For those of you who do not know me, my name is Scott Sheahan, within the past year alone I have top 8’d YCS Chicago after not having a top to my name since I came back to the game in 2010. By far, I am not your “traditional” high level player between my deck choices, (usual) lack of foreign and/or high rarity cards, playstyle, and a very rigid/conservative set-up of how my playing-area looks when in a tournament. I try to be honest and humble even at the highest levels because of my origins and belief in karma being related to luck in this game; it infuriates some people and to others it is a welcoming breath of fresh air in a community that seems to strive off of taking advantage of others one way or another. Regardless of opinions about characters in this game, let’s get to the real reason you’re reading this article: why Fire Kings and how are you topping with them?!
Since the January 2014 Forbidden & Limited list has came out I have played Fire Kings while transitioning away from the known to be new tier 1 deck at the time of Fire Fist. After playing against Fire Kings with Fire Fists on Dueling Network, I had learned that against any semi-decent player with Kings I simply could not beat them. This stemmed from the fact that because my source for advantage propagated theirs, that when having multiple backrow protection it was impossible for Fire Fist to have an easy solution for Garunix, and that Rekindling in multiples able to be abused is one of the most degenerate things around. Because of these reasons, I sold most of the Fire Fist cards at their peak while keeping those cards that were used in both decks. After looking back at 7 months of playing Fire Kings, I still do not regret my decision in the least.
When YCS Chicago 2014 was announced I started to plan out testing for the deck; I was spending every minute not used on school, family, or girlfriend to try and be prepared for the event as possible. I had not been to an actual YCS since 2012 and my previous results were laughable at best. I learned over time what seems to be the most important thing in the structure of this game: win game 1. If you’re winning game 1 you reduce the chance of bad hands losing you a match-up, a surprise side deck card causing a 2-0 you never saw coming, and overall having more confidence when you win game 1. With my tier 1-countering deck, high knowledge of the different combos, and a main decked Mind Crush that was more like a Trap Dustshoot, I knew I would do well when I walked into Chicago and the results speak for themselves.
Now to the ARG circuit series, after a terrible experience at the NAWCQ while playing the deck I had decided that this would most likely be its last hurrah because of it being nearly next to dead when Shaddoll format comes out and it not at its peak performance with the reduction of Rekindling and Coach Soldier Wolfbark. When I learned that a majority of the topping decks at the NAWCQ were Artifact Traptrix related and that Geargias had a strong consistency hit in Geargiagear, that decision was changed. Once again I had the anti-tier 1 advantage with Fire Kings causing cards like Artifact Moralltach, Fire Hand and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare to almost benefit me when their effects were activated. Going into the tournament I believed my worst match-ups to be Infernities, Sylvans, and Lightsworn Rulers. As it turns out apparently my worst match-ups are Mermails, Geargia, and getting a Game Loss.
This was the deck list that I decided to play with at the ARGCS Championship:
- 3 Fire King Avatar Barong
- 3 Fire King Avatar Yaksha
- 2 Fire King High Avatar Garunix
- 3 Traptrix Myrmeleo
- 1 Coach Soldier Wolfbark
- 1 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear
- 2 Maxx “C”
- 3 Onslaught of the Fire Kings
- 3 Fire Formation – Tenki
- 3 Forbidden Lance
- 2 Circle of the Fire Kings
- 1 Mind Control
- 1 Rekindling
- 1 Soul Charge
- 1 Book of Moon
- 1 Dark Hole
- 2 Breakthrough Skill
- 2 Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare
- 1 Solemn Warning
- 2 Fiendish Chain
- 1 Torrential Tribute
- 1 Bottomless Trap Hole
- 2 Skull Meister
- 2 D.D. Crow
- 1 Maxx “C”
- 2 Soul Release
- 2 Mystical Space Typhoon
- 2 Fairy Wind
- 2 Acid Trap Hole
- 2 Deep Dark Trap Hole
- 2 Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King
- 2 Number 101: Silent Honor ARK
- 1 Bujintei Kagutsuchi
- 1 Lavalval Chain
- 1 Number 50: Blackship of Corn
- 1 Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
- 1 Diamond Dire Wolf
- 1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight
- 1 Abyss Dweller
- 1 Number 85: Crazy Box
- 1 Daigusto Emeral
- 1 Gagaga Cowboy
- 1 Number 103: Ragnazero
Rather than prolonging what you came to see with talking about pre-event travel, locals, etc. It’s probably best just to skip it and Friday’s 1k (I went 5-2 and got 10th after being 4-0) straight to the point; me getting Top 16 at ARG’s Circuit Series Championship!
