Reflecting on the Meta

mike steinmanSo I've decided to take a break from my article series because there are a lot of things to talk about before YCS New Jersey in May.

A lot of things happened in San Diego that have people talking but realistically all the results should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, Macro Rabbit had a huge resurgence in play and a whopping 6 made Top 32. It's not a coincidence that so many topped because of the sheer amount of people playing it in Day 2. Usually you'll see a small amount of people playing the anti-meta deck but this event was different. For one, people expected to play (for the most part) skillful opponents in the constructed portion of the tournament. The YCS was different in the fact that you were essentially skipping the early rounds and you wouldn't have to be as prepared for the rogue decks unless you got paired against one of the few players trying to "yolo" through the 5 rounds of swiss with Dark World or Chain Burn. It reminded me a lot of how playing in Worlds was. Secondly, of course not everyone could make Day 2 and the people that didn't would most likely be loaning their decks out to their friends. Essentially most of your opponents Day 2 would be good and also have access to Mermails. This is what made Macro Rabbit a solid choice for the event, but it certainly should not be considered a top contender for Jersey. The meta actually seemed pretty evenly split between Macro Rabbit, Fire Fist variants and Mermails, yet the results of the Top 32 showed one thing.

Banisher of the RadianceMermail Atlantean Reigns Supreme

Nothing even came close to the numbers Mermails got! Double the amount of Mermails topped than Macro Rabbit - at the event where Macro Rabbit ran wild - which proves that you just can't counter the deck no matter what you do. People were maining Banishers in Macro Rabbit and Sabersaurus in Fire Fist and still couldn't get the job done. I actually disagree with this way of deckbuilding; making all your other matchups weaker just to have a slightly better Mermail matchup - and still lose to the deck. Sure, Rabbiting into a Dolkka in Fire will likely win you the game and probably the match if the other games go right but at the same time drawing 6 normals against other Fire decks won't do much but contribute to a quick loss. That is of course assuming you don't open [ccProd]Rescue Rabbit[/ccProd] every game which for the most part is true.

Still, Dino-Fist was probably a better choice to counter Mermails than Macro Rabbit. Bear and Gorilla are both just naturally good against the deck and with a searchable [ccProd]Double Summon[/ccProd], [ccProd]Abyss Dweller[/ccProd] happens more in Fire than Dolkkas happen in Rabbit. Add on the fact that Dino-Fist and Fire Fist have an excellent Rabbit matchup and it really makes you wonder why people even decided to play the deck. Speaking of standard Fire Fist, where are they? I feel like I must've been the only person in the whole building not playing Sabersaurus in my deck. I feel like this is the reason [ccProd]Overworked[/ccProd] will eventually just not exist in side decks anymore. Outside of decks like Geargia where Bear and Gorilla were only threats with Fire Formation cards up, [ccProd]Overworked[/ccProd] was already starting to under perform as a Fire counter. General removal has just proven to be better and will save you side space since those cards can go in against Macro Rabbit and rogue strategies as well. I don't think there's any reason to play [ccProd]Overworked[/ccProd] right now and probably not in the near future either unless Chicken is released.

wind-up factoryAs for the other decks that topped well.. Wind-Ups got 2 spots with one going all the way to Top 4, although a slow deck it still has the best grind games if it can get to Factory and everyone already knows about Volcasaurus. If current trends from over the weekend continue and Fire decks keep getting more and more popular Wind-Ups might be a very good choice for New Jersey. It's barely affected by Evilswarm Ophion and if everyone is jam-packing their decks with removal to come out on top of Fire and Water, well then Wind-Ups are the perfect deck to take advantage of that trend. [ccProd]Wind-Up Rabbit[/ccProd] is honestly enough on its own if you can back him up with a couple traps. Frog Monarchs are pretty good but have some consistency and speed issues. Couple that with a deck that has no defense (Unless you consider Trag, [ccProd]Battle Fader[/ccProd], Gorz, and [ccProd]Ronintoadin[/ccProd] defense) and you're going to have to get pretty lucky to survive 11 rounds with it. The other decks were all random and those are expected but nothing too out of the ordinary made the cut.

To be honest I don't think I would want to run Fire again at Jersey, the more mirrors there are possible the more luck based your day gets. The advantage of playing the underplayed Fire deck is starting to diminish and I still don't want to play Mermails and just scoop up my cards to a D. Fissure. Wind-Ups got a bit stronger like I said but they still have the same weakness too: no good way to gain advantage when Factory either doesn't show up or gets MST'd. Luckily for me and a lot of other duelists I know, there are new cards legal for Jersey.

maxx cI'll start with Evilswarm first. I've been testing with the full Evilswarm deck that'll be available for Nationals and even when the top decks are countered by Ophion, the deck still isn't that strong of a pick. The whole deck really reminds me of Joe Giorlando's theory behind not running [ccProd]Maxx "C"[/ccProd] at YCS Long Beach a year ago. For it to be effective he had to 1) Play against Wind-Ups, 2) Lose the die roll and go 2nd with is a 50/50 chance, and 3) They had to open the loop. Outside of those circumstances the card wasn't needed and did nothing but add inconsistencies to his deck. It's almost the same with Ophion. For him to be effective you have to first be playing against a deck he hurts which is pretty much just Mermail right now, you have to win the 50/50 chance of going first, you have to open with a way to summon Ophion (Which is much harder with less Evilswarms by the way), and you're hoping they don't have an out. Now sometimes Mermails have a slow start so Ophion will actually stick and do something even if you go second but if they're playing Mermails at an event where Ophion is legal you can bet they're well prepared for your strategy and dropping Ophion won't just auto-win you the game. The big thing the deck has going for it in my opinion is actually Evilswarm Thunderbird but that probably isn't enough to carry the whole deck. Especially considering you can just play him in other decks, which is probably the better option. But who knows, it's a new deck and you can create some surprise factors and do some neat tricks with it so maybe the deck will finish strongly.

Abyss DwellerGadget is the other deck I want to talk about. Tinplate Goldfish is one hell of a card. It lets you make 1 card, 2200 ATK [ccProd]Abyss Dweller[/ccProd]s if you have a Gadget on hand. It's also searchable via [ccProd]Gear Gigant X[/ccProd] and having a searchable [ccProd]Double Summon[/ccProd] that you can also discard for [ccProd]Machina Fortress[/ccProd] is what's going to put Gadgets over the top. [ccProd]Machina Fortress[/ccProd] is a really good card right now and with all the new tricks the deck has you're going to see this deck spam more than ever before. Just like Wind-Ups, this deck can also plow through removal cards and eventually your opponent is going to have to waste [ccProd]Dimensional Prison[/ccProd]s and [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd]s to kill self-replacing Gadgets. [ccProd]Machina Gearframe[/ccProd] is also really good right now. I mean, he's always been good.. how can a Stratos ever be bad? But with [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd] seeing as much play as it is, it's usually hard to get over a Bear or Gorilla after Chaining it because they're so big. A lot of the time I get to use my Chained Bears to xyz with and that is really bad for the opponent but when they have a Gearframe I have to either take the minus to kill it or let my Bear go. 1800 is a huge number right now and when it's searching you a 2500 instant board-presence you could say he's never been better than he is right now.

There is still plenty of time until Jersey to experiment with the new cards but right now the format is looking pretty clear. There is definitely potential and if someone can crack these cards and find out how to abuse them they'll be finding themselves in the Top 32 cut.