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 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
Zombie Lightsworn is a multi-archetype deck based around gaining advantage by filling the Graveyard. These Graveyard resources are in turn used to make Synchro, Xyz, and Link monsters. There is also a control aspect centered around the repeated use of Fairy Tail – Snow to flip the opponent’s monsters face-down. The deck is a more modern offshoot of the Zombie Synchro decks that saw some popularity in late 2016.
Zombie Lightsworn currently occupies a spot in lower Tier 2. This is primarily due to how well the deck managed to do at YCS Prague, winning 2 spots in the top 32 as well as placing 1st at the Mega Regionals that happened at the same event. The deck is particularly vulnerable to many of the popular hand traps which is what keeps it out of the higher level meta, but the deck will likely continue to hold some relevance going forward due to it being unlikely that any key cards for the deck will be seriously hit in the near future.
The deck will also be receiving new support in the next booster set Extreme Force in the form of Curious, the Lightsworn Dominion, although this card’s impact on the deck remains to be seen.
We will be looking at the two Zombie Lightsworn decklists, the first of which got 2nd place at YCS Prague andanother that got Top 16 at WCQ Gien in France.
The first of these lists is Elias Stahlberg’s 2nd place Zombie Lightsworn deck. First off, Stahlberg’s list is much less focused on Lightsworns than many other previously topping lists of the deck. It only opted to run 2 each of Raiden and Wulf along with 3 Charge of the Light Brigade. The reasoning behind this is primarily in the deck’s shifted focus off of Lightsworn monsters and towards the Zombie and the Predaplant engines to gain advantage.
One big tech choice that we saw showcased in Stahlberg’s build was Gold Sarcophagus. This card is very versatile in Zombie Lightsworn by allowing the use of either Giant Rex to get a body on board for Extra Deck Summons or by banishing Shiranui Spiritmaster to help in clearing the board. PSY-Framegear Gamma has also shaped itself up as an essential card for Zombie Lightsworn builds. This card not only helps going second, but also helps protect plays such as Brilliant Fusion or That Grass Looks Greener on an empty field. It makes baiting the Ash Blossom end in an overall advantage for the Zombie Lightsworn player.
Stahlberg also elected to play Gozuki. Although Gozuki is a very useful Zombie card, it had largely been dropped from most competitive Zombie decks before November, not having been used as much since That Grass Looks Greener was Limited. Its resurgence feeds into the greater emphasis on the Zombie engine over the Lightsworn engine.
The final interesting inclusion in Stahlberg’s list is the inclusion of Void Ogre Dragon in the Extra Deck. This card is very easily accessible through the use of Uni-Zombie while allowing for a greater control aspect, especially against a deck like Pendulum Magician which has high value Spells. The use of Left Arm Offering will also frequently leave the Zombie Lightsworn player with no hand at the end of the turn, making Void Ogre Dragon’s effect easy to keep active.
The other list we will be looking at is Lo-arnoult Jolen’s list from WCQ Gien in France from early November. This build bears a lot of similarities to Stahlberg’s build from YCS Prague with a few key differences. Most notably, Jolen ran Spore in the main deck. Adding extra Plant monsters beyond just the Predaplant engine has seen some popularity since the September Forbidden List, but usually has not been seen in most lists. The two most common additional Plants that are run are Spore and Dandylion, although Jolen chose to only run Spore. Spore serves a dual purpose in the deck, providing both an additional target for Lonefire Blossom if the Predaplant combo is no longer doable for some reason and as a valuable mill. Spore can banish any other Plant monster the deck runs (all of which are level 3) and Special Summon itself from the Graveyard as a level 4 Tuner. This makes for very easy Synchro and Rank 4 Xyz plays.
The other notable inclusion in the deck was the single copy of Gofu. Although Gofu is a generally very good card, it isn’t always run in 60 card decks due to the inconsistency of drawing it as well as it being dead if drawn into late game or milled at any point.
Lastly, Jolen’s list did not run Ash Blossom. This is most likely for budget reasons due to the prohibitively high cost for many players of a playset of Ash Blossom. It also can be more easily ignored considering that WCQ Gien was likely a smaller event, meaning that many other players in attendance would also likely not have Ash Blossom.
