I’d like to start this off by giving a big congratulations to Josh Graham for winning YCS Toronto!
As many other duelists, I also began testing under “Satoshi’s list” a solid week before it was confirmed real. Working under the assumption that it was real, I had three weeks to prepare for the tournament. Luckily, it ended up being the real list. The first deck I built under the list was a very typical beginning of the format deck. It had Gravekeeper’s Spys, Tsukuyomi, and a Flamvell engine. While the cards had a fair amount of synergy with each other, it was not a very good deck. While testing this deck I played a friend of mine that used to go to my locals. He was playing Wind-Ups with the basic strategy of using Factory to search Rat and pump at an XYZ every turn while keeping constant advantage. He was also using Call of the Haunteds to revive Rats and put out more XYZs. It proved to be a solid strategy and he swiftly won the match.
About a week later I was driving home from my locals with my friend Doug. Despite the list pretty much being confirmed, we were still playing under the March list. Ever since nationals I had been using Wind-Ups and at least on the local level I couldn’t lose. Right as we were getting back into town and he was about to drop me off he mentions how some girl at nationals used Papiloperative to turn her Rat that she brought out off of Magician to attack mode. I thought this was an insane idea and immediately thought back to my friend that was playing Wind-Ups in the new format. When I went inside that night I spent about 20 minutes figuring out combos with Wind-Ups using only 1 Zenmaity. This is when I first figured out the 9100 OTK. For anyone who does not know, let me explain.
- Normal summon Magician and special summon Shark.
- Activate Magician to special another Magician from your deck.
- Make Shark level 3 and use the other Magician to special a Rat from your deck in defense.
- Overlay the 2 Magicians for Papolioperative.
- Use its effect to turn Rat to attack mode.
- Use Rat to revive the Magician that you detached from Papiloperative.
- Overlay the Rat and Shark for Zenmaity.
- Use Zenmaity to special a Rat from your deck.
- Trigger Magician to special either a Magician or Shark from your deck.
- Overlay Shark and Magician for Utopia.
- Use Rat to make Gigabrilliant.
This left your ending field as Zenmaity, Utopia, Gigabrilliant, and Papiloperative, all with 300 extra attack making for 9100 damage total.
I was extremely excited about my discovery and without thinking posted my findings on Duelistgroundz. This was a huge mistake I wish I never made. I wish I had just kept what I had found to myself and a few select others. Unfortunately I had made it public knowledge and it spread like wildfire. Within days just about everyone knew about the combo.
As the days went on I continued to test for Toronto. I was almost certain that I was going to be using Wind-Ups for the event. I figured out as many combos as I could and committed them to memory trying to give myself shortcuts for which would be best any given situation. For example, I’d do something completely different with Magician Shark with protection than Magician Shark without protection.
Eventually Toronto was just about here and the last thing I had to do was conquer my German test on Thursday before I turned my full attention to Toronto. To do so, I pulled an all nighter Wednesday. Thursday I had no trouble sleeping and woke up Friday morning and headed to the airport. A short two hour plane ride later and I was in Canada. I took a shuttle to my hotel, the Fairmont Royal York. This is where I met Paul Cooper and Glenn Robinson, the people I was staying with. I was also staying with Samuel Pedigo, but he did not arrive until after midnight.
The three of us headed to the hotel where preregistration was, several blocks from where the event was actually being held. Everybody I knew was here. After I signed up we headed down the street a few blocks to an underground food court to playtest. Billy and I played a couple of matches, him using Karakuri Geargias and me using Wind-Ups. Before the matches he told me to convince him to play Wind-Ups, but I did not do my job as he absolutely destroyed me 4 out of the 5 games we played.
After this, Michael Anderson Boyd (Goofy), Jonathan Weigle and I all went to a Tex-Mex restaurant for dinner. Then we headed to the Intercontinental Hotel where we met up with Bobby Barone and Justin Delhon. With the exception of Justin, we were all playing Wind-Ups so we all discussed how we would side against each match up. Before talking to them I had been a really strong advocate of Wind-Up Kitten for its searchability and it being able to trigger both Magician and Factory, however they convinced me to take it out for a second copy of Soul Taker. I still opted to side the Kitten for when I sided in Messenger of Peace to be able to loop it with Rabbits and swing for significant chunks of damage under Messenger.
