Monday, April 30, 2012

YCS Chicago: Aftermath and Analysis

This past weekend, YCS Chicago took place, with a final count of 1170 players in attendance, which seems about right nowadays.
The most important facts about this event were that this was the first premier level event to take place after the TCG priority rule change several days ago, and it would be the last event to take place before the release of Galactic Overlord in early May, with GAOV Sneak Peeks taking place all over the country that very same weekend.
The TCG priority rule change is certainly an interesting issue. It became effective immediately upon it's release, generally leaving players with insufficient time for testing heading into this particular YCS. What would then be the 'best' deck for this particular event? Should one switch decks in light of this rule? If so, to what?
Will you still play with me? :3 Please?

Konami's coverage was even worse than usual, as there weren't any Top Cut pairings nor information on the final standings prior to the Top Cut. However, courtesy of DGz's Sixxy , all the players and decks of the Top 32 have been accounted for:

As we can see, the deck breakdown was as follows
9x Dino Rabbit
9x Chaos Dragons
8x Inzektors
2x Wind-Ups
2x HEROes
1x Gravekeepers
1x Chain Burn

With the loss of ignition-effect priority, the playing field has evidently been leveled to some degree, with no deck occupying a relatively significantly greater number of seats than the others. I had expected that more HERO decks, and several Dark World decks, would have made the Top Cut, given that they are completely unaffected by the priority rule change, but that was not the case.
Funnily enough, while both Dino Rabbit and Chaos Dragons would in theory be adversely affected by the priority rule change, they were still able to combine to take up more than half of the Top 32 spots. No priority, no problem, evidently. Inzektors were also completely unaffected by the priority rule change,  but the Wind Up deck took a massive hit, as their Wind-Up Hunter and Wind-Up Zenmaity's could be destroyed before their controller had the opportunity to activate their effects. Reflecting this, there were only 2 Wind-Up decks that managed to top, a lower count when compared to previous YCS events.
To my surprise, a Gravekeeper deck managed to top as well. Royal Tribute is still a broken card, obviously, but the deck had more or less disappeared off the competitive scene for the past little while, raking in a Top here and there at the very most. I hadn't expected that to happen, but as always, it's kewl that some rogue strategies were able to represent themselves.

The Top 8
4x Inzektors
2x Dino Rabbit
2x Dragons
Would the Bugs finally be able to secure a 1st place finish? Going by a numbers game, it would appear that the insectoid critters had the advantage. However, it was not to be!

The Finals
In a Dino Rabbit mirror match, Canada's Aaron Noel was able to beat out Danny Nunnally to become the winner of YCS Chicago. Coincidentally, the winner of 2010's YCS Chicago, Omar Beldon, is also a Canadian.
After the deck failed to win the first several North American YCS events after its conception, the Dino Rabbit has managed to win 2 events in a row, also winning last week's YCS Atlanta. Even with the adverse effects that the priority rule change has on the deck, 3 Rabbits, 3 Little Girls, 6 normal monsters, and Walking Solemn Judgments and Walking Divine Wraths are still too good!

Other Thoughts

Shocking, isn't it? (Or maybe not!) Decks that were expected to get worse as a result of the priority rule change (Dino Rabbit, Chaos Dragons) ended up accounting for over half of the Top Cut, while decks that were expected to become better via other decks becoming worse (HEROes, Dark World) instead failed to seize the opportunity to dominate.

There's only 1 more YCS (Philadelphia) to go before this year's North American World Championship Qualifier in June, where we'll see the impact that Galactic Overlord will have on the meta. Card Car D, of course, is expected to affect the game, boosting up decks that can take advantage of it, like burn and Final Countdown for example. After all, it's not a fit for every deck, especially when there are other things you'd rather use your precious normal summon on.
Hieratics too, could very well make a splash, though as a combo-oriented / special-summon spam deck, it could potentially suffer the same fate as Wind-Ups, being good enough to compete, but not good enough to go all the way and win a YCS.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Locals Report 04/26/2012: Seeking refuge in the Photon Sanctuary

This was the first locals tournament I participated in after the loss of ignition effect priority in the TCG the day before. Additionally, it was the first locals tournament I played in after several weeks of not doing so due to school.
I also ended up missing the Regionals in my area on April 22nd, as I was out of town lol. For what it's worth, the Top 8 had
3x Dino Rabbit
3x Chaos Dragons
1x Inzektors
1x Chain Burn

Heading into this tournament, I was going to play either Toy Story, or Photon Sanctuary.dek, the latter of which was a slightly modified version of the deck originally posted by DGz's Carbon / Pojo's David'. After I was able to pick up the Cyber Valleys I was missing, the choice was clear.

