Welcome to the Format Archive, where I go over a format, one at a time. Last time I covered the March 2011 format and today I’ll cover the September 2011 format and tell you about the best Yugioh decks in the TCG.
Changes to the Yugioh Forbidden & Limited List as of September 1, 2011
An asterisk* means it moved up (i.e. from forbidden to limited)
Yugioh cards newly FORBIDDEN:
Yugioh cards newly LIMITED:
Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning*
Legendary Six Samurai – Shi En
T.G. Hyper Librarian
Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
Pot of Avarice
Shien’s Smoke Signal
Dewloren, Tiger King of the Ice Barrier
Yugioh cards newly SEMI-LIMITED:
Swords of Revealing Light*
Call of the Haunted*
Yugioh cards newly UNLIMITED:
Mystical Space Typhoon*
Konami’s Yugioh department just couldn’t let the Synchro deck that they didn’t spoon feed us be the best deck, nor could they let Fish OTK run rampant and ruin Yugioh. Thus, the Synchros were limited. Additionally, one Shi En and one Smoke Signal pushed Six Samurai out of their commanding position due to the Sun and his Agents, Tengu Plants 2.0 now with a personal Tour Guide and a certain Soldier being the Envoy of a new Beginning.
Tengu Plants took advantage of the newly limited Black Luster Soldier and ran more lights and darks than previously, namely Thunder King, Spirit Reaper and now that Yugioh’s Rank 3 pool had more than just Grenosaurus, Tour Guide and Sangan. Orient Dragon quickly replaced Iron Chain Dragon, as it simply banished any Synchro in the mirror match, which gets around Stardust. Trishula, Hyper Librarian and Formula Synchron are the synchros you wanted to summon most in this deck, which is why they were limited, but don’t forget that Konami wanted to push the new Xyz Monsters.
Speaking of Xyz Monsters, Steelswarm Roach was basically Thunder King, but didn’t tribute itself and could be summoned using the other level 4 monsters in the deck, such as Spore, so you didn’t have to draw into Thunder King. Utopia was not universally played because it was only mediocre, but it did have 2500 ATK. Leviair extended combos because it basically read “I’m easy to summon and can summon a banished monster for free. Then if I live, you get another banished monster the next turn.” This meant cards that were banished by Spore and BLS could be summoned again. Specifically Sangan, Lonefire Blossom, Dandylion and Thunder King.
What became known as Chaos Agents was a good pick for those who didn’t want to piece together the mostly random parts of Synchrocentric. With the exception of Trishula, Brionac, Tour Guide and BLS, the deck was pretty budget as a lot of it comes in a structure deck and most competitive players probably had a Stardust, Black Rose and Catastor already. Additionally, the summer Yugioh tins came out at the end of August and reprinted Kristya making it accessible for everyone, and Solemn Warning would be reprinted in the November tins. A more budget-friendly option was playing T.G.s in the deck over the Tour Guide engine. BLS could be hard to get, but I know many people just bought one online and many builds ran Chaos Sorcerer as just another problem for the opponent to deal with. While Tengu Plants focused on Synchro Summoning and could drop BLS in the background, Agents made their opponents sad by summoning Gachi, then plopping Hyperion next to it, or worse, Kristya.
The Dark World structure deck was going to come out in October and everyone was terrified of a “Tier 0 format” where you played Dark Worlds or you lost. Dark worlds get effects when they’re discarded by card effects such as special summoning themselves (Goldd/Sillva) or drawing a card (Broww). Most Dark Worlds get a second effect if discarded by an opponent’s card, which means you lose the mirror match if you activate Dark World Dealings. Their structure deck introduced Grapha, Snoww and The Gates of Dark World. Grapha was kind of Master Hyperion’s structure deck rival with the same level and ATK. Grapha is also opposite in theme. Master Hyperion is the Sun with the Agents being the planets, while Grapha is the Dragon Lord of Dark World. They also had opposite attributes and types, Fairy/Fiend and LIGHT/DARK.
Grapha popped your opponent’s cards on the way to summoning him for a plus one. Snoww searched everything in the whole deck, and Gates resolving once has paid for the card you discard with a draw, and the Dark World discarded pays for Gates being on the field. But Dark Worlds were plagued with consistency problems due to their nature of needing a discard outlet and a Dark World. Even with triple Reckless and triple Upstart. They were also the only deck until January that could summon Tiras and Adreus. Dark Worlds were a flop on the competitive scene, but they did steal a few tops here and there, but mostly due to being able to main deck Deck Devastation Virus, which does the opposite of Crush Card Virus. Deck Devastation Virus hits everything but Venus, Kristya, Hyperion, Thunder King and Tengu, at least at the time.
If you ran two or more Goldd/Sillva you could run Tiras and Adreus. The latter would be 2900 if Gates was face up, which is more than Scrap Dragon or Trishula. Other options included more Deck Devastation, Malefic Stardust Dragon, Ceruli, Trade-In, Solemn Warning and Skill Drain. The Extra Deck didn’t really matter, but I would recommend at least two Leviair because that makes Tour Guide a plus two on summon. Who doesn’t love two free cards just for playing Yugioh?
