This format is—without a doubt—better than the previous few we’ve experienced. Right now, we have Elemental Dragons and Prophecy taking up all the top spots and winning everything. It’s essentially a two-deck format, which means knowing the mirror match and the opposing matchup is extremely important. To be perfectly honest though, you should always know your matchups, regardless of the format. Knowing more about the decks and their interaction couldn’t possibly be a bad thing. However, this format, while a little on the stale side, happens to be very unpredictable. Obviously if you go to any major tournament right now, you can expect to play against mostly Dragons and Prophecy, but no one knows exactly what to run in their builds, and there’s so much room for tech. It also seems that the tech cards in this format are incredibly devastating in comparison to the subtle tech choices of the old days. People are randomly maining [ccProd]Eradicator Epidemic Virus[/ccProd], Psi-Blocker, Vanity’s Emptiness, [ccProd]Imperial Iron Wall[/ccProd], Droll & Lock Bird, [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd], [ccProd]Enemy Controller[/ccProd], [ccProd]Return from a Different Dimension[/ccProd], [ccProd]One Day of Peace[/ccProd], etc. You have no idea who’s doing what, so there’s always a chance to get blown out or surprised by something. I’m going to discuss how you should expect the unexpected for the WCQ this year, because after all, it could be the difference between topping and dropping.
So we know there are really only two decks to work with here—Prophecy and Dragons. The other decks, which in my honest opinion are limited to Constellars and Evilswarm, are not that great in the long run. They are severely unpowered, and once your opponent pushes through the gimmick just one time, the game is over. Mermails are absolutely horrendous now with all the mained Maxx “Cs” and [ccProd]Effect Veiler[/ccProd]s, not to mention that Dracossack prevents them from OTKing 99% of the time, and he happens to come out 99% of the time. The deck’s best matchup is Prophecy, but that doesn’t mean that Mermails beat Prophecy, it just means that it’s the only matchup that’s reasonably winnable…if you’re extremely lucky, and your opponent doesn’t want to win. Anyways, when it comes to Prophecy and Dragons, we already know the basic decklists for them, or the skeletons, I should say. At least 30 of the cards in both of those decks could be named off the top of your head and you’d be right almost every time, if not every time. If you are somehow wrong then that decklist is more than likely incorrect.
The other 10 or so cards that we do not know are the cards that make this format unpredictable, while being obnoxiously predictable at the same time. How’s that for a paradox? You know you’re going to play against Dragons and Prophecy a lot, but you don’t know what scary tech cards they’re using. The influence of a player’s local community will undoubtedly have an effect on how he or she builds his deck. For instance, my local is now completely dominated by Prophecy players. This is for two reasons. The first is that Prophecy cards have dropped in price by a lot. [ccProd]Spellbook of Judgment[/ccProd] and High Priestess both started this format at around $100 and now they are both around $50. There’s also the fact that you don’t even need High Priestess to play the deck, and even if you did, you could manage with just one or two copies of her. The second reason is because it’s extremely easy to use. You get great results without having to do very much work. You play so many cards that essentially do the same thing, so your first turns are exceptionally more consistent than any other deck. All of your cards are searchable, so it’s easy to setup the same gamestate each time you sit down. Because my local is so overrun by Prophecy, I have been forced to main cards like [ccProd]Eradicator Epidemic Virus[/ccProd], [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd], [ccProd]Light and Darkness Dragon[/ccProd], and Droll & Lock Bird. Dragons already struggle in game one against Prophecy, so the only real way to beat the deck game one, if you aren’t maining any natural hate towards it, is to either win the die roll, or draw very fortunate. There’s an extremely slight chance that they’ll draw poorly, too, I suppose, but don’t bank on it. Also, winning the die roll doesn’t even guarantee that you’ll win against the deck. It’s not as broken as going first with Wind-ups way back when.
The cards that I have in my main deck have lowered my deck’s efficiency against the mirror match, but have raised my chances against Prophecy quite a bit. The good thing is, I don’t have to worry about too many mirror matches in the area, and it’s not like I’m incapable of winning them regardless of my tech choices. With Eradicator, I can summon Big Eye and attempt to snatch your monster, so when you chain Veiler, I can activate Eradicator and still take what I want while also seeing your hand. [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd] is great in time when you need to deal damage, or for when you just need to make [ccProd]Crimson Blader[/ccProd] but you don’t have enough monsters to get through Dracossacks two tokens. Droll & Lock Bird can stop a nutty [ccProd]Super Rejuvenation[/ccProd] play or slow your opponent down after a [ccProd]Gold Sarcophagus[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Sacred Sword of Seven Stars[/ccProd]. If you know what you’re doing, you can make use out of any cards that aren’t too matchup specific. I advise when you’re building your deck for locals, you main things that are good in your local metagame. I was discussing with Patrick Hoban how his meta is all Dragons, which is completely opposite to mine, so he gets to main cards geared towards the mirror match and less for Prophecy.
For nationals, I have no intentions of “teching” my deck out for any one specific matchup. I like my decks to be consistent across the board and I believe more generic cards are suitable for a 10-11 round tournament. When playing, however, I’m never going to underestimate a backrow in the Dragon deck, or the chance that the opponent has a [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd]. In games two and three, I can expect [ccProd]Electric Virus[/ccProd]es and [ccProd]Obelisk the Tormentor[/ccProd]s, but a [ccProd]Puppet Plant[/ccProd] wouldn’t be a shocker. Familiarize yourself with the cards that are possibly there, and play around them only if you have a good read or if you can do so without putting yourself in a bad position. I would never recommend you go out of your way to play around cards that might not even exist. Focus on how the opponent is playing. If it’s the first turn of game two and the opponent summons Number 11: Big Eye with one backrow, you can safely assume that he has a Vanity’s Emptiness set and wants to play around Electric Virus. Knowing little things like that can help you to not get blown out. You might consider using Blaster’s effect on the backrow now, if you have that option available to you of course. I always play in a way that gives me a backup plan for disasters and the least amount of risk. Try it, it works.
Thanks for reading! Remember, play hard or go home!
-The Dark Magician