The TCG Meta Snapshot is a project by some of the writers at YGOPRODeck that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1-2 week period. The TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat looser tier system than the one used on Pojo. The tiers that we will use are as follows:
Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops, as ranked by Pojo. This will roughly correspond to Pojo’s Tier 1, with some overlap into Pojo’s Tier 2.
Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops, as ranked by Pojo. Corresponds to the rest of Pojo’s Tier 2, Pojo’s Tier 3, and Rogue.
Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that only top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. Can also include decks that can potentially top but have not yet in a given format.
Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the locals level, but cannot top an event.
Table of Contents
Magicians traditionally have been a Pendulum deck that leverages high consistency and a variety of Pendulum monsters to summon various Xyz and Synchro monsters. Since the February 2018 Forbidden List forbid several key cards, the deck has changed its strategy. Now the deck focuses much more on getting out Heavymetalfoes Electrumite as consistently as possible. Electrumite then allows for a variety of different Extra Deck plays including older Rank 4’s, but also Rank 6 and 7.
Magicians are indisputably at the top of Tier 1 in the meta right now. While they are by no means unbeatable, the deck’s relatively high consistency and ceiling have served it well. The deck holds the most event tops currently by a significant margin and will continue to do so until further hits come.
There are 3 main variants of Magicians that have shaped up in the current format: “Pure” Magicians, Utopic Zexal Magicians, and Pendulum FTK.
Jeremy Mitchell 1st Place YCS Atlanta
The first list we’ll go over is the 1st place list from YCS Atlanta.
Mitchell’s list is, for the most part, indicative of the direction that the “Pure” Pendulum Magician builds have gone. This is indicated by the build’s focus on getting out Heavymetalfoes Electrumite out prior to the Pendulum summon as consistently as possible. Mitchell’s build does this through 8 of his main deck slots: the 3 copies each of Astrograph Sorcerer and Chronograph Sorcerer as well as Foolish Burial and Dragon Shrine. In addition, his build can utilize Pendulum Call to get Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm into the Graveyard to Special Summon itself. The inclusion of only a single copy of Time Pendulumgraph and no Duelist Alliance is further proof of the deck straying away from the previous format.
Markus Burtchen 2nd Place YCS Bochum
This next list was Marcus Patel’s 2nd Place Magician list focused around getting out Number S0: Utopic Zexal.
Marcus’ list in general is full of a lot of interesting tech choices. First off, we get to see the showcasing of the Mythical Beast engine. This engine was a relative unknown coming into the format due to its relative lack of use in the OCG. However, it has seen increasing amount of top cut play as the format goes on, allowing for easier summoning of Electrumite before the Pendulum Summon.
The next inclusion of note is 3 copies of Abyss Actor Curtain Raiser. Although this card was a known tech entering the format, the focus on Special Summoning Supreme King Dragon Darkwurm has soured many players on using Curtain Raiser. The card has much more use in a variant like Patel’s that doesn’t run Darkwurm.
The final interesting monster choice was the 3 maindecked copies of Rescue Hamster. Rescue Hamster has the dual purpose of recycling cards from the face-up Extra Deck or summoning out additional monsters on board to increase the combo potential of a given board. These combos would then be directed towards getting out Number S0: Utopic Zexal.
The last interesting part of Patel’s deck is his Side Deck. Particularly, the addition of 3 copies of Performapal Seal Eel. Seal Eel is starting to see more and more side deck use as the format goes on. It is particularly useful due to its ability to seal off a set card for a turn. It then turns into an Electrumite with the addition of any other Special Summoned Pendulum monster.
Utopic ZEXAL Combo Explanation
Utopic Zexal turbo is not a new deck type, but hasn’t shown up competitively since the advent of Link Summoning. The original incarnation of Utopic Zexal turbo focused on using Igknights as an engine to get out Utopia and Beatrice. However, the modern incarnation of Magicians can function just as well for this. The effect of Harmonizing Magician used most often in the deck to get out Oafdragon Magician. From there, some combination of Oafdragon, Chronograph Sorcerer, and Mythical Beast Jackal summon Beatrice. Beatrice will then send Rank-Up-Magic Argent Chaos Force. This card is added back to hand when Beatrice is ranked up into Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger. The combo finishes with the summoning of the Rank 4 Utopia which is turned into Utopic Zexal.
