TCG Meta Deck Representation & Breakdown
Special thanks to Eric from OzoneTCG for providing this pie chart. Check out our channel here!
Hi friends, it's Renren here! It's been a while since I've done a metagame report, so what better way to kick things off than with the craziest YCS of this format yet? Sydney had 751 participants in its main event and despite its barren coverage, we actually know a lot from it thanks to the passionate Australian players chiming in and the helpful staff disseminating info. Without further ado, let's dive into these decks.
Shaddoll Ishizu Tearlaments
Ashoka Garin-Michaud, more commonly known as AGM in the community placed a staggering Top 8 finish with Shaddoll Ishizu Tearlaments. This isn't like the lists of formats past who only ran Beast for the potential draw or the option to make El Shaddoll Winda, it goes much deeper! Not only that, he mentions that this list mainly blinded second!
Ishizu Tear is a deck that's actually comfortable going second most of the time due to how insanely strong their engine is, coupled by naturally having 6 hand traps with Kelbek the Ancient Vanguard and Tearlaments Havnis. Against rogue decks, Spright, or even the mirror you have pretty good odds of just overwhelming them with sheer mills with very little counterplay. This is especially true now that people have been gravitating towards builds that run more copies of Agido the Ancient Sentinel, popularized by the YCS Sydney Champion himself, Jesse Kotton.
Back to the list, AGM eschewed the popular Bystials aside from 1 Bystial Druiswurm for the Dharc -> Bystial Magnamhut play for the Shaddoll package and power Spells in the form of Super Polymerization and Forbidden Droplet. So what do these cards from an era gone by even offer to the deck?
Shaddoll Fusion for those who are unfamiliar is a terrifying card, as it allows you to send fusion materials from the Deck to GY if your opponent controls a monster from the Extra Deck, which is pretty easy to fulfill when you're blinding second. This gives you a free El Shaddoll Shekhinaga for your troubles, which doesn't seem all that impressive at first, but that's not all that it offers.
Shek's materials require an EARTH monster + a Shaddoll and if you've noticed by now, the Ishizu monsters are all EARTH attributes. As a result, AGM has the ability to send either a miller or a shuffler depending on the situation + a Shaddoll Hedgehog when going for this play. The latter even provides him a Shaddoll Beast to make Shek's negate is live, further sweetening the pot. When paired with the aforementioned Super Poly and Droplet, you have pretty good odds of seeing Shaddoll Fusion go through and getting this off. Not to mention, if you hit Tearlaments cards off either Agido/Kelbek that you sent, that puts you in an incredible position, and neither of them can be stopped by something like Skull Meister either as the Shaddoll acts as Chain Link 2. Lastly, you have the option to set up Winda later on if needed thanks to the Dolls being in the GY.
There's a fair amount of extra grind added to this engine too, as if either Winda or Shek hit the GY, you can retrieve the Shaddoll Fusion to use for later. Keldo the Sacred Protector and Mudora the Sword Oracle can tuck them back in the ED if needed. Floowandereeze is still the toughest matchup by far and the Doll package actually doesn't help all that much with them, so the Side Deck is heavily teched for handling Floo and Shifter both going first and second with the likes of PSY-Framegear Gamma and Cosmic Cyclone.
All in all, it's a pretty unique take on the deck that hasn't really been seen performing to this scale. It's hard to say whether or not this build will catch on though.
Bystial Tenyi Swordsoul
Luke Arcella managed a Top 32 finish with Bystial Tenyi Swordsoul! This deck has received a resurgence in popularity and his list was one of the main catalysts in doing so, letting other people adapt the list to the regional level to moderate success. While Swordsoul may no longer be the tier 1 dominant threat it was before Power of the Elements, it's still very much a competent rogue deck. Let's see how the Bystials have assisted in the re-emergence of the deck.
As we all know, the Bystials are incredible monsters that queue up well into the top decks of the format. While decks like Tearlaments and Spright make use of their Levels for easy Rank 6 plays into either Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal or Wollow, Founder of the Drudge Dragons, Swordsoul uses it for easy Synchro Summons! A Bystial + Effect Veiler or Tenyi Spirit - Adhara allows you to access a highly coveted Synchro monster that's been under the radar for some time now. Enter Yazi, Evil of the Yang Zing! Going into Baronne de Fleur with Bystial Druiswurm as material, this lets you pull off a send into a later pop!
Yazi is a deceptively powerful card that puts up a lot against Tearlaments due to its blend of effects. The untargetability makes it difficult for them to actually stop it from going off and destroying itself alongside one of their cards on the field. While it's ill-advised to generally hit Tear cards, sometimes you're gonna have to remove that Sulliek so your plays can actually resolve. Outside of that, there are still plenty of targets to lay waste to. But that's not all, as when Yazi is destroyed, it lets you Special Summon any Wyrm from your Deck! A free Swordsoul of Mo Ye or Swordsoul of Taia is nothing to scoff at. So even if you don't see Swordsouls, you can still get to them with this play.
