CCC 2018 Semi-Final Results + Feedback

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

Luis Mecalco

Dabi H.A.

Coming in at third place is:

Yang Chan

And you can view the judges' votes and feedback for each of the four contestants of the semi-finals below:

Feedback for Bracket 1/2:
Salvador González vs. Luis Mecalco


Touch's thoughts on Salvador:
It’s great to see someone putting that much effort in the videos you produce each time - not only the quality of the video itself, but the creative concept behind it as well.

Your flow and skills really show here, and there were some very strong two handed cuts, like “Big Moonflower” and “Basket”.  

We also love how you “one-upped” some of Luis’ previous moves. You did it well - you didn’t just copy, but you put your own twist on it. That worked especially for the double U-Turn. That last move was also a good example, but we do feel like even though it was one handed, it wasn’t as strong as Luis’ move. Maybe if you did it in both hands it would have topped it? But yeah, sounds super hard…

We’re not sure about the fire moment though, we like the fact that it’s the theme of the video, but the “big moment”, with the flat square display was a bit disappointing: the move was just not that good, we think you could have found a unique/creative/flowy way to get into that shape, and the spin itself wasn’t that smooth.

Overall, great video, but don’t let the presentation get in the way of the impact of the moves, both should coexist.

Touch's thoughts on Luis:
Well, the cinematography was super lazy on this one... it didn’t really felt like you even tried to be honest, I mean come on, it’s the world championship. Again, we’re not asking for some Hollywood movie production, but something simple that shows your moves in the best possible way. Try to at least think of those 3 things: the angle that makes the move look the best, the background (everything else that we see in the shot other than the move itself), and the timing/musicality in the edit. Keep it simple, and try to show a little bit of personality too.

With that said… the moves were great. Really really dope, very unique and recognizable. Your style shows very well in the execution and in the design of the moves.

There were some very impactful moment, like that flat square spin, and that last bouncing square move. You definitely have a Noel vibe, but with your own personality and style, congrats.

Touch's vote: Luis Mecalco

Jaspas' thoughts on Salvador vs. Luis:
Once I watched both competitor’s videos I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. The kind when you find out you’ve missed out on something monumental. I wish I had the opportunity to react to both videos.

Salvador and Luis chose to approach the semi-finals in extremely different methods. Salvador decided to approach it by using a more cinematic style with a cohesive deck-music combination that put him in slightly less comfortable situations being out in the elements exposed to wind/humidity/sand/fire, whereas Luis decided to approach it from a far more technical standpoint, choosing to shoot indoors with a more controlled environment allowing him for more retakes and more relative comfort. 

This choice therefore affected the style of the Cardistry that both competitors decided to go with. Salvador’s style was dialed back from the previous full throttle of the previous rounds, to a much more mature feeling presentation with acts within its 2-minute run time. 

Luis, however, now afforded with longer retakes in relative comfort, decided to go with longer, higher risk combos. Many of which make me question how much time must he have invested into this video. I give the man huge props. 

Jaspas' vote: Salvador González

Patrick's thoughts on Salvador vs. Luis:
Salvador vs Luis is interesting, these are two completely different energy levels. You can tell they had different priorities going into this round. Salvador’s video was too long for my taste. It felt like the video tried to create too much excitement for the material when some of the material was pretty unexciting for me personally. It felt a little incongruent to get that much hype from the video but not have it feel anchored in the moves I was seeing. I liked the little jabs at Luis, that stuff can be fun to see. The OH box tunnel thing at the end was a great interpretation of Luis’ round 2 ender. I think Luis’ semi final video suffers from all of the opposite problems. The cardistry was pretty great, it had a nice consistent quality throughout the video. The video itself definitely didn’t serve his material much but that doesn’t really bother me personally. I think when it comes down to whose material was more exciting, Luis definitely takes this one for me. I had 2 or 3 moments with his video where I reacted out-loud, which is genuinely all I’m really looking for when I watch a cardistry video. I didn’t have those moments with Salvador’s video so this round goes to Luis for me.

Patrick's vote: Luis Mecalco

Feedback for Bracket 2/2:
Dabi H.A. vs. Yang Chan

Touch's thoughts on Dabi:
As usual, your style is out of this world. The performance and execution are again perfect, and the camerawork fits your style perfectly. With that said, we are starting to feel like we’ve seen those moves before in your last 3 videos, so it’s getting a bit redundant. 

We were hoping to see more variety and we wanted you to step out of your comfort zone a bit more, but we didn’t really see that in this round. You did try a few things differently, like the deck flips, but to be honest it wasn’t that great and didn’t fit your style.

There’s one more thing that kind of bugged us, even though it’s not that important: you used black NOCs, with a simple black outfit that fits your video perfectly and creates harmony, so why did you change your deck at some point in the video? Probably because you needed the other deck’s conditioning for certain moves, but still, you should have tried to condition a black NOC deck for this, it would have made the video more cohesive.

We did love the isolation-type moves, it fits your video perfectly and it was really the highlight for us!

So again, amazing video, but we didn’t get the “wow effect”. So if you do pass this round, please show us something different, still with your style, but something we wouldn’t expect, something more than what we’ve seen from you until now.

Touch's thoughts on Yang:
Your cuts are definitely some of the best in this tournament, especially some of the two-handed cuts you did there. The highlight for us is your flow and your confidence upon execution.

Overall your performance is perfect, as usual, but just like your opponent, we want you to step out of your comfort zone a bit more and try new stuff. Your cuts are great, your flow is out of this world, but we feel like you could be a bit more creative.

You’re definitely a great packet cutter but we would love to see more variety.

We also noticed that a lot of the moves from this round were actually already in your last year videos, and we do feel like CCC should be about showcasing new moves and new ideas.

If you do pass this round, please show us your weird side, your creative side, but keep that amazing flow of yours!

