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.
Special thanks to Boltz, Yugipedia, and OzoneTCG for helping make this article possible! Due to the volume of variants for this deck, the formatting of the article will be a little different to accommodate them all! Without further ado, let's dive right in.
P.U.N.K. is a powerful Synchro engine that got released all the way back in Grand Creators. Ever since Emergency Teleport went back to 3 and Dimension Force gifted them Noh-P.U.N.K. Deer Note, it's a strong contender in the meta. While never the best deck, it puts up quite a fight and has a lot of variants that see a good amount of play.
The engine's main claim to fame lies in its ability to bring out Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon + a tuner body for Crystron Halqifibrax afterward. Most of the time, this can be done without using the Normal Summon! A lot of its cards also force out Hand Traps like crazy and can put opponents in tough situations. P.U.N.K.-focused decks also exist, running a heavier package to make their plays more consistent.
The first few weeks of July were dormant, only having small-scale regionals as the competitive season was wrapping up. However, in the third week of the month, the prestigious North American TCG Championships were held, which is one of the most important and largest tournaments of the post-DIFO format! According to the Konami blog, around 1840 competitors played in Nationals!
P.U.N.K. performed admirably at the event, garnering around 26.5% representation in the Top 64 cut. 17 placements are not too shabby, with Adventurer P.U.N.K. Synchro having the most results of an individual deck and Therion P.U.N.K. having decent numbers. Not only that, the deck has been cooking up a storm in previous Nationals and regionals within the last month. With all of this data, we can assume that the deck sits at a solid Tier 1.5 placement. It's lagging a bit behind compared to the raw numbers of both Branded Despia and Tenyi Swordsoul, but it blew past every other deck out of the water. Even Pure has been making some waves, thanks to Mr. Pakawat.
P.U.N.K. Adventurer Synchro
P.U.N.K. Adventurer Synchro (Goodstuff) was piloted by Chuong Nguyen to an impressive Top 8 finish in the NA TCG Championships! This deck is infamous for two things in particular. First is that it seamlessly sets up a protected Artifact Scythe lock on the opponent's turn, with some form of negation to back it up as a failsafe. Fairy Tail - Snow, Jet Synchron and Destrudo act as powerful 1-ofs to complement the strategy.
The other is its flexibility when it comes to deckbuilding. People have topped with several different variations or
techs for the deck, so this list isn't entirely representative of everything but should still serve as a decent skeleton. For example, the other builds ran cards like Plaguespreader Zombie or Mare Mare.
With that being said, Chuong ran the Sangan package as it serves as another 1-card way to get to Halqifibrax by searching Crusadia Arboria. Alternatively, if you already have everything you need, you can search for a Hand Trap such as Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring. Not everyone is on Sangan, but it's a reliable pick. 2 Foxy Tune + 3 Emergency Teleport gives him solid odds of fetching Ze Amin from the Deck onto the field.
Red Rose Dragon and Roxrose Dragon are fairly standard as they give Halq a lot of extra kick, working well with the Adventurer cards for Synchro mayhem and a lot of free bodies, similar to how Adventurer Dragon Link operates. This naturally leads you into Baronne De Fleur and Shooting Riser Dragon. Chaos Ruler being able to fetch Foxy Tune, mill Adventurer cards, and/or get a Hand Trap is nothing to scoff at either.
The Magicians' Souls package helps tie things together, acting as an excellent extender when combined with the Tuners and Adventurer cards for free draws. It helps that Illusion of Chaos can also put back cards that would rather stay in the Deck if needed. Nguyen noted that having a Level 1 was integral to some combos, and Herald of Arc Light insulates the deck against threats such as Forbidden Droplet all while searching for an additional IoC for the next turn.
Last but not the least, his list had some incredibly spicy techs. Dark Strike Fighter is an old classic and is used for attempting to win via time in the round in Game 2 or 3. Exchange can help the deck know what to play around all while giving them a card they can't use. You could even use the HT you took against them!
Adrian S. managed to nab an impressive Top 16 finish with P.U.N.K. Therion, which operates rather differently compared to the explosive Adventurer Synchro variant. Despite that, the deck more than makes up for it due to the huge benefit that the Therions bring to the table. Therion Discolosseum and Endless Engine Argyro System provide an obscene amount of grind, allowing the deck to outvalue its competition.
All of the Therions are big, beefy threats that don't rely on the Extra Deck as much, giving the deck an additional backbone to stand upon. This is a notable advantage to have when a good portion of decks are relying on Artifact Scythe to get free wins. Therion "King" Regulus has a powerful negation effect, Therion "Reaper" Fum has difficult to answer disruption, and Therion "Bull" Ain works with Deer Note and is great removal. Lastly, Therion "Lily" Borea gets you to the versatile array of Spells and Traps the deck has such as Therion Charge or Therion Stand Up.
The P.U.N.K. monsters give a lot of useful mills to get both Therions and other cards in the GY for your benefit. Rank 8 plays with some of the Therions alongside Chaos Ruler are viable to go into as well. Due to how little effort it takes to actually summon Halqifibrax here, the deck can get pretty far with it. Hot Red Archfiend King Calamity backed up by 2 negations is the deck's main line to go for.
Due to how compact both engines are and how well they complement each other, the Therion version can play close to 40 cards and afford to run a larger P.U.N.K. package. We can see this in lists maxing out on Noh-P.U.N.K. Ogre Dance and playing Ukiyoe-P.U.N.K. Sharakusai for Ukiyoe-P.U.N.K. Rising Carp.
All in all, it's a solid variant that held its own as this meta reaches its conclusion.
