Trinity, March 2018: Metagame Analysis!


The 3rd YGOPROdeck (March 2018) Trinity Cup has come to a close! This article covers the most popular decks used in this tournament, how to use them, and why they’re used! This metagame was a mix of Rank 4, Control, Pendulum, and Graveyard decks, with most of the Top 4 representing one of these strategies.

New to Trinity? You can read an introduction to the format here!

Trinity: March 2018 Metagame Analysis

In contrast to last month’s article, this article aims to cover each of the most played decks from the March 2018 Trinity Cup in detail, as opposed to the most played cards. Before going into the analysis, I’m first going to cover the context of this event. This tournament was a 24-person swiss event, with a top 4. As you can see in the pie chart below, I’ve grouped the various strategies into “Pendulum”, “Graveyard”, “Control”, “RANK 4”, and “Other”. The reason for this is due to every Tournament Participant having a different take on the metagame.



“Pendulum” decks were expected to be extremely powerful this metagame, despite the hits received on the previous Forbidden List. The deck is very aggressive, with a focus on the new Heavymetalfoes Electrumite to search out anything which the deck needs to operate. Although none of the Pendulum decks in the March 2018 Tournament were especially similar, all of the pilots choose to play the “Magician” core, with most of the others also playing “Dracoslayer”, “Metalfoes”, and “Odd-Eyes” engines. The Typical Pendulum Deck Size is 40 cards. This allows you to play multiple copies of consistency cards without reducing overall card quality.

Boss Monsters

Cyber Dragon Infinity eats the March 2018 Metagame for breakfast (in pendulum decks)

“Mythical Beast” and “Majespecter” cards were also splashed into some of the Pendulum Decks, though the one which made the top cut – Piloted by punkrocklee – chose to abuse the access to 3 copies of Summoner’s Art, allowing for a consistent turn 1 Cyber Dragon Infinity play. The combo here is simple: Use your Summoner’s Art to grab Qliphort Scout, and then use Scout to fetch a Qliphort Monolith from the deck. Use a “Metalfoes” Pendulum Monster or Sky Iris to blow up the scout. Activate another Pendulum Scale, and you’re good to go. You can Pendulum Summon both Qliphort Scout (from the Extra Deck) and Qliphort Monolith (from the Hand). Since they’re Normal Monsters, they don’t count towards the Summon Limit! This means that you have 3 full summons left. We can use 2 of these to Xyz Symmon Cyber Dragon Nova, and then Cyber Dragon Infinity!

Other Inclusions

Other Pendulum Decks of the March 2018 metagame had access to other boss monsters – namely, Mist Valley Apex Avian, which saw play in 13% of decks (60% of all Pendulum Decks). Mythical Beast Jackal King was also featured in one Pendulum Deck, as an alternative “Boss Monster”.  Finally, I’d like to mention the inclusion of Abyss Actor – Curtain Raiser in not only Pendulum Decks, but 13% of the metagame. This card, semi-popular in Pendulum decks in Advanced, is a 2200 ATK beater in a pinch which can attack over both Pacifis, the Phantasm City Tokens, as well as mostly anything else at level 4 or lower. Here’s an example of a a typical Zefra-Mythical-Metalfoes-Magician Pendulum Deck, used by guiltygearxx in the March 2018 Tournament:

GuiltyGear - ZeMyMeMa Pendulum, March 2018
GuiltyGearxx – ZeMyMeMa Pendulum


Notably, there were no Graveyard strategies in the Top 4 for the March 2018 metagame, although the decks didn’t perform too poorly in Swiss. The majority of successful decks to not-quite make the Top Cut were Graveyard decks.

Fairy Tail – Snow

Fairy Tail - Snow, Ace monster of March 2018

In the March 2018 metagame, “Graveyard” decks varied a lot. 17% of the entire field was Lightsworn, though I’ve also decided to group both Burning Abyss and Dragon Rulers here, due to their focus on the Graveyard as a resource. All of these decks were 60-card builds, and many of them had a focus on the Co-Forbidden Fairy Tail – Snow. You can see her being played in 21% of all decks (Which is a slight decrease from 33% of the previous metagame, likely due to her being Co-Forbidden). Snow is extremely powerful, allowing for not only recursive advantage, but also disruption of the opponent’s plays. The card is so crucial that many decks opted to play a Co-Forbidden Fairy Tail – Luna it as well.


