Going into San Mateo – The YCS Meta

tyreeI know it’s been a while since my last article but with there being just loads of Dragons and Books at every event this season there hasn’t been much to write about. Who knew the format would shape out to be this way after seeing our September list? Well with YCS San Mateo coming up this weekend I thought I might as well give my views on what will make up the majority of the Meta going into the event.

I’m going to start off covering Spellbooks. This deck has started to lose popularity within the last few weeks because of two flaws the deck has right now, consistency and speed. When you draw a bad hand with Spellbooks it means you cannot play, since you hand most likely consists of dead books like [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Life[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Power[/ccProd], etc. You are praying to see a [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd] off the top and soon since Spellbooks aren’t the best at clearing boards unless you have [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd] or [ccProd]World of Prophecy[/ccProd]. The other problem the deck has is speed. When you look at Dragon HighPriestessofProphecy-REDU-EN-ScR-1Evariants, they have 3 [ccProd]Reckless Greed[/ccProd], 3 [ccProd]Sacred Sword of Seven Stars[/ccProd], 3 [ccProd]Cards of Consonance[/ccProd], and 3 [ccProd]Upstart Goblin[/ccProd] so they will be going through the deck quite fast. Spellbooks are a control deck not meant to blaze through half the deck by turn four, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when your average play is attacking for 500 with Magician and setting backrows behind it, stopping Dragons from overwhelming you is hard sometimes. Not being able to pull [ccProd]Temperance of Prophecy[/ccProd] or Priestess from the deck hurts as without having World or Priestess backed up by [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] to pressure your opponent, you give them time to set up for a big push since 500 points of damage every turn isn’t very threatening. Some people tried to remedy this by running Reckless Greeds to speed the deck up; I don’t know how effective this is as I haven’t tested it. On one hand, it can allow you to turn dead hands live if you draw Secrets or Magician and skipping draw phases don’t hurt much because of [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd]. On the other hand, if you draw dead off of Reckless, you pretty much just lose the game since your hand is still unplayable and you give your opponent the chance to do whatever they want for 2 turns. Running [ccProd]Maiden with Eyes of Blue[/ccProd] (I really hate the TCG name) and Blue-Eyes in the deck can possibly help as it gives the deck more firepower, but I don’t know how consistent the engine is be and if it’s worth it in the long run. Now I’m not saying Spellbooks are a bad deck, but going into the YCS they need to be different than they are now to be able to keep up with Dragons.

Now onto the deck which I know most people are tired of seeing by now: Dragons. Going into San Mateo, one of the more popular builds of Dragons I’ve seen are the [ccProd]Blue-Eyes White Dragon[/ccProd] variants. The Blue-Eyes build allows you to run [ccProd]Trade-In[/ccProd] and makes Cards of Consonance more consistent with the addition of [ccProd]White Stone Blue-Eyes White Dragonof Legend[/ccProd]. White Stone of Legend is also a tuner, so you won’t have to worry about running out of tuners for synchro plays. One of the main reasons people like this variant is because with the Blue-Eyes engine added to the deck, you have more Dragons to remove to summon the Dragon Rulers which helps the deck get moving faster. You also have more to Dragons to send to the graveyard with [ccProd]Dragon Ravine[/ccProd] as you can ditch a Dragon to the grave to send White Stone and search a Blue-Eyes from your deck. You also can summon[ccProd]Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon[/ccProd] which can cause immense pressure to an opponent especially if summoned early. Another good thing about this variant is it bypasses the normal 2800 attack barrier standard Dragon Ruler decks have because of Blue-Eyes. Regular variants can’t run Blue-Eyes over since the highest monsters they usually can summon has 2800 attack, so Blue-Eyes backed up by traps or hand traps can hard to get around. [ccProd]D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation[/ccProd] is really good in the Blue-Eyes version but you probably won’t see more than one copy mained because of all the [ccProd]Vanity’s Emptiness[/ccProd] flying around.

Standard builds are another popular variant that I’ve seen more and more lately. Nothing really eye-popping about this version, it just runs multiple tuners and [ccProd]Debris Dragon[/ccProd]s and [ccProd]Trigon[/ccProd] instead of [ccProd]Card Trooper[/ccProd]s,trigon since Trigon is easily searchable and doesn’t leave you open to getting [ccProd]Crimson Blader[/ccProd]’ed like Trooper does. This version also runs 2-3 copies of [ccProd]Raigeki Break[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Phoenix Wing Wind Blast[/ccProd] to clear out problematic cards and they are practically free since you will be discarding a Dragon Ruler for the cost most of the time. Every build has some differences here and there, some people run tech cards like [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd], [ccProd]Castle of Dragon Souls[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd]; I’ve even seen [ccProd]Fog King[/ccProd] in some builds. This version of the deck is the most resilient to cards like [ccProd]Maxx “C”[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Vanity’s Emptiness[/ccProd] as it’s easy to recover getting hit by either card because of the way the deck is built. Even with the 3 [ccProd]Cards of Consonance[/ccProd] and 3 [ccProd]Sacred Swords of Seven Stars[/ccProd] the deck can be slow to start up, getting [ccProd]Dragon Ravine[/ccProd] up and putting all your Dragons in the graveyard can take a few turns depending on your hand. This deck will most likely make up a majority of the Dragon decks you will see at the YCS. After playing this deck for a while, I found that the deck sometimes succumbs to early pressure because of its slow start ups, so you can use that to your advantage.

