Welcome to the Format Archive, where I go over a format, one at a time. Last time I covered the Summer 2012 format and today I’ll cover the September 2012 format and tell you about the best Yugioh decks in the TCG.
Top four at the 2012 WCQ was two Wind-Ups, Dino Rabbit and Chaos Dragons. Inzektors took all of the top four spots at the 2012 World Championship. Konami was ushering in a new era and introducing new archetypes that they wanted to see compete. So the summer decks had to go.
September 2012 Forbidden & Limited List. Listed only are the changes to the previous list. An asterisk means that card moved up from the previous list.
Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity
Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow*
The Agent of Mystery – Earth*
Tour Guide From the Underworld
A Hero Lives
E – Emergency Call
Hieratic Seal of Convocation
Pot of Duality
Level Limit – Area B*
Swords of Revealing Light*
Return of the Duelist (REDU) came out the August before the new Limited & Forbidden List for September 2012 came out. The list semi-limited Tour Guide, which hurt Wind-Ups and Dino Rabbit as well as making several other changes to hurt the best decks. Wind-Ups lost two copies of Zenmaity and a Tour Guide. Dino Rabbit was no longer allowed to play three Rescue Rabbit, but did gain the option to run two Mirror Forces. REDMD and Chaos Sorcerer being limited severely hurt Chaos Dragons. They also lost their auto-win button that is
quintuple foolish burial Future Fusion. Despite not performing well the previous format, Inzektors would have been the best deck if Dragonfly and Hornet were not limited.
Everyone was on that Tsukuyomi hype train. I also heard people saying plants are back because Debris Dragon is at 2 and Spore is back. Agents got one Agent – Earth back, which helped. And now that they had 5 cards to get to Venus, 3 Venus, 2 Earth, summoning Gachi was real again. REDU also brought Geargia, an archetype consisting of EARTH Machine monsters with most being level 4. Armor has 1900 DEF and searched a Geargia when flipped. Accelerator can Special Summon itself (from your hand) if you had a Geargia. And Arsenal was like Lonefire Blossom for Geargia. Maybe they’d do something in September 2012, because they didn’t do anything in August. Spellbooks also came out in REDU, but they only had Strength, Spellbook Magician, Priestess, Temperence, Secrets, Wisdom, Power and Life. That sounds like a lot, but only Priestess helps you win. They would, however, gain more support over the next few sets. I had one friend play them this format before Abyss Rising with triple Dark Magician, Dark Magic Curtain and Champion’s Vigilance. Madolche also made their debut, but they couldn’t really do anything. I tried playing them, but got rid of them the next format because they weren’t quite good enough.
Geargia had serious potential, but they weren’t quite strong enough on their own. The two best options for an additional engine were Machinas and Karakuri tuners. But before Geargia had a large showing, Jeff Jones got second place at YCS Toronto, September 2012 with a Psychic deck. It was pretty garbage and used 3 Grandsoil. After that, Grandsoil spiked in price because people believed the deck to be good. But it was simply that people were unfamiliar with the cards and Jeff Jones is a good player.
The only deck that seriously changed was Wind-Ups. It no longer focused on making Rank 3 plays, but instead is a generic Rank 3/4 toolbox deck with more access to more Rank 4s. And it only got better with Abyss Rising and Cosmo Blazar. It also was super easy to first turn Shock Master. First turn Shock Master is not possible in Dino Rabbit or Chaos Dragons. It was possible in Inzektors, but not easy because you needed to open Dragonfly, Ladybug, an equip card and a way to destroy that equip card that isn’t Dragonfly’s effect. Dino Rabbit also started main decking Macro Cosmos to ruin Chaos Dragons and Inzektors. It also kind of hurt Wind-Ups.
First turn Shock Master combo explained:
1) Normal Summon Magician, Special Summon Shark from hand, which triggers Magician, Special Summoning the second Magician from Deck
2) Activate Shark, changing it to Level 3, triggering Magician, which Specials Rat from deck (in Defense Position)
3) Overlay the two used Magicians into Photon Papilloperative, detach a Magician and change Rat to Attack Position
4) Change Rat to Defense Position to bring back a Magician
5) Overlay Rat and Shark for Zenmaity
6) Use Zenmaity to Summon Magician/Shark from your Deck, which triggers your first Magician, which summons Magician or Shark from your Deck
7) Overlay into Shock Master
8) Set Solemn Warning/Bottomless and declare Spells with Shock Master (Unless you know you’re playing against water already, in which case, declare Monsters)
Ending Field: Photon Papilloperative and Zenmaity with 1 Xyz Material each, Shock Master with 2 Xyz Materials and whatever traps you opened with.
