|Pojo's Yu-Gi-Oh! news, tips, strategies and more!|
Card Game Spoilers Video Games Board Games Other
Card Game Spoilers Video Games
Hey all, and welcome again to Looking at the Past! Before we begin, I just wanted to apologize to my readers and Dan, who submitted Friday’s “Macro Monarch Synchro” build. I mistakenly put 3x Dark Resonator in there, whereas I should have made them Krebons instead. I actually had them as Krebons in my rough draft, but Dark Resonator just somehow slipped in there. Anyway, Krebons will combo with Emergency Teleport and is still a Dark monster, giving you options with Allure of Darkness. My apologies, everyone, for that blatant mistake.
Now then, on with the article! Today we’re going to be looking at what has been billed as the format of the ages, so to speak. If the Trinity format introduced many players to the game, this format made many of them professional duelists. It was during this format that we saw the rise of perhaps the most powerful deck since the Chaos builds of 2004, and that’s an interesting statement considering that this deck is a derivative thereof. Last time we spoke about a breakout deck that died relatively quickly, but still had a lasting impact on the metagame: Bazoo Return. As stated, the idea was simple: remove monsters from the Graveyard via Bazoo’s effect, then amass them on your field via Return from the Different Dimension. It was fast, it was explosive, and most of all, it was unexpected.
But one of the dark horse decks from last format came up fast and stayed: Chaos. It was more stable, more reliable, and ultimately relied on bigger and better monsters than Bazoo Return did, and it slowly changed people’s minds. Many a pro duelist made the switch to Chaos, and really never looked back because by the second half of the October 2005 format, Chaos was ruling supreme. There’s a reason why all three Chaos monsters are on the current (September 2008) banlist: they’re too good. And duelists from that era knew it, and used those monsters to their utmost capacity in their decks. Chaos was good – much better than Bazoo Return or any other deck that was may have wormed its way to the Top 8 in a Jump or two.
But all things must come to an end. Chaos was the proverbial phoenix of Yu-Gi-Oh! Just when you thought it was down and out (via the October 2005 banning of Black Luster Soldier-Envoy of the Beginning), it comes roaring back in the form of Chaos Sorcerer. But the idea of Chaos had changed with time, and thanks to Paul Levitin’s famous Bazoo Return deck, it had changed significantly. Chaos’s marriage to Bazoo Return was like a bad prenuptial agreement – Bazoo Return got to keep his RFP concept, but the Return idea was basically stolen from him by Chaos’s team of hotshot lawyers.
Chaos Return was born.
Chaos Return took the best ideas of both Bazoo Return and straight-up Chaos and mixed them in a fiery blend of amazing synergy and twisted power. It defined the metagame during the time it was out, made major waves and was actually Team Overdose’s main deck of choice going into several Jump Championships early in the format. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to last. Chaos Return brought new innovations and cards into the mix: the use of Smashing Ground, then a mere tech card; Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive; Mirage Dragon; many, many other cards that we would scoff at were being used. The great thing about Chaos Return is that it brought new cards to the forefront and made “staples” obsolete. However, like all great decks, Chaos Return had its run for a couple of months, then faded away as mere Chaos took back over.
The main problem that Chaos Return was facing was the lack of stability. While it may have been explosive, ultimately it suffered from the same problems that plagued Bazoo Return, and this instability caused it to lose ground and eventually slide into the annals of Yu-Gi-Oh! history. Another reason why Chaos Return lost its status as a Tier-1 deck – aside from everyone knowing how to counter it – was the fact that any mirror match was a complete toss-up. It took little skill to run effectively, and the only reason why it was even brought to the dueling world’s attention was because it was incredibly fast and explosive. But pro players preferred a deck with more stability, even if they were losing the main power that Chaos Return had: Return from the Different Dimension. This paradigm shift caused many players to re-examine the state of the metagame, and as a result the Jump Championships following Shane Scurry’s amazing run with Chaos Return saw a breakdown in the decks that were ran.
Until Cyber-Stein came along.
