Yup, I decided to go back to Geargia—a deck that I had some success with back in September—for YCS Austin. I must have been mad to play a deck that needs to maintain field presence in a meta dominated by decks featuring Atlantean Marksman and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear, right? Maybe not.
By the time I returned home from Europe, the meta was beginning to become clear. Decks like Herald of Perfection came and went and Wind-Ups were making its way back into the fold. Then again, nobody needed two weeks to see what the top three decks were going to be:
(2) Fire Fist
(3) Dino Rabbit
Knowing this, everybody was going to be siding heavily against these three decks and I felt like Water was far too weak to cards like Dimensional Fissure, Macro Cosmos and Banisher of the Radiance while Fire Fist and Dino Rabbit were too linear for my playstyle.
Considering your opponent has a 39% chance of drawing their Dimensional Fissure and you only have a 65% chance of drawing your backrow removal (assuming 3 Mystical Space Typhoon, 2 Dust Tornado and 1 Heavy Storm), 14% of the time they’ll have the card that says “You Cannot Play Yu-Gi-Oh” and you won’t have a response for it. That’s not even considering other hate like Banisher plus backrow. After playing Wind-Ups at the end of last format, I didn’t want to play another deck where I would suffer so many uncontrollable losses like I did to Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords. It would do well in Austin because of its overwhelming power and sheer numbers but, because of uncontrollable losses to these cards and an unstable mirror match, I felt like no amount of skill or tech could guarantee me or any other individual success with the deck.
I feel like Fire Fist and Dino Rabbit are too predictable/linear and therefore are easy to play around. More often than not, it comes down to whether your opponent has adequate responses or not, rather than each duelist’s ability to outmaneuver each other. Those kinds of decks don’t guarantee wins, no matter how well you play.
I didn’t know what to do, so when my friend was talking about the success he was having with Geargia the past couple of months, I decided to test it out on Dueling Network. More than anything, I enjoyed using it. It was around this time that many of my peers began hyping Wind-Ups, so I spent a night playtesting with it and found out that Volcasaurus is very real. Wind-Ups, though? Not so much. The deck’s only way to really generate advantage is with an untouched Wind-Up Factory. If you don’t draw it, or your opponent has a Typhoon, then you’re going to have a difficult time winning that game. How often can you hope to pull this off? Let’s do the math.
Chance of opening Factory 39%
Chance of opening Duality 28%
Chance of drawing both 11%
Chance of Duality and not Factory 17%
Chance of Factory from Duality 25%
Increased chance of opening Factory 04%
Total chance of opening Factory 43%
Remember, your opponent also has a 39% chance of opening Typhoon and it’s no guarantee you’ll see a Wind-Up monster you can use to trigger Factory. If you take these factors into account (depending on how many Upstarts, Tenki and other support cards you run), you’re only going to open with a live and untouched Factory about 20% of the time. That’s 1-in-5. I felt like those odds weren’t strong enough to actually run the deck at a premier event. But if so many people thought a slow-and-steady strategy like Factory-Rabbit could do well, I thought to myself, then why not run Geargia? All you really need is Armor, and you run six of those.
Chance of opening Armor or Arsenal 65%
Chance of opening Duality 28%
Chance of drawing both 18%
Chance of Duality and not Armor 10%
Chance of (just) Armor from Duality 25%
Increased chance of opening Armor 03%
Total chance of opening Armor 68%
That’s 25% better than the odds of opening Factory—that’s 1-in-4 games you’d open Armor and not Factory! Sure, my opponent might have Marksman or Bear, but every deck plays 3 Mystical Space Typhoon. I would be no crazier playing Geargia than anybody that thought Wind-Ups were viable. That's when I decided to commit to playing Gears.
If you remember my last article on this archetype, you’ll notice I made a fair number of changes.
