LCQ Semi-Finals: Philip Karan vs. Alessio Ciantia

This is it! One of the very last chances to earn an invite for the European Championship starting tomorrow. We sat down at the table of the second round of a Last Chance Qualifier, which means the winner will be allowed to play in the EC while the less fortunate players will have to make do by enrolling in the Public Events that will also be held all weekend.

Karan kicked things off, [ns]ing [archfiend] and setting 5 Spell or Trap Cards.

Ciantia took his time, deciding on his opening move. He eventually settled on [rai oh], which successfully attacked over [archfiend], leaving Karan without a monster. He Set 2 spells or traps and ended. [bom] got hit by [mst] and play was back to Karan.

He added a fifth back row card, activated [upstart] to draw a card and provide Ciantia with another 1000 Life Points, he Set a spell or trap and passed.

Ciantia activated [allure], drew 2 and he banished [ev helio]. He followed it up with [rabbit]; a greedy play, but Karan didn’t punish him for it! He added 2 copies of [ev helio] to his side of the field and play proceeded with the Battle Phase. Karan had no response, which meant after the 3 attacks concluded, he was left with 2100 Life Points.[br]
In [mp] 2, Ciantia used both of his Normal Monsters to [xyz] [ophion], but Karan had [sj] to deal with it. Would this mark the start of the comeback for the German player? Ciantia added a second back row card and ended.
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Back to square one: Rai-Oh still dishing out damage!
Back to square one: Rai-Oh still dishing out damage!

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A tough choice, but still good position for Ciantia. Should he try and summon another monster to wrap things up this turn or better just attack with [rai oh]? He opted for the former, inviting [ev kery] to his party, to which Karan responded with [bth]. An [i pand] made sure the monster would hang around, Ciantia returned a [ev helio] to his field and after Karan could only show [infbreak], both players proceeded by accessing their Side Decks.
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Alessio Ciantia takes game 1!

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Alessio Ciantia was only one Duel away from winning a ticket for Euros!
Alessio Ciantia was only one Duel away from winning a ticket for Euros!

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Once again, Karan opted to go first. This time, he [ns]ed [smonk], discarding [mst] to [ss] [arma] from his Deck. This in turn allowed him to add [patrol] to his Graveyard, setting up the powerful combos of the Infernities. He gave that away when he checked his Extra Deck and just a split second later, [lchain] entered the field. He activated its effect, sending [archfiend] to his Graveyard, he Set 3 spells or traps and passed play with 1 more card in hand.
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It finally seemed like Karan was stepping on the gas!
It finally seemed like Karan was stepping on the gas!

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Ciantia seemed somewhat relaxed despite of the threatening set-up. He [ns]ed [ev castor], added [ev helio] and the latter attacked over Karan’s Xyz Monster. Another attack later, Karan was down on 6150 Life Points.

In [mp] 2, Ciantia [xyz] [ophion] to the field. He searched his Deck for [i pand], he Set 2 spells or traps and when he wanted to end, [mst] destroyed [i pand] – a good read by Karan!

He drew for his turn and Set a card to each zone.

Play was back to Ciantia, who took a moment to go through a number of options. He then opted to attack with [ophion], destroying [patrol] in Battle. He [ns]ed [rai oh] in [mp] 2, which was met with [warning]. Karan was now down to 4150 Life Points.[br]
[reborn] then attempted to bring [rai oh] right back, which worked. Ciantia added a back row card and ended.
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This game quickly turned into a Rai-Oh show!
This game quickly turned into a Rai-Oh show!

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Karan drew, Set a monster and passed. The look on his face made it rather obvious that he was missing at least 1 crucial piece to unleash his combos.

Good news for Ciantia, who didn’t waste any time, advancing to the Battle Phase. [ophion]’s attack was ended in [infbreak] and when [rai oh] declared an attack, a [malevolent] cleared Ciantia’s back row! Still, [grepher] got destroyed in Battle, leaving Karan without a field. Ciantia Set a spell or trap and passed.

Karan drew, Set a spell or trap and ended.

Ciantia flipped [iiw], he attacked with [rai oh] and that made it only 2.250 Life Points for Karan – he was hanging on by a thread.

He drew, added another back row card and passed right back.

Ciantia went for it! Without hesitation, he [ns]ed [ev mand] and when he declared an attack with it and Karan had no response, it seemed like this match was over. [rai oh] followed and Karan offered the handshake.
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Alessio Ciantia earned an invite for the European Championship!

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Karan’s Deck didn’t provide him with the tools he needed to put up a strong opposition against Ciantia’s Evilswarm Deck. Asked whether he would try his luck with the archetype again tomorrow, Ciantia replied he wasn’t quite sure just yet, but he’d probably decide after the final.
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