Yugioh Format Archive: March 2012

Welcome to the Format Archive, where I go over a format, one at a time. Last time I covered the September 2011 format and today I’ll cover the March 2012 format and tell you about the best Yugioh decks in the TCG. Keep in mind I’m only covering Yugioh in the TCG as I don’t play in OCG and never have, so I feel like I don’t have enough knowledge about it to make any comments.

These are the changes to the Yugioh Limited & Forbidden list as of March 2012. An asterisk means it moved up, as in you are allowed to play more copies of it now. And by now, I mean as of March 2012 compared to the previous format.

Glow-Up Bulb
Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
Trap Dustshoot

T.G. Striker
The Agent of Mystery Earth

Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner*
Reborn Tengu
Emergency Teleport*
Level Limit – Area B*
Shien’s Smoke Signal*
Torrential Tribute*
Ultimate Offering

Call of the Haunted*

There were not too many changes, but they were severe. First, Tengu Plants lost its two main tuners, Glow-Up Bulb AND Spore, as well as the infinite floater, Reborn Tengu, being semi’d. Trishula, Tengu Plants’ best power synchro is now forbidden, as well as Trap Dustshoot. Opening with Dustshoot meant you could see your opponent’s whole hand for a one-for-one exchange in card economy, BUT you get to choose what monster goes back into the deck AND you know their whole hand.

T.G. Striker and The Agent – Earth were the only cards limited, and it was to discourage people from Synchro Summoning to push a new product, this, unfortunately, has to happen. This severely hurt the consistency of T.G. Stun, Agents, and T.G. Agents. Two of last format’s decks, dead. R.I.P.

The cards moving up, for the most part, wouldn’t matter, and were just to test the water before unlimiting them. Lumina, Marshmallon, Emergency Teleport, Level Limit and Smoke Signal would all eventually move back to unlimited status. Torrential, though, was nice to have two of for many decks. Ultimate Offering seemed a little puzzling at the time, but it was obvious that Gadgets were the main abuser of Offering.

So, out of Tengu Plants, Agents, Dino Rabbit, Wind-Up and Inzektor, Tengu Plants were not playable anymore and Agents were severely hurting, while the other three remained at full strength.

Dragons collide

Just like how GENF dropped at the end of a format, the Dragons Collide structure deck came out at the end of last format. And just like GENF, this didn’t really have any impact until the next format, and most people didn’t pick up the deck until after Galactic Overlord was released.

So, Tengu Plants was murdered, Agents are hurt, this is the list we’re playing Nationals under in July, what is set up to win it? Wind-Ups? Dino Rabbit? Inzektors? Well as time passes, Dino Rabbit and Wind-Ups claim more and more top spots, and Inzektors are discouraging people from playing cards like Mirror Force or Thunder King, yet they never win a YCS. Bubble Beat is a contender in the meta, and is what I was playing for a little while before I picked up Wind-Ups close to the end of the format.


The general game plan is to Summon Stratos, grab Bubzies, make Blade Armor Ninja, somehow make a second Blade Armor Ninja, win because 8800 is more than 8000. Then the Xyz Symphony starter deck came out and brought with it four new Xyz Monsters, the “Djinns”. I still hear people pronouncing the “D” in “Djinn”, but it’s silent. It’s like “Gin”, but more of a “Z”-ish type J sound. Three of the four new Xyz were rank 3, the other rank 4, and they’re all fiends. Musical fiends, they’re a band.

xyz symphony

The Structure deck itself was garbage, but the Xyz were great. Ok, there were some quality cards such as Sangan, MST, and Call of the Haunted, but the main draw were the Djinns.


Maestroke was another generic rank 4 that found its way into most extra decks that could support rank 4s giving more utility to xyz. Even though it only has 1800 ATK, less than Steelswarm Roach, it has 2300 DEF, quite beefy for a rank 4s defense. Maestroke has two effects, the first is a Book of Moon type effect, but worse in every way, but okay because it’s on a generic rank 4, that puts Tiras face down, and attacks over that 1700 DEF with its 1800 ATK AND it protects itself! Did I mention it protects itself? If a face-up “Djinn” Xyz monster you control would be destroyed, you can detach 1 Xyz Material from that monster instead. This type of continuous protection confused a lot of people because it doesn’t start a chain. It’s like Zenmaines and Shi En. Provided the “cost” can be paid, at the time of destruction, pay the “cost”. I have quotation marks around “cost” because it’s not really a cost, it’s just a thing you do instead of destroying it. Not only does it protect itself, but its protection extends to all “Djinn” Xyz Monsters you control, which means Muzurhythm, Temtempo and Melomelody.


