A History of Competitive Play: Oct. 2005 – April 2006

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a great holiday season and now that it’s over we can all get back to Yu-Gi-Oh! Konami has finally announced the first two events of 2013; YCS Miami and YCS Austin. Miami is still pretty far off in the distance so now seems like a perfect time to look back at the past with another “History of Competitive Play” article! I know it has been a while since the last one of these. This is due to the fact that they are much more time consuming to write than a regular article. Since I’ve been on Winter break these past few weeks, I’ve had the time to write this. If you haven’t read the other two “History of Competitive Play” articles, you can check them out here and here.

Changes since the Last Ban List

The format before this is one of the most iconic in the game’s history. It is generally known as “Goat Control” due to the dominance of that deck. October’s ban list brought many changes from April 2005’s famed format.

Newly Forbidden

- Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning
- Sinister Serpent
- Tribe-Infecting Virus

- Delinquent Duo
- Graceful Charity
- Pot of Greed

- Mirror Force
- Ring of Destruction

All eight cards had a profound impact on the previous format and were the backbone of just about every deck. As powerful Black Luster Soldier is today, it was even more powerful back then. It and Ring of Destruction could end games on their own. Tribe Infecting Virus allowed major damage and could clear boards by itself with essentially no cost when paired with Sinister Serpent. Delinquent Duo, Pot of Greed, and Graceful Charity were known as “the trinity” back then and were the ideal first turn play for every deck. And lastly Mirror Force created more advantage than just about every other card at the time.

Newly Limited

- Magician of Faith
- Night Assailant
- Thousand-Eyes Restrict
- Tsukuyomi

- Book of Moon
- Book of Taiyou
- Confiscation
- Dark Hole
- Limiter Removal
- Metamorphosis
- Scapegoat

Magician of Faith, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, Tsukuyomi, Scapegoat, and Metamorphosis defined the entire last format. You would use Scapegoat tokens as fodder for Metamorphosis to make Thousand-Eyes Restrict. Combine that with Tsukuyomi and you have created a powerful lock that will allow you to take one of your opponents monsters every turn. Book of Moon was the definition of versatile as it could shut off your opponents Thousand Eyes or let you abuse yours. It was seen as too powerful.

Night Assailant had to go to 1 as 2 was an infinite loop. If you had a Night Assailant in your graveyard already and discarded the second one, you could get the first one back to your hand.

Limiter Removal had to be limited as Cybernetic Revolution had just been released and with it came powerful cards like Cyber Dragon, Cyber Twin Dragon, and Cyber End Dragon. Despite Cyber Stein still being a prize card, the average player still had access to these cards through Metamorphosis.

Two cards came off the forbidden list and onto the limited list; Confiscation and Dark Hole. Confiscation was seen as a watered down version of Delinquent Duo. They felt that it would be better to allow a player to only take 1 card instead of 2 in exchange for picking exactly what they wanted and gaining information as to what was in the rest of their hand. The second card that came off the list was Dark Hole. This was to keep some mass removal in the game now that Tribe-Infecting Virus and Mirror Force were banned.

No Newly Semi Limited Cards

- Dark Scorpion – Chick the Yellow
- Marauding Captain
- Vampire Lord

Vampire Lord was once a very powerful card, but the release of Cybernetic Revolution brought Cyber Dragon which was an easy out to the zombie essentially making it obsolete. Because of this, Upper Deck felt that Vampire Lord was no longer a threat to the format.

You can check out the full ban list here.

The Decks of the Format

Cookie Cutter/Warrior Toolbox
John Jensen – 1st Place SJC Atlanta

Monsters: 18

2 Airknight Parshath

1 Breaker the Magical Warrior

1 Chaos Sorcerer

1 Cyber Dragon

2 D. D. Assailant

1 D. D. Warrior Lady

1 Don Zaloog

1 Exiled Force

1 Jinzo

1 Magical Merchant

1 Magician of Faith

1 Mystic Swordsman LV2

1 Sangan

2 Spirit Reaper

1 Tsukuyomi

 

