Preparing for YCS Providence | The Irish Duelist

Preparing for YCS Providence

YCS Providence is just around the corner, and there’s a lot to take into consideration when thinking about what deck to take to the event, especially after what happened at YCS Orlando. For those who didn’t know, Zombie Plants took first place, a Genex/Birdman Synchro deck took second, and Blackwings, Zombies, Gladiator Beasts, and a Tech Genus/Flamvell hybrid all appeared in the Top 32 – and some more than once. Not what most people would’ve expected.

When looking at all of these decks, though, a few things become apparent: they all run some (or more than one) kind of an engine, they all have the ability to explode first turn, and they can all get past Shi En/Stardust (even if they don’t go first). These three things were, in my opinion, what determined which decks would top and which decks wouldn’t. I’ll go into more detail about these things later, but for now, let’s check out what the current format looks like:

“Tier One”

Expect a lot more Plant matchups at YCS Providence. Not much else to say about that. That aside, If you’re looking to jump the bandwagon and take Zombie Plants to YCS Providence, Traviis’ build is definitely a good place to start. I don’t like that he ran forty-two cards, though, so I’d drop two cards (probably Tytannial and Seven Tools) to put the deck at forty cards. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and want to know what to play to beat this deck, a first or second Compulsory, two Effect Veiler, and possibly a mained D.D. Crow should do the trick. Compulsory messes with Debris Dragon and Zombie Master plays, Effect Veiler counters Debris Dragon, Trishula, Black Rose, etc., and D.D. Crow removes Dandylion to stop Debris, Zombies to stop Mezuki, etc. If your deck has an overly bad matchup against Plants and you don’t already side Gozen Match, make sure you put two of them in your side deck.

I’m not sure how many people played Samurai in the main event, but the side events were full of them. I personally played the Asceticism build in multiple events and did very well with it. What I like most about Asceticism is that it gives you access to so many more outs to certain plays that you otherwise wouldn’t have, but it doesn’t mess with the consistency of the deck – it actually makes the deck even more consistent. For example, while Sams tend to have awesome first turn plays, if they go second, the opponent’s prepared for what you can do and can easily stop Kageki/Kagemusha plays. You also aren’t able to make Black Rose Dragon or Brionac in the typical Samurai build as easily as you can in the Asceticism build. Overall, I feel like the Asceticism build’s much better than the typical Samurai build, and if I were going to play Sams at YCS Providence I wouldn’t play any other build than it.

Other decks that I’d consider Tier One are Miracle Heroes, X-Sabers (tech one Grand Mole in this deck), and some Gravekeeper variants (although I honestly feel that this deck’s dropping in popularity and competiveness lately). But, alas! Moving on to Tier Two…

“Tier Two”

-TG Flamvell :
This deck was one of the surprise toppers. Seeing it in action will make you realize why it shouldn’t have been a surprise, though, as it has some crazy plays. The deck basically has its own Creature Swap which is insane with Flamvell Firedog; target a Warwolf, Rush Rhino, or Striker, attack it with Flamvell Firedog, grab a Flamvell Magician/Archer and Synchro Summon, then search for another TG Monster in the End Phase. Not too bad, eh? Gaining a bunch of attack from Phantom isn’t too bad, either, at least in my opinion.

Plants up, Blackwings up. That’s basically how it is. BWs have an awesome Plant matchup, an above average Six Samurai matchup, and are a versatile deck that can adjust to almost any format. There isn’t much more that they can do for YCS Providence to that they didn’t already do at YCS Orlando, myriad European WCQs, etc., but I’d definitely run a Grand Mole in it. Other than that, TKRO should be at two in the deck, and Delta Crows wouldn’t hurt, either. Backrow hate tends to be pretty good this format.

This is the deck I ended up taking to YCS Orlando. I ran a somewhat quirky build with two Caius, an Effect Veiler, two Rite of Spirit, and some other personal tech that did pretty well for me. I ended up X-3, though, and I can see why looking back. First off, double Caius wasn’t that amazing in practice. I lost one of my matches because I opened with two of them, and even though the odds for that are fairly low, I’d much rather have had Caius at one in that much. Also, because Plants and Monarchs/Fish were so popular at the event, I would’ve liked to have a second Veiler over the second Caius. Rite of Spirit was awesome, though, and I think that it should be run in almost any GK decks. Descendant/Caius fodder is almost never a bad thing to have. And a quick note: I place this deck at Tier Two because Tribute isn’t as good as it used to be, some people are maining Nobleman now, and it’s not that hard to play against now that it’s an “old” deck.

Honorary Mention:
The second place Genex/Birdman deck definitely deserves a mention here. It seemed like a neo-Synchro Cat deck to me, and in theory, it basically does what Synchro Cat wanted to do. The deck was essentially made up of a bunch of different mini-engines like GK’s, Plants, Tengu/Birdman, etc., and like I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, that’s one of the reasons that I think it topped.

