Both of these competitors are world-renowned for their dueling skills, and each has a long record of impressive finishes. If Fili Luna won here today, it would be his record-breaking fourth Shonen Jump title. For Matt Peddle, victory would be the end of a years-long quest for the gold.
Fili seemed somewhat preoccupied and made a strange request: to send a message in this feature match to someone at home. “Sharon, I am very, very sorry. But I love you.” Whoever he was talking to, he seemed sincere. Both duelists also wanted to wish their mom a happy Mother’s Day. Aren’t they sweet?
The sentimentality turned to business soon enough, but the atmosphere was pretty light. “We both think he has a better deck,” grinned Matt. Luna laughed, shuffled up, and won the roll.
Luna opened with Reinforcement of the Army for Elemental Hero Stratos, searching his deck for Destiny Hero – Malicious. He discarded him for Destiny Draw, set a card to his back row and ended. “Go ahead.”
Peddle was holding Jinzo, Stratos, Monster Reborn, Brain Control, Destiny Hero - Fear Monger, and Return from the Different Dimension. He summoned Stratos, searched out Destiny Hero – Disk Commander, and slammed his Stratos into Luna’s to clear the field. A set bluff to his back row finished the turn.
Much shuffling of his hand began Luna’s turn, followed by the activation of Allure of Darkness. Luna removed Sangan from his hand, then activated his second Reinforcement of the Army to get Destiny Hero – Disk Commander. He flipped his set Destiny Draw, discarded Disk Commander, and drew two, then summoned Card Trooper. He boosted it up with its effect, but lost Mind Crush and two copies of Dark Armed Dragon! “Ouch! That hurt.” Fili reeled. He attacked with Card Trooper for 1900, set a card to his spell and trap zone, and ended. “That sucked. I should’ve just set the Trooper.”
Brain Control let Peddle take the Trooper next turn. He sent Dark Grepher, Mystical Space Typhoon, and Cyber Dragon from his deck to the graveyard to boost its ATK, then activated Monster Reborn, special summoning Luna’s Disk Commander for another two draws. He drew into Light and Darkness Dragon!
He tributed for it and attacked for 2800 damage! “That’s put you to 5200. Your move.”
“Yes, sir,” replied Luna. He drew for his turn and perused his graveyard, removing Malicious to take Light and Darkness Dragon down a notch. That let him special summon Dark Armed Dragon, a surprising move since he’d already lost two to the graveyard! Dark Armed Dragon attacked Light and Darkness Dragon, Peddle lost his face-down Return from the Different Dimension to its effect, and he special summoned Dark Grepher with its effect. Luna removed another Dark Armed Dragon to destroy Grepher, and then activated Premature Burial to bring back Disk Commander. That gave him another two cards. He was clearly digging for Light and Darkness Dragon.
And he got it! He tributed Dark Armed Dragon and Disk Commander for Light and Darkness, then ended with one card set in his back row. Peddle could do nothing but set a monster.
Luna summoned Destiny Hero – Fear Monger, smashing through Peddle’s Treeborn Frog before making a direct attack with Light and Darkness Dragon. Next turn Peddle activated the Frog’s effect four times to wear down Light and Darkness Dragon past the point of negation, then brought it up in defense mode. He followed up with Allure of Darkness, drew two, and then removed Destiny Hero – Fear Monger for his effect. He activated Destiny Draw, discarding Malicious, and took a few moments to consider his options. He summoned Sangan, attacked Light and Darkness Dragon with it to clear Fili’s field (including his Return from the Different Dimension), and Luna brought back Disk Commander. Peddle set two cards and ended.
Heavy Storm fell from Luna’s hand, and Peddle chained Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, discarding Disk Commander for its cost — he targeted Luna’s Disk Commander to be returned to his deck. “And I’m considering chaining Mind Crush,” noted Peddle, who wasn’t ready to resolve the chain. He went for it, called Monster Reborn, and Luna discarded it! A spectacular pick by Peddle.
But it was still Luna’s turn. He activated Allure of Darkness, removed Disk Commander, and ended. Peddle activated Premature Burial next turn, bringing back Disk Commander for another two draws. He tributed Sangan for Jinzo and searched his deck for D.D. Crow. A Destiny Draw later he was attacking with Jinzo, then Disk Commander, lowering Luna to 1500 life points. Peddle himself had 1200 life points remaining, and set one card to his back row to fend off attacks on Disk Commander.
