January 2014 Prediction, in Accordance with the Prophecy

Samuel PedigoWhen the Dragon Rulers were limited and Ravine was banned, a whole new world of possibilities seemed to open up. I created a pretty long list of decks that I thought could be viable, but then I remembered going through the same exercise last format when we were all under the assumption that Dragons weren’t, well, Dragons. Sure enough, they went on to dominate the format and that extensive list of decks that could compete was essentially narrowed down to just two: Dragons and decks geared (see what I did there?) to beat Dragons.

While it may seem like an open meta now (like last format and others before it), natural selection will take its due course and the number of viable decks will be narrowed down to just a few. It’s been about a week since the Forbidden & Limited list was announced and while it’s still early, I’m going to venture out and make my prediction for what the best decks in the upcoming format will be.


September 2013 Results

It’s been pretty funny listening to the chatter amongst the community. “Every deck is terrible”, I’ve heard quite a few times, which is true when you compare the power level of the best decks under the 2014 list to Dragons last format. Players will adjust soon enough, though, and realize that there wasn’t always such a significant power gap. Once upon a time the “best deck” was only marginally better than the competition.

To be clear, I do think there is a best deck, a couple more of Tier 1 decks and then a lot of other decks that have the ability to top. (Because the power gap isn’t what it was last format, you’ll definitely see more “rogue” making its way into the top tables.) What are they? Well the first step that I took towards determining this myself was to see what decks were successful last format, despite the dominance of Dragon Rulers. Decks that were able to have success under those circumstances are pretty likely to continue to be strong contenders into the new format, with the exception of Evilswarms. I compiled the results from the YCS and ARGCS events and out of the 207 decks (only 31 decks were reported from Turin), Dragons (and Dragunity) accounted for 137 of them. No surprise there. Evilswarm had 20 but their success was a product of the dominance of Dragon Rulers. That’s not to say they can’t still complete, but unless the meta were to take a surprising turn, I’d say Constellars (which leverage similar tactics and strategies) would be a stronger choice next format. After those, here were the most successful decks:





Fire Fist




There’s more than meets the eye, though. Constellars actually had five tops, but three of them had the same pilot (congrats again to Sean McCabe for winning ARG Columbus). All four of the tops that Water had were from YCS Toronto. It’s a deck that, some might say is really strong but was made irrelevant because of Dragon Rulers. Without them to push Mermails around, perhaps they could contend. Similar arguments could be made for other decks (like Infernity) if hand traps (driven by Dragon’s domination) are phased out of the maindeck.

Here’s a summary of the other decks that have topped:

3: Blackwings

2: Madolche, Chain Burn, Hunder

1: Herald, Infernity, Assault Mode, Bujin, Heratics, Monarchs

Looking at these a bit closer, it’s probably safe to say that the success Chain Burn had is a result of a Dragon Ruler meta, in which the dominant deck didn’t run many traps and Mystical Space Typhoon was rarely used in the maindeck. I’m told Assault Mode had a good matchup against Dragon Rulers, too. You could say the success Heratics had is a result of an extremely seasoned pilot in Paul Cooper. On the other hand, the top by Bujins is particularly noteworthy because they didn’t have as many events to prove their worth as most of the others have.



January 2014 Format

All-in-all, I used these results to look most closely at these decks for the upcoming meta:

Prophecy, Geargia, Fire Fist, Water, Constellar, Bujin

I’ve started the format by watching a lot of games on DuelingNetwork and by testing Geargia, although not necessarily for the reasons you might think. The Geargia monster lineup isn’t really going to change. Neither are the combos. I already know the deck in-and-out and don’t need the testing. What I need is to know what the meta’s going to be like so that I can adjust my defensive lineup accordingly. I’ve actually been using the deck so my opponents have a good measure on how their deck will perform against Geargia when played optimally. The trap lineup is obviously still in flux, but it’s still been pretty effective for telling us what we need to know.

