Without further ado, the winners of Round 1 of the 2019 Cardistry-Con Championship are:
And here's how they'll be matched up in Round 2:
LEO FLORES vs. CONG LE - LARS MAYRAND vs. LUKAS REBELE - SALVADOR GONZALEZ vs. LEON SANCHEZ - NHAT DUONG NGUYEN vs. AZLAN VALENTINE
Our judges have also written feedback for all the contestants, which you can view along with their votes for each round below.
Feedback for Bracket 1/8:
Leo Flores vs. Luca Lanciotto
Touch's thoughts on Leo:
We love the ambiance on this one, especially the attention to details: the clothes match the cards, the moves match the music and the filming compliments the setting. The choice of the angles was also very good, as we could really understand the complex moves.
The cut themselves were good, but to be honest, we were expecting a bit better from you. There were some good moments, but they often felt a bit lazy and not clean enough (especially closers). We really liked the fan though, it was nice and surprising.
Another thing that we really enjoy is that you clearly have your own personal style: we don’t have to see your face or your name to know that you are the one doing the moves ;)
Touch's thoughts on Luca:
Very nice execution: the moves had great flow and were super clean! We did feel like there was not enough variety though, we would have love to see some moves that stand out a bit more. Even though you have two killer moves (0:21 & 0:38-0:47)
About the video itself, we felt like the edit was a bit too much, especially with the lens flares.
It also looks like you held out a bit too much on this one, there was simply not a lot of moves and the whole thing felt a bit short.
Touch's vote: Leo Flores
Jaspas' thoughts on Leo & Luca:
In this battle both Leo Flores and Luca Lanciotto had equally interesting deep moves. Both Cardists had visually compelling styles of two-handed cuts, Leo with the complex, tight packet cuts and Luca with open, wide two handed cuts. The two cardists executed their style of cardistry with confidence and swag, and shot their videos with purpose and clarity. It was a difficult decision to choose between the two of them but ultimately I think Leo's consistently powerful 2 minute 5 second long video allowed him to showcase more of his style and appealed more to my senses than Luca's vastly shorter, albeit better edited video.
Jaspas' vote: Leo Flores
Patrick's thoughts on Leo & Luca:
This is a matchup I would have liked to see in the later rounds, both of these guys are very stylish packet cutters. I think Luca guessed wrong about how much material he needed for the first round. I think if you directly compare the quality of Luca’s moves to Leo’s, Luca does very well. He’s a great designer and performer. However, Leo is able to match and occasionally pass Luca design-wise and Leo’s performances stay pretty clean throughout his video as well. Leo has maybe twice as much material in his video. Given that the quality of their material is roughly the same, quantity starts to weigh more for me. So Leo wins this one!
Patrick's vote: Leo Flores
Feedback for Bracket 2/8:
Alvin Pino Flores vs. Thanh Cong Le
Touch's thoughts on Cong Le:
Definitely some great concept moves in this one, especially in the first part of the video, but we really think most of the moves could be cleaner.
One thing that really didn’t do it for us was the isolations: we get that you have somehow a cool idea, but this type of move really do not work as a “proof of concept”, an isolation that isn’t perfectly executed looks really bad, even if the idea is good. We did like the fact that there’s a lot of variety in the moves you did, it kept us entertained throughout the whole thing.
About the video itself, it wasn’t bad, but the setting could be better if you put a bit more effort into it. Here it felt like it had no real theme.
Touch's thoughts on Alvin:
We really like the vibe of this video: it’s raw but it’s fun and the whole thing was entertaining.
Some of the moves were really interesting, but the purpose of certain moves were not clear, and bit random sometimes.
The biggest turn off for us was the performance. We felt like the moves were not clean enough. Most moves could use more practice and a bit more flow and the fact that you used a really poop deck throughout the video didn’t help, it gave the video kind of a sloppy look.
Touch's vote: Cong Le
Jaspas' thoughts on Cong Le & Alvin:
I was extremely surprised by Gaolock's entry in this round, it feels like he's applied his beautifully genius Cardistry style of the previous few years into creating an altogether different and monsterously visual style of his own. The unique, weird moves that he had executed in his video gave me multiple moments of awe. On the other hand Alvin's more casual style reminded me of a fun, light hearted jam video. It captures the feeling of an everyday person's adventure into cardistry while providing high quality cardistry. Comparing the two videos is very hard, but ultimately I prefered Gaolock's oddstyled Cardistry.
