Welcome to the first installment of my latest article series, Tech Report! 2022 has certainly been a rollercoaster for sure with all of the new archetypes and bans that took place. Before Power of the Elements gets released and shifts the format to a whole new level, let's take a moment to look back and check out the wildest topping techs in 2022.
Special thanks to OzoneTCG for helping with this article. Part 2 will be released later on at the end of the year. Without further ado, let's dive right in!
Here we have two techs for Tenyi Swordsoul, which is quite the formidable deck in the current landscape of the meta. The former is fairly decent all things considered, but the latter should never have seen the light of day. Tenyi Spirit - Mapura is an interesting alternative to Tenyi Spirit - Shthana that has a few upsides over its watery counterpart. Paired with a Swordsoul Token, running Mapura gives you another shuffle with Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing. Some people find this quite valuable when going second, especially when paired with Heavenly Dragon Circle. Despite that, the WATER one sees more play as its other effect comes up more, and you can use Taia to get the second spin if it's needed.
Scrap Dragon is a silly tech that even Andrew mentioned wasn quite an iffy pick in hindsight. If you want to play it though, there are some small use cases for it. With Incredible Ecclesia, the Virtuous you can potentially wiggle your way out of nasty floods such as There Can Be Only One or Zombie World. There's also the Shthana synergy which he was trying to do, but it did not work out in his favor. I would steer clear from this one if you can help it.
A Stage of Trickery
Deck: Adventurer P.U.N.K Eldlich
Notable Tops: Denmark Nationals Top 4 / Italian Nationals Top 64
After the recent return of Trickstar Light Stage to 2, the engine has been getting some notoriety among semi-professional players in the competitive scene. Cameron "the Man" Neal and JebusMcAzn are avid fans of the engine and have been extensively theorying it. It even went quite the distance and got a Top 4 finish in the Denmark Nationals piloted by Kristoffer Nielsen! Let's take a look and see what this tech offers for Adventurer P.U.N.K Eldlich.
Trickstar Light Stage is an incredibly powerful Field Spell as it's an extender that also forces out Spell / Trap threats. The latter comes into play when going second, of course. On activation, it gives you a free Level 5 Special Summon in the form of Trickstar Corobane. Coro is great for the deck, as her level and attribute pair well with your slew of Tuners, allowing easy access to Chaos Ruler, the Chaotic Magical Dragon if Noh-P.U.N.K. Ze Amin gets stopped. Alternatively, it helps in link plays such as Crystron Halqifibrax or Lyna the Light Charmer, Lustrous.
The real ticket though is Light Stage's ability to choke out your opponent's backrow options. Known threats like Swordsoul Blackout can be shut off until the EP if Light Stage connects. Your opponent is also forced to use cards like Branded in Red early, which can be helpful in powering through the Branded Despia board. Lastly, unknown sets such as Infinite Impermanence or Forbidden Droplet can be locked too, making sure they don't get in your way. When paired with Dracoback, the Rideable Dragon, and Eldlich the Golden Lord, you gain a surprising amount of Spell and Trap removal.
Notable Tops: Zaragoza Regional 1st Place / UK Nationals 1st Place / YCS Hartford Top 4
Drytron's meta usage is on the lower end of the pie chart, but it gets some results every now and then. Angel O7 is a wacky tech in the Side Deck of Jordi Wang, who managed to finish 1st at the Zaragoza WCQ Regional.
This unit of the GX era has one main use case, which is to replace Vanity's Ruler vs Floowandereeze! Floo is known for not SSing, which makes Ruler a paperweight there. While it's true that O7 locks them out of the game, it can feel a little overkill. This is because the deck already has built-in tools to deal with that matchup. Making a protected Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess is a start. She can be aided by the likes of Magikey Unlocking and Drytron Mu Beta Fafnir to protect against Spell / Trap based blowouts. Lastly, the deck can search Artifact Lancea on a whim which can shut down Floo hard.
The stronger tech is Ritual Sanctuary, which started from Justin Singh's Top 4 finish at YCS Hartford. Sanctuary is flexible, getting you to Meteonis Drytron or a Benten if your Drytron Zeta Aldhibah gets stopped. Considering you need those two cards to play the game, having an extra way to get to them is not bad at all! Its last effect also helps prevent decking out in Mystic Mine wars. However, the thing that really ties it all together is the fact that it's a Field Spell! Since the deck runs Terraforming and Set Rotation, this is a nice 1-of to have. You really don't want to give them Mine if you just want to get to Drytron Fafnir.
One Hit Wonders
Notable Tops: Peru Nationals Top 8 / YCS Charlotte Top 8 / Denmark Nationals 2nd Place
Here we have a trio of unusual Spells that had a few stints at the height of Branded Despia's reign.
Night Beam is first up and is a pretty cute going second tech, having a lot of nice applications. The main use was to mow down the used Mirrorjade + Branded In Red setup, denying them the Fusion Spell and the revival from Ad Libitum of Despia. Not only that, it could punish cards like Dimensional Barrier or Skill Drain, provided they didn't have any other chainable cards. Still, due to how the card works, it tends to fall short in the most crucial of moments.
Mistaken Arrest is quite the card, acting as a powerful floodgate that spans over two turns. It was already seeing some fringe play even before Despia, as it's an excellent blowout vs Floowandereeze that even works if you go second while being fairly solid into Adventurer piles. The fact that Arrest works without letting them get an initial search first gives it some leverage over Droll & Lock Bird, but not being usable on the opponent's turn T1 makes Droll the more popular choice. The card returned to dormant status as Despia and Floo usage had started to calm down.
Foolish Return is an oddity, acting as a D.D. Crow alternative that bypasses some of the usual outs against it. When Despia usage dropped, so did Return's play rate. Crow being usable on T1 gives it more flexibility and consistency overall. It does have some okay use cases vs the other decks, so it's not too bad of a side option. This Quick-Play faces some similar issues to Arrest, but that card had more power tied to it.
We Have Floods at Home
Decks: Adventurer Enforcer Sky Striker / Earth Machine
Notable Tops: YCS Vegas Top 4 / Barcelona Regional 1st Place
To round out our list, we have these two bizarre Trap card choices to work with. The usefulness between both is night and day. Mind Drain is too slow and its impact is mild compared to other floodgates that could've done the job vs both Adventurer and Virtual World. It doesn't help that activating Rite of Aramesir also foils the floodgate due to Dracoback.
Similar to Soul Release or Pot of Avarice, Mind Drain is a textbook example of a bad tech card. It's no surprise that it only had this one showing and was never picked up by serious players after YCS Vegas. Not all tech cards that top are necessarily good.
Magic Deflector, on the other hand, has a good amount of merit to it. The card is famous for popping up every few years or so as a nice meta call. Deflector may have appeared a little too early though as right now there are not a lot of great things for it to stop. It's a tech ahead of its time, so expect not to see it for a few more years.
And these are just some of the wacky or crazy techs we've seen in the first half of 2022's competitive season. We'll publish Part 2 around December, so stay tuned! What's your favorite tech from here? Let us know down below. Until next time folks, Renren out!