To my surprise, the first deck I tested against was Dragons. I’ve also tested against Water and Fire but the most important results I’ve gotten have been playing against Prophecy. In my personal testing, I found that they lost relatively nothing from [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] going to one. It’s a bit more difficult to recycle, especially if you place a premium on destroying [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd], but it’s not impossible due to [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd]. That’s it.

Before being rudely awakened to the fact that Dragons were massively overpowered last format, I had been anticipating a meta which consisted as Prophecy as the best deck, with Fire, Geargia, Water and Dragons not far behind. With Dragons out of the picture? I think that’s exactly what we’re looking at:


Best Deck: Prophecy

Tier 1: Fire Fist and Geargia (and maybe Water)


HighPriestessofProphecy-REDU-EN-ScR-1EWhy are Mermails in parenthesis? If you remember, Fire Fist almost beat them in the Finals a couple of times. Maybe it Heavy Storm wasn’t around, they would’ve done it. Meanwhile, Prophecy actually started to become relevant before [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd] due to a strong Mermail matchup. Now? Fire has gained Wolfbark in 4-axis, Rooster in 3-axis, Geargia received Geargiagear and Books received a World of support and Water lost Heavy Storm, Diva and Dragoons. Actually (piggybacking on the part about losing Heavy Storm), ALL decks EXCEPT Prophecy lost a significant number of power cards (Books didn't even play Storm, Reborn and others like Shock Master). Water can compete but I am not so sure they're going to be dominant force, although I am hearing whispers...

(It’s worth noting that [ccProd]World of Prophecy[/ccProd] makes for a significant upgrade over the version we saw back pre-Tachyon because it also creates certain side-deck paradoxes.[ccProd]Imperial Iron Wall[/ccProd], [ccProd]DNA Surgery[/ccProd],[ccProd]Anti-Spell Fragrance[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Mistake[/ccProd] are all viable counters but now they’re only as good as your ability to prevent World from hitting the board.)

Bujins are probably out, too. From what I hear, their Dragon matchup wasn’t (relatively speaking) all that bad. But it Spellbooks are the best deck? Good luck protecting [ccProd]Bujin Yamato[/ccProd] from Fate. Perhaps when they get the new support in Legacy of the Valiant.

As for Constellars—I’m honestly not sure how they’re going to fit in. I don’t have much experience with the deck.


What does this mean?

Only time will tell us for certain and it’s up to us to test, theory and find out, but here are some early thoughts:

Effect negation is going to be at a premium. [ccProd]Effect Veiler[/ccProd]. [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd]. [ccProd]Divine Wrath[/ccProd]. (Maybe even [ccProd]Skill Drain[/ccProd].) That last one, in particular, could be a game-changer. Decks that can support Wrath (namely Prophecy and 3-axis) might be at an advantage. Because of it, [ccProd]Trap Stun[/ccProd] becomes much riskier to play and the alternative, Seven Tools, doesn’t do anything about Tower, Fate or Tenki, which all seem poised to be major factors within the meta (making us all give MST some strong maindeck consideration once again). Divine Wrath also gets around [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Forbidden Lance[/ccProd]. Those, combined with the more passive Geargia strategy, make cards like [ccProd]Dimensional Prison[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd] liabilities.

Of course it's still early and I could be proven wrong. What do you all think? Do you believe the list I provided above is accurate? If so, what else do you think we can expect to begin trending? And if not, then what do you anticipate the meta will be like and why? The next stop for the Circuit is in Indianapolis, IN on January 11th for a 1K in 1 Day! Then, on January 18-19 it stops in Nashville, TN for a Circuit Series event!


