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 ones 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 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
- Archetype Explanation
- Tier Ranking
- Tech Choices
SPYRAL is an archetype that premiered in The Dark Illusion TCG set of August 2016. There are 2 sub-archetypes within the SPYRAL archetype that are specific to some cards such as SPYRAL GEAR and SPYRAL MISSION categories. The name itself contains the word “Spy” and seems to be a play on the word “Spiral” combining the two as the appearance of cards is very reminiscent for that of the James Bond and Metal Gear series. The deck has surged in popularity because of the release of a powerful new Link monster, SPYRAL Double Helix. Due to key cards having soft OPT effects to generate large card advantage, the deck is capable of building large oppressive boards along with various protection mechanics.
SPYRALs were previously the undisputed “Tier 0” deck of the format due to its representation. Nearly all of the top placements played this deck, showcasing that any other deck fell short in terms of power and consistency in comparison. There was a recent banlist effective November 6th limiting 4 cards all of which were played in the SPYRAL deck: SPYRAL Quik-Fix, SPYRAL GEAR – Drone, Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow, and Set Rotation. A lot of people perceived the deck to be dead due to its famous combo being one of the first 2 SPYRAL cards and using Machine Duplication on them. The new changes made Machine Duplication not even possible in terms of having targets. There were a few events which predicted that SPYRALs would be here to stay as events such as ARG St. Louis which used the new banlist several days before it was officially put into effect with SPYRALs being represented in 7 out of the top 16 decks.
Other events would see SPYRALs topping there as well but it wasn’t until YCS San Diego that the deck’s continued dominance was reaffirmed. This would be one of the largest events to fully see how the meta will fare with such a large sample size and SPYRALs made a statement that they were here to stay in the meta. SPYRAL was the deck that won the overall event and was the most represented deck in Top 32, Top 16, and Top 8 cuts. YCS Prague further reinforced with SPYRAL getting more than half of the Top 32 spots as well as 3 out of the Top 4 spots. It’s definitely not a SPYRAL or die format in which SPYRAL is oppressively forcing themselves onto everyone’s play mat, but if you’re wondering what the “best deck” of the format is the numbers point to SPYRAL.
SPYRAL Tough is the centerpiece tech of this deck, especially considering it is run at 3 copies. This card is probably one of the most questionable cards run in the deck as everything else was fairly standard in comparison to the other SPYRAL decks. Watching the Deck Profile in which Faisal was asked about it, he starts off with by mentioning its use in the grind game and that it helps play around cards that the rest of the deck would normally lose to. Tough is not a hard OPT effect clause like Super Agent meaning that it can be used even after being summoned with cards like Big Red and Double Helix.
Faisal opted not to play Foolish Burial Goods and SPYRAL MISSION – Assault along with D.D. Crow which is used for the combo to build a board utilizing Tri-Gate Wizard. Listening to his Extra Deck choices and post-match interviews, he stated that he opted not play Goods as it is essentially just to have Assault which is a bad card to draw. Drawing both Goods and Assault makes both cards essentially useless. Goods can also negated by Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Assault can be hit by Maxx “C” upon activation.
He also chose to play 3 copies of SPYRAL Double Helix which attests to the overall playstyle of maintaining pure card advantage over his opponent. Watching his feature matches you can see this methodology come into effect such as searching SPYRAL GEAR – Utility Wire fairly early. This allowed him to set it as a form of disruption that if timed carefully could be a critical point of disruption.
This is a build that aligns a little more closely with the standard SPYRAL builds that build a board around Tri-Gate Wizard. This SPYRAL core of 8 is fairly streamlined to facilitate the combo with the only 3 of being Super Agent as he is the only card that can innately Special Summon itself and it is a Level 4 allowing for access to Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir. The main tech card for this deck is PSY-Framegear Gamma which works as a preventative measure against other handtraps (while you have no monsters on the field) and it can even be used offensively to negate a monster effect, destroying the potential body it would leave behind. He also has Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier by synchroing the Gamma package along with a level 1 SPYRAL.
He is also running 2 copies of Goods and main decks Raigeki and Dark Hole. There’s also a higher amount of trap cards main decked compared to other SPYRAL variants with 3 copies of Rescue and an Imperial Order. His side deck consists of 3 copies of Droll & Lock Bird, Artifact Lancea, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries, Dimensional Barrier, and Evenly Matched, each which has its distinctive role in terms of being sided into. The thing that stuck out the most of this build is the choice of main decking power cards for going both 1st and 2nd, giving the deck a balance of options no matter which way the dice roll ended up going.
