The remaining duelists in the tournament were all big names: Fili Luna, Jason Holloway, Chris Bowling, and Jerry Wang. Two of these duelists had never won a Shonen Jump Championship before, Bowling and Holloway. Jerry’s got one title under his belt, while Luna has a whopping 3, one of which he won from Jerry in the finals of San Mateo. Jerry was the only player left in the tournament that didn’t hail from Texas.
Bowling opened with a set card to his back row. Jerry summoned Spirit Reaper, Bowling flipped Torrential Tribute, and Jerry finished his turn with one set card. “Go ahead.” Bowling activated Monster Reborn, took Jerry’s Spirit Reaper, and it was Jerry’s turn to flip Torrential Tribute! “Your go,” replied Bowling, passing with an open field.
Jerry summoned Cyber Valley, set a card to his spell and trap zone, and ended. Bowling passed, and Wang summoned Dark Grepher. He discarded Jinzo for Grepher’s effect, sent Destiny Hero – Malicious to his graveyard from his deck, then special summoned Dark Armed Dragon! “Anything?” Bowling obviously had no response, and Jerry played another Dark Armed Dragon!
He removed Destiny Hero – Malicious from his graveyard, special summoned the other from his deck in attack mode, and attacked! Each Dark Armed Dragon struck for 2800 damage, a total of 5600. Dark Grepher dropped Bowling to 700 life points, and Malicious attacked for game! Bowling couldn’t help but laugh, revealing a hand of two Dark Armed Dragons, Light and Darkness Dragon, Dark Magician of Chaos, Jinzo, and Crush Card Virus: all dead draws.
Jerry Wang takes the first game of the semifinal match in under two minutes, swinging unopposed for 8100 damage!
Bowling took quite a while side decking, before shuffling up and opening game 2 with a set monster. Jerry summoned Elemental Hero Stratos, searched his deck for Destiny Hero – Disk Commander, and discarded him for Destiny Draw. He drew two, activated Premature Burial, and targeted Disk Commander; he came back and got him two more cards.
Reinforcement of the Army then let Jerry search his deck for Dark Grepher. He followed that up with Allure of Darkness, removing the Dark Grepher for its effect. He set two cards to his back row and passed, not attacking. It seemed like a strange decision.
Bowling’s set monster was Sangan, and he tributed it for Jinzo. Jerry gasped: “I didn’t realize I’d gone second. I thought I went first. That’s why I didn’t attack.” Ouch. Bowling plucked Destiny Hero – Malicious from his deck. He followed it up with Reinforcement of the Army, getting Dark Grepher.
He special summoned the Grepher by discarding Malicious, then discarded Caius the Shadow Monarch for Grepher’s other effect, getting Dark Magician of Chaos to his graveyard. He removed Malicious to summon another in attack mode, and then dropped Dark Armed Dragon.
He removed Dark Magician of Chaos, targeting Jerry’s face-down Mystical Space Typhoon and destroying it. He continued wiping the field, and then activated Brain Control to take Elemental Hero Stratos — combined with the rest of Bowling’s forces the Stratos meant game.
Chris Bowling wins game 2 almost as fast as Jerry won game 1! Both players sided and shuffled, talking over the previous game. Play began quickly, with both players wishing each other good luck.
Jerry opened with a set card to each zone. Bowling summoned Sangan, attacked, and ran into Jerry’s Spirit Reaper. “Go.” Man, Jerry was going to punish him for that.
Sure enough, Jerry summoned Card Trooper and sent Solemn Judgment, Destiny Hero – Malicious, and Dark Armed Dragon to the graveyard to power it up. He turned Reaper to attack mode, wiped out Sangan with Card Trooper, and pegged Bowling with Reaper — Bowling pulled Reaper with Sangan, and lost Reinforcement of the Army to Jerry’s Reaper. “Go ahead.” Play was to Bowling.
He activated Monster Reborn and brought back his Sangan. Jerry activated Crush Card Virus, tributing off his Reaper and costing Bowling Dark Armed Dragon, Caius, and Plasma! Bowling summoned Spirit Reaper, attacked over Jerry’s Trooper, Jerry got a card, and then Spirit Reaper attacked directly — it discarded Jerry’s Dark Armed Dragon! Bowling ended with just one card in hand, alive for now, but not in a very good situation.
Jerry activated Premature Burial and brought back his Card Trooper, removing Malicious to special summon another to the field in attack mode. He sent Mind Crush, Sangan, and Disk Commander to the graveyard for Card Trooper, tributed for Dark Magician of Chaos, and used his effect to try and bring back Premature Burial — Bowling stopped it with D.D. Crow. Magician attacked the Reaper, Jerry set a spell or trap, and play was back to Bowling. Jerry played for damage, not wanting to give Bowling any more cards.
It paid off, as Bowling’s topdeck next turn was Gold Sarcophagus: a terrible draw when you might not even have two turns left in the tournament. He activated it, used its effect to remove Brain Control, and turned both of his monsters to defense mode. That Reaper was all that was keeping him hanging on. Dark Magician of Chaos whacked Reaper next turn, Bowling drew, and passed back to Jerry.
He summoned Elemental Hero Stratos, searched out Destiny Hero – Fear Monger, and discarded him for Destiny Draw. Jerry attacked the Reaper twice for kicks, then set a spell or trap. Bowling drew, then added Brain Control to his hand thanks to the Gold Sarcophagus.
He activated it to try and take control of Dark Magician of Chaos: “Cards in your hand?” asked Jerry.
“One,” replied Bowling.
“Sure.” Jerry forked over the Magician. Bowling sent it to attack Stratos and removed him from play, lowering Jerry to 5300. He moved to main phase 2, tributed for Light and Darkness Dragon, and Jerry yelled an unabashed “YES!” with a fist pump. He flashed Cyber Valley, knowing Bowling had no more cards left and nothing to stop him!
For a couple weeks now, this move has been floating around as a sort of tactical holy grail: Jerry summoned Cyber Valley, activated its third effect four times and dropped Light and Darkness Dragon to 800 ATK! He set one more card to his back row, and ended. Bowling sent Light and Darkness Dragon to attack the Cyber Valley next turn, and Jerry removed Valley to stop the attack and draw a card. Bowling ended with one card in his hand.
This was turning into an elaborate execution. Jerry summoned Dark Grepher, spun away Light and Darkness Dragon with Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and attacked with Dark Grepher. Bowling drew the Light and Darkness Dragon again next turn, passed, and offered Jerry the handshake. It was over!
Jerry Wang moves on to the finals for the third time in six months, one match away from winning his second Shonen Jump title!