I would like to start this article by
saying I am not a jealous person, or a hater of
players who have more success than me. Anytime a
good person such as "Jerry Wonder" Wang or Lazaro
"Maker and Creator" Bellido wins a Shonen Jump, I
will always be there to congratulate them.
Congratulations you two!
But some things must be said.
My first Shonen Jump Championship was
a bit disappointing. I arrived in Columbus with Hugo
Adame and met Brian Bodkin, Metagame writer and
rising Yu-Gi-Oh superstar on the circuit. In a solid
show of unity, solidarity, and brave hearted
heroism, Hugo and I chose to play an extremely well
built Plasma control deck of his creation.
Hugo is unquestionably the best
clean, legitimate American Yu-Gi-Oh player in the
game at the moment, with scorching hot
performances at the last five or so Shonen Jump
Championships. However, I think the deck he chose to
play at this event is perhaps the most mind boggling
creation of all.
Being an old failure at life, he
doesn’t generally peruse the internet (other than to
read my articles that feature his name). As a
result, he did not have any access to a notion of
“Plasma Control,” as played by OCG players or casual
tournament players on the message boards. He
basically came up with the Destiny Hero - Plasma
build by himself. Using cards like Phantom
Skyblaster and Fires of Doomsday to summon the 1900
monstrosity, the deck absolutely crushed Dark Armed
Now I know many of you are scoffing
at the credit I’m giving to him. However, it must be
said that his original build (with my input we ended
up changing about eight cards), was far, far better
both in terms of synergy and consistency than the
stuff I saw posted on various message boards on
Friday night. And he basically came up with the
concept of Plasma control by himself, just
independently of numerous players across the
country. The deck was definitely top-tier, but prone
to extremely bad situations and draws.
In a desperate bid to shake up the
format, Hugo and I did not play Dark Armed Dragon -
Return at Shonen Jump Columbus.
Smooth Sailing and Then My
Encounter with the Dirtiest Player in Yu-Gi-Oh
I won my first three rounds smoothly,
but was rather dismayed to find that Hugo had lost
to one of his worst possible matchups in round one.
The deck he was facing off against decided to pack
multiple copies of Newdoria, one of the few effect
monsters that Plasma does not negate. I don’t really
understand the wisdom of running a 1200 non-floater
in a format where nearly every monster that hits the
board has paid for itself with an effect (Stratos,
Fear Monger, Sangan, Spirit Reaper, Don Zaloog,
Armageddon Knight, Prometheus, etc etc), but that’s
what happens in the early rounds of a Shonen Jump.
I was then paired with Jason
Holloway, a consistent performer at Shonen Jump
Championships since my absence, and a player from
Texas that I’ve known for almost three years. We
first met through Evan “Sandtrap” Vargas at Shonen
Jump Las Vegas, and had a cordial relationship up
until the point.
I had noticed his recent success,
feeling pretty good that a friend of a friend had
been doing so well and getting name recognition. At
first glance, our match looked like a Metagame
feature considering the circumstances. In
retrospect, the watchful eye of Jason and a few
judges might have been good and actually given me a
chance to win.
Jason won the dice roll and we began
shuffling decks. I was amazed at how quick he was
with his hands, employing a shuffling technique that
looked like a magician. He was pulling cards off the
deck with lightning speed and piling them together
with feline grace. The hands were very quick, and
the sleeves were very long.
He opened with RoTA for Stratos (a
standard play), played Destiny Draw on a Dasher and
then a Destiny Draw on Disk Commander, followed by
an Allure of Darkness for Snipe Hunter, then set a
spell trap and passed. When I drew he turned up Trap
Dustshoot and revealed my hand of Morphing Jar,
Destiny Hero - Plasma, Cyber Valley, Scapegoat, Trap
Dustshoot, and Premature Burial. He chose the Cyber
Valley (I presumed he had an answer for Plasma and
put his s/t at either Mirror Force or Torrential
Tribute). I set Morphing Jar and three of my
backfield card and passed.
With two Darks speed loaded to his
graveyard and five cards in his hand, I couldn’t
really afford to slow roll the Trap Dustshoot.
Having seen the Dustshoot, he could expertly set
multiple spell or trap cards before I could see
them, and that would be a huge problem. So I
Dustshooted his draw phase, revealing Mind Crush,
Strike Ninja, Dark Armed Dragon, and Dark Magician
of Chaos. In essence, Jason had drawn into Stratos,
Dark Armed Dragon, Allure for Snipe, Trap Dustshoot,
and Mind Crush within the opening turn with two
Darks. I didn’t think much of it at the time, chose
to send back DaD (they would be dead draws with 4
darks in the graveyard), and told him to continue.
