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.
Tenyi Swordsoul has risen to the forefront of the metagame, poised to be a powerful contender that can stand up to the might of Branded Despia. Even though the deck lost access to Auroradon combos, it remains strong and plenty viable for competitive play. Pot of Desires returning to 2 copies is a favorable trade-off, giving the deck added consistency and draw power to get to its combo pieces.
For those who are unfamiliar, Tenyi Swordsoul is a flexible Synchro-based Wyrm deck that is both capable of going first and second. The deck has a lot of room for outplay potential and has a fairly high skill ceiling, which makes it an appealing choice to a good amount of players. It's been racking up a fair amount of tops, even more so before the banlist!
Special thanks to OzoneTCG, especially my teammate Peter and the r/yugioh Discord server for their assistance in this Snapshot! Now then, let's take a deeper look at how Swordsoul is able to thrive in this current environment.
This weekend has been one of the busiest yet event-wise, as several National Championships across Europe, South America, and Central America were held! North America and the other regions also had a bevy of WCQ Regional Qualifiers with fairly high turnouts. The format is still relatively unsolved as it's only been a few days since the new banlist has taken effect, which also applied to the tournaments mentioned.
Tenyi Swordsoul has proven itself to be an effective choice, as it topped a large portion of these events and even won both Ireland and Sweden National Championships, taking down several Branded Despia players to get there! Quite the accomplishment in its own right. Aside from that, it's been doing fairly well in the regional scene and an old variant of the deck has actually risen in popularity. More on that one in a bit.
It's a bit early in the Post-DIFO format to say, but with the given results it's safe to assume that Swordsoul sits around Tier 1 to 1.5! If it maintains momentum, we can easily see it as a solid Tier 1 pick. Now then, let's take a look at some topping decklists.
Thomas Hong placed Top 4 at the Moncton Regionals with standard Tenyi Swordsoul! This build is a solid blueprint for those wanting to pick up the deck, as it covers nearly every base on where to get started. Seeing Ashuna with either Adhara or Vishuda can net you a free level 8 Synchro without committing to your Normal Summon! The play sequence is pretty straightforward. Lead with Ashuna and go into Monk, summon the other Tenyi. Use Ashuna's effect and bring out the missing piece. It helps that Ashuna and Adhara form this nice resource loop.
Which level 8 you go into depends on your hand and the situation. Post-siding you may be inclined to go for Draco Berserker to help check Token Collector, Chixiao gets you to your engine and acts as a strong interrupt, while Baxia can lead to Chaofeng setups. Having a Blackout set can often be the difference between victory or defeat as well.
The Tenyi package is rounded out nicely by two powerful spells: Vessel for the Dragon Cycle and Heavenly Dragon Circle. Vessel is nice for getting your Tenyi plays started and can even help play around Nibiru thanks to Chaofeng lines. While the latter is a tool to dodge targeted negation and removal for your monsters. Shthana is a good add if you tribute either Mo Ye or Taia. Should the game go long enough, Circle gives you extra value by giving another search in Turn 3 or 4.
Tenyi Swordsoul is pretty capable regardless if you win or lose the die roll. Going first, depending on what the opponent plays, you can freely mix and match your board as you see fit. We'll go over some specifics later on in the matchups section.
Sword is able to fit a nice amount of Hand Traps and generic cards to make stopping or powering through boards not too difficult. Vishuda and Incredible Ecclesia really pull their weight here. A nifty trick is to summon Chixiao but hold off on the search so you can use his negate against an established board. Lastly, both Chengying and Baxia perform admirably in removing multiple cards at once.
Herman Hansson placed Top 4 at the Sweden National Championships with Halqifibrax Tenyi Swordsoul! This build takes a different approach with Halq due to Auroradon's passing. His teammate Loa managed to win the event with the standard build, but Herman's strategies are not to be underestimated.
He ran a well-balanced suite of Hand Traps, even opting for the unpopular Ghost Belle. Players have been preferring D.D. Crow over Belle in recent times due to Branded Lost, so this is an unexpected choice. In weaker hands, you may be obligated to Normal Summon either Belle or Veiler after dropping a Tenyi on the field. This still lets you play in a pinch.