Round 1: LFN (Photon Sanctuary) vs Max (Lightsworn)
I lose the dice roll
G1: My Life Points were chipped away until I could no longer pay for Solemn Warning, and I was destroyed by the last card in his hand, a Celestia
G2: Retribution! Light and Darkness Dragon reigns supreme
G3: We go into time right after we drew our hands. He gets 4 names in grave on his 2nd turn and drops Judgment Dragon on me, which I clearly did not have any outs for. No priority? No problem!
Result: XOX
Not a good start lol

Round 2: LFN (Photon Sanctuary) vs BYE
The swiftest of victories! A decisive win, for sure.
Result: O

Round 3: LFN (Photon Sanctuary) vs Jay (Fabled)
I win the dice roll
G1: I OTK him with Tragoedia, Light and Darkness Dragon, and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Broken.
G2: He combo's off and I didn't have Maxx "C", but it didn't matter, as his Ancient Sacred Wyvern OTK failed due to interference from a timely Gorz. Even then, he dropped Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Broken on me on his following turn and I had to scoop it up
G3: I poked him with Spirit Reaper a couple times, and was able to stymie all his plays to win in the name of great justice
Result: OXO

Round 4: LFN (Photon Sanctuary) vs Kos.3vil (Twilight)
I win the dice roll
G1: We go back and forth, simplifying the game state, until it was safe for me to drop LADD and cruise to victory
G2: I fail to draw outs to his Judgment Dragon and I get destroyed
G3: Card Trooper + Machine Duplication is too good! I was able to whittle down his cards and Life Points to take it
Result: OXO

Final Round: LFN (Photon Sanctuary) vs Avi (Dark World)
I lose the dice roll
G1: He didn't know how his own Skill Drain worked, so he never detached a fiend from his Leviathan Dragon as an activation cost, in order to fuel his Gates. I stalled with Cyber Valleys, which can still banish themselves while under Drain to draw and end the battle phase, until I drew into Heavy Storm and Dark Hole.
G2: He was unable to effectively deal with Light and Darkness Dragon, and was forced to burn cards to draw out negations.
Result: OO
Final result: 4-1

Due to my loss in Round 1, and the Bye in Round 2, my tiebreaks were horrendous, and I ended up placing 5th. The prize payout, of course, extended only to the Top 4 players, all of which were comprised of NEXUS members. Complete domination! D:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

R.I.P. TCG Priority

As brought up by DGz's "Dennis Frogman", Konami has very recently updated their site to include a "Fast Effect Timing" page, found here . From the info we are given, it would appear that the presence of 'priority' as we know it in the TCG to activate ignition effects no longer exists!
[also confirmed by Pojo's Kevin Tewart here]
[confirmed again on Konami's official strategy site here]

Effect Veiler go!

No priority? lolfuck
I find it interesting that this was implemented with only a few days to go before YCS Chicago lol...
Obviously, the Dino Rabbit deck is adversely affected by this change, as one can no longer pull off kewl plays like summoning Rabbit, using it's effect with priority, and chaining Torrential Tribute, not to mention resolving Rabbit's effect with ease in the 1st place, barring a Solemn Warning.
Red Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon loses priority to special a Dragon before you Torrential / Bottomless it? Judgment Dragon can't nuke your field upon summon? Chaos Sorcerer / Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Broken can no longer immediately banish your monster? Wind Up Hunter can get nuked before it drops a card from your hand?
Nice!
It will be interesting to see how this ends up affecting the Top Cut results at Chicago, to say the least, given how little preparation time players have to adjust.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Steelswarm Roach

Just some Theory-Oh for today, but with the rise in play of Chaos Dragons, it's possible that our once-hyped friend Steelswarm Roach (oh how the mighty have fallen!) can finally become somewhat relevant, and see some play again in the right deck.
Obviously it will still suck if it gets nuked by Ryko, or even worse, rammed into by Card Trooper, but with adequate protection it can halt an aspiring Chaos Dragon player's combos, given the mass amount of inherently-special summonable boss monsters the deck runs. Judging from the decklists of the Chaos Dragon decks that topped at YCS Toulouse and YCS Dallas, neither main-decked any Mystical Space Typhoons, meaning that their only viable backrow hate in the main deck consisted of Rykos and Lylas, the former of which is slow and predictable, and the latter of which can be stopped by commonly played stuff like Fiendish Chain / Book of Moon etc. Thus, the odds that Roach will be protected aren't all that bad.

Other than against Chaos Dragons, it's not like Roach doesn't have other applications towards other current meta deck(s).
In the Dark World matchup, it has the innate privilege of being a Fiend-type, meaning it would also get the 300 atk boost from their field spell card, bringing it up to 2200 atk. More importantly, it has the ability to negate 2 Grapha summons, which could result in up to an additional 2 turns for you to work with, provided that the opponent has only 1 Grapha in grave to revive per turn.
Obviously, it would also be extremely relevant in occasional matchups like X-Sabers, Machina, etc and other decks that conduct inherent special summons on a regular basis.

Honestly I don't even know how frequently I'll have a free extra deck space to accommodate this card (also depends on the deck I'm playing, if I'm unable to make rank 4's for example, there's no point), or if it would be better just to side Raioh (which admittedly, isn't very good right now). There's no harm in testing it of course, which, unfortunately, I haven't exactly much time for lately.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

YCS Toulouse & YCS Dallas: Aftermath & Analysis doubleheader


This past weekend (April 14/15), both YCS Toulouse and YCS Dallas (more on that below) took place, as players duked it out on their respective continents to become the next YCS champion.