Luna took Jinzo with Brain Control, discarded Malicious to special summon Dark Grepher and tried to attack for game with Jinzo! Peddle flipped Enemy Controller, tributed Disk Commander to take Jinzo, and Luna was forced to attack Treeborn Frog with Dark Grepher — definitely not the game shot he’d wanted. Luna activated two Trade-In in quick succession, then set a second card to his back row: a set monster finished his turn. “Go ahead.”
With his opponent having just 700 ATK points and Dark Grepher in attack mode, all Peddle needed to do was press through one big attack. He activated Reinforcement of the Army, searched his deck for Strike Ninja, and then sent Jinzo to take down Dark Grepher — It was Luna’s turn to flip Enemy Controller though, and Jinzo was turned to defense mode.
Now Peddle was in trouble. Holding Strike Ninja, Lightning Vortex, Destiny Hero – Dasher, and D.D. Crow, he was in a threatened position. Grepher could take down Jinzo next turn, and any number of monsters could then finish the game. Peddle discarded Dasher for Vortex, destroying Grepher, and set a monster. Luna set a card to his back row and passed.
Peddle summoned Strike Ninja, turned Jinzo to attack mode and pressed with the android — into Spirit Reaper! He ended his turn, Luna passed, and play was back to Peddle. Peddle passed, Luna passed back, and Peddle passed again, holding Reinforcement of the Army, Trap Dustshoot, and Crush Card Virus. Luna set a third card to his back row and Peddle was up.
He set two cards to his back row, and then activated Allure of Darkness with one card remaining in his hand. He removed Dark Armed Dragon for Allure’s effect, evaluated the field and shuffled the two cards that remained in his hand. He tributed Jinzo for Raiza the Storm Monarch, and when Luna responded with Torrential Tribute Peddle dodged with Strike Ninja by removing two copies of Malicious from his graveyard. He ended, and brought back Strike Ninja. In the end phase Luna flipped Fires of Doomsday, but once he drew next turn he had four cards in hand, and Peddle flipped Trap Dustshoot! It revealed Plasma, Dustshoot, Crush Card Virus, and Dark Magician of Chaos — Peddle sent the Dark Magician of Chaos back to Luna’s deck! That left Luna just to set a second spell or trap card and end.
Strike Ninja attacked a Doomsday Token next turn: Luna responded with Crush Card Virus, tributing a Token, and Peddle responded with another Ninja dodge. In the end phase he brought it back, but Luna flipped Scapegoat!
“You got it,” replied Peddle. Next turn Luna would tribute three Token monsters for Destiny Hero – Plasma, absorb Strike Ninja, and it would all be over. Fili Luna captures a hard-fought first duel, and twenty-seven minutes remained in the match! Both duelists sided and shuffled.
Peddle opened with Destiny Draw, discarding Destiny Hero – Dasher. He followed it up with a set card to each zone and ended. Luna summoned Stratos, grabbed Disk Commander from his deck, then activated Foolish Burial to send Treeborn Frog to his graveyard. He set card to his back row and launched an attack with Stratos, trying to harass Peddle’s face-down monster.
Phoenix Wing Wind Blast stopped the attack, Peddle discarding Light and Darkness Dragon to protect his face-down. “Morphing Jar?” asked Luna. Surely it was the only card that Peddle would lose an extra card to defend, especially when it would guarantee Luna a second pull with his Stratos. Luna set two more cards to his back row and ended. Peddle drew for his turn, set everything he had (including a monster), flipped Morphing Jar, drew five, and attacked! One more set card to his back row left him with four spell or trap cards and four in hand — Peddle ended.
Stratos came back down, getting Luna Destiny Hero – Malicious from his deck. Stratos attacked Morphing Jar, but Peddle responded by flipping Crush Card Virus, tributing his set Disk Commander! It blew away Stratos and stole Snipe Hunter from Luna’s hand, revealing it in a flash to Peddle: Brain Control, Allure, and more, but no other high-ATK monsters. Luna set two cards to his back row and lost one, Trap Dustshoot to Peddle’s Dust Tornado in the end phase.
