I like to include useful information which the readers will be able to utilise and improve their game. So this article will mostly consist of the changes I made to the deck, the implications of the format post abyss rising and the relevance of agents and finally the out of ordinary decisions and gameplay of my matches.
Most of you have properly heard about the bet; I wanted to make the tournament more interesting so the night before during dinner I challenged United Gosus applicant Sorosh Saberian (now an intern) to duel and the loser of the match had to side deck Dark Magician and during the first feature match the loser gets, has to side in the card.
So as you may know I lost a close 2-1 match ( my chaos agents vs his water, I'd didn't play very optimal in game 2)
This match was filmed it should be on dragonduelistgirl's YouTube channel now or if not, soon.
I already spoke about the format in YouTube interviews and my last article with ARG so I will not mention that in much detail.
My version of Chaos agents has a very good matchup against the whole meta of decks pre abyss crisis, mostly because the deck was built to be stable and fast at the same time.
So after the new set, the water deck and spell books was added to the equation.
The water deck
I tested a lot against and with the deck, there doesn't seem to be much space for innovation in this deck, most of them are similar to the ocg version with the exception of the versions that main water art aoi
I overall did not like this deck;
The obvious reason is the genex controllers, starting with them is absolutely awful, you have to main awkward cards like allure of darkness, common charity and ultimate to offset that.
Tragedia is the only card that has synergy with rest of deck perfectly whilst also capable of using the dreaded genex controller
It is not like shine balls in agents, with Venus if you open it you can get all the shineballs out of the way, even if you draw them you can still use Venus and summon them from hand.
And there are lots of cards to utilise the shine balls ( creature swap, enemy controller and herald of orange light).
Drawing 2 controllers either in the opening or mid game will not only hurt because you have them but also make all other Undines dead ( unless you avarice sometime in the game ).
Along with that, the deck is fairly combo based and the only card that works well with itself and nothing else is deepsea diva. So there's lots of chances to open awkward hands that cannot explode, e.g. having megalo but no Atlanteans to discard or the Atlanteans and no big monsters.
I found during the event that the deck is an early explosive deck, it's not very good during the end game.
It has one explosive play involving megalo and moulinglacia and then it slows then from there. There were many situations where this happened and I slowly made a comeback after killing moulinglacia. But against most decks if they explode then it's over, it's usually decks like agents and chaos dragons with good topdecks that can come back.
Amanda Lapalme tested this during YCS Providence, I ignored it at first, it didn't seem good to me it seemed to depend too much on the high priestess whilst the rest of the deck is weak and used to bring her out and to protect her.
Then I played vs her a lot after the event, It was almost even, I couldn't quite explain it. I eventually came to the conclusion that the deck is very much like Pokemon, my friends tell me about the cards in Pokemon, they always have search cards and always have draw power. I played the deck and I could recycle any spell book I want and search them whenever I want, priestess was also easily searched out. Then Frazier Smith built a more competitive version involving tragoedia ( spell books have ample hand advantage), hang man, card trooper and call of the haunted, he also hinted at maining water art which I tried and put mind crush in there too. It was surprisingly good, there was so much synergy and advantage.
However, we both decided against the deck, it just doesn't have a good matchup across all of the meta, it's very weak vs fast decks that can rush it.
Despite the knowledge of this deck being public, it was still a stable and fast deck that is good vs the general meta ( playing vs water requires you to switch your style a little ). In the end I noticed that siding in soul drain was a bad idea vs water because whenever I sided them in I slowed my deck down a little and also it always gets mst'ed. If I don't side soul drain I will maintain the speed and also they have dead msts, this is why during the end of the event I started to not side at all vs water.
The meta call was macro/ fissure rabbit which is another reason why I didn't want to play with water, but chaos agents love facing this deck. The macro and fissure hurts less than expected or it comes late when it's dead or I just mst it. And the deck generally gets over powered by chaos agents unless it opens the nuts without any vanillas.
The Main Event.
750 ish people attended, I was very surprised at the low turnout, it seemed like a European YCS. Still more people does not mean a harder challenge.
