Two of the greatest deckbuilders in the country were going head to head this round — Yannick Dubeau is still undefeated with his Counter Fool deck, while Lazaro Bellido is 4-1 today with a more standard build of Gladiator Beasts. The matchup seemed to be in Dubeau’s favor — he’d tested against Gladiators more than any other deck leading up to this event. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that Lazaro Bellido always has something up his sleeve. Could he pull through yet another tight spot?
“I hope you open with three Fools!” said Bellido in mock-spite. He blinked a moment, realizing . . . “Do you even run three? Crap, I don’t even know anymore.” He laughed. For once Lazaro wasn’t the innovator, and he seemed a bit bewildered as a result. Still, with a 4-1 record, trusty Gladiator Beasts hadn’t really let him down yet.
Both players drew their starting hands. “Excellent!” Dubeau was thrilled. He opened with Bountiful Artemis, three set cards, and an ear-to-ear grin. Lazaro summoned Gladiator Beast Laquari, attacked, and ran into Mirror Force. A set spell or trap was his only move and he took 1600 from Artemis next turn.
Dubeau set a monster, and Lazaro summoned Darius. He attacked with it, sending it into Artemis, and he flipped Mind Crush calling Honest — Dubeau flipped Dark Bribe! Each duelist drew a card, and when the battle hit the damage step Dubeau played Honest to take down Darius! In main phase 2 Lazaro special summoned his Laquari with Premature Burial, special summoned Test Tiger, then tributed it to special summon Gladiator Beast Murmillo. But, when Murmillo tried to destroy Artemis, Dubeau flipped his last counter trap — Divine Wrath. He discarded Nova Summoner, Murmillo was destroyed, and its effect was negated, and Artemis got him another card. Lazaro ended his turn with three cards left.
Monster Reborn brought back Honest, and both Honest and Artemis made direct attacks. Dubeau bounced Honest back to his hand, set one card to his back row, and ended. He had Smashing Ground and Honest in hand, Dark Bribe set, and Ryko face down waiting to destroy something. Lazaro was up. He drew to four, and then spent over a minute contemplating his next move: Gladiator Proving Ground for Gladiator Beast Laquari. He summoned it, attacked into Ryko and Laquari was destroyed: Dubeau sent three cards off the top of his deck and Lazaro set a spell or trap.
Dubeau summoned a second copy of Artemis! He moved to his battle phase, attacked with both, and Lazaro just nodded while scooping up his cards. There was nothing he could do.
Yannick Dubeau makes short work of Lazaro Bellido’s Gladiator Beasts in game 1! Lazaro did some serious side decking before opening the second duel.
“Don’t open Bountiful,” remarked Lazaro. “Just don’t do that.” He drew his opening hand . . . “Alright, let’s start.” He played two cards to his back row, set a monster, and ended.
“I did not draw the Artemis,” noted Dubeau. He activated Mystical Space Typhoon, destroyed Lazaro’s set Bottomless Trap Hole, and then set three cards to his back row. He set Nova Summoner and ended, losing Solemn Judgment to Dust Tornado in the end phase.
Next turn Lazaro flip summoned Laquari, special summoned Test Tiger, and gave up both for Bestiari. Lazaro targeted Dubeau’s set Magic Drain, missing his set Divine Wrath, and Dubeau let it go, opting not to activate Wrath. Lazaro then set Murmillo, contact Fused for Gyzarus, and Dubeau played Divine Wrath, costing himself his last card to shut Lazaro down.
But Lazaro had Monster Reborn! Gyzarus came up, destroyed Dubeau’s set Nova Summoner, and then attacked for 2400 damage. With the game so deathly simplified, he special summoned Secutor and Laquari. Dubeau topped Cyber Dragon next turn and attacked, but ran into Book of Moon. Next turn Laquari destroyed it, Secutor attacked, and Secutor brought out Laquari and Bestiari. He Fused them all but Bestiari to bring out Heraklinos, and then ended with one card in hand. Dubeau really needed another Nova Summoner to survive this, and even then he’d need to get heads on the coin flip to protect Arcana Force 0 - The Fool from Murmillo or Gyzarus.
He couldn’t draw it, picking up Honest instead, and he ended his turn. He took 4500 damage from Bestiari and Heraklinos, then scooped a turn later as he topdecked D.D. Crow.
Lazaro Bellido struggles back, dominating Yannick Dubeau to turn the tables after a harsh game 1! Dubeau must have regretted leaving Lazaro with that Bestiari when he had a chance to cut it off. Letting Lazaro bring Gyzarus to the field was a tremendous mistake that cost him the duel. Maybe the match. Play proceeded to game 3.
Dubeau opened with two set cards to his back row, and then summoned Freed the Brave Wanderer. He flipped Royal Oppression in Lazaro’s turn, and, when Lazaro tried to activate Heavy Storm, Dubeau flipped Dark Bribe! Lazaro activated Smashing Ground though, eliminating Freed, and then summoned Spirit Reaper. It attacked, Dubeau discarded The Fool, and Lazaro set a spell or trap to end. Dubeau set a card to each zone, fighting to stabilize.
Lazaro activated Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy Royal Oppression, and Dubeau chained the card sitting right next to it — another Oppression! Lazaro set a spell or trap, turned Reaper to defense, and Dubeau flip summoned D. D. Warrior Lady to remove Reaper on the following turn. He set a monster, set a spell or trap, and ended with no hand. Lazaro summoned Laquari, passed without attacking, and Dubeau set a spell or trap. Lazaro set another, Dubeau set one, and in the end phase Lazaro flipped Dust Tornado. It targeted Dubeau’s Royal Oppression — he chained Solemn Judgment, but Lazaro had one of his own to force it through!
Lazaro special summoned Test Tiger, trading out Laquari for Gladiator Beast Bestiari. Bestiari targeted one of Dubeau’s two set spell or trap cards, Magic Drain, and destroyed it. Dubeau didn’t flip his set Bottomless Trap Hole. Lazaro summoned Gladiator Beast Murmillo, rammed it into Dubeau’s face-down Honest, and traded it for another Bestiari at the end of the battle phase — now Dubeau flipped Bottomless, removing Bestiari. Lazaro set his last card to his back row. He had two cards set there, and Bestiari on the field.
Dubeau drew, and took back his Honest. He had Honest and Nova Summoner in hand, and was completely vulnerable to Gyzarus next turn regardless of which card he played. He made the only play he could to prevent that — he summoned Nova Summoner, attacked Bestiari, and pressed over it with Honest. The attack went through! Bestiari went down, and next turn Lazaro set a spell or trap. Nova Summoner hit him again. Dubeau set a spell or trap and lost it to Dust Tornado in the end phase — another Oppression!
Next turn Lazaro had just 100 life points left. He couldn’t draw a monster, and set another card to his back row. Dubeau went for it — he attacked with Nova Summoner one more time.
Lazaro had nothing! Nova Summoner hit directly and ended the match. Yannick Dubeau was 6-0, virtually a lock for the Top 8!