You could extend the combo so that you had a Rabbit coming back on your Standby Phase, and you can also search Rats/Rabbits if you open with Factory. Magician + Shark can also go into Maestroke + Tiras if you’re afraid of destruction when you’re attacking.
But Wind-Ups, Chaos Dragons, Dino Rabbit and Inzektors were still good as of September 2012 and Geargia was able to compete with the previous format’s nerfed decks. Then Simon He got Top 8 at YCS Providence with Agents, putting them back on the map. The format was wide open at that point and it looked like there was no clear best deck. But in October, the Atlantean structure deck came out, and shortly after, the Hanzo and Heliopolis tins. This was still early in the September 2012 format. The Atlanteans had good effects, but no way to trigger them because they needed to be sent to the grave to activate a WATER Monster’s effect. But in those tins came a ton of good reprints including Maxx “C”, Leviair, Rescue Rabbit and Shock Master. At this point the Normal Monsters were the most expensive cards in Dino Rabbit and no deck was really expensive. For many players, this was a great time in Yugioh. And it’s one of my favorite formats.
But everything changed when the
FIRE Nation WATER Tribe attacked. Abyss Rising (ABYR) came out November 9, 2012, and with it came Gagaga Cowboy, more Spellbook cards, more Madolche cards including their Queen. Giant Soldier of Steel was hyped up, as was Thunder Sea Horse, which supported the Hunder Family. But what sold boxes of ABYR wasn’t any of those. It was the Mermails and they made quite the splash. Mermails were all WATER Fish, Sea-Serpents, and Aquas, and were supported by the Abyss- Spells and Traps. Abyssmegalo, the Mermail boss monster, was the perfect card to abuse the Atlanteans. Megalo discards 2 WATER Monsters to Special Summon itself. And since it activates in hand, that means Megalo triggers Dragoons, Heavy Infantry and Marksman.
Abyss Dweller and Cowboy were the two best generic cards to come out of ABYR. Cowboy was a generic Rank 4 that could burn your opponent for 800, meaning you only had to deal 7200 battle damage to win if you were playing Level 4s. And Dweller prevents any cards in your opponent’s Graveyard from activating, but it only has 1700 ATK. But if it has a WATER monster as material, all WATERS you control gain 500 ATK, boosting itself to 2200. Kabazauls is a WATER, and so is Wind-Up Shark, which meant DinoRabbit and Wind-Ups had an out to Mermail that wasn’t only 1700.
With Mermail, Dino Rabbit, Wind-Ups, Inzektors, Chaos Dragons, Agents and Geargia all being viable, many people enjoyed this format. And the format never really got too centralized. Mermail was said to be the best deck, but it didn’t do things that were so unfair that the rest of the super diverse meta couldn’t come back. And “rogue” decks could still ruin your day. Rogue included stuff like Gravekeeper’s, Dark World, Madolche and Prophecy.
And the format was super fun because at a regional you wouldn’t face the same thing twice in a row. At one regional I went to right after Abyss Rising came out I played against Dark World, Chaos Dragons, Agents, Machina Geargia, Dino Rabbit, Gravekeeper’s and two Wind-Up mirrors. And other than Mermail, nothing was expensive. Megalo was about $90 USD at the time.
Blackship of Corn was released in a manga that December. Blackship was the perfect out to a first turn Zenmaines. And now first turn Zenmaines wasn’t a reliable plan to stall with because Blackship just sends a monster to the Graveyard and inflicts 1000 damage. Albeit, that monster has to have less than or equal attack to Blackship, but it doesn’t destroy. This also meant you could use Forbidden Lance on something like a Stardust or Scrap Dragon, and just send it to the Graveyard.
Then everything changed when the FIRE Nation attacked. Only Wind-Ups, master of all four attributes, could stop them. Zenmaioh is WIND if that counts? Cosmo Blazar (CBLZ) came out at the start of 2013. Mermail got two brand new Level 7s. One summoned itself by discarding 3 WATERS, the other only discarded 1. This led to most players dropping the Undine engine and running Mono-Mermail. Diamond Dire Wolf was added to the Rank 4 staple pool. One guy at my locals bought at least 5 boxes before he pulled a Dire Wolf. After the first box we told him to just buy it as a single. Breakthrough Skill negates effects like Fiendish Chain, but can be used twice. Lightning Chidori was neat because it shuffled back three of your opponent’s cards. But it took WIND monsters. Spellbooks got Spellbook of the Master which helped with consistency – too bad they have no real power, yet. Master did help the Priestess loop that banishes Secrets to destroy a card, gets Secrets back from banished with Eternity, puts Eternity back in deck with Tower and searches Eternity with Secrets.
