Interestingly Innovative: The Real World, Tiebreakers Suck

Pasquale Crociata

5/30/2015 11:02:00 AM

Another tournament has passed and another disappointment was handed my way. I decided to pilot Ritual Beasts at the 150th YCS and who could blame me?

The deck just got one of the best boss monsters ever printed for a theme and another fantastic Ritual Beast Tamer. Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio offered a new win condition and drastically bolstered consistency thanks to its Psychic attribute. Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica brought another way to revive Ritual Beasts from your graveyard and gave you another name to Special Summon with Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk, which meant more searches each turn. The deck already had a fantastic Nekroz matchup, which I've proved at many tournaments, most recently YCS Chicago, where I defeated six Nekroz decks without dropping a game. It hardly struggled anywhere else, but Shaddolls proved to be annoying, chiefly due to the variety of ways the deck could be played.

Thankfully, in order for Shaddolls to compete, the deck had to adapt and become a bit more streamlined, which only meant good things for Ritual Beasts. No longer did I have to worry about Artifacts, because those monsters weren't very good against Nekroz. I just had to handle El Shaddoll Winda and Mistake; both easily dealt with by Spiritual Beast Pettlephin, among other cards. El Shaddoll Anoyatyllis had virtually no impact on the Ritual Beast matchup and Burning Abyss got some really undervalued support, outside of Fiend Griefing, which is easily countered by Ritual Beast Apelio and Ritual Beast Ambush.

The stage was set for me to finally take a seat in the top cut of a YCS. All I had to do was continue to dominate Nekroz, watch out for Lose 1 Turn and I'd be on my way.

If only it was that simple…

The Preparation
I tested heavily for this event online and at my local card shops. I spent hours on my YouTube Channel streaming matches and testing out a few tech card choices. I tried to make the Oracle of Zefra and Brain Research Lab build I posted here on TCGplayer work, but also fiddled around with a variant heavier on the purple cards. I switched between three Mystical Space Typhoons and two. One Galaxy Cyclone and none, three Emergency Teleports and two, Book of Moon over Ring of Destruction and I was constantly switching up my Ritual Beast Tamer ratios. I agonized over every last card choice right up until I submitted my deck list, because I wanted it to be perfect. I would never submit something I did not think was the best in the entire tournament and you only get to that point of confidence by changing things up to find out what works best.

 Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio
Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio98446
Set Crossed Souls
Number CROS-EN045
Level 10
Type Fusion/Effect Monster
Monster Psychic
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 3200 / 2100
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

1 "Ritual Beast Ulti-" monster + 1 "Ritual Beast Tamer" monster + 1 "Spiritual Beast" monster
Must be Special Summoned (from your Extra Deck) by banishing the above cards you control, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. (You do not use "Polymerization".) If Summoned this way, this card gains this effect.
- During either player's turn, when a Spell/Trap Card, or monster effect, is activated: You can banish 1 "Ritual Beast" card from your hand; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it.

Store Condition Qty Avail Price  
CoreTCG 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $6.99
Deck Donkey 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $8.24
Game Nut 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $8.50
OverdoseGaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $8.98
Card Rush 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $8.98
GoodGames Unlimited - Lightly Played 1 $8.99
CampStrongTCG Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $9.15
CampStrongTCG 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $9.15
Collector Store LLC Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $9.22
Card Rush Unlimited - Near Mint 4 $9.22

My decisions were only made tougher upon arriving in Columbus, because I'd found out that the Head Judge was going to be ruling that Lose 1 Turn worked like Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. It had been ruled previously to work like Skill Drain, and that's how I'd treated it in my testing. The difference is drastic and very relevant when playing a deck like Ritual Beasts, that can easily get around Skill Drain.

The interpretation of Lose 1 Turn at Columbus meant that you couldn't dodge it in any way except by destroying it. Skill Drain has no effect on monsters that aren't face-up on the field after their effects resolve. It won't work on Lonefire Blossom, Card Car D or Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk. You can dodge a Skill Drain with Evilswarm Exciton Knight by flipping it facedown with Book of Moon or Book of Eclipse, and that's awesome.

Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare doesn't care where the card ends up after the effect resolves; it's always negated. Face-up, face-down, in the Extra Deck or in your hand: there's no way to stop it from negating the monster's effect. I knew full well that Qliphorts were going to be a thing because of the new floodgate trap, but in my testing, I'd played around it quite easily, because Ulti-Cannahawk removes itself from the field as a cost. If I couldn't do that anymore, I knew I'd have to play extra spell and trap destruction to ensure I at least had a shot in every Game 1.

It was in that moment that I knew I needed to play Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. Not only could it deal with Lose 1 Turn, but it could also handle Qliphort Scout and Re-qliate. It was too versatile in the Qliphort matchup to not be solid and useful in other areas. It let me play the best effect of Metaphys Horus when paired with Zeframpilica and it could remove pesky monsters from the field. I didn't have any when I arrived, but I was hell bent on getting at least two before I submitted my deck list.

Thankfully, Doug Zeeff's girlfriend Iesha Robinson pulled one in her entry packs and gave it to me for a great price. Then, after some texting around, Cordero Vexacus Spencer found someone willing to let me borrow my second Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. With them in my possession, I was confident my list would take me to the top! Let's see what I played:

    Ritual Beasts Pasquale Crociata    
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Effect Veiler
1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
3 Ritual Beast Tamer Elder
2 Ritual Beast Tamer Lara
1 Ritual Beast Tamer Wen
1 Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica
2 Spiritual Beast Apelio
3 Spiritual Beast Cannahawk
1 Spiritual Beast Pettlephin
3 Spiritual Beast Rampengu
Monsters [20]
3 Emergency Teleport
1 Foolish Burial
1 Gold Sarcophagus
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Raigeki
1 Ritual Beast's Bond
1 Soul Charge
Spells [11]
1 Ring of Destruction
3 Ritual Beast Ambush
3 Ritual Beast Steeds
1 Solemn Warning
1 Torrential Tribute
Traps [9]
Deck Total [40]
2 Artifact Lancea
2 Chaos Trap Hole
1 Dimensional Fissure
1 Galaxy Cyclone
1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
1 Macro Cosmos
2 Maxx "C"
1 Mirror Force
3 Twister (UTR)
1 Vanity's Emptiness
Side Deck [15]


1 Abyss Dweller
1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight
1 Lightning Chidori (UTR)
1 Metaphys Horus
3 Ritual Beast Ulti-Apelio
3 Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk
2 Ritual Beast Ulti-Gaiapelio
1 Ritual Beast Ulti-Pettlephin
1 Stellarknight Constellar Diamond
1 Tellarknight Ptolemaeus
Extra Deck [15]

Given the deck's strong Nekroz matchup, and at the time the then-weak Qliphort match-up thanks to Lose 1 Turn and the already damning Re-qliate, I felt I could sacrifice the dead Mystical Space Typhoons against Nekroz for a better first game against any Qliphort player. I also anticipated more rogue decks and Qliphorts before Round 5, and I typically start 5-0 at these things, so I wanted to continue that trend and not lose to an early floodgate. I was beyond confident that I could still take plenty of Game 1's off of Nekroz and the Mystical Space Typhoon's would also ensure I didn't get beat out by the Djinn lock backed by Solemn Scolding.

Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit's seen a lot of discussion lately and many seem to think it's not that good…but I think it's incredible. I opted to Main Deck one copy for a slew of reasons; with the obvious being its insane versatility against Qliphorts. I also love how good it is at baiting your opponent into Ritual Summoning Nekroz of Trishula. If Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit's the final card in your hand, you can discard it to destroy Trishula and because you've got nothing left in your hand, your opponent can't resolve Trishula's effect.

Ghost Ogre's also another out to the Djinn lock, because you can stop it before it starts. If you use it to destroy a Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands, your opponent can't make a Lavalval Chain to place the Djinn Releaser of Rituals into the graveyard. While that's not the best play, it's a nice one to know is available.

