Greetings, duelists! We’re a little over one month into the March 2013 format and Mono Mermail has claimed the first YCS victory—shocking, I know. The second place deck was none other than its opposite, Fire Fist, which coincidentally, I played at a Maryland regional during the same weekend. Actually, to be more accurate, my deck was what I would call “Dino-Fist” due to the three copies of Sabersaurus in the main. Going into the event, I felt that Water would obviously be the most dominant deck, which it will most likely continue to be in every event until we get new cards, so it seemed just as obvious to main deck cards that give me access to Evolzar Dolkka in that matchup. It was an idea discussed with at least twenty other good players during a Skype conversation where Joe Giorlando submitted the first list back in February. For those of you who don’t know, Dolkka is essentially an auto-win vs. Water decks. Without Dark Hole, they have to go so far out of their way to get rid of it, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that there are still Bears and such running amuck.
3 brotherhood of the fire fist bear
3 gene warped warwolf
2 rescue rabbit
2 tour guide from the underworld
1 brotherhood of the fire fist gorilla
1 cardcar d
3 fire formation- tenki
3 mystical space typhoon
2 forbidden lance
1 fire formation- tensu
1 dark hole
1 monster reborn
1 heavy storm
1 pot of duality
2 fiendish chain
2 dimensional prison
2 bottomless trap hole
2 torrential tribute
2 mirror force
1 solemn warning
1 solemn judgment
1 starlight road
3 dimensional fissure
2 rivalry of the warlord
2 dust tornado
2 effect veiler
2 banisher of the radiance
1 mind control
1 snowman eater
1 fiendish chain
2 tiger king
1 evolzar Laggia
1 evolzar dolkka
1 blackship of corn
1 maestroke the symphony djinn
1 gagaga cowboy
1 leviair the sea dragon
1 abyss dweller
1 wind up zenmaines
1 temtempo the percussion djinn
1 acid golem of destruction
1 steelswarm roach
1 stardust dragon
Okay so first things first, you’ll notice a low monster count, which is pretty standard. I play essentially 18 monsters (I always count cards like Tenki, Reinforcement of the Army, Proving Ground, Smoke Signal, etc, as more monsters since that’s all they really do when you draw them). I decided to play one copy of Cardcar D because I like that it puts you further ahead on turn one, and it pushes the grind game into your favor. I never want to draw two of it so that’s why I only play one copy. This logic also applies to Fire Formation-Tensu, Pot of Duality, Starlight Road, and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist- Gorilla. I absolutely NEVER want to draw more than one copy of any of those cards, but I felt that their overall utility is still necessary enough to warrant a main deck spot.
I opted against other popular choices like Reborn Tengu and Vorse Raider because I don’t think they actually do anything. For one, Vorse Raider should only be used if you want to play Deck Devastation Virus, which I don’t see why you’d be worrying about that card with Wind-ups being a tier 2 deck now, and a pretty easy matchup, too. As for Reborn Tengu, well, let’s just say that I’d much rather have the option to make Laggia and Dolkka instead of a floater that really doesn’t intimidate in any way.Sabersaurus, on the other hand, happens to get around those annoying cards like Overworked in games two and three, and more importantly, if he sticks on the field, the opponent has to worry about you having another—which will happen sometimes. Normally, the Fire Fist vs. Water matchup is in the favor of Water, but with Sabersaurus added to the mix, it’s definitely much, much better for Fire Fist than it is without them. As I aforementioned, Dolkka is just game, therefore, if you open with Rescue Rabbit, it’s going to be insanely hard for them to win. Lastly, playing Brotherhood of the Fire Fist- Dragon is a completely different deck altogether, in my opinion. Getting all those free traps to the backrow is cute and all, but it doesn’t actually do anything. I really like his other effect to bring back a guy, but still, that means I have to run mediocre cards in my deck, and I’d rather not.
I play two Fiendish Chains simply because that card gets you so much value in just about every relevant matchup this format. How often do you see players discarding Marksman for Megalo or Abyssteus? All the time, right? And when they do, and the backrow happens to be Fiendish Chain, it is disgusting. They don’t get to search for a Sphere/Squall with Megalo, or a Mermail with Abyssteus. The monster also cannot attack, which means the only thing they can do with it now is Xyz summon, assuming they have another summonable level 7 monster. If they cannot immediately use it for an Xyz summon, then it’s getting popped by Bear’s effect next turn.
