This was going to be awesome. Headed into this round I had two top picks for feature matches — John Marchand with Twilight, and his teammate John Bartlett. Bartlett just hammered his way through round 1 with a Rescue Cat deck, and I was eager to see what it did, so the fact that both of these duelists were paired up was spectacular.
Bartlett opened game 1 with a set card to each zone, and Marchand activated Solar Recharge on his turn. He discarded Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, then sent Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner and Ehren, Lightsworn Monk to his graveyard after drawing two cards. He drew two more with Allure of Darkness, pitching Dark Armed Dragon, and sent Dark Magician of Chaos to his graveyard with Foolish Burial. Premature Burial brought him to the field, returning Foolish Burial to his hand with Magician’s effect. He activated it to send Wulf, Lightsworn Beast from his deck to his graveyard, special summoned it, and Bartlett responded with Ojama Trio!
“Attack,” announced Marchand, pushing Dark Magician of Chaos forward. He removed Bartlett’s set bluff, Exiled Force, and Wulf swung for 2100 damage. “I’ll end. Pleeeeease, no Panda!”
“Oh there’s a Panda,” replied Bartlett with a smile. He summoned Gyaku-Gire Panda, and it hit the field with 3300 damage. “Panda attacks Wulf.” Wulf went down, Bartlett got rid of Dark Magician of Chaos with Heavy Storm, and a set spell or trap ended his turn.
Marchand discarded Destiny Hero – Plasma for Destiny Draw, drew his two, and had a hand of D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation, two Solar Recharge, Phantom of Chaos, and Dark Armed Dragon. He activated D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation, discarded Phantom of Chaos for it, and brought back Dark Magician of Chaos! That let him get back Foolish Burial yet again, and he activated it to send Darklord Zerato from his deck to his graveyard.
That gave him three Dark monsters! He special summoned Dark Armed Dragon, removed Zerato to destroy Gyaku-Gire Panda, then removed Plasma to destroy Bartlett’s face-down Dimensional Prison. Dark Armed Dragon and Dark Magician of Chaos then made direct attacks, reducing Bartlett to just 300 life points.
He activated Mystical Space Typhoon next turn to destroy D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation — Dark Magician of Chaos was removed from play again. Bartlett followed up with another Gyaku-Gire Panda — it had 2800 ATK. He activated Monster Reborn, brought back his first Panda, and rammed one of them into Dark Armed Dragon to trade! His second Panda then swung on an Ojama Token, piercing through the Ojama to drop Marchand to 4400. Marchand had nothing next turn — he passed, with a set Solar Recharge and a hand of Recharge and Trade-In.
Panda took down another Ojama Trio next turn, and Bartlett set a monster. Marchand drew into Ehren, Lightsworn Monk and needed to think over his play. He could use Ehren to hit Bartlett’s face-down monster, kicking it back to the deck, or discard her for Recharge. He chose the latter, and drew two more copies of Trade-In! Wrong choice.
Gyaku-Gire Panda took down the last Ojama Trio, and Bartlett set a spell or trap card. Marchand just needed to attack over the Panda for game, but now that Bartlett had one card in his back row that might be difficult.
He topdecked into Monster Reborn, finally catching a break. He activated it, brought up Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, and attacked! . . . straight into Mirror Force! Marchand set Trade-In as a bluff and ate another 800 damage from Panda next turn. He was down to 1900 life points. Bartlett set a spell or trap, Marchand set another bluff, and ended.
Bartlett summoned Rescue Cat! He tributed it off and special summoned Milus Radiant and D. D. Crazy Beast. Crazy Beast attacked, and Gyaku-Gire Panda swung for game.
Victory in game 1 for John Bartlett and Rescue Cat! Play moved to game 2 in an instant. “You’d better not beat me,” laughed Marchand. “I’m not gonna like this.”
He opened with D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation, Card of Safe Return, Dark Magician of Chaos, Foolish Burial, Trade-in, and Wulf, Lightsworn Beast. He activated Trade-In, discarded Dark Magician of Chaos, and drew two. He then activated Card of Safe Return, followed up with Foolish Burial, and brought out Wulf from his deck to score a draw with Card of Safe Return. He played Solar Recharge next, discarded his other Wulf, and drew two before sending Allure of Darkness and Trade-In to the graveyard. “Go.”
Bartlett set a monster, and then set three cards to his back row. Play was back to Marchand, who discarded Destiny Hero – Plasma for Destiny Draw. He was now looking at a hand of Wulf, Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Premature Burial, D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation, Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner, and Dark Armed Dragon. He had two Dark monsters in his graveyard and needed a third to really get things moving.
“Summon Lumina?” He played her from his hand, and Bartlett instantly responded with Ojama Trio before waiting for Marchand to use her effect. Wulf attacked, straight into Dimensional Prison, and Lumina crashed into Bartlett’s face-down Giant Rat. In main phase 2 Marchand tried to bring back Dark Magician of Chaos with Premature Burial, but Bartlett chained Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy it before the Magician could be special summoned! In the end phase Lumina sent three cards to the graveyard, but none of them were Dark monsters.
Next turn Bartlett normal summoned Milus Radiant, swung over Lumina with the 1900 ATK Giant Rat and ended. He didn’t want to destroy those Ojama Tokens yet.
Play was back to Marchand, who activated Allure of Darkness to draw two more cards at the cost of Dark Armed Dragon. He still had one more in hand. Desperate for another Dark, but needing to defend himself too, he set Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and ended.
Bartlett activated Monster Reborn! “Hell yeah: Reborn your D-MoC!” He took his opponent’s Dark Magician of Chaos to his side of the field, returned his Monster Reborn to his hand, then normal summoned Gyaku-Gire Panda. Panda swung on Ryko, Ryko flipped to destroy Dark Magician of Chaos, and a whopping 3100 damage punched through the Ryko! Marchand lost three cards from the top of his deck, including another Dark Armed Dragon — his third Dark. “I’m good,” announced Bartlett.
Next turn Marchand discarded Destiny Hero – Disk Commander for D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation, bringing back Dark Magician of Chaos to return Foolish Burial to his hand. Discarding Disk Commander got him his third Dark into the graveyard, and he special summoned Dark Armed Dragon! He removed two Darks from his graveyard to destroy Panda and Rat, and then activated Foolish Burial to send Darklord Zerato to his graveyard. He removed it to destroy one of the Ojama Tokens, and then removed Disk Commander to destroy another. He was down to 2150 thanks to the damage from the Tokens. He normal summoned Ehren, Lightsworn Monk, and attacked over Milus Radiant with Dark Magician of Chaos. Ehren, Lightsworn Monk and Dark Armed Dragon both attacked directly and Ehren sent three cards to the graveyard in Marchand’s end phase.
Bartlett set to thinking about how he could play out of this. He had three cards in hand, while Marchand had Dark Magician of Chaos with D.D.R. attached, Card of Safe Return on the field, Dark Armed Dragon, Ehren, and one remaining Ojama Token.
“Okay . . .” Bartlett checked his graveyard for a moment, then removed Giant Rat to special summon Gigantes. He then activated Monster Reborn to bring back Gyaku-Gire Panda! The Panda attacked the Ojama Token with 2800 ATK! 1800 damage punched through the Ojama Token, the Ojama’s burn caused 300 more damage, and from there Marchand had just 50 life points. Gigantes attacked Ehren for 300 more damage, and it was all over.
John Bartlett moves on to the Top 8 with Rescue Cat!