Hey everybody! I’m back this week with a tournament report from YCS Las Vegas. I managed to make it to the Top 32 with a very similar Mermail deck to the one that I played with for the majority of last format. In this article I’ll talk about my deck choice, individual card choices, and give a round-by-round summary of my experiences in the tournament.
With [ccProd]Mermail Abyssgunde[/ccProd] being limited on the latest forbidden and limited list, I was more than a little skeptical about the playability of Mermails. In fact, I thought the deck was a very subpar choice when I first thought about the format. The entire deck revolved around Gunde last format. Without it there would not be very many good cards to discard. Sure you could add cards like [ccProd]Atlantean Heavy Infantry[/ccProd] or another [ccProd]Atlantean Marksman[/ccProd] to balance it out, but really they weren’t the same thing. When I first explained my Mermail deck last format, I said that I did not like these cards because everything the deck did required two or more cards. Heavy Infantry and Marksman take away a card from both players, meaning that they will have fewer cards overall. This creates an unfavorable game state for the Mermail player. This same logic still applied this format. Because of this, it did not seem to me that there were any good alternatives to replace the lost Gundes with and I decided to move on to what I thought the next best deck would be.
I tried Geargia quite a bit, but I realized that the deck had many problems. There were about 15% of its games that it simply could not play because it did not have a starter card. The deck was also incredibly weak to established fields because it relied too heavily on setting a monster, that by the time you set it for a turn, they had put themselves too far ahead in the game. It also played a large amount of trap cards, many of which were bad against established fields themselves. I’d certainly never want to draw [ccProd]Black Horn of Heaven[/ccProd] when they already had a [ccProd]Gear Gigant X[/ccProd] on the field. I also found the high number of trap cards caused them to clog. Generally, when playing Monsters vs Traps, the monsters will win out. Despite these problems, I continued to test with Geargia, trying to fix these problems knowing that I would most likely end up playing the deck.
This all changed when I read a card called [ccProd]Mermail Abysshilde[/ccProd]. This seemed to solve a large amount of the Mermail deck’s problems. The lack of Gunde meant that the Mermail player would be heavily restricted to one summon per turn any time they did not have Teus. Abysshilde seemed to help alleviate that problem because I could summon [ccProd]Mermail Abysspike[/ccProd], discard Hilde, get [ccProd]Mermail Abysslinde[/ccProd] and special it. I could then ram and make a rank 4.
I could also summon Pike, discard Hilde, add Gunde/Marksman, and special [ccProd]Mermail Abyssturge[/ccProd] from my hand. Then I could use Turge to discard what I had searched from Pike. This was very similar to discarding Gunde last format.
Finally, and most importantly, I noticed a play with [ccProd]Mermail Abyssteus[/ccProd] that could outright win you the game. All you needed was Teus, something to discard to summon Teus, and a level 4 Mermail. You would summon Teus, search [ccProd]Mermail Abyssocea[/ccProd], summon Ocea, send Teus for a level 4 and Hilde. You would use Hilde and Ocea to make Angineer and use Angineer detaching Hilde to turn the level 4 that you got off Ocea to defense. Since Hilde goes to the grave, you can special a level 4 from your hand and make [ccProd]Bahamaut Shark[/ccProd] with your already on field level 4. I did the math behind this combo, and you will open it about 1/3 of your games. That’s an incredibly high number of games to open a combo that is almost autowin.
Just like that and I was back onto Mermails. Somehow I worked it out so that I could miss more than a week of class to go to both the YCS in Mexico City and the YCS in Las Vegas, staying in Mexico City until it was time to go to Vegas. On Friday I flew into Mexico City and met up with the Leveretts and Desmond Johnson. The YCS itself brought less than satisfying results for me. I ended up dropping at x-3 because of floodgate cards such as [ccProd]Dimensional Fissure[/ccProd], [ccProd]Vanity’s Emptiness[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Rivalry of Warlords[/ccProd] that would not allow me to play. Ben and Desmond had a much better experience and both went x-2. Desmond made Top 32 and Ben missed out on tiebreakers with both of them playing my exact deck.
