Home > 2015/08 - Toronto, Canada, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Round 1 Feature Match: Sean McCabe Versus Steven Lee Dahlke

Round 1 Feature Match: Sean McCabe Versus Steven Lee Dahlke

August 29th, 2015

Sean McCabe took second place at last year’s YCS Toronto, and scored a runner-up finish last weekend at the Ultimate Duelist Series Invitational in his hometown of Philadelphia. McCabe’s become one of the most recognizable Duelists in North America through years of competition, but he’s never captured a YCS title. After taking second last weekend with Star Seraph Shaddolls he’s back with the same strategy here in Day 1.

His opponent is Steven Lee Dahlke, a Ritual Beast Duelist from Sault St. Marie in Michigan. With the ability to de-fuse monsters at will, this is an interesting match-up for Dahlke, allowing him to potentially dodge some of McCabe’s more important effects.




McCabe opened the Match with a hand of Star Seraph Scepter; Mathematician; Vanity’s Emptiness; Call of the Haunted; and Solemn Warning. He Summoned Star Seraph Scepter to search Star Seraph Sovereignty, then Set three cards to his backrow.


Dahlke drew to six cards and tried to Summon Spiritual Beast Cannahawk, but McCabe negated the Summon with Solemn Warning. “You’re at 6000?” McCabe confirmed. “Activate Gold Sarcophagus.” Dahlke banished Ritual Beast Tamer Wen from his Deck; he’d add it to his hand in two turns. Dahlke Set three cards to his backrow.


McCabe drew El Shaddoll Fusion. He Summoned Mathematician to send Shaddoll Squamata from his Deck to his Graveyard, activating its ability to send Shaddoll Hedgehog to his Graveyard. The Hedgehog’s effect triggered and got McCabe Shaddoll Beast. “Declare an attack with Mathematician?”


“Taking it.”


“Attack with Scepter.” McCabe made a second direct attack. He activated El Shaddoll Fusion in the Battle Phase for more aggression, but Dahlke countered it by flipping Vanity’s Emptiness. McCabe ended.


Dahlke Summoned Spiritual Beast Apelio and boosted it to 2300 ATK by banishing Cannahawk from his Graveyard.


McCabe drew another El Shaddoll Fusion. He Set it.


Dahlke drew for his turn and got his banished Wen off Gold Sarcophagus. He Normal Summoned Spiritual Beast Rampengu, then used its effect to send Spiritual Beast Pettlephin to his Graveyard. “Enter Battle Phase…” He pressed Apelio over Mathematician, and McCabe drew Shaddoll Squamata with its effect. A direct attack from Rampengu dropped McCabe to 2600 Life Points. Dahlke had 4700 LP remaining.




McCabe drew Shaddoll Fusion and Summoned Squamata; Dahlke had no response. McCabe sent the Squamata to attack Rampengu, but lost it to Ritual Beast Steeds. Squamata was destroyed, the Steeds hit the Graveyard and thus destroyed Vanity’s Emptiness, and McCabe yarded Shaddoll Dragon with Squamata. McCabe flipped Call of the Haunted! That got him back his Star Seraph Scepter and let him place two Star Seraph Sovereignty onto the field. He Xyz Summoned Stellarknight Delteros in Main Phase 2. He cashed in Scepter’s effect to destroy Apelio and draw, then detached Scepter from Delteros to destroy Rampengu. He Set two cards to his backrow, and next turn when Dahlke drew to three cards, McCabe flipped Mind Crush.


He called Ritual Beast Tamer Wen, knowing Dahlke had one copy thanks to Gold Sarcophagus, but wasn’t expecting to hit a second copy! Dahle lost both and Set his last card, revealed to be Mirror Force.


McCabe destroyed it with Delteros next turn, and when he activated El Shaddoll Fusion Dahlke conceded.




An early Vanity’s Emptiness lets Steven Lee Dahlke keep Sean McCabe’s Shaddolls under control for several turns, but pressure from McCabe forces Dahlke to break the lock, and an explosive Star Seraph play lets McCabe capitalize!


“I think I saw a video once where you were one of the Top 10 players in the game,” remarked Dahlke, friendly.


“Oh yeah?”


