The semifinals had to be re-paired, bringing an East versus West matchup at each table as two members of Team Overdose took on two members of Comic Odyssey. Both teams were ready to prove their supremacy, and after a little bit of joking back and forth about scooping to god hands, Rhymus and Ryan got down to business. Ryan won the die roll and opted to go first.
This game took a while to get moving. Usually, one sees players with fields full of cards and hands quite the opposite, but for the first six or seven turns of this game, both players drew, looked at their hands, and ended. Occasionally they'd set a monster or a spell or trap, but for the most part it was a steady repetition of “Draw . . . go. Draw . . . go.”
Both players had full hands, and eventually we saw a little action. Rhymus summoned Blade Knight! Alas, Ryan immediately activated Torrential Tribute, so the excitement was short-lived. Things did start picking up after that, though. Ryan drew, played Graceful Charity, discarded Jinzo and Nobleman of Crossout, then summoned Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer . . . then Rhymus hit it with Torrential Tribute.
Was anything ever going to happen? Rhymus drew, summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior, and broke Ryan's set Scapegoat. He chained, and Rhymus declined to attack a goat. He then set two spell or trap cards and ended. The game then switched back to “Draw . . . go. Draw . . . go,” punctuated by the occasional set spell or trap card.
Both players had a hand full of cards and it seemed incredible that neither of them had any options, but they continued to draw and pass, or draw, set, and pass, occasionally discarding due to an over-full hand.
Ryan took pity on an audience losing interest, and used Metamorphosis to trade a goat for Thousand-Eyes Restrict. He sucked up Rhymus's Breaker and attacked with it, and Rhymus activated Call of the Haunted to pull Kycoo back onto the field. Ryan checked over his hand, and continued the attack. Kycoo went back from whence he came, Ryan set another spell or trap, and the turn was over.
Rhymus didn't muster much of a defense until a few more turns had passed, and he activated Swords of Revealing Light, which set up for a several more turns of inertia. Even after Swords was gone, the game continued along the lines of back and forth “Draw . . . discard . . . go.” Throw in summons and sets that didn't amount to much, some spell activation that added more cards into the hands of players who seemed loath to part with them, and you've got the mid- to late game pretty well nailed down.
Finally, it was time to do something. Rhymus drew, looked through all his cards once more, and activated Delinquent Duo, costing Ryan his Tribe-Infecting Virus and his Sangan. He then played Heavy Storm, to which Ryan responded by chaining Ring of Destruction to take out Rhymus's Airknight Parshath, followed by Ceasefire. Rhymus was now at 3500 life points, and Ryan had 5100. Rhymus then summoned Tribe-Infecting Virus, discarded to remove Beast types, then discarded to remove Spellcasters to finally get rid of Thousand-Eyes Restrict. In an effort to make up for a singular lack of excitement earlier in the game, Rhymus went on to special summon Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, then activated Premature Burial to bring back Airknight Parshath. Next, he used Giant Trunade to bounce Premature Burial back to his hand and activate it one more time to fetch out Jinzo. He attacked with all three for the win.
Both players looked through their decks, and considered their side deck options. Rhymus decided to switch out some cards, and Ryan left his deck intact. After a quick bathroom break, both players were ready for game two. Ryan again went first, and tipped off the crowd that it was likely going to be another slow match by setting a single spell or trap card and ending his turn. Rhymus summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior, attacked, confirmed that the set card was Scapegoat, left the goats where they were, and ended his turn.
The next six or seven turns moved along similar lines. A few monsters were set, a few spells and traps were set, D. D.s on both sides removed each other from play, and there was a lot of checking graveyards, set cards, and hands. There was a flurry of excitement when Nobleman of Crossout nailed Ryan's Magician of Faith and obliged both players to strip all copies out of their decks (definitely a card that gets missed in the current format), but not much else happened until Ryan got out Airknight Parshath and began picking off Rhymus's goats. Rhymus responded with Book of Moon to protect his precious sheep. Rhymus then drew, flip summoned Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer and attacked one of Ryan's facedown monsters, earning a Ring of Destruction in response. Kycoo was destroyed, and both players were tied at 4600 life points. Rhymus was unwilling to give up his Kycoo, so he activated Call of the Haunted to bring it back from the graveyard and ended his turn
Ryan activated Heavy Storm, and Kycoo repeated his journey to oblivion. Ryan then summoned Tribe-Infecting Virus, named Beast to clear out the last remaining sheep, and special summoned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, using its effect to remove Rhymus's last monster. Ryan then attacked directly with Tribe-Infecting Virus and Rhymus was left with a clear field.