Vs .... Chain burn !
I have to admit, I was nervous when he flipped over the first burn card. It's not a deck that anyone wants to play against, luckily though his build was rather mediocre; he plays cardcar D, torrential tribute and gorz, all cards that I can waste my useless cards on and as he draws those cards he will not be drawing burn cards, so this is fine with me.
The strategy vs burn with my deck is to hope to draw as many msts as possible, waste as many cards but keep enough to kill him so that just desserts and secret barrel will not do heavy damage. In the end of game 1 I managed to win with 700 life points left, I forced him to flip a random reckless greed and he couldn't recover after that.
Game 2, I sided in 2 royal decrees, many people do not side this card anymore but in an almost trap less deck like mine it's very good and also the fact that the 'meta call' for this event was macro Dino rabbits.
So I end phased royal decree and the rest is history.
Round 2 vs d fissure rabbits
Great! I love this matchup!
I overwhelmed him game one with stronger monsters. Usually drawing vanillas in Dino rabbit is still useful but not against a deck like dark worlds, agents or chaos dragons that dishes big monsters easily.
He opens d fissure, a backrow and a sabersaurus
I open Venus, mystical space typhoon, Maxx c, honest, mind control and creature swap.
I mst'ed his backrow and Venus made gachi and ran saber over. In this entire game I continued to draw hand traps but I absolutely ignored the d fissure, I drew another mst but I kept hitting backrows instead of the fissure. This is what I meant, macro rabbit or fissure rabbit poses no threat to chaos agents; the fissure or macro can come too late when I already have a prepared grave so it becomes a dead ish card, the vanillas are also dead ish cards. I did not fear rescue rabbit because I have mind control and creature swap to deal with what ever he brings out, so in the end he made a small comeback but I won.
Round 3 vs chaos dragons
I cannot remember his name, I apologise because he was a good player and pushed me to an extent.
Game 1 I opened one of those strange unplayable hands that can explode if I top deck the right card. Usually those hands are accompanied by tragoedia or gorz but not this time. So I was forced to stall, I bluffed gorz, I love how easy it is to bluff gorz in this deck and once they do not attack directly you know they fear gorz so you can make a few reads about what they have and do not have.
In the end he won that game, I couldn't recover.
Game 2, I overwhelmed him, once I sided out the dead msts and heavy storm, this deck is much stronger and faster than his. My monsters are also more useful, his rykos barely do anything, I can always run a shineball into it.
Thanks to treacherous trap hole, which when you think about it, is always good vs chaos dragons if you use it right; they will not end phase mst it and I can force pulsar to miss timing with they activate lyla or other things.
Game 3 I opened another awkward hand, but not as bad, I stalled until I got some kind of momentum. But this was the crucial play and I was quite proud of it!
I have Hyperion onthe field with spirit reaper and a backrow, I also have a Hyperion and a chaos sorcerer in hand that I cannot summon.
He draws into 5, he has a prepared Grave yard, he had to make his turn count otherwise he will lose next turn.
He summons tour guide, I instantly started thinking, this is what went though my mind;
He already used sangan so he's bringing out another tour guide or night assailant to xyz, if he brings out zenmaines I literally cannot kill it because I cannot bring out sorcerer or the other Hyperion and unless I top deck something good I will allow him to stall, which is not good because I didn't want him to have more time when I was building momentum and pushing him to the edge.
But on the other hand, I had been making reads on him all game and I had the feeling that something wasn't right, I decided I will not treacherous trap hole when the other tour guide is summoned. (all of this went through my mind very fast, I had to think fast so it doesn't give information away, but by thinking at this particular point he most likely thought that I am considering a hand trap when I was really considering when I should activate treacherous trap hole)
So he brings tour guide out and asks 'any response?' yes of course he knew it was treacherous and this is what I feared after YCS providence that my deck would become too predictable but like I said earlier, they still cannot do ANYTHING about it. I mentioned last article with ARG that I only set the trap hole at certain times, and when I do, it usually means theres nothing they can do about it and in the case of chaos dragons they will pretty much always get wrecked by it.