“Yeah.” Dahlke laughed. He balled up his fist in jest. “I’ll show YOU who’s a good player!” He paused for a beat. “Not me!” McCabe smiled and the two competitors proceeded to discuss some finer points of their expected bigger match-ups today. The tone was convivial – it was still early in the day.


Dahlke opened with Gold Sarcophagus, banishing Spiritual Beast Cannahawk. He set four cards to his Spell and Trap Card Zone.




McCabe had two Mystical Space Typhoon; two Mathematicians; Mistake; and Star Seraph Scepter. He Summoned a Mathematician to send Shaddoll Squamata from his Deck to his Graveyard, then yarded a Shaddoll Dragon to destroy Dahlke’s Set Ritual Beast Ambush. He attacked with Mathematician for 1500 Battle Damage. “Oh man, I had that all planned out… I was gonna make a play…” Dahlke sighed, keeping upbeat as McCabe Set three cards to his backrow.


Dahlke passed.


McCabe drew Shaddoll Fusion and Summoned Scepter, searching a Star Seraph Sovereignty. Mathematician and Scepter made direct attacks to drop Dahlke to 3200 Life Points.


Dahlke Normal Summoned Ritual Beast Tamer Elder, then followed up, Summoning Ritual Beast Cannahawk, fresh off Gold Sarcophagus. He banished Spiritual Beast Apelio from his Deck with Cannahawk’s effect, then flipped Ritual Beast Steeds to destroy Scepter and Mathematician. He followed up, Contact Fusing for Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio, attacking for 2600 Battle Damage. The Duel stood at 5400 Life Points to 3200. Dahlke de-fused into Elder and Cannahawk in Main Phase 2, and then Contact Fused back into Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk, looking to use its search effect; McCabe responded with Mistake, but Dahlke had Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy it on the Chain!


He activated Cannahawk’s effectt targeting Wen and Elder to send them to his Graveyard, then on Chain Link 2, de-fused to Special Summon Wen and Apelio. The Chain resolved with Wen and Apelio Special Summoned, while Elder went to the Graveyard to get Dahlke his search. He then activated Apelio’s effect to banish Elder, Contact Fused for Ulti-Cannahawk again, and searched Ritual Beast Ambush. He Set three cards to his backrow, and in the End Phase McCabe blew away his Vanity’s Emptiness, then his Ambush, with his two Mystical Space Typhoons.


McCabe drew Shaddoll Core, Summoned Mathematician, and debated what he’d send to his Graveyard. He settled on Shaddoll Hedgehog to get Shaddoll Squamata, then activated Shaddoll Fusion to send Shaddoll Falco and Shaddoll Beast to his Graveyard from his Deck. “I should have de-fused,” Dahlke remarked, immediately realizing his error. He could have forced McCabe to fuse monsters from his hand or field, instead of getting his Fusion Materials from his Deck for free. “There’s the mistake. That’s the game.” Dahlke beat himself up a bit. McCabe Special Summoned El Shaddoll Winda, revived Falco and drew with Beast. He attacked with Winda and Dahlke de-fused into Wen and Apelio, then blew away Mathematician and Beast with Steeds. McCabe destroyed Wen with his one remaining attack, then Set a Spell or Trap Card.


Dahlke attacked over Winda with Apelio next turn, banishing Cannahawk from the Graveyard to boost Apelio’s ATK, then activated Emergency Teleport to Special Summon another Wen. Two direct attacks dropped McCabe to 3300 Life Points. In Main Phase 2 Dahlke tried to Contact Fuse for Ulti-Cannahawk, wanting to target Wen, but couldn’t since she was already Special Summoned that turn off the Teleport. He couldn’t de-fuse. “I should’ve banished the other Tamer… that’s two misplays.”


McCabe drew Shaddoll Beast and activated Shaddoll Fusion: this time Dahlke de-fused into Wen and Apelio, leaving McCabe to fuse Squamata and Beast for Winda. He yarded Shaddoll Fusion with Squamata’s effect and drew with Beast, getting El Shaddoll Fusion. He flipped Shaddoll Core, attacked, and lost Core to Dahlke’s Steeds, getting back Shaddoll Fusion with Core’s effect. He attacked Apelio with Winda to destroy it, and Set Shaddoll Fusion and El Shaddoll Fusion.


