Home > 2012/11 – Tacoma/Seattle, Washington, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Round 10 Feature Match: Mario Cordova versus Michael Balan

Round 10 Feature Match: Mario Cordova versus Michael Balan

November 18th, 2012

Eight months have passed since the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series last brought Championship-level Dueling to the West Coast! That was YCS Long Beach – the 100th tournament in the Series – and Michael Balan won it all with Dark World. Taking a step back from the game to focus on parenting his baby girl, Balan decided last minute to come here to YCS Seattle. Now he’s still in the tournament in Day 2 with his signature strategy – Dark World. His opponent is Mario Cordova, a veteran competitor who’s topped several Championships in his time, along with judging numerous YCS tournaments. Cordova is running Dino Rabbit this weekend.

Balan had a hand of Broww, Huntsman of Dark World; Dark Hole; Dark World Dealings; Dragged Down into the Grave; Card Destruction; and The Gates of Dark World.  He activated Gates; Set everything but Dragged Down and Broww; and activated Dragged Down to reveal Cordova’s hand:


Balan discarded Cordova’s Heavy Storm, then drew Monster Reborn and another Dragged Down.

Cordova Normal Summoned Tour Guide from the Underworld to Special Summon Sangan, and attacked for 2000 Battle Damage.  Cordova Set two cards to his Spell and Trap Card Zone.

Balan drew his own Heavy Storm!  Not much help with four Spells on the field.  “I gotta do something.”  He flipped Dark World Dealings to get Mystical Space Typhoon, and pitched it.  Cordova discarded Sabersaurus.  “This is really bad.  Let’s see what we can do.”  Balan Set Monster Reborn.  “I hate to do this.  He flipped Reborn, taking Sabersaurus.  “That’s so horrible.  Horrible and wrong.”  He sent Sabersaurus to attack over Tour Guide.  He moved to his End Phase and Cordova blasted him with Mystical Space Typhoon, destroying his Dark Hole.

Cordova played his own Dark Hole next turn, destroying Balan’s Sabersaurus and his own Sangan to get Rescue Rabbit.  He Summoned it, banished it to Special Summon two Kabazauls, and attacked with both to drop Balan to 2000 Life Points!  Cordova Xyz Summoned Evolzar Dolkka.


Balan drew Foolish Burial – still no action.  He Set Heavy Storm, then flipped Card Destruction, giving up his Foolish Burial and Dragged Down to get Compulsory Evacuation Device and Tour Guide from the Underworld.  He flipped Heavy Storm, destroying his Gates along with Cordova’s Forbidden Chalice and Book of Moon.  Balan Set Compulsory.

Cordova tried to attack for game next turn, but lost his Dolkka to Compulsory Evacuation Device. He Set two more cards to his back row.

Balan drew Snoww, Unlight of Dark World!  He Normal Summoned Tour Guide to Special Summon Broww, then took a moment to look through Cordova’s Graveyard before attacking with Tour Guide and Broww for a combined total of 2400 Battle Damage.  Balan overlaid for Wind-Up Zenmaines in Defense Position.  Next turn Cordova banished to Special Summon Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning; cleared Zenmaines with Compulsory Evacuation Device; and swung for game!

Michael Balan draws one of the worst strings of cards we’ve ever seen in a Dark World Feature Match, and despite putting up a valiant fight, he just can’t fend off Cordova’s methodical, disciplined play.  Black Luster Soldier puts Cordova in striking distance of toppling the Long Beach Champion.

This time around Balan had a hand of Spirit Reaper; Snoww, Unlight of Dark World; Dark World Dealings; Reckless Greed; Broww, Huntsman of Dark World; and Gozen Match.  He activated Dealings to draw Mystical Space Typhoon and discarded Snoww, while Cordova discarded Soul Taker.  Snoww got Balan The Gates of Dark World.  He activated it and banished Snoww from his Graveyard to discard Broww, drawing another Snoww, then another Broww.  He Set Reaper and Gozen Match.

Cordova destroyed Gozen Match with Heavy Storm next turn, breathed a sigh of relief at seeing such a powerful card destroyed, and Summoned Tour Guide from the Underworld to Special Summon Sangan in Defense Position.  He Set two cards to his back row.

Balan drew Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World!


He passed, biding his time.

Cordova drew to three cards in hand with two cards Set in his Spell and Trap Card Zone, controlling Tour Guide and Sangan.  He Set a monster, then Set a third card to his back row.

Balan drew Wild Tornado and Set it.

Cordova Normal Summoned Rescue Rabbit, banishing it to Special Summon two Kabazauls for Evolzar Dolkka.  He flip Summoned another Tour Guide and overlaid it with the first for Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction, and switched Sangan to Attack Position!


Sangan attacked, slamming into Spirit Reaper, but Cordova destroyed it with Forbidden Lance!  Dolkka and Acid Golem both made direct attacks, dropping Balan to 2700 Life Points.