Spells: 15

1 Book of Moon

1 Brain Control

1 Confiscation

1 Dark Hole

2 Enemy Controller

1 Heavy Storm

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Nobleman of Crossout

1 Premature Burial

1 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Scapegoat

1 Smashing Ground

1 Snatch Steal

1 Swords of Revealing Light

 

Traps: 7

1 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Call of the Haunted

1 Ceasefire

1 Dust Tornado

2 Sakuretsu Armor

1 Torrential Tribute
This type of deck was the most common of the top tier decks. Some variant of the deck won four of the seven SJCs of the format. As the format went on, the deck evolved taking a heavier trap lineup, often featuring a full set of Sakuretsu Armors and two Widespread Ruins.

A distinguishing feature about this deck is the warrior suite that it features. It has access to standalone cards like D.D. Warrior Lady, D. D. Assailant, Mystic Swordsman Lv 2, Don Zaloog, and Exiled Force. All of these could be tutored through Reinforcements of the Army.

Spirit Reaper had a great impact on this format. Cards like Sakuretsu Armor, Widespread Ruin, and Smashing Ground were used to clear the way for a direct attack from the Reaper. This paired well with Don Zaloog from the Warrior suite as it acted as another Reaper. These types of interactions led to this format being known as “one for one format.”

 

Tomato Control

Dale Bellido – 1st Place SJC Chicago

 

Monsters:20

3 D. D. Assailant

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Mobius the Frost Monarch

2 Spirit Reaper

2 Mystic Tomato

1 Newdoria

1 D. D. Warrior Lady

1 Breaker the Magical Warrior

1 Magician of Faith

1 D.D. Survivor

1 Don Zaloog

1 Sangan

1 Blade Knight

1 Chaos Sorcerer

 

Spells:15

2 Smashing Ground

1 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Swords of Revealing Light

2 Enemy Controller

1 Snatch Steal

1 Brain Control

1 Book of Moon

1 Premature Burial

1 Heavy Storm

1 Snatch Steal

1 Dark Hole

1 Nobleman of Crossout

 

Traps:7

3 Dust Tornado

2 Sakuretsu Armor

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Call of the Haunted

Tomato Control is fairly similar to the Cookie Cutter deck that defined the format. It features the same warrior engine that is in the Cookie Cutter deck. It took the concept of toolboxing whatever card fit the situation to the next level by including Mystic Tomato. This allowed you to search out the all-important Spirit Reaper in addition to Sangan and Newdoria.

Bazoo Return
Paul Levitin – 1st Place SJC Los Angeles

Monsters:  20

3 Bazoo the Soul-Eater

1 Breaker the Magical Warrior

1 Exiled Force

2 Gravekeeper’s Spy

1 Sangan

1 Jinzo

3 D. D. Assailant

1 D. D. Warrior Lady

1 D. D. Survivor

1 Don Zaloog

1 Drillroid

2 Spirit Reaper

2 Cyber Dragon

 

Spells:  10

3 Smashing Ground

1 Snatch Steal

1 Dark Hole

1 Heavy Storm

1 Premature Burial

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Reinforcement of the Army

1 Nobleman of Crossout

 

Traps: 10

3 Sakuretsu Armor

1 Widespread Ruin

1 Bottomless Trap Hole

3 Return from the Different Dimension

1 Call of the Haunted

1 Torrential Tribute

This deck was a product of the powerhouse team, Team Scoop. It utilized the warrior suite just as the other top decks did in order to deal with problem cards and fill the graveyard.

The format had a very defined attack cap. Chaos Sorcerer was 2300, Cyber Dragon was 2100, and Mobius, Zaborg, and Thestalos all had 2400 attack. This meant that anything bigger than 2400 was certainly very powerful. This was the concept behind the deck as once the graveyard was full; you were free to use Bazoo to attack over whatever was posing a threat.  Then you could flip a game winning Return From the Different Dimension to completely overwhelm the opponent.

