Hey all, my name is Naveen Shankar. I wasn’t going to attend ARG Richmond originally, but then it got re-scheduled to the first weekend of my spring break, and Richmond is only two and a half hours from my house. Unfortunately by the time Richmond got re-scheduled, I had barely played yugioh since Nationals and the ARG 25k, and the only deck I was messing around with was Deskbots. With my schoolwork I wasn’t going to have much time to test, but I definitely wanted to see everyone, so I figured I would work a little more on Deskbots and run them at Richmond without really expecting anything. After all, the deck is much better than people give it credit for, but it’s still not very good.
Flash forward to two weeks before Richmond, and I break my arm playing soccer. I thought I wouldn’t be able to shuffle or look through a deck, but after a little bit my arm became functional enough to hold some objects (and to kind of type), and the head judge Josh showed me some techniques to shuffle with one hand. With all that, it was decided I’d be attending Richmond with one arm and a dream (spoiler the dream dies so quit here if that's what you were looking forward to). I played some games here and there and spent some time thinking about the best list I could make, and the Thursday before the tournament I finalized this list:
1 Deskbot 001
3 Deskbot 002
3 Deskbot 003
3 Deskbot 004
3 Deskbot 005
2 Deskbot 006
3 Speedroid Terrortop
1 Speedroid Taketomborg
1 Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice
2 Maxx “C”
2 Speedroid Menko
1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
1 Psychic Commander
1 Karakuri mdl 248 “Nishipachi”
3 Emergency Teleport
3 Forbidden Chalice
3 Machine Duplication
2 Instant Fusion
2 Twin Twisters
1 Maxx “C”
1 Speedroid Menko
1 Battle Fader
2 Wavering Eyes
1 Twin Twisters
3 Imperial Iron Wall
3 Mask of Restrict
1 Rivalry of Warlords
1 Solemn Warning
1 Soul Drain
1 Elder Entity Norden
1 Panzer Dragon
1 Hi-Speedroid Chanbara
1 Naturia Beast
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Karakul Shogun mdl 00 “Burei”
1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Deskbot Jet
1 Totem Bird
1 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Gear Gigant X
1 Cyber Dragon Nova
1 Cyber Dragon Infinity
A lot of my choices and ideas are explained in my deck garage thread I posted a little while ago, but I’ll go over a few more right now. A huge shout out to Brian Clark for discussing most of the choices with me and going over correct lines of play.
You need to see 003 or 004 every game to win. Apart from raw drawing them, you’ve got a few unconventional ways to reach them, namely 005 + 002 + Twin Twisters, Pendulum Summoning 002, 002 + Machine Duplication, Menko + Machine Duplication, Menko + Teleport, and Menko + Red-Eyed Dice. Still, you need more ways to reach 003/004, and Speedroid Terrortop is miles better than any other option. The basic idea is Terrortop -> Red-Eyed Dice -> Burei -> Nishipachi -> Deskbot Jet -> Use Jet’s effect to destroy itself and special summon 004 or 002 from your deck. The thing about Terrortop vs. your other options (Giant Rat, Geargiauger), other than not being a horrendous card, is that if you already have an 003 or 004, you can Terrortop into Break Sword to clear a back row or Rafflesia, which is huge.
Menko is in the deck because apart from providing a few more ways to reach 003/004, it’s pretty much the only way you can win against Kozmo or Mermail. Brian and I were at 14 cards in the side deck, and we needed one more card to side in against Kozmo and/or Mermail. Menko is so good against those decks that playing a 4th Menko in Battle Fader was the obvious conclusion.
I play three Forbidden Chalice because it can negate Ehther on my turn, and generally speaking, against Pepe if you have an 003/004, a way to deal with Rafflesia, and one of your 8 “extension cards,” you’re probably winning. Pepe is actually the best match-up this deck has out of the most popular decks (not saying it’s actually a good match-up, but it’s definitely the closest to even). The extension cards are Machine Duplication, Instant Fusion, and Emergency Teleport because they’re the cards that turn your 004 summons into game-winning monsters (Naturia Beast, Cyber Dragon Infinity, Trishula, and Ignister). The Ariadne Pepe version is slightly different, because there you want Twin Twisters more than Terrortop into Break Sword or Chalice. If you do see Twin Twisters + 003/004 + an extension card you’re probably winning though. Even if they open Rafflesia + traps, once you Twin Twisters their trap, there isn’t actually a card Rafflesia can send that beats 003 or 004. Of course if Pepe opens Felgrand + traps you’re probably screwed, since then you need Twin Twisters + Chalice/Terrortop + 003/004 + an extension card.
