Flying into Second at YCS Philadelphia with Chaos Dragons
Hey fellow Yu-Gi-Oh! players! My name is Andrew Martin, and I very recently came in second place at YCS Philadelphia playing a Chaos Dragon deck. I would like to give a huge shout out to all my friends from locals: Joshua Henry, Zachary Hocker, Richard Barton, all of whom came down to the event with me, and numerous other friends who backed me up and rooted me on to the finals. I greatly appreciated it, and it gave me the confidence I needed to get this far! Also, shout-outs to MVP Sports and Games located in Lancaster, PA! Amazing store, run by an equally amazing guy; the atmosphere is friendly and the prizes fantastic!
I'd decided to play Chaos Dragons when I realized they had a really good Game 1 against Dino Rabbit, which my teammate routinely smashed me with. However, I saw a lot of the Chaos Dragon builds that had done well, and only one really stuck out to me as both innovative, AND effective. That would be Alexander Reedís second place deck for YCS Dallas. If you happen to read this Alex, big thanks to you for inspiring me to take some of your ideas and work them in the way I thought was best for this event. That being said, before we get started, I would like to share the deck list I used over the weekend.
So as you can see, I chose to run a lot of the Lightsworns plus Judgment Dragon
, giving this a bit more of a Lightsworn flair, as well as using Tour Guide From the Underworld
, who generally does a great job of cleaning up or starting off, depending on your hand. I'd been running a standard Chaos Dragon build for a couple weeks, but I felt it was too predictable at times, and wanted to keep that huge surprise factor very real Game 1. Phantom of Chaos
helps a lot and can generally be viewed as a fourth copy of monsters like Lyla and Chaos Sorcerer
, as well as a late-game bombshell due to the high number of absurd monsters this deck sends to the graveyard.
Those cards seen on Reedís deck list in Dallas were a huge surprise factor that didnít see as much play at YCS Chicago from what I saw, but I loved how surprising they can be Game 1. When it came time to side deck against more common decks like Rabbit, you already have some idea of what to take out!
I used only one copy of Effect Veiler
in the main deck, a choice made because I feel it's extremely important to play as aggressively as possible in the first Duel. I'm not saying in any way that Effect Veiler
isnít important to have, obviously I side the other two, but I personally feel (with good results) that Dragons canít afford to not play aggressively Game 1, and Veiler number two was the card I ended up dropping to make room.
That being said, I had a plan for how to side deck for each of the common match-ups going in to the tournament, and I believe it helped the whole way through.
: I would side in a Veiler, two Soul Taker
s, an Electric Virus
and one or two Mystical Space Typhoon
s, plus a Royal Decree
always. If I was going second I would side in the third Effect Veiler
, and if I was going first I would side in the second Royal Decree
Always having Effect Veiler
is important, and Mystical Space Typhoon
can help against a lot of their side deck cards. Forbidden Chalice
also helped a lot here, as it gets around Dimensional Fissure
2 Electric Virus
, 1 Effect Veiler
, and 2 Soul Taker
are musts: this one is pretty self-explanatory.
Each of my side decked cards were intended for certain match-ups, but I didnít end up using some of them throughout the event. Maxx ďCĒ was included for Wind-Ups, Heiratics and Six Samurai, but I didn't see any of those in any of my matches, so itís hard for me to recommend them. Better safe than sorry I suppose!
Next, I would like to thank every single opponent I faced the entire weekend. You all truly restored some hope for this game in me, as every last one of you was respectful, courteous, and a real blast to play against. I apologize ahead of time if I played you and messed up something in the match as I wrote it: my memory is on the fuzzy side, and I only had paper and life point totals to go off of when writing this report. Without further ado, here is how the rounds went.
- vs. Disaster Dragon
Game 1: We both opened pretty passively, with a set to a set, but then he played Koaki Meiru Drago, tipping me off to the deck, and I was caught off guard right away. I looked at my hand of all Chaos monsters and could only hope to draw into one of my few outs. Eventually he had the Stardust Dragon and a Koaki Meiru Drago that had been revived with Call Of The Haunted
to my empty field. I activated Dark Hole
to bait Stardust's negation, then Heavy Storm
ed to take out the Koaki Meiru Drago and summoned all of my monsters I had been waiting to use to take it to Game 2.