He set Mind Crush, summoned Ninja,
and attacked. We drew new five card hands, and then
the amazing sequence began. He made his first
misplay by forgetting to declare with Stratos. He
then played Reborn on DMoC, Reborned Disk Commander,
dropped Dark Armed Dragon clearing my Premature and
Scapegoat. Dark Armed destroyed his Disk. He then
special summoned Dark Grepher, sending Armageddon
Knight, Jinzo and Zerato to his graveyard. He
removed all three darks to pop three sheep tokens,
ending with two cards in hand.
By the conclusion of his action
packed turn, he had five monsters on the field, two
spell or trap cards, and five cards in hand (three
wasted to Grepher, telegraphing a Dimension Fusion),
versus my five and draw phase. I was pretty
astounded at the time, to see Dimension Fusion,
Reborn, Dark Armed, Grepher off the Morphing Jar.
Following his Stratos, double Destiny Draw with Disk
Commander, Dustshoot/Mind Crush, and presumably
Monster Reborn within the next three draws, this
seemed highly questionable.
I drew for the turn with one
Scapegoat token left. I had a non-stacked hand of
Phantom Skyblaster, Destiny Hero - Plasma x2, Fires
of Doomsday x2, and Dark Armed Dragon (I played one
since Hugo was using the Crush Card Virus!). I
summoned Phantom Skyblaster, obviously telegraphing
the Plasma (it was the only card that could bring me
back into the game). With a set Mind Crush and two
cards in hand, and five monsters that could swing
for game next turn (including Dark Armed Dragon),
Jason refused to Mind Crush my Plasma. So when I
actually summoned the Plasma, he Torrential Tributed
his five monster field.
This was a mind-bogglingly sick
misplay. I had already pieced together the fact that
he had Dimension Fusion in hand, but Mind Crushing
the Plasma would have had me scooping next turn to
an unbeatable field of DaD, Dmoc, Strike Ninja,
Stratos, and Grepher. Apparently I had head-gamed
him into playing terribly.
I summoned DaD, popped the Mind Crush
to remove Sky blaster (my only live card for
Dimension Fusion), set Fires of Doomsday, and passed
with a sad face.
The next turn, Jason drew to three
cards in hand. He then played, in sequence, Mystical
Space Typhoon on my Fires of Doomsday (I triggered),
Dimension Fusion for a full field and Monster
Reborn. He Reborned his Disk Commander, popped it to
Dasher, then played Premature Burial on Disk
Commander. So for those keeping track, he drew
Grepher, Reborn, DaD, Dimension Fusion, and
Armageddon Knight from the Morphing Jar, followed by
Mystical Space Typhoon, Premature Burial, and a
At this point, he had five 2800ish
monsters with Snipe Hunter versus my Dark Armed
Dragon, Phantom Skyblaster, two tokens, and two
cards in hand. Here he made another terrible
misplay. With three cards in hand after his godly
sequence of Disk Commander plays, and having removed
my DaD from the field, Jason could have removed more
cards to destroy more tokens with Snipe’s effect.
Instead, by mistaking Skyblaster’s token for Sheep
tokens, he swung into a token with Commander
proudly, then tried to swing for game as I bluntly
told him he took 200 for the Commander attack. He
tried to ruleshark me by saying I didn’t specify
which tokens were summoned for Plasma, but his Dark
Armed Dragon had actually left me with one Scapegoat
token, so it didn’t work out.
I drew for the turn and scooped. In
this particular game, I saw three misplays. The
non-declaration of Stratos, the refusal to Mind
Crush Plasma with complete advantage, and the
terrible attack of Commander into the wrong token
with three cards in hand for Snipe and 10000 attack
on the field.
I still thought nothing of the loss,
thinking I could simply play game 2 and game 3 well
versus this terrible player and pull out the game.
My hand for game 2 was Royal Decree, Plasma, Plasma,
Phantom Skyblaster, Swords of Revealing Light, and
some card I don’t remember. I set Decree and passed.
