CCC 2019 Semi-Final Results + Feedback

The time has come. The two finalists who will be squaring off at Cardistry Con this year are:

Lars Mayrand

Salvador González

Our judges have also written feedback for all the contestants, which you can view along with their votes for each round below.

Feedback for Bracket 1/2:
Lars Mayrand vs. Thanh Cong Le


Touch's thoughts:
As usual with Lars, this video was full of personality: he has a very distinct style and we love that. We thought the first minute of the video was a bit weak in terms of moves though, but it gets really good after!
We enjoy the variety, and we love the conceptual two handed cuts, it’s a nice mix of original/weird idea made into coherent cuts. The highlight for us were the displays, especially the one handed displays, with really cool/clean instant closers. The Gaolock/Sybil shout out was also pretty hilarious!
In terms of the video itself, it was fun and easy to watch, with good camera angles and various location. The counting up theme was also a nice touch! Congrats, overall a very strong entry!

The theme in Gaolock’s video was fun, and the overall thing was pretty entertaining to watch, with interactive moves like the platter sliding etc. There were some very nice concepts with high impact moments, but some of the moves could have been performed cleaner. Overall, it was pretty much what would could expect from Gaolock, in a good way: Lots of WTF moments that we had to re-watch a few times, like that spin on spread to thumb thingy.
One issue that we have with Gaolock’s style though, is that we sometimes don’t know whether he’s using a gimmick or not, and that makes it very hard for us to judge. We don’t mind people using props or gimmicks in cardistry, as long as it’s very clear that that’s what he’s doing.
About the video, it’s better than your last rounds, but be careful about your angles, it makes it sometimes hard to really get the moves. We would also love to see more camera movements fitting the moves as it will add a little bit of dynamism to your video.

 Both contestant showed a very recognizable style with strong personality, but Lars’ moves seemed more refined and complete to us.

Touch's vote: Lars Mayrand

Jaspas' thoughts:
Whimsical versus whimsical. In the battle between Lars and Gaolock the 2 cardists approached the competition with equally whimsical concepts and mediums of expression. Lars' choice of performing moves while counting up led his video to have a naturally progressing series of moves that grow in size over the moves. Gaolock's video however was more of a myriad of different small concepts that led to completely different feeling moves. My favorite move in this battle belonged to Gaolock in the form of his whimsical 1 thumb display at 1.32, but my vote goes to…

Jaspas' vote: Lars Mayrand

Patrick's thoughts:
What a matchup, these two videos are insane. Both of these videos are driven by awesome presentational concepts. Gaolock’s video brought together the cardistry infinity stones while Lars’ video counted up from 1 to 8 with moves that matched the numbers. I thought both of these ideas were great but Lars’ concept wins the presentation battle for me. Move-wise again I felt Gaolock really excelled with using surprise and playing off expectations. I always love Gaolock’s Sybil stuff! I have no idea how he does that aerial triangle setup and I have no idea how he does that helicopter spin riffle shuffle thing so smoothly. I would have liked to see more fully-sequenced ideas on top of the really quick cool moments though, cleaner execution would also help certain ideas. I thought Lars really stepped it up from the last round. The 6 face display and the 8 face display are two of the sickest things I’ve ever seen! Lars’ execution continues to be pretty much perfect in my eye, I can’t see any hesitation or sloppiness that’s holding back any of the performances. Gaolock’s video shows a clear step up in terms of personal effort and I really appreciate how Gaolock addressed the criticisms from the previous rounds but I feel that Lars’ video takes a clear step ahead of Gaolock’s at every opportunity. This one goes to Lars for me!

Patrick's vote: Lars Mayrand

Feedback for Bracket 2/2:
Azlan Valentine vs. Salvador González 


Touch's thoughts:
We love that Salvador’s whole CCC has a continuous storyline: the more we see, the more we want to see what’s next, and that’s just super smart for a championship like that. As usual, the performance is nice and smooth, and we love the work he’s doing on flow.
The two handed cuts seems a bit more conceptual that in the first round, but you still manage to make them flow perfectly. We love the variety, and there was some very good power moves like the one handed Waterbend thing, but we did feel like a few of the moves didn’t really fit a CCC semi-final video: at this point in the championship, there’s no room for filler moves anymore.
About the video itself, as usual it’s very well made, but some moves were hard to get due to the angle (out of frame for a lot of them). And it’s good to see you outside but be careful of the lighting: it's often too contrasted with direct light and it creates big shades that hides packets. It would look cleaner in a more diffuse light.

 It’s fun to see a battle with 2 very different approaches: Salvador has a very cinematic performance while Azlan is going for a more natural/casual style.
Just like Salvador, Azlan clearly knows his moves, and the performance is great and looks effortless. We do think that there can be an improvement on flow and timing though.
There was some really good designs in 2 handed cuts, and we especially love “100 Grand”. The “Yang Chan” type move at the end was also pretty crazy!
Overall, the video was really fun to watch, but felt a bit short. Still a super nice entry!

