Adam Powell is 19 years old and a newcomer to the feature match spotlight. He’s undefeated today, running a very cool Water deck that packs, amongst other things, Ameba and Creature Swap!
His opponent, Jason Holloway, is hands down his biggest challenge thus far today. Holloway is a two-time SJC Top 8 competitor, and a former star player for Team Outphase. A native of Forth Worth, he’s got more credentials than almost every other competitor here.
Powell opened the first duel, starting off the match by summoning Mother Grizzly. He set a spell or trap and passed. Holloway set a card to each zone and passed back. Powell summoned Revival Jam, and Holloway flipped Torrential Tribute — his set monster was Sangan, and it let him search for Treeborn Frog to add to his hand. Powell ended his turn.
Holloway activated Graceful Charity, immediately electing to discard the Frog. He added Cyber-Stein, discarded them both, and summoned Asura Priest. The Priest attacked directly for 1700 damage, Holloway set a spell or trap, and Asura Priest bounced back to its controller’s hand.
Abyss Soldier came down on Powell’s side of the field, and Holloway removed it from the game with Bottomless Trap Hole after attempting to bait his opponent into using Abyss Soldier’s effect. Powell set a second back row card to end his turn and passed. Holloway immediately special summoned his Frog after drawing, then tributed it for Cyber Dragon. He activated Last Will, entered the battle phase, and attacked. Cyber Dragon hit Powell for 2100 damage and Holloway activated the effect of Last Will to special Summon Don Zaloog. Don attacked, but was blocked by Enemy Controller. Powell had eaten a rough play to begin the duel, but clearly wasn’t stupid.
A set spell or trap ended Holloway’s turn, and Powell set a monster. He set a third spell or trap and ended. Holloway tributed his Don Zaloog for Zaborg the Thunder Monarch, destroyed Powell’s set Magician of Faith, and then spent a bit of time debating his move. He turned Cyber Dragon to defense, attacked with Don Zaloog, and Powell took the damage. He was down to 1800 LP, and immediately passed back.
A turn later it was all over, as Zaborg the Thunder Monarch attacked directly. Powell heaved a sigh and gave a slight headshake. “Hands without something to summon are poor,” he maligned. Powell set to side decking, and both duelists began to smokescreen for the second duel wordlessly.
Powell elected to start the second duel, setting a monster and then a spell or trap. Holloway special summoned Cyber Dragon, but when it went to attack Powell’s monster, that monster was revealed to be Spirit Reaper. Holloway debated setting a monster, a Reaper of his own, and then did so after almost a minute of deliberation.
“You’re a chess player, aren’t you?” asked Powell, noting how Holloway had repeatedly set his monster in defense and then taken it back, second-guessing himself without removing his finger from the card.
“Yeah,” confirmed Holloway.
“I thought so,” said Powell. It was a sharp observation.
Zaborg the Thunder Monarch came down on Powell’s side; he lost his Spirit Reaper to tribute summon it, but Holloway lost his set Reaper to the Zaborg’s effect. Zaborg then ran over Holloway’s Cyber Dragon.
Holloway summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior, breaking Torrential Tribute when it hit the field. He set one spell or trap and passed. Powell activated Graceful Charity and stroked his beard while he considered his discards: Ameba and Scapegoat. He activated Heavy Storm, destroying Holloway’s set Confiscation! “That says a lot,” he remarked. He summoned Mother Grizzly, attacked the Breaker with Zaborg, and hit directly with Grizzly before setting a spell or trap.
Exiled Force hit the field for Holloway and was tributed off to destroy Zaborg. Holloway set a spell or trap and ended. Grizzly attacked him directly, Holloway set a monster, and Powell summoned Exiled Force to destroy Holloway’s set monster — Don Zaloog. It was a great play — Holloway had obviously intended to bait out another attack from the Grizzly and, if it had hit the set Don, Powell would have been forced to discard a card. The Exiled had simply left Holloway outplayed and Grizzly attacked him directly yet again.
He flipped his set card — it was another bluff, Pot of Avarice. He shuffled his five fallen monsters back into his deck and drew two more. He set a card to each zone and set a second spell or trap to end his turn.
Powell tributed his Grizzly for Mobius the Frost Monarch, targeting Holloway’s set Sakuretsu Armor and Ring of Destruction! Ring was chained, destroying Mobius, but Powell then special summoned Cyber Dragon. It attacked Holloway’s set monster, Treeborn Frog, and destroyed it. Holloway special summoned his Frog, tributed it for Jinzo, and attacked into Enemy Controller. He passed with no back field.
“I’ll make this quick,” said Powell. He normal summoned another Exiled Force, tributed it to destroy Jinzo, and Holloway scooped. It was a drastic reversal from game 1; Powell had dominated Holloway just as well as Holloway had him in the first duel. Now, it all came down to one last game.
“Good luck Jason,” said Powell. Holloway began with Confiscation, revealing Powell’s Exiled Force, Mother Grizzly, Ameba, Creature Swap, and Enemy Controller. If he didn’t discard Ameba or Creature Swap he was in for a serious beating, so he discarded the Swap. He set a card to each zone and passed.
Powell played back at him, using Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy Holloway’s set spell or trap: Mirror Force! He then summoned Exiled Force, but tributed it to destroy Holloway’s set card: Treeborn Frog! He set a spell or trap to end his turn. While this format favors aggression at the moment, make no mistake that a first turn Exiled Force is always going to be a risk when so many duelists are running Treeborn.
Holloway tributed his Frog for Cyber Dragon on the following turn, then activated Last Will — the same trick he’d used in the first duel. Cyber Dragon attacked directly, hit, Holloway brought out Don Zaloog, and once again Powell flipped Enemy Controller to stop the attack. “Your turn,” announced Holloway. He had to have been happy with the state of the duel.
Powell activated Smashing Ground to destroy the Dragon, then set a monster to end his turn. He had one card left in his hand, and the trade for the Dragon was a painfully necessary move. Holloway normal summoned Cyber-Stein, paid 5000 to bring out Cyber Twin Dragon, and turned Don to attack. He then activated Creature Swap, giving Powell the Stein and taking his Mother Grizzly. The Twin Dragon attacked Stein, hit directly, and Don’s blades struck for game.
Jason Holloway moves on undefeated!