Siding For: Skull Dread World Chalice

Kelly Locke

3/6/2018 11:00:00 AM

Marco Perico's win at YCS Bochum with World Chalice shocked the Yu-Gi-Oh! world. His success among a field of Pendulums, True Dracos, and Trickstars is both incredible and an overall positive sign for the state of the game. Check out the diversity among the Top 32 at Bochum : Pendulum FTK was present but far from an overwhelming force, Mekk-Knights scored two spots, and Burning Abyss, Zefras, and Dinosaurs also made the Top Cut.

That diversity's a huge story itself, and it's at least partially driven by the slowly maturing Link mechanic. We're finally reaching a point where Links are an asset rather than a hindrance.

The story I want to highlight in this article is Perico's World Chalice build and what it means for the strategy going forward. His success immediately reminded me of Erik Christensen's 2015 YCS Dallas win with Infernoids, which promptly launched a buyout of PSY-Framelord Omega and a surge in Infernoids across the competitive scene. Perico was far from the first player to find major tournament success with World Chalice, but he absolutely boosted the excitement for the theme by winning YCS Bochum. Saryuja Skull Dread spiked in price immediately following news that World Chalice had made the Top 32.

 Saryuja Skull Dread
Saryuja Skull Dread158113
Set Extreme Force
Number EXFO-EN048
Type Link/Effect Monster
Monster Dragon
Attribute EARTH 
A / D 2800 /
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

2+ monsters with different names
This card gains effects based on the number of monsters used for its Link Summon.
• 2+: If a monster(s) is Normal or Special Summoned to a zone this card points to: That monster(s) gains 300 ATK/DEF.
• 3+: Once per turn: You can Special Summon 1 monster from your hand.
• 4: When this card is Link Summoned: You can draw 4 cards, then place 3 cards from your hand on the bottom of the Deck in any order.

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World Chalice will almost certainly start seeing more competitive play going forward, but again, that trend existed before Perico's win. He's likely accelerated the pace at which players are picking up the deck, and his turn-around victory highlighted the exact reason World Chalice are competitive. Saryuju Skull Dread lead Perico to victory when he was able to draw into Soul Charge and Special Summon Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju with two of its three effects.

There are five topping World Chalice decks in our database from this year alone – three since the latest F&L List – and possibly many more to come. Perico's unique tech choices deserve discussion in the context of the larger competitive scene. Of course, we're also here to discuss how to beat the deck, too. World Chalice has a number of ways to play around hand traps and deceptively strong Turn 1 set-ups. In this match-up, knowing how to play your sided cards is just as important as your Side Deck choices.

Saryuja Skull Dread Revives World Chalice
How exactly did World Chalice end up winning the largest European YCS yet? The theme hasn't received any new cards since Code of the Duelist outside of a few World Legacy spells and traps, but none of them were game-changers for the strategy. World Chalice actually took a few hits on the last couple of Forbidden & Limited Lists, reigning in some of the deck's best combos. Daigusto Emerald, a key combo piece used to recycle Mystical Shine Ball, hit the Forbidden List last year, and Firewall Dragon was Limited in February. However, losing the second and third copies of Firewall Dragon was a fair trade for ridding the game of another card that was holding World Chalice back: Maxx “C”.

Without Maxx “C” World Chalice and other Special Summon-heavy strategies are a bit more consistent. Previously you would simply lose to Maxx “C” if your opponent opened with it – a trait that's not shared by other hand traps this format. Instead, massive Turn 1 field commitments are punished by Raigeki and Evenly Matched, which is exactly why negation bodies are so crucial right now. World Chalice used to have issues building up a defensive board, but that's no longer the case. Saryuja Skull Dread's largely fixed that problem, and it's handed World Chalice a consistent end game that Firewall Dragon struggled to provide.

Summoning Saryuja Skull Dread with four monsters grants access to three effects, but it's the final one that makes all the difference in World Chalice. It's Sylvan Charity on steroids, and it effectively lets you see four new cards as you dig for a way to continue your combos, or for the last card necessary to set up your board. If you can Summon Saryuja near the beginning of your turn you can dig for World Chalice monsters, Kyoutou Waterfront, Soul Charge, Monster Reborn, or another power spell. Towards the end of a combo you're more likely to grab Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju, a hand trap, or a floodgate.

Unlike other strategies that Summon Saryuja and let it sit there, World Chalice can capitalize on its Summon effect by putting Gameciel or Archlord Kristya into play. With its downward arrow Saryuja pairs perfectly with a Firewall Dragon placed in the same column, and because it can Special Summon a negation body or a floodgate your final field's significantly more durable. That's hugely important with Evenly Matched showing up in so many Side Decks. Drawing into a trap floodgate like Anti-Spell Fragrance is also amazing in Games 2 and 3, and Saryuja lets you see those cards more often thanks to its ‘draw 4' filtering.

