Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Deck Analysis: Top 4 Decks from YGOrganization's 2nd Tourney

For one of the first times since May, YuGiOh has been graced by an event not plagued by Dragon Rulers.  Today, we're going to be taking a look at the top 4 decklists from the most recent YGOrganziation tourney. If you haven't already, check out our in-depth analysis regarding the overall meta of the event. Also, be sure to give the kind folks at YGOrganization a greeting! They graciously provided the decklists to me and are responsible for helping me produce the content you've come to enjoy on Know the Meta. Anyways, without further ado, I present to you the top 4 decklists for YGOrg's 2nd Tourney.

While Mermails accounted for half of the tourney’s top 4, they only managed to secure the bottom half. Despite Mermail’s success in the tourney, we actually saw two seperate variants of the deck top: Sorosh Saberian and Bobby Barone’s Abyssocea Mermails along with the standard Mono Mermail build. So what sets these builds apart and more importantly, what information can we take from these decklists going into the new format?

Klajdi Capnage’s 4th Place Mermail Deck
Klajdi Capnage’s 4th place Mermail deck is unsurprising at a first glance.  However, I was interested when I saw both Abyssocea and Deep Sea Diva crammed into one deck. Early last format, players acknowledged Deep Sea Diva’s power and versatility but ultimately decided that the Extra Deck commitment Deep Sea Diva required was not sufficiently mitigated by Diva’s usefulness.  Capnage didn’t solve this issue but cutting down the synchro commitment in his Extra Deck, rather he decided to remove all superfluos XYZs. Thus, we’re left with an Ocea build that only runs one rank 3 monster and 2 rank 4 monsters. He chose to ditch appealing options such as Number 47 (especially notable due Bahamut Shark’s prominent role in this deck), Number 101, and Exciton Knight and instead focused on a clear cut strategy. When he needed a Rank 4, he reached for Bahamut.  When he needed a Rank 3, he reached for Mechquipped Agineer. Clearly, this simple but effective strategy was strong enough to propel Capnage to the top 4 of the tourney. Besides Diva and his finely tuned Extra Deck, there are plenty of other innovations to be found with Capnage’s build as well. The most striking decision he made was the choice to cut Aqua Spirit down to two. This could be viewed as counter-intuitive; after all, Aqua Spirit plays a vital role in the Bahamut Shark and Mechquipped Agineer combo we’re all so used to seeing. However, Capnage’s logic behind the choice is sound. Aqua Spirit is a dead card on its own, something that is especially problematic in a deck that already focuses on combos involving multiple cards. In an effort to increase consistency, cutting down Spirit to 2 seems like the right decision to make, especially for this event. It is, however, important to note that in a meta with more Mermails (or other graveyard reliant decks), it may be more viable to run Spirit at 3 due to the increased access to Abyss Dweller it provides.  Another peculiar aspect regarding Capnage’s deck is his trap line-up.  It certainly looks like Capnage had no issue filling that last spot he gained by taking out the third Aqua Spirit! Many duelists criticize the Mermail deck for its lack of defense and inability to disrupt the opponent’s plays. Capnage decided to alleviate this issue by running a slew of one-of trap cards to bolster his defense.  With one Solemn Warning, one Bottomless Trap Hole, one Torrential Tribute, and one Compulsory Evacuation Device, Capnage was able to not only establish a strong board but also protect that board with a level of defense not seen in the Mermail deck in a long time.  Capnage’s side deck seems straightforward.  He decided to run three-ofs of 5 cards: Effect Veiler, Maxx “C”, Dust Tornado, Light-Imprisoning Mirror, and Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror.  Devoting half of his main deck to the mirrors seems to have been a mistake (barely a quarter of the decks in the event were light or dark based) but this mistake seems to have barely impacted Capnage’s success.  It’s notable to point out that Capnage devoted three dust tornados to his sideboard, despite the three MSTs he runs in his main.  Perhaps Capnage was worried about a flurry of degenerate flood gate cards.