P.U.N.K. Adventurer Zombie
Kobe Short brought a pretty interesting take on the Adventurer P.U.N.K. deck, splashing in a hefty amount of Zombie cards! A mix of old and new undead creatures join forces with the Synchro Pile for some ghoulishly explosive results! While he didn't place as high as some of the others, Top 64 is still a pretty legitimate accomplishment for such a unique variant. Similar to Nguyen, he also ran a Sangan package.
Old faces like Mezuki, Plaguespreader Zombie, and Uni-Zombie make an appearance and work incredibly well with Chaos Ruler or the send off Foxy Tune's hand effect. Necroworld Banshee for Zombie World access is also appreciated. DIFO brought some new toys to the table for Zombies. All three of them fit like a glove in this amalgamation of a deck.
The Zombie Vampire, Changshi the Spiridao, and most importantly Immortal Dragon are unique new additions in this variant. The latter is a Synchro Tuner that can mill any piece needed and modulate its level accordingly, getting you to everything you need and more! It is still P.U.N.K. Adventurer at the end of the day, but you have additional ceiling with Zombie World hindering opponents as well as a bevy of free Link and Synchro material. Since ZW also makes monsters in your GY into Zombies, Mezuki can get you back nearly anything you could ever want.
If you want more insight on the deck, check out his profile here!
Miguel Soto brought an extremely interesting version of Tri-Brigade to the table, getting a decent Top 64 finish with none other than P.U.N.K. Tri-Brigade! It seems quite strange at first, but there are some unique synergies here. However, it is worth mentioning that Miguel was unsure about some of his ratios, notably the 2 Tri-Brigade Revolt and the deck size. Still, let us try to uncover what this build aims to do.
The P.U.N.K. cards and Emergency Teleport give Tri-Brigade a considerable boost. All of them help eat Hand Traps and set up some explosive lines due to Chaos Ruler. Unlike most decks though, there's no Halqifibrax usage here in Miguel's version. What do you do then?
Ruler into TZV is the main route here, essentially letting you mill 9 cards and get to a Tri-Brigade monster, one way or another. This loads your GY and gives you great odds to mill either Tri-Brigade Nervall or Tri-Brigade Kitt, giving you access to some names. Alternatively, Deer Note can revive Ze Amin which allows you to pull off Naturia Beast! That's right, after making use of Kerass' effect to summon, simply pivot into Nat Beast which can be a total blowout against decks like Branded Despia. Should your opponent stop Ze Amin with an Effect Veiler or so, you can still Synchro with it later in the turn.
Aside from that, there are a few cool synergies to work with. Foxy Tune is a Beast, which goes a long way for having enough fodder in the GY for the Tris to start laddering. Tune can additionally pitch copies of Nervall and Kitt in hand to trigger their effects. Because the deck has easier ways to get to the Tri names, Soto is able to make use of a small Branded engine to his advantage to refill his hand. Tri-Brigade Mercourier and Albion the Shrouded Dragon are decent hits off Ruler to boot.
He mentions that the extra copy of Tri-Brigade Revolt didn't really come up and neither did Knightmare Gryphon. For future builds, it may be worth trimming down the deck a bit more to have higher odds of seeing E-Tele.
Pakawat Pamornsut is a fairly well-known player among the TCG community. Recently, he won the entirety of the NA Remote Duel Extravaganza with Pure P.U.N.K.! The deck is certainly interesting, as playing it Pure can feel middling without the support cards from Power of the Elements. Let's take a look and see how he made up for the deck's shortcomings in the meantime. Due to the deck being pure, he is all in on both Foxy Tunes and Ogre Dances. The second copy of Deer Note helps in grind games.
Pak opted for more conservative boards with the deck, making use of some exclusive cards to even the scales in his favor. For example, making use of 3 Gizmek Orochi, the Serpentron Sky Slasher! This beefy Level 8 is a great card to send with Foxy Tune, a DARK for Chaos Ruler keeps you alive and allows for some quick Synchro and Xyz plays. Shinobi Necro is the main Halqifibrax summon this time around, and it revives itself when it gets banished which is perfect for Ruler. This allows the deck to seamlessly end on multiple Synchro-based threats.
The main goal of the deck is to field a conservative board in the form of Halq and 2 level 10 Synchro monsters. Baronne de Fleur and Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying makes for a formidable duo. While that might not sound like much, this is backed up by Pak's suite of 18 Hand Traps as the two Synchros are excellent in a simplified gamestate. Orochi even pairs up with Chengying for a devastating one-two punch. PSY-Framegear Gamma can be made live alongside the board, as the deck runs PSY-Framelord Lambda as another possible endboard option. Ukiyoe-P.U.N.K. Amazing Dragon is both formidable removal and extension all in one card. Both effects are at their strongest here in the pure version.
3 Pot of Prosperity grants the pure version a significant consistency boost. While this may conflict with Coach King Giantrainer, the Xyz is difficult to make and is often not worth giving up the double Synchro 10 board for so it's not a big issue. Lastly, he opted to run 3 Cosmic Cyclone in the Main, as the deck is fairly vulnerable to the likes of Artifact Scythe, Mystic Mine, and backrow-based threats. It's a good thing that the card is versatile enough both in going first and second, so it's a fine choice overall in the current format.
P.U.N.K. is a powerhouse that facilitated many successful strategies over in the TCG. The Post-DIFO/LED9 meta is coming to a close, as Power of the Elements draws ever so nearer. Luckily for fans of the engine and the deck, they'll be able to enjoy the benefits of two incredible cards in POTE, P.U.N.K. JAM Dragon Drive, and P.U.N.K. JAM Extreme Session. This wraps up our Meta Snapshot for this month, until next time folks! Renren out!