This past weekend, I visited Germany to play in CSL's Grand Open Berlin. For all of you uncultured Americans that has no idea what a CSL Grand Open is, CSL (or Card Sports League) is a third part tournament organizer filling a role similar to what ARG does in USA. Except they do it way better.
This is a tournament I've had booked for a while, before I realized how little I enjoy playing the current format of yu-gi-oh right now. But a few weeks before the event, my saving grace gets announced. Instead of hosting their usual day 2 regional-esque tournament in current format, they would have it be goat format. All I had to do was miss out on top cut and I was free to participate, and I declared my goal for the trip to be to scrub out the main event so I could win a goat side event.
Although I prepare for the main event, I do not take it very seriously. I end up working on a burning abyss deck together with Arvin that would have good chances of topping, which at this point I don't care much for doing anyway. Ironically, I prepare way less for the goat event. Anyway, about a week before the event I'm looking through old decklists on Duelingbook and find my old darklord deck. The deck was always so close but not quite making the cut every time I try it, but I'm bored so I try it again. And it steamrolls true draco. Because I have way too much time on my hands, I put more effort into the deck and figure out the flaws against pendulum (shoutout to Jeka for kicking my ass a few times with pendulum) so I could patch up the matchup and make it favorable as well. Burning Abyss was still obviously the better deck, but I wasn't going with an honest attempt at topping so I was split on what deck to play. I decide on Burning Abyss.
Fastforward to Friday night, I'm rooming with team trent and ask a few question about their predicted meta since the German guys will know Germany meta much better than me. I'm told that the entire Berlin, all five locals, plays almost exclusively lightsworn. Oh shit. That matchup is completely unwinnable for Burning Abyss. So I sleeve up darklord. The actual main event wasn't very interesting, but I suppose it has some comedic value so I'll quickly go through the rounds.
Round 1: Pendulum
I lose the dice roll, but open reaper so I win game 1. Game 2, he makes me go first and I open sphere mode and 2 kaijus and get OTK'd. Game 3 I draw through half my deck and end on anti-spell (obviously, I draw half my deck...), he just sets a monster and some spells and passes so I corebadge his set monster and kill him.
I lose the dice roll and my opponent goes first. He summons a gouki suplex and declares effect. Fastforward a few moves and he's on Saryuja, naturia beast, 3 backrow and an ash blossom in hand. Not winning that game. So here I look through my side deck and see that all my tech slots suck in the matchup, I go first with 3 kaijus and 1 evenly matched in the deck. Playing through my draw cards, I get my spellbook guy veiler'd, which is the equivalent of getting your desires ash'd and that kind of sucks, so I only end on being able to raigeki break him 2 times on his turn. Kaiju and evenly in hand, of course. However, his hand has raigeki+forbidden chalice+lethal so what does my field matter.
Round 3: Mekk-Knight Invoked
Win the dice roll, but doesn't matter because invoked would have made me go first anyway. I don't remember exactly what the situation was with my hand after turn 1, I know I couldn't summon any darklords to the field but I think the only thing missing was that I needed my normal summon next turn and I'm fine. I end on 3 set typhoon, reaper and ash; might get me there. Typhoon his field spell, gets beaten down my mekk-knights. Think my ukoback on my 2nd turn got veiler'd or ash'd which put me back a turn again and he gets to put me so low on life that it doesn't matter that I get to play on my third turn. Then I win game 2 and game 3 because it's mekk-knight invoked, I didn't brick and I could raigeki break whenever he sets a spell.
Round 4: Trickstar
Not much to say here, it's trickstar. I'm paying 1k for each effect I activate and I draw half my deck, this isn't really winnable. This guy was actually the only trickstar player I saw in the room period, so of course we got paired.
