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.
Next turn Taylor summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior, broke Loftis’ face down spell or trap, found it to be a Mystical Space Typhoon, and watched his own face down Scapegoat get blown away. Breaker attacked, smacked into Magician of Faith, and Loftis took back Mystical Space Typhoon. Taylor set another Scapegoat.
Mystical Space Typhoon blew the Scapegoats away yet again, but this time they were chained to its activation. Loftis smacked Breaker with D. D. Assailant and next turn Taylor stole it with Enemy Controller and tributed it for Jinzo. He attacked directly.
Loftis took some lumps for two turns before drawing into Lightning Vortex. He used it and a Dust Tornado to clear Taylor’s field and then attacked with Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. Taylor topdecked Pot of Greed, though, and after activating it, he was able to use Snatch Steal to take Kycoo from Loftis. He attacked with it and set a spell or trap. Loftis had no cards left.
He drew into Breaker the Magical Warrior, summoned it, and broke the Snatch Steal. “No Mirror Force,” he said hopefully, crossing his fingers. Breaker and Kycoo both swung, and suddenly the score was closer to even at 2400 to 2700—but Loftis was still at the disadvantage.
Taylor drew and set a monster. He had one card in each of zones and a single card in hand. Loftis drew and the card presences were equalized, as he had two monsters on the field and one card in hand. He attacked, hit Sangan, and watched Taylor take Sinister Serpent. He then attacked again, watched Sangan get brought up again with Call of the Haunted, and Taylor pulled Tsukuyomi. “Nice,” he said, setting a spell or trap and passing.
Tsukuyomi was summoned on Taylor’s side and it turned Kycoo face down before attacking. It ran straight into Mirror Force. Loftis attacked back next turn and caught two sheep. Loftis set a monster and passed.
He was relaxed, while Taylor was not, and Loftis started visibly, “playing the man,” as the saying goes. Taylor activated Nobleman of Crossout, and there was only Loftis’s fresh set on the field. “Target?” he asked. Taylor was befuddled and a bit annoyed while Loftis just grinned.
Loftis took out a sheep and the face down monster (which turned out to be Sinister Serpent) next turn. Taylor set the Serpent again, and baited Loftis into Sakuretsu Armor. He then topdecked Metamorphosis, used it on the bait Serpent to summon Thousand-Eyes Restrict, and got hit with a Torrential Tribute. Loftis had nothing after that, and Taylor started poking him with an attack position Serpent. Each player had two face down spells or traps, and the score was a tight 1800 to 1900.
Dust Tornado then took out the card Taylor was banking on, revealing another Sakuretsu Armor. Lotis still didn’t have anything he could follow up with, and he played Swords of Revealing Light. Next turn Taylor had Heavy Storm and Tribe-Infecting Virus, and that was game in his favor!
“That was tough, man,” he said, a classy nod to a player who had seemed to be irking him a little. Conversation got a bit friendlier as game two began.
The duel opened with Loftis setting two face down cards to his spell and trap zone. Taylor tried to bait him out, attacking with Sangan, but Loftis didn’t budge as he took 1000 damage. Taylor set two spells or traps and passed. “Let’s see your MST,” said Taylor in grim prediction of his opponent’s next move. It was actually Dust Tornado, but it still cleaned out Torrential Tribute.
Lofits summoned Tsukuyomi to turn Sangan face down, then tried to use Nobleman of Crossout on it. Taylor chained Enemy Controller to tribute the Sangan and save it, then passed after taking the Tsukuyomi. Loftis set one spell or trap and passed.
Taylor set two more spells or traps and one was again ripped apart by a piece of removal. Play continued and both players traded off in defensive and aggressive roles, having traps set to deal with each other. The big swing came when Loftis started using Tsukuyomi to cycle Magician of Faith. His tone changed a bit—slightly more respectful, but also more authoritative. He was clearly in control of the game as he attacked with Tsukuyomi and passed.
Taylor summoned Sinister Serpent next turn, and then it was Taylor’s turn to use Nobleman of Crossout. Both players removed the copies of Magician of Faith from their deck. “Do you want to check my deck to make sure I don’t have any more than I’m claiming?” asked Taylor. Loftis refused.
Next turn, Loftis used the Nobleman/Tsukuyomi combo to remove Sinister Serpent from play. He had no attack though, and Taylor brought up Sangan in the end phase via Call of the Haunted. He drew, summoned Tsukuyomi, turned Sangan face down, flipped it face up, and attacked straight into two sheep.
Loftis had clearly lost control of the game. Taylor didn’t have it yet either, but Loftis had definitely lost what he once had. He summoned Tsukuyomi, turned Sangan face down, and attacked. Sangan netted Taylor a Spirit Reaper and Tsukuyomi ran back to Loftis’s hand.
Taylor set a spell or trap, summoned Spirit Reaper, and sent it after a sheep. Loftis looked a bit puzzled, and his only play in return was a face down spell or trap. Next turn, the last sheep took a dirt nap thanks to more aggression from the Reaper. Loftis used Taylor’s trick against him next turn, though, and summoned Sangan to attack Spirit Reaper.