Touch's vote: Dabi H.A. (by a hair)

Jaspas' thoughts on Dabi vs. Yang:
Dabi and Yang’s Cardistry styles seem to me to be at the surface completely different, but at their essences exactly the same. 

From purely their aesthetics, Dabi’s style is very systematic, highly choreographed to fit with the camerawork and music, with strong geometric emphasis and angled movements. Whereas Yang’s Cardistry is far more flowy, designed to look effortless and yet logically designed. .  

However at their cores both feature a style of Cardistry that emphasizes strong fundamentals in two-handed cuts, with the skills and techniques to make even the toughest moves look effortless. There’s is a distinct emphasis on creating a wide sense of space within the confinement’s of their two hands. 

These similarities and differences make choosing between the two competitors really really difficult. 

Jaspas' vote: Dabi H.A.

Patrick's thoughts on Dabi vs. Yang:
Dabi vs Yang is definitely a heartbreaker. Don’t want to see either of these guys have to go, it’s been so fun watching them throughout the competition. Yang’s greatest strength is his amazing smoothness and execution. His somewhat simple designs really shine in his experienced hands and his skillset will always have a place in this culture. However, I think Yang’s biggest asset in this competition was pretty hard to see in his semi final video. For the first time I saw some hiccups and hesitation in his moves. That tiny lack of proficiency made it easier to see how simple some of his moves really are, which definitely took away some of their appeal for me. He has a four packet cut towards the end that’d I’d say is the best designed cut in this matchup, and if the other cuts in Yang’s video were on that level he’d take this one easy. But unfortunately that is not the case and this video does feel like a step down from the other stuff we’ve seen from Yang in this competition. I’d say Dabi’s greatest strength is his execution, just like Yang. The difference between the two though is that Dabi’s designs tend to hold up a little better under closer inspection than Yang’s do. I think this video was a step down from Dabi’s previous videos in terms of how well he strings emotions and moments along but at the same time, his energy is so captivating and I still find myself immersed in what he does. So overall because Dabi’s designs in this round were a little more refined than what I saw from Yang, and his execution goes toe-to-toe with Yang's as well, I’m giving this one to Dabi. 

Patrick's vote: Dabi H.A.

For those curious, here is the breakdown of the judges' votes for third place:

Touch: Yang Chan

Jaspas: Salvador González

Patrick: Yang Chan

We will be contacting the top 3 winners soon regarding their prizes and travel arrangements, respectively.

The Cardistry-Con Championship 2018 Finals
will be taking place on September 22nd,
LIVE at Cardistry-Con Hong Kong.

Follow us @cardistrycon to stay updated.

CCC 2018 Round 2 Results + Feedback

Here are the winners of the Cardistry-Con Championship's second round:

Salvador González

Luis Mecalco

Dabi H.A.

Yang Chan

And here's how they'll be matched up in the Semi-Final:


As before, you can read our judges' feedback for each of the brackets, as well as view their respective votes below:


Touch's thoughts on Salvador:
We LOVED the concept of the video, definitely a great presentation idea, it’s super refreshing! Everything works well together, the camerawork, the music, the edit, all good. The angles that you chose were definitely an improvement on the last video, it was much clearer and made the moves more understandable.

The execution of your moves was great, and we could feel the musicality in your performance, but try to make sure to have the packets perfectly squared at the end of your moves, it sometimes wasn’t the case.

We do feel like it was lacking a bit of power moves and conceptual moves. None of them really stood out that much, even though they were all pretty damn good. That one handed repeating cut was definitely a highlight though.

Also, this is probably a very personal thing, but the Ratatat music kind of made this video nostalgic for us since it was used a lot back in the days.

Touch's thoughts on Birger:
We love the risk that you took, doing the whole thing uncut even though you didn’t have to, that took some balls. It’s pretty amazing that you can bust out those high risk aerial moves in an uncut sequence and make it look easy. Big respect for that, not a lot of people have this kind of skills!

To be honest, we felt like this video wasn’t as good as your older uncut video though: you set the bar so high with that other uncut that we expect so much from you now… This one lacked a bit of a choreography, as in the way you transition between moves. And the location you chose was interesting, but it lacked a bit a lighting. A deck with a bit more colors could have help. Angles could also have been more interesting and adapt to the moves a bit more.

There were also a few specific things that kind of bugged us, like that packet flip sequence. We felt like it wasn’t that cool it took way too much time. Yes, it’s hard to do those in an uncut sequence, but in CCC, we’re still expecting you guys to bust out a lot of new original moves, and that part really wasn’t that.There’s also that aerial fan move, which could have been way better than it was in the video: the fan didn’t look really good and was super clumpy. We get that you needed a poop deck to do some of the other moves, but we would have actually prefer if you had openly changed the deck for that move. Also catching it this side (the round side of the fan) makes it looks even more messy, and at the level of competition, we expect almost perfection.

With that said, you video was still amazing, we’re being super picky because we know that you’re a freaking cardistry monster, and we feel like you were maybe saving a bit too much for future rounds.