Samuel Pedigo
I began playing competitively at YCS Dallas in 2011 and currently have seven premier event tops, including a 2nd place finish at the 2011 NA WCQ. I pride myself on playing complex decks that often challenge the player with in-game puzzles to determine the optimal play. My friends make fun of me for creating spreadsheets detailing most (or all) of the combos in the deck that I'm playing. In addition to the mental stimulation, I feel as though these kinds of decks offer the most flexibility and gives the player a much higher influence on the outcome of the game. I'm also the host of the Yu-GI-Cast! It's a podcast dedicated to Yu-Gi-Oh. Although Billy, Scott and I aren't able to make podcasts very often, I try to update the page regularly with articles and news about the three of us. Here's the URL: yu-gi-cast.blogspot.com PLAY HARD, PLAY SMART, OR GO HOME!
Samuel Pedigo

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  • hmgboi

    First of all yall forgetting inzektor/infernity/gladiator/and even six sam…wish I could play in the ycs tournament but at my local place I was top2 playing inzektor I know its getting worst but most play I seen are miss played…hopefully this year I can top1 against mermail teehee

  • Eyermen De Los Santos

    Great article as always, and to those that talk without even testing shame on you, first of all give proof of what you’re saying (testing your decks). Tier 1: Fire Fist, Constellar, Mermail. This is what I expect, why? because I’ve been testing all around against a lot of people not only trhough DN but playing on locals and so on.

  • Donnell Washington

    Obviously a great article.

  • BSM

    How does Dragons not even get a mention? Have you not taken Plant Dragons in to consideration? It is a very powerful deck that can make all the synchros the previous Dragon deck could. Lonefire to 2 was a huge boost to the Plant engine and as time has proven the Dragons fit in well with that engine. There is no denying that at any limit a 2800 beater that comes back every turn is powerful.

    • Samuel Pedigo

      “To my surprise, the first deck I tested against was Dragons.”


  • Sunami King

    Oh boy….You don’t even know how wrong you are about water and thinking rulers are gone and Putting 4 decks as tier 1… Oh god. There are more tier 1 decks, Water is amazing, rulers are alive: http://forum.duelingnetwork.com/index.php?/topic/106619-tcg-best-dragon-ruler-evar-bewd-engine-so-brokenjan-2014/#entry1534155 That’s the articl I wrote, and look at the screenshots. Constellars, bujins, mers, zombies, ls, and plenty of other decks will be consistently winning….With the release of PRIO, you’ll see things like glads and Madolche’s winning, not just topping.

  • Rvlc

    of what player is the unknown deck?

  • Sean Turner

    Thinks dragons are dead..
    Loses to dragons next format lol

  • Carlos Kempe

    I can’t stress enough the part of divine wrathis going to be a huge card in the upcoming months with the exciton knight, ark knight, world, felgrand, yamato and hard to deal with monsters all getting nailed by it while you are unable to protect them via wisdom, trap stun or their own abilities.

  • Nick Habeeb

    Geargia Karakuri as they are ran now are actually worse than people think.

  • Tim NoneYa

    Let me get this straight. You predict a backrow heavy format and don’t think Harpies are going to be a factor? Being able to pop tons of backrow while swarming the field and having access to rank 7s and the strongest rank 4s in the game isn’t good? Plus they have the +3 searcher card with the “I win” button of Party. No deck has a card like that anymore. Harpies murder Fire Fist and Spellbooks. Geargia can only win by setting five or a early OTK. Water is actually the only hard matchup of the four decks you picked. And btw, Water did get new support. Armor Kappa is huge for them. That card has been helping them top regionals left and right and made even the one Diva worth running. And instead of just saying Fire Fist, you should say fire decks. Both Fire Kings and Battling Boxers stand a pretty good chance this format. Fire King can clear the board even easier than Spellbooks. And lets face it, Spellbook is the easier deck in the game to side against. Any deck that can make Naturia Beast easily can win too. With Striker at three, that’s not too hard to do anymore. You seem to have a pretty narrow view of what you think is to come. The meta really is wide open. It’s more like 10 tier ones decks that four.

