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One Month of Peace

In a unique twist, Agents lived up to the hype and then some without actually winning Toronto. They took 11 spots in the Top 32, 8 in the Top 16, and won 2 Main Event Prize Cards! Billy Brake (and various other stud muffins who also topped) piloted a Plant deck using the incredible Tour Guide + Reborn Tengu engine alongside multiple Maxx "C" and Effect Veiler. Using the consistency of these cards alongside the remnants of the Plant Engine, Brake was able to clear through a field of Agents and take YCS Toronto. I think this came as a surprise to most people, but when you break it down it isn't very difficult to see why.

The biggest issue, believe it or not is probably the Side Deck. While some people knew about Leeching the Light before YCS Toronto, it is absolutely certain most people did not realize how destructive it is when sided in against Agents. A deck like Plants can swarm the field quickly, then use Leeching the Light to crush an Agent field with ease. There are cards that can be sided against Plants that harm them, but none of those cards are nearly as threatening as Leeching the Light is against Agents. Agent players may need to revamp their Side Decks to deal with Leeching the Light or Plants could slowly begin to overtake Agents in the next month.

In every format deckbuilders must always work hard to stay ahead of the curve. This game is full of trends and instead of just being content with the standard you should always try to stay one step ahead of everybody else. I'm not saying you cannot have success if you just net whatever topped the last event, because you obviously can but you should always continue looking for new ideas, unexpected tech cards, and even under the radar decks that have potential to be good. This article will mostly be devoted to unexplored ideas that have the potential to give you the edge in a predictable format.

For example, most of the Plant lists that had success this weekend used mained copies of Effect Veiler, and a few of them (including Brake's) mained 2 Maxx "C". As mentioned in my previous article, Maxx "C" is an excellent card against the Venus play. Combined with Reborn Tengu and Thunder King Rai-Oh, the Plant decks were very strong against Agents, since if Agents fail to resolve the Gachi play they lack easy ways to clear Reborn Tengu. Agents now need to adapt to this. Here are a few ideas that are at least worth consideration:

Option #1: Agents begin to main Reborn Tengu.
This probably sounds crazy, but Agents need a way to clear all the Tengus without risking Venus into a C/Veiler. Trends happen in every metagame: Heavy Storm gets banned, everybody sets 2-4 backrow turn 1. Players cut Mystical Space Typhoon for Trap Stun to counter this, other players begin to main Royal Decree and no other Traps with Effect Veiler and defensive Spells to render that ineffective. Then players then main Mystical Space Typhoon again to counter Royal Decree, and the circle is complete! While I do not believe Agents running Reborn Tengu will lead to other people not maining Reborn Tengu (lol), Reborn Tengu is one of the best counters in the game to Reborn Tengu. Agents could theoretically began to main Reborn Tengu to clear the Reborn Tengus they struggle with in the Plant matchup. There is also potential for a nice core of 3 Tengu, 3 Venus, and 2 Birdman, giving the deck easy access to Black Rose Dragon to clear fields before dropping your boss monsters. You may have to cut Monsters such as Tour Guide to make room for Tengu but it opens up new possibilities for the deck while helping you deal with Plants much easier.

I will also mention that if you weren't playing Thunder King Rai-Oh in your Agent main before you probably need to be doing so now. It deals with both turn 1 Plant summons very nicely, and Rai-Oh is just a very good card all around right now. You may also need to move The Agent of Miracles - Jupiter back into the Main if you weren't maining it already since it is a searchable Monster that runs over Reborn Tengu without fear of Veiler/C. I mentioned Doomcaliber Knight in my previous article but I would be highly concerned using it in a format where 2 Veiler / 2 Maxx "C" is considered standard. Breaker the Magical Warrior could also be used since he runs over Tengu while being a solid summon that can contribute in other ways. Tragoedia saw play in Agents at Toronto, and it can become even more important with the rise of Plants. If can be summoned off a Tengu attack, then threaten to run over the Tengu with 3000 ATK next turn. If they choose to Veiler the Tragoedia before you enter Battle you can turn the Tragoedia to DEF or use it as Xyz Material, then safely summon Venus into Gachi to clear the Tengu.

I am not saying simply add things that run over Tengu because they have more ATK, but the deck needs more ways to deal with Reborn Tengu without using important cards. Venus into Gachi is still the ideal way of dealing with Tengu but in a format of 2 C/Veiler you need more dependable ways of doing so.

