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.

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