YCS Toulouse 

This was the first YCS of the current format for the European continent, as Leipzig took place during the closing days of the previous one.
The event capped off at 435 participants, which wasn't all too bad, considering that European events typically have lower turnouts than their North American counterparts.
Konami's European coverage was again superb, there really isn't much for me to break down here
Overall deck breakdown

The Top Cut
Top 32 breakdown
From here, we can clearly see that the Top 32 Cut was comprised of:
14x Dino Rabbit
8x Inzektors
4x Wind Ups
2x HEROes
2x Dark World
1x Chaos Dragons
1x Twilight

Dino Rabbit continues to take up the most seats in the Top Cut, but that hasn't always translated to a win. It has in Europe, certainly, where Dino Rabbit, after its conception upon release of Rescue Rabbit back in Photon Shockwave, won both YCS Brighton and YCS Leipzig, but victory was elusive over on North American shores, where T.G. took YCS Atlanta, and Dark World took YCS Long Beach.

It's also worth mentioning that Noel Garde, running Dark Worlds, was undefeated after Swiss rounds concluded lol < arrogant Grapha brag goes here lol >
In all honesty, I'm not too familiar with Europe's finest players, as from this particular Top Cut, aside from notable players like Gross, Togores, Garde, Quinsee, He, and Mitchell, I have little information on the past track records of the other players, in regards to how consistently they top events, etc. Bruun was labeled as one of Sweden's best players by Konami in one of his feature matches though, which should probably mean something.

Aside from that, the Top 32 decklists are already out! *spoilers*

The Top 16
6x Dino Rabbit
4x Wind Ups
3x Inzektors
1x HEROes
1x Dark World
1x Chaos Dragons

At this point, all the Wind Up players were able to carry over from the Top 32, as did the lone Chaos Dragon deck; all other represented decks took a hit. At this point, the lone remaining HERO deck, a "BubbleBeat" variant piloted by Rodrigo Togores, was eliminated, and failed to advance to the Top 8.

The Top 8
3x Wind Ups
2x Inzektors
1x Dino Rabbit
1x Dark World
1x Chaos Dragons
Only 1 Dino Rabbit deck remained, after taking up the most seats in the Top 32. What a reversal! The Wind Up players also showed surprising resilience, losing only 1of their number while the other 3 advanced.

The Top 4
1x Inzektors
1x Wind Ups
1x Dino Rabbit
1x Chaos Dragons
After both Dark Worlds and HEROes were eliminated to reduce the Big 5 to the Big 3, one of each was left from the other 3 Top Tier decks remained, alongside the rogue Chaos Dragon strategy.

The Finals
Peter Gross was able to emerge victorious, piloting Chaos Dragons, to defeat Bruun and his Dino Rabbit deck! Can we come to expect a victory speech from uhh... Lightpulsar Dragon soon?
BAHAHAHA!! /rawr

Other Thoughts
With Chaos Dragons coming out on top not long after Dark World took YCS Long Beach, clearly, this goes to show the power of Structure Decks!! Aside from Dragunities, all the Structure Decks starting with the release of the Machina Gadget deck have consistently done well at the premiere event level. Hopefully that upcoming Water-themed structure deck set for release in the OCG later this year (and subsequently the TCG, of course) will return Water decks to the competitive forefront after the deaths of Frog FTK and Water Synchro, and the decline in popularity of Frog Monarchs. However, I'd rather it not continue in the footsteps of its predecessors and release an abusable boss monster D: (Lightpulsar isn't so bad, compared to something like Master Hyperion).

Interestingly enough, Gross' winning Chaos Dragon deck did NOT play Future Fusion. While it's a crazy set up card, I can see why he may have opted not to run it, as drawing it mid to late game, after his grave has already been set up by mills, etc, wouldn't really be optimal. Instead, he ran a ton of draw/mill power, and maxed out his boss monsters lol.

Newly-inducted United Gosus member, and winner of both YCS Leipzig and YCS Paris, Stephan Sluis, was disqualified from the main event, allegedly just for having Gold-rare copies of Mystical Space Typhoon and Heavy Storm in his deck. The story from his point of view, as posted on United Gosus' site, states that the judge felt that Gold rares have a slight natural bend to them, and subsequently, Sluis was apparently disqualified without being offered the chance to swap out the Gold rares for a different rarity.
Not that I use Gold rares, but this could very well set a precedent, and could make players apprehensive about acquiring the new Gold rares from Gold Series 5, coming out in a few months D: ... why should anyone get them if they're apparently meant only for collection purposes and not for competitive play? An even better question would be why Konami would sell product that, based on this case, aren't allowed for tournament use, without properly advertising them as such?

*UPDATE*
more information has been released on this matter, and apparently Sluis played his cards often enough that the cards in question became slightly curved, leading to the decision that they were marked cards. A disqualification is still somewhat excessive, given that he was denied the opportunity to swap out for different rarities, but it is what it is

It was already hinted at on certain forums, but finally brought to the light of day, as Submersible Carrier Aero Shark, yes, that $1 super rare from GENF, made its competitive debut! It was used primarily in decks that could pump out Rank 3 monsters to serve as an easy out to Gellenduo, which self-destructs upon its controller taking damage. I suppose it can also be relevant when going into time lol ;)

Skimming over the sidedecks, there weren't a whole lot of other cards that caught my eye as an "aha!" kind of pick, aside from 2 things.