Zachary Jones's 3rd Place Mermail Deck
While Zachary Jones topped the even with a Mermail deck as well, his deck is unique from Capnage’s in a plethora of ways. First up, Jones chose to cut the Ocea and play Fishborg Archer instead.  Archer is lauded within the Mermail community as a card that can create situations where nearly any top deck is a good one for the Mermail duelist.  However, many poeple find it to be a dead draw and card that only provides utility when you’re losing.  However, Jones was able to pilot the card to success; perhaps Archer was able to turn those losing situations around for Zachary over the duration of the event. Jones also chose to run 2 Mermail Abyssgundes, instead of 3.  Gunde has the infamous “Once Per Turn” clause that prevents it from being used multiple times within the same turn, regardless of which copy of the card you’re using.  Jones’s build makes up for the third Mermail Abyssgunde by including a lone copy of Salvage instead.  Salvage’s utility in Mermails is one of the largest unrated aspects of the deck.  Jones is able to reuse all of his lower-leveled water monsters, including the limited Deep Sea Diva!  For protection, Jones took a different route compared to that of Capnage.  Instead, Jones ran two Mirror Forces, two Effect Veilers and one Maxx “C”.  This was a rather bold choice due to the limited usefulness of each of those cards depending on the matchup.  It’s difficult to say whether or not this form of protection is the right way to go for Mermails, regardless, it clearly worked for Jones and he has the tournament results to prove it.  That alone should at least make this protection line-up a discussion worth considering. Like Capnage, Jones’s extra deck includes a myriad of backrow hate, despite the three main decked MSTs. Instead of a playset of Dust Tornadoes however, Jones decided to go with a pair of Tornadoes, a playset of Royal Decrees and a lone Eradicator Epidemic Virus.  He devoted a full third of his side deck to spell/trap removal! If Capnage seemed overly paranoid to you, Jones must look like a nutjob! At least, that was my sentiment upon first examining Jones’s sidedeck. However, the logic seems sound upon further inspection. Spell and Trap removal is paramount this format, whether it’s hitting Spellbook of Fates in the end phase, cutting of The Grand Spellbook Tower, or even preventing your opponent from getting that Tenki search off.  Eradicator Epidemic Virus seems a little out of place, especially as this deck struggles to make Number 11: Big Eye (his only target) as consistently due to the limitation of Tidal.  However, it’s difficult to ignore the sheer power this card brings to the table.  Resolving an Eradicator against the right deck can often end the game right there.  Creature Swap was a card that also seemed out place, until I considered its variety of uses. Swapping a Mermail Abysslinde for a Bujin Yamato (bypassing the Bujingi Turtle) is genius.  Jones most likely saw this card’s utility in James Guerrero’s Mermail deck that topped a regional last format. It’s these sort of clever innovative techs that keep older decks such as Mermails alive and viable for the current meta.

Nick Lloyd's 2nd Place Fire Fist Deck
Nick Lloyd’s Fire Fist deck took the tournament by storm, coming in at a very respectable 2nd place. Many people underestimated the various additions the Fire Fist deck has received over the past year.  This isn’t the same grind deck that was second rate back in the March 2013 format, rather, this is a deck with a wide variety of explosive plays as well as a plethora of defensive options that leave the opposing player locked out of the game.  Lloyd’s build is as straightforward as Fire Fist strategies get, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  This tried and true strategy only gains merit with the addition of Evilswarm Exciton Knight and with the countless rank 4 strategies this deck employs, it’s unsurprising that Lloyd’s Extra Deck is primarily composed of Rank 4 monsters.  Three Tensus, Three Brotherhood of the Fire Fist- Dragons, and Three Wolfbarks allow Lloyd to effectively toolbox his extra deck.  By including Brotherhood of the Fire Fist- Boar in his main deck as well, Lloyd was also able to go into Crimson Blader. It’s very odd to see the inclusion of Scrap Dragon in the extra deck since Boar’s condition prevents it from being used as synchro material for any non-fire type synchro monster (this is a condition that cannot be negated by cards like Wolfbark).  This was most likely something Lloyd overlooked while he was building his deck and I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he did not make Scrap Dragon illegally during the event.  Besides Scrap Dragon, the inclusion of two Abyss Dwellers is also very peculiar.  Dweller is a fantastic card in the right match-ups and Lloyd’s success against Mermails in the top 4 is a testament.  Having access to the second Dweller follows the same logic Dragon Ruler players used for two Crimson Bladers last format: it’s a card that wins games on its own and is often unexpected in multiples.

