What a huge Round 1 here in Detroit! James Neumann plays Bobby Chambers, Jerry Wang takes on Omar Beldon, and Lazaro Bellido duels Yannick Dubeau. It was a hard choice, but when it came time to decide I went with the new deck; Jerome McHale is piloting Blackest Garden here today, a shockingly good Plant deck hinged on Tytannial, Princess of Camellias and Black Garden.
“I just don’t want to lose in the first round again,” laughed Fredella as he took his seat. “I’ve lost first round in my last two Jumps.” Andrew Fredella is a Shonen Jump Champion and has put forth several top showings lately on behalf of Team Illusion, another Florida team that represents B.R.A.D.’S Sportscards and Collectibles. Jerome McHale is not a Shonen Jump Champion, but is no stranger to Day 2 competition here on the Shonen Jump circuit. This one was either going to be a total blowout, or very, very cool.
Fredella opened the day with Reinforcement of the Army, searching for Elemental Hero Stratos. He played another Reinforcement, fetched Dark Grepher, then summoned Stratos and searched out Malicious — a pretty great way to start Round 1! Fredella followed it with Allure of Darkness, drawing his two and heaving a sigh; he labored over which card he would remove before eventually choosing Plaguespreader Zombie.
He special summoned Dark Grepher by discarding Malicious, then special summoned another Malicious from his graveyard. He set two cards to his back row and ended, telegraphing Crush Card Virus. McHale was up.
He set a monster, set a spell or trap, then activated Terraforming, searching out Black Garden! He activated Black Garden and ended. Fredella borrowed Black Garden to read it, and then drew for his turn.
Fredella turned Malicious to attack, swung with him into Botanical Lion, and took 1200 damage. He flipped Crush Card Virus next turn in McHale’s draw phase, and McHale chained Phoenix Wing Wind Blast discarding his remaining in-hand Botanical Lion to blow away Grepher. He revealed his remaining hand: Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, Nettles, and Miracle Fertilizer.
McHale topdecked Lord Poison, lost it to Crush Card Virus, activated Miracle Fertilizer, brought back Botanical Lion in defense mode, and gave Fredella a Rose Token. He set Wind Blast to finish his turn. If he could keep that Black Garden on the field he was in good shape. If not, he was in trouble.
Fredella activated Brain Control and targeted Botanical Lion. “Alright.” Fredella paid 800 life points. “You don’t get it,” stated McHale, politely but flatly. “Control of him can’t change.”
Fredella blinked: “I should read cards! Go ahead.” Ouch.
Jerome drew for his turn, brought up the other Lion from his graveyard with Miracle Fertilizer in attack mode, and gave Fredella a Rose token. His original Lion went to 1250 ATK as a result of the 300 ATK bonus — there is no official ruling on how that works right now, but that was the ruling for today handed down by the head judge. McHale turned Botanical Lion to attack mode, sent the bigger one after the attack position Rose token, and wiped out the defense position Token with the smaller Lion. Play was to Fredella, who had an opportunity thanks to his Stratos, which still had 1800 ATK — but would he realize that? McHale still had Phoenix Wing Wind Blast set anyway, with Nettles in hand.
“So, Fertilizer gets destroyed if one of them goes down?” Fredella gestured to the Lions and McHale confirmed that it would. Fredella sent Stratos after the bigger Lion, McHale discarded Nettles for Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, but lost out to Solemn Judgment: one Lion and Miracle Fertilizer went to the graveyard. Fredella set a card to each zone, McHale topped another Black Garden, revealed it for his last turn on Crush, and turned Botanical Lion to defense position. Fredella was up.
He summoned Destiny Hero - Doom Lord, activated its effect to remove Botanical Lion from play, and McHale got another Token. “Go ahead.” McHale drew Gigantic Cephalotus.
He set the other Black Garden to get rid of his first copy, summoned Gigantic Cephalotus (dodging the ATK halving effect of the first Garden), and went to battle! The Rose Token took down Destiny Hero - Doom Lord, Cephalotus ate Stratos, and the turn ended with the second Black Garden being flipped! Fredella had huge card advantage, but was locked down with that Black Garden and Cephalotus on the field. The duel stood at 2225 life points for Fredella, to McHale’s 7350. “I’m doing alright for losing three cards to Crush,” quipped McHale. Fredella kept shuffling his hand, trying to find a play.
