Preparing for YCS Charleston

Hello everyone! With only one week to go until YCS Charleston I’m sure all those who plan on attending have begun playtesting with their selective groups, and if you haven’t well then what are you waiting for? Aside from playtesting and the “Yugioh” aspect in general, there are some other things you should have sorted out for this event. If you are travelling from out of state, you should ensure that you have a place to stay, because too many times I hear about players just sleeping in their cars. If you’re travelling with a decently sized group, splitting a hotel room is very simple and cheap to do! Another alternative is finding a friend who lives in the area and crashing at their place for the weekend (assuming it’s okay with them), this will save you money ensuring you have enough to get through the rest of the weekend! Buying a large case of water is almost always a good idea because it’s good to stay hydrated at events and the bottled water at a convention center is almost always $3.00! It’s also a good idea to bring something to snack on in-between rounds because you’re going to get really hungry and lets face it, convention center food is almost always over priced.

Here’s a prime example of overpriced convention center food:

At nationals in Detroit this past year, my friend Jovad and wanted something to eat in the morning so we walked over to the café area, and I found an apple I wanted. I looked at him and said I bet this cost me $3 (there was no price tag anywhere). As we walked over to checkout the lady behind the counter said “just the apple?” I said yeah, and she told me, “three dollars please!” Jovad and I both laughed and I thought to myself, “this better be the best apple I’ve ever eaten”

Aside from making sure you get to the event safe, have a place to stay, and have enough food for the weekend, you should figure out what the meta looks like and decide on what deck to play. Unfortunately, there have not been any premier events to reference when looking for cues in what to play, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to figure out this problem! Lets examine all of the decks that have been performing well and the ones that have received some pretty good support in the new Secrets of Eternity booster set.

Burning Abyss

Burning Abyss has been the most dominant deck for quite some time now, and it received some very interesting support cards in the new set. Burning Abyss received five new cards from this set in the form of three new Malebranche monsters, a ritual monster, and a powerful ritual spell card! The new Malebranche monsters all have some interesting and useful effects, so lets take a close look at each new Malebranche monsters shall we!

CagnaCagna, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

“If you control a monster that is not a “Burning Abyss” monster, destroy this card. You can only use 1 of the following effects of “Cagna, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss” per turn, and only once that turn.

If you control no Spell/Trap cards: You can special summon this card from your hand

If this card is sent to the graveyard: You can send 1 “Burning Abyss” Spell/Trap card from your deck to the graveyard”

Cagna is just like all the other Malebranche monsters in that you can special summon him if you control no Spell/Trap cards and he also carries the destruction effect if you happen to control a non-Burning Abyss monster(s). Cagna’s third effect is what makes him intriguing as he can send Fire Lake, and Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss to the graveyard. Being able to send Fire Lake to the graveyard allows you to more easily retrieve it off of Dante’s effect, which in turn will set you up for a devastating tempo swing due to Fire Lake’s ability to destroy up to three cards on the field. Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss is very advantageous in the graveyard because you can banish it to send a Burning Abyss monster from your hand to the graveyard to search for any Burning Abyss card in your deck. Cagna invokes future plays and sets you up for any play you want to make, which highlights him as something to consider when constructing a Burning Abyss deck.

The next Malebranche to examine is Farfa!


FarfaFarfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

“If you control a monster that is not a “Burning Abyss” monster, destroy this card. You can only use 1 of the following effects of “Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss” per turn, and only once that turn.

If you control no Spell/Trap Cards: You can Special Summon this card from your hand.

If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 monster on the field: banish it until the End Phase.”

Similar to every other Malebranche monster, Farfa, can special summon himself if you control no Spell/Trap cards and of course the destruction effect if you happen to control a non-Burning Abyss monster(s). Farfa’s main advantage is the fact that he can banish any monster on the field until the end phase of the turn! This allows Burning Abyss to more easily assess established boards containing El Shaddoll Winda, and Denko Sekka. Farfa’s dichotomy of utility stretches far beyond the Shaddoll match-up as it can banish a Dante in the mirror match, thus eliminating its xyz materials (this is more effective if the Dante has a Tour Guide as a material). Farfa can also be used to banish your own cards, which is something a lot of people may have overlooked. Unfortunately Farfa is very weak in the Qliphort matchup because you cannot banish any of their normal summoned monsters due to their protection effect. The third and final new Malebranche monster is Libic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss!