  1.  There was an Inzektor deck that sided Armor Blast, another $1 super rare, which I surmise was used to nuke opposing Shadow-Imprisoning Mirrors / Macro Cosmos / Skill Drains. It's nowhere near as versatile as more conventional spells like MST, but it's still pretty smart IMO
  2.  Another Inzektor deck transition-sided into the Rescue Rabbit monster lineup! He brought in 3 Rescue Rabbits, 3 Sabersaurus, 3 Kabazauls, and 2 Jurrac Guaibas, rounding out the rest of the sidedeck with a pair of Snowman Eaters and a pair of Macros Cosmos

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

YCS Dallas


Meanwhile, several timezones away, YCS Dallas took place the very same weekend.
With over 1100 participants, this was probably going to be a good followup to the previous American YCS, being Long Beach. After Dark World / Grapha's Army was victorious a few weeks ago, would they be able to win again, now that more people were prepared for them? Would Wind-Ups finally Brake/break through (Billy Brake /badjoke) and win a YCS? Would the eventual victors be the Inzektors, touted by consistent players like Alistar Albans to be the best deck for this particular event? Despite having a bad Dark World matchup, yet faring well against Dino Rabbit, would HEROes be able maintain their foothold in the meta?

The Top 32
I missed the T32 post that Konami posted up, and subsequently took down. As such, I've put together a list based on a picture of the final standings after Swiss rounds concluded, hence, the decks are ranked not by type, but by the sequence the players finished in.
Help me fill in the blanks!

According to his posts on a certain forum, Alistar Albans managed to finish a whopping 21-2 in games played, over the course of the swiss rounds, using Inzektors, losing only to the undefeated Nizar Sarhan, using Dino Rabbit. Other notable players to Top included Nagel, Hentz, Giorlando, Keys, and Smith, while others like Hoban, Brake, and Boyajian bubbled out.

The Top 16
6x Dino Rabbit
4x Inzektors
2x Wind Ups
2x HEROes
1x Chaos Dragon / Dragon Lightsworn
1x Chain Burn

Most of the rogue decks failed to advance to the Top 16, as the decks represented here, save for the Chaos Dragon and Chain burn decks, were all mainstream.

The Top 8
4x Dino Rabbit
2x Inzektors
1x HERO
1x Chaos Dragon / Dragon Lightsworn

The Top 4
2x Dino Rabbit
1x HERO
1x Chaos Dragon / Dragon Lightsworn


Chaos Dragon strikes again! Still alive!

The Finals
Nizar Sarhan, with Dino Rabbit, ended up facing Alexander Reed, with Chaos Dragons, in a matchup that mirrored that of the Finals of YCS Toulouse, though Reed's build focused more heavily on the Lightsworn aspect in comparison to Gross' build, as it was able to incorporate enough 'names' needed to also throw in a copy of Judgment Dragon. The end result was the opposite of that of Toulouse though, as Dino Rabbit emerged victorious. Coincidentally, Nizar also won last year's YCS Dallas lol. Reading over his feature matches though, he sometimes opened up with some of the best hands one could hope for (double RabbitRabbit + Tour Guide + Heavy Storm, etc), call it luck or call it skill (lolbutit'sDinoRabbit), but either way, congratulations to him for repeating as the champion of YCS Dallas.
Revenge for YCS Toulouse!

Other Thoughts
Dino Rabbit has finally won a YCS on North American soil, after failing to do so for the past several events. Until more decklists get posted up on Youtube, or all of the Topping decklists all at once by Konami's American coverage team (if ever), it's difficult to see if there were any surprise techs that ended up contributing to any particular player's success.

Overall though, the biggest impact on the meta after the conclusion of YCS Dallas, and YCS Toulouse hours earlier, was the introduction of Chaos Dragons (and variants), as a legitimate contender. While one may presume a surprise top to be a fluke, it probably means something when there were 2 separate occurrences within 24 hours of each other. Given the low number of such decks that topped though, I'm not yet ready to mark it as a clear-cut Tier 1 deck. It certainly has proved that it can hold it's own, and once more information is released, statistics could prove that despite winning in Toulouse but losing in the finals in Dallas, it could very well be seen as the 'dark horse' of the weekend, the sleeper deck that was in actuality one of the best decks to play for either event. Much like how Dark Worlds caught a lot of people off guard at YCS Long Beach (including yours truly QQ), I would expect that a lot of people weren't even completely sure of how the Chaos Dragon decks function. I may just be speaking for myself, but every time I faced someone using this kind of deck, I still had to read each of the new dragon cards carefully lol. Clearly, this deck can no longer be regarded as an afterthought, that is, as just some random structure deck theme, given it's ability to sack the shit out of you and/or drop a ton of boss monsters in one turn. Definitely a potential threat.