Taylor summoned Asura Priest and Loftis flipped Torrential Tribute. “I knew that was coming,” said Taylor. Loftis pulled Spirit Reaper, Taylor set another spell or trap, and play passed.
The field became a mirror image of what it had been moments before, as Reaper attacked and Taylor defended himself with Scapegoat. Reaper smacked a sheep and Taylor did nothing next turn. Loftis summoned Tsukuyomi, turned Reaper face down, flipped it back up, and then attacked with both. Taylor had only one sheep remaining.
Both players were regaining hand presence, and that worked in Taylor’s favor as he used Graceful Charity. It bought him a Pot of Greed, which in turn got him a Heavy Storm. Loftis had two face down spells or traps, and the situation looked definitively bad for him.
Instead of activating the Heavy Storm immediately, Taylor instead used Metamorphosis to turn his last sheep into Thousand-Eyes Restrict. He tried to use its effect, but Book of Moon turned Thousand-Eyes Restrict face down, making it Disappear. Attempting to get rid of Spirit Reaper, Taylor activated Smashing Ground, but Loftis used Call of the Haunted for Sangan. When Smashing Ground resolved, it hit Sangan instead of Spirit Reaper, and Loftis pulled D. D. Warrior Lady for its effect. A great play!
Taylor set two spells or traps and passed. Loftis drew, summoned Tsukuyomi, again did the up-down with Reaper, and attacked. Sakuretsu Armor smashed Tsukuyomi, Spirit Reaper took out Thousand-Eyes Restrict, and Loftis played Swords of Revealing Light to end his turn.
Taylor set D. D. Assailant, and Loftis hit it with Nobleman of Crossout on the following turn. He went on to summon his own D. D. Assailant, attacked with it and the Reaper, and Taylor lost his only in-hand monster, revealing Tribe-Infecting Virus. He drew, didn’t find anything helpful, and set another card to his spell or trap zone. Next turn the barrage repeated itself, this time with D. D. Warrior Lady added to the mix. The Lady swung to hit Taylor, and the Assailant then plunged into battle as well. Taylor tried to save himself with Book of Moon, but Loftis chained Ring of Destruction to the Assailant and that ended the game!
Taylor opted to open the final duel, and did so with a face down card to his spell and trap zone and a face up Sangan. Loftis summoned Tsukuyomi, turned Sangan face down, and attacked it to give Taylor Sinister Serpent. Time was then called at this point, but the match had five more minutes remaining due to time extensions. Both players played defensively, but two turns into the game, Taylor was able to use Graceful Charity to get rid of his Serpent for a piece of card advantage. He set a monster, a spell or trap, and activated Wave-Motion Cannon, but Loftis blew it away with a Mystical Space Typhoon in the end phase.
Loftis set a spell or trap, a monster, and passed. He flipped Ceasefire in Taylor’s draw phase, flipping his own Tsukuyomi and D. D. Warrior Lady as well as dealing 1000 LP damage. Tsukuyomi flipped itself down and Taylor had a retort, as Nobleman of Crossout took Tsukuyomi down. D. D. Warrior Lady attacked, Scapegoat flipped, and a replay triggered once the tokens hit the field. Taylor opted not to attack any tokens and passed.
Swords of Revealing Light hit the field, summoned Cannon Soldier, and tributed away all of his tokens! What a move! Taylor drew, turned D. D. Warrior Lady to defense position and set another spell or trap. He needed to be building towards something big.
Loftis tributed the Cannon Soldier for Airknight Parshath, tried to attack, and ate a Ring of Destruction. Taylor finally had a setup, and played Level Limit – Area B, Wave-Motion Cannon, and passed. Loftis drew, had nothing, and also passed. Taylor quickly passed back, needing to even the score before time was called. He was looking to get as many counters on his Cannon as possible. Loftis took his turn, used Graceful Charity, set a few cards and ended. Things again looked bad for him
But, in Taylor’s draw phase, Loftis flipped Dust Tornado, destroying the Wave-Motion Cannon—just in the nick of time! Time was called and only a handful of turns remained. Taylor wanted to attack, but his own Level Limit – Area Bwas now holding down his D. D. Warrior Lady! He activated Call of the Haunted, poked his opponent with it, and dealt 1000 damage.
He had one turn in which to kick out enough damage to win the game. Loftis had two turns in which to prevent that from happening.
Loftis set a second spell or trap, a monster, and passed. Taylor had filled his entire spell and trap zone, and needed to take the game now, or else he’d lose. He drew, and then looked at his set cards. He fingered his last one, Sakuretsu Armor, and seemed to regret setting it. It was taking up valuable space in his spell and trap zone, and he couldn’t do anything as a result. He shuffled his hand a bit and then offered the handshake to Loftis—there was no way Taylor could dish out damage, and Loftis didn’t need to.
Wil Loftis moves on with a 7-1 record!
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.