Round 1: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Corey Roca (Mermails)
I knew that these first two rounds weren’t going to be “easy wins” as most believed them to be and that it was simply hard for a lot of players to accumulate points without buying them. Although the name wasn’t familiar, I knew as soon as he had Alyx “Based Loli” Lisgathe walk up and wish him luck that I was in for a quick wake-up call. Corey is definitely one of the nicest “good players” I’ve seen; I feel bad because I think one of my friends absolutely wrecked his wallet dice rolling on Sunday.
Game 1: A one-sided affair; he takes this one with unexpected traps in the main deck to which cause me to never be able to combo.
Game 3: honestly, I probably should have lost this one; I opened semi-trash and he opened really well. He loads up the grave turn 1 and on my turn I force out a sphere to get rid of a Linde and Abysspike to grave where he now has five monsters and searched Mermail Abyssgunde. In main phase 2, I use Soul Release which leaves his Gunde dead and him forcing to try to reload his grave while I have no defensive cards. It gets to a point where he has 4 cards in hand and I am top decking. Miracle top decks of Onslaught, Solemn Warning, and Maxx “C” clinch the game to clear the field then Solemn Warning to a Soul Charge then Maxx “C” chained to a second leave me with a decent hand and combos, I win by using my MVP of the weekend, Bujintei Kagutsuchi, to cause a killing blow. Corey, my friend Zach Savignano, and I all talked about his plays and make him realize that Soul Charge was a “activate once per turn” rather than a “used once per turn” which would have won him the match.
Round 2: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs. ??? (Sylvans)
It was just such a quick match-up and I wanted to see how all my other friends were doing so I totally forgot this player’s name.
Game 1: He turn 1 blind Felgrands using 1 Lonefire (opened both) and a Soul Charge; I opened Onslaught and Breakthrough, he had no response to Breakthrough during his standby and no follow-up, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear and Garunix put in quick wins.
Game 2: He opens Kuribandit and doesn’t have any relevant Sylvans go off and grabs either an MST or Charity. During my turn, I Tenki add Bear and start poking then set multiple backrow; he has no way to stop my advantage and I win quick again.
Round 3: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs. ??? (Piper Chaos)
This was probably the most bizarre match of the weekend, all things considered. I was thinking going into it “Well, now all the big boys are in the tournament now” and was trying to reason through how it was going to work for the rest of Swiss with tie breakers for byes.
Game 1: He wins die roll, decides to go second; causing major intrigue and concern on my part. I open Myrmeleo, search Bottomless, set it and Breakthrough then end. His turn he normal summons Piper, I have the Breakthrough and essentially win right there on his first turn.
Game 2: His engine never gets going, I win quick again and wonder who he faced the previous two rounds to get to this point.
Round 4: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs ??? (Spellbooks)
Game 1: I brick hard, BEYOND hard. I try and struggle through it and almost make a comeback but a late game world nuke and me being low on life seals it.
Game 2: crescent into secrets into master into fate; he ends with fate, another backrow, Dimensional Fissure, Magician, and Grand Spellbook Tower. My turn I’m hating that D-Fissure because I actually open Onslaught and Tenki! I think about it then make my play: get Barong out from Onslaught, activate Tenki, search Bear, and summon Bear to which he’s forced to respond with Fate which, in my mind, solidifies that his other is a pure bluff. I lance the Bear which makes him banish the Barong which would have already been banished at the End Phase attack over magician, no spellcasters for Tower; ridiculous opening countered!
Game 3: He opens double World going first, I open decent; quick game and I feel sad for him with the dead Worlds in hand.
Round 5: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Kevin Klein (HAT)
Kevin is a player I’ve seen at top tables before, a little attitude problem but he adjusts and is friendly once you aren’t in a match with him.
Game 1: He stalls with Hands for a bit, I believe he fire hands or Moralltachs, a Barong which just makes everything too easy from there on out. Garunix simply wrecks anything this deck has beyond D-prison and a 101 via Traptrix Dionaea. There’s not much to talk about when the card simply laughs at everything in the H.A.T. deck.
Game 2: This is my “screw it, go for broke” game. I made questionable plays that were way above my usual level of aggression and the results are hilarious with me still winning. I attacked into 2 Memory of an Adversaries blind with Bujintei Kagutsuchi causing the following knowledge: Solemn Warning can negate Memory of an Adversary because Memory states that it will Special Summon a monster at a specific time, similar to Future Fusion versus Solemn Warning . The second one is that if the monster attacking into Memory is then affected by Forbidden Lance, the player who activated Memory of an Adversary will still take the damage because card effects have to try to resolve as much as possible.
