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The Game Academy has just gone out of business, and I don't know how much longer their website will be up, so I'm posting all of their Yugioh articles here for safe keeping. Disclaimer: Most of these articles are shit. I just want to save them for historical reasons.

 

“PENNINGTON FOR YOUR THOUGHTS – “WORSER” IS RELATIVE” – BY ALLEN PENNINGTON
POSTED ON 04/26/2012

 

 


The hot news on the streets right now is about this new priority change. By now you probably know all about it, but in case you don’t, here’s a quick explanation of what went down: When a monster is summoned, the turn player no longer has the privilege of being able to activate an ignition effect in response to that summon, only a trigger effect or spell speed 2 or higher effect (which has now been termed a “fast effect”). Props to Konami on making the game much easier to understand.

 

There are some very obvious winners and losers here. Cards like Book of Moon, Bottomless Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute, and Effect Veiler get better. And uh… every monster with an ignition effect gets worse (Rescue Rabbit, Chaos Sorcerer, etc.). That much should be very clear. Any card that can kill a monster before it has a chance to use its ignition effect is more useful now. But rather than talk about individual cards, I’d rather focus on the decks and how the meta will react to such a change. This is much more useful to the competitive player.

 

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, these were the undisputed top6 decks as of a week ago:
– Rescue Rabbit
– E-Hero
– Inzektor
– Wind-Up
– Dark World
– Chaos Dragon

 

Rescue Rabbit, E-Hero, and Inzektor were the three most popular largely due to the fact that E-Hero and Inzektor could be built relatively cheaply, while Rescue Rabbit has tons of raw power and is very easy for someone to pick up and learn the basics. Wind-Up and Dark World are most certainly top tier but have been dwindling in numbers. Chaos Dragon is a very new deck, so it is hard for me to evaluate its popularity.

 

So which decks get worse with this new rule change? Arguably, almost all of them. Or maybe it’s none of them. Allow me to explain with my “worser” scale.

 

The Worser Scale:
0 This deck got better
1 This deck stayed the same
2 This deck got a little worse
3 This deck got significantly worse
4 This deck is no longer top tier

 

Disclaimer: “Worser” is in fact not a word and using it may cause others’ opinions of you to get worser.

 

I’ll start with Rescue Rabbit, the most obvious deck to lose out here. The actual best card in the deck — I bet you can’t guess what it is — gets significantly worse. There was some debate recently over whether Effect Veiler or Maxx “C” was a better card against the field. Most pros were beginning to lean towards Effect Veiler, and now it’s very clear that Effect Veiler is the best “hand trap” in the game.

 

So now your Rescue Rabbit can be Effect Veiler’d, but what are the implications here? The ability to protect your Rescue Rabbit is now something you need to worry about. Getting your turn1 Rescue Rabbit Effect Veiler’d isn’t that big of deal necessarily… if… and this is a big if… you are able to protect it and just use it the next turn anyways. As mentioned previously, Bottomless Trap Hole is useful for its ability to stop monsters with ignition effects, but the fact that it can protect your monsters deserves some mention as well. I expect most Rescue Rabbit decks to be using 1-2 copies of Bottomless Trap Hole as a result. A play also worthy of mention is the fact that if your Rescue Rabbit has its effect negated, you can simply banish it anyways (and not search for any normal monsters) to set up your Tour Guide from the Underworld next turn… and hope they don’t have another Effect Veiler!

 

I’m sure that was quite the revelation for you: Effect Veiler is good against Rescue Rabbit! But here’s a card whose applications against Rescue Rabbit have been relatively unexplored thus far: Torrential Tribute. It’s no secret that Torrential Tribute is quite a good card against Rescue Rabbit decks, but just how good? When your opponent summons Rescue Rabbit, you now have the decision of either using Torrential Tribute to send Rescue Rabbit to the graveyard or the normal monsters it will special summon. Which is better though? There’s not really a straight answer.

 

Play #1: Torrential Tribute Rescue Rabbit’s normal summon
– Forbidden Lance (2-3 copies) or Monster Reborn (1 copy) would be very bad.

 

So in total there are 3-4 cards that your opponent could have that would take advantage of your play.

 

Play #2: Torrential Tribute the special summon of 2 normal monsters.
– Starlight Road (0-1 copies) would be very bad.
– Since Rescue Rabbit is banished, they could get it back with Tour Guide from the Underworld next turn (3 copies).

 

So in total there are… gasp… 3-4 cards that your opponent could have that would take advantage of your play!

On the surface, both plays seem equally good. It’s honestly situation dependent. I didn’t even mention the pros and cons of the normal monsters being in the graveyard vs. being in the deck. The important thing to understand here is that making the right read is suddenly much more important when playing against Rescue Rabbit.

 

Previously, Torrential Tribute was also a good card with Rescue Rabbit. You simply summon Rescue Rabbit, activate its effect, and then respond with Torrential Tribute. The board would be wiped, Rescue Rabbit would special summon two normal monsters, and now you have a clear shot at your opponent’s lifepoints! However, this play is no longer available.

 

Rescue Rabbit’s Worser Scale Rating: 3 – This deck got significantly worse

 

Cards like Effect Veiler, Book of Moon, and Torrential Tribute got an increase in power level against Rescue Rabbit players specifically. The opponents of Rescue Rabbit gained more options, but the silver lining is that it’s easier for Rescue Rabbit players to take advantage of their opponents choosing the wrong option.

 

Next we’ll talk about Chaos Dragons, the new kid on the block. This is a deck with roughly a million ignition effects. Or more specifically:

Dark Armed Dragon
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
Chaos Sorcerer
Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning
Darkflare Dragon
Card Trooper

 

Now while Effect Veiler did not gain any power against this deck (since none of these monsters tribute themselves as a cost), Bottomless Trap Hole is basically the nuts. If the field shifts towards every deck maindecking 2 copies of Bottomless Trap Hole (which I highly doubt) this deck suddenly seems like not so great of a choice. At a minimum however, I expect most decks to at least have the card sidedecked. Chaos Dragon players, be wary of the Bottomless Trap Holes!

 

Chaos Dragons’ Worser Scale Rating: 3 – This deck got significantly worse

 

Staples like Torrential Tribute and Book of Moon gained a fair bit of power, while the deck’s plentiful ignition effects lost power. In addition, Bottomless Trap Hole is quite the powerhouse. The silver lining is that many players may write off Chaos Dragons as a “non-deck” due to this priority change, which is most certainly not the case. If players decide to not sidedeck cards like Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Victoria, and Macro Cosmos, Chaos Dragons could actually be a solid meta call.

 

What of Inzektors, the deck that many pros have been hyping up as “clearly the best”? This is also a deck that lost out with this rule change, but only indirectly. Despite the fact that Inzektors are chock full of ignition effects, none of the Inzektor monsters actually had priority to do anything relevant (just equip a monster)!

 

The disadvantage of Inzektors lies in the fact that virtually everyone will be switching over from Maxx “C” to Effect Veiler, which is clearly better against Inzektors. In addition, some players will likely swap their Dimensional Prisons with Bottomless Trap Holes, which is better against Inzektors as well, if only slightly. And last, there’s a chance that E-Heroes (arguably Inzektor’s worst matchup) will rise in popularity, but more on that later.

 

Inzektors’ Worser Scale Rating: 2 – This deck got a little worse

 

There’s no denying that these changes do not really favor Inzektors, but at the same time they are fairly minor in the grand scheme of things. I still expect Inzektors to capture a lot of top slots at the upcoming events.

 

Wind-Up is a bit of a dark horse now. Two months ago this was a deck with tons of hype behind it, but now it’s almost like everyone has forgotten about it. The deck’s star monster, Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaighty, is no longer quite as good due to the fact that it has an ignition effect, but the situation isn’t quite as bad as you might think. Sure, Bottomless Trap Hole went from “near useless” to “kills their best Xyz”, but to a good player, this is not a big deal. It still only stops one card in the deck, so it will be somewhat easy to read: “Oh, my opponent hasn’t used that set card this entire game? Probably a Bottomless Trap Hole.”

 

In the past, trying to Wind-Up loop into a bunch of backrows was not a particularly good idea, but now that is even more the case. I actually think teching one Royal Decree in Wind-Ups might be a solid idea, since all of the following are very likely to happen:
– E-Heroes will see an increase in play (this deck plays a lot of traps)
– Chaos Dragons will see a decrease in play (this deck plays no traps)
– Rescue Rabbit will play more traps to protect their Rabbits.

 

I also want to again stress the fact that Effect Veilers will outnumber Maxx “C”s by far; this is a victory for a Wind-Up. While Effect Veiler is by no means a bad card against Wind-Up, Maxx “C” is far better. Effect Veiler is usually a more minor setback, especially when you consider the fact that Wind-Up Rabbit can be used to dodge it.

 

Wind-Up’s Worser Scale Rating: 2 – This deck got a little worse

 

Wind-Up players have to be much more careful now, with both their plays and their deck construction. However, all hope is not lost. It’s very possible that Wind-Up players will be able to take advantage of shifts in the meta.

 

While Dark World is not exactly my favorite deck right now, my personal opinion is that it’s somewhat underplayed. Maybe this rule change will give duelists a reason to give it a shot? Dark World plays zero monsters with ignition effects and typically very few ways to stop opposing ignition effects. So on the surface, Dark World appears to have stayed exactly the same.

 

Even looking at potential shifts in the meta, everything seems to point to “Dark World being the same.” Effect Veiler will see an increase in usage; Dark World is happy. Bottomless Trap Hole will see an increase in usage; Dark World is sad. There’s not much more to it than that. Dark World has fairly even matchups across the board, so if you are a Dark World player, I would not be concerned with how various decks will change in popularity.

 

Dark World’s Worser Scale Rating: 1 – This deck stayed the same

 

I saved the best for last: E-Heroes. While E-Heroes are not my cup of tea simply because their plays are the most “fair”, I cannot deny their viability right now. This is another deck that has zero ignition effects, but it has about a million ways to stop opposing ignition effects:

Gemini Spark
Hero Blast
Super Polymerization
Torrential Tribute
Book of Moon
Bottomless Trap Hole

 

Our heroes are also very pleased to hear that everyone and their mother will be playing multiple copies of Effect Veiler; nice level 1 tuner! If this rule change announcement made you happy, the best way you can thank Konami would be to play E-Heroes!

 

Whether it’s a build using Skill Drain, Super Polymerization, Bubbleman, or even Mask Change you can decide. The Skill Drain variant will be the most popular, so if mirror matches are your concern, you might want to consider cutting back on the Drains and playing some number of copies of Super Polymerization in the maindeck.

 

E-Heroes’ Worser Scale Rating: 0 – This deck got better

 

There is really no argument that suggests that E-Heroes will get any worse at all. It’s pretty clear to me that E-Heroes will be the most popular deck for the next couple of weeks. As for me, I prefer to opt for a deck that beats E-Heroes, but I wouldn’t fault you for just using E-Heroes instead.

 

So what’s the moral of the story? There will be times where it appears that almost every deck got worse (such as during banlist season). The trick is just to figure out which decks got worser than others. In this case though, even the decks that got the worstest (yes, I just said “worstest”) are still playable. And last, consider this: Paradoxically, sometimes a deck getting worse means that it actually gets better (since people prepare for it less).

 

 

“PLASMA WINGZ – BY JUSTIN BUNTS”
POSTED ON 08/05/2011

 

 


I’m sure most of you have noticed Blackwings have gained some popularity with the new Duelist Pack – Crow released. The set allowed many new players, even veterans to be able to get hard to find cards to re-build they’re Blackwing decks; not to mention the new addition of Blackwing – Zephyros, Jetsream, and many others!

 

I took advantage of this and created a new breed of Blackwings I like to call PlasmaWingz. Let’s take a look!

 

2 Blackwing – Bora the Spear
1 Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow
3 Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame
2 Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn
3 Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North
1 Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind
2 Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor
1 Dark Armed Dragon
2 Card Trooper
1 Blackwing – Zephyros the Elite
1 Blackwing – Kochi the Daybreak
1 Blackwing – Jetstream the Blue Sky

 

1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Black Whirlwind
1 Allure of Darkness
2 Mystic Plasma Zone
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Giant Trunade
2 Gold Sarcophagus

 

2 Icarus Attack
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Delta Crow – Anti Reverse
2 Solemn Warning
2 Ultimate Offering
1 Fiendish Chain
1 Call Of The Haunted
1 Dimensional Prison
1 Mirror Force

 

Extra Deck: Staple “exceed monsters”  & standard synchros

 

I don’t want to give away a lot of hidden plays that involve the deck, but here are some basis scenarios.

-Considering they have no back row: Shura+Bora, Shura attack Tengu, search Vayu, synch for Trishula. Add a Gale/UO, reborn, you can make 2, and they scoop.

-Shura, set Delta crow and protection. Ensure he lives with Jetsream/Solemn/Chain/etc… Then end phase delta crow and win next turn

-With the addition of “Exceed Monsters” you can also play Shura+Bora, exceed summon Number 39: Utopia. Awesome!

 

As for rogue decks side the Appropriate cards. Herald: Side Volcanic Queens and Mind Control. Tribute their Herald with queen, MC or ECON, synch with blizzard for game! I’m sure all of you competitive duelists out there can notice all the combos
HAVE FUN DUELISTS!!!!

 

 

“HULK HOBAN – CHOOSING YOUR SIDE DECK” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 07/25/2011

 

 


With so many decks that are played today, the side deck is more important than ever. Your main deck may be the perfect choice for a certain event, but unless you have a side deck that is equally as perfect, you’re going to have a very difficult time topping any event bigger than a local. You have just fifteen spots that will make or break you in an event, and yet often times players choose to throw away their side deck spots on unnecessary filler cards.

 

One thing that has been talked about time and again is making sure you choose cards for your side deck that are good in more than one matchup. In this article today, I’m going to show you what I do to ensure that I get the most out of my side deck and ensure that there is no wasted space.

 

Matchups

 

The first thing that you are going to want to do is take an educated guess at what decks will be at the tournament you are preparing for. This is one of the most difficult, yet important parts of building your side deck as it will alter your results more than anything. In a post-nationals meta, some of the decks I would expect to play against Plants, Tech Genus, Gravekeeper, Six Samurai, X-Sabers, and Fairies. Certainly these are not the only decks that will be played at the event, yet these are the most commonly played decks.

 

Weighing More Commonly Played Decks More

 

What I’m going to try to do is predict how many of each deck I think I will play in an upcoming event to decide which cards I think will be best to side deck for the event. Let’s say I’m preparing for YCS Gen Con and I think the tournament will be 11 rounds. Out of the decks that I think will be played, I think I would have a match card that would look something like this:

3 Plants

2 T.G.

2 Gravekeeper

1 Six Samurai

1 X-Saber

1 Fairy

1 Other deck such as GB or Water Synchro

 

Now what I want to do is use this information of what I think I will play against to create a chart with the matchups on the top and the particular side deck choices on the left. If a card is good in a particular matchup, it will receive points. Theoretically, if card A has more points at the end than card B, card A should be a better side deck option than card B.

 

Another thing you have to take into account and the reason for predicting the number of each deck you will play against in the tournament is to weigh them appropriately. It is not fair to weigh a card that is good against GBs the same as a card that is good against Plants if you expect to play 0-1 GB decks and 3 Plant decks. Logically, if you think you are going to play against more Plant decks, a card that is good against Plants should count for more than a card that is good against GBs. For this reason, I have come up with the following system to more accurately weigh cards:

If a card is good against a deck that you think you will play 2 or more of, it will receive 3 points.

If a card is good against a deck that you think you will play 1 of, it will receive 2 points.

If a card is good against a deck that you think you will play 0 to 1 of, it will receive 1 point. 

 

For example, based on the example match card, a card that is good against Plants will receive 3 points, while a card that is good against GBs will receive 1 point, and a card that is good against Plants and GBs will receive 4 points.

 

Post Setup

 

There are other factors that you will want to take into account other than simply how a card fairs in a certain matchup. One such factor is whether or not a card is good after your opponent has their setup.

 

For example, D.D. Crow may be great against Plants, but I don’t want to draw it the turn after they made a Lonefire + Monster Reborn play. The card will do very little at this point, meaning that it is bad after they set up.

 

Another example involves Kinetic Solider. If I draw it the turn after they went United into Kageki, Kagemusha, made Shi En and Special Summoned Grandmaster, I would be fine with having drawn Kinetic.  Having cards that are good after they have set up is definitely an advantage.

 

We can expand on our chart by taking these factors into account. This will help us more accurately gauge how good a card will be in our side deck.

If a card is bad after they have setup, it will receive -2 points.

If a card is good after they have setup, it will receive 2 points.

 

Other Factors to Consider

 

There are certain advantages or disadvantages of using certain cards. These can also help more accurately gauge a card’s usefulness in the side deck.

For example, Cyber Dragon may be great for avoiding the opponent’s War Chariots in the Gladiator Beast matchup, but it also has the ability to make Chimeratech Fortress Dragon.

 

And while Chain Disappearance can remove the opponent’s Dandylion from play, if you remove their Spore from play you get to look at their hand.

 

Both of these are advantages to using these cards in your side deck. If a card has an advantage like this, it gets 2 points.

 

Similarly, in theory Puppet Plant may seem like a great side deck option against Six Samurai when you are playing Plants. Unfortunately, the Samurai player that you are playing against probably sided Dimensional Fissure against you and you can’t activate Puppet Plant’s effect while Dimensional Fissure is on the field. If a card has a disadvantage like this, it gets -2 points.

 

Now I’ll give you an example chart:

 

 

 

 

  Plant T.G. Gravekeeper Six Samurai X-Saber Fairy GB Water Synchro Bad Post Setup Good Post Setup Other Total
Thunder King Rai-Oh +3 +3 +3 +2 +2 +2   +1 -2     14
Cyber Dragon   +3 +3       +1 +1     +2 10
Chain Disappearance +3 +3   +2   +2   +1 -2   +2 11
D.D. Crow +3             +1 -2     2
Kinetic Soldier       +2           +2   4

 

 

 

 

While this chart only has a few examples on it, it covers the basic ideas highlighted in this article. If you are actually doing a chart like this for an event, you should probably take into account other decks that you might possibly face.

 

The purpose of the chart is to compare potential side deck cards. The higher the total, the more use you should be able to get out of the card throughout the tournament. My side deck chart only included a few sample cards and if doing this chart for real, you should include all of your potential side deck cards. The chart can point out things that you may not have been able to see by yourself. You may have thought something like D.D. Crow was a good option for your side deck, but when you put it to the test, it received a 2 when other cards received much higher scores. Ultimately it can reveal that there are probably better side deck options and it can tell you what those options are. It is a very good way of comparing certain cards side-by-side and helping you make the most out of your side deck. If you have any suggestions about columns that it could be useful to add, feel free to leave a comment. Until next time guys.

 

“SPICER’S SOLUTION – NATIONALS RECAP” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 07/25/2011

 

Wow!  That was an amazing Nationals!  Out of a field overwhelmingly filled with plants, a deck specifically built to beat the expected most popular deck won in the form of T.G. maining Skill Drain, Dark Bribe, Thunder King Rai-oh and Compulsory Evacuation among other things.

 


 

Today I want to go over my Nationals experience and talk about the deck that won the North American World Championship Qualifier!  Lets start with the deck and go into why this masterpiece was able to win.

 

Monsters

3 Reborn Tengu

3 T.G. Rush Rhino

3 T.G. Warwolf

2 T.G. Striker

2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

 

Spells

3 Pot of Duality

1 Pot of Avarice

1 Dark Hole

1 Monster Reborn

1 Book of Moon

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

 

Traps

3 Horn of the Phantom Beast

1 Mirror Force

1 Torrential Tribute

2 Dark Bribe

2 Skill Drain

1 Trap Dustshoot

2 Dimensional Prison

1 Compulsory Evacuation Device

2 Solemn Warning

1 Royal Oppression

1 Call of the Haunted

1 Solemn Judgment

1 TG1-EM1 

 

This is exactly the deck I wish I would have been playing at this World Championship Qualifier.  It is basically a Anti-Meta deck that incorporates the flexibility of Synchro monsters.  Also, having all of your monsters being floaters, you are able to play as fearless as you wish without much risk of consequence, which is very uncommon for Anti-Meta decks.  You wouldn’t normally think of T.G. as being a Anti-Meta deck, but as seen from the results from the WCQ, they very well can be transformed into a deck built specifically to take down the Metagame.

 

Whenever I looked at T.G. cards I always thought of them as “oh they just synchro a lot and that’s how they win”, and while that may be true along traditional lines, the norm was totally blown out of the water with the innovation of turning T.G. into a deck built to destroy plants through the use of Thunder King Rai-Oh and Skill Drain in the main deck.

 

Prior to the WCQ, I did a lot of play testing with Evan Vargas, who actually ended up placing 1st after Swiss with his Scrap deck that was also built to dominate the Plant matchup through the use of Horn of the Phantom Beast and Thunder King Rai-oh along with other various tools.  After practicing with him for a couple weeks, I started to think to myself “wow, Evan just might top another event!  Wait, he might just WIN Nationals!”.  To say the least, I was very impressed with his deck choice and whenever I played him and he flipped Horn of the Phantom Beast, lets just say I was more than a little bothered by how badly that card just tore me apart.  Sadly, Evan ended up with an 11-0-1 record and eventually lost in the Top 64 to another local friend from Texas Colby Blomstrom.  I said all of this to lead to my point, Horn of the Phantom Beast is what really sets T.G., Scraps, or really any deck that can abuse it and Tengu apart from the rest of the field.  It allows for you to put yourself in very easy to set up positions where you can gain advantage and destroy cards through battle at the same time.  The National Champion was very smart for combining this beatdown strategy with the power effect Skill Drain puts on the game.  When Skill Drain is active, the game basically comes down to the player with the biggest monster and the player with the most cards.  This is something plants just can’t deal with while their monsters effects are being negated.

 

While testing for Nationals,  I had tested a Fusion Gate deck that packed Skill Drain, and at one point in time I really felt I was going to end up using it for Nationals.  Over time though, it proved to be inconsistent and lacking in true explosive power.  What I learned from using that deck though is that Skill Drain is a very deadly card in the current Metagame.  I should have taken what I had learned and built a deck like the National Champion that utilizes Skill Drain while at the same time does not depend on the card.

 

Another huge benefactor of this deck winning is the multiple cards used to counter the most deadly cards in the game:  Giant Trunade!  I really like the choice of using Thunder King Rai-Oh to disrupt the play of Giant Trunade because even if you play against a deck that doesn’t heavily rely on exploding, Thunder King will still have its uses through its high attack and two effects.  I don’t particularly like the use of Dark Bribe because I have never been one to just hand out advantage to my opponent, but the pick obviously worked, and maybe it is time to think a little different about the game of Yu-Gi-Oh! and not look at things so black and white as far as card advantage goes.  Only time will tell, and only through practice can you know if the choice of Dark Bribe was truly optimal.

 

I want to give a special shout out to the Finalist, Sam Pedigo!  He is a local player that has been playing for under a year, and has really grown a lot in the game recently.  He is a prime example that hard work and dedication pays off.  So congrats to him, and I hope he represents us well in Amsterdam!

 

Until next time, thanks for reading, remember to come back for my next Article, check out my Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/blackluster777 and I also urge you to check out Evan Vargas’ videos on his channel, I promise they won’t disappoint if you enjoy some humor.

 

 

“THE SPOTLIGHT – TECH GENIUS HYPER LIBRARIAN” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 07/25/2011

 

 


This brand new subject “ The Spotlight” might become a following trend due to the release of new mechanics and powerful new cards in the future sets. T.G Hyper Librarian has been legal for two weeks or so but people have been testing with him for-what seems like forever. This new level five generic synchro has become the new staple in extra decks everywhere. His effect is to draw anytime a monster is synchro summoned on either players turn. Today we will look at the impact of this card on the game and how to abuse and/or deal with him by taking a look a various decks.

 

Many decks benefit with release of T.G Hyper Librarian, the obvious being tengu-plant due to the high synchro rate the deck produces. It generally uses its synchro’s to win the game because it can easily access the extra deck by the amount of tuners it runs and the ability to spam them on command. This makes the mirror match the most tedious of them all; if you can drop a Librarian it forces your opponent to meticulously play around him by making the right calculated plays to generate enough advantage without giving your opponent all the cards for no reason. The issue he presents to most decks right now is you tend to defeat your opponents synchro monsters with your own but doing that will net your opponent a free card so it may not always be the best way to rely on killing your opponent’s hyper librarian. Deck building will become the key to win the plant match ups, if you are able to carefully work around Hyper Librarian you should find yourself in a very favorable position.

 

Junk-Doppel is a weaker version of plant-synchro but with hyper librarian it easily brings the deck back up to speed. Junk- Synchrons Effect is “When this card is Normal Summoned, you can Special Summon 1 Level 2 or lower monster from your Graveyard in face-up Defense Position. That monster’s effect(s) is negated” this means he instantly goes into level 5 Synchros without having to use more then 1 of your resources. This archetype is slowly picking speed with the deck having multiple ways to search this card meaning that if hyper librarian is the key to winning this years WCQ, Junk Doppel Synchro might be the right path.

 

If you read my previous articles about the shift in the current metagame, you can re-call me talking about a First turn kill deck that revolves around Trishula and T.G hyper librarian. There hasn’t been a viable FTK deck for a couple years now, but this deck is just beyond scary; with the ability to discard your whole hand and burn you for 8000 damage on the first turn makes it a nightmare for duelist everywhere. But with such amazing combos comes inconsistency. Think of the deck as a huge glue puzzle where you only have 1 chance to make the right play every time in order to win that way. If you search the archives of this site you can see an article that fully explains how to run the deck and see how complicated it actually is.

 

Fabled has won a nationals and topped YCS Rhode Island before the release of Hyper librarian. Arguably the fastest deck in the format as long as it draws the right cards (which it consistently does). Hyper librarian helps this deck utilize its level 5 synchros to its maximum potential, whether it is Fabled Ragin or T.G. Hyper Librarian it helps them abuse the awesome draw power this deck provides and build up all the resources to finish off the opponent in a single turn. Librarian also adds another dimension to the deck, being able to set up mounts, which it hasn’t really been able to do before. The one thing you never want to do is allow a fabled duelist to draw cards on command. The best mount this deck can provide is Stardust Dragon with a Hyper Librarian on the field with multiple back rows, now if you make a big push against this deck (using synchros) you better make sure you finish it off, it will gain too many resources to blow on their first offensive chance.

 

Now that we have summarized the decks that utilize Hyper Librarian at its maximum potential I leave it in your hands to chose your path during this years World championship qualifier. I am a firm believer in Hyper Librarian being the key to this year’s championship but there are still many decks that do not need him. His rarity is not an issue but many people haven’t gotten there subscriptions in time so I advise you not to worry but stay tuned on how to counter Librarian in my next article. Till next time

-Dale Bellido

 

 

“IMPROVING YOUR SKILLS – PREPARING FOR NATIONALS” – BY CHRIS BOWLING

POSTED ON 07/25/2011

 

Yu-Gi-Oh Nationals 2011 is coming up very soon. It is a long, grueling two days until you reach the finals. In my past couple articles, I have talked about deck building and strategy. In this article, I want to talk about something completely different. I want to talk about my experience preparing for Nationals 2008, and claiming the title of 2008 National Champion.

 


 

From writing this article, Nationals is just two weeks away. If you are competing there, you should definitely begin playtesting if you have not already. It is very important to have a good playtesting group in preparation for large events. I cannot emphasize enough how important that is. For Nationals 2008, I playtested at least eight hours a day, every day, up until the tournament. This approach was very helpful for me. My playtesting group consisted of me, Ryan Spicer, and Jason Holloway. Ryan and I were running the same deck, Gladiator Beasts. Jason was running Destiny Hero Dark Armed. We met up at various places and playtested every day. We either played at my house, Starbucks, Jason’s friend’s apartment, or Ryan’s house. Ryan and I were able to discover which cards were the most consistent and the best deck choices to make.

 

A quick note and thanks to Ryan Spicer. Ryan has always been my partner in crime. We usually almost always run the same deck because we come to the same conclusions. Ryan would have topped 2008 Nationals with me, but lost on the bubble to Miguel Flores. Whenever I went to Worlds, Ryan built up a lot of different decks and playtested them all against me, so I would have the best possible deck going into Worlds. If it wasn’t for our extensive playtesting, I would probably have not topped half the events I did. That is why I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good playtesting group.

 

What should your playtesting sessions include for you to get the maximum value from them? When we were playtesting for Nationals, we not only playtested with our own decks, but built up all the top decks in the format and edited each deck until we felt like we had the best possible version of each. Theorizing how your match up will be against other decks, and then formulating which cards you should side deck against each is great, but the next step should be to take your side deck ideas to the test. Monarchs was a really popular deck at that nationals. I had monarchs built up and playtested against Ryan with it and vice versa. I believe it is very helpful to not only playtest your deck against the different match ups, but to playtest with the decks your opponents will play with. We had such a good idea of how everything would play out playing all the other decks. You get an idea of how side decking will go when you are playing with those decks.

 

Something I learned the hard way, is you are not always right on your deck choice. I have made the wrong deck choice at tournaments, and wished I playtested with the other decks in the format and would have seen that. Here is the most common reason for me making the wrong deck choice: I am playtesting with deck A. I beat all the top decks in the format with it and have good side decks with each. But are all the top decks in the format built to perfection? If I playtest against deck B and consistently beat it, but make some deck changes to deck B, and beat my deck A and every other deck in the format more consistently than deck A does, then I just made the wrong deck choice. Sometimes it is very hard to see this, and is probably the reason a lot of people do not have success at YCS tournaments.

 

The very night before I left for Nationals, I was laying in bed and thinking back to all our playtesting sessions and thinking about different cards to beat the mirror match. Then, it popped into my head, “Why not run Elemental Hero Stratos in the deck.” I felt it would go perfect in the deck to gain a 2-for-1 against gladiator beasts and was also searchable with Reinforcement of the Army. I woke my brother up and said, “You have to play me a couple of games, I figured out a great card in GB’s and want to playtest it.” Not to my surprise, it worked just as expected and was ridiculously good. It gave me a huge edge over the other gladiator beast decks at Nationals and was amazing all day long.

 

One more note, whenever you are going through swiss rounds, do not think about top 16, top 32, etc…! Take every round one at a time, and tell yourself, “Only think about how to win the next round.” Never hope you will win your round. Always know you will win it, you just have to figure out how. This is the kind of mental preparation you must make to do well at tournaments. If you tell yourself you probably won’t win, then you lost from the start. All of these preparations lead to me becoming the 2008 National Champion, and hopefully will help you become the 2011 Champion!


“HULK HOBAN – INFORMATION AND MANIPULATION” – BY PATRICK HOBAN
POSTED ON 07/11/2011

 
One major thing you want to avoid doing is to give your opponent free knowledge. There is no reason for them to know what deck you are playing before the first card is played and there are some things you can do to easily avoid giving them anything that will lead to this knowledge.

 


 

Organization


If you open your deckbox and the bottom card of your deck is a Lonefire Blossom, there is a good chance that your opponent will see the card when you pull it out of the box. This gives them a big advantage to know that you are playing Plants. If in that same match, you won the dice roll and opened by setting monster, they might play differently having seen the Lonefire. Since they know you are playing Plants, they will think of monsters that Plants commonly set turn 1. On the short list would be Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. They could then summon something like Sangan or Reborn Tengu and swing into your facedown as opposed to a play they would have made having not seen the Lonefire like set a Ryko of their own. This severely decreases the effectiveness of your turn 1 Ryko play. To avoid giving them this free information, after each round you should put a generic card like Book of Moon or Dark Hole on the bottom of your deck. Be careful of your card choice, you may think Monster Reborn is generic, but if you saw it on the bottom of your opponent’s deck, it would rule out that they were playing Gravekeeper’s or a Macro variant (unless you’re the great Matthew Milad of course).

 

Keeping with the Plant example, let’s talk about tokens. Few decks use tokens outside of Plants. If I see multiple Pokémon cards in the back of your deckbox, it’s a pretty safe to assume that you’re playing Plants. Even if you can’t determine the tokens they have in their box and you think they may only have 1 to be used for a Gorz token, you can rule out many decks. This is because a lot of decks such as Gravekeeper’s, Six Samurai, and Agents. You can avoid giving them this kind of information simply by placing your tokens somewhere else such as the other side of a double deckbox.

 

False Reads and Manipulating their Play

 

You don’t want to give away what cards you have in your hand. If you play your cards a certain way or don’t play them a certain way, most of the better players will be able to tell what you have set or what you have in your hand. You should try and use this whether you want to simply avoid them reading your cards or whether you want them to think you have something you actually don’t.

 

One obvious tell that you have Monster Reborn in your hand is that you look at your Graveyard and then you look at your opponent’s graveyard. This is the most basic read a player can make. To avoid letting your opponent know that you have Monster Reborn you can do simple things like ask to see their Graveyard and while you are looking through it think out loud wondering what traps they have used and what their sets could be.

 

Something else you can do is give them false reads on a card that you might actually have, just make them think that it is in a different spot. You might actually be considering Warning their summon, but instead of picking up the Warning and looking at it while you decide, you might pick up a Call of the Haunted.

 

You can take the above scenario one step further and make them think that you have cards that you don’t even have. For example, I was playing against my friend. He was playing with Samurai and I had 2 sets. He played Shien’s Dojo and summoned Yaichi. I held up a card and made it appear as if I was thinking of chaining it. I wanted to telegraph that it was a Warning set. In reality it was a Mystical Space Typhoon. Eventually I let the summon go through and his next play was obviously to special summon Grandmaster. He used Yaichi’s effect to destroy the card that I bluffed as a Warning since he didn’t want his Shi En to get Warninged when he brought out Kagemusha off Dojo. I then chained the Mystical on his Dojo and tore his whole play apart. In doing so, I was effectively able to manipulate which card I wanted him to destroy with Yaichi.

 

Another thing you can do is manipulate which card they hit with their Mystical Space Typhoon. For instance, say you drew Mirror Force and they have two sets. You haven’t been setting any, but were able to get attacks through. You should be able to read that they likely have a Mystical Space Typhoon set. They have now come back and put themselves in a good position and you really need for that Mirror Force to be the one to not get Mystical Space Typhooned in the end phase. What you can do is first set a bluff. Then ask to see their Graveyard, ask how many cards are in their hand, etc. Then set your Mirror force. You will have then given your opponent the impression that the first one is the good one and that you were checking their graveyard for the number of Mysticals and were setting a bluff as a desperate attempt to get them to destroy that instead of the good card which to the opponent is obvious that you set first. In actuality, you set the good card where you appeared to set the bluff. This is something I do all the time and you can’t help but grin when they hit the dead Pot of Avarice in the end phase.

 

You also need to understand that all of this does very little against opponent’s that don’t try and read sets. Most of these things will make a significant difference and some are as simple as keeping cards that are played in every deck on the bottom of your deck in between rounds. Good luck to everybody going to the World Championship Qualifier and stop by and say hi if you see me!


“THE MIND OF A PRO: DECK GURU: ASCETIC SAMS”– BY MO “PRO-MOE” BRANTLEY
POSTED ON 07/11/2011
 

With the 2011 North American World Championship Qualifier quickly approaching, every duelist and player alike is scurrying about the forums and searching anywhere they can to create the perfect deck for this prestigious event. Whether you are considered a “pro” player or attending Nationals for the first time, the honor and recognition of representing your country at Worlds is a dream come true for any player of the game. The final week leading up to the event is the most crucial and has a lot of players making those final tweaks to their “perfect” decks. There really isn’t anything else left to do but decide which one he will take to Nationals. I am no different. I showed you Banished Knights in my last article as a strong contender for the North American World Championship Qualifier, now I want to speed up the format a tad bit with this monstrosity:

 

ASCETIC SAMS

 

1 Great Shogun Shien
1 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai
1 Legendary Six Samurai – Shinai
2 Elder of the Six Samurai
3 Kagemusha of the Six Samurai
2 Legendary Six Samurai – Mizuho
1 Hand of the Six Samurai
3 Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan
1 The Six Samurai – Zanji
2 Legendary Six Samurai – Kageki
1 Shien’s Squire
18 MONSTERS

 

3 Upstart Goblin
3 Asceticism of the Six Samurai
3 Six Samurai United
2 Shien’s Dojo
1 Gateway of the Six
3 Shien’s Smoke Signal
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Monster Reborn
1 Giant Trunade
18 SPELLS

 

2 Royal Decree
2 Double Edge Sword Technique
4 TRAPS

 

MAIN DECK TOTAL 40

 

The monster count may seem a little high at 18, but I assure you the deck runs very smoothly. All the usual suspects made the cut from original Yugioh Championship Series tournament winning decks, with some added bonus surprises. With Extreme Victory, came a new introduction to the deck type, Elder of the Six Samurai. This card clearly makes this deck different from traditional builds. It is basically a Cyber Dragon for Six Samurai and really sets off any combo the deck can muster. With the inclusion of Elder, I found that there was no need to max out on the new favorite Legendary Six Samurai – Kageki. With every player now main decking 1, if not 2, copies of Effect Veiler, Kageki became a huge liability that could result in you ending your turn when attempting to go off that turn. Some players even dropped down to only 1 copy due to you still having 3 copies of Shien’s Smoke Signal and 1 copy of Reinforcement of the Army to search for it in similar builds, but I feel that 2 is more consistent for what the decktype can do. Besides, Elder + Kagemusha is a better play than Kageki + Kagemusha for the sole reason that a player has the option to Synchro Summon into Naturia Beast! Now we have the ability to negate ALL your opponent’s Spell Cards. I’ll take that play any day! Because you can flood the board so easily due to Six Samuraid newly found “Cyber Dragon” card, Great Shogun Shien was put in as an additional easy to summon “boss monster”. Imagine having Great Shogun Shien on the same field as Legendary Six Samurai Shi En. Your opponent will be only able to play 1 Spell or Trap card per turn, and you can decide whether or not you want to negate it or not! Can you say LOCKDOWN?!

 

If I had to call the Spell lineup something, it would be DEDICATED! There are 13 Spell cards that have something to deal with the Samurai theme. To get the party started, you have 3 Shien’s Smoke Signal (AKA Smoke ‘Em Signal) and the lone Reinforcement of the Army to search for any piece a player may need to start a combo. 3 copies of Six Samurai United keep the hand filled while flooding the board and Gateway of the Six still spells GAME when it’s drawn (yes even at 1). Extreme Victory has also brought Yugioh players Shien’s Dojo, which my deck runs 2 copies of. Each time a Six Samurai is Normal or Special Summoned to the field, 1 Bushido counter is added to Dojo. You can then pop the Dojo to Special Summon 1 “Shien” or “Six Samurai” effect monster to the field equal to the number of Bushido counters on it. Most people hate drawing Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan with nothing to go with it. Now you can play Shien’s Dojo and Normal Summon Kizan, placing 1 Bushido counter on Dojo. You can then pop the Dojo to Special Summon the Level 1 Shien’s Squire. By tuning the Level 1 Squire to Level 4 Kizan, a player can then Synchro Summon the boss monster Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En or even Naturia Beast (yes, they are both EARTH type monsters). How epic is that?! The fun continues when you have more Six Samurai monsters to summon which means you can Special Summon anything from the Level 1 Shien’s Squire all the way to your Level 7 Great Shogun Shien. Being able to summon any monster you may want all from using just 1 card opens up all kinds of plays and gives you the ability to even OTK the opponent (which this deck does A LOT)! The real beauty of this deck lies in Asceticism of the Six Samurai though. First released in Storm of Ragnarok, it took Elder of the Six Samurai in order for it to be truly playable. The key to using this card is matching the Attack powers with other Six Samurai monsters. This is the reason why the monster count may seem a little hefty, but the speed and Special Summoning ability makes up for that and then some. Here are some of the awesome combos using Asceticism of the Six Samurai:

Elder of the Six Samurai + Asceticism of the Six Samurai = Elder of the Six Samurai + Kagemusha of the Six Samurai

Legendary Six Samurai – Mizuho + Asceticism of the Six Samurai = Legendary Six Samurai – Mizuho + Hand of the Six Samurai

The Six Samurai – Zanji + Asceticism of the Six Samurai = The Six Samurai Zanji + Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan

 

*Keep in mind that these combos can work in reverse also if you start with the other piece of the combo + Asceticism of the Six Samurai.*

 

Asceticism of the Six Samurai breathes new life into the Samurai theme like the Legendary Six Samurai monsters did when they were introduced from the set Storm of Ragnarok. It makes the deck have endless combos with the ability to flood the board faster than ever before. For that reason, I decided to cut out all the traps and just run with 2 copies of Royal Decree to negate all opposing Trap Cards that may hinder your plays and 2 copies of Double Edge Sword Technique to continue to pound the opponent with more Samurai monsters. It’s not a big deal since the meta is slowly shifting away from Trap cards anyway and going into more Special Summoning from Monster Effects. I’m just fighting fire with fire. I dare any deck to try to out speed the Special Summoning ability of the Six Samurai theme. The 2011 North American World Championship Qualifier is just around the corner. Everyone’s testing sessions and online trash talking is quickly drawing to a close. Now it’s time to show what you are made of! See y’all at Nats! Pro-Moe signing off for now…PEACE!!

 

“SPICER’S SOLUTION – MY TOP 3 PICKS FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN WCQ” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 07/08/2011

 



Nationals is finally here and only 6 lucky duelists from North America will get to represent their country at the World Championship in Amsterdam!  Will you be one of those 6?

 

Today I want to share what I feel are the top 3 choices for Nationals and what I will likely choose for my own personal use at the upcoming WCQ.

 

First up, I strongly feel that the National Metagame is going to be largely made up of Plant decks or decks that are built around abusing the Plant Engine or T.G. Hyper Librarian.  This leads me to the conclusion, through theory and practice, that there will be 3 main routes to doing well in this tournament.  I feel you either need to exploit the use of the Plant Engine yourself, run a deck that effectively shuts down the Graveyard, or run a deck that is very explosive and will leave very little time for the Plant Duelist to set up.  Let me start by sharing the 1st of my 3 decks I have built in preparation for this tournament!

 

Gravekeepers

 

Monsters: 15
3 Gravekeeper’s Spy
3 Gravekeeper’s Recruiter
3 Gravekeeper’s Descendant
3 Gravekeeper’s Commandant
1 Gravekeeper’s Assailant
2 Effect Veiler

 

Spells:  12
1 Royal Tribute
1 Book of Moon
1 Dark Hole
2 Gravekeeper’s Stele
3 Necrovalley
3 Pot of Duality
1 Mystical Space Typhoon

 

Traps:  13
1 Deck Devastation Virus
2 Solemn Warning
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Fiendish Chain
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Royal Oppression
2 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Dimensional Prison

 

Sidedeck:
1 Cyber Dragon
2 Thunder King Rai-oh
2 Kinetic Soldier
1 Effect Veiler
1 Nobleman of Crossout
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Royal Tribute
1 Rivalry of Warlords
1 Chain Disappearance
2 Dust Tornado
2 Gozen Match

 

With the immense popularity of Plant decks at the WCQ I feel Gravekeeper’s is an extremely strong choice for the National tournament.  This build of Gravekeeper’s that I have built isn’t exactly what I would call standard.  I made some tech choices based on how I predict the metagame will be at the WCQ.  First off, I use Deck Devastion Virus primarily for its strength against the Plant matchup and for the sole reason it is chainable to Giant Trunade.  Giant Trunade has been increasingly a game decider as of late, and having cards to protect yourself from losing when the Trunade is activated is extremely important in a long tournament.  It is not just limited to being good against Giant Trunade, but you can also use it in response to cards like Dark Hole or Dimensional Prison.  Also, it is also extremely deadly against the Six Samurai matchup because it eliminates all the small monsters it runs.  Often times you will wait for them to use Shien’s Smoke Signal and let them waste their normal summon on Kageki and then you flip Deck Devastation up tear apart their game plan and leave them helpless.  On the same note of Giant Trunade being a game decider, from my experience I have noticed that most games lost using Gravekeeper’s will be due to a Trunade followed by a big play because it removed your Necrovalley from the field.  This is the reason I choose to use Effect Veiler; when your opponent uses Trunade, you can use the Veiler to stop their plans right in their tracks and on your turn reset all of your defense and reactivate your Necrovalley.  It also has use against Rykos, Debris Dragons, Kageki and so many other popular cards this format.

 

Next I would like to look at another deck I am considering using for Nationals, and it goes along the route of being extremely explosive which in turn leaves very little time for your opponent to get their combo pieces.  It’s a deck that I have liked ever since placing 1st in Swiss at last year’s National Tournament with and a deck that seriously deserves consideration heading into the WCQ.

 

X-Sabers

 

Monsters:  22
3 XX-Saber Emmersblade
3 XX-Saber Darksoul
2 XX-Saber Faultroll
3 XX-Saber Fulhelmknight
3 XX-Saber Boggart Knight
1 X-Saber Airbellum
2 X-Saber Pashuul
2 Thunder King Rai-oh
2 Effect Veiler

 

Spells: 7
1 Monster Reborn
1 Giant Trunade
1 Mind Control
1 Book of Moon
1 Dark Hole
2 Pot of Duality

 

Traps: 12
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Reinforce Truth
2 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Solemn Warning
2 Trap Stun
1 Royal Oppression
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Solemn Judgment

 

Sidedeck:
2 Puppet Plant
2 Maxx “C”
1 D.D. Crow
1 Cyber Dragon
2 Kinetic Soldier
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Chain Disappearance
2 Dust Tornado
2 Gozen Match

 

This is a pretty standard X-Saber build aside from the 2 mained copies of Thunder King Rai-Oh.  By maining Thunder King, you will be able to stop deadly cards like Sangan and at the same time stop a Special Summon which often times would have been a T.G. Hyper Librarian.  The main attraction this deck should have is the rate at which it can explode and generate advantage.  Also side decking is very versatile in this deck and that is very strong attraction for using X-Sabers.

Finally, the last deck I am considering for the National tournament is none other than the most feared deck itself… PLANTS!  There is not really too much to say about plants that has not already been said.  It has a lot of powerful plays and often takes a few cards and increases them at an exponential rate resulting in massive advantage and deadly locks.  Lets jump right in and take a look at my last potential pick for the WCQ!

 

Plants

 

Monsters:  21
3 Reborn Tengu
1 Spore
1 Glow-Up Bulb
1 Dandylion
2 Lonefire Blossom
1 Sangan
2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
2 Debris Dragon
2 Effect Veiler
3 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
1 Super-Nimble Mega Hamster
1 Chaos Sorcerer
1 Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness

 

Spells: 12
1 Foolish Burial
1 One for One
1 Monster Reborn
1 Dark Hole
1 Giant Trunade
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Pot of Avarice
2 Gold Sarcophagus

 

Traps: 8
1 Limit Reverse
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Solemn Warning
2 Dust Tornado
1 Torrential Tribute

 

Sidedeck:
1 Chaos Sorcerer
2 Thunder King Rai-oh
1 Nobleman Of Crossout
1 Closed Forest
1 Royal Oppression
1 Debunk
1 Maxx “C”
2 D.D. Crow
1 Cyber Dragon
1 Kinetic Soldier
2 Chain Disappearance
1 Dust Tornado

 

My build of Plants is pretty standard, combining Reborn Tengu and Tour Guide into one deck.  I feel that Tour Guide is too important to cut because of its function of searching for Sangan.  A card I haven’t seen played much in Plants is Gold Sarcophagus, and I must admit that I originally saw the idea in Billy Brake’s deck and I believe the original person that he got the idea from was none other than Jeff Jones.  Gold Sarcophagus combined with Tour Guide is very deadly because it sets up all of the decks most powerful plays and also can search for cards such as Pot of Avarice if you are having trouble getting them to your hand.  Searching for things like Monster Reborn with Gold Sarc and having Tour Guide to get you your Sangan which in turn gets you Lonefire Blossom is going make for some pretty frequent explosions with this deck which is important when heading into a tournament with numerous rounds.  Remember, Monster Reborn/Call of the Haunted/Limit Reverse combined with Lonefire Blossom can lead into a field with Stardust and Formula with just 2 cards that are now all searchable thanks to the use of Gold Sarc and Tour Guide.

 

So there you have it, my top 3 picks that I would consider to be the best possible choices heading into the upcoming National Tournament.  Will you choose Gravekeeper’s, X-Sabers, Plants, or something else?  Whatever you choose, I wish everyone good luck and hope everyone enjoys their Nationals experience and remember to play hard and most importantly, fair!

 

Until next time, be sure to check out my YouTube channel at youtube.com/blackluster777

 

“SPICER’S SOLUTION – EFFECT VEILER & D.D CROW” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 07/01/2011

 



Now that YCS Rhode Island is in the history books and Nationals fast approaching, being ready for the shifts in the meta is going to be important to winning. After the results of YCS Orlando and Rhode Island, it seems to me that this format has turned into a Plant format, or a format where any deck can do well as long as you splash the Plant Engine into the mix.

 

This is a crucial thing to notice due to the reliance Plants have on the Graveyard. Not only has the dependence on Graveyards increased since Orlando, but Gravekeeper’s and the Hero Beat deck have both seen a dramatic decrease in play. The eventual winner of Orlando was running a deck that very heavily relied on the Grave in the form of Zombie Plants; two strategies that are very well known to get their power from the departed. (graveyard)

 

Just by taking a look at the Top 4 from YCS Orlando, 3 of the 4 decks are dependent on the graveyard, with many of the top 32 decks consisting of strategies involving the grave. Both the players that got 1st and 2nd ran Pot of Avarice coupled with the Plant Engine, while the 3rd place finisher ran X-Saber, which also relies on the grave at certain points in the game. Overall a total of 9 decks made the top 32 that revolved on using plants, zombies, or a combination of the two; while many of the other decks that placed have a game-plan that involves the grave.

 

Everything that I have said was to lead up to this; a shift in certain tech should occur to disrupt the overwhelming play and power that are held in the Plant Engine that is seemingly being splashed in many decks. Lets start off with one that has been seeing play for a while now, but in my opinion should see even more play after the results from the last YCS.

 

Effect Veiler

During your opponent's Main Phase, you can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard to select 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls. Negate the effect(s) of that monster until the End Phase.

 

Basically, this card is very important to success in this current format. It stops power plays, and often will prevent your opponent from summoning a massive field and overwhelming you with monsters. Lets take a look at some pros and cons of this card.

 

Pros: It is neither a spell or a trap and it can be played straight from the hand. This is important because it plays around popular cards such as Seven Tools of the Bandit, Trap Stun and Solemn Judgment. Also, since this card is played directly from the hand, it is often hard to predict and can be used to disrupt your opponent and leave them in a vulnerable position. It is also important in securing your field and making sure all the cards you just invested into the field do not get blown away by the likes of a Debris Dragon that can ultimately lead into a Black Rose Dragon or potentially worse in the form of a Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.

A common play that occurred at YCS Orlando was when my Six Samurai opponent would commit multiple cards to the field. For example, Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan, Legendary Six Samurai – Kagemusha, and Legendary Six Samurai – Kageki. Together, these equal a Level 9 , and they would typically go for a Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, forcing me out of 1-3 cards depending on the turn and if I had a monster on the field. Your opponent could potentially drop Trishula, remove a backrow, a card from hand and a card from the Graveyard and attack over a monster on the field, netting you a potential loss of 3 cards and one from the graveyard.) Now say you had Effect Veiler in your hand, you could then turn that 3 card commitment Trishula (Kageki, Kizan, and Kagemusha) into a 3-1 loss on the opponents end, costing you only your Effect Veiler and securing your protection (backrow), your monster, your hand, and your graveyard! There are many other instances where Effect Veiler is important and I believe that most decks should be Main Decking a minimum of 2 copies of Effect Veiler. On top of this, it is also important to note that it is a Tuner, and that alone opens up many more options in the form of your Synchro Deck.

 

Cons: Effect Veiler is small, and outside of protection from effects, it really will not do much in the face of decks that primarily beat you down.  The only deck I really wouldn’t want to have an Effect Veiler against would be the Hero deck that packs Skill Drain or possibly the one that was piloted by Angel Flores at YCS Anaheim. It definitely has its uses in the Gravekeeper matchup in the form of Gravekeeper’s Spy negation and having the ability to negate Gravekeeper’s Descendant and Assailant.

 

Next, I want to talk about another card that I predict will see an increase in play, and for good reason, D.D. Crow!

 

D.D. Crow

During either player's turn, you can discard this card to the Graveyard to select 1 card from your opponents Graveyard, and remove it from play.

 

D.D. Crow is similar to Effect Veiler in regards to what it accomplishes; it provides a way to disrupt your opponents plays and secure the cards you have committed to the field. Next, I want to make a quick list of cards that this card really hurts and furthermore the decks that it completely destroys on its own!

Commonly played cards from YCS Orlando that D.D. Crow stops:

Pot of Avarice

Debris Dragon

Monster Reborn

Spore

Glow-Up Bulb

Call of the Haunted

Rekindling

Double-Edged Sword Technique (will prevent one of the cards from returing)

Limit Reverse

Plaguespreader Zombie

XX-Saber Faultroll

Gottoms’ Emergency Call (if you crow one, the card fizzles)

XX Saber Fulhelm Knight

Junk Synchron

Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor

Gladiator Beast Equeste

Gladiator Beast Darius

Book Of Life

Scrap Chimera

Scrap Orthos

Infernity Launcher

 

I had originally written this article prior to YCS Rhode Island, but with the results from that event, this article just becomes all the more true. The Top 4 players from Rhode Island used, Plants, Infernity, Frog Monarch, and Six Samurai. D.D. Crow destroys all of those decks minus Six Samurai, while Effect Veiler is deadly against all four decks.

 

Decks that D.D. Crow is most effective against:

 

D.D. Crow is a deadly tool when facing Plants, Zombies, X-Sabers, Infernity or any deck that is packing the Plant Engine or really needs access to the graveyard for its most powerful plays. D.D. Crow has always been one of my favorite cards, and one that I have commonly played and seen success with. Effect Veiler has outshined D.D. Crow for a while now, but as things have shifted towards the graveyard again with the rise in popularity of certain decks, and the huge increase in the play of Pot of Avarice, D.D. Crow has once again come full circle and really deserves to be played somewhere between the Main and Side Deck. Personally, I would main deck at least 1, but by the time Nationals comes around, I would seriously consider two copies in the Main. Opening with just 1 copy of D.D. Crow in the first 6 cards of the game against Plants can often mean victory on its own if played well. Having access to 2 or even 3 copies of it should mean it is time for the Plant Duelist to pack up, and sign the match slip as a loss!

 

That’s all for today, but be sure to come back for my next article and be sure to visit my YouTube Channel youtube.com/blackluster777

 

Until next time, remember to have fun and search for tech that will beat the curve!

 

“LEARNING THE CURVE – GOLD STUN” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 06/29/2011

 

With the release of Gold Series 4 on the horizon, a new set of highly sought after reprints become available to duelists everywhere. Although this deck will only incorporate a few cards from this set, the re-release of these cards could prove to be game changing. Doom Caliber Knight was once a tournament prize card and reprinted into a turbo pack as an ultra rare making it one of the harder cards to obtain, but now that it has been gold stamped it gives duelists everywhere a chance to play him without the previous price tag hindering peoples judgment.

 

Stun is an archetype in this game that never dies out regardless what cards are added to the forbidden list, although some other decks tend to benefit off certain restrictions, stun always holds its feasibility. The Yu-gi-oh Definition of Stun is “ Counter the Metagame”. That being said, to properly construct the Stun deck for this current ban list you would have to define the tournament scene by properly separating the viable decks into different tiers. Building stun to beat most if not all top tier decks is the most effective way to come about, with generalizing what all Tier 1 decks do it becomes much easier to finalize your debates on certain cards. I have already created a tier list for my readers out there so let the construction being.

 

The Yu-gi-oh Championship Series just wrapped up its last stop as it takes a break for the World Championship Qualifier season; the last two events have been won by Tengu-Plant-syncho and Zombie-Synchro automatically propelling them into the top tiers.  I don’t believe zombie-synchro is a top tier deck but the fact that it has won a major event in the united states causes players to jump on the bandwagon and net deck it due to its success. After one of the most diverse top 8s in recent memory I am still able to reject their tier 1 status due to the match ups they have received going into play-offs, and rightfully place decks that didn’t get that deep into the tournament due to the showings they have previously exhibited.  Agents didn’t have a stellar showing but having been released the week of, it is still in its infancy and has already become a deck to watch out for. Rounding out the top of the tier list the two safest decks being six samurai and gravekeepers are unfortunately still consistently placing time and time again. Now that we have defined the Tier 1 decks; Tengu-Plant, Zombie, Agents, Gravekeeper, Six samurai it is time to generalize how they play.  It is obvious that all of those decks use special summoning as a key to there victory (except gk). All decks have mid to weak monsters to start their engines, all of these decks use search effects, and the first 3 decks try to eliminate the back field before making their push.  So as we start to construct this hate-deck we should always take into account all of these factors when deciding what cards to play over others.

 

Having raved about the rerelease of doom caliber knight it is only fitting to add him as the first set of monsters. His effect causes duelists to think more carefully about their plays as they try to play around him. The same applies to Thunder King Raioh, and these two monsters stand side by side as your main beat sticks. Although both monsters have the capability of stopping your opponent from special summoning, its best to look for cards that do so entirely. Fossil Dyna has the effect to prevent your opponent from special summoning and the ability to kill special summoned monsters after they have hit the field. Banisher of Radiance is also classified as a stun monster, its effect insures all cards go out of play while he is face up on the field, so all those tricky graveyard effects wont activate with him active (PRO-TIP – there are other things besides just monsters in play that need the graveyard to activate or resolve, so make sure to read you opponents cards carefully). King Tiger Wanghu is a very good metagame call also, but because Fossil Dyna is a big part of your game plan, he may prove to be a double-edged sword. I would recommend playing some amount of King Tiger’s, certainly not three. To round out the end of our monster count, we bring in D.D. Warrior Lady, the original one for one. She is almost guaranteed to take away 1 of your opponents cards while she goes down, so having two copies of her wouldn’t be a bad idea. After reviewing all our monsters, they all follow the game plan we initially mapped out.

 

The spells in the deck are not really hard to figure out. Pot of Duality is going to be the card that helps piece the deck together. Since our deck is very dependent on our monsters, it is very important to find the one needed in certain scenarios. Since we are unable to play Effect Veiler due to its restriction while you have Doom Caliber and Banisher on the field; Forbidden Chalice is a quick play spell that increases the monsters attack by 400 but negates their effect. This card has the potential to be used both offensively and defensively. Forbidden Lance also has the same battle properties that Chalice has, but its effect to save your monsters from dying to Spells and Traps makes is a must for this deck. Ever since synchros have been out, it has become astonishingly easy to summon bigger monsters without tributing. Just incase you don’t have anti summon cards at the time they are brought out its good to incorporate some destructive cards.  I am sure we are all familiar with the staple spells so I will just list them with the final product at the end of the article.

 

“Royal Oppression” – the other gold series 4 reprint will definitely headline our traps, just because its effect is the real game plan to counter the current metagame. The staple traps are also all integrated into this deck and again will be shown at the end, but I would like to incorporate a few more defensive traps to protect our monsters. If you dig through your junk holo piles you may find a card called Fiendish Chain. To end this trap section, we add a near staple in Dimensional Prison to finalize our deck.

 

This is the final product we have put together.

 

Monsters-16

3-Doom Caliber Knight

3-Thunder King Rai-Oh

3-Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo

3-Banisher of Radiance

2-King Tiger Wanghu

2- D.D. Warrior Lady

 

Spells-14

3-Pot of Duality

2-Forbidden Chalice

2-Forbidden Lance

2-Smashing Ground

2-Mystical Space typhoon

1-Book of Moon

1-Dark Hole

1-Monster Reborn

 

Traps

2-Solemn Warnings

2-Dimensional Prison

1-Fiendish Chain

1-Seven Tools of the Bandit

1-Bottomless Trap hole

1-Mirror Force

1-Solemn Judgment

1-Royal Opression

 

Since this deck has the same game plan every game, there is no clear cut way to properly assess each hand without your opponents interaction. It is a good idea to think about your play every time you make a play, because the right play will lead to victory almost 100 percent of the time with this type of deck.  Play hard and have fun, till next time.

 

-Dale Bellido

 

“IMPROVING YOUR SKILLS – CROSSING INTO PRO TERRITORY” – BY CHRIS BOWLING

POSTED ON 06/28/2011

 

If one could draw a line and identify at what point you become a “Pro” player, where would that be? Would it be after you topped a YCS? Two YCS’s? Nationals? Also, how do you become a “Pro” player? How do you reach the next level of thoughtful play that is characteristic of a “Pro” player? I will answer all of these questions in my article.

 

Everyone started off as an average player at one point or another.

 

Even if a player knows every combo and every play in his or her deck that does not make them a “Pro” player. I believe if you could draw a line between an average player and a “Pro” player, the difference would be the ability of the “Pro” player to think omnisciently. That is not just making good plays and executing combos well, but constantly playing the part of the opponent. You must know your opponent’s deck as well as your own. Having good knowledge of your opponent’s deck allows you to know what their plays are. A big chunk of this in Yu-Gi-Oh is interacting with your opponent’s set spell/traps. Instead of thinking, “This play looks good,” you should mentally build decision trees in your head about different outcomes of different plays. This is how you narrow down your decisions.  For example, you have darksoul set face-down and let’s say an emmersblade and fulhelmknight in hand. Your opponent has three face-down spell/traps and a set monster. You have a solemn warning set face-down. You don’t have any spell/trap destruction. Creating a proper decision tree, you could either do nothing and pass, flip summon darksoul and pass, summon or set emmersblade, or summon or set fulhelmknight. You then build on to that tree. If you summon emmersblade, you can either attack or pass. If you summon fulhelmknight, you can either attack, pass, or flip darksoul and synchro. Try building out these decision trees. Also, whenever you make a play, write down all of your opponent’s possible plays. If you summon fulhelmknight, write down all of the possible outcomes your opponent could make with three spell/traps. Now, you may think, there are a lot of different spell and traps in Yu-Gi-Oh. The possible outcomes could be infinite. This is where knowing your opponent’s deck comes handy. If you know the different spell/traps they run, it is a lot easier to narrow down their plays. Using decision trees is something every “Pro” player must be able to do. If they don’t, they are not a “Pro” player.

 

Notice in the decision tree above, I included the branch, “flip summon darksoul and pass.” I did this on purpose. You may have thought, “That is a ridiculous play that I would never do.” There are many plays that numerous people would make in a tournament that I think, “That is a ridiculous play that I would never do.” The reason is I have been faced with these decisions so many times, I recognize the scenario immediately in the tournament. This is where practice comes in handy. If you play test and go down the wrong decision tree, you can make sure to never revisit it again in a tournament! Your brain creates shortcuts where it may think about the “flip summon darksoul and pass” play, but it only considers it for milliseconds and rejects it. It seems like you never even considered it at all.

 

A really simplistic, easy to write about decision tree is attacking your opponent. Say you have the option of attacking your opponent directly while they have no cards. Back to X-Sabers, you have a XX-Saber fulhelmknight on the field and your opponent is at 7200 life points. Branch A is you can attack your opponent directly and deal 1300 points of damage. Branch B is you attack, deal 1300 points of damage, and your opponent drops Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness. Such a straightforward, seemingly obvious play could have actuallly lost you the game. If you have an answer for Gorz, fine attack directly. But if you would lose the game if they dropped it, and their deck is known for sometimes or most of the time running Gorz, then I wouldn’t attack. Especially if your opponent passed first turn without doing anything. Using decision trees for your opponent’s possible first turn plays really shows you that doing nothing is just screaming Gorz!!!

 

How do I become mentally accustomed to playing omnisciently? The best technique to practice is dueling yourself. Build up all the top decks and play test against yourself. I do this all the time and it really works. Say you are running X-Sabers and you play the deck against Gravekeepers. You get to be omniscient in the game. You get to know your opponents face-down spell and traps at all times. It also forces yourself to think about your opponent’s plays as well as your own.

 

Playing against yourself with two decks forces your brain to recognize patterns. You see that a lot of the plays are similar. A lot of your opponents spell/trap activations can be foreseen. Playing a lot with your opponent’s hand revealed is very helpful. You can even use a method that my friend, Evan Vargas, taught me a long time ago. Play test with a friend and play with your hands revealed. Every time you make a play, talk about and discuss it with your friend. I’ve done this many times and it’s really fun and helpful. I’ve got into many lengthy debates about different plays.

 

If you want to become a “Pro” player and do better at events, you must play thoughtfully and know your opponents options and different plays. Before you make a play, think about what your opponent will do and the response you will make to their play. I have given you the tools to become a great card player. Now go out and practice them and have fun!

 

“HULK HOBAN – IGNITING THE FORMAT” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 06/27/2011

 

 


Burn this Format

Burn is a concept that has a deep-rooted history in the game of Yu-Gi-Oh with a simple goal; use cards to inflict direct damage to your opponent’s life points. There have been many variants of Burn decks over the years, some, such as CO Burn, Baboon Burn, and Chain Burn, were successful. The majority of Burn decks do not enjoy the same success as these few burn decks.

In theory, this seems like the perfect time to take advantage of burn. Cards like Solemn Warning, Solemn Judgment, and Seven Tools of the Bandit see heavy play in almost every deck at the moment.  These cards have high maintenance costs which, in theory, a burn player could take advantage of and quickly reduce the opponent’s life points to zero.

The Problem with Burn Decks

There are several major flaws to Burn decks.  One flaw is that Burn cards almost always garner no advantage . A card that reads “Inflict 1000 points of damage to your opponent and 500 to yourself” may help accomplish your goal of dropping their life points to zero, but it does little to put you in a better position. This is similar to a little kid coming up to player A and asking who is winning. Player A responds that player B is at 7600 to player A’s 6000, leaving out the fact that player A has 6 cards while player B only has 2. The child walks away content with the answer thinking that player B is winning. Most people who play this game realize that the game is not as black and white as who is winning in life points that turn, and while the burn deck may be winning in life points, he will almost surely be losing in advantage.

The next major flaw to most conventional burn decks, is that they focus around 1-2 big cards. Their goal is to stall and protect Wave-Motion Cannon for 8 turns. Then deal 8000 damage to the opponent all in 1 turn.  Unfortunately, the card pool has gotten too diverse and there are too many threats main decked in nearly every deck for this to be an effective strategy.  Cards like Hyunlei, Black Rose, Descendant, Mystical Space Typhoon, and Dust Tornado are all very relevant threats in the current meta. Regardless of any upcoming banlists, main decked heavy spell and trap removal will almost surely be a threat in the foreseeable future.