In the mirror match, Fiendish Chain does exactly what you’d expect it to do. It stops them from destroying your monsters with Bear, or getting the first effect of Tiger King when they have that option available. I also like that it kind of holds the monster there so you can get in with Gorilla and search. That helps a little, too. And obviously it can be very good in the Wind-up matchup when they do things like banish Rabbit to trigger Magician, or just helping to deal with the obnoxious Vulcasaurus and Tiras.
There are a lot of traps in the main because I noticed that the only games I usually lose to Fire Fist when playing with Mono Mermails, were the games where they opened with Rescue Rabbit, or the games where they set too many backrows (3-5). I also applied some of the Gravekeeper logic to this deck because it almost feels like Stun in a way, so having a low monster count and a high trap count just goes hand-in-hand. If you keep drawing more and more trap cards, your opponent will lose any opportunity they might’ve had to win the game. And all of my trap cards are real, so when I have four backrows, you know that I mean business. This seems like the perfect moment to write, “Come at me bro,” but ain’t nobody got time for that.
Anyways, let’s get started with the matches. I’m going to focus more on the defining moments of the games instead of trying to give you a play-by-play (but there’s plenty of that, too). This is mostly because many of my games were very linear, and I just think Dino Fist is an easy deck to play, period.
We had something like 498 players enter the event so that meant 9 rounds of swiss. Unfortunately for me, living in such a heavily populated Yu-Gi-Oh area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and New York), means that every regional will be at least 9-10 rounds.
I won the die roll with a 12 on two six-sided dice and looked at my hand of double Rescue Rabbit. Needless to say, I was pleased with that hand and knew it was an auto-win waiting to happen. Something should’ve told me that it was going to be my day after the way things started. In any event, I won game one with a first turn Laggia protected by four backrows, and then a turn two Tiger King. He only set one backrow on his first turn, which caught an end phase MST so that was that. As I was side decking, I quickly realized that I beat him too fast and had no idea what he was playing. Great. This happens to me far too often these days. The game should not be at a point where that’s a common thing—just not knowing what your opponent is playing.
Come to find out, he’s using Prophecy, which was the only matchup that I hoped to not play against—simply because it’s a terrible matchup for Fire Fist. I suffered a swift 2-0 loss to it at one of my locals on the day before the Maryland Regional, so I already knew what was up. He opened up just as broken as I did game one—well not really but you get what I mean—with Spellbook of Secrets, Spellbook Magician, Spellbook of the Master, the Great Spellbook Tower, and Spellbook of Fate. He ended with two backrows, the field spell, and I knew one of them was Spellbook of Fate. I checked his graveyard to find that he had not one, not two, but three Spellbook spell cards in his grave. I opened with Rabbit and Tour Guide but it would be rendered virtually useless if he had the slightest clue of what he was doing…and he did. So that was that.
In Game three, I finally opened up without Rabbit. I summoned a Gene Warped, played Tenki for Bear, set Warning and Fiendish Chain, and passed to him. He summoned Card Trooper and I thought long and hard before using Warning on it. I remember getting styled on by Reaper of Prophecy and other graveyard-reliant Spellbook cards in game two, so that wasn’t happening again. I drew for turn and summoned Bear to his open field and swung in for 3600 with both monsters. I searched Tenki, searched another Bear, made Tiger King, searched Tensu, and set Bottomless Trap Hole before passing. He summoned Lyla and held his hand in a way that I could see Spellbook of Wisdom in it, so I realized what would happen if I tried to Bottomless her. I instead opted to let her summon go through and he popped the bottomless before using Monster Reborn on Card Trooper to mill three and swing at my Bear. I decided to Fiendish Chain the Trooper because I had Heavy Storm in my hand, and I was going for game next turn. If the Spellbook deck gets too much time to set up, you will lose to it. I won with a flurry of summons shortly after.