Balan drew Foolish Burial.  He flipped Reckless Greed: it would stop Balan from drawing for the next two turns, so it was now or never.  He drew Spirit Reaper and The Gates of Dark World, activating it immediately with one Fiend in his Graveyard – Broww.  He banished it to discard Grapha, and drew Royal Decree.  Balan targeted one of Cordova’s back row cards with Grapha’s destruction ability, but Cordova negated it by detaching a Material from Dolkka.  “Let’s find out what it is anyways…” Balan destroyed the targeted card with Mystical Space Typhoon, revealing it to be a Lance.  Secure in the idea that Cordova wouldn’t have a third Lance he Set Reaper, then Set Decree.  “Go ahead.”

Cordova detached a Material from Number 30: Acid Golem, then turned Dolkka to Defense Position.  Sangan attacked to reveal the second Spirit Reaper.  “Third Lance?”  asked Balan.

“No more Lance,” replied Cordova, stymied.  “Three cards in hand?”

“Three,” confirmed Balan.  “We’re still in the Battle Phase, right?”

“Yes,” responded Cordova, nodding and checking his remaining Set card.  “Main Phase 2, Normal Summon.”  He Summoned Banisher of the Radiance, and Balan flipped Decree in the End Phase!


Balan Summoned Broww, then returned it to his hand to Special Summon Grapha and run over Dolkka!  He Set a Spell or Trap

Cordova took 2000 damage to keep an Xyz Material on Number 30: Acid Golem, then turned Sangan to Defense Position.  He turned Banisher as well, and attacked Grapha to destroy both the Dragon Lord, and his own Acid Golem.  Both cards were banished thanks to Banisher!  No more Grapha for Balan.  With Banisher’s job done, Cordova overlaid it with Sangan to Xyz Summon Leviair the Sea Dragon, Special Summoning back his Rescue Rabbit!  He banished the Rabbit to Special Summon two Sabersaurus from his Deck, then stacked them for Evolzar Laggia.

Balan flipped Foolish Burial, looking to send another Grapha to his Graveyard: Cordova negated it with Laggia’s ability.  Balan Summoned Broww to overlay it with Reaper, Xyz Summoning Temtempo the Percussion Djinn and detaching a Material from it to eat Leviair’s Material and boost Temtempo up.  Balan discarded Snoww with Gates, drawing Torrential Tribute and searching out another Snoww.  Temtempo attacked over Laggia, destroying it.


Cordova turned Leviair to Defense Position and Set a monster.

Balan could draw again after Reckless Greed, and topdecked Monster Reborn!  He pitched Snoww with Gates to draw into another Grapha, then used Snoww’s effect get another Gates.  Balan played another Gates to discard Grapha, drawing Dimensional Prison and destroying Cordova’s Set Sabersaurus.  He played Monster Reborn to Special Summon Grapha, then attacked Leviair with Temtempo.  Grapha made a direct attack to drop Cordova to 2900 Life Points!  Balan Set Torrential.

Cordova Set a second Spell or Trap.  Balan drew another Reckless Greed: Cordova’s backrow was useless under Royal Decree, and we were headed to one more Duel!


Cordova opened with Rescue Rabbit, bringing out two Sabersaurus to Xyz Summon Evolzar Laggia.  He Set three cards to his Spell and Trap Card Zone.

Balan had Snoww, Unlight of Dark World; Tour Guide from the Underworld; Gozen Match; Dark World Dealings; Solemn Judgment; and Return from the Different Dimension.  He Set Gozen, Judgment, and Return.  Cordova flipped Mystical Space Typhoon in the End Phase and destroyed Judgment.

Cordova Summoned another Sabersaurus and attacked for a combined total of 4300 Battle Damage.  He Set his remaining two cards to his back row – an imposing sight!

Balan drew Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World.  He activated Gozen Match in a bid to force Cordova to use his Laggia negation, but Cordova Chained Mystical Space Typhoon!  Balan need Dark World Dealings to go through.  He activated it, and Cordova negated it!  Balan could do nothing else but Summon Tour Guide, Special Summoning Broww to Xyz Summon Wind-Up Zenmaines in Defense Position.  He was stuck with a useless Grapha and useless Return from the Different Dimension, alongside a not-so-hot Broww.  He needed that Zenmaines… Cordova thought a moment, and then had no response.

Cordova Normal Summoned Tour Guide next turn!  “That’s game, I think,” smiled Balan, and Cordova Special Summoned another Tour Guide to go into Leviair the Sea Dragon.  That brought back Rescue Rabbit; Rabbit Special Summoned two Kabazauls; and Cordova Xyz Summoned Photon Papilloperative!  Cordova attacked over it with Sabersaurus, then Leviair, then Papilloperative, and finally made a direct shot with Laggia to win the Match!


Mario Cordova claims victory over Michael Balan’s Dark Worlds, and now waits to find out if he’ll make it to the Top 32!