Bystial Magnamhut keeps the fun times going as after it's disrupted the opponent, it can search Destrudo the Lost Dragon's Frisson during the End Phase, letting you pull off the Yazi play without committing your Normal Summon! Last but not the least, if the situation calls for it, you can pair the Bystials with Swordsoul Supreme Sovereign - Chengying for some massive banishes.
Swordsoul is a deck that was already comfortably maining a lot of defensive cards, so the Bystials are a great addition despite their occasional conflicts which are more than manageable. All in all, it's in a decent spot right now.
Liam Debono placed Top 32 at YCS Sydney with Bystial Spright! This list looks fairly standard for the most part, but has some underappreciated techs that served him quite well. Let's talk about them!
Dupe Frog has made a surprise appearance once again! Many duelists have been wary of running this card, due to the stigma behind bricking on it and the threat of Super Polymerization to wipe both it and Toadally Awesome off the field. However, Liam made a staggering meta call and it paid off for the event. Spright arguably needs all the help it can get if it wants to stand a chance against the all gas versions of Ishizu Tearlaments, and this educated amphibian helped solidify the board, as Toad is able to summon it for free during the Standby Phase!
After much deliberation, Liam decided to disrespect Super Poly in favor of Bystials, as their playrate was astronomically higher in comparison. This proved to be the correct choice, as Dupe Frog was able to give him a lot more leverage against his Bystial ishizu Tearlaments matchups. It also makes for an easy side out should they board it in in games 2 and 3.
Back to Dupe, this means that even if the opponent manages to land a Bystial on board, Spright Elf, Toad, and the rest of your field aren't nearly as susceptible to getting overwhelmed in the Battle Phase, which has always been an issue. The increased popularity of Kashtira Fenrir was also a big selling point in Dupe's favor. Hard drawing it isn't a death sentence either, as you can still opt to Normal Summon it, or use Swap Frog's extra NS effect to place it on the field for free.
Swords of Concealing Light is the other breakout star as a surprise tech, and it actually lines up nicely vs the current meta. It's definitely no insta-win button, but it helps a lot in powering through against Tear, Floo, and Spright if Toad access gets denied. Against the former, it blanks their entire frontrow (if Cryme or Baronne isn't present or is dealt with) outside of Elf for Merrli, which can be alleviated by the Bystials. One upside it has over Book of Eclipse is that it isn't susceptible to Ash, and you aren't as pressured to deal with the monsters. It's a great way to disable Floowandereeze & Empen and Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds to boot. Liam mentioned that he was able to clutch multiple wins against Floo going second thanks to the card, and was able to use it to help out against Tear in a few as well!
All in all, Bystial Spright proves to be a somewhat flexible Tier 1 competitor as this format is quickly coming to a close. Depending on how popular either Kashtira or Tear becomes, it's likely for the deck to take even more adaptations to keep up!
Rhys Cunningham brought a pretty unique choice to YCS Sydney, finishing a respectable Top 32 with none other than a pure Runick deck! NA's Remote Duel YCS was the last time we've seen this version of the deck perform at such a high level, so this is a pleasant surprise. We can see some minor but fairly important changes in comparison to Kyler Price's version.
Pot of Desires and Pot of Duality have become staples of the Runick strategy as the deck becomes more streamlined. You're able to handily give up the ability to Special Summon as you max out on Fountain and benefit a lot from the added consistency and draw power. The main win condition of the deck remains milling the opponent out with Runick Smiting Storm in combination with lockdown effects. Messenger of Peace has become the staple go-to floodgate, as a fair amount of decks have trouble outing it, especially when backed up by Hugin the Runick Wings.
Skill Drain has been dropped in favor of Gozen Match and mained Majesty's Fiend which appear to be meta calls despite the occasional conflict with Duality for the latter. This is possibly to diversify your threats and act as another autowin button, as opponents may be more willing to bring answers to your backrow floodgates and Runick Fountain.
For the Extra and side, there are a few notables. Rhys didn't go into non-Runicks too often, but Knightmare Phoenix proved to be clutch against someone siding Secret Village of the Spellcasters. He would then proceed to tribute summon a second Majesty's Fiend over it. Dimensional Fissure and Dark Bribe were the breakout stars in the Side, as the former heavily shut down the Ishizu monsters and Tearlaments from operating, while the former helped stop the myriad of blowout cards that neither Hugin or Munin the Runick Wings could stop all while giving them a draw, accelerating the win condition even further.
Runick is pretty simple to play and seems to have made a decent showing for itself in recent times as a fine rogue contender.
We've only scratched the surface when it comes to the lists and innovations that YCS Sydney brought to the table! Join us next time as we take a look at the other unbelievable strategies such as Hand Trap Floowandereeze or even Chaos Thunder Dragon with some Tearlaments mixed in. Blue Rain's got you covered with that, so stay tuned! With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this metagame report. Renren, signing out!