One of Canada’s top players is making a case to be the representative for his country to the World Championships 2017 of Yu-Gi-Oh and he is stopping at nothing to make sure he achieves his goal.
Vaughan, Ontario’s Jesse Kotton is on a mission to remain the leader atop the World Qualifying Points for Canada and he’s going to every single event he possibly can to do it!
Name: Jesse Kotton
Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa now residing in Vaughan, Ont.
Education: Currently in Grade 12
1. What made you decide that you wanted to earn enough World Qualifying Points to qualify for the World Championship of Yu-Gi-Oh in 2017?
When the points were announced I was pretty upset. I had been fooling around at regionals and only earned points at YCS Toronto when I placed top 16. The four regionals I had attended at that point I played Fortress Whale Paleozoic, Blue-eyes Shining Dragon Turbo, God Card Frog Metalfoes and traditional Paleozoic. The one time I played seriously my deck got stolen.
I knew Matt (Vanden Heuvel) already had around 100 points so I didn’t want to really try go for worlds, but I decided to play 4 regionals over the next 5 weeks and see if I could close the gap. If I could, I would go for worlds. I ended up winning three of those regionals back to back to back without losing a match, it almost tied us up. After that I’ve attended almost every regional I could possibly go to.
2. Are you currently sponsored by someone? If so, who?
I am currently sponsored by Game Nation (Ray Abhimanu and Andrew Sicard).
3. Can you name off some notable places that you’ve travelled to so far to earn these points?
I’ve travelled all over the eastern seaboard for these events, the furthest would have to be North Carolina.
4. How do you travel to all these events?
I mostly travel with my Dad and my friends. I’m super lucky to have parents who are supportive of me and are willing to take me to these events. My friends often come with to keep me company and help me in the tournament. I’ve also bussed and plan to fly to one of the remaining events.
5. Is there anyone specific that you practice against?
I don’t really have time to practice. Between school and being far from Toronto, I can’t really play in person during the week and I don’t like to use online dueling sites. I’ve been playing for long enough that I base my plays and decks off of theory and logic. Marcus Carisse and I often discuss theory to build our decks or decide on correct plays.
6. Assuming you qualify for the World Championship, do you believe that you can win it all?
I definitely believe I could win, I have a lot of experience in the game and already have some notable placings. I think I have a good shot at the title if I go to Worlds.
7. You’re currently ranked first for WQP in Canada by eight points in front of Matt Vanden Heuvel, do you think you can keep the top spot?
100%. I started with an 80 point deficit and clawed back to a lead. I think now that I have a lead I can hold it pretty easily.
8. Any words of advice for those who want to be able to compete at the top level?
Competing at the top level is a lot harder than it seems. You need to have a deep understanding of the game, good technical play and strong mental fortitude. I’ve found the best way to get better is to learn from experience. Play tournaments and when you lose, try understand what happened (don’t just blame it on luck), and make sure that you don’t lose that same way again.
9. Is there anything more you’d like to add?
Something interesting that I’ve done this season is strictly play a 60-card Zombie Zoodiac deck. It’s been changing constantly but has been incredibly strong. It has earned me eight regional tops where four were wins. One of the coolest things I did was play Manticore of Darkness when Zoodiac Ratpier was still at three; it won me a lot of games. I’d also like to give shoutouts to Matt Vanden Heuvel. Even though we are rivals this season there is no bad blood between us and he is also a very good player. We have both doing so well this season that it sucks that one of us won’t make it.
The Hungry Sports Geek would like to thank Kotton for his time and wishes him good luck in future events. It will be interesting to see the battle between him and Matt Vanden Heuvel for getting the top spot to be sent to Worlds!