With YCS Long Beach right around the corner I think it is only appropriate to sit down and have a little chat about what you need to do to get into position to succeed in sunny California. As little as the Forbidden and Limited list did to change the top tier decks from YCS Atlanta, there have been significant revelations over the course of the last month which need to be taken into consideration. Popular trends, new releases and potential new tech will all be key for players looking to do well this upcoming weekend. So exactly has changed you may ask?
The dominance of Dino-Rabbit.
Heading into YCS Atlanta it was virtually up in the air as to what the most powerful deck was. With the new releases of Wind-Ups and Inzektors hoards of duelists turned to the new powers vested to them in Order of Chaos to wield the new cards in hopes of winning the event. Now while T.G. Stun shocked the competition in Atlanta to sneak away with a victory, the more important question was answered: What was the most powerful deck. The answer was seemingly Dino-Rabbit, taking a majority of the Top 32 slots. The devastating Rabbit’s work was not done though as it continued its new found respect as the top contender as it later went on to win YCS Leipzig.
With the miniscule changes made to the Forbidden and Limited List it is undeniable that the deck on everyone’s mind heading into Long Beach is Dino-Rabbit. If you’re on the side of trying to perfect your build, or on the side of trying to cram as much main deck hate to combat the deck – Dino-Rabbit is on your mind. Now what trends has this started?
Removing copies of Maxx “C” from the main deck.
I know several other writers on this website, along with a number of other players, have begun flirting with the idea of registering a deck in Long Beach that does not have the maximum number of 3 Maxx “C” in the main deck. Now without reinventing the wheel and discussing why this decision might be made lets discuss how this might affect the event. Players electing to remove Maxx “C” from their decks are doing so in order to find room for cards they deem more versatile across the board. Cards such as Dimensional Prison and Snowman Eater are slowly creeping their way from player’s side decks into the main board as alternatives to the hand traps which are less effective against the Dino-Rabbit matchup.
This trend is obviously going to open up the possibility of the other two overshadowed tier one decks to be able to achieve higher levels of success than they may have had at the tail end of last format. Cards such as Dimensional Prison and Snowman Eater are the exact things Inzektors love to pray upon in hopes of generating card advantage and if players are willing to cut Maxx “C”, you can most certainly say the amount of Effect Veilers will also be down.
Wind-Ups fall into a unique position with this shift since it becomes obvious that the opportunity to loop successfully drastically increases if the opponent is not playing any hand traps. The problem is that if someone chooses to side copies of Maxx “C” and Effect Veiler they are there for games two and three; making it so that the primetime to pray being game one, if the Wind-Up player wins the dice roll. The issue becomes a Wind-Up player being unable to combo off in the early parts of the game and having to now play against a deck with a variety of nuisances such as Snowman Eater – the perfect answer to Wind-Up Rabbit. In the long run the players pulling off a turn one Wind-Up loop will increase as the number of Maxx “C”s decrease but for every time that player goes off they will be facing more difficult game ones if they enter prolonged gamestates. Especially if they are facing something like Dino-Rabbit which can land a series of Fiendish Chains and Evolzars, essentially locking them out regardless of if that player has a hand trap. And instead of even needing a hand trap the Dino-Rabbit player are turning those Maxx “C”s into more protection for Evolzar Laggia and Dolkka.
One of the most significant byproducts of this trend is how it is going to affect decks such as Elemental Hero variants. Any anti-meta deck is thrilled to know the opponent is holding a hand chalk full of relevatively useless hand traps. Pitching a Maxx “C” in response to Miracle Fusion may cycle you a card, but the Hero player is progressing their board state as you try and find answers. Not a favorable position to say the least. The problem for Hero players is that the cards Maxx “C” are being cut for are the exact cards Heroes fear the most. Spot removal such as Snowman Eater and Dimensional Prison are the first cards people side in against these types of anti-meta decks and if the trend of cutting Maxx “C” continues… Long Beach will not be as friendly for stun variants as Atlanta was.
I am in no way shape or form committed to the number of Maxx “C”s I like heading into this event – but do not be surprised if you start to see players cutting them as the event approaches.
Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me.
Quite often I have been asked about some of the side decks choices I made at YCS Atlanta. Shield Crush, Kaiser Colosseum and Arcana Force 0 – The Fool (thanks Jessy!) were all unconventional picks in order to combat the mirror match (and in the case of Shield Crush any deck siding Spirit Reaper/Snowman Eater). The problem with trying to reuse cards such as The Fool is that now the cat is out of the bag. Before the event virtually no one knew about The Fool and thus they didn’t know how to interact with it. Long Beach is going to be a little bit different. The weakness that is often overlooked when reading the text of The Fool is that he is unable to be switched from Attack position to Defense position – except by a card effect. Now how is he going to be switched into Attack position you may ask? An opponent’s Mind Control (or Enemy Controller). More people realize this aspect of The Fool and risking playing a card where you completely loss the game to something like this is incredibly dangerous, and not something I am sure about doing. The card is still good and will see play, but therein lies the problem – people know about it.
