Friday, 10 February 2012

A sign of things to come - YCS Atlanta

Hi guys, YCS Atlanta is imminent with YCS Guadalajara finishing recently. The winner of the Mexican tournament was Oscar Zavala, piloting what many duelists now consider to be a weak deck - Six Samurai. I cannot say for sure why Six Samurais won in a format where Wind-Ups, Inzektors and Dino Rabbit are not hindered by the banlist, but I can probably hazard a guess and say that it's because Mexico doesn't have a hold of all the powerful, rare cards needed for the top decks. That's not to say that Six Samurai is a weak deck though, even with Gateway being limited, the Samurais have gained support in Asceticism of the Six Samurai that still pumps out the early Shi Ens. But this post is not about Six Samurais, rather what we can expect at YCS Atlanta.

We have talked about Maxx "C" and Effect Veiler already. I expect every meta deck that tops YCS Atlanta to run both, probably three copies of Maxx "C" and at least one Effect Veiler. The reason for this is Maxx "C" stops the Wind-Up loop cold, as it allows you to draw more cards than the Wind-Up player can mill from your hand. Veiler also prevents their Ignition effects from being used. Veiler also stops Inzektors, the other strong archetype of this format, as well as Dino Rabbit. Keep an eye out for the kind of plays that the top players initiate with these hand traps - the ubiquity of the cards means that some interesting counterplays will be seen too. One of my favourite plays to force out Maxx C is to Summon Tour Guide into Sangan, and simply set back row. I'll leave with my +1 while my opponent has dropped Maxx C just to draw another.
One of the most powerful cards of the format

It was interesting to see that in Top 16 at Guadalajara, 5, or just over a quarter of the decks were of the Wind-Up archetype. This was consistent with the 9 pure Wind-Up decks found in the top 32. However, no Wind-Up decks were found in the top 4, instead Inzektors represented two of the Top 4 decks, with one falling to Zavala and his Samurais in the final. I expect Wind-Ups to top Atlanta, however, as I feel that the North American Yu-Gi-Oh! community is much more aware of the power of the Wind-Ups.

Agents have always been the dark horse - people are aware of their power, and they are expected to be hit by the banlist due to the power of their boss monsters. However, the solitary Agent deck at Guadalajara was a Fairy-based one, as opposed to Chaos Agents or T.G. Agents. I think the Chaos variant will top Atlanta, since it does not care too much about the Wind-Up matchup. While Hunter is capable of killing 4 cards in hand (until Daigusto Emeral is released in the TCG), Chaos Agents are capable of topdecking strong cards like Tour Guide from the Underworld, Chaos Sorcerer, Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, Archlord Kristya and Master Hyperion, all of which can turn a duel around even with card disadvantage.

I am looking forward to the performance of Ninjas and Karakuris, considered to be second-tier decks. I feel that the Ninja engine hasn't been fully fleshed out yet, the fact that they have 3 Stratos equivalents in every deck should be enough to have them considered viable in competitive play.

It's hard to deny that with the release of Wind-Ups, the game is becoming a diceroll. However, smart players will be able to play around them, as seen at Guadalajara. I am very excited for YCS Atlanta, and as it is the last YCS in which Wind-Ups, Inzektors, Dino Rabbit and Agents are untouched, we should see what may be the last, most refined variants of those deck types. A lot of players couldn't find a way to improve Dino Rabbit after Ping Xiao's performance at Brighton, for example. However, the North American community should be able to build upon the knowledge they gained from Brighton and Guadalajara to give us a good show.

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