The meta is honestly pretty stable as-is, and I would expect it to stay that way, up to and including YCS Chicago later this month. It's not like any particular deck suddenly died off as a result of Chaos Dragons making an appearance, so I would expect that people will merely fix up their main decks / side decks to accommodate some hate for this matchup. Maybe something like Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer , despite not being really useful against any top tier strategy (ok fine, there are a couple extremely niche uses, like you can't banish for Gate's eff when using Dark World, or for Miracle Fusion when using HEROes) will see play again lolol

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trending Techs (post YCS Long Beach // pre-Galactic Overlord)

With YCS Toulouse and YCS Dallas both taking place this upcoming weekend, here are some tech cards that are increasing in popularity, decreasing in popularity, or have the potential to do well, though whether they live up to that potential or not remains to be seen.
Aside from the discussions revolving around Gellenduo, the obvious most popular tech card at the moment (resulting in a significant jump in price for all rarities), there are several other (mostly sidedeck) tech choices that I feel should also receive more recognition.

Trending Up

Forbidden Chalice
After it saw some play at YCS Long Beach (including myself), it's price has spiked, rising up to $15-$20 a copy depending on rarity. Even then, I don't think there are as many people siding this card as there should be, given its versatility in either negating troublesome effects (Snowman Eater, Gellenduo, Spirit Reaper, Evolzar Laggia, Evolzar Dolkka, etc) or beefing up your own monsters.
Depending on the deck, this could potentially be main-deck worthy as well.



Smashing Ground
One for one removal has never really been bad. Currently, given the significant amount of 'stall' based monsters in most players side decks, Smashing has become a hot commodity. Forcing a Laggia negation or outright destroying Dolkka isn't bad either, though one has to be wary of Forbidden Lance.






Bottomless Trap Hole
Prior to YCS Long Beach, the only meta deck this was somewhat effective against was Dino Rabbit when going 1st, as you could set this in anticipation of a Rescue Rabbit into double Sabersaurus / Kabazauls drop. However, now that HEROes and Dark World have become relevant and popular, I feel that Bottomless has been given the opportunity to shine again. Banishing an Elemental HERO The Shining or Grapha dragon lord of Dark World can be game-breaking.




Macro Cosmos
One card which I feel is severely underused at the moment (I'm guilty of this myself) is Macro Cosmos. With the increased popularity of Dark World, in addition to the top tier status of Inzektors, this would seem like a good pick as a 1 or 2-of, sided in the right deck. Granted, we have 3 MST's and Heavy Storm running around, but it's not like that has stopped anyone from siding in Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror's either.
Against Dark World, upon banishing all their monsters, they really don't have a whole lot left going for them, as their discarded monsters won't retain their effects, and the Dark World player won't be able to continuously revive Grapha turn after turn.
Against Inzektors, while this obviously stops the effects of the Inzektor monsters themselves from going off, it's worth mentioning that Inzektor Sword Zektkaliber must also be sent to the graveyard in order to retain its retrieval effect.

Royal Decree
Much like Macro Cosmos, this isn't a fit for every deck. Problems dealing with heavy backrow? Why not Royal Decree? This card is especially useful in Inzektors, as it allows the Inzektor player's dragonflies and centipedes to resolve their effects unobstructed for the most part, save for instances where the opponent happens to have D.D. Crow or Effect Veiler in hand.





Trending Down


Maxx "C"
Given its ineffectiveness against Dark Worlds, HEROes, and Inzektors (aside from the Gigamantis loop), as well as it's already established mediocrity against Dino Rabbit, it's no wonder that its price has begun to dip slightly as of late.
It's still great against Wind-Ups, but some Wind Up players have already been adjusting their builds to minimize the disruption that an opponent's Maxx "C" could inflict, simultaneously removing cards that are weak against Dino Rabbit, one of the more unfavorable matchups.



Fiendish Chain
While absolutely amazing against Inzektors, Dino Rabbit, and Wind-Ups, this card is garbage against conventional HERO and Dark World decks. Grapha itself is more or less unaffected, as it can be tributed off for a virus, and it's a floater anyway. Similarly, never mind that Fiendish Chain doesn't affect Neos Alius, there really isn't much of a point in hitting The Shining or Absolute Zero with it either, unless it's to protect your LP, as both will still retain their effects upon being destroyed (assuming that The Shining will not miss the timing when the chain links resolve). Subsequently, it's probably not a good idea to max out on this card.


Wild Card (pun intended)


Prohibition
Some people like this card, some don't (I do). It's restrictive in that it only hits one card, but it's current status as being low-key and unexpected is what allows it to shine IMO. This can really lay the hurt on decks that rely heavily on a particular card.
Personally, when piloting decks where I can't side in Shadow Imprisoning Mirror, I side this in for Inzektors, declaring Inzektor Hornet. Similarly, I would declare Grapha in the Dark World matchup; it can still be discarded if there isn't any choice in the matter, but it's effect will fizzle and it obviously can't be summoned, the latter point being something that Shadow Imprisoning Mirror fails to cover.

Compulsory Evacuation Device
This card isn't exactly  the greatest at the moment, but it's another easy out to the Elemental HERO fusion monsters as well as problem monsters like Wind Up Zenmaines. A generic disruption card, there isn't much to say about it. Much like Prohibition, it's fairly low-key, and can easily catch people by surprise.