Rhymus drew, studied the three cards in his hand, then plays Premature Burial to bring Kycoo back yet again. He attacked Tribe with Kycoo, removed Ryan's Sinister Serpent, and set one more monster. Ryan drew, looked through both players' graveyards, and used Black Luster's effect to remove Rhymus's face down Sangan. Rhymus drew, set another monster, and ended. The lack of options really hurt him, as Ryan used Nobleman of Crossout on his face down card, and then attacked with Black Luster Soldier to win the game.
They were now tied at 1 and 1, so they readied for game three.
This time, both players decided to swap out a few cards from their side decks, and considered their choices very attentively. Rhymus went first, thinking hard before setting one monster and one spell or trap card.
Ryan got off to an auspicious start, activating Graceful Charity and discarding Sinister Serpent and Creature Swap. He eliminated Rhymus's set spell or trap with Mystical Space Typhoon, summoned Don Zaloog, removed Rhymus's set monster with Nobleman of Crossout and attacked directly with Don. Rhymus lost Big Bang Shot from his hand, and Ryan ended the turn.
Rhymus drew, and continued with a cautious, defensive play by setting Sangan and one spell or trap, then ended.
Ryan pressed on with his aggressive tactics, attacking Sangan with Don Zaloog. Rhymus searched out Magician of Faith. On his turn, he set a monster and a spell or trap and ended.
Ryan drew, and checked over his cards. Applause erupted at the other table, as Wilson claimed the win in his semifinals, causing a momentary distraction in this game. When the fuss had died down, Ryan continued his turn by summoning Blade Knight and attacking Rhymus's face-down Magician of Faith. Ryan then attacked directly with Don, and Rhymus responded with Book of Moon, flipping Don face down.
Rhymus summoned King Tiger Wanghu and attacked Don Zaloog. Ryan examined his hand and set card, then responded with his own Book of Moon, flipping King Tiger face down. Ryan then began his turn, destroying King Tiger with Blade Knight. He attacked directly with Don Zaloog, and Rhymus activated Call of the Haunted to bring King Tiger back to the field again.
Rhymus went on the offensive, using Snatch Steal to take Don Zaloog. He pressed the advantage by attacking with King Tiger, only to slam up against Ryan's Mirror Force. This setback really seemed to frustrate Rhymus, as he looked at his hand, then set a monster and ended his turn.
At this point, Ryan had had enough of defense position walls. He summoned Enraged Battle Ox, and attacked Rhymus' face down Sinister Serpent. After that, Ryan attacked directly with Blade Knight, ending the turn with life points at 8000 for Ryan and 3500 for Rhymus.
Rhymus couldn't take that without demanding some revenge, so he activated Heavy Storm, clearing out all of Ryan's spells and traps. He then set one of his own and ended. What comes around goes around, though, and Ryan came right back at him with his own Heavy Storm, to which Rhymus chained Scapegoat. Ryan's Enraged Battle Ox took out another goat, Blade Knight attacked the face down Serpent, and Ryan ended his turn after setting an additional monster.
Rhymus drew, and studied his cards. He special summoned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, and used its effect to remove Ryan's set monster. He then tributed Black Luster Soldier for Airknight Parshath and attacked Ryan's Battle Ox.
Ryan struck back, attacking Rhymus's Airknight with Blade Knight. The life point total had become critical—Ryan was holding strong with 7300, and Rhymus held out with an uncomfortable 1750. Rhymus summoned D. D. Assailant, and attacked Ryan's face down D. D. Warrior Lady. Neither player opted to remove.
Ryan paused to think, surveying his hand and the field. He set one monster, took out another goat, and ended.
Rhymus drew, also studied the game carefully, then summoned Breaker the Magical Warrior. He attacked Ryan's face down D. D. Assailant, and both monsters were removed from the game. Rhymus then attacked Ryan's Blade Knight with D. D. Assailant, removing them both from the game and dropping him down another 300 life points. With 1400 remaining, he needed to make a winning play soon.
Ryan special summoned Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, attacking twice to clear out the last two goats. Rhymus was left with one card in hand and a totally clear field. He searched through his graveyard, bemoaning the fact that Snatch Steal was already in it. Rhymus set a monster, and ended his turn.
Ryan used Black Luster Soldier's effect to remove the monster, summoned another monster, and attacked to win the game and match.
Ryan Hayakawa moves on to the finals.
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.