In his side deck, Lloyd opted to run Banisher of the Radiance over Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure.  This is a strategy that has been employed by Fire Fist players since the deck’s release last year so I won’t dwell on this for too long, I just thought the inclusion was notable enough to warrant a mention.  The most odd thing in Lloyd’s side deck is the inclusion of Retort. Although this card was clearly put in for the mirror match, it’s hard to gauge how useful it was due to the fact that Lloyd faced no other Fire Fist players during the tourney.  Retort is, however, and interesting tech to keep your eyes one.  I expect to see more of it down the road.

Mohammad Al-Sabah's 1st Place Prophecy Deck
Taking first place, we have none other than Prophecy.  Mohammad Al-Sabah (better known as The Mansh on various forums and other websites) piloted the deck straight to the top with his innovative Priestess-less Stoic build.  We have an article regarding Prophecy coming up in the near future, so I won’t dive into too much detail here but I do want to cover some of the peculiarities of the deck.  First off, the lack of Priestess completely shocked me.  We’ve seen Priestess-less builds succeed in the past back when Kycoo could stun the majority of your match-ups but we’ve never seen it cut out completely without Kycoo. To get an explanation for this, I went straight to the source and asked Al-Sabah.  To him, “Priestess just doesn’t provide the advantage World does”.  Instead of choosing the precision High Priestess of Prophecy offers, Al-Sabah decided to go with the less-consistent but much more powerful field nuking The World offered.  Al-Sabah elaborated and said, “...the only times [Prophecy] loses is when you draw unplayable and I feel priestess [SIC] might contribute to that,”.  While it’s unclear why Al-Sabah found drawing into World more beneficial than drawing into Priestess, it’s apparent that Al-Sabah’s increased access to the World proved beneficial during his matches throughout the tourney.  Being able to resolve a Temperance into World twice can oftentimes create a momentum swing that is impossible for your opponent to recover from. Removing Priestess also allowed him to remove Justice of Prophecy, two spots that he filled with Stoic of Prophecy.  Stoic provides access to Temperance to turbo into World even more quickly and even more consistently.  Because it’s a level 1 card, Tower has access to it every time it’s destroyed and sent to the graveyard (barring any missing the timing shenanigans).  Once again, we see an innovative and clever tech choice propelling an otherwise stale strategy to the top of the competitive scene.  Al-Sabah was the only person to go against the curve and run Prophecies with Stoics and two World of Prophecies in lieu of more traditional builds that included either High Priestess of Prophecy, Justice of Prophecy, or both.  Besides the wide variety of discard outlets Al-Sabah played (three Rageki Breaks and ttwo Divine Wraths were perfect for discarding dead World of Prophecies, dead Spellbook LIbrary of the Crescents and Stoic of Prophecies), there’s not much to say about Al-Sabah’s main deck.  In the side deck, we once again see Retort, a card that is undoubtedly paramount in the mirror match.  Disrupting your opponent’s plays while simultaneously setting up for your own is a strategy that made Mystical Refpanel so popular early on this past format.

Anyways, that’s all for now.  Thanks so much for reading! Once again, I’d like to thank YGOrganization for sharing their decklists with our site.  We look forward to continue working with them in the future!  Stay tuned for more competitive analysis soon.  This format is just getting started and we have plenty of topics to discuss before YCS Sydney.


  1. came here from the organization! great job! your posts are really well done!

  2. just an aesthetics suggestion, try to separate your lines of text somehow, it's harder to read if they're all together like that. good read though.

  3. Hello!

    A great read, just, could you please set line height to a little bit more? Something like 1.4? This is sometimes really hard to read! :(

  4. Pretty sure Stoic doesn't miss timing.