Takahiro Kawaguchi is one of three Japanese Duelists playing Lightsworn today, a popular strategy for this weekend’s tournament. His Deck includes “Honest”, “Necro Gardna”, and “Crush Card Virus”, and looks very similar to builds played in North America.
His opponent is Singapore’s Michael Santoso, one of many Duelists playing a new strategy to try to get an edge over the competition. Santoso is playing an aggressive Deck packed with Light monsters, some of which you wouldn’t normally see at a tournament. This Match is going to be full of surprises!
Santoso opened the Duel and the tournament with a Set monster and a Set card to his Spell and Trap Zone. Kawaguchi Set two cards to his Spell and Trap Zone, then a monster, and ended his turn. Santoso passed his next turn, and Kawaguchi Flip Summoned “Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter”. Ryko’s effect sent three cards off the top of his Deck to the Graveyard, and Kawaguchi destroyed his opponent’s face-down “Nova Summoner”. Ryko attacked for 200 damage, and Kawaguchi ended his turn.
Santoso Normal Summoned “Elemental Hero Neos Alius”, but lost it to “Bottomless Trap Hole”. He passed play to Kawaguchi, who flipped and Activated “Mystical Space Typhoon” in his Standby Phase to destroy his opponent’s “Book of Moon”. He followed up by Summoning “Sangan”, and attacked for a combined total of 1200 damage. He had been holding “Solar Recharge” and “Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner” from his first turn onward, but he was playing conservatively, not Activating the Recharge yet. Since he was successfully fending of Santoso’s offensive, he was able to dictate the pace of the Duel.
Santoso Summoned his own “Sangan”, and sent it to attack and destroy Ryko. He Set a Spell or Trap Card to finish his turn. Kawaguchi attacked Santoso’s “Sangan” with his own, and Santoso searched his Deck for “Shining Angel” with “Sangan’s” effect. Kawaguchi chose to search out another copy of “Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner” with his.
Both Duelists were playing conservatively, but now that Kawaguchi had a second Lightsworn monster in his hand, he Activated “Solar Recharge”, discarding one copy of Lumina to draw two cards. He sent another copy of “Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter” and “Foolish Burial” to his Graveyard to complete “Solar Recharge’s” effect. He pressed on, Summoning Lumina and discarding “Necro Gardna” to Special Summon “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior”. Lumina sent three cards to the Graveyard in the End Phase: two copies of “Monster Reincarnation” and “Judgment Dragon”, a big blow that might keep Kawaguchi from his all-important Dragons. “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior’s” effect didn’t do any better, sending “Premature Burial” and “Honest” to the Graveyard—Kawaguchi had been hoping to draw at least one card with Garoth’s effect, but got nothing for his efforts. He was left with a hand of “D.D. Crow”, “Celestia, Lightsworn Angel”, and “Heavy Storm”. None of those cards would help him mount an offense.
Santoso Special Summoned “Cyber Dragon” next turn, but it was met with yet another “Bottomless Trap Hole”! He took a few moments to consider his next move. The pressure was on; with Kawaguchi starting to get aggressive, Santoso needed to wipe the field clear, or else Kawaguchi’s attacks would make short work of the Duel. But if Santoso could eliminate “Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner” and “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior”, then Kawaguchi would have nothing to attack with.
Santoso went for it—he Activated “Brain Control”, taking control of “Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner”. Santoso then followed up by Normal Summoning “Shining Angel”, and Activated “Creature Swap” to trade it for “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior”. Garoth attacked “Shining Angel”, and Kawaguchi Activated “Necro Gardna’s” effect to block the attack. Santoso attacked with Lumina next though, and discarded “Honest” to boost her ATK and destroy “Shining Angel”. That let him Special Summon “Honest” from his deck. He attacked with it, then returned it to his hand in Main Phase 2. He ended his turn and returned Lumina to his opponent.
Kawaguchi drew “Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress” next turn, still holding “D.D. Crow”, “Heavy Storm”, and “Celestia, Lightsworn Angel” with Lumina on the field. Santoso had a Set Spell or Trap Card, “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior” in Attack Position, and two cards in hand. The duel stood at 5100 to 5800 Life Points.
Kawaguchi Tributed “Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner” for “Celestia, Lightsworn Angel” and sent four cards from the top of his Deck to his Graveyard to Activate Celestia’s effect. Her effect destroyed Santoso’s “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior” and “Mirror Force”! Celestia attacked and dropped Santoso to 3500 Life Points. “End Phase,” announced Kawaguchi, now back in the Duel.
Santoso Summoned another “Shining Angel”, then sent it to attack Celestia. He dropped to 2600 Life Points in doing so, but he had a plan: he Special Summoned “Victory Viper XX03”! It attacked Celestia, and Santoso discarded “Honest” to boost its ATK! Celestia was destroyed and Santoso claimed the Viper’s third effect, Special Summoning an Option Token.
Since “Victory Viper XX03” had 3500 ATK points thanks to “Honest”, the Option Token had the same ATK points! It was a brilliant play, and Kawaguchi took 3500 damage as a result.
But Kawaguchi wasn’t fazed, and he Activated “Heavy Storm” a turn later. That left him free to Normal Summon “Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress”, attacking “Victory Viper XX03”. Next turn, Santoso didn’t have any more spectacular tricks, and moments later, Kawaguchi Special Summoned “Judgment Dragon” to end the Duel!
A crushing attack from “Judgment Dragon” gives Japan’s Takahiro Kawaguchi victory in Game 1! Both competitors began Side Decking in preparation for the second Duel. Kawaguchi breathed a sigh of relief, and had to be wondering what Santoso was going to Side Deck against him.