Touch's vote: Salvador González

Jaspas' thoughts on Salvador:
Salvador’s video was a visual treat. The contrast between the blank cards at the beginning of the video and the hand painted cards at the end of the video was a visual treat, not to mention the added production value of the painted hands. it would have been even greater if he had a beautiful graffiti wall in the background too. Salvador also explored some really interesting grips in his cardistry and the behind-the-back Erdnase Go Round to hacky sack was a great assault on his opponent Birger’s personal style of Cardistry. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Birger:
Birger’s video was a classy cardistry masterpiece. The sounds of cards rubbing and striking each other in what looks like an abandoned warehouse contrasting against a beautiful lounge piece creates an ethereal experience quite unlike any other. The fact that Birger did this whole string of moves uncut only adds to the sense of being in the presence of a real high-level Cardist that can do any of these moves at any point of time. I only wish he had chosen to go with a harder-hitting video to engage in this battle with Salvador. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Salvador González

Patrick's thoughts on Salvador vs. Birger:
Salvador and Birger both have a lot going for them. I have to commend Birger for taking the ambitious route and going with the riskier uncut format. However, when you choose to accept all of the benefits of doing an uncut performance you also have to accept the downsides of the format at the same time. The moments where Birger's performance shines have some of their value taken away by some of the chunkiness and small errors that you can spot in the execution. Any of those errors can take the audience out of the experience and puts them in a position where they have to try to ignore certain aspects of the performance in order to appreciate it. Maintaining a steady flow of emotions throughout the sequence is so important and I think this uncut just didn't have the consistency that I really needed to see. In that situation I have to give my vote to the more consistent experience, so this one goes to Salvador.

Patrick's vote: Salvador González

Feedback for Bracket 2/4:
Carter MacDiarmid vs. Luis Mecalco


Touch's thoughts on Carter:
Damn what a battle! Amazing video again, with some very impactful moves. We especially loved the most simple ones like that isolation at the beginning.

We love your style and your flow, and it was nice to have some variety in the moves! The execution was good for the most part, but be careful to end your moves with a squared deck, it’s very important as it’s the last thing that we see from your move.

About the video itself, we think it’s a great example of a very simple edit that just works. Great choice of angles that makes the move easily understandable. With that said, you should probably get out of your room next time, it’s alright for round 1 and 2, but we want to see a bit more effort in presentation in the future.

Also, in a performance, the pacing and the order of the moves you choose has a real impact on the spectator, and in the case of your video, we feel like the ending was a bit weak. Try to end on a power move next time (if it helps, try to design your whole video in the same way you would design a single move).

With an opponent like Luis, we do think that you should have put one or two more moves in the video though, maybe you held out a tiny bit too much. Amazing video nonetheless!

Touch's thoughts on Luis:
There were some extremely impactful moves in there, just what we love to see! And not only that… there was A LOT of it! That cross display thing comes to mind, and the last spread move also: we feel like it could have been in a Noel video (which is one of the best compliments we can give). It was definitely a great idea to end on that move, which was probably one of the most powerful moves of the competition.

We love the variety, but the execution was great, but not perfect, so we think you could improve a bit on this.

Our main problem was the video itself: the way it was put together was a bit annoying for us to be honest. The multi-frame and the random formats were a bit too distracting, and sometimes it made it hard to see what was actually going on.

The music felt a bit boring, maybe something more dynamic would have fit your moves better. If you want to go with a darker/slower style of video, you really have to work more on the atmosphere of that video.

Touch's vote: Luis Mecalco

(Note: Insane battle and definitely the hardest choice we had to make in the tournament just yet. This was extremely close.)

Jaspas' thoughts on Carter:
Carter’s ability to make the hardest moves look effortless blows me away. Between balancing moves, friction-based moves and aerials, he makes all the moves look like they are moves he can do 100% of the time. The moves he perform are edited beautifully with the music he has chosen for the video and the variety of powerful moves of different genres convince me that I’m in the presence of a Cardistry master. If he does make it through to the next round I would like to see him in a location other than his room. Pretty good. 

Jaspas' thoughts on Luis:
Luis has created a really well thought-out experience. Rather than using ridiculous amounts of camera movement to spice up the dynamism of the video, Luis only carefully applies camera movement to the moments that really need it and this is something extremely easily overlooked, particularly in the world of Cardistry. His use of multiple different aspect ratios to guide the audience’s eyes to where the action is happening is smart and highly appreciated, and the split frames showing different angles of the same move shows well designed usage of a commonly misused technique. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Carter MacDiarmid

Patrick's thoughts on Carter vs. Luis:
Carter vs Luis is one of the best battles I've ever seen. I don't think there's ever been a closer battle between two styles. I love everything about both of these videos and I've spent so much time rewatching each, which is a serious testament to how good these two guys are. What you're seeing here is a battle between perfection and excellence. Carter's video is essentially flawless, the execution and the design are all on par with what's expected of a great cardist in 2018. When compared to itself, there is nothing to add or take away from his video which is the purest indicator of a perfect video. However, Luis' video directly went after Carter's video. Alot of the value in Luis' video can be appreciated specifically when you compare it to Carter's video. I love that the edit is clearly going after Carter's style. The cuts I saw from Luis were great, I was happy to see some more depth in his design work in this round. While Carter's material and execution is more refined, Luis' panders to the emotional context of the competition. It's so clear that Luis made a video that was directly meant for this specific match-up and that's something we really wanted to see going into this competition. So with that in mind, I have to give my vote to Luis. In a battle context, excellence beats perfection. I'd say Carter's video is a superior video when you look at it by itself. But when I watch Luis' video and I think about how it stands up to Carter as an individual, trading blows with him at every turn, I have to give this to Luis. Amazing work from both of these cardists and it's a real honor to get to evaluate these two.

Patrick's vote: Luis Mecalco

Feedback for Bracket 3/4:
Dabi H.A. vs. Phan Phong

(Note: Phan Phong has withdrawn from the competition due to personal reasons, making Dabi the default winner of this bracket.)

Touch's thoughts on Dabi:
That was great! An all-around great video, with perfect camerawork, angles and music. The choice of cards also complement the moves very well, so the whole thing feels very complete.

Again, we love your style, it’s out of this world, and your execution was perfect. It made all the moves look mesmerizing, and the experience we had from your video was something we never saw before. You’re different, in a very good way! 

We do feel like we want to see another side of your cardistry though, still in your own crazy style, but something different: we love interlocks, but it might get a bit redundant in round 3… or not? Maybe you can prove us wrong, but it’s a big risk. 