Typically, these decks also chose to play the “Performage” Engine: Performage Damage Juggler, Performage Trick Clown, and Performage Hat Tricker. You want to mill either Damage Juggler or Trick Clown for a +1 to Card Advantage. Although Hat Tricker doesn’t provide you with any advantage when milled, it’s typically searched through Damage Juggler, setting up a Rank 4 Play. Trick Clown is also a fantastic Rank 4 Enabler: Detaching it from an XYZ allows itself to be summoned again, which can be used to “cheat” the Summon Limit when detached on the opponent’s turn. 21% of all decks played the “Performage” value engine.

Other Mill Options

Shiranui Spiritmaster, combos with Snow, March 2018

Some other cards which are synergistic with Snow are Giant Rex and Shiranui Spiritmaster. Both only saw fringe play in the March 2018 Metagame. They were each included in 13% and 8% of decks respectively, which is a large decrease from the previous Dragon Ruler metagame (where Rex was in 22% of all decklists). The combo here is straightforward: Banish either (or both) with Snow, in order to make a rank 4 or pop an opponent’s card.

Lost Wind (38%), Galaxy Cyclone (29%), and Breakthrough Skill (25%) are also fine mill cards. You can use their effects either when drawn or milled, making them less bricky than some of the above mentions. Lost Wind is potentially the most powerful of these, as its effect can turn a game around completely. Galaxy Cyclone was also very strong, but mostly due to Pendulums being at the forefront of the metagame. An interesting statistical analysis is seen in how these cards haven’t gained nor lost any popularity since the last Tournament. An fine example of a Graveyard deck is AbdySnowman’s build:

ABDYSnowman - 60 Inches of Pain, March 2018
AbdySnowman – Graveyard Rank 4


Graydle-Spirit Control

Control is a very unique archetype in Trinity Format. You can see the other two aforementioned strategies – Pendulum and Graveyard – as popular TCG strategies. Control, however, is different. “Control” decks in the TCG are typically “Stun” decks, or decks which play a million Floodgate cards to prevent the opponent from playing. That’s not really the case here. To show you an example, here’s srn347’s Graydle-Spirit Control Deck from the March 2018 Trinity Cup:

SRN347's Graydle-Spirit Control March 2018
SRN347’s Graydle-Spirit Control

As you can see, it’s completely different to anything you might expect from the TCG. I sometimes name decks like this “Goat” decks. After all, they’re reminiscent of the April 2005 Goat Control deckbuilding philosophy. At first glance, you might think that it’s 45 random cards glued together with some spirit shenanigans going on. This isn’t actually the case, however. Every card in this deck serves a purpose. It’s a well-oiled attrition machine, as opposed to a highly combo-centric strategy. As a result of this, these Control decks typically have less bad topdecks.  Most everything in your deck is useful, and you don’t really rely on other cards to work.

Value Monsters

Engraver of the Mark March 2018

Looking over the monsters in this deck, we can see that they’re all clear threats in their own right. None of the cards here rely on any major synergies to operate. Piloting this deck, you’re unlikely to brick – everything does something by itself. Thunder King Rai-Oh, Fairy Tail – Luna, Engraver of the Mark: They’re all high-ATK monster which can make your opponent really annoyed with you. Simply grinding the opponent down 1 card at a time by attacking is card advantage. Negating your opponent’s plays later in the game is simply the icing on the cake. 

Other notable choices include Kozmoll Wickedwitch, who is an “Invincible” 1900-point attacker (who works amazingly in conjunction with Torrential Tribute!). Eater of Millions is repeatable removal on a stick that banishes cards face-down. That’s a point you should note, as some strategies rely on recurring cards from the graveyard. It doesn’t even trigger the opponent’s Dragon Ruler search effects!


