Hello Apprentice Magicians, I’m back! It’s been quite some time since I’ve written an article for you all, but never fear, the Dark Magician is here. A lot has happened since the September 2012 Limited/Restricted list took effect. We’ve seen Wind-ups dominate in the very beginning of the format, managing to capture the first YCS title in Toronto, and then take 2nd place in Indianapolis in the same month. It would be a lie to say we didn’t see this coming, though. Once the community heard about the insanely overpowered first turn plays of the Wind-up deck, which only require simple memorization of a few steps, it became the obvious choice for anyone hoping to get a top/win in the YCS circuit. However, things have changed a little since then with the reintroduction of Inzektors, thanks to my fellow teammate Billy Brake, and the reintroduction of Dragons, too. If that weren’t enough, the resurgence of the Agent deck in its various forms (Troopers, trapless, etc), has caused some strife to the Wind-up player as well. I actually believe that it’s a great matchup for Agents, assuming the Wind-up player doesn’t open Gangnam Style and throws his/her cards all over the table. But that is no argument against Agents since every deck loses if Wind-ups open with the absurdities. The issue I want to address in this article is that any and every deck can win right now. I don’t mean that literally because we all know that Jurrac-Amazoness Burn (JAB) isn’t winning YCS Seattle or Barcelona (and yes, I would quit if it does). I’m sure I’m not the only player who noticed the crazy growth in diversity this format. I don’t need to do any research to know it’s at an all-time high. And while a little diversity is a good thing, too much of it is a disaster, and I’ll tell you why.
Every Yu-Gi-Oh! player has his/her own little “playstyle”—for lack of a better word—that dictates the way he or she goes about winning the game. Bad players play highly aggressive, good players play extremely conservative, and the best players know when to do both at the right times. Different decks will cater to different playstyles while others will undoubtedly go against the flow. If you need an example of this then let’s take Chaos Dragons for example. The deck may appear to be conservative at times by keeping 6 in hand for Trageodia or to keep the opponent from using too many cards too fast while you still several in hand, but make no mistake about it, the deck is waiting for that one opportune moment to summon 3 or 4 big monsters and attack for game. It is a very aggressive deck because it doesn’t have much else going for it. There are no real traps to stop the opponent’s plays from going through, so if you don’t have a Maxx “C” or a Veiler it will probably be the end of the game. The deck is all about getting the grave set up, summoning big guys, and winning as soon as possible. It’s isn’t aiming to play a game of card advantage like let’s say Wind-ups or Agents. Since there are no real traps in the deck it has very little interaction with the opponent, and without interaction with the person sitting across from you, how could you tell if you’re truly the better player? I believe it is for this very reason that the best players do not play this deck at the YCS level. That isn’t to say that good players have not played Chaos Dragons or decks with little interaction in a YCS ever, but how often do you walk up to a table and see many of them using that type of deck, if ever?
This brings me back to my original point about diversity. I’ve never seen so many good players unable to agree on what the best deck in the format is at the moment. We’re all playing something different and yet everyone seems to be finding success with whatever deck he/she decides to run. How can you say that Jeff Jones was wrong for knowingly entering YCS Toronto with Psychics when Wind-ups were guaranteed to be represented in great numbers? It isn’t like Psychics have a great matchup against Wind-ups but he felt that the deck could still perform well as long as too much “herp-derp” didn’t occur. And to further add to that point, we all know that he could execute the complicated Wind-up plays better than the best of them, so then it only makes sense that he and many others realized that you can play what you want. The factor that really matters in this format is what you play against. Speaking from experience, at YCS Indianapolis, I used Wind-ups with 0 hand traps in the main deck and played against 4 Wind-up decks. I lost to 2 of them and tied with another. This was rather frustrating because the ways in which I lost could’ve been mitigated with hand traps. After that tournament experience, I would go back to my old ways for Rhode Island and put in my 4 trusty hand traps (2 Maxx “C” and 2 Veilers). As fate would have it, I played against 0 Wind-up decks in Rhode Island. I still managed to make it to round 11 after being paired with several Hero, Dino-Rabbit, Agent, and DW decks on the way there. And can I just mention the fact that before Rhode Island, I was siding 3 Gemini Imps at every event and never played against DW, but when I finally took them out for Rhode Island, I played against DW. So you see, you really have to hope to not play against too many bad matchups since every deck in the format has several BAD matchups. If there were such a thing as a deck without bad matchups, or perhaps bad matchups that weren’t highly probable of playing against, then that deck would easily be the best deck in the format. But there isn’t. So we have this.
It’s nearly impossible to side against everything that your deck could lose to. Sure there are some good matchups that you would say, “I don’t need to side against that deck, it’s my best matchup.” But since every deck in this format can actually beat every deck in this format, it’s a little bold to make that statement. I know that Wind-ups beat Heroes but that doesn’t stop me from siding my Messengers and Level Limits. So what do we do about this? Well I think that this is a format of switching decks constantly to make the right meta call. While in other formats you could keep using the same Dino-Rabbit deck to perform well with a few minor changes between Thunder Kings and Guaibas, I don’t think that is possible again. I talked to Billy Brake after Rhode Island because he decided to use Inzektors yet again after bringing the deck back to life in Indianapolis, and he said that he played about 3-4 mirror matches, including Joe Giorlando in round 1! Though that example may be a little extreme, it does indicate that what worked before will not necessarily work again. And that’s because of many factors. I’m sure he saw more Shadow Mirrors and Macro Cosmos in Rhode Island than in Indy, wouldn’t you agree? And I know it kinda sucks to have to put down your toys because you keep getting beat by all those annoying Agent decks around you, but why not test yourself and become acquainted with a different deck? Believe me, every deck is going to lose to Magician Shark, so that shouldn’t be your reasoning why you won’t play with something. And it also seems that every deck has some opening hands that are auto-wins, too. You may not think it, but I’m sure you haven’t won many games where someone opened Geargiarmor and 4 set backrows, either.
Players should not feel like they have to play with Wind-ups to do well. Just because the deck is so obviously overpowered does not make it the right choice for you or that particular tournament. It pains me to see players in the last 2 rounds using the deck and then misplaying on simple scenarios that have me wondering how they made it that far in the first place. It’s a shame that messing up with the deck is hardly punishable, though. I mean, you can’t really mess up Tour Guide + Factory too much. But back to what I’m getting at here—I think you can play any of the good decks and top/win a YCS this format. If you aren’t a Wind-up player then stop playing the deck. You know it feels wrong when you’re trying to figure out what the correct play is and it’s taking you 10 minutes to do so, and then you still get it wrong. Explore the other options. Play what makes you comfortable. Look at Robbie Kohl for example, he’s been playing Gadgets for years and he got 3rd place with them at Indianapolis, all while smashing the likes of Alistar Albans and Billy Brake to get there.
The last thing I want to ask you guys is what would you like to read about in coming articles? I don’t want you to feel like you’re wasting your time with my content so feel free to leave article suggestions in the comments section below. Also, tell me what you think about this particular article and how you feel about so much deck diversity in Yu-Gi-Oh.
Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-“The Dark Magician”