Touch's vote: Salvador González 

Jaspas' thoughts:
Both cardists had beautiful move-centric videos that amazed me. I find it really interesting that compared to his entries from last year, Salvador's videos this year seem to be a lot more mature and carefully put together, whereas Azlan's videos seem to be more similar to Salvador's videos of last year; energetic, powerful, youthful. Azlan's move at 1.33 certainly was the highlight of the video for me. It's one of the few examples of complex cuts that I really enjoy, in which the complexity of the cut doesn't encumber the Cardists' ability to execute the move smoothly, the viewer's ability to grasp what is goin on, nor the move's expression of interesting concepts. That being said, Salvador's maturity of his style and moves from the previous year fills me with more excitement. The slippy slidey style of 2 handed cut's that is so crucially Salvador-esqe makes me want to see how the Salvador experience progresses into the final round.

Jaspas' vote: Salvador González 

Patrick's thoughts:
Two very different videos. One is like a short film and the other is like a music video! Salvador’s story didn’t grip me as much as it did in the previous round, it didn’t feel like it had much of an impact on the actual cardistry portion of his video. I like the material from Salvador this round, nice stuff. Balanced set! I felt like there was decent enough variety and the execution was around where it needed to be. I think Azlan came up a little short this round, I don’t think he delivered as hard with this video. I didn’t feel like there was that much material from him in this video, it felt like he was holding back too much. Fun vibe overall but a little too light on substance. While I definitely think aspects of Salvador’s video could be improved, the shortcomings of Azlan’s video ultimately really hold Azlan back for me in this round. I’ll give this one to Salvador!

Patrick's vote: Salvador González 

The final videos will air at Cardistry-Con 2019.

Follow us @cardistrycon to stay updated.

CCC 2019 Round 2 results + Feedback

Without further ado, the winners of Round 2 of the 2019 Cardistry-Con Championship are:

Cong Le

Lars Mayrand

Salvador González

Azlan Valentine


And here's how they'll be matched up for the semi-final :


Our judges have also written feedback for all the contestants, which you can view along with their votes for each round below.

Feedback for Bracket 1/4:
Leo Flores vs. Thanh Cong Le


Touch's thoughts:
Leo’s entry had a great vibe with a super cool urban video style. The overall presentation was on point: the edit, the style, the music, the setting… Everything fits. The flow and the structure of the cuts is really one of the strong point here. There was a lot of content, lots of cuts, but a lot of them was stuff that we’ve seen before and we think this contest should focus more on new moves.
There was a lot of good moves, but we felt like none of the stood out that much. The structure was there, but for us, it was lacking some memorable/impactful moments.

Gaolock had pretty much the opposite video, which makes this round pretty interesting: Lots of great high impact moments, but it lacked some flow and some of the moves were a bit messy. We really think that the presentation aspect of the video was lacking: you have to mind your setting, angles, lighting so that the whole package looks like a finished product :)
We didn’t really get the tiny card moves: it didn’t accomplished anything really creative or surprising for us. We LOVE the corner spin “paddidle” type move though, it really took us by surprise and we honestly didn’t think it was possible!

Touch's vote: Cong Le

Jaspas' thoughts:
About Leo: Beautiful smooth Cardistry shot with videography that moves with clear direction and purpose, wonderful! While most of the cardistry is smooth there were moments that i felt that the Cardistry being performed wasn't performed to the maximum potential of the moves due to lack of packet squaredness. The sheer variety of Leo's two-handed cuts was a pleasure to watch and I look forward to seeing more of Leo's videos. I think this was the round that I got a clear sense of what Leo's video style feels like and I really enjoy it.

About Cong Le: Finally the pay off! After 2 rounds (audition and round 1) of Gaolock performing an extremely unusual style of his own Cardistry, he is finally back in full swing. Weird moves that barely make sense to the average cardist set to music that ebbs and tides in an oddly sensual manner, I'm extremely happy to see Gaolock's showing in round 2. Pretty good!

Jaspas' vote: Cong Le

Patrick's thoughts:
These two are super different! Gaolock again brings more shock value and insightful design while Leo aimed for a longer and more segmented video experience. It’s fun for me to see two cardists from such different eras go head to head. I think Gaolock’s video was held back in this round a little by occasionally poor execution. There were a few moments where I was left unsure about the material due to some unclear performances. Leo’s video struggled with the same performance issues occasionally but I felt there was enough well-performed material in his video to make up for the rougher stuff. I think Leo’s video was a bit too drawn out for me at times, I think the edit could have been more streamlined to keep things engaging. Overall, I think the takeaway I get from this matchup is that Gaolock’s material can be more insightful or clever than Leo’s at times but isn’t necessarily more fun for me to watch. I give this match to Leo, great stuff from both.