I was up against Mermails which was clear to me when he won the roll and set one backrow with confidence. I had an MST in my hand but the rest of it was pretty mediocre (only one trap, too many monsters). I summoned Tour Guide to grab another, declared an attack with both, he chained Abyss-Sphere, I chained MST, he was salty, I was not, and then I made Zenmaines in Main Phase 2 before setting my one trap which was Dimensional Prison. On the very next turn, he drew Abysspike and discarded Dragoons for its effect. I was now the one with high levels of sodium in my bloodstream. Needless to say, I got off’d shortly after. He took my Zenmaines with Big Eye, I had to use Dimensional Prison to stop it, but that clearly wasn’t enough to deal with his advantage, especially considering my weak hand.
In game two, I opened with Rescue Rabbit into Dolkka, followed by a Tenki for Bear on the very next turn, causing him to scoop it up. Game three, however, would be much more entertaining. He opened with a set monster and two backrows. I played Dimensional Fissure before summoning Banisher of the Radiance. I entered my battle phase and he activated Imperial Iron wall? I was the most confused, so I simply set Solemn Warning and ended my turn. I kept trying to think about why he would want to activate Imperial Iron Wall before I declared an attack, especially since it was an Abysslinde that was set. In any event, he flipped and rammed her into my Banisher to trigger her effect, to which I immediately chained Warning. Pretty sure if he just waited until I attacked, I would’ve lost. I still end up getting blown out this game when he dropped Abyssgaios on my field of Banisher and Bear, but don’t ask how I somehow pull this one out. He kills the Bear and passes so I had to basically use most of my cards to go Tenki for another Bear, activate the effect to force Gaios to negate, and then Monster Reborn his Abysslinde to make Zenmaines with my Banisher. I rammed the Zenmaines into Gaios and destroyed it on the end phase. He decides to use Abyss-Sphere after I popped Gaios so I raised an eyebrow trying to figure out where this was going. He brought out an Abysslinde with the effect of Sphere and then put her in the grave to search his deck. I told him that we were in my current end phase so she wouldn’t die until my next end phase, and he realized his mistake. I also let him know that if I hadn’t already resolved the effect of Zenmaines and watched him put his Gaios in the grave, which was during the end phase, then I’d definitely let him take it back. On his next turn, he flipped up his other set backrow, Abyss Squall, which had been set since turn one, and brought back Abyssgaios, Abyssteus, and Abyssleed. He activates the effect of Abyssleed by tributing his attack-position Abysslinde, and tries to discard my last in-hand card, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist- Bear. I told him to read Abyss Squall while I waited. He looked it over and face-palmed once he realized the error of his ways. He then thought that he could retrieve the Abysslinde from the grave, but I explained that tributing is a cost to activate Leed’s effect, which is a perfectly legal action on his behalf, so it had to stay in the grave.
At this point, he decided to cut his losses and make a Big-Eye, which still put me in a horrible position, though I think Abyssgaios would’ve been infinitely better there. He stole my Zenmaines and had it ram into my Bear, so I activated the effect to search Tenki. He face-palmed again and proceeded to pop the freshly set Tenki on the end phase. I sort of chuckled aloud when I drew and declared an attack on Zenmaines who was now dead since we each used one of its materials. I searched Tensu with Bear’s effect and popped Big Eye in Main Phase 2. He was now top decking. I won a few turns later.
I played against Bubblebeat Heroes. He was a really nice guy and our two games were very fast. He tried to kill me almost immediately but I had the realest of backrows. There was nothing of real significance this round except learning of a card that makes Warrior monsters attack twice. Scary stuff.
Unfortunately, lightning struck and I had to play against one of my good friends, Vinnie, who was using Agents. I can’t be too surprised, though, considering that I know so many people and you’re going to play against someone you know eventually. I won the die roll and opened with Rescue Rabbit as my only monster—couldn’t complain. I went to banish it, but he responded with Herald of Orange Light, pitching a Mystical Shine Ball for the cost. I set Mirror Force and Bottomless Trap Hole before ending my turn. He summoned Tour Guide and brought out another. He then used Mystical Space Typhoon to target a backrow (he was correctly playing around Fiendish Chain), he hit the Mirror Force and said, “Wrong one,” which I thought was odd at the time because I figured that that was the perfect. In my head, he was now going to attack for 2000 and make Zenmaines against my Bottomless Trap Hole, which would suck for me because I’d probably have to use Bottomless on Zenmaines. What actually ended up happening was him overlaying for Leviair, the Sea Dragon and catching a swift Bottomless. I realized why he said it was the wrong one, but I still didn’t see how that play was better than just attacking for 2000 and going into Zenmaines. The only normal monsters in his deck were Shine Balls so at best he could make Gachi Gachi Gantetsu.