The Solution

In order for Burn decks to ever stand a chance of seeing the top tables, they must overcome these two major flaws.  Back in 2007, an aggressive Burn deck piloted by Justin Womack made top four at nationals. This deck contained Injection Fairy Lillys, Cards Troopers with Machine Duplication, Dimension Walls, and Magic Cylinder.  This was the first aggressive burn deck of its kind. This was especially important because he didn’t have to stall behind cards like Level-Limit and play a game of “protect the Wave-Motion.”

The other problem with conventional burn decks was that they lost advantage too quickly and were easily overtaken by the power plays of other top-tier decks.  A solution to overcoming this problem could be to tech burn cards into already aggressive decks that have ways of generating advantage on their own.  The deck that best comes to mind is Gravekeeper’s.  Gravekeeper’s can keep advantage through Recruiter, Spys, Steles, and are naturally aggressive. You can combine this strategy with cards like Magic Cylinder and Ceasefire to help accomplish your goal. Here is a sample decklist:

Monsters: 14
1 Gravekeeper’s Assailant
3 Gravekeeper’s Spy
3 Gravekeeper’s Commandant
3 Gravekeeper’s Descendant
3 Gravekeeper’s Recruiter
1 Malefic Cyber End Dragon

Spells: 12
1 Book of Moon
1 Dark Hole
2 Royal Tribute
2 Gravekeeper’s Stele
3 Necrovalley
3 Pot of Duality

Traps: 15
2 Magic Cylinder
1 Ceasefire
3 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Royal Oppression
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Solemn Warning
2 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Dimensional Prison

Side: 15
2 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo
2 Cyber Dragon
2 Effect Veiler
2 Kinetic Soldier
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Gozen Match
2 Chain Disappearance

How this Deck Should Be Played

As mentioned previously, you should always be extremely aggressive with this deck. You should play it like regular Gravekeeper’s with the exception of a few cards. One such exception is Compulsory Evacuation Device. My friend Nathan Soowal has been a longtime proponent of playing Compulsory Evacuation Device immediately and swinging for as much damage as possible rather than holding Compulsory.  That is how I feel Compulsory should be played in this particular version of the deck.

This way you can push for 2000 damage every turn with your Gravekeeper’s. Then your opponent will play high-cost cards like Solemn Warning and Seven Tools. Then you will have your burn cards like Magic Cylinder and Ceasefire to finish them off.  Malefic Cyber End compliments the goal of the deck and can easily deal massive amounts of damage. They will generally have to waste multiple resources to get the 4000 beater off the field. This also helps accomplish your goal of maintaining advantage in your burn deck.

Other Alternatives

Other things you could do using similar concepts could be some of the following:
-Use Dimension Wall in addition to Magic Cylinder and Ceasefire for more burn damage.
-Instead of Gravekeeper’s try using the burn cards in a Malefic/Geartown deck which can put big monsters on the field turn after turn and swing for lots of damage. -Then you would have the burn cards to finish the opponent off.
-Use the burn cards in the Mystic Piper deck to give their endless drawing a solid win condition.
-Use the burn cards mentioned as well as Wave-Motion in a Happy Herald deck. Herald provides a line of defense, guarding your life points and protecting Wave-Motion.

I hope you enjoyed my article and I hope it gives you something to think about.

 

 

“THE MIND OF A PRO: DECK GURU: BANISHED KNIGHTS”– BY MO “PRO-MOE” BRANTLEY

POSTED ON 06/25/2011

 

The latest set of the Yugioh TCG, Extreme Victory, and the latest YCS events has brought players many overlooked surprises. Most people only care about what Top 32 decks made the cut and usually disregard the others. It is nothing new because players like to play whatever wins. It is kind of cheap, but what can you do about it. Because the lists of the top decks are posted, players are easily able to “netdeck” the hottest idea to play at future events. Sadly, event coverage never really shows those unique and creative deck ideas that the other 1000+ players came up with. By researching sets and browsing the forums, a player can strike gold and discover cards actually worth building a deck around to play something NEVER SEEN BEFORE! Pro Player and The Game Academy writer, Dale Bellido, did this very thing in his latest article when he wrote about and built a brand new deck type based off the Secret Rare card in Extreme Victory Mystic Piper. It’s an amazing read and I invite you all to click on over and check it out for yourself. I followed suit and combined with my own tournament knowledge & experience, I was able to become aware of a couple cards that caught my eye and sparked my interest in this new type of deck:

 

BANISHED KNIGHTS


3 Beast King Barbaros
3 Mist Valley Falcon
2 DD Survivor
2 Breaker the Magical Warrior
2 DD Warrior Lady
2 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo
14 MONSTERS

 

3 Pot of Duality
2 Magic Planter
2 Smashing Ground
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Grand Convergence
1 Dark Hole
1 Reinforcement of the Army
12 SPELLS

 

3 Safe Zone
3 Fiendish Chain
3 Macro Cosmos
1 Royal Oppression
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Mind Crush
1 Solemn Judgment
14 TRAPS

 

MAIN DECK TOTAL: 40

 

So what exactly is this?

 

I know this looks like Random40Card.dek, however a more in-depth look proves otherwise. If I can put this deck into a category, I would definitely consider it an Anti-Meta deck. Now what makes me say that? Well, let’s take a look at the key cards of the deck that made me come up with this idea in the first place: Mist Valley Falcon, Fiendish Chain and Safe Zone.

 

Mist Valley Falcon is a Super Rare from the Hidden Arsenal 2 set. It’s a 2000 ATK Winged Beast beat stick with an effect that reads , “This card cannot declare an attack unless you return 1 card you control to its owner’s hand.” Most people may think, “Whoopie Doo!”, when reading this card at first glance. I explain that you have to look at what cards that you could bounce to get the most use from this Beast (no pun intended). Fiendish Chain was the first card that came to mind. It is basically a one-time continuous Skill Drain that also stops your opponents from attacking while it is face-up on the field. Combo-ed with Mist Valley Falcon you can continually bounce Fiendish Chain to attack with Falcon before setting it again in Main Phase 2 in preparation to negate more opposing effects, all while protecting your monsters from battle. It is an amazingly simple 2-card combo and stops opponents dead in their tracks. A nice bonus play with Fiendish Chain is to Normal Summon Beast King Barbaros as a 1900 attacker and set Fiendish Chain. If your opponent decides to summon something bigger to attack over Barbaros, you can activate Fiendish Chain targeting Beast King Barbaros. When the chain resolves, Fiendish Chain will negate Barbaros’ effect making him a whopping 3000 ATK. There goes that attack and monster from the opponent! The combo is similar to the Skill Drain/Barbaros play that players like Jeff Jones used in high tournament winning decks, but this one can be used over and over again. How epic is that?! The set Extreme Victory has also bought Yugioh players this new delight that also combos so well with Mist Valley Falcon: Safe Zone.

 

Safe Zone is a continuous Trap Card that reads, “Activate only by selecting 1 face-up Attack Position monster. That monster cannot be targeted or destroyed by your opponent’s card effects, or be destroyed by battle. It cannot attack your opponent directly. When this card is removed from the field, destroy that monster. When that monster is removed from the field, destroy this card.” Allow me to shed some light on this card by breaking it down and also give you guys some promising plays. Selecting a Face-up Attack Position isn’t hard at all with Mist Valley Falcon leading the assault. You can protect Falcon from targeting effects like Dimensional Prison, which is being seen all over this format, and even things like Mirror Force and Black Rose Dragon won’t affect him while he is chillin in the Safe Zone. You won’t be able to attack directly though, and you also have to be careful who you decide to put in the Safe Zone because when Safe Zone is removed from the field, the monster it is protecting will be destroyed. Most players fail to realize though that you can use that last part to your advantage. You can activate Safe Zone targeting 1 of your opponents’ monsters. Even though their monster will be protected from all your targeting & destruction effects and also cannot be destroyed by battle, it also stops him from attacking you directly. The real beauty though is when you bounce that Safe Zone with an attack from Mist Valley Falcon. When that happens, the effect of Safe Zone will destroy the opposing monster based on the part of the text, “When this card is removed from the field, destroy that monster.”, thus causing a replay. You can then attack another opposing monster or even attack directly . You can do all this before setting Safe Zone again in Main Phase 2. The combos of this deck are endless!!

 

Macro Cosmos makes this deck truly Anti-Meta. This entire format relies on Graveyard effects to some degree and likes to play with monsters in the Graveyard. Call it a reverse toolbox type of strategy. Instead of tutoring monsters from the Deck to the Field, players are sending monsters to the Graveyard and just reviving them in some way to use as materials for Synchro, Fusion, and Tribute summons. Macro Cosmos removes all cards from the game instead of being sent to the Graveyard. That is a big headache for the opponent to deal with when they are playing a deck like Frog Monarchs or Plant Synchro. You can even use Macro Cosmos as a card to bounce with Falcon if you need it. Support cards like Magic Planter gets rid of extra Macro Cosmos, Safe Zone, and Fiendish Chain cards in exchange for 2 brand new draws from the deck. Since there is a playset of Macro Cosmos, Grand Convergence makes a surprise appearance as a tech card of choice. Who wouldn’t want to play 2 (or more) copies of Dark Hole!

 

D.D. Survivor also supports Macro Cosmos by maintaining field presence and also makes opposing Dimensional Prison cards (which is being played in 2s and 3s in most decks) practically dead. D.D. Warrior Lady keeps the monster removal coming by threatening anything that stands in her way and Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo can round off any Anti-Meta deck by preventing the Special Summoning frenzy that has been taking place in this game.

 

**If you rework the monster line-up a little to include a couple more Winged Beast monsters to go along with Mist Valley Falcon, a player can also tech in 1 or 2 copies of Icarus Attack to further wreck opponents. Now that would be seriously unexpected and possibly even game-winning!**

 

Conclusion


I applaud players like Dale Bellido and Jeff Jones who think outside the box to develop new strategies to play at high caliber events. With programs and sites like Dueling Network that has access to every card in the game through Deck Construction and also allows you to play against anyone in world via internet, deck builders finally have their time to show what they are made of. Don’t forget that you could be featured on my YouTube channel, SFLTeamIllusion, in a duel or deck profile by showing me something new and exciting! Banished Knights is something I am definitely considering playing at my next high level event (which will be the 2011 North American World Championship Qualifier). There is no doubt in mind that this type of deck can take off and shut this whole meta down! Hope to meet you guys at Nats. Pro-Moe signing off for now…PEACE!!

 

“SPICER’S SOLUTION – A MIRACULOUS DESCENT ” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 06/17/2011

 



YCS Rhode Island is right around the corner and with it comes the release of the Fairy Structure deck that features exciting new support for the long forgotten Fairy Agent theme.  About a month ago, I started to hear about this new deck, and how strong it was going to be.  I heard of a Stratos for fairies, a Dark Armed Dragon for fairies, and then I heard of a Solemn Judgment for fairies. I was sold on the deck when hearing of the Solemn for Fairies! The card is called Divine Punishment for those of you out of the know.  I proxied out the pieces of the deck I didn’t have and I started to think on how I could make this deck unbeatable.  I did a little research on routes people had used to build this deck, and I came to the conclusion that there are basically two roads to building this deck; you either use a build utilizing The Agent of Creation – Venus with Mystic Shine Ball for the use of cards like White Elephant’s Gift which allows you to send one of the Mystic Shine Balls from the field to draw two cards, or you build a deck with a stronger focus on dropping big field setups early with the use of Archlord Kristya and Miraculous Descent.  I immediately didn’t like the build using Mystic Shine Balls because of how passive I felt it was and also the inconsistent hands you could draw with the use of Mystic Shine Ball.  Not to say that direction isn’t the best choice, it is just not what I currently prefer. I do like the aspect it brings though with all the cards it can allow you to draw, and it certainly does make your Master Hyperion stronger when you drop it.  But for me, I went with a much simpler route.  The main focus on my build is to use various draw cards to eventually set up a field with either Archlord Kristya and/or Master Hyperion backed up with multiple Divine Punishment, Solemn Judgment, or possibly a Royal Oppression in the scenarios I don’t get the chance to drop Archlord Kristya.  I was really surprised with how consistent this deck is, and it truly reminds me of Tele-Dad from back in 2008 with the use of so much negation in the form of Divine Punishment.  Lets take a look at the build I eventually decided to write about!

 

(*The new cards and their effects will be at the end of the deck list if you would like to read them*)

 

Monsters:15

2 Archlord Kristya

3 Master Hyperion

3 The Agent of Mystery – Earth

3 The Agent of Miracles – Jupiter

3 Zeradias, Herald of Heaven

1 Honest

 

Spells: 15

3 Upstart Goblin

3 Pot of Duality

3 Cards from the Sky

3 The Sanctuary in the Sky

1 Dark Hole

1 Monster Reborn

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

 

Traps: 10

3 Divine Punishment

3 Miraculous Descent

2 Solemn Warning

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Royal Oppression

 

Master Hyperion
Level 8 Fairy
2800/2100
You can remove from play 1 “Agent” monster from your side of the field, hand, or Graveyard to Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn, you can remove from play 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster from your Graveyard to select 1 card on the field and destroy it. If you control a face-up “The Sanctuary in the Sky”, you can use this effect up to twice per turn.

 

The Agent of Mystery – Earth
Level 2 Fairy Tuner
1000/800
You can remove from play 1 “Agent” monster from your side of the field, hand, or Graveyard to Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn, you can remove from play 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster from your Graveyard to select 1 card on the field and destroy it. If you control a face-up “The Sanctuary in the Sky”, you can use this effect up to twice per turn.

 

The Agent of Miracles – Jupiter
Level 4 Fairy
1800/1000
You can remove from play 1 “Agent” monster from your side of the field, hand, or Graveyard to Special Summon this card from your hand. Once per turn, you can remove from play 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster from your Graveyard to select 1 card on the field and destroy it. If you control a face-up “The Sanctuary in the Sky”, you can use this effect up to twice per turn.

 

Cards From The Sky
Normal Spell
Remove from play 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster in your hand to draw 2 cards. You cannot Special Summon or conduct your Battle Phase during the same turn you activate this card.

 

Divine Punishment
Counter-Trap
Remove from play 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster in your hand to draw 2 cards. You cannot Special Summon or conduct your Battle Phase during the same turn you activate this card.

 

So now that we have my current deck list for us to look at, I want to explain my card choices and explain just how this deck should function.  But first let me discuss the only change I was thinking of while making the final adjustments to this deck.  I was and still am undecided on the use of 3 The Sanctuary in the Sky.  If I drop one of those cards, I would look into running either a second Mystical Space Typhoon, 1 Gold Sarcophagus, or possibly a Giant Trunade.  But for now I stuck with the 3 Copies of The Sanctuary to ensure my Divine Punishments never go dead.

 

I want to now explain exactly what you should be aiming for when playing this deck.  Usually, you will use The Agent of Mystery – Earth to search for Master Hyperion and either use Master Hyperion or Archlord Kristya for removing fodder for your Cards from the Sky draw engine.  This not only lets you draw 2 cards, digging for your Divine Punishment’s, but it makes your Miraculous Descents and The Agent of Miracles – Jupiter instantly live and ready for use!  I use 3 copies of Upstart Goblin and 3 copies of Pot of Duality to make the odds of drawing Cards from the Sky and either Archlord Kristya or Master Hyperion much more likely.

 

There are certainly other ways to accomplish getting Archlord Kristya to the removed from play area, and I will go over them now.  Say you started the game by discarding Zeradias, herald of heaven to search and activate The Sanctuary in the Sky, summon The Agent of Mystery – Earth, search for Jupiter and set a Divine Punishment.  On turn two you could Special Summon the Master Hyperion by removing earth from your Graveyard or Field, remove the Zeradias to destroy a card, then you could summon Jupiter, discard a Archlord Kristya from hand to special summon Zeradias, remove the Kristya to destroy another card, and have your Kristya ready to come back with Jupiter next turn, possibly that turn if you were fortunate enough to draw a Miraculous Descent.  Also in that last scenario, if you were to have drawn a second Jupiter you could have potentially done this play:

1. remove Jupiter from hand to Special Master Hyperion

2. summon Jupiter to discard Kristya and Special Summon the other Juptiter

3. remove Kristya from the Grave and destroy a card, then

4. discard another Fairy to Special Summon Archlord Kristya to the field

 

This would leave you with 2 Jupiter, 1 Master Hyperion, Archlord Kristya, and possibly Divine Punishment(s) for protection from removal(Dark Hole) in the backrow!  There are just so many ways to create a field like this, that I just fell in love with this deck.  That was a more complicated scenario, but often times you will simply just use Cards from the Sky to remove Kristya and set a Miraculous Descent for use on your opponents turn or your own.  Pot of Duality is extremely important to this deck in my opinion because it sets up your combos by allowing you to dig for Cards from the Sky and Archlord Kristya.  Not to mention, it makes Divine Punishment, Cards from the Sky, Miraculous Descent and grabbing The Agent of Mystery – Earth all the more consistent.  Although ideally you want to summon a Archlord Kristya, you don’t have to drop it to win.  I use Royal Oppression just for the cases I cant get to a Kristya but have the rest of my set up and also for the benefit that many of my monsters are high attack or have the ability to get high attack(Jupiter).  This allows me to play my deck in a beat down style if all else fails.  YCS Rhode Island is fast approaching, and believe me, you WILL be seeing Fairies in some form at the top tables of that event.  If I was going to Rhode Island, this is probably the deck I would run.

 

So until next time, try this deck out, I know you will not be disappointed!  Be sure to read my next article as well as check my youtube channel out at youtube.com/blackluster777

 

– Ryan Spicer

 

“LEARNING THE CURVE – MYSTIC PIPER” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 06/15/2011

 

Not very often does a deck come around that completely blows my mind, especially when it seems like the Metagame has already been defined. The deck I’m about to talk about pieces together synergy and originality to make it a worthy adversary. Mystic Piper is a secret rare from Extreme Victory, making him very hard to pull. At first glance, his effect is not so stellar:

 

The combo potential with this monster is endless, so lets jump straight into it. First, I have a confession to make. I am not the innovator of the deck type, but I do understand it enough to confidently write about it.

Building your deck around one monster is a very hard thing to do, especially in this case because this monster doesn’t exactly win you games on its own. With his effect allowing you to draw 1 card (potentially 2 if you reveal a Level 1 Monster Card) it only makes sense to fill your deck with Level 1 Monster Cards. Doing so can be a very meticulous process, especially because the majority of Level One Monsters are not very good. After finding out how many monsters compliment Mystic Pipers ability, it became very easy to figure out what kind of win conditions this deck would have.  Here is a list of monsters that I believe maximizes pipers potential:

 

Battle Fader

Effect Veiler

D.D Crow

Unknown Synchron

Glow up Bulb

Treeborn Frog

Kinka-Byo

 

The list of monsters I just provided are the skeleton my current deck which we will be building and dissecting together. Most people are familiar with first six monsters I listed, but are probably rushing to Google to find the effect of the seventh monsters. Kinka-Byos effect is:

 

“This card cannot be Special Summoned. This card returns to its owner’s hand during the End Phase of the turn it is Normal Summoned or flipped face-up. When this card is Normal Summoned or flipped face-up, you can Special Summon 1 Level 1 monster from your Graveyard. When this card is removed from the field, remove from play that monster.”

 

His effect combined with Mystic Piper is the heart of the deck. Once you have used a Mystic Piper, you can use Kinka-Byos effect to revive it to activate its effect again, and since it’s a spirit monster, you get it back at the end of the turn to do it again next turn!

Now that we have the main combo figured out, it’s easy to build around the Level One Monsters. Since the majority of the monsters are Light and Dark, you would think Chaos Sorcerer should become the main beater. However, since we are running cards like Treeborn Frog, Unknown Synchron, and Battle Fader, it’s easier to bring in Monarchs. Caius the Shadow Monarch is the prime candidate, as every other Monarch has become obsolete to him. Gorz the Emissary of Darkness and Tragodeia become a very good fit in this deck because you will often use them as a defensive force, especially if you have the Kinka-Byo loop going using up your normal summon every turn. That being said, Cyber Dragon also fits in very nicely. This is how the monster line up looks right now:

 

3-Mystic Piper

3-Kinka-Byo

3-Battle Fader

3-Effect Veiler

1-D.D Crow

1-Unknown Synchron

1-Glow up Bulb

1-Treeborn Frog

3-Chaos Sorcerer

3-Caius the Shadow Monarch

2-Cyber Dragon

1-Tragodeia

1-Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

1-Sangan

 

Having the monsters finalized is probably the hardest part about this deck. The spells are probably the most straightforward things in this deck. Obviously the staple spells (the best spells that aren’t banned) make an appearance in the list. This deck is able to run Creature Swap to its full effectiveness, and when you get the Kinka-Byo loop going you tend to leave your field open every end phase. If you are able to Creature Swap your Kinka-Byo for any Monster, it is a huge advantage due to his effect allowing him to come back to your hand at the end of the turn. It becomes a devastating two for one. Creature Swap also works with any of the Level One Monsters to trade for a bigger monster when needed. Also, since we try to get Mystic Piper into play as fast as possible, we can also use One for One and Foolish Burial. To round out the rest of the spells we reserve the spot for Scapegoat since we need ways to defend effectively while trying to set up the engine.

 

3-Creature Swap

2-Mystical Space Typhoon

1-Dark Hole

1-Monster Reborn

1-Giant Trunade

1-One for one

1-Foolish Burial

1-Scapegoat

 

The problem with running a very high monster count means the deck becomes very imbalanced, so either the Spells or the Traps take a big hit. In this case, the Traps are the apparent choice, but its been proven in the past that you don’t need Traps to have an effective deck. You can take very different approaches to this by modifying the monsters so you can effectively run 3 Royal Decree, or keep this list and run a set of defensive traps like Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force or even a pair of Solemn Warning. Or, you can use the last 2 slots for destruction/negating purposes by having Dust Tornado or Trap Stun to round out your Traps. After testing, I haven’t found a solid medium for the better pair of Traps, so the choice is usually up to the duelist wielding the deck.

 

Potential cards to take out:

Treeborn Frog

Caius the Shadow Monarch

 

Potential cards to add:

Royal Decree

Cyber Dragon

Mirror Force

Torrential Tribute

Dust Tornado

Trap Stun

Solemn Warning

 

This very interesting deck type has become a front-runner in todays metagame. For a long time, people have been saying “originality is dead” but remember most decks are original before they become cookie-cutters. I strongly advise you guys to give this deck a try whether it be in person or on the virtual play field. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised. Until next time.

-Dale Bellido

 

“IMPROVING YOUR SKILLS – SIDEBOARDING WITH GRAVEKEEPERS” – BY CHRIS BOWLING

POSTED ON 06/15/2011

 

I believe one of the key skills in yugioh is to know how to sidedeck.  There is a lot that goes into sidedecking. You are limited to only 15 cards, so you have to make choices on what to sidedeck and what to cut. In this article, I will teach you what decks you need to side against and what to take in and out using a commonly played deck, Gravekeepers.

 

First of all, I am not saying in any way shape or form that gravekeepers is the best deck or is what I would run at a YCS. If I did run this at a YCS, I would more than likely make changes to the decklist. I am just using a standard list to explain how to sidedeck and the thought process you should be going through to decide which cards to side out. If you really enjoy this article, comment below and I may do more of these articles, just using different decks.

 

The whole theory behind sidedecking is to improve your odds of winning versus various decks in the format. Since you are limited on space, you must play cards that are multi-purpose. For example: I have two Effect Veiler in the side deck. When playing against plants, I would much rather have Maxx ‘C’. Effect Veiler is better against more match ups, so I stick with Effect Veiler. Plants is an easier match up than Six Samurai. Six Samurai often explodes first turn and is more difficult to beat, so I side more cards for Six Samurai. Play testing with the main deck helps discover this. Trying playtesting against all the different decks in the format just using main deck. If you have a lot of trouble with a certain deck, then dedicate more cards in your sidedeck towards it. If you still can’t beat the deck even after side decking, you should not be running that deck.

 

Monsters: 14
3 Gravekeeper’s Spy
3 Gravekeeper’s Recruiter
3 Gravekeeper’s Descendant
3 Gravekeeper’s Commandant
1 Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind
1 Gravekeeper’s Assailant

 

Spells: 13
3 Necrovalley
3 Pot of Duality
2 Royal Tribute
2 Gravekeeper’s Stele
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Book of Moon
1 Dark Hole

 

Traps: 12
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Royal Oppression
1 Dark Bribe
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Solemn Warning
2 Dimensional Prison

 

Side Deck: 15
2 Effect Veiler
2 Kinetic Soldier
2 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo
2 Cyber Dragon
1 Nobleman of Crossout
2 Dust Tornado
2 Rivalry of Warlords
2 Chain Disappearance

 

First, let’s look at the Six Samurai matchup:

 

Take out (Going first):

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Put in (Going first):

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Take out (Going second):

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Put in (Going second):

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It always amazes me to see people that I am dueling not touch their side deck going into game three. Against a lot of match ups you side deck differently going second than you do going first. Notice I only side deck Effect Veiler going second and only keep in Royal Tribute going first. A lot of people like taking out Royal Tribute even when going first against Six Samurais since they do not run a lot of monsters. I believe that is wrong. Even if Royal Tribute is a one for one, I would still take that first turn. You want to keep Six Samurai off as many monsters as you can. You do not want them syncing for Legendary Six Samurai – Shi en. When going second against Six Samurais you would rather have veiler in for two reasons. First, you want to stop them from syncroing for Shi en (I don’t know if “Syncroing” is a word, but let’s go with it).  Second, Veiler is good to stop Hand of the Six Samurai from destroying your set monster (Kinetic, Fossil Dyna, Gravekeeper’s spy, etc…). I really like dust tornado and chain disappearance against Six Samurai. Two Mystical Space Typhoon and two Dust tornado helps you get a first turn destruction for their Gateway, Six Samurai United’s, and Dojo’s. Bottomless trap hole does nothing against Kageki + Kagemusha, so I would rather have chain disappearance for Kagemusha than Bottomless Trap Hole. Kinetic Soldier is a trump card against Six Samurai. You use Solemn Warning, Solemn Judgment, Royal Oppression to keep them from syncroing and destroying your kinetic (with a non warrior syncro).

 

Plant matchup:

 

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Against plants, I may or may not side differently when going first or second. Also, sidedecking may be different against different plant decks. Notice I drop one Mystical Space Typhoon. Usually plant decks are lighter on traps than most decks, or I just don’t mind trading monsters for their spell and traps, as long as I have them on lock down with Rivalry of Warlords or Royal Oppression. Chain disappearance replaces Bottomless because I would much rather Chain Disappearance their Dandylion than Bottomless Trap Hole their Black Rose Dragon. I may keep Mirror Force in and drop a Dimensional Prision if I feel like I need it. Sometimes I even just run an extra Dimensional Prison over a Mirror Force in the main deck. Dimensional Prison can remove Stardust Dragon, Shooting Star Dragon, Card Trooper, and Sangan in the plant deck. It also hits very annoying Gravekeeper Recruiters. Also, if I play against another pro player, they will check my graveyard for Mirror Force and usually won’t play into it unless they see it in my graveyard. I sometimes would rather enjoy the benefits of the Dimensional Prison rather than play a Mirror Force and them knowing I don’t have it. Last of all, plants set a lot so Nobleman is really good. If they run Reborn Tengu’s instead and don’t run many sets, I may not side it in.

 

X-Sabers:

 

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Notice I have one difference between going first and second. I drop one Royal Tribute when I go second and put in Effect Veiler. Yes, if you drew it in the opening going second, it could potentially be very good. But…your opponent has the opportunity to set one of their monsters face down first, and has the opportunity to set Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado (if they side deck it), or play Closed Forest. Using Nobleman of Crossout on X-Sabers is very devastating. Sometimes I even side deck two Nobleman of Crossout to hit their first turn monster. It leaves many cards in their hand and face down spell/traps completely dead (XX-Saber Faultroll, Boggart Knight, Fulhelmknight, Trap Stun, Giant Trunade, if they didn’t side deck out monster reborn, gottoms’ emergency call, etc…). Say their hand is Darksoul, Fulhelmknight, Faultroll, Giant Trunade, Dark Hole, and Solemn Warning, a really great XX-Saber hand. If you Nobleman of Crossout the Darksoul, see how much it hurts their hand. It dramatically slows down the tempo of the game, so you can set Gravekeeper’s Spy and Recruiter and set a whole bunch of backrow spell/traps. All you have to have is a Mystical Space Typhoon , Seven Tools of the Bandit, Solemn Judgment, or even Dark Bribe, and you can stop their Warning. If they can’t draw a monster the next turn, they probably can’t gain enough tempo to win the game. I can’t stress enough how much I like Nobleman of Crossout against this deck. Rivalry of Warlords is really good to stop them from syncing and a lot of their monsters are different types (Boggart is Beast-Warrior, Faultroll and Pashuul are Warrior, Darksoul and Airbellum are beast). Finally, Effect Veiler is really good when they try to go off, usually proceeded with a Giant Trunade or Trap Stun.

 

Gravekeeper’s:

 

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Playing the mirror match with Gravekeepers is skill intensive. You win this match up through card advantage. You must two-for-one your opponent as many times as possible. You take out Necrovalley because your opponents Gravekeeper monsters are boosted by the same 500 ATK/DEF that your monsters are. It is a pointless -1, and you’re better off without it. You take Royal Tribute out because you take out Necrovalley. Oppression could hurt, but the only target for it is Gravekeeper’s Spy, and Oppression hits yours too. You don’t care about locking your opponent down with Necrovalley and you don’t want any -1’s in your deck, so you take out Bribe also. A quick note, Bribe is good against decks that are shut down or hurt by Bribe. Plants might be sitting on two or three cards that target the graveyard, and might top deck Giant Trunade, and you can just Dark Bribe it. Yes, it is a -1, but you keep the dead cards in their hand dead.  Effect Veiler is a very good card in the Gravekeeper mirror match. It helps you gain tempo and field presence. You can set Gravekeeper’s Spy face-down, and if your opponent uses Gravekeeper’s Descendant to destroy your Spy (or other monster), Effect Veiler is really good to stop the Descendant (and they still lose their monster). With two Mystical Space Typhoon and two Dust Tornado, you can clear away some of your opponents back row cards, and run over their monsters with Cyber Dragon or Gravekeeper’s Commandant. Nobleman is good to hit their set monsters.

 

I know I did not cover all the match ups you could possibly play, but hopefully this shed some light on sidedecking. Even if you don’t run Gravekeeper’s, I covered a lot of sidedecking tips that are good with other decks also. Remember that sometimes you side differently going first or second. Usually Trap Dustshoot is always in my sidedeck. I side it in when I go first against decks that Trap Dustshoot would not be dead against after their first turn. Example: Anti-meta sets all their spell/traps first turn, so even if I went first, I would not side in Trap Dustshoot. If I played against X-Sabers on the other hand, I would definitely side it in when I go first, because more than likely I could play it later if I drew the Trap Dushshoot. If they have two cards in their hand, you can attack their Darksoul, end turn, and they go to 4 cards. Before I go to a big tournament, I always have a detailed plan like this on what to sidedeck in and out against all the top match ups. A sidedecking plan lets you know if there are certain cards you don’t side in often, and would be better as something else. That wraps it up; I hope you enjoyed the article.

 

“HULK HOBAN – THE FORMAT OF BLIND MST” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 06/07/2011

 

I saw a recent post on ETC Forums calling this “the format of blind MST.” While it is likely that he was trying to denounce the effectiveness of the play, I’d like to call into question what has generally been regarded as a poor play considering the current state of the game and go over how I think the card Mystical Space Typhoon should be played in today’s metagame.

 


State of the Game

I’d like to point out a few things to help with my argument. First, is the style of play that is most popular at the moment. Often times the first turn of a duel will fall into one of the following catageories:

1. Special Shi En, set three.

2. Set Gravekeeper’s Spy, activate Necrovalley, set three.

3. Summon Alias, set four.

Those are three of the most commonly played decks’ opening plays.  Now why is this type of play popular? If you look back at the history of Yu-Gi-Oh! you will find a common trend in first turn set a monster and set a backrow. This all changed when Heavy Storm hit the forbidden list. While I have no control over the ban list, I’d argue that Heavy Storm was good for the game. It required players to think before overextending by setting four cards over and over which would certainly result in them being punished by Heavy Storm time and again throughout the course of a tournament.  Without the threat of any potential storms in the area, players were free to set more backrows with less fear.  Keep in mind that most players are inherently bad at the game and the player that starts with summon Alias and set four cards likely could have made a more effective play by summoning Alias and setting Dimensional Prison and Book of Moon as opposed to setting Dimensional Prison, Book of Moon, Solemn Warning, and Mirror Force keeping in mind that all of those cards serve similar purposes in that situation. My friend Matt Hoey expands on this in an article that he wrote. That article can be located here.  This trend of putting your best monster first and protecting it with whatever you have certainly is a defining characteristic of this format.

Something else that defines the current format is Solemn Warning. If Konami were to ever reprint the card, they could change the text to read “Pay 2000 life points. Your opponent ends their turn.”  Solemn Warning can effectively do just that. Players are restricted to one normal summon per turn, and with a few exceptions, special summoning is largely done through resolving your normal summon (Kageki, Boggart Knight, Lonefire, etc). If you manage to stop their summon, you have likely forced your opponent out of whatever play they were capable of making.

These changes in the state of the game call for the game to be played in a very different way.  You essentially are forced into blind MSTing an opponent’s card this format. While it may not be optimal, I’d say that it is necessary.  This does not apply as much when you are able to make reads as to what your opponent might have and you should always MST what you believe to be the card that will hurt you the most.  The problem comes from what I described above, the current manor in which most people play the game. It’s very difficult to read what card is what when your opponent starts off with Alias and set four their first turn.

A Time and a Place for Everything

Timing is one of the most important issues in Yu-Gi-Oh! and knowing when to make the push can certainly separate a good player from a bad one. Likewise, knowing when to blind MST can do the same.

Now there is a time and a place for everything. You are going to only want to blind MST when it would be most effective to do so. You must take a few things into consideration before you do something like that. One such thing is the deck that your opponent is playing. Say that they are playing Six Samurai. You went first and opened with a set MST. They set two cards and played no monsters, but it’s game 2 and you know they are playing Samurai. You know that Samurai plays 1 Gateway, 3 United, and 0-2 Dojo. That’s a lot of continuous cards that they play. The fact that they didn’t play any monsters is a strong indication that they do not have the necessary monsters to make a monster like Shi En. When they pass back to you with two sets, you have the option to blind MST one of them. This is one situation where it may be better to wait. Once they get their necessary monsters, they may then play their Continuous spells and saving it for something like Dojo can really hurt the effectiveness of their play.

Another time that you may want to conserve the use of your MST is when playing against something like Gravekeeper’s where Necrovalley excessively hurts your deck or Heroes where Skill Drain excessively hurts it.  If they summon Alias and set three, you may want to wait for them to play Skill Drain so you know for sure where it is and are able to hit it.

When Blind MST is a Good Idea

When blind MSTing into four sets is most effective is when you need to make a push. Sometimes situations will arise where you are forced to play into their sets and hope for the best. If you are graced with Mystical Space Typhoon in such a situation, take advantage of it. Do not wait for a later time if you need to make a push. Luck is a factor in Yu-Gi-Oh. Hoping to hit the one Warning out of four will sometimes be necessary. Debris Dragon into Black Rose will vs their Shi En and three sets will only be good if it works so give yourself the best chances of it working and take out one of their sets and hope for the best; a necessary evil with the current state of the game. By the same token, blind MST into four sets, set a monster and end is almost never a good idea. Blind MST is an aggressive play, don’t follow it up with a defensive one.

I said earlier that you may want to be conservative with your MST against a deck like Samurai. That, as most theory-oh does, only applies within the first few turns of the game. If they play Kagemusha and special Kizan it’s safe to assume that they don’t have United. This means that you shouldn’t save your MST for when they draw United. Go ahead and use it in a situation like this.

Another time blind MST is effective is late game. Late game, both players will likely have fewer resources than they started with (especially in today’s format). If you can simplify the game state and take away your opponent’s resources while they already had only a few, you’ll likely come out in a winning position.

Having read this, I ask that you consider whether blind MST is truly the bad play that it has widely been regarded as.  The game is ever-changing and whether it’s for the best or for the worst, you’re going to need to adapt how you play if you want to stay competitive which may mean that blind MST is sometimes a necessary evil in today’s metagame.

 


“THE MIND OF A PRO: THE NEW AGE OF HEROS”– BY MO “PRO-MOE” BRANTLEY
POSTED ON 06/07/2011

 

Ah Yes…We meet again Yugioh fans. As I continue to travel to YCS events and meet new people, more and more players tend to recognize me as “The Hero Guy”. I guess it’s due to me always entering major events like the Yugioh Championship Series with some kind of HERO variant. This past YCS in Orlando was no different, when I took a new variant of my ever so popular HERO deck to an X-2 finish in Day 1. Dueling Sensei and friend, Shin Chaos, crushed the dream of topping the event when he annihilated me on the bubble of Round 10 in Day 2 with Gravekeepers, the decks worst matchup. Nonetheless, the deck performed amazingly well for it’s debut event and with a few more tweaks and lots of playtesting, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I will shatter my Top 16 barrier and win. I cannot wait until the next YCS I play in (which just might be in Rhode Island)…It is on and popping now! I present to all of you The New Age of HEROs:

 


2 Elemental HERO Alius
2 Elemental HERO Voltic
1 Elemental HERO Ocean
1 Elemental HERO Stratos
2 DD Warrior Lady
1 Penguin Soldier
1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
1 Honest
1 Effect Veiler
12 Monsters

3 E- Emergency Call
1 Reinforcement of the Army
3 Fusion Gate
1 Terraforming
2 Miracle Fusion
1 Super Polymerization
2 Forbidden Lance
1 Giant Trunade
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
16 Spells

2 Dark Bribe
2 Solemn Warning
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Mind Crush
1 Solemn Judgment
12 Traps

Main Deck Total: 40

MONSTERS

The HERO lineup is a strong 6 monster army with Stratos leading the assault. He gets the deck going and is the optimal Turn 1 play. Digging for him couldn’t be easier with 3 copies of E – Emergency Call and the lone Reinforment of the Army. The latter which can also search out DD Warrior Lady, a late yet very powerful addition to the Deck. DD Warrior Lady can get rid of problematic monsters and clear the way for game-ending attacks. Other monsters like Penguin Soldier and Grand Mole are tech pieces of Monster removal and can also be used in conjunction with Miracle Fusion and Fusion Gate to Special Summon the big HEROs hiding in the shadows. Continuing the trend in this format, Effect Veiler is a clutch card that can seriously put a hamper on opponent’s plays. A key Effect Veiler leaves an opposing monster effect less and we all know how effects are in this game. Effect Veiler is a game-winning card so use it well! 12 Monsters may seem like a small amount but considering 4 Monster tutors and the recycling ability of Elemental HERO The Shining, the deck plays extremely consistent.

SPELLS

The Spells are designed to aid you in the HERO assault. Fusion Gate is key for the deck to be truly successful! Not only is there a full playset of it in the Deck but there is also Terraforming to aid in getting it in play. It’s like running 4 Fusion Gates! The lone Super Polymerization is surprise tech that can really turn the tides in a duel. You can snatch your opponent’s biggest threatening monster and fuse it with your own HERO to Special Summon one of the big guys:

a LIGHT Monster = Elemental HERO The Shining

a WATER Monster = Elemental HERO Absolute Zero

an EARTH Monster = Elemental HERO Gaia

**Don’t forget, you can also use your Warrior-type Monsters with your opponents Dragon-type Synchro Monsters to Fusion Summon Dragon Knight Draco-Equiste!**

TRAPS

The Traps are full of Monster removal. 2 copies each of Solemn Warning, Dimensional Prison, and Compulsory Evacuation Device ensure that a threatening monster will not be on the board for too long. Dark Bribe was chosen over Seven Tools of the Bandit because of the fact that Seven Tools cannot stop a Giant Trunade play. We all know that a Giant Trunade play is followed by an OTK of some sort or an extreme push. Dark Bribe makes a player think twice about that when you have other backrow cards as protection. Rounding off the Traps is Mind Crush. This card definitely takes skill to use. A duelist has to be prepared and know every matchup very well in order to use this card effectively. If used properly, it will stop an opposing play right in its tracks. Mind Crush is “Oh So PRO!!”

The HERO theme has been one of favorite archetypes since the initial release of Stratos and Destiny Draw a couple years ago! The deck has plenty of support already and there are many ways to build and play it. New types of HEROs are on the horizon in the form of Masked HERO and Vision HERO, so I’m not done with the theme just yet. Expect new variants of HERO decks when these new and exciting cards hit the TCG pool! Try out HEROs for yourself and join the fight to bring these warriors to Tier 1 status and a force to be reckoned with. Pro-Moe signing off for now…PEACE!!

~*Too Blessed to be Stressed*~

 

 

“BREAKING THE MOLD – YCS ORLANDO REPORT” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 06/02/2011

 

Hello once again!  Today I am going to go over YCS Orlando and discuss what I feel is the best deck of the format prior to the release of T.G. Hyper Librarian.  The deck I am going to discuss today is what I decided on playing in YCS Orlando and a deck I had relative success with.  The deck I am covering is Undine Plant Synchro!

 


My history with this deck is pretty brief.  About 3 weeks before YCS Orlando I had started testing Frog Monarch and the results were not so great.  My friend Scott Page told me to try out a build of Billy Brake’s with the Plant Engine and Genex Undine cards, and the rest is history from there.  I quickly made my own changes and updated the deck by taking out Chaos Sorcerer and Light and Darkness Dragons and adding Raiza the Storm Monarchs.  I played this deck in a local and I absolutely fell in love.  I felt so confident with the deck that I bought a ticket to Orlando to see just how well I could place with it.  I will explain my card choices and how this deck ticks later in the article, but for now lets start with the Main Deck, Sidedeck and Extra Deck that I used so we have a base for everyone to look at!

Main Deck
Monsters: 27
3 Genex Undine
2 Genex Controller
2 swap frog
2 treeborn frog
1 fishborg blaster
3 Caius the shadow monarch
3 raiza the storm monarch
2 lonefire blossom
1 dandylion
1 glow-up bulb
1 spore
1 sangan
1 battle fader
1 gorz, the emissary of darkness
1 tragoedia
2 effect veiler

Spells: 13
3 Pot of avarice
3 enemy controller
2 mystical space typhoon
1 giant trunade
1 dark hole
1 monster reborn
1 foolish burial
1 one for one

Extra Deck: 15
3 Formula Synchron
1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Black rose dragon
1 stardust dragon
1 shooting star dragon
1 scrap dragon
1 colossal fighter
2 armory arm
1 ally of justice catastor
1 gaia, knight of earth
1 brionac, dragon of the ice barrier
1 Arcanite Magician

 

So now that we have the decklist, let me start by explaining some of the common plays that you will make when using this deck.  For starters, the basic gameplan is to get treeborn and fishborg blaster into the grave so you can make a formula synchron every turn which then allows you to draw a card each and every turn.  This strategy coupled with the 3 Pot of Avarice this deck packs, allows you to synchro for Formula Synchron up to 9 times a game.  This alone makes the deck very deadly.  Drawing a total of 9 cards for free or at the very least an extra card per turn through formula is the goal of this deck.  It allows you to dig through your deck and pump out almost infinite synchros!  Pot of Avarice serves a two fold purpose in this deck.  It allows you to draw 2 cards, and it allows you to put back your synchros into your extra deck for repeated use.  This means your deck can produce multiple Stardust Dragon, Scrap Dragons, Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier and more!  A very common play is to revive your Treeborn Frog, discard a card to bring back Fishborg Blaster, tribute the Fishborg for a monarch, then discard a card to bring back fishborg once again, synchro Treeborn and Fishborg for a Formula Synchron(Level 2) drawing a card, then you can either synchro your monarch with your formula for whatever you need, or wait until your opponents turn to grab whatever level synchro monster you may need!

The purpose of the plant engine is to produce free synchros and also provide a way to make formula if you have not found a way to fishborg as of yet.  The plant engine gives this deck a way to explode, which is something frog monarch has always been lacking. Just drawing Monster Reborn and Lonefire Blossom together can produce a Shooting Star Dragon!

Next, lets discuss my particular card choices.  The most awkward (and my personal favorite) choice I think is the use of Raiza the Storm Monarch.  This card in this deck has so much power.  By running a deck like this that has no traps, it is very easy to figure out what cards on the field are dead, and therefore very good targets for Raiza.  Locking the draw for your opponent is a very strong play.  But beyond that, Raiza allows you to get around Reborn Tengu and is also more versatile than Mobius the Frost Monarch in the Main Deck.  Raiza allows you to bounce any card, which is very good against synchros and in general locking your opponents draw will allow you to control and limit what plays your opponent can make.

Many builds of this deck promote the use of Chaos Sorcerer and Light and Darkness Dragon.  In my opinion, both of these cards are poor choices, because Chaos Sorcerer doesn’t allow you to take advantage of Treeborn Frog, and also will cause inconsistent hands consisting of frogs and Chaos Sorcerer, which doesn’t do much when compared to a frog and a monarch.  Also using Monarchs makes your matchup against Gravekeeper’s that much better.  Light and Darkness Dragon just doesn’t do enough in my opinion to justify use.  It is two tributes, which will cause you to draw hands where it cannot be used, and on top of this, its effect often will not lead to victory on its own.  In my opinion, Light and Darkness Dragon will not win enough games on its own to justify all of the games it will lose you.  Besides this point, its effect is just plain less versatile than that of a monarch.  In most cases, it will lead to a plus 1 in advantage, which in my opinion is just not strong enough for this deck.

Now, lets take a look at the side deck and I will show you what I did when sidedecking against a couple of matchups.

Side Deck: 15
1 Reign Bouex of the Dark World
2 Mobius the Frost Monarch
2 Breaker the Magical Warrior
3 Puppet Plant
2 Maxx “c”
2 D.D. Crow
1 Twister
2 Soul Exchange

Gravekeeper Matchup –
Side In: 1 Reign Bouex of the Dark World 2 Mobius the Frost Monarch 2 Breaker the Magical warrior 3 Puppet Plant 1 Twister 2 Soul Exchange
Side out: 2 Lonefire Blossom 1 Dandylion 1 Spore 1 One for one 1 Battle Fader 1 Tragoedia 3 pot of avarice 1 effect veiler

Six Samurai Matchup –
Side in: 2 Mobius the Frost Monarch 2 Breaker the magical warrior 3 Puppet plant 2 Maxx “c” 1 Twister 2 Soul Exchange
Side out: 2 Lonefire Blossom 1 Spore 1 Dandylion 1 one for one 3 pot of avarice 1 giant trunade 2 effect veiler(when going 1st ) (when going 2nd keep 1 in and drop a battle fader) 1 sangan

X-Saber Matchup –
Side in: 2 Mobius 2 Breaker 2 Maxx “c” 1 Twister 2 Soul Exchange 2 D.D. Crow
Side out: 1 dandylion 2 lonefire blossom 1 spore 1 one for one 1 tragoedia 1 battle fader 1 sangan 3 pot of avarice

As you can see, you pretty much drop the plant engine each game to fit in cards that are extremely powerful in certain matchups and go for more of a Frog Monarch approach.

Final Thoughts:  After the event I think I would have liked to put 2 ryko, the lightsworn hunter in my side deck in place of the 1 Twister and 1 Reign Bouex.  Basically the Ryko would give me a solid set if my opponent popped off using Six Samurai or it would be a solid card for removal even if they didn’t open with an overwhelming hand.  Also, I thought it important to mention that Genex Controller really is not all that bad of a card to draw.  In this deck, it is often at least enough to make an armory arm(treeborn frog comes back every turn), and often times does much more due to tokens(dandy) and the 3 copies of enemy controller the deck packs.

I would consider the use of mind control also because of the sheer amount of tuners the deck runs. Although I did not make the Top 32 of YCS Orlando, that doesn’t stop me from believing this is one of the best decks in the game prior to the release of T.G. Hyper Librarian.  I ended with a 7-3 record, and I don’t think it would have mattered what deck I ran; I would have lost the matches I lost regardless because of how powerfully my opponents opened up the game.  All of my losses were to six samurai opening with 1-3 united and a gateway.  And on top of that, they won the dice roll.  I just barely missed the top cut by losing the last round, but that wont stop me from using this deck at least until the Librarian comes out and changes everything in a dramatic way! Until next time, have fun and be sure to come back for my next article!

*Note*  Genex Undine is a cost, so if your opponent tries to effect veiler it, you can still send the water from your deck to the graveyard, you just wont get to add the controller from your deck to your hand! My youtube channel is youtube.com/blackluster777
 

 

 

“INSIDE THE LOST SANCTUARY – A LOOK AT THE NEW FAIRY CARDS” – BY CHRIS BOWLING

POSTED ON 05/29/2011

 

 


Hi everyone. This is not only my first article writing for The Game Academy, but my first time writing an article over yugioh in general. I am not going to do anything special for my first article, but instead jump straight in.

The new fairy support cards are expected to come out next month on June 14th. I have been anxious for these cards to come out ever since January. I was looking through the japanese six samurai decks and stumbled across these fairy cards. Now I finally get a chance to write about them since they are coming out in June!

The first ones I want to talk about are The Agent of Mystery – Earth and Master Hyperion. The Agent of Mystery – Earth is a level 2, light/fairy tuner, 1000 ATK/ 800 DEF with the following effect:

When this card is Normal Summoned, you can add 1 “Agent” monster from your Deck to your hand, except “The Agent of Mystery – Earth”. If “The Sanctuary in the Sky” is on the field, you can add 1 “Master Hyperion” to your hand instead.

Master Hyperion is a level 8, light/fairy, 2700 ATK/ 2100 DEF with the following effect:

You can remove from play 1 “Agent” monster from your side of the field, hand, or Graveyard to Special Summon this card from your hand.

Once per turn, you can remove from play 1 LIGHT Fairy-Type monster from your Graveyard to select 1 card on the field and destroy it. If you control a face-up “The Sanctuary in the Sky”, you can use this effect up to twice per turn.

The first thing I thought when I saw Master Hyperion is a light version of Dark Armed Dragon. Both of these cards are light/fairy monsters which allows both of them to be removed from play for Master Hyperion’s effect. If you have Sanctuary in the Sky face-up, you can search out Master Hyperion with The Agent of Mystery – Earth, which you can remove the agent immediately from the field to special summon Master Hyperion. If your opponent does not respond to the summon, you can then proceed to destroy one and two cards with his effect (if you have the monsters in your grave for it).

Now, there are some builds of fairy’s that do run Sanctuary in the Sky and some that do not. The obvious draw back of running Sanctuary in the Sky is that Sanctuary in the Sky does not help you gain any type of card advantage itself. You may or may not need to search out Master Hyperion from the deck, but it certainly gives you the option to do so. If you do special summon Master Hyperion by removing an agent card from your side of the field or your graveyard while Sanctuary is face-up, and the summon is negated, then you are technically at a -1 still. That is, Sanctuary of the Sky is face-up on the field, and not in any way, shape, or form doing anything. It did not contribute to destroying one of your opponent’s cards, and making you even in card advantage. The opportunity cost of you having that face-up, dead Sanctuary is a playable card that could otherwise be useful. If you do summon the Master Hyperion and destroy a card on the field, and your opponent responds with a card (Bottomless, Torrential, ect…), then you broke even on card advantage. If you destroy two cards on the field, then you are at a +1. The other obvious draw back is drawing 2-3  Sanctuary in the Sky (depending on how many you run) and completely losing out on card advantage.

There are some positives to running Sanctuary in the Sky though. You can run Zeradis, Herald of Heaven to search out Sanctuary in the Sky.

This is a positive because you can dump a light/fairy monster searching out Sanctuary, and summon The Agent of Mystery – Earth, searching out Master Hyperion and special summon it first turn and immediately destroy a card. Being able to search your deck and special summon a 2700 ATK monster that can destroy a card on your opponents side of the field immediately does have some value to it. If you need an immediate answer to your opponent’s field, then you have the option to do so. Sanctuary is a field spell card, so you can destroy your opponent’s Necrovalley or Dragon Ravine. Also, running Sanctuary in the Sky allows you to run Divine Punishment. Divine punishment is a counter trap with the following effect:

Activate only if “The Sanctuary in the Sky” is face-up on the field.

Negate the activation of an opponent’s Spell, Trap, or Effect Monster’s effect, and destroy it.

Divine punishment is pretty much along the lines of an Infernity Barrier. Being able to negate a spell, trap, or effect monster’s effect is pretty powerful. The fairy deck can explode at times and having a divine punishment or two face-down can ensure that you have your opponent in check mate. Also, being a counter trap is a bonus. If you special summon Master Hyperion and your opponent goes to Torrential Tribute and your respond with Divine Punishment, then they cannot respond with Bottomless Trap Hole. You can also negate solemn warning or solemn judgment with this card so you can bring out your Master Hyperion.

I am a big fan of having draw cards that make my hand more consistent and get rid of not-so-great cards in my hand. Cards from the Sky accomplishes just this. It is a normal spell card which you remove one light/fairy monster to draw 2 cards. You cannot attack or conduct your battle phase in the turn you do so. This card is good. I would probably only run two though in a standard fairy deck.

You cannot just run three of The Agent of Mystery – Earth and be good on Agent monsters for Master Hyperion. You need to run more for Master Hyperion or to be able to search out with The Agent of Mystery – Earth. Most fairy decks run either The Agent of Miracles – Jupiter or The Agent of Creation – Venus. If you are running Sanctuary in the Sky, more than likely you will run Jupiter. Most people in Japan not running Sanctuary run The Agent of Creation – Venus. Here is Jupiter’s effect:

The Agent of Miracles – Jupiter Level 4, Light/Fairy, 1800 ATK/ 1000 DEF Once per turn, you can remove from play 1 “Agent” monster from your Graveyard to select 1 face-up LIGHT Fairy-Type monster you control. It gains 800 ATK until the End Phase. Once per turn, if “The Sanctuary in the Sky” is on the field, you can discard 1 Fairy-Type monster from your hand to select 1 of your removed from play LIGHT Fairy-Type monsters, and Special Summon it.

The first effect allows Jupiter to become a 2600 ATK monster until the end phase and attack over cards like Legendary Six Samurai – Shi-en, Stardust Dragon, Monarchs, or Naturia Barkion. Using this effect too much can make it hard to summon Master Hyperion. The second effect will not necessarily gain you card advantage, but can help you explode. You can discard a fairy monster to special summon The Agent of Mystery – Earth and sychro for Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.

You can then remove the two agent cards and special summon two Master Hyperion’s. You can also Special Summon an Archlord Kristya from your removed from play which is sometimes hard to get rid of.

The Agent of Creation – Venus can special summon a whole bunch of Mystical Shine Ball’s from your deck or hand by paying 500 life points each. The downside to this is having to run Mystical Shine Ball. You can offset this by running White Elephant’s gift but run into the problem of drawing dead White elephant’s gifts later on. Special summoning so many Shine Balls can have some benefits though. You can synchro with Earth + Venus + 2 Shine Ball for Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, or in different combinations for a level 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 synchro monster. Venus plus 3 shine balls is 2800 ATK which counts for something. Dropping all the light fairy monsters allows you to summon Archlord Kristya faster, either by Tribute Summon or Special Summon.

Another notable combo to mention is you can pitch Hecatrice to search Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen and special summon Kristya. The only problem with this is you do not get Kristya’s effect and you pretty much take a -1 from the Valhalla.

There is a lot more fairy cards I could talk about and a lot of more deck options I can discuss, but for times sake, I will discuss them another time. I hope you enjoyed my first article and hope you took something useful when you start playtesting faeries. Faeries is definitely a top contender in the format, but we will have to wait and see at YCS Rhode Island how well this deck performs.

Check out my YouTube channel here.

 

 

LEARNING THE CURVE – SHIFT IN THE META – TENGU PLANTS FABLED STYLE ” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 05/28/2011

 

 


It has almost been a month since the release of these two pivotal sets, and the game has not been this diverse in recent memory. Every local tournament I attended after these sets have become legal, a handful of new decks have been catching my eye. In my last article I talked about the effect of these new cards on older and once dominant archetypes, but it’s time to take a look into the near future. With the World Qualifier season currently running, the tournaments become a lot tougher to prepare for. Without a metagame to follow, many players have been rummaging through certain Yu-Gi-Oh! forums to find the next big deck. Today I will try to make everyone’s lives a little bit easier and integrate some solid ideas and legitimate deck options for my readers to try out.

 

Around a year ago the biggest North American Yu-Gi-Oh! Tournament brought a decktype to the headlines by winning. Quickdraw- Plants piloted by Jeff Jones took the tournament by storm, and since then the deck hasn’t tasted victory. The archetype has now been molded into plant-debris variations, which runs debris dragon, lonefire blossoms, dandylion, spore and glow up bulb as its core with different types of support. With the release of Reborn Tengu it may have pushed this decktype back into the top spot, the simple combo of lonefire blossom and reborn tengu can end with a field of a level 5 and 8 synchro monster of your choice via spore.  The versatility of Reborn Tengu in a deck like this is uncanny; with the ability to make multiple synchros while not losing any advantage to construct them and the decks natural play style of recycling the graveyard, expect Tengu-debris-plants to become one of the most played decks in tournaments to come. But with the release of Trishula, the quickdraw-plant deck has been seeing a lot of play. It has incorporated Junk and Doppel warriors into this heavy synchro based deck, with unlimited amounts of weapons in the extra deck and effortless ways to summon them this archetype has a potential to be a front-runner. Having just built this deck, I discovered myself winning numerous games with the same scenario playing out over and over; having a drill warrior recycling my debris dragons and junk warriors while having a decree face up and using a wall of tokens as my defense I found myself in a position of control almost all the time. Perhaps the reason this deck has become effective is the ability to summon trishula with ease. Formula synchron is a very common card to see both these decks play. These decks can set up devastating plays where you synchro on your opponents turn which are virtually unstoppable or the instant pressure it puts on your opponent by just ending your turn with them on the field adds a very dangerous weapon to its repertoire.

 

A lot of hype will probably be surrounding Tengu-Plants decks in the next couple of months; But Hidden Arsenal 4 re-introduced the Fabled archetype. Fabled has been lingering around the game since hidden arsenal 2 but hasn’t had its full armory till the release of the 4th arsenal set. Just like Plants, Fabled has been seeing its archetype mixed with different strategies. The fabled engine is arguably less effective then plants but adds the explosiveness of multiple snychros on the same turn. Reborn Tengu has also been incorporated into this deck, with the same reasons I stated above about why it is effective in plants. The way fabled decks are played effectively is similar to Karakuri, begin a turn by activating a negation card (Trapstun or Giant Trunade) and proceed to flood your board with multiple synchros and if you don’t finish your opponent that turn you end with a handful of advantage. This deck has enormous combo potential. A card I have been tinkering around with is De-syncrho, if you are able to make a fabled ragin with a tengu and you happen to have drawn a De-synchro you can easily tune it into a Trishula. Although this deck hasn’t been given enough respect from the competitive tournament scene, I still feel that it has the capacity to run in the top tiers.

 

This article has seemed to be molded into a Reborn Tengu discussion, and rightfully so. I have witnessed decks just splashing 3 Tengu’s winning locals. Without a complicated game plan and simply sacrificing and synchroing with him once a turn, has become good enough to beat anyone on any given day. Obviously shows that this might be one of the best cards released to date. Although I have criticized Konami numerous times in the past by the rarity given to certain cards and the inability to easily acquire them I have to praise the fact that they made the best card in the set the one of the easiest to get, but lets not forget what they did with Trishulas North American Pull rate.

 

Like I stated in the beginning of this article, the game has become unbelievably diverse and it makes it very difficult for me to fit all of these decktypes into a couple of articles, but make sure to follow The Game Academy Online to catch the next installment of this article. Until Next time!

 

 

“HULK HOBAN – MAKING META CALLS” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 05/24/2011

 

 


Making Meta calls

Deck building is just as important in Yu-Gi-Oh right now as it has ever been. Regardless of what deck type you are playing, you should consider what is widely played when deciding how to go about making a particular play, playing a certain deck, or choosing to run or not run certain cards in your deck. The biggest thing is when you are considering what to play and how to go about playing it; you don’t want to get too specific. You want to leave generalizations that you can consider true for most of meta.

Making the Right Plays

If you take notice, you can generalize that Samurai do not main deck Torrential Tribute. This doesn’t mean that they should or should not be playing it, it just means that most of them do not. Knowing this going into a tournament of any size will certainly influence you in a positive manner. This can allow you to do plays that would otherwise lose to Torrential when playing against the deck that would put you in a good position without much fear of the card.

You should try to notice potential patterns from deck lists that top. By the same token, try to avoid patterns that you see online. If you were to go to just about any Yu-Gi-Oh forum right now, about every other deck that you would see would revolve around Tengu. People mainly use these as a way of expressing their ideas, especially on new cards. Rarely do people post their decks that they plan on running at YCSs on Duelistgroundz or Pojo.

Another thing you should consider is where you are playing. Perhaps the current trend is to exclude Mirror Force from almost every deck for whatever reason. You should keep this trend in mind if you are 6-1 at a YCS. While it may be a factor if you are at your local or even regional, the people you are playing there may not necessarily keep up with the trends of the meta as much as they probably should.

Playing a Certain Deck

Another thing that you are going to want to avoid doing is making bad meta calls when selecting your deck type. For example, Fish have a terrible matchup against Samurai. Since Samurai are such a large portion of the current meta, I would think it to be unwise to play Fish at a big event. By the same token, if I thought Samurai to be the most popular deck, I might play Plants because of the good matchup that they enjoy against Samurai. And if I thought Gravekeeper were going to be the most popular deck, I would avoid Plants altogether. And so on and so on. The coverage from the YCSs is extremely valuable information that you should examine. Remember, you’re trying to win and therefore should be playing what you think will win the event. A deck with a bad matchup to Gravekeeper’s and Samurai will almost surely come nowhere near the top tables this format.

Playing With or Without Certain Cards

Okay, you’ve got your deck. You think it is the best choice considering the current meta trends and most common decks played. Now you are going to want to optimize what build of the deck you are going to play.

The best example I can think of is running Effect Veiler. While the card certainly has its benefits to running it, you should once again consider the top decks.  Let’s say that for the sake of argument that the three best, or most commonly played, decks right now are Six Samurai, Gravekeeper’s, and Heroes. Consider how effective each card is against each of those particular matchups. For this example, consider Effect Veiler.

Against Six Samurai – It is very limited in what it stops. Veilering Kageki is not a very optimal play. Be it sometimes necessary, it is always a minus in advantage and they can just do it against next turn if you don’t have a follow up to answer the Kageki. Couple that with the release of Dojo which almost entirely allows the Samurai player to play around Veiler. They can also just use Hand to tribute itself to play around Veiler in that respect as well.

Against Gravekeeper’s – Again, the card is not that effective. The absolute best thing that you can Veiler is a flip on a Spy. Veiler on a Descendant is not that great either. Chances are, if you are Veilering a Descendant, they are searching off of Recruiter which definitely diminishes the effectiveness of a potential Veiler play.

Against Heroes – Outside of Veilering Stratos, this card has almost no uses in the matchup.

That being said, the card is not very effective against any of the top 3 decks. If you consider these things, you will probably want to steer away from maining multiple copies unless your deck calls for it.

Another example of basing card choices off of the current meta trends can be found in Ryan Spicer’s article where he talks about not maining Royal Tribute because of the current trend among the top 3 decks of not running more than about 14 monsters.

Another example is the rise in popularity of Seven Tools of the Bandit. Solemn Warning is very close to staple in every deck. Usually a Solemn Warning can essentially end a player’s turn. The increased popularity of Seven Tools is an example of evaluating the meta and attempting to counter it. Seven Tools can allow you to press through a Solemn Warning and any other threats that may exist and ensure that your play goes off without a hitch. This is even more effective because of the lack of quick-play spells played that can potentially break up plays even since Book of Moon hit the restricted list.

One final example is the exclusion of Bottomless Trap Hole from the main of almost every deck at the moment. This is because it can do little in the current metagame. Consider the fact that Samurai is very heavily played, but Bottomless can do nothing towards stopping a Shi En. A much more useful choice at the moment is Dimensional Prison which can stop almost everything that Bottomless can, but can also stop things like Emmersblade or Mystic Tomato. It is also more effective when playing around Shi En as it eliminates Magatama as a potential out to you stopping them.

All of those factors are something you should consider when you are building your deck and actually playing the game. Remember to generalize as that will get you the farthest. While a Samurai player may choose to play Torrential and everything I said is definitely not absolute by any means, they are fairly safe assumptions. I can tell you now that it’s going to pay off against Samurais to make plays that would lose to Torrential and win out if they don’t have it knowing that most of them do not play it than the occasional time that you lose out to the random Samurai guy playing the card. Until next time.
 

 

 

“BREAKING THE MOLD – THE FABLED” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 05/19/2011

 

 


YCS Orlando is fast approaching and a lot of new decks are bound to pop up with the numerous new cards that have been thrown into the card pool.  In my last article, I covered the Worm archetype and how it may make some splashes at upcoming Premier Events.  Today, I again want to go over a new deck that has been talked about for a while now, and in my opinion will make an appearance in some way at the upcoming YCS.  This deck will only gain strength with the release of T.G. Hyper Librarian, but at its current level the Fabled Archetype has a good shot at making waves in the coming months!

T.G. Hyper Librarian
Spellcaster
Level  5 Synchro
2400/1800
1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
While this card is face-up on the field, each time a Synchro Monster(s) is Synchro Summoned, draw 1 card for each.

When I first thought to write this article, I really didn’t know much about Fabled’s at all aside from the well-known fact that they are centered around discarding to the graveyard.  I knew I would need to do a lot of research catching up on all the potential cards that this deck could use.  At the end of this research, I came up with my own version of the deck and a solid approach to using this deck.  Some things I learned about using this deck is that it has scary potential and can gain enormous advantage within a turn or two.  I’ll start off this article with the build that I eventually decided to write about, and go into some of its combos and ways to combat this deck when you end up sitting across from it at an upcoming event!

