Before I actually begin to dive into the game play of the weekend, I need to: thank a couple of people, explain why the title is what it is, and give the decklist (it’s burning abyss). If you don’t enjoy the first two, at least actually look at the list before you decide this article is completely worthless.
Firstly, to my fellow writer Michael “Tubz” Glowacki, I thank you for the hours of testing, theory, and card borrowing swaps we do during the weeks in preceding an event. Without you I wouldn’t have gotten on the fast track to being competitive and having connections to people when I am normally a social recluse. Secondly to Marcus Hayden for our last second ideas, mirror match testing that we got two hours before the event, and having numerous acts of kindness throughout the weekend that would take me a long while to write out.
As for the title, breaking it down into certain words and phrases will help understand why it’s a lot of meaning in a short amount of space:
- Sheazus- a nickname given to me by Kiley Davis; no I don’t think I’m holy or going to be put on a cross but man do people like throwing the word “bad” around like they’re rocks at me.
- Walks- Ironically I don’t walk right now, I hobble, because of double ingrown toenails that are finally at the penultimate point of recovery but still affect movement.
- Sheazus Walks- because Kayne West exists and I like wordplay.
- Part 2- an indication that there’s a part 1, which there will be but you most likely will not want to read because it’s more about my life leading up to the past two weeks of Yu-Gi-Oh, including a different ridiculously small TCGPlayer event. I legitimately spent so much time in class, testing, and sleeping that I didn’t finish the last two hundred words or so on it to submit.
- “Pros Only”- my response to anyone whom heavily discredits this as a “premier event” because there were less than 100 people in it. Facing both Ben and Zach Leverett, Desmond Johnson, Brandon Wiggley, Jeff Jones, and Jordan Winters simply does not happen in a YCS. These are players whom have a long history behind them in event tops and is a hell of a lot more difficult then facing someone “average” with the same decks.
- 1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
- 3 Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Mathematician
- 3 Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss
- 3 Tour Guide From the Underworld
- 1 Vanity’s Fiend
- 1 Allure of Darkness
- 1 Foolish Burial
- 3 Mystical Space Typhoon
- 3 Supply Squad
- 2 Upstart Goblin
- 2 Breakthrough Skill
- 1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
- 3 Karma Cut
- 3 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
- 1 Solemn Warning
- 3 Vanity’s Emptiness
- 2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
- 2 Fairy Wind
- 2 Malevolent Catastrophe
- 2 Maxx “C”
- 2 Mind Crush
- 2 Mobius the Frost Monarch
- 2 Puppet Plant
- 1 Raigeki
- 2 Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss
- 2 Downerd Magician
- 2 Ghostrick Alucard
- 1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
- 1 Mechquipped Angineer
- 1 Muzurhythm the String Djinn
- 1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
- 1 Number 47: Nightmare Shark
- 1 Number 49: Fortune Tune
- 1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
- 1 Tri-Edge Levia
- 1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
One of my biggest errors of judgment was keeping the two copies of Upstart Goblins in the Main Deck rather than trusting my tribute of choice, Caius the Shadow Monarch. There has been a war going on lately between of what the best tribute card currently is against the meta and I full-heartedly support Caius over Raiza the Storm Monarch, Vanity’s Fiend, and Mobius the Frost Monarch (though once Next Challengers is legal that opinion might change.) Caius is your ultimate out to both the mirror match and against Shaddolls in the sense that it quite literally removes a threat immediately to allow aggression. Need to avoid a set Burning Abyss monster from triggering Supply Squad or get rid of a pesky Shaddoll Falco? With Caius the Shadow Monarch it gets banished along with providing a nice little 3400 point aggression which gets me to why I prefer Caius over Raiza, the Storm Monarch.
Raiza the Storm Monarch was the early favorite for the deck for good reason: if you combo it with Phoenix Wing Wind Blast then your opponent is essentially stuck with the same cards for the next two turns along with WIND-attribute not being affected by Super Polymerization like Caius is. I cannot deny the truth: Super Polymerization exists, however it becoming Limited has dramatically curbed it’s momentum changes and in all my matches against Shaddolls this weekend Caius, the Shadow Monarch was not used as a fusion material. The problem with the draw lockdown idea for Raiza is the fact that Graff, Malebranch of the Burning Abyss, Scarm, Malebranch of the Burning Abyss, Sinister Shadow-Games, Shaddoll Squamata, and Shaddoll Hedgehog all cause the deck to shuffle if needed so using Raiza in it’s most potent use is not going to be an insured situation. Along with this, if Raiza, the Storm Monarch is supposed to be your push, wouldn’t you prefer not to go back to the same situation the next turn? I can’t think of a situation where putting a card like Shaddoll Falco or Graff, Malebranch of the Burning Abyss back on top of the deck would be more beneficial than banishing it with Caius, the Shadow Monarch along with dealing 1000 damage.
