A History of Competitive Play: Sept 04 – April 05

A History of Competitive Play: Sept 04 – April 05

Hey everyone, I’m back this week and I’m going to be starting a new series on the history of the game. Once a month I will write an article summarizing an entire format. I think the history of the game is not only enjoyable, but valuable to the trends of today as well. If we can understand why certain things happened in the past, we can apply that and figure out what the future may hold. Since this is a history of competitive play, I’m going to start the first one where Shonen Jump Championships began.  Yes, there were formats and tournaments before this, but SJCs are when the game really started to take shape and start developing into what it is today.

I’ll start off by giving you a little bit of background. SJCs began in late 2004 and were originally played under this ban list. The most recently released set was Rise of Destiny. The most popular deck of this format was Warrior Chaos.

SJC So Cal Gen Con

The first Shonen Jump Championship took place in So Cal Gen Con in California on December 4, 2004. Here, 309 competitors gathered to play 9 rounds of swiss before they cut to Top 8. All nine rounds of swiss and three rounds of top cut took place in a single day. Top 8 did not begin until after 10 pm and the tournament did not finish until after midnight.

After nine grueling rounds of swiss, Patrick Holmes was paired with George Mean, Henry Ke with Gerard Ramirez, Hugo Adame with Miguel Flores, and John Umali was paired with Juan Carendas. Six of the eight competitors were playing a variant of Warrior Chaos. Henry Ke was playing a Scientist FTK deck and Miguel Flores was playing an Earth deck.  All 8 competitors would battle it out to fight for a single copy of Cyber Stein, the first prize card. There were two copies of Cyber Stein given out at each event. The first would be awarded to the winner of the SJC and the second would come down to a points play off. When you entered a side event you got points for participating, but you also got points for doing well. At the end of the weekend, the four competitors with the most points would play a single elimination tournament for the second copy of Cyber Stein.

In top 8, Ke managed to get the FTK off both times despite going second both games. George Mean narrowly beat out Patrick Holemes and John Umali made quick work of Juan Cardenas. Flores also managed to edge out Hugo Adame and his Warrior Chaos teched with Spellcasters including the Dark Magician!

The semi-finals paired up Umali with Mean and Flores with Ke. Ke opened up the first game by Special Summoning Gilasaurus, tributing it for Catapult Turtle, and activating Last Will to special summon Magical Scientist from his deck. In the second game Ke once again got Magical Scientist and Catapult Turtle face up, but Flores stopped the OTK by activating Book of Moon on Magical Scientist.  Ke was forced to pass and Flores activated Change of Heart on Magical Scientist and Snatch Steal on Catapult Turtle. This allowed Flores to OTK Ke! In the final game, Ke could not find the necessary pieces to get his OTK and Flores managed to beat him down. On the other side of the bracket, Umali and Mean faced off. Umali took game one and in game two made a huge play by having Scientist face up and using its effect to bring out Ryu-Senshi and two Thousand-Eyes Restrict. He used the Thousand-Eyes to suck up both of Mean’s monsters and then tribute both of the Thousand-Eyes for Dark Magician of Chaos. This put the game heavily in Umali’s favor. Time was called a few turns later and when Umali had Tribe Infecting Virus for Mean’s Scapegoat, the game was over.

This left John Umali and Miguel Flores as the finalists of the first Shonen Jump Championship. Umali top-decked his way out of the first game and the second game featured many one for ones. This left both players low on resources and low on life. Umali had just 200 left and Flores had only 1000. Umali attempted to end the game with Reflect Bounder, but Flores attempted to activate Ring of Destruction to force a draw. Umali responded with Raigeki Break to destroy the Reflect Bounder and avoided taking damage. On Umali’s next turn, he was able to draw Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning to end the game and become the first Shonen Jump Champion.

SJC Las Vegas

The next Shonen Jump took place in Las Vegas on February 8, 2005. This SJC featured just 220 competitors. My regionals are bigger than that! After 8 rounds of swiss, we were left with just 8; Wilson Luc, Ian Wingrove, Freddie Garcia, Mario James, Theerasak Poonsombat, Raymond Purnama, Michael Vasquez, and Ray Ruballos. The finals once again featured an Earth deck against Warrior Chaos and once again Warrior Chaos won out as Wilson Luc defeated Ian Wingrove to become the SJC Las Vegas Champion.

Once again, we saw Warrior Chaos continue to be the top deck among competitors. In this SJC, we also began to see teams develop. The best team of the time was without a doubt Comic Odyssey. This team had many powerhouses that you will learn about in later articles such as Eric Wu, Hugo Adame, Ryan Hayakawa, the 2004 US National Champion, Theeresak “T” Poonsombat, and the winner of this SJC, Wilson Luc.

SJC Columbus

The next stop on the Shonen Jump circuit was Columbus Ohio. Here, a record-shattering 723 competitors gathered to have a shot at winning a Cyber Stein. Despite the large increase in numbers, the SJC was once again held completely on one day. It featured 10 rounds of swiss cut to Top 8.

At the end of the ten rounds, Patrick Smith, Ross Nappi, Swayne Anthony Nunez, Bryan St. Clair, Wilson Luc, Vincent Tundo, Gustavo Reyes, and Roy St. Clair were left to fight it out for the Cyber Stein. Odyssey superstar Wilson Luc was surely the favorite as he had just won SJC Las Vegas and had managed to top again. Patrick Smith, however did not lose a single match in the ten rounds of swiss. Quite an impressive feat. In Top 8, Patrick Smith and Wilson Luc managed to take out both of the St. Clair brothers. Gustavo Reyes edged out Ross Nappi and Dwayne Nunez overcame Vincent Tundo to secure a spot in the semifinals.