As I said in my last article, I did not think Effect Veiler would be very good for this event as Heroes and Dark World were certainly going to be very prevalent this event. Goofy and Weigle agreed for the most part and all of us chose to main 0 copies of Effect Veiler and 0 copies of Maxx “C.” Both of them chose to side 2 of each and I chose to only side 2 Maxx “C.” They felt that siding Maxx “C” with no Veiler was pointless because if you Maxx “C” when your opponent has Magician Shark they can keep going and OTK you even if you draw tons of cards because there won’t be any Veiler to stop them. I felt that if I Maxx “C” my opponents when they have Magician Shark they would stop with the threat of Veiler potentially being in my deck being enough. Sure enough, every time the situation came up, they stopped and I never lost a game because they didn’t. My final list was this:
3 Wind-Up Magician
3 Wind-Up Shark
3 Wind-Up Rat
3 Wind-Up Rabbit
1 Wind-Up Hunter
2 Snowman Eater
2 Tour Guide From the Underworld
3 Wind-Up Factory
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Heavy Storm
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Book of Moon
2 Soul Taker
1 Pot of Avarice
2 Solemn Warning
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Torrential Tribute
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Solemn Judgment
Extra Deck: 15
2 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
1 Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
1 Number 30: Acid Golem
1 Number 16: Shock Master
1 Steelswarm Roach
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
1 Photon Papilloperative
1 Tiras, Keeper of Genesis
1 Wind-Up Arsenal Zenmaioh
Side Deck: 15
2 Maxx “C”
2 Thunder King Rai-Oh
1 Snowman Eater
1 Wind-Up Kitten
3 Messenger of Peace
2 Dimensional Fissure
2 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Xing Zhen Hu
1 Dust Tornado
Also I didn’t end up running Zenmaister because Tour Guide Shark is still an OTK if you have any Wind-Up other than Magician in your grave. I didn’t feel like I would have that to an open field first turn often enough to devote an extra deck spot to it. And if it did come up, I’m still probably going to win that game regardless.
After I left the intercontinental Justin Delhon and I went to his room to play Goat format for about an hour.
Saturday I wake up, shower, and head to the convention center. I get some McDonalds with Paul and Glenn. Soon enough, the YCS was ready to start.
Game 1: He didn’t really know what was going on. It was his first YCS. I did combos and he asked me to explain them as I went.
Game 2: He let me start, despite him losing the first game. That is all that needs to be said.
Game 1: `I am beating him down with Rabbits and after a few turns I draw Factory which allows me to combo off. While he never saw a Skill Drain, he did play Barbaros so I assume that they were in there.
Game 2: I use Maestroke to put one of his Survivors face down and attack it so that it can’t come back. I Xing Zhen Hu his sets and take the game shortly afterwards.
Vs Dark World
Game 1: I’m fairly certain my opponent didn’t want to win. After he resolved Starlight Road on my Heavy (it was his only set with Gates face up) he had no reason to lose the game. Even after I dealt with Stardust he had double Grapha and a set. I had Factory Magician Shark, but no real way of dealing with the Graphas. When I summoned Magician and activated Shark he chose to Torrential on the summon of Shark. This was a huge mistake as I activated Magician as chain link 1 and Factory as chain link 2 to search Shark and then special Magician from my deck. Then I specialed the Shark from my hand and OTKed him that way.
Game 2: He sets 1 and passes. I set 1 and activate Dimensional Fissure. He activates Heavy on his turn and proceeds with some Dark World tricks. I draw into Factory and am able to search combo pieces with it over the next couple of turns until I can Torrential my own Zenmaines to clear his Graphas and combo out for game.
Vs Patrick with Wind-Ups
Game 1: I start with a pretty subpar hand and just set Snowman and pass. He has Rabbit Factory and doesn’t attack and removes to search Shark. I am unable to deal with Factory and stop him from having Magician Shark so when he begins to combo and brings out Hunter to my 4 in hand I just scoop so that he won’t know what I am playing. This is such a brave thing to do on turn 2, but if you know you’re not going to win even if you last a couple more turns then you should try to get every advantage you can in the coming games.
