The Ins and Outs of YCS Charlotte - Part One | The Irish Duelist

The Ins and Outs of YCS Charlotte - Part One

This article was written by Kris Gray (author of the blog YGO Desire). If you liked this article, see similar articles over at If you'd like to have a certain topic written about by Kris, send an e-mail to, or post below.

As we come closer to another Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series (this time in Charlotte, North Carolina), it's time for a summary of what we can expect to see at the event, what I feel the top decks are, tips on playing your deck, as well as a preview of the deck I'll be running. Anyway, let's get started.

First of all, what impact has the ban list had so far? Blackwings have been, for the most part, erased from the list of top decks in the current format. With the loss of two Kalut and an Icarus Attack, the deck lacks the aggressive power that it used to and tends to fall to faster, more powerful decks like Six Samurais and X-Sabers. Speaking of which, both Six Samurais and X-Sabers are still at the top of ladder. While Six Sams did lose two Gateway, every day lost a Solemn Warning and Book of Moon, allowing the deck to Summon more than in the previous format, and the same goes for X-Sabers, who lost nothing that other decks didn't also lose. Furthermore, with Blackwings out of the competitive scene, both decks gain in that they lost -- lost a matchup that can be difficult when facing an experienced Blackwing player, that is. Looking past X-Sabers, Six Samurais, and Blackwings, we see that Plants lost one Debris Dragon and two Dandylion. However, they gained one Card Trooper, a card that has immense power in a deck that relies on it's Graveyard and card advantage. The use of Plants has dwindled very little in the current format, but the builds that are played have. Most players I see today running the deck tend to lean towards a Chaos oriented variant or a list that chooses to run Junk Synchron (a pseudo-Debris Dragon) and Doppelwarrior (a pseudo-Dandylion). I'll talk more about this later, but to propose a quick summary: the deck is definitely something to watch out for.

With the impacts the list has had beside us, let's take a look at what I feel will be the most popular (and perhaps best) decks at Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series Charlotte, North Carolina:

1. X-Sabers.
I am very confident that X-Sabers will be the most played deck at YCS Charlotte, claiming at least 35% of the playing field. This is because, as mentioned earlier, X-Sabers didn't lose anything that other decks didn't also lose (Cold Wave and Book of Moon). They also have a good match-up against Six Samurais thanks to XX-Saber Hyunlei, XX-Saber Urbellum/XX-Saber Gottoms, as well as the fact that Six Samurais tend to run through their hand pretty quickly.

Nonetheless, they're a deck that's been around for a while, and one that isn't very hard to play around. Here a few tips and some side board advice for the deck:

-Stopping XX-Saber Boggart Knight can mean the difference between seeing a field with Synchro Monsters, Faultroll, and other typical X-Sabers cards, or seeing a field with just XX-Saber Boggart Knight. Wasting an Effect Veiler on anything else versus this deck is something you should be very wary of doing.

-Thunder King Rai-Oh stops Darksoul searches, Synchro Summons, and acts as a beatstick that can generate advantage really quickly (1900 ATK is nothing to sneeze at, especially when Boggart Knight is X-Saber's only non-Synchro out to it). If your deck can't afford to main two, make sure that it can afford to side two, as the card is a godsend against this deck (the same goes for Effect Veiler, realistically).

If you're planning of playing X-Sabers in this event, make sure you try and include some tech that will set you apart from the bunches of other X-Sabers players, and that you're experienced with the deck. Maining Effect Veiler, Thunder King Rai-Oh, etc. can really put you ahead of the game, especially in the mirror match. Per experience, if you aren't good at the deck, and you don't run much tech, chances are you won't do that well. But, alas! Moving on...

2. Six Samurai.
I think there are very few people who doubt (or can reasonably doubt) the competitiveness of Six Samurais this format. They lost very little to the ban list, and they still have all of the good match ups they had last format, so it makes very little sense that they wouldn't do well at YCS Charlotte. Rather than talk about how to side against them or what to do (as I'm sure there are entire articles dedicated to such a topic), here's some advice for the Six Samurai player himself (or herself):

-This format isn't one where Six Samurais need (or should) run Upstart Goblin. The purpose of the card was to grab your Gateways from the deck and to OTK, which while the deck can still OTK, there are better ways to search for your Gateway of the Six.

-The typical one or two tech cards that Six Samurais have is very important (for those who don't know what I'm talking about, it's the thirteenth/fourteenth Monster after the core of Kizan, Kageki, Kagemusha, Grandmaster, Hand, etc.). Last format, most players dedicated this slot to Morphing Jar, and that's still a very good card this format. But, if you aren't into that card, here are a few more options that I find reasonable: Great Shogun Shien (awesome tech when paired with Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En), Effect Veiler (an out to Boggart Knight, LSS - Kageki, etc.), and Spirit Reaper (stays on the field to Synchro with, increases your chances of winning the mirror match, and forces the opponent to waste removal that would otherwise use on a Shi En, Grandmaster, Kizan, or other non-Spirit Reaper Monster, to keep from losing their entire hand).