This was promising as it further showed what I already knew, that the deck was excellent whenever it actually could play. Because of this, I decided to focus a bit more the following week on outing floodgate cards. Here is the list that I settled on:[ccDeck="Main Deck"] 2 Cardcar D
3 Mermail Abyssteus
3 Mermail Abysslinde
3 Mermail Abysspike
2 Mermail Abyssturge
1 Mermail Abyssmegalo
1 Mermail Abyssgunde
1 Mermail Abysshilde
1 Mermail Abyssocea
2 Aqua Spirit
1 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
2 Atlantean Marksman
1 Atlantean Dragoons
3 Upstart Goblin
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Recklesss Greed
2 Fiendish Chain
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Breakthrough Skill
1 Raigeki Break[/ccDeck] [ccDeck="Side Deck"] 2 Effect Veiler
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 XYZ Encore
1 Dust Tornado
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
3 Black Horn of Heaven
2 Vanity’s Emptiness[/ccDeck] [ccDeck="Extra Deck"] 1 Mecha-Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Mermail Abyssgaios
1 Lavalval Chain
1 Bahamaut Shark
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight
1 Number 101: Silent Honor ARK
1 Number 106: Giant Hand
2 Abyss Dweller
1 Ghosterick Alucard
1 Mechaquipped Angineer
2 Mermail Abysstrite[/ccDeck]
No Undine and Double Cardcar– In Mexico I ran Undine and only 1 Cardcar. I decided that I wanted more answers to floodgates. Cardcar would allow me to see more cards and make it easier to out the floodgate. Running both would make for a cloggy amount of normal summons, so I cut the [ccProd]Genex Undine[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Genex Controller[/ccProd] for a second Cardcar.
Mystical Space Typhoon – I actually really dislike the idea of the card. It simplifies the game state much the way Infantry does which is exactly what I don’t want to do. Unfortunately, between [ccProd]Skill Drain[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Kaiser Colosseum[/ccProd] in the main decks of Dragons and Bujins respectively, it might have been a necessarily evil.
Solemn Warning – Another card I have traditionally disliked. It’s very bad against established fields. What changed here were the expected top decks. Going into the weekend I thought that Bujin and Geargia would be the most played decks. I could draw Warning to a set [ccProd]Geargiarmor[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Geargiagear[/ccProd] and it still be good. [ccProd]Bujin Yamato[/ccProd] wasn’t ever a problem because of [ccProd]Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls[/ccProd], [ccProd]Bujincarnation[/ccProd] was, which Warning could out later in the game. If Mermails become the meta, I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use the card.
Black Horn of Heaven – Similar to Warning, this card was very strong against Gears since I could draw it to already set Armors and Geargiagears.
Those are the only real things I felt like needed explaining. Most of the other card choices I’ve explained in previous articles and it would be redundant to do so again here. With that, let’s jump right into the actual report.
Game 1: My opponent drew a lot of Monsters and couldn’t really get anything going. Marksman easily popped is Yagens and I took control very early on.
Game 2: He started off by using Duality to take a MST and setting 3. I set some backrow and he did not use MST in the end phase. He summoned Xex and I used Bottomless on it. I drew and flipped Reckless. I set my backrow first in case of Mind Crush and then revealed for Teus. He activated Fiendish Chain and I had MST for it. From there I was playing Monsters against backrow which almost always goes in favor of the monsters so I took control of the game.
Game 1: I won the dice roll and had a strong hand of Teus with the combo. He fights back with an [ccProd]Evilswarm Exciton Knight[/ccProd] made off of Armor and Accelerator on his first turn. A turn later he is able to establish more of a field, but I still have plenty of options and Exciton him back. At this point I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to win this game as we both had only a couple cards, but his deck was much better in a simplified game state than my deck is, but I got access to Tidal which quickly put me ahead enough to take the game.
Game 2: He started off very strong with Armor, 3 sets, and a Dimensional Fissure. When I tried to end my turn he flipped Geargiagear and the game was over within a turn.
Game 3: The first game had taken quite a while and the second game had been very quick, but we weren’t left with much time on the clock. It wasn’t the deciding factor though, and I ended up winning on my first turn in time.
