Hello once again Duelists! I have just come back from ARGCS Columbus and unfortunately it was only a top 16 finish but that's okay, as there's always next time! Before I do anything I'd like to congratulate Jordan Bermudez on his win with his Shaddoll deck!
Up until last week or so I was convinced that Burning Abyss were the best deck. Then I noticed Mike Balan using a Shabyss deck (now, this wasn't exactly a new concept to me as I had seen 54-card and larger Shabyss decks). But I noticed he was using 40 cards so I looked into it and realized why this was definitely the best deck. I play tested a lot during the next week and managed to cut it down to 37. I will discuss the actual deck and its choices next week as I remember my match-ups better today. I would end up finishing 1st in Swiss but losing in the top 16.
3 Tour Guide from the Underworld
3 Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
3 Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
2 Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
2 Shaddoll Dragon
1 Shaddoll Falco
1 Shaddoll Beast
1 Shaddoll Squamata
2 Effect Veiler
1 Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
1 Foolish Burial
3 Upstart Goblin
1 Allure of Darkness
3 Shaddoll Fusion
3 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
2 Karma Cut
2 Trap Stun
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
3 Vanity's Emptiness
2 Maxx "C"
2 Ally of Justice - Cycle Reader
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Malevolent Catastrophe
2 Chain Disappearance
2 Vanity's Fiend
2 Breakthrough Skill
1 Super Polymerization
2 El Shaddoll Construct
1 El Shaddoll Winda
2 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
2 Downerd Magician
2 Ghostrick Alucard
1 Number 49: Fortune Tune
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Armades, Keeper of Boundaries
Friday night: So I go to my classes and get on my plane from Los Angeles to Columbus – everything goes smoothly. When I arrive I find Jim and Brad and say hi. Then I go to my hotel room; I stayed with Joe Soto, Trevor, Austin and Ryan (I met most of these guys for the first time this weekend, all really cool dudes!). As they were all working this weekend I didn't really play on Friday, but just went to sleep.
Saturday morning we wake up at 5 am shower and meet up with Jim and Brad, Kevin Klein, and Kevin Silva. We get to the convention center before 6 am and start setting up for the tournament (let me be the first to tell you guys, not as easy as it may seem). At about 8 am we finish and I go get something to eat before the tournament starts. When I return, I learn that I am being featured round 1.
Round 1 vs Parker Roberson's Shaddoll (written feature match)
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: Veiler is absolutely the worst card vs Shaddolls and I happened to open both of mine against Parker game 1 and could not come back.
Game 2: Parker sided into an interesting card: Rivalry of Warlords. I have never seen anybody side this in against me and as a result was unaware of how powerful it can actually be and as a result decided not to activate my Trap Stun only to end up losing to the Rivalry that I didn't think would matter.
I didn't think I'd be losing a round let alone round 1, so this came as a shock but Parker definitely knew what he was doing (and would end up going 6-0 then tying his last two matches since he auto tops, congrats!)
Round 2 vs Burning Abyss
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He summons Dante turn 1. Sets some stuff. I opened Tour guide and Shaddoll Fusion so I summoned Tour Guide only to get the BA monster I summoned off it Karma Cutted, which I expected. Then Shaddoll Fusion resolved I attacked over his Dante with Construct and attacked for 1000 with Tour Guide. Set Trap Stun and a discard trap (PWWB or Karma Cut). Used the discard trap on whatever BA monster he summoned from Tour guide and won soon after.
Game 2: He doesn't open Dante so I decide to play it slow and just summon Mathematician and send Dragon to destroy a backrow which ended up being a Vanity's Emptiness, set some traps and pass. I eventually get through his backrow and win because I summoned 2 Downerd in Main Phase 2 since he had no backrow I finally set the Emptiness that I had been holding for awhile and to no surprise he didn't have any outs and I won the next turn.
Round 3 vs Bujins
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He opens Tenki and I think it’s Fire Fists. However, he adds Yamato and I'm very happy as this match up is generally very favorable. He sets some traps during the End Phase, adds Hare and sends Hare to the graveyard. I look at my hand and actually see 3 Shaddoll Fusion... and am in awe. I set a Fusion and a trap and pass without a play, he attacks and I take the attack, next turn I draw Graff or Scarm (I definitely get Scarm faceup on my field, somehow). And he summons an extra deck monster and I win from there.
