With the introduction of Age of Overlord, shockwaves went through the nature of the collective card pool, no less was the case for the alternative format Trinity which operates under a community-managed banlist. Though various adjustments were made, ultimately, cards like Super Starslayer TY-PHON - Sky Crisis and S:P Little Knight made it through with all manner of brews additionally coming to light and gaining popularity over the course of a few weeks of discourse and showcasing the wild and explosive nature of some underexplored strategies over the last few months. Each month Trinity Format hosts a competition between its Discord members for the sake of bringing their best to light and potentially securing a spot for the end-of-season Championship event. Let's review how things turned out and a few highlights along the way, shall we?
Long-time member and seasoned veteran of the format Ricape ultimately wound up taking home the victory after quite a long time since claiming first in a YTC (Yu-Gi-Oh! Trinity Cup). Formerly known for being one of the best pilots of Gem-Knight strategies in the format, Ricape decided to take on another flavor of combo, this time with significantly more RNG and a much easier time stabilizing with all manner of engines at its disposal. Iterating upon fellow member tami's previous attempt at a Dark World deck that featured the Chimera Fusion and widely overlooked Red Dragon Archfiend Structure Deck roster of cards, Ricape decesively navigated the complex gamestates that his hand, GY, and banished piles would provide to him and take first after being (for all intents and purposes barring the Bye that was received) undefeated in Swiss and taking First Place.
Virtually all aspects of the deck were put into the spotlight during his matches with some standouts being Genta, Gateman of Dark World, Ken the Warrior Dragon, Gen the Diamond Tiger, and Vision Resonator. The Warrior duo enabled Dark World to cycle through its cards every turn and trigger the more impactful "Sent by an Opponent" portion of the card effects to take advantage of their bonus effects while always maintaining a method of having a Discard outlet and seeing more cards, so long as all 3 Summons weren't required for that turn. Thanks to Chimera Fusion, Dark World Accession, and the GY effects of the Berphomet Fusion Monsters, Ricape was able to navigate those situations and get around the Summon Limit barring his ability to develop his board with the all-star Terrifying Toddler of Torment stealing the show a number of times, despite being a Flip Monster, commonly associated with their nature of being slow.
Vision Resonator very often provided a means of accessing Fiendish Golem as a mode of temporary removal (or protection in some cases) but ultimately Red Screen acting as a continuously one-sided Threatening Roar with very little Upkeep to worry about often ran away with gamestates entirely. As Ricape's monsters generally could not be outted without the opponent going through the lengths necessary to either access the Extra Deck and waste one of their reliable removal options on outing the Continuous Trap (like Knightmare Phoenix, Unicorn, and even Tornado Dragon), or expending a number of very limited forms of Spell/Trap removal for the sake of just getting the ability to attack. The perservation of his board allowed for some conversions of gamestates with boards that were otherwise unthreatening nor demanding of an answer but his opponents were soon made aware of the difference that one-turn of not losing one's monsters can provide in a deck as versatile as this one.
The composition is generally considered to be great and the primary reason as to why the deck performed as well as it had; however, it's worth stating that due to the nature of Dark World Monsters as a strategy, hands can and will be subject to RNG (not unlike that of Pendulum Good Stuff Piles within Trinity).
Coming in Second Place whose performance was also widely disregarded and overlooked by many within the format, Rescue-ACE. Piloted by the frequently-topping member Sparky, this strategy was the smallest deck list to top in quite a substantial amount of time. Sitting at a cool 30 cards, this deck was functionally just pure Rescue-ACE with very little added on, including aspects of the Extra Deck (for better or worse).
Sparky primarily navigated the complex gamestates he encountered via either snowballing early thanks to cards like EMERGENCY! and Rescue-ACE Fire Engine or methodically dismantling the board thanks to the various removal and negation options provided by the archetype altogether. While Turbulence may not be legal for use within Trinity, the deck's ability to play into the favored Trinity playstyle of control-meets-midrange definitely put it up there within some of the top tier strategies the format had ever seen.
It's worth mentioning that the top two strategies had several counterparts that also entered with similar (if not nearly identical) decks. The primary difference between all that were similar definitely stands out with Sparky's being the smallest at 30 cards among their Rescue-ACE and FIRE Pile counterparts. As such, the inherent disadvantages of cards like Fire Engine and Fire Attacker or even the Spell/Traps would often be remedied simply due to the common occurence of the hands being less bricky overall due to the nature of a smaller list yielding more alike hands. Additionally, Sparky would also be granted the ability to see their sided in cards more reliably Games 2 & 3. While it isn't necessarily rare for small deck compositions to top or perform well in Trinity, this one definitely made people within the community stop underestimating the nature of this strategy as a whole.