The last card I want to mention is Hi-Speedroid Chanbara. The card is really good. Sometimes you look at your hand, wonder what to do, and then realize you can make Chanbara and it’s game. 002 gives Chanbara a boost so it’s easy to spit out damage. Chanbara also gives an option for you to summon off of Terrortop -> Taketomborg -> Red-Eyed Dice. For example, 003 + Terrortop is actually game, since you can go Terrortop -> Taketomborg, normal summon 003, special 002, special Taketomborg, tribute Taketomborg for Red-Eyed Dice, make Terrortop level 4, and make Chanbara. Chanbara then swings for 5600, 003 swings for 2000, and 002 swings for 500.
A quick note on the Monarch match-up. It’s abysmal, so it was a better plan to try to dodge Monarchs than play Veilers, especially considering I expected Mithra/the Quantums to be more popular than the squires. Your primary strategy against any deck is to hope your opponent throws the match, but it’s especially true against Monarchs. Game 2/3 against Monarchs is actually the only time you want to go first (apart from Explosion FTK/Quantums/etc obviously), where you hope you open Mask of Restrict/Rivalry + Totem Bird/Naturia Beast/Infinity. You have to be careful with Naturia Beast + Rivalry, but it’s not uncommon for them to not be able to put Prime in the graveyard. Obviously you don’t ever want to Totem Bird + Rivalry. Then you just hope they brick game 1 or game 3. I’m actually not sure whether you should hope to open Naturia Beast game 1 if you win the die roll, or whether you let them go first anyway to increase the chances of them bricking. I opted to go second since it’s still entirely possible for Monarchs to beat a first turn Naturia Beast.
Last thing before moving on to the actual tournament report. The extra deck is really tight, and I think I went with the best 15 choices, but here are all the cards I wish I could play (roughly in order).
Metaphys Horus (mainly because summoning it with 005 + 001 against Kozmos to negate Kozmotown and take their monster is really good. Plus having access to a level 6 synchro is good).
Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer
PSY-Frame Lord Omega
Sky Cavalry Centaurea
Scarlight Red Dragon Archfiend
Cyber Dragon Nova
Constellar Ptolemy M7
For the actual tournament report, I drove down to Richmond with Vince, who would judge, George Nace, who would top with Destiny Heros, Nic “Ginger” Colella, who is that one complete scrub that always seems to work his way into the squad, and Pingyi Zhang, god incarnate of yugioh. We get to Richmond without much incident, and get some half-off appetizers at Applebee’s. I scrape Ginger in a match as per usual, and go to sleep.
The next day we get to the convention center, Josh shows me how to shuffle with one hand, and I say hi to a bunch of people from my locals who drove in that morning to play Force of Will. Among them is Tyler Ulsch who ended up getting second, so congratulations to him! Pairings soon go up, and it’s time to play.
Round 1: vs. Pepe
Game 1: He wins the die roll and elects to go first. He plays two scales and uses Wavering Eyes to destroy them and get Joker into Monkeyboard. I Ghost Ogre the Monkeyboard, He sets a card and passes. I Instant Fusion into Black Rose, blow up Joker and his set Twin Twisters, summon 002, and Machine Dupe it. I already had a scale in hand, so I search for 003 and the other scale, Pendulum the 003, and attack for a million damage.
Game 2: He makes me go first, and I open 003 + Teleport for Naturia Beast, and set Rivalry and Chalice. He summons Rescue Rabbit, which I Chalice, and he sets three (I don’t Rivalry here because I want to kill him as quickly as possible to stop him from reaching an out, so I can’t lock myself into only Beasts). In my draw phase he Treacherouses my 003 and Naturia Beast. I summon 003, get 004, run over Rabbit by sending 005, summon 005 and 002, pop his set System Down, and search 003. On his turn he flips Draco-Face Off, and I forget what he gets, but he puts it in the scale. He activates another scale, summons Secondonkey, searches Sorcerer, and I Rivalry. He scoops. He was a nice guy and said he coached soccer at a division II college, so much luck to him next season!
