The Justice League at YCS Chicago

Hello Yu-Gi-Oh players, I am Manuel Ballesteros from Puerto Rico and I just top 32 YCS Chicago
using Masked Heroes, that’s right, Masked Heroes. I noticed that Billy Brake once posted an article witha Masked Hero deck profile, but refer to it as “a fun deck”. I would like to use this article to give you a quick report of my tournament, which was as exciting as it could get, being full of big names and players not aware of the power of the Masks. Well, maybe not as quick. I’ll try to simplify as much as I can.

First off, the Deck list:

Monsters: 8
3 E- hero neos alius
3 E- hero bubbleman
1 E-hero wildheart
1 E-hero stratos

Spells: 20
3 Pot of duality
3 E- emergency call
3 Gemini spark
3 Miracle fusion
1 Reinforcement of the army
1 Dark hole
1 Monster reborn
1 Heavy storm
1 Super polymerization
1 Book of moon
2 Mask change

Traps: 12
2 Bottomless trap hole
2 Fiendish chain
2 Hero blast
2 Solemn warning
1 Solemn judgment
1 Torrential tribute
1 Dimensional prison
1 Compulsory evacuation device

Extra deck:
2 E-hero shining
2 E-hero abzolute zero
1 E-hero nova master
1 E-hero gaia
1 E-hero great tornado
1 Utopia
1 Steelswarm roach
1 Maestroke the symphony djinn
2 Blade armor ninja
1 Masked hero DIAN
1 Masked hero VAPOR
1 Masked hero ACID

Side deck:
3 Macro cosmos
1 Parallel world fusion
3 Mystical Space typhoon
2 Snowman eater
1 Neo-spacian grand mole
1 Chain disappearance
1 Super polymerization
2 Forbidden chalice
1 Dimensional prison

Now, Out of 1170 players, first round I get paired with my good friend Andrew Fredella. The fun part about this first round is that the night before Andrew and I play tested quite a bit and I almost made Andrew wear a mask for the tournament… Saturday morning, he decided against it and played Inzektors. Game 1 he opens up TGU > Sangan > Leviathan > detach Sangan> sets 1. A classic Call of the haunted set up. Being sure his back row was Call, I put the mask to use immediately. I searched Wildheart with E-call and summoned him, I entered battle phase and activated Mask Change (so my DIAN didn’t get veilered) and attacked Leviathan. My plan was to destroy Call with Stratos effect in Damage step so that he couldn’t chain it but he responded to my attack with Call. I brought Stratos with DIAN and searched Bubbleman with Stratos and attacked Sangan to finish my turn with a total of 7 cards. My back row took care of the rest and game two the Bubblemen made it a quick one.

Record 1-0

Round 2 I get paired against Paul Cooper and his Burn deck, and I thought to myself.. pheww, it’s going to be that kind of tournament. I beat Cooper holding Solemn Judgment to the last possible second game one, and resolving a huge Mask Change into ACID in one of his end phases game two.

Record 2-0

Round 3 I get paired against Dark World, he won the dice roll, searched Grapha somehow and set 2 back rows without monsters. I opened with 1 Bubbleman 2 E-call and Heavy storm. Knowing that NORMAL dark world players do NOT play Gorz or Veiler I proceeded to do what Bubblemen are supposed to do and win in a flash.

Game 2 he had control of the game resolving a Heavy on my two back rows and having a Grapha with a Beiige on hand. I won because he summoned the only monster he had to bring back Grapha to push for damage only to be Dark Holed next turn, giving me control of the duel and eventually the win.

Record 3-0

Round 4 I pair against Dark World again and even tho my life point notebook suggest a very hard 2-0 win, I do not remember a thing about this matchup except that he didn’t have any answer for Macro Cosmos and that I resolved a Parallel World Fusion to take out his last life points.

Record 4-0

Round 5 I go against Johnny Nagel and his Dark World deck. Game 1 he drew the nuts, he Dragged Down me, he Dark World Dealing, he Gates and I also saw cards like The Cheerful Coffin and later on The Forces of Darkness to end up his first turn with a total of around 9 cards. I try to fight back but, come on, when your opponent haves over a 3-4 card advantage and all the pieces in place just turn one, there’s not much you can do.

Game 2, I summon Bubbleman and set 4. My bet was that he was going to think that I committed my entire field and left a weak Bubbleman there because I didn’t want him to discard it. Little did he know, I had Mask Change face down, just waiting. When he set 3 and passed, in his end phase I slammed Mask Change on the table bringing ACID and destroying everything. I won shortly after.

Game 3 he opens up with 5 back rows and an in hand Grapha he searched with Snoww off of his Dragged Down. In my turn Pot of duality gave me Heavy Storm and when I activated it he had double Reckless Greed to stay in the game, but those two turns he didn’t draw was enough for me to cease the duel.