Jaspas' vote: Cong Le
Patrick's thoughts on Cong Le & Alvin:
Fun match! Both of these guys are creative and unique. I think the difference between the two of them is that Gaolock uses surprises and Alvin uses sequences. You don’t really see full “moves” from gaolock, you get unexpected moments. Alvin’s stuff falls into more predictable space but you generally get to spend more time watching each move. I think between these two strengths I got more entertainment out of Gaolock’s shock value. He felt a little more effective even though his moments were shorter. This one goes to Gaolock for me!
Patrick's vote: Cong Le
Feedback for Bracket 3/8:
Lars Mayrand vs. Gabriel Valencia Chacon
Touch's thoughts on Gabriel:
Great execution on those moves, really good flow and musicality! The music fits the moves and the edit fits the music :) In terms of cardistry, there was some great moments too! We especially loved that angel turnover thing, it definitely surprised us! We also liked your efforts on closers.
We did feel like it lacked a bit a creativity though, a lot of the moves were cool but it was missing a little creative ingredient in our opinion.
Touch's thoughts on Lars:
Damn. What a great video! We honestly don’t have a lot to say about this one except that it was great. It had everything we’re looking in this competition: creativity, variety, flow, and personality. The only thing is that you set the bar really high for yourself… hope you can keep it up :P
Touch's vote: Lars Mayrand
Jaspas' thoughts on Gabriel & Lars:
In the battle of Gabriel vs Lars, I feel like Lars' long history of creating mechanically simple yet compelling cardsitry has paid off. Lars' video while filled with conceptually simpler Cardistry was an entertaining yet impressive adventure. On the other hand, Gabriel's video felt weighed down by the at times excessively complex combos and movements. Had Gabriel's performance and camera work been smoother, I think I might have a very difficult decision to make in this round, but as things currently stand I think Lars' more engaging and smoother video made the better impression.
Jaspas' vote: Lars Mayrand
Patrick's thoughts on Gabriel & Lars:
I can’t say enough good things about Lars’ video! I was completely engaged from beginning to end and I found myself really happy with everything I saw. Perfect pacing and escalation, Lars’ personality is visible in every moment of this video. Lars even redesigned one of Gabriel’s audition moves and then recreated the exact shot from Gabriel’s audition down to using the same deck and matching the background. Gabriel’s video is full of cool cardistry but for me it didn’t have the moments that it needed to really triumph over what Lars put together. I give this match to Lars!
Patrick's vote: Lars Mayrand
Feedback for Bracket 4/8:
Nikita Yatsik vs. Lukas Rebele
Touch's thoughts on Nikita:
There’s a lot of content in that video, some great, and some not that great. We really love that you’re exploring many different concepts though: your video had some good variety and was overall very entertaining. The upside down angel spin really caught us by surprise, definitely the highlight of the video for us.
Although the moves were almost always somehow interesting and had a unique concept, a lot of the moves felt unfinished or should have been designed a bit better. Try not to compromise the beauty of the moves for an interesting mechanic :)
Touch's thoughts on Lukas:
Some really sick move in that video, a lot of very high impact and memorable flourishes. We do think that some of those moves could have a better execution, but creativity was definitely there. We also love the variety, as there was good fans, cuts and weird shit :P We especially loved the “air riffle” shot thingy and the last fan!
The overall theme of the video was also great, it made the whole thing even more entertaining, congrats!
Touch's vote: Lukas Rebele
Jaspas' thoughts on Nikita & Lukas:
I was pleasantly surprised to see a battle between two Cardists that had styles that were primarily not of the mainstream two-handed cut variety. Both videos had compelling videography that complimented the Cardistry well, and both videos had unique cardistry moves that left me bewildered. I can't for the life of me figure out how Nikita did the move at 0.24, nor can I fathom the effort and determination it took for Lukas to do the crazy one-handed spring + cut shot at 1.18. In my eyes both of these videos are absolute winners and in any other competition would stand heads and shoulders over their peers.
Jaspas' vote: Lukas Rebele
Patrick's thoughts on Nikita & Lukas:
This match is such a headache for me. I don’t want to see either of these guys go this early. Lukas’ video was super focused on presentational strength and Nikita’s video was very dense with moves. I’m not a big fan of the repeated shots in Lukas’ video, it always feels like filler to me when I see 2-3 full shots of the same move in a row. I wish Nikita narrowed down his move selection a little and polished his performances as well. I thought Lukas’ video flowed really well, very watchable experience. It’s hard for me to vote against just the sheer amount of material I saw in Nikita’s video but I wasn’t sure if the material I saw was really effective for me. I think if Nikita’s video had been sequenced a little more purposefully it would have a slight edge over Lukas but right now I’m leaning the other way. I think Lukas was more entertaining overall so he wins this one for me!
