CCC 2016: Round 1 Results

Out of 172 hopefuls, 10 cardists caught our attention during #15secondstoimpress. 10 videos later, it's clear who the 5 are that have stood out from the rest to take another step closer to becoming this year's Cardistry-Con Champion.

As such, we are proud to announce that the 5 cardists who are going on to Round 2 are:

Here's a breakdown of how the judge's votes for the Top 5 went:

Our judges have also responded with incredibly detailed feedback specifying each of the 10 entrants' strengths, weaknesses, and the moments in each video that stood out to them. Click on each cardist's name below to read what Andrew Avila, Chase Duncan, Jaspas Deck, and The Virts have to say about their Round 1 videos:

The rules and due dates for Round 2 will be posted here within the next couple of days, so do check back soon for more CCC goodness coming your way!

(First time hearing about the CCC? Click here for a quick refresher on what it is and how it works!)


Birger Karlsson

What we liked

Andrew: "The community and us judges have come to expect great content from Birger. This was no exception. Video-wise it was enjoyable to watch— edits flowed well and moves were presented fully and cleanly. Any viewer would instantly recognize this is Birger's video given the moves— shapes, spins, and interactions. A good portion of them were new in my eyes, but a few were very expected."

Chase: "Birger submitted one of the more well-rounded video in round one. To my mind it was everything a "Birger round one" video should have been. It showed nearly the full range of the style he has carved out for himself over the last couple of years."

Jaspas: "Birger’s personal style of Cardistry has always been a treat for the mind. The way he explores new ways for cards to be handled and moved is a source of inspiration of mine. The first half of the video showcases some derivative moves based off some of his older content which is always welcome, but where this video truly shines is in the later half, where he executes moves that defy the viewers’ expectations."

The Virts: "Unrushed. That’s the first word that comes to mind when watching Birger’s video. Rather than try to cram as many flourishes in a single minute as possible, Birger takes the time to establish the mood of the video, pace his stuff properly, and perform it with a confidence that made us marvel at the grace at which he’s able to pull off such skilful material. And at the end of the video, having that mood-establishing shot at the beginning pay off with a cheeky surprise was such a pleasant surprise… just the final of many surprising moments throughout Birger’s round 1 entry, which is something we always look forward to when watching his work: expecting the unexpected."

What could be better

Andrew: "We know you can spin cards in conjunction with any other move. As much as they adhere to your style, their magic is starting to wear after seeing them so many times. I'd prefer to see entrants push a bit farther."

Chase: "I do not like triangles very much but it is hard for me to comment on what could have made this video much better. The video does not get in the way of the material and the material was all skillful, patient and clean. That is big for me."

Jaspas: "Choosing a slow song is a risky gamble for most Cardists, and in the case of this specific video, I felt Birger would have benefited from a stronger song. The slow song felt like it took away from the experience of many of the powerful moves in this video."

The Virts: "With the video comprising an assortment of separate fragments, we’re really interested to see how Birger can string together longer sequences and combos together. Also, in terms of visceral impact we do feel that the video is more ‘easy watching’ compared to several other entries that really made our eyes pop out of our skulls. So while there isn’t much we can majorly critique about Birger’s video, we do hope that he takes even more risks in the future so that we won’t be able to stop ourselves from mouthing ‘holy s***!’ when we see what he has to offer."

Highlights

Andrew: "The square formation was beautiful (as was the following cut). It was a great embodiment of personal style and technical skill."

Chase: "0:24 is a wonderful cut. It has a great structure with a singular purpose that collapses in an incredibly intuitive and  satisfying way."

Jaspas: "Angel-based move at 0.50 killed it."

The Virts: "That square formation starting at 0:21 is absolutely beautiful, and we appreciate that it opens and closes nicely as well. So often you only see contrived ways of getting into and out of structures and displays, so it was really nice to see something like this that was so well designed from start to finish."

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Carter McDiarmid

What we liked

Andrew: "Props for being the only one to do an outdoor shoot. The location and video as a whole looked great. After a few views something really unique stood out to me, which was the pacing of the moves. There were a few points in a few moves that you stuttered on, which denoted a lot of thoughtfulness. It's not the obvious thing to do and it lent itself to the moves. It especially helped to embellish the pop up spin."

