Round 3 Wrap-Up

October 22nd, 2011

Welcome to our look back on Round 3! All of these Duelists were undefeated at the time, but who moved on with that elusive perfect record?

At our first featured Match of the round, we have Nizar Sarhan running Zombies against Mark Ramos’s Karakuri Deck.

Ramos Set a card to his back row and passed his first turn of the Match. Sarhan opened up with Allure of Darkness, Heavy Storm, Mind Control, Effect Veiler, Tragoedia, and Pyramid Turtle. He Summoned Pyramid Turtle and attacked directly, ending his turn and choosing not to activate Allure of Darkness.

When I asked Sarhan why he chose not to activate Allure of Darkness and dig deeper into his Deck, he answered, “The prime time for Tragoedia is first turn, when I have a lot of cards in my hand.” Sarhan didn’t want to lose his only DARK monster, Tragoedia, to Allure of Darkness. Sarhan also restrained himself from activating Heavy Storm to destroy only a single card. “Heavy Storm is a better card than for a one for one trade,” he said.

In Duel 1, Ramos didn’t draw enough monsters that he could Normal Summon, allowing Sarhan to take a quick victory with a bunch of low-ATK monsters. “I took too many hits before Summoning Cyber Dragon,” Ramos told me. Its 1600 DEF could’ve been used to block direct attacks from Pyramid Turtle and Goblin Zombie. Ramos regrets not Summoning it sooner so that he could survive longer in the Duel.

In Duel 2, Sarhan stared down 3 copies of Karakuri Steel Shogun mdl 00X “Bureido” and an Attack Position Karakuri Strategist mdl 248 “Nishipachi”, while Ramos had 2 cards in his hand. Sarhan had Zombie Master, Tour Guide From the Underworld, Spirit Reaper, Glow-Up Bulb and Gorz the Emissary of Darkness in hand along with a Plaguespreader Zombie in the Graveyard and 5100 Life Points left. He Summoned Zombie Master and then discarded Glow-Up Bulb from his hand to activate his Master’s effect and target the Goblin Zombie in his Graveyard; but he lost out to Effect Veiler! Next, Sarhan sent Dark Armed Dragon from the top of his Deck to his Graveyard to Special Summon Glow-Up Bulb. He Tuned Glow-Up Bulb with Zombie Master to Synchro Summon Ally of Justice Catastor, and then sent a card from his hand to the top of his Deck to Special Summon Plaguespreader Zombie to the field. He Tuned Plaguespreader Zombie with Ally of Justice Catastor to Synchro Summon Black Rose Dragon, and activated its effect to try to destroy all 3 Bureidos and the Strategist; but Ramos used another Effect Veiler to negate the effect of Black Rose Dragon! Sarhan just ended his turn.

Ramos switched his Strategist to Defense Position to draw 3 cards with his Bureidos and then Summoned Karakuri Muso mdl 818 “Haipa”. He Tuned Haipa with his Strategist to Synchro Summon Naturia Landoise, and it was all over.

Sarhan couldn’t do much against Ramos’s 2 Effect Veilers, and chose not to Set his Spirit Reaper instead of going for the Black Rose play, because he was afraid that Ramos would Synchro Summon Burei on the next turn and change the Spirit Reaper into Attack Position.

Sarhan won Duel 3 to take a 2-1 victory in the Match.

I asked the players if there are any plays that they regret making.

“There was one play,” Sarhan told me. “Instead of getting a Pyramid Turtle with a Call of the Haunted in Duel 3, I could’ve taken Sangan. It’s usually better. But the reason I took Turtle is because it was in overtime, and Turtle is better in time since it Special Summons.” Although Sarhan considered this decision questionable, it’s far from a misplay or a regrettable error – it’s a calculated decision that helped Sarhan win the Match.

Ramos regretted making a different play. At 5000 Life Points, he used Monster Reborn to Special Summon Karakuri Komachi mdl 224 “Ninishi” in Attack Position in Main Phase 1. “I wanted to maintain field presence,” he told me. “And I didn’t think he had any real threat back rows.” But instead, when Ninishi was forced by her effect to attack, Sarhan flipped Call of the Haunted to Special Summon Pyramid Turtle, and Ninishi was forced to attack and destroy itself. “I could’ve kept the Reborn and just hoped he couldn’t beat me next turn,” Ramos told me. He also could’ve used the Monster Reborn in Main Phase 2 so that his Karakuri monster wouldn’t be forced to attack.

At our second featured table, we have Joshua Luke’s Flamvell Deck against Devin Pappalau’s Dragon Deck.

In Duel 1, Luke beat Pappalau down with his Flamvell Firedog, attacking over Red-Eyes Wyvern.