LibicLibic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss

“If you control a monster that is not a “Burning Abyss” monster, destroy this card. You can only use 1 of the following effects of “Libic, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss” per turn, and only once that turn.

If you control no Spell/Trap Cards: You can Special Summon this card from your hand.

If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon 1 Level 3 Dark Fiend-Type monster from your hand, but its effects are negated.”
Much like every Malebranche monster Libic has the special summon effect, along with the destruction effect, but his third effect is what makes him unique. Libic’s third effect allows you to special summon any Malebranche monster (or Tour Guide) from your hand to the field and negate its effects. This effect is particularly interesting because it allows you to conserve your in hand Burning Abyss effects. By this I mean you don’t have to special summon them with their own effects, which means you can use their other effects that turn. Often times players are forced to special summon monsters like Cir or Scarm in order to make a Dante or a Virgil and in doing so they give up these powerful Malebranche effects. Libic allows you to special summon them and still utilize their powerful effects. Libic also allows you to play Mathematician again in the Burning Abyss deck. If you normal summon Mathematician and use his effect to send Libic you can then special summon any Malebranche monster from your hand and due to Libic’s effect you can safely overlay for a Dante and trigger the respective Burning Abyss monster’s effect. With Mathematician and Tour Guide you have six cards in your deck that become one card Dantes (Mathematician requires one Malebranche in hand). The last two cards Burning Abyss received are a ritual Spell, and of course a ritual monster, lets take a look at these two cards shall we!

MalacodaMalacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss

“You can Ritual Summon this card with “Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss.” Must be Ritual summoned and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. Once per turn, during either player’s turn: You can send 1 “Burning Abyss” monster from your hand to the Graveyard, then target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls; until the end of this turn, that target loses ATK and DEF equal to the ATK and DEF of the “Burning Abyss” monster send to the Graveyard this way. If this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can target 1 other card on the field; send it to the Graveyard.”

Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss

“This card is used to Ritual Summon “Malacoda, Netherlord of the Burning Abyss.” You must also tribute monsters from your hand or field whose total Levels equal 6 or more. During your Main Phase, except the turn this card was sent to the Graveyard: You can banish this card from your Graveyard and send 1 “Burning Abyss” monster from your hand to the Graveyard; add 1 “Burning Abyss” card from your deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of “Good & Evil of the Burning Abyss” once per turn.”

Burning Abyss can now be constructed and played in so many different variants due to these new support cards. Malacoda is very threatening because he has 2700 attack points and he has the power to weaken his opposition. Burning Abyss has long since struggled with big monsters, but with the inclusion of Malacoda they can more easily get over big monsters without having to summon monsters like Acid Golem or Giga Brilliant. Malacoda also opens up the opportunity to play the Djinn ritual support monsters in Burning Abyss.


Djinn Releaser of RitualsThe primary two Djinn monsters to play are Djinn Demolisher of Rituals and Djinn Releaser of Rituals, because they are both level three, dark, and fiend type monsters (Tour Guide and Libic targets). You may be asking yourself what makes these Djinn monsters so good in Burning Abyss? Both of these monsters can be used to Ritual summon Malacoda and both of which have the special effect of being able to Ritual out of the graveyard. This means that when you activate the ritual spell Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss you can banish these Djinn monsters from your graveyard to fulfill the ritual summon if they happen to be there (Obviously you can use them if their in your hand or on the field). Along with being excellent ritual fodder these Djinn monsters give the monster they summon even more effects! When you ritual summon using Djinn Demolisher of Rituals, the ritual monster cannot be targeted by any effect your opponent uses. A monster ritual summoned using Djinn Releaser of Rituals prevents only your opponent from special summoning. This effect is incredibly devastating because Malacoda turns into a Vanity’s Fiend (or Emptiness) that only afflicts your opponent! Since I already discussed Good & Evil in the Burning Abyss in the paragraph discussing Cagna, I will refrain from repeating myself.