There were about 11 minutes left, and
Jason took three for his turn after taking about six
minutes to side-deck. He is a notorious staller
(more on this later), and I was getting a bit
worried. After taking about three minutes to play
his turn, he ended up going with Stratos for Dasher,
discard Dasher for Grepher, discard a Jinzo for Dark
Magician of Chaos, Dark Armed Dragon for my Decree,
Monster Reborn for Dark Magician of Chaos, then
Reborn on Jinzo for the overkill game. He quickly
picked up his deck and left (after recovering, I
wanted to count his deck).
After the match, Brian Bodkin and two
friendly players who had been watching noted that
Jason had a peculiar habit when drawing his cards.
Instead of simply taking them from the deck to the
field, he would scoop them from the top in the cup
of his hand. Two noted that he may have been pulling
cards out of his sleeve or playing with a
pre-arranged hand (Jason’s good friend Fili Luna has
been accused, and admitted to in private, doing this
as well until the heat grew thick).
I hung around at 4-1, then lost on
time to 4-2 and basically proceeded to drop after
round 7 (another loss, this time to a solid DDT
In round 10, I witnessed an amazing
match between Jason and Dale Bellido. It was another
swift beating, but I saw Jason again open with
Stratos into Trap Dustshoot and Mind Crush, and then
the wheels began turning. I asked around to all of
the pros from the top teams in the country, all
universally agreed he is a cheater and a known
ruleshark. Then, private investigating turned up a
few amazing anecdotes about the dirtiest player in
Incredible Consistency at the
Shonen Jump Level
When talking to Jason at Vegas and
Houston, back when the Shonen Jumps began, he had
always expressed a desire to become one of the top
players at Yu-Gi-Oh. At that time a good friend of
Evan Vargas, who was a superstar stud muffin, he
hung around constantly asking for deck advice and
play suggestions. In my view, he was an incredibly
solid player with definite room for improvement.
However, he seemed needy for credentials, to
validate himself with peers.
I began hearing a lot of stories
about him from top players in the Texas region,
legendary stories about him stalling for time and
rule-sharking his way to victory. Allow me to post
his Metagame side deck lists for the events that he
2 Mobius the Frost Monarch
2 Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World
1 Sillva, Warlord of Dark World
2 Mystic Swordsman LV 2
2 Des Koala
1 Kinetic Soldier
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Wave-Motion Cannon
2 Trap Dustshoot
2 Dust Tornado
1 Kinetic Soldier
1 Big Shield Gardna
1 Banisher of the Radiance
1 Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World
1 D.D. Survivor
has a featured match from SJC Houston in Round 9
that again shows Jason stalling out the clock and
playing Des Koala.
Now when games are called to time
today, there is a relatively balanced end of match
procedure that gives each player two turns, and is
set up to ensure that disgusting tactics from the
past such as stalling down to game two and then
playing Ceasefire for game were not possible.
Jason Holloway perhaps
single-handedly mandated such changes due to his
playstyle. If you look at these side-decks of his
two legitimate SJC top eight performances, you can
see the relevant cards bolded for his strategy.
If you think these 6 side-deck slots
are simple coincidence, you need to understand how
to build a competitive side-deck. Competitive
side-decks are built to either transform an unstable
main, such as DDT Turbo, into another deck such as
Dark Armed Dragon or Magical Explosion, because you
assume your opponent will side-deck hate against it.
Or, they are used to counter prevalent strategies in
the meta that your main was not designed to beat.
For example, me and Hugo's side at Columbus was:
2 Dust Tornado, 2 Kinetic Soldier, 2
Enemy Controller, 1 Mind Crush, 2 Magic Drain, 2
Threatening Roar, etc etc.
Jason, on the other hand, chose to
side-deck into burn cards that would immediately end
the game in the event that the match went to time.
This gave him a grossly unfair advantage, especially
against better duelists.
I believe his feature match record is
something like 2-8. I believe Yu-Gi-Oh! should
promote a game where disgusting misplays perpetrated
repeatedly should lose you the game. You can see
through moves such as chaining D.D Crow to a useless
RoTA on a Card Destruction and his plays against me
that he still possesses a relatively limited
understanding of the game.
Now after this time, the format began
to change into speed Troopers, T-Heroes, and Dark
Armed Dragons that don't lead to prolonged games.
Jason began to stack his deck, and then surfaced at
SJC Costa Mesa, where he engaged in a duel with
Overdose superstar Shane Scurry in round nine. It
was in this match that numerous players from
Overdose, and Hugo Adame (both reliable sources),
saw some of the dirtiest play ever seen.