Game 1: His build was significantly slower than mine. I did a neat play with Hilde where I overlayed it and Ocea to make Alucard which would hit his set Sphere. Contrary to popular belief, hitting Sphere is actually very good. If you allow them to have it to use when they please, they can make pretty much any XYZ play they wish. It’s usually much better to force it. I detached the Hilde from Alucard and specialed a Pike from my hand. Pike got me Gunde and I specialed Aqua Spirit. I then made Abyss Dweller and took complete control of the game.
Game 2: For much of game 2 I thought I was winning. He had a card set since his first turn that I wasn’t sure what it was. I think it’s generally better to flip Reckless right away, but at some point came to the realization that it was most likely set and that he was holding it. I got into a relatively strong position to which he did not have an out to so he flipped the Reckless that had been set the entire game to try and dig for one. Why I think that it’s generally better to use it the turn after you set it is because you’re playing a combo deck that is going to need multiple pieces to do anything. The turn you set Reckless Greed it’s essentially a -1 because it’s a card that you can’t play. The turn you do activate it, it’s a plus 1 for that turn. Then the cards you draw into should be able to make up for the lost advantage in Reckless Greed being a -1 overall. Every turn you hold it, it continues to be a -1. I like to think about card advantage on the margin and I don’t want to have a -1 for any longer than I have to, so I think it is generally correct to flip it the turn after you set it. In the actual game, he drew Undine and a second Reckless off of the first and was able to come back after sending Tidal.
Game 3: I open the Teus combo with Vanity’s Emptiness and take it easily.
Game 1: He told me that he went to the YCS in Mexico the week before as well and went x-2, but missed top cut on tie breakers. He won the dice roll and set 3 backrow. I had a less than optimal hand and set some cards hoping for no Geargiagear. When he flipped it in the end phase I knew the game was over.
Game 2: I got a significant advantage just by going first. I had the natural plus 1 that is associated with that, a Sphere to do Marksman antics on his turn, and a Reckless to put me too far ahead for him to deal.
Game 3: He opened a weak hand and didn’t get to an Armor early on. I had a pretty average hand and slowly started gaining advantage. I also had Black Horn of Heaven for his Geargiagear. By the time he got a playable monster, the game was already over.
Game 1: We get deckchecked and I’m scared because I don’t have a single translation and the only two cards not foreign are an Abysshilde and a Giant Hand. A friend standing by happened to have a Mermail deck with him, but they never asked for translations. I won the dice roll and opened with double [ccProd]Reckless Greed[/ccProd]. You can’t lose games where that happens and I completely overwhelmed him the next turn.
Game 2: I had a relatively strong hand, but then he flipped Rivalry and I didn’t have an MST in sight. I tried to hold off for a couple of turns hoping to draw one, but it never came.
Game 3: I opened the Teus combo with Sphere/Marksman. I was deathly afraid of him setting Rivalry first turn. When I popped one of his two sets in the end phase with Marksman and it wasn’t Rivalry I thought of how bad of a position I would be in if the other were Rivalry. MST ended up being my 7th card, but his set was not Rivalry. The following turn he used Duality to take Rivalry and I had the MST for it.