Coming in at a tie for Third Place were Folo on a non-Vaylantz iteration of their Pendulum Good Stuff Pile and Stephen Harper on an updated version of their Reasoning Gate decklist. These two strategies are definitely work a closer look.
(Folo's Pendulum Deck Profile)
Folo is functionally a Pendulum one-trick when it comes to his deck choice for Trinity Format and is commonly the source of every modern member's ire when it comes to adjustments directed solely at various Pendulum strategies, regardless of their viability in his deck compositions. He prefers to lean into Good Stuff builds that feature the better aspects of the limited Pendulum pool and tries to make the most of what the inconsistent openers can provide alongside his most consistent plays concerning the Metalfoes Monsters and their identical Pendulum Scale effects. For a substantial number of months, Folo was running a tiny Vaylantz package for the Field Spells Vaylantz World - Shinra Bansho and Vaylantz World - Konig Wissen which helped him to turbo out Heavymetalfoes Electrumite faster and serve as a convenient way to out an opponent's monster (as he would often destroy the Field Spell on his side to prevent any additional uses of the Vaylantz Field Spells for the opponent, much like his typical application of Chicken Game. The new Supreme King Z-ARC support cards offered additional support for cleaner access to scales thanks to Supreme King Gate Magician and some potential recovery and board-wiping pivots thanks to Supreme King Dragon Lightwurm. The true extent of the package definitely leaves more to be explored and optimized, but their showcasing here was without a doubt a welcome inclusion in most Pendulum Strategies that can access the 8 or Higher Scale for days to come.
(Stephen Harper's Reasoning Gate Deck Profile)
Stephen Harper is known for playing the more unorthodox brews of modern Trinity's history and definitely pushes the fundamentals of how Trinity should be played to its maximum potential. This iteration of the deck follows a lot of the trends and ideas present in his July version of the strategy; however, opting to exclude the Litmus engine and Instant Fusion Trinities for the much more reliable (and frankly exploitative in Trinity) Runick cards in addition to a second copy of Borreload Riot Dragon, a card featured in decks that primarily have nothing to do with Ritual Summoning nor Rokket cards a majority of the time! These inclusions enabled Stephen to focus more on aggressive pushes with Chaos Nephthys who was reliably enabled via the Runick cards and/or Riot Dragon in addition to Machina Ruinforce, a powerhouse of a boss monster who can be summoned by banishing a single Drytron Ritual Boss monster and later represented infinitely so long as it isn't banished itself thanks to Drytron Beta Rastaban's ability to return banished Drytrons to the GY. Due to the nature of Reasoning decks and there only existing two targets that actually can be hit from this card in his strategy, games could see Stephen approaching the last cards in his deck. It's for this reason that Spirit Burner is played to draw-lock himself indefinitely and not lose via decking out. While it isn't necessarily a grind game, it does prevent actually losing the game to game rules alone thanks to his ability to loop it endlessly with Borreload Riot Dragon. This specific iteration of the deck also featured significantly more cards catered to stalling out games (which can especially be seen within the side deck for sure). The ability to buy oneself more turns, much like Ricape had with Red Screen in his First Place deck, definitely assisted with a lot of victories on Stephen's end.
The strategies presented were all very different from one another and featured various wincons and methods of playing around with interruptions and perservative effects for the sake of actually closing out games in ways where raw card advantage would not be able to alone (especially in the case of Dark Worlds where most of those cards in hand functionally have no effects and must rely upon other sources). I'd like to highlight just one specific match from the topcut of the event. This one's between Stephen Harper and Sparky, a penultimate match before the finals.
This was probably my favorite match to watch as it pits both strategies to their absolute limits and while the ceiling of some plays may be pretty high when compared to Classic Trinity duels, the display of the problem-solving tactics and modes of possible wincons presented at various stages of the set shouldn't go without some praise.
That's all for the recap of the November '23 YTC for Trinity Format.
Hope you found something here that inspires you to iterate upon some other overlooked or member-curated strategies to see if you yourself might be able to top one of these monthly tournaments. Join the official Discord Server and say hello- or be silent and participate in an event all-the-same!
Thanks for reading.