Chase: "Vibes on vibes! It is clear that Carter has a great taste for Cardistry and that he understands what constitutes an important action in his material. His soft and completely unrushed style will lend itself to creating more distinct and dynamic material in the future. My instinct is to expect a lot out of Carter as time goes on."

Jaspas: "Carter’s exploration of how cards can be handled is commendable! Many of these methods of manipulating the deck feel fresh and open up Cardistry to new manners of handling cards. The way he edited moments of his performance to the music, and the use of closeups where necessary, also make the Cardistry easy to understand, digest and appreciate."

The Virts: "There’s no doubt that cinematography means a lot to Carter, and it shows in the way the video was shot and colored. Great choice of backdrop and music too, both of which add to the overall vibe of the video. As for the flourishes, we love the style and rhythm with which Carter presents his material: knowing when to slow down, pause, and speed up accordingly shows a real sense of intention and purposefulness, which is a big part of what makes a cardist stand out. A prime example is how Carter takes the time for the packet split that happens with the beat at 0:25 to sink in for a moment before initiating the next larger movement. Little details like this are often overlooked by many beginners, but it’s clear that by paying attention to them, Carter is no beginner."

What could be better

Andrew: "I would have preferred if the video utilized the allotted 60 seconds and threw in another few moves. Also, pacing aside, some of the moves needed a bit more development to make me go from an approving head nod to a disbelieving head shake."

Chase: "In the future I would like to see Carter attack creating more robust packet cuts. I think searching for multiple actions that fit inside the same general structure will help do that."

Jaspas: "While being fresh and fun, the ideas that appear in Carter's video feel under-explored and should have been further expanded upon. In a competition like this one, showing new moves at their basic level is a given; but to get an edge above his competitors, Carter could have shown deeper, one-level-higher versions of the moves shown in this video. Also, I’d like to see Carter use the full timing allocated to the competitors if he passes through this round."

The Virts: "There were moments in the video where the camera cut to a different angle of a move in a way that took away from the impact of it. Two examples that come to mind are the card shot to middle finger catch at 0:22, and the part at 0:39 where the card being spun changes to a different card entirely between takes. While we’ve no doubt that Carter can pull off these moves unedited, being able to see these moments in full would provide a lot more visual clarity, rather than making it seem that the footage was being spliced up just for the sake of it. Also, asides from the aforementioned middle finger catch, it does seem that the content in the video was playing it relatively safe compared to some of the other entries. So while the video is definitely one that we enjoyed watching and would watch again, we’re uncertain whether it carries enough of a punch to get Carter through to the next round."

Highlights

Andrew: "One. Hand. Hot Shot. Spin. The hot shot paddiddle has practically become old hat by now, but doing it one-handed is a feat I haven't seen much (it would have been even sweeter if you showed it unedited)."

Chase: "Bullet Shot to padiddle in the same hand looked great. The video as a whole works really well. It is comfortable to watch and the micro world it creates is really chill."

Jaspas: "The move at 0.08. I’d love to see where Carter goes with this concept."

The Virts: "That raised packet spin at 0:09. Really, really clever stuff."

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Cong Le

What we liked

Andrew: "I counted 20 moves. Average: 1 move/3 seconds. That's a ridiculous volume of material to have in a video of any length. On top of that, a lot of the material didn't even make sense. Like the spin at :47 and the last spin. Not all of the moves were as impressive, but the sum of the parts was incredible. There aren't many guys who can make such a ridiculous "casual bedroom video". I can only hope, but am fairly confident, that the best moves are yet to come."

Chase: "Cong had more moments that blew me away than another video in round one. This in part may be due to just how much material he was able to cram into the allotted time. I am very very curious how much more material Cong has in reserve in the event he makes it though to future rounds."

