Hello everyone! Gabe Orosan-weine and Tommy Rowe here to discuss why we felt Burning Abyss was the best choice for YCS Toronto. First let’s discuss why we chose to play Burning Abyss over other contenders, and the reasoning behind such a unique build.
We started off by evaluating the potential choices for the event. Having less than two weeks to test we knew we would not have much time to choose a deck to test and theorize with. We both decided that we were going to play either Burning Abyss, Nekroz, or Shaddoll. Since we both piloted Nekroz earlier in the year, and initially believed it to be the best deck, we started off by testing Nekroz. Although Nekroz performed well against Shaddoll, the mirror match was heavily reliant on having enough combo pieces to set up a play with Nekroz of Valkyrus tributing away our field and ending with another Nekroz of Valkyrus in hand each turn. This made the mirror match very unreliable, and hard to consistently beat seeing as it is so heavily based on drawing certain cards. We also felt the mirror match was highly dependent on winning the die roll. Going first puts you at too much of a disadvantage due to the loss of various resources. There was no real edge to have in the mirror over your opponent because Nekroz have been out for so long. With a deck that relies heavily on wasting resources and going second; we felt that without an edge, Nekroz could not possibly be the choice for Toronto.
The next choice we looked into was Burning Abyss. Burning Abyss was an obvious contender due to its outstanding performance at this past NAWCQ. We started off by playing a standard version of the deck against Nekroz. We quickly began to realize that our win percentage was actually phenomenal against the standard Nekroz build. Nekroz just could not deal with the floodgates and effect negation. One of the most powerful floodgates Burning Abyss have access to is the tribute summon monsters. Vanity’s fiend, Spell Canceler, and Majesty’s fiend were all cards that did not allow Nekroz to play, while avoiding common floodgate removal. Also with traps like Mistake, Skill Drain, and Vanity’s Emptiness it was rare that Nekroz would be allowed to play games two and three. Burning Abyss also was less reliant on winning the die roll. Burning Abyss could set up multiple Dantes and then set a few traps to protect their field or bait a Nekroz of Trishula. Our win ratio against Nekroz ended up being over 80 percent, so the only decks to really worry about were Shaddoll and the Burning Abyss mirror match.
Shortly after discovering how good Burning Abyss is, we realized that Burning Abyss had a really tough time with Shaddoll. For this reason we knew we would have to playtest the Shaddoll matchup against various decks. Our matchup against Nekroz did not go well. We ended up depending on cards like Mistake and Thunder King Rai-Oh. We were right on our prediction that Shaddolls would do well against Burning Abyss, but even then Shaddolls could draw cloggy hands. Depending on six fusion spells against Burning Abyss and five floodgates against Nekroz did not seem like the most optimal way to go about the tournament.
At this point, we understood that the Burning Abyss matchup was crucial, as we were already winning the Nekroz matchup and did not expect to play against many Shaddolls. We were low on ideas, so we decided to test a build similar to one that Noah Greene sent us, which incorporated one copy each of Cagna, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, Good & Evil of the Burning Abyss, and The Traveler and the Burning Abyss. Although it performed very well against the mirror match, it started to struggle against Nekroz, which was very problematic. We couldn’t really find any build that we liked, between a slightly innovated standard build with one Absolute King Back Jack and the build that came from Noah’s idea with Good and Evil of the Burning Abyss. Mike Albanese had told Tommy that cards like Breakthrough Skill, Effect veiler, Crush Card Virus, Dark Hole, and Mind Crush were bad, which we didn’t understand. We had been playing 2-3 Breakthrough Skill and 3 Mind Crush in all of our builds so far, and sometimes even Crush Card Virus and Dark Hole. However, Mike refused to show his full deck to us, and we both knew we were going to have to figure it out. Tommy decided to try to make a deck that excluded the cards Mike thought were bad, but still incorporated our ideas about certain card choices and ratios. Let’s take a look at the final draft of the deck!
3 Cir, Malebranche of the Burning abyss
3 Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
3 Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
3 Absolute King Back Jack
1 Barbar, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Draghig, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Libic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Rubic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
1 Tour Guide from the Underworld
2 Mistaken Arrest
1 Foolish Burial
1 Soul Charge
3 Fiend Griefing
3 Karma Cut
3 The Traveler and the Burning Abyss
2 Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss
2 Raigeki Break
1 Skill Drain
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Vanity’s Emptiness
Extra Deck: 15
1 Virgil, Rock Star of the Burning Abyss
3 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
3 Downerd Magician
1 Ghostrick Alucard
1 Mechquipped Angineer
1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
2 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 Number F0: Utopic Future
Side Deck: 15
2 Maxx “C”
3 Flying “C”
3 Majesty’s Fiend
1 Mistaken Arrest
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Firelake of the Burning Abyss
1 Horn of Heaven
After a lot of talking over ideas and testing against standard Burning Abyss mirror matches and Nekroz decks, we settled on this build because it was capable of the explosiveness necessary to win a YCS and still maintained a good amount of consistency. Let’s take a deeper look into some of the card choices that allowed this.
Three Absolute King Back Jack: Although it can be cloggy at times, Three Absolute King Back Jack provided amazing discard fodder, was an excellent mill off of Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, and helped set up for huge power plays with Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss and Traveler and the Burning Abyss.
One Draghig, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss: Draghig allowed us to stack any Burning Abyss card on top of the deck. This enabled Absolute King Back Jack to be used to its full potential, even without looking at the top three cards of the deck.
Two Mistaken Arrest: Mistaken Arrest is a Quick-Play Spell Card, which allows you to use it when facing an opponent’s Royal Decree. Unlike Mistake, Mistaken Arrest isn’t vulnerable to a chained Mystical Space Typhoon either. Another advantage of Mistaken arrest is that against Burning Abyss or Shaddoll, you can easily activate it at any time to free up your Spell and Trap Zones, allowing you to special summon Burning Abyss monsters from your hand at will.
Three The Traveler and the Burning Abyss: The Traveler and the Burning Abyss nullifies your own disadvantage when facing most power plays by your opponent, including Abyss Dweller in combination with Nekroz of Brionac. The Traveler and the Burning Abyss also contributes to your own power plays, and can be an instant win condition in many situations.
We hope you enjoyed the duo-article. It seemed fun to do something different in writing the article since we both contributed to the deck. We hope this article informed you on why we thought Burning Abyss was the best deck for YCS Toronto. Remember, play hard or go home!