Properly Using Hand Traps Against World Chalice
World Chalice have a hard time competing against heavy backrow loaded with Solemn cards, or several large negation bodies. Like most combo strategies World Chalice falls apart without their two or three card interactions, and something as simple as a Torrential Tribute can leave your opponent impossibly far from a Link 4 Monster.

Lee the World Chalice Fairy is among the most important cards here: its search effect typically adds World Legacy - “World Chalice” from the deck to the hand, and the World Legacy itself is a seriously powerful card. If it's sent to the graveyard after being Normal Summoned its effect will Special Summon two World Chalice monsters from the deck, adding tons of potential Link fodder to your opponent's field.

Your opponent won't have to wait to Normal Summon the World Chalice if they can Summon Imduk the World Chalice Dragon or Gem-Knight Seraphinite. Lee can activate off a Special Summon too, so there are lots of avenues to set up a Link Summon that triggers the World Chalice's effect. So where do you throw in your interruption? Your opponent can play around cards like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, and Effect Veiler if you activate them at the wrong time. Droll & Lock Bird is, of course, less affected by timing. It's fairly straightforward protection against Kyoutou Waterfront and Saryuja's draw effect, but other than that it won't stop your opponent from making huge Link plays.

The Agent of Creation - Venus totally blows through Ash Blossom negations and will eventually Summon Mystical Shine Ball anyways. Hitting Lee with Ash Blossom can work too, but don't forget about Transmodify. If your opponent is playing it you'll immediately regret not saving your negation. The better play would be to hit the World Chalice monster's graveyard effect instead, but there's a problem: your opponent can block the negation by building a chain using Imduk's effect at Chain Link 2.

Ash Blossom's surprisingly awkward to play here despite an abundance of targets. Brilliant Fusion's perhaps the best choice, and it sometimes creates a situation where your opponent will use the World Chalice monster and Lee together for a Link Summon. They can't chain block if they're not using a World Chalice Link Monster, or if they don't have a valid target in their hand.

 Herald of Orange Light
Herald of Orange Light156009
Set Structure Deck: Wave of Light
Number SR05-EN019
Level 2
Type Tuner/Effect Monster
Monster Fairy
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 300 / 500
Rarity Common
Card Text

During either player's turn, when an effect of an opponent's monster is activated: You can send this card and 1 other Fairy-Type monster from your hand to the Graveyard; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it.

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Ghost Ogre turns The Agent of Creation - Venus into a Normal Summon for a Mystical Shine Ball. It's a great way to remove potential Link fodder from the field, but Transmodify can help your opponent recover and continue their plays. Lee is also sometimes a solid target just to take a World Chalice card off the field. Effect Veiler's usually a better pick in this match-up across the board. It stamps out Venus, negates all of Saryuja's effects, and works in a handful of other situations where Ash Blossom doesn't cut it.

Herald of Orange Light's an exceptional tech choice that can answer your hand traps while your opponent is making their plays. It's something you're a bit more likely to run into after a Saryuja or Eva resolves, but it could come up earlier in the duel. If you have the opportunity to go first you'll want to stick to traps to avoid Herald of Orange Light's negation, and cards like Torrential Tribute, Solemn Judgement, Solemn Warning, and Solemn Strike are perfect for the job. Anti-Spell Fragrance and continuous monster-based floodgates are also great for slowing your opponent down. Artifact Sanctum and Artifact Scythe can work if you can resolve Scythe before your opponent finds their Heralds.

Mass removal needs to avoid negation or interruption from Gameciel and Firewall Dragon. Gameciel can make two negations in a single turn, and potentially more if cards are sent to the graveyard on your turn. Raigeki and Evenly Matched are only viable if you can bait out those negations, and even then, Firewall Dragon, World Legacy - “World Chalice”, and Lee will give your opponent enough resources to make a big play next turn. Herald of Orange Light can stamp out monster effects too, and in Games 2 and 3 you'll likely be staring down an Anti-Spell Fragrance, a Solemn, or a Dimensional Barrier drawn off Saryuja.

Depending on how effective your hand traps were, and how good your opponent's opening hand was, you might find that most of your mass removal is useless. That won't happen every time, of course, but in the worst-case scenario there's still one outstanding option: The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode. It's a fantastic going-second card that immediately outs your opponent's Kaiju, Firewall Dragon, and potentially an Archlord Kristya. Keep in mind that you can't attempt to Summon a Kaiju while your opponent controls one, but you can use Interrupted Kaiju Slumber.

World Chalice are a serious competitive threat this format in a match-up that can vary wildly. It's far from the most consistent deck in the game and it's prone to brick hands. Interrupting a combo with a single hand trap can bring the deck screeching to a halt, but it's those times where your opponent opens well where your sided cards are absolutely necessary to avoid a swift defeat. Thanks to Saryuja Skull Dread those games are more common than ever, and knowing when to put your Side Deck cards into action gives you the best possible chance of emerging victorious.

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​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​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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