Santoso started the second Duel with a Set monster, then Set a card to his Spell and Trap Zone. Kawaguchi Activated “Reinforcement of the Army”, searching his Deck for “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior”. He discarded Garoth for “Solar Recharge”, drawing two cards and sending “Reinforcement of the Army” and “Wulf, Lightsworn Beast” to his graveyard! Kawaguchi wanted to Special Summon his Wulf with its effect, but Santoso had a response: “Royal Oppression”! He flipped the devastating Trap Card, Activated it, and paid 800 Life Points to negate Wulf’s Special Summon. That Oppression could give Santoso a huge advantage for the second and third Duels.
But he’d need to keep it on the table, and Kawaguchi had “Heavy Storm” to destroy it! He followed up by Activating “Solar Recharge”, discarded “Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter” to do so, drew two cards, and lost “Judgment Dragon” and “Jain, Lightsworn Paladin”. He Special Summoned “Cyber Dragon”, attacked Santoso’s face-down “D. D. Warrior Lady”, and both monsters were removed from the game by “D. D. Warrior Lady’s” effect.
Kawaguchi Set a Spell or Trap Card, and next turn, Santoso Set three. Kawaguchi Set another card to his Spell and Trap Zone, then Set a monster. Santoso Special Summoned “Cyber Dragon”, lost it to “Bottomless Trap Hole”, and Kawaguchi Activated “Solar Recharge”, discarding “Wulf, Lightsworn Beast”. He had to be feeling the pressure from Santoso’s Spell and Trap Zone. Did Santoso have another copy of “Royal Oppression”?
Kawaguchi Flip Summoned “Honest”, returned it to his hand with its effect, and Special Summoned “Judgment Dragon”. Sure enough, Santoso had another Oppression to negate the Summon! He paid 800 Life Points and “Judgment Dragon” went to the Graveyard. Kawaguchi Set a monster, Santoso Set one too, and Kawaguchi passed his next turn. Santoso Set two more cards to his Spell and Trap Zone, then Flip Summoned “Morphing Jar”! He Chained “D.D. Crow” to its effect, removing his opponent’s “Judgment Dragon” from the Graveyard to cut off Kawaguchi from his “Monster Reincarnations”. Each Duelist got a new hand, and Santoso ended his turn.
Kawaguchi Normal Summoned “Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress”, but lost it to Santoso’s “Bottomless Trap Hole”. Santoso filled his Spell and Trap Zone again next turn, leaving Kawaguchi to Set another monster. Kawaguchi wasn’t ready to make any sort of attacks, but it seemed as if Santoso couldn’t capitalize on his control over the Duel quite yet.
He Flip Summoned “Shining Angel” next turn, though, and responded with “Torrential Tribute” to clear the field. He Summoned “Nova Summoner”, attacked, and reeled back in his chair when Kawaguchi Activated a surprise card of his own: “Malevolent Catastrophe”! Santoso lost all four of the cards in his Spell and Trap Zone: “Brain Control”, “Mystical Space Typhoon”, “Smashing Ground”, and “Royal Oppression”! It was a huge move from Kawaguchi, but it did nothing to stave off “Nova Summoner’s” attack, and Santoso Set two cards to his Spell And Trap Zone to end the turn.
Kawaguchi Activated “Monster Reborn” to Special Summon “Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter”, then Tributed it for “Celestia, Lightsworn Angel”. Santoso Activated “Solemn Judgment” in response, negating the Summon. Kawaguchi passed with an empty field and three cards left in hand: “Honest”; “Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress”; and “Necro Gardna”.
He took another attack from “Nova Summoner” next turn, and Santoso Set two cards to his Spell and Trap Zone to finish out. Kawaguchi had to make a big move—he Summoned “Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner”, discarded “Necro Gardna” for her effect, and tried to Special Summon “Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior”. Santoso had the answer yet again, and Chained “The Transmigration Prophecy”: the targeted Garoth and the “Necro Gardna” were sent back to Kawaguchi’s Deck. He ended his turn and caught a lucky break: Lumina’s effect sent “Necro Gardna” back to the Graveyard in the End Phase!
Santoso Activated “Premature Burial” next turn, Special Summoning “Shining Angel” from his Graveyard. “Nova Summoner” attacked Lumina, destroying her in battle, and “Shining Angel” made a direct attack next, reducing Kawaguchi to 3400 Life Points. On the turn that followed, Kawaguchi Set a card to each zone, now clearly on the defensive. The only thing that would save him here was “Judgment Dragon”, and he’d already had one removed from the game.
Santoso kept the damage coming next turn, Summoning “Blue Thunder T-45”. He turned “Shining Angel” to Defense Mode just in case Kawaguchi had “Mirror Force” Set, then attacked with “Blue Thunder T-45”. Its attack bounced off Kawaguchi’s face-down “Honest”, and Santoso had no “Honest” of his own to bolster his attack.
Kawaguchi Special Summoned “Judgment Dragon” a turn later! He Activated its effect to destroy everything on the field, and Santoso Chained “Enemy Controller”; the Dragon went to Defense Mode, unable to attack this turn, but Santoso was now left with just a single card in hand. Kawaguchi had two cards left, as well as the Dragon. He ended his turn and sent four cards off the top of his Deck to the Graveyard, his Deck now precariously low. With just three cards left, he’d need to win next turn.
Santoso drew and looked at his hand: “Honest” and “Limiter Removal”. Neither could protect him from the mighty “Judgment Dragon”, and seeing that he couldn’t escape the Dragon next turn, he offered Kawaguchi the handshake.
Japan’s Takahiro Kawaguchi defeats Singapore’s Michael Santoso in a 2-0 Match, narrowly scoring up two consecutive wins with “Judgment Dragon”!