The Ultimate Pegasus Challenge – My Experience

Kelly Locke

7/30/2013 3:01:00 PM

While I was planning to attend the World Championship Qualifier in Chicago for about two months in advance, I actually had no intention of competing in the main event. Without an invite from a Regional Qualifier I'd have to try for the Last Chance Qualifiers… something I initially had a lot of interest in. After all, Saturday at Navy Pier would be a bit of a disappointment if I wasn't in some sort of tournament. But my worries were misplaced - I'd underestimated the sheer number of side events. Actually, it's more accurate to say that I didn't do enough research to know better. Battle Pack 2 tournaments, qualifiers for next-year's WCQ, Win-A-Mats, and ATTACK OF THE GIANT CARD!! were all options on Saturday, but what really caught my eye was a yellow sheet that registered players for the Ultimate Pegasus Challenge…an event that I immediately recalled from previous tournament coverage .

 Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon
Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon66903
Set Legendary Collection 3: Yugi's World
Number LCYW-EN103
Level 8
Type Toon Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 3000 / 2500
Rarity Rare
Card Text

This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card can only be Special Summoned while you control "Toon World". You can Special Summon this card from your hand (but Tributes are required if it is Level 5 or higher). This card cannot attack during the turn it is Summoned. This card cannot attack unless you pay 500 Life Points. When "Toon World" is destroyed, destroy this card. If your opponent doesn't control a Toon Monster, this card can attack your opponent directly. If your opponent controls a face-up Toon Monster, you must select it as an attack target.

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YCS Providence introduced a new type of public event: the Ultimate Pegasus Challenge. On the surface it's not much different from a typical tournament you'd play at a large local event. When I played at the WCQ it was four rounds long, and prizes were distributed to those who had at least two wins. Combined with the entry packs given out just for playing, it was already a solid deal in terms of making your entry fee back in product. I find that players typically scoff at entry fees until they find out that they'll be getting a form of compensation even if they don't win a single match. Those five packs you get at a premier event are a great way to ease the pain of the usual tournament entry. Transportation isn't cheap, and nobody wants to take another hit to their wallet after shelling out for gas or a plane ticket. Overall, Konami's entry compensation strategy is a win for everyone.

So, Back To The Pegasus Challenge
What makes this event so unique? Well, for starters, Darren Dustan is on the floor! The voice actor of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime's Season 1 antagonist, Maximillion Pegasus, was at both YCS Providence and the 2013 WCQ to lead duelists through the tournament. Darren lends his voice to a handful of roles in other TV shows, some of which you might be familiar with. His career in voice acting and directing has put him in charge of numerous projects through 4Kid's Entertainment, including Pokemon and, of course, Yu-Gi-Oh. Being at the tables around Darren made it worth entering for that experience alone - at least if you're as much of a fanboy as I am. With a pair of autograph signings on Saturday and Sunday, and a live duel with Eric "Kaiba" Stuart on the last day of the event, the weekend was a great experience for anyone who grew up watching the original series on Saturday mornings.

But Darren, in the character of Mr. Pegasus himself, wasn't playing in his own challenge. Unlike Duelist Kingdom however, he wasn't content with taking a hands-off approach to this tournament. Instead he was very, very involved - fitting for The Creator of Duel Monsters. While normal game rules applied in every other case, the Ultimate Pegasus Challenge has one twist: whatever Pegasus says, goes! New rules can be initiated at any time and totally change the way a duel plays. Discarding cards, destroying monsters, negating all effects of a certain type...there's no telling what might be called out. It's a crazy way to play that creates epic duels and awesome stories. A single rule change might totally swerve the way a game's heading, or seal a player's fate by eliminating their options. In other cases it's just plain fun to play with the extra rules, and that's a big part of what makes the Pegasus challenge so enjoyable.

I've given you the basic pitch of the Challenge, but I'll take a minute to clarify some things so you're aware of the specifics regarding the rules. Every few minutes Pegasus declares a new rule that must be enacted immediately. If you're in the middle of resolving a chain, those effects must be resolved...but if you're still building a chain, or at any other time, you'll have to pause play to carry out his instructions. Needless to say, this often causes confusion when complex card effects are thrown into the mix. Note that because Pegasus' decrees are neither an opponent nor a card effect, you can't negate any instruction he gives. Likewise, effects that trigger due to your opponent's actions won't activate. Optional effects can be used if a rule affects them, but they can also miss timing if you were in the middle of a chain. Lastly, the judges are expecting questions about the rules in advance and are specially prepared, so they're ready to help you if you can't determine how a rule impacts your game.