You have the option to use Emergency Teleport to Special Summon Ghost Ogre from the Main Deck, too. Not only can you discard Ghost Ogre from your hand, but you can Tribute it from the field for its effect. That offers a lot of utility, because you can easily disrupt Satellarknight Xyz Summons or use it as a Tuner to Synchro Summon Metaphys Horus. If paired with Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica, you can steal an opponent's monster permanently. If paired with Ritual Beast Tamer Wen, you can shut off a card on the field forever. That's an awesome way to stop Imperial Iron Wall or Mistake.

Another interesting choice I made was to use two Ritual Beast Tamer Lara over a second Ritual Beast Tamer Wen or Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica. That choice was also the only difference between Bobby Kenny's list for this event and my own. We were furiously messaging each other the night before about card choices and we eventually played the same deck, except he opted for a second Zeframpilica.

The reason I chose to play two Lara over two Wen is simple: Ritual Beasts easily control the banished zone, but the graveyard can be a tricky place to recover from. That's the only reason people played Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms before it was Forbidden. Tempest helped refuel your banished zone and Lara can accomplish a similar thing. Any monster you put into the graveyard with Ritual Beast Rampengu is no good to Ritual Beast Tamer Wen, but is perfect for Lara. I felt Wen's impressive 1500 ATK was irrelevant in this tournament, because of how easy I was planning on OTKing anyway. I'd much rather have a 2000 DEF wall if I didn't open well. There's also the thought that if you open only a Spiritual Beast without a Tamer, that it's going to get destroyed and go to the graveyard, which meant I'd much rather top deck Lara over Wen.

Zeframpilica's a whole different story. While its effect is similar to Lara, Zeframpilica has a lot going against it. Sure the card has higher ATK, but like I said: I'm OTKing like crazy without the extra ATK from the Tamers, so it's irrelevant. If Zeframpilica's smacked with Effect Veiler and gets destroyed, it will go face-up into your Extra Deck and that's bad news for your Ritual Beast Ambush. Even more than that, if you use its effect to revive a Spiritual Beast and your opponent activates Imperial Iron Wall to stop you from Contact Fusing, Zeframpilica will destroy the monster it Special Summoned in the End Phase. That's bad news for your Ritual Beast Steeds and now Zeframpilica's left all alone on the field to die in a fire and go into your Extra Deck screwing your Ritual Beast Ambush again.

There were just too many downsides when the deck already had Lara. Also, if I wanted to use Zeframpilica for Metaphys Horus, I could easily get to it by Contact Fusion and then De-Fusioning my Fusion monster to Special Summon it from the banished zone. One was plenty and I think it's the correct number moving forward.

 Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica
Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica98427
Set Crossed Souls
Number CROS-EN028
Level 3
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Psychic
Attribute WIND 
A / D 1000 / 1500
Rarity Common
Card Text

Pendulum Effect:You cannot Pendulum Summon monsters, except "Ritual Beast" or "Zefra" monsters. This effect cannot be negated.

Monster Effect: When this card is Normal or Pendulum Summoned: You can target 1 "Ritual Beast" or "Zefra" monster in your Graveyard, except "Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica"; Special Summon it, but destroy it during the End Phase. You can only Special Summon "Ritual Beast Tamer Zeframpilica(s)" once per turn.

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YugiohProducts 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $0.04
Collector's Cache Unlimited - Near Mint 3 $0.08
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IDeal808 1st Edition - Near Mint 9 $0.09
Card Escape 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $0.10
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Piko Games Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $0.10
Piko Games 1st Edition - Near Mint 15 $0.10
GameTimeCC Unlimited - Near Mint 12 $0.10
Kirwan's Game Store 1st Edition - Near Mint 15 $0.10

The final two choices I wanted to discuss were Ring of Destruction over Book of Moon, and Side Decking Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure and Vanity's Emptiness. Ring of Destruction and Book of Moon serve a similar purpose: they're outs to the Djinn lock. Book's faster, but it doesn't remove the monster from the field. I felt that Book of Moon was only superior to Ring of Destruction in its ability to be played the moment I drew it, but I wanted the hard removal of Ring of Destruction for instances where I wasn't faced with the Djinn lock and was staring down Nekroz of Valkyrus or Qliphort Disk instead. I decided the damage and removal outweighed the immediate out to the Djinn lock.