Overall, what Patel’s variant of Magicians proves is the extremely high combo potential that Electrumite affords to Pendulums.
Colby Potts Top 16 YCS Atlanta
The last variant of Pendulum Magicians we will be looking at is the infamous FTK. The FTK build is definitely the least consistent but most explosive of the three variants. If the deck’s plays aren’t properly interrupted by hand traps, then the deck will often win on its first turn.
Looking at Potts’ list, most of his choices are standard. The only thing in the monster lineup that stands out is the inclusion of Supreme King Gate Infinity. The main reason this is run is due to an effect of Supreme King Gate Zero in the scale. When it is scaled with another Gate, it can destroy them both to search a “Fusion” card. In this case, the search target is Instant Fusion. Instant Fusion is then used to summon Lyrilusc – Independent Nightingale. Nightingale’s effect allows you to burn the opponent for 500 times its level. This is then exploited by Supreme King Dragon Starving Venom. Starving Venom can copy Nightingale’s effect, burning for 4000 damage. Two copies of Starving Venom later and the opponent will lose without taking a turn.
To increase the consistency of the combo, Potts ran several additional consistency cards. The first of these is Allure of Darkness, useful in digging for the right combo pieces in a deck that is almost all DARK. Multiple Pendulum Call and Pendulum Paradox are also very necessary to ensure that the right pieces will be in hand to summon both Starving Venoms.
Outside of his main deck, Potts ran a relatively standard Extra Deck. His only notable Extra Deck choice was the inclusion of Linkuriboh as a backup usage for Independent Nightingale if the FTK isn’t successful. As for his Side Deck, Potts dedicated it entirely to going 2nd. This is because the FTK becomes much less useful of a strategy when not going first, making it relatively easy to side out
There are an abundance of tech choices for Magicians in the current format.
The first notable tech is D/D/D Rebel King Leonidas. Leonidas has seen increasing popularity in the main and side decks of players worried about the abundance of FTK and burn decks present in the meta. Most notably, Leonidas counters the Pendulum FTK and the Gem-Knight FTK. It also has the added benefits of being a DARK level 7 Pendulum, making it usable even when drawn later.
The next is Mythical Beast Bashilisk. Bashilisk can serve as an alternative Mythical Beast search target for Mythical Beast Master Cerberus when you need to draw cards instead of summon a monster. Although not a generically good tech, it has some potential use in variants that run the Mythical Beast engine.
The last tech I think is worth mentioning is Evilswarm Nightmare. Evilswarm Nightmare is a potential alternative turn 1 Rank 4 to Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir or Tornado Dragon. Although Bagooska was the dominant Rank 4 in Magicians last format, the ease with which many current format decks can get out a Link monster, even under Bagooska, diminishes its usefulness. Evilswarm Nightmare, however, can more directly impact your opponent’s ability to make plays. The main drawback is the need for DARK materials. However, this is largely irrelevant for a lot of decks since the rest of the level 4’s are DARK.
The mirror match is one of the most common and prepared for matchups in the current format. Due to its popularity as more competitive events, many players opt to maindeck Wavering Eyes. When siding becomes involved, the best counters are still backrow removal such as Cosmic Cyclone and Evenly Matched. Lava Golem is also very good in the mirror match as it can out multiple negation generating bosses with ease.
True Draco is a very dice roll dependent matchup for Magicians. Going 2nd, the deck will often shut out Magicians’ plays with a variety of floodgates such as Skill Drain, Anti-Spell Fragrance, and The Monarchs Erupt. To counter this, it is important to use plenty of backrow removal such as Cosmic Cylone, Twin Twisters, and Evenly Matched. Ash Blossom can also be good against some of True Draco’s stronger draw cars, but they will often have Amano-Iwato to prevent you from using your hand traps.
Although still a matchup to be wary of, Trickstar is not as threatening to Magicians as it was last format. This is largely due to the larger number of play starters Magicians now run. Regardless, backrow removal remains powerful versus Trickstar, particularly Twin Twisters. Chaos Hunter can also be very useful, serving doubly as a counter against Lightsworn and Invoked. Hand Traps in general are also good such as Ash Blossom and Droll and Lock Bird.