Going Back to Maryland 1st Place Regionals Report

Thomas Vo

6/10/2013 11:41:00 AM

For the first time in over a year I decided to attend a Regional and sit down at the players' table and not behind the vendor's booth. I played in last weekend's Regional Qualifier in Frederick Maryland, and it felt good to actually play instead of being forced to work it for once.

Going into this Regional I was 100% sure I was going to be playing Dragon Rulers for the simple fact that it's by far the most powerful deck, and it involved the most skill in the mirror match. Contrary to popular belief, playing Dragon Rulers isn't just "drop your hand and 'herp derp' on your opponent." That's because this deck is very unforgiving of misplays. Everything you do in the mirror match has to be very precise, and one small misstep could cost you the game if not the match. Time and time again I played against someone that would leave a monster on the field to get Crimson Blader locked, made pushes at the wrong time, or played Maxx "C" against the wrong monster.

 Crimson Blader
Crimson Blader67688
Set Cosmo Blazer
Number CBLZ-EN093
Level 8
Type Synchro/Effect Monster
Monster Warrior
Attribute FIRE 
A / D 2800 / 2600
Rarity Rare
Card Text

1 Tuner + 1 or more non-Tuner monsters // If this card destroys an opponent's monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard: Your opponent cannot Normal or Special Summon Level 5 or higher monsters during their next turn.

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When I decided to play in this Regional, I wanted to try out new card ideas and try to piece together the puzzle that is my decklist for the WCQ in Chicago. Over the course of about three weeks, it was a nightly ritual for me to sit down at my computer, turn on Skype, and open up Dueling Network to playtest or talk Yu-Gi-Oh. I had refused to even look into anything out of Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy until after YCS Meadowlands, because I didn't want to have to think about those cards until the new set was legal and I was finally ready to prepare for the WCQ.

Once the YCS was over, those nightly chats helped me catch up on what I'd missed by not looking at the new set; they made the transition a lot smoother for me. The biggest people that helped me along the way were my best friend Marshaun, Young who was my testing partner and ideas guy; Chris Michaels, the person that gave me the first build of the deck to test, and the person that I had bounced my ideas off of; and Steffon Bizzell, who spent most of the nights discussing the different ideas that we'd be testing out at the upcoming Regional (he got second place at Frederick as well).

Testing out different ideas for this Regional was important because for me, this was the last major event before the WCQ next month. Having multiple players I talked with test out the numerous ideas we thought up was key. Each of us took different ideas into the event to see which ones worked and which ones didn't, in order to find the best options for the WCQ.

With that, the deck list I played was as follows:

    Dragon Rulers w/ LADD Thomas Vo    
  Location:  Regional - 2013-6-2 Frederick Maryland - 5th - 8th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos
2 Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks
1 Dragunity Corsesca
1 Eclipse Wyvern
3 Effect Veiler
1 Light and Darkness Dragon
2 Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts
2 Maxx "C"
2 Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles
3 Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders
2 Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets
1 Swift Scarecrow
3 Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms
3 Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls
Monsters [29]
1 Book of Moon
2 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn
1 Sacred Sword of Seven Stars
3 Super Rejuvenation
Spells [9]
2 Breakthrough Skill
Traps [2]
Deck Total [40]
1 Book of Eclipse
2 Debunk
2 Electric Virus
2 Eradicator Epidemic Virus
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
1 Metaion, the Timelord
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Royal Decree
1 Swift Scarecrow
Side Deck [15]


1 Armory Arm
1 Black Rose Dragon (UTR)
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Crimson Blader
1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
1 Karakuri Shogun mdl 00 "Burei" (UTR)
3 Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
1 Mermail Abyssgaios (UTR)
2 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Number 7: Lucky Straight
1 Red Dragon Archfiend
1 Scrap Dragon
Extra Deck [15]

One of the most important points I learned from this Regional was that you'll be going into time a lot. I had three Game 1's that took at least 30 minutes each, with one of them taking 37 minutes. I wasn't the only person in that situation either, as evidenced by the fact that of 432 players in the event in Round 2, 162 of them went into time.

