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.

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