Jaspas: "Gaolock’s rapid fire non-stop montage of unique powerful moves was sheer joy to watch. The way he crafts his Cardistry is beautiful: they mostly start with a set-up, a payoff and a closer. Each move feels like an individual performance and is easily distinguished from another. Most Cardists at round 1 of the competition would hold back on material for a multiple-round styled competition like this one, but Gaolock’s confidence in showcasing all of these moves right from the get go has me hyped for what else he has to show."

The Virts: "Cong Le makes cards spin, flip, and shift around in so many crazy, insane ways, and that makes us happy. Very happy. We’re not at all ashamed to say that we were screaming like little girls throughout the whole video, and that is mostly due to Cong Le’s trademark talent of being able to accomplish what you hadn’t before thought was possible: whether by taking huge risks that pay off in an extremely satisfying ways, or by pulling off with incredible ease technically difficult material that creates movements and patterns that are simply mind-boggling. If this is already his Round 1 entry, then we absolutely cannot wait to see what Cong Le has saved up for his future round(s). Good luck, Gaolock!"

What could be better

Andrew: "Things that scream Gaolock: bedroom video and smelly cards. Refinement is my ultimate recommendation. A brighter cleaner location would make the moves look even better (as would some cleaner packets and cards)."

Chase: "Just as there were moves that killed me, there were moves that I felt could have been left out. The less we (the judges) feel we have to search to find what we like, the better."

Jaspas: "In a competition of this scale, I would hope that Gaolock crafts a video that feels more polished than a casual bedroom video. Yes, his Cardistry is world-class, but the video production aspect of the entry needs a lot of work. If he is looking to go all the way to the end, this may be a determining factor in a close round."

The Virts: "If there’s one drawback to Cong Le’s material, is that a lot of it is sloppy and lacks refinement. No doubt this is due to the fact that a lot of the moves are probably new, and that some of them are performed at speeds where it’s hard to keep packets absolutely square, but if Cong Le was able to keep his stuff neat ON TOP of what he’s already doing, then that would instantly move him up one level closer to Grandmaster Level, in our eyes."

Highlights

Andrew: "The spins. The spins. The spins. Between spins, disbelief, and displays that danced more than they stood still, it's classic Gaolock."

Chase: "No magic allowed. 0:47 is completely unreal and was my second favorite only to 0:19. The action of the packet moving from the left hand and then moving back to the right hand to close was so sick."

Jaspas: "0.00 was my favourite move. Unstopping awesomeness."

The Virts: "That triple-finger transfer of a spinning card, DURING A CUT, at 0:47. What in the world."

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Daniel Lin

What we liked

Andrew: "I'll admit, I like a good shape-based move. Mind you, not a move where a shape (triangle cough) is done superfluously, but one that takes advantage of the geometry of a shape and toys around with it. This video had those kind of moves in spades and a lot of other clever moves as well. Furthermore the filming complemented the moves and movements. Solid start— well done."

Chase: "Daniel was able to cover more ground in round one that any other participant. The video had a clear arc, where as time moves on the moves change genres. There is a great packet cut, a structure built from a faro, flat forward-facing sequences, stuff on the table and an arm spread?! I don't love everything in this video but it was all done well and chosen wisely."

Jaspas: "In the world of Cardistry there are creators of new movements, and there are perfectors. Daniel is definitely one of the former. His ability to create a variety of styles of Cardistry is undoubtably one of the best in the world, and this video proved it. I particularly enjoyed his work with geometric shapes: the way he forms, manipulates and closes these structures felt natural and organic."

The Virts: "Daniel has, hands-down, the most range out of anyone in the Top 10, and that’s something that we really, really respect. Whether it’s spreads, fans, structures, bridges, choreographed front-facing sequences, or interlock-style cuts, the impression we got from this video is that Daniel is both willing and able to develop and present material in any genre, and the fact that so much of it looks so good is even more impressive. Add that to the fact that Daniel isn’t afraid either to take his time to perform some of the material at a slower pace so that the viewer can absorb the full impact of what they’re seeing, and we have a solid Round 1 entry overall."

WHAT COULD BE BETTER

Andrew: "A few moves were unnecessary. The fan pull thing, the table sequence. They watered down the other material. I'd recommend some self-editing. I'd also like a more cohesive look in terms of locations/background. These are nitpicks."

