TCG Meta Deck Representation & Breakdown
- 25 Kashtira (19 Pure Kashtira (Shaddoll is a typo in graphic), 3 Spright, 3 Adventurer)
- 10 Branded Despia
- 6 Labrynth
- 4 Runick (2 Naturia, 1 Spright, 1 Pure)
- 1 Swordsoul
- 1 Marincess
- 1 Live-Twin Spright
Dominic Couch alongside his teammates Alexander Cancell and Stephen Silverman won Team YCS Las Vegas with Kashtira.
With the release of Photon Hypernova and some hits to Tearlaments and Spright, Kashtira has emerged as the new top deck of the format. Kashtira is a deck with an oppressive playstyle that specializes in banishing your opponent's cards face-down. Banishing cards face-down is a very powerful mechanic as it means most decks will permanently lose access to their resources for the rest of the game. Kashtira's key monster Kashtira Shangri-Ira plays off this mechanic as it locks one of your opponent's zones each time one of their cards are banished face-down. This can lead to some devastating combos that can lock 5 of the opponent's zones if you open up with the right combo un-interrupted. Shangri-Ira can also trigger off your opponent's effects, making cards like Pot of Prosperity less attractive.
The key strategy in Kashtira is to control the board and make it difficult for your opponent to play. This is accomplished through Kashtira Shangri-Ira's zone locking effect as well as their individual monsters. Cards like Kashtira Fenrir and Kashtira Unicorn are strong stand alone monsters which provide pressure without having to even XYZ summon. Kashtira also has powerful continuous threats such as Kashtira Birth and Kashtira Preparations which not only provide recursion but also punishes your opponent fom activating spells and traps. This means if you don't deal with their board immediately, things can quickly snowball out of control.
Kashtira Arise-Heart is the deck's boss monster which also has 3 powerful effects. Not only is it a Macro Cosmos on legs, but it also can detach 3 materials to banish a card face-down, and attaches a banished card as material everytime a card(s) is banished. These effects synergize with a number of other cards in the deck such as Kashtiratheosis and Kashtira Big Bang as they both have effects that trigger upon being banished. Furthermore, you can also attach these cards from the banished pile to continuously gain advantage from them. Arise-Heart also synergizes with Prosperity as it can attach cards such as Garura, Wings of Resonant Life from the face-down banished pile. This lets you get a free draw in case anything happens to your Arise-Heart.
Despite all this power, Kashtira isn't invincible. Cards that turn monsters face-down such as Book of Moon and Book of Eclipse are great against them as they turn off the effects of Kashtira Shangri-Ira, Kashtira Arise-Heart, and their individual monsters. This led Dominic to playing a set of each for the mirror match as well as a set of Forbidden Lance to counteract them.
We can also see Change of Heart and Enemy Controller in the Side Deck to provide additional utility in the mirror match as well as against cards like Knightmare Corruptor Iblee. Cards that take control are great against Kashtira as they often trade positively and help break their field. Iblee is also gaining popularity as a way to lock the opponent out of special summoning so Enemy Controller is great for getting it off the field while also getting some value out of it.
Ryan Yu took 2nd place at Team YCS Las Vegas alongside his teammates John Wilkinand Charley Ray Futch with Labrynth.
Labrynth is a Trap Control deck that debuted in Tactical Masters. They also recently received new support in the form of Big Welcome Labrynth from Photon Hypernova which propelled them into becoming a strong meta contender.
Labrynth's strategy is not too different from trap decks in the past. The general idea is play strong traps, control the board and then win from there. Labrynth's main gimmick is gaining advantage if a monster leaves the field by the effect of a normal trap card. Therefore, Ryan played a number of traps that accomplish this, such as Compulsory Evacuation Device, Dogmatika Punishment, Terrors of the Overroot, and more. This gave him many ways to trigger the additional effects of his Labrynth cards and gain a firmer grip on the position.