Monsters:  24
3 Fabled Grimro
3 The Fabled Cerburrel
3 Fabled Krus
3 The Fabled Ganashia
3 The Fabled Chawa
1 Fabled Kushano
1 Morphing Jar
1 Glow-Up Bulb
2 Snipe Hunter
3 Gravekeeper’s Spy
1 Gravekeeper’s Descendant

Spells:  8
1 Monster Reborn
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Book of Moon
1 Giant Trunade
3 Pot of Avarice

Traps:  8
2 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
2 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Solemn Warning
1 Solemn Judgement
1 Mirror Force

Now that we have a decklist to work off of, lets take a look at some of these cards individually and there effects along with the Fabled Synchros; because I know I didn’t know very many of these cards prior to working on this myself!

Fabled Grimro
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Fiend/Effect
Level:4
ATK/DEF: 1700/1000
While you control a face-up “Fabled” monster, you can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard to add 1 “Fabled” monster other than “Fabled Grimro” from your Deck to your hand.

Fabled Krus
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Fiend/Effect
Level:  2
ATK/DEF: 1000/800
When this card is discarded from the hand to the Graveyard, Special Summon 1 Level 4 or lower “Fabled” monster other than this card from your Graveyard.

The Fabled Cerburrel
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Beast/Tuner
Level:  2
ATK/DEF: 1000/400
When this card is discarded from the hand to the Graveyard, Special Summon it.

The Fabled Chawa
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Beast/Tuner
Level: 1
ATK/DEF: 200/100
Activate this card’s effect during your Main Phase. Discard 1 “Fabled” monster, and Special Summon this card from your hand.

The Fabled Ganashia
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Beast/Effect
Level: 3
ATK/DEF: 1600/1000
When this card is discarded from your hand to the Graveyard, Special Summon it. If this card is Special summoned by this effect it gains 200 ATK, and when this card is removed from the field, it is removed from play.

Fabled Kushano
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Fiend/Tuner
Level:  3
ATK/DEF: 1100/800
If this card is in your Graveyard, you can discard 1 “Fabled” monster (except “Fabled Kushano”) to add this card from your Graveyard to your hand.

Fabled Leviathan
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Fiend/Synchro/Effect
Level:  10
ATK/DEF: 3000/2000
1 “Fabled” Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monster.
When this card on the field is destroyed and sent to the Graveyard, you can select up to 3 “Fabled” monsters in your Graveyard. Add the selected monsters to your hand.

Fabled Valkyrus
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Fiend/Synchro/Effect
Level: 8
ATK/DEF: 2900/1700
1 “Fabled” Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters
Once per turn, you can discard 1 Fiend-Type monster to draw 1 card.

Fabled Ragin
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Fiend/Synchro/Effect
Level: 5
ATK/DEF: 2300/1800
“1 Fabled” Tuner Monster + 1 or more non-Tuner Monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned while you have no more than 1 card in your hand, you can draw cards until you have 2 cards in your hand.

The Fabled Unicore
Attribute: LIGHT
Types: Beast/Synchro/Effect
Level: 4
ATK/DEF: 2300/1000
1 “Fabled” Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters.
If both players have the same number of cards in their hands, the effect(s) of Effect Monsters, Spell Cards, and Trap Cards your opponent activates are negated and destroyed.

So now that we know what all these crazy cards do, lets talk about why certain cards were chosen for this deck and why they work so well in here.  I’ll start talking about the set of Gravekeeper’s Spy and single copy of Gravekeeper’s Descendant.  Mainly, I like using the Spys because they allow me to either go into Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier by flipping spy, searching another and synchroing with a level 1 tuner (Chawa or Glow-Up Bulb), or I can flip a spy, search for a descendant, destroy a card on field, set my hand and then synchro into a Fabled Ragin which then allows me to draw two new cards.  Also, their high defense can allow me to stall for turns if I don’t quite have a set up ready to go off with.

Next lets look at a card I really like in here… SNIPE HUNTER!  This one was a little strange, but it fit the bill perfectly.  Its level four status allows me to combine it with Chawa or bulb to make Fabled Ragin, and at the same time allows me to discard my cards in hand and special summon them to the field while at the same time destroying my opponents cards!  This one accomplishes two goals at once.  It provides an outlet for getting the Fabled on the field to do their magic, and clearing the field so it is safe for them when they do make it there. A common play in this deck is to special summon multiple Fabled’s, set your hand, synchro for a Ragin, draw two more cards, Synchro for a Stardust dragon(potentially), use a Pot of avarice to refill your hand even more, then set some defense and grind out from that point on.  Other support cards such as Phoenix Wing Wind Blast provide a three-way benefit; they provide a discard outlet, a flexible defense, and a way to clear the opponents backrow cards.

Next, I would like to go over some cards that really hurt this deck so you can be prepared for this matchup when you finally do face it! (or be ready for these cards if you are using Fableds!)

1st – D.D. Crow – this card absolutely shuts this deck down.  Whether your stopping the all important Pot of Avarice, Fabled Krus, Fabled Cerburrel etc, this card is going to hurt.  It shouldn’t take long at all to figure out when exactly you should be using your D.D. Crow to cripple your opponent.

2nd – Effect Veiler – this one is good for stopping Fabled Ragin, Trishula or any major threat your opponent can dish your way.  This is not only good against Fabled, but many other top tier decks(hello X-Saber!), so this should be seeing a lot of play in either your main deck, or at least your sidedeck.

3rd – Maxx “C” – this one is personally my favorite against Fableds.  When your opponent starts their shenanigans, you just discard this bad boy(drawing a card and replacing itself) and your opponent is going to be faced with a choice, either keep synchroing and allowing you to continue drawing cards, or stop right there with all of the weak Fabled cards on the field vulnerable.  Since Fabled’s aren’t much until they get to synchroing, you should easily be able to clear the Fableds that did make it to the field, and destroy them before they can do much of anything.

4th – Light-Imprisoning Mirror – this one is has dual purpose and shuts down not only Fableds, but the new Worm deck that I discussed in my last article.

The Fabled archtype is an emerging deck that will be played in the coming months.  I don’t believe they will be the most dominant deck, but they will make a splash depending if someone can truly break this deck wide open.  Also with the release of T.G. Hyper Librarian, this deck will only gain strength.  After its release, I would assume that this deck will re-center its focus on dropping the Librarian and drawing numerous cards off of its effect.

Another approach to using this deck is dropping The Fabled Unicore, which allows you to negate any card your opponent can throw your way.  But that is a build of the deck that I would like to save for next time!  So, until then, be prepared for this deck, and you better know that the Fableds will be making their appearance at YCS Orlando!  Until next time, remember to have fun, thanks for reading and remember to check out my next article that will feature another strategy you can use with this archetype!
 

 

 

“LEARNING THE CURVE – SHIFT IN THE META – EXTREME VICTORY & HIDDEN ARSENAL 4” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 05/15/2011

 

 


As a competitive duelist it is very important to keep up with the current Metagame to remain successful. Doing so could prove to become a difficult task especially when new sets are introduced. With the release of Hidden Arsenal 4 and Extreme Victory the current meta is about to change dramatically, and a wave of very powerful synchros and support for existing archetypes will definitely make this years Nationals season one for the history books.  Today we will take a look at decks that have become affected by the release of these two sets.

The current metagame consists of Six Samurai, Gravekeepers, Hero Variants and Fish OTK.  All of these decks have been making waves across the world, constantly putting up amazing results at Premier events.  Six Samurai has been transgressing as the format evolves and it is given a chance to redeem itself. This deck receives support from EXVC in form of Shiens Dojo, which is the perfect card to replace the two Gateways vanished to the restriction list, and it may provide the speed that it lost and potentially re-integrate the once devastating Mizuho-Shinai infinite counter combo.  Elder of the Six Samurai is also another card that deserves a second look because of Asceticism of the Six Samurai. It will act as an Auto Legendary Shien if you have just a Kagemusha without a Kageki; this gives the deck another two-card combo to consistently summon Legendary Shien on the first turn, which was a big part of the decks success.

Although Gravekeeper and Hero Decks didn’t receive any obvious support they still have the tools that are able to keep up with the new decks, with the ability to still stun your opponents plays. Don’t be surprised if they don’t leave anytime soon. Since there were no obvious support cards for these two deck types, I’ve seen many duelists incorporating different tuners in both decks to try and summon the Level 9 Dragon of the Ice Barrier. Trishula has gathered a lot of hype since its introduction to the OCG awhile back. Thanks to Hidden Arsenal 4 he has been formally released into our competitive tournament scene and every deck has been trying to include him by any means necessary.

Fish O.T.K has become a nuisance to play against, with the ability to kill you on any given turn except the first unless you have the perfect answer makes it one of the most feared decks by duelists today. This deck has received a gigantic boost from the release of Trishula, and it has been able to lose the tag of one turn kill and now successfully add First Turn Kill to its repertoire. The original version of the deck was able to use summon Super ancient Deep-sea King Coelacanth to bring out any synchros it needed to win, whether it needed to deal 8000 life point damage while clearing a board full of monsters or using its infamous Armory Arm- Colossal Fighter combo to deal with an indestructible field, the deck had all the tools to do so. Although it sounds like the deck is unbeatable, it is still a combo deck. Combo decks run into consistency issues since it trys to incorporate cards that are not necessarily considered good but are needed in order for the deck to function to its full potential. Although Trishula doesn’t help the original decks main goal, it does add a brand new game plan to this archetype. His release adds a very scary weapon to his deck as now it is able to kill your opponent even before they draw their sixth card. The deck has now integrated a very complicated combo where you summon a Coelacanth on the first turn and drop a bunch of synchro monsters and use Brionac, Dew Loren, Formula Synchro, and Level Eater to summon Trishula five times on the first turn on the game and end with a Formula Synchron plus 2 monsters to drop Trishula on your opponents main phase one leaving them with no cards and allowing you to attack with everything you have on the next turn for game. While this combo might not make sense to you right now make sure to stay tuned to my next Learning the Curve Series where I will fully break down this combo for all you duelists to learn.

This is just a tip of the iceberg of the changing times ahead, today we looked at how Extreme Victory and Hidden Arsenal 4 effects the big decks in our current metagame. But the possibilities are almost endless, as Next week I will be talking about how new and old archetypes are re/introduced and the effects it will have on our National season.

Until Next time,
Dale Bellido

 

 

“THE MIND OF A PRO: YCS DECK CONTENDER – DOPPEL PLANT SYNCHRO” – BY MO “PRO-MOE” BRANTLEY

POSTED ON 05/14/2011

 

 


The game of Yu-Gi-Oh! has evolved tremendously since the initial start over 10 years ago. The Yugi & Kaiba starter decks got nothing on Dragunity Legion & sets like Duelist Revolution! This game has become so complex that even the older players find themselves confused during play interaction. There are several combo decks that are currently played that clearly demonstrate the complexity of game-play that can happen in a single turn. When I took an earlier version of Crystal Beasts to a Regional event, I had the pleasure of playing against one of the best players in the state, Jason Campbell, piloting a version of Plant Synchro. Seeing what the deck can do and all the different  plays that can be made in a single turn were very intriguing to me. Our match was, dare I say it, FUN! It even inspired me to play the deck myself. Here is a version of Doppel Plant Synchro I plan on testing for the upcoming Yugioh Championship Series in Orlando, Florida.

Doppel Plant Synchro

1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Doppelwarrior
2 Lonefire Blossom
1 Dandylion
1 Glow-Up Bulb
1 Spore
2 Junk Synchron
2 Debris Dragon
2 Card Trooper
2 Ryko, Lightsworn
2 Lyla, Lightsworn
20 Monsters

2 Pot of Avarice
1 Charge of the Light Brigade
1 Tuning
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Foolish Burial
1 Mind Control
1 Enemy Controller
1 Book of Moon
1 Giant Trunade
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
12 Spells

2 Trap Stun
2 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Limit Reverse
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Solemn Judgment
8 Traps

As with any deck idea, you need to have your skeleton list or core lineup down pact. Here the Plant Engine is what you wish to abuse most. 2x Lonefire Blossom, Dandylion, Glow-Up Bulb, and Spore are essential to the deck, with Dandylion being the card you want to see in the Graveyard as soon as possible. Double Lonefire definitely  helps you see it happen early on too! 2x Doppelwarrior supports the Revival abuse of 2x Junk Synchron and 2x Debris Dragon. And there is also Spore, Glow-Up Bulb, Monster Reborn, Call of the Haunted, and my tech card Limit Reverse to activate Doppelwarrior.

The graveyard is very important so milling plays a moderate role in this deck. And who can do that better than a strong Lightsworn engine. 2x Ryko and 2x Lyla mills 3 cards when their effects go off while taking care of problematic cards like Dimensional Prison and  Necrovalley (the decks worst nightmare). Charge of the Light Brigade also gets the party started by milling 3 cards AND searching for Ryko or Lyla. Card Trooper also supports the theme by pumping up to 1900 ATK by milling up to 3 cards. This lets you run over monsters like Elemental Hero Stratos and it can even trade with Thunder King Rai-Oh. Drawing a card when destroyed is a plus too! With all this milling potential, the graveyard will definitely be set for your Synchro Plays and Pot of Avarice will always be live.

The decks ace monsters lie in the Extra Deck and this is where gameplay becomes complicated. Doppel Plant Synchro uses a deck full of floaters to generate more floaters which in turn can be used for card advantage purposes. In the case of this deck, Synchro Monsters act as the “boss” monsters of the deck. Having 15 additional monsters that can be played without the need of drawing them is epic. A common, yet powerful, play is to Normal Summon Debris Dragon activating it’s effect and targeting Dandylion in the Graveyard. When Dandylion is Special Summoned, you can then Special Summon Doppelwarrior from your hand. You can then tune Debris Dragon (4) to Dandylion (3) + Doppelwarrior (2) to Synchro Summon Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (9)…AND getting a total of 4 Tokens that can used for more Synchro Summoning action or even tribute fodder. What a game changing play! The possibilities of plays for this deck are endless because of recycling and the ability to maintain advantage over the opponent.

YCS Orlando is going to be a very exciting event! This format is still very much wide open so it’s anyone’s game. Lots of players have been going around trying to figure out what is going to be the deck to beat, but I think the question should definitely be, “WHO is the PLAYER to beat?” With so many different deck ideas to play, it comes down to a person’s individual deck building and playing skills to determine his success at an event. Doppel Plant Synchro is just one of many decks that I am tempted to play due to it’s sheer complexity and explosiveness of plays. “If you know what you’re doing…You will be just fine!” Pro-Moe signing off for now…Peace!

 

 

“BREAKING THE MOLD – WORMS!” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 05/01/2011

 

The sneak preview for the new set “Extreme Victory” just hit, and with it new deck types are going to pop up.  There is a lot of buzz going around some of the new TCG exclusives such as Tengu Reborn and there certainly should be.  Tengu Reborn is going to see a lot of play and will probably bring forth new deck types that could not exist without it.

 


So today, I wanted to write about something completely different.  I want to go over a new trap card that is going to take worms to new heights and potentially make it an YCS level competing deck.  This new card is listed below with its effect:

W Nebula Meteorite
Normal Trap
“ All face-down monsters on the field are changed to face-up Defense Position.  During the end phase of this turn, all face-up Light Reptile-Type monsters you control are changed to face-down defense position, then you draw a number of cards equal to the number of those monsters.  Then, you special summon 1 level  7 or higher Light-Reptile-Type monster from your deck.”

This is exactly what the deck needed; a win condition.  Before the deck could maintain itself and stay in a game, but it had no way to really WIN.  I played against the deck in a side event at YCS Charlotte, and it was able to stay in the game against my Gravekeeper deck for a while, but when it came down to it, it had no game enders, or in other words a consistant win condition.  Before, it had many good effects and support cards to make it a contender, but now it has a way to really put the hurt on someone by using the meteorite to bring out this bad boy:

Worm King
Level 7
Light/Reptile – 2700 Attack/1100 Defense
This card can be Tribute Summoned in face-up Attack Position by Tributing 1 Reptile-Type “Worm” monster. You can Tribute 1 Reptile-Type “Worm” monster to select 1 card your opponent controls, and destroy it.

So the new Trap Card W Galactic Meteorite not only lets you draw multiple cards, but it also allows you to summon a monster with a destruction effect that also has a high attack.  Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Now, I would like to go through some of the other worm cards and support cards that will eventually lead into a deck that can be used for a base that everyone reading can use to build from.

Worm Xex 
Light level 4
1800/1000
When this card is Normal Summoned, you can send 1 Reptile-type “Worm” monster from your Deck to the Graveyard. If you control a face-up “Worm Yagan”, this card cannot be destroyed by battle.

Worm Yagan
Light Level 4
1000/1000
If the only monster you control is “Worm Xex”, you can Special Summon this card from your Graveyard in face-down Defense Position. If you do, remove it from play when it is removed from the field. When this card is flipped face-up, select 1 face-up monster your opponent controls, and return in to it’s owner’s hand.

Worm Cartaros
Light Level 4
1200/500
FLIP: Add 1 Level 4 or lower Reptile-Type “Worm” monster from your Deck to your hand.

Worm Apocalypse
Light Level 1
300/200
FLIP: Select and destroy 1 Spell or Trap Card.

Evil Dragon Ananta
Dark Level 8
?/?
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card cannot be Special Summoned except by removing from play all Reptile-Type monsters from your side of the field and Graveyard. This card’s ATK and DEF are each equal to the number of Reptile-Type monsters you removed x 600. During each of your End Phases, destroy 1 card on the field.

Offering To The Snake Deity
Normal Trap Card
Destroy 1 Reptile-Type monster you control and 2 cards your opponent controls.

Okay now we have some of the basics, lets start by looking at a basic model of the deck you can use to build off from, and maybe make even better!  I’m going to take a defensive approach with this deck that slow plays until your able to dig for your most important cards.

Worms!

Monsters: 17
3 Worm King
3 Worm Xex
3 Worm Yagan
3 Worm Cataros
1 Worm Apocalypse
1 Honest
2 Effect Veiler
1 Evil Dragon Ananta

Spells: 6
3 Pot of Duality
1 Book Of Moon
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn

Traps: 17
3 Offering to the Snake Deity
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Solemn Warning
3 W Nebula Meteorite
3 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Dimensional Prison
1 Starlight Road

Honorable Mention:

Caius the Shadow Monarch – with all of the free floaters this deck produces, having a card to put them to use after their effects have taken place seems like a good idea.  Also it provides removal for any card and is a strong attacker.

So now that we have a base for the deck, lets go over on just how it should be played.  This is going to be more of a control deck, and should be played accordingly.  Generally, you will slow play until you are able to get to your key cards such as Evil Dragon Ananta or W Galactic Meteorite.  Both of these cards are where your games will finally be won.  You basically will want to grind down your opponent with cards such as Offering to the Snake Deity and then bring out the big finishers like Worm King and Evil Dragon Ananta to take away the rest of their resources and finally win the game through attacking.  This is definitely not the only approach you can take while attempting to build this deck, but I think it is a solid route you can take.  Another approach I had thought of involved using upstart goblin to dig for your Meteorites even faster, but this route is what I eventually settled with.

This deck has a lot of neat tricks and I really like the Offering to the Snake Deity card it packs.  With this card in combination with seven tools of the bandit(stops trap stun), your opponent should have a lot of trouble synchroing or swarming you.  Also, the importance of using seven tools is so great because it stops opposing seven tools, and on top of that stops your opponent from negating your Meteorite with Solemn Warning.

Whether this deck becomes the next YCS Competitor or not, it will be something that will be making splashes in the near future, so I would advise taking the initiative and prepare for it before you sit across from it at your next high level tournament.  Until next time, thanks for reading and be sure to come back for my next article!

Ryan Spicer
 

 

 

“LEARNING THE CURVE – MIRACLE HEROES PART II” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 05/01/2011

 

Welcome back duelist. Dale here again so let us continue from where we last left off. After looking into the Main deck and acknowledging the functions of all the cards we are able to decipher the basic function of the deck. Today we are going to look at how the deck stacks up in different stages of the game while learning how to handle them accordingly.

 


The Early game is not really signified by a certain amount of turns, but usually the phase where you try to establish your position. Miracle Heroes have a tremendous early game advantage to most decks. Whether you are going first or second the pace doesn’t vary as much as other decks, very similar to Gravekeepers (which I believe has the best early game match ups) the play you make on the first turn is almost exactly the same as if you were to play second. The ability to summon an above average Level 4 monster with a piece or two of legitimate protection, you’re in line to create your early game presence with minimal to no thinking required. The ideal summon on the first turn in almost any case is Elemental Hero Stratos, the ability to become a floater instantly when its summoned and gain board presence without any commitment makes its one of the best opening monster plays in the game today. In some cases Thunderking Rai-oh might be the better summon (barring that you’ve drawn him with Stratos) in certain match ups but we will analyze that a bit later on. With the high amount of destruction and disruption cards in the deck you should rarely go a game without opening one or two pieces of protection.

The Mid game is where this deck is pushed to its boundaries, without the capacity to consistently end games quickly with a single turn it strives to maintain the presence it found in the early stages of the game. Since the deck is meant to keep pressure on your opponent by having an answer to most of their plays you would be in the running to take this down. But most decks now tend to increase the pace of the game as the turns go on and build up their field presences then dish out a much stronger assault. In about half of the cases (after play-testing) you are able to deal with it drawing the average hand but sometimes get instantly blown out by OTK rushes because you were unable to draw the piece of negation to prevent it. Decks like KMP (Karakuri-Machina-Plant) are a prime example of the OTK rushes, because it basically builds up a hand with only two parts to become successful –with a piece of clearance (Trap Stun or Giant Trunade) and the combo cards, hence making it very hard to predict when it is going to emerge. Although the deck has a lot of disruption its very hard to deal with combo decks that use a clearance cards to front its assault. That doesn’t mean it automatically loses once you’ve hit the mid point versus those match ups, but a little adjustment in play might be the key to victory. But against even-paced match ups the deck should be able to hold its foundation and ride its self to victory.

The Late game is usually the best part of this deck, if played correctly you should have a incredible amount of hand/field advantage to your opponent while having them dwindle away many of their power cards while scrounging to find an answer. At this point in the game you would have built a strong field presence whether it is with cards like Royal Oppression or Skill Drain shutting down your opponent’s big plays or completely overpower them with much bigger monsters like Absolute Zero or The Shining. Many times you will be sitting on cards like Miracle Fusion and Monster Reborn for back up plans which makes it very easy to stun any potential comeback your opponent might try to mount on you. The decks shows its power by not relying on many certain combos every game to beat your opponent, but to have almost every card in the deck function to its full potential by themselves. Most decks that rely on certain combos lack in the late game, with them reducing away their resources and making it hard for them to create a case for themselves having wasted much of there game plan on failed attacks.

Now that we have examined the states of the game with Miracle Heroes we still have a little bit more to talk about… the most important part — how to become a master of a deck type, and with that, the ability to understand certain game plans for different matchups.

Firstly, X-sabers : In this Match up I advise you to hold your Gemini sparks for as long as possible and use them very reactively, try to use them to break up combos or to hide them as protection for the big trap stun play. You don’t need to worry about attacking face-downs whereas you would normally use Spark on them, their monsters are not very threating to on their own. Although Thunderking shuts them down, try to build up some resources with Stratos before needing to summon him. X-sabers beat you by clearing your field and swinging for game with synchros/faultroll with minimal answer. With that, leaving Thunderking/Absolute Zero on your field for as long as possible can be another way to mount up a defense in monster form.

Six Sam: This might be the match up I personally would like to go first more then anything. I have lost numerous times going 2nd against Six Sam just because they’ve dropped a Legendary Shi-en on the first turn, only to look at my hand having undersized monsters and less then one destruction card that I can activate on my turn. Also this is the match up where you want Thunderking on the First turn over Stratos just because it shuts down many of there search cards to get an answer for your Thunderking. Having a piece of protection with Rai-oh on the first turn, you should have increased your chances to victory. Lastly, do not get overwhelmed by a Legendary Shi-en even if it takes two cards to kill it — it also took them two cards to make it..

Gravekeeper: Gravekeepers rely very highly on necrovalley, especially in this match up. Do your best to keep them off the valley so all their monsters stay smaller than yours. Also with your Gemini Sparks, try to save them to pop of Necrovalley and try to use them on facedown monsters keeping in mind that it may be a Gravekeeper Recruiter, so having a Thunderking on board will maintain your advantage. Furthermore if you draw a 4+monster hand, Thunderking will be the best option first turn so you give them smaller odds of opening royal tribute.

Miracle Heroes: This match up is very draw-dictated, basically, who ever draws better usually wins this one. It is very hard to out-play this match-up so try to not commit too many cards against Alius because Spark will make you pay for it. Thunderking on the First turn is also a very good play due to the little amount of monsters and preventing them from searching any. Don’t worry about using Solemn Warning on an Aluis, you need to keep them off a spark (easily the best card in the deck) and doing so would prevent them from chaining it.

We’ve come to an end to this article, but lastly, I have rulings to share with you guys. Gemini spark needs to kill a card to draw, so try not to do it against another Gemini monsters if you think they’re holding a Spark; better yet, use it to trick your opponent into sparking your Alius. Furthermore beyond popular belief Stardust can and will negate your Gemini Spark, just a heads up to you future Miracle Duelists.

Hopefully you guys enjoyed this article as it helps you on your journey to become the Elemental Hero Master. Until Next time

-Dale Bellido

 

 

“THE MIND OF A PRO – TRISHULA, DRAGON OF THE ICE BARRIER” – BY MO “PRO-MOE” BRANTLEY

POSTED ON 05/01/2011

 

Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

 


Level 9 Water/Dragon
ATK 2700 /DEF 2000
1 Tuner + 2 or more non-Tuner monsters
When this card is Synchro Summoned, you can activate this effect to remove from play up to one card each from your opponent’s hand, field and Graveyard. (The card in the hand is chosen at random.)

As of 04/19/11, you will be reading this card a lot. I present to you Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier! Available to everyone in the new Hidden Arsenal 4 packs, this card will definitely be a staple in the Extra Deck! Trishula wrecked havoc over in the OCG and will continue to do so here in the TCG.

Trishula is a synchro monster which lies in the extra deck. Some people think “Ooooook, so what”. What that means is that you don’t have to worry about drawing it so you can play it! The Extra Deck is just that…an extension of your Main Deck. It holds special types of monsters that can only be Special Summoned when a certain condition is met. There are Synchro Monsters which are White colored, Fusion Monsters which are Purple, and soon we will have Exceed Monsters having a Black color to the card. These types of monsters can be associated with Boss Monsters of a deck or sets up the win in a game!

Trishula is a Synchro Monster. Its level is 9 and that is vital information for success to his summon. It’s a generic Synchro Monster so any deck can use it. All you need is a Tuner and 2 or more non-Tuners. When that condition is met, you can perform a Synchro Summon and Special Summon Trishula from the Extra Deck! That’s when the real fun begins. Upon a successful Synchro Summon (look out for Solemn Warning), Trishula’s effect activates! You can then remove a card from your opponent’s field, graveyard, AND hand. The card in hand is even chosen at random! With 2700 attack, Trishula is no slouch either. It will definitely do some damage to the opponent.

What really makes Trishula an absolute beast is that it removes NOT destroys. That means a lot of the commonly played counters are useless. Masukani Magatama in the Six Samurai deck can’t be chained, My Body as a Shield is dead, even Stardust Dragon will fall to the mighty Trishula. You might even get the opportunity to hit a Treeborn Frog or Dandylion. That’s a total game shifter!

So What Deck Can Abuse This Card Most?!
As soon as I heard about this card in the OCG, I went to research what decks can truly shine with this behemoth. Back then Infernitys and Frogs were huge picks. Infernitys could loop Special Summons with triple Infernity Launcher to summon 3 Trishula in 1 turn as easy as Turn 2. Frogs could even drop 5 Trishula to remove your entire hand Turn 1 before you even had the chance to play a card. The Ban List took care of that “FTK” but you can still summon Trishula farely easy. Being that I like to exploit power cards like this, I looked back to Infernitys in order to control and OTK the opponent with Trishula. Here is my new Infernity deck, I plan on testing and playing to wreck events courtesy of Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier:

14 Monsters
3 Infernity Archfiend
3 Infernity Necromancer
2 Infernity Mirage
1 Infernity Beetle
1 Infernity Avenger
2 Dark Grepher
1 Stygian Street Patrol
1 Plaguespreader Zombie

16 Spells
2 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Foolish Burial
1 One for One
1 Infernity Launcher
2 De-Synchro
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Giant Trunade
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Dark Eruption
2 Pot of Duality

10 Traps
1 Solemn Judgment
3 Infernity Barrier
3 Infernity Inferno
2 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
1 Call of the Haunted

Going through the Monster lineup first, the staple guys are there. 3 Necromancer and 2 Mirage gets the combos going. Necromancer sits at 2000 DEF so you can even stall if you need to. I opted for only 1 Beetle instead of the usual 3 to minimize drawing multiple copies. Besides, with this version of the combo deck, you only need 1 anyway, since it’s highly searchable. Stygian Street Patrol and Plaguespreader “fixes” bad hands with multiple Monsters and since Plaguespreader is a Tuner, you can even go for a Synchro Summon to summon Trishula! Dark Grepher simply sets you up for the win and combos with the whole deck.

In the Spells, the first card we have is Pot of Duality. An eyebrow raiser to a lot of people, I explain that Duality simple digs for answers and sets up plays for future turns. If you don’t need it, don’t play it. Since we are down to 1 Infernity Launcher, Gold Sarcophagus can go get it along with game changers like Giant Trunade, Dark Hole, and Monster Reborn. My favorite Tech card of the deck is De-Synchro. An explosive play for the deck is to Synchro Summon Trishula (9) through Archfiend (4), Necromancer (3), and Beetle (2) to activate his effect to remove a card from my opponent’s field, hand, and graveyard. De-Synchro then sends Trishula back to the Extra Deck allowing you to Special Summon Archfiend activating it’s effect (assuming you are combing off), along with Necromancer and Beetle. You can then search for any Infernity card (Infernity Barrier anyone!) before Synchro Summoning Trishula again to remove another card from the opponent’s field, hand, and graveyard. (Don’t forget to use Necromancer’s effect to Special Summon another Infernity monster from the graveyard *Hmmmmm….Archfiend*).

Rounding off the the deck are the usual suspects. Judgment and Barrier seals the deal while Inferno gets the party started. Another Tech card of choice Phoenix Wing Wing Blast spins away (NOT DESTROY) annoying Monsters, Spells, and Trap cards, leaving the opponent with a dead raw for the turn. Call of the Haunted also made the cut to combo with Archfiend and setup for a Synchro Summon.

Conclusion:
If you aren’t ready for Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier, prepare to be blown out. This card is going to change the game and will be stapled in the Extra Deck. There are plenty other decks that can abuse Trishula too, Plants are the first to come to mind. They have the ability to synchro at will with cards like Spore and Glow-Up Bulb. Not to mention Debris Dragon + Dandylion is an amazing play that gives you 2 Level 1 Tokens to abuse also. Deck building can go in any direction. It just depends on the strategy of the deck and play style of the player. Pro-Moe signing off for now…Peace!

 

 

“HULK HOBAN – SCRAPS” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 04/25/2011

 

An important part of Yu-Gi-Oh is being able to make meta calls.  This can be something as simple as maining 2 Seven Tools of the Bandit over 2 Mystical Space Typhoon or something as complicated as choosing to run, or not run a deck because of certain elements that currently exist in the meta. One such example is that I have basically given up on Fish until the release of Hyper Librarian because of, what I believe to be, a terrible Six Samurai matchup. Let’s take a step back and examine the current meta to make another type of call. I’d be willing to say that the three most played decks are Six Samurai, Gravekeeper’s, and Hero Beat in that order. That means that whatever deck we are going to build should have a good matchup against all three decks, if at all possible, but an especially good Six Samurai matchup. Add to the fact that the deck gets more support in two weeks with the release of Shien’s Dojo. Fortunately for us, EXVC is not a one card pack. Something that particularly stands out to me is this:

 


Scrap Orthros
4 Star – Tuner
1700/1000

This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can only be Special Summoned from your hand if you control a face-up “Scrap” monster. When this card is Special Summoned by this effect, select 1 face-up “Scrap” monster you control and destroy it. If this card is destroyed by the effect of a “Scrap” card and sent to the Graveyard, you can select 1 “Scrap” monster in your Graveyard, except “Scrap Orthros”, and add it to your hand.

This little gem gives a possible revival to an overlooked decktype that may gain some momentum from this card. This enables Scraps to have tons of combos that could certainly push it over the top into a top tier deck.  One such combo is Special Summoning Orthros, destroying itself, and adding Chimera back to hand. It could be further combined with Scrapstorm for further combos.

Now if this is going to have any sort of chance in the current metagame it’s going to have to have good matchups with the top decks.  Immediately I see it having a good matchup against Samurais. How exactly can Samurais deal with Scrap Dragon after Scrap Dragon? Shi En doesn’t stop Chimera. Next is the Gravekeeper matchup. This is a bit more interesting seeing that Scraps run many different cards that target the graveyard. An advantage in this matchup is that if you are able to summon Scrap Dragon, the Gravekeeper player has few outs to him. Necrovalley is something we’ll have to take into account when building the actual deck. Lastly is the Hero Beat. I feel that many of the supporting monsters that aren’t Scraps will give you a solid matchup against this deck. Additionally I could foresee them having trouble with recurring Scrap Dragons, similar to Six Samurai. With that said, let’s get to building the deck!

The core:

2 Scrap Orthros

2 Scrap Beast

3 Scrap Chimera

1 Scrap Golem

2 Scrap Goblin

2 Scrapyard

3 Scrapstorm

I think that this is the most solid core to the deck. Orthros and Beast serve as the tuner for making the all-important level 8 Synchros.  Chimera serves as a Debris Dragon that you can recycle each turn. Goblin acts to block attacks and allow for access to level 7s such as Black Rose Dragon and Arcanite Magician. Scrap Golem is a Faultroll that you can special summon when Scrap Dragon or Scrap Twin dies. Scrapyard searches almost the entire core and Scrapstorm gets things going. Remember, Scraps never miss timing.

The Support Monsters:

3 Gravekeeper’s Spy

1 Gravekeeper’s Descendant

1 Super Nimble Mega Hamster

2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

1 Sangan

This support lineup is really strong as well. The Scrap monsters are certainly good, but Chimera limits you to only Scrap Dragon. Running a Spy and Ryko engine serve several purposes. Firstly, you can flip Spy, get Descendant, blow something up, and summon Beast to make Stardust or Scrap Dragon. Or you could summon Goblin and synchro into Arcanite and blow two more things up. Hamster into Ryko serves a similar purpose. Sangan serves as a great target to destroy with either Scrap Dragon or Scrap Twin Dragon.

The Staples:

1 Dark Hole

1 Monster Reborn

1 Book of Moon

1 Giant Truande

2 Solemn Warning

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Mirror Force

1 Torrential Tribute

All of which are pretty self-explanatory.

Lastly, the support spells and traps:

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Dust Tornado

2 Dimensional Prison

1 Royal Oppression

1 Call of the Haunted

Mystical Space Typhoon and Dust Tornado are both amazing in this deck. They also serve two purposes. First it can serve to gain plusses off of Scrap Dragon. Target your set Dust Tornado and target their monster, then chain your Dust Tornado and destroy their backrow for a plus 1. It also serves as a means of hitting very key spells and traps in the upcoming weeks. As I mentioned earlier, Necrovalley has the potential to be troublesome for this deck.  Main decking these two helps combat that threat. Additionally, Dojo is being released as support for Samurai. Dusts and MSTs hit those as well as the Uniteds and Gateway that already exist. Next is Call of the Haunted. This card is absolutely huge because you can Call back a Scrap Dragon or call back Golem to synchro into Scrap Dragon. If you do the latter, the Call will just float and give you a free target for the Scrap Dragon you just summoned. The last cards are Royal Oppression and Dimensional Prison. These cards allow you to play a control game, something that I believe to be necessary seeing that you can set up nearly impossible to break locks with Stardust and Scrap Dragon.

Should this deck ever become a top tier deck that you have to face when it actually matters I feel like I should give you the tools to beat it. You don’t want to play a control game with it, you’ll likely lose out on that. What you have to do is be extremely aggressive. Scraps require at least two turns to set up. If you can break their setup and push, there’s a good chance you’ll come out on top. Something you have to do as a Scrap player to avoid unnecessary losses is to not use all of your defense resources. This sounds like common sense, but there is an added emphasis on this when playing the deck. What ends up happening a lot is that you will begin recycling your Scrap Chimeras and such, then you’ll draw a monster for your turn, and still have some sitting there from last turn. This is something that will happen if you are not careful about how you use your defenses.  When you are left with 5 monsters, you are still limited by your one summon per turn. This is when the opponent can take advantage and push for massive amounts of damage that you can’t deal with. On that note, I hope you found this article informative. Until next time.

 

 

“PENNINGTON FOR YOUR THOUGHTS – SOLVING THE PUZZLE” – BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 04/19/2011

 

Combo decks are like a puzzle. You start with a bunch of pieces, but when you put them together you have something greater than sum of its parts. This is why I like combo decks; I love solving puzzles! Don’t get me wrong though, some combo decks are easy mode as far as the puzzle goes. Remember Demise OTK from 2007?

 


This was a deck where you didn’t really have to rearrange your combo pieces. They easily snapped into place. Your opponent was just dead. That’s not my kind of combo deck.

Frogs were the first combo deck that I really got a lot of enjoyment out of playing. For more information on why I decided to use Frog OTK and my successes with the deck, see: Next Level Frogs. Frogs were a deck that might seem very easy on the surface, but were actually very hard to play. The deck evolved greatly throughout the format, and opinions on the deck quickly changed as the deck continued to prove itself.

Solving the puzzle that was Frog OTK was a very long arduous for me. It started with goldfishing a bunch of hands on YVD and trying to figure out the FTK percentage. Not only was I playing many of the hands wrong, but I was focusing on the wrong thing. Whether the FTK rate was 50%, 80%, or 90% wasn’t as relevant as figuring out what to do with the hands that clearly didn’t have an FTK (or the games where I open FTK but my opponent goes first and sets four backrows). After conducting my YVD testing, I concluded that Frog FTK was a deck that could only do well at a tournament with lucky hands and lucky die rolls.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks before US Nationals 2010. Frog OTK took 2nd place at Canadian nationals, causing everyone to reconsider their opinions on the deck. Oh, I conveniently got my X-Saber deck stolen as well. I no longer had the deck that I had championed as the best of the format. Given that Frogs were basically a $30 deck, so I figured I’d throw it together and see how things go. If the deck tested well, I’d play it at nationals; if not, I’d shell out the money for another X-Saber deck.

My playtesting during the week before nationals consistented of meeting up with Jake Mattern everyday at The Game Academy. He was planning on taking Gladiator Beasts to nationals (no surprises there). I figured that Gladiator Beasts were one of my hardest matchups, so the testing would be very useful. For our testing, I choose to play second every game in order to give myself a handicap. I won around half of my games. This made me feel really good. Gladiator Beasts were one of hardest matchups, Jake was one of the best Glad Beast players that I knew, and I was going second every game. If I could win half of games under those circumstances, I figured that my other matchups were quite favorable. That settled it; I was taking Frogs to nationals.

I started the day 1-2, both of my losses involved less than optimal play on my part. While I have a tendency to go on tilt if I start out an event with more losses than wins, I surprised myself. I went 6-0 for the rest of the day and finished 7-2, making day2. On day2, I lost out to the Herald of Perfection lockout deck, a deck that consisted of a very small percentage of the meta. Although I was 8-3 at the end of the tournament, I was still very happy with my result. I was going to commit myself to perfecting the deck. I ended up winning The Game Academy’s 2K, and the rest is history. I’d solved the Frog FTK puzzle!

When Fish OTK became viable after the release of Formula Synchron (November 2010), many of the former Frog OTK players were eager to try out the deck. “It’s a new OTK deck, and it plays Swap Frog? Sign me up!” On paper, Fish OTK had some striking similarities to Frog OTK: It had Frog monsters, and a 23:17:0 ratio (monsters:spells:traps). However, in testing, it played a lot different. It usually killed on turns two through five and played very passively (Frog OTK was very proactive). I decided that Fish OTK was not a puzzle that I wanted to solve, not yet at least.

Now flash forward to the present. Two weeks ago, a 55-step guide was posted on Duelistgroundz.com explaining how to create a Fish FTK deck utilizying T.G. Hyper Librarian, a card being released in about a month and a half. I was quite intrigued to say the least. I put the card together, proxied up everything that wasn’t released yet, and started goldfishing. About ten solid hours of testing and refining later, I had a pile of cards that was FTKing around 80% of its games. I’m starting to get a bit ahead of myself though. I should probably explain how the deck works, so you too can solve the puzzle.

The easy way to FTK is using Star Beast to make Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth (who will for the rest of this article be referred to as “The Big Fish Guy”) a LV1 monster and normal summoning it. Use it’s effect to bring out two copies each of Oyster Meister and Fishborg Blaster. The fact that The Big Fish Guy is LV1 is very important, because now you synchro it with Fishborg for a Formula Synchron and draw a card. Then synchro Formula with Oyster Meister for T.G. Hyper Librarian, get a token from Oyster Meister.

Field: Hyper Librarian, Oyster Meister, Fishborg Blaster, LV1 token.

Synchro the token and Fishborg for another Formula and draw 2. Synchro with Oyster Meister for Sea Dragon Lord Gishilnodon, draw a card, get a token. Discard to bring back Fishborg, synchro for Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier.

Field: Hyper Librarian, Dewloren, LV1 token.

Our next goal is to put 3 Dewloren’s into the grave, and here’s the easiest way to do that. At this point you need to have a Level Eater (or a Foolish Burial to put it in the grave). Level Eater is a very important combo piece, and I find it helpful to use dice to represent the level of my monsters so I get confused while I’m comboing out. At this point, you discard Level Eater for Fishborg, Eat your Dewloren (to LV5), use Dewloren’s effect to return Level Eater back to the hand, and Synchro for another Dewloren, drawing a card. Repeat the process to back out a 3rd Dewloren, netting a card.

Now at this point we need a Symbol of Heritage to abuse our three Dewlorens. If you’ve already drawn into one, you can skip this next step. Back Fishborg and Synchro it with Dewloren for Power Tool Dragon (draw a card). Reveal three copies of Symbol of Heritage from the deck, and get one to your hand.

Activate Symbol of Heritage to get back Dewloren. Bounce back Symbol of Heritage (and Power Tool Dragon if you had to synchro for it). Note that because of the way that Symbol of Heritage is worded, the monster stays in play if Symbol is bounced to the hand. Bring back Fishborg, Eat your Dewloren (LV5), and synchro for Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (draw a card). Synchro for the last Formula Synchron with Fishborg and the token (draw 2).

At this point, you can preform a loop that allows you to synchro for Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier an indefinite amount of times, removing your opponent’s entire hand from the game first turn! Symbol Dewloren into play, bounce Symbol back. Synchro Dewloren + Formula + Level eater for Trishula (draw a card). Then Symbols Dewloren back into play, Eat Trishula, and use Dewloren to return Trishula and Symbol. Symbol Formula into play (remember we just put the third Formula in the grave). Use Brionac to bounce back Symbol, make Trishula again using the same materials as last time. With each interation of the loop you gain one card with Hyper Librarian’s effect and lose one card for Brionac’s cost. You break even, but your opponent loses a card.

You can also do an infinite draw combo. Simply Symbol Dewloren into play, Eat your Dewloren (LV5), use Dewloren to bounce Level Eater and Symbol. Then Symbol Formula Synchron, Brionac bounce the Symbol discarding Level Eater, and synchro for Power Tool, draw a card. You lose no cards (you bounce back Level Eater each time to pay Brionac’s cost), and gain one. You have to bounce back Power Tool each time, similar to the scenario with Trishula. After this loop is done, you should have around 20 cards in hand. Just Eat your Librarian (LV4), Symbol back Formula Synchron, and synchro for Tempest Magician. Discard your entire hand and kill your opponent.

Are you feeling overwhelmed? I know I did. The kill combo starts with only a few cards, but you end up synchroing more times than I can count and eventually killing your opponent. The deck has tons of other plays that weren’t even mentioned above. It’s possible to FTK without Star Blasting your Big Fish Guy (say for example you have Foolish Burial + Monster Reborn). Other possible plays open up by Star Blasting your monsters on the field mid-combo giving you more control when synchro summoning. You can also special summon Swap Frog mid-combo for more synchro material.

Here’s my current list. The puzzle is far from solved, so I’m sure the list will change as the meta further develops and I do more testing.

Monsters: 20

3 Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth

3 Oyster Meister

3 Fishborg Blaster

3 Level Eater

3 Swap Frog

2 Treeborn Frog

1 Ronintoadin

2 Phantom of Chaos

Spells: 20

3 Hand Destruction

1 Card Destruction

3 Upstart Goblin

3 Moray of Greed

3 Star Blast

3 Symbol of Heritage

1 Monster Reborn

1 Giant Trunade

1 Dark Hole

1 Foolish Burial

Extra deck: 15

3 Formula Synchron

1 Armory Arm

2 T.G. Hyper Librarian

1 Sea Dragon Lord Gishilnodon

3 Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier

1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

1 Tempest Magician

1 Power Tool Dragon

1 Colossal Fighter

1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

The main card that’s in my decklist that I haven’t seen in other Fish FTK decklists is Phantom of Chaos. It’s tested extremely well, acting as Monster Reborn #2 and #3. I’ve realized that any time The Big Fish Guy’s effect resolves, it’s game. Using Phantom of Chaos maximizes the chances of that happening.

I hate to say it, but reading my article is not enough to properly understand the deck. Sleeve it up, proxy it up, and start testing. The deck has an unbelievable amount of plays. The best way to understand a combo deck is to see the combos first hand. If you have any questions about the deck, or need help on a particular step of the combo, just leave a comment and I’ll help you out.

 

 

“LEARNING THE CURVE – MIRACLE HEROES” – BY DALE BELLIDO

POSTED ON 04/15/2011

 

Hello Yu-gi-oh! Duelist! Dale Bellido from Team Card Masters here bringing you a series of articles on The Game Academy Online for duelists of any level. From the proverbial newbie all the way to the seasoned vet, I’m sure you will all have something to take away from these articles. Now that we have exchanged our pleasantries, this series of articles (Learning the Curve) will carefully dissect a certain deck and explain how and why it is successful.

 


Today we are taking a look at an old deck-type instantly revamped by a wave of new Fusions; Miracle Heroes. With the new format in its premature stages, players will still be heavily inspired by its predecessor as numerous Duelists entered the Charlotte’s YCS with that mentality. Although Six Samurai ended up winning the whole event, new decks have re-made their debuts to the competitive circuit, one of the few being Miracle Heroes.

Although I wasn’t able to make that event, I had a Regionals on the same date. I piloted Miracle Heroes, which I didn’t think much of at the time. After each round went on I found myself falling in love with the deck at an alarming rate. After making top 4, I arrived home only to find out that a numerous amount of Miracle Hero variants were in contention to make the top cut; solidifying my thought of this being one of the top tier decks of the upcoming format.

I will be using Jerry Wang’s decklist instead of my own (which can be viewed on my youtube channel) as his performance at YCS charlotte overshadows my regional top 4.

Jerry Wang (Miracle Gemini)
Monsters: 10
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
3 Elemental Hero Neos Alius
1 Elemental Hero Ocean
2 Thunder King Rai-Oh
1 Honest
1 Cyber Dragon
1 Crusader of Endymion

Spells: 15
3 Pot of Duality
3 Gemini Spark
1 Book of Moon
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Monster Reborn
1 Dark Hole
1 Reinforcement of the Army
2 E – Emergency Call
2 Miracle Fusion

Traps: 15
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Royal Oppression
2 Skill Drain
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Dark Bribe
2 Hero Blast
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Solemn Warning
1 Solemn Judgment

Extra Deck: 15
1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
2 Elemental Hero The Shining
2 Elemental Hero Absolute Zero
1 Dragon Knight Draco-Equiste
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Ancient Fairy Dragon
1 Magical Android
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Gaia Knight, the Force of Earth

Miracle Heroes is easily categorized as a beat-down deck. Having Level 4 monsters bigger than the average deck makes it very easy to over power its smaller counterparts. The main concept of the deck is to put pressure on your opponent. This deck does so with one of the most basic tactics in the game; summoning and attacking every turn — this is a very easy game plan to follow for moderate success. This type of play is known as being aggressive. Since there is not that many power cards left in the game, it is very hard to penalize this type of play without having drawn one of the said “power” cards. That being said this deck can be played in different variations of style with equaled results.

The heart of the deck is based off the Elemental Hero – Gemini skeleton, although its only a very small base its been proven effective time and time again. Monsters like Stratos and Ocean are the only 2 in the deck that don’t follow the beat-down aspect (although Stratos is 1800 attack) they are mainly used for their effects. Stratos is a tutor for any of the other E-hero monsters on the deck but also has a secondary effect that can destroy spells and traps for each other E-hero you have on field (rarely used, but very handy). Ocean lets you get back an E-hero to your hand on your stand-by phase and is also the only water in your deck which is needed to bring out Absolute Zero. Ocean is a very threatening card to face. When coupled with Stratos in the graveyard, it will put pressure on your opponent, ultimately preventing any more free advantage. Another card that is semi-used for its effect is Thunderking Rai-oh. It has stun capabilities that can render many of your opponents’ cards useless; with that, keep in mind that effect also goes for you as well, so be aware of that when you summon him. Almost in all instances you should try to get Stratos out in front before Rai-oh unless the match up would clearly state otherwise (i.e Six Sam).

The deck seems to run a very low monster count, but thanks to spells that let you dig through your deck, it is rare to not have monsters in the opening turns. 3 Emergency Call essentially act as 3 monster cards. The 3 Pot of Duality lets you dig for a strong opening monster and doesn’t conflict early game since you want to set up the first couple turns using only normal summons. Remember that an early game Stratos usually functions as having 2 monsters in hand, barring Solemn Warning. Miracle Fusion is a card recently integrated into the main deck considering its effect can bring out Absolute Zero and the Shinning with very easy requirements. With the loss of Book of Moon to the restricted list, many duelists have been looking for a legitimate replacement with the same amazing defensive and offensive properties; making it one of the best quickplay spells of all time. Gemini Spark shares a similar tactical description to Book of Moon. Spark is a card that can easily alter your opponents’ play without even having it. The fact that your opponents know they can lose advantage by activating a destruction card towards your Gemini monster can easily sway them in the other direction. The rest of the Spells in the deck are the staples that can be seen in almost every other deck.

Traps help to reinforce the premise of this deck. Cards like Solemn Warning, Solemn Judgment, Mirror force and Torrential Tribute have seemed to become staples in most decks, they are also known as generic power cards that can be used anywhere with minimal drawback. With the majority of monsters in the deck being non-effect Beat Sticks, it only makes sense to run a card like Skill Drain. Although you have some effect monsters, the fact that you can shut down your opponents’ monsters with the ability to still function over 80 percent of your own almost seems like a no brainer. Royal oppression adds to the stun capability this deck already holds, based on the same principle as Skill Drain if it will hurt your opponent more than it will hurt you. Dark Bribe has the ability to stop your opponent from making a comeback, although it comes out with a hefty drawback. Hero Blast is a great card when you are not drawing other monsters other then Alius/Stratos; it’s a monster and a destruction card put into one. Dimensional Prison and Bottomless Traphole round out the rest of the traps in the deck and being defensive traps helps you deal with bigger monsters that yours cannot, making them easy candidates for the last 3 spots.

The new fusion I was talking about earlier that’s acquiring a lot of hype is Elemental Hero- The Shinning and his effect to get back E-heros that you used to make him help keep pressure on your opponents. Absolute zero is another card that you can bring out who has an equally, if not, more devastating effect as he almost never leaves the field without his effect activating, therefore summoning him instantly renders your opponents’ game plan. Even though you don’t play any tuners you don’t want to be put in the position where you can Monster Reborn your opponents’ Tuner and Synchro into a monster to help your current situation; so since your room is limited, you should always try to fill the void by picking the best monster to its corresponding level.

Make sure you guys stay tuned next week, where we analyze the game play of the deck broken down into three states (early, mid, late) along with some advanced tactics.

-Dale Bellido

 

 

“BREAKING THE MOLD – GRAVEKEEPERS” – BY RYAN SPICER

POSTED ON 04/12/2011

 

First off, I would like to say hello to everyone and express how excited I am to write for the Game Academy Online! I would also like to give a special thanks to The Game Academy for giving me the opportunity to write for their website; I will do my best to write great and helpful articles.

 


For my first article, I want to talk about the importance of thinking outside of the box when it comes to building a deck. This is something that has helped me succeed in numerous premier level events and something that I have always felt sets me apart from other players. Finding what will give you the upper hand in a given meta is what is going to set you apart from the field.

Whenever I enter a tournament, I like to bring the best possible deck I can to the table. This is done through extensive testing and finding just the right tech to splash in my deck to give me the upper hand. I like to feel, with luck put aside, that odds are in my favor from the get go. Minimizing the chances my opponent can beat me due to a lucky start. Breaking away from conformity or just doing your own thing even if others disagree is what I am talking about. I think what sets the great apart from the average player, is the confidence to believe that what they are doing is right, or at least has the potential to trump what the rest of the field has eventually conformed to.

I don’t want to sound like you have to invent a completely new deck type or anything like that. What I am talking about is more along the lines of tweaking existing deck types to counter a given metagame; finding that tech that will blow your opponent out of the water.

For my first example, I’d like to go all the way back to the Tele-Dad format and talk about some things me and Chris Bowling experimented with. In a Shonen Jump a couple weeks prior to Shonen Jump Houston(the forgotten one where metagame had disappeared), Chris ran a Tele-Dad deck that contained no emergency teleports and no krebons. Instead, he chose to use 2 Plaguespreader Zombie as his only tuners. This build of Tele-Dad brought him all the way to the top 16.

At first glance, I thought this was a crazy idea, but through testing, it was revealed that this concept was absolutely amazing. With this lineup, you were able to draw much more consistent hands that didn’t have a bunch of krebons and teleports in them. What was even more important was the pace it played at was much slower.  In this format, winning the game was all about surviving your opponents explosion and pushing back even harder, or setting up a lock of your own with multiple solemn judgment and maybe a royal oppression if you ran it (you should have been running it).  With plaguespreader, you could synchro twice with malicious if you drew the plague, or you could search for the plague through a dark grepher and the 2 reinforcement of the army the deck ran. This allowed for quick locks which were then secured by royal oppression. This deck was piloted by three people at Shonen Jump Houston, myself, Chris, and his little brother Kyle. This deck landed all three of us into the Top 16, and me into the finals where I lost to Jerry Wang.

Another example of finding that perfect tech was the X-Saber format of last year. It was SJC Chicago where I ran a copy of Trap Stun opposed to a Mystical Space Typhoon. At that time royal oppression was rising in popularity as well as was the Infernity deck that Omar Beldon eventually won that tournament with. Through testing, I found that running trap stun allowed me to devastate my opponent. If they actually did have a royal oppression, I would chain trap stun, negating it for the turn, destroying every card on their field except for the Royal Oppression, and end my turn with a large field while they are then hindered by their own Royal Oppression. Trap stun was also helpful in stopping Infernity Inferno and trap dustshoot, both of which were popular cards at the time. Also a popular card at the time was Gottoms’ Emergency Call, which I opted not to run. Billy Brake, Agustin Herrera and myself all piloted very similar decks containing Trap Stun, Royal Oppression and no Gottoms’ Emergency Call, and all of us made the Top cut, with Billy Brake making the final two.

Continuing with my X-Saber deck into Nationals, I ran 3 copies of Thunder King Rai-Oh, 2 Royal Oppression, and 2 Trap Stun. Many people thought my deck was questionable before the event, but I thought it was perfect for the moment, and it landed me in 1st place after swiss, and only lost in the top 32 due to a Cold Wave into Rescue Cat into double Faultroll play.
There are countless other examples of how using innovative tech in mainstream decks has worked to a persons’ advantage. I wanted to say all of this leading into the deck I wanted to share. It is my take on the Gravekeeper Deck, and I feel this is the best way to go with the deck. Many will think it is absurd, but given the chance, this deck will shine. I feel everything in the game is about finding that consistency and a way to prevent your opponent from running you over, thus I give you my Gravekeeper Deck that packs no Royal Tribute and 2 Effect Veiler! Here is what it looks like:

Monsters: 16
3 Gravekeeper’s Spy
3 Gravekeeper’s Descendant
3 Gravekeeper’s Recruiter
3 Gravekeeper’s Commandant
1 Gravekeeper’s Assailant
1 Blackwing – Gale The Whirlwind
2 Effect Veiler

Spells: 11
1 Dark Hole
2 Necrovalley
1 Book of Moon
3 Pot of Duality
2 Gravekeeper’s Stele
1 Upstart Goblin
1 Mystical Space Typhoon

Traps: 13
1 Trap Dustshoot
2 Solemn Warning
2 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Dimensional Prison
1 Royal Oppression
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Mirror Force
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Torrential Tribute

Basically, I found that the only time I ever lost with my Gravekeeper Deck was when my opponent used cards like Trap Stun(coupled with Hyunlei) and Giant Trunade(followed by a large swarm). With Effect Veiler in hand, I am able to prevent a large field and reset the game to where I was in control with my strong gravekeeper monsters on board and numerous back rows. I found that Royal Tribute is a card that is obviously good, but is not needed in order to win. It may make wins seems a lot more dominating, but nearly all of the games I had Royal Tribute, I could win without it. This discovery was made through countless matches when side decking. I found myself siding out Royal Tribute every game to ensure cards like Reign – Beux and similar counter cards used to stop Royal Tribute could not affect me. Thus I came to the realization that I can win without Royal Tribute.

Until next time, remember what I discussed in this article, and try to grasp exactly what I am saying. This is a gradual evolution that normally happens over the course of actively thinking on how to counter what you are faced with when testing. I hope this article was helpful and I look forward to writing my next one for y’all!

-Ryan Spicer

 

 

“HULK HOBAN – THE ANTI-SIDE” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 04/07/2011

 

 


I’ve discussed in a previous article the merits of side-decking into an entirely different deck. Such a strategy allows a player to fully incorporate the element of surprise while making cards your opponent sided against your game 1 deck useless. While this sounds like a solid strategy on paper, there are some problems with it that we are overlooking. First and foremost, you must devote nearly your entire side deck to a transitional side. What happens if you’re playing Fish and you are siding into Monarchs, but then get matched up with Gladiator Beasts? You now have your entire side to transitioning into a deck with just as bad of a matchup as your deck from game 1. Another problem with this strategy is that you are rarely able to make a full transition. You might have to leave certain cards out of your side deck or keep in certain cards that do not necessarily coincide with your new deck’s theme. This can account for many inconsistencies which will likely catch up with you if you attempt to use this deck in a larger tournament. Essentially, you are sacrificing consistency for surprise. What would you say, however, if I told you there was a way to garner all the benefits of a transitional side deck without the downfalls that they present?

Take a moment and consider the uses of a traditional side deck. The answer is one player sides cards that will give him a more favorable matchup against a particular deck. Let’s look back to a little less than a year ago, around nationals, when the format was mostly dominated by X-Sabers and Infernity. If I were playing with X-Sabers against Infernity, some common cards that I might side deck in against Infernity would be Consecrated Light or D.D. Crow. Now let’s reverse this and say that I am now the Infernity player. I would anticipate that my opponent would side in Consecrated Lights and D.D. Crows. Certainly a deck as fragile as that cannot consistently compete with other high caliber decks such as X-Sabers outside of game one when one of so many cards will almost entirely shut down the deck. So how it is that Infernity remained one of the top decks throughout that format?

The answer lies in what has already been said, as an Infernity player, I can fully anticipate that my opponent will side cards like Consecrated Light or D.D. Crow against me game 2 and 3. The most common side decks for Infernity players consisted of cards like Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Hero’s Rule #2. Both cards served a dual purpose. Let’s take a further look at their purposes when siding them in Infernity.

Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
• An effective way of dealing with Consecrated Light
• Clears the field of other threats that allow you to safely loop
• Fuels your graveyard with the necessary cards required to begin your loop
Hero’s Rule #2
• Served as a way of dealing with D.D. Crow or Crevice into the Different Dimension
• Could also use it as a means of countering their Faultrolls, Fulhelmknights, or Gottoms’ Emergency Calls

Because the Infernity player anticipated what cards the opponent would side against them, he could in turn side deck cards to counter the opposing side deck cards. What really makes these side deck cards even better is, as seen above, they did not only serve one purpose. Hero’s Rule #2 could be used aggressively or defensively and Ryko was extremely versatile and allowed for the player to take out any number of threats while fueling your graveyard with the cards required.

Next, let’s apply this strategy to the current metagame. As it stands, this format has proven to merely be an extension of last format and little has changed. There are still many decks that a player could choose from and expect to do well at any given tournament and those decks largely remain the same. That being said, let’s flashback to YCS Atlanta in November. Gravekeeper’s took the top three spots in that tournament. Frazier and his friends used a very similar strategy to the ones used by Infernity decks last national’s format. Frazier knew people would be siding Mystical Space Typhoons (the trend had been not to main deck the card) and Dust Tornados to hit the Necrovalley. As a result, Frazier sided Malefic Stardust Dragon to protect the card and make the opponent’s cards dead. Similarly, after talking with some friends, I found out they embraced the same strategy in their decks. My friend Marcus said that when he was playing Plants, he would side out of Ryko because he knew people would be siding Nobleman of Crossout. Another friend of mine, Marshaun Young, sided out of Dragon’s Ravine when playing Dragunitys because he knew the opponent would side things like Dust Tornados and Closed Forests. Even looking at the most recent YCS you can see this strategy in place. Many Samurai players were siding Cyber Dragon which could serve as an effective out to Kinetic Solider.

Now, let’s take that one step further and apply it to the way that you play. Let’s expand upon the strategy of “antisiding” and apply it to gameplay. Sometimes you can make effective use of this strategy simply by playing differently games 2 and 3. What I mean by this is that while you may be siding cards in and out based on what you expect your opponent to side, what good does that do if you continue to allow their cards to be live? Sure you may have sided out Ryko when playing Plants to avoid the commonly sided Nobleman of Crossout, but they still get the same use if you continue to set monsters like Dandylion or Spore, except this time, they get the added bonus of not having to deal with Rykos. This is a strategy I have used in X-Sabers since Nobleman became a mainstream side deck card. Games 2 and 3 I would never set Emmersblades or Darksouls because, similar to Plants, most people side Nobleman against Sabers.

With proper side decking, adjusting the way you play in the latter half of the match, and knowing what is commonly sided against your deck, you are able to make the opponent’s sided cards useless. This gives you the same benefits of a transitional side deck without the negative aspects of losing consistency and having to dedicate your entire sideboard, which is the best part of all seeing that you can make their cards dead and side cards of your own to stop their deck. An example of this would be in Plants siding out Rykos for Thunder Kings against X-Sabers. Your side deck is a vital resource that you should use to its fullest potential.

 

 

“THE MIND OF A PRO – CRYSTAL BEASTS UNLEASHED” – BY MO “PRO-MOE” BRANTLEY

POSTED ON 04/05/2011

 

The Mind of a Pro: Crystal Beasts Unleashed

 


What started as a joke between teammates has quickly turned into a hot commodity on my YouTube channel, SFLTeamIllusion. Yes, I am seriously talking about Crystal Beasts. When The Legendary Six Samurai support cards were announced in the latest set, Storm of Ragnarok, I made the joke, “If Konami wants to give old themes support, they might as well give Crystal Beasts a tuner and a synchro monster to make them more playable!” My teammate, Nathan Soowal, took that joke and ran with it by saying, “Let’s build a competitive Crystal Beast deck !” Being the strong deck builder that I am, I had to oblige. How fun and exciting would it be to win with something like Crystal Beasts? I just had to do it!

Looking at the whole Crystal Beast theme, I knew I had a lot of work cut out for myself. The Crystal Beast monsters are weak by themselves, so I knew I would have to make every single card choice count if I wanted to make it as competitive as possible.  I went through the Crystal Beast theme and looked at every single card related to it. I found that the deck needs to revolve around Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus and Ruby Carbuncle for the deck to be successful. Pegasus can grab any Crystal Beast monster from your hand, deck, or graveyard and “crystalize” it to the Spell/Trap zone. Opening with it as soon as you can is super important because it sets the tone for the rest of the duel.  Pegasus is to the Crystal Beast deck as Stratos is to the Hero theme. And we all know how important that 1st turn Stratos is! Then we have the cute little kitty Ruby Carbuncle. When she is Special Summoned in any way, you can Special Summon as many Crystal Beast monsters from your Spell/Trap Zone as possible. Whether you play Crystal Promise when Ruby is in the S/T zone or Monster Reborn when she is in the Graveyard, the effect activates. It’s the Rescue Cat for the Crystal Beast deck, so to speak.

However, summoning 3-5 monsters doesn’t mean anything if you can’t do anything with them. So, I trimmed the fat from the deck and attempted to make a core monster line-up. Pegasus is the main monster of the deck with Ruby being the ace. They keep the flow of the deck by always having monsters on the board. I figured “Tiger” was a nice back up considering he is LV4 and when he attacks it goes to 2000 ATK. That means it runs over problematic monsters like Thunder King – Rai Oh and even Snowman Eater. Tortoise is also pretty decent sitting at a whopping 2000 DEF and it can attack and switch to defense. Nonetheless, Tortoise and the rest of the Crystal Beast monsters are mediocre at best and I felt I could use the space for something more productive to the deck. With that being said, I felt the Crystal Beast core should be: 3x Pegasus, 2x Tiger, 1x Ruby. The other monsters simply didn’t make the cut.

The next thing on the list was to figure out how to use these monsters most effectively. Since I am only running a total of 6 Crystal Beast monsters, Ancient City – Rainbow Ruins would be pointless. I would never get the most use out of the field spell like I would want to. The answer was the very statement that started it all, “Give Crystal Beasts a tuner and a synchro monster to make them more playable!”.  Since Crystal Beasts didn’t have their own tuner, I had to look to see which ones would work with the theme the best and easiest without losing competitiveness. I had Summoner Monk in the initial lineup because a 1st turn Pegasus is very important, therefore Rose, Warrior of Revenge was a no brainer for the deck. Pegasus and Tiger are all LV4 so that’s an easy Stardust Dragon or Scrap Dragon. I can even Sync with Monk itself to go Dark End Dragon! That’s a great addition to the extra deck.