This is another deck build that utilizes multiple main decked SPYRAL Tough. His personal preference on the ratio for Tough is 2, but he even mentions it as the “MVP” of the deck showcasing its importance to the overall strategy. Another tech that was highlighted is Glow-Up Bulb which was utilized much more prior to the release of Circuit Break. The inclusion of Glow-Up Bulb gives easy access to Naturia Beast which can shut out a lot of the major decks in the meta right now, including the mirror match, Trickstars, and most especially Pendulum Magicians.
He ran only 2 Double Summons and 1 Goods/Assault which was surprising but the overall theme of these deck profiles is to move towards techs that allow the players to have more plans and decisions trees instead relying solely on a single combo. The 2nd copy of Big Red is echoed in Faisal’s build which speaks towards the mentality of playing through multiple turns of hand traps. Only 1 copy of Rescue was played, but if he’s expecting to be stopped by a hand trap before getting to Quik Fix then multiple Rescues can causes dead cards in hand.
For a decklist that isn’t from YCS San Diego, we have Andres Espinosa’s 1st place regional list. This was still within the new ban list changes and you’ll notice a common occurrence of the inclusion of SPYRAL Tough and 2 copies of Goods which puts a lower emphasis on consistently trying to have Assault in GY. As the modified format carries on, the topping SPYRAL builds are solidifying in terms of which techs help to advance the deck’s game plan the most.
These ratios are essentially “tried and true” which lessens overall creativity for the deck, but the few tech cards that will be played in anticipation of these cookie cutter builds will shine even more for the analytical players who can make correct meta calls. The big tech choice that is notable in this list in particular is Spell Shattering Arrow in the side deck. This can be particularly brutal in the mirror match when chained onto SPYRAL Sleeper as it will destroy Last Resort, causing the opponent to blow out their own board. It also has further usage in the Pendulum Magician matchup, making it a good side deck choice overall, especially when going second.
Tough is less of a tech and is shaping up to be more of a staple inclusion in SPYRAL decks. This is because of its ability to break boards going second as well as provide an alternative method of looking at the opponent’s top card when Drone isn’t available. Perhaps most importantly, Tough’s effect is also not a hard once per turn. This means that multiply copies of Tough are not necessarily considered a brick as long as they can all be summoned out.
Tough outs a lot of cards that the rest of the deck may struggle against. He counts as a Super Agent on the field and in GY allowing it to have natural synergies with the other cards in the archetype that support Super Agent. The overall idea of building decks to have a stronger presence when going second is highlighted in Tough’s ability.
Foolish Burial Goods/Assault
In addition to Double Summon, playing a card such as Foolish Burial Goods will allow you to send SPYRAL MISSION – Assault to the GY which can help you SS a SPYRAL card in hand. This helps in facilitating the standard SPYRAL combos. The issue of this package is that it requires not having Assault in hand as drawing it will result in the “Garnet” effect, making Goods far less potent. The only real backup target for Goods is SPYRAL Mission Rescue, but unless multiple copies of that card are run, it is often best saved for a search by Master Plan. I’ve had to use Goods on another copy of Goods just to deck thin since there was no other way I would have wanted to use Goods and top decking it was disappointing to say the least.
The hand trap that can stop other hand traps with the caveat that you have no monsters on your field. This can be played around if your opponent waits until a monster is summoned so that they will not have their own hand traps negated, but while you have an empty board it means that everything you do is fair game. This card can also be used offensively when going second, because at any time it is possible to negate and destroy a monster, providing a combination of the disruption from both Ghost Ogre and Ash Blossom.
Gamma also comes with the benefit of summoning out 2 monsters on board which can provide defense on the opponent’s turn or make a level 8 Synchro if used on your own turn. These monsters will unfortunately be banished during the End Phase making the other 2 copies of Gamma dead, but cards such as Pot of Acquisitiveness help to alleviate this. Specific to the Trickstar matchup, it is also possible to play PSY-Framegear Epsilon which works the same as Gamma but for trap cards. This can serve as a potent counter to Trickstar Reincarnation.
The main drawback to running Gamma, however, is that it requires you run a completely dead card on top of not being usable at all times like most other popular hand traps.