"Tech Time"

Note that the above decks aren’t the only decks that make up Tier One, Tier Two, etc., they’re just a few of the decks that I’d place in those tiers and what I think of then. I also chose not to list Hyperion Faeries yet as there aren’t any (TCG) results to base its competitiveness off of yet. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at my top two favorite tech cards that I feel will be very helpful at Rhode Island:

1) Neo-Spacian Grand Mole:
Grand Mole is one of my favorite cards this format. It gets over anything, wrecks face in the Samurai matchup, eats Warnings, is reusable, and can (and should, in my opinion) be splashed into almost any deck. It works wonders in X-Sabers, Anti-Meta, and even Six Samurai (I sided one in during one of my side event matches for the mirror match and was very pleased with the results – I now main one). Grand Mole’s also an instant out to Spirit Reaper, who we can expect a lot more of at Rhode Island, and for some decks that can be a pretty big issue. So, basically run this card wherever you can. It’s kind of good.

2) Fiendish Chain:
I know I’ve referenced my Samurai deck more than once in this article, but I’ll reference it again; I ran one Fiendish Chain in it and it was awesome. The card basically does what Effect Veiler and Dimensional Prison are meant to do this format, except it’s harder to read, and it’s one card. Card can generate some massive minuses for your opponent, too, especially if they decide to make Brionac and target Fiendish Chain. Good stuff. I’d main one and potentially side one. Don’t really need two in the main deck at this point in time.

Falling out of favour...

And, on the flip side, two cards that I’m not a huge fan of this format:

1) Torrential Tribute:
That’s right. I don’t think that Torrential Tribute’s that good this format. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad in every deck, but it’s pretty sub-par in some decks and is an even worse top-deck against Dragunity, Samurai, Gravekeeper’s, and at some points of the duel, X-Sabers. If you think of the situations that you’d use Torrential Tribute in, think of how many of those situations that Dimensional Prison would do the same job in, as well as how many situations that Dimensional Prison would be better than Torrential Tribute would be in. My suggestion is that if you don’t already run three Dimensional Prison, but do run a Torrential Tribute, to move the Tribute to the side deck and replace it with a third Dimensional Prison instead.

2) Seven Tools of the Bandit:
To be fair, I’ve never really loved this card, but with the popularity of Plants rising, I like it even less, as it just sits on the field until they remove it. And, no, having them MST it doesn’t make it worth running. Decks like GK’s and Worms should still run one or two Seven Tools, but in the case of decks like Samurai, X-Sabers, and Plants, I’d rather run something else.

It's all about the engine...

Anyway, back to the three things I said at the beginning: what makes a deck win this format. I feel that these three things are vital do a deck’s success in the current meta: having one or more engine(s), having the ability to explode first turn, and being able to get past Shi En/Stardust. Most people have been focusing on the latter two of these, but the first one is the most important, as it determines how consistently you can do the other two.

For example, Plants can get past Stardust/Shi En with Trishula/Brionac, and they can explode first turn with Debris/Dandy plays, but they wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the help of the Plant engine (2 Lonefire Blossom, 1 Dandylion, 1 Glow-Up Bulb, and 1 Spore). Machina can spam Fortresses as much as they’d like, but without Gearframe to search it out or Machina Fortress to revive it, they’d be waiting until they drew Fortress on their own. To put it, simply, if you aren’t running one or more engine(s) this format, you aren’t winning. So! Let’s take a look at the top three “best” (in my opinion) engines this format:

1) Plants:
The Plant engine consists of two Lonefire Blossom, 1 Dandylion, 1 Glow-Up Bulb, and 1 Spore. It’s usually played alongside one or two Debris Dragon, two Pot of Avarice, a Foolish Burial, and a One for One, but almost any deck can splash it to their advantage (take Lightsworn, Zombies, and Flamvell, for example). Many players choose to use this engine because it thins the deck pretty quickly, gives you access Formula Synchron and Black Rose Dragon plays, and it’s super consistent.

2) Gadgets:
Most people hate on Gadgets, but the deck’s really consistent, and it’s by far the most famous (or infamous) engine. When Gadgets first came out, the engine was usually three of each Gadget, but now that Fifth Gadget’s a dead deck, two of each is usually played in Anti-Meta/Ultimate Offering decks. The reason that the engine’s so good is that you +1 off of each Gadget since they replace themselves. Their attack isn’t amazingly high, but when you add it up, it doesn’t take long to take out your opponent. Add some cards like Thunder King Rai-Oh or Reborn Tengu and you’ll really start to pressure your opponent.

3) Lightsworn:
While the Lightsworn engine isn’t nearly as powerful as it used to be, it still puts in work for what it’s meant to do – mill. Three Ryko, one Lyla, and a Charge of the Light Brigade tends to be what most people run, but you can tweak the numbers as you’d like.

Those are just three of the main engines being played in the current format, and if you think about how many decks they support, you’ll start to realize why running multiple engines is the way to go this format.

Anyway, I don’t have much more to say about YCS Providence, but I’m sure that we’ll end up with another super diverse event. Good luck to all those who will be there!