He flip summoned Dark Grepher, attacked McHale’s Rose Token and moved to main phase 2. Grepher was flip summoned, so its ATK wasn’t halved by Black Garden’s effect — but it still wasn’t big enough to get over Cephalotus. Fredella normal summoned Krebons, special summoned another with Emergency Teleport, and then Synchro summoned Goyo Guardian — He then tuned Krebons to Goyo Guardian to bring out Colossal Fighter, filling McHale’s field with Rose Tokens! That would keep him from special summoning his Botanical Lion that Doom Lord had removed from play! A nice play by Fredella, who was left with two cards in hand (Krebons and Malicious) and Colossal Fighter on the field. If that Colossal went down, he was in major trouble.
McHale topdecked Mark of the Rose, but couldn’t activate it since his field was filled with Rose Tokens. He passed, and Fredella topdecked Allure! He had five Darks in his graveyard: “I see some Dark Armed Dragons getting removed,” grinned McHale, hopeful.
“Nope,” replied a frustrated Fredella, pitching Krebons. “Go ahead.” McHale drew and passed. Next turn Fredella finally had Heavy Storm!
He used it, slammed Colossal Fighter into Cephalotus, then special summoned it at full power; McHale went to 6000 life points. “Yes! 6000 life points exactly means no more maths!” McHale gave a fist-pump while Fredella set one card to his back row and ended.
McHale revealed his spell: “I play Mark of the Rose?” Fredella flipped Solemn Judgment and went to 1013 life points. McHale had Cyber Valley in hand. He summoned it, removed it and a Rose Token for two more cards, and topped another Mark! Fredella’s field was cleared and the first duel was over!
Jerome McHale fights back from a three-card loss on Crush Card Virus to steal Game 1! Could Blackest Garden take down the Shonen Jump Champion? We were about to find out — both players dove into their side decks.
“Didn’t you win a Jump?” asked McHale as he sided.
“Yeah, a long time ago,” replied Fredella, a tad morose. He really didn’t want to lose his third consecutive Round 1. “No first turn Crush ‘til I get to use my cards, thank you,” smiled McHale. Fredella started Game 2.
He opened with Allure of Darkness, removing Destiny Hero - Doom Lord, summoning Krebons, and setting two cards to his back row. One was Trap Dustshoot, and it revealed Jerome’s hand next turn: Lonefire Blossom, Lord Poison, Tytannial, Princess of Camellias, Botanical Lion, Mark of the Rose, and Pollinosis. He sent back Lonefire, prompting McHale to summon Botanical Lion. He attacked with it, Fredella paid 800 life points to protect Krebons with its effect, and McHale set Pollinosis to finish his turn.
Fredella drew for his turn and mulled over his moves; he flipped Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy Pollinosis, then tributed Krebons for Destiny Hero – Malicious. Emergency Teleport got him another Krebons, and he Synchro summoned Thought Ruler Archfiend — bad news for McHale! Botanical Lion went down to Thought Ruler’s attack, Fredella went to 8800 life points, and he ended his turn with two cards in hand. “Go ahead.”
McHale topdecked Monster Reborn, and summoned Lord Poison. He activated Reborn, targeted Krebons, and Fredella paid 1000 life points to negate it — it was McHale’s turn to make a terrible misplay! “Bah. Go.” This one was over.
Fredella special summoned Malicious from his deck, tributed it for Vanity’s Fiend, then swung over Lord Poison with Thought Ruler! Vanity’s Fiend shut down Lord Poison’s effect, allowing it to make a direct attack. Fredella set a card to his back row to finish out, and McHale topped another Mark of the Rose. “Well, that’s the only move I have,” he muttered. McHale activated Mark, removed Lord Poison for its cost, took Vanity’s Fiend, slammed it into Thought Ruler, and ended. “That’s probably not going to matter, but yeah.” He set the other Mark as a bluff, passed, and took 2700 damage from Thought Ruler. He drew Solemn Judgment, set it as a bluff as well, and lost to Thought Ruler next turn.