In testing, I noticed that the deck has a hard time getting over big monsters. As I said earlier, the Crystal Beast monsters are weak by themselves so they seriously needed some Spell & Trap support if I wanted the deck to be competitive. Therefore, I figured the deck should be supported by monster removal and controlling the opponent. I found myself immediately adding 2x Smashing Ground to deal with monsters. In addition to the standard traps, I also added 2x Dimensional Prison as answers to big threats. Giant Trunade is still a huge headache for the game because it usually spells GAME when it is played. Trap Stun is also pain to deal with, so I threw in 2x Dark Bribe to answer those cards and more. Everything else pretty much is self explanatory…so without further ado, I unleash the Crystal Beasts:

14 Monsters

3x Thunder King – Rai Oh

3x Crystal Beast Sapphire Pegasus

2x Crystal Beast Topaz Tiger

1x Crystal Beast Ruby Carbuncle

1x Summoner Monk

2x Rose Warrior

2x Effect Veiler

16 Spells

3x Pot of Duality

3x Upstart Goblin

3x Crystal Promise

2x Smashing Ground

2x Mystical Space Typhoon

1x Book of Moon

1x Dark Hole

1x Monster Reborn

10 Traps

1x Solemn Judgment

2x Dark Bribe

2x Solemn Warning

2x Dimensional Prison

1x Torrential Tribute

1x Mirror Force

1x Call of the Haunted

The optimal first turn play is to get Pegasus on the board. One of the best opening plays is to Summon Pegasus, searching for and crystalizing another Pegasus. Then play Crystal Promise to Special Summon that Pegasus and searching for and crystallizing Ruby.  It’s an insane opening because they are all floaters that seriously threaten the opponent. You would want to play this deck as an Anti-Meta-ish Control deck. With this format being all about searching (Dragunity Ravine, Gravekeeper’s Recruiter & Commandant, XX-Saber Darksoul, even Pot of Duality), Thunder King Rai-Oh shuts decks down. It is amazing alternate turn 1 Summon with Backrow protection and very hard to get over. There is also plenty of monster removal to get rid of pesky threats, like Synchro Monsters. For the most part, you just have to play your cards carefully and think before making plays. This version of the deck is NOT like traditional builds and doesn’t rely on having crystalized CB monsters. In fact, you will more likely than not want to keep your monsters on the board. When they are destroyed, you can crystallize them and bring 2-4 of them back as easy as playing 1 card.

In Conclusion:

I really want to thank my teammate, Nathan Soowal, for challenging me to make a deck like Crystal Beasts tournament viable. It is a very fun deck and I encourage you guys to try it out for yourself. Check out some of my test matches with him and other teammates, Hector Heras and Jeffrey LaBeach, on my channel, SFLTeamIllusion, to see how the deck is supposed to be played. Don’t forget to leave comments and subscribe also. I’m seriously going to play a version of Crystal Beasts at my next Regional event and I’ll be sure to keep a record (if not video matches) of how I do. The deck really does have a lot of potential and with the right minds building and playing Crystal Beasts, I feel it can be highly competitive. It’s all in how the player builds the deck and plays his cards. Pro-Moe signing off for now…Peace!!

 

 

“PENNINGTON FOR YOUR THOUGHTS – LOOKING AT SOME NUMBERS” – BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 03/30/2011

 

 


As I’m writing this, the top32 decklists for YCS Charlotte have just been posted here, and there were definitely some surprises.

Top32 Breakdown:

9 Gravekeepers

4 E-Heroes

4 Six Samurai

3 Fish OTK

2 Dragunity

2 X-Sabers

1 Anti Meta Stun

1 Blackwing

1 Chaos Plant

1 Morphing Jar

1 Flamvell

1 Frog Monarch

1 Karakuri Machina Plant

1 Plant Synchro

I would argue that Gravekeeper’s and Six Samurai are the decks to beat in the post-Charlotte meta, but I’m going to look at individual cards for this article rather than decks.

Pot of Duality: 62 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. Pot of Duality is roughly $150 right now, and for a good reason. Pot of Duality improves the consistency of many of the top tier decks. If you haven’t figured out why Pot of Duality is good yet, there is probably something wrong with you.

Mystical Space Typhoon: 59 copies maindecked, 11 copies sidedeck. Mystical Space Typhoon saw more play between maindeck and sidedeck than any card combined. I am not surprised in the least. This is one of the best cards against the field overall, destroying Necrovalleys, Future Fusions, Dragon Ravines, Six Samurai Uniteds, Black Whirlwinds, set Solemn Warnings, and so much more. There was only one player in the entire top32 who wasn’t using Mystical Space Typhoon. I expect this thread to continue for awhile.

Solemn Warning: 49 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. Solemn Warning is an extremely good way to take care of threats like synchro monsters and Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth. Being a counter trap means that there are very few outs to it. One of which is…

Dimensional Prison: 37 copies maindecked, 6 sidedeck. Wow! That’s a lot of Dimensional Prisons. Considering how many Gravekeepers, E-Heroes, and Anti-Meta variants topped, it’s no surprise to see so many copies of Dimensional Prison. Dimensional Prison isn’t the nuts by any means, but it’s certainly staple in any kind of Anti-Meta deck.

Bottomless Trap Hole: 25 copies maindecked, 7 sidedecked. It looks like Bottomless is officially one of the cool kids again. Anyone will tell you that Solemn Warning is better, but who says you can’t play both? There aren’t any decks that Bottomless is awful against, although it’s not particularly strong against Six Samurai and Plants.

Seven Tools of the Bandit: 23 copies maindecked, 1 sidedecked. Trap Stun was expected to see a lot of play going into this event, which seems to have sparked a surge in play of Seven Tools, being an out to devastating traps like the aforementioned Trap Stun as well as Solemn Warning, Solemn Judgment, and Royal Oppression.

Enemy Controller: 17 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. This card mainly saw play in various Treeborn Frog related decks, but can be a good choice in X-Sabers as well. There’s a lot of trap hate in the format, which makes quickplay spells even better than usual. Book of Moon this is not, but Enemy Controller still has a lot of utility.

Effect Veiler: 13 copies maindecked, 14 sidedecked. This is another card that I believe saw a rise in play due to expected increase in maindecked Trap Stuns. 27 copies between maindeck and sidedeck is quite a lot. The card is pretty good against the field and against X-Sabers in particular. Given that X-Sabers didn’t preform as well at Charlotte as most people expected, I think Effect Veiler may see a slight decrease in play.

Gold Sarcophagus: 12 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. I’ve been talking to pro players, and opinions on this card seem fairly divided. Some people consider the card staple in decks like X-Sabers, while others think it’s too slow. It’s a great inclusion in combo-oriented decks like Fish OTK and “Empty” Jar. I like Gold Sarcophagus in decks with “sick 1-ofs” such as Giant Trunade, Future Fusion, and Black Whirlwind. How does the card compare to Pot of Duality? The amount of tempo lost from the 2-turn wait is something that is hard to evaluate.

Gorz the Emissary of Darkness: 9 copies maindecked, 3 sidedecked. I have mainly been playing Six Samurais this format, and Gorz is one of the cards that I fear most. Luckily, only a third of the field seems to be playing Gorz between the maindeck and sidedeck. I think Gorz is very good right now and expect it to see an increase in play. Gorz can give a player huge blowouts when timed correctly.

Trap Stun: 7 copies maindecked, 1 sidedecked. After recieving so much hype going into Charlotte, it seems that people adequately prepared for it, preventing players from relying on Trap Stun to put forth a good showing. I have never liked Trap Stun, although it is possible to steal games with it if your opponent doesn’t have a Seven Tools of the Bandit, Solemn Judgment, Book of Moon, Effect Veiler, or in some cases Enemy Controller (look at how many outs that is!)

Miracle Fusion: 7 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. I would have never guessed that none of the E-Hero decks that topped would be playing 3 copies of this card. The more anti-meta variants of this deck seem to be going for consistency and don’t want hands clogged with multiple copies of Miracle Fusion. Makes sense when you think about it.

Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter: 5 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. Here is a card that’s definitely on the decline. People previously called Ryko “the best flip effect in the game” which is still debatable. As a whole, I think aggression is a better strategy than camping on defensive monsters like Ryko.  I would argue that Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress is an overall better card (also saw 5 maindecked copies).

Chaos Sorcerer: 3 copies maindecked, 0 sidedecked. Probably one of the most overrated decks going into the event, I believe Chaos to be too slow in a format with Legendary Six Samurai – Shien, X-Saber Faultroll, Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth, and Dragunity monsters. I don’t expect Chaos decks to do well in upcoming events unless the meta takes a very weird turn.

Forbidden Lance: 1 copy maindecked, 2 copies sidedeck. Definitely one of the bigger sleeper cards in Storm of Ragnarok. As I stated previously, quickplay spells with some utility are very good right now. I personally like Lance as a 1-of in Gravekeepers, and I think a lot of decks could make good use of it. Lance is also quite strong as a 3-of in Gladiator Beasts, which failed to break into top32 at Charlotte.

Puppet Plant: 0 copies maindecked, 21 copies sidedecked. I’m not sure if we’ll ever see the day that Puppet Plant becomes a viable maindecked choice, but it’s certainly one of the best sidedeck cards right now. Remember when I said that Six Samurai and Gravekeeper’s were the decks to beat? Puppet Plant happens to be great against both!

Closed Forest: 0 copies maindecked, 2 copies sidedecked. This was one of the highest demand cards at Charlotte. This is a great sidedeck card against Gravekeepers and Dragunity. Many vendors didn’t even bring it to the event (the card had just been released and most people considered it unplayable), and the vendors that did bring it sold out at $30 each. The fact that only 2 copies made top32 raised some questions. Is it not as good as people had thought? Or did the card not see more sidedeck play because it was impossible to find? I know personally that I wanted to play the card in my sidedeck, but simply could not find any.

Closing Thoughts

Congratulations to  Sean Coover, winner of YCS Charlotte with Six Samurais! I played Six Samurais at YCS Charlotte as well, but my record was less than spectacular (7-2 on day1, dropping after losing round 10 on day2). I’ve noticed there is a high correlation between summoning Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En and winning, which means I will probably continue playing Six Samurais for awhile.

Due to this correlation, I have decided that Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En will now be known as Legendary Six Samurai – Charlie Sheen. Note to Six Samurai players out there: Whenever you manage to summon two copies of Legendary Six Samurai – Charlie Sheen, be sure to mention to your opponent that you are bi-winning.

 

 

“PENNINGTON FOR YOUR THOUGHTS – AN IMPERFECT CIRCLE” – BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 03/15/2011

 

All my prior battles had been won, but would I lose the metaphorical war? Suspense was building as I waited for my opponent to draw his card. The tension I was feeling could not possibly be greater, and adrenaline rushed through my body. Today was supposed to be the day, right? Failure at this point would be miserable. I thought back to Tampa; so close, but yet so far. Why can’t they just cut to top nine anyways?

 


Fights happened quite a bit at my high school (that’s what you get for going to a magnet school in the middle of the ghetto). Every time a fight broke out, a crowd of students would instantly form a perfect circle around the fighters, eager to see who would be victorious. These fights were always started over petty things, nothing worth getting physical over.

What were these kids really fighting for? Fights always had a winner and loser, but no one ever received a prize for winning a childish high school skirmish. They were fighting for their reputation, verification from their peers. It wasn’t about the fight itself, it was about the circle.

My opponent was quite the slow roller, and the seconds that it took for him to draw his card felt like hours. I inhaled deeply and took a look around me. A perfect circle had formed around my match. If I was claustrophobic, I probably would’ve died of fear by now. I didn’t recognize most of the people in this circle, but I wanted them to watch me win. Somewhere in that circle I knew that members of Team Legion of Doom were observing my match. They recruited me because they thought I had good potential; I was eager to prove to them that their decision had been a wise one.

My mother and sister were in the circle too. My mother knew how passionate I was about this game just as well as anyone else; if she wasn’t willing to drive me to tournaments out of town, I might not even be here right now. I wondered who else was in the circle. Local players from MOSI? Pro players from down south? Whoever they were, I wanted them to be impressed. Like the kids throwing fists at each other, I was fighting for the circle.

***

“You know who I am, right?”

“Yes, you’re Donald Kiss.”

“And you know how many regionals I’ve topped?”

“Six?”

“Right, and how many have you topped?”

“None.”

“And that’s why I’ll always be better than you.”

We had this same conversation after every match. Every match we played had the same result: I was the winner. So what if he was ranked second in the state? He still couldn’t seem to beat me! I hated Donald Kiss. He was the Gary to my Ash. I’ll show him! I’m going to be world’s greatest Yu-Gi-Oh! master!

Donald was a member of Team Legion of Doom, the most skilled group of Yu-Gi-Oh! players in the Tampa Bay area. As a whole they were a decent group of guys. I was even friends with one of them, Richie Ashley. Why couldn’t Donald be more like Richie? Richie never had any negative things to say about me.

Despite hating Donald, I secretly wished I could be like him. He was on a great team, had access to every good card, and was ranked second in the state. Most importantly, he had the respect of his peers. No one could deny that Donald Kiss was good. Success speaks for itself. I wanted people to feel that same way about me.

I hadn’t done too well at prior regionals, but I knew this would all change soon. I was consistently doing well in tournaments at MOSI, placing in the top every week and beating some of the best players in the process. It couldn’t be just luck; I was getting better at this.

***

In high school I was one of “the smart kids.” I had the desire to learn just about anything. I studied many different subjects, and my studies of each of them helped shape my perspective on life as a whole.

I was surprised to learn that it’s fairly common knowledge in the field of psychology that children who are abused by their parents are more likely to become child abusers themselves. When I first became aware of this study, it seemed completely counter-intuitive. While I was certainly thankful that my parents were not abusive, I had never thought about how I would be different if my parents had abused me.

How could the act of being abused cause someone to become abusive? Any decent human being would hate the treatment that he is receiving and vow to never inflict that kind of suffering on another human being! It just doesn’t make any sense. I learned that the human brain works differently than I had previously thought. Children who are abused are inclined to view abuse as “ok” and therefore don’t see a problem with abusing someone else later in life. What a strange world we live in.

***

It was the middle of August, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Nationals had just finished. In Florida, it wasn’t uncommon for the temperature to be nearly a hundred degrees at this time of year. Florida summers usually aren’t that enjoyable, but this one was. I too was on a hot streak.

I had achieved my first regional top only four months ago in Orlando, which qualified me for nationals. I flew all the way out to Columbus, Ohio for nationals, and I was ready to win. That didn’t go as planned, and I soon found myself eliminated from the competition.

However, I entered a regional the day after nationals, hoping to get an early jumpstart on the next season. Despite taking an early loss in round three, I placed in the top 8 of the largest regional I had ever attended, only to lose to Theeresak Poonsombat, one of the best players in the world. Losing my top 8 match meant that I had missed one of my chances at getting an invitation to 2008 nationals; I had to try again.

Now I found myself in Jacksonville, where I planned to earn my third regional top 8 and my second regional top 4. I sat down at table one and started writing my deck list. This was the table I wanted to be at for the rest of the day. After I had completed my deck list, I began to daydreaming, “Man, getting invited to 2008 nationals and being able to relax for eleven months, what’s that like?”

David Pratt sat down at my table. He was one of the better players in our area and a regular attendee of the local tournaments at MOSI. He was a cheerful guy but seemed to be in an even better mood than usual.

“Hey Allen C. Pennington, what’s up?”

“Huh?”

“Can I see your deck list?”

“Oh, sure.”

“Wow, three maindeck Pulling the Rug? Nice.”

“Uh, thanks.”

“This deck is amazing. Allen C. Pennington, you’re the best duelist!”

The best duelist? I’d never heard anyone call me that before. He said that last statement in one of those half-serious, half-sarcastic tones that leaves it completely up to the audience to decide how it should be interpreted.

The best duelist? I like the sound of that. I grinned. Yeah, that’s right, I’m the best duelist. Maybe what I needed was to be a bit more confident in myself. I was going to make sure that everyone knew I was the best duelist. Soon, I would be winning so many events that there would be no denying it. I’d start with this one.

I felt invincible; this tournament would be easy. I won my first match. Then my second, and my third, and my fourth, and my fifth. Then I was in top 8. Then I was in top 4. Look out 2008 nationals competitors, because the best duelist will be in attendance!

***

Nearly a year ago I had made it my goal to top 8 a regional, a goal I had still not accomplished. Maybe today would be the day. Shrink had just been released, a card that would almost certainly improve my Gadget deck. I was either going to win big or learn from my losses.

“Round two pairings are now being posted!”

The excitement in the room rose as everyone rushed to see the pairings board. I’d won round one handily, and I was eager to see who I would be facing in round two. I pushed my way through the crowd and found my last name on the sheet. No… freakin’… way…

Pennington, Allen vs. Kiss, Donald

This match was going to be important. I had thrashed Donald countless times at MOSI, but I had never played against him at a regional. With hundreds of players in attendance, what are the odds? This match would be symbolic, I knew it. After this match was over, someone was going to be very disappointed.

The match had completed, and I was the one checking the winner’s box. Something wasn’t quite right. Donald was checking a box too, the drop box. Who drops from the tournament with only one loss? What thoughts could be going through his head?

“Yo Allen.”

“Hey Richie.”

“There’s something I gotta tell you.”

“Sure, is something wrong?”

“Donald’s quitting Yu-Gi-Oh!”

“Wow… really?”

“Yeah, he sounds pretty serious. Oh, and there’s something else.”

“What?”

“We want you on Legion of Doom.”

“That’s awesome. I’m in!”

This was a plot twist that I had never expected. To this day I cannot fathom how one loss can cause someone to quit the game forever. I had never guessed that Legion of Doom would recruit me this early. Everyone on the team already had multiple regional tops; what do I have that makes me a valuable asset?

I was off to a good start at this regional, but I picked up two losses shortly after. No, it looked like today wouldn’t be the day. But I was certainly feeling good about tomorrow!

***

“You’re honestly trying to say you know Gadgets better than me?”

“Allen, the last time you played them at locals you did awful.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“Come on Allen…”

“The best duelist.”

“Seriously…?”

“Yeah, and you’ve topped how many regionals with Gadgets? ‘Cause I’ve topped five.”

What fuels drive? What could cause one’s insecurities to be displayed in the form of arrogance? For me, both of these questions had the same answer: the circle.

But some questions still remained unanswered. Had the abused become the abuser? Was using the circle as my source of motivation a good thing? Maybe I needed a change in perspective.

***

My opponent slid his final card across his mat and added it to his hand, his poker face concealing the card’s identity. Was it just me, or was my opponent literally taking forever? Maybe I was living in slow motion? The table judge broke the silence.

“I’m giving you a slow play warning.”

Finally, my opponent set down his hand and extended the handshake. It was over; I’d won. I could now say that I had top 4ed a regional. I was going to 2007 US Nationals. If only Donald Kiss were here to see this.

There were lots of congratulations and pats on the back. Richie was there too. He had been part of the circle.

“Yo Allen, you excited about nationals?”

“Of course!”

“I know this meant a lot to you, but there was something I wanted to mention.”

“Sure.”

“You had game a turn earlier?”

“What do you mean?”

“You had Ultimate Offering on the field. You could’ve summoned an extra monster.”

“Wow, you’re right. I guess I just missed it or didn’t realize I had enough life points to use it.”

I hadn’t played my match perfectly. I clearly had much to improve upon. Did the circle approve of my performance? I suppose it didn’t matter.

Not everyone can be a master (sometimes even Allen Pennington).

 

 

“HOBAN’S LAND – INNOVATION” – BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 03/13/2011

 

Innovation is what defines the game when it is implemented successfully.  It is certainly not a new concept by any means, but it is still present at every event, large or small. Look back to YCS Atlanta. The jump was defined by an innovation. Let’s look back even further though. September 2008, there were an average of 13 of the 16 spots in Top 16 of a SJC were claimed by Tele-DAD. How could one hope to beat the mirror match consistently? Certainly there were elements of skill such as knowing what card to Solemn Judgment, but the deck could still OTK. That happening in a mirror match was very probable. A friend of mine, Jae Kim, changed that format entirely by main decking Royal Oppression in Tele-DAD. Today that is a concept widely known, but back then it was innovation at its finest.  The basic concept was to summon Synchros such as Stardust Dragon or Colossal Fighter and protect them with Royal Oppression. This added a whole new dimension to the deck that allowed it to better compete against the mirror matches that so dominantly made up the meta at that time.

 


Let’s take the concept of innovation and apply it to today. Rather than apply it to a single tech card that gives you the advantage in a particular matchup, let’s apply it to an entire deck.  If I asked you what you thought of a deck, say Dark Scorpions, what would you say? Chances are you’d probably say that they were bad and for the most part you’d be right. But what if we make innovative choices that allow them to be the best that they can be?

In order to do this we must first decide the goal of the deck. That goal, in my opinion, should be to steadily gain advantage through monster effects and one for one removal. We need to decide the goal because we need to assure that any innovative tech choices that we make not only don’t get in the way of this goal, but also help steer us towards this goal. Let’s start with the monster core that will allow us to gain this advantage.

3 Dark Scorpion – Meanae the Thorn – Allows us to have a constant stream of advantage and recursion.

1 Cliff the Trap Remover – Allows us to gain advantage while doing away with threats.

2 Don Zaloog – Allows us to reduce their options while ours are abundant.

2 Spirit Reaper – Serves the same purpose as Don Zaloog with the additional bonus of protection.

These monsters are the core of the deck. We are building a deck around their effects as they all give us advantage in one way or another. Next let’s find some monsters that support this goal.

3 Mystic Tomato – Allows us to cycle through our deck digging for the core of the deck.

1 Sangan – Serves the same purpose as Mystic Tomato

1 Reinforcement of the Army – Serves the same purpose as Mystic Tomato and Sangan.

1 Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind – Provides outs to threats the deck could otherwise have trouble with and opens Synchroing to give us an infinite amount more in options.

1 Morphing Jar – Allows us to replenish our resources and give us more options.

Let’s let these be the supporting monsters. They all help us accomplish our main goal. Next we need removal. One for one removal is amazing in a deck like this. It creates a simplified game state, but we keep gaining advantage from our monsters.

2 Smashing Ground

1 Dark Hole

1 Mirror Force

1 Torrential Tribute

2 Solemn Warning

2 Dimensional Prison

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

Each of these cards helps accomplish the goal of the deck by allowing our monsters to successfully gain advantage. Next we will need the support spells and traps.

3 Pot of Duality – They allow for options to be given and for you to optimize your current situation.

3 Forbidden Lance – Gives you versatility as it can be played offensively with Meanae, Don, or Cliff or defensively in protecting you from opposing threats like Mirror Force or Torrential.

1 Monster Reborn

1 Book of Moon – Allows you to stop your opponent’s big plays.

1 Solemn Judgment

2 Seven Tools of the Bandit – This not only protects your monsters to ensure they are able to attack freely, but it also allows you to play around Trap Stun, a major weakness for the deck.

1 Royal Oppression – Allows you to play a controlling game without being effected. It ensures that your monsters do not get overpowered due to their small status.

1 Trap Dustshoot and Mind Crush – These allow  you to better adapt to any given situation while contributing to your overall goal of the deck by restricting the amount of plays your opponent has available to them.

This deck has some great examples of innovation. Let’s look more in depth at Forbidden Lance. The card is extremely versatile in the deck. As I said above, you can use it as either an aggressive card or as a defensive card. Let’s say that you have Don Zaloog on the field with Forbidden Lance set. They summon a Gravekeeper’s Descendant and attack into the Don Zaloog. During the damage step, you flip Forbidden Lance.  Now, not only is your Don bigger than their Descendant and therefore destroy it in battle, you also gain advantage by discarding a card from their hand, which ties into the overall idea behind the deck.

This is probably a very different outlook on Dark Scorpions than you might have previously held. The biggest factor is that the deck does not deviate from the mission of the deck.  The Forbidden Lance example not only doesn’t hinder the mission of the deck, but it helps ascertain that goal. That is what innovative cards should do. Also, not that I’m not saying that Dark Scorpions will break the format or anything like that, I’m saying that by approaching a deck differently you can optimize your matchups and better achieve the goal behind your deck.

 

 

“BRAKEING INTO THE META – THE TECH’D OUT FORMAT” – BY BILLY BRAKE

POSTED ON 03/11/2011

 

The Tech’d out Format

Hello Yugioh Community! It is now the month of March meaning the start of a brand new format has begun! This is always an exciting time for most players as it brings time for change and new ideas to develop. With the new format, it is time for everyone’s creative juices to start flowing so we can figure out what is going to have the best chance at winning. Today, I am going to let everyone in on what I think is going to be a key element of this new format, and how to take advantage and become successful with this information.

The key to winning this format!

From what I have seen so far, the tech cards that player’s choose might be the deciding factor if they are victorious or come up short. Now the format is young and still has a lot of changes to go through, but at this point tech cards are going to play a very important role in separating the good decks from the great decks.

What is a Tech Card?

While there isn’t an exact definition of this term, I can explain to you what I mean when I use it. A tech card is a card that a player uses a copy or two of in their deck that might not typically go with the theme, but can be used to help against most decks in the format. As I give you my list of cards that I think will be the best tech, this idea will probably become a little clearer.

The cards players should consider and making use of in their deck:

Here is a list of the cards that I consider to be the best cards that can be splashed into most decks to help give them an edge this format. I will give a brief explanation following each card and their effects.

Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
Dark/Fiend
Level 7
2700/2500
When you take damage from a card your opponent controls while you control no cards, you can Special Summon this card from your hand. Then activate the appropriate effect, based on the type of damage:
● Battle Damage: Special Summon 1 “Emissary of Darkness Token” (Fairy-Type/LIGHT/Level 7/ATK ?/DEF ?). Its ATK and DEF is each equal to the amount of battle damage you took.
● Effect Damage: Inflict damage to your opponent equal to the damage you took.

Why this card is good this format: Most players know that Gorz has been good for quite some time and has seen a lot of play, but in all honesty this card has never been as good as it is now. When players decide to make the push to go for game, they don’t have access to an easy Level 6 backup plan synchro for when you drop Gorz now that Goyo Guardian is forbidden. Not to mention, Cold Wave and Heavy Storm are both banned, so many players will be relying on using a card like Giant Trunade when making a big push. Gorz will allow you to punish them for it. This card has always been good, but I think it’s now almost a staple in every deck (outside of Gravekeepers). This card is my favorite tech choice for this format.

Effect Veiler
Light/Fairy
Level 1
0/0
During your opponent’s Main Phase, you can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard to select 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls. Negatethe effect(s) of that monster until the End Phase.

Why this card is good this format: Effect Veiler is another card that since its release has seen some off and on play. While in the past this card has taken up at least one spot in most player’s side decks, I think it is about time for this card to make the move over to the main deck. One of the biggest downsides to this card has always been Book Of Moon being able to cancel out the effect of Effect Veiler. Now that Book is restricted to 1 this card becomes so much better. Most decks this format are going to be dependent on monster effects and using cards like Seven Tools of the Bandit or Trap Stun to make sure you can’t stop them when they go off, but if you have this card in your hand it will stop your opponent in his tracks a majority of the time. I have always been a fan of using this card in the main deck, but this format I believe this card will really shine.

Seven Tools Of the Bandit
Trap Card
Pay 1000 Life Points. Negate the activation of a Trap Card and destroy it.

Why this card is good this format: This cards popularity exploded last format. Even though Seven Tools has been around since the game began it never really saw too much play, but with the release of powerful counter traps with high costs (Solemn Warning!!!) this card has been needed. I believe that this card is needed just as much as it was last format. With Book of Moon getting restricted to 1, defensive traps are going to have to be used in the place of the missing Book of Moons. People will also be packing copies of Trap Stun to activate when going for a push and Seven Tools is one of the only cards out there that will be able to save you from this. This card can also be used offensively when you are ready to make a push. When you have Seven Tools set your opponents Mirror Force won’t be able to stop you. I think most if not all decks should be main decking at least 1 copy of this card to be able to keep up with the amount of traps that will see play.

Forbidden Lance
Quick-Play Spell Card
Select 1 face-up monster on the field. Until the End Phase, it loses 800 ATK, but is unaffected by the effects of other Spell/Trap Cards.

Why this card is good this format: As I have said in the previous couple of cards, Book of Moon has been restricted to 1. This means an increase in Trap negation cards in most players’ decks. Quick play spell cards with good effects are going to be needed to surprise the opponent and put them in a bad position. One of the main determining factors of rather this card will be really good or just pretty good is the amount of play that Bottomless Trap hole is going to see. Like Seven Tools of the Bandit, you can use this card offensively and also defensively. You can use it to protect your monsters from a Torrential Tribute or Mirror Force, but at the same time when your opponent sends his Stardust Dragon to attack your Thunder King Rai-Oh you can activate this card entering the damage step and take your opponent by surprise. This card is very good, but can only get better depending on how many defensive spell and trap cards are being used.

Honorable Mention:

These following cards can be used in the main decks or side decks of many decks, but I don’t think they are going to be as helpful or powerful as the main 4 that I already listed.

Enemy Controller – Can be used in a few decks such as X-Sabers and has the same reasoning as Forbidden Lance, but it is not as versatile.

Compulsory Evacuation Device – Book of Moon being restricted to 1 means a need to replace the other 2 with something similar and almost as good. Book was used to stop opponents from special summoning their synchro monsters, while this card can be used after the fact to easily get rid of a Stardust Dragon or Colossal Fighter. The problems with this card are the increased used of Trap Stun and Seven Tools of the Bandit, along with decks like Gravekeepers that make this card almost useless.

Conclusion:

With every new format comes a new way to build decks that try to take advantage of the Meta. The biggest theme that can be seen with the card choices that I have made is the restricting of Book of Moon. This card going to 1 has opened up room in almost every deck to be filled with Player’s personal choices of Tech cards that they feel will give them the best chance of winning! These are the cards that I feel are going to make the biggest impact in the role of Tech choices and I believe every player should consider these cards when going through the deck building process this format.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to check out my website BillyBrakeYugioh.com, my YouTube channel Youtube.com/havok41 and don’t forget to email me with suggestions and comments at BillyBrakeYGO@yahoo.com !
 

 

“THE MIND OF A PRO – MARCH 2011 ADVANCED FORMAT LIST” – BY MO BRANTLEY

POSTED ON 02/26/2011

 

What’s up everyone, Pro-Moe here!! Thanks for taking the time to read my very first article for The Game Academy. I intend to bring you insightful information about new decks, hot strategies, and fresh new ideas to spark discussion in the Yu-Gi-Oh community. Hopefully, I can also inspire you to try out some of these new ideas for yourself.

 


The Mind of a Pro #1: March 2011 Advanced Format List

In this article, I am going to rip our newly announced March 2011 Advanced Format list apart and give my opinions on the card choices for each section of the list. I will also mention some viable decks for the start of the format to get your dueling minds going. So get ready, you’re about to go deep into “The Mind of a Pro!”

The Advanced Format List comes once every 6 months. The days before the list is announced are some of the most exciting, and to some extent, downright scary days of the year. It’s either a joy to the Yu-Gi-Oh community (especially on the message boards) or it is a complete disaster and drives some people to take a hiatus (because no one ever truly “quits” this game, they ALWAYS come back at some point). The Advanced Format List is supposed to assess the metagame and correct some of the problems in it. It limits some of the overly abused cards that are being used in competitive play, un-restricts others that are no longer a burden, and overall keeps the game healthy. A current copy of the Advanced Format List can be viewed here. Let’s take a look at the changes for the next 6 months of Yu-Gi-Oh:

Forbidden:

Goyo Guardian

Cold Wave

Mass Driver

Limited:

Honest

Dandylion

Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow

Book of Moon

Gateway of the Six

Semi-Limited:

Card Trooper

Archlord Kristya

Spirit Reaper

Debris Dragon

Royal Tribute

Overload Fusion

Megamorph

Solemn Warning

Icarus Attack

Unlimited:

Chaos Sorcerer

Demise, King of Armageddon

Snipe Hunter

Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier

Gold Sarcophagus

Skill Drain

Ultimate Offering

Let’s start with the newly Forbidden cards:

Goyo Guardian: This was definitely a card that no one saw coming, but let’s try to defend Konami’s stand on banning it. Goyo Guardian is a Level 6 Synchro monster with 2800 ATK and 2000 DEF. It lies in the extra deck and is a generic synchro monster that ANY deck can use. The real power is in its effect, which basically let’s you “Snatch Steal” any opposing monster that Goyo Guardian defeats. With 2800 ATK, Goyo Guardian runs over pretty much every non-boss monster in the game. It even ties with power cards like Dark Armed Dragon and Tytannial, Princess of Camelias. Goyo Guardian has been a staple in the Extra Deck since its initial release two years ago. It’s definitely a huge threat, and can be even worse when Exceed Monsters come to the TCG. So, I can fully understand why Konami chose to ban it. Bye buddy! You will be missed.

Cold Wave: I’ll be the first to fist pump to this one! Cold Wave was once dubbed a -1, but has quickly turned into a game ender. If you play it, it means your opponent is stuck with just monster effects. That’s not just for one turn, but for two (your turn and theirs). In a special summoning, synchro-infested game, spells and traps are more important than ever. For one card to “freeze” your set backrow cards and stop you from playing any others for two full turns, something had to be done. What makes this card insanely broken is if you follow that Cold Wave with mass removal such as Black Rose Dragon (a very common play) or Judgment Dragon, your opponent may as well scoop up the cards and proceed to the next game. There are not very many outs to Cold Wave in competitive play as it is, and there are even fewer to boss monsters like XX-Saber Hyunlei and Gladiator Beast Gyzarus without the assistance of spells and traps. Cold Wave simply had to go; it was totally unhealthy for the game. I would have loved to see Giant Trunade follow it, but I’m very pleased with this decision.

Mass Driver: All I can say is, it’s about time! Mass Driver is a card used solely for OTK purposes. There is no other effective way of playing it. It should have never been made in the first place. Good riddance.

Next, let’s take a look at the Limited to 1 section of the Advanced Format List:

Dandylion: This put a smile on my face. It was once limited to one, but a year ago they moved it to two. I fully expected it to go back to one last format, but it didn’t. Better late than never, I guess. With the synchro mechanic totally changing the way we all play Yu-Gi-Oh, anybody could have foreseen Dandylion being abused like no other. The two tokens Dandylion generate are level one, meaning you can easily pick what synchro monster you want to bring out in any given situation. They can also be used as a tribute for any monster of any kind. Tutoring it to the graveyard has never been easier with cards like Foolish Burial, Lonefire Blossom, and even Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. Also, recycling Dandylion to generate more tokens is as easy as summoning Debris Dragon and Drill Warrior. One Dandylion is enough, two is insane.

Honest/Kalut: I pair these guys together because they work similar to each other. Discarding these cards from the hand usually means your opponent just lost a strong monster on their board. In the case of Kalut, you can also end a game right there from an attack. In the 2010 Nationals, I remember one of my opponents attacked with a Bora for piercing damage and discarded triple Kalut for game in game three. I tried my best not to go on tilt. Honest can be just as deadly by playing multiple copies to gain the attack from an opposing monster essentially meaning you played Ring of Destruction for massive damage. Unless your opponent saw you get Honest/Kalut from Beckoning Light/Black Whirlwind respectively, they don’t know you have it in your hand, and it’s hard to see it coming (especially with Book of Moon now limited to one). These two cards are amazingly strong support cards and I see why Konami chose to limit them to one.

Book of Moon: “Noooo!!!! What are we going to do with our playsets of Super Rare Book of Moons now?!”  I got a good laugh when I heared someone say that. This was another card that no one really saw being hit to one, but it is COMPLETELY understandable. Book of Moon was once limited to one and it was for a good reason. Although it is a -1 (for card advantage purposes), it is an out to a lot of bad situations. It completely wrecks the synchro mechanic by turning one of the monsters face down, and it can also set up plays for future turns. Due to the upcoming change of rules for game mechanics involving priority and with Exceed Summoning on the horizon, Book of Moon was going to be god-like. Konami had to hit it.

Gateway of the Six: This is another card that made me smile. Simply put, this is Black Whirlwind on steroids. Not only do you get two Bushido counters when any Six Samurai monster is normal summoned, but you ALSO get two if it is special summoned. It works when your opponent summons their Six Samurai monsters too. I don’t see Black Whirlwind doing that! Gateway of the Six has three separate effects that make it broken, with the second effect of removing four Bushido counters from ANYWHERE on your side of the field to search your deck OR graveyard for a Six Samurai monster and add it to your hand, being the most abused. There was even a loop where you can get INFINITE Bushido counters with two Gateway of the Six cards (or 1 Gateway and 1 Six Samurai United). I honestly didn’t think Konami would limit it due to future sales, but they did it. *High Five Konami*

*Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier: Trishula is on the OCG Limited to one section of the list, so when it comes to the TCG in April in the Hidden Arsenal 4 packs, I expect it to do the same. Trishula is a Level 9 generic Dragon-type synchro monster. All you need to bring it out is one tuner + two or more non-tuner monsters. Like all cards, the real power lies in its effect: “When this card is Synchro Summoned, you can activate this effect to remove from play up to one card each from your opponent’s hand, field and Graveyard. (The card in the hand is chosen at random.)” If your opponent doesn’t have any cards on the field, you can still remove from their hand because Trishula says “up to”. So, imagine summoning three of these guys to remove three cards from your opponent’s hand (at random), field and graveyard before swinging for game: 2700+2700+2700=8100! Infernitys and Frogs did this very well. Frogs could even Pot of Avarice Trishula back in the extra deck and summon him two more times on TURN 1!! This means your opponent is starting their turn with one card (the one they JUST drew) while staring down a field of 3 Trishula. I don’t know about you, but that’s kind of broken in my book. As of April…Bye Bye Mist Wurm, Hello Trishula!! It needs to go to one.

*NO CARD CAME BACK: I thought this was a poor decision. With Book of Moon being limited, this was the perfect time to bring back something like Tsukuyomi. Tsuky is way past its prime and there are no game breaking flip effects to abuse it with. It’s a walking Book of Moon that can be played multiple times but costs you a very important normal summon. Solemn Warning would have a field day with this card. Other cards like Tribe-Infecting Virus, Card of Safe Return, Metamorphosis, Last Will, and Heavy Storm (if Giant Trunade was banned) would have been nice choices also.

Moving on the Semi-Limited to two Section of the list, we have:

Card Trooper: Two is a good number for this little guy. It gives Machines that utilize the graveyard more assistance and drawing a card when destroyed is always nice too. Three is too much because you will start gaining too much advantage and open up the potential to OTK with Machine Duplication. Good call on this one.

Archlord Kristya: Looking into the future, Konami is releasing the Lost Sanctuary structure deck. It brings cards that has support for the Light Fairy type and possibly even opens up OTKs. On its own, Archlord Kristya is a POWERHOUSE card because it prevents any other player from special summoning monsters, it is very easy to summon, and when it leaves the field it goes to the top of your deck. That means you can just summon it again next turn when you draw. Keeping the theme in check now by semi-limiting a strong monster is smart. Great pick.

Spirit Reaper: Personally one of favorite cards of all time, Spirit Reaper puts in work. It is a superb defender and even better on offense. Limiting your opponent’s options means you are thinking like a “Pro” because you are making them play your game instead of their own. Spirit Reaper breathes a little bit more life in the Zombie theme, but I know it’s going to be played in other decks as “tech”. Watch out for piercing damage.

Debris Dragon: I called this one!! Totally abuseable with cards like Dandylion, this card is going to be key in bringing out Trishula (yes, it is a Dragon) and of course powerhouses like Stardust Dragon, Black Rose Dragon, and Scrap Dragon. It sits at 2000 DEF so you can stall for a little bit if you need to. Having consistent access to three Debris Dragon with three Pot of Avarice was just downright annoying and insanely “free” (advantage wise). I’m happy Konami made this decision.

Royal Tribute: The better GK players only played two anyway. Now everyone is forced to play a better version of the deck in my opinion. It definitely should have been limited to one. A turn one Royal Tribute usually spells game for most decks. Not only does the GK player know what is in the opponent’s hand, but the opponent can barely battle back because he they have no monsters. I’m anxious to see what happens with it this format.

Overload Fusion: This just made a certain Orlando Shonen Jump Champion very happy!! Mainly used to bring out Chimeratech Overdragon, Overload Fusion is fine at two. At one, it saw ABSOLUTE ZERO play (youseewhatIdidthere?). Now you can actually build a consistent Machine deck utilizing Overload Fusion and Chimeratech Overdragon as an actual win condition. It’s perfect at two.

Megamorph: Equips have not really seen play since Premature Burial got banned. With Demise at three, this could be just what the deck needed in order to get back to its Tier 1 status. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to the point where it is OTK central. Keep your eyes open.

Solemn Warning: Very nice choice indeed. We all know how powerful Solemn Warning is. At three, it was just seeing way too much play, and players opened up with it way too often. A successfully played Solemn Warning essentially meant the turn was over (unless you had something like Monster Reborn to fight back).  We all saw this one coming.

Icarus Attack: Another card we all saw being hit. Blackwings use this card like no other. It is an amazing support card that can destroy any two of your opponent’s cards on the field. It is essentially a one for one, but destroying two of your opponent’s strongest cards on their board, whether it’s in the backrow or a monster, is amazing. Many people say with Kalut to one, Book of Moon to one, and Icarus Attack to two, the deck is dead. I think it just means that players can be more innovative now. We’ll see what happens though.

Lastly, we have the Unlimited section of the list:

Chaos Sorcerer: Woohoo!! Chaos is back in full action. The powers of Light and Darkness shall once again intertwine to wreck havoc on the competitive tournament floor. Chaos Sorcerer is a very nice support card and has amazing combo potential. It is not overly broken, and I believe it will do fine for the next format.

Demise, King of Armageddon: Uh oh. The last time we had Demise at three, it was OTK central. But times have changed and we have many more ways to counter this card. This might come back to haunt me, but I think we will be fine.

Snipe Hunter: “Sniperrrrr….The Snipe Man!” I remember when this card first came out when I was on my very first team Villains. Fellow team member Ashton Glenn wrecked with it. I always rolled 1’s and 6’s so I could never use the card for more than one tournament. Snipe Hunter is at best a one for one (sometimes even a -1). Some people say, “What about The Fabled monsters? Their effects activate and you still have the chance of destroying cards.” My response, “Good! I don’t mind having good support for a theme that’s not insanely broken.” This card was always played as a one of but on occasion some people played two, but it should have never been hit in the first place.

Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier: The OTK involving this card has been nerfed, so it is fine at three.

Gold Sarcophagus: Even at two, most people still only play one, if that. As long as Necroface is limited to one, this card can stay at three.

Skill Drain: Why did it go to two in the first place? There was nothing wrong with this card at three.

Ultimate Offering: It also sees ABSOLUTE ZERO play (seewhatIdidthere again). Why did the thought of going on the list even occur anyway?

So what am I going to play now?

This is the #1 question on the mind of every duelist, and the one I have been getting asked the most. I love the first event after every new ban list and new set release because this is where the most innovation happens. Players cannot “netdeck” something that hasn’t been posted yet, so deck building and playing skills are most important during this time. YCS Charlotte is going to be an amazing event for this reason. But as promised, here are some deck ideas just to get your minds going:

Chaos Plants, X-Sabers, Gravekeeper’s, Formula Monarch, Heroes (The Shining/Absolute Zero), Six Samurai, Blackwings, Gladiator Beast, Machines, Lightsworn

I kid you not, I have already developed decklists for each of these 10 different deck types to test out for myself as decks to play for YCS Charlotte. The format is going to be wide open, so you can pretty much play anything. It’s all in the deck building and how a player adjusts to the new format.

Final thoughts:

March 2011 is going to be an exciting time for Yu-Gi-Oh. Over the next six months, we are going to be getting some nice surprises as far as new releases go, new game mechanics, and continued Organized Play (going to 1 YCS a month would be awesome!). With the Advanced Format List handling a lot of our current problems and also opening up the ability to play some of the old favorites, I get the feeling that a lot of the “retired” players will be attending this years Nationals (which is now a joint event with Canada to make it the 2011 North American World Championship Qualifier). It’s out with the old and in with the new. If you aren’t prepared for it all, you are going to get left behind. Thanks for taking the time to read and be sure to check back often for more articles by me. Feel free to send me a friend request on Facebook, and check out my YouTube channel, SFLTeamIllusion, for great videos of my experiences at events!

-Pro-Moe

 

 

“THE EFFECTS OF THE BANNED LIST ON THE METAGAME” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY EVAN VARGAS

POSTED ON 02/23/2011

 

 


With the March 2011 Banned List leaked, much discussion has begun regarding how the new format will shape up.  First, I’ll discuss the overall impact of the changes on the metagame, and then look at how the Banned List has affected each major archetype.

While each deck grew stronger or weaker (both directly and indirectly), there is one change that will create the greatest impact:  Book of Moon to one.  The popular quick-play spell card was used in practically every deck, despite it being an inherent -1 to card advantage.  Why?  Because of its immense versatility and flexibility.  Book of Moon could be used from your hand or field on either turn both offensively and defensively, on your monsters or your opponent’s monsters regardless of its Attack, help minimize or prevent the usefulness of monster effects, and disrupt an opponent’s big plays.  The ability to use Book of Moon in so many different situations gives the player more options and thus more decisions to make.

However, with Book of Moon now restricted to one, a major hole has been left in the generic defensive spell card department.  The gap between Book of Moon and other cards such as Enemy Controller and Forbidden Lance is huge.  Players removing copies of Book of Moon from their deck are instinctively trying to replace them with other defensive cards such as Bottomless Trap Hole and Dimensional Prison, but not other defensive spells.  And, with Cold Wave now banned, the only mass spell/trap removal cards left are Giant Trunade and Malevolent Catastrophe, the latter of which does not see main deck play.

To take advantage of this situation, I believe Trap Stun will become a game-breaking factor in the new format.  Without a generic defensive spell card to worry about for the most part, Trap Stun can effectively become a one-turn Cold Wave.  Decks which really take advantage of a frozen backrow such as X-Sabers, Gladiator Beasts, or Plants will utilize Trap Stun to ensure that their big plays go through.  Trap Stun is also a strong answer to the additional copies of Dimensional Prison which players will be turning to, especially at the beginning of the new format.

With the rise of Trap Stun’s popularity, cards to counter the effects of Trap Stun will also see more play.  Effect Veiler will be used to prevent a Trap Stun play from being a game-winning play and will be one of the best and safe answers to a frozen field.  Seven Tools of the Bandit, while stopping any Trap card as usual, will also prevent Trap Stun from freezing the backrows in the first place.  Forbidden Chalice, a card hidden away under Book of Moon’s dominance, is a more versatile option compared to Effect Veiler and may see play to counter the pushes backed by Trap Stun.

With the general effect of the Banned List out of the way, let’s now look at the major decks of the metagame and analyze how the Banned List has affected each one.

Plant Variants

The mainstream version of Plants is no more.  Debris Dragon at two, Dandylion at one, Book of Moon to one, and the banning of Cold Wave were huge blows to the deck.  However, with Card Trooper at two and Chaos Sorcerer at three, the Chaos Plant variant has become the main Plant deck variant.  The consistent foundation of Rykos, Card Troopers, and the Lonefire engine supports the mid-to-late-game Chaos Sorcerer and Debris Dragon pushes.  Stardust Dragon, a card Plant decks can make rather easily, also became more useful with Honest and Kalut restricted to one, although the resurgence of Dimensional Prison may make a player wary of attacking with Stardust Dragon into backrows.  Solemn Warning at two rather than three also increases the chance of a Ryko, Chaos Sorcerer, or Debris Dragon hitting the field successfully and creating card advantage.

Blackwings

Blackwings continued the trend of being hit by the Banned List year after year.  Icarus Attack to two removed one copy of the deck’s arguably most fearsome card from every Blackwing decklist, most likely to be replaced by a Seven Tools of the Bandit.  Kalut to one was a devastating blow to the deck, making the monsters more vulnerable to big monsters such as Thunder King Rai-Oh, Cyber Dragon, and Synchro monsters such as Stardust Dragon.  Finally, the surprising ban of Goyo Guardian hurt Blackwing decks more than other decks due to the ease of synchroing for a level six monster via Blizzard.  I’m not sure how Blackwings will survive in the new format; the deck is not destroyed, but it definitely isn’t the same, either.

Six Samurais

Unfortunately, Six Samurais are still alive and a strong choice for the upcoming format.  While Gateway to one is a big hit to the deck, it only turned Six Samurais from a broken deck to a really strong deck.  Solemn Warning to two helps Six Samurai to build Bushido counters on Gateway and United much easier.  Controlling the pace of the game with Shi En is still very strong and, with Book of Moon to one, there will be fewer situations where you are forced to negate a Book with Shi En only to have a stronger spell card come as a follow-up.

Gravekeepers

Almost as unfortunate as Six Samurais still being a strong contender is Royal Tribute only being limited to two.  Gravekeepers have a strong foundation and great support cards, but Royal Tribute pushes the deck to a different level.  The ability to beat any deck with a single spell card is something that should not be allowed in tournament play, and yet the upcoming format must be prepared for Turn 1 Royal Tributes ruining your day.  However, there is some good news: Book of Moon to one hurts the deck’s ability to abuse Gravekeeper’s Spy.  The spell card’s restriction also hurts Gravekeepers indirectly, as Book was a very weak card against the deck.  With players removing copies of Book of Moon for other cards such as Dimensional Prisons, other decks automatically have a slightly better match-up against GKs compared to the current format.

X-Sabers

X-Sabers have become much more formidable with the restriction of Book of Moon.  Despite the loss of Cold Wave, Trap Stun is a very strong replacement which can be played in triplicate.  Backed by Trap Stun, X-Sabers can safely make big pushes with Boggart Knight, Hyunlei, and Faultroll without worry of a Book of Moon preventing two X-Saber monsters from remaining face-up on the field or a tuner from syncing with a Darksoul into Hyunlei. X-Sabers is definitely a deck to be seriously concerned about in the new format.

Gladiator Beasts

Similar to X-Sabers, Gladiator Beasts also benefit from Book of Moon’s restriction.  Test Tiger plays often were stymied by Book of Moon; without its consistent presence on the field and backed by Trap Stun, Test Tiger plays into Secutor or Gyzarus can go through more often.  On the other hand, Trap Stun against Gladiator Beasts, without the protection of Book, can make GB monsters very vulnerable to being simply run over by stronger monsters.  At the start of new formats, Gladiator Beasts always rise in popularity; whether or not that popularity will remain after the first couple of months is still up in the air.

Frog Monarchs

The Frog Monarch archetype was not touched at all by the Banned List except for the loss of Cold Wave.  The deck was indirectly strengthened by the overall weakening of the other decks in the metagame.  Royal Tribute to two reduces the chance of a Monarch-loaded hand resulting in a loss.  Book of Moon, a chainable threat which capitalized on the Frog Monarch’s lack of defensive spells and traps, is now less of a consistent threat.  Solemn Warning to two also reduces the number of answers other decks have for Monarchs.  The deck is also unaffected by Trap Stun.  Overall, the new format looks very promising for Frog Monarch players.

Other decks, such as Scraps, Machina, Karakuri, and Anti-Meta also have the potential to perform well in the new format despite their lack of impact on the current format.  A large part of my analysis was the prediction of Trap Stun and its effect on the metagame; whether that prediction becomes true remains to be seen.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave your comments below or send an email to evang.vargas@yahoo.com.  And be sure to check out my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/thesandtrap.  Thanks for reading, and good luck in the new format!

 

 

“PENNINGTON FOR YOUR THOUGHTS – BREWING FOR SUNRISE” – BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 02/21/2011

 

It was the night before Yu-Gi-Oh regionals in Sunrise, Florida, and it was time to choose a deck. The first deck I was considered was Gravekeepers (after all, they are the best deck). There were a couple of reasons that I decided against Gravekeepers. The first is that I had no idea how to win the mirror match. Ironically enough, I actually found out how to win the mirror match a day later, Solidarity (you heard it here first!)

 


I also decided that I was going to try to avoid a deck with three Pot of Dualities. I currently only own one copy of the luxurious secret rare, and while I do have friends who can lend me Pot of Dualities if I really need them, I feel really bad about asking people to lend me cards. A lack of Dualities mean that Gravekeeper’s, Fish OTK, and Blackwings would most likely not be good choices.

I considered Gladiator Beasts, mainly because War Chariot, Bestiari, and Gyzarus are still really good. Gladiator Beasts can also afford to play a low monster count in order to make Royal Tribute a non-issue. I decided against it due to the fact that even when Gladiator Beasts seem “good in theory,” it’s very easy for their gameplan to be disrupted in some way. Gladiator Beasts also tend to have problems with high attack monsters backed by removal, which is existent in pretty much any meta. Also, if Jake Mattern isn’t playing Gladiator Beasts, they can’t really be that great.

I eventually decided to play a deck with E-Heroes and Miracle Fusions. Because if there’s one thing that makes me feel really good, it’s splashing Elemental Hero Absolute Zero into an already established strategy (for additional reading, see “Next Level Frogs”). I basically drafted up a list, put the deck together at 10 PM Friday night, and decided I was going to roll with it. Due to poor time management, I was not able to test or fine-tune the deck at all. My first game with the deck was round 1 of regionals.

“Blue City” – Top8 at Sunrise Regional 1/29/2011 by Allen C. Pennington

Monsters: 12

2 Cyber Dragon

3 Elemental Hero Neos Alius

2 Elemental Hero Ocean

1 Elemental Hero Stratos

1 D.D. Warrior Lady

2 Snowman Eater

1 Morphing Jar

Spells: 17

3 Miracle Fusion

1 Future Fusion

3 E – Emergency Call

1 Reinforcement of the Army

2 Book of Moon

1 Dark Hole

1 Monster Reborn

1 Pot of Duality

2 Skyscraper 2 – Hero City

2 Gemini Spark

Traps: 11

3 Dimensional Prison

3 Solemn Warning

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Mirror Force

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Starlight Road

Extra deck: 15

3 Elemental Hero Absolute Zero

2 Elemental Hero Gaia

1 Cyber Twin Dragon

1 Superalloy Beast Raptinus

1 Dragon Knight – Draco Equiste

2 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon

3 Stardust Dragon

1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

1 Black Rose Dragon

Sidedeck: 15

3 Mask of Restrict

2 Nobleman of Crossout

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Starlight Road

2 Super Polymerization

2 Genex Ally Duradark

1 Mobius the Frost Monarch

1 Trap Dustshoot

I feel that brewing in general is an art that receives little appreciation in Yu-Gi-Oh! “Brewing” is building a rouge deck for a specific event, usually designed to tackle a specific element of the metagame or win using unconventional tactics. I elaborated on this a bit in a previous article, The Merits of Playing Bad Decks. This deck actually wasn’t bad at all; I feel it was a very good choice for the metagame that I expected. I think it’s fair to say that I like to build my own decks from scratch rather than netdecking an already-established deck. I feel that if I use something that is my own creation I will make better plays. In addition, I just like the feeling of playing an unusual card and my opponent having to pick it up and read it.

Starting with the monsters, my E-Hero lineup is 1 Stratos, 2 Ocean, and 3 Alius, which proved to be the correct ratio for me at the regional. Elemental Hero Ocean is a multi-purpose card, being able to fulfill either requirement for Elemental Hero Absolute Zero. It is also a good source of card advantage, especially when you have Elemental Hero Stratos. Don’t forget that Ocean can not only get back E-Heroes from the graveyard, but it can bounce ones on the field to your hand as well. The idea here is to repeatedly keep playing Stratos and use either of its effects. I decided to play more copies of Alius than Ocean due to the fact that 1900 attack goes a long way. Alius is one of the main beaters in the deck, and maximizing the chances of Gemini Spark being a live card was important to me.

Cyber Dragon is a very good card right now. 2100 is a solid attack stat against Gravekeeper’s. It’s also good for the usual reason, the fact that it’s a great beater than doesn’t waste a normal summon. Throughout the day I managed to make Chimeratech Fortress Dragon a few times using Formula Synchron or another Cyber Dragon.

D.D. Warrior Lady is included as a 1-of removal target for Reinforcement of the Army. It ended up doing its job well. I considered playing Exiled Force instead (you can Miracle Fuse Exiled Force with an E-Hero to make Elemental Hero Gaia). I found that D.D. Warrior Lady was more versatile overall due to the fact that it functions better as an aggressive monster.

Morphing Jar is good in decks like these that can set their whole hand and flip Morphing Jar for a +4ish. I only resolved Morphing Jar’s effect twice during the regional, both times during the same game! I set my whole hand, flipped Morphing Jar, then played Book of Moon next turn and did it again. Morphing Jar is very good against decks like Frog Monarch, Fish OTK, and Plants that tend to keep cards in hand rather than commit them to the field. I sided out Morphing Jar against decks like Gravekeepers and Gladiator Beasts that tend to have low hand counts.

I figured I’d go over all three fusion spells at once and the different interactions that they have in the deck. Future Fusion is going to select Absolute Zero 90% of the time, and I usually dump Alius and Snowman Eater. However, there are different situations where it would be correct to select other fusions or fusion materials. Suppose you’re staring down a field full of machines and your hand is Future Fusion and Monster Reborn. You can select Cyber Twin Dragon, send both Cyber Dragons to the grave, Monster Reborn one of them, and make a giant chimeratech fortress dragon. Another play that I did was summon E-Hero Ocean first turn and use Future Fusion to put Stratos in the grave so I could get it back with Ocean next turn.

I figure it’s worth noting that Miracle Fusion can get Gaia if there’s a Morphing Jar in your grave . It’s not going to come up too often though. With Miracle Fusion you will also use monsters on the field very often. The more I played throughout the day I realized that it was usually the correct play to Miracle Fusion monsters on the field rather than waiting for them to die first. This style of play is very different from the traditional style of Miracle Fusion decks that play Destiny Heroes rather than Elemental Heroes.

Super Polymerization is a tricky card to play, and I well timed Super Polymerization can easily catch an opponent off guard. Against X-Saber decks you will fuse their earth monster with your E-Hero to summon Elemental Hero Gaia. Against another Gemini deck, two Alius’s make a Superalloy Beast Raptinus. Against a deck with lots of water monsters, (Fish OTK, Frog Monarchs, or even a mirror match) fuse for Absolute Zero. Every once in awhile you can even fuse your opponent’s Stardust Dragon with your warrior to make Dragon Knight – Draco Equiste. Props to the guy who manages to pull this one off…

(Your opponent has a face-up Cyber Dragon and no set spells/traps.)

You: “Summon Cyber Dragon.”

Opponent: “Make Chimeratech Fortress Dragon and attack for 2K?”

You: “Nope.”

You: “You’re at how much?”

Opponent: “5600”

You: “Hm. Super Poly for Cyber Twin Dragon, attack for game.”

Opponent: “Aw man. What a beating!”

Skyscraper 2 – Hero City is the MVP in the Gravekeeper matchup. It sets up a lot of swingy plays. You will usually summon Elemental Hero Stratos first turn. The Gravekeeper play will summon a 1500 beater, activate Necrovalley, and attack over Stratos. Then next turn, activate Skyscraper 2, destroy Necrovalley, bring back Stratos (and activate its effect), then attack over their vulnerable Gravekeeper monster. Skyscraper 2 takes advantage of players that have the mentality, “I’d rather attack over a Stratos than use a removal card on it.”

There’s nothing too unusual in the sidedeck, but I would cut Mobius for something else (I don’t know what). There were never any matches where I felt that siding in Mobius would be a good decision. I’d like to remind everyone that Genex Ally Duradark is still an amazing sidedeck card. A 1800-beater that kills stuff for free is exactly what this deck wants.

I expected to mainly play against Frog Monarch, Plants, Gravekeepers, and Blackwings. The deck was primarily built to beat these decks. I didn’t play against Plants, but I went undefeated against the other three. I lost to X-Sabers, which seems like a hard matchup. This deck was built in a pre-Samurai meta, and I assure you that the 6 Samurai matchup is nearly unwinnable (already tested it). In the upcoming weeks I’m going to focus on perfecting the Six Samurai archetype. Unfortunately, the upcoming meta is one that I believe will highly favor netdecks over brews.

 

 

“HOBAN’S LAND – THE IMPORTANCE OF YVD”– BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 02/19/2011

 

The Importance of YVD

 


YVD is a resource that every duelist has available to them, but many of them choose to not take advantage of it. There are many things that I cannot teach you and you can only learn through playing games yourself. YVD allows you to do this in a manner that is convenient to you.  First download YVD at Xerocreative.com.

The Advantages of YVD

It’s free! – Who can argue with the word free? People willingly throw their money away on the DS games that become useless the second a new set is released. YVD updates their sets within a week of the set actually being released and it has always been free. This allows you to test your new deck ideas before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on a deck only to have it fail.

It’s convenient – Have 30 minutes to kill? Get in a game of YVD. It’s there for you. On top of that, you may feel up to a game, but be the only one home. Having access to it will certainly increase how much Yu-Gi-Oh you play. You will be amazed at all the things you learn from simply playing more often.

It allows you to get the experience of dueling other players and see what they are doing differently than you. Many players have a misconception about their actual skill level. They may be the best player in their area or among their group of friends, but unable to travel and experience other players. This makes it very hard for that person to grow as a player. With YVD, he can learn from the playstyles that the more experienced player is using that without YVD he would not.

It serves as a way of keeping all of your decks organized. It’s not likely that you’ll have 6 full decks in real life without any need to swap cards between the two. YVD can serve as an organizer that allows you to easily keep track of what cards go in what deck.

The online meta is more developed. Since the card pool is infinite, people are not bound by the same problems that they are in real life when making a deck. Before that stupid Fish deck that OTKed you in Top 8 of your locals last week beat you, it swept the online meta a good three weeks before that player ever caught wind of such a deck. This is a trend that is pretty commonplace. The online meta is up on the latest tech cards and strategies.

And the biggest factor is… play testing! Yes, this should be fairly obvious as it is the main point of YVD. It allows you to playtest against whoever using whatever deck at whatever hour of the night it may be.

This brings me into my next point that pertains to how you should go about requesting duels. The first thing you are going to want to do is download AIM. It is the universal messenger for all things Yu-Gi-Oh. You can download it at aim.com.

The next step in going about utilizing YVD to get the most out of it is to join an online team. Teams are a respected part of the online history of the game. If you join a team, your team can engage in wars with other teams. You play until you lose one time in the “war” and then you are out. When all the players on one side have lost, the other team wins the war. The history of warring is long and has created some of the best players the game has ever known. There are three main sites you would want to join depending on what you want to get out of warring. You have to ask yourself, are you looking to be extremely competitive or are you looking to be more laid back about it? That being said, there’s nothing stopping you from joining more than 1 site. Let’s take a look at the three main sites.

Yu-Gi-Oh Forums – yugiohforums.com – This is the least competitive of the three. This is definitely geared towards those of you who said you would like to take a more casual approach to warring. This gives you the fundamentals that you will need to develop over time to become a good player.

Yu-Gi-Oh ETC – etcforums.net – My home forum and the middle ground for online Yu-Gi-Oh. ETC has a nice mixture of competitive and casual. This is a great place for those of you who are looking to start the long climb to the top. Additionally, this is where most people probably ought to be.

Duelistgroundz –  duelistgroundz.com – The highest forum in terms of online status. DGZ is surely the most competitive of the three and is the sole reason warring is what it is today. DGZ has the longest history of wars in online Yu-Gi-Oh. The greatest teams to have ever been formed were created here. Teams such as Alpha Omega destroyed entire formats. Champions are created on this website.

Online warring is what really did it for me. The reason that I am any good at this game whatsoever can be attributed to warring. I certainly did not start out at the place I am now. I began on ETC. I was an average to slightly above average player on that website. After a discrepancy, I was forced to leave the site. Not wanting to give up warring, I heard about Duelistgroundz. I joined there and found a team. I caught a lucky break early on when I played Tyrome Cox for a war. I lost the war game, but Tyrome thought I played well and offered me a spot on Undisputed. This was one of the top teams at the time. From then on I improved exponentially and played a considerable amount more.

I speak from personal experience when I say that if used right, YVD can be an excellent tool in improving your game. It allows you to test your decks extensively and against people that you would have not been able to test against and learn from otherwise. All of this being said, I think everybody should use it as we all can gleam something from it. Whether that something be fixing our decks, improving our play style, or learning in game mechanics such as rulings that we otherwise would not have known is up to you and depends largely on how much you commit to it. If you keep at it, YVD will certainly help you improve in all three areas.

 

 

“BRAKEING INTO THE META – YCS DALLAS TOP 16 DECK ANALYSIS” – BY BILLY BRAKE

POSTED ON 02/17/2011

 

Billy Brake’s YCS Dallas Top 16 Deck Analysis

 


Hello Yugioh Community! I am back home now from the exciting YCS Dallas that took place this past weekend in my own backyard! This article is going to be about my trip, the deck I used, why I decided to go with it, how I did in the tournament, and what I would do differently with my deck!

Choosing a Tournament worthy deck: Thursday Night

My weekend for the YCS began on Thursday night after my final afternoon class. As soon as I was out of school it was time to begin complete Yugioh mode. I was going to devote the rest of the night and all of Friday to make sure I had the best and strongest deck that would give me the greatest chance of winning.

I had been using Gravekeeper’s for the past couple of weeks at all the local card shops and had been pretty happy with it. It seemed that the deck had a good match up vs. almost any type of deck and was very consistent. My teammate Ryan Spicer and I had pretty much decided that this was the deck we were going to use for YCS Dallas, since we knew that most of the field would be Blackwings, due to the fear of the new Six Samurai deck. We felt the deck had a very good match up with Blackwings, since it had so much removal for monster dependant decks.

Most of my testing that I decided to do in order to make sure my deck was tournament worthy took place with former SJC Champion Jessy Samek. He was using Six Samurai, and I knew a lot of people would be using this deck due to its explosiveness and power. Before this weekend, I didn’t think there would be too many players with it, since the cards had just been released and were very expensive. The matches I played with Jessy were really the first time I had put my Gravekeeper’s deck to the test against the new Samurai deck and it did not go well. It was rare for me to win a game, and every game where the Samurai deck went first it was almost impossible to stop. The Six Sam deck was just too fast and too powerful for my control and slow paced Gravekeeper deck to keep up with. As my testing came to a close on Thursday night, I began to question if I was going to be able to win with the deck I had felt confident in before.

Friday of the YCS: Last Chance to prepare!