Option #2: Conversion Side into something that makes Leeching the Light ineffective.
Agents fear Leeching the Light, it is one of the strongest Side Deck cards in recent memory. Nobody wants to get OTK'd by Tengu, Tour Guide, and Glow-Up Bulb. If you choose to play Agents, you need ways to deal with this card. Honest is probably the best answer to Leeching the Light but thankfully Honest is restricted to 1, so alternatives need to be found. Cards like Threatening Roar are also viable, but are mediocre in most other situations. So what do Agent players do? You can choose to not main Herald of Orange Light, which might sound iffy, but if you go the route I am about to mention you can main 2 Maxx "C" and 2 Effect Veiler, so the loss of Herald won't seem as devastating. If you do that, you will have a 15 card core of 3 Master Hyperion, 3 Mystical Shine Ball, 3 Agent of Mystery, 1 Honest, 2 Archlord Kristya, and 3 Agent of Creation or 2 Agent of Creation and 1 Agent of Miracles. There are then multiple conversion Side options you get:

Conversion Side #1: Tech Genus
If you choose to main Reborn Tengu in Agents, you can easily pull this off by siding out the above listed Agent core for 8-9 T.G. Monsters, your choice of copies of Horn of the Phantom Beast, TG1-EM1, and Skill Drain + whatever else you deem necessary. You will have to keep in copies of Genex Ally Birdman if you do this, but it is a fair trade for rendering any copies of Leeching the Light they side in worthless. Tech Genus is also known to have a good Plant matchup, so that is an added bonus. My biggest concern with this is you are siding out of one of the best Thunder King Rai-Oh outs (Venus) and siding into a deck that struggles with Thunder King Rai-Oh more than Agents do. Leeching the Light is much more difficult to deal with than Thunder King is in my opinion, so you have to pick your poison on this one.

Conversion Side #2: Stun
Robert Boyajian won YCS Indianapolis because he sided into Stun, rendering the cards his opponents would be siding in against his Plant deck useless. While siding into Stun probably won't make Leeching the Light worthless (Rai-Oh is a LIGHT), it definitely helps. You can also turn all the copies of C and Effect Veiler that they will almost certainly leave in against Agents dead draws. I believe an effective Agent Stun Side would probably look something like this:

2 Breaker the Magical Warrior
2 Cyber Dragon / Spirit Reaper
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo
2 King Tiger Wanghu
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
2 Mind Crush
1 Smashing Ground / Starlight Road

I would very much like to include Doomcaliber Knight in this Side Deck, but if they are going to be keeping in C and Veiler you just cannot risk it in my opinion. The goal is to side out your Agent cards while they bring in Leeching the Lights alongside Veiler / C, at which point you will probably win because your opponent will be continuously drawing dead cards.

Those are the main 2 ideas I have considered, but obviously there are others, these just seem like the 2 most realistic versions. Most other Sides would require you drastically alter your Extra Deck (the T.G. one could cause some Extra Deck issues but those seem workable), which you cannot really afford to do without weakening your deck too much Game 1.

There are a few other non-Agent related things I would like to touch on. The first was the rebirth of Scapegoat, a card that had basically vanished from existence for multiple formats in a row. Scapegoat is once again a very good card in decks like Plants, baiting S/T removal nice while giving you 4 Level 1 monsters to Synchro with. Decks like Agents should not run it for obvious reasons, but Plants make very nice use of Scapegoats and I see no reason you would not use it in Plants going forward.

Lastly I want to touch on what I am sure what will be a very hot topic; the lack of diversity in the Top 32 at Toronto. During the past year that Heavy Storm has been forbidden we have endured very diverse formats. Heavy Storm was moved back to 1, and Agents and Plants essentially dominated YCS Toronto. A few other decks did well, but Agents and Plants combined to take up over 20 of the 32 spots alone. I believe a lot of the diversity had to with Heavy Storm being forbidden. With Storm back in the picture, rogue decks that rely on their backrow are simply not good enough to hang with Agents and Plants. Hopefully Konami does not read this and agree with me or Storm might get banned again, because I believe less diverse formats are probably healthier for the game the way it is currently designed. In a perfect format we could have multiple Tier 1 decks without harming the overall quality of the format, but the way Konami has gone about designing the card pool I no longer believe this is a realistic goal. Going to a 10 Round event and having to be worried about playing 8 different decks is just not an enjoyable experience when 7 of those decks are probably not capable of actually winning the event, but can beat you if they draw the right hand or just have a great matchup with whatever you chose to run. I'm not saying this can't happen anymore, but with Storm and 3 Mystical Space Typhoon legal your deck needs firepower to compete and only 2 decks have stuck out from the pack in that department so far.

So in conclusion, I believe Toronto was very good event. For the first time in a while we have a format that is borderline good in my opinion, and no longer do we have to worry about siding for 6 different matchups when you may not even play against 3 of them. There are currently 2 decks worth playing, and if you win your Rounds you are almost certainly going to be playing against them. Enjoy the next month while it lasts!

P.S. - I would also like to give a special shout out to everybody from DGz who topped Toronto. Too many names to list without fear of missing someone but you know if you were one of them.

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