Really, I was intending to play a Lightsworn deck very similar to what I topped the Atlanta regional with last weekend, but had lost a bet to Desmond where I had to play the same deck he played. At first I was hoping to just convince him to play Lightsworn so I could fulfill my end of the bet, but still play the deck I wanted to use. This all changed when I came to a realization about how every format progresses.
Let’s take a look back to Tele-DAD format. GBs won the first SJC that format. Tele-DAD went on to dominate the format. Then people turned to [ccProd]Royal Oppression[/ccProd] in their Tele-DAD decks to give them an advantage near the end of the format.
In the baby Dragon format, it started out with Dragons, Spellbooks, and Evilswarm all representing a significant portion of the meta. Then it shifted so that Dragons were significantly more played than either of the others. And finally, people began maining Emptiness to give them an advantage in the mirror.
And lastly let’s look at this past September format. It began with all kinds of decks where everything from Plant Dragons to Dragunity and Mermails saw play. Near the middle of the format, Trigon Dragons dominated. Sam won the second to last event of the format with Geargia maining a plethora of continuous traps and Kevin won the last event with Dragons maining [ccProd]Royal Decree[/ccProd].
Are you noticing a pattern yet? Every format is extremely similar in that it starts out very diverse, becomes much more concentrated, and then anti-meta strategies see success near the end of the format.
I started thinking about how I could apply this observation to this format. In the beginning we saw Dragons, HAT, Geargia, Madolche and Mermails as the most played decks. This then shifted to where HAT and Gears saw more play than any other deck. What kind of anti-meta strategy could best be applied to be successful?
This is when I thought of Royal Decree. Both HAT and Geargia could not effectively play without Trap cards. I talked to Desmond about this idea and he seemed to agree which is when I decided that I would once again play Mythics this weekend. Here’s the list I ended up setting on:[ccDeck="Main Deck"]1 Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos
1 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
1 Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
1 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders
1 Card Trooper
2 Blue-Eyes White Dragon
2 White Stone of Legend
1 Flamvell Guard
1 Debris Dragon
2 Mythic Water Dragon
1 Mythic Tree Dragon
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Dragon Shrine
1 Foolish Burial
3 Soul Charge
1 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Book of Moon
1 Silver’s Cry
1 Burial from a Different Dimension
2 Cards of Consonance
2 Royal Decree
3 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast[/ccDeck]
[ccDeck="Side Deck"]2 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 XYZ Encore
3 XYZ Universe
3 Hope for Escape
3 Rivalry of the Warlords
1 Royal Decree[/ccDeck] [ccDeck="Extra Deck"]2 Mecha-Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Number 11: Big Eye
2 Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand
1 Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis
1 Number 15: Gimmick Puppet Giant Grinder
1 Number 46: Dragluon
1 Star Eater
1 Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon
2 Scrap Dragon
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Stardust Spark Dragon
1 Black Rose Dragon[/ccDeck]
Desmond realized before DC that the best way to minimize the number of brick hands that the deck had was to maximize the early game cards which is why we upped Trade-In to 3 and Blue-Eyes and White Stone to 2.
The number of Card Troopers and Kuribandits was actually a very big debate for us. We came to the realization that they just do different things and aren’t actually that comparable once you got past the vague description of “get out of the early game” which Kuribandit was strictly better at.
The problem was that Kuribandit was not instantaneous and he did not leave a threat. Card Trooper gave something that the opponent was forced to deal with and gave us a reliable way to make Black Rose Dragon, but the fact that Kuribandit did what he did better lead us to a ratio of 2 and 1.
Book of Moon seemed like an excellent choice for the current meta with every deck maining between 3-5 [ccProd]Wiretap[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Seven Tools of the Bandit[/ccProd]. It also worked in conjunction with the Royal Decree idea.
A little bit more on Royal Decree is it solved one of the biggest problems we were having. What we found to often be the case is that we would die before we could win the game. Dragons usually win out of backrow, but what would happen is that we’d throw Dragons into sets and they’d stop the push. Next turn we’d do it again and they’d stop that push again. At this point, they’d be running low on traps and since Dragons can keep recurring, we’d win out if the game kept going, but in the couple of turns it took to push through the sets, we’d die from their monsters attacking us. We kept losing the game to damage where if the game were to continue going, we’d problem win. This was the case against both Geargia and HAT. Royal Decree helped this as we could make our first push and be stopped and then have Decree to make sure our second push stuck.
