Exodia in the Top 8 of Worlds

Jarel Winston

8/22/2012 10:00:00 AM

What's good, TCGplayer? It's your boy, Pro Winston! I'm writing you to share my experience in Tokyo Japan last weekend. I was one of the five players representing North America and I enjoyed doing so. I went all the way to the Top 8 in the World Championship, and the person that I lost to eventually won the event which would place me 5th. The shocking thing about this event is that I topped without playing a meta deck, as most of you say. I decided to play a deck that's the game's original alternate win condition.

Deck Choice & Preparation For the Event
I decided to play Exodia the Forbidden One. This deck was my back up choice in the World Championship Qualifiers, but I decided to go with Chaos Dragons for the WCQ, so for the World Championship event Exodia just seemed fitting. In preparation for the Worlds Championship I had to analyze the card pool and the metagame that was likely to emerge (Jason's Note: Remember, the World Championship uses a unique version of the Advanced Format; if a card hasn't been released in even a single territory, such as Europe, that card can't be played at Worlds). I also had to research the play style of all the twenty-five players that attended the tournament. I looked at the deck that they qualified with and also looked at the coverage about the event they topped or won. After doing all that research and reading, I made the assumption that the Worlds Championship would be basically populated by Inzektor, Heroes, and Chaos Dragon Duelists. I didn't put that much thought into Dark World, Six Samurais, or Gravekeepers.

Looking at the list of all the decks and whatnot, I could only help but noticed that if anyone was taking the tournament as seriously as I was, they would be prepared for all the decks that I named above, and I felt that forced me to try and stay one step ahead. I eventually decided to play a deck that won the majority of its Game 1's and made 75 to 80 percent of the average opponent's main deck and side deck useless. I also had to keep in mind that after doing my research, I understood that all the Japanese players love to use Royal Decree. While preparing my main deck I noticed that I was vulnerable to Decree, so my side deck needed to include a ton of back row hate. I was looking for cards especially effective against Decree, since I only really lose to that card. I went back into the laboratory, the Yu-Gi-Oh! headquarters for testing and started to pull out cards like Double Snare, Trap Eater, Mystical Space Typhoon, Twister, and even Mobius the Frost Monarch. They were all potential cards that could destroy cards in my opponents' back row, and they could all help ensure that my trap cards would work long enough to let me draw all five pieces of Exodia. Here's the deck I ended up playing:

    Exodia Jarel Winston    
  Location:  2012 World Championship - 5th - 8th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Exodia the Forbidden One
1 Left Arm of the Forbidden One
1 Left Leg of the Forbidden One
1 Right Arm of the Forbidden One
1 Right Leg of the Forbidden One
1 Sangan
3 Swift Scarecrow
Monsters [9]
3 One Day of Peace
3 Pot of Duality
3 Upstart Goblin
Spells [9]
2 Accumulated Fortune
2 Gift Card
3 Hope for Escape
3 Jar of Greed
3 Legacy of Yata-Garasu
3 Reckless Greed
3 Threatening Roar
3 Waboku
Traps [22]
Deck Total [40]
2 Closed Forest (5D's Duel Transer)
2 Gemini Imps
1 Heavy Storm
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Soul Taker
1 The Transmigration Prophecy (UTR)
2 Twister (UTR)
2 Volcanic Queen
Side Deck [15]



Playing Exodia the Forbidden One with Hope for Escape was a very scary thing, because I had to play out everything very carefully. I had to take a certain amount of damage just to insure that Hope for Escape would be live, but I couldn't take so much damage that a random burn card or unforeseen play would randomly lose me the game. Depending on the strength of the player and how many cards he appeared to be Side Decking, would determine if I needed to Side myself or not. There was one match that I didn't side for, but the rest I did.

Playing a strategy that no one expected was very good, because it was hard to compete against. You need to have a certain sort of mindset to play against something that you haven't seen in years and years: it's easy to get caught up in current, familiar metagames and forget how to approach the older strategies.

I flew in to Tokyo, Japan a week early, just to get accustomed to the time difference and get enough sleep as I could get (Jason's Note: Future Worlds Competitors take note, because that's really smart. I've seen more US players than I can count implode at Worlds because they were exhausted from travel). I needed to go to the hobby shops in Japan and see how the Tokyo Duelists play, gauging how conservative they were and how good they were with building future plays. Knowledge of the local styles of play is necessary to survive when you're playing in the opponent's territory. I also spent some time traveling, seeing different shopping malls and temples, and just getting a feel for the culture and the environment. I went and ate everything that isn't available back home in New York. I wanted to enjoy every penny that Konami spent sending me to Japan. Rice, bean, and noodle dishes were my thing because it was all really inexpensive.

