By round 3, it was definitely time for some feature matches. Table 10 looked like a good place to begin, so I packed Ameen and Charles off to a feature match table and let them do their stuff. Both players have been doing well so far—each has a 2-0 record. They were also happy to relocate to a cooler, less hectic part of the room and get a little bit of press coverage. After all, what's wrong with fifteen minutes of fame?
Ameen and Charles got right down to it. They were both relaxed and in good spirits, and ready to win. Ameen won the high roll and went first, opening his turn by playing Terraforming. “Wonder what he's gonna take?” Charles laughed. Sure enough, it was Necrovalley. Ameen set another spell or trap, set a monster, set a field card—“What could that be?” and ended his turn.
Charles drew and summoned Double Coston. He immediately went on the offensive, attacking into Ameen's set Gravekeeper's Assailant. It didn't get a stat boost since Necrovalley was face down, so off to the graveyard it went.
Ameen drew, flipped up Necrovalley, then set another monster and a spell or trap. He ended his turn, and Charles attacked again, hitting another Gravekeeper's Assailant. Necrovalley kept it alive and Charles took some backlash damage. He then set a monster and a spell or trap, and ended his turn. Another turn passed relatively quietly while each duelist built up his field.
Then Ameen got down to business. With a face up defense position Gravekeeper's Spy and Gravekeeper's Spear Soldier on the field, he switched them both to attack position and went after Charles's set monster, running smack into Mirror Force. Undaunted, he activated Rite of Spirit to fetch Spear Soldier and attacked the set monster again, dealing 1700 breakthrough damage. He then set a spell or trap, and ended his turn.
Charles drew, and studied his hand for a bit before tributing Double Coston for Despair from the Dark. It didn't stick around long enough to do anything due to Ameen's Bottomless Trap Hole. Ameen then drew and attacked the hapless Spirit Reaper again, slowly slicing away at Charles' life points over the next few turns. Charles struck back with Ring of Destruction and destroyed the Spear Soldier, dishing out some damage in return. Charles lost his last card to Ameen's Delinquent Duo, and was left with no hand and a virtually empty field.
Things were looking pretty grim for Charles as he flip summoned Cyber Jar, hoping for something to hold off Ameen's Gravekeepers. Alas, he pulled nothing but spell cards, and Ameen filled up his field with three additional monsters: Mystic Tomato, Gravekeeper's Assailant, and Gravekeeper's Spear Solider. “Ah, that might be game,” Charles remarked, surveying his hand and the field. He activated Heavy Storm, then brought out Ryu Kokki with Call of the Mummy and attacked Ameen's face down Gravekeeper's Spy. He then tributed Ryu Kokki for a face down monster. “What is it? Millenium Shield?” Ameen wanted to know.
Charles was at 1600 and Ameen at 5000. Ameen drew, filled his last remaining monster zone with Breaker the Magical Warrior, and broke Call of the Mummy. He readied himself for the coup de grace and switched every monster on his field to attack, then attacked Charles' sole face-down card. It flipped to reveal . . . Dark Dust Spirit! Ameen lost his entire field in one blow. “You have to put that in the article!” Charles exclaimed as Ameen's ranks hit the graveyard.
“Yeah, that was pretty hot,” Ameen admitted. That marked the turnaround, as the Zombies came back at the Gravekeepers with a vengeance. Charles opened his turn with Giant Trunade, leaving Ameen with a totally clear field. He brought out another Ryu Kokki with Book of Life, and attacked directly.
Ameen spent the next few turns working to rebuild his field, taking hits from Ryu Kokki as he brough out another Necrovalley, and Rite of Spirit put some monsters on the field. He brought out Mobius the Frost Monarch to rid the field of Call of the Mummy, but Charles's Ryu Kokki made a suicide run at it, clearing the way for Pyramid Turtle to attack to win the game. “Gravekeepers are the one thing that really mess up my deck,” Charles commented. Both duelists agreed that Dark Dust Spirit was what really turned the game around.
Both players opted to side deck. Zombies versus Gravekeepers is a matchup that's usually in favor of the Gravekeepers, but Ameen was on his guard after the previous game. He again went first, and opened up with one set monster, one set field, and one set spell or trap.
Charles responded by summoning Pyramid Turtle and attacking the set card, Sangan. Ameen took some time to think about what to choose before settling on Sinister Serpent. As Charles had ended his turn, Ameen drew, flipped up Necrovalley, and then played Graceful Charity, clearly the reason for choosing the Serpent. He discarded Serpent and Gravekeeper's Assailant, then played Terraforming to add another Necrovalley to his hand. He summoned Gravekeeper's Assailant, then attacked Charles's Pyramid Turtle, sending it to the graveyard and making way for Vampire Lord.