Game 2: He opened with a Koaki Meiru Drago and passed. I activated Electric Virus
, taking his Drago, and tributed it to summon a Lightpulsar Dragon
. The game quickly ended as he couldn't regain his footing.
- vs. Chaos Dragon
Game 1: I seem to remember this being a back and forth game for a while, trading blows and trying to save up for a big finish and I recall him getting that big finish and me not having the response I need.
Game 2: My opponent didn't get a chance to deal much damage, and I cut in to bring him to 4200 Life Points and then take the game next turn.
Game 3: This game started out in my opponent's favor as he brought me down to 2100 Life Points over a series of losing battles on my side, but a Soul Taker
took out his Lightpulsar Dragon
, and I managed to push big enough to take him down from 9000 LP to win the duel.
- vs. Dino Rabbit (Anthony Berry)
Game 1: We traded blows early on, but Dragons have that nasty habit of getting a big, dominant monster off given enough time. I donít think he ran a lot of traps, so nothing ended up stopping my big monsters late game.
Game 2: I believe my opponent's Evolzar Dolkka
put in some work against me right away as I struggled to get a footing, and he ended up taking it to Game 3.
Game 3: I opened with such a strong turn one that he was forced to fight an up-hill battle, and Dino Rabbit is always doomed to lose that kind of situation eventually.
- vs. Hero Beat
Game 1: The Fine
r details of this game escape me, but I believe I started with a good Card Trooper
mill, and my opponent attacked over it with a 1900 ATK monster (Thunder King perhaps?), then I proceed to keep Lightpulsar Dragon
on the field until his Life Points hit zero.
Game 2: My opponent sees exactly what he needed to, and I start out slow enough that I'm forced to take direct attacks from Stratos and Alius, and eventually an Elemental Hero Gaia
seals the duel.
Game 3: I got to use Soul Taker
on his Thunder King early on, freeing me up to drop a Chaos monster without having to force Thunder King's negation. That early advantage carried me into the win for this game.
- vs. Inzektors
Game 1: My opening wasn't great. However, I can tell my opponent's opening was worse because, all I ended up seeing was Inzektor Hornet
and Inzektor Ladybug
, and his defensive traps eventually fell apart. It was an easy push for game.
Game 2: He immediately activates Prohibition
, calling Lightpulsar Dragon
, and activates it along with a Messenger of Peace
, so this game was a very slow start for me. He managed to bring me to 800 Life Points before I started getting some ground back with Phantom of Chaos
, banishing my Judgment Dragon
to use its effect. Luckily my Effect Veiler
s warded off an Inzektor Dragonfly
attempt in the late game, and I recall him drawing a Dimensional Fissure
way too late, allowing me to capitalize on the free turn to take out his 6100 Life Points.
Round 6 -
vs. Dino Rabbit
Game 1: Again, the details are a little fuzzy on this match, though I believe my opponent was forced to use Solemn Warning
on something early on, so I'm allowed to go Dragon crazy on him, with the Future Fusion
as the bomb to start it off.
Game 2: He went for an early Evolzar Dolkka
which I Soul Taker
'd away, then he poked me with a Sabersaurus
and I dropped Gorz, Emissary of Darkness. The advantage that gave me ended up forcing this into another up-hill battle for him. I think this might have been the game where I summoned Stardust Dragon for the only time all day, as well.
- vs. Chaos Dragons (George Kyan)
Game 1: A classic battle of Dragons yet again, neither of us got to Future Fusion
, so we traded off large amounts of Life Points early on. I got him in the end when he Solemn Judgment
ed, leaving him at 2150 LP, just enough for a Chaos monster to punch for game.