Jaspas' thoughts on Dabi:
Dabi’s round 2 video shows us his further development of the technique that he has come to be recognised for; the birds-eye-view 1 packet rotation in a two-handed cut. I really enjoy Dabi’s design sensibilities when it comes to his Cardistry. There is something essentially ‘Dabi’ about the way he executes his Cardistry that borderlines on being called Iconic. Once again, I’d like to point out how Dabi’s camera work is probably one of the best in this competition with camerawork that synergises with the Cardistry that is happening on screen to further raise his art to greater heights. In 1-on-1 competitions like this one, it is easy to be demotivated when an opponent doesn’t submit his video, and I’m going to take this chance to tell Dabi to keep his mental game strong and stay focused because I think he can go far in this competition. Pretty good.

Patrick's thoughts on Dabi:
[Coming Soon]

Feedback for Bracket 4/4:
Yang Chan vs. Samuel Pratt


Touch's thoughts on Yang:
You’re technically incredible! Definitely one the most skilled cardist in this competition. It really feels like you been doing these moves for 20 years: you make them look super easy and it’s so pleasing to watch!

Again, we love the fact that you still have a global concept, a theme in your videos, but be careful, at this level of competition, don’t let your theme restrict your creativity.

There’s not much to say to be honest, it’s just really really good, but we do feel like we want to see more “out of the box” thinking from you, some more conceptual moves.

You should also try to add a bit of production value next time too. You don’t have to go crazy but think a bit more about your angles and your setting, it could take your presentation to the next level.

Touch's thoughts on Samuel:
We love the way you think! Some very creative moves in that video! Love the diversity too.

There were just A LOT of ideas. Very good ideas. Not just moves but actual concepts that you could explore even more. In our opinion, this was one of the most creative videos of this round!

The amount of moves might have been a bit too ambitious though, because most of the time, the execution was just not enough: it looked like you were struggling with a lot of your moves. Honestly, we felt like you needed a few more months to refine and smooth out your ideas. Also, you tried to perform several moves in a row in that video, that was a good idea but it didn’t help. It was probably too ambitious since you couldn’t do them perfectly.

The index-finger sequence you did was a nice touch, it was a cool reference to Yang’s first round and we really want to see more of those customized battle videos in the next rounds!

(Also there was a bit of a render in your video, not sure why but it looks like it was filmed in slow motion then sped up somehow)

Touch's vote: Yang Chan

Jaspas' thoughts on Yang:
Yang’s video once again was a well crafted competition video that worked perfectly in controlling the audience’s expectation. Beginning the video with an extremely technical, albeit to the point of being a tad boring, series of one-handed Cardistry moves, Yang masterfully lowers our expectations before unveiling the main concept he’s exploring in this video, one-hand table cuts. This unique style of cardistry reminds me of an old Brian Tudor concept but dialled to a hundred. In this one video, I think Yang might have pushed the boundaries of what tabled Cardistry is for the rest of the community. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Samuel:
Samuel’s video feels like an unpolished diamond in the rough. While Yang’s video is clearly a curated Yang-style video, Samuel’s feels like he has a vision for what he wanted the video to be like, but didn’t have the technical know-how to execute it. The video is filled with amazing, powerful cardistry ideas that speaks to me as a viewer both on a non-cardist and a Cardist level, however these amazing moves are disrupted by what feels like unpolished finicky two handed cuts. This brings up the conundrum of what is more important in a competition video. Its ability to evoke emotions of awe, or the pure technical execution of the Cardistry. Naturally the ideal answer is that the video have both, technicality and an amazement factor, but very often we the judges are confronted with a situation where the two videos have extremely different strengths. In this specific case I vote for Samuel, but going forward, Samuel absolutely has to curate his video into a tighter viewing experience to go further in the competition. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Samuel Pratt

Patrick's thoughts on Yang vs. Samuel:
Yang vs Sam is a tough one. You have two very separate value systems here to appreciate. Yang is pure performance value and Sam is pure design value. One speaks with his hands, the other speaks with his head. Both of these systems are extremely important and the best cardists in the world strike a deliberate, practiced balance between these two ends of the spectrum. Overall I think Yang's designs are relatively underwhelming throughout his video. It's pretty conventional thinking and the table stuff, while nice to see that concept being brought back to 2018, was all fairly standard in the way he approached it. However, anything Yang does looks amazing just through sheer execution. He forces his material to be effective and that's a really rare quality to see in 2018, a year defined by younger cardists that haven't practiced enough to perform well but are smart enough to design quickly. Sam's designs were conceptually interesting and easy to be inspired by idea-wise. But on that same note, his lack of conviction and visible discomfort in his actual performances really does take away from the intrigue of his ideas. So the real question here is are Sam's ideas as compelling as Yang's performances. With that in mind, I think this one goes to Yang. Overall Yang's is generally easier to digest over the shakily executed concepts that I saw from Sam. Yang's confidence is clear and the time he's spent on the material is just as clear. I liked the addition of a single finger move on Sam's part to go after Yang a little but it's just too small of a blow to really measure up to the emotions you get from Yang's video. This one goes to Yang for me.

Patrick's vote: Yang Chan

The Semi-Finals begin on August 14th.

Follow us @cardistrycon to stay updated.

CCC 2018 Round 1 Results + Feedback

Without further ado, the winners of Round 1 of the 2018 Cardistry-Con Championship are:


Salvador González

Birger Karlsson

Carter MacDiarmid

Luis Mecalco

Dabi H.A.

Phan Phong

Yang Chan

Samuel Pratt


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. (You can also click on the names highlighted in each title to be taken to their respective video pages.)

Feedback for Bracket 1/8:
Salvador González vs. Tomoya Maekawa


Touch's thoughts on Salvador:
We love the fact that you obviously put a lot of effort in your video: the production quality is great and there’s simply a lot of content in there. Making a 2-minute video for round 1 — that’s pretty ballsy.

