Home > 2014/05 - Philadelphia, PA, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Round 1 Feature Match: Frazier Smith Versus Nicholas Gulnick

Round 1 Feature Match: Frazier Smith Versus Nicholas Gulnick

May 17th, 2014

Coming into this weekend, Mythic Rulers are one of the most debated strategies in the field.  While the deck’s received tons of hype from previous Champions, it’s put in a string of unimpressive showings in Regional Qualifiers these past few weeks and many regard it as an inconsistent strategy.  Regardless, numerous duelists have pressed on, seeking new ways to make the deck more reliable.  Here in Round 1 we join Philly’s own Frazier Smith, winner of YCS Atlanta 2010, as he attempts to solve the deck’s problems with the incredible utility and consistency of Ice Hand and Fire Hand.  What better way to kick off YCS Philadelphia than checking in with one of Philly’s greatest?


His opponent is Nicholas Gulnick, traveling here this weekend from New York!  Gulnick is a nineteen year-old up-and-comer with two YCS appearances under his belt and a string of Regional Top 8 performances.  Gulnick was playing Mermails, and a strong showing in this Round 1 Feature Match would go a long way towards building him momentum, for what could become his first YCS Top 8.  Both competitors knew eachother from previous meetings at Regionals, and as the timer ticked down to the start of the tournament, Smith and Gulnick made friendly small talk about events they’d seen eachother at before.  It was a friendly tone.


Smith kicked things off with a hand of Phoenix Wing Wind Blast; Gold Sarcophagus; Upstart Goblin ; Soul Charge; Mythic Water Dragon; and Flamvell Guard.




He played Gold Sarcophagus for Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders, banishing it to search his Deck for Mythic Tree DragonUpstart Goblin got him Cards of Consonance, and he pitched Flamvell Guard to activate it, drawing Dragon Shrine and another Upstart Goblin.  He sent another Flamvell Guard, plus Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos to his Graveyard with Shrine, then activated Upstart Goblin to get another.  He played this Upstart to draw The White Stone of Legend.  “So all of my Upstarts got played on Turn 1, which means my Deck is officially 37 cards today!”  He Summoned Mythic Water and Mythic Tree Dragon, shifted Mythic Tree to Level 8, and overlaid them for Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand.  He activated Soul Charge next, reviving Blaster and one of his Flamvell Guards.




That let him Synchro Summon Stardust Spark Dragon, and he Set Phoenix Wing Wind Blast to finish out – a huge opening!


Gulnick fired back with a Set monster, then Set two cards to his backrow.


Smith drew another Dragon Shrine.  He thought a moment about his options, fanning his graveyard, then activated Shrine to load up Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms.  He banished Tempest and Flamvell Guard to Special Summon Blaster, searching Debris Dragon with Tempest’s effect, then Normal Summoned White Stone to Tune both monsters together; Smith Synchro Summoned Scrap Dragon.  White Stone got him Blue-Eyes White Dragon from his Deck.  Smith activated Scrap Dragon’s effect, targeted his Stardust Spark Dragon and Gulnick’s Set monster for destruction, then Chained Stardust Spark Dragon’s effect to protect it.  Scrap Dragon destroyed Gulnick’s face-down Mermail Abysslinde, triggering its effect and allowing him to Special Summon Mermail Abysspike in Defense Position.  Gulnick pitched Mermail Abyssocea to activate Abysspike’s ability, and Smith Chained Felgrand’s effect to negate it.   Stardust Spark attacked Abysspike to destroy it, and Smith made two direct attacks with Scrap Dragon and Felgrand.


“Go ahead.”  Gulnick flipped Mystical Space Typhoon in Smiths’ End Phase, leading Smith to Chain his targeted Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, discarding Blue-Eyes to put Gulnick’s backrow card on top of his deck.  Deprived of his next draw and out of options against Smith’s three big monsters, Gulnick scooped immediately.




Upstart Goblin gets Frazier Smith that clutch Cards of Consonance that sets it all off, creating a spine-crushing Turn 1 that gave him immediate and complete control over the Duel!  “That first turn was crazy,” remarked Smith.  “Once I saw that Cards of Consonance, it went from being pretty solid to just, ‘Summon everything’.”  That’s what the Mythic Ruler deck does at its peak.  Let’s see if he could do it again, or if Gulnick could battle back.  Smith Side Decked out his Ice Hands and Fire Hands.


Both duelists wished eachother good luck, and Gulnick started off by revealing Mermail Abyssteus to Special Summon it, discarding Mermail Abyssturge.  He searched Mermail Abysspike, Summoned it to pitch Mermail Abyssgunde, and searched out Mermail Abyssocea.  He Special Summoned Abyssturge with Abyssgunde, then pitched Abyssocea for Abyssturge, adding Abyssgunde back to his hand.  He overlaid Abyssturge and Abysspike to Xyz Summon Bahamut Shark, then detached for its effect: he Special Summon Mermail Abysstrite, then Set three cards to his back row.