Sunday, April 8, 2012

Locals Report 04/08/2012 : Bubble Beat vs Grapha's Army

After returning from the YCS, I've barely done anything Ygo-related, hence the apparent neglect of this blog lol. I didn't show up to locals at all, and the few games I played on DN were for the most part using a non-Tier deck, which plays a bunch of draw cards but compensates by having to run shitty monsters lol. It's hilarious to play, but has to sack hard in order to pull off a win against Tier decks.

Regardless, I opted to take a break from studying to venture out to the Sunday locals in the area. In all honesty, I hadn't intended on playing again until next month, so I had already lent out my Little Girls to my friend for the time being. As such, Pedo HEROes was no longer an option, so I slapped together a Bubble Beat deck and went to reignite the burning soul of a duelist!

Upon arriving, I got in 2 games using that non-Tier deck, which is the modified TCG-legal version of the Space Gift Turbo deck originally conceived by DGz's Byakk, against standard Hero Beat. I drew a ton of cards but got slaughtered since I was unable to deal with the onslaught of removal and big monsters. It was funny nonetheless.

On an unrelated note, I received news that the fellow duelist Shark Hat, the king of all Shark Hats, had indeed been assimilated into the NEXUS!! Somewhere in the nether regions of some vast ocean lies The Kingdom of Shark Hats, where the citizen Shark Hats had blissfully lived their days in peace, free of NEXUS influence. No more!!

Round 1: LFN (Bubble Beat) vs Nelson (Dark World)
Bad matchup time! Battle the forces of Darkness!
I win the dice roll
G1: This game was somewhat back and forth, but Blade Armor Ninja gets in there for the OTK
G2: He OTK's me in turn, with multiple TOO MANY Graphas
G3: We eventually go into time, where he becomes unable to close the gap between our LP, as we both had massive backrows to contend with.
Result: OXO

The HEROes of great justice have defeated Grapha's army!!












Round 2: LFN (Bubble Beat) vs Lucas (Ninja)
I lose the dice roll
G1: The Blade Armor OTK + The Shining wins it for me
G2: My attempts to Miracle Fusion for something strong were stymied by Solemn Warnings and his Super Transformations, and he subsequently beat me down with a pair of Light Pulsar Dragons
G3: We go into time, so I go super aggressive and open up a 5000+ LP gap, which he could not deal with, given the few cards he had left
Result: OXO

Round 3: LFN (Bubble Beat) vs NEXUS-Jack (Dino Rabbit)
I win the dice roll
G1: My opening hand had 2 monsters, some defensive card, and 2 E-Emergency Calls!! I drew into Reinforcement of the Army!!  I had to bluff by setting the E-Calls :(
LFN used Deceit!
It failed!
NEXUS-Jack obviously didn't bite, so I was left with no choice but to thin my deck, searching the HEROes. All the HEROes!! Then I eventually lost because I had too many monsters, none of which could deal with his Laggias
G2: The turning point came when I used Starlight Road on his Torrential. He Solemn'ed, and I Solemn'ed back for great justice
G3: I had a banished Stratos while he was at 7200 with multiple cards in hand but only 1 backrow, so I OTK'ed with Blade Armor Ninja (4400) and The Shining (3500), as I had Solemn set to negate his backrow, which was Dimensional Prison. He acknowledged afterwards that he should have set his 2nd in-hand DPrison, which would have helped immensely
Result: XOO

Round 4: LFN (Bubble Beat) vs James Z (Dark World)
Bad matchup time! Battle the forces of Darkness! Again!!
I lose the dice roll
G1: He nets a ridiculous amount of advantage and obliterates me
G2: He had 2 set monsters, one of which I feared to be Morphing Jar. After readying myself, I attacked both of them. They were both Marshmallons! D:
We go into time lol, and he again nets a ton of advantage to slaughter me. No Miracle Fusions the whole game is quite gg
Result: XX

The HEROes of Justice have been consumed by Grapha's Army! The Forces of Darkness have claimed victory!!












Round 5: LFN (Bubble Beat) vs Chai Guo Jia (Chaos Dragons)
Of the 3 x-0 / x-1's, I was the one who was paired down. Chai is a nice guy but I must achieve victory!
I win the dice roll
G1: He opens with Future Fusion! Ahhhh!!!!!
G2: It was a pretty even game until he drew Future Fusion! Ahhhhh!!! He dumped enough dragons so that he had 4 darks, with Dark Armed Dragon subsequently banished by one of the dumped Eclipse Wyvern's effect. He then banished one of those darks, along with a Wyvern, for Light Pulsar Dragon, allowing him to retrieve Dark Armed Dragon. He summoned it and it proceeded to shit on my field, letting him freely activate Monster Reborn to revive his Red Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon, which in turn revived some other beefy Dragon.
I reeled and confirmed with him that upon drawing Future Fusion, he did all this in one turn. He was like Yea I did all this in one turn lol
Result: XX
He knew I had the better tiebreaks though, so gave me the win. An unexpected surprise! He tells me that he'll be going back to Malaysia for good once his studies conclude in a month or so, so there wasn't really a point in taking the win, never mind that as an x-2, his chances of topping were already 0. His soul of a duelist was burning, yet he wasn't even sure if he would be attending any of the local tournaments here ever again, so I signed one of his Spores. NEXUS-Shark Hat and NEXUS-Jack each signed one as well, the latter ensuring that the label "NEXUS" was prominently displayed lol
Result: OO
Final Result: 4-1