The moves were performed super cleanly and with your legendary speed, so that’s definitely something we love and pay attention to.

With that said, we feel like a lot of the moves were a bit too similar and even though it is what defines your style, it got a bit repetitive at the end. Also, the fact that we’ve seen most of the moves in your previous videos didn’t help.

The angles that you chose for some of the shots were a bit weird too, sometimes. For example, your move “Flore” looks pretty interesting, but it was super hard to get what was really going on.
In the end, it’s still a great video, but for this tournament we really want to see new ideas, and maybe you got a bit too ambitious with all those moves and should have trimmed it down with some more carefully chosen moves.

Touch's thoughts on Tomoya:
First of all, we love the overall vibe of the video. The pace, the music, the clothes, the cards, the setting: everything goes well together.

About the moves: the execution was on point, and there were some really impactful moments like that double waterfall thing and some of the cut closers.

We do feel like some of the cuts were a bit too random and lacked a theme or a idea.

Overall the video felt good, but it also felt like you were holding back too much as there wasn’t that much content. Maybe just one or two more moves would have made it way more complete.

Touch's vote: Tomoya Maekawa

Jaspas' thoughts on Salvador:
Salvador's entry had an array of beautifully shot content and amazing cardistry moves. His liberal use of card twirls create a nice tone of high octane action, however due to the card twirls being overused within the context of this video, the full potential of the experience was not reached. I particularly enjoyed the one-handed cut at the end of his video. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Tomoya:
Tomoya chose to approach round one with a far shorter video than his opponent and as such was able to produce a video with a far tighter experience.  Move after move was tightly-executed, smooth cardistry. His use of close-ups, wide-angle shots and mid shots made watching this video fun despite the relatively bland soundtrack. I particularly enjoyed the one-handed double flo move in the middle of his video. Pretty good. 

Jaspas' vote: Salvador González

Patrick's thoughts on Salvador:
Salvador's video got me hyped for the competition. Lots of great energy right from the start, really felt like a classic competitive video. I liked the simplicity of some of the single card stuff but it’s cool to see him also ambitious with the complexity of his card twirls. Overall, though, it was pretty hard for me to distinguish most of the card twirls from each other. I wish the editing was toned down in some spots, and it felt like it was hard to see some of the moves.

Patrick's thoughts on Tomoya:
I like the focus Tomoya brought in this round. His designs have a consistent quality and his style is easy to see. The moment where the 3 packets interlace and spin around is pretty sick! I would have liked to see him put a little more material into this video or have some more variety. Some of the grips from the cuts looked very similar and it made it hard to get excited about some of the moments in the video.

Patrick's vote: Salvador González

Feedback for Bracket 2/8:
Birger Karlsson vs. Adrian Gaunt


Touch's thoughts on Birger:
So that was a typical Birger video: all the moves were very impactful and there were no filler moves. The video was super chill, the performance, the music… all super laid-back. Maybe too laid-back? We know it’s your style and we love it, but be careful not to fall into a “boring” presentation.

We do feel like you could have put a bit more effort in the video, though: some of the moves (especially the sticky index thing) could definitely have used a reshoot.

There’s not much to say to be honest — as we already said, it’s a typical Birger video, so it is was we expected of you, which is already great, but let’s see what we don’t expect next time! (and maybe get out of your room next time, this is ok for Round 1 but it might be too lazy for future rounds…)

Touch's thoughts on Adrian:
Your video was pretty good, but we feel it could have been a lot better: for most of the moves, the idea is there, and there’s usually a good concept behind it, but we do think that the design of the move itself could have been better. For example, there’s a great mechanical moment going on in your cut “Elixir the second”, but the whole cut seems a bit random, and the structure of it doesn’t feel complete. Same thing with your move “Hardscope”.

There are definitely some great moments and some good moves, but to be honest we expected a bit more from you.

We love the fact that you made an effort to “customize” your video to your opponent with the backflip at the end — it really makes a difference in this kind of 1 vs 1 battle, and you’re the only one who actually took that into account!

Touch's vote: Birger Karlsson

Jaspas' thoughts on Birger:
Birger's video featured Birger's signature style of moves that seem too impossible to be done with playing cards. He makes beautiful and difficult card shots look effortless and as always I find myself impressed with what he's able to do with cards. However, it also feels like Birger was holding back just a little too much in this round and I hope he doesn't fall prey to this habit that many veteran Cardistry competitors seem to face. I particularly enjoyed the behind-the-back shot he did at the end of his video. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Adrian:
Adian definitely has a good eye for moves that showcase interesting card interactions, shapes and movements. The main danger that I think he faces are that many of the moves he has chosen to show are moves that are minor variations of relatively common moves. That being said, I really like the backflip he does at the end of video, a callback to backflip-related cardistry moves that his opponent, Birger, has done in videos before. This shines a light on his ambitious nature to defeat his opponent. I particularly enjoyed the two-handed cut he does at 0:12. Pretty good.   

Jaspas' vote: Birger Karlsson

Patrick's thoughts on Birger:
Birger is slick. Felt like he was taking it easy in this first round, but his experience seems to have served him well. Birger has a great performance style — his ideas are very easy to understand and he has a great sense for moments. I wish he had been a little more ambitious with this first round though!

Patrick's thoughts on Adrian:
I noticed that the moves in this video seem to get interrupted a lot by cuts in the editing. When it happens over and over again it starts to make the video feel like it’s hiding something. The material I saw didn’t feel like a finished set of moves, I think it all needs a little more time to get polished. The moments were interesting though, I liked the flipping cascade and the one handed card shot thing at the end.  

Patrick's vote: Birger Karlsson

Feedback for Bracket 3/8:
Carter MacDiarmid vs. Lance Maderal


Touch's thoughts on Carter:
Not much to say here, your video was great! One of our favorites from this round. The moves were very well designed and executed with style (that reminded us of Aviv somehow, which is a great thing), the whole video had an awesome vibe to it, and everything fits. Great job.