What is with all the Acid?
Who would have thought that the two most significant releases since YCS Atlanta would have Acid in their name? That’s right I am talking about none other than Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction and Masked Hero Acid. Now while Masked Hero Acid is going to be an obvious addition to any Hero deck trying to utilize Masked Change, Acid Golem of Destruction deserves its own section and how it affects the game.
The ability for Tour Guide to turn into a huge 3000 Attack beat stick is absolutely astonishing. What ends up happening is that now players will be able to attack over Evolzar Dolkka without activating a single monster effect. Previously if you were able to exceed into a Rank 3 when the opponent had Dolkka out there was no single Rank 3 monster that could get you out of the situation. Not so much anymore. Using up on field Spirit Reapers with any of the other level 3 monsters you may play will now enable you to attack over Dolkka and do so with a monster that is inherently difficult for a deck like Dino-Rabbit to deal with.
Not only that, unlike Number 17: Leviathan Dragon none of the normal summoned monsters in Dino-Rabbit can ride the power of Forbidden Lance to get over it.
Out of all of the top tier decks I think it is undeniable that Acid Golem is going to have the biggest impact on Dino-Rabbit since the deck already had an issue with getting around monsters with high attack. But not everything about Acid Golem is all fine and dandy. Did I mention you can lose the game because of him?
Now everyone thinks they know how to use Acid Golem, thinking they will never leave themselves vulnerable to dying from its 2000 burn damage. But you’d be surprised how many times in the card’s young life here in the TCG have I seen players either loss outright to his effect or see players burn themselves down to 1800 in hopes of drawing Book of Moon or a way to destroy him. Listen – every time you go into this card please play out the next three turns in your head. If you do not see yourself either having a way to win the game or remove Acid Golem from the field (without Special Summoning) there must be a better play available to you. Just because Acid Golem is the only way to interact with the monster your opponent has on board, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is correct to go into him. And when you are playing in Long Beach be prepared to exploit opponents who recklessly drop this card by finding ways to make them either waste resources such as Dark Hole or Book of Moon, or perhaps even their valuable Life Points.
The next question on hand is how one should go about handling the variety of tier two decks expected to be seen at Long Beach. These decks include things such as Six Samurai, Lightsworn, Ninjas and Chain Burn. The best answer I can give for how to handle these types of decks is to not place a lot of worry into siding specifically for them. They are going to make up such a small portion of the overall field of play I find it difficult to convince myself that I need to allot valuable side deck space to things like Light-Imprisoning Mirror or Kinetic Soldier. What you need to do is understand that you plan on siding a copy or two of Thunder King Rai-Oh anyway – he’ll do just fine against things like Six Samurai and Lightsworn. Your side deck needs to be concentrated on siding for Dino-Rabbit, Inzektor and Wind-Up because that is the majority of what you will be playing against. Acknowledging versatile cards which can be used across the board against the rogue and tier two decks is a far more appropriate plan than allotting space to inefficient cards like Kinetic Solider.
So what conclusions can we draw heading into Long Beach?
1.) Dino-Rabbit is going to take up the largest portion of the field
2.) Proceed with caution if you plan on running anti-meta – this may not be your event
3.) No you’re not crazy for considering cutting Maxx “C”
4.) The popular techs from Atlanta may be old news – try digging for the next under the radar card to dominate the field
5.) Don’t be the guy who loses to your own Acid Golem – make that the opponent
6.) Watch out for Harpies Feather Duster, I mean Masked Hero Acid
7.) If you attack into a Snowman Eater game one your opponent didn’t forget to de-side…
8.) Restrain yourself from siding narrow cards against tier two decks
I hope everyone enjoyed this discussion of the current metagame. As I mentioned a few weeks ago I hope to spend my time continuing on with the more timeless articles in my Beyond the Top Deck series. But of course with Long Beach right around the corner it was only appropriate to offer a little insight into how you can succeed! Starting back up with Beyond the Top Deck next week will be an article discussing Misplays – of course unless I feel like a tournament report from Long Beach could be helpful. Anyway, thanks for reading and be sure to check back next week! Don’t forget to comment down below and check out the Alter Reality Game’s store for all your card game needs! Oh and look out for the ARG Live streams!