Tyree Tinsley On YCS Dallas

Tyree Tinsley

10/12/2015 11:00:00 AM

Greetings TCGPlayers! Sorry for the article delay but I was a little sick beginning of last week! The good news: I'm back now!

I first want to give a huge congratulations to the winner of YCS Dallas, Erik Christensen, for taking down the event with Infernoids and going 16-0! A very difficult feat, and on top of that it was his first YCS, which goes to show that anybody has a good chance to win with the proper preparation. I also want to give my congrats to my good friend Matt Kolenda for getting 2nd Place with Burning Abyss; though he doesn't get to travel to many events he does exceptionally well when he shows up.

I had the good fortune of attending YCS Dallas this past weekend myself, and I ended up making it to the top cut yet again with Nekroz, my second top in a row. Dallas was a Little Different it was the first event where Elder Entity Norden was tournament legal. Today I'm going to explain my thoughts going into the event and speak a bit on the tournament itself.

With this being the first major event Norden was legal for, I felt that whatever deck could use Instant Fusion the best would have a high chance of winning. So with that in mind I started testing Shaddolls almost immediately.

One of the first builds I tested was a Lightsworn Shaddoll variant that used three Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn with Charge of the Light Brigade and the Performage engine to give me more options. I used Raiden because you can bring it back with Elder Entity Norden, turning Instant Fusion into a Rank 4 Xyz or a Level 8 Synchro Monster. Stardust Dragon, Stardust Spark Dragon, and Scrap Dragon are really powerful generic Synchros that are all good in various situations, and I was also using Crimson Blader since it's such a powerhouse against Shaddolls, Ritual Beasts, and other strategies.

Norden's Water attribute was huge, letting you quickly make El Shaddoll Anoyatyllis against Nekroz to lock them out of the game. Unfortunately, though Instant Fusion did help raise the power ceiling of the deck, it didn't help with the major problems Shaddolls had in the first place, one of which was dealing with a Turn 1 Nekroz of Unicore when you're up against Nekroz.

Retaliating "C" was a problem too. That card's seen a lot more play lately since it's strong against Nekroz and Shaddolls, arguably the two most commonly played decks in competitive tournaments. Getting hit with Retaliating "C" almost always costs you the game, since you lose so many cards. Of course, there are ways to help remedy some of those problems like running Breakthrough Skill or siding Mind Drain so your opponent can't use in-hand effects, but I still didn't think that Shaddolls were the deck to get me through 11 Rounds of Swiss and then bring home that trophy of the end of the weekend. So it was back to Nekroz.

 Retaliating "C"
Set Clash of Rebellions
Number CORE-EN045
Level 4
Type Effect Monster
Monster Insect
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 1400 / 1400
Rarity Common
Card Text

During either player's turn, when your opponent activates a Spell Card that includes an effect that Special Summons a monster(s): You can Special Summon this card from your hand. If Summoned this way, while this card is face-up on the field, any card sent to the Graveyard is banished instead. If this card is sent from the field to the Graveyard: You can add 1 EARTH Insect-Type monster with 1500 or less ATK from your Deck to your hand, except "Retaliating "C"".

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Unfortunately for me, that decision was made around the time I got sick, and my testing came to an abrupt halt. By the time I fully recovered it was Tuesday and I was slated to leave for Texas Thursday morning. I started messaging some of my friends that I knew were going to Dallas, guys like Denny Yu, Omar Daodi, Desmond Johnson, and Nicky Reardon, so I want to give a huge thanks to all of them. I don't think I would have topped without their help.

Of course, with every event there are walls you have to overcome when deck building, and the big one for YCS Dallas was the question of how best to approach Norden. Getting OTK'd was more common than ever before, because Instant Fusion on top of the Performage cards made Number 104: Masquerade ridiculously easy to summon along with other monsters to wipe out your LP. Even non-Nekroz decks got a huge boost from Instant Fusion, like Shaddolls with their now-easy access to El Shaddoll Anoyatyllis.

