Consistency is a word I hear used a lot when referring to various things about Yu-Gi-Oh. This single word alone describes one of the huge reasons why I chose to run a unique version fire fist at ARG Circuit Series Nashville and Charlotte. I generally want to draw a combination of cards that is similar to every other combination of cards that I could potentially draw. This is something I feel is very important when deciding what deck to play. I usually start by taking out cards that I deem unnecessary. When building fire, I immediately came to the conclusion that cards such as tensen, dragon, rooster, rekindling, multiple copies tensu, and multiple copies of gorilla were all just adding to the number of unplayable opening hands. I believe taking the most consistent deck to an event gives you the highest chance of doing well, rather than a less consistent deck with auto-wins.
I have found a few things you can do differently when playing against each deck, that usually help assure a win. This would be the closest thing to an “auto win” I can find in a consistent deck. When someone asks me “Why are you playing fire?” my response is usually something along the lines of “Because I have a side deck I can access all three games, and don’t have to rely on drawing single cards.” When I make this statement, I am referring to the extra deck as the side deck. Abyss dweller is an example of a card you can usually make a couple times a game, and also is a direct counter to two of the most played decks this format, water and Hieratics. Considering side deck options such as Soul Drain or Dimensional Fissure blow out Mermails and Hieratics, Abyss dweller is essentially a side deck card that you are able to make game 1. Being able to make those cards whenever I want in the form of Abyss Dweller is a huge advantage. This concept is usually how I am able to identify the difficult match ups for the deck. Prophecy is a deck that tends to play with itself, and has no extra deck card that directly counters it other than the current YCS prize card Giant Hand, and Cardinal. As often as I summon these monsters against prophecy they still are not enough to help guarantee a win because those cards do not create a very strong lock. This line of thinking is usually what I use to base my side deck choices on.
I also think that stand-alone cards give an advantage over combo-based cards. These cards help to increase the odds of your opening hands being playable, and are also good to have in simplified game states. I prefer to have monsters that do not require me to have other cards to be played. When I took out cards like tensu, dragon, etc, I replaced them with cards that added consistency or cards that are great by themselves. These cards include Thunder King Rai-oh, and Cardcar D. Other cards that add to the consistency are Upstart Goblin, Pot of Duality. Both of these allow me to increase the likelihood that I draw into my cards that create advantage such as bear and wolfbark. I tend to view “good” trap cards as just more upstart goblin type cards. What I mean by that is, the card will buy you another turn, and another draw, which allow you to get to the best cards in your deck. Building decks in this sort of fashion has only got more difficult with the forbidden and limited lists containing trap cards that are generally good versus the majority of the decks played. Examples include cards such as Bottomless Trap Hole, Solemn Warning, and Torrential Tribute. When you draw one of these traps, along with a fiendish chain or mirror force, you have choices on when to play which card, and how to maximize the worth of each individual card. When you draw multiple fiendish chains without those cards, it becomes much more difficult to control the game. Drawing some combination of these cards helps you structure soft locks you need to beat each deck, or generate enough card advantage putting you ahead enough in the game that you should win.
While reading this you may think to yourself “If Fire Formation – Tensu, Gorilla, and Forbidden Lance seem to contribute to this decks inconsistency, why are you still playing them?” These cards simply cannot be completely taken out of the deck because they all have a specific and necessary role in the deck. Tensu is a way for Fire Fist to make multiple summons in a turn, like some of the “unfair” decks in the format are known for. Being able to access this Tensu at any given point in the game to then turn your monsters into cards such as Abyss Dweller, is huge. Another advantage comes during late in the game when you have simplified the game down to a couple cards. A lot of the time you end up with a Coach, and Bear in hand, and can make the Tiger King, grab the Tensu, summon bear, blow up the monster, and attack for 4000 damage. This is a way I win a lot of my games. I do not ever want to have more than one tensu, and due to the fact that it is searchable, I only play 1 copy. This same logic is applied to Gorilla as its effect is generally used to get fire formation cards off of the field, and to get rid of problematic spell and trap cards. Although Forbidden lance can be clumpy in multiples, and can add to the bad combinations, I believe it is a very good card, and necessary. I saw a lot of lists from this weekend playing 2, and I instantly got very confused. The card allows your summons to go through. For example, if you’re staring down multiple back rows, you are pretty much free to summon a monster if you have lance, considering their only out is warning. Also, some of the time your opponent will be under the impression you DON’T have the lance, and will try to bottomless/torrent/fiendish chain your card, rather than waste a powerful, and precious solemn warning on it.
The last point I want to make when trying to prove that consistent decks are a better choice than combo oriented decks is about blowout cards. For the most part combo oriented decks come with the downside of being hurt by floodgate cards due to their reliance on the graveyard or special summoning. These blowout cards (often referred to as floodgate cards) are in the side deck because they usually are effective versus a specific deck and don’t allow the opposing deck to play their cards. These cards add another way to steal games from people, and the Fire Fist archetype is generally immune to these floodgate cards.