Game 2: He opens Tenki for Yamato again, I opened Cycle reader so decided to let him load up his graveyard. Next turn he activates Tenki, I have MST and PWWB set but decide to hold both. He searches Mikazuchi and attacks with Both Yamato and Mikazuchi I PWWB Yamato and allow the Mikazuchi attack to go through. I had the one Veiler that I kept in, in my hand (I decides to keep in one because I assumed he would still be summoning extra deck monsters). So my plan was to Veiler Mikazuchi on his turn so that it won't add Bujincarnation and during the End Phase use AOJ Cycle Readers effect to banish the Hare and Turtle in his grave. I summon Tour Guide he Veilers putting him at 1 card in hand and I know that he is drawing Yamato on his next turn, and I had another Tour Guide in my hand so I was pretty sure I had this game. On his turn he attacks with just Mikazuchi and I got confused but guess he was playing around Torrential...? Then in Main Phase 2 he thinks for a bit and tribute summons for Vanity's fiend! This I did not expect and starts beating me down with that and Yamato after setting the monsters I had to stay alive I finally drew a Karma cut when he attacks with Vanity's Fiend (into the Falco I just set) I discard Graff to Banish the Vanity's fiend he activates Forbidden Lance and I lose the game not too long after that.
Game 3: I side a little differently since I saw Vanity's Fiend. I opt to go first. I open multiple Shaddolls so I set Squamata and just hope that for once he doesn't open Yamato. Well I was partially right, he again opens Tenki and grabs Yamato, doesn't attack, but rather sets one, activates Kaiser colosseum and sends Hare during the End Phase. I don't have any good traps, so I decide to at least make him waste a Hare, so I flip Squamata and target Yamato he flips his one set card and it's a Shadow Imprisoning mirror and I think to myself, "Yamato, Kaiser Colosseum, and Shadow Imprisoning mirror, oh my!" This game definitely drags on pretty long, but I eventually get rid of Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, then I get to Super Polymerization and destroy his Kaiser Colosseum with Dragon and he gets over Construct next turn. It comes down to a point where I have Shaddoll Fusion in hand and a Scarm on field and he has 2 Bujins on field and a lot in grave. So as he’s overlaying I say "Castel this one right?" pointing at Scarm, to which he responds with "Yep" and actually Summons Castel, and I was in shock... That he actually made it as opposed to Susanowo or Kagutsuchi, and next turn I win, I don't know if I would've won if he summoned Susanowo but I definitely think he would've been in a much better position.
Round 4 vs Madolche Hands
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: He sets a monster and 2 backrow, so I also decide to play it slow. I set a monster and Trap Stun, and another trap. Eventually I either attacked or Alucarded his facedown monster and it ends up being a Fire Hand and I Karma Cutted the Ice Hand he brought out, used Cir to reborn a BA. Next turn he normal summons Madolche Hootcake and I use Phoenix Wing Blast on it with Veiler in hand so there was nothing he could've done without more trap cards.
Game 2: He again doesn't open Anjelly but I opened Tour Guide so put enough damage on board very fast.
Round 5: vs Shaddoll
Die roll: win
Game 1: I went first and opened with Dante, set Trap Stun and no other relevant traps as I opened a pretty monster filled hand. He activates Shaddoll Fusion and it all goes downhill from there for me.
Game 2: I opt to go first and look at my hand, again no traps! I debate for a while and decide to risk it. I make double Date and end phase search Tour guide. If he doesn't have Fusion then I win next turn. Luckily he didn't end up having one and I did win the next turn.
Game 3: He went first and this game I opened up multiple traps so he couldn’t do much; when I simplified the game I ended up discarding Graff using either a PWWB or a Karma Cut on one of his cards, Special Summoned Scarm and then next turn tributed it for Vanity's Fiend and the game was soon over.
Round 6 vs Jeff Jones (what I thought at the time was Shabyss).
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: This was a long and grinding game but having access to two Tour Guides on the first turn and him only having one Breakthrough Skill would eventually be enough for me to take this game.