Patrick's vote: Lukas Rebele
Feedback for Bracket 5/8:
Salvador González vs. Peter Chien
Touch's thoughts on Peter:
Some really nice two handed cut in there, good flow! The palm spin thing was also very neat and caught us by surprise. We thing that you held out a bit too much though: there was simply not that much move, and some of the moves were not really “CCC worthy” in our opinion.
Concerning the video itself, the vibe was pretty cool, but be careful with the lighting: it sometimes made it hard to see some of the moves.
Touch's thoughts on Salvador:
You really have an amazing flow! Super stylish and personal. The whole presentation was also on point: the way you execute the moves and the way you filmed and edited them to the music really made the whole thing super entertaining to watch. Special mention to your one handed three cards twirl that looks amazing.
We did feel like it lacked a little bit of creativity, or some very strong moment to make the overall video more memorable.
Touch's vote: Salvador
Jaspas' thoughts on Peter & Salvador:
Peter's simpler yet extremely clean cut style of cardistry differs drastically from Salvador's more complex and fluid style in a way that makes comparing the two's videos very difficult. I'm a huge fan of the way Peter's video was edited to heightened the way his visually simple cardistry moves look. Had the same effects been placed on Salvador's video, I believe it would leave many of the viewers confused and unsure about what is happening. On the other hand, Salvador's simple minimalist editing helps convey the complexity of his Cardistry that allows the audience to understand and appreciate his art. While I'm a huge fan of how Peter applied the picture-in-picture effect to great success and used it to guide the audience's eye across the screen, I have to say the Salvador's more complex Cardistry won me over specifically in this competition setting.
Jaspas' vote: Salvador
Patrick's thoughts on Peter & Salvador:
I had two very separate experiences while watching these videos. I thought that Peter’s editing and presentation made it really hard to see his material, which is unfortunate because there are a couple cuts I wanted to see better. Performance-wise he seems to be pretty good but again it’s not clear. Salvador is easy to watch and his moves are presented very openly. I like that less is hidden in Salvador’s video, it adds confidence to his material. That first fan is sick! I give this round to Salvador.
Patrick's vote: Salvador
Feedback for Bracket 6/8:
Leon Sanchez vs. Ziem
Touch's thoughts on Leon:
You had some very strong and memorable moments in this one. The first fan was crazy and some of the one handed cuts super cool. Shout-out to your one handed cut “Flared Skirt”, probably one the craziest one handed we’ve seen since a long time. ;) We really enjoyed the variety as it made the whole thing very entertaining, but some of the moves could definitely have been performed better and cleaner.
Also, be a little bit careful in your interlock, sometimes your hands hide a bit too much of the cut: it’s either a mistake in the design of the cut, or in the angle you chose to film it.
Touch's thoughts on Ziem:
We like that you made an effort on the theme, but the first part felt a little bit cheesy for us, and the second one was also too much (the “horror” vibe is really hard to recreate and look good).
There was some cool moments, we really like the flat cross to square thing, and some of the mechanics you use were really interesting. Interesting doesn’t always mean great though and a lot of those ideas seemed a bit unfinished, or lacked a clear purpose.
The video wasn’t bad, but we did feel like you held out a bit too much for this round.
Touch's vote: Leon Sanchez
Jaspas' thoughts on Leon & Ziem:
Huge shoutout to both competitors of this battle. Leon's video was an epic adventure of cool variations of existing moves, while Ziem's video was an exploration of many weird finnicky moves. The problem with Leon's video is that as a video that builds on many preexisting concepts in such a direct way, I expected every move to be absolutely smooth and flawless. However some of the performances felt just a little bit off. Whereas with Ziem, because he plays with more fundamentally non-mainstream Cardistry moves it is easier for me to overlook minor imperfections. I also enjoyed many of these weird little moves he performed, and look forward to more unique cardistry by him.
Jaspas' vote: Ziem
Patrick's thoughts on Leon & Ziem:
I have to applaud Ziem for changing up the vibe and going after a new energy. I think you can see a lot of great thought between both of these guys! Leon’s interlocks occasionally struggle with a lack of movement. Ziem’s last cut is really sick but I wasn’t as excited about many of the other ideas. In the end, Leon’s one-handed stuff really won me over. I give this round to Leon!
Patrick's vote: Leon Sanchez
Feedback for Bracket 7/8:
Nhat Duong Nguyen vs. Zhao Lun Liu
Touch's thoughts on Nhat Duong:
Great editing and presentation on this one! Probably the most professional looking video of this round. The whole theme was nice and super clean, but maybe a tiny bit much on the visual effect over the cards?
As usual, your flow is crazy and your execution is perfect. You know your moves and you know how to present them.
We do feel like the whole thing lacked a bit of creativity though. It felt like those moves were stuff that we’ve seen you do before, or variations of them. Not sure exactly, it didn’t felt as “fresh” as we wanted it to be.
