Greetings Duelists, my name is Simon He and I will joining ARG’s weekly article writers. This will be my first so I shall introduce myself a little;
I am British, I live in Manchester UK. I have just finished university and am currently self employed, my dream and goal in life is to start and build an organization with business from the ground up that outlives my lifetime and lasts for generations. I have been playing competitively since I was 13 and have racked up quite a few premier event tops in Europe and I finished top 16 in YCS 50th Costa Mesa and then took a 2 year break for university. I returned late last year and have been quite active: Top 8 YCS Leipzig, 2nd YCS 100th Long Beach, top 16 YCS Toulouse, top 16 European Championships, top 8 YCS Sheffield (sealed event) and top 8 YCS Providence.
The rest of my records are on the link below if you would like to see.
My strongest philosophy in this game is that luck is just an excuse, there is always a solution to the problem! My favorite aspect of the game is the thrill of competing, how many teenagers can say that they compete in something they enjoy against thousands of people and do well? I still remember the first time I walked into an international premier event and saw hundreds to a thousand people, I was so fired up, the bigger the challenge in the game the more motivated I am. I play my best when I am pushed to the edge.
In my articles I will write about topics (small and big) that has helped me to become a better player, I will be writing one off topics as well as a continuous series of articles. the topics I write about will always be things that are useful to improve in this game and I will always give my 100% opinion on the matter, there is just no other way. So I hope you find them useful to you, and if you do please share this with your friends on facebook and other social media platforms so that it can help them too, if there are any questions always post them below and I will try to answer all of them the best way that I can.
In this article I will report on my main event at YCS Providence, although I'll try to focus less on that and more on the deck that got me to top 8, with a detailed analysis.
Why Agents? Why now? Why that build? Will it work in the near future? etc I will answer them all. What you should take from this article is how I came to make the choices I did, apply it to your style and build competitive decks that you are confident with.
Usually my articles will not be this long, but there is so much to fit in and I do not want to leave out any detail. So take your time, sit back and enjoy!
A lot of people interviewed me and some tried to guess at why I made the choices that I did. They did a pretty good job at it but none so far has gotten it completely correct.
Before we move on, let me make it clear that I think this deck is the perfect deck for my play style, it is one that I think is the best to get me the YCS title at Providence.
The timing of the format that I had analysed also suggests that this deck will work for me, this format is so diverse that it is best to play a deck that suits your style and you know best than a generic deck e.g. Windup, if you do not like it or if you do not know it so well.
The deck: chaos agents
3 shine ball
1 herald of orange light
1 thunder king
2 effect Veiler
2 Maxx c
2 tour guide
2 spirit reaper
1 black luster soldier envoy of beginning
1 chaos sorcerer
3 mystical space typhoon
1 mind control
1 creature swap
1 enemy controller
1 monster reborn
1 heavy storm
1 forbidden lance
1 dark hole
1 treacherous trap hole
Side deck 15
2 electric virus
2 royal decree
2 shadow imprisoning mirror
1 system down
1 cyber dragon
1 effect Veiler
1 chimeratech fortress dragon
3 Gemini imps
2 gozen match
Extra deck 15
1 daigusto Phoenix
1 gachi gachi gantestsu
1 number 96 dark mist
1 stardust dragon
1 black rose dragon
1 gaia the force of the earth
1 armory arm
1 wind up zenmaines
1 leviathan dragon
1 acid golem
1 gem knight pearl
History of the deck for me
I had quit for 2 years and when I came back into the game just before the September 2011 format the 2 decks that interested me were agents and dark world. During that format everyone opted for Dino rabbits, but in testing agents just over powered Dino rabbits.
There were a few issues I saw with almost every build of agents: multiple herald of orange light, multiple kristia, pot of duality, cards from the sky.
I've been playing for a long time and with experience I have a general instinct of how a deck should look like based on their effects, and this way of building agents was all wrong. The deck is clearly supposed to be fast paced (Hyperions) yet people slot in duality for *consistency* and cards from the sky just because it's a destiny draw-esque card, it is not consistent, the deck needs to special summon almost every turn unless it's the first turn so by putting cards to restrict that is slowing down what clearly is supposed to be a fast deck.
People's perception of consistency seems to be the same for all decks but some decks require you to adapt to the understanding of consistency. I had many comments of why I played one-ofs of many cards and wouldn’t 2 of each be more consistently drawn, the reason is due to the way this deck runs you hardly EVER want to draw 2 of the same card, I would never want to draw 2 kristia, herald, creature swap, enemy controller etc. I only play multiple copies of the most important cards with exception to spirit reaper which I will explain later. The cards are run 1 of are all good cards to have but I never absolutely need them, by running 1 of I have utility, every hand is filled with powerful options and I’m never tied down, what if a situation arises where creature swap is useless and you have 2 of them?
