Tuesday, March 26, 2013

YCS Austin: Aftermath & Analysis

This YCS, which took place on the weekend of March 23/24 in Austin, Texas, was the first YCS event of the new format, after YCS's Miami and Bochum closed out the previous one. Given that the banlist did little apart from neutering Wind Ups, the expected meta was sure to be filled with the remaining incumbent decks in Water, Fire Fists, and (a weakened) Dino Rabbit.

The Top Cut
< source courtesy of a certain competitive forum >

The Top 32
Water x 16
Fire Bros x 5
Dino Rabbit x 3
Karakuris x 2
Geargias x 2
Wind Up x 1
Electrum OTK x 1
Frog Monarch x 1
HEROes x 1

No surprises here, upon first glance. Again, Water, Fire Fists, and Dino Rabbit were the 3 favored decks heading into the event, with Water at the forefront. Fire Fists, perhaps due to its side-decking flexibility, was able to overcome its linearity and its current status as the deck that's more "fair" compared to Mermail, secured 5 spots as well. Dino Rabbit had lost Sangan, making it harder to access Rescue Evil Rabbit now, but it can still grind into Evolzars, and Macro Cosmos shuts down both Water and FF.

There's still some divide between players on whether to use the Mono Mermail version of the Water deck popularized by Jeff Jones and Billy Brake, or the more traditional Undine version. Both have their merits, with the Mono build being able to easily pump out Big Eye and Abyssgaios, and the Undine version offering consistent access to Dragoons as well as the power of Moulinglacia. Regardless, Waters as a whole took up 50% of the Top Cut, which is quite the impressive feat.

Wind Ups had been receiving some degree of attention due to a successful showing in an online tournament where 3 out of the 5 that entered made it to the Top 8 cut, but based on my experience (though I am no ygo master), while it it is adept at grinding out games and offers a variety of side-decking options, it usually needs to open decently well in order to stand a chance against even mediocre hands offered by more prominent decks. Like Wind-Up Rabbit and Factories, the heart and soul of the deck, can net you a ton of advantage over time, but that is meaningless if you don't draw sufficient protection and eat a ton of damage courtesy of Fire Fists / Water and subsequently fail to make it to the mid or late game.
Still, it did manage to secure 1 Top 32 spot in the capable hands of prominent European duelist Vincent Ralambomiadana.
I had pegged the deck as being the 'dark horse' of the event, if you will, due to the degenerate power offered by Volcasaurus + Gaia Dragon the Thunder Charger, but it's expected that the deck would lose a lot of popularity after the loss of the dreaded Magician + Shark combo, likely only being run by those dedicated enough to the deck.

Karakuris have also secured 2 slots at this event to complement the 1 at YCS Miami last month, and it finally appears that this deck is emerging out of the woodwork. I'm not particularly fond of it, but I can see why players would flock to it, like it just completely ignores what it's up against and churns out a bunch of beatsticks to attack for game (or control the board and attack for game the following turn). I think it definitely benefited from the lack of hand traps in most people's sidedecks after Wind Ups died off.

As we scroll down the list of topping decks however, a couple of anomalies are sure to catch a keen duelist's eye:
Electrum OTK, which has existed in the OCG for a while but hadn't really done much on the competitive forefront, managed to secure a top, piloted by reputable ygo dooler Robbie Boyajian, who had apparently also done extremely well with the same deck at a regional event a week or two prior. From what I can gather, the deck aims to spit out fusion after fusion after fusion via Fusion Gate / Chain Material for massive beatsticks, or alternatively loop Gustaph Max's for 2000 burn damage at a time. 
My expectation is that this won't cause any shift in the meta or whatnot, but at the same time I can see a lot of people on DN using this in singles games to get cheap and easy wins, as per the norm there.