Brandon Smith, Evilswarm
Game 1: I remembered Brandon as soon as I sat down. We had played each other in YCS Miami last year and I thought he was a good player. This game ended up taking close to half an hour. I started out strong, and he tried to fight back with [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Evilswarm Ophion[/ccProd] to lock me out of the game. Instead of searching what surely would have been a useless Pandemic, he searched the trap card to give him follow up plays. I always thought this play was significantly better. Over the next couple of turns we traded resources. It got to a point of draw pass where he could not deal with Trite and I could not deal with Ophion and could not draw because of Reckless. The last turn of not drawing I summoned Cardcar and drew Teus and MST having already had Marksman in hand. I passed, and immediately realized I had made a mistake. I should have used the MST in the end phase that I drew off Cardcar to destroy the Evilswarm trap card. When I didn’t, he drew into an Evilswarm and traded it for [ccProd]Evilswarm Kerkyion[/ccProd]. I thought that I was fine as he couldn’t deal with Trite still. I then thought that I would set MST and if he drew a backrow I could hit that, ram Trite, and out his field. If he drew a monster he’d use the trap to try and trade it for Kerkyion and I’d have the MST for that. I set the MST and passed. When he drew he thought for a minute and detached for Ophion. I realized that he straight drew the third Kerkyion, the only thing my MST couldn’t out. He summoned Kerkyion and tried to attack for game with everything. My set was Abysshilde which specialed Pike from hand. Pike discarded Gunde and Gunde brought back Linde. I brought out Teus off of the Linde. I knew I had a very slim chance of winning this game. If he makes the third Ophion I have no outs, I had to hope he made [ccProd]Abyss Dweller[/ccProd] and that I topdeck Tidal. I was heavily debating scooping at different points throughout his turn, but decided it’d be worth the extra 30 seconds to see my next draw. Low and behold it was Tidal. This allowed me to make Gaios and put myself into what I thought was a really strong position. I didn’t want to be weak to Fiendish Chain, so I detached for Gaios on his turn when he set. This way I could bring back Tidal and have a monster to attack over one of his if he should have Fiendish for Gaios. It turned out his set was Dimensional Prison and he banished Gaios. Tidal killed one of his monsters and I passed, having drawn a brick. He set a monster and I summoned back Tidal to attack it; [ccProd]Effect Veiler[/ccProd]. He drew and set a backrow. I summoned Tidal and attacked to get stopped by Fiendish Chain. He set a monster and I bricked again. The next turn he drew a second monster that allowed him to XYZ into 101 to take Tidal. At this point I was not recovering. This was an incredible game with lots of upswings and downswings on both of our parts. It also really goes to show how one misplay can change the entire outcome of the game because if I had used that MST in my end phase after I Cardcared, the game would have surely been over.
Game 2: Game two was unfortunately not nearly as intense. I started with lots of backrow. He summoned [ccProd]Banisher of the Radiance[/ccProd] and I played Warning. He set some of his own and flipped Soul Drain when I tried to do something. He then summoned an Evilswarm and attacked. I didn’t have the out to Drain yet. He summoned another Evilswarm and attacked with both. He debated whether or not he should overlay and decided against it. Still no out to Drain. He summoned Banisher and I knew my only chance was if he would let me use one of my sets by overlaying. Again he just attacked. The next turn the game ended with another attack. My sets at the end of the game were 2 Encore and a Black Horn. Very solid play on his part to have not overlayed. I also had previously thought that I would side Black Horn and Encore going first against Evilswarm and only Encore going second, but this made me reconsider this and I might just side Encore even if I’m going first.
Game 1: He wins the dice roll and starts off with 3 sets. Again I’m in the same position I found myself in earlier hoping that he didn’t have Geargiagear. I set some backrow and passed. No Geargiagear. The next turn I flipped Sphere into Marksman on his end phase. I popped a set [ccProd]Call of the Haunted[/ccProd]. I flipped Reckless and further took control of the game, trading my free monsters for his real backrow. He scooped on his next turn without really showing me what deck he was playing. The only thing I saw telling was the Call, other than that I only saw two generic trap cards. I decided I’d go ahead and commit to siding as if I knew for certain he was playing Geargia.
Game 2: He started much stronger this game with a set [ccProd]Geargiagear[/ccProd], but I had Black Horn to out it. I had Black Horn for his follow up play as well. I was only going to use the second one on a card that could threaten my Dracossack because he had not yet normal summoned so I wasn’t going to stop Gear Gigant. He summoned out 101 and I used Horn on that, feeling confident the game was over with him now having used his normal summon, a Gear Gigant, an Arsenal, and only 1 card in hand. It didn’t seem realistic that he could out Dracossack with 3 [ccProd]Geargiaccelerator[/ccProd]s gone. Then I could just summon more next turn and clear his field and leave him topdecking. Then the Arsenal swung over my token and [ccProd]Book of Moon[/ccProd] came down for Dracossack to die by the Gigant. It was a little frustrating, because I thought I played that correctly, but that’s alright.