Charles drew and activated Giant Trunade, which prompted Ameen to chain Book of Moon to flip Vampire Lord face down, then chain Rite of Spirit to bring another Gravekeeper's Assailant to the field in defense position. Charles then activated Book of Life, removing Sinister Serpent and bringing out Ryu Kokki, then played another to remove Sangan and bring out Pyramid Turtle. He sent the Turtle to attack an Assailant to bring out another Vampire Lord, then wiped out Assailant with the first Vampire Lord and lightened Ameen's deck by one trap card. Ryu Kokki took out a face-down Gravekeeper's Assailant, then the final Vampire Lord attacked directly to cost Ameen his Ring of Destruction.
Ameen drew, then used Snatch Steal to take one Vampire Lord and attack it into the other. He played another Necrovalley, then summoned Tribe-Infecting Virus and named Zombies to rid the field of Ryu Kokki. He set a spell or trap and ended his turn.
Charles had had quite a field advantage, but now it was gone. He drew, found nothing useful, and ended his turn. Ameen drew, set another spell or trap and attacked directly with Tribe. A few turns passed uneventfully, Charles used Ring of Destruction to wipe out Tribe but wasn't able to rebuild his field to its former glory. He did some damage with Ceasefire, but continued to struggle to get some monsters back on the field. Call of the Mummy finally got Despair from the Dark on the field, but Ameen activated Fairy Box in response and rolled heads, dealing 2000 damage back onto Charles for the win. On to game 3!
Word was out that a feature match was happening, so there was quite a crowd of spectators at this point. “What is it? Ooh, Zombies versus Gravekeepers? Who's winning?” buzzed around the background as both duelists side decked for the final game. “I've been playing this kind of deck for a year or so,” Charles made a point of telling me. “I didn't netdeck it!” He went first, coming out strong with Pot of Greed followed by Graceful Charity.
“You got a god hand?” Ameen demanded, grinning. “I'll scoop to you if you got a god hand!” Charles laughed, set a monster and activated Swords of Revealing Light.
Ameen drew and repeated his prior success with his field cards by activating Terraforming to grab Necrovalley. After doing a bit of math, he played Delinquent Duo, relieving Charles of Pyramid Turtle and Ryu Kokki. He then set a monster and ended his turn.
So that's why he was so happy to see that Swords! Charles flip summoned Cyber Jar, pulling out a handful of spells and traps and one lonely Mystic Tomato. Ameen netted an assortment of spell and trap cards as well, and one face-down monster. Charles activated Call of the Mummy to bring out Despair from the Dark, but was unable to remove cards due to Necrovalley on the field. With that, he ended his turn.
The next few turns went fairly quickly. Ameen summoned Sangan, then looked over his hand. He played Pot of Greed, then set two additional spells or traps and ended his turn. Charles attacked Ameen's face-down monster, and Ameen responded with Fairy Box. He got tails, so the attack went through, destroying a D. D. Assailant. Ameen opted to remove both from play. Charles ended, and Ameen paid to keep Fairy Box on the field. He set a monster, studied his graveyard, and ended his turn. Charles drew, and discarded Swords of Revealing Light. He studied his hand for a bit, the set a monster and ended.
Now things picked up a bit. Ameen activated Ceasefire, revealing Spirit Reaper and dealing out 1500 total damage. He played Terraforming to get another Necrovalley in his hand, then summoned Gravekeeper's Assailant and attacked Spirit Reaper, destroying it by targeting it with Assailant's effect. He set another spell or trap and ended his turn.
Charles drew, looked at his hand, then made a game-ending series of plays. First, he activated Ring of Destruction, taking out Gravekeeper's Assailant. He followed that with Heavy Storm, to which Ameen chained Rite of Spirit to bring back the Assailant. Charles chained Book of Life, removing Ameen's Mystic Tomato and summoning Despair from the Dark. He made a life point check. “You've got 2000 life points left?” he asked Ameen, who replied in the affirmative.
“2000 life points, 2000 life points,” Charles repeated as he studied the field. On his side, Pyramid Turtle and Despair from the Dark. On Ameen's side, Gravekeeper's Assailant, Gravekeeper's Spy and Sangan. “2000 life points,” Charles muttered. “Okay.” He then activated Snatch Steal, taking the Assailant. Creature Swap came next, trading Pyramid Turtle for Sangan. He attacked the Turtle with Assailant, fetching out Vampire Lord. Then Enemy Controller turned Gravekeeper's Spy to attack, and Charles attacked for the win.
This was an exciting match to cover, as both duelists were skilled with their decks and played in a focused, fast-paced manner. No stalling and poking through graveyards here, they both knew what they wanted to do and did it. There were plenty of exciting and game-changing plays, which seem to be typical of matchups in this event.
Charles McCrae wins, 2-1.
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.