2x [ccProd]Karakuri Watchdog[/ccProd]
1x [ccProd]Karakuri Strategist[/ccProd]
1x [ccProd]Machina Gearframe[/ccProd]
2x [ccProd]Machina Fortress[/ccProd]
2x [ccProd]Cardcar – D[/ccProd]
2x [ccProd]Pot of Duality[/ccProd]
1x Monster Reborn
1x Mind Control
1x Dark Hole
1x Heavy Storm
3x Mystical Space Typhoon
3x Call of the Haunted
3x Fiendish Chain
2x Dimensional Prison
2x Mirror Force
2x Bottomless Trap Hole
1x Solemn Warning
1x Solemn Judgment
I’m actually going to go backwards and begin with the traps because that’s where the most important non-themed card in the deck is. I don’t know why, but Call of the Haunted never caught on in Geargia. My own success (and article) aside, the Geargia deck that knocked me out in the Top 16 at YCS Indianapolis also ran multiple copies of the card! I always thought Call of the Haunted was amazing in Gears because it really helped address the deck’s biggest weakness: the need to maintain field presence. In order to combo off with the Karakuri tuners, you almost have to have an Armor on the field. That’s what makes something as simple as Gene-Warped Warwolf a problem for this deck. But it’s especially important this format with Marksman and Bear. Call of the Haunted allows you to get Armor back in the end phase to get you both field presence and a search.
It also allows you to play the deck aggressively. You don’t have to be afraid of flipping Armor, getting Accel and going into GGX to apply even more pressure because even if they do have a response you can keep going at them. If not? Then you’ve effectively won the game: search Strategist, Call of the Haunted for Armor, flip him down, summon Strategist to flip Armor back up and c-c-combo!
I decided to take out Torrential Tribute. Although I had been testing with it at first, I found that more often than not, my opponent is going to use Marksman on my Armor—giving traps like Mirror Force much more mileage.
The spells are pretty standard. Perhaps you feel as though I should be running Pot of Avarice but it isn’t usually live early game (especially if I don’t draw Armor) and I like having options (Armor, Fortress, tuner) in the graveyard for Call of the Haunted. I almost ran Upstart Goblin but it increased the odds of drawing multiple tuners nearly as much as it increased the chances of drawing Armor (when you didn’t already have one), and I have give my opponent 1,000 LPs for that? Yikes. I chose not to run Forbidden Lance. I didn’t really need Lance to protect my monsters because Call of the Haunted gave me more than enough recovery if my play was stopped and I would rather have actual traps to protect my Armor. If it gets destroyed by Marksman or Bear then Lance does nothing for me. I considered My Body as a Shield, since it protects a set Armor and could prevent an entire Karakuri combo from falling to a Torrential Tribute, but I just felt like there were better cards to run. Mind Control helps against problematic cards like TKRO and Bear, works really well with the tuners and can also be used to take a Priestess or Megalo and xyz into a Big Eye with one of the new additions to the deck: Machina Fortress.
I decided to use the Machina engine for a number of reasons. First, the same reason Call of the Haunted is so good in this deck; instant field presence. 2,500 attack is a really good number right now and being able to drop that onto the board whenever I need is a really good option to have—especially with you have a handful of monsters and can’t do anything with them when your normal summon doesn’t go through. The deck can accumulate a good deal of advantage sometimes but will still struggle if it can’t a monster to stick. Gearframe’s interaction with the rest of the deck as a Union monster is also really handy. Frame being a machine is also nice because, unlike other cards I had used in the past, as a machine I am actually able to make the Karakuri synchros using him as a material. Also, Number 16: Big Eye is a really busted card and it’s really easy to make with just the 2 Fortress, 3 Call of the Haunted. I can also make him using Mind Control and the Tragoedia in the side deck against Water. Burei helps, too.
Of course, it’s probably not too much of a surprise I decided to tap into the power of the Machina engine since it seems to be the more popular Geargia variant, so I feel like I should talk about why I continued to run the Karakuri tuners and why felt like 1 Frame 2 Fortress was the right number.
