Team Overdose placed two members into the Top 8 of SJC New Jersey, and one of them was Rhymus Lizo. With a style that boggles his opponents and onlookers, Lizo is one of the most exciting duelists to watch, making thrilling decisions that are often difficult to comprehend—but always work out when his plan comes to fruition.
Coming off of a Round 2 win, placing him with a 2-0 record, Lizo was clutching his heart as he stumbled off from the table. “I can’t believe I won that!” he quickly explained, opening our interview.
“I won my first two games, barely. That last game was crazy. The guy freakin’ goes, Snatch Steal my Cannon Soldier, equip Armed Samurai – Ben Kei with Mage Power and Big Bang Shot. My Breaker was in attack [position], and my Magician of Faith and Sangan were in defense position. He hits me three times with Ben Kei and I’m left at 2800. He shoots my Soldier at me and I’m at 2300. I have Magician of Faith and Jinzo in hand, nothing else. Faith and Jinzo. I topdeck Mirror Force.
Usually I sucker people through acting. I set [Magician] of Faith and put the Mirror Force behind it.” Lizo started grinning. “I put my head down, took the pen to pretend to take the life point damage, he attacks, and I activated Mirror Force. I got him perfectly.”
After that, it was just two more turns before Lizo clinched his win. Surprise! You lost.
“I’ve done it twice today, actually, I did the exact same thing in my first match.” He flashed his grin again, an obvious signature that smacks of Theeresak Poonsombat. “I tried to do it to Ryan [Hayakawa] in the Shonen in New Jersey. I drew Mirror Force, set it and a Sinister Serpent, but he had Jinzo and that was game. I do a lot of that acting stuff, if you see my facial expressions, but it’s all part of my strategy.”
Lizo is from Jersey City, and he just turned twenty-one last week. “I’m a lone officer for NCBC, a national credit agency. We do loans for businesses and bankruptcies, stuff like that.” I’m glad I asked—it was an admittedly surprising answer.
“I created the team with Bryan and Anthony. I’m expecting Anthony to take it today. I drove all night, I can’t concentrate much. It was twelve hours straight down from Jersey, and I was listening to Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. It might not look like it,” he said, from beneath his head stocking and chains, “but I love Bob Dylan.”
I had to ask the obvious question—how did he feel about being in the same room as Team Savage after his barb directed towards the team in New Jersey? “I’m kinda excited! I really am! I didn’t want to call ‘em out, you know . . . it just came out.” There was that grin again. “They’re good guys, great players, I’ve heard of their reputation, but I’m pretty excited that they’re actually here. I wanted them to be at New Jersey. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but . . . I just want to play them.”
I asked if there was anyone in particular on the team he wanted to play. “Jaelove!” he yelled in reply, without a moment’s hesitation. Why? “I dunno, the Pojo thing after they beat Odyssey [in the team battle after SJC LA], he was really going around saying they were the best. I want to play him for sport and shake hands after the game.”
His goal? “Get my team the Cyber-Stein.” He added, “Finally” after thinking for a moment. “Even though it’s only our second time out, I felt so bad when I lost in the Top 4 in New Jersey. I was beating myself up for a week, and I don’t even know why—it’s a card game. But that week was crazy. I felt bad about it. I never should have set Snatch Steal instead of Premature Burial against Ryan. No matter what Ryan did, I’d have won if I hadn’t made that decision, and if I still had that Snatch it would have been game. You know, once Bryan went down, I wanted to take it. I’ve put him on a pedestal, him and Anthony, I feel second-rate compared to them. But that’s just my opinion.”
I asked him why so many of his moves were so confusing. He had a strong answer. “That’s cause everybody, I mean everybody, focuses on that little ‘oh, Heavy Storm has to go two-for-one, card advantage, this and that.’ A card isn’t supposed to just give you advantage in cards. It's supposed to get you an advantage in the game. You know, if you use Heavy Storm and hit three for one, but nothing important, and in their hand they still have Snatch Steal, Mirror Force, and Call of the Haunted, it doesn’t matter. I don’t believe in card advantage in that context. I’ve always said if you can win with six cards, you probably could’ve won with three. I’m a set-up player. I set stuff up and then win.”
“It’s like chess to me. I used to be the captain of my chess team in school.” He looked sheepish for a moment, but smiled. “You can’t think ahead just one move—you need to think ahead two or three. I play to create confusion. People don’t understand why I did something, and when they don’t understand why I make a move, it throws their game off entirely. I try to throw people’s games off. Most real competitors are set-up players, the good ones . . . they take their time and set cards one by one, and when they’re finally ready to go they ‘bonk-bonk-bonk’ and take you out. If my first hand is Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity, Morphing Jar, Magician of Faith, and all that stuff, I’ll set the Jar, set the Pot. Hit me, you know. I still have advantage. I always think the first move wins the game. If you see my matches, the first move really does.”
“A lot of people bluff on their opening setting things like Mystical Space Typhoon or Dust Tornado. I blow through their monster, they take that 1900, and there’s nothing to help them recover from it. I know there’s nothing behind there [on turn one].” A true statement about the hackneyed tradition of bluffing on an opening turn. “If I have a Scapegoat in my hand, I can almost guarantee a win. I love that card so much.” More than Cannon Soldier?
“That’s my favorite card! I seriously love it! People say it’s a tech card, but to me it’s a maindeck card no matter what. Before, I used to side deck it. My team told me it was too risky, but finally in the Shonen Jump [in New Jersey] I decided I was gonna run what I love. It combos well with Giant Trunade, and the way I play, I love my field of monsters all the time. I estimate the time of how long it will take to win, leave them at a certain small amount of life pointss, and drop Cannon Soldier to make up the rest of the victory when they don’t expect it. I won almost every single game in the last SJC with a shot from Cannon Soldier. The one I won for the feature match, I didn’t use it there, but I could have.” Surprise!
We ended by again discussing his chess background and play philosophies. “Once a player feels confident, they start playing reckless. Once they get too confident, they play sloppy, and that’s it.” He gave me a grin. “Once you think they have the game they don’t set that extra protection, and they’re done.”
Surprise. Rhymus Lizo is one of the best duelists in the country, and a definite contender for top honors at next week’s National Championship.
This article was originally written by Metagame.com, what was formerly the official website for large Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament coverage. It has been preserved by GoatFormat.com so that players can learn from this historical tournament coverage.