Touch's thoughts on Lance:
Lots of good packet cuts in there, definitely a very strong entry! We really love some of your openers and closers, and that “Pazurubokkusu” cut was just crazy!

The only thing we could say is that sometimes the shape that you use as display don’t make that much sense to us, but maybe it’s just a matter of opinion.

Touch's vote: Carter MacDiarmid

Jaspas' thoughts on Carter:
Carter's video is a delight to watch. Well shot, nice lighting, nice color palettes with smooth, interesting, beautiful cardistry. The cardistry is performed and edited well to the music. The execution of moves is stylish and goes well with the music. There really is not much I would change about this video as it is beautiful as-is, except that it would be cool if he had a high tempo third act of this video with an equally high tempo song. I particularly enjoyed the isolation-style two-handed cut at 0:37. Pretty good.  

Jaspas' thoughts on Lance:
Lance's video is crafted really well. It begins relatively simply and quickly builds to a crescendo at the end of the video. Most of the moves shown have his own interesting take on a simple concept, and has accompanying camera angles that properly showcase the move. The isolation-style two-handed cut at the end of the video plays perfectly to the flow of the video and the way it played off how the video was building up to it's climax made me appreciate the artistry that went into crafting this cardistry video. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Lance Maderal

Patrick's thoughts on Carter:
The personality you see in Carter’s video is really amazing. The material was well-designed and performed very comfortably. Carter handles cards so naturally and it really sold me on a lot of his material. The presentation of his stuff is probably my favorite presentation from this round.

Patrick's thoughts on Lance:
Lance’s move design is great! I love his sense for angles and rhythm. The cuts have solid openers, moments and closers and I can’t really ask for more than that design-wise from a packet cutter. The displays in this video were great as well, love the form. I think the main area where this video could improve is in overall performance value. It felt like Lance was a little uncomfortable with some of the material.

Patrick's vote: Carter MacDiarmid

Feedback for Bracket 4/8:
Luis Mecalco vs. Lorenzo Sieni


Touch's thoughts on Luis:
We love the fact that pretty much all the moves here are super impactful. After only one watch we can basically remember all the moves and describe them — that’s super important for us as it means that the concept of your moves are well defined and straight to the point. That popping square at the end might also be one of the best moves of the whole round.

With that said, we do think that the performance of the moves could have been a bit cleaner, the packets a bit more squared during cuts, also it seems like you’re jump-cutting your performance a bit too much for our taste. 

About the video itself, we feel like that first setting represent the style of performing that you have in the video, which is great, but why did you change settings in the middle of the video? The second one didn’t really fit that video in our opinion… Anyways, still a super good video, congrats!

Touch's thoughts on Lorenzo:
We felt like your video lacked some impact. Most of the moves were actually pretty good, but none of them really stood out. At the end of the video we’re left a bit hungry for more. Maybe this is due to the fact that some of the angles that you chose were not the best for those moves. We loved your first move though, and maybe it should have been better to end the video with it, to finish on a higher note.

Touch's vote: Luis Mecalco

Jaspas' thoughts on Luis:
Luis' video is an extremely well designed experience. Everything from the graininess of the video quality, the droning in the music, the aggressiveness of the cardistry and the roughness of the design of many of the moves play off each other to create a very coherent viewing experience. There's almost nothing in this video I would change other than how wide the shot at 1:22 is. I particularly enjoyed the way the one-handed triangle expanded and closed at 1:10. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Lorenzo:
Lorenzo’s video is a smooth watching experience. Smooth cardistry with smooth piano-laced rap music, the relationship between the two aspects of the video make the video very soothing to watch. The textures of shadow and light on Lorenzo’s hands and cards further improve the watching experience, however in future videos do consider shooting the moves a little bit closer to the hands, this will make it easier for your audience to concentrate on the cardistry. I particularly enjoyed the final move in this video. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Luis mecalco

Patrick's thoughts on Luis:
Mecalco has so much style. The guy is obviously having fun with his material and it’s a real joy to watch a cardist that already believes in his stuff. I enjoyed the ideas I saw and I love the flare he has. The box idea at the end is a major highlight of this first round.

Patrick's thoughts on Lorenzo:
The cuts in here are the best I saw from this round! Amazing structure, really awesome grips. This video is really dense, no filler at all in the presentation and I’m a huge fan of that kind of thing. The  cuts in this video get better the more you watch them.

Patrick's vote: Luis Mecalco

Feedback for Bracket 5/8:
Dabi H.A. vs. Alexander Keb


Touch's thoughts on Dabi:
For us, this was one of the strongest entry for this round, congrats. We love the fact that your moves had a theme throughout the video. We love the interlock concept, and even though we’ve seen a lot of those in the past few years, we feel like yours were really refreshing. It’s hard to pin down what exactly made it so special, but we think it’s probably about how you present them, it’s just so different than everyone else. The good camera work also helped complimenting your moves.

The execution was also great, every packet was super clean. Short and sweet!

Now that we’ve seen almost only interlock from you (in this round and in your 15-second audition video), we kind of want to see something different next time… please keep on surprising us like you did until now!

Touch's thoughts on Alexander:
We love the setting and the cinematography of this one! Everything was super chill and it went well with the style of moves that you were doing. The flow of your execution was great, but a lot of the moves themselves lacked a bit of impact in our opinion.

One of the main problems for us was the choice of cards though, it might not seem like a super important thing but in this case it made your complex cuts really hard to understand (this is probably due to the fact that there’s not a lot of contrast between the fronts and the backs).
There were definitely some great moves, like the one at 00:40, but maybe you should have trimmed it down to keep only the best ones here and make a shorter video.

Touch's vote: Dabi H.A.

