Without further ado, the winners of Round 2 of the 2019 Cardistry-Con Championship are:
And here's how they'll be matched up for the semi-final :
CONG LE vs LARS MAYRAND & SALVADOR GONZALEZ 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 1/4:
Leo Flores vs. Thanh Cong Le
Leo’s entry had a great vibe with a super cool urban video style. The overall presentation was on point: the edit, the style, the music, the setting… Everything fits. The flow and the structure of the cuts is really one of the strong point here. There was a lot of content, lots of cuts, but a lot of them was stuff that we’ve seen before and we think this contest should focus more on new moves.
There was a lot of good moves, but we felt like none of the stood out that much. The structure was there, but for us, it was lacking some memorable/impactful moments.
Gaolock had pretty much the opposite video, which makes this round pretty interesting: Lots of great high impact moments, but it lacked some flow and some of the moves were a bit messy. We really think that the presentation aspect of the video was lacking: you have to mind your setting, angles, lighting so that the whole package looks like a finished product :)
We didn’t really get the tiny card moves: it didn’t accomplished anything really creative or surprising for us. We LOVE the corner spin “paddidle” type move though, it really took us by surprise and we honestly didn’t think it was possible!
Touch's vote: Cong Le
About Leo: Beautiful smooth Cardistry shot with videography that moves with clear direction and purpose, wonderful! While most of the cardistry is smooth there were moments that i felt that the Cardistry being performed wasn't performed to the maximum potential of the moves due to lack of packet squaredness. The sheer variety of Leo's two-handed cuts was a pleasure to watch and I look forward to seeing more of Leo's videos. I think this was the round that I got a clear sense of what Leo's video style feels like and I really enjoy it.
About Cong Le: Finally the pay off! After 2 rounds (audition and round 1) of Gaolock performing an extremely unusual style of his own Cardistry, he is finally back in full swing. Weird moves that barely make sense to the average cardist set to music that ebbs and tides in an oddly sensual manner, I'm extremely happy to see Gaolock's showing in round 2. Pretty good!
Jaspas' vote: Cong Le
These two are super different! Gaolock again brings more shock value and insightful design while Leo aimed for a longer and more segmented video experience. It’s fun for me to see two cardists from such different eras go head to head. I think Gaolock’s video was held back in this round a little by occasionally poor execution. There were a few moments where I was left unsure about the material due to some unclear performances. Leo’s video struggled with the same performance issues occasionally but I felt there was enough well-performed material in his video to make up for the rougher stuff. I think Leo’s video was a bit too drawn out for me at times, I think the edit could have been more streamlined to keep things engaging. Overall, I think the takeaway I get from this matchup is that Gaolock’s material can be more insightful or clever than Leo’s at times but isn’t necessarily more fun for me to watch. I give this match to Leo, great stuff from both.
Patrick's vote: Leo Flores
Feedback for Bracket 2/4:
Lars Mayrand vs. Lukas Rebele
First of all: damn! This battle is insane, and it’s breaking our heart to let go of any of those two contestant. It’s also the closest battle and the hardest to judge for us. Both videos were super fun and entertaining to watch.
Lars’ moves are a great example of weird/interesting memorable concepts but well designed and structured. Almost every move was well executed and felt “complete”. We do think that there maybe wasn’t enough content for this round though and we were expecting a bit more, especially after that crazy round 1 video.
Lukas’ video was amazing: the vibe, the narrative, and the overall production was the best out of all CCC. We loved the creative stunts, and how he executes them like it’s nothing. There was a lot of high impact moves, and the uncut sequence was just crazy.
We didn’t really like the moves using the box though, it was kind of interesting, but didn’t really look good in our opinion. We loved that you used Lars’ round 1 cardestroy concept, it really makes this kind of battle interesting, but we feel like you could have done a lot more with it.
