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Assessing Shonen Jump Championship San Mateo
The Impact of Light and Darkness Dragon

December 10
, 2007

         What was on many minds before this SJC, what the effect of Light and Darkness Dragon would be on the current metagame. With 6 Decks in the Top 16, Light and Darkness Dragon has already made a big impact on the game. Though it’s just been one SJC that Light and Darkness Dragon has been out there, many players are already making it the centerpiece of new decks and also the main deck to counter with main deck techs and side deck answers. There were many players throughout the tournament with many techs with maindecked D.D. Crow and Destiny Hero – Plasma. With Adam Corn and Jerry Wang with the main decked Plasmas and 8 of the Top 16 with D.D. Crow main decked, you can already see that it made a big impact to players. There will be more on Light and Darkness Dragon to come.
            Light and Darkness Dragon only made up one out of the nine different deck-types to make Day 2. After the six Light and Darkness Dragon Decks, Macro Cosmos decks were a big factor on the scene at SJC San Mateo. With three in Top 16, it was surprising that not as many people would have been ready for the matchup, especially with much speculation before hand that it would be a Macro Cosmos filled tournament. Though many in Top 16, had side deck answers ranging from Dust Tornado to Kinetic Soldier and even D.D. Survivors of their own. This deck brought former SJC Champion John Umali and Hugo Adame back into to the Day 2 spotlight. From the 3 builds, they all varied in many ways, with Hugo Adame with Banisher of the Radiance mained, John Umali’s MacroMonarchs and Rajvir Singh’s Toolbox. The many variants that were around and it was proven all three can work.
            Three of the major decks of pre-Light and Darkness Dragon all made yet another appearance in Day 2. Comic Odyssey burn, Zombies and Perfect Circle Monarchs all took one spot each in Top 16. This proves that not all decks will die when the format seems to be at a shift in a different direction. With Chris Moosman playing his way back into Day 2 contention after suffering a First Round loss, proves the strength of his Perfect Circle Monarch build. Eric Wu brought CO Burn back into the spotlight with another Day 2 appearance for the deck, seems to be that no matter what, this deck gets a spot in Day 2, regardless of how it does on Day 2. David Huertas was finally able to break through by taking Zombies to Day 2 as well. With D.D. Crow tech he used to help against the mirror match he won in the final round of Swiss, but all throughout the day and also the 3 dust tornados, which not many have used before, previous builds used 2, was able to help take control of many situations and against other continuous spell and trap problems. Also to get rid of those problems to be able to get a full swing in when it is needed.
            Josh Cohen shocked the field by proving to everyone that regular monarchs (this time 9-guage) is never dead. With the siding of Pulling the Rug, he was still able to get through and take his deck to an impressive undefeated 9-0 record on Day 1. Monarchs has been around in every SJC and every format, but it’s proving now that Foolish Burial is really making the game change drastically, especially with his deck getting Treeborn Frog into the graveyard fast is always a plus for him to get his strategy into play early. With his choice to play Widespread Ruin over many other cards, and 3 Soul Exchange, he was able to really use all he had to his advantage. Halting many big attackers with Widespread also will help when the matchup does end up playing Zombies. Yet his streak ended after losing to Hugo Adame in Top 8.
            The age of Volcanic Monarchs was upon us at SJC San Mateo. With many player’s overhyping Royal Firestorm Guards, Charley La proved that the deck is good and stable without it. He was able to use his discard effects and other tricks wisely in many occasions. He has brought this deck into the light, even with all the new decktypes flourishing out there. Yet this deck could easily have it’s troubles if Macro Cosmos decks are able to set up early in the game and make those effects like Volcanic Rocket and Volcanic Shell be useless as games go on. He did keep the Apprentice Magician Engine in the deck that was first implemented when this deck first hit the seen by Miguel Albarran.
            Next we move to one of the surprise decks of the tournament, Baboon Burn piloted by Justin Trias. This deck really focused on being really aggressive with Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest, 3 Raiza the Storm Monarch and a plethora of burn traps like Secret Barrel and Just Desserts (of course complemented by Ojama Trio). Though many have questioned his choice of running Nimble Momonga over Des Koala, it is still a viable choice in his deck. With Nimble Mononga, he is able to gain much life and still have a chance to bring out Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest. Some can argue that the burn is more important, yet the Nimble Momongas were a big help for him to make Day 2. Though he was able to see Day 2 again, another loss in the first round of Day 2, stopped him from taking this deck all the way. Many will emulate this deck and try other cards and variants, yet this deck was a force at SJC San Mateo, just so happened that only 1 Baboon Burn did make Day 2.
            The last deck to hit Top 16, was once again David “OTK Master” Rodriguez. Proving that Demise is not a deck that is dead just yet. This is the 3rd time he was able to make Day 2 with an OTK deck, Demise a second time. Though his variant was able to use new cards like Trade-In and Swing of Memories to do some major damage and draw for his deck. With 3 Metal Armored Bug, 3 Demise, King of Armageddon and 2 Great Maju Garzett, Trade-In was a viable card to use to help him be able to draw to his combos. Swing of Memories was not only a great choice for him but many. It was able to cause a lot of major added attacks and damage that many people were not ready for. With many of the field too involved in fighting against decks like Macro Cosmos, Light and Darkness Dragon decks, Six Samurai and other deck-types, people forgot all about Demise and didn’t have all the necessary side deck preparation for it.. Though he was not the only Demise player, and there were many at this SJC, he showed that he is the OTK Master.
            Though Day 2 didn’t get to witness any Six Samurai decks, it was there in many numbers. That the Kinetic Soldiers that many side decked and other answers people had were able to outlast the blazing speed the deck can have. Though with many players were packing Crush Card Virus, like in the Featured Match with Adam Corn and Mike Glowaki, it is proven that there are some weak points of the deck, but sometimes yet especially with Six Samurai decks, that speed and luck are always going to be a major factor. Keep a lookout for many Six Samurai decks to be implemented and to be seen in the future as Gladiator’s Assault really gave them better support with Cunning of the Six Samurai, Spirit of the Six Samurai, Double-Edge Sword Technique and Enishi, Shien’s Chancellor.
            Back to Light and Darkness Dragon decks. With many decks out there using the Destiny Hero engine to fuel their deck, Chris Pittao proved that it’s not all about just Destiny Heroes and used 3 Gravekeeper Spy to help with his regular with the 2 Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch he used to help combat many other decks. Crush Card Virus played a big role in this SJC and especially with the 5 Destiny Hero Light and Darkness decks that saw Day 2. May different cards can be used in and out of these decks, but it’s the synergy that can keep the cards in the deck working well. That not just any random card will just make the deck good. With what was a Team Overdose tech it seemed like this SJC, Destiny Hero – Plasma played a big part in their favor in unfavorable matchups and especially the mirror match. Trent Kittle utilized Jinzo and Destiny Hero – Dasher in his build, paired with Dark Magician of Chaos, it was seemingly a blast from the past with a Diamond Dude Turbo type of lineup with those cards. Cyber Dragon is a debatable card that not all players used, and other cards were more important. Though it will be up to the duelist’s playstyle in the end, the choices you make can be the difference between winning and losing. Though many may question the 45-card deck that Fili Luna used, he was able to keep the synergy well and have many cards complement each other to achieve his 3rd SJC title and his successful defense of his SJC San Mateo title.
Congratulations to all of those who made Day 2 of SJC San Mateo and to Fili Luna on his 3rd SJC Win. Only time will really tell how the metagame will shift, but so many possibilities out there with all the new cards, and not to mention the new set, Phantom of Darkness coming out in a couple months.
- Tomas Mijares




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