Record 5-0

Round 6 I go against Sean Montague and his rabbit deck. Game one was a great battle, he read my set Heavy Storm and forced me to use it as a 1 for 1, I wasted his Laggia materials and take control of game one with Utopia.

Game two I was forced to use Solemn Judgment and he won shortly after, having 2 Rabbits in his opening hand.

Game three I opened Alius and 2 back rows. I Bottomless his Sabersaurus and used MST to take out his only back row, next turn I summoned Stratos searched Bubbleman and activated E-call to search another Bubbleman I set my last two cards and attacked for 8800 life points with double Blade Armor Ninja.

Record 6-0

Round 7 I was paired against Inzektors in table one and I think his name is Caleb and he topped 16ed. Game one I control the whole duel with one Neos Alius, double Gemini Spark and Hero Blast pounding him until he was out of life points.

Game two I was in relative control, he baited my back row summoning Dragonfly and after I stopped him, he activated Monster Reborn with Zektkasword in his hand, he OTKd me that turn.

Game Three I open Alius, Gemini Spark, Chain Disappearance, Macro Cosmos, Bubbleman and Mask Change. I summon Alius and set Gemini Spark and Chain Disappearance. When he summoned TGU I Chain Disappearanced Tour Guide so that he wouldn’t Zenmaines or made me waste Spark on an XYZ. Sangan was in his hand so he summoned it, set two and pass. My turn, I drew another Alius and debated for a moment; I knew that the Macro that I had in hand was going to win me the game. I activated Spark and target one of his back row looking for an MST, I thought he didn’t play Decree because game two I saw a lot of traps including Call of the Haunted, I drew Heavy Storm off of Spark and really fearing that MST I trade it for his last back row. I summoned Alius set Macro Cosmos and pass. At this point with Macro set and my opponent with two cards in hand I’m really comfortable with my position. He draws and his move was to change Sangan to attack position and attack my Alius, probably looking for a way to get to Hornet, I responded to his attack with Macro Cosmos and Sangan was banished, he ended his turn setting one back row. In my turn I summoned Bubbleman without fear of Torrential because I could’ve chain Mask Change to Torrential and bring VAPOR knowing that he had no answers to Macro Cosmos with just one card in hand. I attacked with Alius and Bubbleman and set the Mask. Next turn he set a second back row and at his end phase I activated Mask Change bringing ACID and winning my 7 th round.

Record 7-0

Round 8 was a lot of fun and my opponent was kind of upset when I beat him.

You can see why here:

Record 8-0

So, I’ve reached last round of day 1 with an undefeated record and I knew that if I win this one I will guarantee a top, so the pressure was on. I got paired against Anthony Pascariello and his Rabbit.

Game 1 was a classic back and forth, at one point he had a live Laggia and 3 back rows, I set Alius and Superpolymerization with my other 2 back rows. Next turn he summoned TGU and went for the Leviair play; now this play was key, He’d use Bottomless earlier so I figure one of his back row was Bottomless or Torrential. I thought about chaining Superpoly to Leviair’s effect so that he couldn’t use Bottomless, but I didn’t and he didn’t disappoint me… I waited for the second Laggia to come and when he attacked Iactivated Superpoly, when Nova Master hit the field Bottomless took care of him. With a live Laggia onboard and having wasted most of my resources I scoop and moved to game 2.

I do not remember a lot about game two, he controlled me pretty much the whole duel with a Prohibition on Neos Alius, but I wasn’t about to make it a walk on the park for Anthony. Having Bubbleman and Wildheart in the deck opens up a lot of options. At one point He had 4 traps, a live Laggia and Prohibition to my set Snowman Eater, a Bubbleman I’d just set along with MST, Superpoly and two more traps; Superpolymerization was my only chance at winning this game. When he declared an attack with Laggia I responded with MST targeting Prohibition and chained Superpoly targeting Laggia, when Nova Master hit the field he tried to Torrential but he couldn’t due to the fact that my monster is being summoned in the middle of a chain and a player can’t interrupt a chain to respond to a summon. (This is one of my favorite plays with Mask Change, any chain in the game gives me an opportunity to activate Mask Change and bring ACID to blow my opponent’s back row, protecting him at the same time, from cards like Torrential and Bottomless). A few turns down the road, he Prohibition again, my Nova Master gets killed and I lose.

Record 8-1

So I made it to day two and was feeling really confident.

Day two starts and I lose round 10 to an Inzektor guy (I remember game 2 I pulled Bubbleman’s effect to draw two and bring myself back to the game, but he had one too many dragonfly). Game three he makes some pretty good plays as I am unable to draw any monsters.

