Loftis opened the match with some banter. “My buddies said like, ‘you’re playing James Taylor!’ and I was like, ‘I am, wow!’ and they totally didn’t get it. I was like ‘Guys, we’re from Carolina, come on!’”
Taylor won the roll. As Loftis put it, he just couldn’t “stand up to the studliness” of Taylor’s six. Taylor opened with a set card to each of his zones and passed. His monster, Spirit Reaper, was quickly blown off the field by Nobleman of Crossout, and Loftis immediately seemed to be considering an over-extension. He opted against it, set a card to each of his zones, and passed.
Do you ever wonder what happens when a group of players realize they’re spread across two different teams? Well, in this instance, a new team was formed. Taking some members from Team Cobra and some from Team Obvolution, Team Evolution aims to live up to its name by taking the concept of growth from experience and running with it.
It’s a fairly substantial group, and nine or ten players are here from Regionals qualifications. The last unqualified member, Bobby Clark, made it to the final round of the last-chance qualifier, but didn’t make the Top 8. He stuck around the event in a support role, which was greatly appreciated by the other members of the team.
2005 is the Year of the Team. Team this, team that, everywhere you look teams are springing up all over. Some have definite star power, some are out for a good time, and some are hoping for Metagame.com coverage. I was glad to finally get the chance to cover some guys who are actually the first team I’ve ever encountered—these guys were a team back in the Mall tour days. If you’re a regular in Pennsylvania area events, you probably know who I’m talking about. It’s the good old nYo, New Yu-Gi-Oh! Order.
Ryan Hayakawa is Yu-Gi-Oh!’s only dual SJC champ, and is comparable to a small ninja in both demeanor and performance. Seemingly coming out of nowhere over the past few months, Ryan has won multiple Cyber-Steins for Team Comic Odyssey and is a star member of the number one group in the game.
“You a judge?” asked Hayakawa, looking at Perovic’s play mat.
“Nope… I mean, yeah, I judge. But that’s not how I got this mat. I killed a guy for it.” Perovic grinned. I certainly hope he’s joking.
Comic Odyssey and Team Overdose got a good helping of each other at the New Jersey Shonen Jump, and their paths have crossed again here at Nationals. Round 5 offered a promising matchup between two of the team powerhouses. This is definitely not a match to be missed.
In a game where Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted can undo the hard work of giving a problematic monster the deep six, “remove from play” mechanics truly reign supreme. While in the past, potentially powerful cards like Dark Core went ignored, players are now deeply concerned with both dishing out—and protecting themselves from—complete removal.
Two cards that surprised many duelists today both deal with this key theme. Check out the mix of an old under-appreciated card and a hot new one, and the impact that both have had on today’s event.
Deck Profile: Steve Koelbel
Steve Koelbel isn’t a terribly familiar name in the North American Yu-Gi-Oh! community, but one of my friends, Kevin Demott, was in attendance today as a spectator and seemed to think Koelbel was worth backing. They came here together, and Demott and I, along with Julia, had at one time been professional duelists together. I don’t take his opinion lightly, so I sought out Koelbel and asked to see his deck.
He’d just come off of a round three win with Elephant Statue of Disaster, and I was intrigued. Steve is running a Lockdown deck with some key innovations, and I think his model for the archetype could very easily present a standard for the deck’s future. Here’s what he was running.
Deck Profile: Jae Kim
I like it when great minds agree with me. While I wouldn’t presume to place myself among greats, it’s reassuring when play trends and truly awesome players seem to follow the same disciplines and game principles that I promote. I’ve totally been digging Jae Kim’s decks lately.
Coming off of a narrow defeat in the finals of last week’s Shonen Jump Championship in Charlotte, Kim’s deck indicates an understanding and appreciation for some often overlooked game factors. Though he ran a Zombie/Earth build in Charlotte and took it all the way to the top, representing Team Savage, he’s opted to run a Chaos variant this weekend. The surprising (and fascinating) thing? The deck follows a lot of the core principals and decisions that guided the building of his Zombie/Earth deck last week.
I do a lot of high-level judging in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area, and I can usually count on seeing Wyatt at any given event. Now, there are plenty of kids who play Yu-Gi-Oh!, so seeing a ten-year-old at lots of events isn’t really all that unusual. But it is unusual to see a player that young make Top 4 on his own power, especially in a region where the competition is quite strong. I learned that Wyatt had gotten his invite when I ran into him at another event, and I told him that I definitely wanted to interview him at Nationals. Wyatt and his father, Chris, had a bit of time after finishing their matches in round 1, so we sat down and had a chat.
Right off the bat today in round one, two cards are demonstrating an unexpected level of impact. Two weeks ago, if you’d named either of these cards to your average duelist, they probably would have blinked, stared vapidly, and then run off to their card binders or the handy Metagame.com database to look them up. Most would not have even known what these cards did.
But today, it’s all about two cards—Elephant Statue of Disaster and Chain Disappearance! Let’s take a look at each one and see why they’re expected to be defining cards for the day.
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