Exploring the Format: Koa’ki Meiru Drago Rulers

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Regardless of what the best deck in the format may be, it’s often a strategy based around either Light or Dark monsters. The Satellarknight deck invests minimally for big gains, and slowly closes its grip on your opponent’s throat with efficient traps. Both Burning Abyss and Shaddolls are significantly more combo-oriented, with high-impact synergies driving big plays that usually make winning pretty easy if they work. So with a format focusing on those three centerpieces, how can you best take … Continue reading

Crazy For DUEA: Black Garden Benkei

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In two weeks the Advanced Format will roll over into the October 1st list, but as I’m writing this we have no idea what that new Format will actually look like. I’m personally expecting the next play environment to look a lot like this one: right now we’ve got three top decks, none of which are degenerate and all of which emanate from Duelist Alliance. If I was calling the shots, I’d be pretty happy with the state of things … Continue reading

Analyzing Options: Shaddolls

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Like most things, I try to approach Yu-Gi-Oh! as logically as possible. If I can draw rational conclusions that make sense logically, than the theory should be correct and that’s how things should work out in practice, right? That’s actually something I’m not quite sure of anymore; not because I don’t still believe that. But recently I’ve felt my logical conclusions have been very different from the real-world results I’ve been seeing in testing. As I’m writing this YCS Toronto, … Continue reading

Exploring the Format: Burning Abyss

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I talk about hype quite a lot, especially after a set releases with newer decks that may have a big impact on competition. Hype is actually one of the most important factors when it comes to assessing what you think will be played at a given tournament. Looking at the initial hype that the strategies from Duelist Alliance had I would’ve put Shaddolls way above the rest of the new themes, but as more and more tournament results pour in … Continue reading

Solving The Pendulum Problem, And Building Pendulum Gadgets

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If you break down Duelist Alliance card by card you’ll start to see some distinct patterns across the set’s over-arching design. One of my favorite is the “Buy Now, Money Back Later” type effect, embodied by some of the set’s key cards. Stellarnova Alpha has an activation cost requiring you to send a monster to the graveyard, but once it resolves it’s effectively free in terms of card economy. You lose the monster you send away (a -1), and you … Continue reading

Building Batterymen!

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HAT’s, SAT’s, BAT’s… deck names these days seem to be imitating the uniformity of 1st-grade rhyme books. But with Artifacts, Traptrix and Hands’ incredibly adaptable and easy to splash into other strategies, it’s almost difficult to avoid adopting at least some of those acronyms when you go to build a deck. And it makes sense. Instead of traditional backrow, cards like the Artifacts supplement the role of traditional defensive spell and trap lineups for decks that can benefit heavily from … Continue reading

Exploring the Format – Satellarknights

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As different formats have come and gone, we’ve seen quite a few control strategies become the number one “deck to beat” of their eras. The +1 Fire Fist deck and Geargia variants of past formats are great examples: they both used effects that gain you a ton of card economy, while playing efficient reactive cards to keep the game. The scariest part about these types of strategies though is how consistent they are: if you happened to draw a poor … Continue reading

Analyzing Differences: Shaddolls – OCG Vs. TCG

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With Duelist Alliance now released in the TCG, we can finally play the strategy that’s basically been the deck to beat since its release in Asia’s OCG: Shaddolls. Quite possibly the most hyped competitive force since Dragon Rulers and Prophecy, the Shaddoll deck’s a graveyard-centric Dark strategy that gets a ton of bonuses when each of its monsters are sent to the yard by a card effect. Unlike other less consistent graveyard strategies – I’m looking at you, Lightsworn – … Continue reading

Crazy For DUEA: Fresh Prince Skull Servants!

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Duelist Alliance is fascinating from a competitive perspective, because it introduces three new themes that could all turn out to be tournament-level strategies. As I write this, DUEA is tournament-legal for the first time this weekend, and players across the globe are taking Shaddolls, Satellarknights, and Yang Zings to tournaments hoping that their strategy’s the next big thing. One, or maybe two competitive front-runners in a new set? We’ve seen that before, though most named themes tend to start off … Continue reading

Exploring the Format: Prophecy

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I write about Prophecy a few times every year, pretty much for one reason: it’s very difficult to lose when you’re playing Prophey and draw well. Sure, any deck can win the games where they get a tremendous opening hand, but I’m using the term “draw well” pretty loosely here. A good hand for Prophecy is basically any ahnd that lets you do something, whether that be Spellbook of Secrets and a Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, or just a Justice … Continue reading