Chase: "There are one or two parts that were done well but lacked some structural integrity. It seems to me the camera work at times was more compelling than the material itself."

Jaspas: "The moving camera work in Daniel’s video felt a little unnecessary at times. Many of the moves are inherently interesting to watch, a stationary camera would have helped in showcasing the beauty of the moves better. Also, a wide shot or two would have better allowed the viewer to be immersed in the experience of the video."

The Virts: "The weakest moment of the video was the fan-pull moment at 0:32, for two reasons: firstly, because the effect is slightly confusing, and secondly because it results in a formation that is altogether inelegant. With so much of our art based around our ability to create unifying patterns and movements out of 52 objects, we believe that a cardist should never sacrifice good form at any cost, especially if the reason for it frankly isn’t that impressive. And on that note, we’re also confused why Daniel seemed to settle for that performance of his Brusque variation at 0:36. Given that the impact of the move is centered around the idea of bringing order out of chaos, having the peripheral packets be so sloppy at the end just detracts from the full impact that the move can have on the viewer."

HIGHLIGHTS

Andrew: "Double triangle display that starts at :42 is surprising. It's not apparent at all how it will end until the triangles are just there. And then you think, "Wow, that was a ride." Also, again, camera movement lent a lot to the moves."

Chase: "0:38 is a surprising and uniquely-open packet cut. It is intuitive and is probably my favorite cut in round one."

Jaspas: "Brusque variation at 0.35 set to the music had me clenching my fist in amazement."

The Virts: "The double-flop cut at 0:37 is a real thing of beauty, and seems to embody the essence of Daniel’s design approach to cardistry: complicated structures that coalesce in an inevitable and satisfying manner."

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Duong Nguyen

What we liked

Andrew: "Truly a king of swagger and flow. And consistency. After watching Duong over the past fews years, you get an idea of how incredibly good he is. I don't doubt for a second that most of this whole video could have been preformed uncut. Half of it was "classic Yang" and the other half was some fresh material. My favorite video from Duong is "[One Take] Doin' My Stuff”: it also happens to be my favorite uncut cardistry video. That being said, I missed the unique funk and rare playfulness."

Chase: "Duong's video is the one that I watched the most times from round one. As a video it is intriguing and took a big swing with its song choice and the moves tried mightily to keep up."

Jaspas: "Duong’s unique palm spread moves are utterly ridiculous. In addition to being a fearsome technician at card handling, Duong’s Cardistry has its own flavour that I could never imagine someone else executing. In his hands, the cards flow like water when it needs to flow, and stays when it needs to stay. Aside from the palm spreads, his ability to make cuts involving the body look cool is something I never thought I’d be able to see."

The Virts: "FLOW FOR DAYS. Seriously, this was one of the most fun entries to watch, and a large part of that is in Duong’s ability to intuitively understand how to link sequences of different types of moves together in a way that’s so rhythmic and unexpected. Fantastic music choice, excellent camera work, and a great performer to tie it all together. We’re huge fans."

What could be better

Andrew: "I wanna see more material. And I want more Duong. There are bunches of videos with this badass vibe, don't bother with that, just do your stuff."

Chase: "Duongs video was a particularly easy watch for me. I found myself, however, too much "in the groove" of the video and had to go back a number of times to focus on the material and try not to get caught up in the momentum of the song. I think a better balance could have been struck."

Jaspas: "The video editing felt like it could have been a little tighter as the moves right now feel like they could have been individual Instagram videos. The video as a whole didn’t move me emotionally as much as it should have given the powerful moves executed. The ending show in particular was the weakest part of the video for me."

The Virts: "There are, of course, quite a few flourishes in this entry that have already appeared before in Duong’s previous videos. While this does not take away at all from how cool they look, it can be a drawback if the rest of the competition is going to be bringing even fresher material to the table, so by showing the judges things they haven’t seen before, Duong will stand an even better chance of catching our attention."

Highlights

Andrew: "The section at :31 was sublime. Also, the iso madness was really unexpected and really great."

