Home > 2020/02 - Las Vegas, NV, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Team Talk: Team “Esala Needs This”

Team Talk: Team “Esala Needs This”

February 22nd, 2020

Team Esala Needs This is stacked with three powerhouse Duelists that are experts at the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME: Jesse Kotton, Barrett Keys, and Esala Wathuthantrige. They’re currently 4-0-1 in the tournament and keeping alive a strong chance of a top cut finish. I sat down with them to talk to them about Team YCS Las Vegas.

Team “Esala Needs This” is one of the strongest teams competing this weekend.

I asked them how they came up with the team name. “Initially, Jesse said it as a joke, and we laughed so hard we had to use the name,” Barrett Keys answered. “I’ve been chasing the dream of a championship win my entire life,” said Esala Wathuthantrige. “I need this,” he added.

Barrett Keys and Jesse Kotton both have championship wins; and despite tremendous success for Esala in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME, which includes competing in the World Championship, a championship title still eludes him. Esala came close to a championship win when he won his Match in the final round of Team YCS Atlanta in 2019; but because both of his teammates lost, he didn’t become a champion. He’s hoping for a different outcome in this weekend’s Team YCS.

Kotton, Keys, and Wathuthantrige are all playing Shaddoll Invoked Decks, believing it to be the best choice for this tournament. They worked on the Deck together, but have slight variations in their builds as a result of differing individual experiences that they had using the Deck.

I asked the three competitors how they know one another. “Barrett was one of the first people I met in the game, going back over a decade,” Wathuthantrige said. They’re long-time friends, and it’s all because of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME. Wathuthantrige and Kotton met each other through the World Championship race in 2017, and were both on North America’s World Championship team that year, Dueling in Japan. Keys has known Kotton since 2018 through Yu-Gi-Oh!, but didn’t know him too well until recently. Now they’re playing alongside one another for the entire weekend. This is a perfect example of how friendships grow and expand in Yu-Gi-Oh!, and how Duelists bond over a common interest.

Wathuthantrige, Kotton, and Keys each had a separate opinion on whether they prefer a Team YCS or a regular YCS. “Personally, I enjoy the Team YCS way more. I’ve been excited to play every round,” answered Wathuthantrige. Kotton agreed. “Winning with your friends is more fun,” he said. But Keys had a different opinion. “For me personally, Dueling with these heavyweights is a lot of pressure. I feel like I’m a weak link, and I like to play solo where there’s less pressure. If I lost in a 1-on-1 Match, I wouldn’t feel as bad as I would losing with Jesse and Esala counting on me.”

There’s a lot of pressure for Esala Needs This to win this weekend, but so far the team is handling the pressure well. Follow the coverage to see how team Esala Needs This ultimately fares in the tournament!