Over the course of the next few turns, I continued to draw nothing but traps. I stopped every single monster he summoned or attacked with until he eventually ran out like me. At some point, a Tenki came off the top of my deck and I took complete control of the game with several trap cards and Forbidden Lances to defend it.
He opened with Venus, Gachi, and two backrows in game two. I played Tenki as bait and he chained MST. I summoned Gene Warped, activated Tensu, activated Dimensional Fissure, and attacked Venus. She was destroyed and removed from play so I ended my turn. He summoned Earth, searched another Venus, and I could’ve sworn that Hyperion was going to drop, but it didn’t happen. He set one new backrow and passed his turn. I attacked Earth and he responded with MST on the Dimensional Fissure. I realized what was up and said, “Oh, you haveHonest.” It was more of a statement than a question, and I put my Gene Warped into the grave before he even revealed it. I decided against summoning Bear and popping either Earth or Gachi because it wouldn’t accomplish much, so I just set Torrential Tribute and Passed. He summoned Venus, which I let go through, and then paid 500 lifepoints to activate her effect. When the Shine Ball hit the field, I used Torrential as a preemptive strike against a second Gachi. I went through his grave to do a quick Agent/Fairy count, only to find that he had exactly five Fairies—two of them being Agents. That was the perfect number for Hyperion and Kristya. I asked how many cards he had, and he spread them on the table to reveal exactly two. I’d soon find out that the anxiety was for naught, as he simply passed his turn, showing that he definitely didn’t have Hyperion, and that he might have been one over for Kristya. I was pleased. On the next turn I summoned Bear and used Reborn on Gene Warped. I destroyed Gachi’s last material with Bear’s effect and then swung over it with Gene Warped. I made a direct attack with Bear, searched Tenki, searched another Bear, and then overlayed for Steelswarm Roach out of fear of his topdeck. He passed his next turn so I made a Utopia to further protect my Roach and then I set my freshly drawn Starlight Road. He scooped on the next turn, revealing his hand of useless cards for the situation. We wished each other luck and continued on.
I won the roll and opened with Gene Warped and Tenki for Bear. I played Duality for Rescue Rabbit and ended my turn. The pressure was on. He mimicked most of my play by using Tenki and Duality. He grabbed a Laquari with his Tenki, and a Mirror Force with his Duality. So it’s Gladiator Beasts. How nice. In the coming turns, I took complete control of the game with Rescue Rabbit. Game two wasn’t much different. I used a bunch of one for one removal and Bear’s natural advantage generator to win the match.
At this point in the Regional, I started talking with my friends about how weird my matchups have been. Well would you be surprised if I told you that I had to play against Evols this round? Because I did.
He won the roll and activated Evo-Diversity to grab Evoltile Westlo. He set it and set two backrows before ending. I played Dark Hole, activated Tenki, summoned Bear and attempted to attack, but he chained Compulsory Evacuation Device. I thought about using Forbidden Lance, but I liked the idea of making him take a -1 and still having Lance for his better traps. Next turn he played another Diversity and grabbed another Westlo. I summoned Rescue Rabbit, summoned two Sabersaurus and made Laggia, then attacked his face-down Westlo. He summoned some Dinosaur that pops a backrow and I lost my Dimensional Prison. He missed the Fiendish Chain. On the next turn, he attempted to make an Xyz and I negated it with Laggia. He lost from there.
Game two came down to one play. He did some cool combo with Najasho and Evo-Force to bring out two guys and I chained Rivalry of the Warlords. This, of course, halted their evolution and forced them to remain Dinosaurs. Some might refer to my actions as a Big Bang. I think Darwin would’ve been proud.
This round I would be paired against a guy playing Six Samurais. I’d watched as he massacred several of his opponents throughout the day with Gateway and such. He won the roll with a 12 on two six-sided dice and I just knew things were going to get ugly. I stared nervously as he looked at his hand long and hard before setting one backrow and passing. That was certainly more than I could’ve ever hoped for--no first turn Shi En, how lucky. I picked up my first five cards to find a Rescue Rabbit and several backrows. My sixth card was Mystical Space Typhoon! How lucky. I used MST to destroy his set Warning and summoned Rabbit. I assumed all was fine and dandy until he activated Effect Veiler from his hand! Who plays that in Samurais, I thought to myself.
