YCS Chicago Aftermath: What I Learned

Doug Zeeff

4/20/2015 11:00:00 AM

This past weekend was YCS Chicago, the first major event since the recent Forbidden and Limited List. I attended it with Pasquale and Loukas from TCGplayer, as well as my girlfriend and a couple other friends. We all had a blast, but one of the coolest parts of the weekend was that three TCGplayer writers made Day Two with rogue strategies. Pasquale and Bobby Kenny made it to the second day with similar builds of Ritual Beasts and I made it using Volcanics.

Not many rogue players made it that far and it was really satisfying for all of us as friends and coworkers. I thought it'd be a good idea to write an article about what I learned at the event, both by watching other people's strategies and my own build of Volcanics.

The Metagame Was Weird
Nobody was surprised that Nekroz were so well represented at this event, but I don't think anyone could imagine just how many Nekroz decks were actually going to be played. It seemed like every other match had a Nekroz player, and if I had to take a guess I'd say over 40% of the field was based on Ritual Summons. Personally I played against five, Pasquale demolished six, and I believe Bobby faced six as well. I watched several of the Top 32 Deck Profiles (including Bobby's which is on my own channel), and almost all of them said they played against six Nekroz throughout the day. I think the lowest number was four, and that's still more than a third of their Swiss rounds.

That was great news for anyone that prepared to face a ton of Nekroz. Players that tuned their Main Decks to steal Game 1 against Nekroz had a much higher chance of topping Chicago. I really liked Patrick Hoban's engine of Armageddon Knight and Farfa, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss, for a lot of reasons. I'd guess that almost every single Nekroz player was using Reinforcement of the Army to search out combo pieces so Armageddon Knight fits right in. You can use it aggressively to send Djinn Releaser of Rituals to the graveyard and lock your opponent out of the game, or you can play it defensively to send Farfa to the grave and break your opponent's Djinn lock. It also meant that Hoban didn't have to dedicate many slots to inconsistent cards like Book of Eclipse, Dark Hole, or Raigeki because he could just search the Armageddon Knight when he needed it.

 Solemn Scolding
Solemn Scolding94601
Set The New Challengers
Number NECH-EN079
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

If this is the only Set card in your Spell & Trap Zone, when a monster would be Summoned, OR when a Spell Card, Trap Card, or monster effect is activated: Pay 3000 LP; negate the Summon or activation, and if you do, destroy that card.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
SuperGamesInc Unlimited - Heavily Played 1 $4.06
hOiGuY 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $4.55
Awesome Gaming Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $5.38
MythicMTG 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.59
EvolutionGaming Inc Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $5.60
Midland Millers Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $5.60
Han Perfect Cards Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $5.60
notgonnalie Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $5.64
Vegas Premier Gaming Unlimited - Near Mint 2 $5.65
Collector's Cache 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $5.69

Oh, and Solemn Scolding was a thing, but I'm sure most of you know that by now. Many experienced Nekroz players refuse to Djinn lock their opponent without the protection of Forbidden Lance, and Solemn Scolding basically acts as two extra copies of Lance. Opening with the Djinn lock often robs you of three of your Ritual Spells, which means if your opponent can push through it they're almost guaranteed a win. In most cases it becomes a coin flip: you either keep the lock up and auto-win, or your opponent has the out and auto-loses. Forbidden Lance and Solemn Scolding essentially rig the coin flip because it means your opponent has to draw two separate outs to the Djinn lock instead of one. The average number of outs played is four (three Book of Eclipse and one Raigeki) so the likelihood of your opponent opening with two of them is pretty darn slim.

Additionally, Satellarknights and Shaddolls had a huge resurgence in popularity. Shaddolls can run Artifact Lancea effectively because if they're not facing Nekroz they can use it as material for El Shaddoll Construct, and Shaddolls can almost Main Deck triple Mistake. Satellarknights are one of the best rogue strategies right now because they can throw so many traps at Nekroz and they can make Constellarknight Diamond against Burning Abyss and Shaddolls for pretty much free wins.

With the Star Seraph support in World Superstars that just hit, I'd imagine Satellarknights are going to be an extremely important matchup for a lot of duelists in the coming weeks. Now might be the time to start siding Stygian Dirge and Light-Imprisoning Mirror again, but only time will tell.

How Did Volcanics Go?
I've been hyping up Volcanics for a long time here on TCGplayer, and it's no surprise that I felt confident taking it to the YCS. Pasquale helped me test some ideas in the weeks leading up to the tournament but he eventually dropped the strategy in favor of Ritual Beasts. However, his help was tremendously useful and allowed me to at least talk theory-oh with another player that I respected. Last week's article on Volcanics was heavily based around Pasquale's vision for the theme, though I ended up spinning it to meet my standards and playstyle.

