Hello Duelists! Galo Orbea here again! Since the closest I’ve been to qualifying to the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship has been Top 16, I’ve been curious to know the thought process that goes into testing and choosing a deck for this tournament with a unique specialized Forbidden & Limited List especially this year, since TCG and OCG are so different.
So to make a deck choice we have to see what decks are still complete or at the very least playable, here is the combined Forbidden & Limited list for this year’s Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship (it will only name the differences with the current TCG list):
Magician of Faith
Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Rooster
Number 11: Big Eye
Reinforcement of the Army
Destiny Hero – Malicious
Elemental Hero Bubble Man
A Hero Lives
Magical Stone Excavation
Forbidden Cards due to Exclusivity:
Meklord Emperor Mechanikle
Snow Plow Hustle Rustle
Night Express Knight
Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Evening Twilight
Meklord Emperor Grannel
Judgment of the Pharaoh
Shooting Quasar Dragon
Hot Red Dragon Archfiend
Stardust Spark Dragon
Vulcan the Divine
Blackwing – Damascus the Polar Knight
Number 22: Zombistein
Number 72: Shogi Rook
Digvorzhak, King of Heavy Industry
Kachi Kochi Dragon
Number 106: Giant Hand
Number 47: Nightmare Shark
(Forbidden so duelists don’t take advantage of time.)
After combining these two very different formats, I would say that the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG is affected most, since they need to get accustomed to a greater number of changes in their Forbidden section. Either way it’s like they will have to re-adapt to an older format, since they are a set ahead of us. Meanwhile, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is getting early hits that affect near future archetypes like Shadolls and support we are using now (Artifact Moralltach).
Besides the Forbidden/Limited Lists, I’ve noticed there has been a trend where most of the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship competitors tried to stay true to what got them to this competition in the first place. This year, it’s evident it won’t be the case for most duelists, since the formats are so different. After combining both TCG and OCG, some decks take several hits. Either way, let’s take a look at how these duelists got a chance to be a Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship:
As a side note, I believe it’s the first time that last year’s winner of the Dragon Duel portion of the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship (Oliver Tomajko) is going to be participating in the regular event.
Another smaller aspect of difference is that the players in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG did qualify with the previous set of rules involving first turn draw and old Field Spell mechanics. Now depending on your deck, whether it is combo based or control you will want to get an extra card or make a field early sacrificing that sixth card.
For starters, the decks with the most hits in the overall list would be Mermail, Artifact variants, and Dragon Ruler variants. Let’s start with Mermail, in my opinion the most hit deck since they have different ways of dealing with them in the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG and TCG. From the TCG point of view, they will lose two Mermail Abyssteus and one Abyss-Sphere. I tried finding Choi Jun-hyeong’s Mermail build since Elder God Noden seems broken but it’s near-impossible to find online. I also wonder if he was playing Deep Sea Diva since it’s unrestricted in OCG. Artifact variants are pretty much dead, since Moralltach at one just kills the support. Dragon Ruler variants that ran Dragon Shrine are unplayable as well, although Rulers can still be ran in Lightsworn Dragon Ruler.
After ARG’s 20K in Columbus, OH, players got a more clear view of the gamestate after the mechanic changes, and I would say the major deck options for World’s (not in any particular order) are Bujin, Sylvan, Infernity, Lightsworn Dragon Ruler, Geargia, Madolche and Spellbook.
I actually got second at YCS Brazil this year with Bujin. It didn’t get hit by the World’s list and the only difference for TCG is that Bujingi Turtle can’t be activated in the Damage Step like it was being done in OCG. This last minor change makes it a little more vulnerable to Fire Hand but Bujingi Hare still saves a Beast-Warrior before Damage Step. The longer Bujin Yamato sticks to the field, the greater the pressure on the opponent to get it off the field. It isn’t as dependent on Yamato as it would seem since they can XYZ into Bujintei Susanowo if they can make a “relic” (Hare/Turtle) stick for a turn. The deck saw a lot less play since Primal Origin came out, it just seemed like it wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the meta. What I feel turns people away from this deck is the negative connotation this deck has with making the same plays every game and not requiring much thinking although Bujin Hirume has opened up options on how it can be played. It seems like a very strong option if you can open well enough and/or control with Kaiser Colosseum, so it’s up there in my opinion.