With all of this new support, will you perhaps take Burning Abyss to YCS Charleston, or might you consider one of the other decks that are available? The next deck I’d like to review is Qliphort!


The Qliphort deck has been popular in the TCG ever since its release in the New Challengers booster set. Although a championship has eluded the deck for this long, Qliphort has still contributed large amounts of top spots in every premier event since its release! Due to Qliphort’s simplicity and ease of play a lot of players clung to the deck quickly, but were not so happy when they ran into Burning Abyss as Fire Lake proved to be quite the issue. However, after the release of Secrets of Eternity Qliphort has received some truly incredibly cards that could drive them to a championship title! Lets take a look at the new support Qliphort received and how it impacts the deck as a whole!

Qliphort MonolithQliphort Monolith

Pendulum Effect

“You cannot Special Summon Monsters, except “Qli” monsters. This effect cannot be negated. During the End Phase, if you Tribute Summoned this turn: You can draw a number of cards equal to the number of “Qli” monsters you Tributed for Tribute Summons this turn.

(I won’t include the normal monster flavor text)

Searchable off of Summoner’s Art, Qliphort Monolith is essentially a Super Rejuvenation for the Qliphort deck because it allows the deck to replace cards in the end phase that it previously used that turn (for tribute). Monolith is also a one scale, which perfectly compliments Qliphort Scout’s 9 scale, thus creating a perfect scale set up. In combination with Qliphort Disk, Monolith heavily contributes to the deck’s OTK potential. If you tribute summon for Disk, and trigger its effect bringing out a Monolith and any other Qliphort monsters, for this example I’ll use Carrier. You have successfully put 7000 points of damage on board because Disk has 2800, Monolith remains at 2400 (he’s a normal monster), and Carrier drops down to 1800. This means you are any Qliphort monster away from finishing off the game, which is insane! Monolith also increases the viability of using Apoqliphort Towers because Monolith easily sets up your scale, and will replace all three monsters you tribute for Towers. Towers is an issue in and of himself because he’s practically an autowin once summoned. The next new Qliphort card I’d like to discuss is Qliphort Stealth.


Qliphort StealthQliphort Stealth

Pendulum Effect:

“You cannot Special Summon Monsters, except “Qli” monsters. This effect cannot be negated. All “Qli” monsters you control gain 300 ATK.

Monster Effect:

“You can normal summon this card without Tributing. If this card is Normal Summoned without Tributing, or is Special Summoned, its level becomes 4 and its original ATK becomes 1800. If this card is Normal Summoned/Set, it is unaffected by activated effects from any monster whose original Level/Rank is lower than this card’s current Level. When this card is Tribute Summoned by Tributing a “Qli” monster(s): You can target 1 card on the field; return it to the hand. Your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect’s activation.

Qliphort received a card that resembles Super Rejuvenation in the form of Monolith, and now they have a card with similar power to Super-Polymerization in the form of Qliphort Stealth! Qliphort Stealth’s effect stating that your opponent cannot activate cards or effects in response to this effect’s activation allows Qliphort to break through almost any field. If you equip a Saqlifice to a Carrier or Helix and tribute that monster off for a Stealth, your opponent won’t be able to respond to the Stealth’s effect or the Carrier/Helix because all those effects are going on the same chain that your opponent cannot respond to!

Qliphort now have access to Monolith and Stealth, which could be just what they needed to make a push for a first place finish, but the deck still has issues protecting its pendulum scales. Will this continue to be an issue for Qliphort, or are these new cards just what they needed to push beyond this adversity? It’s all up to those who decide to pilot this deck, right Rosty?