Andrew Fredella battles back, capitalizing on McHale’s big mistake and punishing him for it! This match was headed to a third and final duel. More siding ensued.
“Alright, this time I’m going to resolve aLonefire,” declared McHale. “I’ll start.” He opened the third duel with Solemn Judgment, Botanical Lion, two Cyber Valley, Mark of the Rose, and Tytannial. He summoned Cyber Valley, set Solemn, and ended. Fredella set Spirit Reaper and ended. McHale summoned Botanical Lion, attacked Reaper, set another spell or trap card, and ended; Fredella played Heavy Storm next turn but lost out to Solemn Judgment — if McHale could survive and draw the cards this deck is built around now, he’d have tremendous control.
Fredella had five cards in hand with Reaper still on the field. McHale had three cards in hand with three more on the table. Ripping a Lonefire next turn would be huge.
. . . And he got it! “Oh my god! Hold the phone!” He summoned it, tributed it, and summoned another! He tributed it too, summoned Tytannial, and activated Mark — he removed one Lonefire to pay for it and blew away Reaper! “I promised you Lonefire!” Botanical Lion struck for 2200 damage, Tytannial attacked for another 2800, and Cyber Valley went to defense mode. “Go.”
Fredella drew to six in hand, and discarded Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude for Destiny Draw. He drew two, and then spent a moment reading Tytannial’s effect. He needed something big, and he also needed to understand how Tytannial’s effect worked; if he didn’t, this was over.
He activated Teleport to grab Krebons from his deck, then activated Monster Reborn on Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude; he activated his effect, flipped Allure of Darkness off the top of his deck for next turn, and Synchro summoned Goyo Guardian. “Attack the Lion?” McHale flipped Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, discarded his second Tytannial, and blew away Goyo Guardian! That left Fredella to set a card to each zone and end. “Go ahead.”
Botanical Lion attacked Fredella’s face-down monster — it was Sangan, and he got Destiny Hero – Malicious. Tytannial attacked, Fredella flipped Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and discarded Malicious, and McHale tributed his Lion to negate the Blast! Fredella was briefly confused; sure enough, he’d thought Tytannial could only stop destruction effects. Once Tytannial’s attack hit, Fredella had just 200 life points left. McHale summoned another Cyber Valley, removed both to draw two, and got Nettles and Black Garden! He activated the Garden and ended!
Fredella removed Malicious, giving McHale a Rose Token to use with Tytannial. Fredella activated the Allure effect he hit last turn, and McHale counted four Darks in Fredella’s graveyard: another fist-pump moment. Fredella removed Vanity’s Fiend for Allure’s effect, normal summoned Plaguespreader Zombie, and McHale got a Token. Fredella then Synchro Summoned Colossal Fighter in defense mode, giving McHale another Rose. Fredella tried to summon Destiny Hero - Doom Lord, but was rebuked — he’d already summoned Plaguespreader. He set two cards to his back row and ended.
McHale activated Mark, removing his second copy of Tytannial! He turned Colossal Fighter and Tytannial to defense, tried to swing for game with a Token, and Fredella had to activate Mirror Force to destroy the Tokens! McHale set a card to each zone to finish out. Colossal Fighter went back to Fredella.
Fredella removed his second Malicious to summon his third, McHale got another Rose Token, and two minutes remained in the round; the pressure was on. Fredella had Colossal Fighter, two cards in hand, Malicious on the field, and one set spell or trap. He normal summoned Elemental Hero Stratos.
McHale hit it with Pollinosis, tributing his face-down Nettles to negate the summon! Fredella sent his last in-hand card back to his deck for Plaguespreader Zombie, summoned it, then Synchro summoned another Colossal Fighter. “Go ahead.”
McHale topped Monster Reborn, took control of Colossal Fighter, and turned Tytannial to attack. He passed back the one Colossal Fighter, Fredella passed it back, and McHale passed it back again. Time was called on Fredella’s turn. Three turns remained after this one.
Fredella set a monster and ended. McHale took back Colossal Fighter, set Solemn Judgment, and passed back Colossal. “This is my last turn?” Fredella drew and hammered his hand on the table. “I lose in time.”
Jerome McHale defeats Andrew Fredella, taking down TeleDAD with Plants!