Also helping alleviate that problem was Silver’s Cry. It couldn’t be stopped by any of the Traps that Geargia played such as [ccProd]Traptrix Trap Hole[/ccProd], [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Black Horn of Heaven[/ccProd]. Since attacking over Armor was imperative, we needed a way to do that through those cards and Silver’s Cry was our answer.
Let’s move on to the side deck. We dropped MST down to 2 since we now had Royal Decree to help compensate and we didn’t want to be oversiding.
Rivalry is an absolute blowout against both Madolche and Water. Neither of those decks can really play while we are still able to make any synchro, including Stardust to protect it.
XYZ Universe is an excellent option against Geargia. If you resolve it, it’s outright game. You get to send two [ccProd]Gear Gigant X[/ccProd]s to the grave and summon a Felgrand against them. It gets even better as the Gear Gigants miss timing since the last thing to happen is Felgrand being summoned. This card is absolutely insane and I think every single deck should side deck it and simply add a rank 7 or 8 to their extra deck even if they could not otherwise summon it.
This card and Royal Decree created a very favorable situation for us when we played against Geargia. If they saw Decree in the first game they would side in MST instead of Wiretap because they couldn’t afford to draw Wiretap once we had already resolved Decree. Then they would never want to activate MST if we had two sets because if they missed Decree they’d be in a very unfavorable position and would rather wait until we tried to activate Decree so they know where it is. Whenever we would play against Gears, we would side out the Decrees going second, but they would still have the MSTs in their deck over Wiretap. Then they wouldn’t use it on our sets in fear of missing Decree, but instead we’d flip XYZ Universe for an absolute blowout. It created a paradox for them that is very unfavorable.
At first we were thinking about just taking a loss to Evilswarm if we played against it since there were a pretty large number of games we’d still lose to them even if we did side. Then we would just hope to not play against them and side against other decks instead, but we decided that Decree was the difference maker and that it’d be worth it to go ahead and side Encore since we were playing Decree and together they’d let us win a large enough percent of the time.[ccProd]Hope for Escape[/ccProd] is something I decided we’d side the night before. Cards like Kuribandit get significantly worse going second as we’re already behind and they make me give up my entire first turn. I realized we could side out a Kuribandit and side in Hopes going second (except in the mirror since they can Soul Charge first turn) and it would make up for the disadvantage of going second. People also seem have forgotten how math works and are taking out Upstart for some reason which just makes this card that much better.
Those are the only choices I think are worth talking about as far as the deck goes so let’s move on to the actual tournament report part. I was riding up to Wisconsin with the usual suspects, Desmond and the Leveretts. We left out of Atlanta on Thursday. We were planning to stop somewhere in Kentucky on Thursday night, but the hotel ended up losing the reservation and filling up. Instead of going to other nearby hotels we decided to just drive through the night and go ahead and get into Milwaukee.
Friday morning we were more than a little tired having driven all night, but our hotel there wasn’t ready yet so we couldn’t go nap there. Instead we did some sightseeing and ended up spending most of the day on Lake Michigan’s beach. We checked in after awhile and went out to dinner. Once we got back we went down to the lobby to discuss our decks and eventually decide on all of the choices from above.
Saturday morning after we were up and showered we made our way down to a less than enjoyable breakfast courtesy of the Hampton Inn and then finally made our way down to the convention center. I was soon sleeved up and ready for round 1.
Game 1: He wins the dice roll and starts with [ccProd]Geargiarsenal[/ccProd] into [ccProd]Geargiarmor[/ccProd] and sets two. I Dragon Shrine to send Blue-Eyes and Tidal. I Silver’s Cry back Blue-Eyes and summon White Stone to make Azure in attack. Then I bring back Tidal by banishing the Blue-Eyes in hand and White Stone so I can use Azure next turn and try to attack the Armor with Azure. He tries to use [ccProd]Dimensional Prison[/ccProd], but it can’t be targeted. Obviously I’m not going to attack with Tidal, so I just pass. Next turn he just sets another Armor and another backrow. When I use Azure to revive Blue-Eyes he plays his new set, [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd], to which I respond Royal Decree and then kill him that turn.