The top 4 was set and Patrick Smith had to face off with Wilson Luc in a Warrior Chaos mirror match. On the other side of the bracket Dwayne Nunez and his Earth deck would face off against Gustavo Reyes and his teched out Chaos deck featuring the Creator. Gustavo takes a very quick game one with a ton of aggression from cards like Ring of Destruction, Exiled Force, Berserk Gorilla and Tribe-Infecting Virus. Dwayne Nunez battled back in game two with Magical Scientist bringing out Ryu Senshi and Ojama King to attack for game. In the final game Reyes shifted momentum in his favor by having Reflect Bounder attack over Breaker. Nunez was forced to play defensively and Reyes summoned Enraged Battle Ox to punish him for it. Next turn he Creature Swapped the Ox and got a D.D. Warrior Lady which he tribute for Mobius the Frost Monarch and attacked over the Ox for game!

Smith and Luc had a crazy game 1 thanks to Mirage of Nightmare by both players. Luc slowed down the game with Swords of Revealing Light, but Smith top decked Breaker the Magical Warrior to clear the Swords and go for game. Luc stole a win in game two when Smith was in total control when Smith attacked Luc’s set monster with Blade Knight. The set turned out to be Kinetic Soldier and the damaged pushed the match into game 3! In this game Smith gained the upper hand through Mirage of Nightmare and Emergency Provisions to destroy it and gain life before Smith had to discard. Luc had Scapegoats to hold Smith off, but Smith continued the aggression and attacked through another Kinetic Soldier with D.D. Warrior Lady before winning the game and advancing to the finals.

The finals left just Patrick Smith and Gus Reyes. Smith gained the upper hand once again by activating Mirage of Nightmare and destroying it with Emergency Provisions before he had to discard. The extra life proved to be beneficial and just a turn later Smith activated Ring of Destruction for game. The next game ended quickly with aggressive plays from Smith with Tribe Infecting Virus and Breaker the Magical Warrior. This ended both the match and the tournament and as a result Patrick Smith became the first person to go undefeated throughout an entire YCS.

YCS Orlando

The last YCS of the format took place in Orlando, Florida where 367 competitors gathered to duel it out for one more Cyber Stein before a shake up by the ban list and the release of Flaming Eternity. After nine rounds of swiss, eight competitors were left; Andrew Fredella, Matt Zaabadick, James Laurent, James Coleman, Steve Shockley, Daniel Savage, Theeresak Poonsombat, and John Jenson. Once again, Warrior Chaos was the dominant deck. The competitors battled it out until only two remained; John Jenson and a good friend of mine, Andrew Fredella. This entire SJC took place on a Sunday and both competitors were extremely tired. This is when they chose to do a prize split and would have split the title as well, had it not been for Jason saying that they needed a match for the coverage. As a result, the chose to still split the prize, but play it out for the title. John Jenson did not draw any monsters either game and Andrew Fredella became the most recent Shonen Jump Champion!

Andrew Fredella: YCS Orlando Champion

Monsters: 16

1 Sinister Serpent

1 Magical Scientist

1 Magician of Faith

3 D. D. Warrior Lady

2 Blade Knight

1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning

1 Reflect Bounder

2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer

1 Jinzo

1 Tribe-Infecting Virus

1 Fiber Jar

1 Breaker the Magical Warrior

Spells: 15

1 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Confiscation

1 Premature Burial

1 Mirage of Nightmare

1 Book of Moon

1 Swords of Revealing Light

2 Scapegoat

1 The Forceful Sentry

1 Heavy Storm

1 Enemy Controller

1 Pot of Greed

1 Snatch Steal

1 Emergency Provisions

1 Nobleman of Crossout

Traps: 6

1 Ring of destruction

1 Call of the Haunted

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Magic Cylinder

1 Sakuretsu Armor

1 Bottomless Trap Hole


1 The Warrior Returning Alive

1 Airknight Parshath

2 Mataza the Zapper

1 Divine Wrath

2 Pikeru’s Circle of Enchantment

1 Kinetic Soldier

1 Spirit Reaper

1 Exiled Force

1 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Return From the Different Dimension

1 Final Attack Orders

1 Waboku


2 Ryu Senshi

2 Fiend Skull Dragon

3 Dark Blade the Dragon Knight

3 Super Roboyarou

2 Dark Flare Knight

3 Sanwitch

3 Mokey Mokey King

1 Giltia The D. Knight

1 Karbonala Warrior

3 Dark Balter the Terrible

2 Thousand-Eyes Restrict

2 Ojama King

1 Reaper on the Nightmare

1 Musician King

This was the final Shonen Jump under that format. It was a format dominated by Warrior Chaos and Comic Odyssey. Of the 8 Cyber Steins given out at the 4 SJCs, Comic Odyssey managed to claim 5 of them. Will the team continue to dominate the circuit or will new teams arise and replace the dominance of CO? Next month I will be bringing you the next format. I hope you all enjoyed the first installment of “A History of Competitive Play.” Leave a comment down below and as always, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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