Patrick's vote: Leo Flores

Feedback for Bracket 2/4:
Lars Mayrand vs. Lukas Rebele


Touch's thoughts:
First of all: damn! This battle is insane, and it’s breaking our heart to let go of any of those two contestant. It’s also the closest battle and the hardest to judge for us. Both videos were super fun and entertaining to watch.

Lars’ moves are a great example of weird/interesting memorable concepts but well designed and structured. Almost every move was well executed and felt “complete”. We do think that there maybe wasn’t enough content for this round though and we were expecting a bit more, especially after that crazy round 1 video.

 Lukas’ video was amazing: the vibe, the narrative, and the overall production was the best out of all CCC. We loved the creative stunts, and how he executes them like it’s nothing. There was a lot of high impact moves, and the uncut sequence was just crazy.
We didn’t really like the moves using the box though, it was kind of interesting, but didn’t really look good in our opinion. We loved that you used Lars’ round 1 cardestroy concept, it really makes this kind of battle interesting, but we feel like you could have done a lot more with it.

Touch's vote: Lars Mayrand

Jaspas' thoughts:

Lars‘ video features a concept that I found extremely mind boggling. In a few shots of moves he decided to show the shape of the end of the move he currently is performing using cards placed on the ground/window in the background. This foreshadowing of the ending of the move at beginning/middle of the move allows the viewer to actively participate in the viewing of the video by trying to figure out how Lars gets to the shape at the end of the move before he actually gets to it. Very thought provoking!

Lukas' story-driven take on Round 2's entry video is very refreshing to watch. The emphasis on not taking Cardistry too seriously, the whimsical approach to the narrative of the video and the off beat types of moves that appear in the video kept me on the edge of my seat and filled me with a positive energy that only a cardist with passion, creativity and youthful energy could. The production value of the inside-of-a-washing-machine scene was also above and beyond what was expected of majority of competitors. Pretty good!

Jaspas' vote: Lukas Rebele

Patrick's thoughts:
I’m not sure where to start with these two. If I could vote for a tie here I would! This round saw an insane display of theatrics and competition between these two. Lukas’ video surprised me with possibly the best narrative I’ve seen in any cardistry video, competitive or not. Actual characters, crazy setting, real storyboarding. I think this video will be remembered forever! Lukas hit Lars with an entire electric deck section, aiming right at the cardestroy core of Lars’ previous video. Then Lars hit Lukas back by finding an actual battleship to film his own set of moves on, just to let Lukas know his Round 1 submarine in space isn’t enough! Very fitting ideas from both, I give them equal credit there. If it came down to presentation alone I think this would be an easy victory for Lukas, his story-driven video is so easy to watch over and over. Lars’ presentation was also really engaging and original but lacked the high level storytelling that Lukas’ video had. Be that as it may, I still can’t look away from the fact that I resonated more with the actual moves I saw from Lars. The two card/fan sequence, that simple grid of checkerboards on the floor sliding into position, each of the packet cuts, all performed and designed perfectly. While I enjoyed the uncut routine and the box move immediately after it from Lukas, overall I didn’t feel like the cardistry I saw in his video was better than Lars’. I think Lars moves innovate on several different styles within cardistry, the variety and depth really stood out for me. If I had felt the material in this matchup was more evenly matched then I would give Lukas the edge for his perfectly presented video. But since that was not the case, I’m gonna go with Lars’ this round for the moves I saw from him. Really insane set of videos from these two!

Patrick's vote: Lars Mayrand

Feedback for Bracket 3/4:
Salvador González vs. Leon Sanchez


Touch's thoughts:
Salvador’s entry has pretty much all the component of a great cardistry video. The setting, the edit, the music… everything fits perfectly, everything is well thought of. We love the narrative, and the connection with the round 1 video and possibly the round 3 video is a beautiful idea and something that haven’t been explored yet.
In terms of pure cardistry, the performance is great as usual, and we can tell that you put a lot of work into the flow and timing of your moves. We loved the one card sequence, as it goes well with the music, and that running 2 card one handed cut at the end was out of the world. Honestly, pretty much every cut here is interesting, congrats!

 Leon’s video was full of great ideas. The creativity is really obvious here, and there were great moments, but for us it was lacking a lot of flow. I think working on the timing and the “musicality” of your moves could really make them a lot better and more entertaining to watch. The one handed cuts were really cool, and there was a lot a good moves, but it lacked a few “great” ones, you probably held back a tiny bit much here. The execution was also a problem for a few moves, especially for that fan: the idea is amazing, but the finished product doesn’t do justice to the idea at all.

