【FFTCG】Alexander Hancox Crowned World Champion for an Unprecedented Second Time! An Interview with the ‘World Championships 2023’ Winner


Hello, everyone.
I’m Yuba, an official writer for FFTCG.

On December 2nd and 3rd, the 2023 World Championship was held at Square Enix’s headquarters in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

The format was a two-deck standard. On the first day, 16 players competed in eight Swiss rounds and on the second day, the top six players battled it out in three rounds of finals with the top 2 players from Day 1 being given a Bye for the 1st round. Alexander Hancox from the UK, known as Alex/MrCool, used ‘Fire/Ice/Water Warrior of Light’ and ‘Mono Wind’ decks to clinch his second  world championship victory, thus becoming the 1st ever FFTCG two-time World Champion.

▲Alexander Hancox (pictured left) as 2023 World Champion, alongside Producer Kageyama-san (pictured right).

Here, we present an interview with the champion, Alex.


◆FFTCG: A Return to Competitive Play
―― Congratulations on your win.

Alex: Thank you.

―― We heard your feelings about winning in the earlier (live) interview, so here, I’d like to try asking some different questions.

You mentioned that 【21-121L】Warrior of Light caught your attention when the card was announced, but it seems like a complex deck to build, especially with choosing which cost 3 cards to include. How did you finalize your deck concept?

Alex: I had been in Japan for about two weeks before the tournament and had the chance to interact with Japanese players. Someone brought a deck using 21-121LWarrior of Light, and it looked so appealing that I decided to recreate it. With Beyond Destiny being newly released and no decklists available on sites, as well as having arrived in Japan early without my cards, I based my deck on that memory and finalized it just before the decklist submission deadline. 

(Editor’s note: According to Kakka-san, who also attended the same gathering, the player who brought the Warrior of Light deck was Hara-san, a well-known player from the Kanto region.) 

―― Apart from the two decks you used, what other decks did you try?

Alex: I tried a few mono-element decks like Mono Earth and Mono Lightning, while getting advice from friends. Mono Earth was dropped because a friend testing it advised against it, and while Mono Lightning wasn’t bad, it felt too slow for the expected pace of the environment. It was during this time of searching for viable options that I discovered the 【21-121L】Warrior of Light deck and thought if there was a way to effectively use this card, I definitely wanted to try it.

―― There’s a strong association of you with Exdeath. ‘Beyond Destiny’ includes 21-074LNeo Exdeath, what’s your take on this card? 

Alex: My first impression was that it might not be that strong. But after actually using it, I realized it has enough potential to shine in certain metagames, like against control decks or in slower, control deck matchups. If such a meta develops, it might pick up in popularity.

One slight disappointment is that it doesn’t synergize with 【Job (Manakin)】 cards like 【13-054C】Lady of Antiquity. It would have been nice to cast it at a reduced cost (laughs).

―― The only Exdeath that reduces cost is the Lightning one, right? (laughs).

―― After securing your second World Championship victory, how often do you usually play FFTCG?

Alex: I play in tournaments held at card shops on Friday nights and sometimes play with friends over the weekends. That’s about the frequency of my regular play.

―― Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been challenging to hold events with many players since around 2020. How did you maintain your motivation and continue playing during this time?

Alex: I did play some remote matches online during that period, but just like everyone else, the frequency of my play decreased. It was a challenging time for both players and the game.

It’s important to have teammates who share the same perspective and motivation, especially from a competitive viewpoint. The fact that we can gather again and play towards a common goal is truly gratifying, the same goes for casual play with friends.

―― Could you share your thoughts on the conclusion of this ‘World Championships’?

Alex: Coming back to Japan for the 2023 World Championship and interacting with Japanese players made me happy to be part of a global community that enjoys the same game. I’m glad I could come to Japan.

Also, the decks conceived by Japanese players are always intriguing and inspiring, like this time’s Fire/Ice/Water Warrior of Light.

If there’s one regret from this World Championship, it’s that I didn’t get a chance to play against Harigai-san, whom I faced in the 2018 World Championship. I look forward to possibly matching up against him in the future.

―― Thank you for your time.

▲Alex poses for a commemorative photo with one of the prizes, a traditional Japanese scroll customized with card art from Garnet. The iconic gesture of resting his chin on his hand was seen again after several years.


◆In Conclusion
We hope you enjoyed our brief interview with Alex Hancox, your 2023 world champion. Unlike the serious expression you see during his matches and his bright, joking demeanor with friends, he spoke gently and thoughtfully, clearly enjoying the moment after his victory and engagement with FFTCG.

In future articles, we will continue to look back at the ‘World Championship 2023′, sharing stories from the players who represented Japan. These players, having engaged with the ‘Beyond Destiny’ environment earlier than most, have provided insights and comments in anticipation of the ‘5th Meijinsen-season’, which we are excited to share with you. 

See you in the next article.

Thank you for reading until the end.