Richard Piper has been here before — the 18 year-old landscaper from Ottawa Ontario took fifth place at Canadian Nationals last year, and now he’s back to try and best his previous performance.
Matt Lai made it all the way to the Top 8 with a Six Samurai deck, an unprecedented achievement! Also 18 years of age, he hails from Markham, and will be attending University this fall.
Both duelists greeted each other and made friendly small talk, happy to have made it so far in the day’s competition. This match pits the stunning force of The Six Samurai against a very basic, but effective Monarch deck with interesting tech, so it should be an exciting confrontation.
Lai began the match by setting a card to his spell and trap zone, and, after heaving a sigh, he passed his turn. Piper set a monster and passed back. Lai special summoned Cyber Dragon, normal summoned The Six Samurai — Irou, and special summoned Grandmaster of the Six Samurai! Irou attacked, destroying Treeborn Frog. Grandmaster and Cyber Dragon followed up for a quick 4200 damage, draining away more than half of Piper’s life points!
Treeborn Frog hopped back up onto Piper’s field, and he thought briefly before activating Snatch Steal to take control of Grandmaster. Piper tributed Treeborn for Raiza the Storm Monarch, targeting Lai’s set spell or trap card and sending it back to the top of his deck. Raiza attacked Lai’s Cyber Dragon and Grandmaster destroyed Irou. It was 7300 to 3800. “It’s your turn — go.”
Lai gained 1000 life points from Snatch Steal to place himself at 8300. He had four cards in hand to Piper’s four, but Piper still had field presence. Lai special summoned Cyber Dragon, activated Smashing Ground to destroy Raiza the Storm Monarch, and set one card to his back row. He didn’t attack.
Grandmaster was tributed for Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch, forcing Lai to discard The Warrior Returning Alive! Cyber Dragon was then attacked and destroyed, and Lai had nothing but his set card left. Piper set a card to match and ended.
Lai passed, doing nothing, and ate another attack from Thestalos. The duel stood at 5600 to 3800, with Lai still in the lead. He was also in trouble with a severe card deficit, and Piper continued building his field presence by setting a monster. He wasn’t keeping a ton of pressure on Lai, but he was still developing his field.
After almost a minute’s consideration Lai ended his turn yet again, not making an action. Piper summoned Card Trooper, threw three cards into the graveyard with its effect (two Cyber Dragon and Brain Control), and attacked with Card Trooper — Lai blocked with Call of the Haunted, bringing back Grandmaster. Trooper couldn’t attack, but Thestalos did, and eliminated the Grandmaster. Play was to Lai.
He activated Heavy Storm, destroying Piper’s Mirror Force. He summoned The Six Samurai — Yaichi and attacked over Card Trooper. Lai set his last card to his spell and trap zone.
Brain Control stole Yaichi and Piper flip summoned Gravekeeper’s Spy, bringing another to the field in attack position. He attacked directly with Yaichi, then one Spy, then the next, and Thestalos was stopped by Sakuretsu Armor! Lai had 1600 life points left! Piper set two cards to his back row and passed.
Lai summoned another Yaichi and attacked a Spy with one of them: Magic Cylinder negated the attack. The other attacked into Sakuretsu Armor, and one Yaichi stepped in for the other to ensure that the attack would continue! Still, Piper topdecked into Premature Burial and a quick reveal was all Piper had to do to earn the win.
Richard Piper takes advantage of a damaging, but unsupported over-extension to take the win in the first duel!
“Were you drawing horrible there?” asked Piper.
Lai confirmed. “Yeah, it was pretty bad.” Table talk followed, as Lai mentioned that he was playing to his only major out, Heavy Storm and Grandmaster.
“What did I get with the Raiza?” asked Piper. “Was it the Call?”
“Yeah, the Call.” More banter ensued as each competitor began side decking and smoke-screening.