Lyrilusc – Recital Starling
This card is a rank 1 Xyz that is able to search a Level 1 Winged-Beast monster, this search normally being for D.D. Crow. Crow is used as one of the layers of disruption in the extensive Tri-Gate Wizard combo. However, if one opts not to go this route the other options such as Sylvan Princessprite and Dullahan are overall stronger picks and this also leaves a main deck card slot open for a stronger handtrap than Crow. Recital Starling offers little past turn 1 and even less so if you hard draw into Crow already. With an Extra Deck that is relatively tight, this is a card that has mixed opinions on whether it should stay or be cut.
Destrudo, the Lost Dragon’s Frisson
More commonly used with Set Rotation and Dragon Ravine, it can still be played standalone now that Set Rotation is far less consistent. This card ensures a Level 7 Synchro monster such as Ancient Fairy Dragon or Black Rose Dragon. It can be Special Summoned from the GY or hand and, while it is a hefty cost (half your LP), it can be worth it to build a formidable board. Destrudo going into an Ancient Fairy Dragon can help create a decent board that could end with a Sleeper Resort setup, primarily due to Ancient Fairy’s Dragon’s ability to both search a new Field Spell and to Special Summon from the hand. However, because a lot of SPYRAL decks still run D.D. Crow, relying on Destrudo can be a mistake if it gets banished, causing a severe loss in Life Points for no real gain.
The mirror match can be quite grindy because handtraps are a major weakness for SPYRALs. It can be very hard for them to build up any type of board if they are constantly stopped by the various hand traps. Playing at top tier competitive events, it can be expected to see a lot of SPYRAL mirror matches because it is the favored deck of the format. The card that probably hurts this deck the most is Droll & Lock Bird because of the fact that it lingers for the entire turn and the SPYRAL deck thrives on all of its repeated searches. The other hand traps such as Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit should be used upon SPYRAL Double Helix’s effect activation to optimally cripple the SPYRAL player. Any later may be too late and any earlier can be possibly played around depending on the SPYRAL player’s hand.
Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries can also be used to hit SPYRAL Double Helix which forces the SPYRAL player to have to build a board without this card. Popular side deck packages are the Artifacts (Artifact Sanctum, Artifact Scythe, Artifact Lancea) and Kaijus (Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, choice of Kaijus). Sanctum summons either Scythe which shuts off the Extra Deck for a turn or Lancea which is primarily used as a counter to Evenly Matched. Multiple Sanctums can also be used with only singular copies of each Artifact as SPYRAL Resort shuffles back in the Artifact monsters. When calling blind for a SPYRAL effect, I would recommend Spell due to the large Spell count throughout the deck for consistency.
Pend Magicians are generally a good matchup for SPYRALs because of the fact that they don’t main deck a lot of hand traps as they cannot afford to draw into multiple of them. 2 scales must be set and then monsters to Pendulum summon out which can be lackluster if there are not a lot in hand to facilitate this. Time Pendulumgraph is probably their most threatening card and thus most important card to bait out. This can be hard when you have less resources due to an Omega hand rip or are forced to play under Bagooska.
You could utilize SPYRAL Super Agent as a way to out this Time Pendulumgraph, but the only effective way to out Bagooska outside of a board wipe is to make a stronger Link monster. When calling blind for a SPYRAL effect, I would recommend Monster due to the fact that almost 3 quarters of a stnadard Pendulum Magician build being made up of monsters. When siding, take out the cards such as D.D. Crow as it is lackluster due to the fact that Pend Magis don’t use the GY as a secondary Resource.
There are obvious cards which can be very effective against Pend Magis such as Imperial Order, Anti-Spell Fragrance, and Unending Nightmare. However, the most important blow-out card in the matchup is often Evenly Matched. This card can be especially deadly because of the fact that the nature of scales requires the Pendulum player to keep a relatively high number of cards on the board. This is compounded by the fact that the deck has a hard time running too large of a side deck engine to out Evenly Matched, meaning it will often successfully resolve.
Trickstar is said to have a great matchup against SPYRALs because of their ability to have so many handtraps since they rely on a small in archetype engine that can be kickstarted off of 1 card. Their matchup is also stronger due to the ability of Trickstar Reincarnation to banish the many key 1-of cards that the deck runs. Going first they can also potentially use the Droll Lock combo on you, leaving you with 0 cards in hand. Even if they don’t use this, they will stop you from getting very far with your board by using handtraps.
PSY-Frame Gamma can be used to hold them off of using Droll & Lock Bird, but they will play around the card if they know that you have it. Luckily, Trickstar’s weakness is in amassing a board presence in which they have to use cards such as Scapegoat and Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow to Link up into more formidable boss monsters. When calling blind for a SPYRAL effect, I would recommend Monster due to the large Monster count to account for handtraps.