Game 2: My opponent Summoned Doomcalibur Knight, so I set Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
and Forbidden Chalice
, and even though I got to get my mill for it, his Future Fusion
set up everything he needed to deal lethal damage to me without the fear of Gorz, Emissary of Darkness.
Game 3: We started this game in time (the only instance all tournament I went into time as well) and I went first playing passively, then he set a card to his back row. I ran the numbers in my head a little bit and ended up using Future Fusion
, with Chaos monsters in hand, and I get a Dark Armed Dragon
with Eclipse Wyvern
to take out all 8000 Life Points at once, taking the match.
- vs. Final Countdown
Game 1: The second I found out Iím playing Final Countdown
I shook my head a little bit: I have zero main-decked answers to the strategy, and even though he had to get to Final Countdown
via Gold Sarcophagus
I couldn't get in for damage. I remember making Photon Strike Bounzer
and Stardust Dragon, thinking that the only way I could get any hits in would be if he was forced to play Morphing Jar
or Cardcar D
, but alas, I lost this game handily.
Game 2: I set Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
and passed. He made a big mistake by passing the turn without setting Waboku
, thinking all I had available was the Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
, but since Swift Scarecrow
is the only fear I could have, I summoned enough monsters to drop him below the 2000 Life Point mark before he could get to Final Countdown
and activate it.
Game 3: This was very similar to Game 1, except I hardly had a playable hand, so Iím was three turns into Final Countdown
before I could even start playing cards. This did not end well!
- vs. Dino Rabbit
Game 1: I summon Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
and end my turn to mill some cards. My opponent summoned a Sabersaurus
and ran her over. Even though my opponent got some hits in and Monster Reborn
ed my Lightpulsar Dragon
, I managed to take it out, and my opponent had no targets in the graveyard to special summon. Eventually I swung with a Card Trooper
, and on the following turn I had enough monsters in the yard to have a proper swarm of Dragons.
Game 2: An early Kycoo, the Ghost Destroyer and A Macro Cosmos
eliminated my chance at doing anything this game.
Game 3: I got to take out my opponent's Macro Cosmos
with Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
at some point in this game, and Soul Taker
eliminated Kycoo from the equation. That allowed me to summon a monster and keep it there. Eventually that advantage allowed me to take the game with a couple quick big monsters.
| Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
Light of Destruction
Warrior / Effect
If this card attacks a Defense Position monster, return that monster to its owner's Deck before damage calculation. During each of your End Phases, send the top 3 cards of your Deck to the Graveyard.
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We finally got out of the convention center at midnight, and I made it back to the hotel with my friends. We were all ecstatic about me making Day 2, especially since I only had to win one of those rounds to make it. I felt I had such good tiebreakers, with Tyler Tabman as my only loss, so I felt super confident about the next morning!
We woke up early: I relaxed in the hotelís hot tub for a bit, and ate some food to clear my mind. I canít stress how important it is to have a clear mind and a full stomach during any tournament; we checked out, and headed over right on time for Day 2 to start. The pairings went up, leading to...
Round 10 -
vs. Dino Rabbit (Hansel Aguero)
Game 1: I believe Hansel got an early Jurrac Guiba effect off, but I had enough targets for Lightpulsar Dragon
that I was able to press through his backrow and take Game 1.
Game 2: I felt like I had control early on in Game 2, but in the effort to stay a step ahead, he made a key Solemn Judgment
play to open up the field. That let him drop my 7300 Life Points to, I believe through a combination of Monster Reborn
and Tour Guide From the Underworld
Game 3: I won the third Duel after getting my Dragons set up. Lightpulsar Dragon
has incredible staying power, and Hansel either didn't draw his side decked cards, or didn't draw enough of them.
At this point I was just ecstatic to tell my friends I made Top 32! Even though I prepared heavily for the event, the payoff already gave me an adrenaline rush and I couldn't wait for the Top 32 to start.
- vs. Inzektors (Minjun Jin)
Game 1: Minjun summoned Inzektor Centipede
, and used its effect to equip Inzektor Hopper
, who then went to the graveyard so Minjun could search out Inzektor Hornet
. My opening was way too slow for that kind of early game pressure, and in two swift turns he took me out.