Finally, Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure are two impressive floodgates that only shine if you see them in your first six cards. Outside of opening with those cards, they're pretty mediocre against Nekroz and horrific against Qliphorts, which I assumed to be the second best deck of the format. I decided they were too important in the Burning Abyss, Shaddolls and Infernoid matchup, so I couldn't cut them all together, but felt they weren't Main Deck worthy anymore now that Qliphort were going to make a roaring comeback. And like I said, my Game 1 against Nekroz is already very strong.

Vanity's Emptiness was simply moved to the Side Deck for the third Mystical Space Typhoon, because Qliphorts. Ugh.

The Tournament
Round 1: Qliphorts
Game 1 - After I lost the dice roll and my opponent activated Summoner's Art, I was pretty happy about my last minute choice to include a third Mystical Space Typhoon and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. Unfortunately my opponent searched Saqlifice, activated Performapal Trampolynx and Pendulum Summoned Qliphort Carrier, which then bounced his Qliphort Scout to his hand. Then, he activated Saqlifice, searched with Scout again for Qliphort Stealth.

He tributed Carrier for Stealth and returned Scout to his hand with it, then went for a third search; Re-qliate. He set three cards face-down and passed to me. I drew my sixth card… Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. With no Mystical Space Typhoon in sight, my Ghost Ogre now very unappealing, and since my opponent already had such huge card advantage I decided to pick up my cards and not reveal what I was playing.

Game 2 – In typical Ritual Beast fashion, I opened incredibly well this time around. Ritual Beast Tamer Elder, Spiritual Beast Cannahawk, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit and Mystical Space Typhoon were all in my opening hand. Needless to say, this was a short game.

Game 3 – Thankfully I opened Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit yet again and when my opponent activated his Qliphort Scout, it was promptly shut down. All he could do was set one measly card and end his turn. I blasted it with Galaxy Cyclone, but it was a Saqlifice! He searched for his second Scout and I used Cannahawk to banish Ritual Beast Tamer Lara from my deck. I set Ritual Beast Ambush and Ring of Destruction and passed my turn after attacking.

My opponent's hand seemed to be full of monsters, which isn't a good sign for Qliphorts. After setting up his Pendulum Scale, he only Pendulum Summoned two cards. I blasted his Carrier with Ring of Destruction and after he killed my Cannahawk, I used Ambush in the End Phase, which sealed the game on my turn thanks to Bond into Ulti-Gaiapelio and insane damage he already took.

Round 2: Ritual Beasts
Game 1 – With the first bullet dodged, and another dice roll lost, I was ready to see a Manju of Ten Thousand Hands. But to my dismay my opponent began with Ritual Beast Tamer Elder and Spiritual Beast Cannahawk. Just like last round, my Game 1 hand was garbage and after he set four and ended with Ritual Beast Ulti-Cannahawk, I scooped to conceal my deck.

Game 2 - It was my turn to open well! Elder and Rampengu started things off for me, but a quick Effect Veiler foiled my plan. I opted to search for Ambush, set some backrow and pass back to him. Thankfully, Veiler was all he seemed to have, because all he could do was set three and pass. After battling through Fiendish Chains and a Mirror Force, my opponent's resources were low and he couldn't find a good Spiritual Beast, so this game wasn't much of a challenge.

Game 3 – My opponent opted to start the third game, because the first person to go off in the mirror match typically wins. Thankfully he opened with three backrows and a set monster. I also opened slowly, but had Cannahawk and some traps. It was a sure fire grind game, where he kept me at bay with Artifact Lancea and traps, but couldn't find anything but Pettlephin before it was too late. My Cannahawk gained me too much advantage and in the end I took it easily thanks to two weak hands after his explosive Game 1.

