482 became eight. Eight became four. And now those last four have become one. A single duelist has proven himself the best over 481 others, all qualified through premier events or outstanding rankings. One elite competitor beat out all comers to prove that today, he was the best of the best the nation had to offer.
That duelist was Max Suffridge, the new 2005 U.S. Champion of Yu-Gi-Oh!
It all comes down to this! Max Suffridge of Team Alpha Omega against Team Nexus’s Miguel Garcia! Garcia won the roll and prepared to open game one as he waited for the match to begin.
Garcia opened the game with a single card set to each of his rows. Suffridge replied with Graceful Charity backed by Sinister Serpent, and then opted to discard Scapegoat for the second half of its cost. He played Swords of Revealing Light, flipping Garcia’s Tsukuyomi (which then flipped back down) and then set a spell or trap and a monster.
“Does that count, he jinxed it?” asked Wang, referring to the die roll. No longer facing a teammate, he seemed to be far more animated!
Garcia opened with a single face down monster and Wang countered by using Nobleman of Crossout on it and then attacking with Sangan. Good thing, too, as the face down monster was D. D. Warrior Lady! Sangan swung for 1000 and Wang set a card to his spell and trap zone.
This semifinal match was a bit more relaxed than the quarterfinals—after all, everyone here had already earned their trip to Tokyo, so the big pressure was off. From here on out, it’s a matter of pride and prizes. Max and Bryan were still quite focused on the event, but they were able to relax a bit and discuss play highlights from the previous day’s event.
Bryan won the die roll and decided to go first. He drew, performed the standard set of one monster, set one spell or trap and ended. Max drew, and immediately activated Nobleman of Crossout on Bryan’s set D. D. Assailant. He then set a monster and a spell or trap of his own, and ended his turn.
The players shuffled up in silence as Judge John Danker explained that he would stop them if they started to make a misplay. Max laughed, saying that he really hoped they were good enough not to mess things up that badly.
Brent won the die roll and elected to go first. You could feel the tension in the air as the two players waited for the signal to begin their match. Finally, they were allowed to start, and Brent got right to business.
This quarterfinal match pitted two Overdose teammates against each other. One would definitely be going to Japan, but one would not. Neither player seemed happy having to play each other—the usually jubilant Rhymus Lizo just stared at the wall while he shuffled his deck, then methodically placed his Fusion and side deck on the table while Wang did the same.
Lizo and Wang rolled off, then clasped hands almost wordlessly across the table. They sat in silence, decks shuffled, waiting for the signal to begin play. The opening was Rhymus Lizo’s, and each player drew their hands slowly. “Draw” said Lizo, before doing so. He summoned Sangan, set a spell or trap, and passed.
The Top 8 got underway shortly after 10 AM. Some of the competitors stayed up late studying their opponent’s decklists, while others opted for a good night’s sleep. Miguel and Eric both went with sleep over extended study, and seemed alert and in good spirits as the quarterfinals began.
As they shuffled and readied for the match to begin, Eric joked, “I would have been a lot less nervous last night!” Miguel laughed. “I was in the flow!” Eric won the dice roll, and decided to go first.
“Let’s duel!” Miguel grinned.