Game 2: This was fairly similar to Game 1: my hand was actually so unplayable I ended up pitching a seventh card in hand just so I could get a LIGHT monster in the graveyard. The Inzektor Sword - Zektkalibur and Inzektor Giga-Mantis
combo made short work of me.
I still kept my head up high. I already knew Inzektors was a 50-50 match-up most of the time for me, so Iím just hoping I got my bad luck out of the way here and wouldn't have to deal anymore for the rest of the day.
Standings were posted, and I placed tenth, either higher than all the other X-2ís or second highest, I canít remember. Either way, another one of our friends was just short of Top 32, in 33rd
place. So that was a huge letdown for him Iím sure, but he was not the only X-2 that didn't make the cut: I think I counted eleven or twelve X-2ís who didnít make it. Well, time to move on to the Top 32.
- vs. Inzektors (Victor Nolan)
Game 1: My opponent beat me down with an Inzektor Sword - Zektkalibur combo I couldnít defend against, and that led to him taking Game 1 pretty swiftly.
Game 2: I saw just the right number of Effect Veiler
s to prevent him from starting anything, and I got set up just like I need to, finishing the game with Lightpulsar Dragon
and another Chaos monster.
Game 3: We start off trading blows: he paid for a Solemn Warning
early on, and I think he made a Wind-Up Zenmaines
that got an attack in as well. Later on though, I get Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness off at a good time, and have the Effect Veiler
to protect it. The advantage that gives me wound up carrying me through the rest of the game.
- vs. Dino Rabbit (James Hickey-Neuman)
Game 1: James started off a little slow, and I was able to get a good position and start to mill out. I canít remember if I ended up making Photon Strike Bounzer
or not, but I know I kept an attacker on the field at pretty much all times to keep pushing for game.
Game 2: He got me with an early Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
, but by that point I already had everything I needed in hand to stay afloat. Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness put early pressure on my opponent, and it was enough to seal the deal later in the game.
Top 8 -
vs. Dino Rabbit (Jamal Niles)
Be sure to check out the Feature Match on Konamiís coverage for more intricate detail of this one!
Game 1: I started with Jain, Lightsworn Paladin
; he ran her over with Jurrac Guiba and Forbidden Lance
, and then Xyz Summoned Evolzar Dolkka
. I had a lot of power cards in my hand, but felt the need to put pressure on him, so I played Heavy Storm
to destroy his set card; Monster Reborn
'd Jain; and tributed her for Darkflare Dragon
. That forced him to play passively. Then I draw Lightpulsar Dragon
, so I used Darkflare Dragon
ís effect to help set up my graveyard. He was in top deck mode when I pushed for game, and he had Torrential Tribute
, but I didn't fear anything even when he topdecked Pot of Avarice
and ended up setting a card after. I drew, made a Solar Recharge
play, and draw a LIGHT and a DARK for Lightpulsar Dragon
, making game two turns later.
Game 2: He got me good with Forbidden Chalice
and Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness nearly right away, and I couldn't match the damage it put out. This game ended rather quickly.
Game 3: I opened with Future Fusion
and Lightpulsar Dragon
, but he played Soul Release
! I still got my Wyvern's effect though, which added Dark Armed Dragon
to my hand. Eventually Five-Headed Dragon
does come out, but it quickly gets put away with Compulsory Evacuation Device
. My opponent made an Evolzar Laggia
, and then I tributed Sangan
and a used Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
to try and tribute summon Gorz, Emissary of Darkness, which he negated. That negation put me at exactly three DARKs in the graveyard. Next turn, I activated Monster Reborn
to grab my Gorz and attempted to swing for game, but he had his own Gorz. Afterwards I normal summoned my Effect Veiler
; Tuned it with my Gorz for Scrap Dragon
; and destroyed my used Future Fusion
as well as his Gorz, having already killed the Emissary of Darkness Token in battle. He tried to mount a comeback with Maestroke, but he couldn't take out both of my monsters, and I took the game to head to the Top 8.