Touch's vote: Lars Mayrand
Lars‘ video features a concept that I found extremely mind boggling. In a few shots of moves he decided to show the shape of the end of the move he currently is performing using cards placed on the ground/window in the background. This foreshadowing of the ending of the move at beginning/middle of the move allows the viewer to actively participate in the viewing of the video by trying to figure out how Lars gets to the shape at the end of the move before he actually gets to it. Very thought provoking!
Lukas' story-driven take on Round 2's entry video is very refreshing to watch. The emphasis on not taking Cardistry too seriously, the whimsical approach to the narrative of the video and the off beat types of moves that appear in the video kept me on the edge of my seat and filled me with a positive energy that only a cardist with passion, creativity and youthful energy could. The production value of the inside-of-a-washing-machine scene was also above and beyond what was expected of majority of competitors. Pretty good!
Jaspas' vote: Lukas Rebele
I’m not sure where to start with these two. If I could vote for a tie here I would! This round saw an insane display of theatrics and competition between these two. Lukas’ video surprised me with possibly the best narrative I’ve seen in any cardistry video, competitive or not. Actual characters, crazy setting, real storyboarding. I think this video will be remembered forever! Lukas hit Lars with an entire electric deck section, aiming right at the cardestroy core of Lars’ previous video. Then Lars hit Lukas back by finding an actual battleship to film his own set of moves on, just to let Lukas know his Round 1 submarine in space isn’t enough! Very fitting ideas from both, I give them equal credit there. If it came down to presentation alone I think this would be an easy victory for Lukas, his story-driven video is so easy to watch over and over. Lars’ presentation was also really engaging and original but lacked the high level storytelling that Lukas’ video had. Be that as it may, I still can’t look away from the fact that I resonated more with the actual moves I saw from Lars. The two card/fan sequence, that simple grid of checkerboards on the floor sliding into position, each of the packet cuts, all performed and designed perfectly. While I enjoyed the uncut routine and the box move immediately after it from Lukas, overall I didn’t feel like the cardistry I saw in his video was better than Lars’. I think Lars moves innovate on several different styles within cardistry, the variety and depth really stood out for me. If I had felt the material in this matchup was more evenly matched then I would give Lukas the edge for his perfectly presented video. But since that was not the case, I’m gonna go with Lars’ this round for the moves I saw from him. Really insane set of videos from these two!
Patrick's vote: Lars Mayrand
Feedback for Bracket 3/4:
Salvador González vs. Leon Sanchez
Salvador’s entry has pretty much all the component of a great cardistry video. The setting, the edit, the music… everything fits perfectly, everything is well thought of. We love the narrative, and the connection with the round 1 video and possibly the round 3 video is a beautiful idea and something that haven’t been explored yet.
In terms of pure cardistry, the performance is great as usual, and we can tell that you put a lot of work into the flow and timing of your moves. We loved the one card sequence, as it goes well with the music, and that running 2 card one handed cut at the end was out of the world. Honestly, pretty much every cut here is interesting, congrats!
Leon’s video was full of great ideas. The creativity is really obvious here, and there were great moments, but for us it was lacking a lot of flow. I think working on the timing and the “musicality” of your moves could really make them a lot better and more entertaining to watch. The one handed cuts were really cool, and there was a lot a good moves, but it lacked a few “great” ones, you probably held back a tiny bit much here. The execution was also a problem for a few moves, especially for that fan: the idea is amazing, but the finished product doesn’t do justice to the idea at all.
Touch's vote: Salvador González
About Salvador: I was left pretty worried when Salvador only managed to execute his first real move at the 0.49 mark of his video. Thankfully, once he got started, Salvador managed to keep the hits coming with impactful impressive move after move. When the video crescendos into the pulsating 1-handed 5-packet cut I lost it, that move was absolutely beautiful. I am, however, concerned as to whether the story aspect of the video was necessary at all, or merely a quick gimmick to set the initial mood of the video.