Next we got Sylvans. After testing them and watching what they can do on the stream this last weekend they would look like a strong option for World’s. This would be true except for the fact people overlook a very important point, although they weren’t hit on the list above we forget that Sylvan Princessprout is a TCG exclusive and is therefore Forbidden at World’s. Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of the combos this deck has involve a Princessprout excavating a card getting put to the top of the deck and then excavated by a Sylvan Hermitree/Sagequoia. It’s not comparable to Lonefire Blossom’s level of importance but it’s still essential to most of this deck’s XYZ plays. It’s still a good option, just not as strong as it would seem. It’s very possible that a different Sylvan variant could win World’s, but it can’t be as simple as the TCG’s current build.
Infernity, a deck I personally dislike. It wasn’t hit by the list except for Armageddon Knight being limited. The deck has a few downsides, like duelists not always setting up the best possible board, or not knowing the route to get there without being vulnerable or just bricking. This deck doesn’t really have bad match-ups, it just loses to itself via bricking, misplaying or floodgates. A couple pros to playing this deck that I see: it can start with five cards drawing less monsters and since it’s a short tournament there are less rounds for it to brick in. Personally, I wouldn’t play this deck, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good option. Hell, Dragon Duelist Brandon Bird might be taking Infernitys with him to World’s!
What can I say about Lightsworn Dragon Ruler? I tested it last week and didn’t really like how lucky you have to get sometimes. The new rule of not drawing first turn really hurt this deck, since it has to go first to start milling as soon as possible yet you get one less card than your opponent so it feels contradicting. There are things you just have to do first turn like resolving Kuribandit, but once it has milled there’s no stopping it except for removing their Dragon Rulers with Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk. I wouldn’t leave it up to luck so I wouldn’t consider this deck either.
I actually ran Geargia for my WCQ this year, with Geargiagear going to one the deck will have to be played differently (without MK-II). It needs to go first to setup so it would be a good idea to play card that would give this deck a potential +1, Traptrix Myrmeleo accompanied by a couple Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare and/or a pair of Fire/Ice Hands. I personally don’t believe in the Karakuri variant because it’s more exposed to Maxx “C”, although if people don’t decide to use it then it may become the better option. The Gadget deck could also end up doing well for the same reasons Geargia would do well, consistency and their rank four toolbox monsters.
Another deck I took to an event this year, Madolche, after getting to Top 8 of Nationals I decided to not run them at the Yu-Gi-Oh! WCQ because other players would expect me to and Geargia seemed stronger at the moment. They were also weak to Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare and XYZ Universe both good cards against what was prevalent at the time (Geargia). This deck is very consistent and its decline might be attributed to the higher popularity in H.A.T. variants. Madolche Anjelly just opens up combos and faster access to Madolche Chateau/Ticket via. Hootcake into Messengelato while playing around Fire/Ice Hand. Another aspect I enjoy it can play passively or aggressively depending on the game state.
Finally Spellbook. It’s also a deck that doesn’t really seem to have any bad match-ups thanks to Spellbook of Fate. It has the same problems as Infernity where it can just lose to itself and to brick hands. We saw how good it can be against the current meta on Friday with a build ran by Alyxander Lisgathe. I could see a couple duelists going for this option.
Finally, they have to keep into account the trends like how Wiretap was good because H.A.T. variants and Geargia were the most played decks. With Lightsworn and Sylvan coming into the scene the card that I used to think of as the best Trap Card of the format saw a lot less play. Depending on how players see these trends happen will influence how they build their decks. How popular will backrow heavy decks will be in comparison to non-backrow heavy decks? Only time will tell how these players will approach this event, they come from all different kinds of places where the game maybe be played differently. It’s the trends like the one in 2011 where only the Spanish speaking competitors played Frog FTK. Again, what wins the World Championship is a highly used deck with a unique idea or tech. Like last year where the winner used a single copy of Dragon’s Ravine, Elipse Wyvern and Light and Darkness Dragon. And in 2012 where one of the few duelist who used Agents with Cards from the Sky.
So in my opinion, I would consider running: Bujin, Sylvan, Geargia, Madolche, Spellbook or something crazy like Tribute Stun (in that order). I just think that in this type of event you got to either go all out, play something most people won’t expect or play what everyone else will play but main deck hate for the popular decks. Along with that I like consistency and having the least amount of bad match-ups. It probably has to do with my play style and what I would feel comfortable with. What do you guys think? What would you run at the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship?
P.S. Another random thought I had was that in this high level of competition cards like Fire/Ice Hands just seem weak since these elite players should be able to play around them especially if they are expected. If they find their way into, say, a Sylvan player’s side deck they might catch players off guard. The only problem with that is the size of the tournament and how people will quickly know if you are siding them.