Matthew Vanden Heuvel aka Canada’s Hidden Gem is in second place for World Qualifying points behind Jesse Kotton and he too is hitting every event he can to make that dream a reality.
Name: Matthew Vanden Heuvel
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario
Education: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology at University of Waterloo
Occupation: Yu-Gi-Oh Vendor
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 Konami made the announcement for Worlds points early on this year, I was already standing on top with a significant lead over the competition. I figured it would be my best shot to achieve my long standing goal of attending the World Championship.
2. Are you currently sponsored by someone? If so, who?
I am currently sponsored by Untouchables Sports Cards and Gaming which is a store located in both Mississauga and Milton, Ontario.
3. Can name off some notable places that you’ve travelled to so far to earn these points?
So far this season, I have traveled to many locations including Brooklyn, NY; Philadelphia, PA; and Denver, CO to name a few, but I have been to many more places than these.
4. How do you travel to all these events?
I have been traveling via bus, car, and plane. Planning every event has been very challenging because I am always taking a different means to get there, and usually with a different set of people every week. But it keeps things interesting, for sure.
5. Is there anyone specific that you practice against?
I get my practice whenever I can, usually just at a local tournament level. I hate playing online, so I base most of my deck decisions on theory and logic, and then use local tournaments as a proof of concept. Though during a good portion of the Raging Tempest format I practiced a decent amount with Mike Posca.
6. Assuming you qualify for the World Championship, do you believe that you can win it all?
If I do win the ticket to Worlds, I believe that I have a good chance of winning. Given enough practice and theory, I think I could stand up to the best of the best. Though, it definitely won’t be easy since the US will also be sending their most adamant players this year. It will also be very interesting to play against the top Official Card Game players.
7. You’re currently ranked second behind Jesse Kotton in WQP in Canada by eight points, do you think you can take the top spot?
I think this is still anyone’s game to win, though the recent advancement of double regional events in a single weekend is putting me at a significant disadvantage travel-wise.
8. Any words of advice for those who want to be able to compete at the top level?
Words of advice? Any experience, is good experience. Go to as many events as you can and learn from every loss. Although sometimes you may have bad luck, you can’t blame a lack of success on it. Bad luck is quite frequently a bad deck building decision in disguise.
9. Is there anything more you’d like to add?
I would like to thank all the people who have contributed to my continued success in the form of theory, transportation, or other supports. Shout-outs to Adam Quenneville, Alfonso Romero, Mike Posca, Hernan Roman, Rob Cedar, Josh Williams, Matt Bishop and everyone else who have all been a great help. Sorry to those I missed here, but there are too many names to list at once. I would also like to give a shout out to Jesse Kotton for a having a friendly, civil rivalry which hopefully we can both walk away from as better players. I am looking forward to collaborating with him for the World Championship Qualifier in Chicago this year.
The Hungry Sports Geek would like to thank Vanden Huevel for his time and wishes him good luck in future events. It’s good to see a friendly rivalry between Kotton and Vanden Heuvel and it makes an intriguing story for which of these two will make it to the top of the leaderboard and become Canada’s representative for the World Championships.