Graydle monsters are incredibly powerful here. Your opponent typically doesn’t have any way to remove a set monster outside of attacking it. Even if they do, they’re still losing resources! You can also just Normal Summon the Graydle and attack into an opponent’s monster, then steal it and attack with it again. 

Yata-Garasu March 2018

Spirits make the rest of the Monster line-up. Aratama provides selective card advantage every turn, acting as a swiss-army knife to search up the correct answer to your opponent’s threats. It also combos extremely well with Ultimate Offering! Doing so not only allows you to search twice per turn, but can also let you summon the Spirit that you search! Tsukuyomi deals with continuous monster effects and you can also use her to beat over monsters with low DEF. Amano-Iwato is a gimmicky Skill Drain for your turn with Ultimate Offering up and Hebo, Lord of the River is repeatable removal. Finally, Yata-Garasu can act as a Win Condition once you’ve eliminated your opponent’s hand!


Breakthrough Skill, Lost Wind, Forbidden Chalice and Fiendish chain are all cards which negate monster effects. Forbidden Lance and Phantom Knights’ Sword help to protect your Monsters or run over a larger threat. If they do die, you can use revival traps such as Powerful Rebirth to revive them.

The rest of this is very typical of a “Control” deck. Lots of Traps which provide utility and all-purpose removal, such as Bad Aim and Book of Moon. Scrap-Iron Scarecrow might look like an awful card, but in a world where the opponent can only summon 3 times per turn, it can effectively gain you a lot of Life Points and card advantage.

Extra Deck

Invoked Raidjin March 2018

Control decks like this one don’t typically reply on the Extra Deck. At the minimum, they’ll play some Rank 4 monsters. However, this deck does use Instant Fusion to turn into a Thousand-Eyes Restrict. You might see other control decks turning their Thousand-Eyes into a Linkuriboh, but this one plays Raidjin instead: Invoked Raidjin‘s effect can flip itself face-down to prevent itself from being destroyed by Instant Fusion! Other strategies utilize Elder Entity Norden as a rank-4 enabler, but it’s entirely up to the deckbuilder. You only have 1 Instant Fusion to use, so loading up on Extra Deck targets isn’t always the best idea.

This particular deck fills up the Extra Deck with WIND Synchro Monsters for Speedroid Maliciousmagnet to use. Previous iterations of Control decks used Magical Scientist to make Extra Deck Plays, but it was Semi-Forbidden for the March 2018 tournament, lowering its splashability. 

Other Control Decks

Just like “Graveyard”, “Pendulum”, and “Rank 4” decks, “Control” has many variants. Below you can find MonoBlueTron’s Pacifis-Weather Painter Control deck, which won the March 2018 Tournament. I won’t go into great depth on this list now – stay tuned for the Top 4 Article for that!

Pacifis-Weather Painter Control March 2018
MonoBlueTron: Pacifis-Weather Painter Control

Rank 4

Who doesn’t love some good ol’ Rank-4 Toolbox decks? Rank-4, or “R4NK”, as it’s otherwise known, is a strategy which took over the TCG for many years. These decks are perfect for Trinity, since they aim to work exactly within the Summon Limit: Normal Summon, Special Summon, Make an Xyz, Boom. Three Summons is all you need! 

Nondescript, yet Omnipresent

Only 12.5% of the field was Rank 4 decks this time, but they’re an everlasting constant, much like Burning Abyss. If you’re playing in Trinity, you’ll come across Rank 4 decks at some point. Although all of the previous strategies have been very broad in the decks they describe, “Rank 4” is likely even more of an umbrella term. Looking at ABDYSnowman’s March 2018 Graveyard deck from before, we can see that it’s easily also described as a “Rank 4 deck”.