Duelist Kingdom's Finest
I hadn't expected to play anything serious over the weekend, and after a dismal performance in the one LCQ I entered I went back to the hotel and built a deck that would, at least, be fun to play. As most of my friends know me, I'm the resident Dragunity player around these parts. It's a fun deck to play in a more casual setting, but I've struggled to make it work in a format where players are siding so many counters to what should be a rogue strategy. The benefit of running something rogue is that, in theory, you get to dodge the majority of your opponents' Side Decked cards. Sadly, Dragunity finds itself in the unfortunate position of being relatively good, but also extremely vulnerable to popular tech choices played for other decks entirely. Hand traps were the bane of my existence, and the match-up with Evilswarm is hit or miss. Heck, most of my match-ups were an uphill battle.

Had I been more 'serious' with my attempt at the WCQ, I would have built something that used Necrovalley in the Main Deck. I'll leave you with the image of animal-plane hybrids taking off from a runway somewhere in Egypt and flying over a valley at sunset; something like that. There was one stand-out performance from a Dragunity player at the event who snagged a feature match in Round 9. His build was great, but I decided to run something a bit more...stylish. "Stylish", of course, is code for "wildly inconsistent and prone to self-destructing."

Let's get to the tournament itself! Round 1 I was paired against Evilswarm; by far my worst match-up. He kicked things off with an Evilswarm Ophion and three set cards. The match went by quickly, especially when my opponent opened up with Rescue Rabbit both games, but we did get to experience the first of Pegasus' rules...after the first game ended. He told us to switch control of monsters on the field, potentially placing me in control of my opponent's Ophion. I had conceded no more than thirty seconds ago, and this illustrated the first lesson I learned while playing the Ultimate Pegasus Challenge: don't quit the duel until you've definitively lost. A completely one-sided march towards victory can be shattered by a rule change, and it happens with surprising frequency. All too often players would forfeit just before an announcement that would have kept them in the game, or even allowed them to win. Of course I don't suggest stalling, but do make a point of waiting until your opponent declares that last attack before you move to the next game or offer the handshake.

 Evilswarm Ophion
Evilswarm Ophion68096
Set Hidden Arsenal 7: Knight of Stars
Number HA07-EN064
Level 4
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2550 / 1650
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2 Level 4 "lswarm" monsters // While this card has Xyz Material, Level 5 or higher monsters cannot be Special Summoned. Once per turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; add 1 "Infestation" Spell/Trap Card from your Deck to your hand.

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The next round put me up against Prophecy, a deck that would lose outright if Pegasus declared spells unusable. I wasn't so lucky then, but that exact rule did show up in Round 4! Like the first match, there wasn't a whole lot that drastically affected the way we played in the first game. In a way there's a balance struck between the game-changing announcements and the less-impactful rule changes. Sometimes you'll be prevented from Summoning monsters with 1500 or less ATK, and other times you'll just be playing with your deck flipped upside down…like we did in Round 2. Pegasus had us flip our decks over and play like that for a few minutes, almost as if Convulsion of Nature was active. That change didn't last long, and it was lifted before I had a chance to draw the Terraforming that I desperately needed from the top of my deck.

The second game of my Round 2 match let me side in my anti-Prophecy cards, including Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos, and the Level 6 and Level 8 versions of Horus the Black Flame Dragon. Dragunity has some pretty crazy combos that are possible thanks to Hieratic Dragon King of Atum, and I started off the duel with Photon Strike Bounzer, Stardust Dragon, and Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon. My opponent couldn't break my set-up, and after I used Gold Sarcophagus to banish Blaster, search Horus LV6, and attempted to Summon it to destroy his Spellbook Magician of Prophecy, he immediately conceded. Not too long after, Pegasus called for monsters over 1500 ATK to be destroyed. My opponent was a bit dismayed, but got his revenge in Game 3.

Earlier in the game Pegasus called for us to reveal our hands while we played, and this actually had an interesting interaction with Spellbooks. If your hand's already revealed, you can't reveal Spellbooks to activate effects. Check out The Eye of Truth and its rulings, which is essentially the same thing. Despite this, I allowed play to continue, in part because I didn't hear anyone else mention it and the judge was a few tables away. My fate was sealed when Pegasus ordered all monsters to be flipped face-down. My opponent ended up flipping two Spellbook Magician of Prophecy and was able to re-use their effects a second time to search out the vital Spellbooks he needed from his deck.

