle happen by healing multiple times!

Derick still kept his composure and did his best next turn to try to survive the Bad Bounty turn. This is key.

My question to you as the reader, how would you have reacted and continued on the game?

There are some people that lose their emotions and complain or give up at that point. The key mentality is to keep fighting and do the best you can after something like that happens. There’s still a chance to come back and win.

Combining Your Expertise With Others

Derick mentioned, “I decided to play Pale Moon as it is a clan that I profession in and with the help of some friends, we were able to come up with the best deck for this format.Concluding from this, we determined that this Nightmare Doll list was the best list and best contender to the meta which had the highest win rate in our testing and across the board, there was no deck that could counter what this deck could do.

Let’s point out the elephant in the virtual room. A lot of WCC players used Nightmare Dolls and essentially played same deck list.

But that’s great to see! It’s great to see a player who is well versed in a clan and also have the help of others to further optimize it for the expected metagame. This will significantly increase the likelihood of performing well in big events!

I definitely recommend doing this with players that are truly open-minded and are willing to share tips/suggestions.

Final Thoughts

Thanks again for reading this Cardfighter Spotlight article! It’s great to see an awesome Cardfighter like Derick achieving Top 8! Thanks again to Derick for joining us today as well! Till next time amigos!

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