Chase: "I loved Duong’s choice to film 0:50 from the distance he did, worked really well for me. (No points were deducted for ace productions)"

Jaspas: "The move at 0.22 was quintessential Duong."

The Virts: "Everything in between 0:19 and 0:28 matches the beat so well and flows with a relentlessness that is matched only by a couple others in this competition. Can someone make this into a GIF already?"

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Jeongseon

What we liked

Andrew: "This is the kind of signature video that people start to refer to you by. Easily the best produced video of the bunch. There were some cool edits to the music and, more importantly, sick moves."

Chase: "Boom boom boom! Non stop in your face action! There is a lot of attitude and style in this video. The lighting and music choice did everything they could to accent the material that was presented."

Jaspas: "The way Jeong Seon builds the mood in his video was exactly what I wanted to see in a competition video. He tastefully uses not only the X and Y dimensions to execute his Cardistry, but the Z dimension as well, giving his moves an aggressiveness that seems rare in many of modern Cardistry videos. His use of slow, fast, and even stopping of his performance to let the audience fully appreciate the Cardistry also gives weight to the moves he performs."

The Virts: "There’s something about Jeongseon's lighting, music choice, and performance style that creates a mesmerising atmosphere that just lures you in from the moment the video and soundtrack fade in. Cardistry-wise, he’s a ferocious technician, in that he’s not afraid to use speeding up and slowing down (in real time, not through video editing) to great effect when accentuating certain motions of his flourishes. We also appreciated the simplistic setting of the video, which allowed the flourishes to really stand out and speak for themselves by contrast."

What could be better

Andrew: "More of a note than a critique: keep the moves coming. Also, more built-in flair, less jump cuts would be preferable."

Chase: "I am tempted to think that the material in this video would not have quite the same impact in non-video form. This is almost totally due to the fact that there wasn't any resolution for most of the moves. Almost everything was left hanging on display with no closers. Cardistry for me is all about the resolution. Jeongseon created some interesting structures and it would have been nice to see them resolved."

Jaspas: "The framing on some of the moves were too tight, making it uncomfortable to appreciate the moves. Also, for someone who so carefully crafted the opening shot of this video, it is disappointing when the camera decides to change its exposure automatically, destroying the illusion of a dark room with a singular point of focus (0.33). Some of the moves also suffered rather than profited from the showmanship Jeong Seon had. When Jeong Seon stopped to showcase the display at 0.37 for example; it should have been a bigger, more explosive move."

The Virts: "We thought the video ended on a weak note, due to the fact that the 5-packet display was a bit messy and also not as impressive as it was built up to be; it really did feel like a much stronger item could have been used in its stead. There were also moments where, to match the song, a lot of editing and jump cuts were used, which took away from the clarity of us being able to fully see and appreciate what was going on. While this is definitely a stylistic choice, it did feel a bit excessive in this case. And lastly, while this doesn’t have to do with the cardistry itself, we would recommend using manual exposure instead of auto-exposure next time, so that the wonderful mood that  has been set by the lighting can continue to be maintained throughout the whole video."

Highlights

Andrew: "Sybil Bomb still gets me. The small hand wave flourish at the beginning of the move adds an extra layer of distinction that greatly adds to showmanship. It's a magical kind of gesture that almost signals "I'm going to produce five (count the fingers) packets"."

Chase: "The video kicks off really well with the packet slamming and then bouncing back out of the first cut. It set the vibe early that was maintained for the rest of the video."

Jaspas: "The instant 5 Faces of Sybil at 0.27 is epic."

The Virts: "Even though we’ve seen it before on Jeongseon’s Instagram and other YouTube vids, Hustler (0:16-0:23) is an absolute technical marvel, and is without a doubt one of his best flourishes."

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Marble Soda

What we liked

Andrew: "Things that go hand in hand: Marble Soda/D4i and slow digital panning. Also mechanics that seem simple and intuitive, but that you aren't clever enough to have created. I always look forward to his new videos for these pleasant little slaps to the face. Another Marble signature is the mood he sets— calm, relaxing, magical, something that you want to binge on a rainy day. This video had all of what was expected, but to a slightly lesser degree than what was expected."