Round 6: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Ned Salkovitch (HAT)
Much respect to Ned for being able to shake my hand after this one; Yaksha pokes and having to use Torrential Tribute and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare on Garunix just to survive has to be a very frustrating situation.
Round 7: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Matthew Nistico (HAT)
This was supposed to be a written feature match but I fear that it will never go onto Alter Reality Game’s page because it hasn’t been uploaded almost a week later. I thought this was going to be the round I lose, he’s brimming with confidence and I’m feeling like fate has been too kind.
Game 1: He smiles when he sees what I’m playing, he played the deck at nationals and knows everything it can do and its limitations. I believe I pull this one through based on the match-up alone because popping Barong with Moralltach is worse than using Moralltach’s effect at all. I’m filled with fear that he’s going to have a good side and logical side against me; something I .
Game 2: He had a strong opening, I had nearly nothing to stop any of his cards ever. I start to reset my mind back to square one of having confidence to win this match-up and hope everything goes well.
Game 3: Lots of drawn spells and traps for both of us this whole match, I am stuck with a myrmeleo as my only monster for what seems like forever just hoping and hoping that I can somehow win this match. Apparently we both have that same situation because we passed back and forth for 5 turns at one point. When I rip a Yaksha off the top deck I’m forced to go for a soul charge for one play with my only Myrmeleo in grave summoned before the Yaksha to hit his searched out bottomless from his opening turn. I summon Lavalval Chain with Myrmeleo and Yaksha to stack Wolfbark and pray that it resolves and somehow it does! Next turn once the Kagutsuchi comes out I keep poking with it along with protection for it if he has the Dimensional Prison and I win with my MVP of the weekend and this match-up. It turns out he was bluffing a Moralltach as a true backrow along with 2 others that Ignition forced to set and I believe a Torrential that came too late. We both walk away with a lot of respect for each other and hoping that both of us continue to do well.
Round 8: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs. Sehabi Kheireddine (Infernities… loljk, Mermails)
I am not going to complain about the Head Judge’s decision to give me a game loss even though my copies, ARG’s copies, and another Fire King player’s copies of 2x Garunix, 2x Circle, 1x Barong, 3x Onslaught all had a small amount of bend (ARG moreso even) caused by Konami’s production and them having to make a judgement call on the situation to get the tournament moving along; I am not going to complain about the fact that a fan I had over the weekend revealed my deck to my opponent before the match even began; I’m not going to complain that when asked about his deck, to even said fan’s comments ruining any advantage I had, he lied and said Infernities. The only thing I am going to be really upset over about this is the fact that: I’m at table 1, round 8, and undefeated with Fire Kings of all decks against one of the best players in the game today (and the eventual winner) and I can’t get a damn livestream feature match.
Game 1: Lolphysics, apparently.
Game 2: non-optimal hand and no siding versus 2x SoulCharge and him always seeming to open Genex Undine sending AtlanteanDragoons. I fight back on the first Soul Charge by Book of Mooning his special summoned Dragoons and restricting his ability to special summon level 7’s but when the second Soul Charge comes down a turn later I know I’m finished.
Round 9: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs. ??? (Madolche)
Game 1: I believe we pass back and forth a couple of turns, it gets to a point where he is only one card higher than me and I hit him with an Exciton + Garunix out of nowhere. He can’t recover with his Ticket, Chateau, and multiple Madolches going down in a single card effect.
Game 2: Tenki + Onslaught opening just does its thing and him having no monsters to save himself; I believe I go into the safe play of Kagutsuchi and Garunix a turn later after getting a Wolfbark off of the Bear’s Tenki. It’s hard to write more when the match ends so quickly within the 2nd or 3rd turn. Most people don’t realize how much of a hit that Garunix and Bear cause in the first turn if you do not have an answer to them.
End the day in 5th place, not bad for a guy with a “non-tier” deck and no byes going into it.
Round 10: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Parker Roberson (Infernities)
Oh lord, what a wake up siren. Parker and I played against each other in the 1K in 1 Day at Milwaukee where I top decked Dark Hole with Onslaught in hand against Geargia to cancel his Soul Charge for 5 in game 3. He’s playing the deck I’ve been much too lucky against everytime I’ve played against it.
Game 1 & 2: we trade off, I believe in one of them I Maxx “C” his intro combo to force him to not go as hard and have strong follow up.
Game 3: He goes first, has a Soul Charge play, I don’t attempt to D.D. Crow or Maxx “C” from the beginning so he knows they aren’t there. He controls some level 4 monster and double Lavalval Chain with Archfiend in hand; he goes to remove Stygian Street Patrol for the Archfiend, I Skull Meister the Street Patrol…dead Archfiend in hand, dead combo, and dead Break/Barrier if those are set as well; all gone to nothing. My turn, I already had his favorite card in hand; activate Dark Hole. Activate Tenki and win from there; I’m locked into topping, the 6 hour van ride made worth it thanks to Skull Meister being there when I needed it.
