SPYRALS Achieve Mission Success At YCS Dallas

Kelly Locke

10/24/2017 11:00:00 AM

SPYRALs completely dominated YCS Dallas last weekend with an amazing showing in the Top 32 – cementing their place as the sole deck to beat of the format.

This was the first YCS since the release of Circuit Break, and there were still plenty of questions about how the competitive landscape would turn out. There are some great tech choices in CIBR like Evenly Matched, Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson, and Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir, but with the exception of Evenly Matched they're all largely overshadowed by SPYRAL Double Helix.

Although SPYRALS continue to be a near unstoppable force in the OCG there was still speculation that their success there might not translate to the TCG. Our formats are different, we have more competitive strategies available thanks to shorter Advanced Formats, and SPYRALS lacked a specific Link Monster that would help them protect their field. I don't blame people for speculating that SPYRALS might not be as successful: there was plenty of reason to doubt the hype. But two weeks ago I made my opinion as clear as possible: SPYRALS would be the best deck in the game, and I honestly didn't think that was a controversial assessment.

Needless to say, YCS Dallas has dispelled any doubt about SPYRALS. It's a deck that can only get better as the Link toolbox continues to expand. The only way to even the playing field is to play SPYRALS yourself, run a deck that's specifically designed to beat SPYRALS, or simply wait for the inevitable F&L List. Obviously I'd like to focus on constructive ways to play in a SPYRAL-or-bust format, and that's coming soon. This week I want to break down YCS Dallas and what it means for competition going forward.

As It Turns Out, SPYRALS Are Pretty Good!
I've talked about the advanatages and disadvantages of analyzing metagames through Top 32 and Top 8 deck breakdowns. I think it's a quick, if often inaccurate way to present the state of the game. However, there are some trends that are just too hard to ignore, and twenty-nine SPYRALS making the Top 32 is one of those trends. It's an insane number that conjures up memories of Dragon Rulers, Spellbooks, Performage Performapals, and even Teleport Dark Armed Dragon. It's the best deck in the game right now, and among the best decks ever in any era.

If you haven't already, take a quick look at the Top 32 breakdown from YCS Dallas and take a quick glance at the non-SPYRAL decks that somehow made it into the top cut. You can see their deck lists on our database . Two Trickstars and a lone Invoked player carved out three slots in the Top 32 despite the overwhelming presence of SPYRALS. We'll talk more about them later, but their success gives us excellent insight into what it's going to take to be successful this format if you're not playing SPYRALS.

 SPYRAL Double Helix
SPYRAL Double Helix148406
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN099
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Warrior
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 1900 /
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

2 "SPYRAL" monsters
This card's name becomes "SPYRAL Super Agent" while on the field or in the GY. You can declare 1 card type (Monster, Spell, or Trap); reveal the top card of your opponent's Deck, and if you do, and its type matches the declared type, take 1 "SPYRAL" monster from your Deck or GY, and either add it to your hand or Special Summon it to your zone this card points to. You can only use this effect of "SPYRAL Double Helix" once per turn.

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So, back to SPYRALS: what makes the deck so effective? In this case the new support is only part of the answer: SPYRAL Double Helix is strong, but it's only as good as the SPYRAL monster it can search or Special Summon. SPYRAL Master Plan is the go-to, and its effects end up netting its controller three searches if it fully resolves. Searching SPYRAL Resort nets another search and helps to finalize a board with multiple Link Monsters, SPYRAL Sleeper, and SPYRAL MISSION - Rescue. That play puts your opponent so far ahead that catching up requires a huge swing in card advantage.

SPYRALS are consistent, extremely powerful, and generate such incredible gains in card economy that most decks are immediately outpaced without serious disruptions. Pendulum Magicians and True Dracos were completely absent from the Top 32 because they couldn't keep up, and those decks that did break through were purposefully designed with the SPYRAL match-up in mind. Competitive deck building is now an exercise in halting SPYRALS, then worrying about everything else.

Your opponent's end field is largely dependent on the combo pieces they open with. That's true for any strategy, but SPYRALS aren't close to the one-card engine of Zoodiacs. They need two or three cards to fully launch their combos, so single-card interruption can actually put in a decent amount of work. SPYRAL Double Helix is vulnerable to Ash Blossom & Joyus Spring, and would be equally answered by Effect Veiler if SPYRAL Resort didn't stop you from targeting SPYRAL monsters.