This card was perhaps the main reason we have mid-format bans and restrictions. Cyber-Stein originally came out as a Shonen Jump Championship prize card, and very few people owned one – even less used it. But Cyber-Stein was a powerhouse, and when it was released it was casually tossed into any and every deck that it could be splashed into: Chaos, Warrior Toolbox, Zombie Control, Burn – you name it, it had a copy of Cyber-Stein in it. Fusion Decks came back with a vengeance, and with the release of Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon and Cyber-End Dragon (and his cousin, Cyber-Twin Dragon) people had a reason to play those fruity purple monsters.
Cyber-Stein changed the metagame more than any other card since the initial banlist came out in October 2004. It exploded the dueling world, but the card itself is incredibly powerful. Most pro duelists ran it as a one-of piece of tech, but first-turn-kills were very common at the local and regional levels of play. It brought a new element to the game and forced players to react to the fact that it could drop down a 4500+ ATK monsters in a single turn. It was fast and brutal, and it merged seamlessly with the top decks of the day, adding a new element to the Light/Dark dichotomy of Chaos. Itself being a Dark monster, it was easy to drop a Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive or a Spirit Reaper in exchange for a card with such tremendous power, and everyone did it.
Cyber-Stein was in a position to alter the state of the metagame and, with that, everyone’s style of play too. But after only one Jump Championship, Cyber-Stein was simply accepted as a good card and pretty much forgotten about. Its explosion was huge, and it remained a staple until its banishment midway through the September 2006 format, but its power was diminished by the still unstoppable Chaos decks that were running wild.
Another deck that utilized the Return idea was a deck called Ninja Return. Its idea was simple: use Strike Ninja to pull Dark monsters out of your deck to fuel a massive Return from the Different Dimension. While its status as a top-tier deck was minimal at best, it helped to save the idea of Return as a game-winning idea, and its influence is still being felt in regional and local circles. Many people (up until the restriction of Return from the Different Dimension) still used the deck long after it was passed up at the professional level, but the idea of continually saving a 1700 ATK Warrior was too good for regional duelists to pass up. Its combination with D.D. Scout Plane as a removal/tribute engine was pure genius, and the creators of the deck – many duelists lay claim – played it well, and won with it often.
But as we all know, decks come and go. Chaos, Chaos Return, Stein OTK, Ninja Return – they all had their heyday at the top (sans Ninja Return, which saw play only at the local and regional levels after the idea was introduced during Shonen Jump Baltimore in 2006). But some things don’t change unless changed by the higher-ups at UDE and Konami. I speak, of course, about the incredible tech cards during this format that became staples later on.
Ryan Spicer is a huge fan of Smashing Ground, often utilizing two (if not three) copies of the amazing destruction card. He had Top-8 finishes in multiple Shonen Jumps with them in his main deck, and Ryan Hayakawa did the same thing. Its use dates back to this format (though it was became big in subsequent formats), and Zaborg the Thunder Monarch began cropping up in Chaos builds around the end of the format. These “tech” cards became staples in future formats, and while no one duelist can lay claim to pioneering them, we can say for sure that had these ideas not surfaced we’d be looking at a very different format today.
It’s interesting when you sit back and take a look at the past of Yu-Gi-Oh! Its history is lined with innovations, tech ideas, staples, one-off decks and powerhouse formats; charting this winding, meandering course through the annals of this card game’s short history is a pleasure, and I hope that you, the reader, is taking as much as I am from these articles. They’re meant to provide insight into why we are where we are today. What were the motivations of past players, why did they play what they played, why are we playing the decks we’re playing today? These are questions that I’ve repeatedly asked my teammates on Team Vortex, and the answers I’ve received from them have been less than encouraging.
But still, it’s important to know where we as duelists come from – who are our pioneers, who are our heroes and villains? Where did we come from, and where are we going? The future of Yu-Gi-Oh! is written in the pages of its past, and we’re lucky to have a well-documented one that we can look at, analyze, sink our teeth into, digest, and spit out some of the best decks and ideas we’ve ever seen. If you take the time to really dig deep into the game, you’ll come out with a fresh and lasting understanding of the plays players make, why they make them, how they make them…it’s amazing.
Thanks for reading. As always, I’m taking submissions for my Friday Deck Fixes, and we’re going to be continuing our Looking into the Past series with the September 2006 format, coming next time.
For any and all correspondence, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
Copyrightę 1998-2008 pojo.com
This site is not sponsored, endorsed, or otherwise affiliated with any of the companies or products featured on this site. This is not an Official Site.