Josh Kavalauskas has one Shonen Jump Championship Top 8 under his belt, and today he’s the only competitor running a Warrior Toolbox deck. The Toolbox engine itself is relatively light, but he’s the most successful Warrior player here this weekend. An SJC veteran, he’s qualified for Day 2 in two of the three events he’s attended, but has never managed to win a title.
Neither has Bryan Coronel, despite being in a whopping three SJC Top 8s. A top 4 finisher in the 2005 US National Championships, he had to relinquish his spot at the World Championships to pursue academics. After a long hiatus he’s made a triumphant return to high-level dueling, and after working off some ring rust in Hamilton he’s back in Day 2 action. A win here would propel him right back to the stardom he secured when he left the game in 2005.
This match pits Monarchs against Warriors, and will be a telling one for the format.
Coronel won the opening roll, and started out with a bang by activating Confiscation! It revealed Kavalauskas’s hand: D. D. Assailant, Reinforcement of the Army, Book of Moon, Exiled Force, and Scapegoat. Coronel had Torrential Tribute, Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, Pot of Avarice, Last Will, and Book of Moon himself, so he chose to discard Kavalauskas’s Reinforcement of the Army. Eliminating Reinforcement knocked a leg out from the structure of Kavalauskas’s deck; one of the primary advantages of his deck choice was now sitting in the graveyard.
Coronel set one back row card and passed. Kavalauskas summoned D. D. Assailant, and Torrential Tribute cleared it off the field. Kavalauskas set a spell or trap, likely Scapegoat, and passed.
His opponent set Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive and a spell or trap card, leading Kavalauskas to fire back by summoning D. D. Warrior Lady and activating Nobleman of Crossout. Coronel lost his on-field Dekoichi, as well as two from his deck, and took 1500 from Warrior Lady. It was 5500 to 8000, with Kavalauskas leading.
Another set spell or trap was Coronel’s only move. He passed. D. D. Warrior Lady attacked into Sakuretsu Armor, but Kavalauskas saved it with Book of Moon. Coronel passed, Kavalauskas summoned Sangan, and both of his monsters hit. Coronel dropped to 3000. He was in trouble. Kavalauskas’s best chance in this match was to hit hard and fast before Coronel could get his Monarchs going, and he was accomplishing just that.
Coronel needed to slow things down, so he summoned Exiled Force, tributed it to destroy the Warrior Lady, and then activated Last Will. He claimed Last Will’s effect immediately, and special summoned Sangan to the field in attack position. He then passed, without adding any more cards to the field. He had Mobius the Frost Monarch in his hand, but he knew that Kavalauskas’s only set back row card was Scapegoat. It would be chained if Mobius hit the field.
Kavalauskas opted to send his Sangan into Coronel’s on the following turn, and both were destroyed. Coronel’s Sangan was added to the chain last, so it resolved first: he chose Treeborn Frog. Kavalauskas chose Cyber-Stein: if Coronel brought out the Frog, Cyber End Dragon could just pierce it.
Play passed to Coronel, who had Pot of Avarice, Treeborn Frog, Smashing Ground, Mobius the Frost Monarch, and Premature Burial in his hand. He opted to set the Treeborn Frog, and passed. Kavalauskas activated Graceful Charity to begin his turn, discarding Exiled Force and Mystic Tomato to his graveyard for Graceful’s effect. He then activated Confiscation to reveal Coronel’s four remaining cards: Pot of Avarice, Mobius the Frost Monarch, Premature Burial, and Smashing Ground.
“Can I see your graveyard?” he asked. Coronel handed it over, and Kavalauskas thumbed through it carefully. This decision could be a game-breaker, so he spent close to a minute deciding what he would discard. Eventually he settled on Mobius, and immediately set a second spell or trap to his back row. Knowing Coronel’s deck list, Kavalauskas knew that his opponent was only running a single Mobius, so he could now sit on two back row cards without fearing anything other than Heavy Storm. It was 7000 for Kavalauskas, to Coronel’s 3000.