Winning In A SPYRAL Format
Brian Rayos and Drew Johnson both made the Top 32 – Rayos made the Top 16 – with Trickstar builds outfitted to stop SPYRALS in their tracks. The Trickstar strategy is built to achieve its win conditions while interacting with the opponent as little as possible, so the comparative power of an oppositing strategy often isn't important. It doesn't matter that SPYRALS can spit out a ridiculous field so long as the Trickstar player can empty their opponent's hand or burn through their Life Points on Turn 2. The deck doesn't need to break up boards and can easily use their Main Phase 2 to set up their OTK, which means Evenly Matched is a perfect fit for the deck when playing second.

While Johnson ran a line-up of Kaijus and Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, both players managed to squeeze in a huge number of hand traps. Johnson played nine and Rayos ran an incredible thirteen hand traps specifically to counter SPYRALS . Again, that's thirteen Main Deck hand traps, and that's not even counting Honest or his three sided Evenly Matched. Not every card is equally strong against SPYRALS, but by maxing out on even the sub par choices Rayos could potentially stop his opponent. That's all he had to do: stall out his opponent's unbreakable board and hopefully keep enough disruption off the field so he could perform his OTK on one of the following turns.

Maxx “C”, Droll & Lock Bird, and Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries nearly guarantee that your opponent can't build an optimal board, but occasionally Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit can accomplish the same goal. Your opponent might not play through a disruptive hand trap or two, and if that's all you need to push the duel in your favor there's little reason not to max out on hand traps. Of course, not every deck can play this many hand traps without suffering major drawbacks.

The Invoked engine can be shrunk down to just a handful of cards, much like the Trickstar engine, leaving plenty of room for hand traps and utility-driven spell and trap cards. Ed Acepcion made the Top 32 with Invoked playing 14 hand traps, including two PSY-Framegear Gammas to negate Ash Blossom & Joyus Spring. His deck leveraged discarded hand traps into materials for Fusion Summons, exchanging Light hand traps for Invoked Mechaba and the extra negation it brings to the table.

 Evenly Matched
Evenly Matched148377
Set Circuit Break
Number CIBR-EN077
Type Normal Trap
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

At the end of the Battle Phase, if your opponent controls more cards than you do: You can make your opponent banish cards from their field face-down so they control the same number of cards as you do. If you control no cards, you can activate this card from your hand.

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Evenly Matched was a major player over the weekend as one of the ideal Side Deck picks when playing second. Its ‘almost' field wipe is one of the best in the game because it banishes cards face-down. Not only do those cards land out of reach, but they also miss out on crucial effects that would trigger when they leave the field otherwise. While hand traps stop a massive board from appearing in the first place, Evenly Matched is unique because it's one of the most effective ways to make those gains worthless. Again, it's a better pick for decks that can launch their strategy in Main Phase 2, although just about any deck can put it to use as yet another mass removal option.

Finally, Set Rotation may have been the star player of YCS Dallas. Its disruption can stall out SPYRAL combos, prevent Union Hanger, Dragon Ravine, Dragonic Diagram, and Magical Meltdown from being activated, and also search out a much-needed Field Spell for your own strategy. Players have caught on, however, because they're now siding in cards for the search effects of Gateway to Chaos and Oracle of the Zefra. As a result it's harder to shut your opponent out of their Field Spell Zone.

SPYRALS aren't the only deck in competition this format, but it's hard to overstate just how insane the outlook is. There's very little that comes close to curbing the power of SPYRALS, and even decks loaded with counters are still likely to lose whenever they don't open with a sufficiently strong hand trap or a Turn 2 comeback card. Trickstars and Invoked managed to make a showing in the Top 32 despite that – but the question is: can they emulate that success at upcoming Regionals and YCS events? Or will SPYRALS adapt and become even more dominant?

We'll find out over the coming weeks.

Until next time then


Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​ ​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​on TCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​ personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​ ​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yugioh,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​ ​​​​​​ Twitter​​​ ​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​ Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​ . He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.

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