Number 7: (Not so) Lucky Straight – Top 4 YCS Philadelphia

YCS Philadelphia has always been a special location to me. Before I had the opportunity to travel to the majority of events, Philadelphia was just far enough for me to attend back in the days of triple Card Trooper and Trap Dustshoot. I remember attending the event when my good friend Jessy Samek took the tournament with his Perfect Circle Monarch deck… those were the days.

Heading into the event this year I was almost certain I was going to play Chaos Dragons. It seemed like Galactic Overlord was designed specifically for that deck! As I mentioned in a previous article, the weapons in the extra deck that deck got were incredible. However, after playtesting with the deck (and still seeing how powerful it was) I was gun shy at the idea of registering a deck without trap cards. Sounds silly right? The inability to run trap cards single-handedly made my decision as to what deck I wanted to play over the weekend. In my opinion trap cards signify control, and if there is one thing I like to do that is control the pace of play – and that is what trap cards let you do.

Which brings me back to the deck everyone hates… Dino-Rabbit. Unfortunately Dino-Rabbit is the deck which gives me the most control of the game. The ability to run multiple Dimensional Prisons, Bottomless Trap Hole and so on differentiates the deck from something like even Inzektors because the room in that deck is so limited. Plus Dino-Rabbit is the only deck which can main deck Macro Cosmos and get away with it. Macro Cosmos not only improves the Chaos Dragon matchup, it tilts the scale which was already in your favor against Inzektors almost entirely in your direction.

So this is what I registered.

3 Rescue Rabbit

3 Tour Guide from the Underworld

3 Jurrac Guiba

3 Kabazauls

3 Sabersaurus

1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole

1 Sangan

3 Mystical Space Typhoon

3 Forbidden Lance

2 Soul Taker

1 Book of Moon

1 Dark Hole

1 Monster Reborn

1 Heavy Storm

2 Macro Cosmos

2 Dimensional Prison

2 Solemn Warning

2 Torrential Tribute

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Starlight Road

Side Deck:

3 Snowman Eater

2 Effect Veiler

2 Thunder King Rai-Oh

1 Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness

1 Spirit Reaper

2 Forbidden Chalice

1 Macro Cosmos

1 Dimensional Prison

2 Dust Tornado

Extra Deck:

2 Evolzar Laggia

2 Evolzar Dolkka

2 Leviair the Sea Dragon

1 Maestro  Djinn Symphony

1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon

1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction

1 Number 39: Utopia

1 Number C39: Utopia Ray

1 Photon Papilloperative

1 Steelswarm Roach

1 Wind-Up Zenmaines

1 Stardust Dragon

Pretty similar to Chicago huh? All I did to the main deck was replace Smashing Ground with the now superior Soul Taker and take out Reapers for a single Grand Mole (as an out to Safe Zone) – cutting the deck to 41. I was pleased with how the deck ran in Chi-Town so there was no point in changing too much about it. Galactic Overlord certainly made Chaos Dragons better but in terms of the overall meta – not much changed.

I was able to get in a cube draft on Friday, which was awesome. I thought my deck with Destiny Draw, Destiny Hero Disk Commander, Elemental Hero Stratos, Dimension Fusion, Magician of Faith, Painful Choice, Premature Burial, Hidden Armory, Limit Reverse, Imperial Order, Brain Control, Gorz and so on would do me well but… I was wrong. I lost round one to Paul Clarke who activated Honest three times in two games!

Nothing else to out of the ordinary occurred up until the start of Saturday so let’s get right into it.

Round 1: Inzektors

Game 1: I am able to hammer away a Jurrac Guiba hit early on to take control. He ends up running low on monsters and only having a Safe Zone in the backrow, which I was able to read confidently and therefore apply pressure.

Game 2: I connect with a Macro Cosmos and shut him off from anything before he gets going.


Round 2: Hero Beat

Game 1: He hits a dry spot on monsters and I just hammer away with Kabazauls. He eventually tries to use Heavy Storm to trigger his Starlight Road but luckily for me I had my own down!

Game 2: He is able to draw a much more favorable hand and his Skill Drain shuts me down from using my hand full of monsters. I felt like the game was winnable at certain points but I ultimately end up losing.

Game 3: I set up the classic Dust Tornado into Gorz the Emissary of Darkness play to take complete control of the game.


Round 3: Inzektors

Game 1: He draws an ideal combination of Inzektors and I unfortunately draw things such as Dimensional Prison so I lost quite quickly.

Game 2: I am able to resolve an early Rescue Rabbit and shut him down with Macro Cosmos.