Round 3: Qliphorts
Game 1 – After feeling like I was in the clear, I sat across from Paul Cooper and I knew I was either going to be dealing with Qliphorts or some crazy OTK deck. Sure enough, he was piloting Qliphorts and I didn't open nearly well enough to keep up with Qliphort Scout and Re-qliate. I was eventually OTK'd by a huge Pendulum Summon push.

Game 2 – This game was another slow hand, but I had Spiritual Beast Apelio, Ritual Beast Bond and Ritual Beast Steeds. Paul didn't see Scout in his opening hand and could only summon a Qliphort Disk, which I promptly destroyed with Steeds. When he set no traps, I drew Ritual Beast Rampengu and OTK'd him. I used Apelio's effect, which boosted Rampengu to 2100 ATK, itself to 2300 ATK and used Ritual Beast's Bond to Special Summon Ulti-Gaiapelio at 3700 ATK closing out the duel on Turn 2 with 8100 damage.

Game 3 – Paul opened really well this game. He used Scout to search for Re-qliate and set four traps. I only had Spiritual Beast Rampengu, Ritual Beast Steeds and Mirror Force as relevant cards. I poked for 1600 damage and passed back to him.

After Pendulum Summoning and falling to Mirror Force, it was back to me. I topdecked another Penguin, but felt Paul was sitting on a Mirror Force as well, so I decided to go for a blowout and attempt an Xyz Summon of Evilswarm Exciton Knight. He flipped Non-Fusion Area when I Normal Summoned my second Rampengu, which was obviously useless, but he didn't understand my deck. If I was correct, his other three-facedown cards were Re-qliate, Mirror Force and a mystery card. I Gambled the Exciton, hoping it wasn't Lose 1 Turn…but it was. And after my Exicton Failed, I was OTK'd on the following turn. He also showed me his other set was indeed Mirror Force. Ugh!

Round 4: Qliphorts
Games 1 & 2 – With my first loss coming early, I knew I was going to play against another non-Nekroz deck, but I was shocked and angry when I sat across a player from New York that I knew well and knew was playing Qliphorts. My tournament was not supposed to go this way! Three Qliphorts in FOUR Rounds!? I was supposed to slay Nekroz all weekend, not battle through floodgate after floodgate.

Thankfully, I opened Elder, Cannahawk, and Cannahawk with Emergency Teleport and dominated these games, OTKing each time with Ulti-Gaiapelio. Nonetheless, playing against three Qliphorts in four rounds is terrifying.

Round 5: Nekroz
Games 1 & 2 – FINALLY! This was it! The matchup I'd been planning for all weekend. And it was finally here. Five rounds into the tournament...

Unfortunately for me, I wasn't Djinn locked and I didn't see any monsters outside of Effect Veiler and Artifact Lancea. I say “unfortunately,” because at least that's a normal way to lose. My traps could only do so much, because I didn't draw any Ritual Beasts for the entire two games. This was a swift loss for me and I was devastated, because there was nothing I could do.

Round 6: Star Seraph Traptrix
Game 1 – With two losses this early, I knew I was going to play against another non-Nekroz deck, but I was shocked when I saw a Traptrix Myrmeleo hit the table this late in the tournament. Starting off 3-2 is never a good thing. You're at the bottom of the pack and can't lose any more rounds for the rest of the tournament. I knew I had to win six in a row to top and that's a tough feat to accomplish. The game went pretty quickly, because my opponent didn't really understand how to play against Ritual Beasts and I was able to stop his Star Seraph combos before they happened.

Game 2 – I decided to play Ulti-Apelio beat down and not use any Special Summoned monster effects to dodge Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. Everything I did paid off, because after he lost, my opponent revealed three Traptrix Trap Holes and a Dimensional Prison set to his side of the field. Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit was the MVP of this matchup, because destroying Star Seraph Scepter is huge.

 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit98432
Set Crossed Souls
Number CROS-EN033
Level 3
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Psychic
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 0 / 1800
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

During either player's turn, when a monster on the field activates its effect, or when a Spell/Trap Card that is already face-up on the field activates its effect: You can send this card from your hand or your side of the field to the Graveyard; destroy that card on the field. You can only use this effect of "Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit" once per turn.