As we’ve already discussed, 60 Card Zombie Lightsworn decks have converged around a few tech cards recently. The foremost of these is Gold Sarcophagus due to the sheer versatility that it provides for the deck.
Another still viable tech choice is the inclusion of a Kaiju engine. Although not quite as good now that Interrupted Kaiju Slumber is Limited, the Kaiju engine can still provide good value to a 60 Card Zombie Lightsworn deck. The engine normally consists of 3 different Kaiju monsters (most often being Gameciel, Kumongous, and Radian or Gadarla) along with a single copy of Interrupted Kaiju Slumber. This engine serves the dual purpose of giving access to another board wipe which is particularly valuable with the Limiting of Dark Hole. It also gives another card that has value when milled, as Interrupted Kaiju Slumber can be banished from the Graveyard to search a Kaiju.
A final tech choice that has waned in popularity with the rise in prominence of SPYRAL is that of Lost Wind and/or Breakthrough Skill. Both of these cards provide targeted effect negation and can be accessible from the Graveyard, making them very good in mill decks. They are, however, weak against SPYRAL due to the targeting protection that SPYRAL Resort provides. However, if competing at a locals that is not SPYRAL heavy or when SPYRAL eventually drops in representation in the meta due to Forbidden List changes, these cards may once again see competitive use.
SPYRAL is still the deck to beat in the format, controlling the top cut of every single major event since the release of Circuit Break. Because of this, it is crucial to prepare for the matchup. Something to note is that, at a competitive level, going second SPYRAL has largely asserted its dominance. This means that the most competitive SPYRAL builds focus more on breaking boards using cards such as SPYRAL Tough and Evenly Matched. Because of this, it is crucial to try and be as consistent as possible while also building boards resilient to Evenly Matched when going first. These boards should primarily focus on getting out as many copies of PSY-Framelord Omega as possible followed by a Number 41 Bagooska which can survive Evenly Matched and maintain tempo against the opponent.
Outside of focusing on big first turn boards when possible, it is also important to try and run enough hand traps to stop SPYRAL from setting their board up whilst also playing around the opponent’s hand traps. What this means is to run 3 copies each of Ash Blossom and PSY-Framegear Gamma at minimum in the maindeck. Gamma is particularly useful for trying to bait out an opponent’s copy of Ash Blossom when using cards such as Pot of Desires or Brilliant Fusion. Just make sure to open with cards that can bait Ash Blossom in this way when you have Gamma in hand before using cards like Left Arm Offering or Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio to ensure you can get usage out of Gamma.
Against Pendulum Magicians, the most powerful counter cards to run are often Traps such as Evenly Matched or Dimensional Barrier as well as a Spell/Trap destruction like Cosmic Cyclone or Twin Twisters. Depending on how many Pendulum Magician decks you plan on facing at an event, you should plan accordingly and main deck Cosmic Cyclone and/or Evenly Matched. Anti-Spell Fragrance can also be a viable side deck card for Zombie Lightsworn due to the fact that the deck doesn’t absolutely rely on using Spells and the opponent will be far more hindered than you are by it.
Trickstar is the last major Tier 1 deck of the current format and can be a good matchup for Zombie Lightsworn if played correctly. The main strengths of Trickstars are their ability to run a very large number of hand traps as well as penalize searching through Trickstar Reincarnation and Droll & Lock Bird. Fortunately, Droll & Lock Bird is largely ineffective against Zombie Lightsworn on its own. Trickstar Reincarnation can prove slightly trickier as Zombie Lightsworn does run a decent number of 1-of cards. However, the larger deck size makes it so the cycling of your hand will be overall less likely to banish all copies of a key piece of the deck.
The best counters that you can run against Trickstar are a combination of your own hand traps and Twin Twisters. PSY-Framegear Epsilon can also be a very potent Side Deck card when going second against Trickstars as it can effectively counter Trickstar Reincarnation from going off in your Standby/Draw Phase.