- vs. Dino Rabbit (Joe Giorlando)
Game 1: My opponent got some pokes in here and there; I managed to get Lightpulsar Dragon
to hit directly, though with no targets in my graveyard to Special Summon he was quickly disposed of. My opponent opened awful in this game, and I made a Photon Strike Bounzer
to capitalize on it.
Game 2: The details of this one escape me; suffice to say this was a long drag for me. He doesnít open bonkers, but he put me in a bad position early on and I had to make up for lost ground, and he got me.
Game 3: Joe had an early lead, in terms of card advantage and Life Points. Fortunately I opened with a very good hand, and once he made Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
to deal with my Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
threat, I played defensively to force him to take damage. The first time I just set a Sangan
and summoned Chaos Sorcerer
to banish Joe's face-up Sangan
. On his next turn, he took 2000 damage to keep attacking and destroy Sorcerer, with him at 4300 Life Points. I Tour Guide into Wind-Up Zenmaines
, and Summoned a Lightpulsar Dragon
. In order to kill the Wind-Up Zenmaines
he took 2000 damage, and his Soul Taker
and his monsters took out my field. With Joe at 2300 LP, all it took was a clean attack, and I think the game ended when I attacked with Lightpulsar Dragon
and Dark Armed Dragon
vs. Chaos Dragons (Feng Chen)
Again, you can check out the Feature Match over in the official Konami coverage for more details on this one.
Game 1: I had a rather ďoffĒ hand and he got everything he needed to win the game in one turn. Even though Feng screwed it up and attacked straight into my Honest, I couldn't mount a sufficient comeback and he took the game.
Game 2: This one was kind of back in forth, with him taking the edge, but I made a severe misplay by passing without activating the effect of a newly summoned Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
. I felt bad about it, but everyone makes mistakes. I feel like Feng would have gotten that game anyway, since he ripped Future Fusion
next, and Five-Headed Dragon
just put out more damage than I could handle. I definitely regret not running Armory Arm
in the Extra Deck: somehow through testing, running that card never occurred to me.
After the weekend I think I can be proud of myself: itís a little embarrassing to misplay so poorly in the Finals match, but Iím honestly surprised I managed to keep it up that long; Iím not used to huge events like this, usually I'm just playing in regionals. I'll be far more prepared for the inevitable exhaustion that follows such a gauntlet of matches next time around. As for changes to the deck, I feel the Main Deck is exactly where I wanted it to be. As for the Side Deck, I think I would make the following changes. Keep in mind, this is a little bit of theory as I have not had the time to test these options.
-2 Maxx ďCĒ
-1 Mystical Space Typhoon
+2 Night Beam
+1 Prime Material Dragon
Maybe Iím just biased based on my loss to Tabman, but I feel Royal Decree
isnít enough to stop Final Countdown
. So instead I want to try Night Beam
, which can help me catch a Countdown player off guard in a turn where he set Waboku
, Threatening Roar
, or Hope for an Escape. Prime Material Dragon
is not only a LIGHT Dragon, but it can prevent losses to Chain Burn, which was another deck Royal Decree
may not have been enough to stop.
The changes Iím positive of are in the Extra Deck. The second I got home I made this change:
- Tiras, Keeper of Genesis
- Number 25: Force Focus
+ Armory Arm
+ Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
I want to play Brionac just because it was one card I considered for the Extra, but I thought Force Focus was more important based on overpowering Photon Strike Bounzer
(of which only one was played against me this tournament). Tiras, however, came up short as I never got the opportunity to summon him (despite playing him a couple times in testing). If I had the Armory Arm
instead, I would have taken the Finals to Duel 3. Alas, I didnít run into a situation where I would have needed that card in testing, and as such, didn't include him.
This YCS was a blast, and Iím glad I was able to put all my testing and practicing to good use and do this well! A super big thank you to the judge staff at YCS Philly, and another huge thank you to all the cool people I met, including everyone I played against over the weekend. You're all awesome, and I hope to see you at future events!