Yesterday, more than 300 duelists wandered into a format that’s existed for less than a week. The results were extremely varied: Zombies, Six Samurai, and innovative decks like Brandon Thieben’s Chain Energy Machines looked to take advantage of the newly-slowed format. At the end of the day sixteen competitors remained, consisting mostly of tweaked Dark Armed Dragon decks and, oddly enough, Monarchs.
First up, Cesar Gonzalez will go head to head against Jason Holloway, in a match that pits Jerry Wang’s latest Dark Armed Dragon build against Holloway’s Dark Armed Light and Darkness deck. Five players brought Jerry’s deck to the tournament yesterday, and three of them made it to the Top 16 — Cesar went undefeated until the final round of Swiss.
Next, veteran Hugo Adame will compete against relative unknown Chioh Yim. While Adame is playing Dark Armed Light and Darkness, Yim is packing the most original deck in the Top 16: Gravekeeper’s Monarchs. This one is a definite feature match for round 1. Will innovation triumph over experience and the deadly glower of Hugo Adame? We’ll find out.
Fili Luna gave Cesar Gonzalez his only loss yesterday, playing Dark Armed Light and Darkness. Today, he’s up against Lawrence Sylvan, playing a more conventional Dark Armed Dragon deck.
In another star-packed showdown, Matt Peddle will compete against Shonen Jump Champion Bobby Chambers. A last-minute change from a deck based around The Immortal Bushi led Peddle to play Dark Armed Light and Darkness, a choice that paid off with another Day 2 showing for one of Canada’s top-ranked players. But Bobby Chambers is no slouch — back after a long hiatus from Day 2, he’s running a dedicated Dark Armed Dragon deck with three copies of Phoenix Wing Wind Blast — a card that could cause problems for Peddle’s Light and Darkness Dragon.
Once more, two repeat Day 2 players will throw down, when Hector Heras duels Chris Bowling. While Bowling has augmented his Dark Armed Dragon deck with the popular Light and Darkness Dragon, Heras is playing Caius the Shadow Monarch. Neither player has much main decked tech against the other, so this should be a telling example of this matchup, and a formative set of duels for the future of this deck.
Marco Cesario has one of the most innovative Dark Armed Dragon builds here this weekend. Three days ago I wrote about the recent mid-format changes, stating that Necro Gardna had gained power. Sure enough, Cesario made Day 2 with a build based around Necro Gardna, using the defensive potential of that card to tribute for Caius the Shadow Monarch. Cesario’s strategy is impressive, but to move on to the Top 8 he’ll need to get past one of the most feared and respected duelists here today — Lazaro Bellido.
Jerry Wang takes on Burke Byron, the second match of the Top 16 to pit Dark Armed Dragon against Monarchs. In Columbus, Jerry Wang stated early in Day 1 that he had “the best deck here.” Today, it seems that statement may be true once again, as Jerry’s build took three duelists to the Top 16. But Byron is teched for this matchup — will his strategic advantage pan out, or will Jerry dodge yet another bullet and blaze a path to his second Shonen Jump title this year?
Finally, Diego Colin will duel Hector Macias, in a match that pits two very similar Dark Armed decks against each other. Minor differences like one more copy of D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation or Destiny Hero – Plasma will have a big impact in this matchup, but in the end, luck and skill seem as if they will be bigger deciding factors than actual decklists. Strategy got them here — guts will take them to the Top 8.
We are minutes away from the scheduled start time of the Top 16. In mere hours, we’ll have a new dominant build of Dark Armed Dragon, and a new Shonen Jump Champion. Welcome to Day 2 of Shonen Jump Championship Nashville!