The Luxury Championship Series (LCS) XI was held last March 13th-14th. The new Forbidden and Limited list dropped on March 11th, and there were only a couple of days of a turnaround until the tournament. Virtual World lost their instant win button, and Drytron was pummeled to the ground with the Union Carrier ban and Cyber Angel Benten limit. Dragon Link was the expected, and eventual, winner of the event. Let’s see how it went.
Table of Contents
Does the LCS still matter?
We are, unfortunately, still in the middle of a pandemic (outside of a few fringe cities). We only have access to Extravaganzas, Invitationals, and OTS Remote duels as actual Konami events. That being said, private entities with big reach help a lot in creating an environment where people can compete on a scale bigger than what is officially currently available to us.
Luxury Gaming LLC has been doing online tournaments for a while now. They came in again and gave us a tournament ran in the new list – the Luxury Championship Series XI (LCS XI). This tournament is back to the usual format (not 3v3), and still attracted a good amount of players. A total of 223 players joined the event. Some of the bigger names in the game still appeared, such as Tristan Pugh, Paolo “Barrage” Goncalves, Jibriel Braithwaite, Ivan Cuk, Koty Angeloff, Gabriel Netz, Pak Pamornsut, among others. Having competitors of this level proves the credibility of the LCS.
The LCS left duelists with just 2 days to adjust their lists prior to the tournament. Out of the 223 contestants, 37 went in with Dragon Link, 26 with Dinos, 26 Zoodiac Variants, 22 Eldlich variants, and 17 Dogmatika Invoked. These were the expected ones. However, there was also a pretty chunky showing of Shaddolls, Tri-Brigade, and Buster Blader.
Let’s talk about what we can deduce from this LCS participation list. The power level of the top 2 decks of the previous format (Drytron and Virtual World) dropped pretty severely. That gave people an incentive to play other decks that have been considered one tier below the top contenders. Prank-Kids, Phantom Knights, and Tri-brigades being the most notable ones.
Reacting to the Meta Call
Dragon Link was expected to have a massive showing this LCS due to it enduring NO hits in the new list. This prompted 7 participants to play Buster Blader – akin to the format 2 lists ago. Dragon Link was rampant back then, and people resorted to playing an archetypal counter to the deck. Buster Dragon, in combination with Buster Blader, the Dragon Destroyer Swordsman creates a floodgate similar to Bagooska for ANY deck. However, for Dragon Link, it limits their play even heavier. This is due to the fact that they wouldn’t even be able to activate from the hand or grave. You better take note of this, since we might be seeing more of these synchro-fusion tandem in the future!
LCS XI Top 16
Yes, you’re seeing it right. No Drytrons and Virtual Worlds in this LCS top cut. A measly total of 14 players came in with either of the two previous top decks – due in part to having little to no time to prepare for the event. This can be seen as two things: they both have fallen off tier 1 status, or there just wasn’t enough time for players to innovate and polish their lists.
Dinosaurs have once again come alive from their hibernation after the new list. Being inferior to Virtual World really took its toll on our fossilized friends. However, they’ve clawed their way back to contention in this tournament, placing 2nd overall with Ryan Yu as the pilot.
Dogmatika, Eldlich, and Zoodiac (2nd), on the other hand, were pretty much expected by most. These engines did not take a hit in the recent list and have always been very powerful, so with True King of All Calamities out of the picture, and Herald of Ultimateness not coming down as much, these decks will surely be at the top of the food chain.
Let’s not forget the most eye-catching result! Mekk-Knight Invoked and Prank-kids both made it to the top 16! Holy moly. Imagine that. Prank-kids got a little hype when Meow-mu got released, but they never really got to take off. Mekk-Knight Invoked, on the other hand, is something that nobody has even talked about for a handful of formats now – and they just got their first notable top. This diversity is definitely a good start to the new format.
Thirty-seven Dragon Link players entered the LCS, but only 1 made it to top 4 – and won it all in the process. Ben Kreutzkamp takes home the trophy in this event, with the help of the newly revitalized Dragon strategy.
Shortly before the list dropped, Dragon Link was already rising in popularity. The Dragonmaid engine, consisting of Chamber Dragonmaid and Dragonmaid Tidying, shifted the Dragonlink strategy to a more control-oriented variant, so as not to lose to VFD. This carried over in the LCS – but with a few changes.
Without having to worry about losing to VFD game 1, the deck does not have to run 10 hand traps anymore. Ben only utilized 6 main-decked hand traps – 1 of which is a little unorthodox. He used Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay, a card that has NOT seen a lot of play since the dawn of MR4. It appears that he tailored his deck to go up against the mirror match – and it definitely worked. Do you know the Seal-Elpy-Striker setup? Yep, that lets you draw 4 cards. He also main-decked 3 Triple Tactics Talent, presumably to help play through interruptions. It appears the deck only needs as much gas as possible to succeed.
That just about wraps up the LCS XI analysis. What can we deduce from all this? Aside from Dragon Link is tier 1, here are a few. People didn’t have enough time to experiment with new things. So, a lot of duelists reverted to decks they already knew how to play. You can trade a few hand traps for “gas cards” since VFD is out of the picture. Control can still shine! Several variants of Shaddoll, Eldlich, Dogmatika, and Zoodiac are still roaming.
All of that being said, we can still expect new, more sinister things to surface once the ban list dust has settled. Dragon Buster Destruction Sword was freed and might make a comeback, even without the presence of Union Carrier. Virtual World and Drytron could potentially come back once duelists have figured out the most optimal way to play. This tournament is just a little sneak peek of what’s to come in this format, so we all better stay on our feet!
- Orcust: A Fan Favorite in the Graveyard (Part 2) - April 12, 2021
- A Virtual World Without VFD: Can VW Still Dominate? - April 7, 2021
- New Thumps and Rarity Bumps: Is GFTP Worth it? - April 5, 2021