After testing quite a bit, I figured that the only cards to help combat Instant Fusion were hand traps, although I dislike hand traps in general since they're reactive cards that lower the consistency of your central strategy. For a while I was running both Maxx "C" and Effect Veilers, but playing too many of them tends to create inconsistent hands and they're pretty subpar in most rogue matchups (especially Veiler). I was also testing Mathematician for a long while; as you saw from my YCS Toronto deck, I was even running it pre-Norden. The theory behind that was it if you Summon Mathematician on Turn 1 to dump Glow-Up Bulb and make Herald of the Arc Light, then it was really hard for your opponent to OTK you through it, and you could also bring it back with Norden later on since it was properly Synchro Summoned. That nets you a Rank 4 and a free search.

But there were a few problems with that plan. Just about everybody had triple Maxx "C" in their Main Deck, and getting hit with a Maxx C on your Bulb play can hurt a lot, especially when you're going first. Drawing Bulb itself was also a problem. If you draw Bulb before you see Mathematician then you really can't do much with the Mathematician aside from sending a Performage monster to the graveyard, which isn't optimal most of the time. You can't really do anything when you draw it, and you're not always in a position to Nekroz of Valkyrus Bulb away either.

I also tried the new Speedroid Terrortop and Speedroid Red-Eyed Dice, which Denny's friend brought up as alternatives to Mathematician and Glow-Up Bulb. Red-Eyed Dice is an inherent Special Summon that can't be chained to, so it's not as vulnerable to Maxx C. But the problem with those cards is that their key combo doesn't work if you have monsters on the field, and Red-Eyed Dice was even worse than Glow-Up Bulb as a topdeck, so those cards were dismissed after a few matches.

After lots of playing and theorizing, this is what came to be for YCS Dallas.

    Performage Nekroz Tyree Tinsley    
  Location:  YCS - 2015-10-04 Dallas Texas - 9th - 16th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
1 Exa, Enforcer of the Nekroz
1 Great Sorcerer of the Nekroz
3 Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands
3 Maxx "C"
2 Nekroz of Brionac
2 Nekroz of Clausolas
1 Nekroz of Decisive Armor
1 Nekroz of Trishula
3 Nekroz of Unicore
3 Nekroz of Valkyrus
3 Performage Damage Juggler
1 Performage Hat Tricker
1 Performage Trick Clown
3 Senju of the Thousand Hands
1 Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz
Monsters [29]
2 Instant Fusion
2 Nekroz Cycle
2 Nekroz Kaleidoscope
2 Nekroz Mirror
1 Preparation of Rites
2 Reinforcement of the Army
Spells [11]
1 Vanity's Emptiness
Traps [1]
Deck Total [41]
2 Dark Hole
2 Denko Sekka
2 Effect Veiler
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Raigeki
3 Royal Decree
2 Shared Ride
Side Deck [15]


2 Abyss Dweller
1 Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Daigusto Emeral
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
2 Elder Entity Norden
1 Evilswarm Exciton Knight
2 Herald of the Arc Light
1 Number 104: Masquerade
1 Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk
1 Panzer Dragon
1 Performage Trapeze Magician
Extra Deck [15]

As you can see, I cut the Mathematician engine for the Performage engine. I felt that overall, the Performage cards gave higher utility, creating easy OTK's with Trapeze Magician and helping you overwhelm your opponent with Rank 4's. Trick Clown has great synergy with Elder Entity Norden, too: since Trick Clown's ability activates in the graveyard you can bring it back off its own effect, instead of losing that ability to Norden's negation.

I ran three Damage Jugglers with one copy each of Hat Tricker and Trick. At first I intended to play two Damage juggler sand two Trick Clowns, but after talking to Barrett Keys on Saturday morning I ended up putting Juggler to three. It proved to be the most important of the Performages, stopping damage and thus comboing well with Maxx C. Searching for any of the other two Performages you needed meant you weren't limited in your options for the turn as well. I was happy with the ratio I ran and I don't regret that decision at all.

From what I saw, most players were running a minimum of four hand traps in their Nekroz decks; usually two Maxx C and two Effect Veilers. I ended up playing just three Maxx C because me and a few friends took a different approach to the mirror match than most others. In Game 1 you'll usually burn your board on Turn 1 with Nekroz of Valkyrus, avoiding a possible Nekroz of Trishula and setting up with either Nekroz of Brionac or Nekroz of Unicore to have Valkyrus in hand again. But unfortunately, that game plan isn't as good now as it once was.