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Gaming Goat Joliet 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $36.35
MkohlGames 1st Edition - Lightly Played 2 $36.36
Celestial Eatos Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $37.99
Dabbers Unlimited - Near Mint 1 $39.97
ZeroG Cards Comics 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $47.00
Nurvus 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $49.99
TheSoaringDragon 1st Edition - Near Mint 3 $59.99

Round 7: Shaddoll Sylvans
Game 1 – I was relieved when my opponent Normal Summoned Lonefire Blossom and I had the Effect Veiler, because I thought this would be an easy round; Ritual Beasts don't struggle against Sylvans. And it was easy. I got everything going this game and my opponent couldn't get started thanks to Steeds, Veiler and Lightning Chidori putting his Mount Sylvania on top of his deck.

Game 2 – I was so ready for Sylvans that I had no idea what the hell was going on when my opponent Normal Summoned Mathematician and sent Shaddoll Squamata and Shaddoll Beast to the graveyard. Nothing made sense anymore and I just rolled with it.

I complimented my opponent's sense of innovation, because the Sylvans provided every attribute needed to Fusion Summon any El Shaddoll monster, but the deck just didn't work out for him. He held me off for a while, but I was never in a bad position.

Round 8: Ritual Beasts
Game 1 – With two out of the six wins I needed now out of the way, I was feeling better, but still disheartened by my slow start. I lost the dice roll and my opponent went first, setting a monster and four backrows. After a successful attack, it was Ritual Beast Tamer Lara. Another. Freaking. Mirror! Ugh. Thankfully he bricked horribly and I just outplayed his Mind Crushes and Fiendish Chains to victory.

Game 2 - My opponent's back-to-back bad hands were some of the worst I'd ever seen. I felt badly for him, because I had been there in Round 5, and I at least opened a Spiritual Beast and could play Yu-Gi-Oh! this round. We traded some trap interactions, but he never really stood a chances since he kept drawing nothing but purple cards.

Round 9: Nekroz
Game 1 – I was mildly nervous going into this round, because I recognized this player's name from topping a few events before, including 2014 Nationals with me. The easy rounds were gone and it was do or die now.

I opened rather well this game, but had too many monsters in my hand and fell victim to an early Nekroz of Trishula. Ambush kept my in the game though and at one point, I was waiting for him to attempt a Djinn lock, so I could Effect Veiler his Lavalval Chain. Unfortunately, when he activated Nekroz Cycle to revive Nekroz of Claousolas, the Djinn was in his hand! I swear I only lose to Nekroz when they draw the Djinn.

Game 2 – On the brink of elimination, I opened really well with Cannahawk and Emergency Teleport. My opponent still didn't have a good grasp on how my deck played, which was great for me. I banished Pettlephin early with Cannahawk, so I could have an out to Royal Decree, and that choice paid off because he set three backrows to end his turn. After resolving Ambush and a de-contact, I decided to search as many times as possible and Contact Fusion for Ulti-Gaiapelio. My opponent never saw it coming and picked up his cards as soon as he read the effect.

Game 3 – I, again, opened rather well, but so did my opponent. We had a really intense game, because he caught me off guard with Torrential Tribute. But thanks to Chaos Trap Hole and Artifact Lancea, I kept him from making any huge pushes and I eventually got too much card advantage with Ulti-Cannahawk, OTK'ing him with Gaiapelio.

Round 10: Ritual Beasts
Game 1 – After winning four in a row and qualifying for Day 2, I was pretty excited and ready to win my final two rounds and finally top a YCS! My confidence faltered a bit when I found out my opponent was one of the few Ritual Beast players left, because the mirror match can be so up and down. Thankfully I won the die roll and opened Elder and Cannahawk sealing the game on my third turn.

