Hey Yugioh Players! Some of you may recognize me from my recent YCS top appearances, but if you don’t, my name is Camden Keener. I’ve finally had the opportunity to travel to several YCS tournaments this year, and was fortunate enough to place in Top 32 or better at four of them. Most recently, I placed in Top 16 and Top 32 at Kansas City and Columbus with Agents, which is going to be the focus of this article. Many of the best players have written off Agents as not being a serious contender for winning a YCS title; however, I have made the decision to stick with the deck. In the first half of the article, I’m going to explain why I have chosen to continue playing Agents and how to be successful with the deck in a field dominated by Plant Synchro. In the second half, I will show the deck I am currently playing, and explain several of my card choices.
One of the most appealing reasons to play Agents is their ability to perform very strongly in not only late in the game by using your boss monsters, but also in the early game. Between Earth, Venus, Tour Guide, and Sangan, there is a very high probability of you having a monster that is worth summoning on your first turn. If not, Gorz and Tragoedia offer great ways to buy some time while you draw into those monsters that are needed to get the deck going. After progressing from the early game, I often see Agent players make the mistake of using their boss monsters once they become live. They will summon one of their boss monsters such as Hyperion to take care of a problem that could have easily been destroyed with a less valuable resource, only to have their opponent fight back with something such as a Synchro summon and destroy the boss monster. After this, the Agent player proceeds to lose as they have no powerful plays left. In my opinion, this is not the way to play the deck. I normally try to do as much damage as I can through Venus/Gachi-Gachi plays, as well as Synchro summons with Earth, and try to save my Hyperion/Black Luster Soldier/Chaos Sorcerer plays until I know my opponent has wasted most of their power cards. This leaves them with a much smaller chance of being able to eliminate my boss monster, and leaves me with a much better chance at winning.
One of the biggest reasons that Agents are not considered a serious contender is because of a card called Leeching the Light. For those of you that don’t know, this powerful card allows your opponent to select one Light monster you control, and add its attack to EVERY monster they control! Many players thought that this card would bring about the end of Agents, but that isn’t necessarily the case. While this card is very powerful in the right situations, playing correctly in games 2 and 3 can lead to it merely sitting as a dead card in your opponent’s hand. I very rarely leave myself in a position to lose to a Leeching the Light play, and I only do it as a last resort. One of my favorite ways to play around Leeching is with Vanity’s Fiend. This card functions a lot like Archlord Kristya in the way that it prevents special summons, but it is unaffected by Leeching. This can often bring about victory single-handedly as there is a good chance your opponent will have very few answers to a successfully summoned Vanity’s Fiend. Many duelists have chosen to side Leeching as their answer to Agents, meaning that Vanity is rarely opposed. On top of this, he is also very easy to summon! A first turn Tour Guide or Venus will often leave you with a monster on your second turn to tribute. I have won many games with Vanity’s Fiend where my opponent will show me one or two copies of Leeching the Light that they had dead in their hand, and no answers to the Fiend.
Thankfully, there are more ways to play around Leeching the Light than just Vanity’s Fiend. I have found that it is often necessary to adjust how I play in games 2 and 3. Monsters such as Hyperion and Black Luster Soldier must be held for a game winning attack, or only when backed with the protection of an Honest or a Trap card. Otherwise, summoning just that one monster could backfire and cause you to lose on the next turn. Also, even summoning something like Venus or Earth could be the end of you if your opponent is capable of summoning enough monsters, so it is often key to pay attention to the position your opponent is in. If they are in a position to summon multiple monsters, and you have no form of protection, use any light monsters for a Synchro or XYZ summon as soon as possible, and don’t give your opponent the opportunity to use their attack against you. If you are not in a position to XYZ or Synchro, it might be a better idea to rely on monsters such as Tour Guide, Chaos Sorcerer, Tragoedia and Gorz as they are Dark monsters, and not susceptible to Leeching the Light.
Out of the Top 32 duelists at YCS Kansas City, 26 of them had at least one copy of Leeching in their side deck, and it has been the deciding factor of many matches. However, I have often been successful in avoiding its wrath, and if you adjust your play style, you can also greatly reduce the number of losses you have due to Leeching the Light.
In the second part of this article, I’d like to briefly go over some of my card choices in my most recent Agent build. First off, here is what my deck looks like:
Camden Keener (Top 16) – Master Hyperion
3 Maxx “C”
Extra Deck: 15
Side Deck: 15
This probably appears to be a very standard build for Agents, but there are several card choices I would like to point out. The biggest thing to discuss is the fact that I have still chosen to go with a full Trap line-up, while a majority of Agent duelists have chosen to drop Trap cards and play with more spells and monsters. However, after participating in two YCS events with the deck, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t play the deck any other way. Trap cards are another way to buy a couple of turns if you happen to have a bad hand. Also, they provide protection in games 2 and 3, which, as I discussed above, can be the deciding factor of the game. Also, Trap cards are one of the only ways to deal with an opposing Thunder King Rai-Oh, which has greatly increased in popularity recently, and can be a huge problem for this deck. On top of these things, the Trap line-up I play consists of very versatile cards which can be useful in holding up against the main decks that are predicted to be there, but also against the unexpected decks you didn't plan on facing. If you have been playing your Agent build Trapless so far, I strongly recommend throwing in some of the defensive Traps I play to see what you think of it.
The other card choice I would like to discuss is my inclusion of Archlord Kristya. I was the only duelist in the Top 16 of Kansas City to play Kristya due to several reasons. Many Agent duelists have found that it is not worth the risk of running as it often can end up stuck in your hand, and can be a terrible draw if you are in a tight situation and are not able to summon it. However, I had found that it is too powerful of a card to drop from my deck. While it may be a go-to card to side out, in game 1 dropping Kristya will often win the game by itself, as most of the top decks include very few answers to it in the main deck. I will admit that it has lost me a few games due to it being a dead card in my hand, but it has won me many more games than it has lost. While dropping Archlord Kristya might fit the play style of some duelists, I will continue to play it until testing proves that the deck is better without it.
To conclude, I would just like to thank you all for reading this. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and while it was quite lengthy, I hope you learned a few things about Agents. If you had previously written off Agents as not a serious contender, I hope you reconsider and give them a shot sometime soon. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I’m open to any criticism on ways to improve my article writing, or anything else that you feel necessary to say. Again, thanks for reading, and I hope I have an opportunity to write for you in the future!