Round 5: Metalfoes Draco
Win the dice roll, go first. My opening is completely nuts, but then near the end of my turn I desires and banish all 3 ixchel, which puts me back. Regardless, I end on reaper+ash+typhoon+1 darklord, 2 traps in grave and the resources to snowball into infinite raigeki breaks next turn. So I trade down all his resources, he's down to 1 scale, 1 astrograph, 1 card in hand and he has an orichalc on my side of the field that I enchantmented in the battle phase. He shuffles in the metalfoes fusion for a 2nd hand card, activates diagram pops scale adds master peace, plays heritage from hand and snowballs me out of the game from there. Game 2 I go first and don't brick, he actually had cosmic cyclone for my anti-spell but it turns out that 5 spell hands loses to eradicator epidemic virus (his specific hand would still have lost to my 2 set typhoon I never got to use even if I didn't eradicator). Game 3 he goes first and combos off, ending on zefra metaltron, vortex dragon, alkahest, master peace, diagram, return, tornado dragon (can pop return to trigger monster pop), so I do the only reasonable thing and sphere mode him followed by evenly matched. From there, my hand is kind of awkward with triple banishment and he can recur and annoyingly big master peace with return, so I end up just paying myself down to 1k life over the course of 2 turns and winning on underclock+number 35: ravenous tarantula with a 7k life point difference in time.
Round 6: Lair Of Darkness
Ok so, I did not see a feasible way for this deck to do anything real against any real deck. Except that its boss monster appears to floodgate true draco. Maybe that's how he got this far? Anyway, I win g1 because his deck doesn't do anything. It just recurs a 3k beater and has no disruption. Game 2 I open typhoon, evenly, triple allure. Because of the field spell, I get to evenly him down to nothing and he's forced to keep tokens. But then apparently I opened triple allure and had no darks in my top 12, can't even blame that on darklord being inherently bricky. Which brings me to game 3, darklord is inherently bricky and I opened a weak hand that could easily have turn amazing if my desires didn't get ashed. But it did and I'm bricked.
So I just drop at this point. It's late and I could just play the tournament out to have something to do, but I'm tired of these rogue decks. What happened to all the supposed lightsworn? Didn't true draco have the most representation out of any deck at this event? I tested against these decks, I know I can beat them. But in the end, I played a "bad" deck and wasn't expecting to top. Now I get to play goat, finally. Can't get much worse than gouki nat beast and being paired with possibly the only trickstar player in the room, right? Turns out it actually can't and the goat event is a blast.
This event was, according to the facebook page, supposed to be exarion goat. I have no idea what was said by anyone at the venue because every announcement is in German, but turns out exarion wasn't legal. I have no idea if they did a good job at correcting their initial misinformation or not.
We start playing and a few turns in, the judge walks past the table and sees my opponent's exarion on the field. I don't know if me and my opponent were the only ones to not catch the memo, I at least didn't see anyone else get in trouble for using exarion. But my opponent got game lossed and given the option to submit a new decklist. Instead he dropped. Understandable and unfortunate.
Just wanted to get that out of the way before I got into this for real. Walking around the venue on the Saturday, literally everyone playing goat for funsies was doing so with exarion tdrag discard trap decks. Which is quite interesting and way different from dgz. Both chaos sorc and the discard traps does more to stop empty jar than the entire goat control deck, which I had to keep in mind. Also realize that I thought this was what people would be playing during the tournament because I had no idea exarion wouldn't be legal. Turns out most of them just replaced exarion with other cards and still played tdrag discard trap decks. Also worth noting that although tdrag decks were by far the most represented ones, this eventually didn't carry over to top cut. The event had 23 participants, 5 rounds swiss and cut to top 4. Now let's get into the real rounds.
I can't remember much of the actual technical play of this match but his deck was interesting. I saw reasoning, monster gate crane shenanigans but I never saw dmoc or dfusion or chaos monsters. Instead, he was maining both solemns and dustshoots, which obviously turned into a huge problem for me. I still win the match without much problem, but lost game 2 to duo+dustshoot+solemn turn 1.
I'm the 2-0 guy to get downpaired with a 1-1 guy. He was playing with type of monarch chaos deck with penguin soldier and injection fairy lily. I struggle a bit in game 1 because I opened the nuts sangan+taiyou+trunade going first, summon sangan pass and he has the graceful discard light+dark into sorc and I'm cut off from my combo. But still 2-0 him.
