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.
Eric drew, and studied his hand momentarily before setting a monster and ending. Miguel drew, and played Pot of Greed. He looked over his hand, set a monster and a spell or trap, and ended. These were typical opening plays. Eric drew, set another spell or trap, sacrificed his previous monster for Airknight Parshath, and attacked Miguel’s face-down monster, revealing Spirit Reaper! He drew a card for Airknight’s effect, and thought carefully about his next move. He activated Brain Control, targeting Spirit Reaper, which perished. During the end phase, Miguel activated Scapegoat.
Miguel drew and looked through his graveyard. He switched a Sheep token to attack position, and traded it for Eric’s Airknight with Creature Swap. He attacked the Sheep token, drew a card for the effect, and then activated Delinquent Duo, discarding Sinister Serpent and Breaker the Magical Warrior. Life points were tied at this point, 5300 to 5300. He set two spell or trap cards and ended. Eric activated Snatch Steal in an attempt to recover his Airknight, but Miguel was prepared with Dust Tornado to prevent him. Eric moved on to option #2, summoning Tribe-Infecting Virus and using its effect to destroy Airknight. He attacked a Sheep token with Tribe-Infecting Virus, and ended after setting another spell or trap.
Miguel moved to a defensive attitude, setting a monster and ending. Eric drew, checked his set cards, and activated Ceasefire, revealing Miguel’s D. D. Warrior Lady. Eric used Tribe’s effect to attempt to destroy D. D. Warrior Lady, but Miguel responded with Book of Moon to save it. Eric attacked a Sheep token instead, and ended his turn. Miguel went on the offensive, tributing the D. D. for Airknight and attacking tribe. He ended after setting another spell or trap.
Life points were now Miguel at 4300 and Eric with 5000. Eric upped the stakes by summoning Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, and used its effect to remove Airknight. Not a lot of luck for Airknights in this game. Miguel set a spell or trap card and ended. Eric drew, and continued his removal tactics by using Soldier’s effect to remove a Sheep token.
Miguel drew, and studied his hand. He summoned D. D. Assailant and attacked Eric’s face-down monster, then announced main phase two and played Lightning Vortex, discarding Swords of Revealing Light to destroy Eric’s Soldier. Eric wasn’t giving it up quite that easily, though. On his next turn, he activated Premature Burial to bring it back to the field and remove Miguel’s face-down monster. Miguel drew, and passed. Eric continued to press his advantage. He switched Soldier to defense position, summoned Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer and attacked directly, prompting Miguel to respond with Scapegoat. “I’ll attack the blue goat!” Eric grinned, indicating one of Miguel’s custom Scapegoat tokens.
Miguel summoned his own Kycoo and attacked it into Eric’s, then set a spell or trap card and ended. Life points were now Miguel at 4300 and Eric at 4200. The game could go either way. Eric removed another goat with Soldier’s effect, set a spell or trap, and ended. Miguel drew and ended, then activated Ring of Destruction during Eric’s turn, wiping out the Soldier and bringing the life point total down to the danger zone, with 1300 for Miguel and 1200 for Eric. Both players had to watch every move from this point on, since one mistake could mean a loss. A few turns passed in which both players drew, set a card or two, and ended.
Finally, Eric activated Graceful Charity, discarding Delinquent Duo and Scapegoat. He used Nobleman of Crossout to remove Miguel’s face-down D. D. Assailant, then activated Call of the Haunted to bring out his old friend Airknight. He attacked a Sheep token, which would have won the game, except for Miguel’s set Sakuretsu Armor. The Curse of the Airknight continued! Miguel drew, and set two cards. This game was down to the wire.
Eric drew, checked his set cards, set a monster and ended. Miguel drew, and took out Eric’s Magician of Faith with Nobleman of Crossout—both removed all remaining copies. Eric then went after Miguel’s remaining Sheep tokens, summoning Asura Priest and attacking a Sheep, only to encounter Mirror Force. Miguel was still in the game! A few more turns went by, drawing and setting. Something had to happen soon . . . both players were under 1400 life points. Eric finally used Metamorphosis to trade in a Sheep for Thousand-Eyes Restrict. He sucked up Miguel’s face-down monster, and ended. Miguel set another monster, and ended.
Eric drew, and summoned Tsukuyomi, flipping Thousand-Eyes Restrict face down and sending Miguel’s Sinister Serpent to the graveyard. He attacked a Sheep token with Tsukuyomi, then flip summoned Thousand-Eyes to take another face-down monster. Tsukuyomi returned to his hand and he ended. Miguel didn’t look too happy about this turn of events as he drew, returned his Serpent to his hand, and considered his options. Finally he set a monster and a spell or trap and ended—but not before Eric used Dust Tornado to destroy the card he’d just set. Goodbye, Torrential Tribute.
Eric drew, summoned Tsukuyomi again and repeated his previous performance. Miguel drew and ended, and Eric again summoned Tsukuyomi, flipped Thousand-Eyes face-down, and attacked directly for 1100. Miguel now had 200 life points remaining to Eric’s 1200, and Eric hit Tsukuyomi with Ring of Destruction for the win. The spectators applauded, and Miguel congratulated his opponent on his final moves.
Both players chose to side deck, swapping in the few cards they hoped would give them an edge during the next duel. Miguel went first, with a classic opening of one set monster and one set spell or trap. Eric drew, and studied his hand before summoning D. D. Warrior Lady. Miguel promptly activated Bottomless Trap Hole. Eric followed up with Delinquent Duo, depriving Miguel of his Ring of Destruction and his Sinister Serpent, then set one spell or trap and ended.