First, the Karakuri tuners add an element of explosiveness to the deck. The Machina variant is really strong at accumulating advantage and pressuring the opponent to respond but the synchros just end the game and, contrary to common perception, don’t actually throw off the consistency of the deck. Generally, you’ll see one tuner about 39% of the time, which is what you want, so you can combo off with Armor without having to search one out. You’ll open with multiple tuners only 1-in-20 games and will open a tuner without Armor approximately 1-in-8—which isn’t terrible, especially when you have Cardcar – D to help you get to Armor. Being a machine, meaning CCD can be fodder for Fortress when you have to be aggressive, makes a valuable piece, whatever the game state is.
By the way, if 12.5% is too much for you, consider for a moment that you have a 15% chance of drawing Warrior in Wind-Ups. It’s not totally useless, but neither are the tuners without Armor. If you’re able to successfully bluff the Armor with a Watchdog, then next turn you can overlay for GGX or synchro for Bureido, grab Strategist, draw a card and make another synchro if you have Call of the Haunted. I’ve used Strategist just to get rid of a Leviathan Dragon or Gene Warped Warwolf on several occasions. Sometimes it’s about how creative you can get with your resources. If you’re good at doing this, you’ll win many games without ever seeing that Armor.
As for the ratios I used for the Machina engine, I actually tested 2 Frame 2 Fortress and 1 Force out but found that I liked Cardcar more because It helped get me to the core of the deck—the Geargia. While the extra Gearframe and Force helped out in the late game, if all I drew was the Machina engine early I didn’t feel confident enough in my ability to win. As mentioned before, I feel as though linear decks make it more about the cards and less about the players. Like many of the more linear strategies in the game, the Machina engine is rather weak to a wide range of cards including Bottomless Trap Hole, Dimensional Prison, Dark Hole and a number of other cards—basically any time of removal. On top of that, Macro Rabbit is a popular deck right now and Fortress actually makes Macro Cosmos a pretty good card against me. I felt like as long as I didn’t rely on the Machina engine too much, the Rabbit matchup was favorable enough that I wouldn’t even have to side for it.
If you’re wondering, the odds of opening Gearframe and both Fortress are less than one third of a percent.
Of course in order to make room for all these new cards I had to take some other ones out, including MK2, TKRO and Birdman. I used to be a huge fan of MK2 because it’s a searchable Tour Guide! But as mentioned earlier, I felt that the deck needed more instant field presence (Fortress) rather than more normal summons. Also, I don’t think Rank 3s have as much utility as they used to (which is another reason I don’t like Wind-Ups this format). I would much rather be able to make Big Eye than Zenmaines or Leviathan, although losing access to Soul of Silvermountain was disappointing.
Finally, Birdman. I used to loathe this card but I actually really wanted it to work in this build. In theory, it has such great synergy with everything else going on in this deck. But it didn’t take my long to notice how often I was drawing multiple tuners, so I decided to do the math. Drawing one tuner is usually a good thing but it’s also pretty easy to search out of I do have Armor and am able to resolve him successfully. The real problem becomes when I have multiple tuners. The odds of drawing multiple tuners when running three of them is only about 5% or 1-in-20 games, but when you add the fourth? It practically doubles to 10% meaning it’ll happen once every ten games. Thanks for saving me from making that mistake again, math.
2x Gear Gigant X
1x Maestroke the Symphonic Djinn
1x Abyss Dweller
1x Number 50: Blackship of Corn
1x Number 23: Shock Master
1x Number 39: Utopia
1x Number 16: Big Eye
1x Ancient Fairy Dragon
1x Black Rose Dragon
1x Karakuri Burei
1x Karakuri Bureido
1x Stardust Dragon
1x Scrap Dragon
1x Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
The Extra Deck is pretty much what you would expect, although there might be one card that caught your eye—Ancient Fairy Dragon.
