Home > 2023/04 – 250th YCS Los Angeles, California > Round 2 Feature Match: Forbes Ku Versus Zane Rodriguez

Round 2 Feature Match: Forbes Ku Versus Zane Rodriguez

April 1st, 2023

The vibe here at the 250th YCS is a little different, and one of the reasons for that is cosplay! While the average Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series might see one or two Duel fans dressed like Kitchen Dragonmaidor Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, there are WAY more costumed competitors here this weekend. Some of the standout cosplayers aren’t even dressed as monsters; they’re taking inspiration from their favorite themes and running with it. 

Forbes Ku, ready to serve up defeat

Example? Forbes Ku has styled himself as a Suship chef, complete with chef’s hat, jacket, and an awesome custom-made game mat that doubles as a fully functional cutting board. It’s real, it’s heavy, and it’s made out of solid wood. It’s early here in Day 1 and Ku’s creativity got him a spot as a Bounty Duelist, so before we get to the Kashtira mirrors we want to see his Deck in action in our Round 2 Feature Match!

His opponent is Zane Rodriguez, from nearby Diamond Bar, California, just 30 minutes away. He’s playing Floowandereeze, a well-known deck that could make short work of Ku’s extensive omakase strategy. We’ve seen dozens of Floowandereeze Feature Matches in the past, but never one like this! Let’s see how it goes. 

Ku opted to let Rodriguez open the Match. Rodriguez started with Terraforming, searching his Deck for Floowandereeze and the Magnificent Map. Ku responded with Droll & Lock Bird, locking Rodriguez out of future searches for the turn. That left Rodriguez to activate the Map and end his turn.

As Ku adjusted his chef’s hat, a shout rang out from the spectator area.


…It was YCS winner and UDS Champion Shunping Xu, grinning ear to ear and apparently using his 2-Round bye privilege as an Ultimate Duelist VIP to be the only spectator watching the Match! The sheer glee on Xu’s face at getting to watch a costumed man pilot Suships in a Feature Match was plain to see. He could barely contain himself.

Except Xu wouldn’t get to see any Suships just yet. Ku had a hand of Small WorldTriple Tactics TalentWandering Gryphon Rider, and two more copies of Droll & Lock Bird. No Suships in sight! He activated Small World, revealed Droll & Lock Bird from his hand to reveal Kurikara Divincarnate from his Deck, and searched his Deck for Gunkan Suship Shari. He banished the revealed cards to take Shari. Ku then Special Summoned Gryphon Rider, Normal Summoned Shari, entered his Battle Phase and attacked for 4000 damage. Ku passed. That wasn’t really what he was aiming for.

Zane Rodriguez, ready to turn his opponent’s monsters into leftovers

Rodriguez activated Floowandereeze and the Magnificent Map revealing Floowandereeze & Robina, searching his Deck to banish Floowandereeze & Stri and Normal Summoning the Robina. He made Robina Chain Link 1 and Stri Chain Link 2. He added Stri to his hand and searched his Deck for Floowandereeze & Eglen. Rodriguez Normal Summoned Eglen, and Ku responded with his second Droll & Lock Bird! Rodriguez was locked down again, passing his turn.

Ku drew Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju, still holding Triple Tactics Talent. He moved to his Battle Phase, sent Shari to attack Robina for 1400 damage, and Gryphon Rider over Eglen to knock Rodriguez down to 1400 Life Points. 

Rodriguez Normal Summoned Floowandereeze & Stri, activated its effect to target Terraforming, and activated Eglen as Chain Link 2. He banished Terraforming, Normal Summoned Eglen, and used it to search Floowandereeze & Empen. He finished the effect to Normal Summon the Empen, making its effect Chain Link 1 and Robina Chain Link 2. That got him Floowandereeze and the Dreaming Town, and he opted not to Summon with Empen. He sent it to attack over Suship Shari, pressing 700 damage through to Ku’s Life Points, and moved to Main Phase 2 to Set one card to his Spell and Trap Card Zone.