So atlas I have the theory and skeleton of a deck that I liked but no place to use it, inzektors and windups came out shortly after and I had to shelf it, until this format.
I adjusted the main and extra deck for this format, the deck is now even stronger with daigusto phoenix. Creature swap, enemy controller and mind control was already there last time, they are just so useful to make big plays out of nowhere, enemy controller helps your tour guide and agent earth to dodge veilers. This deck runs so many tuners and different level monsters as well as tragoedia, with xyzs around its foolish not to run those 3 spells to utilise your opponents monsters, they also offset the terrible shine ball draws.
I opted to play 2 tragoedia because I hardly ever set backrows so my moves are generally a normal summon, tragoedia is always big. It was important to play that many hand traps because I didn't have backrows in order to stop otks and windups. Forbidden lance was originally book of moon but I noticed that card is not as good this format, also it is usually a card you set first to get the best out of it, lance on the other hand needn't be set and also helps protect my important plays like venus or big plays like black luster soldier.
Up until a week before YCS Providence, I had been running 2 thunder kings and 1 reaper and why shouldn't I? Thunder king is a light for honest and chaos monsters as well as being good against pretty much every deck. The issue was dead hands, this version of agents is highly consistent but it may still get hands that involve 1 chaos monster Hyperion kristia 2 msts and a Veiler, you can do nothing but pass in those situations. Now this deck's early game involves just 1 normal summon a lot ( t king, tgu, earth, Venus) imagine you have thunder king instead of one of those dead cards and it gets bottomlessed, tt, warninged, you will be left hoping on the top deck. Spirit reaper deals with this issue, it's an offensive and defensive card ( versatility) and it's a dark and I can confirm it helped a lot during the event.
Finally treacherous trap hole was once a gimmick card I put in when I picked the deck back up this format, I put it in because I could literally think of no other card to put in. I didn't want another monster ( the ratio was good) there was no spell I could think of ( book of moon was trialled and failed) and I didn't want a trap they can mst or storm. You maybe thinking 'why not allure of darkness?' I tried that card too, I didn't like removing a dark, there aren't that many darks, I need them for the chaos monsters, I also found that when I had allure I was too tempted to play it even though the dark in my hand is good and needed. So I took it out, it's too greedy just for 2 cards, every card in this deck is good because it's played mostly at 1 ofs and sorts out any situation ( except shineball), so drawing into more cards may increase the chance of those shineball draws ( if you haven't venused already), it will only be good to get rid of dead tour guide.
Knowing how to play treacherous is an art in itself, I do not randomly set it EVER! I usually set it when they drop gorz and have no backrow or when they have a couple of monsters and no backrow. People tend to set only 1 against me because I do not set any and they fear storm ( that set is usually something to stop my play like warning or tt). If the game has progressed longer then there is more chance of them having mst and you need to be able to read the situation and their potential face downs well before setting it.
Sometimes I am forced to set it due to desperate measures , if that's the case I usually set others like lance or my mst so that they will have to pretty much blind end phase mst to get it. This theory that they won't set more than 1 due to the fear of storm works best if they do not know I am running the trap hole, if they do, the card is a lot harder to play well. A smart player who knows my style of this deck will set their mst and storm early baiting out my mst and storm, after using mine they will set the real traps, this will also make the trap hole less effective. It was all down to timing of the format and surprise, this deck works better when those factors are pitched in, this is why I wanted to concede my round 10 and 11 game when I was 9-0, I wanted to conceal any information I can.
The timing was perfect to use this deck, timing in yugioh as well as life in general is very important. It was not expected, everyone expected windups, Geargia etc and this deck has a good strong matchup with everything in the meta. It was even better when samurais won the last event and therefore there will be many in this one. Samurais cannot deal with agents even if they open gateway or multiple united, I have tested it and even if they do they cannot deal with dark mist, if they can then they cannot deal with Hyperion and even if they do they can never deal with gorz or a big tragoedia, they just cannot deal with big monsters and this deck has plenty.
Many people were not expecting this deck so they were not siding for it much, also the one of power cards I played ( enemy controller and creature swap) really threw people off guard, once they see it in game 1 they always fear it in game 2 and try to play around it even though I only play 1 ( they do not know that) so they are playing bad.
These reasons were partly why I wanted to go to this particular YCS even though I had to go a lone, I was confident in my chances to win, it is also because in the next YCS there will be a new set which could change the status of the format and make is deck irrelevant.
Strategy of the deck
This deck plays a lot like chaos dragons last format; it's fast, powerful, stable, and makes your opponent's mystical space typhoon and heavy storm almost dead cards.