Kavalauskas passed, Coronel passed back, and Kavalauskas drew into Mystical Space Typhoon. He activated it, destroyed Coronel’s set Book of Moon, and it was over. “You have Treeborn face down, right?” Cyber-Stein was activated, Cyber End Dragon was special summoned to Kavalauskas’s side of the field, and the first duel was won. Cyber End blasted through the little Frog and Kavalauskas took the first duel!
One win stood between Josh Kavalauskas and a spot in the semifinals.
Both duelists side decked intensely for the second duel, neither opting to smokescreen. Neither competitor said a word to one another. While there was no ill will between them, both duelists wanted this win very badly.
Coronel opened the second duel with a set card to each zone. Kavalauskas summoned Mystic Swordsman LV2, but attacked into Sakuretsu Armor. The Swordsman was destroyed, and Kavalauskas set a spell or trap card to his back row. Coronel drew for his turn and then flip summoned Gravekeeper’s Spy, bringing another to play from his deck in defense position. The first one attacked directly, and Kavalauskas dropped to 6800.
Then, Coronel tributed the attack position Spy for Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch! It discarded Cyber-Stein from Kavalauskas’s hand! Coronel set a spell or trap and ended.
Kavalauskas activated Mystical Space Typhoon from his hand, and Coronel lost his Ring of Destruction. He’d opted not to chain it. Kavalauskas special summoned Cyber Dragon, normal summoned Exiled Force, and attacked. Cyber Dragon took down the Spy, Exiled Force was tributed to destroy Thestalos, and Kavalauskas finished his turn.
Coronel set a card to each zone and ended. Kavalauskas attacked with the Dragon again, and after a long time spent thinking things over Coronel let the attack through. Cyber Dragon tore into Coronel’s Sangan, and Coronel used its effect to pull Exiled Force from his deck. Kavalauskas set a monster to conclude his turn.
Coronel was sitting on Brain Control, Exiled Force, Smashing Ground, and D. D. Warrior Lady in his hand. He took control of the Cyber Dragon with Brain Control, rammed it into Kavalauskas’s set monster, and Kavalauskas was forced to flip Sakuretsu Armor! It was a great move by Coronel that paid off by costing Kavalauskas a monster and a trap for Coronel’s one spell. Coronel set a monster, ended, Kavalauskas set another spell or trap, ended, and Coronel flip summoned his D. D. Warrior Lady. Business was picking up!
D. D. Warrior Lady attacked, and Kavalauskas looked stressed. It hit Spirit Reaper, and Coronel opted not to remove Reaper from play. Instead, he activated Smashing Ground in main phase 2. Kavalauskas had the answer though, activating Enemy Controller! He tributed his Reaper to take control of D. D. Warrior Lady and Smashing Ground nailed it after the chain resolved! Stymied briefly, Coronel set a monster and ended.
Kavalauskas drew and immediately activated Pot of Avarice to shuffle back every monster in his graveyard. He drew his two cards for Avarice’s resolution, set a card to each zone and passed. “Go ahead,” he said, in a cheerful tone.
Coronel activated Nobleman of Crossout, removing Kavalauskas’s Mystic Tomato from the field. D. D. Warrior Lady hit directly, and Coronel then activated Confiscation to discard Spirit Reaper from Kavalauskas’s hand. He set a monster to end. Kavalauskas set Don Zaloog, Coronel blew it away with Exiled Force, and then flip summoned Dekoichi. He attacked with it directly, and then set a second spell or trap to finish up. Coronel instantly regretted it as Kavalauskas activated Heavy Storm to wipe the field clean.
Kavalauskas set his last card to his back row, but lost it next turn to Mystical Space Typhoon: Mirror Force! Dekoichi swung yet again! Coronel ended his turn; Kavalauskas activated Premature Burial and brought up Don Zaloog. Both monsters were destroyed in battle and neither player had cards left.