Game 2: He starts out with a couple of backrow and doesn’t really have much going for him. I don’t either and set a couple as well. We enter a game of draw and pass for a while before he eventually gets to Arsenal and attacks with it and then gets Armor. I draw a draw card and use it which gets me to [ccProd]Soul Charge[/ccProd]. I use Charge and he has [ccProd]Maxx “C”[/ccProd], so I just pass. He tries to Soul Charge of his own, but I chain double Hope for Escape and I draw 4 cards. When he XYZs I use XYZ Universe to make Felgrand. He uses Botomless and Fiendish Chain on it. 3 of the 4 cards I revived with Soul Charge weren’t targets for [ccProd]Bottomless Trap Hole[/ccProd] so he hadn’t used it the turn before. He continues trying to XYZ, but I have a second Universe. Next turn he has [ccProd]Torrential Tribute[/ccProd] and Fiendish. I special and he Maxxes again, but I have game through his sets so I just go for it and win that turn.
Vs Parker Roberson, Spellbooks
Game 1: I Kuribandit into Soul Charge. Next turn he Torrentials my initial play and then Bottomlesses my Soul Charge play, but I had a second Soul Charge for next turn to put up enough of a field that he couldn’t deal with it.
Game 2: He does standard Spellbook things early on and I don’t get much going in the early game so he takes it pretty easily.
Game 3: I have Foolish, Dragon Shrine, Blue-Eyes, Upstart, and Decree. I use both Dragon Shrine and Foolish and Upstart into Soul Charge for the auto win.
Vs Dalton Bousman, Spellbooks
Game 1: I open with double Blue-Eyes and my seventh card is a second Mythic Water Dragon so I can’t play this game. He does Spellbook things early on. He plays [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd] over Tower on his second turn and then [ccProd]Temperance of Prophecy[/ccProd] into [ccProd]World of Prophecy[/ccProd] to get back [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd] and Tower. Secrets gets [ccProd]Spellbook of the Master[/ccProd] which gets [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] and I’m out of the game.
Game 2: I get out of the early game on my first turn. I have Burial so I readily banish Dragons and he uses [ccProd]Debunk[/ccProd], but Burial puts them right back which overwhelms him.
Game 3: He starts with Spellbook Magician of Prophecy into Secrets to get Tower and 3 sets. I Soul Charge and he uses Maxx. He talks about how weird it was that I didn’t attack and that I must have known he had Secrets, but I know this is just him talking to try to make me think he already had it, but it isn’t possible for this to be true as he’d have used Master the turn before if he did. He ends up setting a new backrow after doing Book things. I synchro and he uses Black Horn. I’m pretty sure that one of the old sets is Debunk since none of them stopped my Soul Charge the turn before. I summon back Redox in attack and he thinks about responding, but lets it go which confirms my suspicion that it’s Debunk because I also had Blaster in grave. I debate using MST, but it’s only a 50/50 and I have Burial so I don’t. I summon Blaster and he Debunks. Time is approaching and he is winning in life by this point. We trade resources for a bit and it comes to the point where my Burial has been used and ¾ of my Dragons are banished. There is a 2900 difference in our Life Points. I have Mythic Tree in hand so my outs consist of Water and Soul Charge by turn 3 of time. On his turn 2 he reluctantly sets a monster which I decide is probably Maxx “C” so he doesn’t take damage. I don’t get Charge or Water Dragon on turn 3 and decide to set Tree because if he flips Maxx and attacks directly, there’s a 3400 difference and I have no way to deal that much even if I draw Water the last turn. If I set it and he can’t attack me and there’s only a 2900 difference, I can make Heliopolis and attack for 3000 to be leading by 100 on the final turn after blowing up the set monster. Unfortunately I don’t draw it on turn 5 and he wins.