Shaddolls have been in the competitive scene ever since their release in Duelist Alliance, and have seen quite a bit of success in the competitive scene! Being able to punish your opponents for summoning monsters from their extra deck is a luxury only Shaddolls have, and it’s something they exploit quite well. Arguably the most skill intensive deck in the Meta, Shaddolls has been played many different ways. Some builds played Artifacts, while others focused on using Chaos Monsters, but the most popular list today, is the Denko-Doll deck popularized by Jeff Jones. The Denko-Doll list abuses the power of Denko Sekka and quickly kills off its opponent without giving them much a chance to respond, along with creating strong lock down fields that Burning Abyss struggle to break. Secrets of Eternity gave Shaddolls two new support cards, so lets take a look at what they mean for the deck!

Nephe Shaddoll FusionNephe Shaddoll Fusion

“Activate this card by declaring 1 Attribute. Equip only to a “Shaddoll” monster and it becomes that Attribute. During your Main Phase: You can Fusion Summon 1 “Shaddoll” Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck, using monsters from your hand or your side of the field as Fusion Materials, including the equipped monster. You can only use this effect of “Nephe Shaddoll Fusion” once per turn.

Shaddoll decks formerly struggled with opening up with too many monsters and not enough ways to start fusion summoning, but now they have an extra fusion card that could prove powerful enough to solve this problem. Nephe Shaddoll Fusion allows you to make the equipped Shaddoll monster any attribute, which means you have the ability to create any Shaddoll fusion monster you want despite a lack of a certain attribute. If you equip Nephe Shaddoll Fusion to a Shaddoll fusion monster you would be able to add back the Nephe Shaddoll Fusion after fusion summoning again due to every Shaddoll fusion monster’s recycle ability. Unfortunately in the mirror match Nephe Shaddoll Fusion is very lack luster, especially if you have to use it turn one. You have to commit your normal summon to making Nephe Shaddoll Fusion live and that means you won’t be able to tribute your extra deck monster off the field for a Shaddoll Beast, thus leaving you open to a free Shaddoll Fusion play made by your opponent. Aside from the mirror match, Nephe Shaddoll Fusion allows you to make El Shaddoll Winda even faster against decks like Burning Abyss and Satellarknights, who struggle against Winda. Nephe Shaddoll Fusion is probably something that will see play but only as a one of. The last support card Shaddolls received in Secrets of Eternity was a new fusion monster! Lets take a look!


El Shaddoll Wendigo

1 Shaddoll Monster + 1 Wind Monster

“Must first be Fusion Summoned. During either player’s turn: You can target 1 monster you control; this turn, it cannot be destroyed by battle with an opponent’s Special Summoned monster. You can only use this effect of “El Shaddoll Wendigo” once per turn. If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 “Shaddoll” Spell/Trap card in your Graveyard; add it to your hand. “

Unfortunately Wendigo is nothing special, and won’t really see any competitive play. If Wendigo could protect monsters from destruction period for a turn (like Stardust Spark Dragon), there may be an argument, but as of now, this is not the hero Shaddolls needed, nor the one they deserved. Despite the dreary support Shaddolls received they will still be a force to reckoned with at YCS Charleston, and are still something to heavily consider when deciding what to play for this event!


Satellarknights are another deck that has been around the competitive scene since the release of Duelist Alliance. Originally quite a popular deck, Satellarknights quickly fell out of favor due to Shaddolls and Burning Abyss quickly asserting their dominance over Satellarknights. When New Challengers released, Satellarknight players rejoiced at the sight of Triverr, because of his incredibly powerful effect to return everything on the face back to the owner’s hands except himself, and then take a card out of the opponent’s hand! Despite Triverr’s influence, Satellarknights still failed to knock down Shaddolls, Qliphorts, and Burning Abyss. Each event you would see maybe one Satellarknight deck in the top cut surrounded by the other three. With the release of Secrets of Eternity, it could finally be time to see Satellarknights rise up again with the release of an incredibly powerful boss monster! Lets take a look!

Stellarknight Constellar DiamondStellarknight Constellar Diamond

3 or more Level 5 Light Monsters

“During your Main Phase 2, you can also Xyz Summon this card by using a “tellarknight” Xyz Monster you control as the Xyz Material, except “Stellarknight Constellar Diamond.” (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) While this card has Xyz Material, neither player can send cards from the Deck to the Graveyard, and any card that returns from the opponent’s Graveyard to the hand is banished instead. During either player’s turn, when an opponent’s Dark monster activates its effect: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate that activation, and if you do, destroy it.