Chase: "The slow panning shots are work so well with Marble Soda/D4i's style. It is incredible how distinct his videos feel."

Jaspas: "Marble’s unique two-handed cut style was one of the highlights of his video. But to me the true hero of this video is in his edit. Marble managed to craft a relatively pleasing watching experience using subtle, tasteful slow pans via video editing allowing for his tripod shots to have visual interest. Take notes solo-shooters!"

The Virts: "It’s clear that Marble has put a lot of work into crafting the puzzle-style cuts that he showcases in the video. Many of the grips and packet movements were quite novel, and are definitely indicative of a cardist with great explorative potential."

What could be better

Andrew: "The video needed a few more moves to feel complete. It was lacking something that really stood out and cut through the grey, which I know he's fully capable of creating."

Chase: "Ace production aside, we were only offered four moves to consider. I admire being selective of material to show but it is important in round one to come out swinging."

Jaspas: "Marble’s magical touch of visually stimulating and emotionally moving Cardistry seems to be missing in this video. Many of the moves while interesting from a purely technical standpoint are not as visually engaging as many of the other competitors’."

The Virts: "Perhaps it’s that there was only so much time in between the Top 10 announcement and the due date for content creation and refinement, but even then it just didn’t seem that Marble was giving us his 100% with this entry. A lot of the material could have been performed better, there were only one or two standout moments, and the overall energy of the video was quite low as well. And to top it off, there was a large block of black screen between 0:20 and 0:22 that just perplexed us as to its inclusion."

Highlights

Andrew: "The packet break at :39 is sweet."

Chase: "The very first cut behind the "CCC Round 1" title is still one of me favorite cuts of D4i's."

Jaspas: "0.14 was an interesting concept that needs to be taken a deeper level."

The Virts: "The one-handed cut/card spin at 0:15 is great, and definitely makes for one of the more memorable moments in the video. We just wish we could’ve seen it closed nicely, which doesn’t seem to be impossible from the little of what was shown in the video."

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Nguyen Hoang Duy

What we liked

Andrew: "Duy makes you believe he has the ability to do any cut. Moreover, that he could do it with speed, smoothness, and polish. I hope to someday see a Youtube "spin counter" feature if only to see the eventual error whilst watching Spingod. This entry has no shortage of skill and spins, but there is a shortage of everything that's not a spin."

Chase: "Spinny spins! Duy has a knack for finding cuts that look effortless. This no doubt comes from not only his exceptional technique but also from the construction of his cuts. With all that, Duy manages to create cuts that feel as though they have one or two more packets than they actually do. Awesome."

Jaspas: "Duy’s signature "high octane multiple spinning packets” left me jaw dropped. Never mind the fact that I’ve shot an entire tutorial with this man, his mastery of the spinning packet gets me every time I see it. The energy of the background music and the performance also synced perfectly creating a great experience. There were times I suspected he had been replaced with a robot with spinning motors on his fingertips."

The Virts: "Duy truly lives up to his reputation as the SpinGod with this insane flurry of cuts. On top of how far Duy will go with some of his two-handed sequences, many of which go on for even longer than you expect (in a good way!), the apparent ease, speed, and cleanliness at which he is executing it all just raises the bar for all the other technicians in this competition. The upbeat, fast-paced choice of music, paired with the simplistic setting really helped to bring out the best of Duy’s flourishes, so good job on that as well!"

What could be better

Andrew: "Spin is Duy, but after a while, all the moves start to blend together. He's at the mountaintop of spins and I'd like to see him climb another peak."

Chase: "Variety could be Duy's biggest struggle in this competition. Moving forward I would like to see him focus his undeniable creative powers on cuts that utilize the edges of packets and not rely as heavily on corner grips."

Jaspas: "Going at full speed all the time can be a dangerous thing. Watching a full video of non-stop high speed cuts makes the viewer desensitised to the experience of high speeds. A better way to have structured this video would be to put the slower bits of the video at the beginning and building up to a climax of the flurry of mad spinning packets. Also, some shots felt like they could have been much tighter, whether by shooting closer to the camera, or digital zooming a little."

