Kevin Hor made very quiet news when he left Team Comic Odyssey a few months ago. I noticed something was up when he didn’t attend New Jersey. I asked around and eventually found out that he had parted ways with CO as a matter of mutual agreement. “Things just didn’t quite work out,” said a representative of CO. For what seemed like ages, I was left to wonder what had happened between the greatest team in the game and perhaps one of its greatest players—Hor had, after all, won two Cyber-Steins for CO during his tenure there.
Now finally, I have my answer.
Kevin Hor is an eighteen-year-old student from Los Angeles, currently finishing up his studies at John Marshall High School. A California native, he left Comic Odyssey simply because he wasn’t interested in the drama that being part of the team created for him on a personal level. “I left CO just because there was a lot of drama, a lot of problems, you know. I just don’t want to run into any situations where I have problems with teams, friends, et cetera. I’m playing Yu-Gi-Oh! to have a good time—that’s it.”
The chief reason I chose to interview Hor today was that he was just hours separated from his announcement—the blue bandana around his head that marked him as a member of Team Naruto was tied about his brow for the first time. Kevin Hor’s career in Yu-Gi-Oh! can easily be seen as a journey, beginning with his entering CO, traversing his tear-jerking finals match at SJC Los Angeles against friend and Team Savage rival Tony Lee, and going through his recent run as a free agent. If that’s the story, then the happy ending is definitely today. Kevin Hor is home, now on Team Naruto. It fits him like a glove.
But the past two months have been interesting ones. After leaving Comic Odyssey, Hor had at first intended to join Team Savage, but delays there resulted in him realizing it wasn’t the right place. “I respect Team Savage, I look up to all of them, but like, they’re all really older than me, so I’d be the youngest one anyways. It seemed like they would have drama as well, and after a month and a half of waiting to hear an answer from them it was alike, a 60/40 split. Sixty percent of them wanted me on the team, the other forty couldn’t decide. Finally I just determined it wasn’t for me.
“Team Naruto just felt right. I wanted to join up with them because they have good players, really consistent guys, and they’re more around my age. They’re the under-dogs, you know? I always like siding with the little guys like that. And then Sang joined up, and I knew I had to do it, so I made my decision today. I joined Team Naruto.”
I asked him about his deck. “I call it Beating Control, and the reason is that I have perfect field control. I drop a Berserk Gorilla, it’ll cause people to set, not being able to go over it [due to its high ATK], so that’s when the next turn I summon my Mystic Swordsman LV2. I have sequenced plays like that to deal with Control decks. I’m trying to escape from the cookie cutter right now. I tested Big Shield Gardna and a lot of other people are running it today, but couldn’t find the space in the end.”
Running a pair of Royal Decrees was so popular today that I had to ask if he had followed in the foot steps of some of the game’s other greats by running two. “I’m running one Decree. I can’t afford two—I’m poor,” he said with a grin.
Turns out his financial stress had extended a bit further than a single Decree. “I’m too poor!” He laughed. “I missed Nationals because I didn’t have the resources to go. I should have had a ‘Kevin Hor’s Nationals Trip Fund’ or something. I barely made it to Indy. I sold my deck, my original deck, to Jae Kim in order to get money for a plane ticket. Jae was a great guy, he bought my deck to help me out and I really appreciate it. He’s been there since day one, since I met him. I’m sorry we can’t be side by side on Team Savage, but yeah. So I sold my deck, bought the plane ticket last minute, borrowed cards from friends and had some left over.”
Wow. Now that’s dedication. I asked him next if he felt there was anyone he’d like to publicly call out. Hor’s a very cheery, friendly guy, so I was actually expecting him to refuse, but he jumped at the chance!
“Yeah! I want to play those Canadians! I heard about the Team USA–Team Canada thing, and I was like, ‘You haven’t met Kevin Hor yet!’ And there’s another person . . .” He hesitated a moment. “Max Suffridge. I respect him very much as a player, and I think he’s a really great duelist, but I want to play him cause I missed Nationals for two years straight. I was quite surprised an East Coaster took it—I thought the West Coast was going to win Nationals given how the year had gone. Then it turns out that all four American representatives at Worlds end up being East Coasters! Much respect to him, and the top four people as a whole, but I want to duel him.”
At this point Mark So, the rather quiet leader of Team Naruto, came by the interview area. Seeing Hor’s blue headband, he yelled “So SEXY!” and grinned. “Fo’ sho!” Hor yelled back, looking comfortable and happy with his new team situation.
He was 2-0 for the day, but remained humble about it: “I’ve been on a bad streak today during playtests, but I’m here to play my best, have fun, and hope God won’t make me quit YGO because I sold my deck and have to return the cards I have today!” He laughed in his usual good-natured way. “I’m just glad I was given the opportunity to be here today.”
With two Cyber-Steins under his belt, a hugely recognizable name, a resilient spirit, and a brand-new team supporting him, that attitude may just carry Kevin Hor to a win here this weekend. I like to push the “good guys,” and take it from me—Kevin “Kenzo” Hor is most definitely one of the best!
This article was originally written by Metagame.com, what was formerly the official website for large Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament coverage. It has been preserved by GoatFormat.com so that players can learn from this historical tournament coverage.