ABDYSnowman Graveyard Rank 4, March 2018
ABDYSnowman Graveyard Rank 4

Goblindbergh and Photon Thrasher

Goblindbergh, March 2018

The main enablers of the Rank 4 decks are Goblindbergh and Photon Thrasher, which both see an enormous amount of play: 38% and 33% respectively. To put that into perspective, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring saw play in a mere 42% of decks! Both of these cards are searchable through Reinforcement of the Army, played in 38% of decks. The utility of being able to search either card – as well as a beater through Photon Thrasher – makes it a very powerful package. Photon Thrasher’s ability to be an actual threat by itself shouldn’t be overlooked. Remember MonoBlueTron’s Pacifis deck from earlier? The 2000 ATK tokens which it summons are a real problem. Having an out to them via Photon Thrasher adds to its utility and beatdown power. Swinging for 2100 before making a Rank 4 monster isn’t bad by any means!

An analysis of decklists shows that Tin Goldfish only saw play in 17% of decks. Although the Goldfish isn’t searchable by ROTA, it’s an ok turn 1 set. However, more importantly, it doesn’t make monsters such as Elemental HERO Stratos “miss the timing” on Summon. “Missing the timing” is a TCG ruling query which comes up quite often – you can read about it here. If you’re playing a HERO deck, or anything with Armageddon Knight, I’d suggest playing Tin Goldfish in addition to Goblindbergh.


As mentioned earlier, the “Performage” Engine (Performage Damage Juggler, Performage Trick Clown, and Performage Hat Tricker) is a great choice for Rank 4 decks. Detaching either Damage Juggler or Trick Clown provides you with 50% of another Rank 4 monster. Drawing into Hat Tricker is often just as good as drawing into Goblindbergh.

The Rank 4s

Evilswarm Exciton Knight, March 2018

There are many different Rank 4 Monsters to make. Each of them lives in the Extra Deck, allowing the pilot to toolbox out the answer to a problem. Lavalval Chain doesn’t see much play, but can mill anything you need, or set up a draw for the next turn. Evilswarm Exciton Knight does see a lot of play, and is there to make sure that your opponent doesn’t overextend. Number 101: Silent Honor Ark is a stronger, yet less versatile Castel the Skyblaster Musketeer. Castel can remove anything – be it a field spell or monster, yet 101 is still a powerful monster to have on board. Tornado Dragon is also an amazing Extra Deck out to Spell/Traps.

Abyss Dweller puts the hate onto graveyard decks, and Daigusto Emeral is played in Graveyard decks, as a recycler of your resources. Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon can attack over practically any monster in the game, and can even finish off your opponent if they’re on low Life Points. Number 82: Heartlandraco fills a similar attack-for-game role, and is protected as long as you have a field spell up! Finally, Tellarknight Ptolemaeus is practically any Rank 5 monster, as long as you can dedicate Extra Deck space to it!


You can find another example of a “Rank 4” deck is seen in the ABC Machines decks. Much like in the TCG, this deck lets you summon both the powerful ABC-Dragon Buster as well as a plethora of Rank 4 monsters. The deck also utilizes Gold Gadget and Silver Gadget for Rank 4 plays, which happen to synergise will with the aforementioned Tin Goldfish.

Summoning ABC-Dragon buster in this deck is actually quite easy, as all you really need is Union Hangar. Hangar searches out A – Assault Core and B – Buster Drake. When they go to the Graveyard, you get the Buster Drake back, and a search for C – Crush Wyvern. It seems somewhat slow, but it’s still a 1-card ABC-Dragon Buster! Remember that Trinity isn’t nearly as swingy as the TCG. Summoning your Boss Monster over 2 turns isn’t an issue at all. Here’s an ABC decklist, based off of Qyboor’s list, which is legal in both March 2018 and April 2018:

Qybor, ABC R4NK, March 2018
Qybor, ABC R4NK


Currently, Trinity is experiencing a relatively healthy metagame. Both fast-paced OTK decks and slower Control decks are viable. This Tournament had 24 players. The top 4 of the March 2018 tournament contained:

  • 1st: MonoBlueTron’s Pacifis-Weather Control.
  • 2nd: PunkRockLee’s Magician/Metalfoes Pendulum Infinity,
  • Subzeroark’s HERO OTK,
  • SRN347’s Graydle-Spirit Control.

Until April – Stay Groovy!



Creator of the Trinity Format; article writer and tabletop games enthusiast.

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