Round 2: vs. Pepe
Game 1: He wins the die roll, and makes me go first. I look deep into this guy's soul, and decide he was the kind of guy who would play Pepe and choose to go second. Also I opened 003 + Teleport so it was a very low cost Naturia Beast. On his turn he sets two cards and passes. I summon 003, and it gets Striked, so I thought he must have bricked, but didn’t really care about Naturia Beast. I attack for 2200 and pass. He draws, shuffles his hand, and says “This Naturia Beast is giving me a lot of trouble.” He then passes. On my turn, I summon Terrortop, and it gets Striked…
Game 2: My hand isn’t two great, but I do Infinity him at some point. Eventually, he makes some play and has King of the Feral Imps, Shaddoll Dragon, and two Ignister in his monster zones, and Monkeyboard and Lizardraw in his scales (forgetting to use Sorcerer’s effect when he summoned it). Apparently he only had 1 Master and 1 Luster in his deck, so he couldn’t summon a card off of his second Ignister, so he couldn’t kill me. He could still put me in a position where I couldn’t draw anything though. When he verifies that I can use 004 on his turn, I figure we’re moving to game 3. However, instead of Ignistering my 004, he pops his Lizardraw for a card, Ignisters my Infinity, and attacks into 004. I send 005, and he scoops.
Round 3: vs. Super Quantums (John Mizelle)
This guy was playing the exact same list as Ryan Levine and Calvin Tahan. I have a better match-up against this deck than most decks, since I could kill it by putting two 003s + a variety of other monsters on board. This requires a lot of cards, but it also meant that as long as I drew Maxx “C” I probably won the game.
Game 1: He almost has Megatron turn 1, but when he uses the field spell to try to overlay the rank 3 on top of Blue Ranger, I Ghost Ogre it. My hand is strong enough to get him to use all his materials and be set up to clear his board for next turn, but I can’t actually kill any of his monsters. He tops an Emergency Teleport to get Blue Layer and the field spell, makes Megatron, and I lose.
Game 2: I open Naturia Beast and some protection and win.
Game 3: I Maxx “C” him and call correctly on Reasoning, and he also bricks on summoning Megatron after that.
Round 4: vs. Destiny Heros (George Nace)
I drove in with George and knew this was going to be a bad match-up, as you can’t 004 under Dark Law.
Game 1: He won the die roll and opens Omega + Rafflesia. I summon 004, attack Rafflesia, and he sends Treacherous to destroy Rafflesia and 004. On his turn he makes a board and attacks into Menko. He ends with two backrows, Omega, Void Ogre, and something else. On my turn I activate Teleport, which he negates. I then Twin Twisters his two backrows, and summon Psychic Commander. He Omegas the Machine Duplication out of my hand. I make Burei with Menko + Commander, special Nishipachi, make Jet, and destroy Jet to summon 004. I attack Void Ogre with 004, send 006, summon 006 and 004, use 006 to switch the second 004 to attack mode, attack over his other monster, and bring back 002 and Jet. At this point it’s his Omega + whatever he draws + Plague in grave to my two 004s, Jet, 002, 006, and in-hand Machine Duplication + my search off 002. He scoops.
Game 2: I Maxx “C” him for lots of cards, and he ends Shadow Mist, Rafflesia, and a backrow. Unfortunately even though I have 8 cards, I have no way to beat Dark Law + Rafflesia, and his set was a Mask Change.
Game 3: I forget exactly what happens, but he wrecks me pretty badly.
Round 5: vs. Monarchs
He says he doesn’t have an extra deck and I die a little inside.
Game 1: He doesn’t brick.
Game 2: I open Naturia Beast and Mask of Restrict.
Game 3: He has double Ehther in hand + Stormforth. I force the first Stormforth + Ehther without using my normal summon, and then I summon 002 and Dupe it. I try to force the second Ehther by pendulum summoning my 003 and attacking over his first Ehther, but he doesn’t bite. I set Mask of Restrict and just hope he doesn’t summon Ehther to get Kuraz and pop my Mask. He doesn’t, then doesn’t draw his one out to Mask of Restrict, and I win in time.
Round 6: vs. Monarchs (Brandon Funderburke)
No extra deck again :(
Game 1: He doesn’t brick
Game 2: I open Infinity and Mask of Restrict.
Game 3: He semi-bricks, but not enough. He doesn’t end with Stormforth or Ehther, but he does Mithra me, so my two in-hand Terrortops are dead. I clear his board and end with another 003 in my hand, but I don’t have Rivalry or Mask of Restrict, and I had no way to make Naturia Beast and clear his Erebus. On his turn he Mega Thestaloses my 003 and does some other things, and I lose.
This guy goes on to make top 4, congratulations!
Round 7: vs. Pepe
Game 1: I think I Naturia Beast him.