Game 2: He goes first again and sets 3 and passes. I summon Tour Guide he Breakthrough Skills so I attack and I set 3 trap cards of my own. Then during the End Phase he uses Artifact Sanctum to special summon Artifact Moralltach and destroy my tour guide. For turn he draws another Artifact Moralltach attacks and passes. I use a PWWB on his backrow discarding Graff, then next turn I normal summon another BA and make Dante since I have Emptiness set if he has Shaddoll Fusion, attack, and during the End Phase add Tour Guide to my hand. He passes without a play next turn I attack for game and he reveals his hand that consists of 2 Moralltachs to me.
Round 7 vs Shaddoll
Die roll: win
Game 1: I go first make Dante and have an Emptiness as well as another real trap card and proceed to win from there within the next 2 turns.
Game 2: He opts go first and my opening hand is Tour Guide, Trap Stun, 2 discard traps, Emptiness and Vanity's Fiend, there really was no chance this game once the Tour Guide effect resolved probably the best hand I had all weekend.
Round 8 vs 45 card Yang Zing... (Livestream Feature match)
My record was x-1 And his was x-1-1 which forced me to play this round because if he ties then he cannot top 16, and if I lose then there is a chance I may not be one of the 2 x-2's to make it into the top cut.
Die roll: win
Game 1: I go first make Dante set Karma Cut and Compulsory Evacuation Device. He activates Supply Squad, sets a monster and a lot of backrow, end phase I use Compulsory on his monster. When I try to use a monster effect he flips up Skill Drain and I realized he is using Yang Zings! So I attack for a lot of damage. Next turn he sets a monster and passes. I put my stuff in defense mode and pass because his deck requires me to attack/ destroy his monsters for it to function properly. So I patiently wait for a Vanity's Emptiness. In 2 turns he flips up 2 facedown Yang Zings, and normal summons their tuner I Karma cut the tuner and just attack for game next turn since they had 0 attack and 1600 attack.
Game 2: He sets 5 backrow and passes. I get through all his backrow by about turn 2 or 3 and summon a Vanity's Fiend which he can't come back from so I win that game.
Top 16: Jeff Jones (what I now know to be just Shaddolls) Livestreamed
Die roll: Loss
Game 1: Both Jeff and I go through our monsters very fast, and it comes to a point where he has run out of Shaddolls but still has a couple Mathematicians and Kuribandits (he also ran out of Artifacts as he resolved all three Artifact Sanctums) and I'm down to my last two or three monsters, while he has an El Shadoll Construct on the field. I make Number 49: Fortune Tune knowing it's my only chance. He ends up destroying Fortune Tune with Kuribandit and Construct,and I shuffle in two Tour Guides, during the End Phase he uses Kuribandit milling Vanity's Emptiness, Super Polymerization, 2 Mathematician, and an irrelevant card, now I know that if he takes Super Polymerization I will lose without a doubt as my only play is to keep making Fortune Tune and shuffle back my monsters until I can draw into a discard trap or Compulsory Evacuation Device to get rid of Construct, luckily for me he decided to add Vanity's Emptiness, so I still had a chance this game. (Scarm was detached from Fortune Tune so end phase I add a Tour Guide to my hand). I draw for turn, and what do I draw the one of 2 monsters in my deck, Graff. So I have to Tour Guide into Tour Guide and make Fortune Tune again, when it's destroyed this time, I shuffle back in Cir and Tour Guide so that Graff can get its effect if needed. Eventually I get to a Karma Cut and when I finally draw into Tour Guide I use Trap Stun and the game is pretty much over from there.