-Try and bait the opponent's Mystical Space Typhoon's before you go ahead and drop your one-and-only Gateway of the Six. This is very important, as you want the card advantage that Gateway offers.

-Play smart! I'm sure this is heard almost as commonly as "Eat your vegetables!", but it's just as important. Don't feel like you're embarrassed or annoying your opponent if you take more than two seconds to think about how certain plays could turn out.

3. Plants.
Plants are a deck that's cheap to build, still very good, and quite easy to side with. So, if you don't have a deck picked out yet, I highly recommend taking some variant of Plants to YCS Charlotte. That aside, the main Plant deck played, at the moment, is Chaos Plants. The deck is very similar to the Plant Synchro decks of post-SLTB pre-March 2011 format, except they opt to run two Chaos Sorcerer and usually an extra Effect Veiler for an additional LIGHT Monster target. It runs very similar, as well, so it's not too hard to grab hold of (or learn to play against, if you're worrying about that).

The three best cards to side against this deck are:

1. Banisher of the Radiance - While most decks can't afford to side this, it makes Chaos Sorcerer, Debris Dragon, and Dandylion dead, which, in effect, kills the deck. Side two if you can.
2. King Tiger Wanghu - King Tiger destroys Debris Dragon and Dandylion when they're Summoned, but it doesn't stop Chaos Sorcerer, which can remove Wanghu once the Chaos Plant player has targets in their Graveyard. For that reason, KTW is ranked as #2 of the top three best cards to side against Chaos Plants.
3. Effect Veiler - Effect Veiler negates the effects of Chaos Sorcerer, Debris Dragon, Black Rose Dragon, etc., and doesn't face the fear of dying to a Solemn Warning. If you aren't already maining one or two of these, definitely consider putting a couple in your side board (and they're useful against more than just Plants, of course).

I don't have too much else to say about Plants, as there isn't much new to say about them that people already know, but remember that they aren't just relying on Debris Dragon + Dandylion anymore. Chaos Sorcerer, Junk Synchron, and Doppelwarrior are three new additions to look out far when playing against the modern day Plant deck.

Other decks that I feel will do well are Formula Monarchs (if an experienced player pilots them well), Gravekeeper's (although weakened by the loss of two Royal Tribute), and the deck that I'm taking to YCS Charlotte: Miracle Beat (a.k.a. LIGHT Gemini Beatdown teched to host Elemental Hero The Shining and Elemental Hero Absolute Zero).

I'm not giving away the deck list just yet, but it's not too hard to guess what the skeleton looks like. The main idea of the deck is to take the same approach as LIGHT Gemini Beatdown, but rather than just keep the deck as Anti-Meta, Miracle Fusion (along with a few other cards) lets the deck become part Meta deck in that it can Summon The Shining, Absolute Zero, Gaia, Dragon Knight Draco-Equiste, etc. This allows the deck to gain advantage through card recursion (via The Shining and Elemental Hero Voltic), continue the typical beat down approach while not fearing Mirror Force/Torrential Tribute, and gain an upper hand at times when LIGHT Gemini Beatdown would have lost because it fell behind in tempo. I also really like how flexible the side deck is, and also how much power certain side deck cards (like Super Polymerization) have against many of today's top decks.

In contrast, there are a few decks that I'm not quite sure are ready for the format. The first of this bunch is a deck that recently gained much power from the highly anticipated Dragunity Structure Deck. My main qualm with Dragunities is the low ATK of all non-Synchro Monsters, vulnerability against Gravekeeper's (because Necrovalley can destroy Dragunity Ravine and then stop the deck's main game plan), and lack of consistency. I'm not saying that the deck is bad, but if I were to place it in a three-tier system with X-Sabers/Six Samurais as Tier One, Plants and Formula Monarchs at Tier Two, I'd place Dragunities at the lower end of Tier Three.

Karakuri Machina Plants (typically shortened to KMP) is another deck that requires much work to be successful. I think it's safe to say the deck is a "win or lose" deck -- that is, if it doesn't pull of the combo that results in multiple Synchro Monsters and cards drawn, it likely loses. The deck is very inconsistent, is easily sided against (Cyber Dragon, System Down, Banisher of the Radiance, and King Tiger Wanghu tear it apart), and doesn't have a "Plan B" in the chance that a certain Monster is Chain Disappearance'd or, quite simply, Solemn Warning'd. It also lacks hand advantage without Bureido, and tends to rely on very specific cards too much for my liking.

Finally, I'd like to end this article with my prediction of YCS Charlotte's Top Sixteen:

3 Six Samurai
3 X-Saber
2 Miracle Beat
2 Plants
1 Gravekeeper's
1 Formula Monarchs
1 Lightsworn
1 Anti-Meta
1 Rogue

That's all for now. Remember to look out for next week's article: The Ins and Outs of YCS Charlotte - Part One: Post YCS Charlotte, as well as a possible report of how I did in the event. I hope you enjoyed this article. Please comment, rate, and check out all the other great articles here at The Irish Duelist.

-Kris Gray.