Monarchs

Matt Laurents – Top 4 SJC San Francisco

Monsters: 19

2 Mobius the Frost Monarch

2 Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch

3 Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive

1 Sangan

1 Magician of Faith

3 Gravekeeper's Spy

2 Spirit Reaper

2 Magical Merchant

1 Tsukuyomi

1 Breaker the Magical Warrior

1 Zaborg the Thunder Monarch

 

Spells: 13

2 Pot of Avarice

1 Premature Burial

2 My Body as a Shield

1 Heavy Storm

1 Brain Control

1 Snatch Steal

1 Book of Moon

1 Nobleman of Crossout

1 Dark Hole

1 Soul Exchange

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

 

Traps: 8

2 Widespread Ruin

1 Torrential Tribute

3 Sakuretsu Armor

1 Call of the Haunted

1 Bottomless Trap Hole

 

The idea behind this deck is known as “protect the Dekoichi” where you would set Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive with either Sakuretsu Armor or Widespread Ruin. You would then use your spot removal to deal with whatever was threatening the Dekoichi. Then on your turn you would flip it, draw a card, and tribute it for a Monarch. It also used Gravekeeper’s Spy and Magical Merchant as tribute fodder for the Monarchs. This strategy fueled your graveyard very quickly and allowed for one to quickly use Pot of Avarice to recycle your Monarchs.

Shonen Jump Overview

My favorite thing about this format is this was the format that many well-known players got their start and just about every person that won a SJC in this format either went on to fame, or was already known as one of the elite. The first Shonen Jump of the format, SJC Atlanta, was no different. It showed a sharp change from the previous format. The days of draw and pass were gone and this format was marked by tons of aggression. As I mentioned above, one-for-one destruction such as Sakuretsu Armor and Smashing Ground followed by Spirit Reaper was the defining notion of this format. The top 8 of this SJC featured three well-known players; John Jensen, Jason Holloway and Paul Levitin. John Jensen had made it to the finals of SJC Orlando earlier that year where we did a prize split with Andrew Fredella, but lost when they played it out for the title. Jason Holloway made his first of many appearances in the top cut at this SJC. He later became known as a cheater and is often called Jason “Stalloway” because of his tendency to play slow and side burn cards. Holloway and Jensen played in top 8 and Jensen took a decisive 2-0 victory. The third well-known player in top 8 is Paul Levitin. This was his second top in a row as he had also topped the last event in Goat Control format. Paul would go on to play a huge role in this format and is known as one of the greatest players of all time. Paul lost out to Daniel Fitzgerald in top 8 who would go on to play Marcial Bode in top 4 before losing to John Jensen and his Cookie Cutter Chaos deck in the finals.

The next SJC of the format was SJC Chicago. It had a whopping 6 well-known players in top 8. Jerry Wang made his premier top 8 appearance at this event with a Cookie Cutter deck featuring the warrior engine. He now holds the third most tops in the game. Speaking of people with lots of tops, both Lazaro and Dale Bellido topped this event. Dale has the fourth most tops of any player in the game and Lazaro has the second most tops, just a few short of Adam Corn. Augustin Herrera made his first of five top 8 appearances at this event with a Monarch deck. Next was Carlos Santiago and his Beatdown deck featuring Goblin Elite Attack Force. Santiago would go on to make several innovations such as utilizing Slate Warrior with Return from the Different Dimension for a strong monster to bring back after being Noblemaned. The final well-known player was Paul Levitin in his third consecutive Top 8 appearance. He was playing a very similar deck to Carlos Santiago, also featuring Goblin Elite Attack Force. Top 8 saw Jerry Wang and Paul Levitin face off which ended up with Paul coming out on top and gave him his first top 4 appearance. On the other side of the bracket Carlos Santiago took down Augustin Herrera. Both of the Bellido brothers also made top 4. In top 4, Dale took down Paul and Santiago top decked a Goblin Elite Attack Force to attack over Lazaro’s D.D. Assailant for game, preventing a Bellido family reunion in the finals. Instead Carlos Santiago of Scoopforce and Dale Bellido of Superfriends faced off in a heated battle in the finals. In the end, Dale took a decisive 2-0 victory for Tomato Control.