Touch's vote: Salvador González

Jaspas' thoughts:
About Salvador: I was left pretty worried when Salvador only managed to execute his first real move at the 0.49 mark of his video. Thankfully, once he got started, Salvador managed to keep the hits coming with impactful impressive move after move. When the video crescendos into the pulsating 1-handed 5-packet cut I lost it, that move was absolutely beautiful. I am, however, concerned as to whether the story aspect of the video was necessary at all, or merely a quick gimmick to set the initial mood of the video.

About Leon: Watching this entry felt like Leon Sanchez has hit his stride proper in this competition. The nerves that might have held him back in round 1 are no longer present in this round. The execution of his moves seem far more stable and effortless. I get the feeling that many of the newer moves that appeared in this round's video were moves that Leon had prepared before the competition, and finally being able to them in the competition must have been liberating. Execution, concept of moves and camera work, in round 2 were absolutely amazing. I had the hardest time choosing between Leon and Salvador's videos but in the end I chose...

Jaspas' vote: Salvador González

Patrick's thoughts:
This matchup ended up being much closer than I expected it to be! I had no idea Salvador and Leon were so similar. Both are strong packet-cutters with a talent for one-handed moves. I think that Leon’s one-handed stuff came through again this round and altogether outdid that one awesome one-handed idea at the end of Salvador’s video. However I think Salvador’s two-handed cuts have a slight edge over Leon’s. Execution-wise they’re pretty close to each other, but I felt Salvador’s one-card routine was distinctive and helped me notice his performance strengths a little better. Salvador’s video is also heavily enhanced by its story and leaves a successful cliffhanger at the end, presentational strengths that Leon’s video lacks. I think Salvador presentation was the edge he needed to make his performance value stand out over Leon’s this round, I’ll give this to Salvador!

Patrick's vote: Salvador González

Feedback for Bracket 4/4:
Nhat Duong Nguyen vs. Azlan Valentine


Touch's thoughts:
Yang went full crazy with that edit! Can’t imagine how long that took to make! It’s a super risky edit, and it could have easily sucked, but it turned out great! He really knew how to take advantage of that type of edit to enhance his cardistry, congrats! As usual, the flow, the sequencing and the style is amazing. There was a few new moves that were really cool, but it was missing something for us, something a bit more creative and surprising.

Just like Yang, Azlan’s execution is perfect. We love the style and the flow, it feels somehow extremely natural. The combos were great, and we thought it was a risky thing to play with that against Yang, but it turned out really nice. The speed is really interesting, we don’t see a lot of very fast cardist those days, but it can sometimes impact the flow of the move in a bad way if you go full speed throughout the whole cut.

Touch's vote: Azlan Valentine

Jaspas' thoughts:
About Duong: Holy f***! In the past few years of Cardistry competitions, the Vietnamese cardists in general have always had a problem executing videos with strong flavor and emotional impact. Yang has completely shattered that stereotype in this video. Absolutely astounding visuals with great pacing and fast impactful Cardistry. This video probably was my favorite video in the entirety of round 2. However, in terms of creative, new, fresh cardistry, the video is lacking. Making this match up one of the hardest ones I've had to decide for.

About Azlan: Compared to Duong's video, Azlan's is far more Cardistry-centric. There were multiple cuts with interesting moments to get excited about and disect. 1.16 specifically was a move that begun looking like a standard simple display but ended up going further than i expected it to in a perfectly logical smartly designed manner. The main problem of Azlan's video however is that the tempo of the video itself was pretty good, it had troubles outshining Yang's emmaculately crafted video. If I judged this competition solely based on my personal emotional responses to the 2 videos, Yang would have won. But as CCC2019 is at its heart, a cardistry competition, I have to vote for…

Jaspas' vote: Azlan Valentine

Patrick's thoughts:
What a fun battle! So cool to see two cardists with such a heavy focus on performance value. Yang, recognized for his previous uncut competitive videos, has always stood out for his ability to perform cardistry with speed, precision and style. It’s really quite a shock for me to see somebody as young as Azlan take Yang head-on and combat him using Yang’s signature strengths. Azlan really doesn’t seem to have any problem keeping up with Yang’s performance ability but at the same time Azlan excels at more modern packet cutting design, something that Yang doesn’t use as often. Yang dumping Azlan in the recycling bin was an awesome touch, but seeing Azlan do Yang’s signature spread move about as well as Yang can do it really made me smile. I think Yang’s video would have benefited a lot from having more shots like the card spring flying across the windows or the deck being passed from hand to hand between windows. Those ideas felt innovative and seemed to enhance the cardistry I was seeing. The rest of the video felt more decorative and flashy. I think Azlan’s video had more substance so I’m giving this round to him! Awesome work from both, I loved this battle.

Patrick's vote: Azlan Valentine

Semi-final begins on June 12.

Follow us @cardistrycon to stay updated.