Ku drew Lava Golem and Tributed away Empen to replace it with Gameciel. It was all he could do. 

Rodriguez Normal Summoned Floowandereeze & Toccan, getting back Stri and Eglen to Normal Summon the Eglen. Eglen got him his second Empen, and he Tributed off both birds to Summon it. He made Empen Chain Link 1 and Toccan Chain Link 2. That got him Floowandereeze and the Unexplored Winds and he Normal Summoned Stri. Rodriguez banished his first Empen from the Graveyard, then Tributed it away along with Gameciel to Summon Raiza the Mega Monarch! He sent Droll & Lock Bird back to the top of Ku’s Deck, then bumped Gryphon Rider back to Ku’s hand. Rodriguez activated Unexplored Winds, moved to the Battle Phase and swung for a combined total of 5500 damage. 

Ku was down to 1800 Life Points. He Tributed away Empen and Raiza for Lava Golem, then Special Summoned Wandering Gryphon Rider in defense mode! “Unfortunately I can’t hit you for 400.” Ku chuckled. “I will pass my turn.” Ku knew it was over.

Rodriguez took 1000 from Lava Golem, dropped to 400 Life Points, and Normal SummonedFloowandereeze & Toccan, targeting the banished Empen to get it back to his hand. He Tributed for the Empen and the Duel was over moments later as Rodriguez made a direct attack for game!

Zane Rodriguez orders up a win in the first Duel

Forbes Ku finds his fishing nets empty, struggling to see any Suships at all! Zane Rodriguez manages to pick off Ku’s single copy of Gunkan Suship Shari, then fights through not one, but two copies of Droll & Lock Bird to take Game 1!

Could Ku rally for the second Duel? We were about to find out. 

Ku opted to go second again, and Rodriguez kicked off Game 2 with Floowandereeze & Robina, Normal Summoning it and Chaining Floowandereeze and the Advent of Adventure, banishing Floowandereeze & Empen. He searched his Deck for Floowandereeze and the Magnificent Map, then snagged Floowandereeze & Toccan next. He Normal Summoned Floowandereeze & Eglen to resolve Robina’s effect, then used it to search his Deck for Floowandereeze & Snowl! That’s not a card we see very often in tournament-level Floowandereeze decks. 

Rodriguez resolved Eglen’s ability to Summon Toccan, used it to get back his banished Empen, then Tributed away Robina and Toccan to Summon it. He got the Robina back and searched his Deck for Floowandereeze and the Unexplored Winds. He activated Map, Set a card to his backrow and activated Unexplored Winds and ended.

Ku’s hand this time was Small WorldTriple Tactics TalentWandering Gryphon RiderGunkan Suship ShariGunkan Suship Shari Red, and Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju. It was already looking better than Game 1. 

“I’ll throw a turtle at your bird,” joked Ku, tributing away Rodriguez’s Empen for Gameciel. He S Special Summoned Wandering Gryphon Rider,, Special Summoned Shari Red and used it to Special Summon Gunkan Suship Uni from his Deck. He immediately overlaid both Suships to Xyz Summon Gunkan Suship Uni-class Super-Dreadnought! Ku would get all three of the Super-Dreadnought’s effects, using it to immediately draw a card and finding another copy of Suship Shari. He activated Small World, revealed the Shari, searched his Deck to reveal Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, and added Water Enchantress of the Temple to his hand. He banished the Shari and Ash Blossom face-down, then used Water Enchantress’s effect to banish it and search Rite of Aramesir.

Ku activated it, Special Summoned his Adventurer Token, and used Rite’s effect to search his Deck for Fateful Adventure, placing it on the field. He used Super-Dreadnought’s ability to negate the effects of Floowandereeze and the Unexplored Winds and tried to enter his Battle Phase: Rodriguez cut him off with Floowandereeze and the Dreaming Town to Normal Summon Robina. He activated its effect, then Toccan’s effect, building the chain to keep his Robina safe from Wandering Gryphon Rider’s negation. Rodriguez searched Floowandereeze & Stri from his Deck, and Tributed Robina and Eglen for Floowandereeze & Snowl. Ku responded with Fateful Adventure’s effect, searching his Deck for Dracoback, the Rideable Dragon; Rodriguez got back his Eglen. 