Like I mentioned earlier, Elder Entity Norden makes it much easier for your opponent to game you through Nekroz of Valkyrus, so it doesn't matter how many cards you're drawing with Maxx C if you don't wind up with a Veiler. But at the same time Veiler's bad against rogue decks, so you're left with a paradox. What we did to solve that, is we wouldn't clear our field with Nekroz of Valkyrus and we'd instead create a set-up of something like Valkyrus and an Abyss Dweller.

Now most of you are probably thinking that's a risky plan that's begging to get hit with Nekroz of Trishula, but think about it: how much value is your opponent really getting out of their play under an Abyss Dweller? They can't use Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz or Herald of the Arc Light to search for Trishula under Dweller's effect, so they have to Brionac for it. It's highly unlikely that they'll be able to Valkyrus away their board without Shurit anyways, which means you can Trish them back if they left you with any combo pieces. Sometimes they can't even retaliate if they drew an awkward or weak hand in the first place.

 Abyss Dweller
Abyss Dweller96116
Set The Secret Forces
Number THSF-EN047
Level 4
Type Xyz/Effect Monster
Monster Sea Serpent
Attribute WATER 
A / D 1700 / 1400
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

2 Level 4 monsters
While this card has an Xyz Material attached that was originally WATER, all WATER monsters you control gain 500 ATK. Once per turn, during either player's turn: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; any card effects that activate in your opponent's Graveyard cannot be activated this turn.

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Surviving the early stages of the mirror can be hard, but the chance of getting OTK'd through a Valkyrus plus Dweller set-up is astronomically low outside unless your opponent has something to clear the field first, like Raigeki. I'd much rather have Trishula resolve against that field than straight up lose the game in one turn; I'm pretty sure everybody can agree with me on that. The Valkyrus Dweller strategy worked out really well at YCS Dallas, as I beat all six mirrors I played.

For Dallas, I felt it was safe to assume that not many people would be maining Mystical Space Typhoon, so I could get proper value out of Vanity's Emptiness. Though it's not really that strong against Qliphort or Burning Abyss, contrary to popular belief, it does have strong enough applications against Shaddolls and especially the mirror which warrants it being ran instead of being in the side.

Side And Extra
The Side Deck was pretty generic, with double Dark Hole and Raigeki for Shaddoll over cards like Breakthrough Skill or Retaliating C. The latter two are really strong cards, don't get me wrong, but having fast cards you can draw and activate when you're staring down a big field is important. I don't want to be looking at a set-up of Majesty Fiend and Anoyatyllis or something, and draw Retaliating C. Unlike Breakthough, you can also side the mass removal cards versus Qliphorts to hit the Fiends as well as Tribute Summoned Pendulum Monsters that can be hard to get rid of sometimes.

The mass removal cards are also solid against decks like Ritual Beasts and Infernoids, barring something like Spell Canceller. At first I was Side Decking floodgate cards like Mistake and Vanity's Fiend for the mirror match, but those cards are high-risk high-reward. They can also be mediocre if you draw them at the wrong time, so after talking to a few of my friends I changed around my side to include Shared Rides. They proved to be amazing throughout the tournament. I never lost when I drew one, and just having a solid field with a Shared Ride set puts so much pressure on your opponent, they'll often have to give you a +1 or +2 to advance their position in the game.

The Extra Deck's pretty standard too. I still ran two Abyss Dwellers since they're key to beating Burning Abyss and one isn't enough, so I'd rather not take the chance of needing a second and not having one in an eleven round event. I also ran Panzer Dragon. It makes Instant Fusion an out in Game 1 to cards like Skill Drain and Lose 1 Turn. It also gives you a better option in certain scenarios involving Maxx C. For example, if you're playing against Shaddolls and they have El Shaddoll Anoyatyllis up, you can avoid making Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer or Evilswarm Exciton Knight and giving them three cards off Maxx C, Summoning Panzer Dragon instead, adding a Nekroz of Valkyrus to your hand and destroying the Anoyatyllis with Panzer Dragon in the End Phase.

Looking back, the deck worked out really well even though I lost in the Top 16. I would have liked to have run a third Shared Ride in the Side Deck because I lacked on cards for the mirror, and there are a few other things I could change around here and there, but nothing too major. Stay tuned, because my next article will discuss variance and try to help you differentiate between bad luck, and the things you have control over. Until next time!

-Tyree Tinsley

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