Round 3: Davide Bellocchio (Dragon Rulers) vs. Sami Kumpulainen (Noble Knights)
Facing each other in our Round 3 Feature Match are Sami Kumpulainen from Finland who is running Noble Knights today and hometown hero Davide Bellocchio, piloting Dragon Rulers. Both players are sporting a 1 – 1 record, so a win is crucial to stay on track for them.
While it’s Kumpulainen’s first time at a larger tournament like the YCS, Bellocchio is no stranger to high level competition, having won the European Championship back in 2007 in this very same venue. Obviously, he wanted to repeat his performance, so let’s see if he could overcome his Round 3 opponent.
Kumpulainen won the die roll, but he didn’t perform any plays in his opening turn.
Bellocchio on the other hand kicked things off in spectacular fashion, using [7ss] to banish [blaster], searching his Deck for another copy and drawing 2 cards. He set a back row card and ended.
Kumpulainen found a Spell or Trap Card too and play was back to the Italian.
Another [7ss], this time with [redox], helped him to further thin out his Deck, he followed it up with [ravine] and the [redox] that he had just searched to also send [tempestd] to his Graveyard. So far, everything seemed to go according to the Italian’s plan. He added 2 more back row cards before passing.
The war of attrition continued, with the Finn only adding a second Spell or Trap.
Bellocchio was nonplussed, using [ravine] to send [redox] from his hand and [tidal] from his Deck to his Graveyard. He then flipped [6s], calling “6”. Kumpulainen rolled a 2, so [mst] and [bom] got sent to Bellocchio’s [grave] as well. “Cool”, he commented.
He then [ss]ed [blaster] from his hand, banishing [tidal] and [tempestd] from his Graveyard. Kumpulainen Chained [maxx] to draw a card, while Bellocchio went searching. His Dragon Ruler connected, leaving the Finn on 5200 Life Points.
[medraut] got [ns]ed, finally giving away to Bellocchio what Kumpulainen was playing. It was supposed to be met with [bth], but a [lance] made sure it wouldn’t get banished right away again! Kumpulainen then [ss] [gawayn] and he used both to [ss] [paladynamo], but a [pwwb] from Bellocchio made sure it couldn’t do any harm.
Once again, [ravine] allowed Bellocchio to prepare some combos, this time with [blaster] and [trigon] hitting the Graveyard. He then [ns]ed [debris], causing Kumpulainen to discard [maxx] in response.
Bellocchio then [synch]ed [brd] to wipe the field before once again activating [ravine]. This now helped him to add [tempestd] and [tidal] to his Graveyard, which meant that his Graveyard was taller than his Deck. He brought back [blaster], banishing [brd] and [debris], [tidal], banishing [tempestd] and [redox] and the effects of the banished Dragon Rulers allowed him to add [debris] and yet another Dragon Ruler to his hand. He attacked and Kumpulainen had no response.
[h2]Bellocchio takes the lead![/h2]
The patient strategy of Davide Bellocchio had paid off big time in the first game, with him carefully controlling the game while filling his Graveyard. When the time was right, he picked the lock of Kumpulainen’s defenses with an explosive [brd], which then allowed him to attack for game with his Dragon Rulers!
We were ready to start the second Duel, with once again Kumpulainen going first.
He [ns]ed [borz] and equipped it with [arfeudutyr]. He added yet another equipment to his hand, set a spell or trap and ended.
[7ss] helped Bellocchio to draw into 2 more cards, with [tempestd] allowing him to search his Deck for another copy. [ravine] followed, [tempestd] got discarded and this allowed Bellocchio to also send [blaster] to his Graveyard. [tidal] then got [ss]ed from Bellocchio’s hand, with Kumpulainen chaining [maxx]. [redox] and [f guard] got added to Bellocchio’s hand. He then attacked over the Noble Knight, causing Kumpulainen to lose 900 Life Points.
In [mp] 2, [f guard] got [ns]ed, which then got Tuned with [tidal] to [sdd]. 3 back row cards for Bellocchio and play was back to Kumpulainen.
The Finn [ns]ed [borz], with Bellocchio responding with [dna], declaring “Psychic”. “Interesting Side Deck choice. Pretty cool, I have to admit.”
