So with YCS New Jersey in the books, I imagine the entire Yu-Gi-Oh community is looking forward to the upcoming Nationals season. But before we start talking about the new releases from this past weekend, I want to give a huge congratulations to Tyree Tinsley for winning his second YCS championship. He really is one of the most impressive players in the game right now.
But while Tyree was taking down YCS New Jersey over the weekend, players across the globe were busting open packs searching for Spellbook of Judgment and Dracosack. Oh Nationals season is surely upon us.
My YCS New Jersey experience is actually quite tied to those releases, as my deck selection, along with Frazier Smith, Joe Bogli and Michael Steinmen, for the event was pre-Judgment Spellbooks. There were quite a few reasons why we all came to the conclusion that we wanted to play the deck, and actually thought it was quite a strong decision, regardless of the fact that none of us made it into Top 32 (although Frazier did finish 9-2 in 34th place).
Quite frankly the deck has an incredibly strong Mermail, Fire Fist and even Evilswarm matchup. We were joking over the weekend about the Fire Fist matchup possibly being near 85% in our favor, but as all four of us saw - Fire Fists really had no way of keeping up with all the card advantage the deck can generate. Plus once we invested in a [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd] play with [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd], we were able to then follow up with the protection of [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] and our trap cards to lock the Fire Fist player out of the game. The same proved to be true with the Evilswarm matchup, where while Ophion is obviously a threat to our game plan, our trap lineup in conjunction with [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] swayed the matchup in our favor. These grind decks which rely so heavily on being able to nickel and dime card advantage away just could not keep up with the constant flow of card advantage Spellbooks have always been able to produce. And our hefty trap lineup not only provided us the much needed protection to deal with problems cards like Ophion, it gave us what we imagined was a favorable Mermail matchup. Our trap lineup was specifically decided in regards to what trap cards in the format are best against the Mermail matchup, since we envisioned it to be the highest percentage deck in the room. Before I get to much more into how the deck played out I suppose I should provide the list I played (though we all had slight variations).
3 [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Maxx "C"[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Justice of Prophecy[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of the Master[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Power[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Pot of Duality[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Spellbook of Life[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Bottomless Trap Hole[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Torrential Tribute[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Solemn Judgment[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Breaker the Magical Warrior[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Heavy Storm[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Rivalry of Warlords[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Breakthrough Skill[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Shadow Imprisoning Mirror[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd]
As you can see, we were quite prepared for the Mermail matchup. The triple [ccProd]Maxx "C"[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Trageodia[/ccProd] game plan has been a popular one in Spellbooks, but also many of the other decks this format. It is specifically strong in Prophecy because of how often you are able to not only back it up with additional trap cards, but also maintain an immense hand size due to the nature of the Spellbook deck in the first place. The cards are not particularly amazing in matchups like Fire Fist, but unless you literally draw three of them in the early game against those type of decks, the matchup really is so one sized that you should still be able to the win. Mermails were the elephant in the room over the weekend and we were all prepared to gear several cards in our maindeck to defeat it.
Also of note was the decision not to play [ccProd]Dark Hole[/ccProd], [ccProd]Monster Reborn[/ccProd], [ccProd]Heavy Storm[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd] in the maindeck. Spellbooks have the amazing ability to virtually replicate each of those card effects with other card interactons in the deck. [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] can act like a [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd], and well set up Priestess plays are psedo-board sweeps themselves. The only card we ever really want to [ccProd]Monster Reborn[/ccProd] would be [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd], and we literally have a [ccProd]Premature Burial[/ccProd] we can tutor out in our deck. Adding these non-Spellbook cards would make dropping High Priestess that much more difficult, and would require us to cut what we thought we vital cards - such as that trap cards. Cutting some number of trap cards for the presumed staple Spells would no little in keeping us alive, which was all we wanted in the tournament.
We all had slight changes in the side deck, and I imagine each writer will dive into those over the course of the week. But the decision to run three copies of [ccProd]Debunk[/ccProd] was one I brought up when trying to find the best way to deal with Mermails, and was something we all seemed on board with. We wanted to find a card the opponent would rarely blind MST, but still prove to be strong in the matchup. In fear of the popular [ccProd]Threatening Roar[/ccProd], we figured Mermails players would never aggressively use their Space Typhoons against this deck, so [ccProd]Debunk[/ccProd] would almost always resolve in the matchup. Plus, a card like [ccProd]Soul Drain[/ccProd] would just become the perfect magnet for Typhoon or [ccProd]Dust Tornado[/ccProd].
In terms of my tournament experience, I obviously did not do as well as I would have liked. My Round One lasted all of about three minutes. My opponent began with a [ccProd]Pot of Duality[/ccProd] for [ccProd]Hieratic Dragon Tefnuit[/ccProd] and passed to me. I had an absolutely astounding hand for virtually every other matchup ([ccProd]Pot of Duality[/ccProd] into[ccProd]Trageodia[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd], [ccProd]Spellbook Magician[/ccProd] and two [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd]) but one where I was forced to pass and not play a monster. And then I was OTK'd on the next turn. The following game my opponent literally opened [ccProd]Heavy Storm[/ccProd], [ccProd]Monster Reborn[/ccProd], [ccProd]Red Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon[/ccProd] and two Seal of Convocations. I was up walking around real quick that round.
I was then able to rebound for the next couple of rounds, being matched up against things like Monarchs, Gadgets and Evilswarms - all of which were relatively easy to defeat. I dropped a game to Gadgets when my opponent correctly used [ccProd]Solemn Judgment[/ccProd] on my turn one Spellbook Magician - locking me out of the game early on. The other matches were 2-0's though, and I was feeling confident in my deck. I unfortunately drew with a Mermail player the following round though, as our game one took 34 full minutes. It was quite a frustrating way to end a match that was otherwise an enjoyable and interactive one.
My second loss came later on to a Mermail player who was using [ccProd]Rescue Rabbit[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Kabazauls[/ccProd]/[ccProd]Moray of Greed[/ccProd] in his deck. Even when I do not play against normal [ccProd]Rescue Rabbit[/ccProd] decks, I somehow seem to find a way to get knocked out by the card. I handedly won the first game, but [ccProd]Rescue Rabbit[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Imperial Iron Wall[/ccProd] ended my day quickly in the following two games.
I was disappointed not to have done better with a deck I thoroughly enjoyed piloting. Mermails were obviously the best deck in the room, and I felt like I was correct in arguing that Evilswarms really were not strong enough in my article from a few weeks ago. But in the end I certainly do not regret playing the archtype. Other than [ccProd]Imperial Iron Wall[/ccProd], the room was not filled with any absolute blow out cards like we will begin to see as the format progresses, and that was one of the main reasons I decided to sleeve up all the Spellbooks before Judgment hit the scene. Anyway, I also want to thank anyone who not only introduced themselves to me, but specifically commented on my writing. I always meet readers at events, but hearing about people enjoying my writing is also motivation to make sure you can continue to see it here at Alter Reality Games every Monday. So again, thank you to everyone who introduced themselves to me this weekend - it was certainly an added bonus!