Game 2: He beats me somehow, can’t remember exactly how
Game 3: I force his Nightmare negations, run over Nightmare with 003 into 004, and have Twin Twisters for his scales.
This guy definitely threw at some point, but I can’t remember exactly when.
Round 8: vs. Pepe (Tej Trivedi)
We get paired against each other, get repaired, then play each other again. It’s unfortunate that two members of Team Tunak Tunak Council were paired against each other mere hours after the formation of the team, but it is what it is. This was my first time meeting Tej, and he was quite nice. I had read about him from Tyler Nolan’s reports here on DGz, and I accidentally call him Meatball (he corrects me and informs me Meatball is actually Jeff Walker).
Game 1: He opens with Felgrand, Ignister, some other monster, and three backrow. I scoop without showing him what I’m playing.
Game 2: He sets two and passes. I Twin Twisters his back rows and make Naturia Beast.
Game 3: He chooses to go first, and activates Draco-Face Off. I Maxx “C” him, and he puts Luster in his extra and one of the other guys in his scale. I forget exactly what happens, but he ends on Joker, three back rows, and a low and a high scale, without Pendulum summoning. On my turn I Twin Twisters two of his back rows, hitting Warning and something else (I think Wavering Eyes but his Monkeyboard was already gone so he didn’t activate it). At this point I have two Teleport and 003. I decide to play it safe and play around Strike, so I use both Teleports to make Break Sword and pop his set Twin Twisters. Then I summon 003, get 004, crash 003 into Joker, run over Joker with 004 sending 005, summon 005 and 003, and pop his high scale. At this point it’s my 003, 004, and 005 vs. his low scale, and I just pray he doesn’t draw anything. He draws a Strike, and sets it. I draw 003, which gets Striked, and I attack for a lot of damage. On his turn he draws, considers his options for a little bit, sets a back row, and passes. I draw 004 and summon it. I attack with 005 (or at least I thought I did, more on this in a little bit), attack with 004, and then attack with 003. When I attack with 003, he Face-Offs, and he summons the guy the attack mode (if he summoned it in defense I could attack over it then boost my 004 for exact game). I decide to let 003 die so I can run over his monster with 004, send 005, summon 005 and 003, pop his other scale, and make Infinity to put him on a no outer.
However, when I go to attack with 004, he tells me I already attacked with that 004, and that the monster I hadn’t attacked with yet was 005. I don’t think he was trying to scum me, he seemed pretty sincere. Still, I was positive I had attacked with 005 first, so there was no good way to resolve the dispute since it would have just been my word vs. his. We were just playing for the credit and I didn’t feel like getting a judge involved, so I gave it to him, and he topped a high scale to win the game. He split the store credit with me though, so definitely no hard feelings.
Nic went x-2 with Squire Monarchs (amazing performance from him imo, didn't think he had it in him) and Pingyi went x-2 with Extra Deck Monarchs (cause even gods can bleed), losing one match to his opponent’s third Mask of Restrict after outing the first two with Adreus and Tiras and finishing the game with 9 cards left in deck and three of them being Twin Twisters. George goes 6-0-2 with Destiny Heros and is 6th seed.
We stick around for a little bit to wait for Vince to finish, then go to buffet hibachi with some other Maryland guys + Jarred Randolph (who makes the fatal mistake of not playing Books again smh Jarred just follow your heart), and head back to our hotel. I try to convince Ginger to play my visionary Hieratic Nekroz deck that goes Cycle into Brio into Ultimaya Tzolkin for the 1k the next day (trash deck for trash duelist), but he doesn’t bite. Pingyi pulls out his Pepe deck infused with the OCG play style, insisting that the only way to play Pepe was to let Helpprincess help you, and scrapes Ginger in a few matches, mostly by Key Beetling his Solemn card so it couldn’t get Twin Twistered.
Ping, Nic, and I wake up in time to see George vs. Hoban on stream, then George loses in top 8 to Dan. At the convention center I get some fried chicken, drink a bottle of Surge I find on the table, and play some EDH 100 card yugioh highlander. Nic makes probably the only good play he’s ever going to make in his life and Ptolemeuses into Cyber Dragon Nova when his opponent Raigekis him, and I realize if that ever happens to my Nova I can summon Panzer Dragon. We leave soon to put an end to an all-in-all great weekend. I go to school in Pittsburgh though, so hopefully I’ll see everyone at ARG Pittsburgh! Thanks for reading.
jk ily ginger