What’s Your Story? YCS Miami Runner-up: Elijah Gersten

Tyler Tabman

How’s it going everybody? Last week I gave you all an inside scoop on the deck of Florida’s defending champion. As it so happens I’m back this week with an article over YCS Miami’s runner up and friend of mine, Elijah Gersten. Elijah-Gersten2-480x360Many of you may not know Elijah but he is by no means a stranger to the competitive Yugioh scene. In this article Elijah talks about his background in the game and goes on to make some comments over YCS Miami and his deck choice.

First I asked Elijah to give me his background on when he first started to play, and he had this to say.

“I had been playing off and on again at a non- competitive level up until about middle school, and then in 6th grade when I moved to Florida I got involved in the more competitive scene with players that, at the time, seemed very good to me. Eventually after going x-2 enough at locals with a few x-1 finishes, some of the "good" players invited me to a regionals (keep in mind I was 11 at this time), so I attended my first regionals with monarchs during return dad format, and ended up going 4-3, which in my opinion wasn’t bad at all for a first regional. I always had the meta decks since I had always been a good trader, so I consistently just played the best deck on an average level up until Tele-Dad format when I received my first regional top. I was ecstatic since I’d just whooped a bunch of 20 year olds at Yugioh when I was 12. After that I thought I was just the ‘bees knees’, and was convinced I was just a great player and didn’t really need advice from people. This thinking was of course very mistaken. From then on I didn’t get another regional top for quite some always going x-2 or x-3 and blaming it on luck or the meta or something refusing to admit I just wasn’t that great. I went for my first SJC in Orlando, when Rodrigo Togores won with Vayu Turbo, and went x-3 day 1 with GB’s. I just didn't understand why I hadn't topped since I thought I’d made such a good metacall. I still refused to admit I wasn’t a good player and so that pattern continued on until SJC Edison where Jake Mattern and I entered with almost the exact same decklist both feeling very confident, however he went on to top 8 the event while I went x-3 day one and just couldn’t understand what he’d done differently. So I spent all of day 2 simply watching the "pro" players play and watching what they did differently than me and I saw some plays that I had never thought of before. At that moment it finally hit me; these players were on a completely different level than me and if I wanted to step it up that I needed to play differently and adjust my mindset accordingly.”

After hearing about his early years in the game, I asked him to give everybody some more information about his step into the competitive Yugioh scene.

“I went on to study the pro players meticulously and copy their plays and ended up going on a streak of wins that 2nd half of the format after the Infernity set came out), and even won my first regional. At about the same time, I had also gone undefeated and top 8’d a 2k 3k 5k tournament, as well as another regional, while just missing a YCS top in 34th place at YCS Chicago due to a game one loss for "marked cards". So I continued on, getting 33rd place at YCS Atlanta with Heros with a x-2, just barely missing the top cut. However, I could tell I was definitely improving. Fast forward to march 2011 where I got my first top with Gravekeeper’s playing a unique version I had built, then moved on to topping nationals with plants, following it up by topping YCS Indy the event after with plants again. At this point I was very proud of myself for being only 15 at the time and having more premier level tops than most other players in the game. I tested meticulously for the upcoming format planning to wreck with plants, however I had started school again at that point and my parents did not want me missing a lot of school unfortunately I was unable to attend another YCS until KC. At KC a friend of mine who happened to be my ride to YCS’s got banned. Consequently, my YCS attendance dropped sharply leading me to go on a YGO hiatus mostly playing on DN and attending local regionals every now and then, racking up 2 more regional tops with my Inzektors during nats format of 2012. However I found a fellow duelist at my own high school this year and was able to travel more, leading to 2 regional undefeated finishes back to back with my Wind Up deck as well as an electronics tournament top 8, as well as a case tourney top 8 only a week before YCS Miami.
So finally Miami came around, and even without a long distance ride to YCSs, I could attend this one since it was 4 hours from my house.”

After hearing everything there was about his Yugioh career, Elijah had some comments about his recent performance at YCS Miami, where he talks about his deck choice and match-ups.

Here is Elijah’s decklist

Monsters: 16
3 Wind-Up Rabbit
3 Wind-Up Magician
3 Wind-Up Shark
3 Wind-Up Rat
2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
1 Sangan
1 Thunder King Rai-Oh

Spells: 13
3 Wind-Up Factory
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Fire Formation - Tenki
1 Dark Hole
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn
1 Pot of Avarice
1 Forbidden Lance

Traps: 11
2 Torrential Tribute
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Fiendish Chain
2 Solemn Warning
1 Solemn Judgment

Extra Deck: 15
1 Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 Number 16: Shock Master
1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Photon Papilloperative
1 Temtempo the Percussionist Djinn
1 Maestroke the Synphony Djinn
1 Soul of Silvermountain
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Adreus, Keeper of Armageddon
1 Tiras, Keeper of Genesis

Side Deck: 15
2 Maxx"C"
1 Effect Veiler
3 Dimensional Fissure
2 Soul Taker
2 Level Limit Area B
2 Dust Tornado
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Overworked

“I tested an insane amount leading up to the event and simply decided anything but wind ups was bad and that if I wanted my next top I needed to play Wind Up. So I built my build accordingly only fearing the mirror and fire fist to an extent. I was also very prepared for the Water match-up. For my card choices, Fiendish chain worked amazingly. Activating my Fiendish Chain in response to Atlantean Marksmen’s effect won me quite a few games. I decided to play Level Limit Area B over Messenger of Peace for a few reasons; it worked amazingly and won me more games than Fiendish Chain did. The two main reasons is that my XYZ’s can still attack, making it so that it doesn't slow me down. The other is to allow my Wind Up rabbits able to run over a lot of monsters, primarily the lower defense Fire Fists. I never had much trouble getting my combos off due to my main-decked Forbidden Lances. The two Fire Formation – Tenki’s also helped my consistency significantly. I wouldn't change anything to be honest, that list was the product of weeks of testing and I think it was as good as I was ever going to get it.

My match-ups in order go as follows:

1) Dino-Rabbit (win)
2) Dragons (win)
3) Inzektor (win)
4) Rabbit (win)
5) Inzektor (win)
6) Agent (win)
7) Fire Fist (win)
8) Wind Up (loss)
9) Fire Fist (win)
10) Prophecy (win)
11) Water (win)
Top 32) Heros (win)
Top 16) Water (win)
Top 8) Water (win)
Top 4) Water (win)
Finals) Wind Ups (loss)

The majority of matches I had were pretty one sided, including the mirror matches. The most difficult matchup outside of the mirrors was Billy Brake and his Water deck in Top 4. It kinda sucked after making it all the way to finals to finally lose to a mirror match after he’d made some pretty sub-par plays. I know there was lots of stress and everybody makes mistakes, I just feel that the person making fewer mistakes should always win the game. Overall it was a really fun event and a great experience. I guess lastly, I’m glad I got another top, especially since it was my last chance to play with the toys!