Satellarknights were given a quite the support card in the form of Diamond! Diamond is a walking floodgate that gives Burning Abyss and Shaddolls are really difficult time. Preventing a Dante from adding anything back to the hand, or stopping free Shaddoll Fusions is incredibly important. Diamond’s ability to negate any dark monster’s effect is also quite powerful because it prevents Burning Abyss from being able to fight back with Tour Guide or any Malebranche monsters! Diamond is also very easily accessible because of how simply it is for Satellarknights to summon a Triverr or a Delteros! You can also overlay a Constellar Ptolemy M7 on top of Diamond and recycle your monsters too! Will you decide to play Satellarknights at Charleston and watch Burning Abyss and Shaddoll players tremble at the sight of your Stellarknight Constellar Diamond or will you perhaps play something else?


The New Hero Deck

Last but certainly not least we have the new Hero cards that will be released for this YCS! Heroes have been around the game for many years, but were fazed out of popularity once Stratos was banned. Every time there’s talk of a new ban list, there are always those select players who beg for Stratos to be taken off the list, but every time nothing happens. Finally seeing a brand new Hero structure deck, players really did think Stratos would return, but they were wrong again. This new Hero deck is going to be good without Stratos, although he would increase the deck’s strength immensely. Lets take a look at some of the brand new Hero cards you could possibly see at YCS Charleston!


Elemental Hero Shadow MistElemental Hero Shadow Mist

“If this card is Special Summoned: You can add 1 “Change” Quick-Play Spell Card from your Deck to your hand. If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can add 1 “HERO” monster from your deck to your hand, except “Elemental HERO Shadow Mist.” You can only use 1 “Elemental HERO Shadow Mist” effect per turn, and only once that turn


Masked HERO Dark Law

“Must be Special Summoned with “Mask Change” and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. Any card sent to your opponent’s Graveyard is banished instead. Once per turn, if your opponent adds a card(s) from their Deck to their hand (except during the Draw Phase or the Damage Step): You can banish 1 random card from your opponent’s hand.


Mask Change II

“Discard 1 card, then target 1 face-up monster you control that has a Level: send it to the Graveyard, then Special Summon 1 “Masked – HERO” monster from your Extra Deck with the same Attribute as that monster, but with a higher level. (This Special is treated as a Special Summon with “Mask Change.”) You can only activate 1 “Mask Change II” per turn.

mask changeMask Charge

“Target 1 “HERO” monster and 1 “Change” Quick-Play Spell Card in your Graveyard; add those targets to your hand.

If you look to the OCG you will notice they play cards like Summoner’s Monk and Goblindbergh to trigger Shadow Mist’s effect to search for any “mask change” card. After playing against TCG variants of this deck on Dueling Network I found that there are indeed parallels between the way people are playing the deck here in the TCG and back in the OCG. Essentially the pure HERO decks rush to summon Masked HERO Dark Law because he is a powerful floodgate that gives every deck an issue, and when protected with spells and traps, he is quite difficult to eliminate.

Pure HERO variants are not the only decks that will be able to utilize Dark Law’s power as Mask Change II allows decks like Shaddolls, and Burning Abyss to summon Dark law as well. Could Dark Law prove to be one of the defining cards at YCS Charleston or will all this new HERO support get brushed away but all the existing decks and their power? We’ll find out this weekend!

After reviewing all of the potential decks I’d expect to see I hope you have a better understanding of what the Meta looks like at the moment. If you have already decided on a deck to play for this event, that’s terrific, you can continue playtesting with your group and prepare to take the YCS by storm! However if you have yet to decide on a deck to play for this event, I hope you come to a decision soon! There are only a few days before Charleston kicks off, so playtest well, and as always Play Hard, or Go Home!

Maximillian Reynolds
Maximillian Reynolds

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