Labrynth's key card is Lady Labrynth of the Silver Castle. This is the card that not only stabilizies your field but also provides continuous advantage while it stays up. Lady is a difficult card to get over as it can't be targeted or destroyed by card effects while you control a set card. This means your opponent will usually be forced to beat over it (which isn't exactly easy with Lady's 3000 ATK and 2900 DEF). Additionally, Lady's other effect will net you a normal trap whenever you activate one. This makes it difficult to come back against the deck when behind, as they'll continuously out-value your cards while setting up their own.
Ryan's card choices are also interesting as they're quite powerful against the current meta. While many players may consider cards like Compulsory Evacuation Device to be outdated, it's very good against both Kashtira and Branded as it can spin back their Extra Deck monsters for free. This also meets the "if a monster leaves the field by the effect of a normal trap card" gimmick; letting you gain additional value off your Labrynth cards. Similarly, cards like Evenly Matched and Dimensional Barrier are also solid normal traps that help break and cement boards. The weakness of Kashtira and Branded at the moment is their end boards generally consist of only one or no negates. Furthermore, Ryan also chose to encompass some floodgates into his deck with 1 copy each of Gozen Match and Rivalry of Warlords and a set of Skill Drain. These cards need no introduction as they provide a lot of problems for decks that don't have a good answer to them.
John Wilkin; another member of Team 2 World Champs and John also placed 2nd at Team YCS Las Vegas with Branded Despia.
After some hits to Tearlaments and Spright and some new support from Photon Hypernova, Branded Despia also makes a return to the meta featuring some new cards since we've last seen it.
Branded Despia is a deck we haven't seen too much of ever since Tearlaments rose to power. Their playstyle hasn't changed all that much, with the exception of some new innovations in the forms of Blazing Cartesia, the Virtuous, Fusion Deployment, and their 2 new fusions from Photon Hypernova. In terms of play, Branded Despia still strives to end on a board of powerful fusion monsters. While we haven't seen it for a while, Mirrorjade the Iceblade Dragon is still a force to be reckoned and the other Branded fusion monsters are definitely there as well. Additionally, John's build of Branded Despia also plays Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. Dragoon of course, is a monster that is infamous for being one of the most powerful boss monsters ever created. This not only provides the deck with a negate but huge pressure while it's on the field.
We can also see some interesting cards in the Side Deck, namely; Elemental HERO Aqua Neos and Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin, Gimmick Puppet Nightmare, and Contact "C" . Aqua Dolphin can be summoned using Fusion Deployment and provides a nice way to read your opponent's hand while chopping out one of their resources. Nightmare is a newer innovation that's used to lock the opponent out of special summons using Branded Expulsion. The idea here is to use Branded Fusion to dump Nightmare to the GY, before using Expulsion to summon Nightmare to your opponent's field on their turn to lock them from summoning monsters other than Gimmick Puppets. Contact "C" is also here as an option for Kashtira and the mirror match. With both of those decks playing little to no Link monsters, Contact "C" can delay the opponent's development by locking them out of the Extra Deck. This can essentially give you a free turn if the opponent does not have a proper response.
Kashtira jumps to the front as the deck to beat this format with almost half of the Top 16 teams consisting of Kashtira decks. Labrynth is also quite popular; being considered one of the counters to Kashtira and perhaps the best trap deck of the format. We also have Branded Despia re-emerging into the meta alongside some other decks in the form of Marincess, Spright, Naturia Runick and Swordsoul tagging along.
Book of Moon and Book of Eclipse are immensly popular as the most common ways to deal with Kashtira. Eclipse is especially popular as it has application in multiple matchups by turning off the effects of non-Link monsters. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring also makes a return to the meta as one of the most popular hand traps of the tournament. Ash is great for stopping Branded Fusion but also has application in many other matchups such as stopping Kashtiratheosis against Kashtira and Welcome Labrynth against Labrynth. Evenly Matched also is gaining popularity as most of the current meta end-boards don't have a lot of negates. This lets Evenly sweep away most of the problems leaving you only having to deal with 1 or 2 interactions.
Week of February 17th - February 24th, 2023
February 18th - 19th, 2023
- Team YCS Las Vegas 2023