Muzurhythm only had 1500 ATK, which at a glance seems underwhelming like Maestroke, but during the Damage Step, when a “Djinn” Xyz Monster you control attacks a monster, Muzurhythm can detach 1 Xyz Material and double that monster’s ATK. That’s all it does. Pretty simple, but he attacks at 3000, lets Maestroke attack at 3600, and Temtempo at 3400. Speaking of which…


Temtempo only has 1700 ATK (a recurring theme with this band, huh?), but has an effect to boost the ATK of all “Djinn” Xyz by detaching materials from your opponent’s Xyz. I believe this was Konami’s way of pushing Xyz, making Xyz hate Xyz monsters. Temtempo became one of the standard rank 3s played, provided you ran Tour Guides. It’s also a quick effect, so on summon you strip a material from something your opponent has, and on their turn strip another material, boosting it to 2700 ATK which is quite considerable for a rank 3. Temtempo affects all Djinn Xyz you control, so if its effect later gets negated, it doesn’t lose that attack gain like Leviathan does. Also since it affects all Djinn Xyz you control, having Maestroke at 2800 is a problem.


Melomelody, to put it delicately, sucked. It allowed your Djinns to attack twice, similar to Blade Armor Ninja, but unlike Blade Armor Ninja, Melomelody only had 1400 ATK. The other three Djinns can stand on their own without the aid from the others, but Melomelody really needs to be aided, or aid the others, much like a symphony. The Maestro, strings and percussion somehow are able to be played by themselves, but the brass section just fell flat.

The same day I went to locals to pick up my Xyz Symphony for Maestroke, Temtempo and Muzurhythm, I received the Shonen Jump magazine and an envelope from Konami. The promo for the April Shonen Jump was Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction, and in the envelope were two copies of Number 16: Shock master.

Number30AcidGolemofDestruction-JUMP-EN-UR-LEDespite Acid Golem’s 3000 ATK and DEF, it had TWO restrictions AND a maintenance cost where both options were bad options. It’s two restrictions were that you cannot Special Summon any monsters and that while Acid Golem has no Xyz Materials, it cannot attack. These alone were not terrible, as you just summon it last in your combo string, and swing for 3000. Archlord Krystia doesn’t allow you to Special Summon either, and that was still very good. Acid Golem only became bad when it’s maintenance cost was factored in. Acid Golem required you to detach 1 material from it during your Standby Phase or take 2000 damage. TWO THOUSAND? The same amount of LP I pay for Solemn Warning? Well, in that case, I’ll just detach a material. Well, that’s fine and dandy because next turn you’re taking that 2000 damage unless the game is over or you don’t want to attack with your 3000 ATK rank 3. Acid Golem being 3000 on both turns was the deciding factor for me. Yeah, it has restrictions while Muzurhythm doesn’t, but Muzurhythm is going to get run over by a Guaiba. Acid Golem’s main downside is the fact that Temtempo exists, which takes one of your Golem’s two material on your opponent’s turn, then the other on your draw phase. Now you have a Golem with no Xyz Material which means you take 2000 on standby, Acid Golem cannot attack AND you cannot Special Summon. Ouch, triple whammy. Even if 2700 can’t get over Acid Golem, Acid Golem can’t attack over anything if it can’t attack. Looks like since this Golem is made of acid it just brings your own destruction. But none of that even matters if Skill Drain is face up, like against some HERO builds.

Number16ShockMaster-JUMP-EN-UR-LEThe other Xyz I received in the mail was Number 16: Shock Master. It took 3 level 4 monsters as Xyz Material. Illumiknight was bad because it takes 3 material. Rescue Rabbit gives me 2 materials. How the hell am I going to summon Shock Master? Well, Wind-Ups solved that problem 5 months later, but Bubbleman had you covered now. But what does Shock Master do that makes it worth investing THREE monsters, simply unheard of. Dark Mist, Illumiknight and Utopia Ray all take 3 materials, and they aren’t playable. Ok, Utopia Ray is because it can go on top of Utopia, but if it took any 3 level 4s, it wouldn’t be played. Shock Master doesn’t even have much ATK at 2300. Less than Laggia, Leviathan, Utopia, Darkflare Dragon and pretty much any monster that you were special summoning to attack with. So what exactly does Shock Master do? It unlocks the shock! Once per turn: detach 1 Xyz Material, and until the end of your opponent’s next turn either monster effects cannot be activated, or spells or traps cannot be activated. Gadgets were the first deck trying to abuse this with Ultimate Offering by summoning 3 and calling spells, traps and monsters. Well, Shock Master would get its time, but no one played it this summer, except me.