CCC 2019 Round 1 results + Feedback

Without further ado, the winners of Round 1 of the 2019 Cardistry-Con Championship are:


Leo Flores

Cong Le

Lars Mayrand

Lukas Rebele

Salvador González

Leon Sánchez

Nhat Duong Nguyen

Azlan Valentine


And here's how they'll be matched up in Round 2:


Our judges have also written feedback for all the contestants, which you can view along with their votes for each round below.

Feedback for Bracket 1/8:
Leo Flores vs. Luca Lanciotto


Touch's thoughts on Leo:
We love the ambiance on this one, especially the attention to details: the clothes match the cards, the moves match the music and the filming compliments the setting. The choice of the angles was also very good, as we could really understand the complex moves.

The cut themselves were good, but to be honest, we were expecting a bit better from you. There were some good moments, but they often felt a bit lazy and not clean enough (especially closers). We really liked the fan though, it was nice and surprising.

Another thing that we really enjoy is that you clearly have your own personal style: we don’t have to see your face or your name to know that you are the one doing the moves ;)

Touch's thoughts on Luca:
Very nice execution: the moves had great flow and were super clean! We did feel like there was not enough variety though, we would have love to see some moves that stand out a bit more. Even though you have two killer moves (0:21 & 0:38-0:47)

About the video itself, we felt like the edit was a bit too much, especially with the lens flares.

It also looks like you held out a bit too much on this one, there was simply not a lot of moves and the whole thing felt a bit short.

Touch's vote: Leo Flores

Jaspas' thoughts on Leo & Luca:
In this battle both Leo Flores and Luca Lanciotto had equally interesting deep moves. Both Cardists had visually compelling styles of two-handed cuts, Leo with the complex, tight packet cuts and Luca with open, wide two handed cuts. The two cardists executed their style of cardistry with confidence and swag, and shot their videos with purpose and clarity. It was a difficult decision to choose between the two of them but ultimately I think Leo's consistently powerful 2 minute 5 second long video allowed him to showcase more of his style and appealed more to my senses than Luca's vastly shorter, albeit better edited video.

Jaspas' vote: Leo Flores

Patrick's thoughts on Leo & Luca:
This is a matchup I would have liked to see in the later rounds, both of these guys are very stylish packet cutters. I think Luca guessed wrong about how much material he needed for the first round. I think if you directly compare the quality of Luca’s moves to Leo’s, Luca does very well. He’s a great designer and performer. However, Leo is able to match and occasionally pass Luca design-wise and Leo’s performances stay pretty clean throughout his video as well. Leo has maybe twice as much material in his video. Given that the quality of their material is roughly the same, quantity starts to weigh more for me. So Leo wins this one!

Patrick's vote: Leo Flores

Feedback for Bracket 2/8:
Alvin Pino Flores vs. Thanh Cong Le


Touch's thoughts on Cong Le:
Definitely some great concept moves in this one, especially in the first part of the video, but we really think most of the moves could be cleaner.

One thing that really didn’t do it for us was the isolations: we get that you have somehow a cool idea, but this type of move really do not work as a “proof of concept”, an isolation that isn’t perfectly executed looks really bad, even if the idea is good. We did like the fact that there’s a lot of variety in the moves you did, it kept us entertained throughout the whole thing.

About the video itself, it wasn’t bad, but the setting could be better if you put a bit more effort into it. Here it felt like it had no real theme.

Touch's thoughts on Alvin:
We really like the vibe of this video: it’s raw but it’s fun and the whole thing was entertaining.

Some of the moves were really interesting, but the purpose of certain moves were not clear, and bit random sometimes.

The biggest turn off for us was the performance. We felt like the moves were not clean enough. Most moves could use more practice and a bit more flow and the fact that you used a really poop deck throughout the video didn’t help, it gave the video kind of a sloppy look.

Touch's vote: Cong Le

Jaspas' thoughts on Cong Le & Alvin:
I was extremely surprised by Gaolock's entry in this round, it feels like he's applied his beautifully genius Cardistry style of the previous few years into creating an altogether different and monsterously visual style of his own. The unique, weird moves that he had executed in his video gave me multiple moments of awe. On the other hand Alvin's more casual style reminded me of a fun, light hearted jam video. It captures the feeling of an everyday person's adventure into cardistry while providing high quality cardistry. Comparing the two videos is very hard, but ultimately I prefered Gaolock's oddstyled Cardistry.

Jaspas' vote: Cong Le

Patrick's thoughts on Cong Le & Alvin:
Fun match! Both of these guys are creative and unique. I think the difference between the two of them is that Gaolock uses surprises and Alvin uses sequences. You don’t really see full “moves” from gaolock, you get unexpected moments. Alvin’s stuff falls into more predictable space but you generally get to spend more time watching each move. I think between these two strengths I got more entertainment out of Gaolock’s shock value. He felt a little more effective even though his moments were shorter. This one goes to Gaolock for me!