Dahlke Summoned Spiritual Beast Cannahawk to banish Spiritual Beast Apelio from his Deck, then Contact Fused for Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio. He entered his Battle Phase, attacked, and McCabe flipped El Shaddoll Fusion He fused Winda from the field and Sovereignty from his hand to Fusion Summon El Shaddoll Construct, getting back his Core.


“Hmm. I’ve got this awesome replay now,” Dahlke pretended to muse over the option of running his monster into Construct. “I think I’m not gonna attack.” He de-fused into Wen and Cannahawk, banishing Ritual Beast Tamer Lara from his Deck, then Contact Fused for Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk. That got his Lara and Apelio back on the field, Cannahawk in the Graveyard, and searched him Ritual Beast Ambush. He banished Elder from his Deck with Apelio, then Contact Fused for another Cannahawk to get Ritual Beast’s Bond. (He placed Wen and Lara in the Graveyard.)


McCabe drew another Sovereignty and attacked with Construct. Dahlke de-fused into Lara and Apelio, and McCabe attacked Apelio; Dahlke activated its effect to banish Lara, and Apelio was destroyed. When McCabe tried to end his turn, Dahle activated Ambush, and Dahlke brought back his Apelio and his Elder.




Dahlke drew for his turn and activated Apelio’s effect, banishing the Apelio from his Graveyard. He took a moment to read Construct, then fused Elder and Apelio for Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk. He activated its effect to search, then chained to de-fuse. That got him Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica from his Deck. He activated Cannahawk’s ability to banish Spiritual Beast Pettlephin from his Deck, then contact fused Cannahawk and Wen for another Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk.


He activated its effect, then Chained to de-fuse into Pettlephin and Elder, searching Spiritual Beast Rampengu. Pettlephin’s effect let him banish Zeframpilica, giving him another fresh Ritual Beast Tamer to play with. He Normal Summoned Rampengu, and moments later he was attacking with Ulti-Apelio, flipping Bonds to bring out another in a bid for game… McCabe flipped Shaddoll Core to block what would’ve been a game-winning attack otherwise!




Dahlke de-fused one Ulti-Gaiapelio, then the other, to bring Lara, Rampengu, Cannahawk, and Zeframpilica back to the field. He overlaid for Gagaga Cowboy, and then finished off McCabe’s last 700 Life Points with Cowboy’s burn effect.


Just like that, we were going to Game 3! Five minutes remained in the round.


McCabe had Mystical Space Typhoon; Shaddoll Squamata; Star Seraph Sovereignty; and two copies of Shaddoll Falco. He Set Falco and Typhoon. It was a really weak hand, and it seemed like McCabe might have been in trouble.


Dahlke Summoned Ritual Beast Tamer Elder and Spiritual Beast Cannahawk, fusing for Ulti-Apelio. He attacked with it, and when it flipped Squamata in battle Ulti-Apelio’s effect protected it from Squamata’s ability. In Main Phase 2 Dahlke de-fused into Elder and Cannahawk, now with Apelio and Wen banished. He brought out Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk; Apelio and Wen hit the field; and with Elder in the Graveyard, he search Ambush. He then combo’d out again, going into Ulti-Cannahawk to get Ritual Beast Steeds. He Set three cards to his backrow.


McCabe drew Shaddoll Dragon and Set it. No help there.


Dahlke flipped Steeds, destroying the Dragon and losing his second Set Steeds to its effect. But he flipped Ambush, and moments later he controlled a field of Apelio, Wen, Cannahawk, and Elder. Cannahawk banished Pettlephin from the Deck, and Dahlke Contact Fused Cannahawk and Elder for Ulti-Cannahawk. The Cannahawk combo got him Elder and Pettlephin to the field, and nabbed Ritual Beast’s Bond from his Deck. He banished Rampengu from his hand to bounce away McCabe’s Mystical Space Typhoon with Pettlephin, and Dahlke Contact Fused for two Apelios. He made direct attacks with both, then de-fused and activated Bonds to Summon for Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio! He attacked with it to finish the Match!




Steven Lee Dahlke comes back from a loss in the first game to win two straight, chalking up his first win of the tournament! An inauspicious start to the day for Sean McCabe…