Record 8-2

OH NO!! The bubble!!… How did it come to this??.. I played a Wind-Up player who loops me game one after activating heavy storm. I took game two pretty easily and before game three I told him: “please don’t loop me”. I opened with Superpoly, Bottomless, Compulsory, Solemn Judgment and Neos Alius; I knew that if he didn’t loop me there was no way he was winning. Well, he was a nice guy and didn’t loop me. I was able to create advantage by attacking his sangan, superpoly with his Zenmaines and attack a Thunder King that I’d Fiendish Chain. He sets Wind-Up Juggler and gives me another draw with Nova Master (he didn’t know that Nova Master would allow me to draw even if it is destroyed by Juggler’s effect). Couple of turns later Gorz comes down, but I man handle it with Gemini Spark. With 2500 life points left and my Shining staring down at his open field, he sets a monster one back row and passed. I flipped Compulsory in his end phase and showed him my set Solemn Judgment to win my last round.

Record 9-2

I ended placing 8th after swiss and was on to Top 32 with Mask Heroes.

In my top 32 match, I paired against David Nunnally.

Game 1 I make him waste Laggia on my Dark Hole, Activate Heavy Storm and summon Alius andBubbleman setting my Dimensional Prison to make Utopia and kill Laggia. Next turn he sets Veiler and Pass, I draw Mask Change attack Veiler and pass. He sets another monster and pass, and I drew Bubbleman! He was at 2900, so I figure no Gorz = I win the duel. I summoned Bubbleman and attacked Kabazauls with Utopia, I attacked with Bubbleman to take him down to 2100, all I had to do was activate Mask Change and attack for game with either ACID or VAPOR… but down came Gorz. Gorz wasn’t much of a threat, because of my Dimensional Prison, Utopia and the token being 800atk. Earlier in the duel I thought I detected Dark Hole in my opponent’s hand, so I just set the Mask and pass.

*Here’s how I thought things will play out: he was going to Dark Hole to summon/set a Vanilla and push/pass, or summon a monster/change Gorz to attack and pressure bubbleman and see if I would waste my back row before he activated Dark Hole. My plan was to D Prison Gorz, and when he activated Dark Hole I was going to chain Mask Change to bring Vapor and attack for game next turn.

Instead, he makes a play I didn’t see anywhere. He summons Veiler and makes Stardust with the token, fearing Mirror Force I guess? I was still in control with Utopia and D Prison, I guess I was so confident I had game I relaxed and misplayed... horribly…He attacked with Gorz and I D Prison, just as planned, now my misplay is right here: When he attacked with Stardust, for some reason I disregard the feeling he had Dark Hole and instead of me negating with Utopia, winning me the game whether he had Dark Hole or not… I respond to the attack with Mask Change and bring ACID. ACID is a mandatory effect, and even tho he didn’t have any backrow, his effect still activates, so Stardust negated it (I knew this, it’s basic stuff), Stardust destroyed him, he DID have the Dark Hole, destroyed my Utopia and brought Stardust in the End Phase… it was a mess.

I topdecked Miracle Fusion! I felt like my deck was forgiving me for that horrible misplay and wanted me to take the duel. I took down Stardust but he topdecked TGU and sat behind Zenmaines enough turns to win the duel.

When I won game two, time was called and we moved to the three turn after time. On my last turn I’m at 5500 and he is at 8000. He’d hit me with a lanced Sabersaurus and a Chaliced TGU. I summon Alius and attacked TGU he books my Alius and I chained Superpoly and bring Gaia, he tried to Torrential but he couldn’t for the same reason Pascariello couldn’t. I shrinked TGU and attacked but missed 300 lp to take the duel.

It was a great experience, playing all of those big names and coming out victorious in almost all of them. I’m not saying I would’ve won my top 32 match if I didn’t misplay, for Nunnally played his cards right against me, but things would’ve play out differently, that’s for sure.

In conclusion I have to say, everyone I know told me not to use Mask Change, they told me to stick with Inzektors and gave me all that “that’s random” kind of talk. Something I’ve learned in this game is that the Meta decks are decided and if you want to compete you should know which decks are those, but you shouldn’t stick to a Copy-Paste deck, you should rather find the competitive deck you like and give it your twist, so that it fits your style disregarding what everyone can tell you.

And finally and most important, I can’t finish this article without giving a LOUD shout out to my younger brother Carlos Ballesteros, for it was his idea to try the masks. He’s never been a “META” player and I’ve come to admire that and learn from him. He finished X-2 day one playing a very similar deck to mine but missed round 10 due to CLASSIFIED reasons.

Thank for reading, please comment, feedback is great. I hope there will be a next time.

Manuel Ballesteros

Latest posts by Manuel Ballesteros (see all)