Touch's thoughts on Lun Liu:
We like the effort on the theme here, it was well executed. Be careful though, the VHS filter sometimes makes it harder to see the moves. About the moves, there was some great cuts, but it was a bit uneven. Some of the moves didn’t really seem “CCC level”, you probably held out a bit much on this one. Special mention for the single card stunt though, it’s amazing! The execution was almost perfect every time though, you really know your moves!
One thing we didn’t understand was the closer of the last move: it’s the very last thing of the video and it seemed like you gave up on that closer.
Touch's vote: Nhat Duong
Jaspas' thoughts on Nhat Duong & Lun Liu:
Both Cardists are auteurs of their own style. I was delighted to see Yang finally go out on the production side of his Cardistry videos while Lunzi's retro Cardistry video with the red displacement filter had me hypnotized throughout the video. Both Cardists executed Cardistry that is uniquely their own and very recognisably so. This round of the competition could have gone both ways easily and I look forward to either Cardist's future entries to the competition.
Jaspas' vote: Nhat Duong
Patrick's thoughts on Nhat Duong & Lun Liu:
This one is the heartbreaker. Man these guys put together crazy videos. It’s always great to see two veteran cardists competing authentically without underestimating each other. Both guys took each other seriously and it’s visible in how they’ve approached this round.
Presentationally I think Yang’s video is more exciting. The energy of his moves, the balance in his move choice and the animations that accentuate his flow all make Yang an extremely convincing cardist in this video. You really get a full sense for who Yang is from this video. I feel that Lunzi’s presentation is more unique and less predictable, Lunzi took a risk with the vintage style video. One thing I loved about Lunzi’s video is the first sequence, it wasn’t obvious to me that it was all one sequence at first. I only noticed after my third watch. Then Lunzi teases you by not actually finishing that sequence but still shows you a glimpse of a crazy ending as it’s about to happen right before “accidentally” cutting the video by tripping on a cable. I love narrative stuff like that. It’s clear as you continue to watch Lunzi’s video that his designs have more depth than Yang’s. Yang’s card twirls are definitely faster and sharper but I felt Lunzi’s five-card twirl sequence was a more effective display of twirls. Lunzi doesn’t have any problems slowing his moves down which I also really appreciate. While Yang’s video ends with that crazy shot behind his back and then the robot arm, Lunzi instead opted to leave a cliffhanger/possible teaser for moves to come in the next round. These two are insanely close but I’m gonna go with Lunzi.
Patrick's vote: Zhao Lun Liu
Feedback for Bracket 8/8:
Syb Faes vs. Azlan Valentine
Touch's thoughts on Syb:
We love the fact that you have your own distinct personal style. This is true for the execution and flow, but also for the design of the moves. It’s also refreshing to see super complex cuts, as the trend is more about minimal cuts at the moment.
We do think that your flow and execution could use a bit of work here: your moves are super long and you really need to make the flow interesting to keep it entertaining. There was a few moments that felt a bit long.
About the video, we think that the setting was nice, but probably not the best to for your style. Same with the music.
Overall it was still a good video with a lot of interesting mechanics!
Touch's thoughts on Azlan:
Love everything about this video! Some good variety and creative moves, a great execution and flow, and awesome moments! We also really like your attitude in the video, a bit cocky but it works with the overall theme :P
The only thing negative we can think of is that your video seems a little bit like a compilation of other good cardists. It’s a little weird, but we think your moves are not “personal” enough. Still really good though.
Touch's vote: Azlan
Jaspas' thoughts on Syb & Azlan
Ah the young blood of the competition battle it out. Both competitors showcased a fine mastery over their craft and for gentlemen of such a young age I'm thoroughly impressed at both competitors. I particularly enjoyed Syb's ridiculous Hothead 2 variation, it reflected a wanting to succeed and climb over the competition, whilst paying homage to his own influences. Unfortunately though, there were moments in the video where the video felt bogged down by overly complex tight 2 handed cuts. Azlan's video however showcased a much wider variety of impressive technique with various visual effects. I also particularly enjoyed the attention to editing to the music in the second half of the video.
Jaspas' vote: Azlan
Patrick's thoughts on Syb & Azlan:
Two great videos! Always fun for me to watch some cuts. I think this match is another good example of design vs performance. Syb’s cuts tend to be more traditionally complex but I think he’s held back a lot by not being able to perform some of his material very well. Azlan’s stuff is a little bit simpler but he executes it all so well that it’s hard to dislike any of it. Azlan also has much greater variety! Variety almost always ends up beating packet-cutting when you compare them in this 1v1 context. I give this round to Azlan!