Patrick's vote: Cong Le

Feedback for Bracket 3/8:
Lars Mayrand vs. Gabriel Valencia Chacon


Touch's thoughts on Gabriel:
Great execution on those moves, really good flow and musicality! The music fits the moves and the edit fits the music :) In terms of cardistry, there was some great moments too! We especially loved that angel turnover thing, it definitely surprised us! We also liked your efforts on closers.

We did feel like it lacked a bit a creativity though, a lot of the moves were cool but it was missing a little creative ingredient in our opinion.

Touch's thoughts on Lars:
Damn. What a great video! We honestly don’t have a lot to say about this one except that it was great. It had everything we’re looking in this competition: creativity, variety, flow, and personality. The only thing is that you set the bar really high for yourself… hope you can keep it up :P

Touch's vote: Lars Mayrand

Jaspas' thoughts on Gabriel & Lars:
In the battle of Gabriel vs Lars, I feel like Lars' long history of creating mechanically simple yet compelling cardsitry has paid off. Lars' video while filled with conceptually simpler Cardistry was an entertaining yet impressive adventure. On the other hand, Gabriel's video felt weighed down by the at times excessively complex combos and movements. Had Gabriel's performance and camera work been smoother, I think I might have a very difficult decision to make in this round, but as things currently stand I think Lars' more engaging and smoother video made the better impression.

Jaspas' vote: Lars Mayrand

Patrick's thoughts on Gabriel & Lars:
I can’t say enough good things about Lars’ video! I was completely engaged from beginning to end and I found myself really happy with everything I saw. Perfect pacing and escalation, Lars’ personality is visible in every moment of this video. Lars even redesigned one of Gabriel’s audition moves and then recreated the exact shot from Gabriel’s audition down to using the same deck and matching the background. Gabriel’s video is full of cool cardistry but for me it didn’t have the moments that it needed to really triumph over what Lars put together. I give this match to Lars!

Patrick's vote: Lars Mayrand

Feedback for Bracket 4/8:
Nikita Yatsik vs. Lukas Rebele


Touch's thoughts on Nikita:
There’s a lot of content in that video, some great, and some not that great. We really love that you’re exploring many different concepts though: your video had some good variety and was overall very entertaining. The upside down angel spin really caught us by surprise, definitely the highlight of the video for us.

Although the moves were almost always somehow interesting and had a unique concept, a lot of the moves felt unfinished or should have been designed a bit better. Try not to compromise the beauty of the moves for an interesting mechanic :)

Touch's thoughts on Lukas:
Some really sick move in that video, a lot of very high impact and memorable flourishes. We do think that some of those moves could have a better execution, but creativity was definitely there. We also love the variety, as there was good fans, cuts and weird shit :P We especially loved the “air riffle” shot thingy and the last fan!

The overall theme of the video was also great, it made the whole thing even more entertaining, congrats!

Touch's vote: Lukas Rebele

Jaspas' thoughts on Nikita & Lukas:
I was pleasantly surprised to see a battle between two Cardists that had styles that were primarily not of the mainstream two-handed cut variety. Both videos had compelling videography that complimented the Cardistry well, and both videos had unique cardistry moves that left me bewildered. I can't for the life of me figure out how Nikita did the move at 0.24, nor can I fathom the effort and determination it took for Lukas to do the crazy one-handed spring + cut shot at 1.18. In my eyes both of these videos are absolute winners and in any other competition would stand heads and shoulders over their peers.

Jaspas' vote: Lukas Rebele

Patrick's thoughts on Nikita & Lukas:
This match is such a headache for me. I don’t want to see either of these guys go this early. Lukas’ video was super focused on presentational strength and Nikita’s video was very dense with moves. I’m not a big fan of the repeated shots in Lukas’ video, it always feels like filler to me when I see 2-3 full shots of the same move in a row. I wish Nikita narrowed down his move selection a little and polished his performances as well. I thought Lukas’ video flowed really well, very watchable experience. It’s hard for me to vote against just the sheer amount of material I saw in Nikita’s video but I wasn’t sure if the material I saw was really effective for me. I think if Nikita’s video had been sequenced a little more purposefully it would have a slight edge over Lukas but right now I’m leaning the other way. I think Lukas was more entertaining overall so he wins this one for me!

Patrick's vote: Lukas Rebele

Feedback for Bracket 5/8:
Salvador González vs. Peter Chien


Touch's thoughts on Peter:
Some really nice two handed cut in there, good flow! The palm spin thing was also very neat and caught us by surprise. We thing that you held out a bit too much though: there was simply not that much move, and some of the moves were not really “CCC worthy” in our opinion.

Concerning the video itself, the vibe was pretty cool, but be careful with the lighting: it sometimes made it hard to see some of the moves.