Game 2: Unfortunately, my strategy didn’t work. It seems that he knew I was playing Wind-Ups and sided accordingly. I won this game on the simple fact that I had Factory and he didn’t. When I asked him why he had sided like I was playing Wind-Ups despite not seeing what I was playing game 1 he said “I just assumed you were playing the best deck.”
Game 3: He had way too much advantage this game. He was continuously floating Rat with Rabbit so even if I dealt with his field there would be more to come the following turn. It ended with him having at least 6 more cards than I did.
Game 1: This game was such a grind because he had Factory and I didn’t. Fortunately he didn’t get many monsters to trigger Factory so it was left to me to trigger it. Eventually I won out.
Game 2: This game was incredibly weird. He starts by playing 2 Factory and a Shark searching out Magician Shark. I look at my hand of 3 Factory and a Shark. Unfortunately I didn’t have any defense so I lose to Shock Master plays a turn or two later.
Game 3: This game was incredibly sketchy. We both had Factory, but he had MST for mine the turn after I got my first search, yet his stayed face up the entire game. I had been holding my Reborn since the start of the game and he made a push but got caught by my Torrential. He still was able to search a Rat so I was essentially on a 1 turn clock. I drew Rat for my turn to only his Factory. I Reborned his Magician summoned Rat and got Rabbit. This got me another Magician. Then I removed Rat with Rabbit and used the other Magician to get another Rabbit. I overlayed the Magicians for Utopia and the Rabbits for Leviair. I brought back Rat and made Zenmaity. Then I used Zenmaity to get a final Rat and make Giga-Brilliant for game.
Vs Dale Bellido with Wind-Ups
Game 1: I won the roll and opened Tour Guide Shark with no defense. I went to make Zenmaity and got hit with Veiler. On his turn he had Magician Shark. I didn’t die and drew defense for my turn, but he had Heavy Storm.
Game 2: Again he was able to combo out first and had Trap Stun for my defensive cards. This was a very short match.
Game 1: He milled a bunch of cards and set Beckoning to get back BLS and 2 Judgment Dragons. Nothing my Dimensional Prison could stop.
Game 2: I started by summoning Sangan so he could not Ehren it when I had Dimensional Fissure and 2 Sharks in hand. He killed it and I searched Magician. Then I played Fissure and OTKed him with Shock Master under Fissure.
Game 3: I Jedi mind tricked him. He had absolutely no reason to lose this game. He had Lyla, Garoth, 2 Wulfs that he had just milled in the end phase, a very obvious Beckoning Light set and 2 cards in hand. My hand was Thunder King Rai-Oh, Monster Reborn, 2 Rats with my only target as Zenmaity (he Solemn Judgmented it when I brought it out with Tour Guide), and Torrential Tribute. He kept telling me how it was game and I kept telling him to calm down. I knew either way I had for force the Beckoning Light this turn as I could not let him get 3 things back. I Reborned his Lyla and he didn’t chain Beckoning to the Reborn. I used Lyla to break Beckoning to which he chained and got back double Judgment Dragon. I summoned Thunder King and attacked over Lyla vocally saying “So that gives you three different names right?” He corrected me saying that it gave him 4 and that he had discarded the fourth with Beckoning (I knew full well that he had done this). I pretended to be upset and passed setting the Torrential. He drew and immediately threw down Judgment Dragon which I negated with Thunder King. He threw down the second and I flipped a massive Torrential Tribute. He had absolutely no reason to special either one of them in that situation and could have just attacked with everything on board, but I got him! He simply set a monster and passed after that. I drew Magician for my turn and summoned Rat to revive the Shark that I had milled with Lyla in the end phase. I made Zenmaines and attacked the Ryko and detached both materials and ended. He drew and began counting his graveyard. Then he summoned Sephlon the Time Lord for a whopping 2500 over my Zenmaines. This left me with 1850 life points. Luckily I drew Shark for my turn. Here I regretted not playing Adreus as I could make Utopia Adreus and attack for game. Since that was not an option, I made Maestroke and Tiras and turned his Sephlon face down and attacked into it with Tiras leaving me with just 450 life points left, but I killed Sephlon. He drew nothing for his turn and I took it the following turn.
