The Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship has been going on every summer since 2003. However, it wasn’t until last year that people outside the elite few could play the format. To help give an idea of the meta and how the normal TCG meta decks are changing for this event, I’ll taking a brief look at World’s Format.
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The Worlds List
Before we dig into some decklists, let’s briefly go over the Forbidden and Limited List for Worlds Format. Every year the World Championship Forbidden List is made of a combination of the OCG and TCG lists with some cardpool restrictions. The large groups of cards that get excluded are:
- OCG Exclusive cards (so cards that have not made to the TCG for whatever reason)
- TCG Exclusive (this year being most F.A. and Vendread cards)
- The most recent main set release, being Cybernetic Horizon for this year.
For the rest of the list, the status of all cards is whatever is at the lower quantity between the OCG and TCG Forbidden Lists. For example, Heavymetalfoes Electrumite is Unlimited on the TCG Forbidden List. However, it is Limited on the OCG List. Because of this, the Worlds list picks the lower of the two statuses, meaning Heavymetalfoes Electrumite is Limited for the Worlds list.
The Staple Hits
Going from there, there’s a few big generic cards that pop out on the World’s Forbidden List that are different from the TCG list. The first is that Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring is Semi-Limited. Ash Blossom, although it has seen shifts in popularity, has undeniably been one of the most dominant staple cards since it’s release over a year ago. Because of this, it has been very common to run 3 copies of it in almost every deck. While 1 less copy of Ash Blossom doesn’t exactly cause an unworkable shift in deck building, it is still something to take note of. The other main Semi-Limited staple is Scapegoat. Although less prevalent than Ash Blossom, a lot of slower decks like Trickstar find themselves very reliant on using Scapegoat in TCG.
The main other changes of note are Terraforming and Raigeki. Terraforming is Limited on the OCG Forbidden List, meaning that all field spell based decks take a noticeable consistency hit playing in Worlds format. Raigeki is also Forbidden on the OCG List, but given the recent trend away from Raigeki in the TCG meta, it’s a low impact hit.
Now that we’ve gone over the staple cards that are hit more on the Worlds list, let’s get into what decks are actually going to be dominant in the format. The most obvious choice is a deck that is already in the top tier of the TCG: Gouki. Gouki, unlike most of the other decks we’ll be going over, has no meaningful hits to it separate from the TCG format. Because of this, the sample list we’ll be looking at is a slight modification of Luke Parkes’ European WCQ winning list.
All I have changed from Luke Parkes’ 42 card list was removing a single Ash Blossom. Other than that, the deck remains completely untouched. However, it’s important to note that the correct tech choices for Local Worlds may differ from the choices Parkes made. The meta that Parkes prepared for was split between the mirror match and Sky Striker Trickstar. However, the various consistency hits to Sky Striker Trickstar and the fact that local metas are considerably less competitive than a WCQ means that different side deck choices may be correct. However, the general thrust of Parkes’ deck to block hand traps with Aqua Dolphin and Called by the Grave still holds.
Something most notable about Parkes’ list is his omission of the Sky Striker engine. While this choice may be questionable in TCG, with Sky Striker Mecha – Hornet Drones Limited on the World’s list this is likely a good call for the deck. Choosing to instead focus on M-X-Saber Invoker will likely end up with more consistency.
Trickstar probably received the highest density of hits among the meta decks. In addition to the hits to Scapegoat, Ash Blossom, and Terraforming that I mentioned earlier, Trickstar also has Trickstar Reincarnation Limited. This means that the pure variant of Trickstars loses a lot of its punch. While the pure variant remains playable, the safer call definitely trends more towards the Sky Striker and Mekk Knight engines.
The list we’re looking at will just use the Sky Striker engine. The main reason for this is because the Mekk-Knight variant much more heavily relies on going second. While this can end well with the right combination of hand traps, problems can arise in a Gouki meta. Because of this, a variant of Sky Striker Trickstar that can more comfortably go first is preferable. This means the deck tends more towards getting a board that shuts off Gouki plays more reliably using cards like Shared Ride and Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor.
