You are currently viewing Vault Tour Spotlight: Kokujin87

Vault Tour Spotlight: Kokujin87

Jovi Golden, also known as Kokujin87, was the runner-up at the 2023 Philadelphia Vault Tour ran by Ghost Galaxy. This was the first Vault Tour held in three and a half years, and the first Vault Tour held that included Mass Mutation, Dark Tidings, and Winds of Exchange. With all these new sets available, could old standbys like Call of the Archons and Worlds Collide compete? FlamingHobo and Kokujin87 proved that they could, facing off in an epic final with Kokujin87 rocking Countess “Bullseye” Thain as his deck of choice.

This is Kokujin87’s story, told in his own words.

Q. How did you get into Keyforge?

Back in 2018 I was really into the Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) card game. I played the original game, so to see it revived was cool. I am always stationed far away from where I grew up, so almost every year I come home for Christmas. At that time, I normally get together with my friends to play games and catch up. They were playing L5R as well, so we would get a couple of games in and go out to eat. My good friend Cody Simpkins told me about Keyforge, how he loved it, and was thinking about dropping L5R to only play Keyforge. I told him not to stop playing L5R because he could play both. He told me just to play one game and I would see what he was talking about. I resisted at first; however, I saw how motivated he was to get me to play it. I played one game and I instantly knew that this was something special. After that, I could not stop thinking about the game. I had to get my own decks and try to get more people involved.

From that point, in December of 2018, I only played Keyforge.

Q. What was your experience at the Philadelphia Vault Tour?

At first, I was worried because there was no product. However, Ghost Galaxy came through and got the product there a little later. After that, the weekend was awesome. I got to meet and hang out with a ton of fellow Forgers and I finally got to meet some of the popular Keyforge celebrities that have helped keep this game alive. Overall, I think I had one of the best experiences someone could have at a Vault Tour. With Ghost Galaxy bringing the product, meeting legendary Keyforge players, hanging out with Keyforge players that I normally watch or listen to from home, making the top cut, and being able to take my wife out to experience Philly, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Q. Did you have a team or other friends backing you up?

My wife is my my best friend and the biggest supporter for everything I do in life. You name it, she can do it: logistics, food, and activities. My good friend Todd Williamson normally comes with me to Vault Tours; however, he was unable to make it this time. That did not stop him from being a part of the experience because he helped me from home any way he could. He would prepare me for my next opponent and see how my matches went to see if he could give any advice to improve my play style. He is an extremely knowledgeable player and he knows this game very well. Before this Vault, he trained me for a whole day to make sure I knew the new set. Cody had the new set as well and he informed me about what he was seeing in his local scene and what I needed to prepare for. These three people are my biggest supporters and I hope Cody and Todd get to have a great Vault Tour experience soon.

What made you choose Countess “Bullseye” Thain? Why do you think the deck stands out?

So, my choices were The Optimistic God-King of Imagapeak, Dahnt’e, Ears of the Taciturn Burg, J. Corran, the Harbor Archivist, Mr. “Oleo” Oxfellow, and Countess “Bullseye” Thain. I wanted a deck that could cause some disruption, have a quick Æmber burst, control Æmber, and get rid of creatures. The Dis house can cause some disruption with Infurnace and Exhume. Also, the Exhume can help go through the deck faster with Eyegor. Logos helped me take my Æmber back when stolen with four copies of Information Exchange and help me get cards I needed with Eyegor and memory chip. Finally the Saurian allowed me to control my opponent’s Æmber with Tribute and then force my opponent to take control of the creature I loaded all the Æmber on to with Exile.

I normally would want something that can destroy it immediately, so I would get a big Æmber burst but only a couple of cards can do that in this deck. All of the decks I listed are great. However, Worlds Collide has some crazy cards that are hard to deal with and since I was able to run through the deck two to three times per match, that really helped me get the cards I needed to handle different situations. When I opened Countess, I knew it was going to be special and that was another reason I wanted to use it. This Vault Tour helped validate my choice, the deck, and how special it is to me.

How did it feel being the only Worlds Collide deck in Top 8 and only the second player to a non-original house in the finals of an Archon Vault Tour?

I really enjoyed the exclusiveness I felt when I learned that I was the only Worlds Collide player in the Top 8. It felt like I was the representative for the Worlds Collide set and that started to put more pressure on me. I have always been interested in the Saurian house, they bring some unique feature into the game and even in the new set they have some great moves. I also think having one of the non-original houses in the finals is good for the game because it shows that newer houses can be competitive as well.

What do you think the meta will look like going forward now that we have Philadelphia under our belts?

There will always be a Key Abduction with Battle Fleet or Martian Generosity out there and they are really cool. I used to have Nhiozz of Gemroom Saucer and its fun to forge three keys in one turn, but I really want people to find really good decks from Winds of Exchange. Brobnar, with its fighting power, Æmber burst, and Æmber control is amazing. I want to see and own a Saurian deck with the Scholar token that floods the field so I can draw my whole deck in one turn. I want to see a Blorb deck destroy a tournament. I think decks that can make keys fast and disrupt their opponent’s strategy are going to be the way forward. I have seen great decks fall because of a little disruption, so any way to cause that is key.

Anything else you want to say to the readers?

I really want to thank my wife for being my support for everything I do, Cody Simpkins for introducing me into the game and being a great friend, Todd Williams for keeping me updated with Keyforge while I was away and helping me progress as a player, Tyrell Mentzer for being a perfect example of what a great person is in this community, Zach from Keyforge Public Radio for supporting me in between matches, and Justin and Nathan from Tabletop Royal for some great talks and encouragement. Last, but not least, the Keyforge Community for giving Ghost Galaxy the opportunity to bring this game back.

We here at Timeshapers thank Kokujin87 for his time and congratulate him for his excellent performance in Philadelphia. There is little doubt that we will be seeing him on the leaderboards again soon, and maybe at the top!