Game 2 – This time my opponent had the pleasure of opening Elder with Cannahawk, but I had Maxx “C” waiting. He only searched once, but misplayed by sending Rampengu and Wen to the graveyard for his search (the two monsters he used Cannahawk's effect on). When play passed back to me, I activated Raigeki, Normal Summoned Cannahawk, banished Lara from my deck and set Mirror Force along with two Ritual Beast Steeds. My opponent used his searched Ambush in my End Phase to revive Elder and Cannahawk. In his Draw Phase, I used both Steeds to wipe out his monsters. He Normal Summoned Apelio and ran right into Mirror Force.

I ripped a Tamer, but Artifact Lancea kept me in check for the turn. My opponent didn't have a monster on his turn, because Wen and Rampengu were no longer Banished from Cannahawk and when he passed back I was able to combo a bit and gain card advantage, which slowly snowballed. He made a mild comeback when he top decked a Ritual Beast Wen and had one set Spell or Trap. Because the first person to activate Steeds always loses, I had to let him search and make an Ulti-Pettlephin.

On my turn, my opponent used Ambush and Steeds to wipe out my field, but that was all part of the plan, because I was sitting on Soul Charge for the entire duel. His final costly misplay was reviving Wen with Ambush from his graveyard, because his only Tamer banished was his second copy of Wen. With no way to de-fuse his Ulti-Pettlephin, I was able to use baby Pettlephin to bounce it to the Extra Deck and secure my victory.

 Emergency Teleport
Emergency Teleport94087
Set Legendary Collection 5D's
Number LC5D-EN251
Type Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Special Summon 1 Level 3 or lower Psychic-Type monster from your hand or your Deck. The monster Special Summoned this way is removed from play at the end of the turn.

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The Side Deck 1st Edition - Lightly Played 1 $3.14
CompetitiveCardShack 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $3.35
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Fusion Gaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $3.59
OverdoseGaming 1st Edition - Near Mint 1 $3.82
IDeal808 1st Edition - Near Mint 2 $3.95

Round 11: Burning Abyss
Game 1 – Nervous. Excited. Terrified. Those were my feelings as this match began and my heart sank when I saw a Foolish Burial activated, and Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss sent to the graveyard. I wanted to play Nekroz!

The game was really intense and came down to my opponent forcing me to chain Ambush and de-fuse my Cannahawk to dodge his Fire Lake of the Burning Abyss. After the chain resolved, he smacked me with Raigeki, wiping out my monsters and all of my advantage, and I couldn't comeback.

Game 2 – I opened Elder, Cannahawk and a few backrows, which was enough to put a lot of pressure on him. I was able to fizzle out his early Fiend Griefing, but banishing his targeted Cannahawk with Apelio, which was huge. He couldn't get much going and it seemed like he was getting ready to Torrential Tribute my field after I had finished searching. Unfortunately for him, I foiled his plan by making Ulti-Gaiapelio with six Ritual Beast cards in hand to his five cards total.

Game 3 – This. Was. It. The final game of Swiss and I was so ready for it. I opened really well and my opponent did too. The game was intense and came down to my four monsters; two Tamers and two Spiritual Beasts, to his Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss and two Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss (one with Cir, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss as an Xyz Material).

Thankfully, my last minute decision to play Satellarknight Constellar Diamond was about to pay off. After searching for Steeds and Ambush, I overlaid my Beasts for Tellaknight Ptolemaeus, and went right into Main Phase 2 to Xyz Summon Satellarknight Constellar Diamond. On my opponent's Draw Phase, I activated Ritual Beast Steeds and asked for a Response. He had none. I chained Emergency Teleport to find a third Tamer from my deck and wiped out his monsters. Diamond banished the monsters Dante added back to my opponent's hand, negated Cir and in the End Phase, negated Scarm. And that was it! He had nothing and I won.