The Virts: "The biggest challenge we foresee for Duy in this competition is that he lacks range. And that’s not to say that Duy needs to start including random fans, armspreads, and springs in his video just to impress it — it’s that after a while, you can only watch so many corner-spin based cuts before they all start to look the same. To stand out from the others in this competition, Duy is going to have to design and choose more flourishes that each have a distinctive look. Also, perhaps we may just be mistaken on this, but we’re pretty sure that at least the beginning of Clap at 0:06 is sped up, perhaps to fit the whole video within the 1-minute time frame. If so, a better choice would just be to trim down the intro at the beginning: Duy’s already so fast as it is, so speeding up footage just seems like overkill and does his actually-fast flourishes a disservice."

Highlights

Andrew: "Whatever happens at :22 is sick, love the fisheye lens here as well."

Chase: "I appreciate that each cut (despite mostly being similar to one another) was shown from beginning to end. Hope that will continue."

Jaspas: "0.27’s distinct flow had me going."

The Virts: "Everything starting from the disturbingly-fast Tornado Cuts at 0:10 until 0:15 is enough to give any cardist a headache (in a good way!), and we found ourselves rewinding the video so many times just to watch that one particular sequence."

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Patrick Varnavas

What we liked

Andrew: "This may have been the most surprising entry. As expected, there are what can only be described as "Patrick style" cuts— weird, complex moves that don't seem like they'll close nicely—  but unexpectedly, the video takes a turn. Towards a mirror. Hail Mary or not, props for trying to create something really off-the-wall for this competition."

Chase: "Patrick by far took the biggest chance in round one. After a couple of cuts to prove his chops, he transitioned to a completely different and what we assume is completely new material. Whoever makes it all the way to Germany will need to take creative leaps like this to get there."

Jaspas: "Patrick’s adventure into mirror work was fun to watch and definitely will be the favourite of a portion of the viewers. His decision to self-impose such a restriction resulted in a video that definitely stood out from the norm, and this sense of boundary-pushing was what I came into this competition hoping to see."

The Virts: "Patrick made a bold decision to commit a majority of his Round 1 entry to exploring a new presentational format, and we admire the creativity behind that choice. The cuts showcased at the beginning were also classic trademarks of the kind of wonky design and grips that only Patrick is capable of, and using the cards-to-camera transition point at 0:15 to bridge the two phases of the video was really, really clever - another Patrick trademark."

What could be better

Andrew: "Given Patrick's Instagram feed, there seems to be an abundance of cool symmetrical filming locations in his vicinity. So, it's disappointing that his dark room was used. Mirror moves off the side of a building window would have been markedly cooler. Also, most of the early shots were framed distastefully close."

Chase: "There is an obvious and satisfying symmetry in the material done on the mirror. While I was inspired to try some myself, I think the concept could have been better explored. Would have been good to see these ideas fleshed out a bit more."

Jaspas: "The drawback of self-imposing a limitation like this one is that the performer really has to figure out a smart, unique use for the tool (mirror in this case) or risk the performance being underwhelming. Without reaching a climax, the moves are unable to reach the critical “That’s genius!” moment that is required for this kind of video to work, leaving the audience thinking “Cool I guess.” Also, it feels like the first half of the video and the second half of the video belong in two different videos."

The Virts: "From what was shown in the video, it seemed that a lot of the items showcased in the mirror sequence stayed within the same general creative vicinity - a lot of ’that’s cute’, but nothing that seemed to fully take advantage of using reflected motions and displays as much more than a gimmick. Perhaps with another week of experimenting, Patrick could have taken the concept even further. As it is, it seems like one of the first forays into a field that still has a lot of potential."

Highlights

Andrew: "The X-Wing move in the end best utilizes the properties of the mirror. While some of the other mirror moves are wall moves that the mirror simply doubles, the last move (and the asterisk at :25 too, I suppose) is completed and justified by the inclusion of a mirror."