Morphing Jar was left smiling on the field.
Peddle summoned Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, but lost his field to Torrential Tribute. He set another card to his back row, ended, and Luna lost his draw for the turn — Dark Grepher. Luna had two cards set, while Peddle had three, and Luna flipped his face-down Heavy Storm! He had no follow-up though, and ended with an empty field.
Premature Burial dropped Peddle to 7200 life points; he brought back Kycoo, attacked, and dropped Luna to 5500 life points, removing Treeborn Frog and Disk Commander from Luna’s graveyard — a tremendous blow! Peddle set a monster to finish out: “Your move.”
Luna drew and was up five cards in hand to Peddle’s two (with two monsters on the field). He activated Brain Control, took Kycoo, and attacked Peddle’s set monster — Treeborn Frog. He then tributed Kycoo for a face-down monster and ended. Peddle brought his Frog back in defense mode, fingered his in-hand Raiza the Storm Monarch and passed. “I think this play . . . is . . . go.” He didn’t seem terribly confident. Luna set another card to each zone and ended.
Heavy Storm cleared Luna’s set Destiny Draw and Allure! Now it was time for that Raiza! Peddle special summoned Dark Armed Dragon, tributed the Frog for Raiza, and spun away one of Luna’s monsters. With Dark Armed Dragon’s effect to clear the field that would be game from the Dragon and Raiza’s attacks: this match was moving to a third duel with eleven minutes remaining!
Matt Peddle wins the second of two exceptionally good, cerebral duels, pressing the match to a third game. Side decking and shuffling was fast this time around.
“I hate going to third game,” moaned Fili. “It’s scary!”
“Come on, Fili! You’re not gonna 2-0 me!” Peddle grinned.
Luna laughed: “Seriously! If anyone thinks someone like me doesn’t get nervous over this stuff, they’re wrong.”
He opened the last game with Foolish Burial, sending Treeborn Frog to his graveyard. He set a card to each zone and ended. Peddle drew, heaved a sigh, and examined his hand: Treeborn Frog, Reinforcement of the Army, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Trap Dustshoot, Destiny Hero – Dasher, and Dark Grepher. No draw cards on either side of the table. He set a card to each zone and ended. Fili discarded Brain Control in the end phase for Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, spun away Peddle’s set spell or trap, and ended. Next turn Luna brought back his Frog, set two cards to his back row, and flip summoned Morphing Jar!
Five minutes remained in the duel. He set a monster, Disk Commander, and tributed everything for Destiny Hero – Plasma. Premature Burial let him bring back the Commander he’d just set and tributed, drawing two more cards. Plasma took Peddle’s Treeborn Frog, and Luna set another face-down spell or trap card. Plasma and Disk Commander attacked, Peddle went to 5800 life points, and play was back to the would-be Canadian champ.
He activated Heavy Storm! Luna lost everything but Plasma, and Peddle followed up with Destiny Draw, discarding Disk Commander. He activated Monster Reborn, brought back Dasher, and activated Brain Control to take Plasma! Both Destiny Heroes attacked Luna, dropping him to 3200 life points, and Dasher turned to defense before eating Plasma. Peddle finished out by setting two cards to his back row. Two minutes remained.
Luna brought back Treeborn Frog, and Peddle flipped Dustshoot! Luna had Monster Reborn, Dark Armed Dragon, Raiza the Storm Monarch, Sangan, and Reinforcement of the Army. He had three Dark monsters in his graveyard, too, so Peddle sent back the Dark Armed Dragon. Reinforcement of the Army let Luna search for Dark Grepher, time was called, and three turns would remain after this one.
The calculator came out and Luna started running numbers. The duel stood at 5000 to 3200 in Peddle’s favor.
Luna tributed Treeborn Frog for Raiza the Storm Monarch, spinning away Peddle’s Dasher. He removed one Malicious from his graveyard to summon another in attack mode, activated Monster Reborn, and targeted Peddle’s Kycoo: Peddle had no response and Luna had exactly 5000 damage on the table!
Peddle had no way out. His set card was Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, and his in-hand card was Bottomless Trap Hole. His next draw was the Dasher, so no matter what he spun there was just nothing he could do. “That’s game.”
Fili Luna goes all out, finishing off Matt Peddle in time and moving on to the Top 4!