Andrew Ahn is the number one ranked player in the State of Georgia, and at seventeen years of age he’s here today packing a Dark Armed Dragon deck with Phantom of Chaos and D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation. He’s dedicating his performance today to his girlfriend, Hannah, to whom he only revealed his Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG habit last week.
His opponent, Brandon Thieben, hails from Chicago. This twenty year-old carpenter from Chicago is 2-0 so far today, and he’s playing a remarkably creative deck with Chain Energy, Machines, and Zoma the Spirit. He won both games of his last match by slamming Zoma into attack position copies of Caius the Shadow Monarch. His strategy is totally taking people by surprise here today.
He began the match with a set card to each zone, and then activated Chain Energy to open strong! Ahn summoned Elemental Hero Stratos, paid 500 life points to do so, and searched his deck for Destiny Hero – Plasma with his effect. He set two cards to his back row, paying 500 life points each. Stratos attacked, Brandon flipped his face-down Gravekeeper’s Spy, and Ahn took another 200 points. Thieben special summoned another Spy from his deck, and the duel stood at 6300 to 8000 in Thieben’s favor.
He summoned Card Trooper next turn, paying 500 life points and sending Cyber Dragon, Cyber Phoenix, and Zoma the Spirit to his graveyard. That gave Trooper the necessary ATK to swing over Stratos, and Ahn dropped to 6200 life points. Thieben ended his turn and Ahn flipped Scapegoat, setting himself up for Plasma.
He tributed away three Sheep Tokens next turn for Plasma, but Thieben responded with Solemn Judgment! Ahn paid another 500 to set a card to his back row and ended.
“I’ll mill three,” noted Thieben, sending away three more cards to power Card Trooper for a 1900 direct attack. The duel now stood at 5700 to 3750, with Ahn leading in life points. He had no monsters on the field though, and was clearly in trouble. He discarded Destiny Hero – Dasher to special summon Dark Grepher, paying 500 life points, then ran over Card Trooper to drop his opponent to 2450 life points. Thieben drew for Trooper, Ahn set another monster (paying once again), and play was back to Thieben.
He paid 1500 life points to summon Reflect Bounder, and then set two cards to his back row. He was down to just 950 life points. “It’s your turn.”
Ahn paid 500 to tribute Grepher for Jinzo, dropping to 4200 life points. Jinzo cleared a Gravekeeper’s Spy in battle, and play was back to Thieben. He activated Lightning Vortex, dropping to 450 life points and destroyed Jinzo, discarding Blue Thunder T-45 to do so. Reflect Bounder attacked, bounced off Spirit Reaper, and play was back to Ahn.
He borrowed the Reflect Bounder for a moment and read its text carefully before passing it back. He summoned Phantom of Chaos, dropping to 3700 life points, and removed Jinzo from his graveyard for its effect. It was a huge error — he should have removed Destiny Hero – Plasma to steal the Reflect Bounder, getting it out of the way without attacking it. Ahn then discarded another Dark Grepher to D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation, bringing back Jinzo. He sent it to attack Reflect Bounder, another error, and Thieben flipped Limiter Removal! Ahn took a total of 3400 damage, the result of his huge misplay. With Phantom of Chaos stuck in attack position he scooped up his cards and gave the concession.
Brandon Thieben’s tricky plan takes a little longer to play out than he might have preferred, but a misplay from Ahn lets him capture the first duel anyway! Both competitors smokescreened and sided.
“I’m assuming you’re going first?” asked Thieben.
“Yup,” confirmed Ahn. He opened the duel with two set cards to his back row, a set monster, and flipped Trap Dustshoot in his opponent’s standby phase. He sent back Reflect Bounder over Thieben’s Caius the Shadow Monarch and Raiza the Storm Monarch, leaving Thieben without a live monster. He was forced to pass.
Ahn flip summoned his set Legendary Jujitsu Master, attacked, and ended. Thieben summoned Card Trooper and boosted it up with Monster Reborn, Royal Oppression, and Morphing Jar, but was stopped from attacking the Jujitsu Master when Ahn flipped Enemy Controller. The Jujitsu Master attacked Trooper next turn and Ahn set another spell or trap card.
Thieben set a card to each zone and activated Swords of Revealing Light. Ahn turned Legendary Jujitsu Master to defense mode, Thieben flip summoned Gravekeeper’s Spy and brought another from his deck in defense mode. He tributed the attack position Spy for Raiza the Storm Monarch, sent Jujitsu Master back to the top of his opponent’s deck and attacked for 2400 damage. “Aaaand, your turn.”
Ahn summoned Elemental Hero Stratos next turn and used his effect to seek out Destiny Hero – Dasher from his deck. He discarded him to bring down Dark Grepher, then discarded Prometheus, King of the Shadows to send Dark Magician of Chaos to his graveyard from his deck. That left him with three Dark monsters in his graveyard, and Ahn brought out Dark Armed Dragon. He removed Dark Magician of Chaos with priority to target Thieben’s set spell or trap, but it was chained: Torrential Tribute!
Ahn continued pressing, activating D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation and discarding Legendary Jujitsu Master to bring back Dark Magician of Chaos. That got him his Enemy Controller, and the Magician attacked directly. Ahn had 5600 life points to Thieben’s 3900. “Go ahead.”
Thieben activated Heavy Storm to get rid of Dark Magician of Chaos! He activated Pot of Avarice, shuffled back Morphing Jar, Card Trooper, Raiza the Storm Monarch, and two Gravekeeper’s Spy, then drew two cards: the Trooper and Raiza. He summoned Trooper, sent three cards to his graveyard, and swung for 1900 damage. The duel now stood at 3700 to 3900. “I’ll end.”
A set spell or trap was Ahn’s only move, and next turn Thieben summoned Cyber Phoenix! He boosted Card Trooper, attacked for 1900 damage, and then swung for 1200 more with the Phoenix. That left Ahn with just 600 life points remaining.
Ahn summoned Phantom of Chaos! He removed Dark Armed Dragon for its effect, then removed Dark Grepher and Prometheus to destroy his opponent’s two Machines. Thieben got to draw, and Ahn set one more card to his back row. He really couldn’t have Thieben press and attack over the Phantom.
A set monster was Thieben’s one move, and next turn Ahn turned Phantom to defense mode and set another monster. That let Thieben flip summon Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive and tribute for Caius the Shadow Monarch! All he needed to do now was target Caius with its own effect — the resulting burn damage would end the match!
. . . And he didn’t. Instead he targeted Phantom of Chaos, a huge mistake, and Ahn chained Enemy Controller to tribute it off and avoid the damage. Ahn got to borrow Caius, and Thieben was left to end his turn and retrieve his Monarch. The misplay had earned Ahn a reprieve.
He set a third spell or trap card and passed with just one set monster. Thieben had a second copy of Caius, and a second chance to make the correct move with Caius’s effect! He tributed it! . . . and targeted his opponent’s face-down monster. Dang.
Luckily it was Sangan anyway, and Thieben scored the match win. He was then mobbed by people who wanted to point out his misplay. Much face-palming ensued.
Brandon Thieben’s beguiling Chain Energy deck confuses even him, but succeeds in earning him another match win!