Game 3: I started out with Cardcar and sets. On my next turn I had another Cardcar. He flipped Armor and I let it resolve. When he made Gear Gigant I had Black Horn for it. Resolving the two Cardcars put me very far ahead in the game and I quickly took control from that point.
Game 1: My friend Alyx sat beside me and pointed out that he was the player who had gone undefeated in San Mateo with Dragunity. There was a bit of a language barrier between us, but I told him I remember getting mispaired against him in Top 32 of that event. He won the dice roll and started out with Geargiagear, Armor, and traps. I managed to stop that, but then he flipped a second Geargiagear. I knew my chances in this game were very bad now as he was so far ahead. Next turn I top decked Teus which opened up enough options to keep me in the game, but he was still very far ahead. The following turn I topped Tidal which was an incredible draw as it allowed me to make rank 7 plays and start to gain back control. From that point on he couldn’t deal with the rank 7 and Tidal every turn and I ended up winning. I got pretty lucky drawing Teus and then Tidal back-to-back, but sometimes that’s what it takes. Especially going second to Armor, traps, two Geargiagear.
Game 2: Game 2 he again opened with Armor Geargiagear. I had Black Horn to stop one of them. I eventually put myself in a position to be winning, and the following turn he topped into a second Geargiagear to come back.
Game 3: I set 4 on my first turn and passed. Time was called on his turn. Both of the previous games had been very back and forth. He summoned Arsenal and I used Torrential. I summoned Marksman and he blocked it with Geargiagear. He summoned and overlayed and I used Black Horn on the XYZ. He passed. I swung with Marksman and it connected. Dragoons did too. He now had just 1 turn to do 3200 through Marksman, Dragoons, Fiendish, and was unable to do so, so I won.
Game 1: Game 1 I took control very decisively and there wasn’t much back and forth.
Game 2: He started off the game with set 5. I set 2 of my own and attempted to pass. He used Sphere and made the mistake of putting it in attack. I wasn’t going to my end phase now. I summoned Linde and crashed into his. He was forced to get Mermail Abyssleed because Pike would miss timing. My Pike wouldn’t however and I got it and discarded Marksman to pop a set which he couldn’t chain since it was damage step. This was a big misplay on his part as he had Marksman in hand that I would not have been able to stop if he had put Linde in defense. He top decked Teus the next turn which got him Gunde and a rank 7. The game progressed and again he flipped Sphere and put Linde in attack. I guess he didn’t learn the first turn. I summoned Linde and tried to crash and he was forced to Fiendish. I simply flipped another Sphere to get the third Linde and still crash, again making his miss timing if he were to get it. He got Megalo and I popped another set and added Gunde to my hand. All he had was Gunde in hand. At which point I jokingly said “don’t draw another Teus!” and he responded with a huge grin flashing the drawn Teus and the game was over.
Game 3: My opening hand had Cardcar, Reckless, and Torrential and I was going first. I certainly thought I was going to be in a great position. I drew 2 and set the 2 and passed feeling very safe. He started his turn by going Teus discard Marksman, which targeted my Torrential. I chained it to kill Teus and he searched Gunde. He then normaled Undine to send Dragoons and add Megalo. Megalo discarded Gunde and Leed. Megalo tribute Undine to be able to attack twice. That and Leed left me with only 500. I was pretty shocked that he did all that damage through a Torrential. Main phase 2 he overlayed for Dracossack and popped my Reckless that I chained. I knew my only chance of winning this game while at 500 was to try and esetablish a soft lock with Emptiness and just hope he didn’t have the out. Unfortunately I ran several monsters into a Torrential Tribute and the game was over.
I wasn’t particularly happy having lost the last round, largely because of his poor play in game 2. I got over it and we went out to grab a quick bite to eat. We were all dead tired at that point since we had gone gambling the night before and hadn’t had much sleep. After eating we went back to the hotel and passed out.
We woke up and everyone got showed and we drove down to the convention center. I had to win both of my last rounds to make Top 32.
