What a huge match! Shonen Jump Champion Dale Bellido is a fan-favorite, and one of Canada’s most respected duelists. He’s up against James Neumann, a repeated Shonen Jump Top 8’er from Montreal. Dale is playing for Team Overdose, and is running a reduxed version of the Lightsworn deck that took him to the Top 16 at Saint Louis. Neumann, now representing Team Yugioh ETC, is playing a standard Gladiator Beast build. Could innovation win out? I had my doubts, since Dale’s build was again low in utility. He was running Threatening Roar to compensate though, and had Beckoning Light to get back Judgment Dragons. A definite improvement.
Would it pan out into a win? We were about to find out!
“I’ll play first,” announced Bellido. He opened with Solar Recharge, discarding Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, drawing two, and sent Card Trooper and Foolish Burial to the graveyard. That left him with Beckoning Light, two Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, Heavy Storm, Threatening Roar, and My Body As A Shield. Again, it was the kind of dismal, dead opening hand that we’ve gotten tired of seeing from this kind of Lightsworn build. “Looks like you have pass mode,” smiled Neumann. “Yeah, go ahead,” replied Dale.
Neumann activated Reinforcement of the Army, searching his deck for Elemental Hero Prisma. He summoned it, sent Gladiator Beast Bestiari to the graveyard for its effect, then attacked for 1700 damage. He ended his turn without doing anything else. Dale was up: he set a monster, set two cards to his back row, and ended.
This time around Neumann activated Prisma to send Gladiator Beast Laquari to the graveyard. He set a monster, Bestiari, and revealed it to contact Fuse for Gladiator Beast Gyzarus! Prisma and Bestiari went back to the deck, and when Gladiator Beast Gyzarus hit the field Neumann targeted both of Dale’s back-row cards. “I know you play My Body . . .” Sure enough, Dale had My Body As A Shield set. He chained Threatening Roar, and lost his set My Body. “I’ll end,” noted Neumann, restrained momentarily by the Roar. Dale congratulated him on making an insightful read, not opting to destroy his monster with Gyzarus.
Dale drew for his turn, now holding two Celestia, Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Heavy Storm, and Beckoning Light. He flip summoned his face-down Ryko, destroyed Gyzarus to send Threatening Roar, Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner, and Ryko to the graveyard, then tributed for Celestia. He destroyed nothing, but sent four more cards to the graveyard (including Judgment Dragon) before making a direct attack for 2300 damage. He finished out by setting one spell or trap card.
Celestia went down next turn to Smashing Ground, and Neumann summoned Elemental Hero Stratos. He searched out another Prisma, and noted that he “was holding [Smashing] but needed to get rid of the My Body first.”
“Good play,” replied Dale. He took 1800 damage from Stratos’ attack, and Neumann finished his turn by setting one spell or trap card.
Dale set one spell or trap himself, then activated Beckoning Light with three cards in hand! Neumann chained D.D. Crow, depriving Dale of his intended pick: Judgment Dragon. He lost Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, and Honest, to take back Lumina, Honest, and Ryko. Losing that Judgment Dragon was a huge blow.
He flipped the Heavy Storm he’d set that turn, and Neumann opted not to chain his set Book of Moon. Dale summoned Lumina, discarded Ryko to special summon Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior with her effect, then ran over Stratos and made a direct attack with Lumina. He sent five cards to the graveyard in the end phase, including a Wulf, which he special summoned, but didn’t get to draw any cards with Garoth. It appeared he was back in the game after a rough opening.
Neumann set a card to each zone and ended. Dale turned Lumina and Garoth to defense mode, attacked with Wulf, and crashed into Morphing Jar! In main phase 2 he used Lumina’s effect to discard Necro Gardna and bring out another Wulf. Neumann blew the field with Torrential Tribute and Dale passed with four cards in hand. He had nothing on the field, and the duel stood at 4500 to 4650. Play was to Neumann.