The Friday Before The Tournament
The Friday before any big tournament is always shocking, but this particularly Friday even moreso, because deck lists had to be submitted at the player dinner at 05:30 PM, Tokyo time. The Konami staff took us sightseeing to Tokyo Tower that Friday morning, and we had to be back at the hotel at 4:00 PM to get dressed for the dinner. I've never handed in a deck list the night before an event, so it was so scary to know that once I handed in my list, I would be sealing my own fate and I would have to play with the build I submitted. I had to make a fast choice, now or never between playing Chaos Dragons and Exodia.

The tour bus dropped us off at our hotel later than expected. I remember arriving at the hotel late; I only had 45 minutes to prepare for the dinner, and at the same time I still had to pick between Chaos Dragons or Exodia. And to top it all off, I had to write the deck list out completely, being careful to avoid any errors. So I went back to my hotel and decided to play the Exodia deck, because it was the one that was giving me the best draws possible. While I was shuffling the Dragon deck, I was drawing very poorly in my opinion, and that was the only sign I needed to make my decision. After I handed in the deck list it was the free dinner that was my only fear. I felt like every dish in Japan had some kind of shrimp in it, which I can't eat! All I had was rice and orange juice.

Saturday – Day 1 of the World Championship!

Round 1 Versus Inzektors:
I was afraid of this match because it was the first match of the day for me. We rolled the dice and I lost. My opponent went first, setting one card to his back row and passing. I then set five cards and ended. He summoned Inzektor Dragonfly, and I chained Waboku; Reckless Greed; Jar of Greed; Accumulated Fortune; and Legacy of Yata-Garsu. Then I just kept on chaining turn after turn, and that's how I was able to draw into the five pieces of Exodia.

Game 2 was very similar, but instead of me just going crazy with drawing a lot, I had to make sure that I had enough spell and trap hate just in case he drew a Royal Decree. I was lucky enough to beat him in seven turns before he got to it.

Round 2 Versus Inzektors:
Once again I lost the dice roll, but the five cards I drew were so good that they made up for it: two pieces of Exodia and four draw cards. After about four turns had passed, I unleashed the Forbidden One!

Game 2 was longer than usual, but I got lucky and wound up having four pieces of Exodia in hand along with a Swift Scarecrow. He attacked with a full board and I used the Scarecrow to survive another turn. When my next Draw Phase came around, I drew and believed in the heart of the cards - I drew the last piece of Exodia that I needed to win! The heart of the cards was on my side.

Round 3 Versus Six Samurai:
At the beginning of this round I had to wait, like, 20 minutes because of an investigation that was going on with my opponent. He was playing Six Samurai and he had some marked cards. The rules are that if you're not capable of replacing the cards that are in Question within a short period of time, you'll get a game loss; then you aren't allowed to use those cards later on in the tournament.

Then Game 2 couldn't start, because now he had to take cards out of his side deck to put them into his main deck, in order to have a legal 40 cards. The cards that were in Question were three Kagemusha of the Six Samurai and three Six Samurai United. After I waited for him to replace cards, I found out he wasn't going to come and play our match because he ran out of time to make a legal deck. I was awarded the victory and continued on in the event with a 3-0 record. I wasn't worried about playing this match, because without Kagemushas he couldn't bring out Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, which is a key card for his strategy – especially in this matchup. He also wouldn't have been able to bring out Naturia Barkio. During testing, I beat Six Samurais and side decked Volcanic Queens, so I felt I could've played this one out; but never the less, a win is a win.

Round 4 Versus HERO Skill Drain with Necrovalley:
This was one of my two live streamed feature matches, so I'm pretty sure you all saw it: I won't go play by play recounting it. I'll just highlight some of the plays and issue that arose during the game. Just to let you readers know, this was by far my favorite match! This was my favorite because it really pushed me to the limit and proved to me that there was a unique, innovative deck in this tournament other than mine.

The match started and of course I lost the die roll again, but I opened up with a decent hand. Using One Day of Peace on my first turn when I saw Photon Thrasher was a must, because I quickly assumed that my opponent was playing Heroes. With that read in mind, the first thing I thought was that he could Special Summon quickly and take a very early win (Jason's Note: likely through Elemental Hero Bubbleman / Blade Armor Ninja combos). When I'm up against a HERO deck, I'm forced to make my moves carefully and not absorb as much damage as I might want to otherwise, so playing Hope for Escape can be difficult. I'm safer using Gift Cards and Upstart Goblins to make sure my opponent will have a Life Point total much higher than mine. A couple of turns in, I noticed that I was going to be in trouble because he used Dark Bribe on my Reckless Greed; without the extra card from Reckless, I would have to play more conservatively and try my best to avoid Counter Traps. I eventually ended up losing this round because of those Counter Traps interfering with my chains, and because my opponent was able to pay alot of Life Points for his own cards to keep me from using Hope for Escape effectively.