Normal Tour Guide -> Special Summon Level 3 Fiend from the Deck
Overlay into Leviair -> detach a material and Special Summon a banished Dark World
Return the summoned Dark World to Hand for Grapha
So Tengu Plants remained number one in Yugioh with Agents behind. A few other decks were available, including Machina Gadgets, Karakuri (and Machina Plant variant), Dark Worlds, T.G. Stun and X-Sabers and Gravekeeper’s. Blackwings, HEROs and other decks were playable, but below what people would consider tier 2. (I think tiering decks is wrong, but that’s another topic for another day)
Photon Shockwave, legal for tournament play November 15, contained many new Xyz and many powerful cards. It introduces the Photon and Evol Archetypes and supports Wind-Ups in addition to generic XYZ support.
Evolzar Laggia and Dolkka stood out above the rest of the Xyz pool at the time due to having effects similar to Solemn Judgment and Divine Wrath, respectively. Japan got Laggia in their PHSW too, and it stood at 2400 ATK, just under the 2500 of Number 39: Utopia and Stardust Dragon, BUT due to its effectively time Solemn Judgment effect it was able to negate the summon of Utopia or Stardust, as well as negate Spells and Traps. However Laggia did have a weakness, and it wasn’t the 2400 ATK. Laggia’s weakness was to Monster Effects, especially ones that were already face-up, such as Master Hyperion. Normally Laggia would negate the summon of Hyperion, but if Hyperion is already face-up, he can destroy the Laggia then get in for 2700 damage. Yugioh TCG fixed this problem with Evolzar Dolkka coming in as a Divine Wrath with 2300 ATK. Dolkka could negate monster effects, but unlike Laggia, Dolkka can be used twice because it doesn’t detach both of it’s materials.
Obviously the Evolzars were meant to be summoned with the Evolsaurs, but there was a better way, Rescue Rabbit. No, Rescue Rabbit can’t be used as Xyz Material for the Evolzars, but Rescue Rabbit has an effect similar to Rescue Cat, but a little different. Rabbit summons two Normal Monsters with the same name from the deck, not Level 3 or lower Beasts.
But you needed Level 4 Normal Dinosaurs to summon an Evolzar if you’re playing Rescue Rabbit.
There are exactly five Level 4 Normal Dinosaurs:
Sabersaurus EARTH 1900/500
Kabazauls WATER 1700/1500
Crawling Dragon #2 EARTH 1600/1200
Two-Headed King Rex EARTH 1600/1200
Uraby EARTH 1500/800
You’d think most of the time the dinos didn’t matter because you’re overlaying with them, but that’s not the case. With six dinos being played most of the time, you WILL draw them over the course of a tournament with eight or more rounds. Also, when you draw them, you want to be able to deal damage with them, which is why Sabersaurus and Kabazauls were the two used. I’m sure some people used the others, but they have the most attack. Dinos with less ATK were just bad Yugioh.
Since Leviair allows players to reuse Rescue Rabbit, the addition of the new Wind-Up Xyz that protects itself and Giga-Brilliant, which pumps all your monsters by 300 ATK, Tour Guide and Sangan were a perfect fit. Jurrac Guaiba, Spirit Reaper and a handful of other cards were played at the time because they synergize well with the core engine of Rabbit+Normals and Tour Guide. Now that is some good Yugioh.
Dino Rabbit had so many options, like Thunder King, Snowman Eater, Gorz, Gold Sarco, but those are just some of the other options people explored, and none were objectively better than others. Except Effect Veiler. It was a waste of an Effect Veiler if your opponent Normal Summons Rescue Rabbit and you activate Effect Veiler, due to Ignition Priority. Ignition Priority was later removed from Yugioh, but just know that if you Summon a monster with an ignition effect, you can declare priority and it will activate as Chain Link 1 before your opponent can activate an effect. Ignition Priority no longer exists, but Turn Player Priority does. That aside, Effect Veiler was still good against Tour Guide, Leviair, Brionac, Trishula and a large number of other cards.
Trends also shifted back and forth between on whether you should Summon Laggia or Dolkka first going first if you don’t know what you’re playing against game one. In the mirror match, games two and three if you summoned Laggia without multiple traps to stop your opponent and they opened Electric Virus + Tour Guide, you lost.
Electric Virus your opponent’s Laggia
Tour Guide -> Leviair
Levair summons opponents Rescue Rabbit
Their Rescue Rabbit -> Sabersaurus + Sabersaurus
Also you used their Laggia to negate one of their traps.