The Friday before a YCS is probably my favorite day of every event that I travel to. It is the day where all of the players from out of town show up and everyone can kind of get an idea of what everybody else is running, and see the meta from around the country! It soon became very obvious that the Meta was Six Samurai. There were many people running around trying to get the last few cards they needed for their Six Samurai deck and a lot of my friends who I feel are all top players had decided to run the deck. I decided to spend the night testing some more and ended up playing a few matches with a good friend of mine and former National Champion Austin Kulman. After losing repeatedly to him throughout the night and in to the early morning hours of Saturday, I made the choice to start from scratch and switch to Six Samurai only hours before the YCS was going to begin!

Luckily, there was a good amount of people in the lobby and I was able to pick up the whole deck ( I only had to buy a playset of The legendary Six Samurai- Kizan because I have great friends like Bryan Rockenbach, Austin Kulman, and others who hook me up with the cards I need!). Now that I had all the tools I still needed to figure out the best way to go about using these cards to insure that I have a chance at doing well. Another friend of mine Jarel “Pro” Winston invites me up to his hotel room which is full of only players using Six Samurai. I am able to get some input from them on the deck and what their choices are so now I have a base to work with for my deck.

Saturday Morning: The right build

I was able to get a few hours of sleep before the morning of the big event. I quickly made my way over to the main event hall and saw that there were going to be many more people than I expected at the event. I managed to find a couple of friends that had told me they were using Six Samurai and was able to get their opinion on the deck. My friends Jerry Williams and Steven Harris then informed me that they were playing a version of the deck with the Red and Blue Six Samurai: Mizuho and Shinai. I had heard of a combo with these two cards that would allow a player to get infinite counters and they insisted that not only could they do that, but they were actually good cards on their own. I took them at their word, built the deck, and wrote my list out and was ready for the tournament.

The Deck I used:

Billy Brake’s Blue and Red Guy Six Samurai:

Main Deck

Monsters:

1 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai

3 Legendary Six Samurai – Kageki

2 Legendary Six Samurai – Mizuho

1 Legendary Six Samurai – Shinai

3 Kagemusha of the Six Samurai

3 Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan

Spells:

3 Gateway of the Six

3 Six Samurai United

3 Shien’s Smoke Signal

1 Giant Trunade

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Reinforcement of the Army

3 Book of Moon

1 Monster Reborn

1 Dark Hole

Traps:

1 Mirror Force

3 Solemn Warning

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Dust Tornado

1 Double-Edged Sword Technique

1 Musakani Magatama

1 Seven Tools of the Bandit

This was the build I decided to run with for YCS Dallas. A majority of players including almost all of my friends had decided to go the route of using Upstart Goblin to try and get to the combos faster. Instead, I wanted to use cards that would help me put myself in a winning position or help me fight off my opponent. My most surprising choice was to main deck a dust tornado on top of using double Mystical Space Typhoon. I felt this card would really help me against the top 3 decks that were seeing play: Six Samurai, Blackwings, and Gravekeepers.

Many people may wonder why I only used 1 copy of Grandmaster of the Six Samurai. The reasoning behind that was to simply make enough room to run the 2 copies of Mizuho and the lone copy of Shinai. Grandmaster is a very good card in this deck, but drawing double was never good, and he requires me to have another Six Sam on the field, and sometimes he would make my opponents Solemn Warnings hurt even more.

The Blue and the Red guy, while they do give me the ability to practically win on my first turn by gaining infinite counters (you can read about this in my deck profile for coverage of the event), Mizuho is really just an all around good card that gave my deck the ability to destroy problem cards such as Royal Oppression, or in the mirror match my opponents Gateway of the Six.

My Side deck

1 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai

1 Cyber Dragon

1 D.D. Crow

1 Effect Veiler

1 Maxx “C”

1 Puppet Plant

1 Kinetic Solider

2 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo

1 Smashing Ground

1 Nobleman Of Crossout

1 Royal Oppression

1 Chain Dissaperance

2 Rivalry Of Warlords

It was pretty difficult for me to build a proper and well tested side deck for the YCS since I had made the decision to use the deck in such a rushed manner. I know that if I had more time to test the Samurai deck against all the other different matches, my side deck would have been a little better, but I do think I made a pretty good side for the little testing that I did.

When building a side deck it is important to think about what you think you are mostly going to be playing against and what decks will give the deck you are using trouble. For most people it is pretty obvious to say my biggest worry was the mirror match. I sided a total of 7 cards for the mirror, but would only actually side in 3 or 4 of them at a time depending on if I was going first or second. Here is a look at how I would side for some of my match ups. Note that some of the cards I would side out varied depending on the player, but I will try to give a general idea.

Six Samurai Mirror Match

(If I am going 1st)

IN: Royal Oppression, Chain Disappearance, 1 Fossil Dyna, 1 Kinetic Soilder

OUT: Seven Tools of the Bandit, Mirror Force, Musakani Magatama, Double Edged Sword Technique

(If I am going 2nd)

IN: Maxx “C”, Puppet Plant, Kinetic Soilder, 2 Fossil Dyna

OUT: Mirror Force, Musakani Magatama, Double Edged Sword Technique, Dust Tornado,  Legendary Six Samurai – Shinai

Blackwings

IN: Grandmaster of the Six Samurai, Smashing Ground, Cyber Dragon-if I go second

OUT: (If I go 2nd ) LSS – Mizuho, LSS – Shinai, Double edged Sword Technique

(If I go first): Double Edged Sword Technique, Dust Tornado

Plants

IN:Effect Veiler, D.D. Crow, Maxx “C”, Nobleman of Cross out, Royal Oppression, Chain Dissaperance   (Sometimes rivalry of warlords depending if they run Tytannial)

OUT: LSS-Shinai, 1 LSS – Mizuho, Double edged Sword Technique, Dust Tornado, Seven tools of the bandit, Mirror Force

Results: How I did

After 9 long rounds on day 1 and 2 more in the morning of Day 2 I finished with a record of 10-1 and came in 1st place after the swiss rounds. I was very pleased with the way my deck was working. Here is a look at what I faced throughout the rounds and what I was able to overcome.

2 Machina Gadget

1 Gravekeeper

1 Chaos Plants (My one loss)

2 Blackwing

5 Six Samurai

So it seemed that my guess on what deck I would face the most had been correct and almost half of my matches in the tournament took place against Six Samurai. I also ended up playing a mirror match in the top 32 and top 16 as well for a total of 7 mirror matches out of 13 rounds of play. The 2 Machina Gadget decks I faced were unexpected and turned out to be a very tough match-up, if I had better testing with the deck I would have known that and sided accordingly.

I have had many people ask me how or why I lost so I will give you a summary of what happened in my Top 16 match that led me to be eliminated from the tournament.

Billy Brake’s YCS Top 16 match up

Six Sam vs. Six Sam

Game 1

I won the dice roll so I get the chance to go first. My opening hand is Gateway of the Six, LSS Shinai, LSS Mizuho, Giant Trunade, Book of moon, and Mystical Space Typhoon. I have to say upon drawing this hand I was pretty happy because it is a very strong opening for the mirror match. I play Gateway Summon Mizuho, special Shinai, search and special summon Grandmaster of the Six Samurai, and set both my MST and Book of Moon. I end with 2 counters on Gateway and a Giant Trunade in hand. My opponent draws and plays smoke signal for Kageki. He activates his own copy of Gateway, summons Kageki, special Kagemusha with the effect, I respond with Book of moon to his tuner and MST on Gateway. So now my Gateway has 6 counters and my opp. has a face up Kageki, f/d kagemusha ,and 3 cards in hand. He special summons Grandmaster. He then attacks over Mizuho and Shinai. I am feeling pretty good at this point as I have 8 counters on Gateway with Giant trunade in hand to get rid of any back rows he sets. Unfortunately, one of his last two cards is monster reborn on my Mizuho, he then uses the effect to tribute his Kageki to destroy my Gateway of the six, leaving me with almost nothing. He then sets his last card in hand (which happens to be a solemn warning). He ends up drawing a Kizan next turn and I can’t comeback. I pretty much lost that game simply because my opponent had a 6 card counter to my hand perfectly. He played it well and got the win game 1.

Game 2

Once again I get to go first, but this time my hand isn’t as good. I summon Kageki special Kagemusha and synch up for Shi En. I set a MST with Monster reborn and a Mizuho in my hand and end my turn. My opponent draws, activates book of moon on my Shi En which I am forced to negate. He then activates Smashing Ground. My Shi En falls, but I have Reborn so it’s ok. He then uses a Monster Reborn of his own again to take my Shi En, summons Kageki, specials kagemusha and synchs for his own Shi En. He now has 2 Shi En to my practically completely dead hand. He attacks for 5000 damage and I am not able to recover in the next turn and the match is over. So two games my Opponent was able to have a pretty good counter hand to all of the cards I drew and my time in the tournament was up!

What I would do differently

There is only one change that I would make to the deck after having played it in the YCS..

Main Deck

-1 Double edged Sword Technique – This card saw zero play for me and when I drew it, it was never that good. I would cut this card all together.

+1 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai – My main reason for wanting to move this card into my main deck is to free up another space in my side deck. He is good against Blackwings, Gladiator Beast, and any sort of monster removal based deck.

Side Deck

+1 Cyber Dragon – With the space open since I moved Grandmaster to the main deck, I would put a second copy of Cyber Dragon in my side to help with the Machina match-up or any sort of stun type of decks that give Six Sams Problems.

Conclusion:

Overall my YCS Dallas experience was a good one. I did well with a deck that I had not tested very well and I had a lot of friends that did well in the tournament also. I have some advice for other players based upon my experience at the past YCS that you should think about next time when you are trying to build a YCS Tournament worthy deck.

1. Secrets Don’t Make Friends – If you are trying to run a certain deck that you think is the best, talk to other players or friends about what they think. Get ideas from all sorts of different people. In the end you will get a broader selection of ideas to choose from and figure out which one is best.

2. Test Play, Test Play, Test Play – If you think you are running the best deck and know how it does against any match up, think again. You need to play vs. all sorts of decks and know your deck inside and out. This will help you with side decking properly and making all the right plays at the right time.

3. Be willing to make a change – I know a lot of people out there will play one deck week in and week out, but if you really want to win know when it is time to throw in the towel! Sometimes there will be a better deck out there and you either need to make proper adjustments to your deck or even switch over. Always have an open mind!

Thank you for reading my analysis over the deck I used for YCS Dallas and why I used it. If you would like to contact me feel free to email me at BillyBrakeYGO@yahoo.com or check out my blog at Billybrakeyugioh.com and my YouTube Channel is Youtube.com/havok41 !

Billy Brake

 

 

“HOW TO PROPERLY SIDE DECK – PART II” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY EVAN VARGAS

POSTED ON 02/03/2011

 

In my previous article titled, “How to Properly Side Deck – Part I”, I discussed the importance of a complete understanding of the metagame, both what decks are popular and which cards each popular deck uses.  With this understanding in mind, we are now ready to actually create the Side Deck.

 


Creating the Side Deck

The ultimate purpose of a Side Deck is to help increase your chances of winning the rest of the duels in the match.  Generally speaking, each deck has different match-ups against the rest of the decks in a given metagame: good, bad, and even match-ups.  How many cards of your Side Deck you dedicate towards a particular match-up depends on two things:

1.)                The level of popularity a given deck has, and
2.)                The threat level a particular match-up.

For example, a particular match-up could be simply devastating for you: 10-90 in your opponent’s favor.  However, only 5% of the metagame uses that deck.  The Side Deck only allows for 15 cards.  How many cards do you dedicate for this deck?  The situation is essentially risk vs reward.  You could dedicate most of your Side Deck towards this match-up because you feel that you will lose Game 1 and need to win Games 2 & 3.  With so many cards sided for one deck, the match-up would be much more favorable.  However, those Side Deck cards will do you no good if you never play against the intended match-up.  On the other hand, siding no cards for this match-up equates to a certain loss should you happen to sit down across from this deck despite the low amount of players using the deck.  Each player must determine the balance between these two extremes that they are comfortable with.

A common answer to this situation is to side cards that perform well against multiple match-ups.  For example, some players may be considering the use of Spell-Shattering Arrow to counter Six Samurais.  Arrow is a fairly narrow card, though.  Outside of its uses against Six Samurais and possibly Gravekeepers, it’s almost useless.  Dust Tornado, although not as powerful against Six Samurais as Spell-Shattering Arrow is, can be used against Six Samurais, Gravekeepers, Gladiator Beasts, Blackwings, Gadgets, and other match-ups.

Mental Decklists

No matter how you decide to construct your Side Deck, you should have “mental decklists” prepared before a major tournament.  By “mental decklist”, I mean a decklist you keep in your mind for how you want your deck look like for Games 2 & 3 for every possible match-up.  For example, if you knew that every single deck you’d play against in a tournament would be Plant Synchro, how would you adjust your deck?  What cards would come in and, more importantly, what cards would come out?

Discussion regarding what cards come out in different match-ups is practically non-existent in online forums.  More focus is spent on tweaking the Main Deck or Side Deck by a couple cards.  When siding during a major tournament, you’re only given three minutes to present your deck to your opponent.  You can better utilize your Side Deck by preparing a mental decklist well before the tournament begins, instead of “winging it” in under three minutes while in the middle of a match.  Not only will using your Side Deck take less time to do and your chances of winning are increased, but just the thought process and discussion behind determining what cards you take out for what cards coming in can increase your understanding of the game and the weaknesses/strengths of your own deck.

Let’s take a look at an example to further clarify the idea of a mental decklist.  Here’s a Plant Synchro deck:

Monsters [21]

[3] Debris Dragon
[3] Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
[2] Super-Nimble Mega Hamster
[2] Caius the Shadow Monarch
[2] Lonefire Blossom
[2] Dandylion
[1] Tytannial, Princess of Camelias
[1] Glow-Up Bulb
[1] Spore
[1] Sangan
[1] Card Trooper
[1] Effect Veiler
[1] Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

Spells [13]
[1] Dark Hole
[1] Monster Reborn
[1] Pot of Duality
[1] Charge of the Light Brigade
[1] Foolish Burial
[1] Cold Wave
[1] Mystical Space Typhoon
[3] Book of Moon
[3] Pot of Avarice

Traps [7]
[1] Mirror Force
[1] Torrential Tribute
[2] Bottomless Trap Hole
[3] Solemn Warning

41 Cards Total

Side Deck [15]
[1] Effect Veiler
[2] D.D. Crow
[1] Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
[2] Thunder King Rai-Oh
[3] Cyber Dragon
[1] Mystical Space Typhoon
[2] My Body as a Shield
[3] Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror

With this Main and Side Deck, how would you side for the mirror match for example?

Plant Synchro vs Plant Synchro:

-1 Cold Wave
-1 Pot of Duality
-2 Bottomless Trap Hole
+1 Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
+1 Effect Veiler
+2 D.D. Crow

The above changes is exactly what I mean when referring to a mental decklist.  This can be done for every match-up you anticipate playing against.  Make these kind of preparations before the tournament begins, just like you prepare your Main Deck and Side Deck.  Knowing which cards to side into is not enough.  Just because you have the right tools available does not mean you automatically know how to use the tools most effectively.  Determine your Main Deck, construct your Side Deck with an understanding of the metagame in mind, and discuss what changes to make to your deck when siding for each match-up with your friends and peers.  You’ll become a better player in the process, little by little.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at evang.vargas@yahoo.com.  And don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/thesandtrap!

Evan “SandTrap” Vargas

 

 

“CONTROL SABERS”– A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 01/28/2011

 

I’d like to introduce, or rather re-introduce, a concept that was once a popular strategy in X-Sabers; we’ll call the deck “Control Sabers.” A variation of this strategy was popular all throughout last format. Last format, many X-Saber players chose to incorporate cards such as Royal Oppression in the deck.  The basic concept was simple; you would summon a lot of powerful monsters and ensure that your opponent could not counter your powerful monsters with theirs by using Royal Oppression.  X-Sabers last format were not the first deck to use this strategy to success.  Flashback to 2008 where we had arguably the most dominant deck in the game’s history; Tele-DAD.  Tele-DAD used a very similar strategy that involved Oppression.  This strategy died down this format for several reasons:

 


Royal Oppression was limited – It makes it significantly harder to control with a card if you are only running one copy of it.

Increased use of Trap Stun – During the beginning of this format, Trap Stun was played in multiples in nearly every deck.  There was no point in playing Oppression if your opponent had such easy access to an out.

They could likely play just as well, if not better under Trap Stun than you – This was the big one. Last format the best decks were X-Sabers, Infernity, and Frog FTK (only near the end of the format). If you could put out 3 big monsters and back it with Oppression in a format like that, you’d certainly win. This format saw a rise in decks like Blackwings, something that can play significantly better under the card than you can. Also, Gemini won one of the first YCSes this format. Everyone rushed to play the deck and hyped it excessively.

What Changed?

Needless to say, it wasn’t a safe card to play at the beginning of this format.  So let’s look at what has changed to make the conditions better for this deck to succeed.  Needless to say, Royal Oppression is still limited. The first point cannot change.  That being said, number 2 and 3 can and have changed.  Trap Stun is barely a relevant card now that this format has fully developed into 5 decks; X-Sabers, Plants, Blackwings, Fish, and Gravekeeper’s.  Out of the five, X-Sabers are the only deck that potentially still plays Trap Stuns. Even many of them are beginning to drop it for Mystical Space Typhoon and Dust Tornado.  A fourth point can be made as to why this is a good strategy now in comparison to earlier this format. The release of Naturia Barkion and the ease X-Sabers have with summoning the card.  Combine that with the already released Naturia Beast, and that’s a deadly combination. Again, let’s flashback to 2008 and Tele-DAD.  Then you were summoning Stardust and using Royal Oppression and other defensive cards to completely control the game.  Summoning Naturia Beast and/or Naturia Barkion and backing it with Oppression is almost as good as summoning Stardust and backing it with similar protection.  Now obviously, I can’t just throw 1 card into X-Sabers and suddenly it becomes a control variant of the deck. That being said, let’s take a look at an example deck list of Control Sabers:

Monsters: 18

3 XX-Saber Emmersblade
3 XX-Saber Darksoul
2 XX-Saber Faultroll
2 XX-Saber Fulhelmknight
2 XX-Saber Boggart Knight
2 Super-Nimble Mega Hamster
1 X-Saber Airbellum
2 X-Saber Pashuul
1 Spirit Reaper

Spells: 10
2 Pot of Duality
3 Book of Moon
1 Cold Wave
1 Mind Control
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Giant Trunade

Traps: 12

2 Solemn Warning
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Gottoms’ Emergency Call
2 Trap Stun
1 Royal Oppression
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Solemn Judgment

Certainly there are several unorthodox choices in the deck.  Allow me to explain them:

2 XX-Saber Faultroll – I’ve never been a fan of only two Faultroll in X-Sabers. Fewer Faultrolls allows for smaller plays.  The thing about Control Sabers is that you aren’t going for a huge OTK play. You’re trying to set up mini locks with things like Beast and Prison which are hard to break. By losing the extra Faultroll, you can more consistently achieve this goal.

2 Super-Nimble Mega Hamster – Hamster allows for you to slowroll the deck and slowly gain advantage and set up your mini locks. One of the biggest plays the deck can make is a simple 3 card combo involving Hamster. The other two cards are searchable. The combo is this: They attack the Hamster and you search Darksoul. On your turn, flip Darksoul and summon Pashuul. Special Faultroll and synchro into Naturia Beast. Revive Pashuul and synchro into either Stardust Dragon or Naturia Barkion depending on the matchup and what protection your other cards offer.  Against Plants for example, it would probably be wiser to set up with Stardust so that they cannot play Debris Dragon against you.

Spirit Reaper – Reaper is an all-around solid card. It again allows you to take a more conservative approach with your plays. The also obvious added bonus of him being able to discard and create advantage fits right in with the theme of the deck. This card will be especially good post-Samurai as they have few main-decked outs to cards like Spirit Reaper or Pashuul.  Excluding synchros, Hand of the Six is the only out the deck offers.  Because this deck provides you with so many options, often times countering their single Hand will not be a hard task to accomplish.

Dimensional Prison – As the format continues, I have been liking this card more and more as a replacement of Bottomless Trap Hole.  It permanently removes threats like Stardust Dragon, Gravekeeper’s Recruiter, or opposing Emmersblades.  An added bonus is that it is generally a live card no matter what point in the duel you draw it. The same cannot be said for Bottomless.  And again, setting up Naturia Beast and backing it with this card is a mini lock in itself and certainly hard to break.

X-Sabers are a deck that naturally gains card advantage. By having more cards than your opponent, you have more options that your opponent.  If you can then limit your opponent’s plays with what options they do have through cards like Beast or Barkion, you can put yourself in an even better position. The natural ease this deck has with bringing out these cards makes it the perfect deck to take advantage of this strategy. This deck currently has great matchups with every other top deck in the game.  If this will hold to be true with the release of Samurais remains a mystery for now. An extremely conservative, passive, and controlling deck may not be the deck to play upon their release. Until then I strongly encourage players to give this deck a try.

One final note on the deck: It’s a passive deck. You will not see great results if you do not play it as such. Certainly it is still X-Sabers and can be explosive; however, that should not be the primary focus of the deck. The primary focus of the deck should be setting up mini locks that are extremely hard to play out of. With that said, I will catch you guys later. Check back next week for another article!

 

 

“FIGHTING OFF THE SAMURAI”– A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY BILLY BRAKE

POSTED ON 01/24/2011

 

The release of the new set is getting closer and closer and the anticipation of the powerful Six Samurai cards is getting bigger and bigger! Most players among the YuGiOh community that are planning on attending YCS Dallas are very aware of the power of the Six Samurai that I wrote about in my last article. Many people think they might become the new tier 0; the only best deck of this format. The deck might have the most explosiveness, the most power, and the most speed, but it is far from being unbeatable. In this article I am going to go over the pros and cons of some of the cards that players can side or even main deck to help them even the playing field and beat this new powerhouse deck.

 


Kinetic Solider 
Earth Machine – 3 Star
1350/1800

When battling a Warrior–Type monster, this card gains 2000 ATK and DEF during Damage calculation only.

Pros: This card is the Six Sams old enemy! When the Six Samurai monsters were first released and became popular, this card was sided by almost all players because it completely beat them.  Although a lot of the cards in the Six Samurai deck are new, this old card is still going to give them trouble.  This card is an instant out to the powerful Syncrho Shien negation boss monster. To avoid a Solemn Warning, you can set him and let them attack into his enormous defense. He can switch to attack mode on your next turn and turn the Legendary Six Samurai into the fallen Six Samurai.

Cons: Sadly, the Six Sams now have more outs than ever to this card thanks to all the new cards. The 2 star tuner Kagemusha and any of the Synchro monsters he summons can become easy outs. They simply Synchro Kizan (4 stars) and Kagemusha (2 stars) for a Naturia Barkion, and they have a 2500 Dragon type monster who can negate traps and run over the poor Kinetic Solider. Also, if they are out of tuners they can use shien’s smoke signal or Gateway of the Six to search for Hand of The Six Samurai and simply tribute it to take out Kinetic Soldier.

Final Thoughts: This card is going to be one of the cards that most players will choose to side against Six Samurai since you can splash it into any deck and it can devastate any Six Samurai player.

Puppet Plant
Earth Plant – 3 Star 
1000/1000

By discarding this card from your hand to the Graveyard, take control of 1 face-up Warrior or Spellcaster–Type monsteryour opponent controls until the end of this turn.

Pros: This card is really good against Six Samurai for many reasons. The main reason this card is going to see a lot of play in the side deck of most decks is because the Samurai deck has pretty much no way to stop this card. If your opponent Synchro summons the Legenday Six Samurai – Shien, you will be able to use a monster card to take control of him, attack over their Grandmaster of the Six Samurai, and then tribute him or summon a tuner and Synchro with him, robbing your opponent of getting their monster back. This single card can help players rebound from an onslaught of turn 1 samurai and almost single handedly destroy their whole field.

Cons: Just drawing this card by itself doesn’t mean you will have a way to comeback and always beat Six Samurai. This card will require you to have another card such as a 3 star or lower tuner or a tribute monster of some sort to get the monster you take off the field so your opponent does not get it back.

Final Thoughts: This card has the ability to make a comeback after your Six Samurai opponent has unleashed some fury, and they have almost no way to stop it. For it to reach its full potential, it will require you to draw another card with it which makes it a little situational. This is a very good card against Six Sams and should be used in the side decks of any tuner heavy or Monarch type decks.

Chain Disappearance
Trap Card

You can only activate this card when a monster with an ATK of 1000 or less is Normal Summoned, Flip Summoned or Special Summoned. Remove the monster from play and your opponent removes all monsters of the same name in his/her handand Deck from play. His/her Deck is then shuffled.

Pros: A couple of the new Six Sam cards are able to meet the requirements, but the main one you want to worry about using this card on is their new 2 star tuner Kagemusha. This card will not only take care of the tuner on the field, but all the tuners the Samurai have in their decks, and be able to make their Boss Shien Synchro monster useless. Being able to take away their power card will help even the playing field and make the deck easier to beat.

Cons: If you are going to 2nd, this card loses a lot of its power. If you draw this card after the opponent is able to bring out the Shien Synchro, it can be a very dead draw. Another drawback this card might present is if your opponent opts to go the aggressive route and summons all of their big monsters and trys and attack you for game, this card will end up being pretty useless. If you are able to use this card on the tuner, it will remove all of them, but the opponent will still get counters for his Gateway of the Six, which is never good news.

Final Thought: While this card has a lot of potential to hurt the Samurai deck, you would have to go first and open with it in order for it to reach its full potential as it is not very good late game. This card is still in my top 3 favorites to use against Six Samurai, despite having a little more of a consistency issue.

The cards I just talked about are my top 3 favorite cards to help in the match up against Six Samurai, but there are other cards that can be used. They might not be as effective, but I will go ahead and list a few just to give you an idea.

Gozen Match – While most of the Samurai are Earth, their Synchro monster is Dark and the Boggart Knight like monster is Wind, making it hard for them to Synchro. This can give Lightsworn and Blackwing decks an edge.

Summon Limit – The Six Samurai like to spam a whole bunch of monsters in one turn. A well-timed summon limit might surprise the opponent and help you beat them. Decks like Anti-meta, Blackwings, or even Gladiator Beast might find this card useful.

Royal Oppression – This card is another favorite of mine to use against Six Samurai. If you are able to stop them from special summoning, it will be very hard for them to find a way to win. This card is probably one of the best to use to beat Six Samurai, but be careful not to restrict your deck with this card and let their 2100 ATK Grandmaster and 1800 ATK Kizan beat you down.

Solemn Warning –Many players have already started to main deck 3 copies of this card because negating the summon of their first Six Samurai monster will stop them before they are able to get going. The only reason this is not one of my top 3 is because I do not see this as a card specific for Samurai. Rather, it is a great card against any deck in the format.

Book of Moon – This card is similar to Solemn Warning as it will have potential to slow down Six Samurai and stop them from being able to Synchro summon if you book their tuner or non tuner monster. Be careful, because a couple of the new Six Samurai have very high DEF, so use this card wisely and don’t just waste it to stop them from a Synchro summon only to not be able to run over the its big defense.

Conclusion: I hope this information was helpful and gave you more insight on what cards might help you beat this powerful new deck that everyone fears. If you want to try and think of some other cards that might be good to beat Six Samurai, just remember that stopping their summons and keeping them from bringing out their Syncrho Shien is a key way to achieve victory.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to send me an email at billybrakeygo@yahoo.com if you have any suggestions for future articles or comments. Remember to check out my YouTube channel at youtube.com/havok41 for YuGiOh advice and cool videos!

-Billy Brake

 

 

“HOW TO PROPERLY SIDE DECK – PART I” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY EVAN VARGAS

POSTED ON 01/18/2011

 

 


My name is Evan Vargas.  Before I get into the article, I want to set something straight.  Browsing through online forums, I get the sense that one’s opinion, and how seriously it is taken, is directly proportional to the person’s status as a “pro”.  I’ve seen “pros” make debatable comments, but other players take their word as gospel.  “Pros” are considered to be very good players, and thus it’s easy to just listen to what a “pro” says and take it as fact.  That’s not how it should be.  When an opinion is given, you should take that perspective, add it to your own, and come up with your own conclusions.  If you hope to become a better player, you should strive to achieve a greater understanding of the game.  Just taking an opinion as fact limits your own ability to learn, understand, and grow as a player.

I am writing this article based on my opinion.  If you do not recognize my name, you may be unsure if I know what I’m talking about.  Will you continue reading the article, hoping to grow as a player?  To see if I know what I’m talking about?  That is up to you.  If you do, I hope that I can help you grow as a player, one article at a time.

Proper side decking is a topic not often discussed, and rarely is it discussed in great detail.  On discussion forums, the main focus is on the Main Deck.  With popular decks, the usual discussions revolve around minor tweaks to the Main or Extra Deck.  Less emphasis is put on the Side Deck, which is essential towards success in major tournaments.  And, compared to those minor tweaks, how to properly utilize your Side Deck is more important despite the lack of attention it is given.  When I develop my Side Deck, I generally do three things:

1.)                Analyze the metagame specifically for the tournament you are attending next.

2.)                Familiarize yourself with each deck in that metagame and what they’ll side against your deck.

3.)                Create a proper Side Deck.

Analyze the Metagame

This part is the “easy” part.  With all of the information available online (discussion forums, Konami’s coverage of major tournaments, etc.), determining the popular decks is not a problem.  However, a mistake some players make is assuming that their local is a smaller version of a YCS.  That’s not true.  For example, even though Gladiator Beasts and Machinas are not dominating major tournaments in numbers, one of my locals is filled with those two decks.  This local also lacks Fish and Blackwing decks.  Therefore, if my next tournament is at this local, my Side Deck would be different than if I was attending another local or a YCS.  Do not make the assumption that each local is a miniature reincarnation of the latest major tournament.  Determine which decks are popular at your next tournament’s location, and adjust your Side Deck accordingly.

Familiarization of the Metagame

Once you are aware of what decks to anticipate, you need to learn what each deck’s standard builds are.  Having a solid foundation of knowledge will help you decide which plays are best to make while playing in a duel, as well as helping to determine how you will utilize your Side Deck.  For example, Trap Stun is a commonly played card used in X-Saber decks, whereas standard Machina Gadget decklists do not use Trap Stun.  When a player sets a spell or trap card, you do not know what card it is.  Hypothetically speaking, it could be any spell or trap card in existence.  Knowing which cards are commonly played helps you to predict which spells or traps are set on the field, which will help to make the best plays you could possibly make.

The same concept applies towards the Side Deck.  Different decks side different cards for particular match-ups.  With knowledge of the cards that each particular deck is most likely to side against your deck, you can take advantage of what you predict your opponent will do.  The two main ways to react to your opponent’s Side Deck are:

1.)                Side in cards to counter the cards your opponent is siding in, or

2.)                Side out cards that are weak to the cards your opponent is siding in.

Which strategy you choose to go for is your preference.  For example, when playing Plant Synchro, Nobleman of Crossout is a commonly sided card used to counter the deck’s Rykos and Hamsters.  As the Plant Synchro player, you could side in copies of My Body as a Shield to prevent the Crossouts from removing your Rykos/Hamsters.  Or, you could side out the Rykos and Hamsters for other cards such as Thunder King Rai-Oh and Doomcaliber Knight, removing targets for your opponent’s Crossouts while making your deck more aggressive.

While Part I of my “How to Properly Side Deck” series covers some of the more basic principles, Part II will go into the details of how to properly utilize your Side Deck and the concept of having multiple mental decklists prepared before entering your next tournament.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below, or contact me at evang.vargas@yahoo.com.  And don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/thesandtrap.

Evan “SandTrap” Vargas

 

 

“FISH OTK” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 01/09/2011

 

 


I decided to do my article this week on a very consistent OTK deck that has been flying under the radar for several weeks now; Fish OTK.  The basic way this deck wins is by summoning Super Ancient Deepsea King Coelacanth.  He allows you to summon as many other fish monsters as possible from your deck just by discarding one card.  From there, there are various combos where you can deal over 8000 damage to the opponent.  Here is my build for Fish OTK:

Monsters: 23

3 Superancient Deepsea King Coelacanth

3 Swap Frog

3 Fishborg Blaster

3 Oyster Meister

3 Dupe Frog

2 Snowman Eater

2 Treeborn Frog

2 Light and Darkness Dragon

1 Ronintoadin

1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

Spells: 17

3 Moray of Greed

3 Pot of Duality

3 Enemy Controller

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Gold Sarcophagus

1 Cold Wave

1 Giant Trunade

1 Monster Reborn

1 Dark Hole

Extra Deck: 15

2 Armory Arm

1 Colossal Fighter

3 Formula Synchron

1 Sea Dragon Lord Gishilnodon

1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

1 Goyo Guardian

1 Stardust Dragon

1 Scrap Dragon

1 Ally of Justice Catastor

1 Black Rose Dragon/Red Dragon Archfiend

1 Shooting Star Dragon/Red Nova Dragon

1 Mist Wurm/Gungnir, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

Side Deck: 15

2 D.D. Crow

2 Mobius the Frost Monarch

1 Dark Dust Spirit

2 Cyber Dragon

1 Effect Veiler

1 Lightning Vortex

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Mirror Force

3 Malevolent Catastrophe

1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon

First I’ll explain the three most common ways the deck wins.

Brionac/Gishilnodon/Coelacanth OTK:

First summon Coelacanth and discard a card to activate its effect. Special Summon 2 Oyster Meister and 2 Fishborg Blaster from your deck.

Tune Oyster Meister and Fishborg Blaster to make Armory Arm.  Oyster Meister gives you a token. Your field is Coelacanth, Armory Arm, Oyster Meister, Fishborg, and a token.

Tune Fishborg and the token to make Formula Synchron and draw a card.

Tune the other Oyster Meister and Formula Synchron to make Gishilnodon. Get another token. Your field is now Coelacanth, Armory Arm, Gishilnodon, and a token.

Discard a card to bring back Fishborg Blaster.  Tune Fishborg and the Token to make another Formula Synchron. Draw a card.

Tune Formula Synchron and Armory Arm to make Brionac.

Your field is now Brionac, Gishilnodon (at 3000), and Coelacanth.  You have Brionac to bounce thier cards and that’s 8100 damage.

You do this combo when they have set monsters. This is also the preferred combo when you have Cold Wave as opposed to Giant Trunade because they won’t be able to Gorz you.

Armory Arm Colossal OTK:

First summon Coelacanth and activate its effect by discarding a card. Special Summon 2 Oyster Meister and 2 Fishborg Blaster from your deck.

Tune Fishborg and Coelacanth into Colossal Fighter.

Tune the other Fishborg and Oyster Meister into Armory Arm.

Discard a card and bring back Fishborg Blaster.

Tune Fishborg and the second Oyster Meister into a second Armory Arm.

Equip both Armory Arms to an opponent’s monster with over 800 attack.

Attack with Colossal into their monster. You take a small amount of damage and they take 5600 from Armory Arm burn.  Then revive Colossal and do it a second time for game.

You do this combo when you have Trunade as opposed to Cold Wave and they have a monster over 800 attack. This allows you to play around Gorz.  Remember, you can’t equip Armory Arm if you play Cold Wave.

Red Nova Dragon OTK:

Summon Coelacanth and use its effect to special summon 2 Oyster Meister and 2 Fishborg Blaster.

Tune Fishborg and Coelacanth into Red Dragon Archfiend.  Then Tune Oyster Meister and the other Fishborg Blaster to make Armory Arm. Get a token.  Then revive Fishborg by discarding a card and tune with the other Oyster Meister to make a second Armory Arm. Get a second token. Your field is now Red Dragon Archfiend, Armory Arm, Armory Arm, and 2 Tokens.

Equip Armory Arm to the other Armory Arm so that he is at 2800.

Discard a card and revive Fishborg. Tune the Fishborg and a token to make Formula Synchron. Draw a card. Do this entire step a second time. Your field is now Red Dragon Archfiend, 2 Formula Synchrons, and Armory Arm equipped with Armory Arm.

Tune the Red Dragon Archfiend and the 2 Formula Synchrons into Red Nova Dragon. Red Nova Dragon will be at 5500 attack.

Attack directly with Red Nova. If they drop Gorz, attack over it with the Armory Arm and the burn damage they take will be enough for game. If they don’t drop Gorz, attack with the Armory Arm for game.

This OTK is good for playing around Gorz, however the problem with it is that they have to have no cards on the field in order for this to work.  Personally, I don’t think it’s worth the space in the extra deck. If Fish become more popular, this will definitely be worth the room as open fields are common and the mirror match is tricky (whoever draws better)

How to play the deck and Common Plays:

The deck revolves around two cards; Coelacanth and either Giant Trunade or Cold Wave.  You’re going to want to slow play the game, sitting behind 2000 defenders until you can get both pieces of the combo.  You can dig for the combo pieces with Moray, Gold Sarcophagus, and Pot of Duality.  Then once you have the two pieces, you’re going to need to be able to tribute for Coelacanth.  The frog engine makes this very easy to achieve. Swap Frog is the key to the deck and puts Treeborn Frog and Ronintoadin into the graveyard. Both are instant tribute fodder.  A common play you can perform is to bring back Treeborn, play Enemy Controller while still in your standby phase to tribute Treeborn and take control of their monster, and then revive Treeborn a second time. You now have the fodder needed for Coelacanth. This deck is very good for several reasons:

It can do more than just OTK.  Most decks that just OTK are never very good. They are very linear and if you manage to stop the OTK, you win. Fish are not this way. They can very easily play a control game if they are not able to OTK.  They can do this by gaining advantage through Light and Darkness plays or setting up locks that are almost impossible to break with Shooting Star Dragon.

Their searching ability. As I mentioned above, they have numerous ways to dig through the deck to search out their combo pieces.  Moray of Greed, Pot of Duality, and Gold Sarcophagus all dig for the pieces. Moray serves a dual purpose.  Oyster Meister is needed for every OTK, but they aren’t very good to draw.  Moray helps with drawing them by putting them back in the deck for future Coelacanth plays and gives you an entirely new hand.

The ability to play around Effect Veiler. Coelacanth has a built in way to play around Veiler. Let’s say that you have searched the combo out. You bring back Treeborn and use Enemy Controller to take their monster. Now if you already have a Fishborg in the graveyard, you can discard a card to bring him back before summoning Coelacanth. Now tribute Treeborn and their monster for Coelacanth. If he Veiler’s now, Coelacanth can negate it by tributing the Fishborg and you can proceed to do your OTK.

Snowman Eater.  This guy is amazing in the deck. He allows you to play around so many different obstacles that you might otherwise not have an out to. His high defense lets him wall against almost any low level monster.  He is also a maindecked out to things like Banisher of the Radiance and Fossil Dyna.  He becomes even more important in games two and three.

The side deck. Malevolent Catastrophe is simply amazing. People will side heavily for any OTK deck.  Malevolent is an out to almost anything anyone can throw at you and no one ever sees it coming.

How to beat the deck:

Now that I’ve told you how to play the deck, I’ll tell you how to beat it.  I feel this is especially important as the deck grows in popularity week-by-week. The main thing you’re going to want to do in order to beat the deck is play very aggressively.  The deck has very minimal defenses in the main deck and it will certainly win if you try and slow play the game and give it a chance to set up.  Playing aggressively also puts pressure on them to do something back.  If they have the option of summoning Coelacanth, but don’t yet have Trunade or Cold Wave, they might not do it.  If you apply pressure and get their life points low, they might not have any other choice but to summon him.  This leaves you with access to your traps and a good chance that you will be able to stop it from there.

Another thing that you’re going to want to do is if you do have Effect Veiler, play it correctly. If they set up the Fishborg play, don’t waste it on Coelacanth.  If you have set monsters, they’ll go into the Brionac/Gashilnodon/Coelacanth OTK. Use it on the Brionac. It will buy you a turn to come back. You might take some damage, but you won’t lose. If you have a monster on the field and they are going for Colossal and Armory Arm, Veiler the Armory Arm so that it can’t equip.

Lastly, if you don’t have anything, bluff. Set 3 back rows, especially game 1 where they can’t Malevolent you. The worst they can do is Trunade you. If they don’t have that, they won’t try and OTK you with 3 sets.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this week’s article on fish and learned something new about a powerful deck type that you may not have heard of before this article.  Know that the deck exists and know how to play against it if you should run into one. They are quickly becoming more popular at regionals and who knows, this might be a sleeper deck for YCS Arlington. I for one am going to be playing the deck at a regional this weekend. Until next time guys.

 

 

“NOT ANOTHER BEST DECK ARTICLE” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 12/29/2010

 

About six months ago, I entered The Game Academy’s 3K using what I believed was the best deck: Infernities. At the end of the day, I had 1-2ed dropped and decided to grind out some 8-man side events for the rest of the day. By the end of the day, I was 100% convinced that Infernities were not the best deck.

 


The best article I have ever written for The Game Academy was “When is Earth-Imprisoning Mirror Being Released??” The article was very universal; anyone who played competitively would get something out of it. It also had really awesome pictures (who couldn’t love “pair of dice > frogs”?) More importantly though, I made a ballsy statement that most good players wouldn’t have agreed with at the time, “…the raw power of the [X-Saber] deck, combined with the fact that it has very few weaknesses and a lot of flexible sidedeck choices, makes it the best overall deck right now.” Not only was I right, but I was way more right than I thought I would be. X-Sabers went on to completely dominate the format, achieving higher finishes than any other deck. X-Sabers came to be regarded as having the best overall matchups; they had explosiveness and OTK ability combined with disruption and card advantage. Infernities, Gladiators Beasts, Frog OTK, Blackwings, Herald, and Frog Monarch all had one or more very difficult matchups and were easily sided against. The same could not be said of X-Sabers.

Maybe it was just a lucky guess, but I think I have a good track record at predicting the best deck in terms of overall success, confirmation bias aside. Prior to SJC Orlando 2009, I was also one of the few people to recognize that Lightsworn was a much more powerful deck than Gladiator Beasts. There was a heated debate during this time about which deck was better, and many regarded Lightsworn as being too inconsistent to do well. Lightsworn took the majority of the slots at SJC Orlando, and Gladiator Beasts captured zero spots in the top16, despite being the most popular deck. Gladiator Beasts continued to see very little success and were eventually thought of as the fourth best deck (after Lightsworn, Zombies, and Blackwings).

Looking the current meta, the most popular decks are clearly X-Sabers, Plant variants, Blackwings, and Gravekeeper’s. The big question remains: Which one is the most powerful? Plants is my favorite of the four, but I believe that there’s a better choice available: Gravekeeper’s. Most people recognize that the archetype is very powerful, but the consistency of the deck is often debated. The main advantage that Gravekeeper’s have is they have most lines of attack.

Line of Attack #1: Oops, there goes your hand!

The most notorious maneuver that Gravekeepers can pull off is Royal Tribute, a card with the potential to end games before they even start. Most Gravekeeper decks only play around 15 monsters, one of which can turn itself into a spell (three copies of Gravekeeper’s Commandant). When a Royal Tribute resolves, the Gravekeeper player is usually losing no monsters while the opposing player may lose three or even four.

Royal Tribute keeps deck builders from being too greedy when designing their monster lineup. Before the reign of Gravekeepers, I didn’t feel bad about playing 23 monsters in my Plant deck, but Royal Tribute is making me second guess that decision. Look at Frog Monarchs for example, a deck that normally plays 26-29 monsters. Monarchs would normally beat Gravekeepers with all of their pure card advantage, but Royal Tribute completely cripples their strategy.

One of the best strategies to playing around Royal Tribute also happens to be one of the simplest: Play spells that search for monsters. Reinforcement of the Army, Gladiator Proving Ground, and E – Emergency Call are all fine cards, and they give you an excuse to drop your monster count. In addition, Pot of Duality can usually find a monster (in three cards, there will be a lot one monster more often than not). All of these cards can give a deck builder an excuse to drop their monster count.

People have speculated on whether anti-discard, Goldd, Wu-Lord of the Dark World and Gemini Imps, are an effective way to attack Gravekeeper’s. I don’t like either unless your deck can utilize them in some way. For example, I like siding Goldd in Frog Monarch due to the fact that you can easily tribute for it if the Gravekeeper player never uses Royal Tribute or sides it. Quickdraw-based decks can also take advantage of Goldd by discarding it to Drill Warrior.

Although Royal Tribute is the easiest and least-skilled way that Gravekeeper decks can win a game, some players make the mistake of believing that it’s the only way that they can win a game. There is much more to worry about than just losing all of the monsters in your hand, and having a gameplan for beating Royal Tribute will often not be enough to beat the whole deck.

Line of Attack #2: …And also your grave

Yu-Gi-Oh! has a long history of being graveyard-based (since the release of Invasion of Chaos), and Necrovalley has a long history of shutting down graveyard-based strategies. Necrovalley by itself is a very powerful card, turning off a significant chunk of cards in mainstream decks: Monster Reborn, Pot of Avarice, Debris Dragon, XX-Saber Faultroll, Gottom’s Emergency Call, Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North, Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor, Gladiator Beast Equeste, and Gladiator Beast Darius.


“Necrovalley: Denying access to graveyards since 2003.”

Necrovalley is the highly accessible centerpiece of the Gravekeeper deck. It can be searched out by Gravekeeper’s Commandant which is in turn searchable by Gravekeeper’s Recruiter, making the Gravekeeper deck very consistent at getting its important field spell. Debris Dragon and Pot of Avarice are the two most important cards in a Plant deck. Without them, Plants simply cannot win the game. This factor alone makes Plant decks an easy matchup for Gravekeepers.

Necrovalley is a great tool for beating X-Sabers as well, due to the fact that X-Sabers are primarily a combo deck focusing on XX-Saber Faultroll. Unless X-Sabers can pull off a well-timed XX-Saber Hyunlei, their combos will be easily shut down. It doesn’t help that most X-Saber variants choose to play Trap Stun rather than Mystical Space Typhoon, giving them very few ways to destroy Necrovalley.

Virtually every deck plays cards that interact with the graveyard, meaning that Necrovalley will be able to blank multiple cards in every deck. This is probably the most overlooked aspect of Gravekeeper’s: the fact that Necrovalley is a damn good card by itself. When playing against Gravekeeper’s, getting Necrovalley off of the field should be a top priority. It can get very frusturating though, because as soon as Necrovalley is destroyed they can search up another one.

Line of Attack #3: Card Advantage, Floaters, and Winning Attrition Battles

Look at the monster’s in a Gravekeeper deck. Ignore Gravekeeper’s Commmandant for a minute (its main purpose is to search for Necrovalley rather than being an actually monster). They all either gain card advantage, replace themselves after dying, are have a special effect to destroy monsters that the opponent controls. These are all great abilities to have in a deck like Gravekeeper’s, one that prefers to function as an anti-meta deck. Gravekeeper’s are by far the most resilient deck in the game.

Gravekeeper’s Spy has seen play for years just due to the fact that it’s a solid 2000 defense wall that can search up another wall. I would argue that Gravekeeper’s Spy is the best defensive monster in the history of the game. Having a card that searches for whatever monster you need has shown to be an essentially component of top tier decks (look at Reinforcement of the Army, Black Whirlwind, Charge of the Light Brigade, and XX-Saber Darksoul). Gravekeeper’s Spy does that and more. It searches whatever you need while being a relevant monster on its own. With Necrovalley on the field, it has 2500 defense, which is too much for almost any monster to get through. In addition, 1700 attack is enough to go aggressive as well.

Gravekeeper’s Recruiter is the deck’s newest addition, and it’s quite a card. It instantly replaces itself when it’s sent to the graveyard in any way, making it a solid combo with Gravekeeper’s Descendant. While Necrovalley’s on the field, you can go on the offensive with Recruiters without having to worry about the consequences. If they destroy your Recruiter, you can just get something else to replace it.

Graveyard’s Descandant is a key card in the deck as well. By combining Recruiter and Descendant, you can essentially destroy one card for free every turn (tribute Recruiter, destroy a card, use Recruiter to search another copy of Recruiter, and keep repeating the process). Descendant is a great utility card, getting rid of any problem cards. Gravekeeper’s Assailant functions as pseudo-removal as well. Since most monsters have a weak stat, changing the battle position will be enough to kill most monsters in the format. Switching a monster to defense also helps get around combat tricks like Honest and Blackwing – Kulat the Moon Shadow.

Gravekeeper’s Steele is probably one of the most underrated cards in the deck. Steele is very good at turning the tide in a close game. It provides mid-game instant card advantage, similar to the role of Pot of Avarice in Plants. As stated previously, all of the Gravekeeper monsters are very good, so getting back two at the cost of one card is infinitely valuable.

Gravekeeper Matchups

Although many people refuse to believe that Gravekeepers are the best deck, I’ve observed that no one has been able to come up with a deck that consistently beats Gravekeepers. This in itself says a lot about the power level of the decktype. It’s just too hard to beat the Royal Tribute draws, Necrovalley itself, and the endless card advantage that the Gravekeeper monsters provide.

As stated previously, Plants and X-Sabers, two of the most popular decks currently, have their main strategy shut down by Necrovalley, meaning that they will always be fighting an uphill battle against Gravekeepers. Blackwings would be a difficult matchup for Gravekeeper’s due to the power and versatility of Icarus Attack, but Gravekeeper players have chosen to solve this problem to maindecking Starlight Road, often even multiple copies.

Frog Monarchs have picked up a lot of popularity lately, and this is favorable matchup for Gravekeepers as well. The monarch deck’s main disadvantage is that it’s a slower strategy, and it instantly folds to a Royal Tribute. Gravekeeper players can even make the matchup better post-sidedeck with Mask of Restrict.

I would argue that Gladiator Beasts are the hardest matchup for Gravekeeper’s, but that deck is virtually nonexistent in the current meta. Gladiator Beasts can repeatedly tag out for Bestiari to keep destroying Necrovalleys, and Gladiator Beast War Chariot is an effective card at stopping all of the awesome effects that Gravekeeper monsters have. Even this matchup is winnable for Gravekeepers however as they play a lot of defensive spells/traps that can kill Gladiator Beast monsters before they get the chance to tag out.

Conclusion and Author’s Note

Unfortunately the next YCS scheduled is after the release of Storm of Ragnarok, so I may never get to find out how right or wrong I am about Gravekeeper’s. Storm of Ragnarok will be quite meta changing set, giving Six Samurai new explosive power. To players attending a regional in the next month or two, I would recommend sleeving up Gravekeeper’s. The deck has everything needed to win in the current meta.

This article was quite a change of pace from my last one; I went directly from discussing the worst decks to discussing the best one. I know Gravekeeper’s are one of the hot topics right now, and you as a reader might be tired of hearing about them. It seems that no one ever wants to go out on a limb and say what they believe the best deck is. People often say “Everything has potential to succeed” and “Play what you know best”. While both of these statements are true, determining the overall most powerful deck (all other factors remaining equal, “ceteris paribus”) is a puzzle that every good player should try to solve.

 

 

“HOW TO BE GOOD AT YU-GI-OH!” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 12/27/2010

 

There are several categories that Yu-Gi-Oh players fall into when we gauge their skills; terrible, bad, okay, good, and pro.  For the sake of argument we’ll say that these are the only groups, but the groups are large enough so that someone in the same group as another person may be significantly better than said other person.  I’d be willing to go out on a limb here and say that 85-90 percent of players fall into terrible, bad, or okay.  Many of you are sitting there thinking to yourself that you are in the 10-15 percent that fall into good or above.  Chances are, you don’t.   My hope is that after this article you will be able to take away many of the skills needed to push yourself into that top 10-15%.

 


Proper deckbuilding is certainly an important factor of being a good player.  The first thing everyone should grasp is that originality doesn’t win games. This is a big one and something a lot of people will have trouble with, I know I certainly did.  Meta decks exist for a reason, they are consistent and they win.  As much as you may want to take your Final Countdown deck to the next YCS, know going in that you are going to fall victim to your own inconsistencies and bad matchups throughout the day.  A 10 round tournament is very long and you will surely find all the inconsistencies in your deck throughout the day.  Unfortunately, once you have discovered them by playing in the tournament, you have already missed the cut for top 16 and the tournament has passed by.  For these reasons it is better to stick to a mainstream deck when traveling to a major tournament.  The sooner you realize this the more games you will win.

Now that you’re playing an already tier 1 deck, you have to realize how your deck matches up with other decks in the current metagame and tech to beat your worst matchups.  Matchup wise, this is how I see this format:

X-Sabers > Plants             Plants > Blackwings         Blackwings > X-Sabers

Now certainly you’re not going to lose to X-Sabers 100% of the time if you’re playing Plants.  All I mean by this is that these are your favorable matchups, meaning you should win more than 50% of the time.  So let’s take X-Sabers for a moment.  Their unfavorable matchup is against Blackwings.  Another unfavorable matchup is against most types of Anti-Meta, including Gravekeeper’s.  So what can be done about this?  As an X-Saber player, I would need to tech my build to increase my chances against those specific matchups while not limiting my ability against other decks.  One example might be including MSTS and Dust Tornados instead of Trap Stuns in the main deck of X-Sabers. This will greatly increase your matchup with both Blackwings and Anti-Meta while not limiting your matchups against Plants or in the mirror.

A couple other tips for building your deck going into a competitive tournament like YCSs are to take advice of players better than you when building your deck.  I know a lot of players who build a deck and ask for advice, but when they receive it and the player they asked critiques their deck, the builder gets very defensive about their card choices and claims that X card is too good to remove or Y card shouldn’t go in because of Z.   If you’re not going to be open to advice, don’t ask.  The XYZ example brings me into my next point regarding theory in Yu-Gi-Oh.  “I don’t run Sangan because Firedog is popular” or “I don’t play Mirror Force because X-Sabers are popular and they’ll just Hyunlei it.”  I’ve heard it all before, but something you have to realize is that theory only applies during the first few turns.  In most formats, including the current one, a late game does exist.  Theory really doesn’t mean anything late game as both players will have significantly fewer cards and therefore have fewer options as well.  Theory has its place, but keep this in mind when building your deck.

Now the big day is here at last! You have the perfect deck and you’re ready for round one to start, or so you think…

There are a few more things you need to keep in mind to make sure you have the most success possible.  One simple thing that you can do is know rulings.  This isn’t something that you can do in a short amount of time and is one of the reasons it takes a long time to become a good player.  Knowing rulings will certainly win you games that you otherwise would not have won.  Along with this, knowing game mechanics is just as useful.  For example: If I play Book of Moon and target my opponent’s monster, then chain my Gottoms’ Emergency Call targeting Airbellum and Darksoul and that’s the last thing on the chain, Gottoms will resolve special summoning Airbellum and Darksoul and then Book of Moon will resolve flipping their monster face down.  At this point it would be too late for your opponent to activate Bottomless Trap Hole or Torrential Tribute.

The next thing you need to develop is an adequate play style.  If you ask a typical Yu-Gi-Oh player what the best or the most used play style by pros is, the most common answer you would hear would be “conservative.”  I’m here to tell you that that is wrong.  A good player knows that you cannot have a universal play style.  You need to be conservative with your cards most of the time, but know when to push as well.  So that raises the question of, when is the right time to push.  There are a few different answers to this question.  These are:

Play aggressive when your opponent is limited.  This could mean that you have 2-3 more cards than your opponent or it could simply mean that while you are even in card advantage, your opponent has been unable to do anything productive for a few turns.

When the matchup calls for you to be.  For example, many decks have problems with lots of aggression.  X-Sabers is one of these decks and that’s one of the reasons why Blackwings have a natural advantage against them.

The last topic I want to address is the biggest one. It deals with the concept of Risk vs. Reward.   Now certainly risky plays will pay off on occasion.  But when you are presented with a play that is risky, but you have a chance at winning if it is successful, you need to ask yourself this question: “Do I lose if they have X card?”  If the answer is yes, the risk is likely too great.  You as a player need to constantly be thinking about what your opponent may be holding.  See what is in there graveyard, what they have already played, then consider what other common cards that they are probably playing that could potentially be dangerous to you.  If you lose to Book of Moon and none of their likely 3 copies have been played, it’s probably a better play to not make that move.  If you lose if you attack into Gorz, don’t attack.  Something you need to consider when you’re deciding on where your current play lies on the Risk vs. Reward scale is how many cards they hold.  Each different card could be their one outer.  If they have 6 cards in hand, it’s probably not a very good idea to go on with your risky play whereas if they have only 1 or 2 cards in hand, the chances are significantly less.  The biggest thing of all is to not put all your eggs into one basket.  If your risky play goes south, make sure that you don’t lose simply because of it.  As a general rule of thumb, risky plays are okay if they won’t cause you to lose.  It’s not a bad idea to make the play if you go down maybe 1-2 cards as long as you have other options if they have it.  For example, they have a set backrow.  You have 2-3 monsters on the field.  You could attack into their lifepoints for game, but they haven’t used Mirror Force yet? Is it worth it?  What do you have in your hand? Do you have more plays if they do have Mirror Force?  Is there need for the aggression (the matchup)?  These are all the questions you should be asking yourself when you make a potentially risky play.

I hope you all enjoyed this article and everyone was able to take something away from it.  A lot of things may seem fairly obvious when you’re reading them, but I guarantee a lot of people who think that don’t go through that last process I talked about.  And while they may seem obvious now, they are useless unless you implement them.

 

 

“YUGIOH HISTORY: THE TURNING POINTS IN SIDE DECKING”– A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY BILLY BRAKE

POSTED ON 12/15/2010

 

Why is it harder to side than ever?

 


I have been playing Yugioh for quite some time now and I honestly feel that ever since the September 1st ban list, building a proper side deck for tournament play has become increasingly difficult. This is because since the 2009 National Championship, the number of decks that have the ability to win have been increasing resulting in players having to adjust their side decks accordingly and  make some difficult choices in preparing them for big events.

A look into the past….

2009 National Championship –

For those of you who did not play during this time, in my opinion, the format of this National Championship was the start of a very big change in Yugioh as we all knew it. In formats previous to this one, there had usually been one deck that always seemed to dominate all of the tournaments and win almost every time. Looking back the Yugioh player community could label these formats not by their dates, but by the decks that dominated them. For example: we call some past formats Chaos, Goat Control, Return Dark Armed Dragon, Gladiator Beast, and Tele-dad (possibly the most dominant deck of any format). While only one deck reigned on top, it was easy for players to tech cards in their main deck to beat them and side for any random unfavorable match up.  This is an obvious statement, but when you compare it with what this card game is now it becomes apparent to the changes that have taken place and how the technique of side decking has had to evolve to adjust.

Let me explain why I think the format of the 2009 National Championship was a turning point for the Yugioh card Game. First of all, this format actually has its own name amongst the Yugioh community: The Dark Strike Fighter format. While it may be labeled by a dominant card, it was a card in every deck and did not create a single deck that won every time and could not be beat. This format was run by 4 competitive decks, a number I felt and still feel was a healthy number of decks to be winning, because nobody likes to play against the same deck 10 rounds in a row, but to have variety is a good thing and increases the amount of skill a player must require to do well at events. The skill that it required was the ability to side the right cards for each match up, and with tight room for each deck it was a hard task to pick the right cards.

The Turning Point: Having to side for multiple Top Decks–

The 2009 National Championship was won by Kris Ferber with Synchro cat. Now when I say this I can almost hear people yelling at me, “HOW CAN YOU SAY THIS FORMAT HAD VARIETY SYNCHRO CAT DOMINATED IT!!! GRRR!!! DERRR!!” This simply is not true. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place spots that we also sent to worlds consisted of 3 other decks: Gladiator Beast, Lightsworn, and Blackwings. I still remember thinking to myself how much this game had changed since the dominant Tele-Dad format where 15 out of the Top 16 decklist would all be the same type of deck. Now the game had reached a state where multiple decks could win meaning players had to side for all of them if they wanted a chance to win. This was the start of a change in Yugioh side decking. An increase in skill of card choices to be able to beat each match up was needed.

The Lightsworn Format…or was it??

The next format many players remember as being run by Lightsworn. They were stronger than ever with 3 copies of Charge of the Light Brigade, Crush Card Virus freshly banned, 3 copies of Necro Gardna, and 3 copies of Lumina almost always meant a turn 1 Lumina into Garoth, milling a Necro Gardna play to insure victory. The memory of this format is much similar to that of 2009 National Championship format;  a false one. While Lightsworns were a good deck there were a couple of other decks that had a say. Zombies, with the release of Brionac, Dragon of the ice Barrier, were a power house of a deck to be reckoned with, and even Blackwings still proved to be strong.

From a Side Decking point of view, it became a little easier during this format as many people did use one deck or cards from that deck mixed with others, such as Lightsworn zombie, and it allowed many players to dedicate many cards to those match ups. However, it could leave them on the losing end if they didn’t prepare for the other few decks that also did well. So the Side Deck became tight in space for the Zombie and Blackwing match ups since so many cards had to be devoted to stopping a semi- dominant Lightsworn deck. The Side Deck choices once again had to be for the cards that covered the most decks.

The Rescue Cat Format

Just being the previous format, the memory of the power of Rescue Cat in X-Sabers is still fresh on many players minds, but even as good as this deck was, this format was still quite diverse. Many different decks seemed to always make it to the top tables and towards the end of the format with the discovery of the power of the Frog OTK deck, the side deck became the tightest in space it has even been.

The Decks you HAD to side for:

X – Sabers – This deck was probably the most popular deck choice of this format, due it its many different plays it was capable of and the special summoning capabilities it had. Every player had to devote cards to stop this match up.

Infernities – Probably the 2nd most explosive deck of the format, having the ability to win turn 2 or even lock your opponent down and essentially win on turn 1. It took a pretty devoted side deck to stop this match up.

Frog FTK – Towards the end of the format the popularity of this deck increased and almost made any deck have to side 3 Hanewata to be able to stop it from beating you on turn 1. With the existence of this deck it made it hard to side cards for the other random decks.

Proof of Tight Side deck space –

It is easy to see the results of what happens when there are too many decks to side for in a particular format just by looking at the last YCS of this format. Every player whether they were using, X-Sabers, Blackwings, Infernities, Lightsworn, Gladiator Beast, Frog Monarch of any other competitive deck had to dedicate a majority of their side to the main three decks I listed above. With all of these Meta decks having to side so much for all of the other Top Meta decks, it let multiple Anti- Meta (Stun) decks sneak in and take the win for the YCS simply because none of the side decks had room to side for the random rouge stun decks. This is a trending pattern that I believe many players can see from YCS Indy and forward, another Turning Point in the game.

The Turning Point: Having to side for Multiple Top Decks, Giving Rouge Decks a Chance

The format that Yugioh is currently in is the most diverse format the card game has ever seen. More decks than ever have the strength and power to win meaning the Side Deck has become harder than ever and leaving players no way to be able to side for everything. This creates more chances for random deck’s players are not ready for to win as we have seen with Light Gemini Stun and Gravekeepers.

How to fight the problem of the small Side Deck

There is not enough room in a 15 card side deck to be able to side for every deck this formant. It is as simple as that. Many people believe the answer is for Konami to increase to amount of side deck cards from 15 to 20, but this is a bad idea and cannot be done. If we were to do that it would make transitional side decks, changing your deck from one type to another, would not be healthy for the game. What players can do is just pick cards that are good for multiple match ups and choose not to side others that may be really good vs. one deck, but wouldn’t have the ability to side vs. others. Here is a quick example of what I mean about good general cards –

Example of General Cards you can side this format

D.D. Crow  or Effect Veiler – Effect Veiler and D.D. Crow are great cards that work against many different decks this formant, while they may not hurt any of the decks to cripple them forever, they work well enough and against enough decks to make them a good choice.

My Body As A Shield – Depending on the deck you are using this card works well against most decks of this format and can be used in almost any deck.

Not You’re 2008 Side Deck – A Conclusion

Yugioh Side Decking has changed a lot over the past couple of years and has become increasingly more difficult. The Side deck used to be for the most wildly played deck, put in all of the cards that stopped and hoped you drew enough to counter your opponents strategy and shut them down. Now I believe the side deck is not all about shutting down the top few meta decks ( since there are more than just a few now) but siding cards that will make your match ups much more favorable for you. I hope you can remember when building your side deck and trying to decide between a couple of cards, ask yourself, “How many decks can this help me against?”  It is important if you want to do well at a higher level event you make sure you try to have 12 of your 15 cards be versatile and perhaps allow a few cards for your decks worst match up to help tip the scales in your favor.

Thanks for reading! If you have any suggestions feel free to email me at BillyBrakeYGO@yahoo.com and don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel always full of great Yugioh Information and Strategies at Youtube.com/havok41

 

 

“THE MERITS OF PLAYING BAD DECKS” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 12/13/2010

 

At this point, the three new Yu-Gi-Oh! article writers will have each posted one article, and I honestly think they’re all doing a good job. I am happy to say that I will enjoy being the worst player writing for The Game Academy! “Worst” is being in terms of Yu-Gi-Oh! accomplishments here, and the only accomplishment I have is being able to say, “So I’ve top8ed a few regionals, and this one time, I almost day2’d a Shonen Jump!” Being the worst player, it seems only fitting that I write about the worst decks.

 


Yes, this article is not a joke (if you want to read a joke article, check out my last one). Here’s one sentence that sums up this entire article: Good player trying to convince other good players to play bad decks.

By bad, I don’t mean decks that are tributing Battle Ox for Summoned Skull or setting Harpie Lady and passing the turn. I mean non-tier decks (described as “everything else” in this article). Just because these decks are far from optimal doesn’t mean that you can’t mess around with them a bit and even win a few tournaments. I bet even Ganondorf wins a Brawl tournament every once in awhile, right?

Reason #1: Improve Your Deckbuilding Skills

In any TCG, the best players in the game are usually known for both their exceptional in-game skills as well as deckbuilding skills. For every awesome, game-breaking deck that the pros build, think about how many decks that they built that completely flopped. Building bad decks is a necessary step to building good ones.