Chase: "The second cut is a perfect example of the funky grips and actions that only Patrick can find. And of everything done on the mirror, the last one handed display for me was the most satisfying."

Jaspas: "0.35’s move: the way the card leaning against the mirror interacts with the next card on the pack was interesting to watch."

The Virts: "The composition between 0:26 and 0:35 intrigued us with how Patrick used interlock, propped-up cards, and more than one plane of motion to create a flourish that moved in ways that were pleasantly unexpected."

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Shivraj Morzaria

What we liked

Andrew: "Yes, Shivraj does cardistry too. He also singlehandedly popularized a genre. Whether you think cardestroy is cardistry or not, we should all acknowledge that Shivraj has a head full of creativity. The cuts, displays, and fan shift were really impressive. It's evident that cardestroy isn't a crutch for a lack of skill in more conventional cardistry."

Chase: "Shivraj is definitely the wild card not only in this competition but in our community as well. Cardestroy is uniquely his own and this video had everything we have come to expect from him."

Jaspas: "While Shivraj has become recognised due to his contributions to the Cardestroy movement, he is also a beast at conventional Cardistry. His performance of the thumb fan made into a flower-fan-ish display was one of the highlights for me as it is extremely organic yet unique expansion on the basic flower fan. The finesse with which he handled his two handed cuts was also a pleasure to watch. The comedic way he reacted to his own performance, in contrast to the heavy music, made me chuckle."

The Virts: "One thing that’s been very clear about Shivraj ever since he entered the scene is that he’s got an incredible eye for layered, chain-reaction movements with cards. This is consistent in everything he does, whether it’s his cardestroy creations, his monstrous in-the-hands displays, or even his two-handed cuts where it seems like everything is tumbling and flipping at the same time. We’re certain that if a layperson were to watch the Top 10, Shiv’s entry would be the most eye-opening for them in terms of what’s possible with playing cards, and that’s a vibe that we hope Shiv continues to spread with his creations going forward."

What could be better

Andrew: "A lot of this I've seen before. Not just move-wise, but it looked as though some of the footage was recycled. Given the importance of this competition, I would like to see a departure from the table and material I've seen on so many occasions."

Chase: "Shivraj's Cardestroy makes for some very intriguing actions that at times can be far more enjoyable than traditional cardistry. However, I would have loved to see Shivraj pursue some new in-the-hands material for this round."

Jaspas: "Oddly enough the weakest point in this video was the Cardestroy material. Most, if not all of these moves have appeared in a viral video on the internet and have become ‘old’ material. This is equivalent to seeing a 4 foot spring in a competition video. Yes, it’s really cool, but we’ve seen it many many times before. If Shivaj wants Cardestroy to stay as a prominent force in his videos to come, he will have to explore new ways for the cards to interact."

The Virts: "If there’s one major criticism we have of Shiv, particularly of his Cardestroy, is that it’s 90% setup and 10% payoff. While these seconds of synchronised motions are inarguably beautiful, there’s a lack of completeness in the process that takes away from the overall effect, compared to classic cardistry where much of the satisfaction comes from starting and ending at a set point. Perhaps if Shiv were to choreograph a sequence where the setup - perhaps with a number of pre-folded cards - was as artful as the moment they were being put into place for, that would certainly make what he’s doing even more impressive. Also, as avid followers of Shiv on Instagram, we couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the material was recycled from what he’d published earlier. Not to say that they're any less impressive because we’ve seen it before, but in order to stay ahead of the pack in this competition, it’s definitely to one’s advantage to use the Element of Surprise to deliver Critical Hits to the judges."

Highlights

Andrew: "The triangle shift at :13 is weird and ingenious."

Chase: "Other than the super meme-able raising of his hands, the cut at 0:15 is one of my favorite things Shiv has ever created."

Jaspas: "Dat thumb fan variation at 0.40 was SWEET."

The Virts: "The change of backdrop mid-cut at 0:48 is a subtle touch that serves to highlight the sick flow of the flourish Shivraj is performing, and we absolutely loooooove when people put work into small details like this. Nice one, Shiv."

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