Round 1 - Chain Burn
In the first game I was able to put a Light and Darkness Dragon onto the field early on in the game to take the duel. Following up with that, the next game saw me looping Scrap Dragon to pop my opponent's Lava Golem every time he'd drop it on me. Eventually I drew into Royal Decree and an Eradicator Epidemic Virus, and had them both set with a Colossal Fighter on the field. I ended up flipping a Decree face-up and after he Mystical Space Typhooned it, flipped the Virus to finish the match.

Round 2 - Justine Yang with Dragon Rulers
My opponent made a major misplay in Game 1 by trying to get greedy and going into a Dracossack to get her Light and Darkness Dragon on board, instead of using the Dragons she had on the field already. She had Super Rejuvenation to draw to six cards in hand if she'd just played a little more conservatively. I ended up Effect Veilering the Dracossack and making a Crimson Blader to lock her down the turn after.
After this game a bunch of people were asking if we were brother and sister. So apparently I learned that I have a little sister now.

In the second game she misplayed again, leaving a Dragon on the field. I capitalized with Crimson Blader which won the match for me.

Round 3 - Dragon Rulers
The thing I remember most about this match was that my opponent was playing really aggressively for no reason. He was playing Eclipse Wyvern, Light and Darkness Dragon, Debris Dragon, and a Red Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon in his Main Deck, and he'd commit to the field way too early. In each of these games he'd put me down pretty low in Life Points, but would leave his Red Eyes on the table for me to take and just punish him.

Round 4 - Prophecy
I took the first game by not letting him do anything, stopping his Spellbook Magician of Prophecy with Effect Veiler and sitting on a hard Summoned Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos. In Game 2 he dropped Spellbook of Judgment with a plethora of spells, ending with a Jowgen the Spiritualist and Spellbook of Fate on the field. Going into Game 3, I drew my hand and Frazier Smith stood behind me and basically said, "I'm sorry" to my opponent. I ended up hitting him with a first turn Eradicator Epidemic Virus him for six cards, which got me the win.

Round 5 - Jr. with Dragon Rulers
I sat down against a friend from my locals who still needed his invite to the WCQ. I had the full intention of just giving him the win afterwards, but he wanted to play the match for real. I'm glad that he wanted to earn it. In the first game he negated the effect of my Number 11: Big Eye with Effect Veiler when I used Big Eye's ability, which allowed me to chain Book of Moon and steal his Crimson Blader for game. In the second game he ended up playing the wrong Baby Dragon and I capitalized on his mistake with the Blader lock.

Round 6 - Dragon Rulers
This was a 37 minute Game 1 that came down to me hitting my opponent's Mecha Phantom Beast Token with Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger for game. Game 2 looked like it was going to be a grind game, but he ended up Normal Summoning twice, and just giving me the win when he realized his mistake.

Round 7 - Tahmid with Dragon Rulers
I got savaged in the worst way in Game 1 here. I had double Blaster, a Light and Darkness Dragon, and three Effect Veilers in hand. I asked him to show me the OTK and scooped it up when he did.

Game 2 was more of a back and forth grind game. I ended up misplaying by not being able to do basic math. I had game on the field with an Electric Virus in hand, versus his Blaster and Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls. Instead of taking his Blaster with Virus I took his Tidal, putting him at 2200 and ending with an Abyssgaios on board. I gave him an extra turn when I should've taken Blaster and finished it right there. In the last game he had the Armory Arm OTK but ended up misplaying by forgetting that the Tidal he brought out was Summoned through Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets, leaving me at 400 Life Points (since Tidal couldn't attack). On the next turn I wiped out his board and put Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer on the field versus his empty hand to take the match.

Round 8 - Robert Jordan with Dragon Rulers
In the first game I stared down Robert's early double Rejuvenation, and we both ended up trading cards for awhile before I made a miscalculation in Life Points and got locked with Crimson Blader. In Game 2 I attempted to Burner + Wyvern him, but he responded with Maxx "C". He passed his turn and I attempted to drop Blaster getting back my Light and Darkness Dragon, but he had Maxx "C" again. I went into the tank for a bit to think if I should push through the Maxx "C" to try for game with Light and Darkness Dragon, but I thought if he had double Swift Scarecrow or Double Effect Veiler it would've put me in a bad position, so I just attacked and passed. He attempted to get something going and my Maxx "C" stopped him in his tracks. On my turn I attempted to go for game again, but as I was making my play I received a slow play warning. I picked up the pace, and in Game 3 I had hand traps galore and Robert sadly couldn't do anything.