Smith had two Trade-In; Mythic Tree Dragon; Gold Sarcophagus; Soul Charge; and Metaion, the Time Lord .  That’s what the Mythic Ruler Deck does, at its not-peak.  He activated Gold Sarcophagus to search and banish Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls , searching out Mythic Water Dragon.  He discarded it for Trade-In, drawing Cards of Consonance and Torrential Tribute.  He Summoned Metaion, attacked Abyssteus, and succeeded in wiping the field despite Gulnick’s three backrows!  He Set Torrential Tribute, but lost it to Gulnick’s Mystical Space Typhoon in the End Phase.


Gulnick drew, then activated Reckless Greed to draw two more.  That brought him to five cards in hand with one card Set in his Spell and Trap Card Zone; Smith had the Metaion on the field, with four cards in hand.  He Special Summon Abyssteus again, pitching Mermail Abyssgunde, searching Mermail Abysshilde and Special Summoning Abyssturge.  He pitched Abysshilded for Abyssturge’s ability, getting back Abyssgunde.  He then Special Summoned Abyssteus with Abysshilde’s effect, and overlaid for Mermail Abyssgaios!  He Set a monster and ended, still restrained by Metaion’s presence.


Smith drew Maxx “C” and shuffled Metaion back into his deck.  He Set Mythic Tree Dragon.


Gulnick Flip Summoned Mermail Abysslinde, attacked with Abyssgaios to destroy Tree Dragon, then made two direct attacks to knock Smith down to 4800 Life Points.


Smith drew Upstart Goblin and added Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls to his hand, as Gold Sarcophagus’ effect resolved.  The Goblin got him another Soul Charge.  He tried to activate it, and when Gulnick flipped Vanity’s Emptiness Smith gave the concession!




Frazier Smith’s deck gives him a nearly unplayable hand, while Nicholas Gulnick’s Mermails explode into action not once, but twice!  A clutch Vanity’s Emptiness clinches the second Duel and suddenly the Match is 1-1!  Smith would open Game 3.


This time Smith had Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms; Upstart Goblin; Flamvell Guard; Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls; Cards of Consonance; and Debunk.  Upstart got him Kuribandit!  He pitched Flamvell Guard for Cards of Consonance, getting Soul Charge and Trade-In.  He Set a card to his backrow, Summoned Kuribandit, used its effect, and revealed five cards with its effect: Dragon Shrine; Maxx “C” ;Upstart Goblin; Skill Drain; and another Kuribandit.  He took Shrine, then sent the rest of his cards to his Graveyard.  Not a lot of Graveyard fodder there for Soul Charge, but Shrine would help fix that.




Gulnick Summoned Mermail Abysspike, pitching Mermail Abysshilde to search out Atlantean Marksman.  He attacked with Mermail Abysspike and Set four to his Spell and Trap Card Zone.


Smith drew Sacred Sword of Seven Stars!  He activated Dragon Shrine, sending Flamvell Guard and The White Stone of Legend to his Graveyard to add Blue-Eyes White Dragon to his hand.  He pitched Blue-Eyes for Trade-In, getting Trade-In and Burial from a Different Dimension.  He banished Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls for Sacred Sword of Seven Stars, drawing Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and Debris Dragon, and searching Mythic Water Dragon with Tidal’s ability!  He discarded it for his next Trade-In, drawing Skill Drain and Gold Sarcophagus.  Gulnick flipped Imperial Iron Wall.  That left Smith to Set a monster, shuffle his hand, and Set three more cards to his backrow.  He ended with three cards left in hand.  Gulnick played Abyss-sphere at the end of Smith’s Main Phase, Special Summonning Mermail Abysslinde and destroying it to Summon Mermail Abyssturge.  He discarded Atlantean Marksman to get back Abysslinde, and blindly destroyed Smith’s Set Phoenix Wing Wind Blast.


Gulnick overlaid Abysspike and Bahamut Shark Abyssturge for, Normal Summoning Mermail Abysslinde.  He attacked with Bahamut Shark, destroying Smith’s Set Debris Dragon, then made a direct attack with Abysslinde.  In Main Phase 2 Gulnick detached to Special Summon Mermail Abysstrite in Defense Position.


Smith drew another Soul Charge!  He activated it immediately, and when Gulnick flipped Vanity’s Emptiness it was all over!  Hitting that Phoenix Wing Wind Blast was absolutely clutch, and Gulnick knew it!  Both competitors fell to discussing it, but not before Smith gave Gulnick a genuine handshake and congratulations.




Nicholas Gulnick takes a 2-1 victory over Frazier Smith, in a Match that demonstrated both the ups and the downs of the Mythic Ruler strateguy.  Mermails take Gulnick to his first win of the day – possibly the first of many!