I’ve decided to call this month “casual December”. In the Tampa/Orlando area, there aren’t any premier-level tournaments during the entire month of December, so I decided I would build non-tier decks during this month and win local tournaments at The Game Academy with them. When a good player building a non-tier deck, he’s typically building around some sort of unexplored concept and trying to utilize it as much as possible. For example, here’s the first decklist that I came up with…

3 Cyber Valley
3 Tuningware
3 Machine Duplication
31 Yu-Gi-Oh! cards

With this simple list I had outlined the concept that my deck would be based around using only three different cards. My train of thought here was to abuse Machine Duplication and draw a lot of cards. Machine Duplication is a card that’s been on everyone’s radar since early 2007 when we saw the game dominated by its interaction with Card Trooper to make 5,700 points of offense, 9 cards milled, and potentially 3 cards drawn. Since then, every time a low-attack machine monster is printed with a decent effect, everyone screams “Machine Duplication alert!” This of course begs the question, which card was actually the problem, Card Trooper or Machine Duplication? It was obviously Machine Duplication. Simply put, combining Machine Duplication with any decent target always leads to good things.

Next I needed to figure out else I would use to draw cards. De-Synchro had gotten some hype due to its interaction with Tuningware and Formula Synchron, so it seemed like it was worth trying. It was a virtual Pot of Greed in many situations, albeit a situational one. Due to it’s inconsistencies, I figured that two copies was the correct number. I decided to run two copies of Pot of Avarice as well to give me some mid-game card draw. I like playing a full set of Pot of Avarice in a lot of decks, but I figured that it wouldn’t be optimal in this deck given that I didn’t think I was going to play any mill cards like Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter.

It seemed only logical that I should play Shining Angel in this deck; it had the ability to search both Tuningware and Cyber Valley. I could even get Effect Veiler if I desperately needed a tuner. I was already starting to have visions of searching Tuningware with Shining Angel, playing Machine Duplication, and then summoning Glow Up Bulb to “go off” and draw a million cards.

3 Cyber Valley
3 Tuningware
2 Shining Angel
2 Effect Veiler
1 Glow-Up Bulb
3 Machine Duplication
2 De-Synchro
2 Pot of Avarice
22 Yu-Gi-Oh! cards

Royal Decree seemed like a really good fit in this deck; it would stop my opponent from using traps to interact with me as I’m setting up my combos. Having no defensive traps would mean that I would need quickplay spells, so I decided that a full set of Book of Moons would also be necessary even though I didn’t have any flip effects. Scapegoat was the next quickplay that came to mind. It could be used as synchro material, Cyber Valley fodder, or a set of chump blockers.

3 Cyber Valley
3 Tuningware
2 Shining Angel
2 Effect Veiler
1 Glow-Up Bulb
3 Machine Duplication
2 De-Synchro
2 Pot of Avarice
3 Book of Moon
1 Scapegoat
3 Royal Decree
15 Yu-Gi-Oh! cards

At this point I started to have a problem because I realized that I can’t win games just by drawing a billion cards and not doing anything with them (“Hey I have +6 on you, so you obviously can’t win, scoop?”). I would need to convert my hand into damage at some point. Tragoedia seemed like just what I was looking for, as it’s a card that rewards players for having a billion cards in hand (I recall attacking with a 4200 Tragoedia in my SJC Orlando feature match).

In my first draft of the deck, I anticipated using Tragoedia with several other darks to fuel a Chaos Sorcerer, which could be used as both another card advantage source and a win condition. Junk Synchron was a dark monster that I thought would work well in this deck. Its primary use would be to bring back Tuningware, synchro for Armory Arm, and draw a card. Sangan was an obvious staple as well given that it could search basically anything.

At this point I ran into a roadblock however, because I couldn’t find additional dark monsters that I wanted to use, and I would need more than four darks in my deck to consistently power out two Chaos Sorcerers. I decided that Chaos Sorcerer was not where I wanted to be and looked elsewhere for a win condition.

I noticed that other decks featuring Tuningware were often playing Quickdraw Synchron, which gave the deck the potential to pull off strong turn one plays involving special summoning Quickdraw Synchron and normal summoning Tuningware (hopefully with a Machine Duplication as well). I decided that Quickdraw Synchron would be my method of choice for converting hand advantage into field advantage in the form of synchro monsters. Now that I had two different synchron tuners in the deck, this made Tuning a natural fit as well. It improved the consistently of the deck, which was certainly something that I wanted. I assumed that Dandylion would have good synergy with Quickdraw Synchron as well, for many reasons. It allowed me to pull off Drill Warrior loops (by repeatedly discarding and recovering Dandylion to net two tokens each turn). Tokens are also good with Cyber Valley and tuners as mentioned earlier.

1 Tragoedia
2 Junk Synchron
2 Quickdraw Synchron
2 Dandylion
3 Cyber Valley
3 Tuningware
2 Shining Angel
1 Sangan
2 Effect Veiler
1 Glow-Up Bulb
3 Machine Duplication
2 De-Synchro
2 Pot of Avarice
3 Book of Moon
1 Scapegoat
2 Tuning
3 Royal Decree
5 Yu-Gi-Oh! cards

The main thing left to do was fill out the spell lineup, which was easy to do since I had not yet added the staple spells Dark Hole and Monster Reborn. I reasoned that One for One would be a necessary inclusion as well given that the deck plays a whopping nine LV1 monsters. I figured Mind Control would be ridiculous in this deck as well due to the fact that I played tuners as well as Cyber Valley. I would always have things to do with my opponent’s monsters after I stole them.

I had one slot left in the deck, which is currently Genex Neutron. I’ve contemplated making it a third Shining Angel or a copy of Dimensional Alchemist, but I like the role that Genex Nuetron fulfills in the deck. 1800 attack points is pretty solid in the current format, which is nice because most of my monsters don’t have high attack points. I’ve also come to realize that Quickdraw Synchron is very important in the deck, so having another way to search it out is always appreciated.

Deck Name: Quick-draw Quickdraw (Get it? This is a deck featuring Quickdraw Synchron that draws cards at a fast pace!)

Monsters: 20
3 Tuningware
3 Cyber Valley
2 Shining Angel
2 Quickdraw Synchron
2 Junk Synchron
2 Dandylion
2 Effect Veiler
1 Sangan
1 Glow-Up Bulb
1 Tragoedia
1 Genex Nuetron

Spells: 17
3 Book of Moon
3 Machine Duplication
2 De-Synchro
2 Pot of Avarice
2 Tuning
1 Monster Reborn
1 Dark Hole
1 One For One
1 Mind Control
1 Scapegoat

Traps: 3
3 Royal Decree

Extra deck: 15
1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
2 Formula Synchron
1 Armory Arm
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Drill Warrior
1 Turbo Warrior
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Nitro Warrior
1 Junk Destroyer
1 Road Warrior
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Scrap Dragon

Reason #2: Making Heads Turn at Locals

Using my newly brewed deck, I decided that it was time to see how it would do at a local tournament. I played it in a total of three tournaments, two of which were Swiss style and one that was single elimination. In the two Swiss tournaments I had the same reason: 4-1 to make top8, followed by a win in the top8, and then a prize split in the top4. In the single elimination tournament, I started off 3-0 and then lost two successive matches to Gravekeepers due to some bad beats. My combined record with the deck is 13-4, which I feel is a decent record.

As much as I love crushing my locals with ease using a top tier deck like Plants or Blackwings, there’s something refreshing about winning with a deck that most people have never seen before. Yes, I play to win, but when I’m at the point where my above average play-skill can make up for my suboptimal deck choice, why not have fun while winning? Having a bunch of spectators watching how my awesome deck works, drawing ten cards on the first turn of the game, and looking at my opponent’s face when he attacks into a set Shining Angel has a value too.

Reason #3: Understanding Why Bad Decks are Bad

As fun as it is to tell my friends how, “This one game, I drew ten cards in the first turn!”, I don’t want to be sharing my awesome story with my friends after I proceeded to go 2-3 drop in a YCS. I really like this deck; it suits my playstyle more than any other deck this format. Nevertheless, I still have to realize at the end day that I’m better off playing something else if I want to win. More importantly though, I need to understand why this is the case.

Anyone can tell you that Aliens, Spellcasters, Skull Servants, and Naturias are all not top tier. It gets more complicated when you consider why they aren’t top tier. Sometimes, there just exists a deck that’s the same thing, only better (compare the current incarnation of Six Samurais to X-Sabers). Sometimes, the deck can do very powerful things, but not a consistent basis (I found this out while testing High Monster Beat). Sometimes, the deck has a gameplan that is great if the pieces fall into place but is easily disrupted by cards that commonly see play (this was an issue with my Worm Linx deck). Sometimes, the deck simply doesn’t have enough good support cards to make it a contender (Jose Alcaz, I’m looking at you, “Mr. Spellcasters”). Sometimes it’s a combination of these factors.

In the case of my Tuningware Turbo deck, inconsistency is a minor issue. The deck can get clumped hands without much action. De-Synchro can easily be a dead draw, especially if the opponent is playing a deck that doesn’t synchro. My deck’s nut draw is really good; it involves drawing a significant portion of the deck and immediately putting myself in a position to win. However, the bad draws are pretty bad, and with average draws I won’t “go off” until a few turns into the game, at which point the opponent may have already taken control of the game or have ways to disrupt my combos.

The deck’s matchups are pretty average overall. I think the Blackwing matchup is favorable, mainly because Royal Decree is very powerful against them. As a sidedeck card, Consecrated Light is far more helpful than one might expect. It can be searched with Shining Angel, Sangan, and One For One, so it’s very easy to put a Consecrated Light on the field at the most convenient time. As powerful as Royal Decree and Consecrated Light are, they’re even better together, virtually locking the Blackwing player out of the game.

I believe the Plant matchup is favorable as well, although I haven’t played many matches against it so I can’t be certain. Not only is my deck faster overallthan Plants, but I have more sources of card advantage. Plants try to grind out card advantage slowly, making passive plays and setting monsters. On the other hand, I’m proactive, which I feel gives me the advantage. Their combo puts a Shooting Star Dragon in play whereas mine draws me an unspecified amount of cards (that means my combo is better). I’m waiting for the day when I get to use De-Synchro on a Shooting Star Dragon. I know it’s going to feel so good. Despite these matchups being favorable however, they’re not byes. I’d estimate that both Blackwings and Plants are around 60% in my favor. There will be games where I draw the nuts and win, but usually I have to work for my wins.

X-Sabers are still X-Sabers, and unfortunately my deck doesn’t have tons of ways to disrupt their power plays. Drawing ten cards is nice, but X-Sabers just attack for game instead, which is significantly better. Beating X-Sabers is usually dependent on comboing out before they do and hopefully draw into disruptive cards, Book of Moon and Effect Veiler. There’s not much that this deck can sidedeck that can change the X-Saber matchup, so I just have accept X-Sabers as an uphill battle.

Gladiator Beasts are the other hard matchup; they just have all of the tools to beat this deck. Despite running a lot of traps, Royal Decree is often not very effective, as they can just tag into Bestiari. Gladiator Beasts have a lot of disruptive options, such as War Chariot, Book of Moon, and Solemn Warning. Cyber Valley is good at buying time; shutting down all combat for the turn and drawing a card is a pretty sweet deal. If the hand has Book of Moons and Cyber Valleys, “protect the Royal Decree” can be a valid route to winning. While Decree is online, it’s possible to synchro and take control of the game. I also try to take advantage of Gladiator Beast hands that have a bad ratio of monsters to spells/traps. It happens a lot and is very easy to get a read on.

The jury’s not in on Gravekeeper’s yet, but it’s harder to beat than I originally thought. Royal Tribute is a tough card to deal with. Rather than using Tuning immediately to thin the deck two cards, I usually hold it back so I don’t get destroyed by Royal Tribute. Necrovalley only stops five cards in the deck (2 Junk Synchron, 2 Pot of Avarice, and Monster Reborn) but is an annoyance nonetheless. Gravekeeper’s Descendant is great at stopping my early-game plays and can be hard to deal with. I want to test this matchup more, but I think it’s around 50/50.

Understanding why bad decks are bad can help you better visualize why good decks are good. It makes sense, right? It’s teaching by counter-example, “Don’t do this!” Good decks usually have the whole package, both power and consistency. Bad decks are lacking in some areas, and other decks in the meta can easily poke holes in their gameplan. An important thing to realize regarding the power level of decks is that it’s partially dependent on what other decks are big players in the current field. When I’m working on a new idea, an important factor that I take into consideration is how my deck will tackle the top dogs in the metagame. Overall, I view building non-tier decks as a great learning experience; I will always learn more about the game regardless of how well my new deck performed.

Reason #4: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

As good players, we have to learn how to adapt. That’s how we evolve. If you’re used to always playing the consensus best deck, it would probably do you some good to play something off the wall for a change. There’s potential to learn about new plays, new game mechanics, and obscure card interactions. I guarantee that your friends at locals will be surprised to hear that you decided not to play Blackwings for the sixth time in a row.

More importantly though, it also gives you some experience in case of the off chance that you’re paired against someone who decided to play the same bad deck that you once played. The only thing that I hate more than being forced to read all of my opponent’s cards is losing to that pile of cards. When you play against the random Naturia deck at regionals you’ll be thankful that, “This one time at locals, I decided to play Naturia’s because I felt like it”. You’ll feel prepared and relaxed instead of frantically trying to read every card your opponent puts on the table.

Closing Remarks

I know I didn’t go into a lot detail how about my Quick-draw Quickdraw deck actually works; I just mentioned that it “draws ten cards” a lot. The article wasn’t really about this specific deck; it’s looking at non-tier decks as a whole (hence the title of the article). For those curious though, the main combo is Tuningware + Machine Duplication + Quickdraw Synchron, synchroing into Road Warrior and searching out Cyber Valley after drawing three cards. Slap on another Machine Duplication or De-Synchro and then it just gets ridiculous. Oh, at it also leaves exactly five monsters in my graveyard for Pot of Avarice. Not all of my games play out that way though. I’ll often just make a Drill Warrior and beat face while recycling a monster every turn. I plan to make a Youtube video detailing some of my deck’s sick plays, so look forward to that in the next few days!

 

 

“SIDE DECKING” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 12/11/2010

 

The side deck is a key element to success at any major level of competition in the dueling community.  The basic goal of side decking is to give you a better matchup against any particular deck in the second and third game of your match.  A question I often come across deals with proper side decking. Most people understand the basic concept behind siding, but many people lack the knowhow of constructing an effective side deck and deciding what cards to side in and out for each different matchup.

 


I want to start by saying something very important.  A side deck is not for cards that you didn’t have room to include in your main deck. Each card should have a very specific purpose.

What to Side Deck:

There are two types of side decks, one of which is more common than the other.  The first is the less popular of the two, the transitional side.

The Transitional Side:

Yu-Gi-Oh has a great history of successful transitional sides.  The idea behind a transitional side is to completely change your deck into another deck for games 2 and 3 using only your 15 card side deck.  The surprise factor greatly plays into the effectiveness of the transitional side, the very same factor that won YCS Atlanta. By doing this, you give yourself an entirely new strategy while making many cards your opponent sided against the deck they saw game 1 entirely useless.  Here are a couple of examples of transitional side decks:

Monarchs:

2 Raiza the Storm Monarch

3 Caius the Shadow Monarch

1 Vanity’s Fiend

2 Cyber Dragon

1 Light and Darkness Dragon

2 Mobius the Frost Monarch

2 Soul Exchange

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

The Monarch side deck is one of the most common sides in the game and it has existed for several years.  The reason it is so effective as a side deck is that it is so vastly different from any main deck that sides it.  The first example I recall of this side deck being used to success was in CO Burn.  In that deck, it would play a very slow and defensive game 1 by slowly burning the opponent to death.  Then game two, the opponent would side all of their spell and trap destruction while you would side something similar to this and side out all of your burn cards.  This would make almost all of the cards that they sided against you useless and would allow you to gain advantage through constant plusses with Monarchs. Another advantage of siding Monarchs in CO Burn was that your opponent would side out all of their defensive cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, making it that much easier for you to get successful Monarch plays off.

Probably the most successful transitional side deck in the game’s history was last format with Frog FTK.  I won’t post the actual transitional side as the banlist made it irrelevant; however, the ability to take the most consistent FTK the game has ever seen and turn it into an almost unbreakable control deck game 2 and 3 is incredible.

Infernity:

1 Card Trooper

2 Cyber Dragon

3 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

1 Super-Nimble Mega Hamster

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Starlight Road

2 Hero’s Rule 2

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

Another transitional side deck comes with Infernity.  They may not appear to be a transitional side deck, but rest assured that they are.  Infernity is a great deck that has few bad matchups game 1, but game 2 presents a problem because there are a lot of common cards that people already side deck against Infernitys.  Infernitys would have a very hard time winning if they kept their game one strategy throughout the entire match.  Instead they side cards like Ryko and Cyber Dragon to deal with opposing threats like Thunder King Rai-Oh and Consecrated Light.  Another really great card to side in Infernitys is Hero’s Rule 2 because you can use the card both aggressively and defensively.  You can use it to stop opposing D.D. Crows when you attempt to make a big play, but you can also use it when your opponent plays cards like Debris Dragon or Pot of Avarice.  Here’s how I generally side deck with Infernitys:

Assuming you won:

They get to go first; this is a big advantage on their part.

Take out both Grephers, Reinforcements, both Stygian, both Duality, One for One, Foolish Burial, an Inferno, a Barrier.

Put in 3 Cyber Dragon, 3 Ryko, 1 Hamster, and Mystical Space Typhoons.

You also side cards for the different matchups. Against Quickdraw, siding cards like Chain Disappearance is amazing. It crushes Dandylion and also hits Consecrated Light.

Then play the match as close to the first game as you can. Still try to go off and make big plays. What you sided in just allows you to continue to do it after they sided. They will side in things like Rai-Oh, Consecrated Light, D.D. Crow, and Effect Veiler. These cards allow you to somewhat play around these counters to your deck and still loop out, while having a control option as well.

Now let’s say you won the first game, but lost the second game.

You’re going to side out of the Cyber Dragons. Keep in the Rykos. Put back one Street Patrol, One for One, the Inferno, possibly Return from the DD, and both the Grephers. Leave out the other Barrier, the other Patrol, the Dualitys, and Reinforcement. You can also put Foolish back in.

Other common transitional sides include siding into Burn or Gladiator Beasts.

The Standard Side Deck:

This side deck is much more common than the transitional side and consists of cards that will aide in each matchup.  Some things to keep in mind when creating a standard side deck are your matchups and each card’s versatility.  If you have a bad matchup against a specific deck, side more cards for that matchup.  Also, you want to be siding cards that are good against more than just one matchup.

Common Cards That Should be in Most Side Decks:

Consecrated Light (Blackwings, Infernity, Gravekeeper’s) – I think this card is extremely important to the side deck.  Blackwings have an amazing matchup against almost every deck at the moment.  That means that you are  likely to have a bad matchup against them.  These cards are also extremely important to the Infernity matchup.  While the deck is not as commonplace as it used to be, it certainly is a driving force should you get paired up against them.  And lastly, Gravekeeper’s are on the rise.  They have a very aggressive playstyle that can be hard to keep up with.  Consecrated Light can be great in this match if properly protected from their few outs (Commandant, Descendant [after being flipped], and Book of Moon).

Cyber Dragon (Blackwings, Gadgets, Gladiator Beasts, Anti-Meta, Gravekeeper’s) – As mentioned before, Blackwings are a very aggressive deck.  Cyber Dragon allows you to combat their aggression with some of your own.  The same can be said for the remaining decks. It is especially useful against Gladiator Beasts for avoiding War Chariot and even more useful against Machina Gadgets for making Chimeratech Fortress Dragon with their monsters.

Thunder King Rai-Oh (X-Sabers, Gravekeeper’s) – This card has a dual purpose in the X-Saber matchup by allowing you to stop Darksoul searches and Synchro plays.  Against Gravekeeper’s, it allows you to stop Recruiter, Commandant, and Duality.

D.D. Crow (Scraps, Plants, Infernity) – All of these decks rely heavily on their graveyard. D.D. Crow is an excellent choice for stopping their combos.  The fact that you do not have to commit to the field at all in order to reap the benefits of this card is also quite appealing.

Effect Veiler ( X-Sabers, Plants, Infernity, Scraps) – This card stops so many plays it’s unbelievable.  Against X-Sabers it stops Boggart and Hyunlei plays.  Against Plants it stops Debris and Caius plays.  It stops  Archfiend from searching against Infernitys. And against Scraps it stops  Chimera from getting it’s effect.

Nobleman of Crossout (X-Sabers, Plants, Gravekeeper’s) – Seldom does a card come along that is excellent against 2/3 of the top decks and in this case that card has been out for years!  This is something that should certainly be in everybody’s side deck at the moment.

Mystical Space Typhoon (Blackwings, Gravekeeper’s, Gladiator Beasts, Anti-Meta, Decree Decks) – This is a card that will certainly be on the upswing in main decks over the next few weeks.  It is a safe bet that if you are not maining this card, you are siding it due to its superior versatility.

Other Cards to Consider Side Decking:

Doomcaliber Knight (Plants, X-Sabers, Gravekeeper’s) – A common option that many decks choose to side deck is anti-meta-like cards.  One such is Doomcaliber Knight.  His ability to stop Darksouls, Emmersblades, Rykos, Dandylions, Spys, and Recruiters is a very appealing option.

Banisher of the Radiance (X-Sabers, Plants, Infernity) – Most decks this format rely heavily on their graveyards. The second of the anti-meta cards is this guy.  He has decent stats and if properly protected he has the ability to single-handily break setups.

Starlight Road (Blackwings, Lightsworn) – Personally I dislike this card.  I like cards that require my opponent to do something relatively specific in order for me to activate it, but it has some pluses as well.  Getting it off against Blackwings successfully can almost certainly mean game.

Sirocco (Blackwings, Anti-Meta) – Using his effect to take your opponent’s Blackwing monsters attack is nice.  It also dodges Icarus as it can be played by itself.  It also serves as a generic beater against the 1900 attackers that Anti-Meta decks commonly play.

Royal Oppression (X-Sabers, Scraps, Gladiator Beasts) – Make sure that your deck can support this card if you choose to play it.  It has become increasingly less popular in X-Sabers this format despite its popularity in them last format. This can be attributed to two factors.

Your opponent likely has Trap Stun or Royal Decree.

Your opponent can play better under Oppression than you can.

Chain Disappearance (Plants, Infernity) – This card is really good against both of these decks. Hitting Dandylion or Necromancer respectively could turn into an uphill battle for them.

Hero’s Rule 2 (Plants, Infernity, X-Sabers) – This essentially serves the same purpose as Chain Disappearance with the added bonus of targeting many cards in X-Sabers like Gottoms’ Emergency Call, Faultroll, and Fulhelmknight.

Malevolent Catastrophe (Blackwings, Anti-Meta, Gladiator Beasts) – All of these decks rely heavily on sets. Malevolent Catastrophe is almost impossible to predict and extremely deadly when set off.

Trap Hole (Blackwings, Anti-Meta, Gladiator Beasts) – It really hits all 3 of these decks pretty hard.  They have extreme difficulty winning if they can’t keep a monster on the field.

Theme-specific Side Cards:

In X-Sabers:

Gottoms’ Emergency Call (X-Sabers) – Most of them usually main at least two copies, but siding the third can prove to be extremely useful in the mirror match.  It makes use of both your graveyard and your opponent’s graveyard.

In Blackwings:

Delta Crow Anti Reverse (Blackwings, Anti-Meta, Gladiator Beasts) – The same reasons as Malevolent Catastrophe, except you don’t have to destroy your own sets.

Deck Devastation Virus (X-Sabers, Gravekeeper’s, Plants) – Deck Devastation Virus is great this format if you get it off.  Most monsters played are under 1500 attack and are thus hit by the virus.  It also gives you invaluable information for three turns.

Skill Drain (X-Sabers, Gladiator Beasts, Plants) – Most decks rely on their effect monsters. The ability to shut off your opponent’s game changing effects is very powerful.

In Plants:

Snowman Eater (Everything) – Anticipate that the opponent will side Nobleman of Crossout.  By siding 2 Snowman Eater over a Hamster and a Ryko you can make their Noblemans significantly less effective as it gives you more diversity.

Examples of What to Side in and Out:

I want to focus this section primarily on the top 3 decks; Plants, X-Sabers, and Blackwings.

Plants:

Example Plant Side Deck:

2 Snowman Eater

1 Effect Veiler

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Doomcaliber Knight

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Nobleman of Crossout

2 Chain Disappearance

2 Malevolent Catastrophe

Against the Mirror:

– 1 Pot of Avarice

– 1 Debris Dragon

– 1 Tytanial, Princess of Camellias

– 1 Foolish Burial

– 1 One for One

– 1 Call of the Haunted

+ 2 Doomcaliber Knight

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 2 Chain Disappearance

Against X-Sabers:

–  1 Super Nimble Mega Hamster

–  1 Ryko, the Lightsworn Hunter

+ 2 Snowman Eater

– 1 One for One

– 1 Foolish Burial

– 1 Pot of Avarice

– 1 Debris Dragon

– 1 Tytanial, Princess of Camellias

+ 1 Effect Veiler

+ 2 Doomcaliber Knight

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

Against Blackwings:

– 1 Super Nimble Mega Hamster

– 1 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

– 1 Pot of Avarice

– 1 Debris Dragon

– 1 Tytanial, Princess of Camellias

– 1 Foolish Burial

– 1 One for One

– 1 Mind Control

+ 2 Snowman Eater

+ 2 Cyber Dragon

+ 2 Mystical Space Typhoon

+ 2 Malevolent Catastrophe

Against Gravekeeper’s:

– 3 Pot of Avarice

– 1 Debris Dragon

– 1 Foolish Burial

– 1 One for One

– 1 Mind Control

– 1 Spore

– 2 Effect Veiler

+ 2 Cyber Dragon

+ 2 Doomcaliber Knight

+ 2 Mystical Space Typhoon

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 2 Malevolent Catastrophe

X-Sabers:

Example X-Saber Side Deck:

2 Doomcaliber Knight

2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Consecrated Light

2 Nobleman of Crossout

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Hero’s Rule 2

1 Gottoms’ Emergency Call

Against the Mirror:

– 1 XX-Saber Faultroll

– 1 X-Saber Pashuul

– 1 X-Saber Airbellum

– 1 Sangan

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 2 Bottomless Trap Hole

– 1 Trap Stun

+ 2 Doomcaliber Knight

+ 2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 2 Hero’s Rule 2

+ 1 Gottoms’ Emergency Call

Against Plants:

– 1 XX-Saber Faultroll

– 1 X-Saber Pashuul

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 2 Bottomless Trap Hole

+ 2 Doomcaliber Knight

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 2 Hero’s Rule 2

Against Blackwings:

– 1 XX-Saber Faultroll

– 1 X-Saber Pashuul

– 1 Effect Veiler

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 1 Mind Control

+ 2 Cyber Dragon

+ 2 Consecrated Light

+ 2 Mystical Space Typhoon

Against Gravekeeper’s:

– 1 XX-Saber Faultroll

– 1 X-Saber Pashuul

– 1 X-Saber Airbellum

– 1 Effect Veiler

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 2 Gottoms’ Emergency Call

– 1 Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness

– 1 XX-Saber Fulhelmknight

– 1 Sangan

– 1 Book of Moon

+ 2 Doomcaliber Knight

+ 2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

+ 2 Cyber Dragon

+ 2 Consecrated Light

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 2 Mystical Space Typhoon

Blackwings:

Example Blackwing Side Deck:

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

2 Banisher of the Radiance

1 D.D. Crow

2 Nobleman of Crossout

2 Skill Drain

2 Trap Hole

1 Deck Devestation Virus

1 Delta Crow Anti Reverse

Against the Mirror:

– 1 Vayu, the Emblem of Honor

– 2 Cards for Black Feathers

– 2 Pot of Duality

+ 2 Cyber Dragon

+ 2 Trap Hole

+ 1 Delta Crow Anti Reverse

Against X-Sabers

– 1 Vayu, the Emblem of Honor

– 2 Cards for Black Feathers

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 1 Allure of Darkness

– 2 Bottomless Trap Hole

+ 2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

+ 2 Banisher of the Radiance

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 2 Skill Drain

Against Plants:

– 1 Vayu, the Emblem of Honor

– 2 Cards for Black Feathers

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 1 Allure of Darkness

– 2 Bottomless Trap Hole

+ 1 D.D. Crow

+ 2 Banisher of the Radiance

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 1 Deck Devastation Virus

+ 2 Skill Drain

Against Gravekeeper’s:

– 1 Vayu, the Emblem of Honor

– 2 Cards for Black Feathers

– 2 Pot of Duality

– 1 Allure of Darkness

– 2 Blizzard, the Far North

+ 2 Cyber Dragon

+ 2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

+ 2 Nobleman of Crossout

+ 1 Deck Devestation Virus

+ 1 Delta Crow Anti Reverse

That’s generally how I side for each of the top 3 decks of the format.  I included Gravekeeper’s on what to side against as it’s a relatively new deck type and many people are probably unfamiliar with how to side against it.

One final note is the theory of siding specific cards depending on whether you are going first or second.  I tend to dislike this philosophy in your average tier 1 deck.  One such specific example is siding Cyber Dragon only when you’re going second.  The reason I don’t like this is because the game is going to last for more than the first two turns.  Cyber Dragon is going to be just as good of a card late game, if not better, as it would be on your opening turn regardless of who gets to go first.  The exception to my dislike includes decks like Infernity and Frog FTK that heavily depend on their ability to setup.

I hope you enjoyed my article and I hope you all learned something! I’ll be back next week with more strategy based articles.

 

 

“FILI’ED WITH DECKS” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY FILI LUNA

POSTED ON 12/03/2010

 

What it do everybody!!! Welcome to my first article for The Game Academy. But wait, I almost forgot to introduce myself! I am Fili Luna, the only person with four Shonen Jump championship titles (for anyone new to the game, this was the tournament circuit that was replaced by the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series). I have two US Nationals tops, 15 Shonen Jump tops, and over 20 regional tops. I always like new challenges and was thrilled when given the opportunity to write for The Game Academy. Introduction aside, I hope you enjoy my articles. If you have any feedback, please leave a comment here or find me on Facebook. Enough about me, let’s jump into my thoughts on the current state of the game.

 


“Fili, what do you think is the best deck to play in this format?” It never fails. Before a big tournament, after a big tournament, and anywhere in between, everyone always asks me the same question. Usually I can give a short answer, but for this format it’s a bit more complicated. What I mean is that there are more good decks than we are used to seeing. On one hand, a lot of the competitive decks are ones that we’ve gotten used to seeing, X-Sabers, Blackwings, and Gladiator Beasts, but a lot of new decks are emerging into the spotlight as well, Scraps, Gravekeepers, and the many different variations on the Plant deck.

I recently traveled out to Atlanta to participate in the YCS. Not only were there over 800 players (making it the largest tournament in the southeast US in history!), but there was an overwhelmingly wide variety of decks as well. Just looking at the top32, there were 11 different decks! Like many others, I expected that the Plant Synchro deck would take home first place. Not only was it by far the most popular deck, but I also felt that it had the potential to defeat the other decks that would see play. However, I wasn’t surprised when my friends told me that Gravekeeper’s had a huge victory, taking down first, second, and even third place! As for myself, I went 6-2 on day one with my own version of Scraps but unfortunately missed my first round on day two after waking up late! =(

Monsters

3x Scrap Goblin

3x Scrap Beast

3x Scrap Chimera

2x Thunder King Rai-oh

1x Summoner Monk

3x Gravekeeper’s Spy

1x Gravekeeper’s Guard

1x Card Trooper

1x Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness

Spells

1x Dark Hole

1x Monster Reborn

1x Giant Trunade

1x Cold Wave

1x Pot of Avarice

1x Mind Control

2x Mystical Space Typhoon

2x Scrapstorm

3x Pot of Duality

3x Book of Moon

Traps

1x Torrential Tribute

1x Mirror Force

1x Solemn Judgment

2x Bottomless Traphole

2x Solemn Warning

Overall, I was pretty happy with my deck choice and felt that the deck played smoothly and consistently, but there are definitely improvements that can be made. I definitely don’t think this deck is fast enough. Due to the fact that it lacked a bit of speed, I wasn’t able to bring multiple big monsters on the field for an OTK or make huge plays to take complete control of the game.  I’ll let you readers out there make some suggestions in the comments as to what you feel can be changed.

The thing I liked most about this deck is that I had a lot of consistency enhancers such as Pot of Duality for card draw and Gravekeeper’s Spy for defense. Regardless of how bad the matchup was, it made me feel like I was still able to compete. It didn’t hurt that I had such a great side deck on hand to switch out cards that were unfavorable against certain matchups. Speaking of side decks, this is what I used:

Side Deck

2x Light Imprisoning Mirror

2x Dust Tornado

2x Trap Stun

2x Consecrated Light

2x Pulling the Rug

2x D.D. Crow

2x Cyber Dragon

1x Royal Oppression

The side deck was solid; I wouldn’t make any changes to it. As for my extra deck, it’s pretty basic.

Extra Deck

3x Scrap Dragon

2x Stardust Dragon

1x Colossal Fighter

1x Red Dragon Archfiend

1x Dark End Dragon

1x Black Rose Dragon

2x Arcanite Magician

1x Scrap Archfiend

1x Goyo Guardian

1x Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

1x Chimeratech Fortress Dragon

If after looking at my list you are still confused about what you should run at your next tournament, here’s an idea: whatever you are most comfortable with! The format is very wide open, and the most important factor in succeeding in an open field is to play a deck that you know how to use well. Know all of your deck’s tricks, know how to sidedeck properly, and victory will be yours!

As far as the decks that won big at YCS Atlanta, I have a few things to say about each of them and why they topped, starting with the championship deck, Gravekeeper’s. Put simply, Gravekeeper’s won and secured the top three spots in this tournament because they were able to control and consistently beat the top decks in the game, decks such as X-Sabers, Plant Synchro, Lightsworn, and Quickdraw. Most importantly, Gravekeeper’s were able to effectively shut down what I believe is the strongest deck: Plant Synchro. In addition, the new Gravekeeper’s Recruiter makes it incredibly easy to retrieve everything in the deck. Add Necrovalley, and now you’re shutting down any strategy that revolves around the graveyard. Here’s another secret tech card that most people haven’t considered in Gravekeeper’s:

Deck Devastation Virus.

Everything right now runs small monsters, which makes Deck Devastation Virus the new Crush Card Virus. Descendant, Assailant, and Malefic Stardust Dragon all can be used as fuel for the Virus as long as Necrovalley is on the field. Against most decks, Deck Devastation Virus acts as a better, though more situational Royal Tribute.  I expect Gravekeeper’s to see a significant increase in play after the outstanding performance it put on display in Atlanta.

Another deck that deserves to be mentioned is Blackwings. With the addition of Pot of Duality, the deck gets the ability to set up big plays on a more consistent basis. The deck was already good enough with Icarus Attack and Delta Crow, but Pot of Duality has helped it evolve into the powerhouse that it is now. Blackwings is one of the most consistent decks in the format by far, but it also has the ability to get some really explosive draws. It has big monsters and very dangerous traps at its disposal, especially against an inexperienced opponent. When playing against a Blackwing player, you must be cautious of their set trap cards at all times. There were a whopping six Blackwing decks that made top32, making it the second most popular deck in the top32. The most popular deck was the deck that the most hyped and my pick to win: you guessed it, Plant Synchro!

On a side note, I hardly keep up with an event if I’m already out of it, but I always play some games after I’ve dropped out of the main event. Before the top 32 played out, I dueled against a plant variation, and all I can say is wow! It was fast, explosive, and very consistent; exactly what I expected.  After my experience against the deck, I was very certain that Plants would dominate this tournament especially hearing that 12 of these decks made the cut for top 32. The sheer number of Plant Synchro decks in the top32 should give you a strong indication of how powerful this deck is. I can assure you that it’s the real deal.

There are a few cards that help set Plants Synchro above the rest.

Lonefire Blossom

This card allows Plant Synchros to bring out huge monsters without really wasting any resources. Lonefire Blossom can tribute itself (or even a Dandylion Token) for a Tytannial. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate when my opponent has that thing on the field; it’s unbelievably hard to get rid of.

Debris Dragon

This is one of the clutch cards in the deck. If you are in a tight spot, you can summon this dragon and bring back a monster with 500 or less attack, (preferably Dandylion) and synchro into a Black Rose Dragon and wipe the field clean. Black Rose Dragon is definitely a “comeback” card and really makes this deck so versatile since it’s so easy to go into Black Rose Dragon.

Pot of Avarice//Formula Synchron

After you’ve used a bunch of resources, this deck can replenish itself with Pot of Avarice and the new synchro monster, Formula Synchron. You can use a Dandylion token and the new tuner Glow-Up Bulb, or even a Spore from hand to make Formula Synchron and draw cards to gain some new options.

Until next time,
Fili Luna

 

 

“GRAVEKEEPER’S – ONE HIT WONDER OR HERE TO STAY?” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY BILLY BRAKE

POSTED ON 12/01/2010

 

Hello! My name is Billy Brake and this is my first article for the Game Academy.  Before I dive into the actual article, I think I should take the time to let everyone know a little about myself and provide some information about my Yu-Gi-Oh! career. I have been playing Yu-Gi-Oh! since I was 12, and am now 20. I’m from Dallas, and have made Top 16 or better at 7 major events (SJC, YCS, and Nationals) including a 2nd place finish at YCS Chicago and 3/4th at the 75th Shonen Jump in Edison, New Jersey. On a smaller note, I have made top 8 at 27 regionals and try to attend local Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments at least 1 to 3 times a week. I have a YouTube Channel where I offer help and strategy advice that you can check out by clicking here.

 


Now that you know a little bit about my background let’s get started with my first article!

Gravekeeper’s  – One Hit Wonder or Here to Stay?

YCS Atlanta came to a close about a week ago with all of the top 3 spots belonging to the same deck: Gravekeeper’s. This was a surprise for many duelists across the country, including myself at first. It was strange for a deck that had not received a lot of hype to win and it is much crazier for teammates all using the same deck to come in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I would spend more time on an analysis of the event itself, but you can read more about why they won and how the other decks did at the YCS Atlanta by reading Patrick Hoban’s article.

The Public’s Response to Gravekeeper’s winning YCS Atlanta

There were quite a few people that were excited to see that a seemingly rouge deck had just done so well at the YCS, but the same people who praised it said that it will probably never happen again. People seem to think that one of the biggest factors that contributed to its success was the surprise factor, and now that it has lost its surprise, the deck will be sided for and will not be able to win again. This opinion has been clearly evident throughout the forums and on many YouTube Channels. This idea intrigued me and I wanted to put it to the test.

How do I find out if this deck is a fluke or if it is going to continue to be a top level competitive deck?

I asked myself this question and I really only came to one conclusion: through playing the deck at a higher level tournament after it has already won once. Luckily, this idea came to me Friday night when I was trying to decide what to use for the Regional that was being held in Dallas the very next day, and I decided to make the switch over to Gravekeeper’s to put them to the test.

Prior to Regionals, my opinion on the deck was that it could only succeed if I played against the most popular decks in the meta, (Plant, Scraps, pretty much anything grave reliant). If I faced other decks, I assumed that the deck probably wouldn’t do very well. Here is the deck I used:

Monsters:16

3x Gravekeeper’s Spy

3x Gravekeeper’s Recruiter

3x Gravekeeper’s Descendant

3x Gravekeeper’s Commandant

2x Gravekeeper’s Assailant

2x Malefic Stardust Dragon

Spells:15

3x Pot of Duality

3x Necrovalley

3x Royal Tribute

3x Book Of Moon

2x Gravekeeper’s Stele

1x Dark Hole

Traps:9

2x Solemn Warning

2x Dimensional Prison

2x Bottomless Traphole

1x Starlight Road

1x Solemn Judgment

1x Mirror Force

Side Deck: 15

2x Cyber Dragon

1x Genex Ally Duradark

1x Effect Veiler

2x Smashing Ground

2x My Body as a Shield

2x Mystical Space Typhoon

1x Nobleman Of Crossout

2x Light-Imprionsoning Mirror

1x Royal Oppression

1x Starlight Road

Extra Deck:15

2x Chimeratech Fortress Dragon

3x Stardust Dragon

1x Armory Arm

1x Magical Android

1x Arcanite Magician

1x Colossal Fighter

1x Scrap Dragon

1x Black Rose Dragon

1x Ally of Justice Catastor

1x Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier

1x Goyo Guardian

1x Dark End Dragon

The Test for Gravekeeper’s begins!

For a short analysis on some of my card choices you can watch the video below as I won’t be discussing them in this article. Remember, this is not a full blown tournament report, but more my thoughts on the tier that Gravekeeper’s will be ranked now that they have lost their surprise factor.

The regional I was going to be playing in had a total of 262 players, meaning 9 rounds of swiss, followed by a cut to the top 8 best ranked players. I knew it was going to be a very long day.

Round 1 Match up

Gravekeeper’s vs. Harpies

At the start of this match I could tell my opponent was more of a casual player than a serious competitive opponent, which usually means they are running something not meta, which boded bad for my anti-meta deck. This match- up was a little difficult with my opponent always replacing my Necrovalley with Harpies Hunting Ground and having big monsters, but in the end my spy’s and Malefic Stardust Dragon proved too much and I was able to pull out the win.

Record :1-0

Round 2 Match up

Gravekeeper’s vs. Samurai

Yet another match up for my deck that I felt was unfavorable because of its speed capabilities and little reliance on graveyard effects.
Game 1 – I won because I was able to win the dice roll and open with Malefic Stardust Dragon and a turn 1 Royal Tribute.
Game 2 – The speed I was worried about got me.
Game 3 – I got a Spy with a bunch of monster negation and was able to pull out the win.

Record : 2-0

Round 3 Match Up

Gravekeeper’s vs. Machina Gadgets

Once again, another deck my Necrovalley does next to nothing againstl,  and I am beginning to assume I will lose to one of these unfavorable match ups.
Game 1 – I open up with all monsters, including 3 Gravekeeper’s Spy, which happens to be a problem for Gadgets. This allows me to win without much effort
Game 2 – His Nobleman of crossout on my Gravekeeper’s spy is stopped by My body as a Shield, but he follows up with a Dark Hole and gadgets me to death.
Game 3 – He starts with a shadow-imprsioning mirror which I can’t kill, but I hold off with spy’s until I am able to draw a Cyber Dragon and win from there.

Record 3-0

Round 4 Match up

Gravekeeper’s vs.  Lightsworn

At this point I am almost laughing because I am now going up against one of my decks biggest weaknesses.
Game 1 – I start off really strong, but Lightsworns do their thing and bring out JD later in the game to close it out.
Game 2 – He doesn’t draw too well and I am able to win.
Game 3 – Our match lasted a long time, but I have the field controlled about 8 cards to 2, when he draws a Consecrated Light followed by a Royal Decree, and a Gold Sarcophagus for Judgment Dragon. I have a book to stop him from attacking me and top a bottomless to remove it the next turn, and he isn’t able to come back.

Record 4-0

Round 5  Match up

Gravekeeper’s vs. Formula Monarch Synchro

This is one of my toughest matches. When I find out what he is using, I’m almost certain I was going to take my first loss.
Game 1 – I get to attack for a lot of damage early, and he drops a Light And Darkness Dragon while I have Necrovalley on the field. Once I kill it, I’m able to attack for game.
Game 2 – I get a Royal Tribute off and attack with monsters until he’s dead.

Record 5-0

Mid-Regional thoughts on Gravekeeper’s

So far, I couldn’t have been more wrong in regards to my hypothesis. All of my matches thus far have been against decks that I feel I have a bad match-up against, and I have been able to remain undefeated against all of them. The Gravekeeper deck is much stronger than I had first thought and I’m starting to think that this deck might be one of the top decks of this format.

Round 6 Match up

Gravekeeper’s vs. Gravekeeper’s

Ah, the long expected mirror match. I knew that this would probably happen with the deck’s popularity being up from its win last week. I have to say, this is probably the worst mirror match out of all the decks of the format, it makes both players play a very primitive style of yugioh and basically comes down to who can ever eck out the win first. There is really no reason to comment on how the duels went, but it went to game 3 where I was able to pull out the win. It basically comes down to who draws the most defensive cards or the most Gravekeeper’s spies.

Record 6-0

Round 7 match up

Gravekeeper’s Vs. Scraps

Finally! I am playing vs. a deck that actually gets shutdown my Necrovalley. The match ends rather quickly after he draws his scraps that can’t target anything in the grave, and I am able to beat him down with my monsters.

Record 7-0

Round 8 Match up

Gravekeeper’s Vs. Anti-meta Chaos Stun

He is running a weird deck with Gravekeepers Spy, Cauis, Lyla, Breaker, Thunder King, Doomcaliber Knight, and Banishers. I find out this round that Doomcal and Thunder Kings are very strong against Gravekeepers, and he beats me fairly easily in two games.

Record 7-1

Round 9 Match up

Gravekeeper’s Vs. Gladiator Beast

Another bad match up for my deck, but this being the last round I am fairly certain I will top. At this point, I’m really trying to test the limits of Gravekeeper’s power. Game 1 – This game lasts for quite a while, and I’m trying to stay in the game against his chariots and other defensive cards that are keeping my offense to a minimum. Eventually, I wear him out of backrows and am able to push through damage with a Malefic Stardust Dragon.
Game 2 – I open with an almost unplayable hand, and time is called shortly after. I lose the game pretty quickly, but since I won game 1, the match is called a draw.

Final Record After Swiss

7-1-1

Top 8 matchup

Gravekeeper’s vs. Zombies

I was surprised to see this deck at the top, but it did make it there and was a favorable match up for me. I win games 1 and 2 fairly easily with Necrovalley stopping him from doing too much.

The end result: Billy Brake’s Final Thoughts on The Tier Level of Gravekeeper’s

After the regional was over I was happy that I was able to make a top 4 finish, but I found myself being more excited about how the day had turned out for my article. My main reason for using the Gravekeeper’s deck in the tournament was to see if this deck is the real deal or if it just happened to win because the top 3 finishers played vs. a field of Plant decks. I feel confident in saying that Gravekeeper’s are here to stay. The deck is very solid and while it seems like it might rely on Necrovalley to be negating a lot of my opponents cards, it’s just an added bonus. Most decks this format have a hard time dealing with monsters with high defense and high attack, so having monsters with both makes opponents cards like Book of Moon almost useless. The deck has many ways of winning even without having the ability to synchro summon monsters. I will go as far to saying that it is one of the best decks that have been around since the release of The Duelist Genesis that does not rely on the ability to synchro summon, only falling short to Gladiator Beasts.

So for those who were wondering if Gravekeeper’s would be a one hit wonder, I have to say it would not surprise me in the least if this deck won at least another big event before the next set is released.

I hope you enjoyed my article feel free to visit my YouTube Channel and send me a message about what you think or check out some great yugioh videos at http://www.youtube.com/havok41

You can also email me suggestions for other articles or feedback at Billybrakeygo@yahoo.com or leave a comment here.

 

 

“YCS ATLANTA ANALYSIS” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY PATRICK HOBAN

POSTED ON 11/27/2010

 

Hello, for those of you who do not know me, my name is Patrick Hoban.  I am a new writer to the Game Academy.  I’ll be doing in depth analyses and strategy based articles that relate to competitive Yu-Gi-Oh.  As you all know, YCS Atlanta was this past weekend.  For my first article I will be doing an analysis of this tournament.   I’ll bring you what won, what the popular choices were at the event, and where this event will point the meta.

 


The first thing we need to look at is the numbers.  To beat the meta, you have to know the meta.  Here is a chart that breaks down what the Top 32 deck types were:

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The most popular deck in the top 32 was by far Debris with 40% of the field.  That is a pretty significant chunk of the meta.  The second most popular deck was Blackwings, followed by Gravekeeper’s, then X-Sabers, and on down to all of the other decks with just one showing a piece.

As we all know by now, YCS Atlanta produced a shocking end result that absolutely no one saw coming.  That was that Gravekeeper’s took first, second, and third!  That poses the question of:

How did they do it?

Prior to YCS Atlanta very few competitors considered Gravekeeper’s to be much of a serious threat with any potential claims to the title.  The end result would prove everyone wrong.  So how exactly did this deck do it?  Gravekeeper’s are essentially an Anti-Meta deck and they run very similar to many of the other top Anti-Meta decks this format, but history tells us that Anti-Meta has little success in major tournaments.  This often boils down to consistency issues and them not being able to last a ten round tournament.  Here are some things that set them apart and allowed multiple players to succeed in such a large tournament:

New cards being released – This has been discussed time and again, but the release of Pot of Duality and Solemn Warning really allow decks like these to shine.  Pot of Duality does more for the consistency issue than any card in the history of the game.  Solemn Warning stops major threats that would otherwise destroy the deck such as XX-Saber Hyunlei or Black Rose Dragon.  Let’s not forget the biggest release of all was Gravekeeper’s Recruiter.  This guy helps majorly with those same consistency issues as well as creating neat loops with Descendant. 

Great Matchups – The three biggest decks of the format are X-Sabers, Debris, and Blackwings.  Of those, X-Sabers and Debris heavily rely on using their graveyard in an effective manner.  It shuts off potential Faultroll plays and Gottoms’ Emergency Plays.  X-Sabers have a significantly harder time setting up big plays without the use of these cards.  Without Rescue Cat their strategy is fragile and Necrovalley is very dangerous to them.  The same goes for Plants, cutting off any potential Debris or Spore plays. 

Playing off current trends – As a generalization, it can be assumed that X-Sabers and Plants do not main Mystical Space Typhoon.   That leaves very little main decked outs to Necrovalley in either of these decks.  As long as they can maintain that card on the field, they have an extremely higher chance of winning. 

Great card choices – I’ve kept saying that they naturally have good matchups against X-Sabers and Plants, but where does that leave Blackwings.  One would think that Blackwings would be a nightmare-like matchup for a deck like Gravekeeper’s considering they main 3 Icarus Attack and the majority of them still main Mystical Space Typhoon.  This is something I’m sure that Frazier and his friends took into account when building their decks.  The winning deck included two copies of Starlight Road, a card that has dwindled in popularity this format with the banning of Heavy Storm.  But Starlight Road does something for Gravekeeper’s that it simply cannot do for most of the other top decks of the format.  It turns their worst matchup, Blackwings, into a not so bad matchup.  It is an instant +2 against Icarus Attack and also hits most of the other top threats to the deck like Hyunlei and Black Rose. While many mainstream decks chose Effect Veiler as a counter to these cards, Gravekeeper’s simply could not do that as they would be forced to raise their monster count and thereby lessoning the effect of Royal Tribute plays. Another great choice on their part was the inclusion of Compulsory Evacuation Device.  For obvious reasons, the deck has problems with monsters over 2000 attack.  Compulsory serves as an automatic out and an easy way of dealing with bigger threats such as Stardust Dragon or Shooting Star Dragon.

 

Overall it boils down to them making great meta choices based on past YCSs.  An outstanding job by Frazier Smith and his teammates!

Other trends of YCS Atlanta:

Plants!  What a big showing they had at this event.  While they didn’t manage to capture the gold at this event, they did take twice as many spots in top 32 as any other deck.  Couple this with them winning YCS Italy the very same weekend, we can rest assured that they will continue to see a high amount of play at all events in the near future.

Significantly less X-Sabers made the Day 2 playoffs.  While X-Sabers are still widely seen as one of, if not the, best deck of the format, they took a major hit at this event.  This was likely due to a stronger presence of Anti-Meta in Atlanta.  I know I for one played X-Sabers here and the only losses I received were from Anti-Meta.  Two of the three went on to make the Top 32 cut.  One of which, Kevin Silva, I was very impressed with as a player.  This trend of relatively few X-Sabers making the playoff rounds may continue into future events with the introduction of Gravekeeper’s at this event as a serious threat.

Royal Decree continues to make a strong push toward being a competitive card in the current meta.   The ability to shut down ¼ of the opponents deck with a single card is too tempting for many players to resist.  Six of the thirteen plant decks chose to main the card.  Da Lee, the Lightsworn player, also chose to main three copies of the powerful trap.  This trend also plays off of many players excluding Mystical Space Typhoon from their decks.  Most players using this card also chose to compliment it with Effect Veiler.  This allowed them to stop their opponents Hyunlei plays that would have otherwise capitalize on the Decree players lack of traps to stop them and by the same stroke, make their traps live again.

Frog Monarchs make a stab at becoming the high caliber deck that they were last format.  They lost Substitoad with the latest ban list which really hurt their playability.  With this YCS they proved to be a contender this format.  This success was likely brought about by the release of Formula Synchron.  Combining Fishborg Blaster and Treeborn Frog, they were allowed to draw a card every turn.  This deck is really neat and has many combinations of plays that make it a very resourceful deck.

Macro made its first top at the premier level in a while.  As I stated earlier, I thought the player was exceptional. He also utilized the release of new cards like Karakuri Ninja mdl 339 “Sazank”.  This allowed him to deal with many problematic cards and even allows him to play around potential Stardust Dragons!  Unfortunately he received a loss in Top 32 and was unable to recover from it.  Also, to make a correction for him, his list contained Gale over Mist Valley Soldier.  He crossed out the wrong card on his list and that is why he received the loss.

Machina continues to be the cheapest playable deck of the format.  This time it still managed to squeeze out a slot in Top 32.  I think the biggest factor that set it apart from the other decks was the inclusion of 2 Nobleman of Crossout in the main deck.  Many duelists were siding this card, but Adrew Jeffries decided to main this card.  This was an excellent choice in the current meta.  It helps tremendously with the X-Saber matchup as well as the Plant matchup.  Machina Gadgets naturally have a weaker matchup against X-Sabers because they are forced to attack their opponent’s set Darksouls and Emmersblades in order to win.  Nobleman allows them to play around this.

Infernitys continue to claim one spot in the playoff.  I have to be honest, Infernity is definitely one of my favorite decks this format, but believe me when I say, it is not an easy deck to play.  That being said, it strongly rewards for good play.  All of the builds that have been topping are fairly similar and I do not care for the builds that they are playing.  Here’s a link to an article about how I think Infernitys should be played with my list.  I honestly think that it’s significantly better than the current builds that have been topping.

The last two decks to top were Lightsworn and Lightsworn Zombie.  I’m not entirely convinced about the concept of Lightsworn Zombie this format as it doesn’t seem like it has many matchups that it strongly favors.  I played someone with the exact same list during the tournament and I cannot say that I was impressed.  The Lightsworn player I know personally and can say that he is an excellent player.  Complimenting his skills with great choices like mained Thunder King Rai-Oh earned him a spot in Top 8.

What does all this mean for future tournaments?

Gravkeeper’s are now a deck that we all have to watch out for.

This format is still extremely diverse.  Most decks are capable are winning.  YCS Atlanta was a perfect example of this.

It is very important to realize what the current meta is and to develop an adequate counter to it.  This can be shown through the prevalence of Royal Decree and the overall victory of Gravekeeper’s.

Future card choices that may now gain popularity:

Nobleman of Crossout – This card was already steadily gaining popularity.  This event will surely be enough to put it into play on a larger scale.

Thought Ruler Archfiend – This card has disappeared from the extra decks of many players due to space constraints; however, this card is insanely good against Gravekeeper’s and may reappear in the extra decks of many.

Goldd, Wu Lord of Darkness or Gemini Imps – I don’t necessarily agree with either of these choices, but I have no doubt that over the next several weeks they will gain much popularity.  They serve as effective counters to Royal Tribute, one of Gravekeeper’s greatest assets.  The down side of them is that they are very one-dimensional cards and have little use outside of that one play.

Chain Disappearance and Hero’s Rule 2 – With how popular plants were at this event, these cards will surely gain popularity in the weeks to come.

Saber Slash – This card could give X-Sabers a significant boost.  I have never been much of a fan of this card, but now may be its time  to finally shine.

Mask of Restrict – If Monarchs continue to shoot up in popularity, this card may see some sided play once again.  An alternative that may be better could be Zombie World.  It doesn’t get shut off by Trap Stun that many Monarch players are now including.  Additionally you can side it in against Gravekeeper’s to safely get rid of their Necrovalley.

Mystical Space Typhoon – Let’s not forget this!  This event can be summed up of people taking advantage of no one playing this card anymore.  We may have learned our lesson and go back to maining this card.

That’s all for my analysis of YCS Atlanta.  I hope you enjoyed the read and learned something in the process.  I’ll be back next week to bring you more in depth strategies of the current meta.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

“PRE-YCS ATLANTA TIER LIST” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 11/22/2010

Starstrike Blast just became legal for play only a few days ago, and people have been speculating a great deal on what will win YCS Atlanta. Despite the fact that my last tier list article was not received particularly well, now seems like a great time to write another one! Those preparing for a YCS should always have a clear perception of what the decks to beat are. If you don’t even know what you’re trying to beat, how can you expect to win?



I’m going to reiterate the concept of a tier list and what factors I take into consideration when creating it. First of all, the tier list is based on a general worldwide meta (as opposed to what people are playing locally). I get an idea on what the meta is based on what decks have been doing well and also any statistics that are given after a YCS has been completed. Those doing event coverage will often give a meta breakdown, saying what percentage of the meta each deck controlled. Note that this means if your meta (for locals, regionals, etc) drastically differs from what is seeing play in large-scale worldwide events, you might be better off playing different decks than what the tier list recommends.

Public opinion is taken into account when creating the tier list. If everyone thinks that decks X, Y, and Z are the best decks, those decks will be played the most, developed the most, and probably will end up winning the most. To a degree, this a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course there are exceptions. Before SJC Orlando 2009, everyone expected Gladiator Beasts to be the second best deck. After zero Gladiator Beast decks cracked the top16, people quickly changed their minds.

“Jason Meyer is now taking Deck Profile submissions for YCS Atlanta! If you’ve got a [creative] deck list … shoot it to me Monday with some notes on your matchups against Blackwings, X-Sabers, Quickdraw [Plants], and Gladiator Beasts.” – Via Facebook

Jason Meyer has been a part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! coverage team ever since I can remember, and he usually handles feature matches and deck profiles. Why do you think he is so interested in hearing about how you are beating Blackwings, X-Sabers, Quickdraw/Plants, and Gladiator Beasts? He didn’t pick four decks at random. What he was implying was, “I expect these to the be the most played decks. These are the decks to beat. Tell me how you are going to beat them.” A facebook post such as this one is just one element of public opinion.

In addition to the meta and public opinion, I also have to look at results; which decks are putting up the best numbers? It’s hard to make an argument that X-Sabers aren’t the best deck when they are consistently winning more than any other deck. There are usually threads on Pojo/Duelistgroundz tracking which decks are winning at regionals/YCSs the most, so that makes it more convenient for me.

The final tiebreaker after I’ve looked at the meta, what everyone else thinks, and what’s been winning is my own personal experience. Note the word “tiebreaker”. For example, shortly after The Shining Darkness was released, there were two very hyped up decks: X-Sabers and Infernities. They both occupied roughly equal shares of the meta. Public opinion was divided on which deck was better. They were both winning equally. I wrote my “Earth-Imprisoning Mirror” article explaining why I believed that X-Sabers were the better deck (less weaknesses). This is a case where I used my own opinion as the tiebreaker. In this case, I turned out being right, but I’ve certainly been wrong many times in the past.

A tier list is not meant to tell you what deck to play; it’s saying “On average, these decks will do the best in the current meta.” Clearly, there will be other factors that will influence your decision of what deck to use: experience with the deck, playtesting, what cards are available for you to use, and preference.

Here’s the tier list that I have come up with as well as a brief description of each decktype for those aren’t familiar.

God Tier: “Good matchups against nearly all of the competitive field”
1. X-Sabers – Also known as “Faultroll combo”
2. Plants – Also known as Dandylion.dek
3. Blackwings – Self-explanatory

Good Tier: “A good choices in most fields, but has one or more very poor matchups”
4. Gladiator Beasts – Self-explanatory
5. Anti-Meta Variants – Includes Gemini, Stun, Gravekeeper, and RFG strategies
6. Scraps – Self-explanatory

Almost There Tier: “Has many coin-flip matchups, some bad matchups, and a few favorable ones”
7. Machina Gadgets – Also known as the “I hope you don’t have Cyber Dragon” deck
8. Infernities – If your name is Dale Bellido, this deck gains two tiers.
9. Lightsworn – Did you almost forget that Judgment Dragon still exists?

Mediocre Tier: “Has a hard time against all of the decks in the upper tiers”
10. Monarch Variants – Most of these decks are based around Treeborn Frog.
11. Black Salvo Decks – Card-advantage based decks utilizing the Dekoichi and Black Salvo interaction.

Uncompetitive Tier: “Also known as the ‘everything else’ tier. Any deck that wasn’t listed above has topped little or no major events.”

I feel that most good players will agree with my opinion on the best three decks. How do competitive players feels about X-Sabers? The same way we felt about Lightsworn in 2009!

Person A: “I hate playing X-Sabers. The deck takes no skill. I feel so dirty every time I win.”
Person B: “Yep, but it still wins more than everything else!”

Every deck obviously requires skill (every time I think that a deck takes no skill to play, a huge idiot quickly proves me wrong). However, X-Sabers are not what I would call a very skill-intensive deck. From an expected value standpoint, X-Sabers are without question the best deck. I’m actually very thankful that only a few players in my area use the deck. There really aren’t any decks that can consistently beat X-Sabers. X-Sabers just have too many unbeatable hands.

X-Sabers play a bit differently after the banning of Rescue Cat. It’s no longer “summon ze cat and win.” The deck tries to play an uncontested X-Saber Faultroll after using Cold Wave, Giant Trunade, Trap Stun, or Royal Decree to stun your opponent’s spells and traps. The deck usually plays Pot of Duality or Gold Sarcophagus to find its combo pieces quickly. Yes, X-Sabers are basically a combo deck. After you land an X-Saber Faultroll, it’s pretty hard to lose.

Plants are on lock for second best deck with the release of Starstrike Blast. The X-Saber matchup is still tough, but it’s certainly winnable. If you’re curious about Plants’ new plays after the release of Starstrike Blast, I highly recommend that you read Spotlight on Plants. Plants are my style more-so than X-Sabers, and they are most likely what I will be playing at Atlanta.

From a historical standpoint, Blackwings are a very interesting deck in the way that they have evolved. When the deck became competitive we could use 3 Black Whirlwind, 3 Gale, and 3 Dark Strike Fighter. The format shifted and we were down to 1 Gale and 0 Dark Strike Fighter. “Clearly Blackwings aren’t good anymore.” And then they won SJC Orlando, picking up some new tech: Royal Oppression. Then Konami told us only 2 Black Whirlwinds and 2 Royal Oppressions. “Could Blackwings still be good?” The answer was yes. “Ok, screw you guys. Now you can only use one Black Whirlwind and one Royal Oppression. How are you supposed to win now?”

No matter what restrictions Konami gives us, Blackwings always find a way to remain competitive. At the beginning of this format, I was definitely in the “Blackwings suck” boat. With only 1 Black Whirlwind, I felt that Blackwings would not be able to get as much card advantage and would simply run out of gas. I slowly realized I was wrong, and then I was playing Blackwings myself. I almost top8ed a regional in Orlando, and then I top8ed a regional in Tampa. Blackwings were primarily an OTK deck in the summer of 2009 but are now an aggro/control deck today. The deck is mainly about having answers to everything your opponent throws at you. Early incarnations of Blackwings played only two copies of Icarus Attack, whereas now three Icarus Attacks are a key element of the deck.

I almost wanted to include Gladiator Beasts in the God Tier. Almost. If you look at the past few YCSs Gladiator Beasts have simply not been winning despite putting forth a strong showing at the beginning of the format. However, most good players, including myself, agree that Gladiator Beasts are one of the best decks. Gladiator Beast War Chariot is still really good at stopping pretty much every monster effect. The weaknesses of the deck haven’t really changed; it’s very hard to win with monster-heavy hands. Blackwings are still a tough matchup. Gladiator Beasts are very annoying and hard to play against. Getting a good read on their set spells/traps is key to beating the deck.

Players will often make the assertion that it’s impossible for Anti-Meta to ever be top tier, but they are simply wrong. Anti-Meta has been top tier in the past, and it’s top tier yet again. The Gemini Spark, Elemental Hero Alius, and Hero Blast interaction is very good. Gravekeeper’s have gained some new options with Recruiter. Thunder King Rai-Oh is still good at what it does. However the deck’s matchups aren’t amazing and it suffers some of the weaknesses as Gladiator Beasts.

And the winner of most underrated deck post-Starstrike Blast is… Scraps! There aren’t a lot of people playing this deck right now, but from what I’ve seen it’s good enough to be a competitive option. There are some consistency issues that need to be worked out, but I feel it’s only a mattern of time before someone creates the optimal build.

I honestly wish the card Chimeratech Fortress Dragon didn’t exist, because I would love to play Gadgets competitively again. The fact that everyone has an easy splashable answer to the momentum that Gadgets provide is very unfortunate. This deck can still pull wins out of nowhere with cards like Ultimate Offering, Future Fusion for Jinzo + Returner, and Limiter Removal. If you do play this deck though I would highly recommend 2 Bottomless Trap Hole, 3 Solemn Warning, 1 Solemn Judgment, 1 Royal Oppression. The more answers to Cyber Dragon the better! This deck has some solid game 1 matchups, but after sidedecking it goes downhill a bit.

The banlist changes compounded with the fact that people are still siding a considerable amount of graveyard hate have prevented Infernities from having many good showings this format. Setting up big plays usually involve a lot of cards and effort. Infernity Barrier is still a powerhouse, but it alone is not enough to make the deck one of the top competitors.

Some Lightsworn variants have seen moderate success this format, ranging from Twilight and ZombieSworn to FlamvellSworn. Judgment Dragon is still good at cleaning up big fields, but I think it’s going to have some problems dealing with Shooting Star Dragon.

I’ve tested Frog Monarchs a bit this format, and the printing of Solemn Warning and Effect Veiler really hurt the deck’s viability. The deck has gained some new hype with Fishborg Blaster into Formula Synchron combos, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough to propel the deck to top tier status.

Black Salvo based decks seem like a strickly worse version of Plants. If your goal is to be Black Rose’ing the field, I think you’re better off sticking to Debris Dragon. It’s also harder for this deck to utilize Formula Synchron compared to the Plant variants. You can try Battle Fader + Glow Up Bulb, but that’s about it. I don’t see this deck having any great matchups at the moment. Maybe next format.

That sums up my thoughts on the current format. Hopefully when I’m back next week I’ll be writing about how I won YCS Atlanta. I’m looking forward to seeing all of my friends at this event, and I know it will be a blast.

