Home > 2010/04 - 75th SJC - Edison, New Jersey > Deck Profile: Naveen Shankar’s Blackwing Deck

Deck Profile: Naveen Shankar’s Blackwing Deck

April 24th, 2010

Naveen Shankar won last year’s Dragon Duel tournament at the United States National Championship, winning the title of Dragon Duel Champion with Blackwings. Months later he’s thirteen years old – too old for Dragon Duel events – so he’s set his sights on the main event here at SHONEN JUMP Championship Edison. His Deck of choice? The same Deck that won him a trip to Jump Festa in Japan last December – Blackwings. Here’s his latest build:

3x Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn
3x Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame
3x Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North
3x Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow
2x Blackwing – Bora the Spear
2x Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor
2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
1x Dark Armed Dragon
1x Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind

3x Book of Moon
2x Black Whirlwind
1x Allure of Darkness
1x Brain Control
1x Heavy Storm
1x Mystical Space Typhoon

3x Icarus Attack
2x Bottomless Trap Hole
1x Dimensional Prison
1x Mirror Force
1x Royal Oppression
1x Solemn Judgment
1x Torrential Tribute
1x Trap Dustshoot

Shankar is one of several Blackwing competitors playing Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter in their Main Deck, a great call that gives a Blackwing Duelist a lot of advantages. Shankar explained: “Ryko gets rid of any problem cards I might encounter, except Stardust, which is easy to deal with anyways. It sets up for amazing Blizzard plays by sending Blackwings to the Graveyard, or you can go ‘Ryko, send a Level 4 Blackwing to the Graveyard, Summon Blizzard, and then Synchro Summon into Blackwing – Silverwind the Ascendant if you need it.” Nice trick. “Ryko provides a nice backbone to rely on.”

The trip from his home in Maryland this weekend is nowhere near the longest trek Shankar has made for the love of Dueling. His prize for winning the Dragon Duel Championship last year was a round-trip vacation for him and his parents to Japan, where Shankar was invited to play in a series of exhibition Duels at Jump Festa: the yearly manga and anime extravaganza hosted by Shueisha. Shueisha is the publishing company behind the Japanese counterparts to SHONEN JUMP magazine. “It was a thing where they set me up, and whoever wanted to play me played. Jump Festa was big! I’m not a big manga fan, but I liked checking everything out.”

Of course, no one who Dueled their way to Japan would neglect to take in some sights. “After Jump Festa we went to a park that’s famous for its snow monkeys. I can’t remember the name, but the snow monkeys are really well-known.” Shankar and his parents also made a trip to some of the area’s famous temples,

Shankar’s victory at the U.S. National Championship’s Dragon Duel seemed to be an extremely clear memory even today. He hadn’t really imagined that he’d win the Finals: “I was tired at first, and I was kind of mad at myself, cause I drew an extra card with Allure and got a game loss early on in the last Match of the day. After I won that Match I was surprised – I really didn’t feel the full force of it until later. My Mom was disbelieving at first, and my Dad didn’t hear about it for a while. Nobody could believe it.”

Speaking to him now, it’s hard to understand that disbelief. Despite his young age, Shankar is an experienced Duelist. For Shankar, playing Blackwings was a purely strategic decision: his victory in Pittsburgh was actually the first time he’d really run Blackwings. Over the months he’s gained a keen knowledge of the Deck’s strengths and weaknesses.

And this is just the start! Naveem Shankar is just beginning his career as a competitive Duelist, and now that he’s aged out of the Dragon Duel division, there’s nowhere to go but up. Keep an eye on this one – he’s clearly got a tremendous talent for the game.

Naveen Shankar