He drew to six cards, then normal summoned Gladiator Beast Laquari. He set two cards to his back row and ended. Next turn, Dale summoned Judgment Dragon and lost it to Solemn Judgment. Where were his Lylas? He had just ten cards remaining in his deck.
He activated Foolish Burial, sending Wulf to the graveyard from his deck to special summon it. “It’s good,” replied Neumann. Dale discarded Jain, Lightsworn Paladin for Solar Recharge, drew two, and sent Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress and his third Judgment Dragon to the graveyard — ouch. This wasn’t looking good. Dale sent Wulf to attack Laquari, and Neumann dropped to 2050 life points. Dale still had 4500, but didn’t seem to have much going on amongst his remaining three in-hand cards.
Reinforcement of the Army got Neumann another copy of Elemental Hero Prisma, He summoned it, sent Bestiari to the graveyard, then special summoned Test Tiger to trade out Prisma for Gladiator Beast Darius. Darius brought back Bestiari, Neumann contact Fused the two of them for Gyzarus, and Wulf was destroyed. Gyzarus attacked, Dale removed Necro Gardna to negate the move, and Neumann quickly ended his turn. Dale did nothing but set another Necro Gardna.
Neumann summoned Prisma next turn, sent Bestiari to the graveyard, traded Prisma out with Test Tiger for Darius, brought up Bestiari, and brought out another Gyzarus. He now had two on the field, and the new one destroyed Dale’s single on-field card: Necro Gardna. Neumann had anticipated it, and had a second D.D. Crow to remove it from Dale’s graveyard before attacking. Two Gyzarus attacks later and the first duel was over!
James Neumann absolutely runs Dale Bellido from turn 1 onward, sweeping the first duel! Side decking was quick, and Bellido started game 2.
“Foolish Burial?” He special summoned Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, set a spell or trap, and ended. It seemed like a precariously aggressive move, but it made Neumann set a card to each zone next turn, staving off any sort of offensive maneuver. On the turn that followed, Dale tributed Wulf for Mobius the Frost Monarch! But Neumann negated the summon and destroyed him with Solemn Judgment, much to Dale’s surprise. Dale ended with one back row card, Neumann summoned Gladiator Beast Darius, and Threatening Roar cut him off from attacking. A set spell or trap finished his turn.
Dale discarded Garoth for Solar Recharge, sending Necro Gardna and Heavy Storm to the graveyard. He set a card to each zone, ended, and Neumann summoned Prisma. He mimicked Bestiari, contact Fused for Gyzarus, then targeted both of Dale’s cards: he chained Threatening Roar but lost Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. Things were not going well. “Go ahead.”
He drew for his turn, summoned Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner, and discarded Necro Gardna with priority to target Garoth. D.D. Crow stole the Garoth and Dale had to pass without doing anything else. Neumann flip summoned Sangan and tried to trade with Lumina, but lost out to Necro Gardna. Still, another Crow ripped away the last Gardna, and Gyzarus smashed through Lumina! Moments later Neumann was contact Fusing for Gladiator Beast Heraklinos. All Dale could do was set a monster.
Neumann flipped Light-Imprisoning Mirror! With three cards in hand to Dale’s two, Neumann had Dale totally locked down. He summoned Darius, attacked with Sangan, and hit Necro Gardna. Darius took the Gardna down, Heraklinos made a direct shot, and he traded Darius out for Laquari at the end of the battle phase.
Dale drew, and was left with Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress, Solar Recharge, and My Body As A Shield. He set Recharge, set Lyla and ended. There was no winning this. Neumann special summoned Test Tiger, traded out Laquari for Bestiari, and destroyed Dale’s set My Body As A Shield. Heraklinos destroyed Lyla in battle, Bestiari made a direct attack, and Neumann turned Sangan to defense mode. A turn later it was all over — Dale set a bluff, Neumann summoned another Gladiator Beast, and Sangan went to attack mode to finish things off!
James Neumann scores a crushing victory over Dale Bellido, as yet another low-utility Lightsworn build bites the dust! Neumann moves on, five wins away from a seat in the Top 8.