Robert would go on to make the Top 8 in this tournament!

Round 9 - Steffon Bizzell with Dragon Rulers
It was the most savage thing to ever happen. Steffon took out his deck, put his hand on top of it and said good game. It was nice actually seeing him go undefeated in the last round with me, since we both talked almost the entire night about a lot of different ideas.

Card Choices
There are a lot of choices that might have many of you asking questions. For the most part, many of these choices were part of a large group of ideas that me and my friends were going to test and I ended up with these.

Eclipse Wyvern and Light and Darkness Dragon- Most of us were very back and forth on running these cards. I ended up being the one that decided to play them just to see how far they would take me. A lot of us ended up cutting Light and Darkness Dragon because an experienced player could play around it and use your own Light and Darkness Dragon against you by chaining a Book of Moon or Breakthrough Skill to its effect, then taking it with Number 11: Big Eye.

Doing that costs you alot of resources, either forcing out negation effects or losing your field after LADD's destroyed. For the most part I felt like it was a good choice for the mirror match, and if you were able to Summon it early against Prophecy. The only downside I really encountered has been against Evilswarm: sometimes that deck can just summon Evilswarm Castor and another monster to go into Ophion and get rid of Light and Darkness Dragon. If I had to play this tournament again, I'd probably continue to play LADD just because it's so powerful this against three of the most popular decks in competition.

Dragunity Corsesca- Whenever people see this, the first thing they say is, "Why not run Flamvell Guard? You can ditch it for Blaster!" The thing about that is that it doesn't come up as often as you might think it does. Also there are easier ways to make a Blaster live in three turns with only a Gold Sarcophagus. I decided to run Corsesca for the simple fact that I hate - I repeat, hate - banishing a Blaster in order to search for my Level 1 Tuner. In my opinoon, Tempest is the worst out of all the Dragon Rulers. With only 2400 ATK you never want to have it on the field, and it isn't a part of many of the OTK's, so the decision to run Corsesca came down to Blaster having 400 more ATK than Tempest.

Debunk- We were all going back and forth on Vanity's Emptiness versus. this card for the longest time. In the end it came down to which one would have the most impact for me. I love Debunk because it stops your opponent's hand traps, and if you leave a push on the table it slows your opponent down immensely when they're trying to press back against you. For example, in the late game in one of my matches, my opponent's only option was to make a Blaster play from his graveyard. That required him to banish the rest of his Dragons from his graveyard. Since I was able to Debunk away the Blaster and cost him the cards he banished, it was totally clutch.

Set Extreme Victory
Number EXVC-EN076
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

Negate the activation of an Effect Monster's effect that activates in the hand or in the Graveyard, and remove it from play.

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Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer- I wanted to play cards that had multiple uses in different matchups and this card did the trick. In the mirror match Kycoo forces your opponent to play two Baby Dragons and two discards in order to make Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack or Number 11: Big Eye to get over it, or else Kycoo just wreaks havoc on your opponent's graveyard. In the Prophecy matchup it shuts down arguably the best card in your opponent's deck, Spellbook of Fate.

Book of Eclipse- In short, mistakes were made. The logic behind this card was that if I saw an Obelisk the Tormentor, Angel O7, Vanity's Fiend, or Light and Darkness in my opponent's deck, this would be another card to bring in for Game 3 to counter-side. However, to put it bluntly, this card was just terrible.

In closing, I just wanted to mention that this format is by far one of the most enjoyable for me. It's because yes, there are only a limited number of decks in Premier competition, and while some of those decks might be more expensive than what we've been used to in the past year, the mirror matches actually require a sense of skill right now. The game's returned to an era where you can capitalize on your opponent's misplays, and at times sloppy play is punished instead of rewarded. Seeing how a single misplay cost so many people entire matches throughout the course of the day has made me enjoy this format more and more.

-Thomas Vo
@thms_vo on Twitter

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