The TCG Meta Snapshot is a project by some of the writers at YGOPRODeck that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1-2 week period.
The TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat looser tier system. The tiers that we will use are as follows:
Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops, as ranked by Pojo. This will roughly correspond to Pojo’s Tier 1, with some overlap from Pojo’s Tier 2.
Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops, as ranked by Pojo. Corresponds to the rest of Pojo’s Tier 2, Pojo’s Tier 3, and Rogue.
Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that only top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. It can also include decks that can potentially beat but have not yet in a given format.
Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the local level, but cannot top an event.
Bystial is one of the latest archetypes introduced in the Albaz lore series, and they come out swinging, aided by their own Branded Spells and Traps! There are three "hand traps", which are all capable of targeting a LIGHT or DARK monster in either GY to banish, summoning themselves out in the process. A very important thing to note, they only become Quick Effects if your opponent controls a monster. Because of this effect, they've become a powerful tech choice and engine that many decks are trying to take advantage of in the wake of Tearlaments' continued dominance. That's not all though! The trio all have secondary effects that are all generally useful across several different decks. These dragons have been enjoying a lot of usage and success so far, and it's likely to stay that way as they hit a wide variety of threats in the metagame!
The release weekend of Darkwing Blast was jam-packed with competitive events right out of the gate, featuring the ever-so-prestigious YCS Minneapolis! A good amount of regionals were also held across NA and Europe at the same time. From all of them, an overwhelming majority of duelists were packing these Bystials in their Deck, either in the Main or Side. Some only ran them for hand trap techs, but others invested in a heavier package, really aiming to make use of them as a primary or supporting engine. Overall though, Bystials are undeniably Tier 1 as of this moment.
While not automatic game winners, they help to power through both Tearlaments and Sprights! That's more than what most can offer right now. That's not all, as certain decks like Thunder Dragon and Dragon Link have also seen a revival thanks to these cards. Now then, how about we go over some of the prominent Bystial variants?
Paulo "PRRJ" Gonçalves managed to place a solid Top 16 finish at YCS Minneapolis with Spright! Unlike most people who only use the Bystials as a very small hand trap package (3 or 4 cards at most), he opted to maximize on both Bystial Magnamhut and Bystial Druiswurm! This allowed him a much easier time in handling the slew of Tearlaments variants running around, as well as the Spright mirror match!
Spright always had critical issues dealing with big bodies and had a tendency of getting overwhelmed. Bystials help shore up that problem all while doubling as effective hand traps to punish multiple decks and help push for damage! It's surprisingly effective in the mirror, as there are many times a DARK target would be hitting the GY for either Bystial to banish. Bystial Magnamhut is easily the best as it adds a second Bystial that can be used in the EP to keep the pressure going. Spright's Level 2/Rank-2/Link-2 lock isn't as much of an issue as one would imagine either. This is because you're often using the Bystials during the opponent's turn anyway when you lose the die roll or go second, or have already established + using them as an extra interruption.
Bystial Druiswurm in particular pulls a lot of weight, as it can often force some nasty 2-for-1s thanks to its send effect, and it can be linked off to either Spright Sprind or Spright Elf should the situation call for it. Dharc the Dark Charmer, Gloomy into Spright Elf is another good example. Considering that the Spright engine is relatively strong on its own, alongside the Bystials you have a lot of leeway in pushing through boards otherwise you'd struggle, or in the case of Tearlaments, preventing key monsters like Tearlaments Kitkallos or Tearlaments Rulkallos from hitting the field. However, the same applies to you, so extra caution has to be taken into account.
Spright players can also get some extra mileage out of Bystials by pairing them with Sprind's second effect. If another monster is Special Summoned to the field while it's face-up, Sprind can target and bounce any monster from the field back to the hand provided you can detach an Xyz Material from a monster you control. This is excellent as you can recycle a used-up Magnamhut for future use, OR really control the field by bouncing one of their threats away after you banished their LIGHT or DARK monster. Speaking of bouncing, Swap Frog can do some similar feats as well.
Calvin Chow got Top 16 Tearlaments with the heaviest Bystial package we've seen so far from YCS Minneapolis! Some other Bystial Tearlaments also performed admirably, but they didn't run as many of the Lore dragons as you would imagine. Tear continues to be the strongest deck of the format and they seem to have adapted the Bystial monsters quite well!
Aside from their usual duties of handling the ever-so-dreaded Tearlaments mirror match, the Bystial monsters are actually quite helpful in advancing your game plan. This all has to do with them being Level 6, specifically. This opens up the deck to two very powerful options.