 

“DIDN’T WIN ANYTHING” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 11/11/2010

Everyone knows the prize support at regionals. For getting top8 at a regional, you get a special mat. For top4, a special binder. They both have little trade value; neither the mat or binder are very relevant from a value standpoint. Back in the UDE days, if you wanted to go to nationals you had to get top4 at a regional (with pass-downs). Nowadays, you only need to get top16 or top24 at most regionals to secure an invitation. Everyone who’s decent will get one before the year is over. Packs were usually awarded to top16, with top4 getting a box. Oh, and top8 still got a mat. So to compare…



Two years ago:

– Battling for packs

– Battling for a trip to nationals

– Battling for a mat

Now:

– Battling for a mat + binder

When I top8ed my first regional, and then won in the top8 to get my “nats invite” it felt like a huge accomplishment. Then I got a box and opened it up when I went home. And then I had a mat as a status symbol, so everyone at locals would know that I had finally top8ed a regional. “Back in my day” top8ing a regional was a much bigger deal.

To a degree, the glory of top8ing regionals has been taken away from us. Did you ever play sports as a kid? Were you ever in a league that gave every team trophies regardless of how well you did? It’s the “everyone wins” attitude. Unfortunately for the competitive player like myself,  organizers would rather make sure that everyone who shows up at regionals gets packs instead of giving out packs to the top8. They would rather give out invites to the top 14% instead of the top 4%.

Maybe someday a TO in Florida will spice up the prize pool and give away a box to each player who top4s and bring back some glory to this game. I mean, it’s pretty unlikely that it will ever happen, but a man can dream, can’t he?

There isn’t really much at all to be gained from top8ing a regional, but players such as myself put in a lot of effort in doing well at regionals anyways. Why do we want to top8 regionals so badly? It’s simple: To say we did it. I’d top8ed ten regionals already, but isn’t saying that I’ve top8ed eleven sound a little more impressive? Not really, but hopefully in a couple of years I’ll be able to say I topped fifteen or twenty.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

 

Like I said, I worked very hard to ensure that I would top this regional. So after long hours of hard work I decided to… not change anything? I came to the conclusion that my main deck from the Orlando regionals (in which I went 6-2) was optimal.

Monsters: 19

1 Dark Armed Dragon
3 Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn
3 Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame
3 Blackwing – Bora the Spear
3 Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow
3 Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North
1 Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind
2 Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor

Spells: 10
2 Pot of Duality
2 Cards for Black Feathers
2 Book of Moon
1 Black Whirlwind
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Allure of Darkness

Traps: 11
3 Icarus Attack
1 Royal Oppression
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Solemn Warning
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Delta Crow – Anti Reverse

To put it simply, there was really nothing that I wanted to take out from the deck or add to it. I like the way the deck currently played. The only card I would consider cutting from the deck is Mirror Force. I like the card because it kills Tytannial, Princess of Camellias. I thought that the sidedeck probably needed some work though.

Sidedeck: 15

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Banisher of Radiance

2 D.D. Crow

2 Nobleman of Crossout

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Skill Drain

2 Starlight Road

1 Seven Tools of the Bandit

I thought that this sidedeck would cover all of my key matchups: Blackwings, Gladiator Beasts, Plants, and X-Sabers. Here’s how I would usually side for those four matchups.

Blackwings:

–1 Royal Oppression

–1 Mirror Force

–1 Cards for Black Feathers

+2 Starlight Road

+1 Seven Tools of the Bandit

Starlight Road was my gameplan post-sidedeck, because I found that people would simply not play around it. I was very confident in my Blackwing matchup because I felt my patience and superior sidedecking would pay off in the mirror.

Gladiator Beasts:

–1 Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North

–1 Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor

–1 Cards for Black Feathers

+2 Cyber Dragon

+1 Seven Tools of the Bandit

Depending on Gladiator Beast player’s build and playstyle I could bring in Mystical Space Typhoon or Skill Drain. The Gladiator Beast matchup is favorable, but it can be a grind if the Gladiator Beast player has a lot of experience against Blackwings and it teched to beat it. For example, a trend in this area has been to play two copies of Gladiator Beast Hoplomus in the maindeck because of its strengths in the Blackwing matchup.

Plants:

–1 Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North

–1 Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor

–2 Cards for Black Feathers

–2 Book of Moon

–1 Delta Crow – Anti Reverse

–1 Torrential Tribute

+2 D.D. Crow

+2 Mystical Space Typhoon

+2 Nobleman of Crossout

+2 Skill Drain

The sidedeck plan can change a lot after game 2 when I see what they bring in. Most of the good Plant decks pre-Starstrike Blast will be either maindecking Royal Decree or siding it in, which is why I side in Mystical Space Typhoon. D.D. Crow stops Pot of Avarice and Debris Dragon. Skill Drain and Nobleman of Crossout have the same goal of disrupting the Plant player’s flip effect gameplan. In addition, if he brings in Consecrated Light I will probably bring my Cyber Dragons because it’s a non-dark monster.

X-Sabers:

–1 Blackwing – Bora the Spear

–1 Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor

+2 Banisher of Radiance

Admittedly, I decided not to side against X-Sabers because they are not popular in our area (despite the fact that they are popular basically everywhere else). My decision paid off because I didn’t play against X-Sabers all day! There was only one build of X-Sabers at the top tables, which was a Royal Decree version being piloted by Michael Lux.

During the day, I played against, in order: “Vayu Turbo” Blackwings, Gladiator Beast Beasts, Monarchs, Dragons, Gravekeeper’s, Infernities, Blackwings, Blackwings. I went 7-0 in the swiss rounds and lost to the Blackwing deck in the top8. I expected to play against a diverse field, which made Blackwings a good choice. Blackwings is a deck that isn’t built to tackle a specific element of the metagame; it has solid matchups against the entire field. The fact that I played a very standard and a consistent build helped me in the long run I believe.

I had a few “lucky breaks” throughout the day. My round 2 and round 3 opponents both got gamelosses, and I was paired down in rounds 3 and 5. There were only 106 players at this regional, and there weren’t many great players in the event. I’d say that regional was a bit easier than average.

My match against the Dragon player in round 4 was probably the most interesting. It was the only match that I played with a 2-1 result; everyone else in the swiss I 2-0ed. I played against him right after I eaten lunch. My body was digesting food, so I was a bit less focused than usual. I had Dark Hole and Monster Reborn at the best possible moment which was helpful. For the record, I don’t think Dragons is an outstanding deck, but for whatever reason it was my closest match.

Something that I thought it was be interesting to mention is the fact that I got no hours of sleep the night before the regional. I spend the night playing Magic Online (I did very well by the way, I won two 8-4 drafts). I also got no sleep the night before the 2K that I won. I’m not trying to say that a lack of sleep will give anyone better results at an event (confirmation bias, low sample size, correlation doesn’t imply causation, etc.) At both events I decided not to sleep because “zero hours of sleep is better than three.” I’ve discussed this with several players and there is theory that no sleep can be better due to the reverse psychology concept, “I know that I got no sleep and am more like to misplay. Therefore, I will concentrate harder than usual to not misplay.” I usually plan on getting a good amount of sleep before every event, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen due to my weird sleeping habits.

Blackwings will still be top tier following the release of Starstrike Blast, but I’m going to start focusing on fine-tuning my Plant deck (no pun intended). That deck is the real deal. The deck has a lot more potential than people think, and hopefully I’ll be able to prove that at YCS Atlanta. Expect an article next week and a YCS Atlanta tournament report the week after.

Despite not really winning anything, I was still glad that I made it to the top. No one really gets excited or surprised when I make top8 at a regional, but I like to do it to remind myself, “Hey, you’re still decent at this game.”

 

“SPOTLIGHT ON PLANTS” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 11/01/2010

For those who didn’t get the memo: The best decks are, in order, X-Sabers, Plants, Blackwings, Gladiator Beasts. This is based on the results that the decks have put up at the recent YCSs. X-Sabers appear to be the boogyman that they were last format and have consistently topped every real event. Plants, also known as Dandylion.dek, have recently been putting up good numbers due to their resilience and ability to adapt to the meta. Then we have Blackwings, the deck with the best combination of threats and answers. And last we have Gladiator Beasts, rocking the slogan “Topping Major Events Since 2008.”



It’s funny how we can have a nice established metagame that gets completely turned upside down with the release of a synchro monster. We saw it happen almost exactly a year ago with Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. Before the days of Brionac, Zombies were regarded as “a solid tier 2 deck.” Then Zombies got to hang with the cool kids and join the top of the tier list (to be honest, Lightsworn was starting to get lonely).

If one synchro can take a deck from “good” to “ridiculously awesome”, imagine what two synchros and a new tuner can do?

FormulaSyncron.jpg

ShootingStarDragon.jpg

GlowUpBulb.jpg

These synchros are different than the ones than we are used to seeing: a level 2 and a level 10. The tuner should be reminding you guys of Spore. I’ll give you guys some credit, you should already know which top tier deck gets ridiculous from these new releases: Plants.

We already knew that Dandylion was pretty nutty when used in combination with Quickdraw Synchron, Debris Dragon, Spore, Lonefire Blossom, Tytannial Princess of Camelias, and pretty much any tribute monster. The new releases just give Dandylion… even… more… tricks. It’s like the bag of tricks is going to start overflowing at this rate. Seriously, with all of these new tricks we’re probably going to need a bigger bag to hold them all.

A synchro monster that draws a card when it’s summoned is something we’ve never seen before. A level 2 synchro monster is something we’ve never seen before. A synchro monster that’s also tuner is something we’ve never seen before. Oh, and did I mention you can also synchro on your opponent’s turn too? How are we going to use all of this new-found power?

(Obligatory “yo dawg” meme goes here: Yo dawg, we heard you like synchros, so we put a tuner in your synchro, so you can synchro while you synchro!)

Ok, here’s how it works: Dandylion token + Level 1 Tuner = Formula Synchron. How convenient that we happen to be getting a great level 1 tuner at the same time. Grow Up Bulb allows us to extend this combo slightly.

2 Dandylion tokens + Grow Up Bulb = 2 Formula Synchron. Drawing two cards is pretty good I heard. We can even speed up this process with One For One. By discarding Dandylion and searching for Grow Up Bulb, we get to draw 2 cards and have two little synchros on our field. It’s sort of like your One For One was a Destiny Draw-type of effect.

But wait, there’s more! So far I haven’t even mentioned Shooting Star Dragon. It would seem like a pretty important card to mention because it, you know, wins you the game and all. It’s like a Stardust Dragon but without the usual weaknesses of getting destroyed in battle and getting ninja’d by a D.D. Crow. Clearly, our game plan is going to be to make Formula Synchron and Stardust Dragon in the same turn and then upgrade to a Shooting Star Dragon.

We’ve already seen some simple combos that allow us to make one or more Formula Synchrons; what happens if we add more cards to the mix? Sometimes I like to treat Yugioh cards like math equations. It helps me figure out all of the plays that my deck has.

One For One + Dandylion + Dandylion
1. Activate One For One, discard Dandylion, get 2 tokens and a Spore.
2. Normal summon Dandylion
3. Synchro a token and a Spore for Formula Synchron, draw a card.
4. Remore Dandylion from the game, bring back Spore as a LV4 tuner.
5. Synchro Spore, Dandylion, and a token for Stardust Dragon. Get 2 more tokens.
6. Synchro Stardust Dragon and Formula Synchron for Shooting Star Dragon.

It’s worth noting that you can replace the second Dandylion with a Lonefire Blossom (just tribute it off to search Dandylion). Here’s yet another version of the combo…

One For One + Dandylion + Debris Dragon

With these cards, you can use One For One and Dandylion to make Formula Synchron. Then summon Debris Dragon and get back Dandylion. Synchro a token, Debris Dragon, and Dandylion for Stardust Dragon. Get a Shooting Star Dragon.

So basically here we invested three cards, created an impossible-to-kill monster, drew a card from the Formula Synchron, and we have tokens which can be used at a later time. Seems pretty insane. You might be getting tired of hearing about three card combos using several cards that are limited. Perhaps you want something a bit more realistic? Well, there’s also a first-turn two-card combo that ends with Shooting Star Dragon in play.

Lonefire Blossom + Monster Reborn
1. Summon Lonefire Blossom and use its effect to get Dandylion
2. Activate Monster Reborn on Lonefire Blossom
3. Use Lonefire Blossom, tributing Dandylion, searching for Spore, and getting 2 tokens.
4. Make a Formula Synchron
5. Remove Lonefire Blossom, bring back Spore as a LV4 tuner.
6. Synchron Spore, Dandylion, and a token for Stardust Dragon.
7. You know what happpens now.

A skeptical reader out there might insist, “Hey Allen! What are you on anyways? Are you living in Magical Christmas Land? You’ve never going to draw those combos!” I’m the type to always back up what I say with numbers, so I decided to find the probability of drawing a hand that would create a first-turn Shooting Star Dragon.

One For One + Dandylion + Dandylion/Lonefire Blossom (with no Spore in hand) = .974%
One For One + Dandylion + Debris Dragon = 1.061%
Monster Reborn + Lonefire Blossom (with no Spore in hand) = 3.453%
Foolish Burial (for Dandylion) + Debris Dragon + One For One (+ random monster) = .496%
Total = 5.894%

Note: I figured I’d include a 4-card combo that also gets Shooting Star Dragon. It could happen, right?

About 6% isn’t really a lot, but consider this: More than 1 in every 17 games, we will essentially win the game on our first turn. After all, isn’t playing a Shooting Star Dragon the same thing as winning? To help further put this probability into perspective, the odds of opening with the notorious Cyber-Stien OTK (Cyber-Stien + Heavy Storm/Giant Trunade + Megamorph/Limiter Removal) was only 4.9%!

Let’s move on from theory to deck building. I decided to sleeve up some plants and proxy the three new cards. I found that the deck was even better than I had expected; it was crushing the current top decks with ease. This is the list that I played:

Monsters: 23
3 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Super-Nimble Mega Hamster
3 Ryko the Lightsworn Hunter
1 Card Trooper
1 Grow Up Bulb
1 Spore
1 Treeborn Frog
2 Dandylion
3 Debris Dragon
2 Lonefire Blossom
1 Tytannial, Princess of Camelias
1 Sangan
2 Effect Veiler

Spells: 11
3 Book of Moon
3 Pot of Avarice
1 Cold Wave
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Foolish Burial
1 One For One

Traps: 6
2 Solemn Warning
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Solemn Judgment

Extra deck: 15
1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
2 Formula Synchron
1 Armory Arm
1 Magical Android
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Iron Chain Dragon
2 Black Rose Dragon
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Shooting Star Dragon

I’ve told many people that the playstyle of this deck reminds me a lot of Synchro Cat. What I mean by this is that the deck makes synchros very efficiently and then uses Pot of Avarice mid-game to gain additional resources. The deck has two major gameplans. You can win through card advantage provided by Debris Dragon, Caius the Shadow Monarch, and Pot of Avarice. Or you can simply synchro for a Shooting Star Dragon and ride it to victory. The deck has several lines of attack which can make it hard to disrupt.

I designed the deck with the intention that it would be the control deck in most matchups. Ryko the Lightsworn Hunter and Super-Nimble Mega Hamster are in the deck to slow down early aggro from decks like Blackwings and Gladiator Beasts. Meanwhile, Ryko’s milling will fuel Pot of Avarice and Debris Dragon. Unless you get one of the aforementioned “nutty” openings, the first few turns will consist of setting monsters and spells/traps.

I normally don’t think that splashing tribute monsters is a great strategy in a meta where everyone is playing multiple Solemn Warnings, but Caius the Shadow Monarch works surprisingly well in this deck. Tribute fodder is very easy to come by with all of the tokens and monsters that special summon themselves from the grave. Even if our opponent plays Solemn Warning, he will be forced to use it on Debris Dragon, Lonefire Blossom, and Caius the Shadow Monarch. Our opponent will run out of Solemn Warnings long before we run out of threats.

Every time I put Effect Veiler in a deck I expect it to be decent and it turns out to be amazing. Effect Veiler is already a really good card to begin with (I even called it “the best card in Duelist Revolution on my youtube channel), but I think it will be even better in the post Starstrike Blast meta. I expect Plant mirrors to become fairly common, and frankly the card is ridiculous in the mirror match. You can’t Effect Veiler a Lonefire Blossom that is tributing itself off, assuming your opponent uses their priority, I expect people to be using Lonefire Blossom to tribute off Dandylion quite a bit (which Effect Veiler will stop). Most combos that involve putting a Shooting Star Dragon into play get shot down by just one Effect Veiler. Negating Debris Dragons, Caius the Shadow Monarchs, and pretty much anything else is just too good to pass up. The fact that Effect Veiler is also “a monster that functions like a trap” (remember my CrowSworn article?) is also good when you consider that I’m playing three copies of Pot of Avarice.

The deck has some really good draws. Some games are a grind, but others will be won before the game even starts. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but this will probably be the deck to beat post-Starstrike Blast. If you’re not playing this deck, you should have a good plan for beating it.

Speaking of my YouTube channel, my username is allencpennington if you want to check it out. Most of the videos aren’t that interesting, but it’s probably worth taking a look at. If you want to check out The Game Academy’s YouTube channel, click here.

 

“NEXT LEVEL FROGS” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 08/16/2010

Ever since US Nationals I had dedicated myself to mastering the deck that is Frog OTK. Although when the deck was young, I had considered it a luck-based “all or nothing” deck that required you to win die rolls and get lucky throughout the day (see my “die roll jokes” in previous articles). After the deck placed second at Canadian Nationals, I gave the deck a second look and discovered that it was a very hard deck to play. You often had to work for your wins and were sometimes forced to win in unconventional ways.



I Day2’d US Nationals with a 7-2 record and lost out to Herald of Perfection (aka “the worst matchup”) in round 10. I honestly wish I had practiced more with the deck before the event. I came very close to topping, and I feel that with more experience and better sidedeck I could’ve got there. After nationals, I started tearing up local tournaments at The Game Academy. I was pretty confident that I would be able to top8 the 2K tournament, but I also recognized that it was Yu-Gi-Oh! and anything could happen.

My sidedeck had evolved a lot since I had started playing the deck. After Sam Tse took Canadian Nationals by storm, the maindeck had become standardized. No two Frog OTK maindecks differ by more than a card or two. I’ve been using Tse’s exact list from the beginning. Here it is for reference…

Monsters: 26
3 Substitoad
2 Ronintoadin
1 Fishborg Blaster
3 Swap Frog
3 Dupe Frog
3 Poison Draw Frog
3 Unifrog
2 Des Frog
2 Beelze Frog
2 Flip Flop Frog
2 Treeborn Frog

Spells: 14
3 Salvage
3 Hand Destruction
3 Moray of Greed
2 Mass Driver
1 Card Destruction
1 Giant Trunade
1 One for One

I’ll explain some of the choices for those who are unfamilar with the deck (which I find is still a lot of people, despite this being one of the top3 decks of the format). Twenty Frogs is the most logical number, as 20 * 400 = 8000.

The 1-of Fishborg Blaster is definitely needed. If you need extra damage with the Mass Driver OTK (say they gained lifepoints with Magical Android), Fishborg Blaster allows every card in your hand to be an additional 400 damage. Sometimes Frogs get removed with Gladiator Beast Retiari, Banisher of Radiance, or D.D. Warrior Lady and you find that you need to do extra damage. Also, being tuner is extremely relevant as it gives you an alternate win condition. If I see a synchro OTK I’ll usually take it over the option of hoping to draw into a Mass Driver. My synchros of choice are usually a powered-up Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier, a Mist Wurm, and 2 Swap Frogs for exactly 8000 (3500 + 2500 + 1000 + 1000). Yet another win condition is to synchro for Colossal Fighter and Armory Arm, attach Armory Arm to your opponent’s big monster, and keep ramming your Colossal Fighter, reviving itself each time, and dealing your opponent 2800 damage for each battle. This OTK allows you dodge Gorz-like effects, but not Hanewata.

Sam Tse’s greatest innovation to the deck was only playing two copies of Mass Driver, the deck’s most common win condition. The key thing you need to realize is that once you resolve a Substitoad loop the game is usually over. You’ll thin the deck of everything minus Mass Drivers and cards that will draw you cards (Moray of Greed, Hand Destruction). After bringing Poison Draw Frogs to the field, you use Swap Frog to send them to the graveyard and draw three cards. In those three cards there has to be a Mass Driver or a draw spell. Getting the Mass Driver early on might seem like a “lucky draw”, but you can usually draw the entire deck if needed.

I really didn’t know what I was doing when it came to the sidedeck. I figured that I should just trust Sam Tse’s judgment on the sidedeck as well, and decided to play this side in the national tournament…

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
2 Light and Darkness Dragon
1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Deep Sea Diva
1 Spined Gillman
2 Pot of Avarice
1 Brain Control
1 Enemy Controller
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Raigeki Break

Although I liked some of the cards, I found most of them to be useless. Light and Darkness Dragon was amazing, and I liked my Raigeki Break tech pretty well, but most of the time the side just wasn’t good enough. I modified the monsters in the side after I saw the lists that topped our nationals.

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
2 Light and Darkness Dragon
2 Quickdraw Synchron
2 Cyber Dragon
2 Pot of Avarice
1 Brain Control
1 Enemy Controller
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Raigeki Break

Quickdraw Synchron seemed great in theory, but I found that it usually sat in my hand the entire game. Interestingly enough, I found that most of my friends were having the same experience with it. Cyber Dragon was decent, but it wasn’t as stellar as people were making it out to be. Again, the only card that I liked in the side was Light and Darkness Dragon. These less-than-optimal sidedecks were good enough to win local tournaments, but I wanted my sidedeck to be something reliable rather than a pile of fifteen cards that I might throw in the deck just for fun.

I don’t remember where the idea came from, but I figured that an Absolute Zero sidedeck was worth trying. I figured that a Raigeki on legs was pretty good against most of the format. Absolute Zero leads to some pretty sick blowouts and allows you steal games that you shouldn’t have won. Here was my first draft of the new sidedeck:

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
3 Elemental Hero Alius
3 Miracle Fusion
1 Future Fusion
1 Heavy Storm
2 Gemini Spark
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 E – Emergency Call
1 Treacherous Trap Hole

I honestly thought this sidedeck would solve a lot of my problem matchups. Absolute Zero wrecks X-Sabers, and 1900 beatsticks are really good against Gladiator Beasts and Anti-Meta (especially after they side out their Bottomless Trap Holes). Treacherous Trap Hole is an amazing card that has saved me on multiple occasions. Destroying two monsters with one cards is amazing against… um… everything? After testing this sidedeck for only a short amount of time I realized that changes needed to be made.

There were a lot of situations where I was sitting on a Moray of Greed with one water monster and a Stratos/Reinforcement/E-Call. Now the play here would be to search the deck for Elemental Hero Ocean and activate Moray of Greed. Only I wasn’t playing Elemental Hero Ocean! I decided to cut Alius for Ocean, just because being a water monster is that good (it also allows me to synchro Ocean with Fishborg). Since I no longer had 3 Alius, I had to cut Gemini Spark down to one, which gave me room to add Mystical Space Typhoon to the sidedeck. Here was the final sidedeck and extra deck…

Extra deck: 15
1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
3 Elemental Hero Absolute Zero
2 Armory Arm
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Mist Wurm

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
2 Elemental Hero Alius
1 Elemental Hero Ocean
3 Miracle Fusion
1 Future Fusion
1 Heavy Storm
1 Gemini Spark
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 E – Emergency Call
1 Treacherous Trap Hole

Here’s what I usually side out, although it varies depending on the matchup:
– 2 Des Frog
– 2 Beelze frog
– 2 Flip Flop Frog
– 2 Unifrog
– 1 Poison Draw Frog
– 3 Hand Destruction
– 1 Card Destruction
– 2 Mass Driver

Now on to the tournament itself, the most exciting part. At this point, I had made a name for myself as the best Frog OTK player in the Tampa Bay area, and many people were expecting me to top. I had decided to call my deck “Next Level Blue” or simply “Next Level Frogs”. I named my deck Next Level Frogs for two reasons. I felt that my sidedeck took the deck to the next level. I’m still convinced that a sidedeck with Elemental Heroes and Miracle Fusions is the best. Secondly, I feel that I’m a next level player. I don’t think I’m up there with Sam Tse, CJ Lack, or Alex Bunts, but I know how to play the deck far better than the average player. I think hard about each play, and my knowledge of math and probability really shines when I play this deck. Also, I am very patient. Winning turn 10 is just as good as winning turn 1 for me. The deck’s style really reminds of Elf Combo, which was one of favorite Magic decks.

Ironically enough, I actually think Frog OTK was a bad meta call for this tournament. Anti-Meta was very popular. The vendors were sold out of Fossil Dyna Pachycephalos the entire day. Also, Gladiator Beasts were popular as well, which is always an uphill battle. I’d say Gladiator Beasts were probably the second most popular deck overall, with X-Sabers being first of course. My best matchup, Frog Monarch was practicing nonexistent. I decided to play Frog OTK only because I knew how to play the deck better than any other deck.

Round 1: Anti-Meta
For game 1, I had opened an FTK hand, but he won the die roll. He summons King Tiger Wangnu and activates Macro Cosmos in my draw phase. I try to stall on 2000 defenders until I can draw answers, but he tributes for Raiza and we’re on to the next game. Game 2 I open the Substitoad combo, but I end up not drawing what I need and I have to go for game on turn 3. He Hanewatas the last 400 damage when I had exact game, but there are only two cards left in my deck and one of them is a Fishborg Blaster. I draw it, set it, and send it at him for game. Game 3 was way too close. He starts out by summoning Doomcaliber Knight, activating Dimensional Fissure, and setting three backrows. I start out by setting Dupe Frog and Mystical Space Typhoon. It gets hit in the end phase by his own MST. He attacks into my Dupe Frog, sets another spell/trap and passed. I decide to special summon Swap Frog to trigger Doomcaliber Knight, normal summon Stratos, and hit for 1800 after searching out Alius. He special summons Cyber Dragon and I thought it was game over. How does my deck beat that, especially with Dimensional Fissure on the field? He runs over the Dupe Frog and passes. I switch Stratos to defense and pass. He adds King Tiger to his board and attacks. My draw for the turn is my one-outer: Treacherous Trap Hole! I summon Alius, and set the Treacherous Trap Hole along with two bluffs, just in case of the off chance that he has Dust Tornado. He thinks for awhile and attacks, and I blow up his monsters. I start beating with Alius while he’s forced to set D.D. Crows and Hanewatas to defend himself. Eventually I put a second Alius on the field and draw into Gemini Spark, just in case. I win.
1-0 (0-1 in die rolls)

Round 2: X-Sabers
I lose the die roll. Game 1 he synchros up for Magical Android early and starts to gain life and also hits me with X-Saber Airbellum a couple of times. I stall by reviving Treeborn Frogs and Ronintoadins until I draw something helpful. He plays Gold Sarcophagus, whose text reads “I win in two turns” because he searches Rescue Cat. I’m able to combo out with Synchros, attack for 9000, leaving him at 600. I reveal the last card in my hand which is Mass Driver, and we’re off to game 2. Game 1 took 26 minutes, so we know that time will be called at some point. He hits for early damage but I’m able to take control of the game with Absolute Zero. Unfortunately time gets called in game 2, and I can’t push for damage so I lose. We’re not allowed to side for game 3, which sucks because both of my Mass Drivers are now in the side deck. I decide to play first, setting Dupe Frog and passing. He Mind Controls, summons Thunder King Rai-Oh, and attacks for 1900. I drop Gorz. He sets three backrows and passes. This is my last turn to win. I have Gorz and token attack. He reveals that his backrows were bluffs, and I take the match.
2-0 (0-2 in die rolls)

Round 3: Demise OTK
This guy didn’t know what any of my cards did, but his deck was surprisingly good. The fact that a deck like this was 2-0 further supports my theory that “Raigeki on legs” is really good right now. I have a turn 2 kill hand so I set Treeborn Frog and pass. He goes Sonic Bird, Advanced Ritual Art, Demise, Doom Dozer and attacks for 5200. He sets a backrow and ends. Next turn I Trunade, Substitoad loop, and OTK with synchros. Game 2 was similar to game 1, only I OTKed with Mass Driver instead.
3-0 (1-2 in die rolls)

Round 4: Gladiator Beasts (Elijah Gersten)
I lose the die roll. Game 1 I get a less than optimal hand, and he quickly Herk + Chariot locks me out of the game. Game 2 I open FTK. Game 3 my five card hand is Future Fusion, Dupe Frog, Substitoad, Giant Trunade, Mystical Space Typhoon. Great hand! I’ll simply Future Fusion to put Fishborg into the grave and turn one Substitoad loop. Unfortunately my sixth card is the Fishborg Blaster, which was very disappointing. I set Dupe Frog and pass. He attacks into it, tags into Murmillo, and Chariots. Then he Dustshoots, and sets me back even more. When I can finally do something relevant, I Trunade and he has Solemn. I lose.
3-1 (1-3 in die rolls)

Round 5: Frog OTK
I lose the die roll, which is usually a death sentence in the mirror match. He opens One For One and turn 1 Substitoad loops. He screws up horribly and punts the game. He’s able to do 7600 damage with Mass Driver. He tries to use Swap Frog’s extra normal summon on a non-Frog multiple times that game, and can’t do enough damage as a result. His hand was actually horrible, but he plays Hand Destructions during the course of his turn and fixes my hand, so I was able to FTK. He starts game 2, and we both open “second turn kill” hands, so he wins. I start game 3 and FTK. I’m glad that’s over with.
4-1 (1-4 in die rolls)

Round 6: X-Sabers
Not much to say about this game. I win the die roll and FTK game 1. Game 2 he has the nuts and kills me on his second turn. Then I FTK game 3.
5-1 (2-4 in die rolls)

Round 7: X-Sabers (Travis Washburn)
I win the die roll and FTK game 1. Game 2 I take control with Absolute Zeroes. I make a bad play by leaving Swap Frog in attack mode with only 1100 lifepoints. I had already used the bounce effect, but I simply could’ve special summoned in defense (although I didn’t want to because he searched Fulhelmknight with Darksoul). I also didn’t realize that my opponent’s water monsters powered-up Absolute Zero, which would have allowed me to make a much better play (his Goyo had stolen Treeborn Frog). Two of his Boggart Knights were gone, but I guess he had a third. He synchros up and attacks over Swap Frog for game. Game 3 I sided back into the FTK, but I couldn’t draw it. I Card Destruction my opponent into a perfect hand and lose.
5-2 (3-4 in die rolls)

Post-match thoughts: I was really disappointed. Had I not misplayed, I would’ve taken the match 2-0. For some reason, it seems like people had expected me to lose in the last round. I suppose I would rather lose to my own misplays than pure luck. My tiebreakers were very strong, and two people with a 5-2 record would make top8. Fortunately enough for me, I slid in at 8th place. In addition, my opponent was starting with a game 1 loss due to registering an illegal extra deck. Sometimes, things just go your way. Joshua Martinez recommended that I spin my totem to make sure that I wasn’t in a dream.

The following matches were all featured on The Game Academy’s youtube channel. Be sure to check it out and when the uploads are finished. Jeremy did amazing commentary as usual.

Top8: Chris Rivera with Zombies
He elects to play first for the second game, and Jake reminds us that neither player can side. He starts with a set monster and 3 backrows. I play Hand Destruction and he comments that he probably should’ve set the other card in his hand (misplay #1). I then special summon Swap Frog and he plays Divine Wrath (misplay #2, you always wait for Substitoad). I play Salvage and he Solemns it (misplay #3). I have another Salvage so I decide to just get back Swap Frog and Poison Draw Frog, put the Draw Drog on the field and end. He attacks over it and passes. I play Swap Frog to thin my deck, bounce and pass. He Emergency Teleports for Psychic Commander and synchs for Urbellum for the Time Seal. For the next couple of turns, I’m walling up with Treeborn and Ronintoadin until I can draw into something. The big play comes when he Brain Controls Treeborn, tributes for Caius, removes Ronintoadin, attacks for 4600, which Time Seals me and leaves me at 100. I realize I had to chance it and see if I can get game. I play Giant Trunade. I normal summon Swap Frog, putting a Ronintoadin back in the grave. I set Mass Driver and Card Destruction for 1 card. With 3 Frogs in the grave and 2 on field, any monster will give me enough damage for game. I draw Flip Flop Frog, which allows me to put 2 additional Frogs in the grave. I reveal my face-down Mass Driver and it’s over.
6-2

After the top4 is determined, we decide to split the prize money at $400 and simply play for the trophy and video coverage. I think splitting was the correct decision, as I knew that I had to play Glads in the top4. In addition, the two people that beat me in the swiss rounds were in the top4 as well. The matchups in the top4 were certain winnable, but not necessarily favorable.

Top4: Maurice Brantley with Glads
I lose the die roll. He starts with Cold Wave, sets a Glad, and passes. I set Dupe Frog and pass. Next turn he plays Prisma, makes Gyzarus, and then makes Heraklinos afterwards. I try to draw outs for a few turns, but I don’t get there and I lose. Game 2 I open One For One and Mass Driver and FTK. Game 3 he starts with a Gladiator Beast, Dimensional Fissure and 3 other backrows. I play Heavy Storm and goes through. What a blowout! The next turn I Substitoad loop and make a 5000 attack Absolute Zero (my four monsters plus his Retiari). Next turn he’s able to Gyzarus but I’ve already taken control of the game at this point.
7-2 (3-5 in die rolls)

Top2: Elijah Gersten with Glads
I lose the die roll. I don’t quite remember how he won game 1, but I believe the game ended very quickly. I probably involved the usual contact fusions and War Chariot. Game 2 I open FTK. For game 3 he knows I’m bringing in the Zero side so he sides out Hanewatas like a master. He opens up with a Bestiari and two backrows. I have a few options, but I decide to go the Substitoad loop and see what he has. He chains Mask Restrict to the first activation and I bring out Unifrog. I bring back Ronintoadin, hoping to blow up the Mask and continue the combo. He plays Conpulsory Evacuation Device on Ronintoadin, so I pass. He contacts, attacks, lags for 2 Laquari, sets a couple of backrows and says go. I summon Stratos, search an Alius and activate Miracle Fusion. Rather than simply chaining Compulsory on Stratos, causing Miracle Fusion to fizzle and winning the game, he decided to wait for Absolute Zero to come out and Compulse him, allowing me to get the 3-for-1. He attacks with a Glad next turn and I drop Gorz; he tags for Murmillo. I summon Alius next turn and start beating. He tops Thunder King and attacks the Gorz token. I trade my Alius with his Thunder King, then Emergency Call another Alius, summon it and say go. He sets a monster as a last resort. I peal another Miracle Fusion, which allows me to attack for game.
8-2 (3-6 in die rolls)

The Game Academy 2K Champion is Allen C. Pennington! Winning this event felt great, and it was a nice way to rap up the format. Hopefully I’ll write a couple more articles in the near future.

 

“THE GREAT CHICAGO INFERNO” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 06/28/2010

wReFk79.png

Yes, you’re looking at that right. X-Sabers composed of one third of the Top 32, half of the Top 16, and half of the Top 8! This quick diagram should give you a good idea of what kind of decks to expect at nationals. X-Sabers and Infernities will most certainly remain the most popular decks for awhile. XX-Saber Emmersblades are at about $100 each now, and I expect the price to only get higher for nationals. If you’re determined to play XX-Sabers, I suggest you pick up your set now before they get any higher.

The deck that surprised me the most was the Herald of Perfection deck. Of the three Herald decks that topped, they were fundamentally different from each other, which I consider a good thing. It shows that there is a lot room for innovation regarding this deck. I think part of what allowed the deck to do well was the fact that some people still weren’t prepared for it. Given how well the deck performed, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk of sidedecked Lava Golems and Light-Imprisoning Mirrors. In addition, Banisher of Radiance is a great card for shutting down Heralds as well as Infernities and X-Sabers.

I’m going to seize the opportunity to knock Machinas again. Despite winning YCS Virginia, Machinas only took one spot in the top32. Everyone and their mother seems to be sidedecking Cyber Dragons or System Downs (or both) which makes it very hard for Machinas to beat… anything. Both Machinas and Frog FTK were the inexpensive decks of choice, but it seems that X-Sabers and Infernities stole the spotlight.

If it hadn’t been for Omar Beldon placing first, it would seem that Infernities actually didn’t do particularly well. Beldon had a few smart card choices that I believe carried his build to the top, particularly the sidedeck. There had been some debate about how consistent Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter would be in Infernities, but I think we can all see that it works. Ryko remains the best flip-effect in the game, getting problem cards off the field and milling Infernity monsters at the same time. However, Beldon decided to add Fissure to his arsenal of anti-Consecrated Light tech as well. Like I mentioned last week, Hero’s Rule 2 is a very solid tech card right now. It can protect your graveyard from effects like D.D. Crow and stop your opponent’s recursion like Infernity Launcher and XX-Saber Faultroll as well. Beldon decided to take Herald more seriously than some of the other competitors by adding Light-Imprisoning Mirror and Divine Wrath to his sidedeck. I think it’s possible to improve Omar Beldon’s list (I’d start by putting Plaguespreader Zombie in the deck), but for now, his list serves as a good standard to test with.

I was pretty impressed with both Billy Brake as a player and his decklist as well. It seems that one thing many X-Saber players are worried about is the mirror match. When a player asked me how I planned to beat the X-Saber mirror, my answer was simple, “I’ll just play Rescue Cat before they do!” Rescue Cat is one of the best overall cards in the format, often giving you a 3-for-1 and instantly enabling an in-hand XX-Saber Faultroll. My philosophy was just to run a lot of cards that could search out Rescue Cat and ride my Rescue Cat to a win. Billy Brake seemed to have the same idea, only he took it to a greater extreme than I did. He played just about every card possible that could get Rescue Cat: Sangan, Summoner Monk, and 2 Gold Sarcophagus! Clearly his strategy worked, and this tactic may become a new standard for X-Sabers. He also gave his deck an anti-meta flavor by maindecking 1 D.D. Crow and 1 Thunder King Rai-Oh. Thunder King has seen quite a bit of play lately, so it’s no surprise that it’s found its way into X-Sabers as well.

So what did I learn from last weekend’s results? As the format keeps progressing, the meta seems to be gravitating more and more towards X-Sabers and Infernities (mainly X-Sabers). Infernities are finding new ways to overcome their weakness, Consecrated Light. X-Sabers are the “well-rounded” choice for this format, which is what I like about the deck. Frog Monarchs are being pushed out the meta due to Mask of Restrict approaching sidedeck-staple status (18/32 players were siding it at Chicago). Gladiator Beasts are still a really good choice right now. Similar to last format, its main weakness seems to be it can’t draw “nuts hands” the way Infernities and X-Sabers can. However, I would still consider it to be the most underrated deck for sure.

Despite many players insisting that anti-meta won’t work, tech choices like D.D. Crow and Thunder King Rai-Oh are seemingly everywhere. Compulsory Evacuation Device is also moving up on my list of favorite utility cards. It’s great against Infernities as well as any deck that puts Synchro monsters on the field (wait, isn’t that everything?). This Device is being utilized by nearly every Gladiator Beast deck and is starting to see play in Infernities, Machinas, and sometimes X-Sabers. With everyone searching for ways to improve their matchups, I expect these new tech cards to catch on even more in the few weeks remaining before US Nationals.

I wasn’t surprised when Infernities won YCS Chicago, and I expect them to win Canadian Nationals this weekend as well (due to their unique meta). It has the most raw power of any deck, but it seems to have the most weaknesses as well. This unusual balance makes for a very interesting format. I have a pretty big tournament this weekend as well, and hopefully I’ll come home $2000 richer.

 

“WHEN IS EARTH-IMPRISONING MIRROR BEING RELEASED?” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 06/09/2010

For a competitive card game player, there’s one question that’s always on your mind: What is the best deck? Given that my audience is the competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! player, this is often the question that my articles will try to answer. Everyone has their own experiences and playstyles, so it’s not surprising that different players will arrive at different conclusions regarding the best deck. Right now, if you asked someone to name the best two decks, the most common answer you would get is “Infernities and X-Sabers.”



I was dedicated to Infernities until very recently, and I still think it’s an amazing deck. Several pro players have come out and said that Infernities are the best deck, and I can understand their reasons for believing such. Infernities “good hands” are much better than every others deck’s “good hands”. Imagine you’re going second and you get an amazing hand like this…

W6s0GuS.png

You win on your first turn right? Oh sorry, your opponent summoned Consecrated Light first turn. Better luck next time! It’s experiences like this that have caused me lose faith in Infernities. Your opponent might open up with a card like Thunder King Rai-Oh, Consecrated Light, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, or Banisher of Radiance, and deep down you know you have quite a few outs in your deck to that card, but you fail to draw them and end up losing anyways.

Right now, I feel that people are really scared of Infernities and therefore are teching heavily against it. Infernities were the most hyped deck after the release of The Shining Darkness, so the field is very prepared for the deck. I see Thunder King Rai-Ohs and D.D. Crows being maindecked quite a bit, and pretty much everyone is sidedecking Consecrated Light or D.D. Crow. Infernities are a very fun deck to play (but not fun to play against!). I think it may become a better choice in the future, just not correct pick for now.

This is also one of the reasons that I didn’t take Lightsworn to any major events during last format. It was a very powerful deck, but there were too many cards that could ruin your day. It’s always been part of my playstyle to use a deck that I know for a fact cannot be easily countered by a single card. That’s also a large reason that I played Gadgets for so many years. I never had to worry about a tech card that would completely shut down the deck.

So what’s the deck that has solid matchups across the board, but doesn’t have some random sidedeck card that completely screws it over? I really wish my answer was something interesting like Fairies, Gadgets, or the 37-monster deck, but it’s probably a deck that you’ve already heard a lot about. Here’s an easy way to sum up my thought process:

KkyuZLD.png

Looking at the Y3K statistics from my last article, the deck that I feel put up the best numbers was, unsurprisingly, X-Sabers (overall matchup = 58.3%). X-Sabers definitely had the most impressive numbers overall. While Monarchs had the highest overall matchup percentage, X-Sabers had a higher sample size which makes its numbers much more significant. Infernities and X-Sabers were the only decks to place multiple players into the top8, which says something in itself.

This is one of those fun cases where numbers and theory seem to match up (it actually happens more often than you might think). X-Sabers don’t seem to have any troublesome matchups; you can sidedeck virtually any card and not have to worry a lot about what opponent brings in from their sidedeck against you.

I can say with strong confidence that X-Sabers are the best deck choice right now, but that doesn’t mean you can expect to auto-win all of your matches if you’re using X-Sabers. I’d like to go over some tech cards that I believe will make the average X-Saber deck even better and more prepared for the current meta.

According to the Y3K statistics, X-Sabers had a harder time against Monarchs than any other deck. For this reason, I believe that 3 Mask of Restrict is a sidedeck staple right now. I think Monarchs are extremely underrated right now, so make sure you’re prepared to beat them. I wouldn’t expect to see Monarchs get less play anytime soon.

I really can’t find a reason to not maindeck D.D. Crow in X-Sabers, even though it doesn’t directly benefit the deck. It’s very useful against Infernities, which is arguably your hardest game 1 matchup. It’s also good in the mirror match, as stopping a Gottom’s Emergency Call can often prevent your opponent from winning the game. Just keep in mind that opponent can try to play around D.D. Crow by targeting two monsters in your graveyard. It’s also good against Frog Monarchs for obvious reasons; it removes Treeborn Frog. I find it to be decent against Gladiator Beasts by cutting off Gladiator Beast Equeste + War Chariot loops, as well as stopping Darius combos. Even against Blackwings, stopping Blackwind – Blizzard the Far North’s effect is helpful as well.

Hero’s Rule 2 is definitely the best card you can side in for the mirror match. It’s basically an improved version of D.D. Crow. It negates the effects of both XX-Saber Faultroll and Ragigura and also destroys them. In addition, being able to negate Gottom’s Emergency Call is very important, especially when they chain it to yours. Hero’s Rule 2 is also good at negating Infernity plays. The only downside that it has compared to D.D. Crow is that it’s vulnerable to spell/trap removal.

I hate to state the obvious here, but 3 Consecrated Lights are also a sidedeck staple. Don’t forget that One For One can also bring out Consecrated Light, which means you have about a 49% chance of being able to summon Consecrated Light first turn. Together, Infernities and Blackwings are a sizable percentage of the meta, so you really don’t have an excuse to not sidedeck this card.

The Fairy deck seems to be seeing increased play, which I believe is partially due to its fun factor. I think for the past three weeks in a row I’ve played against a Fairy deck at The Game Academy’s tournaments. Sometimes I’ll have to play against two! After Lightsworn became a non-threat to the meta, many people took the Light-Imprisoning Mirrors out of their sidedecks, but I think it’s time to reconsider that. Combined, Fairies and Lightsworn were 10% of the Y3K meta, which enough to justify sidedecking Light-Imprisoning Mirror. If it sticks, it’s going to win you the game in either of those matchups.

There are other decks that I believe are good choices right now, so I’m not trying to say, “play X-Sabers or lose.” However, the raw power on the deck, combined with the fact that it has very few weaknesses and a lot of flexible sidedeck choices makes it the best overall deck right now. Until Earth-Imprisoning Mirror is released, or a card an effect along the lines of “As long as this card remains face-up on the field, X-Saber decks cannot win the game.” X-Sabers will be very good pick for this format. The meta finally seems to be solidifying, so I think now’s the time to identify a deck that you want to play and stick to it.

I figure there are some people out there who might want it, but I’m not going to list my maindeck or sidedeck for X-Sabers (although I already listed 10 cards in my sidedeck: 3 Consecrated Light, 3 Mask of Restrict, 2 Hero’s Rule 2, and 2 Light-Imprisoning Mirror). The decklist is not set in stone yet, and I like to leave some of the work for you, the reader, to come up with your build that suits your playstyle and your meta. Plus, I’m probably going to take X-Sabers to a regional in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend, so I don’t want to give my list away. If I top8 this weekend, you’ll be sure to hear about it next week! I always set the bar high, so I’m hoping for another 1st place. Florida seems to be having a lot of cash tournaments as of late (I like to refer to Florida as the Yu-Gi-Oh! Cash Tournament capital of the world), which has given me a lot of motivation to study the meta, work on decks, and try to get as much practice as possible.

 

“3K YUGITISTICS” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 06/02/2010

Warning: If you do not like math (particularly statistics) don’t read this article. If you don’t want to find out what the top decks in the Florida metagame are, don’t read this article either.


After the YCS (that stands for Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series) in Virginia had concluded, most competitive players in Florida were thinking the same thing: How can we use the YCS results to prepare for the next major event, The Game Academy’s Y3K? With first place taking home more than $1,000 in cash, this is event is what I would call a big deal.

Although Machinas won the YCS, Infernities and X-Sabers greatly outnumbered the other decks in the top32. As a result, I expected X-Sabers and Infernities to be the most popular decks in the Y3K despite their high price tags. I decided to play Infernities for a few reasons. I believed that it had favorable matchups against both X-Sabers and Machinas. I also thought that shear speed of the deck would be able to beat most of the rogue decks as well.

Weeks before the big event I spent my free time writing a JAVA program that would analyze tournament data in order to get statistics on which decks performed better than others. I thought it would be interesting to see which of my predictions turned out to be right. First, let’s look at the breakdown of what decks were played at The Game Academy’s Y3K, shall we?

Metagame Breakdown
X-Sabers: 14%
Infernities: 11%
Machinas: 11%
Monarchs: 8%
Blackwings: 7%
Gladiator Beasts: 7%
Synchro Cat: 5%
Fairies: 5%
Quickdraw: 5%
Lightsworn: 5%
Zombies: 2%
Absolute Zero: 2%
Frog FTK: 2%
Final Countdown: 2%
Deckout: 2%
Anti-Meta: 2%
Spellcasters: 1%
SalvoDAD: 1%
Burn: 1%
Fish: 1%
Dragons: 1%
Library FTK: 1%
Stardust Assault Mode: 1%
Flamvells: 1%
Gravekeeper’s: 1%
Plants: 1%

It seems that X-Sabers were the most played deck, followed by Infernities and Machinas. No surprise there. What surprised me was the fact that monarchs were the fourth most popular deck. I don’t think anyone saw this coming. It’s little details like this that help distinguish Florida’s metagame from the others. There were 26 decks played in total, which is a lot for an event with about 125 people; on average each deck only had five users.

Although we see the usual suspects at the top of the charts, this is what I would call a very diverse meta. But just how diverse? Approximately 92% diverse. I’m being serious. Although 32% of all statistics are made up, this isn’t one of them. To determine how diverse the meta was, I used a formula similar to one that economic analysts use to determine use diverse an economic market is.

1. Convert each deck’s percentage into a decimal. (14% = .14)
2. Square this decimal. (.14 ^ 2 = .0196)
3. Add all of these squared numbers together (sum = .08)
4. Subtract the result in step #3 from 1. (1 – .08 = .92)
5. Convert the number back into a percentage (.92 = 92%)

Since there are only a few decks with sizable percentages and many decks composing only 1-3% of the meta, it’s no surprise that our formula indicated that we had a very diverse field. A word of advise to those attending competitive events in the near future: Be prepared to face many different kinds of decks, especially in the early rounds.

X-Sabers were almost certainly the deck to beat for this event. They were not only very popular, but they lived up to their hype and preformed well throughout the event. I was interested to see how the new flavor of the month was doing, so I decided to look at the full statistics of the decktype.

X-Saber Stats
Histogram of wins:
7 wins:
6 wins: ++
5 wins: +++
4 wins: ++++
3 wins: ++++
2 wins: +++
1 wins:
0 wins: +

Mean wins: 3.588235294117647
Standard deviation: 1.583462327046801

Round-by-round progress:
Round 1: 82.35294117647058%
Round 2: 67.64705882352942%
Round 3: 62.745098039215684%
Round 4: 64.70588235294117%
Round 5: 59.523809523809526%
Round 6: 57.73195876288659%
Round 7: 57.009345794392516%

Matchups:
vs. Blackwings: 57.14285714285714%
vs. Infernities: 63.63636363636363%
vs. Gladiator Beasts: 54.54545454545454%
vs. Synchro Cat: 100.0%
vs. Monarch: 25.0%
vs. Fairies: 50.0%
vs. Machinas: 58.333333333333336%
vs. Lightsworn: 50.0%
vs. Frog FTK: 66.66666666666666%
vs. Quickdraw: 100.0%
vs. Zombies: 33.33333333333333%
Overall matchup: 58.30122063728622%

The “histogram of wins” shows how many people had a certain number of wins (i.e. two people went 6-1 with X-Sabers, three people went 5-2, etc). Interestingly enough, our histogram shows an approximately normal distribution (which is math language for “bell curve”). Of the seventeen users, five of them had records of 5-2 or better, and most people who played X-Sabers had a mediocre record of only four or three wins.

Those who have taken a college-level statistics class (and remembered most of it) might know what the term “standard deviation” means. It’s a measure of variance, or how much the data deviated from the mean. For the average Yu-Gi-Oh! Player, think of the standard deviation as this: It measures a deck’s consistency. The smaller the standard deviation, the more consistent the deck was (and vice-versa).

My favorite feature of the program is the “round by round progress”, which shows how deck performed as more rounds went by. After round 1 the deck was doing very well (82% wins is very good!) but by the end of the tournament it was performing on more average levels with only 57% wins.

What I expect most people to be interested in, however, is the deck’s matchups. To the surprise of many, X-Sabers beat Infernities about 64% of the time, a statistic which I attribute to superior sidedecks. I was also shocked to notice that X-Sabers beat Monarchs only 25% of the time, which has something to say for the viability of Monarchs in the current meta.

Overall, X-Sabers had a very good performance and solid matchups at the Y3K. I’m definitely going to give X-Sabers high consideration as a deck to play at upcoming regional qualifiers and cash tournaments. Let’s compare X-Sabers to their current rival: Infernities.

Infernity Stats
Histogram of wins:
7 wins:
6 wins: ++
5 wins: +++
4 wins: +
3 wins: +
2 wins: ++++
1 wins: +++
0 wins:

Mean wins: 3.2142857142857144
Standard deviation: 1.8883680959850138

Round-by-round progress:
Round 1: 64.28571428571429%
Round 2: 60.71428571428571%
Round 3: 50.0%
Round 4: 54.54545454545454%
Round 5: 53.03030303030303%
Round 6: 52.63157894736842%
Round 7: 53.57142857142857%

Matchups:
vs. Blackwings: 57.14285714285714%
vs. Gladiator Beasts: 25.0%
vs. X-Sabers: 36.36363636363637%
vs. Synchro Cat: 100.0%
vs. Monarch: 60.0%
vs. Fairies: 50.0%
vs. Machinas: 70.0%
vs. Lightsworn: 40.0%
vs. Frog FTK: 20.0%
vs. Zombies: 50.0%
vs. Quickdraw: 50.0%
Overall matchup: 54.797743240366195%

Like X-Sabers, Infernities took two players to a 6-1 finish and three players to a 5-2 finish. However, Infernities had a lower mean number of wins and higher standard deviation, indicating that perhaps X-Sabers overall did better than Infernities did. Like X-Sabers, the deck’s performance steadily decreased as more rounds were completed.

I was not surprised to see that Infernities lost to Gladiator Beasts; this was what I considered to be Infernities’ worst matchup. I was surprised to see that Infernities only managed to beat Frog FTK a measly 20% of the time. I’m guessing that the Infernities players were under-prepared for the Frog FTK deck and focused too much on the most popular decks. I strangely noticed that most of the X-Saber players were armed with sidedeck tech like Hanewata. Apparently, this was not the case for the Infernity players, which explains why X-Sabers did better against the annoying FTK deck than Infernities did.

I was correct that Infernities had a very favorable matchup against Machinas. To Machina players out there, I recommend moving some anti-Infernity tech to the maindeck to strengthen your matchup (personal favorites here include Thunder King Rai-Oh and D.D. Crow).

Otherwise, Infernities didn’t have amazing matchups against most of the big decks, which was a big letdown to me. This is either a sign that a lot of the Infernity players at the 3K didn’t know how to play that well, or Infernities might be a bit over-hyped.

Many people know me as a Gadget player (even though I play many different kinds of decks), and people are always asking me for my opinion on Gadget’s latest incarnation, Machinas. I always give them the same answer: I think the deck is overplayed due to its low price tag and I think it’s doesn’t have any strong matchups. It’s pretty harsh of me to say that, so let’s get an unbiased opinion, shall we?

Machina Stats
Histogram of wins:
7 wins:
6 wins:
5 wins: ++
4 wins: +++
3 wins: ++
2 wins: +
1 wins: +++++
0 wins:

Mean wins: 2.6923076923076925
Standard deviation: 1.6012815380508714

Round-by-round progress:
Round 1: 69.23076923076923%
Round 2: 50.0%
Round 3: 38.46153846153847%
Round 4: 36.53846153846153%
Round 5: 40.32258064516129%
Round 6: 43.05555555555556%
Round 7: 44.303797468354425%

Matchups:
vs. Blackwings: 50.0%
vs. Infernities: 30.0%
vs. Gladiator Beasts: 66.66666666666666%
vs. X-Sabers: 41.66666666666667%
vs. Synchro Cat: 0.0%
vs. Monarch: 50.0%
vs. Fairies: 33.33333333333333%
vs. Lightsworn: 66.66666666666666%
vs. Frog FTK: 50.0%
vs. Zombies: 33.33333333333333%
Overall matchup: 44.08469945355192%

Machinas didn’t take any players to a 7-1 record, and overall performed very badly. The deck appears to only have a couple of favorable matchups; everything else is 50% or less! The overall matchup is less than 50%, which to me indicates that Machinas aren’t a very good choice in the current meta. Machina players may have to rethink a few things if they want to take their deck to the top again.

I don’t want to make this article too ridiculously long, so I’m going to end the statistics here. If you want to see the statistics of other decks (and I wouldn’t be surprised if you do!) click the “3K stats” link at the end of this article.

For my closing remarks, I’d like to say that I’m officially back, and I’ll be writing articles every week from now on. Be sure to check thegameacademyonline.com every Wednesday for my latest article. Expect to see deck analysis, tournament reports, and statistics after every Game Academy cash tournament!

I’d also like to say that I’ve been talking with “the Mattern” a little bit lately, and I believe that Gladiator Beasts are currently one of the best decks in the current meta. It’s nearly an auto-win vs. Infernities, coin-flips with X-Sabers and Blackwings, and its worst matchup, Machinas, is very easy to side against. In addition, most people aren’t siding against Gladiator Beasts at all and are instead focusing on how to take down X-Sabers and Infernities.

 

“UNOFFICIAL TIER LIST” – A YU-GI-OH! ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 04/21/2010

I’m going to start off this article with two interesting facts about me. The first is that I’ve actually tried to play many different games competitively. However, being competitive at a lot of different things is extremely difficult, and I’ve found that I’ve only been able to be competitive at Yu-Gi-Oh! The only viedo game that I tried to become competitive at was Super Smash Brothers. I still enjoy watching some competitive Smash matches, but I never got good myself.



The other fact is that I love writing controversial articles. I don’t like writing about the things that most semi-competitive players know already. I find that to be boring. I like writing articles that make even the best players think about what I said. One of the reasons that I liked my CrowSworn article from last format was that it generated a good amount of discussion on whether the deck that I described was actually good or not. That’s what I like to see.

So what do these two facts have to do each other? Is Allen going to write a controversial Super Smash Brothers article this week? Actually, that’s not far from the truth…

Nearly every competitive game that exists has tiers, including Yu-Gi-Oh! The phrase “top tier deck” gets thrown around a lot. Every competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! player has a mental list of what decks are “top tier” and what decks aren’t. However, there always a lot of debate (in every competitive game) if tiers are brick walls that can’t be overcome, or can really anything win regardless of its tier status.

One of the things that I thought was great about the Super Smash Brothers community was that, at least once a year, all of the best players would get together and decide on an official tier list. They would take more than 20 video game characters and order them all from best to worst (in the current metagame). With lots of differing opinions, it’s truly amazing that they are all able to reach a consensus on what the best characters are.

In order to decide on the placement of characters into tiers, the Smash Back Room thoroughly examines each character. They look at raw power and stats, as well as each matchup. They would also examine tournament data to see what characters have proven themselves. They do lots of testing to determine each matchup, and they take everything very seriously.

One thing I want to stress here is that you can’t base a tier list off of pure tournament data. There’s going to be a huge sample bias. Every deck isn’t equally represented which is going to affect which decks top major events. The key to coming up with a good tier list is getting many good players to test every possible matchup and drawing conclusions. It might be the case that an underrepresented deck is actually a very good choice in the current meta and has a higher place on the tier list than the tournament data would indicate.

I think it would be amazing if the Yu-Gi-Oh! community were able to do something similar to the Smash Back Room. It would involve a lot of organization and effort; it would be no easy task. I don’t think a “Yugioh Back Room” is going to happen in the near future, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. Today, I’m going to present my own unofficial tier list. This is not set in stone by any means, and I expect many of my choices to be debated and discussed. Here I go…

God Tier: “Good matchups against nearly all of the competitive field”

1. Flamvell Cat – Flamvell engine, Rescue Cat engine

2. Non-Flamvell Cat – Often plays Hamsters or is more dark-heavy with Dark Armed Dragon.

3. Blackwings – Self-explanatory

Good Tier: “A good choices in most fields, but has one or more very poor matchups”

4. Gladiator Beasts – Self-explanatory

5. Quickdraw – Quickdraw Synchron + Dandylion engine, Lonefire engine, and other techs

6. Frog Monarch – Very tribute heavy, based around Treeborn Frog

Almost-There Tier: “Has many coin-flip matchups, some bad matchups, and a few favorable ones”

7. Machinas – Gadgets + Machina support

8. SalvoDAD – Battle Faders, Deko+Salvo engine, Cyber Valley, Caius, other sources of card advantage

Mediocre Tier: “Has a hard time against all of the decks in the upper tiers”

9. Lightsworn – Self-explanatory

10. Flamvell Monarch – Spies, Flamvell Engine, 3 Caius, and other techs

Uncompetitive Tier: “AKA the ‘everything else’ tier. Any deck that wasn’t listed above has topped little or no major events.”

The above list is my interpretation of all of the information that I have about this format so far. This is based off of personal experience, testing, tournament data, and trends in the regional and national metagame. I’m going to take some time to justify of all my choices.

Synchro Cat, what’s to say here? This has been the consensus #1 deck for quite some time now based on tournament data as well as popular opinion. The reason I choose to disguish between Flamvell/Non-Flamvell is that both decks have slightly different matchups and play a little differently. Both variants have been very successful. Synchro Cat’s only extremely difficult matchups are Frog Monarch and Quickdraw, both which make up a very small piece of the meta. Non-Flamvell variants of the Cat deck also have trouble against Gladiator Beasts, but even that matchup is only slightly unfavorable. The Blackwing matchup is also a near coin-flip, but all of your matchups against decks on the lower tiers are very favorable. A good build of Synchro Cat is definitely the best choice in a diverse, undefined field. If you play well, nearly every match should be a win.

Blackwings are firmly in control of the #2 spot in the current meta. Despite the deck’s primary card advantage engine, Black Whirlwind, being limited to 2, the deck continues to preform well. Even with the release of Starlight Road, Icarus Attack remains the best removal card in the game. The advantages over Synchro Cat are obvious: It has a good matchup against Gladiator Beasts, while also having an easier matchup against the anti-Cat decks, Quickdraw and Monarch. On the other hand, Lightsworn is still a tough matchup. The deck also has a tendency to crumble to tech like Dust Tornado and Starlight Road. Blackwings are a very good choice in the current meta, having only a few difficult matchups, and no “auto-lose” matchups at all. Just be sure that you’re prepared to face the deck to beat, Synchro Cat.

Gladiator Beasts are unsurprisingly still a good deck. The popularity of the Flamvell engine and easier Stardust Dragon access has made it harder for Gladiator Beasts to win. The Blackwing deck is still a difficult matchup, and it’s popularity makes it difficult for a Gladiator Beast player to survive an 8+ round event. Fortunately enough, both the Quickdraw and Monarch matchups are virtual byes. Gladiator Beasts still know how to punish players who like to set monsters and be conservative. A skilled pilot can easily take Gladiator Beasts to the top if he has the tools to beat Blackwings and Flamvell variants.

Quickdraw variants are relatively new to the scene. It’s a deck that has generated some hype due to several pro players such as Dale Bellido and Jeff Jones having success with it. It loops Drill Warrior with Dandylion to use tokens to block an assault with decks like Synchro Cat, Lightsworn, and Machinas. However, it has a hard time with decks that can take advantage of tokens, Blackwings and Gladiator Beasts. It’s also weak to Royal Oppression which is either maindecked or sidedecked in virtually every deck. The deck can also utilize Caius the Shadow Monarch has a source of card advantage or Light and Darkness Dragon to create a soft lock. The deck is definitely a good choice if you expect a field of mainly Cat decks, but it requires a good meta call in order for you to be successful.

I’m going to be honest here, Frog Monarch is one of my personal favorites at the moment. It’s a deck that is commonly championed by many players, including myself, as “the deck that beats everything except Glad Beasts.” All the deck does is dump Treeborn Frog, and then play a Monarch every turn for an assault of card advantage that most decks just can’t keep up with. Due to Battle Fader, Threatening Roar, and Dark Dust Spirit, you’re going to stomp on every Lightsworn deck that you see. The Synchro Cat matchup is also extremely favorable. You can use monarchs of the Caius and Raiza variety to remove virtually any threat, and you can use Light and Darkness Dragon to lock the game at any point in time. Battle Fader is useful at stopping any Rescue Cat shenanigans. Sadly, the Gladiator Beast matchup is an absolute nightmare. Retiari removing both of your Treeborn Frogs means game over. War Chariots are also effective at destroying any card advantage you might have planned on getting with your monarchs. Don’t play this deck in a field full of Glad Beasts. Once again, if you’re expecting lots of Cats running around, this is an amazing choice.

Machinas are by far the most cost efficient deck in the current meta. All of you need is 3 structure decks and a bunch of staples and you’re ready to go. However, this deck is also very overrepresented due to its price tag. Think of this deck like Walmart: A lot of people use it, and it’s very cheap, but that doesn’t mean that Walmart has the best products. I love to joke that this deck’s worst matchup is Cyber Dragon, which is sadly a very popular card at the moment. An unanswered Cyber Dragon clears the field of all of your monsters via Chimeratech Fortress Dragon. You have to make very careful plays with this deck. It doesn’t have any stellar matchups in the current metagame, but none of the matchups are completely unwinnable either. A very good player could take this deck to a win, but there are definitely safer options.

SalvoDAD is a deck that requires a lot of skill and testing to master. The deck was popularized by Chris Gehring, two-time worlds attendee. Since it’s creation, it has taken a few tops spots at major events, but it hasn’t seen as much success as the decks on the higher tiers. The deck uses Black Salvo, Dekoichi, Cyber Valley, and Caius as sources of card advantage, and is by far the most passive deck in the format. Many players have picked up the deck to match their conservative playstyle. None of the matchups against the higher tier decks are easy by any means, but if you are a more skilled player than your opponent you can expect to win a hard fought battle. This deck has the potential to win a major event if it’s piloted by a very knowledge player with a good sidedeck.

Lightsworn is still the sack deck of choice. Judgment Dragon is one of the best cards ever printed no matter how you look at it. However, the deck is not as explosive as last format, and other decks will be able to set up and gain control of the game before Lightsworn can. The Blackwing matchup is still favorable, but none of the other matchups are much better than 50%. The existence of Starlight Road makes your win condition somewhat less reliable. Lightsworn has gained quite a few tops, but I feel that the deck is overrepresented due to its success last format. However, the deck can be a good choice against an unprepared meta where no one is sidedecking Light-Imprisoning Mirrors. With the right build and a little luck, Lightsworn is bound to remain a good deck.

Last on the tier list is Flamvell Monarch, which also happens to be my least favorite deck of the ten on my list. I’ve commented to many people that “the deck is like Flamvell Cat, only worse.” There’s probably some bias affecting this deck’s placement on the list, but allow me to explain. I see a lot of people playing this deck, yet very few of these decks do well at large-scale events. Triple Caius is good against a lot of decks, but I really don’t feel the other card choices are effective in the current meta. The Flamvell engine is not particularly good against the ubiquitous Gravekeeper Spies, and this deck usually plays 3 Firedogs, 2-3 Magicians, and 2-3 Rekindling. This leads to some very awkward hands against some of the other decks in the format. I just feel this the power of this deck is not on par with all of the other decks in the format. This deck doesn’t have a lot of explosiveness or card advantage. Only use this deck if you’ve tested it a lot, found a build that you like, and are confident in your matchups against the field. You’re going to be fighting an uphill battle, but this deck certainly has the potential to win.