Miguel moved to offense, flip summoning D. D. Assailant and attacking directly for 1700. He set another monster and ended. Eric drew, checked his set spells and traps and added another—Ring of Destruction—only to lose it during his end phase to Miguel’s Mystical Space Typhoon. Miguel continued his aggressive streak, attacking directly again with Assailant. Life points were Miguel 8000, Eric 3600.
Eric drew, and studied his hand and the field. Winning this duel equaled a trip to Tokyo. He opted for offense, summoning Breaker the Magical Warrior, and breaking Miguel’s Sakuretsu Armor. He attacked Miguel’s face-down Sinister Serpent with Breaker, and ended. Miguel returned his Serpent, set it, and struck back at Breaker with D. D. Assailant. Eric drew, then activated Premature Burial to fetch back Breaker, and tributed it for Airknight. He attacked Miguel’s face-down Serpent, then used Metamorphosis to trade in Airknight for Reaper on the Nightmare.
Miguel studied the text on Reaper, then summoned another D. D. Assailant. He targeted Reaper on the Nightmare with Snatch Steal, destroying it, and attacked directly with both D. D. Assailants for the win.
Eric went first, varying from the usual—set one routine by summoning Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, and setting a spell or trap. Miguel drew, set two spells or traps and a monster, and ended. Eric attacked the face-down Spirit Reaper, set another monster and ended. Several more turns went by in the draw, pass, draw, set, pattern, until Eric tributed Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer for Airknight Parshath and attacked Miguel’s Spirit Reaper, then again traded Airknight for Reaper on the Nightmare with Metamorphosis. Miguel drew, didn’t seem to like any of his options, and set a spell or trap. Eric drew, and turned Reaper on the Nightmare to attack and attacked, discarding Miguel’s Kycoo. Life points were Miguel 5700 and Eric 8000.
Miguel drew, and studied his hand before setting a spell or trap and ending his turn. Eric kept up the heat, attacking again with Reaper on the Nightmare, causing Miguel to respond with Scapegoat, then Torrential Tribute when the Sheep tokens hit the field, destroying all monsters. Each duelist had two set spells or traps, and Eric set a monster and ended. Miguel summoned Tribe-Infecting Virus, then activated Nobleman of Crossout to eliminate Eric’s Sinister Serpent. He attacked directly with Tribe, bringing the life point total to Miguel at 5500 and Eric with 6400. Eric brought out some muscle, summoning Berserk Gorilla to attack Tribe-Infecting Virus. Miguel set a monster and passed, and Eric continued his aggressive streak. He used Nobleman of Crossout to clear out Miguel’s Magician of Faith. Both stripped all remaining copies from their decks, and then attacked directly with Gorilla, triggering Miguel’s Scapegoat. Miguel drew and set a spell or trap. Eric summoned Tribe, called Beast although it cost him his own Gorilla, and attacks directly with Tribe, bringing Miguel’s life points to 3500. Again, Miguel set a monster and ended.
Eric summoned Asura Priest, then activated Premature Burial to bring back the Gorilla. He activated Ceasefire, dealing a whopping 2000 points of direct damage. He then ended his turn, and Miguel activated Dust Tornado to take out Ring of Destruction. Miguel drew, looked at the card, and set it. A spectator then attracted the table judge’s attention to the fact that Eric hadn’t attacked Miguel’s Sangan with Berserk Gorilla, something both players had overlooked as well. Head Judge Dave Brent came over and reviewed the situation, and went to consult with Upper Deck. After coming back and making sure that the game could be reversed—the card Miguel had drawn that turn was identified positively—the game was backed up to Eric’s battle phase. Eric attacked with the Gorilla, and Miguel responded with Mirror Force.
Miguel drew. He was now at 1500 life points, and losing this duel would lose him the match. He attacked directly with Sangan, running smack into Eric’s Scapegoat. He declined to attack a goat and ended. Eric drew, and ended. Miguel studied his hand and the field for some time, before gritting his teeth and paying the cost of Delinquent Duo to take Eric’s entire hand, then attacking a Sheep token with Sangan. Eric drew and ended for a few turns, while Miguel picked off Sheep tokens one by one with Sangan. Miguel had only 500 life points left.
Eric drew, and played Pot of Greed. He had only one Sheep token left. He activated Nobleman of Crossout, eliminating Miguel’s Serpent, then used Metamorphosis to turn a Sheep token into Thousand-Eyes Restrict to take Sangan and attack with it. Miguel wasn’t dead yet—he activated Scapegoat. A few more turns passed in draw, pass, draw, set, and then Miguel moved forward. With a life point total of Miguel 500 and Eric 5600, he played Pot of Greed, and summoned Breaker, breaking Eric’s Torrential. Miguel paused to think over his options, realizing that a mistake at this point would be fatal. He finally decided to summon Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning, using its effect to remove Thousand-Eyes Restrict. He flip summoned D. D. Assailant, then attacked with Breaker. He attacked with D. D. Assailant, prompting Eric to respond with Scapegoat. Life points were now Miguel 500, Eric 4000.
Eric summoned his own Soldier, and used its effect to remove Miguel’s. Before he could tribute it for Jinzo, Miguel claimed priority to activate Bottomless Trap Hole, removing Eric’s Soldier. Eric summoned D. D. Assailant, and attacked Miguel’s Breaker, bringing him down to 400.
Miguel drew, really feeling the pressure. He shook his head as he looked through his graveyard. Finally, he activated Call of the Haunted, bringing back Tribe-Infecting Virus. He looked at the cards in his hand before discarding Swords of Revealing Light to get rid of Beast-types, then summoned D. D. Warrior Lady. He finished by taking Eric’s D. D. Assailant with Enemy Controller, then attacking with all three for the win, and a sensational comeback from a very hard position.
Final match results: Miguel 2, Eric 1, and a place in the semifinals for Miguel!
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.