Verbatim through my sources, "Jason
began to stall for time against Shane's Strike
Ninja, set Return with Jinzo removed, and about two
cards in hand." Shane's spell or trap removal
targetted Jason's set Escape, he chained it to Dark
Magician of Chaos and tried to pull out Dimension
Fusion for the game next turn. Shane didn't notice
and let it go, until Hugo and Anthony stepped in and
said that's not legal. Jason then snapped at them
and said they should butt out, that it was legal.
The judge was called. Thanks to Hugo and Ant's
intervention (what studs), Holloway eventually lost.
I would like to end this article by
first congratulation Jerry Wonder for his
long-coveted SJC win, then adding a few quotations I
found on the message boards regarding the dirtiest
player in the game.
"I have had more than enough players
come to me that weekend and give their complaints
about the "conservative" play of Holloway. And while
playing to time is a strategy in a lot of decks of
CCG's, Watching the clock, conceding the game with 3
minutes to go, and taking those 3 minutes to side in
burn so that you can decide who goes first (because
you conceded) and have the right elements to do the
most damage, is suspect at best."
-Message board user
""If i am not mistaken he won 6 of
his matches like that, its amazing how this guy took
stalling to a new level like pile shuffle the deck
after a sangan, tomatoe, and pot effect. Jason
Halloway have no skill nor dignity he tried to scam
his way to a SJC by using stall/burn tatics, and he
sit and wonder why everyone cheered when Ivan
exploited him for the win."
-Message board user
"Holloway is a dirty cheater"
-Unnamed Team Overdose correspondent
Looks like you're known now Mr.
Holloway, congratulations. Also, I wanted to add a
public service announcement to up and coming
Yu-Gi-Oh players that want to take the path to
"superstardom" (you can't be a star if nobody
respects you) of a Holloway.
There is no money in Yu-Gi-Oh.
The top players are broke, and winning a prize card
at an SJC does not make the difference between five
star meals with caviar and champagne, or Mcdonald's
brunch. You play the game for respect, to meet new
people, to hang out with awesome personalities, and
for the love of the game.
Cheating in a game like poker, or
Magic, or the old VS. System where prizes could
change a life (forty thousand plus), is completely
understandable. It's not condonable, but it's
understandable. Cheating at a game like Yu-Gi-Oh,
where there is no money and only respect to play
for, is amazing.
I believe that most cheaters have
very low self-worth. To bolster themselves and feel
up to snuff with the legitimate players of teams
such as Overdose, old Superfriends, and Comic
Odyssey, they cheat to gain credentials. It's what
Rob Morgan did, it's what Jason Holloway did, and
it's what numerous players across the nation are
Certain players on the circuit have
more SJC wins, more day-two finishes, and more
"credentials" than others. But they are universally
maligned as dirty players by those who are in the
know. And with UDE's great enforcement of tournament
policies, it's only a matter of time before they are
caught and brought to justice.
Team Outphase, if you are reading
this, I am sure you are upset and angry by my
exposing of your dirtiest player. Unfortunately,
you're not dealing with a random this time. I am
very close with numerous Texas players, who have all
told me numerous anecdotes at regionals and SJC
championships about the dirty nature of your
I have an incredible amount of
respect for Jake, Evan Vargas, Chris Sorelle, Ryan
Spicer, and others. I even had immense respect for
Jason "Stallaway" Holloway, until I played him and
heard the numerous stories.
But yeah, I will be backing up what
I've said with my own skill and my friends as well.
If you want to refute it (I highly doubt you will),
let's set the stage at Nationals. We'll have clean,
legitimate, non-biased players examine the decks,
cut them and shuffle them, and deal out cards for
searches. I will play anything past best out of
seven matches, and since dueling for money is never
allowed (it's really bad because you can get robbed,
cheated, and it's against UDE policy), why don't we
up the stakes to something more priceless?
E-mail me if you are interested, or
simply read this article and admit it's the truth I
don't really care. Perhaps we can have a Pojo
feature team battle (if Outphase wants to back him
up), or even a one on one.
And for anyone else who wants to
cheat, rule-shark, and fraud their way to the top of
the Shonen Jump Championship circuit... I was let go
from Metagame to be able to write stuff like this.
It might be a long article, but I think it has a lot
of relevant content.
Jae Kim is a creative contributor
to Pojo.com. You may contact him (every e-mail will
be answered) at JAELOVE@gmail.com. He can also be
found contributing to the Message Boards and the
Card of the Day.