I was actually reading my old article to get some ideas and read one of the comments where somebody mentioned it in passing as one of the cards they combo into. I didn’t think anything of it at the time since I was already done with the deck and the combo involved Geargiano (something I would’ve never ran anyway). But I realized when I read the comment before YCS Austin that AFD could open up some pretty cool combos in this deck, especially with Call of the Haunted, and you can use it to make three synchros even when you draw multiple tuners. Access to Scrap Dragon and Big Eye mitigate the battle phase caveat. Thanks to the person who left that comment. J
The potential to use AFD and then Big Eye was especially appealing. I briefly considered using 2 Strategist and 1 Watchdog so I could make multiple Level 7 synchros when I performed my combos and then steal one of their monsters. It was a cute idea but if you draw your Watchdog, you either lose your ability to (a) attack, (b) make multiple synchros or (c) to make Stardust, Scrap or GGX. Needing to do all three of those might sound pretty situational but it’s actually more relevant than being able to make Big Eye. Needing to make something like Burei and Stardust and be able to attack comes up pretty often. You’ll run into the same problem if you run two Watchdogs and draw them both, but the odds of that are obviously much lower.
Chance of drawing Watchdog (at one) 15%
Chance of drawing both Watchdogs (at two) 02%
I compiled the regional results that Cordero provided to determine what decks I should be most prepared for. Although it’s impossible to predict what you’re going to play against in the first few rounds of a YCS, looking at what’s been successful recently is a good indicator of what you might face during the mid-to-late rounds of an event. It’s no surprise that Water took the most, with over 40% of the regional Top 8 spots, Fire Fist came in second with 13% and at 9%, Rabbit has the third most. What I found interesting was the three-way tie between Wind-Ups, Gadgets and Prophecy. Keep in mind that’s just Gadgets—if you add Karakuri and Geargia to the mix Machines actually accounted for as many tops as Dino Rabbit.
3x Maxx “C”
1 Swift Scarecrow
3x Soul Drain
3x Mind Crush
1x Dust Tornado
I began with a full playset of Maxx “C” and Soul Drain for Water. Maxx “C” also covered my Wind-Up matchup. People playing Wind-Ups will tell you it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to, and while that may be true, it’s a pretty slow deck as-is and Maxx “C” brings the deck to a Wind-Up Snail’s (that’s a real card!) pace. Overworked was my counter to Fire Fist. I sided Dust Tornado in against them, too. Really, I sided Dust against anything that plays lots of backrows. I considered Trap Stun but felt like Dust Tornado’s precision and versatility (being able to hit Wind-Up Factory, for example) was too important. Although I wanted to side Mind Crush against Water I didn’t have the room. It was mostly there for Prophecy and Gadgets.
Tragoegia and Swift Scarecrow were for the “YOLO” decks that I sided my Maxx “C”s in against (such as Heratics and Karakuri). I didn’t like drawing multiple Trags and I liked that Scarecrow could be searched or discarded to special summon Fortress. Once, when I was playtesting against Water, I dropped him, summoned Gearframe, discarded Fortress to take his Megalo, made Big Eye to take his Pike and then made Dweller with Pike and Gearframe! I sided Soul Drain over Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos to avoid conflicts between Fortress and Call of the Haunted.
Despite all of the doubt from my friends, I actually felt pretty confident in Gears going into YCS Austin…
Here’s how the deck performed at the event:
Round 1: Gladiator Beasts, 2-1
Round 2: Fire Fist, 2-1
Round 3: Prophecy, 0-2
Round 4: Dino Rabbit, 2-1
Round 5: Water, 2-0
Round 6: Water, 2-?
Round 7: Thunder, 2-0
Round 8: Wind-Ups, 2-0
Round 9: Water, 2-1
Round 10: Karakuri, 1-2
Round 11, "The Bubble": Patick Hoban’s Wind-Ups, 2-1
Top 32: Heroes, 2-0
Top 16: Water, 1-2
Results by Opponent's Deck