Two days after Xyz Symphony was released, on April 19, 2012, ignition priority was removed from the TCG, which meant monsters no longer could guarantee their activation and only quick effects could be activated after a monster is summoned. What this meant is that Effect Veiler now works against Rescue Rabbit, and now Veiler is a 3-of in everything, and Dino Rabbit fumbled a little bit because of the rule change AND all the new Xyzs Wind-Ups had. More accurately Wind-Ups had easy access to rank 3s and 4s, and could make Tiras/Adreus/Zenmaioh if they wanted. Inzektors could really only make rank 3s, and Dino Rabbit was still a rank 4 deck, that played Tour Guides. And by now Chaos Dragons were full force with Future Fusion dumping 5 dragons and big beater after big beater eating through Dino Rabbit’s defenses. Dino Rabbit was still very good, just less good. Tengu Plants and Agents are now long forgotten and it looks like this is going to be the format, then Inzektors and Chaos Dragons get a boost in the next set.

Galactic Overlord (GAOV) introduces Hieratics, Cardcar D, Inzektor Ladybug and a few key Xyz that are meant for Hieratics, but are better in Chaos Dragons. Also Number 11: Big Eye was in GAOV, and finally I could do something with multiple Machina Fortresses, AND take my opponent’s monsters, forever.

Hieratics are a series of LIGHT Dragon-Type monsters that only ever received support in GAOV, but the support they did get was 17 cards, which is more than some other archetypes get. Ok, let’s talk about the ones that suck first, Sutekh, Asar, Gebeb, Nuit, Seal of the Dragon King and Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord.

Sutekh is a Level 8 Semi-Nomi monster with 2800 ATK that requires you to banish 3 normal dragons from your Graveyard and has an effect similar to Master Hyperion: banish 1 dragon from your grave, target 1 card; destroy that target.

Asar is level 7 with 2600 ATK and has no restrictions on how it can be summoned. It can summon itself by banishing a LIGHT dragon and a normal dragon from your grave, and if it would be destroyed you can tribute a face-up Hieratic instead. Less bad than Sutekh, but still bad.

Gebeb I initially thought was good, and did well at a locals the weekend GAOV came out using it incorrectly. Gebeb is level 4 and has 1800 ATK. So far, not bad. Let’s read the effect:


“When this card destroys an opponent’s monster by battle and sends it to the Graveyard: Special Summon 1 Dragon-Type Normal Monster from your hand, Deck or Graveyard, and make its ATK and DEF 0. When this card is Tributed: Special Summon 1 “Hieratic” Normal Monster
from your hand, Deck or Graveyard.”

When I read Gebeb, I thought if it bopped over a monster it could summon ANY Hieratic, and when it’s tributed, Special Summon your normal dragon. I was playing an early prototype build of Hieratics so it wasn’t nearly optimal, BUT it did have triple Lance main decked, so when I didn’t open a combo Lance let Gebeb beat over anything less than 2600. Then I could summon Su or Nebthet, tribute Gebeb, destroy a card and get my normal dragon to make an Xyz. Anyways, I’m sorry I wasted your time on Gebeb. He’s bad, but Nuit is even worse. When Nuit is targeted by a Spell, Trap or card effect Special Summon 1 dragon normal from hand, deck or grave and make it 0/0. It doesn’t even do anything when tributed, this is so bad. Moving on… There were two Hieratic Seal monsters, one for each Xyz.

Atum’s sealed form is a level 6 gemini with 0/0 stats. It’s not a normal monster in the hand or deck, which is where you want to summon it from first, because why the hell would we play Foolish if we can summon other normals from the deck? It’s gemini effect lets it tribute itself to Special Summon any Hieratic from your hand, deck or grave in defense position. If it was a normal with the same stats as Atum, it’d be playable, but it’s not. Heliopolis’ sealed form is the normal we wanted, but level 6. Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord is a LIGHT Dragon-Type monster like all the other Hieratics, but it’s a level 8 Normal Monster with 0 ATK and 0 DEF. Hieratics don’t have enough named support to play this over Blue-Eyes if you are playing level 8s.

The good four Hieratics, Su, Tefnuit, Nebthet and Eset are level 6 or 5 and when tributed allow you to Special Summon a normal dragon from hand, deck or grave, but make it 0/0. Su and Tefnuit are level 6, while Nebthet and Eset are level 5. Su and Nebthet can Special Summon themselves by tributing a Hieratic, and once per turn you can tribute a Hieratic from your hand/field to destroy a Spell/Trap (Su) or a Monster (Nebthet.) Tefnuit and Eset start off your combos by letting you summon them without tributing anything. Tefnuit has a Cyber Dragon effect and Eset can be Normal Summoned without tributing, but its ATK becomes 1000. Eset can also target a normal dragon and make all Hieratics the same level as that target.

Atum is their rank 6 with 2400 ATK and can summon a dragon from your deck, but can’t attack that turn, while Heliopolis sits at 3000 ATK and tributes any number of monsters to destroy the same number of cards on the field. And Heliop is rank 8, so he’s not easy to summon in Hieratics.