Coronel drew, passed, Kavalauskas drew and set a spell or trap, Coronel passed, and Kavalauskas activated Confiscation to reveal Zaborg and Last Will in Coronel’s hand. This was rough beats for Coronel, whose deck wouldn’t topdeck nearly as well as Kavalauskas’s, as evidenced by his useless in-hand cards. Kavalauskas considered his options carefully, inspecting Coronel’s graveyard before deciding what to discard — the Zaborg. He then summoned D. D. Assailant, attacked, and reduced Coronel to 4500.
Another pass was Coronel’s only move, and he lost 1700 to Assailant again. A turn after that Assailant became Zaborg, destroying Coronel’s Dekoichi, and it attacked directly. Coronel wiped it out with Smashing Ground, and it was 400 to 600.
Coronel set a monster, Kavalauskas set a monster and a spell or trap, and Coronel flip summoned Magical Merchant. It got him Sakuretsu Armor. Kavalauskas had two cards set to his back row, and Coronel tributed his Merchant for Mobius the Frost Monarch. Mobius’ effect targeted Sakuretsu Armor and Book of Moon, but the Book turned the Monarch face down. Coronel had Zaborg, Sakuretsu Armor, and Last Will in hand.
He activated the Will to bring Treeborn Frog to the field in defense position, then set the Sakuretsu to conclude his turn. Kavalauskas had only his set monster.
He drew and fingered the set monster, eventually tributing it for Cyber Dragon — it was Sand Moth. Cyber Dragon attacked the face down Mobius, but Coronel flipped Sakuretsu Armor and Kavalauskas knew it was over.
This match was going to a third and final duel!
Both competitors took the maximum amount of time allowed to side deck and shuffle. No one wanted to leave anything to the chance of a bad randomization. Kavalauskas drew his cards to begin, while Coronel waited to see if he would be hit with Confiscation. The tension was electric.
Kavalauskas activated Graceful Charity, discarding Book of Moon, then after a long time spent considering, D. D. Assailant. Kavalauskas set a spell or trap and ended.
Coronel looked through his hand: Brain Control, Bottomless Trap Hole, Mystical Space Typhoon, Magician of Faith, D. D. Warrior Lady, and Gravekeeper’s Spy. He had plenty of options, but decided to play fast and go for a quick hit. He summoned D. D. Warrior Lady, lost it to Torrential Tribute, and set a back row card.
Kavalauskas was taking things slow for some reason, setting a card to each zone and passing. It didn’t seem to be the right way to play, and one had to wonder what he had sided that was making him play this way. Was it a strategy, did he read Brain Control, or was it just the pressure of the match? Coronel set a monster and passed back.
After much inspection of his set cards and his hand, Kavalauskas decided to summon Exiled Force. He tributed it to destroy Coronel’s set Gravekeeper’s Spy, then flip summoned Spirit Reaper. He activated Last Will, did not immediately resolve its effect, and attacked with the Reaper. It hit, and Coronel lost Mystical Space Typhoon to its effect. Sangan then came out of Kavalauskas’s deck in the battle phase, and attacked directly. It was 6700 to 8000, with Kavalauskas leading.
He ended his turn, and Coronel drew Nobleman of Crossout. He had that, Magician of Faith, Brain Control, and Zaborg the Thunder Monarch in his hand. It was a difficult situation, as Zaborg blowing away Sangan is less than optimal. Still, Coronel activated Brain Control and took control of the furball. He attacked through the Reaper for 700 damage, then tributed for Zaborg and blew away the Reaper. Kavalauskas took Cyber-Stein with the Sangan’s effect, and looked Coronel dead in the eye as he shuffled his deck. “My turn?”
Kavalauskas special summoned Cyber Dragon, and lost it to Bottomless Trap Hole. Another one came out anyways, and Kavalauskas then summoned Cyber-Stein. That was all Coronel needed to see, and he resigned from the match.
Josh Kavalauskas moves on to the semi-finals!