This semifinal round saw Team Savage and Comic Odyssey facing off for a spot in the finals. Both strong members of their respective teams, it looked to be a matchup with a lot on the line. Spectators were kept far back with chair barricades, but members of both teams watched from a distance as the game rolled on.
Evan won the die roll after two rerolls. Happy to get the chance to go first, he didn’t see what he wanted when he looked at his opening hand. He set a spell or trap, and ended his turn. Eric drew, summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior, and used its effect to take out the set card. It was Scapegoat, so Evan chained it and filled in the field with sheep tokens.
That first Scapegoat more or less set the tone for the rest of the match—a lot of stalling while players tried to draw into what they wanted. Eric’s deck moved a little faster, Evan seemed to have trouble getting the cards that had worked so nicely in his earlier match.
Eric soon had a Vampire Lord on the field, and began whittling away at Evan’s trap cards and life points. Evan got his Soul Exchange and Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch combo off, clearing out Eric’s Vampire Lord and discarding his Magician of Faith. It was a momentary upswing, though, as Eric activated Scapegoat to hold off the 2400 ATK attacker. The duel passed somewhat slowly for a few turns, until Eric managed to tribute for a second Vampire Lord. That cost Evan some life points and a Call of the Haunted. Evan retaliated by attacking Vampire Lord with Thestalos, only to run headlong into Mirror Force. That was a real setback, and set the game back to where both players hoping to draw into good cards.
Sinister Serpent faced off against Sinister Serpent for a turn or two, until Eric got out yet another Vampire Lord. Apprentice Magician provided some field presence for Evan, and he also set Hand of Nephthys, gambling that the Sacred Phoenix and Soul Exchange in his hand would push him ahead on his next turn. It paid off, as he was able to tribute one of Eric’s Vampire Lords on his following turn, bringing out his Phoenix. It didn’t stay for long when Eric responded with Bottomless Trap Hole. Evan set a monster, and ended his turn. He wasn’t able to recover his field quickly enough, during the following turns Evan lost his Mobius to Ring of Destruction, and Eric got out Pyramid Turtle, and used Smashing Ground to kill off Evan’s D.D. Assailant, clearing the field for a direct attack for victory.
Both players opted to side deck, taking their time and choosing carefully.
Evan opened the duel once more, repeating his previous move with one set spell or trap, then ended. Eric got the better hand, activating Pot of Greed, then summoning D. D. Warrior Lady and attacking. Evan chained Scapegoat, lost one, and Eric ended his turn.
It looked to be a repeat of the previous duel. There was a lot of holding off the inevitable with Scapegoats, careful and repeated study of the field, hands, and graveyards. Monsters rarely stayed long on the field, and the early game saw only smaller monsters like Sinister Serpent and D. D.s, until Evan’s Breaker the Magical Warrior hit the field. Eric responded with Bottomless Trap Hole.
Evan finally gained the field presence he needed, and tributed Magician of Faith and Hand of Nephthys to bring out Sacred Phoenix. After a few turns of Eric building up his spell and trap zone, Evan used Ring of Destruction on the Phoenix to send it to the graveyard. It returned on his following standby phase to clear out Eric’s spells and traps. Eric chained Torrential to the effect, and Evan summoned D.D. Assailant to attack. The game accelerated at this point, as Eric summoned Kycoo, and eliminated D.D. Assailant with Stamping Ground. Evan chained Scapegoat to Kycoo’s attack.
Evan’s final turn went like this. He drew a card, then Phoenix returned to the field, destroying Eric’s set Metamorphosis. Evan played Graceful Charity, discarding Sinister Serpent and Morphing Jar, then used Metamorphosis to change a sheep into Thousand-Eyes Restrict, sucking up Kycoo, tributing for Thestalos, and attacking to win the game.
Eric went first, amid some jokes about Prohibition for Pot of Greed and Delinquent Duo. He set a monster and ended his turn.
Evan drew, then played Delinquent Duo, sending Creature Swap and Vampire Lord to the graveyard. He set a monster and a spell or trap, and ended his turn.
Spirit Reaper and Scapegoat fulfilled their destiny in the early game, slowing down the game while both players drew for the cards they wanted. Eric eventually hit a run of good cards, playing Heavy Storm, summoning Kycoo, and activating Premature Burial to bring back a second Vampire Lord. He attacked Evan’s set Apprentice Magician, prompting Evan to select another Apprentice Magician to keep a presence on the field against Kycoo, Spirit Reaper, and 2 Vampire Lords. Kycoo attacked the second Apprentice, and Evan brought out Magician of Faith. Eric attacked the Magician, and Evan returned Premature Burial to his hand. The turn ended with Evan at 6700 and Eric at 7200 life points, respectively.
Evan thought carefully, since Eric definitely had the advantage at this point and this was the deciding duel. Two Scapegoats held off the lineup for a few turns, as Eric traded in one Vampire Lord for Dark Balter the Terrible courtesy of Metamorphosis. Turn after turn, Evan’s field was whittled down, until his life points reach 1600. Lifting the card he’d draw for his next turn and not seeing something that could save him, Evan folded and shook Eric’s hand.
Play was slower this match than in previous matches. Players weren’t as conscientious about announcing their moves, and there was a lot of looking through graveyards, studying hands, and investigating set cards. Both players were very serious about the game and took time to counsel with the judges if they were unsure about how a ruling might affect the game. In the end, the Team Savage vs. Comic Odyssey rivalry resulted in a victory for the older, more established team.