I end up placing 3rd, so Chai's sacrifice was not in vain! However, I failed to pull anything substantial out of my 3 Ra Yellow prize packs lol.
Overall, there were a few issues I had with my side deck, as I was too lazy to modify the side for Pedo-HEROes, but as a whole I think the deck's ok. I'm on the fence about Photon Thrasher, as there wasn't really a situation where he was great, but there wasn't one where he was Photon Trash either.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

YCS Long Beach & YCS Lima: Aftermath & Analysis Doubleheader

In all honesty, this post would normally have been up a week ago, delayed due to circumstances beyond my control (school, lack of information), as well as circumstances entirely within my control (lack of motivation D:).
I guess it's kind of hard to put things into perspective on a larger scale upon actually attending the event.

In summary, this was THE biggest TCG event ever, capping off at 4365 players (though there were probably numerous participants who entered more than once to get more Tour Bus participation mats lol).
There were a good number of European duelists who made the trek to participate, most of which were apparently from the UK region. Even PJ Tierney (whom I had the pleasure of meeting), who normally works Konami's European event coverage, made the trip to provide stellar coverage, though his focus was mostly on his fellow Europeans.

The Top 64
-complete information is not yet available at this time-
While exact statistics aren't available yet, it is known that there were a good number of rogue decks to complement the 'big 3' (Dino Rabbit / Wind Ups / Inzektors) decks that topped. These rogue decks ranged anywhere from "you can kind of see it happening" decks like Skill Drain HEROes, Dark World, Piper Chaos, to really unconventional picks like Malefics and Chain Burn.
As for the 'pro' player aspect, there were quite a few reputable players that topped, namely Jake & Luke Quinsee (Europe), Ali Yassine, Wilson Tsang, Joe Bogli, Joe Giorlando, Barrett Keys, Michael Lux, and Cesar Gonzalez, with others like Robert Boyajian, Patrick Hoban, Billy Brake, Hector Heras, Agustin Herrera, and the 2010 world champion Galileo De Obaldia losing on the bubble.

The Top 16
At this point, the Top 16 breakdown was as follows:
7x Dino Rabbit
2x Wind Ups
2x Skill Drain HEROes
1x Wind Up Beasts / Beastdown
1x Chain Burn
1x Dark World
1x Inzektors
1x Piper Chaos
Dino Rabbit was still going strong at this point, as it is, after all, pretty much the best deck, though there were a couple mirror matches held at this point, which helped to whittle down their numbers. Almost half of the playing field consisted of rogue decks though, which I found to be both unexpected and expected at the same time (lolwut contradiction). Unexpected due to the dominance of the 'big 3' decks thus far, and expected due to the presence of 4300+ players, most of which probably weren't piloting Tier 1 decks.

The Top 8
The Top 8 Cut was as follows:
3x Dino Rabbit
1x Piper Chaos
1x Skill Drain HEROes
1x Inzektors
1x Dark World
1x Wind Up Beasts / Beastdown
By this time, the lone Chain Burn deck had already been eliminated, as were the more conventional Wind Up decks. It was during the Top 8 that the unconventional Wind Up Beast / Beastdown would be ousted, losing to Skill Drain HEROes. Similarly, the lone Inzektor deck to make it this far was defeated by the Dark World deck.

The Top 4
1x Dino Rabbit
1x Dark World
1x Skill Drain HEROes
1x Piper Chaos
Diversity at it's finest, evidently. Only 1 Tier 1 deck was left at this point in Dino Rabbit, with the other 3 being rogue decks. At this point, the Piper Chaos and Skill Drain HERO decks were eliminated, leading to a final confrontation between Dark World and Dino Rabbit.

The Finals
Michael Balan (Duelistgroundz's own DDSpade), playing Dark World, was able to defeat Simon He (a member of the elite international team United Gosus), playing Dino Rabbit, to become the champion of YCS Long Beach. Granted, Simon He did draw quite poorly, especially in the 2nd game, as was shown in the feature match, but it is what it is. Grapha's Army was victorious at last, after the deck continually failed to achieve decent results prior to YCS Long Beach. It topped here and there, but there wasn't anything consistent nor severely substantial, so this victory will hopefully help to dispel that 'underachiever' tag that the deck seems to have had (no more!).

Other Thoughts
The emergence of both Skill Drain HEROes and Dark World is interesting in that both are / can be relatively budget decks to pick up. In Dark World's case, all you really need are 3 structure decks and some miscellaneous cards, while the entirety of the Skill Drain HERO main deck (at least the one piloted by Joe Giorlando to a Top 4 finish) is available as commons, rares, and cheap holofoils. The HERO extra deck is also pretty cheap, now that The Shining has been reprinted, though the sidedeck can immediately surpass the main deck in value should one include copies of Maxx "C".
Both decks presented a problem for the established meta decks through the use of Skill Drain, which shut down Inzektor, Wind Up, Tour Guide, and Dolkka plays. Dino Rabbit was also challenged by the ease with which Dark World and HEROes could churn out big beatsticks, something they could struggle to deal with, given that the strongest monster they could pump out has 2500 atk (or 2700, if the build mains a copy of Gorz).
It's worth noting though, that HERO decks generally struggle against Dark World decks, due to the continual recursion of a 2700 beatstick, as well as the hand control aspect, which can pick apart a HERO players combos. An Elemental HERO Neos Alius on its own, after all, isn't particularly threatening.