This list is based on Diego Venegas’ 2nd place South American WCQ deck. Unlike the Gouki list, Sky Striker Trickstars needed a lot more modifications. We had to remove 2 Terraforming, 2 Trickstar Reincarnation, 2 Sky Striker Mecha Hornet Drones, 1 Scapegoat, and 1 Ash Blossom. This totals out to 8 removed cards.
To balance this, some easy includes are 3rd copies of Infinite Impermanence, Shared Ride, Lycoris, and Called by the Grave. For the other 3 slots, main-decking more hand traps is always a good idea. For the sample list I chose 3 copies of Ghost Ogre to counter both Gouki and rogue decks.
Something to note is that Venegas’ list didn’t run Desires. While this may be a mistake in TCG, the risk factor of Desires with so many 1-ofs is much higher. While playing it may still be good, underestimating the risk of banishing key 1-ofs can be fatal.
For the side I removed Night Beam in favor of a 3rd Twin Twisters. I also added 3 copies of Ghost Reaper to replace the Ghost Ogres. Overall, while the deck definitely is less consistent, it can still make a lot of the same plays it does in TCG and will shut out a lot of rogue decks.
Pure Sky Striker is arguably one of the weaker meta picks for Worlds format. This doesn’t mean we can count it out though. The main loss for Sky Striker is Sky Striker Mecha – Hornet Drones, but we can work around this.
This list for pure Sky Striker is based off Stathis Vastardis’ Top 8 list from the European WCQ. The main change I made was replacing the 2 missing copies of Hornet Drones with Phantom Skyblaster. While Skyblaster doesn’t make your archetypal Links, it helps with generic Link spam. They can be especially useful in building a board to counter Gouki when the opponent has not Extra Linked.
The other big change I made was moving the Mind Crushes to the Side Deck in favor of Infinite Impermanence. With the prevalence of Neo Spacian Aqua Dolphin and Called by the Grave in most Gouki decks, having hand traps such as Infinite Impermanence and PSY-Framegear Gamma becomes much more important as they increase the chance of landing disruption against a Gouki player.
SPYRAL is definitely going to be a strong pick for World’s format. The main reason for this is because the deck can run a high density of hand traps and combo starters. However, unlike Gouki SPYRAL are usually much more geared towards going second. Because of this, the lists usually main more board breaking cards such as Evenly Matched and Infinite Impermanence.
The list we’re looking at for SPYRAL is based off of Clifton Land’s Top 64 SPYRAL list from the NAWCQ. To fill the gaps in the deck I shuffled the hand trap lineup. The new hand trap I chose to include is PSY-Framegear Gamma as it’s immune to Called by the Grave. It also is versatile for being good going either first or second.
SPYRAL’s main strength is its ability go first or second with ease. The deck can pivot to going first, using the SPYRAL Mission cards to perform Knightmare combos. It can also go second using multiple hand traps and Agent/Tough to break boards. The side focuses on making going second easier against specific matchups, mainly Sky Striker and Altergeist.
The last deck I want to go over here is Altergeist. Altergeist, while normally much weaker than the other decks, has a chance to shine here. This is due to Altergeist’s keen anti-meta capabilities and lack of hits.
The list we’re looking at for Altergeist is based off Dario Avalos’ top 32 list from the South American WCQ. Avalos’ list geared itself more towards the Gouki matchup, making it a good model. Like most other decks we’ve gone over, if you’re expecting a heavy Gouki field than spiking on hand traps, especially Ghost Reaper and Droll & Lock Bird, is usually a good idea. Following from that, I replaced Shared Ride in the main with Droll & Lock Bird.
The deck does have some interesting side deck choices. The main one to look at is Cyber Dragon. This card can be extremely useful in outing the Extra Link since it can tributed on top of Iblee. Inspector Boarder is also quite strong when going first as most of the meta decks only run Link monsters now.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll cover the various rogue picks for the format!