One card that people might see pop up a lot over the weekend is [ccProd]Mystical Refpanel[/ccProd]. You have Mike Steinman, Dalton Bousman, and friends to thank for this card becoming popular and raising the pricetag from its debut at Texas. When somebody uses this trap on my [ccProd]Sacred Sword of Seven Stars[/ccProd] while I’m on DN, I’m tempted to just admit defeat because it’s such a momentum shift. Losing 2 cards while your opponent draws 2 for free hurts, especially in the early stages of the game. It’s not easy playing around this card; you can’t really hold a Sacred Sword or [ccProd]Cards of Consonance[/ccProd] in your hand forever. The most you can do is siding out some of your draw power, something I can’t get myself to do. This card can create mind games with your opponent after they see it at least once, they will be wondering to themselves if you have it facedown and they might hold off on activating any draw cards until they see some form of S/T removal. You can even use it against pesky burn decks you might see at events, use their own [ccProd]Chain Strike[/ccProd] against them! The only drawback to this card is it can possible be sitting dead, it would suck if you needed one good draw to turn the game around and you ripped Refpanel off the top.

I know this article isn’t the most exciting one to read, but the format is pretty stale right now with these being the top 2 decks for the last 2 formats. I am really hoping for some changes come December 31st, I don’t think I can handle another format of Dragon and Spellbooks mirror matches. Don’t forget the ARG Circuit being held in Ohio is next weekend, October 12-13! I couldn’t attend the one in Texas but I’ll be sure to be at this one, I can’t wait for the event! It’ll be my first major event of the format as I have missed Toronto, the Fort Worth Circuit, and I won’t be at San Mateo either sadly. If you guys have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below and I’ll get back to them. Until next time!



-          Tyree Tinsley

-          YCS Rhode Island 2011 & YCS Meadowlands 2013 Champion



  • Zach

    Really irritates me that people actually believe Upstart Goblin, and Reckless Greed are now staples in dragons. I personally think they are both sub-par. Reckless Greed is a fun -1, unless you draw 2 of them (5% chance, not worth it), or you can finish your opponent off in 2 turns, which is unlikely, dragons don’t otk as well as they used to. And upstart goblin makes pretty much no sense, i would much rather run 3 important cards that could be used rather than an extremely small consistency increase…Best video on upstart goblin theory ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1J9qw0MGP6Q

    • Gravekeeper Peasent

      I love reckless greed! With so much draw power, drawing multiple reckless greed, while not very high, is still higher than 5%. You can upstart, sacred swords, or reckless into reckless, and the card advantage is game-changing. But, because I’m poor, I’m speaking from a dark world perspective. Although I have not used reckless in D rulers, I can personally attest to the usefulness of 3 reckless in a strong draw engine deck. If you’re fine with a more prevalent luck factor that is.

      • Zach

        Agreed, it is a tad (really only a tad) higher than 5% with the draw power that is presented with rulers.

        I completely understand running reckless greed in DW considering it uses the card advantage right away. And has cards like broww to make it never ending. Thus it makes sense to have it. However, i disagree on its effectiveness in rulers, its more of a control deck now (not really) than it was before. It doesn’t really OTK, or even only need 1 hand to go off. Drawing is important, even with speed factors like seven swords and such, if you don’t get what you really need off the first reckless greed, your going to be in a tough situation.

        • Lucian Murphree

          The 5% opening hand doesn’t matter, D rulers thin through their deck like none other, between the dragon searching engine, consance, upstart, seven, not to mention ravine, it’s not uncommon to see d ruler at 20 ish cards by turn 2-3. Those odds of drawing Reckless off a reckless activation are much better, and even if not, you can always draw into 7 stars for a +1 or another upstart for more draw power till you draw another reckless.

          • Zach

            still, i wouldn’t play reckless greed unless it was post 50% of drawing 2 reckless greed, its nowhere near that high of a percentage. Not to mention, you don’t always draw cards of consonance or seven swords. Double Greed is a +2, not having double greed is a -1, not to mention, if you don’t get what you need off of x2 greed (although you probably will), it ends up being a +-0 after 2 turns

  • Lucian Murphree

    Have you seen this floating around at all?

  • Pablo

    And.. what do you think about try to play spellbook priestesless again???

    • Tyree Tinsley

      Idk about taking Priestess out altogether. It is one of the only cards which can clear problematic cards with ease and pressures your opponent. Including Kycoo in the deck might not be bad however.

    • Nick Habeeb

      Go for it