But then you get to the Fire Fists. Bear and Gorilla are the most notable. They work with the Fire Formation cards, which are all continuous Spells and Traps. All of the Spells gave your Beast-Warriors 100 ATK and the Traps 300 ATK. Tenki and Tensu were spells that allowed you to ROTA for a Beast-Warrior and Double Summon a Beast-Warrior. Tensen and Tenken were the two traps and they gave a Beast-Warrior 700 ATK or made a Beast-Warrior unaffected by card effects for that phase. Bear and Gorilla were both FIRE Beast-Warriors with 1600 ATK. When Bear dealt battle damage it set 1 Fire Formation Spell from your deck and could send a Fire Formation you control to the grave to destroy a monster. Gorilla needed to destroy a monster by battle to set a Fire Formation Spell and sends Fire Formations to destroy Spells and Traps.
Unlike Mermail, Fire Fist preferred a simplified game state where both players had fewer cards to work with. Mermail was a combo deck that needed at least two cards to make any plays. Fire Fist had the allure of almost any card making a play. Bear, Gorilla or Tenki meant you had a monster, you could destroy a card, and likely have a monster for the next turn. Every. Single. Turn. This changed how Yugioh was played. If you didn’t know what you were playing against, or you were playing against Fire Fist or Mermail, you couldn’t leave cards on the field without protection or they would get destroyed. More so against Fire Fist because a topdecked Tenki meant your monster was gone and they’re going to search another Bear the next turn. But most early Fire Fist builds played the Rescue Rabbit that Dino Rabbit had such success with. September 2012 was a good time to be Rescue Rabbit. Instead of dinos, Fire Fist used Gene-Warped Warwolf, Vorse Raider and Nin-Ken Dog. Typically only two of the three, but they were all better than Kabazauls because they are 1800, 1900, or 2000 ATK. Warwolf was played because it had the highest attack for a Level 4 Normal Beast-Warrior, 2000. Vorse Raider was the next highest at 1900 and being DARK meant you could Tribute it for Deck Devi if you had any Fire Formations face up. Nin-Ken Dog
learned the technique to metamorphose into a human being through extreme Ninjitsu is WIND, meaning Fire Fist had access to Chidori as well. But the go-to Xyz was Tiger King. On summon Tiger King set any Fire Formation from the deck, had a worse Skill Drain effect for all non-Beast-Warriors, and when he died, you could send 3 Fire Formations to the grave to Summon 2 Beast-Warriors with the same ATK from your deck. And remember, that the Skill Drain effect still worked like Skill Drain, but only for what was currently on the field. Not bad by any means. If you played Warwolf that meant you could put your opponent on a four turn clock, instead of the 5 that it takes for Sabersaurus or other 1900 ATK monsters to kill your opponent.
And, the constant aggression and pushes of Mermail, the war of attrition against Fire Fist, and first turn Shock Lock every game finally power-creeped most of what was the meta of the September 2012 format. Dino Rabbit and Chaos Dragons didn’t have the advantage engines to keep up anymore. No one wanted to play Inzektors with only one Dragonfly, and Simon He was still the only player playing Agents. Geargia would have been able to compete, but FIRE and WATER was reminiscent of playing against unlimited Inzektors, your stuff, especially unchainable cards, like a set Geargiarmor, got destroyed. Then Moulin Delinquent Duo’d you and attacked with Megalo for 7600. Tenki, Bear, Pop ruined any sort of slow metagame. Even if Fire Fist took a while to actually kill you, if your deck couldn’t summon a bunch of monsters in one turn, you were going to get burned playing with fire.
And the meta was fine as Wind-Ups, Mermail and Fire Fist with a bunch of other viable decks until the Incarnate Dragons were announced for the next set. But the meta changed so much from September 2012 until February 2013. At first it was largely the same, then Geargia/Karakuri won a YCS. Mermaids came and tore up the game, except when completely stopped by Dweller/D-Fissure/Macro Cosmos, which was often. Fire Fist came out and changed how Yugioh was played because now no monster was safe. And then everything was hit in preparation of the shitstorm that was the Lord of the Tachyon Galaxy. But first, Hidden Arsenal 7! But that’s for the next format archive.
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