This event wasn't without controversy though. There have been numerous allegations that Gabriel Perez (w/ Piper Chaos) was rule-sharking / cheating or otherwise engaging in other unsavory conduct. I don't think that these accusations stemmed from saltiness nor poor sportsmanship either, as testimonies have come in from spectators in addition to some of his opponents [ sourced from tournament reports on DGZ ]. While I would like to hope that this isn't the case, given that this was the largest and most prestigious YCS event to date, it probably means something when multiple people are giving 1st hand accounts saying the same thing.

Overall though, while there wasn't an apparent meta shift save for the emergence of several previously Tier 2 strategies, there was an increase in tech cards used. Most notable was Gellenduo, though Forbidden Chalice also deserves an honorable mention. Gellenduo was instrumental in walling out Simon He in the Finals, while Chalice played a more low-key role in player's sidedecks, as it was used to neuter cards like Snowman Eater and the aforementioned Gellenduo. With an imminent increase in popularity of Dark World and HERO decks as a result of their success at YCS Long Beach, I can think of a couple more tech/underrated cards that could subsequently see more play, though they're based purely on theory and/or logic. [ more on that in a future post ]
Conversely, there was a decline in usage of supposedly popular cards. Jurrac Guiaba, the killer of Wind Ups and Inzektors, is a liability in the mirror match. As such, some players, including the 2nd place finisher Simon He, opted to cut it out entirely in favor of mained copies of Snowman Eater instead.
Maxx "C", thought to be a staple for the past 6 months or so, also took a dip in popularity. I personally can testify that I sided out all my hand traps, save for Honest because I was playing HEROes, when facing Dino Rabbit. Maxx "C" really is good primarily for the Wind Up matchup, as well as special-summon heavy rogue decks like Dragunities etc. It's mediocre against Dino Rabbit, as the +1 you'll net from it will be offset by the -1 you'll likely have to incur to get rid of an Evolzar Laggia, and it's atrocious against Inzektors unless they decide to perform the Gigamantis loop for the OTK. Post-YCS Long Beach, one can also see that it's not very good against both Dark World and HEROes, as it's a 1 for 1 trade-off at best.

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Just one week after YCS Long Beach, YCS Lima, Peru took place on the weekend of March 31st / April 1st.

With a much lower turnout compared to most American YCS events, with apparently only 191 participants, the Top Cut cutoff was only to the Top 16 players at the event. This was a complete 180 turnaround from YCS Long Beach, which had around 4365 players in attendance. Location, of course, plays a role in overall participation, and perhaps there were also some players who may have gone had YCS LB not have taken place just 1 week prior, as it could prove to be quite costly to attend 2 YCS events in such a short time frame.

Based on the limited information provided by Konami, the Top 16 breakdown was as follows:
7x Dino Rabbit
4x Wind Ups
3x Inzektors
1x Skill Drain HEROes
1x Six Samurai

Complete statistics from YCS LB's Top 64 have yet to be released at this time, but it appears that not a whole lot has changed, save for the inclusion of Skill Drain HEROes in the Top Cut to mirror its appearance in the Top 4 at YCS LB, and the complete absence of Dark World (failed bandwagoning?). Dino Rabbit is still the best of the 'big 3' decks, with Wind Ups and Inzektors jostling for 2nd respectively.

From there, the Top 8 became:
6x Dino Rabbit
1x Wind Ups
1x Six Samurai
All the Inzektors were eliminated by now, along with the lone Skill Drain HERO deck, while only 1 of the 7 Dino Rabbit decks similarly perished. Could the Last Samurai continue to persevere and advance further? (no)

...which further narrowed to the Top 4
3x Dino Rabbit
1x Wind Ups
Nothing new here, as Dino Rabbit continued its dominance. Unlike the Top 4 at YCS Long Beach, the Top 4 here at YCS Lima was comprised purely of meta decks.

The Finals
In the finals, Hector Delgado was able to 2-0 Jorge Garcia to become the champion of YCS Lima, in a Dino Rabbit mirror match. Gerardo Delgado, piloting Wind Ups, was able to beat Jonathan Ruiz, who was using Dino Rabbit, to take 3rd place. Dino Rabbit has now won it's 3rd YCS after the deck's inception, also  achieving victory at YCS Brighton and YCS Leipzig.

Other Thoughts
Despite the (comparatively) low turnout, I don't think that the results here should be discounted, as they do conform with the results garnered at other recent YCS events. I would expect the meta to stay put for the time being, at least until the release of Galactic Overlord in early May, barring some sort of surprise showing by yet another deck aspiring to go against the meta and win it all, emulating the successes of T.G. Stun at YCS Atlanta and Dark World at YCS LB.