Game 3: This game was awesome. He ends up hitting double Messenger of Peace against me when I have a board of Laggia, Leviair and Papilloperative. I had just used Papilloperative to destroy a Spirit Reaper so I felt like I was in a commanding position but I was certainly wrong. The next turn I shifted my own Leviair to defense mode so I could use the final material on Papilloperative to turn it back to attack mode – but now with only 1200 attack points it would be able to attack under Messenger of Peace! With the Neo-Spacian Grand Mole in my hand I was able to hammer away until he could no longer pay for Messenger!


Round 4: Hieratic Dragons

Game 1: I think I open well with Laggia and two Bottomless Trap Holes. I did until he went Dark Hole, Heavy Storm and OTKed me.

Game 2: I open quite poorly but still get into an elongated game state. He eventually summons the Cyber Dragon-esque monster and an Effect Veiler. He makes a Black Rose Dragon who I cannot deal with and I take my first lose of the event.


Round 5: Inzektors

Game 1: I open with Rescue Rabbit and he can never get anything going.

Game 2: I am able to Mole lock him until I draw a Rescue Rabbit which ignites my hand which already contained Tour Guide from the Underworld. He never really has a chance to gain his footing and the Mole takes complete control.


Round 6: Inzektor

Game 1: We go into quite a grind game where neither player exactly draws an ideal combination of cards. The game takes quite some time but I am eventually able to take control and win.

Game 2: We go into another slow game but instead he is able to win.

Game 3: Unfortunately this game goes into time. The big moment occurred when he used Monster Reborn on one of his Inzektor monsters after he got me to burn negation on the one he had normal summoned. I had Torrential Tribute down so I was forced to use it. At this point he had a couple cards in hand, but I had none. On my turn I drew Mystical Space Typhoon and passed back to him hoping he couldn’t close the near 5000 life point gap. He revealed his hand of Sangan, Foolish Burial and another dead card.


Round 7: Dino-Rabbit

Game 1: He begins the game with Rescue Rabbit and 4 backrows. Unfortunately I am unable to fight back.

Game 2: I open with a lackluster hand and am forced to activate Torrential Tribute when he summons Rescue Rabbit since I had no ideal way of dealing with Laggia and fall victim to Starlight Road.

Round 8: Chaos Dragons

Game 1: I draw an ideal combination of trap cards and keep his field at bay as I drop Rescue Rabbit/Tour Guide on the first few turns.

Game 2: He draws a much more aggressive hand and wipes the floor with me in just a couple turns.

Game 3: I open with Rescue Rabbit and Macro Cosmos and he is never able to fight back.


Round 9: Dino-Rabbit

Game 1: I win game one after I Solemn Warning his normal summoned Rescue Rabbit with Monster Reborn in my hand.

Game 2: Instead he resolves an early Rescue Rabbit and I cannot fight back.

Game 3: I open with what I thought was the best possible hand. Rescue Rabbit, Starlight Road, Dimensional Prison and Bottomless Trap Hole. On his first turn he plays Electric Virus and Heavy Storm! He is unable to follow it up with much more so I am able to win.


Round 10: Inzektors

Game 1: I learn he is playing Inzektors after setting Dimensional Prison. But luckily he tries to poke with Sangan and I effectively get the Prison off my board. I eventually draw into Macro Cosmos and it never leaves the field.

Game 2: I think I am in dominating position with an on board Sangan, Sabersaurus and Book of Moon. If he is able to get off an Inzektor effect I still have my Sangan search so what could go wrong? He draws to two cards in hand and flips his one backrow – Raigeki Break discarding Inzektor Hornet to pop Book of Moon. He then plays Monster Reborn on Dragonfly…

Game 3: I am able to hold off on setting a copy of Forbidden Chalice until I assume dominate field position and win by using it on a Dragonfly he needed to resolve.


Round 11: Dino-Rabbit

Game 1: I win a grind game where we fought through each others resources with normal monsters and Tour Guides.

Game 2: He opens the Rabbit and is eventually able to set up a turn where he Compulsory Evacuate Devices my set Snowman Eater so he can attack for over 8000 damage.

Game 3: I open with Soul Taker, Solemn Judgment, Kabazauls, Bottomless Trap Hole and Tour Guide from the Underworld. My first turn Tour Guide gets hit by Effect Veiler. Luckily for me he primarily draws spell and trap cards. I am able to grind away at his life total with Tour Guide and Kabazauls. I eventually draw into sufficient monster removal to keep him at bay. There were two straight turns where I would essentially lose if he were to draw Rescue Rabbit but luckily he did not and I was able to take the win.


