Azul Garcia Griego continued the Players Cup III trend of coming back from the losers bracket, forcing a bracket reset, and winning the entire event in the Pokémon TCG portion of the event.
Azul went on a 12-game win streak to the event, taking down David Daritan in the grand finals with a pair of sweeps using his newly minted Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck.
After being knocked into the lower bracket by Lucas Matheus’ Victini deck, Azul won six straight rounds to make it into the grand finals. That included sweeping Tord Reklev’s own Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX deck and Jeremy Lim Pikachu and Zekrom-GX/Boltund V combo to clear the losers bracket.
Daritan’s Pikachu and Zekrom-GX/Boltund V deck didn’t drop a single game until the winner’s finals, where he knocked Lim down in a 3-2 mirror match victory. But Azul carried all of the momentum heading into the grand finals and made relatively easy work of Daritan.
There were several moments where Daritan looked like he might have been able to steal a game, but three quick wins from Azul put him on the back foot.
After losing five-straight in the finals, Daritan nearly took game six, but couldn’t find the right cards to secure a win, eventually falling to the power of Rapid Strike Urshifu.
Following his victory, Azul noted that he was more than prepared to play against basically every deck that made it to the final stages of the event, specifically Pikachu and Zekrom.
“I wasn’t 100 percent confident going into loser’s finals,” Azul said. “But once I played that, going into the grand finals I started to play a little more loose, not as disciplined for what I knew about the Pikarom matchup to see how far I could push the matchup into being as favorable as possible. Going for six Prize turns and stuff like that.”
With this win, Azul has received a voucher for travel to any future International Play! Pokémon Championship.