Side Deck Tips
-1 Effect Veiler, -1 Ring of Destruction, -1 Soul Charge, -1 Gold Sarcophagus, -1 Emergency Teleport, -1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit

+2 Maxx “C”, +1 Macro Cosmos, +1 Dimensional Fissure, +1 Vanity's Emptiness, +1 Galaxy Cyclone

-3 Effect Veiler, -1 Gold Sarcophagus, -1 Soul Charge, -1 Foolish Burial

+ 3 Twister, +1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, +1 Mirror Force, +1 Galaxy Cyclone

-2 Effect Veiler, -1 Ring of Destruction, -1 Ritual Beast's Bond, -1 Emergency Teleport, -1 Gold Sarcophagus, -1 Raigeki, -1 Soul Charge

+1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, +2 Maxx “C”, +2 Chaos Trap Hole, +2 Twister, +1 Galaxy Cyclone

-1 Raigeki, -1 Effect Veiler, -1 Ring of Destruction, -1 Ritual Beast's Bond, -1 Gold Sarcophagus, -1 Emergency Teleport

+3 Twister, +1 Galaxy Cyclone, +1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, +1 Mirror Force

Burning Abyss:
-3 Effect Veiler, -1 Ring of Destruction, -1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, -1 Emergency Teleport, -1 Gold Sarcophagus

+1 Galaxy Cyclone, +1 Vanity's Emptiness, +1 Macro Cosmos, +1 Dimensional Fissure, +2 Maxx “C”, +1 Chaos Trap Hole

-1 Mystical Space Typhoon, -1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, -1 Emergency Teleport, -1 Soul Charge, (-1 Gold Sarcophagus)

+2 Artifact Lancea, +2 Chaos Trap Hole, (+1 Vanity's Emptiness)

Ritual Beasts:
-3 Effect Veiler, -1 Ring of Destruction, -1 Ritual Beast's Bond, -1 Gold Sarcophagus

+2 Artifact Lancea, +2 Maxx “C,” +1 Mirror Force, +1 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit

The Aftermath
I knew it was going to be close, but I was at Table 20 in the final round of Swiss and thought I would for sure make it into the Top 32. I quickly raced around the convention center to find the two guys who had beaten me over the weekend. I located the Nekroz player and found out he also went 9-2, meaning he probably topped as well! All I had to do was find Paul Cooper and make sure he finished 9-2 and I knew I would be in.

I couldn't find him, but saw a Facebook post that said he finished Day 1 of Swiss in 15th place with an 8-1 record. But after talking to his friend, he somehow lost both rounds on the Sunday. His losses gave me bad tiebreakers and knocked both him and me out of the Top 32.

So, after winning six in a row and scoring my first 9-2 finish at a YCS, I have nothing to show for it outside of my own pride. 39th place out of 1752 competitors is nothing to scoff at, but certainly not what I wanted. It's impressive, so I'm proud and sad at the same time. I played really well and had a really rough tournament.

In a lot of my articles, I mention how you have to prepare for the best deck and the most popular deck. Sometimes they're different. But right now, they're the same: Nekroz. There is no way I could have ever predicted I would play three Qliphorts, three Ritual Beasts, two Nekroz, one Traptrix, one Burning Abyss and one Shaddoll Sylvans. There's just no way to accurately prepare for that kind of a bracket and even still, I won nine of those matches. Taking down the rogue strategies, while preparing heavily for Nekroz, gives me immense confidence that I could have made it very far into the Top 32 if my tiebreakers held up.

With the 150th YCS in the books, I'm eagerly awaiting my trip to Nashville, TN for the NAWCQ. Now that I've got two huge tournaments under my belt with Ritual Beasts, I think they're an excellent pick for the NAWCQ. In one YCS I took down every Nekroz and Burning Abyss deck I played (the two decks with the most top spots at YCS Columbus), while at the other, I demolished mirror matches and pesky rogue strategies left and right. With two vastly different experiences, and two fantastic finishes, I'm ready to win the NAWCQ and make my way to Kyoto, Japan for Worlds!

If you have any questions about my Main Deck choices, how I Side Decked or about my tournament experience in general, feel free to leave them for me here and I'll answer them as best I can!

-Pasquale Crociata

Pasquale is from Long Island, New York, but has lived in New York City for eight years where he earned a BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University. Outside of the Yu-Gi-Oh! community he's a working Actor, Model and Singer. Those interested in keeping up with his Acting career can check out his website and ‘Like' his Facebook Page! If you want more of Pasquale's Yu-Gi-Oh! content, check out and Subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

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