I set Warning and Mirror Force in order to protect the Rabbit, but obviously he drew Heavy Storm off the top. He activated Six Samurai United, special summoned Elder, used Asceticism, special summoned Kagemusha, drew two cards for United, synchro summoned for Shi En, special summoned Kizan, ravaged my bunny, and ended with a backrow. I scooped when I saw my next card. Yes, how lucky indeed. Sometimes Yu-Gi-Oh gets that way. If my play had gone through, I would’ve essentially done the same to him.
Game two would not come easy. He managed to get Shi En, Barkion, and Kageki out in one turn while dropping me to 1300. I topdecked Rescue Rabbit, asked if he had Veiler for game, then banished it to summon two Gene Warped Warwolves. I made Tiger King, used his effect to set Tensu, then used his effect to negate all non-Beast-Warrior monsters—which happened to be his field. I used my extra summon to bring out Bear and had it attack over the weakened Kageki. I searched Tenki and then used it in Main Phase 2 to grab another Bear. I also destroyed Shi En with Bear’s effect and hoped he didn’t have Monster Reborn. I set every Spell/Trap I had and ended my turn. He swung with Barkion and went on a date in my Dimensional Prison. The game was over from that point on.
I dove into my side deck and tried to look for anything that could be of use to me in game three. I knew two things for certain, he would be going first, and he would be opening with Gateway. I took out Snowman Eater and Dust Tornado to add in one Effect Veiler and my one Cardcar D that I sided out in game two. Hopefully I could work some magic.
He drew his opening six cards and shook his head. There were several people watching and they did the same. I could feel my stomach tossing and turning. “Do you have the Gateway?” I asked. “Yeah. GG,” he replied excitedly. “It feels great to draw victory.” “Yeah, I’m sure it does,” I said wearily. He played Gateway and activated Reinforcement of the Army and Shien’s Smoke Signal at the same time. “I’m going to end with Naturia Beast and Barkion just like I wanted. I WOULD make Shi En, but I know Naturia Beast shuts you down.” I just waited until he was finished with his great game of One-player, and then drew my hand. He set one backrow and summoned Grandmaster somewhere in there as well. One of my friends behind me, Chris, said, “Frazier, if you win this game, I’ll shave my mustache.” “Yeah well good luck with that,” I replied dryly.
I summoned Cardcar D, set Tenki, Mystical Space Typhoon, Torrential Tribute, and Fiendish Chain before activating the effect of Cardcar and ending my turn. The Cardcar netted me a Rescue Rabbit and…an Effect Veiler! He drew and didn’t even think about it before summoning Enishi. I flipped Torrential Tribute hoping he would do exactly what I needed him to do—he was full of himself—so of course he activated the effect of Naturia Barkion, but I responded with Effect Veiler! He looked at his backrow and realized his mistake by not activating Magatama—his one and only trap—while everyone shook their heads and made side comments. His monsters were destroyed so I took the opportunity to activate MST on Gateway before it could search. It had exactly four counters beforehand. He thought for a second before admitting defeat and stating that he played too arrogantly. I shook his hand and did a victory clap with Chris after signing the slip. *Phew* Yu-Gi-Oh.
I was pitted against Mono Mermails yet again. He opened with a set monster and passed. I opened with Duality for Rescue Rabbit, then Tenki for Gorilla, knowing that it would stop Abysspike from coming out when I killed the obvious set Abysslinde. Gorilla causes Abysspike to miss timing, so he would have to go into something like Abyssleed or Abyssmegalo. He chose the former. I grabbed a Tensu with Gorilla’s effect, used it to summon Bear, and then destroyed the Leed. I set Fiendish Chain and Bottomless before passing. He discarded Marksman for Abyssteus and targeted Fiendish Chain, which I chained, of course, and things quickly got out of hand next turn when I summoned Rescue Rabbit.