Touch's thoughts on Salvador:
You really have an amazing flow! Super stylish and personal. The whole presentation was also on point: the way you execute the moves and the way you filmed and edited them to the music really made the whole thing super entertaining to watch. Special mention to your one handed three cards twirl that looks amazing.
We did feel like it lacked a little bit of creativity, or some very strong moment to make the overall video more memorable.

Touch's vote: Salvador

Jaspas' thoughts on Peter & Salvador:
Peter's simpler yet extremely clean cut style of cardistry differs drastically from Salvador's more complex and fluid style in a way that makes comparing the two's videos very difficult. I'm a huge fan of the way Peter's video was edited to heightened the way his visually simple cardistry moves look. Had the same effects been placed on Salvador's video, I believe it would leave many of the viewers confused and unsure about what is happening. On the other hand, Salvador's simple minimalist editing helps convey the complexity of his Cardistry that allows the audience to understand and appreciate his art. While I'm a huge fan of how Peter applied the picture-in-picture effect to great success and used it to guide the audience's eye across the screen, I have to say the Salvador's more complex Cardistry won me over specifically in this competition setting.

Jaspas' vote: Salvador


Patrick's thoughts on Peter & Salvador:
I had two very separate experiences while watching these videos. I thought that Peter’s editing and presentation made it really hard to see his material, which is unfortunate because there are a couple cuts I wanted to see better. Performance-wise he seems to be pretty good but again it’s not clear. Salvador is easy to watch and his moves are presented very openly. I like that less is hidden in Salvador’s video, it adds confidence to his material. That first fan is sick! I give this round to Salvador.

Patrick's vote: Salvador

Feedback for Bracket 6/8:
Leon Sanchez vs. Ziem


Touch's thoughts on Leon:
You had some very strong and memorable moments in this one. The first fan was crazy and some of the one handed cuts super cool. Shout-out to your one handed cut “Flared Skirt”, probably one the craziest one handed we’ve seen since a long time. ;) We really enjoyed the variety as it made the whole thing very entertaining, but some of the moves could definitely have been performed better and cleaner.

Also, be a little bit careful in your interlock, sometimes your hands hide a bit too much of the cut: it’s either a mistake in the design of the cut, or in the angle you chose to film it.

Touch's thoughts on Ziem:
We like that you made an effort on the theme, but the first part felt a little bit cheesy for us, and the second one was also too much (the “horror” vibe is really hard to recreate and look good).

There was some cool moments, we really like the flat cross to square thing, and some of the mechanics you use were really interesting. Interesting doesn’t always mean great though and a lot of those ideas seemed a bit unfinished, or lacked a clear purpose.

The video wasn’t bad, but we did feel like you held out a bit too much for this round.

Touch's vote: Leon Sanchez

Jaspas' thoughts on Leon & Ziem:
Huge shoutout to both competitors of this battle. Leon's video was an epic adventure of cool variations of existing moves, while Ziem's video was an exploration of many weird finnicky moves. The problem with Leon's video is that as a video that builds on many preexisting concepts in such a direct way, I expected every move to be absolutely smooth and flawless. However some of the performances felt just a little bit off. Whereas with Ziem, because he plays with more fundamentally non-mainstream Cardistry moves it is easier for me to overlook minor imperfections. I also enjoyed many of these weird little moves he performed, and look forward to more unique cardistry by him.

Jaspas' vote: Ziem


Patrick's thoughts on Leon & Ziem:
I have to applaud Ziem for changing up the vibe and going after a new energy. I think you can see a lot of great thought between both of these guys! Leon’s interlocks occasionally struggle with a lack of movement. Ziem’s last cut is really sick but I wasn’t as excited about many of the other ideas. In the end, Leon’s one-handed stuff really won me over. I give this round to Leon!

Patrick's vote: Leon Sanchez

Feedback for Bracket 7/8:
Nhat Duong Nguyen vs. Zhao Lun Liu


Touch's thoughts on Nhat Duong:
Great editing and presentation on this one! Probably the most professional looking video of this round. The whole theme was nice and super clean, but maybe a tiny bit much on the visual effect over the cards?

As usual, your flow is crazy and your execution is perfect. You know your moves and you know how to present them.

We do feel like the whole thing lacked a bit of creativity though. It felt like those moves were stuff that we’ve seen you do before, or variations of them. Not sure exactly, it didn’t felt as “fresh” as we wanted it to be.

Touch's thoughts on Lun Liu:
We like the effort on the theme here, it was well executed. Be careful though, the VHS filter sometimes makes it harder to see the moves. About the moves, there was some great cuts, but it was a bit uneven. Some of the moves didn’t really seem “CCC level”, you probably held out a bit much on this one. Special mention for the single card stunt though, it’s amazing! The execution was almost perfect every time though, you really know your moves!

One thing we didn’t understand was the closer of the last move: it’s the very last thing of the video and it seemed like you gave up on that closer.