Vs Rob Cedar with Plants
Game 1: Unfortunately I had to play my friend Rob the last round of day 1. I knew that he was playing a build of Plants that was very similar to Joe’s list that I was very familiar with. Game 1 I just couldn’t get anything going. I only had trap cards with no monsters. Every time I got a monster he would take it with either Enemy Controller or Mind Control and draw cards with it using Cyber Valley. He kept using power play after power play until he powered through all my traps.
Game 2: This was my first autowin game of the day. I opened Tour Guide Shark with Dimensional Fissure and Prison. I ended with Zenmaity, Shock Master (calling spells), and a Shark. He summoned Thunder King and ran into Prison and set 1. I drew and MST his set Enemy Controller. I finished comboing off and called monsters and attacked through Gorz for game.
Game 3: I drew Dimensional Fissure on a crucial turn and he was not able to stop my combo with hand traps. He attempted to special Cyber and make Chimera with cards on my board, but I pointed out to him that Chimera had to send to the grave to special himself. I had a lot of advantage and him being unable to do this sealed the game in my favor.
I finished day 1 in the mid-sixties with about 40 x-2s below me. I felt good about that as when I made 33rd in Dallas there were only about 10 x-2s below me so I figured if I won the last two rounds I was surely in.
Also I was extremely surprised I had played 0 Heroes. I felt that it was my best match up and that it would be the most played deck. Just about everyone else I talked to had played multiples.
Paul, Frazier, Alistar, Weigle, Goofy, Jeff, Sam, Alex and Bobby were all still in. After we left the convention center I went to dinner with everyone from ARG at Boston’s Pizza. A very good restaurant that served much more than just pizza.
The next day Sam and I headed to the convention center bright and early. He had finished day 1 undefeated with a draw. We stopped at subway on our way. Once I got there I resleeved and the pairings were up.
Game 1: This was a grind game. He ran a Thunder King into my Snowman and that let me get an edge. I made a bad play here after not looking at the life points. I made a play to clear his board and set Solemn instead of just seeing that Acid Golem would have been the game had I made that and attacked over his Zenmaity. He also made a crucial misplay here by not detaching for Temtempo on his turn. Then on my turn my Utopia could still run his Temtempo over. I won by Solemning Rat after I cleared the board.
Game 2: He starts with 3-4 sets. I start with Thunder King and attack for 1900. I set 3. He sets a monster and I summon Kitten which he Solemn Judgments. I attack and in the battle step I activate Compulsory on his set (I had a second one which if I attacked that turn and the following with Thunder King it would have been game) The stops my Thunder King the next turn and it comes to the point where we are both very low on resources and eventually I draw a Factory. A couple turns later I draw Shark and summon it. I say “3” and he mishears me thinking I said “attack” and he flips Dimensional Prison. I correct him and search Rabbit. He’s only at 1400 but I don’t attack because I now know his set. Next turn I summon Rabbit and he only has the 1 Prison and isn’t able to stop both attacks.
Vs Desmond Boyd with Rescue Rabbit
Game 1: I open the absolute nuts. I have double Factory, Rat, Shark, Warning. I made Zenmaity, Shark, Shock Master (on spells) with Warning set and Rat in hand. He summons Guiaba and I Warning and he just scoops.
Game 2: He starts with Rabbit into Laggia with 2 sets. I Soul Taker the Laggia, he negaetes, and I set Torrential and something else that he MSTs. He summons Sangan and I don’t Torrential. He attacks for 3400 and I summon Rabbit and attack Sangan. He gets Tour Guide and makes Leviair and gets Sabersauruses, but runs into my Torrential. At this point I get too much advantage and he isn’t able to recover.
Again at this point I definitely thought that I had made it. When they call out the standings I found out that I got 36th instead. This was extremely disappointing as this was the third time this has happened to me in a little over a year (Indianapolis, Dallas, Toronto). I wish they would do it like they do in Magic and have more rounds with a smaller top cut. I think that this would be more fair and skill intensive.
Congrats to Josh, Jeff, Sean, Goofy, and everyone else who topped. Hopefully my luck will be a little bit better in Indy in 3 weeks. Until next time, play hard or go home!