Needless to say Tour Guide only became more powerful with Zenmaines and Giga-Brilliant existing giving it more flexibility. These two Xyz gave any deck playing Level 3 monsters more utility. Dark Smog let Dark Worlds hit their opponent’s grave easily. Photon Sabre Tiger gave T.G. Stun a small boost. One Day of Peace and Metaion gave stall decks like Chain Burn and Final Countdown a few more tools. All in all, Photon Shockwave was a very powerful set and gave birth to a new best deck of Yugioh until January.
Hidden Arsenal 5 (HA05) dropped on December 6, 2011, and gave Gishki and Laval a small boost, but nothing that could dethrone the Tzars Evolzars. The next set, Order of Chaos (ORCS), brought two new decks that were able to compete with Dino Rabbit on the competitive Yugioh circuit: Inzektors and Wind-Ups.
Order of Chaos finished everything Wind-Ups needed to be competitive. Wind-Ups debuted in GENF with Magician, Factory, a bad rank 4 and other garbage Wind-Ups. In PHSW we got Hunter, garbage and two TCG Exclusives, Rabbit and Zenmaines. ORCS gave us Rat and Zenmaity and two more TCG Exclusives, Shark and Zenmaioh. Shark was really the missing puzzle piece for Wind-Ups.
Similarly to Dino Rabbit, Wind-Up lists looked quite different from one another, but early Wind-Up lists looked something like this. Not every list played Instant Fusion, and some played more Leviair or Zenmaioh. Effect Veiler and Thunder King were more cards to stop your opponent from playing. Tour Bus allowed you to summon Tour Guide, overlay with Tour Bus and shuffle something like Zenmaity or Rat back into the deck. Some lists maximized Magician and Rabbit while others played Gorz and Black Luster Nut Buster. Smashing Ground forced a negation from Laggia. There were just so many options with Wind-Ups, but the main plan was to do the “hand loop” which was not actually a loop because it doesn’t loop infinitely.
The play starts with Shark+Magician or Shark+Tour Guide
Summon Zenmaity, Summon Hunter, Tribute Zenmaity
Overlay Shark + Hunter into Zenmaity
Detach Hunter, Special Summon Rat, get back Hunter, Tribute Zenmaity, repeat until you cannot continue further.
There were variations of the combo string that allowed you to hit more cards out of their hand, but the best ways to stop it were Maxx “C” and Effect Veiler. I saw so many players target the Hunter with Veiler, but that doesn’t stop the play sequence. It is the same as letting them discard the Veiler because they can continue with Zenmaitys and Rats, and they still got a card out of your hand.
ORCS also introduced a new archetype, Inzektors. Inzektors were mostly level 3 DARK Insects that equipped one another to themselves, and got effects through that mechanic. When an equip card that was equipped to Dragonfly or Centipede they Special Summoned another Inzektor from the deck or searched an Inzektor card. Hornet while equipped could send itself to the graveyard to destroy cards on the field, which would then trigger Dragonfly and Centipede.
There was less variation with Inzektors because the TCG was looking at OCG builds, but still some builds didn’t play Black Luster Soldier or Veiler, some played Tour Guide or Thunder King. Many builds played Mystic Tomato. Inzektor Dragonfly and Hornet made cards like Spirit Reaper, and unchainable traps such as Bottomless, D-Prison and Mirror Force subpar because they will be lost before they can be used. And for some time no one used Zektkaliber, even though it provides you with superb OTK potential and recovery, the deck was consistent enough that no one wanted to play it.
Blade Armor Ninja came out in ORCS, and gave HEROs a chance to shine as a dark horse pick. The game plan was to summon Stratos multiple times and overlay with Bubbleman into two Blade Armor Ninjas and attack for 8800 damage. And it worked most of the time.
And for two weeks the meta had five decks at the top, Dino Rabbit, Wind-Ups, Inzektors, Tengu Plants and Agents. Other anti-meta decks also stole some tops here and there. The problem with FIVE good decks is that you could gear your deck to beat the mirror match, or to beat /one/ of the top decks, but you would lose to one you’re not prepared for. Some people argue that a diverse meta is healthy, but when a deck doesn’t have a clear advantage over others, the choice also isn’t clear. Dino Rabbit, Tengu Plants, Agents, Wind-Ups and Inzektors all had their merits and their drawbacks, which made the choice difficult. And with the Dragon’s Collide structure deck, Lightpulsar Dragon and friends made the choice even more difficult.
Dragon’s Collide featured two dragons that could Chaos Summon themselves, but could also be summoned in any other way you can summon a monster (Tribute Summon, Monster Reborn, Call of the Haunted, etc.) The new cards that mattered were Lightpulsar Dragon, Darkflare Dragon and Eclipse Wyvern. Chaos Dragons didn’t get picked up until the March 2012 format, but it was a threat, even if it wasn’t on anyone’s yugioh radar yet, so I’ll go over it in the next format, but people were waiting for Lightpulsar Dragon to do something, because he could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, which could bring back REDMD, which could bring back Lightpulsar, but Red-Eyes was only once per turn, and it was an ignition effect.
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