I instantly responded ' no, nothing', he started thinking, and I knew exactly what he was thinking, my predication was right.
He goes into leviathan dragon, detaches to give himself the third dark (you already guessed it!), he drops dark armed dragon!
I smiled, flipped over treacherous trap hole and that sealed the game. ( he was only able to drop dark flare dragon after that and I negated it with thunder king.
The crucial thing here was that I took the time to think about a decision that I will have to think about anyway but before that decision needs to happen. By doing so I threw him off when I instantly replied 'no' to his 'any response?' and he thought that maybe it wasn't the trap hole and went all in.
I often use this technique, I often pause in the standby phase randomly to think about potential moves that may happen, by doing so it saves me from doing it later, this is often crucial when you do not want to give any information away.
Whilst I'm on this topic, it maybe helpful for you if I gave you another example.
It was 2009 and I was playing Lightsworn at a premier event, it was the last round of swiss and I was on the bubble. I was playing against another Lightsworn player.
I won game 1, and in game 2 the situation was this;
He has one backrow , lyla and aurkus in attack mode. I summon lyla and asked for a response when I entered battle phase, he responded 'nothing'.
I then tap the person sat next to me to confirm that he said 'nothing', I declare an attack with lyla into aurkus, he chains threatening roar, I explain to him that the current attack would still go through and the battle phase would end after that attack, so he wasted his card.
So what happened? I saw threatening roar in game 1 and Lightsworn generally doesn't play many traps so I guessed it was t roar face down. He also mentioned that he was a noob a lot during game 1 and I believed him, he was a friend of a friend and I knew he was a Pokemon player ( a very good one), he picked up yugioh not long ago. This means he will not know a lot of rulings in detail and certainly not this threatening roar one that was recently discovered ( but it was still unknown to many) I'm not sure if threatening roar still works this way but it did at the time.
I saw the opportunity to take advantage of this ruling and his inexperience, the foresight of what would happen was quite obvious, I thought and covered every scenario before even entering main phase.
Normally most players would just declare an attack and the opponent will play t roar, it works because entering the battle phase was never declared so the opponent can move it back to main phase 1. In this scenario I purposely declared my phases for that reason, fully knowing he would not know what I was up to.
I took 1 step further, if he argued the ruling, he can easily say that he did not say entering bp was ok and it would be my word vs his, that's why I tapped the player next to me so I have a third person witness.
He was trapped from the beginning.
Round 4 vs Geargia, nothing interesting happened, I 2-0ed fairly quickly. After losing in the top8 of YCS providence I went back to siding 2 nobleman of crosscut for grave keepers ( my weakness) and Geargia. There is nothing to fear from this matchup, if I get rid of the armour then there is nothing threatening me.
Round 5 CHEATING !
vs water, this was an epic game! But also left some very unpleasant remarks.
I built up heavy momentum, at one point I had 4 monsters and he didn't have much, only a few cards in hand and 1 backrow.
I attack....into mirror force!! .... WHAT?!
I proceed to lose the game, everyone watching it clapped for him.
Mirror force is not something I would play in water, but it was smart, many would hesitate to mystical space typhoon face downs until they see the abyss sphere so mirror force can dodge mst sometimes. But in the mirror match it will get popped by marksman.
Game 2, a big move with black luster soldier finishes him off quickly.
I opened average, he capitalised quickly with megalo and moulin glacia plays, at this point he had wing blasted my sangan, time was called, it was not looking good.
After he kills Venus and now I'm on 5000 ish lp, I summon Hyperion and activate eff to get rid of the elemental lord, he veilers! This is brutal, everyone watching thought I had lost, I thought so too.
I then saw the move, I summoned sangan crashed into undine to search for honest and attacked his glacia with Hyperion dropping honest !
This put him on 4100 lp to my 4700! If I kept this up for 2 more of his turns I will win on time and he couldn't attack next turn.