Game 1: My hand isn’t very strong since I don’t start with any draw cards. I Shrine to send Blue-Eyes and a Dragon. I Silver’s Cry back Blue-Eyes and summon Guard to make Azure and set Decree and Book. He starts out by sending several Dragons to the grave and banishes Tempest for one of them to search Debris and make Star Eater to try and attack Azure, but I Book when he enters battle phase. He sets one and passes. I bring back Blue-Eyes with Azure. I drew a Dragon for my turn so I summon both and make Big Eye to take Star Eater. He tries to Raigeki Break, but I Decree and attack for game.
Game 2: He starts with Soul Charge to make Azure and Felgrand. I have a pretty good Soul Charge play myself, but with no defensive cards I get OTKed the next turn.
Game 3: I start off pretty strong with several draw cards. After using them I have White Stone, Card Trooper, and Kuribandit in hand. I could go Kuribandit and pass, but know that I’ll be in a weak position the following turn if he is able to establish a field and has Maxx “C.” I decide instead I can force Maxx this turn by summoning back Redox. If he doesn’t have it I can summon back Tempest and make Dracossack. If he does I just summon Bandit and pass and then Redox will return to my hand and I’ll have Trooper to pitch for the Reborn effect. Otherwise I’d be in a pretty weak position because of having so many normal summons in hand. I summon Redox and sure enough he Maxxes. Kuribandit grabs me Silver’s Cry. He summons Trooper and mills and just passes. When I summon next turn he has a second Maxx, but I have enough to special and make game with Felgrand on board to push through [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd], which he can’t stop.
Vs Frog Monarchs
Game 1: He complains how weak his hand is and just passes. My hand was pretty solid and I Soul Charge to make a solid field. I try and attack for game next turn but get [ccProd]Battle Fader[/ccProd]ed. He makes a Ghostrick XYZ with a [ccProd]Treeborn Frog[/ccProd]. I Big Eye it and try to attack for game again and am stopped again by a Ghostrick. This goes on a couple more turns before I can push for game.
Game 2: This is extremely similar, but this time he has double Maxx to make the game a few extra turns. He blocks several attacks for game and then tributes my monsters for [ccProd]Lava Golem[/ccProd]. I make a Felgrand with it and then put up another field and keep pushing. Eventually he runs out of protection and I win.
Vs Alyx “Loli,” Infernity
Game 1: We’ve got a rematch of the finals of Richmond, except this time he’s playing Infernity. I win the roll and have a less than ideal hand including Blue-Eyes and no defense or live draw cards. The one saving grace is that I know what he’s playing. Usually I’d make a level 8 synchro and have the two Mythics in my hand for a follow up Felgrand play, but decide to go ahead and make Felgrand and float the Dragon because of the matchup. I set both Decree and Cards of Consonance. He opens the wombo-combo and forces the negation with Felgrand using [ccProd]Number 101: Silent Honor ARK[/ccProd]. He [ccProd]Diamond Dire Wolf[/ccProd]s and misses the Decree which was the only chance I have of winning since he searches 3 Infernity Traps. When I end phase the Decree he can’t deal and I take control.
Game 2: He starts with [ccProd]Infernity Necromancer[/ccProd], [ccProd]Infernity Archfiend[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Lavalval Chain[/ccProd] and a searched [ccProd]Infernity Barrier[/ccProd]. I have to hope he won’t Barrier my Cards of Consonance, but he does and I’m too far behind.
Game 3: I go first and have Soul Charge, but no way to effectively turn it on. I set two and pass. He summons [ccProd]Summoner Monk[/ccProd] and I have to Wing Blast and hope to draw a way to make a field. I do, but get Bottomlessed. I search Guard and Tree. I summon Tree and he [ccProd]Compulsory Evacuation Device[/ccProd]s the Tree back. He can’t compulse the Water that I got off Soul Charge back since I can just special it back. Next turn he Lavalval Chain and Archfiends into Barrier. I summon Tree and he Barriers the effect. Burial comes down and I am able to take control of the game with Dragons.
Game 1: He wins the dice roll and begins with [ccProd]Madolche Anjelly[/ccProd] into [ccProd]Madolche Hootcake[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Madolche Messengelato[/ccProd] to search [ccProd]Madolchepalooza[/ccProd] and sets 3. My opening hand is great and I have Cards of Consonance, White Stone, and Trade-In. I resolve a huge Soul Charge and Heliopolis his whole field and still end with Felgrand too. He tries to get me to use Felgrand on himself by using [ccProd]Forbidden Lance[/ccProd] on it after he draws, but I don’t and he has no way to win so he just scoops.