About Leon: Watching this entry felt like Leon Sanchez has hit his stride proper in this competition. The nerves that might have held him back in round 1 are no longer present in this round. The execution of his moves seem far more stable and effortless. I get the feeling that many of the newer moves that appeared in this round's video were moves that Leon had prepared before the competition, and finally being able to them in the competition must have been liberating. Execution, concept of moves and camera work, in round 2 were absolutely amazing. I had the hardest time choosing between Leon and Salvador's videos but in the end I chose...
Jaspas' vote: Salvador González
This matchup ended up being much closer than I expected it to be! I had no idea Salvador and Leon were so similar. Both are strong packet-cutters with a talent for one-handed moves. I think that Leon’s one-handed stuff came through again this round and altogether outdid that one awesome one-handed idea at the end of Salvador’s video. However I think Salvador’s two-handed cuts have a slight edge over Leon’s. Execution-wise they’re pretty close to each other, but I felt Salvador’s one-card routine was distinctive and helped me notice his performance strengths a little better. Salvador’s video is also heavily enhanced by its story and leaves a successful cliffhanger at the end, presentational strengths that Leon’s video lacks. I think Salvador presentation was the edge he needed to make his performance value stand out over Leon’s this round, I’ll give this to Salvador!
Patrick's vote: Salvador González
Feedback for Bracket 4/4:
Nhat Duong Nguyen vs. Azlan Valentine
Yang went full crazy with that edit! Can’t imagine how long that took to make! It’s a super risky edit, and it could have easily sucked, but it turned out great! He really knew how to take advantage of that type of edit to enhance his cardistry, congrats! As usual, the flow, the sequencing and the style is amazing. There was a few new moves that were really cool, but it was missing something for us, something a bit more creative and surprising.
Just like Yang, Azlan’s execution is perfect. We love the style and the flow, it feels somehow extremely natural. The combos were great, and we thought it was a risky thing to play with that against Yang, but it turned out really nice. The speed is really interesting, we don’t see a lot of very fast cardist those days, but it can sometimes impact the flow of the move in a bad way if you go full speed throughout the whole cut.
Touch's vote: Azlan Valentine
About Duong: Holy f***! In the past few years of Cardistry competitions, the Vietnamese cardists in general have always had a problem executing videos with strong flavor and emotional impact. Yang has completely shattered that stereotype in this video. Absolutely astounding visuals with great pacing and fast impactful Cardistry. This video probably was my favorite video in the entirety of round 2. However, in terms of creative, new, fresh cardistry, the video is lacking. Making this match up one of the hardest ones I've had to decide for.
About Azlan: Compared to Duong's video, Azlan's is far more Cardistry-centric. There were multiple cuts with interesting moments to get excited about and disect. 1.16 specifically was a move that begun looking like a standard simple display but ended up going further than i expected it to in a perfectly logical smartly designed manner. The main problem of Azlan's video however is that the tempo of the video itself was pretty good, it had troubles outshining Yang's emmaculately crafted video. If I judged this competition solely based on my personal emotional responses to the 2 videos, Yang would have won. But as CCC2019 is at its heart, a cardistry competition, I have to vote for…
Jaspas' vote: Azlan Valentine
What a fun battle! So cool to see two cardists with such a heavy focus on performance value. Yang, recognized for his previous uncut competitive videos, has always stood out for his ability to perform cardistry with speed, precision and style. It’s really quite a shock for me to see somebody as young as Azlan take Yang head-on and combat him using Yang’s signature strengths. Azlan really doesn’t seem to have any problem keeping up with Yang’s performance ability but at the same time Azlan excels at more modern packet cutting design, something that Yang doesn’t use as often. Yang dumping Azlan in the recycling bin was an awesome touch, but seeing Azlan do Yang’s signature spread move about as well as Yang can do it really made me smile. I think Yang’s video would have benefited a lot from having more shots like the card spring flying across the windows or the deck being passed from hand to hand between windows. Those ideas felt innovative and seemed to enhance the cardistry I was seeing. The rest of the video felt more decorative and flashy. I think Azlan’s video had more substance so I’m giving this round to him! Awesome work from both, I loved this battle.