I'd like to add one more adjective to the description that chaos dragon is but not as good as this version of agents, versatile.
The strategy is to go in slow then fast, this deck has the ability to drop problems on the first turn and ride out the game just with that until they are forced to use excessive resources and that's when I go in fast.
I see a general game with this deck having 3 stages
Starter monster play
Problem solving play
End game play
Stage one is the early game or 1st turn when you normal summon any of earth, venus, tour guide,thunder king or set reaper. This deck goes is stale and slow in the first turn you only play 1 move which is fine, t king is a good opening play, Venus is the best leaving you with gachi causing heroes and a lot of decks major issues
Stage 2 happens when they deal with your stage one plays, it usually happens when they put an even bigger monster on the field that a 2000 atk venus cannot deal with. In this stage, I use cards like enemy controller tributing earth, shineball or sangan to take their monster and xyz with them or I creature swap their monsters. So basically this stage is still using stage one monsters and spells like mind control to deal with the situation but not big monsters.
Stage 3 involves hyperions, daigusto Phoenix ( if I haven't already used shine balls for gachi), bls, sorcerer. Sometimes the game doesn't even progress past stage 1, I will only use Hyperion if stage 1 and 2 cards cannot handle the situation or I feel that I can otk with minimal risk.
These stages illustrate how a game in my favour will go, I often open hands with 1 or 2 cards from stage 1, 1 or 2 from stage 2 and the rest from stage 3. It’s quite methodical, but sometimes I don’t open any of cards from stage 1 and when they happens I tend to rely on Gorz and trag. When I don’t have cards for stage 2 I jump straight to stage 3.
Every deck has a weakness, it is vital for the user to know the weaknesses of the deck he/she uses. In agents there are a few:
Grave keepers- this is a really hard matchup, they have ,any traps to stop the plays, necrovalley will stop the chaos monsters and sometimes Hyperion dead, royal tribute is a game ender!
To counter these issues I have to hope to have msts, perhaps removing agent monsters from my hand or field for hyperion and generally just side in royal decree.
Shineballs- this is an obvious weakness
I try to offset this weakness by playing cards like herald, creature swap, enemy controller, all of which have synergy with the deck.
Big monster dead hands- sometimes you can still draw 2 hyperion, 1 kristia, bls and 2 mst
I guess to deal with this I have to bluff gorz and trag for as long as I can and hope for stage 1 monsters especially earth, venus or reaper.
The main event
Round 1 vs windups 2-0
I opened the standard stage 1 play, Venus
I had hand traps to stop his plays so for a while he was taking hits from venus and then finally he decided to use up resources, that's when I go for the end play with hyperions and finish him. This is pretty much what happened in both games.
I'm going to skip the boring part
Round 2-9 I played against hieratecs, geargia, samurais, dark world, windup, geargia, windup and windup.
Not much interesting happened, I lost 1 game in round 3 when he sided in prohibition and called Hyperion, I proceeded to top 2 the next 2 turns. I then lost 1 game in round 9 when I opened double shineball, this doesn't happen often especially if you open Venus and get those shineball out of the way ( this happened once all event ). Every other game was 2-0 with nothing really interesting to note.
Round 10 vs Bo Tang Dino rabbit
I sat down on table 1, Bo had not shown up yet, I conceded the match by signing the slip.
To my surprise the people around me did not understand why.
Very simple reasoning:
- I was not running a generic deck so there are surprises, I'd rather not show people around me who I may face in the knockout rounds.
2. I can use this time to check out the decks and techs at the top table
3. Yu gi oh tournaments are mentally straining, I'd rather save the energy for
4. I was 9-0 on day 1, I was 100% in the top cut, there is no difference if I go 11-0 and top or 9-2 and top either way, it's the knockout. There was no reason to play.
Round 11 vs windup feature match
I was hoping to concede this game too but Jason Meyer requested to feature me for a second time, since I had turned him down last round I didn't want to do it again and show disrespect.
We did not side deck because both of us were guaranteed top 32.
Both games I won due to having hand traps, therefore he couldn't go nuts and I overwhelm him with Venus and Hyperion plays.
So I ended up 10-1 and first in standings, I was happy, this was the largest event I had ever gotten top Swiss in, the last time it happened in a premier event was a long time ago.
But I quickly put aside those thoughts to focus on the true task yet to come.
Top 32 'the misplay' vs chaos dragons
Game 1 opened venus, didn't open mst and storm (dead cards)
It was over within 3 of my turns when I dropped Hyperion and kristia, it ran very smoothly for me.