This is what I mean, the water deck is an early exploder; after their moulin glacia play, the rest of the game is quite tame for them, with chaos dragons and agents having amazing top decks there is always a chance for a comeback!
In the end he was able to do 300 more damage in his last turn but it wasn't enough.
I won on time.
If the game had carried on I may have still won, I had gorz and enough lp to take any hit. He was top decking with only a genex controller in hand.
After the game my opponent went to the judges and said that he thinks I was cheating ( stalling ) and that I should be watched, one of my friends overheard and told me.
This shocked me, the person I played was someone I considered an acquaintance/ friend ( I won't name him), he jokingly said I was stalling in the game but I thought he was just messing around but in game 3 when we had table judges he got more serious about it.
I hardly ever go into time, this match took long because I had to rethink every big play, after game 1 I was very cautious about when I should make the push. And game 3 was a long and epic come back.
So then I do not know how but at the end of the day, this rumour extended from: I stall to I cheat to I stack to I stacked an agent player....I didn't play vs agents the entire event.
Let me be clear that I do not cheat, but I can certainly understand if I was an outsider and someone I didn't know had my record this year, and went undefeated in day 1 of Swiss twice within the space of 1 month, I would be suspicious too.
Innocent until proven guilty, but talk is cheap! An accused cheater will say that he doesn't whether he actually does or not. I asked to be table judged every match, I have nothing to hide. But again, a cheater can just not cheat or they are good at it and will not get caught;.
The only definitive way to prove it in my opinion, is to watch how they play, no I don't mean by looking for suspicious behaviour, I mean their decisions in the game. I first went to an SJC 4 years ago in Costa Mesa, I had heard about all the rumours and the name players, I didn't believe it until I actually saw them play ( again I won't name anyone). This particular person had built up an impressive record, BUT every time I watch him play, he plays hard mistakes, he plays average moves and nothing impressive. When this constantly happens, you can be sure that his skills does not match his record and something is definitely suspicious. I've long past the need to prove to others that I can do well, now I play to prove to myself that I can win and if cheated to do so, it will alway be on my conscience and it will never be a legit win.
I felt the need to say this, I don't play perfect but I play exceptional move from time to time and Frazier Smith and others can be witness to this.
I'm not at all surprised that these rumours have risen, it was only a matter of time especially if I continue to do well.
Feature match time! Jason Mayer had heard about the bet and decided to feature me, my friends found out and couldn't stop laughing.
My opponent was playing water, he was rather unresponsive and was kind of unhappy even before the game.
Game 1 he opened and complained about his hand, I ignored it, some people do say this to throw their opponents off making them confident and complacent.
I set sangan and ended, he ends with nothing, I summon reaper, flip sangan and attack with reaper. He proceeds to drop tragoedia.... In attack position ( big mistake) I attack with sangan and drop my own tragoedia, with sangans effect getting me earth and making my tragoedia bigger, I attack over his tragoedia.
I then proceed to make zenmaines with trag and reaper, I was worried he would explode and attack into the atk position reaper for game. Also the water deck doesn't deal with zenmaines well unless they extend with a lot of cards, which is fine with me because once he does I will extend with mine and end the game.
The game was over in my favour during thenext turn.
Game 2, I sided in 2 soul drains and the Dark Magician, I had to honour my bet.
I gained momentum, he complained about his hand again. I attacked and he responded with water art, strange, that card should usually be played in the draw phase.
A few turns later, I drew dark magician, I heard my friends giggle and whisper. It was ok I still had momentum, this time he water arts me straight away, I watch for his reaction to the dark magician but he didn't even twitch or make any facial expression.
In the end, he was left with only megalo and a backrow, and nothing in hand. I have tragoedia, gachi with 2 materials and a Venus. As soon as he ended I knew what was going to happen, I couldn't stop myself from smiling. I used mystical space typhoon, mind controlled his megalo, tribute Venus and tragoedia for Dark Magician and attacked with it for game!
Dark magic attack indeed....
Round 7, this was a quick 2-0 against either water or windup I honestly cannot remember, there definitely wasnt anything note worthy to mention.