The first one is Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal which has remained dormant aside from fringe experimentation with Destiny HERO - Malicious. Now that Tearlaments has access to some of the strongest 6s in the game, getting to this coveted Rank 6 monster has now become a piece of cake. You only need to see 1 Bystial as well, as Garura, Wings of Resonant Life will often be your second Level 6 of choice. So what does Beatrice do for the deck?
Beatrice functions as a super Curious, pushing the deck to an even greater level of absurdity. Whatever you need at the time, she'll fetch for you and then some! If you detach Garura, you're also getting a draw 1 for your trouble! This is further exacerbated by the fact there are more great cards to send with the support from Darkwing Blast, such as Tearlaments Scream - which most lists ran, but this one didn't.
The second one is the ability to easily make Baronne de Fleur alongside Blazing Cartesia, the Virtuous! Calvin mentions the ease of powering through boards, especially if the Bystial you used was Bystial Druiswurm. Send and pop galore! The Bystial Lubellion also makes its debut here, as not all Bystial Tear lists are on him. He provides incredible value and pushing power all on his own, and he makes getting to Bystial Magnamhut a breeze. Bystial Saronir can send him or Branded in High Spirits depending on the situation.
All in all, it's very likely for Bystial Tear to remain the top dog for a bit, up until Magnificent Mavens warps the format yet again.
Bystial Dragon Link
Carter Bird got Top 4 at the Fredericton WCQ Regional using Bystial Dragon Link! Rokket Tracer and friends have been dormant for quite some time now, especially after the passing of Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon. Darkwing Blast has given the deck an immense buff, unlike anything we've ever seen before! Due to this, some old allies return to the fray as well. Let's check them out!
Hieratic Dragon King of Atum makes a triumphant return, and he makes it so any 2 Bystials can get to any part of your engine with! Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon seemed to be one of his preferred targets for this build, but Tracer access is fine as well.
Coupled with the fact that Bystial Magnamhut can get you any dragon, it's a pretty sweet deal! More often than not, you'll be getting Lubellion the Searing Dragon which fetches another Magnamhut if you already have access to the likes of Starliege Seyfert or Rokket Tracer.
Lubellion gets to flex his might here, as Dragon Link can really maximize his talents. Being a Level 8 LIGHT monster that cannot be Normal Summoned or Set makes it a prime target for Chaos Space, as the deck has been sorely missing a good LIGHT option to grab outside of White Dragon Wyverburster for years. Lubellion does so much that you often even prioritize getting him over the two Baby Dragons a good amount of the time.
Not only that, but the Bystials act as both disruptive hand traps and engine, which is incredible for Dragon Link! Turns out tutoring any Dragon from the Deck or GY to your hand is extremely powerful, and having free Dragon bodies on the field is no slouch either. Having access to threats like Chaos Dragon Levianeer or more Bystials on a whim is quite a dangerous prospect. Even if the opponent isn't necessarily on a LIGHT or DARK deck, you can still leverage the Bystials due to their high card quality and useful typing on your turn. Having more ways to access Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres is always a bonus, as it is one of the strongest Link-2s to work with due to both of its effects.
Carter opted to cut Rokket Synchron as the loss of Ruler meant it's not really all that useful anymore, instead opting for a secondary Level 4 in the form of Silverrokket Dragon! Its effect doesn't come up all that much, but it could be useful in a pinch. Speaking of returning faces, Dillingerous Dragon is also starting to become another popular option thanks to its interaction with Quadborrel Dragon.
Branded Regained is arguably at its strongest here, as it acts as a mini Chaos Space every turn and revives your Bystials to drown the opponent in endless advantage. Branded Beast pulls a lot of weight as well, and you're able to consistently get to it thanks to Lubellion. Lastly, Carter mentions that 2 Lubellion is enough, as while it is a powerhouse of a card, it runs out of steam later on once you've set up the two Continuous S/T and you have a multitude of ways to get to it.
For people who may want to pick up his deck, he notes that he often sided out Nibiru due to its ineffectiveness against the likes of Gigantic Spright and Tearlaments Rulkallos. This cost him a few games in his Regional run. Because of that, it may be better to relegate the card to the Side Deck. Future considerations include adding more Bystial Saronir as the card is great overall here, being able to dump Lubellion, and pairing well with Seyfert + King of Atum. Besides, who doesn't want more hand traps to help vs Tear, Spright, and the mirror?
All in all, the Bystials are a popular and meta-defining force in competitive play! They're very likely to stay as long as LIGHT and DARK decks remain relevant in the format - mostly Tearlaments. I hope this snapshot has helped you familiarize the Bystial monsters and what they have to offer. Until next time, Renren out!