Hey ladies and gentlemen! Kiley Davis here, with part 2 of my 3-part series, looking at the statistics from ARG Raleigh! Last time I had talked about the seven Qliphort decks that had topped, but this time I’d like to focus on the Burning Abyss decks that had topped over the weekend! There were five of them in the Top 16, meaning that Rubic and Fire Lake definitely didn’t make quite as big of an impact on the meta as the new Qliphort stuff did. However, the new Burning Abyss cards completely restructured how the deck is built, so let’s spend some time looking at the mainboard card choices! Oh, and remember, to check out this data, please check out this spreadsheet!
First I’d like to focus on the actual Burning Abyss skeleton, before I look at some of the interesting card choices that people had played over the weekend. All our favorite dudes are here, but we’ve mixed up the formula a little bit, now that we’ve got NECH. All of the decks this weekend played the typical triple Tour Guide, triple Cir, triple Graff, triple Scarm with the same standard support cards, but that’s pretty much where the similarities to the old builds go out the window. Based on the Top 16 from ARG Raleigh, Mathematician / Supply Squad has mostly fallen out of favor, and the standard Burning Abyss deck now focuses much more heavily on the new Burning Abyss support.
We’ve also got a new three-of Burning Abyss monster: Rubic! Every Burning Abyss deck that was playing him was playing three copies, and it’s easy to understand why: synchro summoning is just too great! This card was obviously born to make Virgil plays, which it does splendidly! Rubic doesn’t have any other effect because it literally doesn’t need one; in Burning Abyss, Rubic is a free Genex Ally Birdman that lets you do your usual plays without any extra effort. If you’re planning on playing Burning Abyss for the rest of the format, you should probably invest in a playset of Rubics and a few Virgils, because it looks like this is going to be the standard Burning Abyss build we get another set!
First off, four of the five Burning Abyss decks from the weekend were playing copies of Alich, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss. While it seems that the magic number of Alich to play is 1, Jeff Walker opted to play two copies of this interesting new Burning Abyss monster. Based on the new three Burning Abyss main deck monsters, however, it seems that the general consensus is that Alich is the weakest of the batch. It’s not the card’s fault that it wasn’t played much in Raleigh! It’s just that the Burning Abyss decks are currently able to deal with any monster threats by using cards like Karma Cut, Wing Blast and Raigeki Break. However, could there be a future format where we need to deal with more monster effects? Of course, which is why this card isn’t horrible, just not shining at this current moment. Also, Alich loses to the Majesty’s Fiend, which currently happens to be everywhere (not that I’m upset about that!).
Next, four of the five Burning Abyss players played Calcab, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss. Not only that, but everyone was playing two or three copies of the card! Honestly, I think this is the most interesting of the new Burning Abyss monsters. It lets you turn your Wing Blasts and Karma Cuts into a really devastating two-for-two that can help wipe your opponent’s board during their end phase, which can set you up to make a devastating push during your turn. I understand why everyone (except Jeff Walker) decided to play two copies: it’s a great card that you want to see, but you still would rather see the core three Burning Abyss monsters (Cir, Graff and Scarm) significantly more often.
So who was the one player that didn’t play any of the new Burning Abyss monsters? Duelist Alexander Martin decided to pilot a build of Burning Abyss that looked much like the deck dd at YCS Austin. Instead of playing any copies of Rubic, Alich or Calcab, he opted for a build that was able to churn out stun monsters like Majesty’s and Vanity’s Fiend to put pressure on the opponent really easily, which is definitely why he was able to make Top 16 this past weekend. His build was also reminiscent of YCS Austin because he was the only Burning Abyss player that opted to play any copies of Mathematician and Shaddoll Dragon in the mainboard. It just seems like everyone moved on to the next big thing!
In addition to these new Burning Abyss monsters, we also got a new Burning Abyss trap card from NECH, which got thoroughly abused. Every Burning Abyss player that topped this weekend was playing at least one copy of Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss; while Alexander Martin tried to stick to the Burning Abyss roots and simply tech the card, everyone else opted to play three copies of the Fire Lake. And with good reason, too! This card is one of the reasons that the Burning Abyss are able to keep the Qliphort decks in check. The Fire Lake will typically pop the pendulum zones, and then you get to resolve whole bunch of your dudes’ effects. I mean, you can theorize all the hypothetical situations on your own time, but let me just mention that you can pop a Dante, which means you could resolve like, infinity Burning Abyss effects, even on your opponent’s turn, bro!
It’s interesting to note that a majority of the Burning Abyss players were teching a copy of Rank-Up Magic Astral Force this past weekend, which was primarily used to turn Dante into Constellar Pleiades, although there were several other tech Rank-Up targets that saw play this past weekend. For example, Volcasaurus seems to have faded in popularity; when we playeed several copies of RUM, the Volcasaurus was more plausible, but Alexander Martin was the only person that had played a copy over this past weekend. In addition, players were teching Number C69: Heraldry Crest of Horror, which appears to be a new addition to the typical Burning Abyss Rank-Up line-up. This guy is brought out by using Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut, so make sure you pick up a copy of him, too!
Despite everyone playing Burning Abyss having tons of Light monsters in their extra deck, only three of the five Burning Abyss players played the Black Luster Soldier. I thought this was peculiar, since Luster Soldier has legitimately been an easy game-winner ever since it was first printed. Why wouldn’t we want to play Luster Soldier in the main? I feel like this card earns its slot in the mainboard really easily, since both Dante and Virgil are Light monsters. Even though this card was in the majority of Burning Abyss decks that topped, I would consider this a pseudo-staple in the deck; unless you’re playing some special variant of the deck, you ought to mainboard the Luster Soldier.
Another interesting card choice that popped up in three of the five Burning Abyss decks was the singular copy of Soul Charge. You know, back in ‘04ish, the Limited and Forbidden list came off as a sort of grocery list. If a card was on this list, you knew it was there for a reason, and there was a pretty good chance you would start with these cards when you would build your deck. While this sort of mentality doesn’t apply for modern Yu-Gi-Oh!, that doesn’t mean that players shouldn’t refer to the limited list when they’re debating what last cards to add to their deck. I’m not saying these players did exactly what I advised, but I’m sure they all had a similar thought process: “Soul Charge is really good, why am I not playing it?”
Let’s talk about the last of the tech choices to finish off this article! Jeff Walker opted to play two copies of Beginning of the End, since he’s going to have a lot of monsters in his graveyard anyway. Clearly, Walker was one of the Burning Abyss players that opted to not play any copies of Soul Charge. Alexander Martin teched a copy of Creature Swap, two copies of Breakthrough Skill and two Trap Stun so that he could handle any threatening monsters he didn’t want to deal with, as well as any traps that he didn’t want to go through. Overall, Martin’s deck was the most drastically different from the standard Burning Abyss build, but that doesn’t put the build down by any means; M. and V. Fiend are such powerful monsters this format that Martin certainly deserved his Top 16.
In terms of the extra deck, most of the Burning Abyss players were playing very similar line-ups. Double Virgil is pretty much the new standard, since Rubic has made such a huge impact on a Burning Abyss player’s amount of players. However, Jeff Walker had some interesting tech choices in the extra deck; this past weekend, Walker was the only Burning Abyss player to include a single copy of Muzurhythm the String Djinn, Tri-Edge Levia and Temptempo the Percussion Djinn. How were these tech choices for him? Well, he made Top 16, didn’t he?
But anyways guys, I hope this analysis has helped you guys gather a better understanding of how the new Burning Abyss deck is played! Check back later in the week for the third part of this article: The analysis of the new Shaddoll builds!