I almost forgot the last tier. The deck you’re playing might fall under the “everything else” tier. If you’ve found an amazing deck that no one else is playing, more power to you. No one expects you to play a deck based on what the public thinks the best decks are. Anyone who’s playing to win should always play the same deck at the every event: whatever deck he feels he has the best chance of doing well with. This deck could be anywhere on the tier list.

Lastly, as you may or may not have guessed, the reason the this article is titled “Everything In One” is because it essentially sums up my opinions on every deck in the current format. It lists every deck’s strengths, weaknesses, and place in the current meta. Anyone who plans on doing well at any big event, such as Shonen Jump Championship New Jersey, needs to have a solid understand of the meta. Until next time (I have no idea when next time will be), test lots, play well, and duel hard.

 

THE DECK TO PLAY FOR SJC NASHVILLE” A YU-GI-OH! STRATEGY ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 02/24/2010

Everyone going to an event, whether locals, regionals, or a Shonen Jump Championship, has to decide what deck to play. Some people might have very limited options, making their choice easy. Others may already have a deck in mind that’s been doing very well for them. I am in neither of these groups of people.



I have the mentality that there’s always a “correct” deck to play for every tournament; some deck that will naturally have a much better chance of winning than any other deck. This is the attitude that a lot of Magic: The Gathering players have when preparing for a big event such as a Pro Tour. My perspective of Yu-Gi-Oh! has been affected by playing Magic and vice-versa. The challenge set before me was to solve the puzzle. What was the deck to play for SJC Nashville?

When my friends heard that I was going to Nashville (also known as “SJC Gaylord”), their first question was, “Are you playing Gadgets or Lightsworn?” Of course I told them that I hadn’t decided what I was playing yet, and was still considering all of my available options. I found the question that they asked was amusing though. It’s as if they viewed Gadgets and Lightsworn as the only possible decks that I could do well with.

Why would people assume that I would play Lightsworn? I think this was partly due to the article that I wrote a few weeks ago on CrowSworn.The other reason was that Lightsworn is the most popular deck and considered by most people to be the “best” deck. Lightsworn is clearly the deck to beat in this meta. If your deck consistently loses to Lightsworn, you should disregard it as a viable deck for any high-level event.

Why isn’t everyone running Lightsworn? It has no bad matchups for game 1, and if you have a good sidedeck, you should win games 2 and 3. There’s one small factor that’s turning away players from using Lightsworn…

“I would be running Lightsworn for sure if the mirror match didn’t exist.”

This was a quote from a brief conversation that I had with a player who top16ed SJC Orlando with a non-Lightsworn deck. (Note: I don’t use any names in my articles because I feel it’s rude to use people’s names without getting their permission first. That’s also why the phrase “one of my friends” will come up a lot in my articles.) From the conversations that I’ve had with good players,  the mirror match seems to be the most common reason for not running Lightsworn.

Obviously, every deck has the possibility of a mirror match. Many of the pro players that I’ve talked to have no problem playing Zombie mirrors or Blackwing mirrors. What makes Lightsworn so special? While there is always some skill involved in any matchup, the Lightsworn mirror match is almost entirely luck. No matter how you build your Lightsworn deck, you’re not going to get anything much better than a 50% winning percentage (even with a solid sidedeck). At a 10-round Shonen Jump Championship, it’s not uncommon for four of your matches to be against Lightsworn. If you can only win 50% of those matches, this has you losing two matches and most likely placing outside the top16.

On the other hand, other mirror matches are more skill based. For example, I have been playing Zombies for the past two weeks and have been winning about 75% of my mirror matches. Zombies, if built properly, have a good chance at beating Lightsworn while being able to beat the Zombie mirror at the same time. Unfortunately, the downside to Zombies is that the match against Gladiator Beasts is nearly unwinnable, and they can have a difficult time beating Blackwings as well.

What I was looking for is the deck that “beats everything”. That deck would be Lightsworn, but Lightsworn doesn’t beat Lightsworn. If you want to win the Lightsworn match, you need to either get lucky and summon a lot of Judgment Dragons or just hope that the person sitting on the other side of the table is a horrible player. You can’t rely on either of those happening at a Shonen Jump Championship.

That leaves the other deck that everyone was assuming that I would play: Gadgets. Gadgets are the deck I’m known for playing, and the deck that’s given me the best placings in premier events for my entire Yu-Gi-Oh! career. Of the eight regionals that I’ve top8ed, five of these were with Gadgets. However, don’t let the statistics lie to you. The first five regionals that I top8ed were all with Gadgets, while the last three were all with a non-Gadget deck. I was playing Gadgets non-stop ever since their release, but at some point I veered away from the archetype.

It seemed appropriate that SJC Orlando would mark my return with Gadgets. It was the start of a new format, and everyone was expecting the top tier decks to be Lightsworn and Gladiator Beasts. I didn’t have any of the cards for Lightsworn and I didn’t like Gladiator Beasts in this format. My plan for this event was simple:

1. Play Gadgets

2. Maindeck three Banisher of Radiance

3. Beat Lightsworn

4. Maindeck three Royal Oppression

5. Beat Gladiator Beasts

6. ???

7. PROFIT!

My plan worked pretty well. Before the event, I played against Lightsworn players for cards four times, and won 3/4 times. At the event, I beat Lightsworn four times. I lost one match to Lightsworn, partially due to getting a game 1 loss for a decklist error. My other loss was to Skill Drain Zombies, a deck that I was somewhat unprepared for. I beat Gladiator Beasts twice, including one in a feature match. I came in 18th place, nearly top16ing with a deck that many players had thought was not on par with Lightsworn and Gladiator Beasts.

It was expected that I would play the deck for SJC Columbus, the next SJC that I was attending. After suffering a humiliating 0-2 drop, I got frustrated and decided that I was going to play other decks. I won a small win-a-mat event with Blackwings, and played those for awhile locally. While Absolute Zero had a lot of hype, I tested the deck rigorously. After I determined that the deck wasn’t as good as I had thought, I traded it for a Lightsworn deck. I did well at several locals with Blackwings, Lightsworn, and Zombies.

I’m not going to lie; I was doing everything in my power to not play Gadgets at SJC Nashville. Ever since SJC Columbus, I’d been testing everything except Gadgets. I’d decided that Gadgets would last on my list of options. I would only play the deck if none of the top tier decks tested well for me. Well, none of the top tier decks did test well for me, or at least not as well as I would’ve liked. I had a bad day at SJC Columbus with Gadgets, but they’ve done well at every other event I’ve taken them to. They even won one of The Game Academy’s $500 Cash Tournaments.

I think sometimes you just have to play whatever you feel is the best deck and accept that anything can happen. I might misplay horribly at SJC Nashville and miss out on a top16 as a result. I might draw gross hands and not top as a result. I might play against a deck that flat out beats mine. I might lose matches in time, or to a topdecked Brain Control. Things might not go my way, or the opposite might happen. However, I feel that my Gadget deck will give me the best chance at winning SJC Nashville, regardless of how well I actually do.

I could go on to explain the decklist that I’m playing and why I’ve made certain card choices. The important thing is what deck I decided to play, not what 70 cards (40 maindeck + 15 extra deck + 15 sidedeck) are included. I feel that Gadgets are the best deck for me to play at SJC Nashville, but not necessarily everyone else. I almost never misplay with Gadgets when I’m focused. Gadgets have no unwinnable matchups in this format, so I think I have a realistic chance at top16ing SJC Nashville.

 

“FEAR THE OPPRESSION” A YU-GI-OH! STRATEGY ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 02/10/2010

I always felt like I never got to fully enjoy the September 2008 format, often called the TeleDAD format (named after the deck to beat, TeleDAD, that played multiple copies Emergency Teleport and Dark Armed Dragon). Many of the best players in the game often refer to the TeleDAD format as “one of the most skillful formats of all time.” I’m not sure whether I agree with that title, but I think it’s one of the most important formats that we can learn from.



 What’s so special about that format? It happened to be the first format that synchro monsters were legal. At first, some doubted the viability of synchros, but they took over the game very quickly. Some synchros, such as Stardust Dragon, had the ability to lockdown games by themselves. Due to the speed of Emergency Teleport comboed with the quick and easy synchro material Destiny Hero – Malicious, the deck had the ability to power out multiple synchro monsters extremely early on. However, we have an even more important lesson to learn than the power of synchros.

 The reason I say that I was never fully able to enjoy this format is the fact that I was never to obtain the top deck myself. While all the best players in the game were trying to figure out how to perfect what was clearly the strongest deck of the format, I was trying to throw together something that wouldn’t get smashed to pieces by it. This made my best option anti-meta. TeleDAD’s gameplan was all about special summoning, so I figured that a deck based around stopping special summons would be a good choice.

 My main anti-meta card of choice was Royal Oppression. As long as it remained on the field, it insured that a TeleDAD deck could not win. Anti-meta decks like mine that played Royal Oppression didn’t special summon at all, so the card had no downsides. The idea here was that an early game Royal Oppression would stop the TeleDAD player from doing anything. Once they were locked down, I could start beating their face in while they were trying to figure out how to recover. This use of Royal Oppression wasn’t new; this was a concept that had been employed by anti-meta decks for awhile.

The TeleDAD format started off somewhat diverse, with Gladiator Beasts, Lightsworn, and a few other decks being solid contendors. However, the format quickly became more streamlined. Other decks were pushed aside in favor of the deck with the most raw power and consistentcy: TeleDAD. The top players in the game eventually realized that they were in a format defined by beating the mirror match. Everyone was searching for the best way to beat the mirror. After weeks of searching, some players had found the answer: Royal Oppression.

It was hard for many players (including myself) to realize how amazing this card was in the TeleDAD mirror match. How could a deck effectively play this card when your deck and your opponent’s deck have an equal amount of special summons? Why run a card that completely conflicts with your deck’s strategy? The theory was simple:

 1. Special summon a lot of monsters

2. Set Royal Oppression

3. Your opponent will attempt to special summon

4. Activate Royal Oppression

5. ???

6. PROFIT!

 Royal Oppression was essentially a “prevent your opponent from making a comeback” card. All you had to do was get a favorable field position and set Royal Oppression. This use of Royal Oppression was completely new and innovative. It forever affected the way people viewed the card. Royal Oppression no longer had the label “for anti-meta decks only”.

 Let’s flash forward to this format, specifically to The Game Academy’s second $500 Cash Tournament. The Game Academy always has coverage of their big tournament, which is cool. One thing that interested me was how they asked players “What’s the best deck/card this format?” and made a video out of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ntkql2811JM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl7FZNW3oHw

 The responses to these questions were very typical. For best deck, the answers were Lightsworn, Lightsworn, and Lightsworn. For best card, the answers were Judgment Dragon, Judgment Dragon, and Judgment Dragon. If you pay close attention, you might notice some redhead kid say “Royal Oppression” in the second video.

I don’t blame these people for saying that Judgment Dragon was the best card of the format. Judgment Dragon can single-handedly win games; it’s obviously one of the most powerful cards available. However, Royal Oppression can also win games, but in a different way that Judgment Dragon does.

 The top decks of the format are undisputedly Lightsworn, Blackwings, Zombies, and Absolute Zero. Each one of these decks can play Royal Oppression. The fact that Royal Oppression can be played in virtually any deck this format is what makes it a better card overall than Judgment Dragon. In fact, the winner of the last Shonen Jump Championship played a Lightsworn deck with one copy of Royal Oppression maindecked. Since this tournament, Royal Oppression has seen a rise in popularity as a 1-of. It can severly disrupt an opponent who’s not expecting it.

 I’ve been a big fan of Royal Oppression throughout his format. I started off playing Royal Oppression in the form of Gadgets (the deck that I’m “known” for playing).  After a bad week at SJC Columbus with Gadgets, I switched over to Blackwings, also playing Royal Oppression. Royal Oppression has been a staple in Blackwings this format, often played in twos. Shura the Blue Flame and Vayu the Emblem of Honor can dodge Royal Oppression due to various rulings. Even Blizzard the Far North can work around a Royal Oppression if you chain to its effect with the effect of Black Whirlwind.

 Zombies have recently added Royal Oppression to their arsenal as a tech card for the mirror, similar to the way that TeleDAD did a year ago. Most builds of Zombies seem to be playing only a single copy, but I’ve seen several builds playing doubles (including my build of Zombies, which you may get to see later). Many players have taken advantage of the synergy between Tragoedia and Royal Oppression, focusing more on stopping the opponent from OTKing rather than going for the OTK themselves.

 To be completely honest, I can’t find a single deck this format that has an excuse to not play Royal Oppression, whether it’s in the maindeck or sidedeck. If you haven’t thought about playing Royal Oppression, I suggest you start doing so. If you’re not thinking about how to include Royal Oppression in your pile of cards, you should at least be thinking about how to beat it. Whether you like it or not, you’re going to run into it eventually.

 

“CROWSWORN” – A YU-GI-OH! DECK REPORT BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 02/03/2010

January 30th was the first regional to be held in Florida in nearly five months. Many players were there just to get their national invitation. Others entered the event to test for the upcoming Shonen Jump Championship in Nashville, Tennessee, while others were motivated purely by the promise of an X-Saber mat to the players good enough to finish in the top8.



A lot of people asked me what deck I played at the regional or what my record was. The answer is that I choose to judge at this regional. It was one of those things that I’d never done before, and I wanted to see what it was like. As I wrote on the comments form, “It was tiring and stressful, but rewarding.” However, I can tell you what deck I would have played at the regional if I had entered the event. I built a deck before the regional in the unlikely event that they didn’t want me to judge the event anymore.

After I arrived at the venue and confirmed that I was still judging, I had to lend out all of my available decks to my friends (Yes, this was a requirement). These consisted of Gadgets, Blackwings, and Lightsworn. I’d given up on Blackwings as a viable decktype; I had a build that I saw online about three weeks ago that maindecked two Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. I hadn’t changed my gadget deck at all since it got 1st place at The Game Academy’s $500 Cash Tournament.

I lent one of my friends my latest build of Lightsworn, the deck that I had been messing around with since Charge of the Light Brigade and Honest were reprinted. I decided that Chaos Sorcerer was way too good not to play in Lightsworn, but I didn’t like any of the “Twilight” versions that I’d seen lately. I decided to build one of my own that would better suit my playstyle.

When I showed my deck to the friend that I was lending it to, he quickly looked at the deck and determined that he didn’t like it. I had various judging duties to take care of, so I didn’t really have time to explain my card choices. He decided to change it to a more standard build of Lightsworn and took out my favorite tech card, saying he would side it instead. I replied with, “Yeah, I was siding them at first too, but then I realized I was bringing them in every game and said ‘wait a minute!’ It beats Zombies and the [Lightsworn] mirror.”

At the end of the day, he’d finished 6-2 and landed in 17th place, which is a pretty respectable record. However, he essentially admitted that I was right about my tech choice when he admitted that he had sided it in every game.

Before I reveal my tech, I want to explain some of issues that I have with the most popular version of Twilight, often called French Twilight, that Vincent Ralambomiadana used to win SJC Columbus. One of the first things I look at when viewing a decklist is the monster/spell/trap ratio. I don’t like the fact that 70% of his decklist consists of monsters. I just don’t like getting stuck with all-monster hands in any deck. I think his deck was a good choice for the event that he won, but I think the deck needs to be modified for future events.

I understand why most Twilight decks are playing so many monsters. Once you add your usual suspects for Lightsworn monsters, Dark Armed and Chaos Sorcerer for the twilight component, and dark monsters you already have at least 26 monsters. I had a great idea to solve this issue. How about if we cut the dark monsters like Tragoedia for a dark monster that’s actually a trap? Wait… what?

As you may be aware, D.D. Crow almost never touches the field. It functions more like a trap you can activate straight from your hand instead of setting it (which in reality makes it better than a trap). However, for the purposes of a card like Chaos Sorcerer, it’s a dark monster. A card like D.D. Crow is just what I needed for this deck. It keeps my monster count low, and has the anti-meta flavor that I always love.

As an anti-meta card, I like D.D. Crow a lot more than Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer in Lightsworn for several reasons. The main one is that it wastes your normal summon, which you normally want to use to summon a Lightsworn monster such as Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner or Celestia, Lightsworn Angel. Also, inflicting battle damage with a monster like Kycoo is not as easy as it sounds. It can be stopped dead in its tracks with a trap like Bottomless Trap Hole or Mirror Force. You also cannot inflict damage if your opponent has a wall of defense position monsters. On the other hand, D.D. Crow is unstoppable by anything besides Divine Wrath or something similar. It’s a great way to surprise the Lightsworn player who tries to get back Judgment Dragon with a card like Monster Reincarnation or the Zombie player who tries to set up combos with Mezuki.

There are a few other unusual elements of my deck as well. Take a look for yourself. I’ve titled the deck CrowSworn because it’s the most notable card, and it’s also a catchy name.

Monsters: 25 (really 23)

[2] Judgment Dragon

[2] Celestia, Lightsworn Angel

[3] Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner

[1] Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior

[1] Ehren, Lightsworn Monk

[2] Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress

[1] Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

[2] Wulf, Lightsworn Beast

[3] Necro Gardna

[3] Honest

[2] Chaos Sorcerer

[1] Gorz, Emissary of Darkness

[2] D.D. Crow

Spells: 11

[3] Charge of the Light Brigade

[3] Solar Recharge

[2] Gold Sarcophagus

[1] Heavy Storm

[1] Mystical Space Typhoon

[1] My Body as a Shield

Traps: 4 (really 6)

[2] Bottomless Trap Hole

[2] Beckoning Light

Sidedeck: 15

[2] Waboku

[2] Royal Decree

[2] Dust Tornado

[1] Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid

[1] Phantom of Chaos

[2] Lightning Vortex

[1] Breaker the Magical Warrior

[1] My Body as a Shield

[1] Shiny Black “C”

[1] Nobleman of Crossout

[1] Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer

As you may notice, there is no Plaguespreader Zombie found in the deck. The reason for this is that I have a lot of respect for Zombies, more so than the average Lightsworn player. Milling a Plaguespreader Zombie in the end phase against Zombies can spell doom (see what I did there?). The Zombie player can take it with his/her Zombie Master and Doomkaiser Dragon and synchro a lot. When a Zombie player makes a lot of synchros in one turn, it means you lose.

As you can see, no extra deck is listed. It’s impossible for this deck to synchro (bar your opponent Creature Swapping you a tuner). Personally, I do have an extra deck for this in real life just in case I run into some weird situation where I do happen to obtain a tuner. However, you can choose not to run an extra deck for mind games. Sitting down to play your opponent and telling them you don’t have an extra deck can have some interesting effects. Whether you do that or not is your choice.

I’m also not maindecking Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid because I find it to be useless in the Zombie and Absolute Zero matchups. These decks have very few cards that target, only the staple spell Brain Control and monster effects like Caius the Shadow Monarch and Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. I feel there are not enough targeting cards in the format to warrant a maindeck inclusion. However, I do I have it sidedecked for the Lightsworn mirror, Blackwings, and Gladiator Beasts.

On the other hand, I am maindecking Ehren, Lightsworn Monk, a card that often doesn’t see play in Twilight builds. This card is crucial in the Zombie matchup (although its effect is practically useless in the Lightsworn mirror). Anything that the Zombie player sets is going to get wrecked by Ehren: Mystic Tomato, Pyrmamid Turtle, and Goblin Zombie. I find the early advantage that Ehren gives to be very helpful in this matchup. It’s also useful in the Absolute Zero matchup, often sending back Mystic Tomato or Sangan. Even against Blackwings it has its occasional use of sending back a set Vayu, Blackwing the Emblem of Honor into the deck.

The spells are fairly standard; the only card I would like to talk about is My Body as a Shield. This card is amazing and should be considered a staple in Lightsworn. The card has been discussed recently because it can negate the effect of the deadly Elemental Hero Absolute Zero. However, more importantly it negates Judgment Dragon and Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, two of the strongest cards in a Lightsworn deck. It also negates Icarus Attack, which is considered by many to be the best card in a Blackwing deck (next to Black Whirlwind). And of course we all know that it negates Mirror Force and Torrential Tribute (which have been seeing play since… forever). You see where I’m going with this? It essentially negates the best cards in every deck. However, it’s not quite as good against Zombies, so I usually side it out against them.

I’d also like to explain how My Body as a Shield works against Royal Oppression for those who don’t know. If Royal Oppression is negating a card that special summons itself (such as Judgment Dragon, Chaos Sorcerer, or any synchro) you cannot use My Body as a Shield in response since the monster is not on the field yet. One of the people I know calls it the “limbo” zone; it’s technically not on the field or in the hand. However, if you’re activating the effect of a card like Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner or Zombie Master, since the card is on the field, you may use My Body as a Shield if your opponent choose to activate Royal Oppression.

It’s important to know this for strategical purposes. What I often do is use Lumina to “bait” Royal Oppression while holding a My Body as a Shield. That way it’s safe to drop a Judgment Dragon later. Being able to read Royal Oppression is very important, as you have a number of ways to destroy it if you need to.

There are only a few traps in this deck. The two Beckoning Lights are considered staples in a Lightsworn deck. I don’t think a third Beckoning Light or a 1-of Monster Reincarnation is necessary. Two Bottomless Trap Holes are being played because I like the fact that they’re live in every matchup. I like them against Blackwings, an overplayed deck in my meta, because it stops them from searching with Black Whirlwind (assuming the monster that was summoned had at least 1500 attack, which it usually does). It’s also great against the Lightsworn monster, stopping a Lumina into Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior play. Bottomless is also good against Judgment Dragon, since you know your opponent won’t be able to get it back to his/her hand later.

I’m not playing Mirror Force or Torrential Tribute, which might surprise some people. These “staple traps” are not necessary in a Lightsworn deck. Mirror Force is easily destroyed in the current metagame, and Torrential Tribute doesn’t help when your field is bigger than your opponent’s. Lightsworn like to swarm the field, and neither of these cards when you’re doing that.

I would like to talk about the sidedeck, although it’s not set in stone by any means. In Lightsworn, the sidedeck actually has two functions. The first is countering your opponent’s sidedeck.

[2] Dust Tornado

[2] Royal Decree

[1] Breaker the Magical Warrior

[1] Phantom of Chaos

Whether you side in Dust Tornado, Royal Decree, or both depends on your opponent’s deck. If your opponent is running something very trap heavy, such as Blackwings, I usually bring in Royal Decree. If it’s something with less traps, like Zombies or Absolute Zero, I usually find myself putting in Dust Tornado instead. If I’m playing against something anti-meta I bring in both because you want as much spell/trap removal as possible. Breaker the Magical Warrior and Phantom of Chaos are almost always brought in. They’re the best ways to get around a Light-Imprisoning Mirror.

Next, you have the cards that are specifically sided for the Lightsworn mirror match: Wabokus and Lightning Vortexes. Not only do these cards have synergy together, but they are also good by themselves against Lightsworn. A well-timed Waboku can stop you from getting OTKed and possibly even make your opponent deckout. Lightning Vortex is good at clearly the swarms that Lightsworn and known for getting. Lightning Vortex is a great answer to a first turn Lumina into a Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior (often milling a Wulf, Lightsworn Beast). Pitching a Necro Gardna with the Vortex makes it even better.

Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer is a random 1-of that’s sided in for both the Lightsworn mirror and Zombies. If you can get its effect off it’s great, but not quite good enough for me to want to bring in multiples. In fact I may end up cutting it if I can find something that serves a better purpose.

Shiny Black “C” is mainly against Zombies, but it can also be brought in against any deck that heavily relies on synchros. Once you get Shiny Black “C” into the grave, it becomes very hard for the Zombie player to OTK you, as that typically involves playing multiple synchros. Nobleman of Crossout is directed at Zombies as well. Eliminating set monsters is very important in that matchup.

My Body as a Shield is mainly in the side for the Lightsworn mirror. I find that whoever wins the mirror is often determined by who uses Judgment Dragon’s effect more, so negating its effect is obviously very helpful. I also bring it in against Blackwings because I feel that negating Icarus Attack is just that important.

That covers the side (Aurkus was previously discussed). Feel free to change the side and make it your own depending on your meta. Things that I would consider adding include Malevolent Catastrophe, Brain Control, and Thunder King Rai-Oh.

In testing so far the deck appears to have no bad matchups. In particular, I feel that people are overrating the Absolute Zero vs. Lightsworn matchup. I’ve been hearing some people saying that Absolute Zero should win every game. Absolute Zero itself is a Raigeki, which can obviously hurt Lightsworn. However, you can play around that. Just don’t overcommit to the field. If Lightsworn gets a fast hand, it’s hard for Absolute Zero to keep up with the pace. The earliest the deck can bring out Absolute Zero is turn 2 or 3, and by then the lightsworn player can have done a lot.

Another advantage that Absolute Zero has is the fact that the deck can bring out Ally of Justice Catastor as early in turn 1. This is just another reason why Chaos Sorcerer is good. Other outs include the obvious ones like Judgment Dragon and Celestia. You also have Bottomless Trap Hole and Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. If you can manage to drop Gorz, Emissary of Darkness it gives you yet another answer.

I don’t want to go as far to say that the deck I’m featuring today is the best deck of the format. I certainly think there are other good options for a deck to take to a big event. I am attending SJC Nashville, and there are a lot of decks on my list to test. However, I would recommend that other competitive players put this deck, or one conceptually similar to it, on their list of decks to test. It may look unusual, but you might be surprised on how well it tests. Based on my testing so far, it has a strong mix of power and consistency.

 

“FUNCTIONAL FIXEDNESS” – A YU-GI-OH! STRATEGY ARTICLE BY ALLEN PENNINGTON

POSTED ON 01/27/2010

This was a classic matchup between Zombie and Lightsworn, a matchup I would consider to be even. Sometimes one player draws better that the other, but more often than not someone gets outplayed.



This was one of those cases.

The Zombie player had a great setup with his more control-oriented build. He had a Stardust Dragon, a Colossal Fighter, and a set Torrential Tribute. He was winning with 6300 lifepoints to his opponent’s 4400 and appeared to have established a good control of the game (the lightsworn player didn’t even have any Necro Gardnas in the grave). But this didn’t last for long. It was now the lightsworn player’s turn, and he did the only thing he could. He summoned normal Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner, discarded Wulf, Lightsworn Beast to bring it back, and put a card on the top of his deck to bring back Plaguespreader Zombie. The zombie player had no response, and he synchro’d for a Mist Wurm. He targeted all three of the Zombie player’s cards with Mist Wurm’s effect, prompting the Zombie player to activate Torrential Tribute, wiping the field.

It was topdeck mode for both players. The zombie player topdecked a Caius the Shadow Monarch (to go with his dead creature swap already in hand) and passed. The lightsworn player drew a Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior (his only card in hand), summoned it, attacked for 1850, and passed the turn. The zombie player ripped yet another Caius. Frustrated, he showed his hand to a spectator and said, “I only run two of those.” The lightsworn player drew a Necro Gardna, set it, hit for 1850 and passed. Finally, the Zombie player got a Spirit Reaper, something useful. He set it passed.

Next turn it was all over. The lightsworn player drew a Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, tributing Garoth to destroy Spirit Reaper, flipped Necro Gardna, and attacked for game. The zombie player complained about his opponent’s lucky draws. Had you watched this game, you might have thought that the Zombie player did all he could. But you would be wrong. Like the poor zombie player, you made the mistake of functional fixedness, a phenomenon that often prevents players from recognizing their in-game mistakes.

Specifically, go back to this play “prompting the Zombie player to activate Torrential Tribute, wiping the field.” What else could he have done? He could’ve let the Mist Wurm bounce the Torrential Tribute to his hand, and not wiped the field. However, this also would not have been a good play because if the lighsworn player did not summon another monster, he still would have lost. So what else could have done been done? Still can’t figure it out? I’ll give you a clue: it involves Stardust Dragon.

 So maybe you figured it out. The Zombie player could have activated Torrential Tribute and then tributed Stardust Dragon to negate the Torrential Tribute, allowing Stardust Dragon to come back in the end phase (effectively saving his Stardust Dragon from its death). This would make any monster a viable topdeck (you could just Creature Swap it for the Mist Wurm), and in this case would’ve made those dead Monarchs live. He could tribute Stardust for Caius, remove Mist Wurm, attack for 2400, then next turn tribute for Caius again and attack for game.

Obviously, the zombie player could not have been psychic and predict that he was going to draw two Caius the Shadow Monarchs in a row, but that’s irrelevant. The fact is that tributing Stardust to negate Torrential Tribute would’ve given him much better odds to win the game. Any removal card, any monster, and Brain Control would’ve either won the game outright or turned it around in his favor. If it was that simple, why did both players and a group of spectators all not notice this costly misplay?

Remember when Stardust Dragon first came out it you realized why it was so good? It could negate many of your opponent’s important removal cards. Did you think it was good because you could use its effect in conjunction with Torrential Tribute to dodge a Mist Wurm bounce? Probably not. This is a perfect example of a psychological occurrence called functional fixedness: a cognitive bias that limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used. Clearly, the best way to use Stardust Dragon in this game was not “traditional” by any means.

Overcoming functional fixedness is one of the many ways that good players become great players. They make the best play instead of the most obvious play.

Probably the most classic example of how the first pro players overcame functional fixedness was the play that’s now known as the “pro storm”. For many years, everyone played Heavy Storm the same way Harpie’s Feather Duster was played; whenever you wanted to clear your opponent’s on-field spells/traps, you plop down a Heavy Storm and clear them. A smart player would never set more than one spell/trap compared to his opponent (so if I had one set spell/trap it would be ok for you to set two, but not three). Eventually, clever players were able to figure out that by setting Heavy Storm, you could trick your opponent into letting you get a 2-for-1. Word of the pro storm soon spread, and some players no longer had an issue of functional fixedness regarding Heavy Storm (a smart player would now avoid setting more spells/traps than his opponent unless one of them was chainable).

Usually functional fixedness is an issue with newer players picking up a new deck. At first, they only learn the most common plays and can’t see the less obvious ones. However, this can become a problem with more experienced players as well. They go into an auto-pilot mode after they are confident that they know all of the ins and outs of a deck. When you’re in auto-pilot mode you’re less likely to consider all of your plays; you just do the first thing that comes to mind.

I’ve played against a lot of pro players throughout the years, and have tried to see what they all have in common. One of the major things is that they all play much slower than the average player. This might seem a bit shady, and I would argue that a handful are doing it to stall for time. However, I think the majority are doing it because they are trying to think of every possible play, consider them all, and then do whatever they feel is optimal.

There’s two parts to making a good play and not letting functional fixedness get the best of you. The first part is thinking about your plays, but the second is actually reading your cards, something that might seem obvious. There’s no way that you could’ve made the Stardust Dragon play if you hadn’t known that it could negate the effects of your own cards. The more card interactions you understand, the more likely you are to make the correct play in a given situation.

Another example of functional fixedness involves synchros once again. Black Rose Dragon is considered to be an extra deck staple. If your opponent heavily commits to the field, you can summon it to blow up everything. It’s very useful. However, many players have never actually read the card’s text. If they had, they would realize that it actually has another effect. By removing a plant monster in your grave, you can force one of your opponent’s monsters to attack position and bash it for 2400. This might sound like a situation that would rarely come up, but if you’re playing Mystic Tomato, it might happen more often than you might think. I know I’ve caught plenty of opponents off guard by activating Black Rose Dragon’s second effect. It often invokes surprised comments from my opponents, “Wait, it has another effect?”

There are nearly infinite examples of situations where making unorthodox plays can win games. Having your Lightsworn monsters suicide into your opponent’s bigger monsters can prevent you from decking out with your Lightsworn monsters’ effects. The concept of having your monsters kill themselves is a play that’s obvious to some but often escapes the less experienced players who have a naive mindset of “Why would I ever want my monsters to kill themselves?” Another situation where killing your own monsters can be beneficial is to accelerate into a Dark Armed Dragon. By having Mystic Tomato suicide into your opponent’s monster and searching another copy of itself (and keep repeating the process) you can go to having zero darks in your graveyard to having three.

The best thing you can do if you want to learn new plays and become better in general is to watch others play. Different people make different plays. You might watch someone else play and reach an epiphany. You’ll see a really good play and be able to add it to your bag of tricks for future games.

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+mmf    23263

went ahead and got some of my favorites

 

WHO'S WINNING - BY ALLEN C PENNINGTON



The question, “Who’s winning?” is one of the greatest mysteries in the history of Yu-Gi-Oh! Not just Yu-Gi-Oh! actually, but games in general. Just for the sake of clarity, saying, “Who’s winning?” is actually a short way of saying, “Based on the current state of the game, which player has a higher probability of winning the game?” The longer version of the question certainly sounds a bit more complicated. The question itself makes a rather strong implication: The “current state of the game” correlates with “winning the game”.

 

I first started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! back when Magic Ruler (nowadays known as Spell Ruler) was the most recently released set. Virtually no theory had been developed at this point, so one could say that everyone was quite bad at the game. I occasionally attended local tournaments, and there would be spectators who would walk by and ask, “Who’s winning?” Can you guess what the common responses were? “I’m winning by 1000 lifepoints.” “I’m losing by 3000 lifepoints.” “The game is tied at 4000 lifepoints.” The Yu-Gi-Oh! rulebook clearly explains that lifepoints are used to keep score of a game. So whoever has higher lifepoints is more likely to win, right?

 

Your friends are off watching the Super Bowl in another room. In your room, you’re on the computer doing something much more entertaining (we’ll say you’re playing a game of Yu-Gi-Oh! Virtual Desktop). You’re still waiting on your opponent to take his turn, so you shout to the other room, “Hey, who’s winning the game?” They tell you that the Packers have 17 and the Steelers have 14. Which team is more likely to win? Based on the information you were given, the Packers are more likely to win; they have a higher score. However, your friends failed to mention that the Steelers have possession of the ball, it’s 1st and goal, and they’re on the three yard line. Given this new information, which team is more likely to win? There’s a strong chance that the Steelers score a touchdown and pull ahead. It’s easy to make the assertion that the Steelers are in fact winning despite currently holding a lower score.

 

Although in most sports we assume that the team with the higher score is more likely to win, there’s more to any sport than just a score. You have to consider other factors such as how close each team is to scoring additional points, which team was favored to win initially (the “matchup” as we call it in TCGs), and which players were injured during the game. When attempting to predict anything, whether it’s the stock market, the result of a political election, or what’s your mom is making for dinner tonight, more information results in a more accurate prediction.

“When attempting to predict anything, whether it’s the stock market, the result of a political election, or what’s your mom is making for dinner tonight, more information results in a more accurate prediction.”

 

All of what I just said is fairly intuitive, yet no one had really considered any of this when the game was young. We were stuck in the foolish mindset that lifepoints were the dominating factor in determining which player was going to win the game. What we needed to do was invent a new scoreboard, one that better predicted who was more likely to win the game.

The theory of card advantage was first proposed as a mindset for deckbuilding and optimal play for Magic: The Gathering. Brian Weissman is considered the pioneer of this idea his creation “The Deck” in 1995 (before Yu-Gi-Oh! had even been created).

 

Eventually card advantage was imported from Magic: The Gathering to Yu-Gi-Oh! Few players resisted this new system; they enjoyed seeing a new outlook on the game. The theory of card advantage taught players that using a Raigeki on one monster was usually a bad play; wait until you get that 2-for-1 or maybe even a 3-for-1. Divine Wrath and Monster Reincarnation both had good effects, but was the card disadvantage worth it? For most players, the answer was a resounding “no”. Competitive players built decks entirely focused on the concept of gaining card advantage.

Goat Control was a deck centered almost entirely on the theory of card advantage: Count up the number of cards that both players control (field + hand). Whoever has more is winning the game.

 

“Take that card out, it’s a -1.” “That deck is bad. You have no card advantage.” “How do you expect this deck to out-card-advantage goat control?” These were common posts on the forums several years ago. When looking at what cards did (and didn’t) see play during this era, I’ve realized that it’s not just as simple as card advantage is good, card disadvantage is bad. Magic Cylinder was a common maindeck choice despite being card disadvantage. Three Thunder Dragons aren’t a good choice despite being card advantage and food for Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning. Supercharge is straight up card advantage, but does it matter if the rest of your deck is filled with bad cards?

 

Card advantage was highly valued, but so were aggressive monsters. Berserk Gorilla was a very popular maindeck choice being noted as the highest attack no-tribute monster with negligible downsides. Some players decided that Enraged Battle Ox was a good complement to Berserk Gorilla. Enraged Battle Ox by itself was a 1700 attacker with trample, which made it good in field full of Scapegoats, Magicians of Faith, and other small defenders. The fact that it gave Berserk Gorilla trample as well was just icing on the cake. Gigantes started getting added into the mix as well as a way to add damage to the table without expending a normal summon.

 

This “Earth Rush” deck of sorts was yet another perspective on Yu-Gi-Oh! theory. When constructing an Earth Rush deck, outside of staples like Pot of Greed, there would be little concern for filling out your deck with inherent card advantage like Chaos Sorcerer or combos like Tsukuyomi + Magician of Faith. But it’s not fair to say that the Earth Rush player didn’t care about card advantage. During gameplay, it was certainly a priority to make sure than the control player did not acquire too many cards.

 

The fundamental difference becomes apparent when you look at the battles being fought. Conventional control decks were fighting a battle over card advantage. Cards were the only scoreboard, whoever had more was winning. The Earth Rush deck made them fight a war on two fronts; they had to gain card advantage without taking too much damage as well. The theory of card advantage had become so popular that players were only used to playing control vs. control matchups. This made playing a highly aggressive deck like Earth Rush a solid option.

Smarter players began to question whether switching scoreboards was really a good idea. Lifepoints weren’t the best way to keep score. Card advantage wasn’t the best way to keep score. The best way to keep score is to consider both. Both cards and lifepoints are relevant in pretty much any matchup.

 

The next deck to value cards and lifepoints in a new and innovative way made its debut at 2007 US Nationals. Some of Justin Womack’s choices were common. Card Trooper and Machine Duplication was the killer combo of the format. Three Brain Controls were frequently used as a way to get free tribute fodder or just attack for game. Cyber Phoenix was the latest technology to render opposing Brain Controls useless. However, three Injection Fairy Lily, a small Dark World package, and three Dimension Walls were unheard of at this time.

 

Justin Womack’s “Aggro Burn” – Top4 at 2007 US Nationals

Monsters: 17
3 Card Trooper
3 Cyber Dragon
3 Cyber Phoenix
3 Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World
3 Injection Fairy Lily
1 Jinzo
1 Morphing Jar

Spells: 17
3 Brain Control
1 Card Destruction
3 Dark World Lightning
1 Heavy Storm
1 Limiter Removal
3 Machine Duplication
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Nobleman of Crossout
1 Nobleman of Extermination
1 Premature Burial
1 Snatch Steal

Traps: 7
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Ceasefire
3 Dimension Wall
1 Magic Cylinder
1 Ring of Destruction

 

This deck could best be described as Aggro Burn. While these decks are commonplace in Magic: The Gathering, Womack was the first to create a similar deck using Yu-Gi-Oh!’s cardpool. This deck valued lifepoints far more than cards and looked to damage the opponent in the most efficient way possible.

 

Card Trooper + Machine Duplication was just what this strategy needed (two cards for three attackers and 5700 damage is quite the deal). Unlike other decks however, Womack went all out and maxed both pieces of the combo to maximize the chances of drawing it, despite Machine Duplication being a potential dead draw.

 

Consider Dark World Lightning and Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World. This mini combo is an even exchange of cards that will usually result in the opponent taking 2300 points of damage, exactly the trade this deck wants to be making. In addition, Dark World Lightning can be used to discard dead cards or a Jinzo that you plan to resurrect with Premature Burial, and you can even tribute an opponent’s Brain Controlled monster for Goldd if necessary.

 

The most common opening move during the format was to set a monster, set a spell/trap, and pass the turn. One of the advantages to Womack’s deck is that it had the best answer to this play. Dark World Lightning + Goldd + Card Trooper + Machine Duplication is a guaranteed 8000 points of damage asssuming you have another removal spell (Heavy Storm, Mystical Space Typhoon, and either “Nobleman” is fine). Of course this “nut draw” wasn’t likely to happen, but Womack’s deck was more likely to draw OTK hands than most other decks at the time.

 

Womack choose to play the most efficient burn spells that were printed, Magic Cylinder, Ceasefire, and three Dimension Wall. All three could be 1500 points of damage or more for only one card. Brain Control could also easily be classified as a “burn” card, which in this deck represented damage (whereas in most other decks it represented card advantage in combination with a monarch). Brain Control could be used to steal Card Troopers for duplicating, or just to deal the finishing blow. Indeed, one of the most feared scenarios at the time was the “topdeck Brain Control for game”. The Womack deck put itself in position for good topdecks better than any other.

 

After realizing that lifepoints and cards were both resources that needed to be valued, players began to ask themselves, “How do we equate cards and lifepoints?” If players start with 8000 lifepoints and five cards, then can we reason that one card equals 1600 lifepoints (8000/5=1600)? Well wait, during a normal turn each player acquires an additional card and no additional lifepoints, so we can’t simply compute a ratio based on the starting totals. So if you Magic Cylinder a 1600-attack monster, is that an even exchange, a favorable exchange, or an unfavorable exchange?

 

It’s entirely situation dependent. There’s a running joke in Yu-Gi-Oh! that when your opponent is at 200 lifepoints and you’re topdecking, you’re supposed to say, “I hope I topdeck Sparks right now.” If your opponent is at 200 lifepoints (with no way to gain lifepoints) Sparks is strictly better than Pot of Greed. At this point in the game, virtually any source of damage would be more valuable than all of the card advantage in the world. However, it’s obvious that we’d all rather have a Pot of Greed than a Sparks in our opening hand (when both players are at 8000 lifepoints). The values of cards and lifepoints (relative to each other) change depending on the matchup, the stage of the game, and the current values of both (that is, we value lifepoints a lot more when the life totals are low, as in the Sparks example). So why is we can’t just find a simple ratio between cards and lifepoints?

 

If I asked you how many pounds are in a meter you would likely be confused by this question. Pounds and meters are two different units; that is, they measure two different things. Pounds are used to measure weight, whereas meters are used to measure length. Likewise, cards and lifepoints are two different units. Someone trying to equate cards and lifepoints has the wrong mindset. Cards DON’T equal lifepoints! Understanding which is more important in a given situation in the correct mindset. A good players knows to value cards against a monarch deck and lifepoints against a chain burn deck.

 

Lifepoints and cards aren’t the only scoreboards however. You shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that a Lightsworn player is losing just because he has less cards and lifepoints. Lightsworn uses its graveyard as a scoreboard as well. It’s often the case that you should alter your gameplan against Lightsworn to be more concerned about how quickly cards are going to the graveyard than anything else. Each mill (sending a card from the deck to the graveyard) represents a potential Wulf, Lightsworn Beast, Necro Gardna, Plaguespreader Zombie, or Glow-Up Bulb (all effects that activate in the graveyard). More importantly, four Lightsworn monsters in the graveyard with different names is the summoning requirement for Judgment Dragon, a card that can end games on its own.

 

In every matchup there are different resources that need to paid attention to. By valuing the wrong resources, you are setting yourself up for failure. Some decks will value resources that you may have never even considered. Playing against a Crystal Beast deck? The amount of Crystal Beasts in the spell/trap zone is a resource. Pay attention to how many they have; it is key in answering the big question, “Who’s winning?”

 

Historically speaking, there have been several decks centered around Return from the Different Dimension as a win condition. The game-breaking trap has been paired with Bazoo the Soul Eater, Strike Ninja, Chaos Sorcerer, and Dark Armed Dragon. These decks used the removed from game zone as a resource as well. Burial from a Different Dimension became the “hot sidedeck tech” as a counter to the Return deck. A card that decreases your opponent’s resources is a good card to sidedeck; the trick is to figuring out which resources you need to decrease.

D.D. Crow is good against a Lightsworn deck. Burial from a Different Dimension a good against a Return deck. They are both good for the same reason: They restrict your opponent’s resources. Lifegain effects are good against burn decks for a similar reason: They increase your resources.

 

I promise this article is going to end soon, but first I need to explain one last theory. The theory of card advantage fails to take into account cards that you can’t use. You can’t use multiple Solemn Warnings if you don’t have more than 4000 lifepoints. Thunder Dragon’s effect nets you a card in hand, but if Thunder Dragon doesn’t make an impact on the game, what difference does it make? Is having two Red Gadgets in your hand really much better than one?

 

The theory of virtual card advantage is simple: If you can’t use it, it doesn’t exist. You most likely take virtual card advantage into account all the time without even realizing it. You get upset when you topdeck a Pot of Avarice while Necrovalley is on the field. You get happy when your opponent “wastes” a card to destroy your face-down Solemn Warning when you have only 1800 lifepoints. This is all because you are thinking about virtual card advantage.

 

Virtual card advantage applies to deckbuilding as well. You probably think of this as “adding situational cards to your deck is bad”. But why do we think this way? Say you have decided to maindeck Chain Disappearance as a counter to Plant and Frog Monarch decks. Round 1 you play against Gladiator Beasts and open with Chain Disappearance. You are virtually down a card (because Chain Disappearance cannot be used in this matchup except in rare circumstances). Chain Disappearance would be better suited for the sidedeck so you can side it in for the appropriate matchups and not have to worry about virtually losing a card.

 

But look at virtual card advantage from the opposite perspective: Why not try to base your deck around making your opponent virtually lose cards? The first deck to employ this as a major strategy is commonly known as “Stun”.

 

Anthony Meier’s “Stun” deck – 1st at 2010 YCS Indianapolis

Monsters: 17
2 Cyber Dragon
3 Thunder King Rai-Oh
3 Doomcaliber Knight
3 Banisher of the Radiance
3 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo
2 King Tiger Wanghu
1 Spirit Reaper

Spells: 10
3 Book of Moon
3 Smashing Ground
2 Enemy Controller
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon

Traps: 14
1 Mirror Force
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Starlight Road
2 Royal Oppression
2 Magic Drain
2 Sakuretsu Armor
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
3 Dimensional Prison

 

Take a look at some of the card choices. Thunder King Rai-Oh for example isn’t card advantage, but it can represent virtual card advantage in several matchups. It stops the effect of XX-Saber Darksoul, so for each XX-Saber Darksoul in hand (or Reinforcement of the Army, Black Whirlwind, etc.) it’s like they have lost a card. However, if they manage to remove Thunder King Rai-Oh from the field, your opponent has virtually gained those cards back. This is why most Stun decks tend to play several cards that can be used to protect monsters. This particular deck used Book of Moon, Dimensional Prison, and even Sakuretsu Armor.

 

Royal Oppression works a similar fashion. When you first flip it up to negate a special summon effect, it creates a 1-for-1 in terms of card advantage. In addition however, all of your opponent’s other special summon effects are virtual losses assuming that you have a reasonable amount of lifepoints to pay the cost of Royal Oppression.

 

It’s pretty easy to recognize the pattern here; King Tiger Wangnu works the same way (all monsters with 1400 attack or less are virtual losses). Banisher of Radiance make graveyard-based cards virtual losses. Today, Gravekeeper’s operate on the same concept. Necrovalley makes Pot of Avarice, Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North, and many other cards into virtual losses.

 

When determining your gameplan for a particular matchup, taking into account virtual card advantage is very important. When I am playing a Plant deck against Gravekeepers, I make sure that all of my removal is pointed towards Necrovalley. In this matchup, each Necrovalley represents potential dead draws in my deck, virtual losses. I’ll rid the field of a Necrovalley with an effect like Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter or Caius the Shadow Monarch whenever I get the chance.

 

This might be a longer article than what you’re used to, and I covered several different theories that are relevant to the game. If you take away anything from this article, it should be not to lock yourself into one perspective. Use ALL of the information that is available to you. New ideas lead to new innovations, new decks, new technology, and new strategies. Staying inside the box won’t get you anywhere.

 

NEXT LEVEL FROGS - BY ALLEN C PENNINGTON



Ever since US Nationals I had dedicated myself to mastering the deck that is Frog OTK. Although when the deck was young, I had considered it a luck-based “all or nothing” deck that required you to win die rolls and get lucky throughout the day (see my “die roll jokes” in previous articles). After the deck placed second at Canadian Nationals, I gave the deck a second look and discovered that it was a very hard deck to play. You often had to work for your wins and were sometimes forced to win in unconventional ways.

 

I Day2’d US Nationals with a 7-2 record and lost out to Herald of Perfection (aka “the worst matchup”) in round 10. I honestly wish I had practiced more with the deck before the event. I came very close to topping, and I feel that with more experience and better sidedeck I could’ve got there. After nationals, I started tearing up local tournaments at The Game Academy. I was pretty confident that I would be able to top8 the 2K tournament, but I also recognized that it was Yu-Gi-Oh! and anything could happen.

 

My sidedeck had evolved a lot since I had started playing the deck. After Sam Tse took Canadian Nationals by storm, the maindeck had become standardized. No two Frog OTK maindecks differ by more than a card or two. I’ve been using Tse’s exact list from the beginning. Here it is for reference…

 

Monsters: 26
3 Substitoad
2 Ronintoadin
1 Fishborg Blaster
3 Swap Frog
3 Dupe Frog
3 Poison Draw Frog
3 Unifrog
2 Des Frog
2 Beelze Frog
2 Flip Flop Frog
2 Treeborn Frog

Spells: 14
3 Salvage
3 Hand Destruction
3 Moray of Greed
2 Mass Driver
1 Card Destruction
1 Giant Trunade
1 One for One

 

I’ll explain some of the choices for those who are unfamilar with the deck (which I find is still a lot of people, despite this being one of the top3 decks of the format). Twenty Frogs is the most logical number, as 20 * 400 = 8000.

 

The 1-of Fishborg Blaster is definitely needed. If you need extra damage with the Mass Driver OTK (say they gained lifepoints with Magical Android), Fishborg Blaster allows every card in your hand to be an additional 400 damage. Sometimes Frogs get removed with Gladiator Beast Retiari, Banisher of Radiance, or D.D. Warrior Lady and you find that you need to do extra damage. Also, being tuner is extremely relevant as it gives you an alternate win condition. If I see a synchro OTK I’ll usually take it over the option of hoping to draw into a Mass Driver. My synchros of choice are usually a powered-up Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier, a Mist Wurm, and 2 Swap Frogs for exactly 8000 (3500 + 2500 + 1000 + 1000). Yet another win condition is to synchro for Colossal Fighter and Armory Arm, attach Armory Arm to your opponent’s big monster, and keep ramming your Colossal Fighter, reviving itself each time, and dealing your opponent 2800 damage for each battle. This OTK allows you dodge Gorz-like effects, but not Hanewata.

 

Sam Tse’s greatest innovation to the deck was only playing two copies of Mass Driver, the deck’s most common win condition. The key thing you need to realize is that once you resolve a Substitoad loop the game is usually over. You’ll thin the deck of everything minus Mass Drivers and cards that will draw you cards (Moray of Greed, Hand Destruction). After bringing Poison Draw Frogs to the field, you use Swap Frog to send them to the graveyard and draw three cards. In those three cards there has to be a Mass Driver or a draw spell. Getting the Mass Driver early on might seem like a “lucky draw”, but you can usually draw the entire deck if needed.

 

I really didn’t know what I was doing when it came to the sidedeck. I figured that I should just trust Sam Tse’s judgment on the sidedeck as well, and decided to play this side in the national tournament…

 

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
2 Light and Darkness Dragon
1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
2 Deep Sea Diva
1 Spined Gillman
2 Pot of Avarice
1 Brain Control
1 Enemy Controller
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Raigeki Break

 

Although I liked some of the cards, I found most of them to be useless. Light and Darkness Dragon was amazing, and I liked my Raigeki Break tech pretty well, but most of the time the side just wasn’t good enough. I modified the monsters in the side after I saw the lists that topped our nationals.

 

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
2 Light and Darkness Dragon
2 Quickdraw Synchron
2 Cyber Dragon
2 Pot of Avarice
1 Brain Control
1 Enemy Controller
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Raigeki Break

 

Quickdraw Synchron seemed great in theory, but I found that it usually sat in my hand the entire game. Interestingly enough, I found that most of my friends were having the same experience with it. Cyber Dragon was decent, but it wasn’t as stellar as people were making it out to be. Again, the only card that I liked in the side was Light and Darkness Dragon. These less-than-optimal sidedecks were good enough to win local tournaments, but I wanted my sidedeck to be something reliable rather than a pile of fifteen cards that I might throw in the deck just for fun.

I don’t remember where the idea came from, but I figured that an Absolute Zero sidedeck was worth trying. I figured that a Raigeki on legs was pretty good against most of the format. Absolute Zero leads to some pretty sick blowouts and allows you steal games that you shouldn’t have won. Here was my first draft of the new sidedeck:

 

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
3 Elemental Hero Alius
3 Miracle Fusion
1 Future Fusion
1 Heavy Storm
2 Gemini Spark
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 E – Emergency Call
1 Treacherous Trap Hole

 

I honestly thought this sidedeck would solve a lot of my problem matchups. Absolute Zero wrecks X-Sabers, and 1900 beatsticks are really good against Gladiator Beasts and Anti-Meta (especially after they side out their Bottomless Trap Holes). Treacherous Trap Hole is an amazing card that has saved me on multiple occasions. Destroying two monsters with one cards is amazing against… um… everything? After testing this sidedeck for only a short amount of time I realized that changes needed to be made.

There were a lot of situations where I was sitting on a Moray of Greed with one water monster and a Stratos/Reinforcement/E-Call. Now the play here would be to search the deck for Elemental Hero Ocean and activate Moray of Greed. Only I wasn’t playing Elemental Hero Ocean! I decided to cut Alius for Ocean, just because being a water monster is that good (it also allows me to synchro Ocean with Fishborg). Since I no longer had 3 Alius, I had to cut Gemini Spark down to one, which gave me room to add Mystical Space Typhoon to the sidedeck. Here was the final sidedeck and extra deck…

 

Extra deck: 15
1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
3 Elemental Hero Absolute Zero
2 Armory Arm
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Mist Wurm

 

Sidedeck: 15
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
2 Elemental Hero Alius
1 Elemental Hero Ocean
3 Miracle Fusion
1 Future Fusion
1 Heavy Storm
1 Gemini Spark
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 E – Emergency Call
1 Treacherous Trap Hole

 

Here’s what I usually side out, although it varies depending on the matchup:
– 2 Des Frog
– 2 Beelze frog
– 2 Flip Flop Frog
– 2 Unifrog
– 1 Poison Draw Frog
– 3 Hand Destruction
– 1 Card Destruction
– 2 Mass Driver

 

Now on to the tournament itself, the most exciting part. At this point, I had made a name for myself as the best Frog OTK player in the Tampa Bay area, and many people were expecting me to top. I had decided to call my deck “Next Level Blue” or simply “Next Level Frogs”. I named my deck Next Level Frogs for two reasons. I felt that my sidedeck took the deck to the next level. I’m still convinced that a sidedeck with Elemental Heroes and Miracle Fusions is the best. Secondly, I feel that I’m a next level player. I don’t think I’m up there with Sam Tse, CJ Lack, or Alex Bunts, but I know how to play the deck far better than the average player. I think hard about each play, and my knowledge of math and probability really shines when I play this deck. Also, I am very patient. Winning turn 10 is just as good as winning turn 1 for me. The deck’s style really reminds of Elf Combo, which was one of favorite Magic decks.

Ironically enough, I actually think Frog OTK was a bad meta call for this tournament. Anti-Meta was very popular. The vendors were sold out of Fossil Dyna Pachycephalos the entire day. Also, Gladiator Beasts were popular as well, which is always an uphill battle. I’d say Gladiator Beasts were probably the second most popular deck overall, with X-Sabers being first of course. My best matchup, Frog Monarch was practicing nonexistent. I decided to play Frog OTK only because I knew how to play the deck better than any other deck.

 

Round 1: Anti-Meta
For game 1, I had opened an FTK hand, but he won the die roll. He summons King Tiger Wangnu and activates Macro Cosmos in my draw phase. I try to stall on 2000 defenders until I can draw answers, but he tributes for Raiza and we’re on to the next game. Game 2 I open the Substitoad combo, but I end up not drawing what I need and I have to go for game on turn 3. He Hanewatas the last 400 damage when I had exact game, but there are only two cards left in my deck and one of them is a Fishborg Blaster. I draw it, set it, and send it at him for game. Game 3 was way too close. He starts out by summoning Doomcaliber Knight, activating Dimensional Fissure, and setting three backrows. I start out by setting Dupe Frog and Mystical Space Typhoon. It gets hit in the end phase by his own MST. He attacks into my Dupe Frog, sets another spell/trap and passed. I decide to special summon Swap Frog to trigger Doomcaliber Knight, normal summon Stratos, and hit for 1800 after searching out Alius. He special summons Cyber Dragon and I thought it was game over. How does my deck beat that, especially with Dimensional Fissure on the field? He runs over the Dupe Frog and passes. I switch Stratos to defense and pass. He adds King Tiger to his board and attacks. My draw for the turn is my one-outer: Treacherous Trap Hole! I summon Alius, and set the Treacherous Trap Hole along with two bluffs, just in case of the off chance that he has Dust Tornado. He thinks for awhile and attacks, and I blow up his monsters. I start beating with Alius while he’s forced to set D.D. Crows and Hanewatas to defend himself. Eventually I put a second Alius on the field and draw into Gemini Spark, just in case. I win.
1-0 (0-1 in die rolls)

 

Round 2: X-Sabers
I lose the die roll. Game 1 he synchros up for Magical Android early and starts to gain life and also hits me with X-Saber Airbellum a couple of times. I stall by reviving Treeborn Frogs and Ronintoadins until I draw something helpful. He plays Gold Sarcophagus, whose text reads “I win in two turns” because he searches Rescue Cat. I’m able to combo out with Synchros, attack for 9000, leaving him at 600. I reveal the last card in my hand which is Mass Driver, and we’re off to game 2. Game 1 took 26 minutes, so we know that time will be called at some point. He hits for early damage but I’m able to take control of the game with Absolute Zero. Unfortunately time gets called in game 2, and I can’t push for damage so I lose. We’re not allowed to side for game 3, which sucks because both of my Mass Drivers are now in the side deck. I decide to play first, setting Dupe Frog and passing. He Mind Controls, summons Thunder King Rai-Oh, and attacks for 1900. I drop Gorz. He sets three backrows and passes. This is my last turn to win. I have Gorz and token attack. He reveals that his backrows were bluffs, and I take the match.
2-0 (0-2 in die rolls)

 

Round 3: Demise OTK
This guy didn’t know what any of my cards did, but his deck was surprisingly good. The fact that a deck like this was 2-0 further supports my theory that “Raigeki on legs” is really good right now. I have a turn 2 kill hand so I set Treeborn Frog and pass. He goes Sonic Bird, Advanced Ritual Art, Demise, Doom Dozer and attacks for 5200. He sets a backrow and ends. Next turn I Trunade, Substitoad loop, and OTK with synchros. Game 2 was similar to game 1, only I OTKed with Mass Driver instead.
3-0 (1-2 in die rolls)

 

Round 4: Gladiator Beasts (Elijah Gersten)
I lose the die roll. Game 1 I get a less than optimal hand, and he quickly Herk + Chariot locks me out of the game. Game 2 I open FTK. Game 3 my five card hand is Future Fusion, Dupe Frog, Substitoad, Giant Trunade, Mystical Space Typhoon. Great hand! I’ll simply Future Fusion to put Fishborg into the grave and turn one Substitoad loop. Unfortunately my sixth card is the Fishborg Blaster, which was very disappointing. I set Dupe Frog and pass. He attacks into it, tags into Murmillo, and Chariots. Then he Dustshoots, and sets me back even more. When I can finally do something relevant, I Trunade and he has Solemn. I lose.
3-1 (1-3 in die rolls)

 

Round 5: Frog OTK
I lose the die roll, which is usually a death sentence in the mirror match. He opens One For One and turn 1 Substitoad loops. He screws up horribly and punts the game. He’s able to do 7600 damage with Mass Driver. He tries to use Swap Frog’s extra normal summon on a non-Frog multiple times that game, and can’t do enough damage as a result. His hand was actually horrible, but he plays Hand Destructions during the course of his turn and fixes my hand, so I was able to FTK. He starts game 2, and we both open “second turn kill” hands, so he wins. I start game 3 and FTK. I’m glad that’s over with.
4-1 (1-4 in die rolls)

 

Round 6: X-Sabers
Not much to say about this game. I win the die roll and FTK game 1. Game 2 he has the nuts and kills me on his second turn. Then I FTK game 3.
5-1 (2-4 in die rolls)

 

Round 7: X-Sabers (Travis Washburn)
I win the die roll and FTK game 1. Game 2 I take control with Absolute Zeroes. I make a bad play by leaving Swap Frog in attack mode with only 1100 lifepoints. I had already used the bounce effect, but I simply could’ve special summoned in defense (although I didn’t want to because he searched Fulhelmknight with Darksoul). I also didn’t realize that my opponent’s water monsters powered-up Absolute Zero, which would have allowed me to make a much better play (his Goyo had stolen Treeborn Frog). Two of his Boggart Knights were gone, but I guess he had a third. He synchros up and attacks over Swap Frog for game. Game 3 I sided back into the FTK, but I couldn’t draw it. I Card Destruction my opponent into a perfect hand and lose.
5-2 (3-4 in die rolls)

 

Post-match thoughts: I was really disappointed. Had I not misplayed, I would’ve taken the match 2-0. For some reason, it seems like people had expected me to lose in the last round. I suppose I would rather lose to my own misplays than pure luck. My tiebreakers were very strong, and two people with a 5-2 record would make top8. Fortunately enough for me, I slid in at 8th place. In addition, my opponent was starting with a game 1 loss due to registering an illegal extra deck. Sometimes, things just go your way. Joshua Martinez recommended that I spin my totem to make sure that I wasn’t in a dream.

 

The following matches were all featured on The Game Academy’s youtube channel. Be sure to check it out and when the uploads are finished. Jeremy did amazing commentary as usual.

 

Top8: Chris Rivera with Zombies
He elects to play first for the second game, and Jake reminds us that neither player can side. He starts with a set monster and 3 backrows. I play Hand Destruction and he comments that he probably should’ve set the other card in his hand (misplay #1). I then special summon Swap Frog and he plays Divine Wrath (misplay #2, you always wait for Substitoad). I play Salvage and he Solemns it (misplay #3). I have another Salvage so I decide to just get back Swap Frog and Poison Draw Frog, put the Draw Drog on the field and end. He attacks over it and passes. I play Swap Frog to thin my deck, bounce and pass. He Emergency Teleports for Psychic Commander and synchs for Urbellum for the Time Seal. For the next couple of turns, I’m walling up with Treeborn and Ronintoadin until I can draw into something. The big play comes when he Brain Controls Treeborn, tributes for Caius, removes Ronintoadin, attacks for 4600, which Time Seals me and leaves me at 100. I realize I had to chance it and see if I can get game. I play Giant Trunade. I normal summon Swap Frog, putting a Ronintoadin back in the grave. I set Mass Driver and Card Destruction for 1 card. With 3 Frogs in the grave and 2 on field, any monster will give me enough damage for game. I draw Flip Flop Frog, which allows me to put 2 additional Frogs in the grave. I reveal my face-down Mass Driver and it’s over.
6-2

 

After the top4 is determined, we decide to split the prize money at $400 and simply play for the trophy and video coverage. I think splitting was the correct decision, as I knew that I had to play Glads in the top4. In addition, the two people that beat me in the swiss rounds were in the top4 as well. The matchups in the top4 were certain winnable, but not necessarily favorable.

 

Top4: Maurice Brantley with Glads
I lose the die roll. He starts with Cold Wave, sets a Glad, and passes. I set Dupe Frog and pass. Next turn he plays Prisma, makes Gyzarus, and then makes Heraklinos afterwards. I try to draw outs for a few turns, but I don’t get there and I lose. Game 2 I open One For One and Mass Driver and FTK. Game 3 he starts with a Gladiator Beast, Dimensional Fissure and 3 other backrows. I play Heavy Storm and goes through. What a blowout! The next turn I Substitoad loop and make a 5000 attack Absolute Zero (my four monsters plus his Retiari). Next turn he’s able to Gyzarus but I’ve already taken control of the game at this point.
7-2 (3-5 in die rolls)

 

Top2: Elijah Gersten with Glads
I lose the die roll. I don’t quite remember how he won game 1, but I believe the game ended very quickly. I probably involved the usual contact fusions and War Chariot. Game 2 I open FTK. For game 3 he knows I’m bringing in the Zero side so he sides out Hanewatas like a master. He opens up with a Bestiari and two backrows. I have a few options, but I decide to go the Substitoad loop and see what he has. He chains Mask Restrict to the first activation and I bring out Unifrog. I bring back Ronintoadin, hoping to blow up the Mask and continue the combo. He plays Conpulsory Evacuation Device on Ronintoadin, so I pass. He contacts, attacks, lags for 2 Laquari, sets a couple of backrows and says go. I summon Stratos, search an Alius and activate Miracle Fusion. Rather than simply chaining Compulsory on Stratos, causing Miracle Fusion to fizzle and winning the game, he decided to wait for Absolute Zero to come out and Compulse him, allowing me to get the 3-for-1. He attacks with a Glad next turn and I drop Gorz; he tags for Murmillo. I summon Alius next turn and start beating. He tops Thunder King and attacks the Gorz token. I trade my Alius with his Thunder King, then Emergency Call another Alius, summon it and say go. He sets a monster as a last resort. I peal another Miracle Fusion, which allows me to attack for game.
8-2 (3-6 in die rolls)

 

The Game Academy 2K Champion is Allen C. Pennington! Winning this event felt great, and it was a nice way to rap up the format. Hopefully I’ll write a couple more articles in the near future.

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+ACP+    34066

My favorite thing about reading some of these articles is the drastic overuse of the word "pro". Like, we get it, you're in the top 1% of a game with zero prize support.

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+ACP+    34066
2 hours ago, Chevalier De Fromage said:

How does TGA going out of business affect the dgz t-shirt prize to the winner of individual playoffs in warring?

TGA gave our staff the opportunity to buy their remaining stock of shirts, but apparently zero people have an extra couple hundred bucks to spare.

 

Note: I have now finished getting all of the articles up on in the OP. I'm proud to say that I think a few of them do stand the test of time and are still very relevant today.

  • Haha 1

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