In Duel 2, while staring down a Koa’ki Meiru Drago and 2 back rows, Luke had Enemy Controller, Mystical Space Typhoon, Pot of Duality, and 2 copies of Effect Veiler in his hand. He Summoned Flamvell Firedog and Pappalau used Effect Veiler to negate its effect; Pappalau flipped Rivalry of Warlords, which ultimately won him the Duel.

But in that same Duel, on the following turn, Pappalau Summoned Red-Eyes Wyvern against a Flamvell Firedog and 1 back row. He attacked the Firedog, and Luke used Dimensional Prison to banish the Wyvern, even though his Firedog was stronger. I asked him why he chose to banish the Wyvern. “I was thinking he had an Enemy Controller or a Book of Moon in hand,” he told me. “I didn’t want to deal with it.” Unfortunately, even if Luke was correct, it meant that Luke was leaving Pappalau with his Quick-Play Spell Card.

In Duel 3, Pappalau Summoned an early Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, and Luke used Enemy Controller to Tribute a Tengu and take control of the Dragon, pushing for damage with so little time left in the round. He also attacked directly with his on-field Gravekeeper’s Spy. Then he Xyz Summoned Number 39: Utopia in Main Phase 2.

Luke used Smashing Ground to destroy Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon on his next turn, and when it looked like Pappalau might rebuild momentum with Masked Dragon, Luke used Dark Hole to clear the field and activated Monster Reborn to revive Utopia and attack for the Match!

Joshua Luke took at 2-1 victory in the Match.

At our third featured Match of the round, we have Steven Gibbs’s Chain Burn Deck against Cody Napier’s T.G. Hyperion Deck.

Napier won Duel 1 by Summoning Archlord Kristya, shutting down Lava Golem, Ojama Trio, Scapegoats, and Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. Many Duelists rely on Archlord Kristya to lock down their opponents’ cards and claim victory, and as seen in this Duel, this is even a dependable strategy against Decks like Chain Burn.

In Duel 2, Gibbs flipped Gozen Match while Napier had Gachi Gachi Gantetsu, T.G. Striker, Mystical Shine Ball, and The Agent of Creation – Venus on the field. He chose to keep his EARTH monsters, leaving him unable to make any big plays with the LIGHT monsters, Archlord Kristya and Master Hyperion, in hand. This gave Gibbs the time he needed to win with his burn Deck, even managing to resolve 2 copies of Chain Strike.

In Duel 3, Napier made a big play with Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, banishing Gibbs’s face-down Dimensional Wall and in-hand Lava Golem. Direct attacks from Trishula finished Gibbs off over the course of a few turns. When I asked Gibbs what he would’ve done differently in this Duel, he replied, “Not activating Rivalry before he Synchro Summoned.” If Gibbs had flipped his face-down Rivalry of Warlords sooner in Duel 3, he could’ve prevented the Synchro Summon of the Trishula that finished him off.

Napier only wishes he had Royal Decree or Jinzo in his Side Deck, to use against Decks like Gibbs’.

At the final featured table, we have Paul Blair and Eric Madaj facing off against one another in a Synchro-filled mirror-Match.

Blair and Madaj traveled here together from Detroit in the same car, and frequently play one another at locals.

Madaj won Duel 1 by Summoning Tour Guide From the Underworld and using its effect to Summon Sangan from his Deck. Blair had Solemn Judgment in his hand, but since he didn’t have it Set for a turn when he Summoned his Rai-Oh, he lost his field to Torrential Tribute. Madaj grabbed Maxx “C” from his Deck with Sangan’s effect, and Blair never recovered.

Blair opened up Duel 2 with Debris Dragon, Thunder King Rai-Oh, Glow-Up Bulb, Debunk, and 2 copies of Tour Guide From the Underworld. He Summoned Thunder King Rai-Oh, Set Debunk, and ended his turn.

Madaj opened up with Debunk, Gorz the Emissary of Darkness, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, 2 copies of Thunder King Rai-Oh, and Heavy Storm. He activated Heavy Storm to destroy Debunk, Summoned Thunder King Rai-Oh to destroy Blair’s Rai-Oh with his own, and passed.

Madaj had an explosive opening hand. Not only did he have Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, but he also began with a LIGHT monster, Thunder King Rai-Oh, and a powerful DARK monster, Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. That’s why he may have been best off saving the Heavy Storm for a Duel-ending turn involving his Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. When I asked him why Madaj made the first-turn-play that he did, he answered, “I was thinking it was Warning. I wanted my Thunder King on board.”

Despite the fact that Madaj no longer had Heavy Storm on his third turn, he managed to use Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning to win the Duel on that turn. Blair just couldn’t stop it.

Sarhan, Luke, Napier, and Madaj advanced with a 3-0 record!