Round 8 vs windups
I honestly did not care too much about this match, going 7-1 was ok with me so I decided to play really aggressive.
Game 1 I open venus and gachi,
He tried to magician and shark, chain Maxx c.
The following turn I gained a lot of advantage and momentum. He tries to make a play again and I Maxx c again, there was nothing he can do.
Game 2, he summons thunder king and ends... No back row, that was interestingly good. I summon shineball and creature swap it over, attacked it and ended.
He manages to get rid of the thunder king, I passed and he sets and passed.
I summon Hyperion by removing Venus from hand, he torrentials.
I summon tour guide, make leviair, bring back Venus, get 2 more shinballs, make daigusto Phoenix, make leviair double attack.
All attack for game!
Absolutely no fear!
He mentioned after the game that he had magician and shark in game 2 opening but didn't play it because he feared hand traps. I can understand that, in turn 1 thunder king was an ok play, but he had another turn to use the combo and didn't and the funny thing is, I feared magician shark the entire game because I didn't have any hand traps.
So X-0 day 1 again, exactly the same record as day 1 of YCS Providence, also the same in terms of how many games I lost (2). I didn't need to play the next 2 rounds so I enjoyed the night.
I turned up to table 1, scooped and went back to the hotel for breakfast.
I explained why I do this in my last article with ARG.
In round 10, I played Leon ( the person who eventually beat me in top 8)
I wanted to play because I wanted to top swiss, although it's not a big deal.
He was playing water, he sets 2 and a monster and ends, I heavy storm he flips starlight road !!! Ok so a water deck that plays starlight and many traps, it wasn't to my liking, I don't think the water deck should be built like that.
I stare at my hand which was pretty decent, but winning this game was going to take some extreme thinking and I was tired and didn't want to waste my mental strength, so I scooped, sat in a corner for a nap and listened to music.
I finished 11th after the swiss rounds.
Top 32 vs dark worlds.
He was a very nice person, generally pleasant to play against.
Game 1 I open average, he dragged downs my mind control so I couldn't Make heliopolis with his grapha, I eventfully lose.
Game 2 he gained momentum and this was the crucial point;
He had trance archfiend, and monster reborned broww and bounced it back to hand for grapha, he proceeded to use trance's effect to discard broww.
If he had reborned silva and used trance to summon it again it would have been enough for game. He had attacked me enough times to know that I had no gorz or tragoedia unless it was a top deck. It was a horrible misplay from his part and I punished him next turn when I drew the card I needed to explode and I finished him in that turn. He could have 2-0ed me, I was lucky that he played a mistake.
Game 3, this wasn't even close, chaos agents did what chaos agents do best and exploded out of no where for game.
I explained the mistake after our match, shaked his hand. I felt a little bad for him but making mistakes is how people learn best.
Top 16 vs water, this game was not pleasant at all, a complete opposite to the last match.
I won't name him, I was told who he is after our match, his moniker online is someone who is known for 'trolling'
Game 1, I summon earth and he asks to read the card, I responded 'are you serious?' he then tried to read Venus.
Throughout the game he talked a lot, and none of it was relevant, just a bunch of gibberish.
When I asked how long he played for, he answered ' 2 months'
He had English cards for his foreign ones, there's no way this person is the novice he pretended to be. He did it so much that it started to annoy and offend me. It was disrespectful to any opponent to try and act like that, some people act like they do not know as a form of subtle bluffs, but this was not the case, it was full on.
He took the game too lightly and played 'dumb', I whispered to Frazier that he was doing so and he agreed.
During the game he played a few questionable moves that wasn't optimal, Frazier and I discussed this after the match. I took game 1
This was the most hostile I have ever been to an opponent, I didn't say anything, only stuff that mattered. I asked him to hurry up a few times, rude indeed, but he stopped a lot to talk about absolute none sense.
Game 2 he won pretty easily.
Game 3, another judge joined the table judge to watch us.
We shuffled up and he joked about how bad his hand was, I didn't believe a single word that this guy was saying, I just played.