Frog Monarchs. Wow. This deck hasn't been relevant in ages. I'm not quite sure how this deck managed to do as well as it did, but my guess is that Light and Darkness Dragon was the defining card. That, combined with how Water was the expected popular deck. Enemy Controller and Soul Exchange render AbyssGaios a joke, while Battle Fader can stop aggressive pushes.
However, I was quite surprised that the build played only 1 Mystical Space Typhoon, which in theory should be instrumental in getting rid of Tenki, Abyssphere, Fiendish Chain, and Macro Cosmos, all of which were sure to be decently popular cards. I have also read that the pilot apparently did not know the difference between a YCS and a regionals, and used toploaders to sleeve his Extra Deck, which can imply that he doesn't focus on competitive play, so I would probably take this breakout performance, as much as I like Frog Monarch, with a grain of salt.

The Top 16
Water x8
Fire Bros x1
Karakuri x1
Geargia x1
Wind Up x1
Dino rabbit x1
HEROes x1
Electrum OTK x1
Frog Monarch x1
Most of the rogue decks managed to stay in it, with half of the Water decks getting wiped out. Still, they managed to retain 50% of the Top 16 as well.

Eventually, it came down to a Fire Fist vs Water finals, with Water coming out on top to secure their 1st YCS win. All Hail Konami, etc

Other Thoughts

Getting the elephant in the room out of the way, the Water deck was finally able to win a YCS, after being denied victory at previous YCS events. Upon the release of Hidden Arsenal 7 though, it's highly likely that Water builds will revert to the Undine version. It is far less susceptible to being shut down by Ophion, and Undine on it's own serves as an instant out to it via dumping Heavy Infantry.
Granted, should our meta eventually mirror that of the current OCG format when LTGY hits, the Water deck as a whole will likely lose its position in the meta to the abortions that are Prophecies and Elemental Dragons. "Unbalanced" is an understatement.

This event was also notable for featuring the return of infamous duelist Roy St. Clair to the competitive ygo circuit, after being banned for 2-3 years for cheating. Stories of his numerous exploits (whether they have been embellished or not is up for debate) can still be found circulating the internet should one dig deep enough, but even then, at this very event, there were rumors floating around that he conducted some shady plays involving his own Macro Cosmos. Whether these allegations are true or not remain to be seen, but it is of my personal opinion that a player that has been banned by both Upper Deck (back when they ran ygo) and Konami, as well as banned from other card games like the now-defunct VS system (also under Upper Deck's control, for what that's worth), has no business being allowed to play competitively. Sure, a player may have learnt his or her lesson after one suspension, but there's really no excuse when you've been banned by different companies and for more than one card game.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Minor Updates & LFN's Wind Ups 2013

sorry for not posting, like at all, ygo at the moment is pretty shitty IMO, and it can only get worse from here

There's not much point in creating new decks and such since this format = last format sans Wind Ups, like whatever I churn out still has to be consistent and powerful enough to go head to head with Mermails / Fire Fists.

I am absolutely dreading the meta come May, when Prophecy gets their broken Spellbook, and when the Elemental Dragons are released. Depending on how things pan out, I may opt to hibernate at that time until the September banlist is leaked

I am still playing Wind Ups for the time being (none of that Summoner Monk garbage though) as it's the only decently competitive deck left that I enjoy playing.
I suppose I might as well leak my list even though it hasn't been as successful as I would like, for example I got completely blown out by Fire Fists / Six Spamurai at lolcals when I failed to draw relevant backrow, etc


Also, the up-and-coming High Level Gaming group (based in the OCG) has recently started up a facebook page, check it out for kewl stuff

On a final note I have resigned from my "greenmin" Green Admin position on Dueling Network for the foreseeable future, so please do not ask me to ban or reprimand anyone, I will not and cannot do it :<

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Welcome to March 1st

It's actually March 2nd as I type this out but you get my point

This format is the same as last format
- Wind Ups
- Warning
- Sangan

The following award-winning illustration by "Hi I'm DM" is extremely relevant and is probably one of my few highlights of this underwhelming format transition
[Just to be clear, the Titanic = Zenmaity]