Game two wasn’t really much different than game one. I completely dominated the duel from the start. I sided in three Dimensional Fissures, two Banisher of the Radiance, and my third Fiendish Chain. I didn’t see any side deck cards, but my infinite backrows were enough to overwhelm him. Once I knew he didn’t have Heavy Storm, it was a wrap.
Finally, the last round of swiss was upon us. My friends and I were ready to leave by then. We had literally eaten nothing all day, except me, who ate an orange that someone gave me after the end of the 9 rounds. He was a pretty cool guy, too, so thanks for that if you’re reading this. J
I already knew exactly who my opponent was because he sat next to me in the last round—being undefeated as well—and I saw him summon Naturia Beast against Spellbooks on turn one of game three. He was playing Samurais, of course. Game one was pretty close in that he managed to establish a Shi En, but I had too many combinations of Mirror Force/Dprison and Fiendish Chain. I also deprived him of going into Shi En too early by using Forbidden Lance on his targeted monster for Asceticism—a ruling I’d learned only a few months ago. He almost stole game one from me by dropping a random Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness, but I had outs at the time. If I recall correctly, one MST off the top could’ve given him complete control after the Gorz drop, so that was pretty scary. But alas, it was Samurais, so the deck fell apart somewhere down the road.
Game two started with me dominating but then I ran out of steam. I was doing the Bear Dance, but I ran out. Then I still managed to simplify the game state with both of us having two cards, yet he still had that pesky Gorz when I attacked him directly. It was too much to handle with such little resources available to me, so I scooped it up. I would be going first in game three so I didn’t have worries of him opening with Gateway unless he also had Heavy Storm. I summoned Tour Guide first turn, went into Zenmaines in defense, and set Mirror Force and Lance before ending my turn. I was attempting to catch him with that Lance trick again, but this time he opened with Smoke Signal and Kagemusha. Shi En hit the field and he set one backrow before ending his turn. Now here’s where things got weird. I drew for turn and thought to myself about his one backrow. It had to be either Dimensional Prison, Magatama, or Fiendish Chain, right? I mean, why would he summon Shi En against a Zenmaines like that? I was too afraid to swing into the Legendary Samurai, so I merely set three more backrows, giving me a total of five, and ended my turn. I now had Dust Tornado, Fiendish Chain, Mirror Force, Dimensional Prison, and Forbidden Lance set. If he had Heavy, I would offer him the handshake immediately. He didn’t, though, and things got quite interesting.
He drew for turn and activated his backrow, Double-Edged Sword Technique, bringing back Kageki and Kagemusha. Now I see. He would’ve used it on the End Phase when I tried to destroy Shi En with Zenmaines effect. My Zenmaines would’ve lost a material and been left vulnerable in attack position. Next, he played a Smoke Signal for Hand of the Six Samurai and summoned it. I looked at my backrows for a while, pretending that I might have some sort of response, and then I said, “Sure, the summon is successful.” He used the effect of Hand to tribute Kagemusha and Kageki to destroy Zenmaines twice. I thought he was going to attack it while it had no materials, but instead, he tributed Hand as well to destroy it. Shi En swung at me directly—five backrows and all—and I activated Dimensional Prison. He negated it with Shi En’s effect but I chained Fiendish Chain. He passed with a completely open field so I was ready for that obnoxious Gorz to show its face again. I summoned Bear, swung for 1600, searched for Tenki, searched another Bear, and passed. I was hoping he still hadn’t seen Heavy Storm. It was also terrible for him because his Gorz bluff was ineffective. It doesn’t really do much against Fire Fist anyways, but it did manage to win him a game earlier. On his following turn, he thought long and hard before playing all of his cards, only to get countered by mine. I used the Lance on his Asceticism target again, I used Dust Tornado on his Six Samurai United when it reached two counters, and I eventually Mirror Forced his field when he swung at my Bear. By my next turn, I had ten cards total to his one. It was over.
After everything was said and done, I managed to go 9-0 in the 500 player Maryland Regional. They called out the names of the Top8 and I was given a round of applause for my efforts. I was pretty happy to get my 5th undefeated Regional top and my 26th Regional top overall. The Top8 players decided to split the Cosmo Blazer boxes awarded as additional prizes, so we all walked away with 18 packs, the Fire Fist mat, and invites. It was a great end to a great weekend.
Thanks for reading, duelists!
Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-The Dark Magician