Jaspas' thoughts on Dabi:
Dabi's style of cardistry is unique and very systematic, I love it. However, the main reason why Dabi's cardistry video is so powerful is because he has an eye for camera movement that further emphasize the beauty of his moves. The camera movement is intentional and unlike many other video producers, he cleverly choreographs it with consideration for the cardistry moves. The performances of his moves were also edited perfectly with the music. I particularly enjoyed the very first move of the video, it set the tone perfectly for the rest of the video. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Alexander:
Alexander’s style is very machine-like, in a weird sexy robot kind of way. Between the sensual music, absolutely stunning location choice and beautiful repeating Cardistry move designs. It’s also not very common to see a Cardist whose style is quite as focused on shapes as Alexander’s, and I’m glad his exists. Alexander’s video made me smile from beginning to end. If Alexander does make it through this round, I do hope the next video is color graded a little bit more interestingly. I particularly enjoyed the move at 1:15, something about going into a Werm-Like display, but only half way really tickled my fancy. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Dabi H.A.


Patrick's thoughts on Dabi:
Dabi is really something else. His cardistry is so rich. His movement is so precise and thoughtful that his simple material barely seems simple at all. He creates so much depth in such efficient ways and it’s so easy to let yourself be immersed in the experience that he offers. Really great stuff in this video, loved everything about it.

Patrick's thoughts on Alexander:
Love the flow from Alexander. Nice to see somebody handle cards without any fidgeting or hesitating. His moves have a classic feel and I dig the style. I think he could use more moments though, all of the moves have a similar emotional impact.

Patrick's vote: Dabi H.A.

Feedback for Bracket 6/8:
Phan Phong vs. Johannes Verrieth


Touch's thoughts on Phan Phong:
That was pretty cool. Not great to be honest, we feel like you were holding back a bit too much, but still some of the moves left a good impact on us. We liked the variety of the moves as it made it interesting throughout the whole video.

There’s not much we can say about this video, it wasn’t bad, but we think you can do a lot better.

Touch's thoughts on Johannes:
Let’s first talk about the obvious thing: this feels really lazy. Sorry, but it’s what we remember the most about your video.

It’s not about having a great cameraman or an expensive camera, but sitting on a chair in your room for the world championship not only seem really lazy, but it makes your moves looks weird sometimes (your arm were sometimes forced to be in a weird “t-rex” like position to avoid the armchair…). For some of the moves, the packets were also super messy and the execution wasn’t that great. We do think that this “I don’t care” kind of video wasn’t very respectful to your opponent. We’re sorry if this seem a bit harsh, but it’s important to us.

With that said, we can’t deny that there were some great moves in your video. You have a great flow and some really smart cuts, but there was also some very weird/bad moves. We think you should have trimmed it down more because it was very uneven.

To be honest, it’s not a bad video, but it’s a practice video, it doesn’t feel like you’re performing. Which isn’t really a good idea in this CCC context.

Again, we’re not asking to hire a camera man, or not even to go outside, but please only keep in mind to try to perform for the viewers and not for yourself.

Touch's vote: Phan Phong

Jaspas' thoughts on Phan Phong:
Phong's video showcases a wide variety of simple yet thought provoking moves. The diversity of his moves makes this video entertaining to watch, and over a simple yet heavy soundtrack, the cardistry is impactful and dramatic. Moving forward I hope to see Phong dive deeper into the concepts he presents in future videos and show us what the ultimate version of each of these moves is. I particularly enjoyed the insane card spin at 1:02. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Johannes:
Johannes' video has great cardistry in it. However, if Johannes does make it through this round I'd like to see better video quality, editing, location choices and a general sensitivity to the importance of this competition. I particularly enjoyed the move at 1:46. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Phan Phong


Patrick's thoughts on Phan Phong:
Phong’s stuff was nice. The video was a comfortable watch and I felt like I processed everything in the video. The moves felt complete but I wasn’t very excited about any of the moments. Logical designs though, I can appreciate them each as moves.

Patrick's thoughts on Johannes:
I’m all for sitting in your chair. Personally I think it should be possible to win a competition from your chair. However, comfort is not an excuse to have bad angles. You can sit all you want, wear whatever you want, and use whatever cards or songs you want. But if the audience can’t see the material from the best angles then there’s a problem. You can’t show this much material from only one angle. The impression that I got was that you weren’t attached to the ideas you were showing. It felt like a very candid practice session and I had a really hard time seeing the specific moments that make the video great. The material is super solid for the most part too, but you have to make that guess as the audience. The angles created a lot of uncertainty for me unfortunately.

Patrick's vote: Phan Phong

Feedback for Bracket 7/8:
Yang Chan vs. Zhao Lun Liu


Touch's thoughts on Yang Chan:
Man what a great round! It started as a typical Yang video with beautiful flowy, perfectly executed move, and then switched to the competitive beast we’ve seen in Round 1 last year!

To be honest, this is exactly what we wanted to see this year when we were talking about “creating your own theme” and “taking risks”. Congrats!

Touch's thoughts on Lun Liu:
Very nice overall video! Everything fits, and everything makes sense as one single experience. The setting and the angles were carefully chosen, and it made your moves look the best possible way. Your style is pretty unusual (in a good way), kind of old school, which we don’t see that often nowadays, and your execution was on point! 

We felt like the moves were a bit too repetitive though, and in the end none of them really stood out that much. Not saying the moves were bad, they were actually pretty much all good, but it lacked a “wow” factor, something that really took us by surprise.