With my first loss, I was now 3-1 with good tie breakers moving into the last round of Swiss.

Round 5 Versus Inzektors:
To keep this short and sweet, I wasn't able to capitalize on anything that I drew as I made my chains. Also, what got me really upset was that in both Game 1 and Game 2, my opponent brought out Exa-Stag and took my Sangan, not allowing me to get any of my remaining pieces. He was smart, because he never left anything in attack mode. I finished the day with a 3-2 record, but I still had the best tiebreakers.

 Exodia the Forbidden One
Exodia the Forbidden One57142
Set The Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon
Number LOB-124
Level 3
Type Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute DARK 
A / D 1000 / 1000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

An automatic victory can be declared by the player whose hand contains this card with the Left Leg/Right Leg/Left Arm/Right Arm of the ForbiddenOne.

Sunday – Day 2 of the World Championship!

Round 6 – The Top 8 Versus Inzektors:
This whole Match could be seen in whole on the official TCG website, but I'd like to talk about some of the things that happened here. I only liked this match because I won Game 1 on the live stream by bringing out Exodia, and the whole crowd went wild. My opponent wasn't too surprised because he already knew what I was playing, but he was shocked at how fast I was able to bring it out. I was able to connect all the draw cards to the stall cards in a matter of turns. Then, once I had just five cards left in my deck I was able to set five draw cards. I knew I was winning, and when I activated the first Jar of Greed and drew the head of Exodia the game was sealed.

Game 2 was very awkward nonetheless, because of the way I drew, but that happens to the best of us and I lost that game. I was so afraid going into Game 3 and having the ability to go first. The whole crowd was silent, and I knew I was just one win away from ensuring a 4th place or better finish, which would get me a prize card and a trophy. The game began, and we started things off pretty smoothly. One Day of Peace was my MVP card this game, because it set me up with what I considered to be awesome plays. I got one of the pieces of Exodia with an early draw, and was kind of upset, but I had a neat little chaining plan. Unfortunately my opponent and I got into a bit of an issue, because I felt he was slow playing me on purpose. I called the judges and told them this about seven times. I called them again, and that was when they decided to get an English-speaking TCG judge to come and help out, but by that time it was just too late. The Head Judge came and decided that I could only get a ten minute time extension. I was okay with that, but the minute I turned around to say thank you, my opponent started playing and I turned around to see a whole field of Inzektor cards on the table. So I asked one of the tournament officials what happened, and no one saw anything. There were four or five Japanese tournament officials surrounding our match and no one saw a thing. They froze our match with no time extension, and decided that the only thing they could do was freeze the live stream and go back in time. So they did, and they Returned and told me my opponent had searched his deck.

I thought all of the complications were over at that point, but I was a fool to think so. In my final turn, my opponent flipped over Royal Decree: I chained Twister, Jar of Greed, and Accumulated Fortune. I put the Fortune back face-down because I misunderstood what the tournament officials were saying when they told me that only the Jar of Greed would work. I just left my Fortune face-down. Due to the language barrier in these events, you have to play really carefully, because the players might assume something else happened and then you'll get in trouble. I was attacked for game a short while after.

I signed the match slip as the loser, and waited for a while to get up because I was stunned that I lost. But I was happy that I made it so far. I stood up and went to the center of the stage and the crowd started to applaud me. I had a lot of people supporting me and that was when I said thank you all to everyone there, and left the tournament floor.

Side Decking With The Forbidden One
Here's another look at the Side Deck I built for this tournament:

2 Volcanic Queen
2 Gemini Imps
2 Closed Forest
1 Heavy Storm
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Soul Taker
2 Twister
1 The Transmigration Prophecy

My Side Deck strategy was very simple. I put in the Mystical Space Typhoons and the Twisters every game, and I took out a Pot of Duality, two Hope for Escapes, and two Gift Cards to make room. Depending on the match-up, I would also side deck other cards like Volcanic Queen against Samurai.

Like I said at the end of my WCQ report, “I can not understand failure because I was born through success.” Never give up, guys, and remember to play one game at a time. Don't think about winning the whole event. Think about winning one match at a time; then – and only then – will you slowly advance to the top.

You already know – “If It's not Pro, It Gots to Go, Deuces!”

-Jarel Mckay Winston

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