Drawing cards is the main appeal of this variant compared to the others. While the usual play only gets to draw 2 cards thanks to Qixing and Mo Ye, this version draws 4! Halqifibrax often summons Adhara from the deck to enable a Level 8 Synchro Summon down the line. Where do the two additional draws come from then? Let me introduce you to Formula Synchron!
Let's start with an example of Vessel + Tenyi, leading up to a Halqifibrax summon to bring out another Adhara from the deck. Proceed to Normal Summon either Mo Ye or Taia and this also gives you the token for Ashuna's GY effect. The endboard will often look like Halq, Chixiao, (Blackout), Swordsoul Sinister Sovereign - Qixing Longyuan, and Draco Berserker!
Since we often won't have Monk on the field, it's difficult to route for Chaofeng lines here. Draco Berserker is a suitable replacement, though. On the opponent's turn, Halq can tag out into Formula which nets you a draw. Formula can synchro with a used up Chixiao or Berserker to summon Chengying! QLY triggers and gives you another draw. Chengying can also disrupt when paired with your other endboard pieces. Alternatively, you can give up a draw if you prefer Baronne's negation.
All in all, it's a fairly solid build that's under the radar as of now. Future adaptations like adding in Dragon Circle or running the 3rd Adhara are something to consider.
Calvin and Ben managed to take two spots in the Minneapolis WCQ Regional with Blind Second Tenyi Swordsoul, placing 2nd place and 7th place respectively. Players like Hani popularized this version of the deck a few months back, but it's been dormant up until now.
This version of the deck managed to re-emerge as another powerful contender in the metagame, effortlessly able to take Game 1s in a blink of an eye. From there, it's just a matter of playing out Games 2 and 3 however the user pleases. It even cares very little if it loses the die roll, save for the occasional Blind 2nd mirror match.
Because Tenyi Swordsoul is naturally strong at going second, this version takes full advantage of that and loads up on powerful game-winning blowouts to pave way for the engines to do their thing! Evenly Matched, Lightning Storm, and Triple Tactics Talent are only some of the appealing choices that both duelists used. Mystic Mine, which is notorious for shutting down several top decks right now (such as Branded Despia) if it ever resolves, is another clutch option. Pot of Desires additionally helps dig for these types of cards.
Once the generics have done their dirty work, it becomes trivial for the engine to commence cleanup. Vishuda not only gets you a free Monk, but it also nets strong removal that forces the opponent to respond. Ecclesia is able to summon itself and is a difficult body to answer thanks to its Quick Effect. Yazi and Baxia are not to be underestimated either, as their removal is some of the most difficult to answer once they hit the field and they lead into Mo Ye.
From there it's simply a matter of either going for an OTK or building your board. The deck doesn't have much space for Hand Traps, so you're a lot more inclined to end the game or temporarily put them under Mystic Mine until you can assemble your pieces. Chengying and Draco Berserker are more than capable of outputting massive ATK values if needed.
The deck gets slightly worse at its job in games 2 and 3, as your opponent is likely to have sided answers such as Dimensional Barrier to ruin your day, so it may be a good idea to account for that and revert to the standard build afterward. Both Caleb and Ben are aware of this and jammed a large Hand Trap package in order to balance out their deck post-siding.
There are a few tech cards that have shown to be decently effective during Nationals and Regionals week, so let's quickly go over them.
Change of Heart acts as souped-up Mind Control and fits perfectly in nearly all Swordsoul variants. Blind Second mains it while the other two keep it in the Side Deck.
Lyna the Light Charmer was used by Loa Strandberg who won the Swedish National Championships! It notably comes up in the mirror, as you can snatch a Baxia/Chixiao or an Ecclesia from their GY.
Crimson Blader is a potential option that can lock the opponent out of the game if it ever connects, this can matter in matchups such as Therion piles, the Mirror match, or Branded Despia.
Lastly, Adamancipator Risen - Dragite is a fine option to go into before you get locked in with Ashuna. It helps that Mo Ye is a WATER monster.
Some duelists are trying out Jet Synchron for Apollousa lines with Halqifibrax. However, it has not proven to be effective in tournaments so far.
Despia is a favored matchup for Tenyi Swordsoul, which is a major part of why it's been so successful as of late. While it's definitely not an auto-win, the deck has more than enough tools to overcome the supposed best deck of the format.