Calling out the Top 32 spots was the most nerve racking part of the weekend. They began the x-2 players at number 11 and it took all the way to 30 for me to be called. It would be brutal for the streak to end based on tiebreakers!

Top 32: Inzektors

Game 1: I am able to hit a Macro Cosmos in the early stages of the game to take control. I got an interesting vibe while playing my opponent this game. It is difficult to explain. At one point I knew he had Torrential Tribute off of Pot of Duality and I decided to telegraph Starlight Road by making a questionable second summon against his set monster. I had a strong feeling he would not Torrential because he could question my reasoning – seeing as how I knew he had Torrential. He elected not to Torrential and from that point I basically avoided summoning a monster the whole game.

Game 2: I opened with Rescue Rabbit but was able to grind through all of his resources before summoning it. The final point was when I Monster Reborned a Sabersaurus while he had Inzektor Hooper on the board. He flipped a Bottomless Trap Hole and I then followed up with a game-clinching Rescue Rabbit.

Top 16: Inzektors

Game 1: I win the roll and open with Rescue Rabbit. He never really has an opportunity to assume any positioning in the game.

Game 2: He tries to stall out in the later stages of the game with a Spirit Reaper I knew he had searched out with Sangan. At this point I had a facedown Sangan with Monster Reborn in my hand. I had only used the effect of Rescue Rabbit once during the game so I am able to go use Reborn to go into a Leviair -> Rescue Rabbit -> Photon Papilloperative. He scoops the moment he sees I am running Photon.

Top 8: Dino-Rabbit (Jerry Williams)

Game 1: He wins the roll and begins with Laggia, 4 backrows. I have a fairly good hand with Solemn Warning, Mystical Space Typhoon, Forbidden Lance, Tour Guide, Rescue Rabbit and Monster Reborn. I am able to grind through his Laggia negation and backrows. The first turn I decide to summon Rescue Rabbit and see how he responds. He decides to use a Laggia negation on it. From here I get the feeling as though his backrows must be some combination of Torrential Tribute and Forbidden Lance. I consider my play on the second turn and conclude that if he used Laggia on Rescue Rabbit that if I were to Monster Reborn Rabbit on the second turn it would put him in a terrible position to where he would most likely have to use a desperation backrow such as Torrential Tribute or if he has it – Solemn Judgment. I set all of my backrows to hide the Solemn Warning in case of an endphase Mystical Space Typhoon. He follows up turn two with Tour Guide from the Underworld – which I am forced to negate with Solemn Warning. He hammers away for 2400 points of damage and passes back to me with one new backrow. I decide against using an endphase Mystical Space Typhoon because having sat next to Jerry in previous rounds I knew he was playing Fiendish Chain in the maindeck.

From here I decide to hold Tour Guide as the card which will go over the top of Monster Reborn. I play the Reborn to which he negates with Solemn Judgment. At this point I am feeling more confident that his backrows are what I assumed so I make the follow up of summoning Tour Guide. He flips Fiendish Chain so I chain my Mystical Space Typhoon. His response to the Space Typhoon was his own Typhoon targeting my facedown Forbidden Lance. At this point I was rather confused as to the reasoning of his activation. There didn’t seem like any legitimate reason for me to chain the Lance – at this point he was sitting with one additional backrow. I began to fear the possibility that his one backrow was the second copy of Fiendish Chain which he would be able to use when I went into Leviair the Sea Dragon. After determining there was no point in chaining Lance I tell him I have no response. Here he flips up his backrow Fiendish Chain on my Tour Guide! Holding off on the Lance pays off as I am able to chain it and assume complete control of the game! Tour Guide resolves and next comes Rescue Rabbit and so on.

Game 2: He opens with Rescue Rabbit again and this time I get through it after another few turns of a grind game. In the later stages of the game I am put in the awkward situation of deciding between Laggia and Dolkka. Throughout the game I was holding off on a copy of Rescue Rabbit in my hand, but I had just successfully summoned Tour Guide. He only had a Sabersaurus on board with two cards in hand. I figured I was in such a dominating position with another Rabbit in hand that it would be smart to play around the only thing I could see myself losing to – Gorz. So I went into Dolkka and continued the turn. In retrospect I probably should have just went into Laggia and held off on attacking for that turn…. Unfortunately for me he was able to follow up the next turn with Dark Hole and a normal summon of Sabersaurus. Still thinking I was in a strong position I show him my in hand Rescue Rabbit but for his turn he drew Effect Veiler! I lost the next turn to a Pot of Avarice into Mind Control.