Game 2 was in my favour too, he opens with a set monster and there was a good chance it was ryko so I summon my shineball and attack into it and it was indeed ryko. As the game progressed he was on 5400 and I had tragoedia and so did he, it was my turn, I mind controlled his tragodia, made it level 2 and summon maxx c and tuned it into daigusto phoenix, attacking direct with all of them would be game. I used phoenix’ effect and he had no response, I then enter battle phase and he played effect veiler on the phoenix (it puzzled me why he didn’t effect veiler his tragoedia so I couldn’t tune with it) anyway I attack with both but he made a comeback and won that game.
game 3 was a standard win.
It wasn’t until after the match realized that effect veiler had to be chained to phoenix’s effect, if he plays it before battle phase after phoenix had already resolved then it would do nothing and it can still attack twice and I would have won that game.
I was so disappointed with myself, I check wikia rulings on every relevant card before an event to gain an upper hand, although this ruling was not there, it was one I should have figured out. I had to try to get over it swiftly to maintain a good mentality, I sometimes tend to punish myself mentally too much after misplays and it will affect your later matches.
I'm not afraid to own up to my short comings but I am afraid of not learning and improving from them.
Top 16 vs lancer frogs/ obelisk feature match
I knew this person's main deck inside out, during the round 10 where I conceded the match to conceal my deck whilst gaining information on the others I had started watching his feature match, when it had ended he revealed the entire deck to his opponent and it was on the big screen, I took a picture of it.
This was not a smart move, his deck is not the general meta so surprise is one of his advantages, not only did he show his opponent the entire deck in round 10 which he may have faced in the knockout rounds but it was also on the coverage screen for all to see.
Knowledge is power!
His deck is fairly weak against mine, I can out pace him, he uses creature swap so it was important for me to not bring out a big monster on its own without finishing off his life points. Game 1 ran smoothly
Game 2 I had sided out all the dead cards ( mst and storm' he doesn't play traps ) into 2 gozen match ( this hurts me a little but with gozen he won't be able to drop the big monsters) 1 Veiler and 1 cyber dragon.
As you may know from the coverage this match ended with me defeating obelisk the tormentor with a 4100 Atk Hyperion powered up by gachi gachi with 2 materials and armory arm!
Top 8 vs karakuri geargia
I was gaining momentum, throughout this entire event I had only lost 3 games excluding the match that I conceded straight away.
I knew this was the deck for me and I was confident with it for every matchup but I would have never dreamt that It could go so smooth, almost every game so far I felt no threat from any of my opponents, every time they overcame a situation I had dealt them I was always holding a bigger and better backup plan, I felt unthreatened all format, until this round.
This does not mean I got over confident, people in the event and on Facebook congratulated me and said things like 'you got this', but I know from experience that.
Letting it get to your head is the biggest cause of complacency and biggest cause of the downfall. Be confident but never arrogant, you can be rational and logical with confidence but arrogance usually brings delusion with it.
My opponent was a 15 year old boy from team colossal fighters, and yet I knew I must not underestimate this young duelist.
I had opened a decent and I was built momentum with a lot of stage 1 monsters until he dropped gorz and then the momentum completely changed, he had a solution to all of my plays and I lost. I was rather shaken up, I didn’t draw a bad hand and I was searching hard to see if I played a mistake no matter how small or subtle, but I couldn’t find a thing, that was the first time I had lost game 1 all weekend.
I obviously didn’t allow him to see that I was shaken up, I quickly regained focus, sided and was ready to go.
This time I also opened pretty good, but thunder king was in the way, it’s not a big deal I can deal with that card find (trag, gorz, creature swap, mind control then synchro, or just venus into gachi and allow him to negate) but it was a combination of thunder king, fossil dyna, gorz, fiendish chain on hyperion, avarice and then followed up with a big karakuri synchro play that finished me off. Again I was shocked but I congratulated him, his friends and guardian was watching and they were all happy for him.
He went onto winning the YCS, very big congratulations to him!
So will I use this build of agents again?
It is still a very strong deck post Abyss Rising, the water deck and spellbooks are the new issues that adds to the equation of the format. This version of agents is ok vs the water deck, they have less defense than most decks so I can otk them easily, although the water deck’s ability to pop things like inzektors is quite annoying so I have to make sure I don’t leave anything important on the field that they can pop, it’s all a matter of changing the play style a little bit or just changing 1 or 2 cards in the main deck.
If I am to play it again for let’s say in YCS Seattle, I wouldn't play the exact same build, there will be minor changes to keep my opponents on their feet.
My quest for a premier event title continues, next stop YCS Seattle, Tacoma!
Thank you for reading, I hope you were able to take something valuable from this to help you.
This is my first time saying this but definitely not the last,
Play Hard or Go Home!