Jose Arocho has had a few feature matches over the past couple of years, usually due to his offbeat deck choices. He’s never made Day 2 though, his closest attempts being a pair of 19th place finishes. He’s 6-1 here today with Zombies, revamped with the addition of Goblin Zombie.
His opponent is San Jose’s Jimmy Chau, a 23 year-old student at San Jose State armed with Diamond Dude Turbo — an exceedingly dominant deck here today. A win here for Chau would be his first step into the dueling spotlight, while a win for Arocho would be an all-time first. He’s never actually won a feature match.
Arocho won the roll and opened with a set Mystical Space Typhoon and Goblin Zombie. He had Spirit Reaper, Creature Swap, Card Trooper, and Mirror Force in hand. Chau activated Destiny Draw, discarded Destiny Hero – Malicious, and paused a moment to consider his next play: a face-down spell or trap. Arocho’s Mystical Space Typhoon destroyed it in the end phase: Mirror Force.
He summoned Spirit Reaper next turn and flip summoned Goblin Zombie — both attacked forcing Chau to discard Allure of Darkness while Goblin Zombie peeled Destiny Draw from the top of his deck! He set Mirror Force, lost it next turn to Heavy Storm and Chau removed his Malicious to summon another.
He tributed Malicious for Monster Gate, losing eleven spells and Dark Armed Dragon on his way to special summoning Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude. Diamond Dude’s effect sent Reinforcement of the Army from the top of Chau’s deck to his graveyard, and he activated Lightning Vortex next, discarding Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade. Goblin Zombie got Arocho Zombie Master, and Chau only had one card left in his hand; he set it to his back row, attacked, and both duelists were at 6600 life points.
Arocho activated Card of Safe Return, summoned Zombie Master and discarded Pyramid Turtle to bring it back — he drew for Safe Return. Creature Swap let him take Diamond Dude, he activated the Dude’s effect, missed, and then ran over Pyramid Turtle with Diamond Dude. The Turtle let him special summon Ryu Kokki, it attacked, and Zombie Master attacked next. Chau was down to 2200 life points, and Arocho ended.
Chau claimed his free Reinforcement of the Army and sought out Elemental Hero Stratos. He summoned Stratos, searched for Diamond Dude and started running numbers, clearly just trying to survive. “You got it,” he stated moments later. There was just nothing he could do.
Jose Arocho captures the first duel with Zombies! Both duelists shuffled up and began siding. “I always win game 1 of my feature matches,” remarked Arocho. “Then I always lose games 2 and 3, so, don’t worry.” He grinned.
“I’ll go first,” announced Chau. He summoned Elemental Hero Stratos, took Diamond Dude from his deck, and then activated Reinforcement of the Army to grab another. A set spell or trap finished his turn.
Arocho drew and set two cards to his back row. Trap Dustshoot flipped on the following turn, revealing Jinzo, Dasher, two Diamond Dude, Card Destruction, and Dimension Fusion. Arocho thought a moment, then shuffled back one of the Diamond Dudes after briefly considering the Jinzo.
Chau attacked with Stratos to get in some damage, playing around a possible Torrential Tribute. Once the attack went through he moved to main phase 2, summoned Diamond Dude, activated his effect, and flipped Return from the Different Dimension: a miss. Play was back to Arocho.
He activated Brain Control and took the Diamond Dude. He activated the Dude’s effect, flipped Sangan to the bottom of his deck, and then summoned Pyramid Turtle: Chau had to activate Torrential Tribute. Arocho passed, realizing he probably should have summoned the Turtle first before playing Brain Control.
Chau set Dimension Fusion, and then activated Card Destruction discarding three cards. He activated Allure of Darkness, removed Dark Magician of Chaos from his hand, and special summoned Dark Armed Dragon! He removed Jinzo to try and destroy Arocho’s set card, but it was chained: Threatening Roar! Chau summoned Diamond Dude, activated his effect and sent Monster Reborn to the graveyard!
He wasn’t finished yet. He activated Monster Gate, tributed Diamond Dude, and traded it for D.D.M. – Different Dimension Master. He removed both Diamond Dudes from his graveyard to return Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade to his hand, then activated Dimension Fusion to bring back Jinzo and Dark Magician of Chaos in attack, with Diamond Dude in defense. He took back Dimension Fusion with Dark Magician of Chaos, activated Diamond Dude and failed to hit a spell yet again. He removed Dasher from his graveyard to destroy Dark Magician of Chaos with Dark Armed Dragon, and then discarded Divine Sword to D.D.M. to bring Magician back to the field. It got him Swords of Revealing Light, and he activated it.
Next turn Arocho special summoned Cyber Dragon, discarded Card of Safe Return for Lightning Vortex, and cleared the field with Mystical Space Typhoon! He attacked the Cyber Dragon, but Chau was just down to 3900 life points. He still had Dimension Fusion, with Dark Magician of Chaos, Dasher, and Diamond Dude removed from play.
Chau drew for his turn, removed Diamond Dude and Stratos for Divine Sword, and activated Dimension Fusion — Arocho conceded the duel immediately and dove to his side deck.
Jimmy Chau mounts a comeback! The match is pressed to a third duel, and both competitors spent a fair amount of time choosing cards from their side decks. Eighteen minutes remained in the round.
Both duelists shook hands before the third game began. “Good luck,” said Arocho, jovial. He drew his opening hand, drew one for his draw phase, then set a card to each zone.
Play was to Chau, and he summoned Stratos to get things started. Stratos’ effect got him Diamond Dude, and he discarded the Dude for Destiny Draw. Chau then activated Reasoning. Arocho called Level 8, and after losing Dimension Fusion, Mirror Force, Torrential Tribute, and two Allure of Darkness Chau special summoned Destiny Hero – Dasher. He activated Premature Burial, targeted Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude, and Arocho chained Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy Premature on the chain.
Stratos attacked, destroying Arocho’s set Pyramid Turtle — it got him Ryu Kokki. Dasher was shut down, and a set spell or trap concluded Chau’s turn. Arocho drew, summoned Giant Rat and activated Creature Swap to trade it for Stratos; Arocho knew Chau had nothing to defend himself with, having seeing Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force sent to the graveyard. Stratos attacked Giant Rat, the Rat got him Pyramid Turtle, and the Turtle quickly crashed into Dasher to bring out a second Ryu Kokki. One Kokki attacked Dasher, and the second attacked directly. Arocho then passed, stuck with an all-monster hand of Goblin Zombie, Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, and Spirit Reaper.
Chau activated Monster Reborn, bringing back his Diamond Dude and activating his effect to send Heavy Storm to his graveyard. He then traded Diamond Dude for Jinzo with Monster Gate, flipping Jinzo right off the top. Jinzo attacked Stratos, and Chau didn’t seem to have anything else! He ended his turn with two cards left in his hand.
Arocho summoned Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, rammed Jinzo, and everything else attacked directly for game! Jose Arocho actually wins a feature match, now one victory away from making Day 2 with Zombies.