Game 2: He starts out pretty weak. I don’t have a much better start and get very set behind when he [ccProd]The Transmigration Prophecy[/ccProd]s my Soul Charge play putting back a Dragon and another target. When he eventually tries to get going, I have Rivalry of Warlords to cut him off. The game goes on for a while and I finally can make a Stardust stick and take control.
The 8th round I’m paired up against my friend Aaron Furman. I intended to just draw into top cut with whoever I’m paired with, but Furman says he’s just going to give me the win since he’s undefeated with a draw and giving me the win will help Alyx’s ties and give him a better chance of making it.
After the round is over they announce standings and I come in second. I find out that my top 16 opponent is playing Spellbooks. The deck lists weren’t posted so I don’t get to know anything other than the deck type. After we leave the event we go to a place called Rock Bottom for dinner and go back to the hotel and pass out.
Sunday morning we wake up and shower and go to Subway for breakfast before making our way to the event. We re-sleeve and get seated for top cut.
Vs AJ, Spellbooks
Game 1: I start out in a pretty solid position with Soul Charge, but he [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd]s my field away. The next turn I banish Tidal for Redox. I Trade-In which gets me into a second Soul Charge and Debris. This lets me [ccProd]Scrap Dragon[/ccProd] his Tower and then Scrap his Temperance that he specialed off of it and make Felgrand. He turns Magician to defense and passes. I’m 100 off game if I just Scrap the Magician and attack, but I drew Mythic Tree Dragon to attack for exact game.
Game 2: He starts off with Temperance and Secrets and pulls [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd]. I fight a bit, but eventually he overwhelms me with advantage.
Game 3: I start off pretty strong and take the game very early on.
Vs Matt, Geargia
Game 1: He wins the dice roll and starts with Arsenal into Armor, set 3. I try to do something and get Bottomlessed. He uses [ccProd]Geargiagear[/ccProd] in my end phase and OTKs me next turn.
Game 2: I Soul Charge just into Felgrand, but he says he has 2 MK-II and Geargiano and just scoops after seeing his 6th card.
Game 3: He again starts with Arsenal into Armor and sets 3. My opening hand is Foolish, Tempest, Blue-Eyes, Decree (I kept it in because he didn’t see it game 1 or 2), Soul Charge, and Burial. I Foolish Blaster and banish it and Blue-Eyes for Tempest, grabbing Guard. I summon Guard and he thinks which briefly makes me think he has Torrential, but I don’t act on it and make Scrap anyway. I pop itself and his set Geargiagear which he chains. I Burial the Blaster and Blue-Eyes and then Soul Charge for 5 and he uses Torrential. Had I acted on my read the game might have played out differently. Next turn he uses Soul Charge for infinite and makes Gear Gigant and [ccProd]Ghostrick Alucard[/ccProd] to pop my Decree which I chain, but he Wiretaps it. I mind trick him into making a second Gear Gigant instead of [ccProd]Abyss Dweller [/ccProd]which would be outright game. It works and I top Dragon Shrine. I banish Tempest for Blaster and get Debris. I summon Debris which gets Guard. Shrine Tidal and summon it hoping to make Dracossack and then Black Rose with Debris and a token and then hopefully attack the [ccProd]Geargiano[/ccProd] leaving him with just MK-II and his 1 draw to my Dracossack and two Dragons, but he drew Compulsory for his last turn and uses it on Dracossack for game.
I regret not acting on my read, but am pleased with how the tournament turned out. This was my 17th premier top which moves me to the number 5 seat in the history of the game. I hope to make my dream of the number 1 seat a reality in the near future and I’m only 6 tops away.
I was also very pleased with the way my deck performed. It rarely bricked and did what it was supposed to. As I said in my last article, I believe that Dragon Rulers are the best deck before the Lightsworn structure comes out. With only 2 weeks until the Circuit in Philadelphia (click the picture below for all the details!) and 4 weeks until the NAWCQ there’s plenty of testing to be done with the Lightsworn cards to see what they will change. Until next time, play hard or go home!