Next the SJC circuit brought itself to Los Angeles and with it brought innovation from Paul Levitin. Team Scoop’s Bazoo Return decks shown above brought him to a 9-0 finish in swiss. The deck also brought Carlos Santiago to back-to-back tops. Also in top 8 was Anthony Alvarado, SJC Charlotte champion. Alvarado lost out in top 8, but both Santiago and Levitin advanced to top 4. Paul beat out Jonathan Navarro in top 4, but Santiago lost out to the now three time champion, Angel Flores. This pitted Flores against Levitin in the finals. In the end, Levitin took a 2-0 victory over Flores with his Bazoo Return deck, not losing a single game throughout top 8 and not losing a single match throughout the tournament. Levitin was only the second person at this time who had gone undefeated throughout an entire SJC.

The next SJC was SJC San Francisco. This was the first event that Elemental Energy was legal at. The main card that was in this set was Pot of Avarice. It was the star of Comic Odyssey’s Matt Laurent’s Monarch deck. The set also released Dark World cards and Goldd, Wu Lord of Dark World became a popular tech to counter the ever powerful Spirit Reaper and Don Zaloog. Fili Luna was the eventual victor of this tournament with his Warrior Toolbox deck giving Luna his first of a whopping 4 SJC wins.

Next the Shonen Jump Circuit moved to Durham North Carolina. The format seemed to slow down a bit at this SJC. Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive was in full swing for this event and there was at least 1 copy in 6 out of the 8 players decklists. Goldd was also gaining popularity as a tech and it was in 3 of the top 8 decklists. Well-known players in top 8 include Miguel Garcia (qualified for worlds twice), Jerry Wang (3rd most qualified player), Robert Ackerman (YCS winner in 2010), Jason Holloway (who sided Ceasefire and Des Koala *wink wink*), and the eventual winner Christopher “Ivan” Flores. I’ve had the pleasure of being on an online team with Flores before and he’s a very good player.

Then we move to SJC Orlando. This SJC was the first one after Shadow of Infinity’s release. The main card in this set was Treeborn Frog. It made an immediate impact on the metagame. 2 Monarch decks made top 8, one of which was Chris Pittao in one of his 10 SJC tops. The other was the runner up at the first SJC of this format; Daniel Fitzgerald. Also in top 8 were Emon Ghaneian who received a game loss in top 8 for being 20 minutes late. Then there was the notorious cheater Roy St. Clair (one of a very short list of people to be banned multiple times, under both Konami and Upper Deck and is still currently banned). St. Clair made it all the way to the finals with his Cookie Cutter Chaos deck featuring very few warriors before losing to Michael Lux, a relative unknown at the time. Lux now has either 5 or 6 SJC/YCS tops and is a very well respected player.

The final SJC of the format was SJC Long Beach. The top 8 was especially interesting for a few reasons. First of all, the most qualified player in the game, Adam Corn, got his first of 22 premier tops. Next, a very unique Sacred Crane deck made top 8. Also in top 8 was the three time champ, Angel Flores. Lastly, the game got its third champion to go undefeated in swiss and win the entire tournament in Steven Adair and his Cookie Cutter Chaos Deck.

Overall, the format did not change that much from the beginning to the end. The Warrior Toolbox/Cookie Cutter Chaos deck proved to be the top deck throughout the format with other decks such as Monarchs and Tomato control always present. There was a shift towards a heavier trap lineup as the format continued. In the beginning, players ran about 2 Sakuretsu Armors and by the end of the format 3 Sakuretsu Armors and 2 Widespread Ruines was standard.

Stars of the Format

Below are all the players with more than 1 SJC top in this format.

Paul Levitin 3 (1 win)

Jason Holloway 2

Daniel Fitzgerald 2

Carlos Santiago 2

Jerry Wang 2

Jonathan Navarro 2

Angel Flores 2

That about wraps up this “A History of Competitive Play” article. I hope you all enjoyed this overview of the one-for-one format. If you have any questions, comments, or opinions, feel free to leave a comment below. I’m going to try to not take as long with the next History of Competitive Play article and hopefully I will have the next format within a month. Either way, I’m ready to Wind-Up 2013 and look forward to the coming year. Until next week, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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