If going first, Despia has no real way to interact much with any of your plays. This means you have the opportunity to play greedily, setting up multiple powerful Wyrm synchros. This is where the draw 2 combo comes into play, as you pick up draws with both QLY and Mo Ye while maximizing your chances to draw Ash, even if it means Chixiao search would be Chain Link 2 or 3. More often than not, you'll be ending on Chixiao, QLY, Light Chaofeng, and a Blackout.
While it's true that your endboard has no hard Spell/Trap negates to work with, it actually performs quite decent vs Branded Despia. This is also not accounting for the fact that you would've had Hand Traps in your opening or with the draw 2. The Halq variant performs even better, having 4 draws in its grasp.
Qixing Long Yuan's double banish absolutely carries here, as you can banish Branded Lost or Polymerization to make sure Guardian Chimera is targetable later on. Fusion Albion is also a nice option to banish with him. Light Chaofeng acts as a solid stopgap for your opponent, making sure monsters like Quaeritis or Lubellion don't become problems later down the line. It's also a perfect Blackout target as Chain Link 1, as you can search a Tuner Hand Trap to further stop your opponent. Ash Blossom anyone?
Going second, the deck is more than capable of not only playing through Branded Despia's boards but even dealing lethal damage to them, as your high number of generics can stifle their board more often than not. Vishuda acts as a massive threat to Mirrorjade and Heavenly Dragon Circle can punish Mirrorjade usage to boot. The Blind second variant is notorious for farming Despia, as it even mains Mystic Mine. A lot of Despia's strength lies in its insane follow-up, which Swordsoul tends to deny. Aside from a stray Super Poly here and there, you'll be good to go.
The mirror match is a tricky prospect where it can be anyone's game. The Swordsoul endboard going first performs decent against itself, but cards like Vishuda and Heavenly Dragon Circle can also go quite far in the matchup. The Side Deck is going to matter the most here, as generics will be the key in making sure your board sticks or you can dismantle theirs. Dimensional Barrier in particular is a death sentence, where normally the Tenyi Sword who went second has a slight advantage. Nibiru is also able to turn the tides, regardless of which player has it in hand.
Stopping Vishuda from resolving is absolutely imperative, as the bounce can take something like Qixing Long Yuan or Blackout can be punishing. This is where something like Draco Berserker of the Tenyi really shines. Berserker can banish Vishuda from the hand and can grieve Swordsoul-heavy openings as well.
Lastly, Light Chaofeng and Lyna, the Light Charmer have interesting applications in the mirror match. The former stops Chixiao, Baxia, Ashuna, and Ecclesia, while the latter can effectively steal an endboard or combo piece to be placed on your side of the field.
This matchup is arguably the roughest for Tenyi Swordsoul to deal with. Not only are you at a clear disadvantage when up against their slew of Trap cards and floodgates, but winning the die roll doesn't guarantee you're out of the woods.
As always, you have some built-in tools to help you out here, but their rate of success may vary. Light Chaofeng is absolutely the MVP here, as it makes sure Golden Lord's hand effect doesn't completely obliterate your entire board. Eldlich the Golden Lord is notorious for dismantling the Swordsoul board all on its own otherwise. Blackout can power through their backrow and by popping Chaofeng, you can get to Ash Blossom and that shuts down Scarlet Sanguine. Qixing Long Yuan can put in some work if well-protected.
Vishuda and Heavenly Dragon Circle can put in some work if they are to resolve, but more often than not Vishuda will be stopped short before you could even get to Monk, such as facing a massive brick wall in Gozen Match. The latter card can absolutely be a life-saver, however. For example, circling away Baxia can let it dodge Skill Drain. Circle also helps against stuff like Dogmatika Punishment, Mirrorjade, or Conquistador.
Sided backrow removal will be your best friend here, as it means you won't automatically lose to a flipped Skill Drain. Blind second fares slightly better in game 1 as they have access to Lightning Storm and Evenly Matched in the Main, and the Halq variant can possibly pivot into making Chaofeng and Baronne.
And that leads us to the end of our Snapshot on Tenyi Swordsoul! Outside of a massive metagame shift, the deck will continue to thrive and put up impressive results. What do you think of the deck? Is it going to remain effective as the format progresses? Feel free to let me know down below in the comments. Until next time folks, Renren out!