At one point he showed the judges his hand, they laughed. I paused, are they allowed to do that? They shouldn't show facial expression, It could easily give information away.
Well I decided to go for it and indeed his hand was bad with 2 genex controllers ( this is exactly why I dislike the deck)
So I won, I still wasn't happy, I packed up fast but before I left I extended my hand to shake his anyway. It was not pleasant but I should give him that at least.
Top 8 vs Leon
I played both well and awful in this game and it is the latter that cost me the match. Either way, this match was really epic!
Feature match, all of our friends gathered to watch.
Game 1 I gathered a lot of momentum, there was a point where he had 1 card in hand and was forced to set 2 backrows and a monster ( I guessed this was undine, he searched it earlier). I had gachi with a material, Hyperion and thunder king.
In my turn 1 had 3 in hand, I activate hyperion to kill heavy storm, at this point my opponent seemed giddy and looked to the crowd whilst saying 'this guy has no fear'.
I thought about this for a second, then switched my gachi to attack mode (if t king kills the face down then Hyperion and gachi attack was enough for game).
It was a mis read on my part, his body language was not of someone who was in trouble and the thing he said was too obvious of a bluff...I sighed and carried on. If I had ended and waited to kill the other backrow next turn then it was my game, I was too rash and impatient.
I smoke sided ( I didn't side a single card)
I started with earth fetching Venus and ended
He summons marksman attacks over my earth and special summons dragoon to attack directly, sets 1 backrow and ends.
I storm his starlight road ( meaning he has no traps or spells in hand, nice to know, but it was irrelevant).
I summon tour guide getting tour guide and making leviair, remove Venus from hand for Hyperion, leviair grabs Venus and summons 2 shinballs, make daigusto Phoenix to allow leviair to attack twice, and finally summoning black luster solder. That was too much!
I had a really average hand and he megalos and moulinglacias me, I thought I had lost. At this point he cracks jokes about moulin glacia very loudly with his friends in the crowd, I didn't appreciate this to be honest, it was like an amateur playing and very unsportsmanlike.
I then start making small comebacks with Venus, pushing him back. At one point I drew and started taking my time to look through both graveyards to see what was left, he flips over mind crush and calls monster reborn! I was not expecting that at all, I show my hand of dark hole and hyperion.
He face literally dropped, he wasn't so noisy anymore.
The situation turned completely in my favour when I had dark hole in hand, Hyperion on the field and thunder king. He has nothing in hand, nothing on field, a lot of cards used including avarice. He tops dark hole ! I was so shocked! But ok it happens, he ends and if I draw a monster 1300 or higher I win, I top deck herald and before I even took time to think the word 'end' exited my mouth.
He top decks diva and makes catastor for game.
Yes I should have set herald, and if I top decked a monster I can use dark hole and attack for game. I didn't even look at my top card, I was so shook up after that dark hole and the crowd ( his friends) being so loud, I wasn't thinking straight.
I have learnt to block out external noise very well but it cannot be completely ignored and the amount of things that has happened in this match shook me up to my core.
I shaked his hand, he seemed happy, even though I didn't appreciate his heavy boasting.
So this makes it the third time in a row that I have lost in the top 8 of a YCS within 3 months ( Sheffield, Providence and Seattle). I'm happy I made it that far but frustrated that I seem to hit a brick wall when I get to that point.
Every time I lose in the top cut I learn from it and improve, I try even harder next time, I become even hungrier for that first title. But at the same time, It's been one of my goals for so long, one that is small on my list in the grand scheme of things, I question why I even want it anymore.
My friends from United Gosus also topped, Lukas Prinz finished in the top 32 and Julian Wong piloting the exact same deck as me finished in the top 8. 3 out of 4 of the Gosus made the top cut, including our applicant at the time ( now an intern) Sorosh Saberian finishing 4th, I was proud.
There were so many non yugioh related things that were amazing, I would bore you if I mentioned everything so I'll just say a thank you to everyone that was around me that week.
As usual thank you for reading, I hope you found it useful to help you improve with your game.
Play Hard or Go Home !