2012.3 hieratics

Most Hieratic lists looked like this, and tried to OTK or go home, and due to the OTKs needing three cards most of the time, they went home. A lot. And actually never impacted the meta until Dragon Rulers decided Hieratics would make good fodder. Also many combos ended with two REDMD with 0 ATK and DEF, so the deck would have benefited from a rank 10. And Gustav was just the rank 10 they wanted, but wasn’t coming out until September as a JUMP promo.


Most of the rank 6s that were meant for Hieratics were useful in Chaos Dragons because they also played some level 6s. The go to rank 6 was Strike Bounzer, and before that, Exa-Beetle. But now they could put Gaia Charger on top after sending the equipped Lightpulsar and getting back a REDMD.

So even though Hieratics were largely unsuccessful, Inzektors got a new tool, Ladybug. Ladybug was similar to Hornet in that it sent itself to the grave to do a thing, which could trigger Dragonfly and Centipede, but Ladybug increased the level of any monster you controlled by 1 or 2, giving Inzektors access to Tiras, Adreus and rank 4s.

Photon Papilloperative also came out, and was another generic rank 4 to add to the extra deck. It had 2100 ATK and switched a defense position monster to attack position, then it lost 600 ATK. It wasn’t great in every situation, but it had its uses, and was played in small amounts, but mostly played the next format.

So Wind-Ups, Dino Rabbit, and Chaos Dragons were still reigning supreme with Inzektors sprinkled in here and there. Six Samurai received a structure deck and got an Xyz in June, but that was uneventful and only encouraged people to play a deck that negates spells and traps in a meta dominated by monster effects. The North American World Championship Qualifier was around the corner, and no one is REALLY sure what will win what everyone calls the US Nationals. Sorry to be anticlimactic, but Tyler Tabman won the event with Wind-Ups. Robert Lewis got second, also with Wind-Ups. Jarel Winston got third place with Chaos Dragons and Kevin Rubio fourth with Dino Rabbit.

tyler tabman windups

This was Tyler Tabman’s list. What do I think of it? I think 3 Magician and 3 Factory, but he was already at 42 cards. And no Maestroke or Photon Papilloperative here. I can’t find Robert Lewis’ build online, sorry about that.

pro winston chaos dragon

This is Jarel Winston’s list.

kevin rubio chaos dragons

Kevin Rubio played 43 cards, which DOES decrease your chances of drawing the vanillas, but it also decreases your chances of drawing Rabbit, Tour Guide, or any other cards you want to see.

After the Yugioh WCQ, what everyone was looking forward to was the Yugioh World Championship. So with Dolkka, Tour Guide, Wind-Up Shark and Rabbit all being Exclusives to TCG Yugioh, that left Chaos Dragons and Inzektors for worlds. Top four was 4 Inzektors, and the whole final match was them summoning Sangan over and over to search Veiler to stop Dragonfly from going off. Honestly, Worlds was pretty boring in 2012. I remember some Dark World Malefic Skill Drain deck being played, but almost everything else was Inzektors. Also, Jarel Winston was playing Exodia. And this is where the term JADGE! comes from. During Jarel Winston’s feature match, the stream was paused and said something to the effect of “Waiting for Jadge. Please wait.”


Then Hidden Arsenal 6 came out July 24th, and had Evigishki Gustkraken, which when combined with the Hieratics made for a deadly hand loop, but it required an Xyz that came out in the next Hidden Arsenal. Gem-Knight Pearl was reprinted from the battle pack. It’s a 2600 rank 4 with no effect. Stronger than any other generic rank 4, but it has no effect. Daigusto Phoenix, a generic rank 2 with 1500 ATK also came out, which allows any WIND Monster to attack twice that battle phase. Near lethal with Stardust Dragon. 2500+2500+1500 = 6500. Overall, uneventful.

August 14th, two tins were released with the cover cards being Dolkka and Heroic Champion – Excalibur. Promos for the tins were great reprints. Genex Neutron, Scrap Dragon, Dark Highlander and Zenmaines were in the Dolkka tin while Zenmaines, Blizzard Princess, Wind-Up Rabbit and Evolzar Laggia were in the Excalibur tin. Both Evolz and Zenmaines reprint? Yes please. Wind-Up Rabbit reprint? Yes please. The tins were great, and while Excalibur is the cover card for Return of the Duelist, it was printed in the tins first.

Then, on August 14th Return of the Duelist (REDU) was released. It introduced several new archetypes. Chronomaly, Spellbooks and Prophecy, Madolche, Geargia, and hunders all came out in REDU. Grandsoil the Elemental Lord and Excalibur were also in REDU. And just like GENF, no one played anything from REDU until after the F&L List was announced. September 2012 format is next and one of my favorites.

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