Round 2 went by, but at least I was able to experience some more of Pegasus' rules. Something I'd like for Konami to do, in the future, is dedicate a few more judges to this particular public event. Nearly every time a new rule was initiated dozens of hands would shoot up asking either for clarification or a question about how a rule affected their current game state. My example with Spellbooks being already revealed in hand is just one example of a ruling question that unfortunately went unanswered. At one point we were told to destroy all spell and trap cards, but it wasn't clear if that meant just the ones on the field or any in the hand as well. Some sort of post-announcement clarification, immediately following Pegasus' lines, would help prevent some of the initial confusion. My second tip that I'll offer for this type of event is to never be afraid to ask for a judge, and to brush up on your general rules knowledge. Knowing how specific cards interact isn't as helpful here.

Anyways, Round 3 had me playing against Gladiator Beasts with Fire Formation - Tenki and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear and Gorilla. Now a little unhappy about my current 0-2 record, I made a point of swiftly hitting my OTK in the wake of a Heavy Storm. I could tell my opponent was more of a casual player, especially when they told me that they'd be fine with the game ending early. Pegasus had vanished after Round 1 to go do autograph signings and a line was forming by the time round three began.

I'd previously considered prolonging the duel a bit, mostly because I felt bad unloading a horde of Dragons onto the field on Turn 1, but after my opponent's comment I threw Chivalry to the wind and went for yet another OTK. Two copies of Waboku saved the game for two turns, but Photon Strike Bounzer kept my opponent locked out of the duel. Shortly afterwards, there was a rule that was called out that had both of us laughing: destroy all monsters on the field! A third piece of advice: if you have the opportunity to win, go for it. Waiting increases the chance that you'll lose your window of opportunity, or the possibility of a rule decimating your field. OTKs are risky for that reason, and I'll admit that the entire time I was going through my combos I was going as quickly as possible while still making my plays clear.

The fourth round was pure insanity. Evilswarm were up again, but we started a bit late due to my opponent showing up only just before the round start time. About a minute into the round, Pegasus had us start shuffle our Side Decks, and use them as our new Main Decks! This elicited some laughter from the players, but it was even crazier for my match which hadn't yet begun. We drew our opening hand right from our side! I started with Blaster, Horus LV6, Droll & Lock Bird, Dragunity Legionnaire, and Eradicator Epidemic Virus. I was able to summon Horus just before Pegasus prevented Traps from being activated, putting my Dragon in the perfect position to deal some damage. By that point we were drawing from our Main Decks again, but I could tell that the rule change had really messed up my opponent's strategy. With the next announcement there was a collective outcry from Prophecy players: spells could no longer be activated! Monsters were similarly restricted for a time, but my opponent and I totally forgot and I allowed him to resolve a Maxx "C" and Rescue Rabbit in the meantime.

My final tip is to just keep the rule changes in the forefront of your mind. It's so easy to get caught up in the duel and start going back and forth as if it was a regular game. While playing the Ultimate Pegasus Challenge you'll want to try and change your thinking to fit each new rule, even if it's just to take a moment and reassess your plays. Going along with that piece of advice is another lesson: don't think that your set-up, or position in the game is certain for any length of time. Pegasus is the one who decides these things. A play might look like the "right" one to make at the time, but turn out to be fruitless a moment later. My opponent fell into this when he used Electric Virus to take my Stardust Dragon and lost it immediately to a rule that destroyed all monsters on the field.

Closing Thoughts
I finished the tournament with as many wins as I had losses, but had such a great experience that I didn't care either way. On Sunday I was able to get autographs from both Eric Stuart and Darren Dustan, but left before their duel later that day. My final opinion on the Ultimate Pegasus Challenge is: awesome. If you're looking for some casual-level fun, this is your event. The prizes aren't anything too spectacular, but you'll have a blast playing in the process.

The one thing I would warn against is slow play. It was a major problem at the WCQ in general, but there's a bigger reason why players will purposefully play slowly. Usually, they're waiting for a more favorable duel. When spells were declared unusable, many Spellbook players took their sweet time siding for their next game. It's a minor problem, but given that this is a more casual public event it shouldn't be too big of an issue. Finally, I'd like to thank the judges, staff, and Darren Dustan for putting on this incredibly fun tournament. Hopefully we'll get to see it again at future events.

Until next time then.

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