I am so curious about this.
We just had a Zombie feature match last round, but this one’s a little different. Michael Arimas is playing a deck-out version of the theme packing Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower, and it’s actually been working. By “working” I don’t mean “he’s siding into normal Zombie strategies every match and winning despite main-decked Bone Towers.” He’s actually decking people with long strings of combos, and I’m hoping I can catch it here for you in a feature match.
His opponent is Pao Xiong, a Lightsworn duelist from Sacramento. He’s running multiple copies of Plaguespreader Zombie main-decked, which could have interesting ramifications in this matchup. Both duelists were 5-1 so far.
Arimas opened with two Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower, Book of Life, Zombie Master, Zombie World, and Mezuki. He set Mezuki to get started and ended. Xiong was up, and set a monster himself. “Go ahead.” Xiong drew Burial from a Different Dimension, considered flipping his Mezuki, but passed instead. Xiong activated Solar Recharge, discarded Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, drew two, and sent Ehren, Lightsworn Monk and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress to the graveyard with Recharge’s effect. Xiong summoned Jain, Lightsworn Paladin, swung her into Mezuki and set one card to his back row, sending Gorz and Charge of the Light Brigade to his graveyard with Jain’s effect.
Xiong topped Allure of Darkness, activated it to draw Goblin Zombie and Hand Destruction, and then removed the Goblin for Allure’s effect. He discarded both Bone Towers for Hand Destruction, Xiong discarded another Lyla and Beckoning Light, and Xiong drew another Hand Destruction and Upstart Goblin. He drew Foolish Burial with Upstart, ditched Zombie World and Mezuki for his next Hand Destruction, and drew two more cards. Xiong gave up another Wulf, Lightsworn Beast and Destiny Hero – Plasma to do the same.
Foolish Burial sent another of Xiong’s Mezukis to the graveyard. He removed it, special summoning Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower in defense! He then activated Book of Life for the other Bone Tower, removing Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress from his opponent’s graveyard and shaving two cards off his deck.
He normal summoned Zombie Master, discarded Goblin Zombie to bring back the Goblin with Zombie Master’s effect, and sent four cards off the top of Xiong’s deck — including Card of Safe Return and a pair of Honest. Arimas removed Mezuki to summon another Zombie Master from his graveyard, cut another four cards off the top of Xiong’s deck, and then smashed Goblin Zombie into Jain.
Goblin’s effect got him Mezuki, and he sent the Zombie Master that had used its effect into Jain, attacking her just to get his own Zombie Master off the field. Xiong played Honest in response and Jain survived. Arimas moved to main phase 2, discarded Mezuki to bring back his Zombie Master, and then removed his last Mezuki to bring back Goblin Zombie in attack. Arimas ended.
Xiong drew for his turn and had six cards remaining in his deck. He discarded for Solar Recharge, drew two, sent two cards off the top, and was down to two cards left in his deck — Jain would eat them if she survived until the end of the turn.
Xiong activated Brain Control, taking control of one of the Zombie Masters. Xiong then flip summoned the monster he’d set earlier — Plaguespreader Zombie! “That’s pro,” remarked Arimas. Xiong sent a card back to the top of his deck to special summon another Plaguespreader, and Arimas clapped his hands together. “That’s game!” Xiong’s jaw dropped: he hadn’t realized that any special summon of a Zombie, even if he himself was doing it, would trigger the Bone Towers’ effects! With three cards left in his deck the Towers looked to rip four away, and Xiong conceded the first duel.
Unbelievable: Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower just won an X-1 duel at a Shonen Jump Championship. This alone was worth the price of admission. Both competitors had some serious side decking to do.
Xiong opened with Solar Recharge, discarding Wulf. He drew two, then sent Celestia, Lightsworn Angel and Necro Gardna to the graveyard. Charge of the Light Brigade sent Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, Foolish Burial, and another Charge to the graveyard, getting Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner from Xiong’s deck. He activated Foolish Burial, sent Garoth to his graveyard, and discarded another Necro Gardna to bring Garoth up! In the end phase Xiong got another Necro to the yard, and drew with Garoth’s effect!
Arimas had Morphing Jar, Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower, Crush Card Virus, Pyramid Turtle, Allure of Darkness, and Hand Destruction. He activated Hand Destruction, sending Turtle and Morphing Jar to the graveyard. Xiong threw away Plasma and Honest. Arimas got two more cards with Allure of Darkness and Plaguespreader Zombie, and then drew another with Upstart Goblin. He normal summoned Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower, brought back Pyramid Turtle with Monster Reborn, and sent two more cards off the top of Xiong’s deck to his graveyard. Pyramid Turtle attacked into Garoth, Xiong negated the attack with Necro Gardna, and Arimas set one spell or trap to end.