This guy knew what I was playing before the round started and he was vocally very salty/tilted over having to play against it. He's complaining to everyone around him about it. Of course he's complaining in German, which is a language I don't speak, but the point gets across. He's on the tdrag discard trap deck. For the actual match, not much really happen. You don't actually ftk with empty jar and you could see my opponent getting angrier and angrier the more combo pieces he saw until my deck finally exploded all over him. And repeat for game 2. He's so so angry that someone could "take empty jar to a goat tournament" and "play it with a smile" if I'm paraphrasing him correctly, which I'm probably not because he's complaining to his friends in German but some words are similar enough that I feel kind of confident in these translations. Fun match.
Complete opposite opponent from last round, he's playing reasongate (standard, not solemn dustshoot thing from earlier) and genuinely looks interested in my deck and takes it with a laugh. He then shows me his own empty jar deck and compare, "do you run this?", etc. He also had never seen a feather of the phoenix before I activated it in the duel, which looked more like it got him hyped than anything else. Win the 2-0 quickly, enjoyable in a completely different way from the previous round.
After this, we cut to top 4 and play single elimination. What actually went on during the duels becomes interesting at this point.
This opponent is playing a giant rant pyramid turtle warrior roolbox deck with mained solemns, skill drains and royal oppressions. I concede to that I might lose this round and would be ok with it because the matchup is just that bad. Game 1, that is exactly what happens. I open monster clogged and can't manually resolve jars against skill drain+oppression. Game 2 looks really grim as well, I don't remember exactly how the early game played out but I think I just pass for draw phases before I reload. I go down to 2500 life in the passing game, then trunade him and go off with a morphing jar. Except I draw 2 or 3 monsters. I think I resolve jar again somehow, maybe reloaded first. Point is I drew 2-3 monsters every jar or reload and cannot go for the full FTK. I have to pass on attack position morphing jar, 4 sets, 1 thunder dragon and 1 mystic tomato in hand. He has ddwl, blade knight, 5 cards in hand and I'm still at 2500. Heavy storm and I lose. Normal summon monster and attack and I lose. He summons pyramid turtle. He activates creature swap. ddwl attacks turtle. Turtle searches the deck. Fails to find. Oh shit. Blade knight attacks, I drop down to 600. Morphing jar attacks, I book it. He sets 3 and ends, I flip decree in the end phase. I trunade up his sets to play around his own book of moon, summon a topdecked cyber jar and beat over the morphing jar. And I go off. And I win game 2. Game 3, my opening 5 are: taiyou, taiyou, heavy storm, thunder dragon, graceful charity. Unreal. But. He activates duo. His the heavy storm, I discard a taiyou. He sets 1 monster and 3 backrow. My tdrag+graceful combo resolves and I'm somehow on taiyou+cyber+trunade, trunade resolves. gg.
Playing against the same reasongate guy from round 5. I win the dice roll and for the only time ever in the tournament, I FTK someone. We go to game 2, he just passes on empty field. I summon tomato, swing, set cursed seal and end. He snatches+monster gates my tomato, I cursed seal his monster gate. He sets 3 and passes. I heavy storm away 2 more monster gates and I think the 3rd was coth. I normal summon a 2nd tomato and premature back my first one. And I swing. And I swing next turn. And I swing for game the turn after that. And the finals has my only FTK and my only win by damage.
So in the end, I went 7-0 with empty jar, or 6-0 if you don't count round 1. The general view and response from the German goat community seemed more to be along the lines of "wow, really?" and general interest rather than "you play empty jar? fuck you", with a few exceptions.
What I know of, no one sided neko manes. Dekoichi is super popular, thunder dragon even more. Reasongate got 2nd place this tournament and top 4 at CSL's last German goat tournament, despite apparent modest representation. For the future, I wonder if people will start siding neko manes now. If they are, empty jar may not be a good choice anymore. Playing through neko is easy. Playing through traps is easy, playing through both in the same game is hard. Maybe angel chaos will be a better meta call for the future, recruiters in general benefit from the huge popularity of dekoichi. I guess if I had to play through the same meta again, I would be maining some copies of decree.
For the main event itself, Lucas Windel, aka McKnaehrich of team trent and of STOR won it. Congratulations.