For example, I made the last minute decision to play Temple of the Kings, a card I was on the fence about for weeks. Temple of the Kings' strength is no joke: you can activate Blaze Accelerator Reload on the turn you activate it which sets you up for a first turn Magic Planter and a whole bunch of setup. You can also activate a slew of Reckless Greeds to bury your opponent in the dust. However, there were two basic downsides to Temple that I wasn't thrilled about. First, it took up a space in your spell and trap card zone that could've been used for a “real” trap card. Second, it's really bad late game after you've burned through your Reckless Greeds.

The solution to the first problem was actually pretty easy: play fewer trap cards. I ended up cutting a lot of the more reactive traps like Mirror Force and Magic Cylinder from the Main Deck in favor of more consistency like Temple of the Kings and Upstart Goblin, and I definitely can say post-YCS Chicago that this was by far the best decision I made about Volcanics. The trap cards often didn't get you to where you needed to be and tended to just stall out your losses. With a set of Upstart Goblins and Temple of the Kings you have a much better chance of opening up with one of those infamous Volcanic turns where you draw four, six, or eight cards in one go.

Despite the praise for those results though, I feel like I should've played two more reactive traps, and I think that Breakthrough Skill's the perfect card to cut. I played two Effect Veiler, two Fiendish Chain, and two Breakthrough Skill to cover all my bases on effect negation, but Breakthrough really underperformed. It was weak to the same things that Fiendish Chain is weak to but it doesn't even stop attacks when it goes off, and in that case Effect Veiler's just better anyway. The only true use for Breakthrough Skill that neither Fiendish Chain nor Effect Veiler can accomplish is banishing it from grave to negate an El Shaddoll Winda or Masked HERO Dark Law, but that never came up through the entire tournament. Going forward I'd consider playing either Mind Crush (which has synergy with Temple of the Kings to play around Nekroz of Valkyrus) or Dimensional Prison.

Side Decks: Now Better Than Ever
My favorite Side Deck card that I saw the whole day was sided by both Pasquale and Bobby: Chaos Trap Hole. I originally viewed this card as extra copies of Solemn Warning against Denko Sekka but it's so much more than that. It was in Round 7 when I realized after watching Pasquale that you could use Chaos Trap Hole on either Manju of Ten Thousand Hands or Senju of Thousand Hands, and then I was immediately sold on the idea. Chaos Trap Hole can also stop Evilswarm Exciton Knight in a pinch, making it an incredibly versatile weapon against the Nekroz arsenal. It's good against Denko Sekka - the bane of Volcanics' existence - as well as the average Nekroz player's early game setups. Looking back, I'd honestly consider Main Decking this trap at Chicago because it's just so amazing.

 Malevolent Catastrophe
Malevolent Catastrophe26241
Set Structure Deck Rise of the Dragon Lords
Number SDRL-EN032
Type Normal Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Common
Card Text

Activate only when your opponent's monster declares an attack. Destroy all Spell and Trap Cards.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
Pro-PlayGames 1st Edition - Lightly Played 2 $0.05
OmnomaxTradersLLC 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.05
NMGAMING 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.05
Davis Cards & Games 1st Edition - Heavily Played 2 $0.10
SuperGamesInc 1st Edition - Lightly Played 2 $0.11
Epic Gaming 1st Edition - Lightly Played 2 $0.15
Epik Cards & Games 1st Edition - Near Mint 12 $0.16
UltimateGames&Comics 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $0.17
SuperGamesInc 1st Edition - Near Mint 15 $0.17
GameTimeCC 1st Edition - Damaged 1 $0.18

My other favorite Side Deck card is Malevolent Catastrophe. I was playing it in Volcanics because I could set it next to a Blaze Accelerator Reload and Reckless Greed to blow out my opponent but plenty of other duelists were running it, too. Malevolent Catastrophe almost hands you free wins against specific rogue strategies if used correctly and if you're playing an aggressive deck that can't afford to lose its Normal Summon to Denko Sekka then I'd suggest trying it out. A Heavy Storm-like effect is always going to be powerful even if it requires your opponent's monster to attack.

Overall, though, I think World Superstars is going to shake up the dueling community in ways none of us could imagine. I think back to Dragons of Legend last year when everyone was too busy focusing on Soul Charge and Kuribandit to take notice of Fire Hand and Ice Hand, Mathematician, and a variety of other really powerful cards. There's a ton of hidden gems in World Superstars and I can't wait to explore my options in the coming weeks!

-Doug Zeeff

Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, pretending to be a movie critic, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh.

All original content herein is Copyright 2016 Ascension Gaming Network, Inc. TCGplayer® and MaxPoint® are trademarks of Ascension Gaming Network, Inc.
No portion of this web site may be used without expressed written consent. All rights reserved.
Magic the Gathering and its respective properties are copyright Wizards of the Coast
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service