Back in 2006, Dragon Ball Z fans were hit with a serious blow – the classic trading card game was being discontinued. And with it, the much-loved Dragon Ball Z World Championship.
But in 2014, The Panini Group, well-known as the biggest publisher of collectible sports goods in the United States (i.e., licensed sports trading cards), decided to revive the game. And they wasted no time in putting together a new World Championship right out the gate, with the first lead-up regional occurring on July 25th in Oregon. That’s just a few days more than a year after the official re-release announcement.
From there, players battled it out in Virginia, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Florida, Illinois, Colorado, Australia, California, and Toronto before finishing off in Texas in November 2015. At this point, everyone had their invitations to the December 5th World Championship in Dallas, Texas.
The first tournament season’s finisher didn’t disappoint with a win by poker player and long-time Dragon Ball Z fan Timothy Batow. Currently living in Bonita Springs, Florida, 29-year-old Batow has been playing Dragon Ball Z since he was 13 years old, and had been vying for a shot at the World Championship title ever since, placing in the top 8 of a Dragon Ball Z championship prior to 2006, when the game was still produced by SCORE. With the game shut down, Batow started playing poker professionally.
When it was announced in June 2014 that Panini would be bring the game back to life, Batow began preparing immediately (in between poker games). He started at the regional qualifying tournament in Virginia in August 2015. There, Batow made it to the finals where he played his Orange Goku deck against Elmer Walter’s Blue Ginyu. Despite Walter’s win, Batow had still earned himself an invitation to the World Championship in December. During the next few months, Batow played at two other regionals simply for practice, including in North Dakota where he remained undefeated for four rounds.
Batow headed to Dallas with 31 other players, where he played the same deck that won him the regionals. After multiple rounds, Batow was in the top 8, despite falling behind at some points, and playing one of four Orange decks. The concluding elimination games went well into the night, when Batow came face to face with his final challenger: Phil McGrath. Both players went head-to-head with their own Android 20 Orange decks. In a best two out of three, Batow came out on top, snagging the World Championship title.
As a result, he won a $7,000 cash prize out of a total $16,000 tournament purse. The 2016 season is expected to begin sometime in July, although the exact dates for regionals and special events haven’t been announced yet.
What’s next for DBZ prior to the upcoming second tournament season? The release of DBZ Perfection in February 26th!