As the quarterfinals began, it was clear that both players were taking the duels very seriously. They spent the first few turns building up their field to pull ahead. Roberto eventually outpaced Rhymus by summoning Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys, prompting him to do everything in his power to get it off the field and keep it off the field. Rhymus managed to send it to the graveyard, then activated Snatch Steal, targeting Roberto's Apprentice Magician, but was stymied by Roberto's Enemy Controller. Rhymus set a spell or trap and ended his turn.
Roberto brought back Phoenix on his next turn, and Rhymus responded with Bottomless Trap Hole, eliminating it from the duel, followed by a Book of Moon to flip his own D. D. Assailant face down. Roberto then continued his turn by summoning Reflect Bounder and attacking Rhymus's Sangan. Rhymus chose Cannon Soldier with Sangan's effect, and Roberto ended his turn.
The game had gotten lively at this point, but both players still studied their possibilities intently before making a move. Rhymus drew and studied his hand before flip summoning D. D. Warrior Lady, then summoned Sinister Serpent. He attacked Reflect Bounder with the Serpent and ran headlong into Roberto's Mirror Force, which cost him both of his monsters. He then looked at his hand, set two spell or trap cards, and ended.
Roberto drew, and activated Premature Burial after a brief glance through his graveyard, fetching Jinzo to the field. After a direct attack with Reflect Bounder and Jinzo, the life point totals showed Rhymus at 3200 and Roberto at 3700. The game was very close, and reaching the crucial stage.
Rhymus needed to do something to get an edge. He activated Pot of Greed and took another look at his set cards. Next, he activated Lightning Vortex, wiping out Roberto's Jinzo and Reflect Bounder, then summoned Cannon Soldier to attack Roberto's face-down Sinister Serpent and ended his turn.
Roberto used Snatch Steal to take away Rhymus's Cannon Soldier and tributed it for 500 direct damage before setting a monster of his own. Rhymus plucked his own Serpent back from his graveyard, summoned Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer and attacked Roberto's set monster, Sinister Serpent. Roberto drew, retrieved his Serpent, set it, and ended.
However, the Serpent stall was doomed. With life point totals of 2050 for Roberto and 2700 for Rhymus, Rhymus tributed his Serpent for Airknight Parshath, and attacked Roberto's set Serpent. Roberto drew, retrieved his Serpent, set it again, and ended. Rhymus drew, activated Delinquent Duo to take away Roberto's last card and used Nobleman of Crossout to remove his Serpent from play. He activated Giant Trunade to clear Roberto's field of his one remaining spell or trap, and Roberto retaliated by chaining Book of Moon to flip Airknight Parshath face down. Rhymus then summoned Blade Knight and attacked directly to win the game.
Both players looked through their decks, mulling over the eternal question, “To side deck or not to side deck?” Rhymus exchanged a single card, but Roberto was satisfied with his deck the way it was. Both shuffled thoroughly, and started game two.
Roberto went first, and didn't seem thrilled with the possibilities in his hand. After a great deal of thought, he set one spell or trap and one monster, then ended his turn.
Rhymus drew and quickly summoned D. D. Assailant, then attacked Roberto's face-down Morphing Jar. Both players lost a solid hand of cards, and after looking through both graveyards, Rhymus set a spell or trap and ended.
Several turns went by in a more cautious manner, with both players taking a less aggressive approach to the game as they set cards and built up their fields. Each player got Airknight Parshath on the field and tried to press the advantage. He drew into his Pot of Greed and activated it, following it with Heavy Storm. Roberto chained Book of Moon to flip Airknight face down, then chained Ring of Destruction to take out Rhymu's D. D. Assailant. Life points were now at 5500 for Roberto and 5700 for Rhymus. Rhymus then summoned D. D. Warrior Lady, attacked Roberto's Airknight, and removed both from the game. He set another spell or trap and ended the turn.
A few more turns went by, with small life point losses and back-and-forth contention for control. Play was slow and deliberate, as neither player wanted to make the mistake that would cost him the game. After checking all his cards and graveyard, Rhymus summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior and used its effect to break Roberto's Enemy Controller. Roberto naturally chained it, switching Breaker to defense position. Rhymus considered the play for a while, rechecking his cards and graveyard, then activated Graceful Charity, discarding Airknight and Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. He then special summoned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, and used its effect to remove Roberto's Tribe-Infecting Virus from play. He set another spell or trap and ended.
Roberto didn't have much of a response on his next turn, beyond taking back his Serpent and setting a spell or trap. Rhymus continued to push his advantage, bringing back Cannon Soldier with Premature Burial. This proved costly as Roberto responded with Torrential Tribute. Rhymus then summoned D. D. Assailant and attacked, setting off Roberto's Scapegoat.
Play switched to purely defensive mode for the next few turns, with each player setting a monster and ending. Finally, Roberto activated Swords of Revealing Light, then special summoned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, only to have it removed from play with Rhymus's Bottomless Trap Hole. However, Roberto had a backup plan. He summoned Hand of Nephthys and tributed it along with a goat to bring out Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys—and attacked right into Rhymus's Mirror Force.
Rhymus drew, studied his hand, set one spell or trap and ended. Roberto drew, brought back Phoenix destroying Rhymus's set card, summoned Reflect Bounder, then attacked with both for the win. They were then 1-1, and a third duel was necessary.
Neither player side opted to side deck, and Rhymus decided to go first. Both players continued to play in a serious, focused manner. Rhymus drew, summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior, set one spell or trap and ended.
The first few turns were careful, as each duelist set cards and studied everything in their hands, fields and graveyards before making a move. There wasn't much action until Rhymus activated Ceasefire on Roberto's turn, dishing out a pile of damage as five effect monsters flipped. Roberto retaliated by tributing the now-useless Magician of Faith for Jinzo, and attacking Rhymus's Morphing Jar. Jinzo wasn't destined to stick around for long, and he was removed a few turns later when he attacked a face down D. D. Assailant. Play continued with little loss of life points on either side for a few more turns.
With five minutes left in the round, play picked up. Roberto drew, and quickly played Heavy Storm. Rhymus chained Ring of Destruction to Roberto's Apprentice Magician, bringing the life point total to 5900 for Roberto and 5100 for Rhymus. He pondered playing Premature Burial and reducing his life point total even further, but something had to be done if he wanted to salvage the game. Roberto decided to go for it, activating the card to bring back Airknight, and then attacked Rhymus's Sangan. Rhymus chose Sinister Serpent with Sangan's effect, and Roberto ended his turn with his life points at 4300 and Rhymus's at 4600.
Rhymus drew and played Graceful Charity, discarding Sinister Serpent and Tribe-Infecting Virus. He then activated Premature Burial, to which Roberto chained Ring of Destruction to destroy Airknight. Rhymus resolved Premature Burial and brought Jinzo to the field. Rhymus flip summoned Breaker, then attacked directly with Jinzo. Roberto responded with Scapegoat, and Rhymus declined to attack any goats. He then summoned Cannon Soldier and tributed Jinzo and Breaker to do 1000 direct damage, set four spell or trap cards and ended his turn.
It was down to the minute now. Roberto activated Lightning Vortex, clearing out Rhymus' field, and set some spells or traps and a monster. The next few turns passed very quickly, with neither player mustering much of an offense. Finally, with life points at 1400 for Roberto and 1900 for Rhymus, Rhymus activated Heavy Storm and cleared out the field, activated Swords of Revealing Light, sent the remainder of Roberto's monsters packing with Lightning Vortex, then summoned D. D. Assailant and attacked directly for the win.
Rhymus Lizo wins 2-1 and moves on to the semifinals.
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.