Final Round Feature Match: Michael Balan vs. Simon He
These two Duelists had outlasted over 4300 of their fellow competitors to get here. This one Match – fought between Dark World and Dino Rabbit – would determine the fate of a tournament ten years in the making. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Duels had all led here, to this one final table. Ladies and gentlemen, it all comes down to this!
Balan started off with The Gates of Dark World, and banished Stardust Dragon to Special Summon Malefic Stardust Dragon. He Set 2 cards to his Spell and Trap Card Zone.
Simon He had Forbidden Lance, Torrential Tribute, Monster Reborn, Solemn Judgment, Effect Veiler, and Sabersaurus. No Rescue Rabbit yet. He Set Torrential and Solemn. “Of all the Decks I didn’t want to face…? Why can’t I just have a good Rabbit mirror?”
Balan Set another Spell or Trap, and ended without attacking.
Simon He drew Gorz the Emissary of Darkness – not too hot with two Set cards in his Spell and Trap Card Zone. He passed.
Balan flipped Reckless Greed next turn, and Simon He debated a moment before letting Balan draw his two cards. “You got two more Set?” Balan nodded, and activated another Reckless! Balan now had seven cards in hand! He activated Heavy Storm, and his opponent chained Solemn Judgment to negate it, trying to keep his Torrential Tribute on the table. But Balan Chained a Solemn of his own! He Set another Spell or Trap, then Set two cards and activated Dragged Down into the Grave with three cards left; two Browws and a Snoww! Balan plucked Gorz from Simon He’s hand, who decided to discard Balan’s Broww, permitting Balan another draw. He drew Mirror Force to finish Dragged Down’s effect. Balan activated Gates’ effect, banishing Broww, and discarding Snoww to draw a card, then using Snoww’s ability to search his Deck for Grapha. He Summoned a Broww, then Set three more cards to his back row before activating another Dragged Down! He dropped his last card, Grapha, and discarded his opponent’s Monster Reborn, then drawing Kabazauls. Balan bounced his Broww back to his hand to Special Summon Grapha, then drew a card with Upstart Goblin. He activated another Dealings; his opponent drew Tour Guide from the Underworld, and pitched Kabazauls, while Balan dropped another Broww to draw again. Foolish Burial let him send another Grapha from his Deck to his Graveyard, and he attacked with Malefic Stardust for 2500 Life Points. His opponent had exactly 2500 remaining.
Simon He drew Pot of Avarice, and lost his Mirror Force to Balan’s Mind Crush. He Summoned Tour Guide, and Special Summoned Sangan in Defense Position, before stacking to Xyz Summon Wind-Up Zenmaines in Defense. He Set a card to his back row, and in the End Phase Balan flipped his third Reckless Greed!
Balan banished Broww for the effect of Gates, discarding Snoww to get another Grapha to his hand. He flipped his last Set card, Dark Hole, and his opponent activated his Set Forbidden Lance, keeping Zenmaines from having to detach a Material to remain on the field. But Balan pressed on; he activated another Gates, banishing Snoww to discard Grapha. He drew, then knocked a Material off Zenmaines. Balan Summoned Beiige, then bounced it to Special Summon Grapha, and activated Dealings; his opponent drew Maxx “C”. Balan discarded Beiige, and He discarded Veiler; in response to Beiige’s effect, Simon He discarded Maxx “C” to draw… another Maxx “C”. Balan got his second Grapha up, letting his opponent draw Solemn Warning, and attacked to destroy Zenmaines. Balan Set three cards to his back row.
Simon He drew Mystical Space Typhoon. He had Pot of Avarice, Sabersaurs, Maxx “C”, and Warning. He activated Avarice, shuffling back his Tour Guide, Sangan, Zenmaines, Kabazauls, and a Maxx “C”, to draw two Fiendish Chain. “That is interesting,” remarked He. He shuffled his hand a moment, grimaced slightly, and then conceded. He immediately began working out a Side Deck plan.
A remarkable string of plays, including triple Reckless Greed, allow Michael Balan to take a decisive victory in the first Duel. Balan stripped his opponent of his most important cards, at crucial moments, leaving him with no way to fight back. Balan could be just one Duel away from becoming the 100th Champion in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series.