The worst part of having Raiza, the Storm Monarch or Mobius the Frost Monarch in the deck games 2 and 3 is you might not even be able to summon them because of the newly favorite side card against Burning Abyss: Rivalry of the Warlords. The thought of that card and the popular use of Breakthrough Skill kept me from siding Mobius the Frost Monarch against any deck I faced this weekend besides “Tribute Stun” (Royal Decree is a pain to get rid of multiples!)
Although Vanity’s Fiend is a powerful card against the Shaddoll match-up, a single Shaddoll Squamata set or a Breakthrough Skill’s graveyard effect were effects that under circumstances before Vanity’s Fiend was added to the deck did very little to the general strategy of Burning Abyss Decks. Vanity’s Fiend falls under the same category of Vanity’s Emptiness in the sense that if they have something to mitigate it for even a turn you might be locked down by your own card effect and lose thanks to your own card! Along with this, while Vanity’s Fiend is on the field the only monster whom isn’t going to be negatively affected by Vanity’s Fiend in any way is Mathematician (assuming you’re sending Scarm.) While Vanity’s Fiend is on the board even your staple traps like Karma Cut and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast have to use Scarm as your discard fodder to not be a 2-for-1 in advantage. On the positive side, Vanity’s Fiend gets around the previously mentioned Rivalry of Warlords which leads me to the following conclusion: you main deck Caius, the Shadow Monarch and side deck Vanity’s Fiend.
I know most players have gotten tired of seeing Burning Abyss versus Shaddoll and Burning Abyss mirror matches being told in tournament reports so rather than me rambling on about bad draws, grind games, or being OTK’d in those matches I’m only going to list off the most important moment in a match or something that happened during that round that was important.
Round 1: BYE
I got to walk to car to grab the third copy of Caius, the Shadow Monarch for myself and Number 47: Nightmare Shark for Marcus after the player meeting and get some scouting in. Very few tables are full because of 23 people having byes; looking at the list of people with byes now makes this round seem like the calm before the storm.
Round 2: BYE
Me and Marcus play against each other to pass the time and get a little warm-up in with 7 more players added to the field. An unfortunate event happens for fellow HotSauce Games player, Robert “RJ” Scarpelli, whom actually won his match against Parker Robinson but because the match slip was incorrectly filled out, regardless of Parker and RJ pleading their case, RJ was forced to take the loss and Parker got the win.
Look at the list and seeing you’re going against a known name in this early of the rounds is a blessing and a curse. You know you’re going to have a good weekend if you win the match and even if you don’t then your tiebreakers are good. Turn 1 he summons Geargiauger and I start to panic in my head; I have a terrible streak against the deck. Game 1 is him adding cards slowly and me using the little guys to stall, a critical Breakthrough Skill on Gear Gigant X leaving an Ancient Gear Box in attack mode makes the momentum change enough for me to get the win. Game 2 he starts off with a set monster (Geargiarmor), I look at my hand and smile because if he doesn’t have Wiretap or Trap Stun then I’m going to hit him with some “Scott Sheahan bulls**t” side. I set a monster (I believe it was Scarm) and set three cards. He draws then flips Geargiarmor into a Breakthrough Skill having no response to the Breakthrough and causing me to try to keep a strong poker face. He Normal Summons Geargiarsenal then enters the Battle Phase, declaring an attack; in response to the attack I flip it… Malevolent Catastrophe. I ask if he has a response and he replies no, then as Chain Link 2 I activate Compulsory Evacuation Device to return the Geargiarsenal to his hand. His three set cards destroyed and everything after that momentum swing becomes him struggling to come back.
Round 4: vs. Mackenzie Franklin (future winner)- Shaddolls
I honestly don’t remember much about this match other than Caius the Shadow Monarch doing his thing and it being a 2-0 win for me.
Round 5: vs. Wesley Johnson- Shaddolls
Wesley was one of the people I was most social with the whole weekend considering both of us were disappointed with how our match ended. We trade games 1 and 2 in long fought matches to where we’re trying to side for game 3 in 40 seconds; I screw up when both of us try to rush to draw cards and accidentally leave a Caius in the side as a 16th card. We count out sidedecks after drawing and I’m given a gameloss; I seriously cannot win at table 1.
Round 6: vs. Chester Henson-???