Ku took a moment to read Snowl’s effect, and still in his Main Phase, activated Fateful Adventure to trade Dracoback for another Water Enchantress. He equipped Dracoback to the Token, then activated Triple Tactics Talent, using the effect to take control of an opposing monster. Ku wanted to take control of Snowl, but that effect of Talent doesn’t actually target. Rodriguez Chained Snowl’s effect, Ku responded with Gryphon Rider’s ability to destroy Snowl, and since Triple Tactics Talent doesn’t target, Ku got to take back his Gameciel instead! 

The Suship chef used Dracoback to bounce Magnificent Map back to Rodriguez’s hand. He Normal Summoned Gunkan Suship Shari, and with Shari, Gameciel, the Adventurer Token, and Gunkan Suship Uni-class Super-Dreadnought, Ku had a combined total of 9100 ATK! That was more than enough to defeat Rodriguez despite his 8500 Life Points.

Forbes Ku tastes the sweet flavor of victory

Forbes Ku almost falls victim to an empty pantry yet again, but a copy of Gunkan Suship Shari Red on the draw bails him out, and few fancy Chains later he’s sweeping Game 2! Could Ku pull that off again and sail his way to a fantastically fishy comeback? Or were Rodriguez’s birds about to dine on a delectable sushi lunch? Game 3 would decide the outcome.

Rodriguez chose to go first for the final Duel. He Normal Summoned Robina and Ku fired back with Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring! Rodrigued Set two cards to his backrow and passed.

This time Ku had Water Enchantress of the TempleDouble or Nothing!Artifact LanceaGunkan Suship Shari Red and Small World. He banished Water Enchantress for its effect and Rodriguez responded with Dimension Shifter. Ku searched Rite of Aramesir, used it to Special Summon an Adventurer Token and searched Fateful Adventure. He used it to search Wandering Gryphon Rider, then discarded Double or Nothing! to complete the effect. He Special Summoned the Gryphon Rider, Rodriguez flipped Harpie’s Feather Storm, and the Gryphon Rider stayed in Ku’s hand. He moved to the Battle Phase to attack and destroy Robina, then passed. Once again, Ku was finding himself landlocked with not enough boats.

Rodriguez activated Pot of Prosperity and Ku responded with Artifact Lancea. He should’ve activated it earlier, but Rodriguez got to pick from Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, another Pot of ProsperityFloowandereeze & EmpenPot of DualityFloowandereeze and the Dreaming Town, and Floowandereeze and the Magnificent Map. He took the Empen, and on resolution Ku Special Summoned the Gryphon Rider from last turn. Rodriguez Normal Summoned Eglen, activated its effect, Chained Robina, got back his Robina, searched Mist Valley Apex Avian, and Normal Summoned Robina to use its effect; he lost out to Gryphon Rider and Robina hit the Graveyard since Artifact Lancea’s effect kept it from being banished. “I’ll be passing turn.”

Ku ripped another Rite of Aramesir. He used Fateful Adventure to search his Deck for another Gryphon Rider, discarded Small World and Special Summoned the Gryphon Rider. Fateful Adventure got him Dracoback and. Ku equipped it to his Token. He tried to bounce Rodriguez’s remaining backrow card and Rodriguez Chained it, calling Xyz Monsters for Dimensional Barrier. Ku moved to the Battle Phase, attacked to clear the field, and Rodriguez was down to 3400 Life Points. Ku passed.

Rodriguez drew to three cards in hand. “That is game there, I think.” Rodriguez revealed his hand: Apex Avian, Empen, and Terraforming, none of which were helpful. Rodriguez extended the handshake!

Forbes Ku reels in the Match win

Forbes Ku wins our Round 2 Feature Match, battling back from a Game 1 defeat to take two wins back-to-back with Suships!