Simon He opened with a hand of double Kabazauls, Solemn Warning, Pot of Avarice, Thunder King Rai-Oh, and Mystical Space Typhoon. He Set a Kabazauls, then Set Warning and Typhoon.
Balan Set a monster, then Set a Spell or Trap. He destroyed it with Mystical Space Typhoon in the End Phase; Royal Decree.
Simon He drew his third Kabazauls! He Flip Summoned the first, then Normal Summoned another, stacking them to Xyz Summon Evolzar Dolkka! It attacked to reveal Gellenduo, which survived by its effect. He ended his turn by pointing at Balan silently.
“Out of interest, how many Rabbit matchups did you lose this weekend?”
“I haven’t lost one,” replied Balan.
“How many did you face?”
“I’ve played… Six?” Balan Set another Spell or Trap. Ominous.
He drew Tour Guide from the Underworld. After some thought, he passed again. “You’re just going to sit behind the Gellenduo?”
“Why not?” grinned Balan, who Set another Spell or Trap and passed.
Simon He drew Heavy Storm. “Why can’t Gellenduo activate, or something?” he laughed. Balan laughed as well, and after another few moments of consideration, Simon He passed again.
Balan drew for his turn, then drew twice more for Reckless Greed! “Here we go,” commented He, as Balan drew to seven cards. He activated Mystical Space Typhoon, destroying He’s Solemn Warning, his only Set card. Balan then Summoned Snoww, The Unlight of Dark World, and stacked it with Gellenduo to Xyz Summon Number 39: Utopia. Utopia attacked to destroy Dolkka, and Balan moved to Main Phase 2, where he Set another Spell or Trap.
Simon He activated Heavy Storm! It destroyed Balan’s Torrential Tribute and Heavy Storm, and He began running through his options. He Summoned Tour Guide, and Special Summoned Sangan, stacking for Wind-Up Zenmaines in Attack Position. It attacked Utopia, and Balan negated the attempt with Utopia’s ability. He Set the Warning he’d drawn this turn.
Balan Set a Spell or Trap, then activated Card Destruction! Balan discarded Grapha and Malefic Stardust Dragon, drawing two cards and then using Grapha’s effect to destroy He’s Warning. He had drawn Smashing, Tour Guide, and Reborn off the Card Destruction. Balan Summoned Beiige, then returned it to his hand to Special Summon Grapha. Balan followed up with Monster Reborn! It got him He’s Thunder King Rai-Oh, and he attacked with everything to take down Zenmaines and drop He to 5200 Life Points. “Quite done with the onslaught?” quipped He. Balan nodded.
Simon He drew Sabersaurus and tried to puzzle out how he might escape this. He couldn’t use the Tour Guide for an Xyz Summon, because Thunder King would negate it. Smashing Ground would destroy Utopia, since it had the highest DEF of Balan’s three monsters. He had to start with Reborn; He activated it and Special Summoned back his Dolkka. Then, he blew through Utopia with Smashing Ground. Dolkka attacked to destroy Thunder King, freeing up Tour Guide, which He held back for next turn.
Balan had one card in hand, one card Set in his back row, and Grapha. Grapha attacked to destroy Dolkka.
He drew Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. He passed, and took a sip of water. He had 4800 Life Points left.
Balan activated The Gates of Dark World, and attacked for 3000 Battle Damage! His opponent Summoned Gorz, but Balan wiped the field with Dark Hole in Main Phase 2! He banished Snow to discard and Special Summon Beiige, drawing a card, then bounced Beiige to bring back Grapha! He then used his last card, Foolish Burial, to send another Grapha to the yard, and Summoned, then bounced Beiige, to Special Summon the second copy.
Simon He drew Solemn Judgment. He had Sabersaurus, Tour Guide, and only one way he could end this Duel…
“Congratulations!” He smiled and gave Balan a handshake. The crowd exploded.
Michael Balan has won the 100th tournament in the prestigious Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series, and will forever be known as the victor of YCS Long Beach!