Touch's vote: Yang Chan

Jaspas' thoughts on Yang Chan:
Yang's return to the Cardistry-Con Championship has me very pleased. His video is expertly crafted to play down the expectations of the audience. In the first half he begins with smooth, careful, simple cardistry to have our expectations lowered, then later in the video he goes all out with really impressive 1-finger-plus-1-hand moves. This ability to carefully control the emotional experience of the audience will be one of his greatest advantages. I particularly enjoyed his closing move. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Lun Liu:
Lunzi's video is tonally the most interesting cardistry video in this round of the competition. While most cardists either opt to go for a chill style or aggressive style, Lunzi opted to go for an extremely elegant and confident styled video. His choice of the slow opener gives us the audience time to slow down to appreciate the video. Many of the shots are well-crafted with adequate lighting to give you enough information to appreciate the feeling of the move without flooding the entire frame with light. The music choice further emphasizes the tonal significance. I particularly enjoyed the move in which in spins a card on his wrist bone, it's not something we've never seen before, but i've never seen it done this artfully. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Yang Chan


Patrick's thoughts on Yang Chan:
Yang took an awesome risk here. The round 1 one finger idea at the end totally worked on me when I saw it. I was super excited when I realized what the video was about to become and it delivered on my expectations. Very satisfied, this feels like a true competitive video.

Patrick's thoughts on Lun Liu:
The energy from Lunzi is undeniable. You can really feel the direction behind his moves and it’s easy to receive his character through this video. Unfortunately, I felt like I couldn’t see the material during certain moments of the video. Very stylized editing both serves the video and hurts it in these moments.

Patrick's vote: Yang Chan

Feedback for Bracket 8/8:
Shivraj Morzaria vs. Samuel Pratt


Touch's thoughts on Shivraj:
That was refreshing! You have some of the most unique and interesting cardistry. There was a lot of great and unexpected moments in your video, and we love that.

You have to be careful not to compromise too much on the beauty of the move, though: sometimes it looks like you’re trying so hard to make a move interesting or unusual that it becomes, well, kind of ugly (for example the move at 00:38).

The second part of the video wasn’t as good for us though. We really like the concept but we felt like you barely scratched the surface of what’s possible to do with this. What you did with this concept felt like “the first ideas” you get when you start exploring, so we were expecting more from you to be honest. Also, we do think that the interesting ideas that you have with cardestroy should be mixed with skill: it is a cardistry competition after all, and the idea is a great part of cardistry, but skill is too.

Overall it was still super entertaining to watch!

Touch's thoughts on Samuel:
Really interesting entry! We loved that you really chose only moves with great impact, quality over quantity. Your moves are very easy to remember, they all have something really interesting in their own way. Special mention for the last two moves, that were really great!

The cinematography and lighting was also really nice, it made your moves very clear and easy to watch!

The main problem with your video, though, was the execution of the moves. The moves were smooth and pretty clean, yes, but could use a bit more speed and most importantly: confidence. The moves were great, but the way you present them to us felt a bit “shy”, almost like you weren’t really proud of them.

This was a very good Round 1 though, but don’t forget it's a battle and that you have to go hard on your opponent!

Touch's vote: Samuel Pratt

Jaspas' thoughts on Shivraj:
Shivaj has an uphill battle to climb when it comes to competitions. Aside from his great 'normal' cardistry skills, because he is so well known for his extremely odd style of Cardistry, Cardestroy, it almost is assumed that he will add some form of Cardestroy to his competition videos. However, this is unrealistic, because as he is the only real practitioner of Cardestroy, the ideas will slowly become more and more repetitive. Perhaps the fact that he has Cardestroy in his video even takes away some attention from the crazy moves that he did do in his video. I particularly enjoyed the move at 0:29. I've never seen something quite as well designed as this move. Pretty good.

Jaspas' thoughts on Samuel:
Samuel's video is beautiful. I'm a long time advocate of the mantra "get out of the house and shoot your videos", and Samuel's video is a beautiful example of this. The lighting, beautiful sky and image quality of the video is wonderful, add to that a chill soundtrack and Samuel's elegant moves and you've got a video that is simply beautiful. Samuel's movements are also extremely elegant, with simple, easy variations that create completely different-looking moves. I also really enjoyed that one cut in which the cards seemed to end squared before he squared the cards. I particularly enjoyed the weird one-handed triangle. Pretty good.

Jaspas' vote: Samuel Pratt


Patrick's thoughts on Shivraj:
Shiv’s stuff is definitely really interesting. I was compelled by the ideas in the beginning and he’s got some cuts that are solid. However, the transition to the more conceptual material really didn’t work for me unfortunately. The taped packet stuff at the end didn’t impact me that much emotionally and it took away from the video experience.

Patrick's thoughts on Samuel:
Chill vibes all the way. I was surprised by my satisfaction with a lot of the closers I saw here. It shows a lot of effort in the places you’d think would get the least attention and I really appreciate those smaller decisions. Nice thoughts, very thorough. I think the running OH cut shot went on for a little too long but it’s not a huge deal.

Patrick's vote: Samuel Pratt

Round 2 begins on July 26th.

Follow us @cardistrycon to stay updated.

CCC 2018 Audition Results: Top 16

After several weeks of evaluation and discussion, our judges have whittled down the 145 #15secondstoimpress entries down to just 16 elite competitors. We now present to you this year's Top 16 contenders for the CCC:

Adrian Gaunt

Alexander Keb

Birger Karlsson

Carter MacDiarmid

Dabi HA

Johannes Verrieth

Lance Maderal

Lorenzo Sieni

Luis Mecalco

Phong Phan

Salvador Gonzalez

Samuel Pratt

Shivraj Morzaria

Tomoya Maekawa

Yang Chan

Zhao Lun Liu

You can click on any of their names to watch their #15secondstoimpress audition video.

As previously mentioned, this year's CCC will be conducted using the single-elimination tournament style. Here are the match-ups for Round 1:


Our cardists will have two weeks to submit their Round 1 videos, and we will begin publishing their submissions here on July 3rd. Do be sure to follow us on Instagram to stay notified of CCC updates, as well as updates from the Con in general!