    • Lord Invishil

      Sam is only human lol. He could’ve totally forgotten about Harpies

    • Samuel Pedigo

      Hi Tim,

      First, I wrote this a week ago but we wanted to space out my articles. It’s meant to be a very early look at what decks will be Tier 1. imo you’d be foolish to think that there will be ten Tier 1 decks. I suggest re-reading the second paragraph of the article. It might seem like ten (or more) decks can compete but it’ll get whittled down to just a few as “Tier 1”. That’s not to say other decks won’t top. The power gap between Tier 1 and everything else isn’t nearly as big as it has been since Tachyon came out. Decks will be able to craft themselves to counter the meta. But rogue anti-meta tops doesn’t make a deck meta.

      To be clear, I’m not projecting what decks can or will top. I believe most of the decks you listed do have that ability. I’m predicting the 3-4 decks that you’ll be paying most attention to when you go to a major event… those that will be most commonly represented in the Top cut.

      Second, you’re saying that I’m predicting a backrow-heavy format and that is a major reason why Harpies will be good, per your reasoning. For me to project Harpies would be a Tier 1 deck based on that would be a bit arrogant as it assumes that my initial assessment of what will be meta would be correct (and tbh I hope I’m wrong about Prophecy). That’s why I didn’t add an anti-meta Skill Drain based deck (such as Dragons, GKs, Blackwings or something along those lines).

      Also, GOOD players (Jeff Jones and Jessey Samek, for example, both SJC winners) tried piloting Harpies last format to no avail. Given the list of decks that I provided that DID top in spite of Dragons, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say they’ll continue to have a difficult time performing strongly. Sure, more backrow helps bring it from almost topping to a deck that can top but do I think it’ll be enough to vault it into the top tier of decks? No.

      I could be wrong. My testing has been limited as the format technically still hasn’t even begun. But these are my predictions. Hopefully all of this helps explain my thought process.

      Thanks for your input!

    • Carlos Kempe

      Let me get this straight: you are an ignorant that thinks its actually better than a multiple top cut competitor that posted pretty solid logic for his prediction. And most of the stuff you posted is incorrect anyway as mermail really does not have a good FF match-up (its actually the other way around), fire king loses to abyss dweller and cardinal awfuly, battling boxers is a bad deck full of -1 and lead yoke is actually not hard to run over (and good luck defending it if SB is indeed the best deck). Naturia beast is also a joke in a format full of FF and bujin (there is wolfbark and ff trap cards+ regular trap cards). The only thing that you said that is remotely correct is that harpies have a good match-up against FF (only against 4 axis) and spellbook (again, harpies are INCONSISTENT while spellbook is NOT).

      • Tim NoneYa

        I don’t believe I ever said anything about Fire Fist other than Harpies have a good match up against them which they do. They can pop their backrow endlessly and Fire Fist can’t handle rank 7s well. If Cardinal was enough to handle them, then Dragon Rulers would haven’t been a problem…. but they were. If you think Cardinal is the answer to everything, then you might as well play Madolches. But Cardinal isn’t as easy to make and it has no follow up due to his weak attack. If it gets Veilered or Chained, then it’s trash. It’s worse than going into Chidori. Not sure what Hapries decks you’ve seen, but much like the ones I linked that top regionals, they are just fine consistency wise. The only downside of Harpies this format is Veiler is back. I also never said Spellbooks were inconsistent. I said they are too easy to side against and everyone will over prepared. And you must not keep up on decklist, because people have started running Photon Thrasher and Masked Chameleon to make up for the -1s. That list went undefeated at the last Konami event. And yes, Lead Yoke is hard to deal with this format as no one is spamming Big Eye anymore. The only deck that has lots of answer for him anymore is Harpies lol. And your saying Fire Kings are bad because one deck can sometimes make one Xyz? That’s like saying don’t effect monsters because they could just get Veilered. Wonderful bad player logic there. A 1700 Abyss Dweller means nothing to a deck that runs normal summons that are easily 1800+. And last of all, I never said anything about Mermails, so I have no idea where you were doing with that. And my only point about Naturia Beast was against Spellbooks. Why on earth would you start talking about other decks against it then? I love people that make up arguments and put words in people’s mouths to try to prove points that were never even brought up.

  • Johnny Site Li

    So much punnery!