I don’t remember this round at all, the round results showing it being a 2-1 victory for him. I think this is the match where I’m on heavy tilt and am drawing multiple copies of Graff, Malebranch of the Burning Abyss and Cir, Malebranch of the Burning Abyss. Needless to say no sleep, driving for 2 hours, and losing a match in a non-playing way is a quick way to cause tilt.
I’ve been hearing about other players talking theory of how to play against this deck once I realize what it is, I go with my gut.
Game 1: he literally gets nothing going, I see Fiend’s Sanctuary and Royal Decree thanks to Ghostrick Alucard destroying set cards and assume this is what was being talked about by other players.
Game 2: Majesty’s Fiend backed by double Royal Decree with no Breakthrough Skill in sight to use it’s graveyard effect (which is unaffected by Decree) means scoop phase.
Game 3: He opens mediocre then starts to get momentum which is stopped by my traps actually not under Royal Decree. He’s at low life after crashing Ice Hand and I’m able to Downerd Magician for the win.
Round 8: vs. Zachary Leverett- Burning Abyss
Game 1: he goes through all three Tour Guide from the Underworlds super fast with me countering each of them. Once I get Guides number 2 and 3 going he’s too far behind.
Game 2: Mathematician and Supply Squad opening with the squad draw being another Supply Squad and having Phoenix Wing Wind Blast plus Cir means I’m going to win.
Desmond Johnson and myself got paired-up against x-1’s this round and man was this not the way I wanted to end the day going into day 2.
Game 1: He draws well, I draw decently defensive; he’s Jeff Jones so he reads the backrows like a champ.
Game 2: no monster until turn 4 and that monster being a Tour Guide which promptly gets Breakthrough Skilled; no monsters against Shaddolls means you lose.
Go to day 2 in 13th place and get back to Charleston, Illinois at 10pm because I had no hotel and didn’t want to be a burden on those whom offered to let me stay at their place for the night (this was probably the least planned event I’ve done.) I wake up at 4:30 am and take a shower then drive by corn fields, country towns, and forestry on the two hour trip to Indianapolis exactly like I did the day before. Me and Marcus (whom also made day 2) go through the same process as the day before and hope that our records hold up.
Round 10: vs. Ben Leverett- Shaddolls
Well if you’re going to play one brother, you might as well face the other, right? Not going to lie this match seemed like a giant blur because he was making sounds from a song that I currently have forced out of my head completely along with Desmond and him talking about it. I believe a surprise Caius, the Shadow Monarch in game 3 is what wins me the match.
Round 11: vs. Desmond Johnson- Shaddolls
He takes until 37:09 to get to the table because he’s playing Goat Control with someone at the literal next table over. We both take a really long time in game 1 and when game 2 gets around I’m stuck with a crap hand with no offense to chip down his life. Although I didn’t believe it at the time this match had the same feel that me vs. Frazier had at the 20k: doesn’t really matter, we’re both going to make it.
Originally after the results I was in 13th place, which would have put me against James Frazier, however, there was a change in the results in Swiss which now put me against the Champion of ARG Iowa, Jordan Winters.
Top 16: vs. Jordan Winters- Burning Abyss
Did he open trash game 1 and I opened nutty? Yup. Did I open trash game 2 and he opened nutty? Yup. Was game 3 a perfect example of why Supply Squad can screw you over? Oh heck yes.
That’s literally how I’ve found to win the match thanks to my testing against Mike Glowacki during the week: if an opponent doesn’t get a draw with squad instantly, they’re going to fall too far behind. Bounce to hand, bounce to top of deck, or banish and the momentum never comes.
So we get to the top eight and are presented a choice to still play for pride and placing but split the remaining $8,400 and the vote has to be unanimous. Me, being the poor college student and needing the money bad, decides that insured money is better than risked gains. 7 out of the 8 of us had similar thoughts of safe money being good but the one person whom put “debt” as their reason for winning the tournament decided that it wasn’t good enough so we played for serious stakes. I knew fate was about to end the road for me as soon as that happened.
Probably my second quickest match on the weekend besides when I was facing Jeff Jones. He double otks me; I could have prevented the second one but a wrongly called Mind Crush (that was forced by an MST and caused me to only have a Downerd Magician on board) on Dark Armed Dragon instead of the Black Luster Soldier- Envoy of the Beginning in had when he had no lights and 3 darks in grave but had a Mathematician to send one sealed the deal.
$500, 500+ miles and 8+ hours of driving, a bunch of emotions, and another notch to add to the belt. Pretty good for a guy whom only spent $90 on the weekend and is a “bad” player. Until next time, Scott Sheahan signing off and hoping you spent your time to read this whole thing.