Lai opted to begin the second duel, and did so by setting a spell or trap card yet again. Piper set a card to each zone, and Lai special summoned Cyber Dragon. The Dragon attacked Piper’s set monster, but Waboku kept it from destroying Piper’s set Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, which flipped and got Piper another draw. Lai set a second card to his back row to end.
“So you have five cards in hand?”
“Four,” corrected Lai.
Dekoichi was tributed for Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch, and Lai lost Great Shogun Shien from his hand! Thestalos attacked Cyber Dragon but was immediately destroyed by Sakuretsu Armor. Piper set two cards to his back row and passed.
Lai drew, but revealed his hand when Piper flipped Trap Dustshoot: Reinforcement of the Army, Ring of Destruction, Cyber Dragon, and Smashing Ground. Cyber Dragon was shuffled back into his deck, and Lai used Reinforcement of the Army to search his deck for The Six Samurai — Irou. Irou attacked directly, Piper took the damage, and Cyber Dragon rushed into Magic Cylinder! The life points stood at 5200 to 6300 with Piper in the lead. Lai set another spell or trap and passed his turn.
His opponent set Treeborn Frog and Sakuretsu Armor, leaving Raiza and Pot of Avarice in his hand. Play was back to Lai, who summoned another The Six Samurai — Irou. Cyber Dragon attacked, but Sakuretsu Armor destroyed it. The second Irou attacked directly.
Treeborn Frog came back for Piper, who had drawn into Gravekeeper’s Spy. Tributing for Raiza would be a risk, as Pulling the Rug would decimate Piper’s field position, but he did it anyway, targeting one of the two Irou. Lai let it go, but Raiza was destroyed by Ring of Destruction when he attacked. Piper had predicted it would happen, but didn’t appear to see that it would lead to his immediate demise. Lai topdecked his Irou again, summoned him, and attacked with both. Piper might have been able to save himself if he’d set Gravekeeper’s Spy, provided Lai didn’t top into another Six Samurai. Long odds, but better than the ones he gave himself.
Both duelists began side decking for the third, and most likely the final, duel.
“So you’re going first?” asked Lai.
“Yup,” confirmed Piper. He began the game with a set Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive and a set spell or trap card. Lai special summoned Cyber Dragon . . .
“Do you run three of those, or something?”
Lai laughed. “Yeah I do!” He played Reasoning next, and Piper guessed level 4 for its effect. Lai chucked Sakuretsu Armor to his graveyard and then brought out another Cyber Dragon! Both attacked, but Waboku protected the Dekoichi. Lai ended his turn.
Piper tributed Dekoichi for Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch, forcing Lai to discard Grandmaster of the Six Samurai. Thestalos then ran over one of the Dragons, stealing away two cards in a single turn. Piper set a spell or trap, Lai set a monster, and Cyber Dragon went to defense position. Thestalos was tributed for Raiza, Raiza bounced Lai’s set monster to the top of his deck and then attacked the Cyber Dragon!
Lai was getting destroyed. He set a monster, Irou, and lost him to Raiza on the following turn. Piper continued developing his field, setting a card to each zone. Lai was down to four cards, and could only set another monster.
Piper flip summoned Gravekeeper’s Spy and brought out another in defense position. He tributed the attack position one for Mobius, ran over another Irou with Raiza, and then struck directly with Mobius. Lai was down to 4800 life points, and Piper was slowly, precisely, ruining him.
Lai set a monster, a spell or trap, and ended. He lost his set Mirror Force to Mystical Space Typhoon in the end phase, and things just kept getting worse. Piper tributed his remaining Spy for Cyber Dragon, attacked Lai’s set monster (another Irou!) with Raiza, then pressed with Mobius. Cyber Dragon attacked last and Limiter Removal ended the match!
Richard Piper moves to the Top 4!
“I drew three Irou,” explained Lai. “That’s the third game I drew three of one Samurai.” Talk about bad luck — it just doesn’t get any worse than that.