Xiong activated Card of Safe Return, discarded Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress to summon her with Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner’s effect, and, after he drew, Arimas flipped Crush Card Virus! He tributed Bone Tower for it, blew away Garoth and Lyla, and revealed four Crush-proof cards in Xiong’s hand: Plaguespreader, Honest, Brain Control, and Monster Reborn. Brain Control let him take Pyramid Turtle, he normal summoned Plaguespreader Zombie, and he Tuned it to Pyramid Turtle to Synchro summon Goyo Guardian. He placed a card on the top of his deck to bring Plaguespreader back, Synchro summoned with Lumina for Magical Android, then used his last card (Monster Reborn) to bring back Celestia. He attacked with all three monsters and Arimas was down to 500 life points.
He activated Card Destruction next turn, digging for outs that weren’t there, and scooped moments later.
The Tower collapses! Pao Xiong works to establish his field as quickly as possible this time, and wipes Michael Arimas off the table before he can get going! More side decking ensued for Game 3.
Arimas opened Game 3 with Monster Reborn, Plaguespreader Zombie, Card of Safe Return, Bone Tower, Dark Armed Dragon, and Pyramid Turtle. He set the Turtle and ended. “Here comes the OTK!”
Not quite, but here came Ehren! Xiong summoned Ehren, Lightsworn Monk, attacked Pyramid Turtle to bounce it away, and lost Jain, Lightsworn Paladin and two Judgment Dragons to her effect in the end phase! Arimas summoned Goblin Zombie, ended, and Xiong searched his deck for Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner with Charge of the Light Brigade. He discarded Wulf, Lightsworn Beast to her effect to summon it, activated Brain Control to take Goblin Zombie, and then activated Monster Reborn to bring back Jain. Goblin Zombie stripped Arimas’ deck of Book of Life, everything else made direct attacks too, and Xiong sent a pile of cards to the graveyard in his end phase.
Arimas was down to just 400 life points, and activated two Upstart Goblin before activating Allure of Darkness. He drew two, and removed a Bone Tower for it. He activated Hand Destruction next, moving at a blazing speed, and then activated Card of Safe Return. He followed that up with Monster Reborn, bringing up Plaguespreader Zombie and drawing. He Synchro summoned Doomkaiser Dragon, searched his deck for Zombie Master with Goblin Zombie’s effect, then normal summoned it. He discarded Goblin Zombie for Plaguespreader Zombie, activated Hand Destruction pitching Bone Tower and Giant Trunade, and was left with Dark Armed Dragon, Foolish Burial, and Pyramid Turtle in hand.
He special summoned Dark Armed Dragon! Arimas Tuned Plaguespreader Zombie to Zombie Master to get Goyo Guardian, activated Foolish Burial to send Mezuki to the graveyard, and removed Mezuki to bring back Zombie Master, drawing for that too. He discarded Mezuki to bring back Plaguespreader Zombie again, drawing once more, and then Synchro summoned Revived King Ha Des.
He removed Mezuki to get back Plaguespreader again, drew, and Tuned it to Doomkaiser to bring out Colossal Fighter. Xiong had three Necro Gardna in his graveyard, which Arimas counted. He activated another Card of Safe Return, sent one card to the top of his deck to bring up Plaguespreader, and then drew two. He Tuned it to Ha Des for Stardust Dragon, and activated Allure of Darkness: he removed Goblin Zombie and had drawn into Burial from a Different Dimension! He used it, sending back two Mezukis and Plaguespreader Zombie to his graveyard. One Mezuki got him back his Plaguespreader Zombie, and he activated Card Destruction for three cards. He traded his Goyo Guardian for Stardust Dragon, removed Goblin Zombie to destroy Lumina with Dark Armed Dragon’s effect, and followed up with Bone Tower and Goblin Zombie to take down Ehren and Wulf. That left Xiong with just Jain, Lightsworn Paladin on the field.
Xiong had just two cards left in hand, but if either one was Honest he’d win the moment Arimas tried to attack Jain. Arimas removed Plaguespreader Zombie to blow her away too, and then removed Mezuki to special summon Revived King Ha Des! He attacked from lowest ATK to highest, swinging with Revived King, then Stardust, then the other Stardust. Dark Armed Dragon attacked and Xiong removed Necro Gardna to stop it. Colossal Fighter attacked next, and Xiong blocked it too. Arimas set two cards to his back row and ended.
Xiong activated Foolish Burial, sending Plaguespreader Zombie to his graveyard. He set one card to his back row and ended. Arimas was up.
Revived King attacked, and Xiong removed his last Necro Gardna! “Is that Magical Cylinder,” groaned Arimas, seeming to be having a flashback to a previous incident. “Not again! Dark Armed for game?” Xiong had nothing and offered the handshake!
Michael Arimas wins with one of the coolest decks we’ve seen in ages, and Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower is 6-1 here at Shonen Jump Championship San Francisco!