Game 3: We continue to trade first turn Rescue Rabbits and while I was resolving mine I notice a copy of Evolzar Dolkka in my maindeck! The silly sleeves they make us switch into are the exact ones I use for my extra deck! The judging staff was reasonable and only offered a warning for the matter. An important aspect of this game is that I opened with Starlight Road and two additional backrows. On my second turn I summoned a Kabazauls to which Jerry responded with Torrential Tribute. He had two other backrows though and I was fearful of a potential Solemn Warning/Judgment so I used Laggia’s negation instead of Starlight Road. Later in the game one of his backrows ended up being Solemn Judgment so it was ultimately a huge turn of events. This game ends up taking several turns as we trade resources back and forth. He is able to get the Laggia off the board leaving us both with only a few cards. In the top decking war which assumed in the later stages of the game I am able to draw a copy of Rescue Rabbit and went to summon two Sabersarus. At this point he had just a facedown monster and backrow. All I had was a set Starlight Road. He was sitting with just 1700 lifepoints so I decide to simply attack and hope he had drawn a dead monster. Snowman Eater was going to punish me unless I went into Dolkka anyway. His sets ended up being Soul Taker and Maxx “C”.

Top 4: Chaos Dragons (Andrew Martin)

Game 1: He wins the roll and is able to play two copies of Solar Recharge on the first turn while milling Eclipse Wyvern. My opening hand consisted of 4 normal monsters but I still put up a reasonable fight. I ultimately drew into the 5th normal monster before I was unable to fight back.

Game 2: I open with only 3 normal monsters this game and through the use of my traps hold him off throughout the game. The game progresses to a point where I am trying to set up a Rescue Rabbit summon but have to play around Effect Veiler. I have quite a few normals in my graveyard but I have enough left for one Rabbit play. The turn I summon Rabbit he drops Effect Veiler – as planned. I still banish for cost because I have Tour Guide in my hand. The next turn I draw into the exact normal I couldn’t making the Tour Guide play I wanted to make useless. From that point I draw into another copy of Rescue Rabbit before I set up Solemn Judgment against him top decking.

Game 3: I’ve replayed this game in my head quite a few times in the past few days. It came down to a point where I sensed immense weakness in my opponent. In the previous game he utilized a copy of Electric Virus against me so heading into this game I was overly concerned with the card. So while deciding on a rank 3 exceed I elect to summon Acid Golem as opposed to the Dragon Leviathan. I had a Book of Moon and Snowman Eater at the time so destroying Acid Golem wouldn’t be a problem if the situation came to it. Plus he had used Soul Taker so I had a little bit of extra life points to spare (obviously not an extra turn of paying 2000 but in general).

Unfortunately for me he hits a Tour Guide with three cards in hand and goes into Zenmaines which complicates everything. I have to expend many resources in getting the Zenmaines off board while Acid Golem began burning me. He decides to ultimately use Dark Hole to destroy my Sabersaurus, Acid Golem and Snowman Eater just one turn before they could attack for lethal. He then pitched his two in hand cards for Lightpulsar Dragon – to which I responded with Bottomless Trap Hole. Now neither player has a single card to their name. Up until this point in the match I had drawn 11 normals and only two Rescue Rabbits (which were dead). But for my turn I drew a lousy Macro Cosmos. He drew Mr. Black Luster Solider. And so went my tournament. Just for good measure the card after Macro Cosmos was Tour Guide… if only he drew something like Solar Recharge or dare I say… Future Fusion.

It was a disappointing end to the event. Andrew didn’t have the Virus in his hand when I went into Acid Golem so I have always wondered what would have happened if I went into Leviathan. I guess I will never know. Victory felt so close in the final minutes of the game but a devastating Tour Guide into Dark Hole into Black Luster Solider ended it.

Overall the weekend was a lot of fun. I am a history major for those who don’t know, and I was able to spend Monday walking around the historical part of Philadelphia. I also got to dine for lunch at Fogo Dechao. I’m not exactly a fan of red meat but boy was that place good.

Here is a general shoutout to everyone who made the weekend enjoyable. I have way too many friends on the circuit to list you guys, but you know who you are! From the people who convinced me that Rabbit was still the best (Sean lol) to the guys I stayed with. Philly was an awesome trip and all it does is motivate me for the next event – Nationals. Topping 7 straight events is pretty humbling too. And of course a huge thanks to everyone related to Alter Reality Games!

I hope everyone who wanted to get anything signed from me, or any of the ARG players were able to do so! Please do not feel shy about that, we all love to hear from the fans of the website and enjoy meeting you in person! In a comment on one of my articles someone mentioned that I came off intimidating on Friday and that worries me. I’m just a Yu-Gi-Oh player – nothing special.

Joe Giorlando

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