Touch's vote: Nhat Duong

Jaspas' thoughts on Nhat Duong & Lun Liu:
Both Cardists are auteurs of their own style. I was delighted to see Yang finally go out on the production side of his Cardistry videos while Lunzi's retro Cardistry video with the red displacement filter had me hypnotized throughout the video. Both Cardists executed Cardistry that is uniquely their own and very recognisably so. This round of the competition could have gone both ways easily and I look forward to either Cardist's future entries to the competition.

Jaspas' vote: Nhat Duong


Patrick's thoughts on Nhat Duong & Lun Liu:
This one is the heartbreaker. Man these guys put together crazy videos. It’s always great to see two veteran cardists competing authentically without underestimating each other. Both guys took each other seriously and it’s visible in how they’ve approached this round.

Presentationally I think Yang’s video is more exciting. The energy of his moves, the balance in his move choice and the animations that accentuate his flow all make Yang an extremely convincing cardist in this video. You really get a full sense for who Yang is from this video. I feel that Lunzi’s presentation is more unique and less predictable, Lunzi took a risk with the vintage style video. One thing I loved about Lunzi’s video is the first sequence, it wasn’t obvious to me that it was all one sequence at first. I only noticed after my third watch. Then Lunzi teases you by not actually finishing that sequence but still shows you a glimpse of a crazy ending as it’s about to happen right before “accidentally” cutting the video by tripping on a cable. I love narrative stuff like that. It’s clear as you continue to watch Lunzi’s video that his designs have more depth than Yang’s. Yang’s card twirls are definitely faster and sharper but I felt Lunzi’s five-card twirl sequence was a more effective display of twirls. Lunzi doesn’t have any problems slowing his moves down which I also really appreciate. While Yang’s video ends with that crazy shot behind his back and then the robot arm, Lunzi instead opted to leave a cliffhanger/possible teaser for moves to come in the next round. These two are insanely close but I’m gonna go with Lunzi.

Patrick's vote: Zhao Lun Liu

Feedback for Bracket 8/8:
Syb Faes vs. Azlan Valentine


Touch's thoughts on Syb:
We love the fact that you have your own distinct personal style. This is true for the execution and flow, but also for the design of the moves. It’s also refreshing to see super complex cuts, as the trend is more about minimal cuts at the moment.

We do think that your flow and execution could use a bit of work here: your moves are super long and you really need to make the flow interesting to keep it entertaining. There was a few moments that felt a bit long.

About the video, we think that the setting was nice, but probably not the best to for your style. Same with the music.

Overall it was still a good video with a lot of interesting mechanics!

Touch's thoughts on Azlan:
Love everything about this video! Some good variety and creative moves, a great execution and flow, and awesome moments! We also really like your attitude in the video, a bit cocky but it works with the overall theme :P

The only thing negative we can think of is that your video seems a little bit like a compilation of other good cardists. It’s a little weird, but we think your moves are not “personal” enough. Still really good though.

Touch's vote: Azlan

Jaspas' thoughts on Syb & Azlan
Ah the young blood of the competition battle it out. Both competitors showcased a fine mastery over their craft and for gentlemen of such a young age I'm thoroughly impressed at both competitors. I particularly enjoyed Syb's ridiculous Hothead 2 variation, it reflected a wanting to succeed and climb over the competition, whilst paying homage to his own influences. Unfortunately though, there were moments in the video where the video felt bogged down by overly complex tight 2 handed cuts. Azlan's video however showcased a much wider variety of impressive technique with various visual effects. I also particularly enjoyed the attention to editing to the music in the second half of the video.

Jaspas' vote: Azlan


Patrick's thoughts on Syb & Azlan:
Two great videos! Always fun for me to watch some cuts. I think this match is another good example of design vs performance. Syb’s cuts tend to be more traditionally complex but I think he’s held back a lot by not being able to perform some of his material very well. Azlan’s stuff is a little bit simpler but he executes it all so well that it’s hard to dislike any of it. Azlan also has much greater variety! Variety almost always ends up beating packet-cutting when you compare them in this 1v1 context. I give this round to Azlan!

Patrick's vote: Azlan

Round 2 begins on May 25th.

Follow us @cardistrycon to stay updated.

CCC 2019 Audition Results: Top 16


The results are in! Here are this year’s Top 16 CCC Finalists (click on their names to watch their #15secondstoimpress audition videos):

Azlan Valentine

Gabriel Valencia Chacon

Cong Le

Lars Mayrand

Leon Sánchez

Luca Lanciotto

Lukas Rebele

Zhao Lun Liu

Nikita Yatsik

Alvin Pino

Peter Chien

Leo Flores

Salvador González

Syb Faes

Nhật Dương Nguyễn


And here is how they’ll be matched up in Round 1:


Videos for Round 1 will begin dropping on April 30th. Click here for the entire CCC 2019 timeline.