Game 1: I won the dice roll and opened with double Reckless Greed. He tried to use some traps to stay in the game, but got completely overwhelmed still.
Game 2: He drew a pretty poor hand of none of the good Geargias. By turn 2 or 3 he had all 3 MK-IIs in his hand and had to summon one to special one from hand, only to run into a Black Horn. This card was really MVP all weekend. I thought I had a read on Torrential when he tried to overlay for Zenmaines and hadn’t set any monsters on his first turn. With the [ccProd]Wind-Up Zenmaines[/ccProd] dead to Black Horn, I summoned a minimal amount of monsters and decided to not summon again if he wasn’t going to Torrential right then. This was because I had Solemn Warning and was guaranteed at least 1 turn where he’d have to pass after drawing a playable card. When I got him low enough I made 101 and summoned back Tidal. He’d either have to Torrential if he had it hear or it’d be game. If he did, 101 would save itself and I’d summon a monster from hand to finish the game. He didn’t end up having it set and I won that turn.
I’m not sure how much you know about me, but before I became a fairly consistent player in premier events, I had an awful reputation of losing the last round playing for top cut. I’ve literally lost that last round roughly 15 times, so this is in no way my favorite position to be in again.
Game 1: I won the dice roll and started I believe with the Teus combo. He had Dark Hole to somewhat break it up. He then Dualitied into Kaiser with Yamato backing it. At some point I got over the Yamato and made popping Kaiser my main priority. Bujins aren’t the best to established fields and I ended up taking it.
Game 2: He started with Yamato, Kaiser, and 2 sets. I set 3-4 and he flipped [ccProd]Royal Decree[/ccProd] in the end phase. I sat there for a couple of turns taking damage and drew MST for the Kaiser. I put up a Big Eye to take Yamato since he had [ccProd]Bujingi Hare[/ccProd] but no [ccProd]Bujingi Turtle[/ccProd] and used [ccProd]Diamond Dire Wolf[/ccProd] to kill Decree to make my Warning live. He had chained Hare to Big Eye so it was obviously Bujincarnation in hand. His only other card was a Crane he’d searched off Yamato. He topped MST for my Warning and played Carnation to get the Bujin that searches immediately and attacks all my monsters. He got a second Crane and attacked over Big Eye and Yamato with both Cranes for game. Unfortunate as I had game in hand next turn.
Game 3: He opens a very poor hand that doesn’t consist of Yamato, but does have Kaiser. I have the MST for Kaiser and gain a lot of advantage quickly and take the game.
I was very happy to have beaten the bubble. I’ve done it several times since then, but it’s never a fun position to be in especially with a history like mine.
Game 1: A lot of things went wrong this game and I’m surprised I lost as my hand was very strong. I used Reckless which drew me into a second Reckless. I did lots of plays with Teus, but he had the Dark Hole to out them. I still had plenty of other plays and put up a Dweller to put him on a 1 turn clock. He draws the Tidal to get rid of the Dweller and beat the clock. I’m not in nearly as strong of a position, but still feel like I’m winning. The Tidal returns to hand and he draws Teus to blow me out.
Game 2: I set Reckless and Sphere on my first turn. He sets 1 and passes. I Sphere and end phase pitch Marksman and kill him through 2 Upstarts on my next turn.
Game 3: He goes first and sets 4. My hand is very average and he flips Sphere when I try and end discarding Marksman for the blowout. The game quickly goes downhill from there and he takes it.
I wish him the best in draft. I could tell he knew what he was doing. I just spend the rest of the day hanging out with friends and enjoy Vegas until I left on Tuesday.
That wraps up this monstrous report. This is my 15th premier event top which brings me to be the number 9 ranked player in the history of the game. I thank you all for taking the time to read this and I hope to see you all this weekend when the ARG Circuit Series makes its way to Richmond, Virginia. With Dragon’s of Legend legal, I’m sure quite a bit will change between Vegas and Virginia! What do you think the best choice will be for this weekend? Leave a comment and let me know what you think the answer is or just commenting on the general report. Play hard or go home! Click the picture below for the details for ARGCS Richmond!