Table-Toppers : Kevin Wong | The Irish Duelist

Table-Toppers : Kevin Wong

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On the 25th of July a major unofficial event took place in Manchester, England. The UkayPro Championship was the natural successor to the famous 'Battle City' events in the country from previous years and the closest thing that most European players would get to a Shonen Jump Championship this year. 211 players attended and many predictions were made; Lightsworn dominating the event (the archetype took nine spots in the Top 16), famous faces doing well and 'more of the same' with regards to what players were expecting to play against.

One duelist took the familiarity of the format and used it to his advantage, making shock impressions throughout the day. That duelist was Kevin Wong from Ireland and here's the deck that was taking down the meta all weekend:


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Monsters: 19
3 Thunder King Rai-Oh
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
2 Banisher of the Radiance
2 Krebons
2 Jinzo
1 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Chaos Sorcerer
1 Cyber Dragon
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1 D.D. Warrior Lady
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Sangan

Spells: 14
2 Allure of Darkness
2 Rush Recklessly
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Emergency Teleport
1 Smashing Ground
1 Monster Reborn
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Brain Control
1 Mind Control
1 Heavy Storm
1 Scapegoat
1 Shrink

Traps: 8
3 Solemn Judgment
1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
1 Crush Card Virus
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Karma Cut


Side Deck: 15
2 Ryko Lightsworn Hunter
2 Brain Golem
1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
1 Old Vindictive Magician
1 Time Wizard
1 Kuriboh
2 Dimensional Fissure
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Threatening Roar
1 Magic Cylinder

Extra Deck: 15
2 Stardust Dragon
2 Black Rose Dragon
2 Dark Strike Fighter
2 Iron Chain Dragon
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Thought Ruler Archfiend
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Blackwing Armor Master
1 Psychic Lifetrancer
1 Goyo Guardian
1 Magical Android


Many players try and beat the opposition by 'teching' individual cards in their top tier deck but this deck attempted to take it to the next level. The entire deck is full of tech designed to take down the main decks of the format and while it doesn't look like much on paper the whole thing came together on the day and scored some big wins, most notably taking down the 2009 UK National Champion (Nathan Pang) in the Round 5 feature match.

Looking at the monsters it combines some of the 'old reliables' from TeleDaD with many monsters usually found in Gadget, 'Stun' and other anti-meta builds. The three Thunder King Rai-Oh shut down the basic Synchro Summon mechanic, while also taking down Judgment Dragon, Gladiator Beast Gyzarus and Dark Armed Dragon. The 1900 beatstick also has the added benefit of shutting down Lightsworn's key spell Charge of the Light Brigade, as well as Black Whirlwind, cutting off potential Blackwing swarms.

Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer and Banisher of the Radiance build on the difficulties proposed by Thunder King and make any Grave-reliant deck a nightmare to run. Kycoo's main benefit is shutting down the Necro Gardnas that Lightsworn depend on and then removing them for extra hurt. It must be noted at this stage that Lightsworn sees a lot more play in Europe than it does in North America, usually taking up 50-60% of the meta at any given event. Banisher of the Radiance also poses many problems for Lightsworn players, shutting down Honest, Charge and tampering with the 'milling' mechanic that the deck loves to abuse. It also forces Cat Synchro players to get rid of it before dropping their Rescue Cat while also damaging any Pot of Avarice setups.

The pair of Jinzos is a surprise addition as most anti-meta builds tend to rely on their trap lineup. In this though, they kill off any potential turnarounds and shut off some of the decks major weaknesses (namely Bottomless Trap Hole and Crush Card Virus) before they could become a threat. A Lightsworn duelist hoping to sit behind Threatening Roars until they can find an answer to the initial threats usually won't see the Jinzo coming, same thing for Blackwing players planning to come back with Icarus Attack.

The rest of the monster lineup is pretty solid, consisting of single-card answers in the form of Dark Armed Dragon, Chaos Sorcerer and D.D. Warrior Lady, and stable support cards in the form of Cyber Dragon, Breaker the Magical Warrior, Spirit Reaper (which can cause a few problems of its own if the opponent is in a tight spot), Plaguespreader Zombie and Sangan.


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While most opponents may be stunned by the initial monsters that this deck brings out, the real shocks come from the Spell/Trap lineup. Everything seems fine as the format staples are all present, including some more defensive options in the form of Scapegoat and Lightning Vortex, but many duelists have fallen to the simplest of things in the past. In this deck the main shock card is Rush Recklessly. Shrink has its advantages and is usually preferred over this age-old Quickplay but with everybody maining Aurkus in Lightsworn now, Rush has its advantages. Instead of being stymied by Aurkus the 700 ATK boost can catch people off-guard and swing momentum back in Kevin's favour. This was highlighted in the feature match above when Nathan Pang felt safe under Royal Decree, only to lose his Wulf in the Battle Phase. Emergency Teleport and Mind Control help to establish field presence through Synchro Summons, while also deflecting opponent's attention away from the real threats in the deck.

A playset of Solemn Judgment headline the trap lineup and serve as the one-stop answers they have always been as do Crush Card Virus, Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force. The final two cards help to further hamper the opponent's plans through easy, chainable monster removal. A well-timed Karma Cut could cripple players who've brought enough Luminas, X-Sabers or Gales out of their deck while Compulsory Evacuation Device can stop Synchro Summons before they happen, remove them once they come out or protect Kevin's own monsters from impending destruction.

The surprises don't end there though. In the side there are more strange goings-on ready to force people to take an early loss. Upon reading Brain Golem the first reaction is usually "It's in Raging Battle!?". Take a moment to search for the card on Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia and then think about the biggest deck in Europe. It makes sense now, doesn't it? The card serves as a pseudo-Light-Imprisoning Mirror and also has the added benefit of an effect that hasn't seen play since Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning was legal.

Solid picks round out most of the side but the final two cards can have hilarious outcomes when played at the right time. People joke all the time about dropping Kuriboh when they're about to be OTK'd but that expression could soon change when the card actually saves Kevin from certain defeat. It's also a CCV target and can allow for unexpected comebacks should the opponent have wasted all their resources in setting up their presumed OTK. The final card that deserves mention is Time Wizard. It's a personal preference of Kevin's, always making its way into his side and main decks, but to bring it to a major event such as this was a brave decision, and one that paid off well. During the swiss rounds he managed to destroy a Judgment Dragon with the plucky little spellcaster. Time Wizard can be seen as the mascot of the deck as it symbolises what it's all about: wierd and wonderful choices that can wreck players’ heads when lucky enough.

What Kevin has done with this deck is given players bored of "the worst format of all time" a faint glimmer of hope. He may have ended in 32nd place with a final record of 5-3 (from 5-0) in Manchester but the deck could inspire players out there to refine it and take down the major decks of the format at Shonen Jump Championship Indianapolis. After all, that last time an Irish duelist made a big impression at a tournament in Manchester, the deck that that player ran topped SJC Orlando. Here's hoping it happens again.


-PJ


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