Kumpulainen then attempted to equip his monster with [na ex]. A chained [bom] flipped the monster face-down, however, causing the Noble Arms Equip Spell Card to go straight to the Graveyard.
During Bellocchio’s Standby Phase, Kumpulainen activated one of his cards that were sided in between Duels: [iiw]. Bellocchio then used [ravine] to send both [redox] and [tidal] to his Graveyard, he attacked with [sdd], but a [bom] flipped it face-down.
The following turn, the [fs]ed [borz] got joined by a [ss]ed [gawayn] and both were then used to [xyz] [artor]. A [tt] foiled this plan, wiping the field. Kumpulainen was down to 3 cards in hand while Bellocchio only had 1 remaining. The Finn checked his opponent’s Graveyard, trying to get a better understanding of the things that were to come and he then [ns]ed [gawayn]. He attacked and that concluded the turn.
Bellocchio only set a back row card.
[gawayn] took another shot, leaving the Italian on 4200 Life Points. Kumpulainen added a Spell or Trap. He used [6s], but Kumpulainen rolled a 1, which meant that only [blaster] would get added to Bellocchio’s Graveyard.
The Italian then passed after setting a spell or trap.
Kumpulainen [ns]ed [nk gwa] and he attacked with it successfully. [gawayn]'[s] attack ended in [pwwb], however. Bellocchio set a Spell or Trap and passed.
Kumpulainen seemed like he had this game in the bag unless Bellocchio had drawn into [mf]. Kumpulainen decided that he had to risk it; he [ns]ed [gawayn] once more and when he declared attacks, Bellocchio shuffled up.
[h2]Sami Kumpulainen ties the score![/h2]
At this point, we had 5 minutes remaining on the clock. Despite our table judge ensuring that the game progressed in a timely fashion, there was so much going on that we were close to hitting the time limit.
For the first time, Bellocchio was allowed to kick things off, but he only set a back row card.
Kumpulainen then used [upstart] to draw a card, increasing his opponent’s Life Points in the process, which seemed like a bad idea given the lack of time remaining in the round. He then checked his Extra Deck before setting 2 Spell or Trap Cards and ending.
Bellocchio was stuck with 6 monsters in his hand, but that wasn’t so bad. He discarded [blaster] and [trigon] to destroy [ced] and he then activated [trap stun]. This cleared the path for [debris], which allowed him to get back [trigon]. Both were then used to Xyz Summon [brd], next, he discarded 2 copies of [tempestd] to add [tidal] to his hand and he then [ss]ed [tidal], banishing [tempestd] and [debris]. The following attacks left Kumpulainen on 3000 Life Points!
In [mp] 2, Bellocchio [xyz]ed [sack] in [def] and he got rid of 1 of the tokens to destroy Kumpulainen’s set [mst].
The Finnish Duelist was under a lot of pressure now. He summoned [nk gwa] and [gawayn] followed. This then allowed him to [ss] [paladynamo]. It reduced the ATK of [sack] to 0, it attacked over the token, Kumpulainen set a [st] and he ended.
Bellocchio returned [blaster] from the Graveyard, banishing [tempestd] from his Grave and another [blaster] from his hand. [tempestd] allowed him to search his Deck for [debris], he [ns]ed it and this allowed him to bring back [trigon]. [blaster] attacked over [paladynamo], [trigon] and [debris] followed suit and after the dust had settled, Kumpulainen was left with just 700 Life Points.
Bellocchio then first went for [afd] before he added another [sack]. This helped him wipe Kumpulainen’s entire field, he set a back row card and ended.
Kumpulainen attempted to sport a comeback, summoning a Noble Knight. A timely [bth] foiled that plan, however, banishing the monster right away. After that, Kumpulainen extended the hand.
[h2]Davide Bellocchio overcomes Sami Kumpulainen![/h2]
Kumpulainen admitted that he was surprised his opponent didn’t know the Noble Knights archetype (they were featured on the [ygo] website for the past 2 months!). The Italian had to double check some of the card effects every now and then to make sure he wouldn’t misplay.
So once again, you can see that it pays out to study even the less popular archetypes to be prepared when you’re facing them!