Game 2: He opts to go first again, sets some stuff uses Kuribandit adding Sinister Shadow Games. I make Dante and his effect mills me two Breakthrough Skills! So I attack and he doesn't do anything, next turn he sets some more cards and a monster. During my turn I summon Ghostrick Alucard and target his monster, he chains Sinister Shadow Games sending Dragon and attempting to use Falco targeting Beast. So at this point I realized that he had an Artifact Moralltach set since I had no backrow that's what Dragon would destroy. So I allow Falco to go through knowing that I can just banish the Shaddoll Beast he summons with BLS and save my BTS for Moralltach and Sanctum later in the game. I don't exactly remember what happened but he somehow ended up with 2 Artifact Moralltachs on the field (one was special summoned via Call of the Haunted). On his turn he summons Pleiades and bounces his own Call of the Haunted to his hand. During the Draw Phase I draw a Burning Abyss for my turn again, he uses Call of the Haunted on Moralltach to destroy my BLS. I summon Tour Guide and make Temtempo to force Pleiades last material out. Alas I did not have one of my 3 Shaddoll Fusions for the blowout. So now my field is Temtempo and Dante to his Pleaides with no material, Moralltach, one backrow and I have 3 BA monsters in hand. During my end phase he uses the Artifact Sanctum drawn off the top (as far as I can tell). He uses Moralltach’s effect to destroy my Temtempo as opposed to my defense position Dante. On his turn he realizes that he can't actually get over Dante. He summons Durendal tribute and sets Beast by tributing Pleiades. I draw another Burning Abyss monster for my turn. And time is called... Our duel actually took that long. So now I'm forced to play very differently because the difference in life points is an Upstart Goblin and he is at 8400 life points. So I am forced to summon an Acid Golem so I can maybe close the damage gap, but for turn he drew yet another real trap card that dealt with Acid Golem (I think it was a Call of the Haunted). On his next turn I came to the realization that I would not be able to close the damage gap because he can just flip Shaddoll Beast and overlay it with Moraltach into Volcasaurus and with only one turn left for me this was impossible to come back from.
I normally would have scooped up before time was called but A) I didn't notice the clock running down so quickly and B) The main reason, up until the Call of the Haunted play I was fairly certain I could still win. The four monsters in my hand may have kept me through the duel as they were all floaters, but floaters do nothing in time.
So the head judge comes over and tells us that there will be 3 turns in the next duel starting from 0, we cannot side deck, and that I do NOT get to decide who goes first even though I lost. Now this was a rule I personally was unfamiliar with and so were many of the players that I talked to afterwards. Actually the only player that was familiar with it was Corey Roca. I just want to take a moment to give props to the head judge Zak Bishop for being so familiar with the policy, as most players (and probably even some judges, I'd assume) were unfamiliar with that rule.
So we roll the dice and yet again, Die roll: loss
Now I realize that I am at an incredibly huge disadvantage because I was not allowed to take out my three Upstart Goblins so if I drew them odds are, I'm starting with a -1 in my hand, Jeff was also not allowed to side out his Soul Charge assuming he kept it in game 2.
Game 3: Jeff opts to go first yet again, and I look at my hand and realize I am losing this duel if I'm going second. Jeff opens up with a Mathematician sending Hedgehog adding Beast, then using Shaddoll Fusion sending Squamata and Beast away from his hand, to special summon El Shaddoll Winda, he uses Squamatas effect to send Shaddoll Core to add back Shaddoll Fusion to his hand and passes his turn after setting 2 cards. My opening 5 card hand consisted of 2 Burning Abyss 1 Tour Guide from the Underworld, 1 Shaddoll Dragon and 1 Vanity's Emptiness, I know I need to draw a Shaddoll Fusion or a trap to still have a chance at this game, but I draw a third Burning Abyss monster. I make the only play that could even have a chance at keeping me in the game, I summon Shaddoll Dragon and attack over Mathematician for 400 damage. My only chance at winning this game is if he doesn't have a monster that he can normal summon since it's his last turn he needs to deal 500 damage at least. He summons Shaddoll Falco and I know it is all over. I debate whether to flip Vanity's Emptiness but if I do flip it and he has Trap Stun then I will lose as I have Vanity locked myself and need to hope that he messes up somewhere. So I opt not to flip Vanity's Emptiness as I cannot risk locking myself out. Next turn I draw into yet another monster and extend the handshake.
Had I gone first that game I feel the result would have been very different, but there’s no point in dwelling on such hypotheticals. Luckily you guys wont have dwell on things like this because Jim has inducted a new rule for the Circuit Series: If in the End of match procedure in Top Cut the round is timed. If the match would end in a draw the loser of Game 2 will determine who will go first in Game 3.
That wraps up this week's article! I got to see a lot of people that I haven't seen ever since Milwaukee, so that was really cool, hope to see you all at more circuits soon, there's too many of you to mention! I want to give a shout out to Robert Mushkatblat for helping me with the siding and helping me with the deck decisions all the way up to the day of the event, a shout out to Mike Balan, and a shout out to Jim and Brad for being awesome and hosting these tourneys! If you'd like to see me write about a certain topic feel free to message me on Facebook. Next week I'll be discussing the actual card choices in my deck. The Circuit Series stops by Des Moines, Iowa next on October 18-19.
And as always, play hard or go home!