Finally I would like to give a brief run-down of what I played this weekend, but before that I encourage you to look at my decklist here: http://articles.alterealitygames.com/top-16-decklist/
Round 1- I played against Geargia. This is inherently an easy match up in my mind due to the ability of bear to destroy monsters and the necessity to set geargia armor. My opponent puts up a good fight, but I end up full housing him, and flipping mistake on him game 3 to take an easy win.
Round 2- I played against water this round, and I felt like it was a really easy win. We end up having a dispute over a ruling, and have to wait a while to have it all figured out, but I end up winning after everything is over.
Round 3- I play against one of ARG’s deck doctors Tyler Nolan! His deck stood out to me more than anyone else’s from the weekend. He was playing frog monarchs with Onslaught’s and Fire King Garunix. I end up winning in time, we both admitted we played poorly; I just ended up getting lucky pulling it out with a clutch 101: Silent Honor Ark play.
Round 4- I played against one of the other guys who top 16ed the event as well, using Cardcar Fire. The mirror match came pretty easy to me after so much testing and preparing, as I was expecting it to be popular at this event. He was playing Call of the Haunted, and when we ended up both low on monsters, those helped him out, but once again I take the win.
Round 5- This round I played against Hieratics. I ended up cutting a lot of cards that I was playing specifically for this deck such as D.D. Crow and Light-Imprisoning Mirror, because I thought that it wouldn’t be nearly as popular as in previous events. Playing it this late in the day put a huge scare on me though. I end up winning this match two to zero, something that surprised me and I didn’t think was possible with the way my deck was built.
Round 6- I end up playing 2 Time YCS Champion Tyree Tinsley. We have played before, and he is one of a few players I have a ton of respect for. I would consider him a good friend, and someone I wouldn’t want to have to play. Going into the event, I expected to play against a lot of water. After realizing he was playing water, I got a feeling of relief and thought I had a much better chance of winning due to access to multiple Abyss dwellers and an array of side deck cards for mermail. We end up getting put on the stream, and I win by doing those same simple things I was talking about in the meat of this article above.
Round 7- I play against the Mermail player who finished first in swiss. This is when I end up taking my first loss. I lose the die roll, and game three he opens the combo leaving his field with Bahamut Shark, Abysstrite, and Mechquipped angineer. My sixth card ends up being Maxx “C” and I have no real way to win the game.
Round 8- I end up playing ANOTHER player that I have previously put on my list of guys I wouldn’t like to play with. It ends up being Jordan Winters, who has had a lot of success recently! This would be the third time we have played with in two events. We are playing a mirror match and both know the deck very well. We go back and forth, and by the end of the match I come out on top. I would like to note he is someone to look out for. I can honestly say I noticed a huge difference in the way he played this weekend from the way he played Nashville, and it is evident he is improving after each and every event. He ends up topping anyways and it all works out.
Round 9- I am already x-1 and so my opponent and I decide to draw, putting us both into positions where we are guaranteed to make the top 16!
Top 16- I am paired against another water player. This seemed to be one of the easier matches I had throughout the weekend. Nothing against the other guy, I just drew cards that I could abuse, and he didn’t draw anything too special. I win this match very quickly compared to the rest of the matches I had this weekend.
Top 8- I get to play Pat Hoban. We had a long discussion on who has the better deck a week before hand, and I didn’t know how I would feel if I ended up losing to him. I actually do end up losing to him drawing very well. After the match is over, I don’t feel bad at all, and felt like he was one of a couple people I would be okay with taking a loss to in the top cut.
Another player at this event, Dirk Wagner, ran the same list card for card as I did (except for Giant Hand). He got 2nd place after the swiss rounds with an undefeated record and made it to the top 16. I will include a list of his rounds to provide a larger sample size of results and paint a better picture of how this deck performed this weekend:
Round 1-Spellbook (W)
Round 2-Bujin (W)
Round 3- Geargia (W)
Round 4-Mermail (W)
Round 5-Hieratic Ruler (W)
Round 6-Cardcar Fire (W)
Round 7-Cardcar Fire (W)
Round 8+9 - Intentional Draw
Top 16- 3.5 Fire Fist (L)
Overall I have had a great time at these circuit series events! One of the things that attract me to these tournaments is the high level of competition. Just look at the top 16 bracket from this weekend. I have heard and read things along the lines of “All Star Top Cut” to “Wow” to “You’d have to be a madman to win this tournament (shoutout to Hoban)”. I also have to give a big thank you to Dirk Wagner for talking with me about the deck, and helping make the card choices for the event. The entire weekend turned out to be a success after getting to see all of my friends, only leaving me happy, and excited to see them all again at ARGCS Vegas March 15-16th.
Until Next Time,
Play Hard or Go Home!