This past weekend was YCS Toronto and YCS Madrid, the first two Konami-official premiere event of the post-DUEA format. While the decklists are still slowly trickling in, one thing is slowly becoming clear: the top players seemed to have been siding a whole lot of the same cards. So today, my goal is to discuss a handful of the cards that seemed to be popping up at the top tables in Toronto this past weekend.
The first card I’d like to point out is arguably one of the more interesting card choices from this past weekend. For a lot of players, it was just a matter of time until And The Band Played On gained some momentum, and this weekend was definitely the card’s breakout event. And the Band Played On is amazing because of how it can absolutely shut down both Satellarknights and Burning Abyss decks, among other lower-tier decks. Like I said before, this card was sleeping for the longest time, waiting for an opportunity to actually see play; since most decks only mainboard the three Mystical Space Typhoon and sideboard very little trap removal, floodgate cards like this are becoming more and more effective. As to be expected, And the Band Played On popped up mostly in Shaddoll decks, since it doesn’t clash with their deck strategy. While 3rd place Ruo ChenMo, Top 8 Ali Yassine, and Top 16 Claude Stevens Doiron all opted to play two copies of ATBPO this past weekend, it’s clear from some of the Top 32 lists that people were definitely experimenting with the number of copies of this card in the side.
The next card is one of the best blowout cards of modern Yu-Gi-Oh!. While Malevolent Catastrophe has seen some occasional play within the past few years, it’s once again picking up in momentum for this format. Since most players only have the three copies of Mystical Space Typhoon to initially deal with cards like Vanity’s Emptiness and ATBPO, players are almost required to sideboard some sort of extra removal. The fact that you can potentially go +4 off of Mal Cat during the late game is absolutely bonkers. This card punishes cocky players, and is definitely a card that you’re going to want to actively play around, because it’s everywhere. This past weekend, Shaddoll players Ruo ChenMo (3rd Place), Mario De Micco (Top 8) and Ali Yassine (Top 8) all played three copies of this card. Honestly, Mal Cal is just one of those cards that is too good to pass up. It punishes bad players so easily that it can generate card advantage purely on its own.
While Mal Cat was popular this weekend, it wasn’t the only way that players were dealing with the massive amount of traps in this format. In addition to playing the situational blowout Mal Cat, players also opted to play numerous copies of Royal Decree in their sideboards. Since Royal Decree is a lot more chainable than Mal Cat, one could almost put it on a similar level with Mystical Space Typhoon. Your opponent flips Vanity’s Emptiness when you’re trying to special summon? Flip Decree! Trying to push for game, but you’re worried about the D. Prison? Flip Decree! Although some people opted to play other types of removal like Twister, Wiretap and Jinzo, this card is almost too good to pass up.
Another card that has been sleeping until this most recent format is Chain Disappearance. The last time this card saw a major amount of play was back during Dino-Rabbit, when we would use it to either hit the Rescue Rabbit or the Tour Guide. But that was years ago. This format, Chain Disappearance actively puts in an equal amount of work; it’s ability to hit most of the important cards in the Burning Abyss deck makes this an instant blowout card for that matchup. In addition, you can Chain Disappearance other important cards, like an opposing Shaddoll Falco. When you resolve a Chain Disappearance on a Burning Abyss player’s Tour Guide, you basically shut them down for the rest of the game; yes, Chain Disappearance is that brutal. This card popped up in every major deck’s sideboard, this isn’t the type of card that clashes like ATBPO does. This card mostly popped up in twos and threes in people’s sideboards, like in 3rd place Ruo ChenMo’s Shaddolls, where he opted to play three.
The last sideboard card that saw significant play this past weekend is Super Polymerization. This card is pretty self-explanatory: It’s awesome because it’s not only good in Shaddolls, but it also beats up Shaddolls. Most of the Shaddoll decks that topped YCS Toronto were playing three copies of Super Polymerization somewhere in their deck; for instance, Ruo ChenMo (3rd Place) and Ali Yassine (Top 8) mainboarded two copies and sided the third, while Claude Stevens Doiron (Top 16) mainboarded a single copy and sided the other two.
While these sideboard cards popped up pretty often at the top tables, they weren’t the only cards present. For example, 5th place Robert Martin decided to play two copies of The Monarchs Stormforth paired with two Caius the Shadow Monarch to deal with card removal in his Shaddoll sideboard, while our own Galo Orbea (Top 32) played a single copy of Jinzo to easily turn off his opponent’s backrow. In addition, there were a handful of Maxx “C”s and Effect Veilers in people’s sideboards, which is especially interesting because typically in a format, one card or the other is more dominant. More recently though players have been playing several copies of both, typically opting for two and two.
Even though this format is almost over, it is very obvious that this format has been constantly shifting as the playerbase becomes more comfortable with the new DUEA archetypes. You can see that we’ve evolved from Light-Imprisoning Mirror and opted for And the Band Played On, and it’s obvious that players need more removal than just three Mystical Space Typhoon. Of course, players are all free to come up with independent solutions for issues that opposing decks might cause them issues, however, it is clear that some cards solve problems significantly better than others.