Round 11: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Frazier Smith (KAT)
We’re both in good spirits after knowing there’s no chance of us being out of top 32; because of this reason and knowing that the only way to beat players like Frazier is to attempt to catch them off guard, I try to side different cards than my usual thought process to see if they will be worth it again if we have to face in the single elimination bracket.
Game 1: He simplifies the game state to a Garunix with no backrow then summons BLS out of nowhere that he’s had since turn 1 and seeming to have an endless supply of card advantage.
Game 2: Remember those questionable side cards I referred to? Yeah, they were a bad idea. I simply could not get anything going and could not draw a monster to save my life.
Finish in 6th, and do the math in my head (you and your opponent will add up to 33) to figure out who I’m playing against. I like the match-up when my friend Zach Savignano tells me what I’m playing against as I have yet to lose to it in a tournament after believing it to be one of my worst match-ups for the longest time.
Top 32: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Matt Forte (T.G. Madolche)
Game 1: I freaking MindControl a face-down monster thinking it’d be a Hand when I remember the whole “Madolche can only fit T.G. or Hands, not both” thing. It gets balanced out later in the game when he Goyo Guardians into Garunix and activates Goyo’s effect, cl1 Goyo, cl2 Garunix, Garunix brings out Barong and Garunix goes to his side in defense, I attack into Garunix with Barong during my turn, bring out Yaksha, overlay for 101 and now had a live Wolfbark into mad pluses.
Game 2: I do not relent on attacking, it gets to a point where he tries to Fiendish Chain Kagutsuchi and I have the Fairy Wind to answer.
I’m more stoked than I’ve been all weekend, I’m able to relax, go to the bathroom, talk with friends, and just have a good time while waiting for the other matches to finish. I go up to the bracket and see that I’m going against Dalton Bousman which causes any player who’s faced him to tell me to “not allow him to distract me and just play my usual game.” After waiting for what seemed like 2 hours of waiting on other matches, setting up brackets, pictures, deck checks, resleeving, and seeing your opponent’s deck list we’re able to start. I am very tired and overall frustrated that I had to wait this long just to play again.
Top 16: Scott Sheahan (Fire Kings) vs Dalton Bousman (Geargia Artifacts)
Game 1: he summons arsenal, tributes for armor, and set’s two. I activate tenki, add bear, summon bear, he responds to the summon with bottomless, I chain lance. I take a minute then pick-up my bear and attack into armor without activating Bear’s effect… SCRUB ALERT! It causes an overall advantage swing of +2 that should have been in my favor. Luckily, after grinding out for a long time, in order to get rid of Garunix he is forced to soul charge for 4 into Gear Gigant X and Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk to remove the Garunix that would be re-summoned in my standby phase, then attaches number 80 to Gigant. During my turn I normal summon Wolfbark, activate effect then realize rather than going for the standard 101 play to keep him from getting Gigant’s effect, because he has no level 3 Geargia cards in grave the best play would be to summon Number 103: Ragnazero to get a free draw as well. Ragnazero resolves and a scoop promptly follows in his turn. I turned A HUGE mistake into it being a non-factor and completely turning the match around. My confidence level is at an unhealthy level against a player of this caliber, not good!
Game 2: He’s been doing mental games; I’m a scrub and forget to side in acid trap holes because my usual calm composure is gone by his actions in game 1 regarding open game state, taking long silent moments before having a response, and abusing battle step mechanics to do an unconventional Book Of Moon even after I asked if he’s passing priority to respond to the attack or battle step then acting like he didn’t when the judge was casually watching and not paying attention to the situation.. It got to a point where he was hitting me with armors, got a Dimensional Fissure, and I never drew another monster.
Game 3: one trap and no Myrmeleo in 12 draws, he has the easily read Soul Charge to board me for game and the Wiretap for the Trap Hole Nightmare to 101 on Garunix from an Onslaught I topdecked the previous turn. I was looking at a 2-outer of Soul Charge or Onslaught on the last turn and finally drew an AcidTrap Hole.
I walk out with a $250 credit, a flight voucher, and a whole lot of requests for the decklist. Some people will naturally call me a sack and others will call it a good meta call; I’ll just call it another weekend of playing Fire Kings and being around friends. Speaking of friends, shoutouts to Silver, the Goon Squad (Jay and Tubbz), The Cleveland 6, and especially to my fellow members of Team eZreadZ; you all helped in your own way to make me be able to get through the weekend and keep believing that I could do what I set out to do on the weekend.