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Tomas's Duel School

The End of the 2007-2008 Yu-Gi-Oh! Dueling Season in America
Assessing the Format and the Effects
of Nationals on the Current Metagame

June 30, 2008

    First off, it’s been a really long time. There has been so much going on in life, from graduation, to getting ready for college, to life, to now being engaged. Shoutout to my fiancé Bianca! =]

    This format has really seen everything and anything in this last year. From Theerasak Poonsombat, and others with many variants to his T-Hero deck, with the popular mix with Machines that took him and Jonathan LaBounty to the promise land. To slow burn, or more commonly known to Comic Odyssey burn, which owner Kenny So, and Louie Raimondo with his variant took titles.  To the takeover of Zombies once again in Yu-Gi-Oh! With the previous ruling on Zombie Master and Il Blud taking the game by storm thanks to the piloting of the Bellido Brothers in Canada which helped Phillip Anthony a win in Durham. Fili Luna has become even a bigger icon because of this format, and piloted Light and Darkness Dragon to a win, with a field full of it , perfect circle and even the new hit of Shonen Jump Championship San Mateo, Baboon Burn which got a hit in the Top 16 with Justin Trias. Though we saw the emergence of Dimension Fissure decks with many variants showing their stuff in top 16 of SJC San Mateo as well.

    Then Dark Armed Dragon and Phantom of Chaos started wreaking havoc upon the game. But they were all thwarted on their first try by Jonathan Moore and Six Samurai. His build revolutionized Six Samurai for this format with triple Great Shogun Shien and his power to stop so many spell effects that DAD decks brought to the table. That he also was able to put the two newest cards for six samurai to use, Spirit of the Six Samurai and Six Samurai United. But that didn’t stop the players and the popularity of DAD decks as many variants started surfacing and taking more people out with its explosive power of being able to win just on one turn, same with the ever popular comeback of magical explosion. This also came with Caius the Shadow Monarch being released in America. Though only some decks did have a splash of it, it never really went off enough to make an impact until US Nationals. Lazaro Bellido, took the 50th anniversary of SJCs at Shonen Jump Championship Costa Mesa, where DAD did reign supreme. Even with all the variety that hit SJC Costa Mesa, DAD became the force and the deck to beat. This translated over to the next SJC with Jerry Wang taking another title to his belt, he also has come up more than ever as a major icon of the game.

    Then came Gladiator Beasts. Many saw the power and speed of this deck, and the control it has with Gladiator Beast Heralinkos. With the negating power and 3000 attack, Heralinkos wasn’t anything to snuff at. To the shock of many Paul Levitin came out with Team Overdose to pilot the first Gladiator Beast SJC win. Though Jason Holloway did set the game straight for one more week with another DAD win, then Steven Harris used a build of Gladiator Beasts, without Elemental Hero Prisma to take his own title, and another for Gladiator Beasts. That led up to the United States National Championship, where both finalists, Shane Scurry and eventual Winner Chris Bowling took their Gladiator Beast deck builds all the way to a worlds qualification. Adam Corn with a Dark/Monarch hybrid came close to a 2nd straight worlds qualification but was stopped by New Jersey native Robert Ackerman and some amazing plays down the stretch to steal the trip away from Corn.

    Many cards over the last couple months have emerged as necessary cards in many decks. With the mass release of Crush Card Virus in the Gold Series, almost every deck, even Gladiator Beasts, have found a way to be able to use it. That with the surge of the once automatic side deck card, D.D. Crow, has now hit many main decks and will always be a big factor, as US Nationals showed us the power of it. Though Gladiator Beasts are so much more stronger with Light of Destruction with the introduction of Gladiator Beast Gyzarus. His power of being able to destroy 2 cards on the field when he is contact fused, makes Gladiator Beasts such an explosive deck. Elemental Hero Prisma has made a huge impact as well, with his effect of copying a name, which is more often than not, Gladiator Beast Beastiari, though there are the moments when players do reveal Heralinkos for Prisma to dump into the graveyard.
    Many players really jumped onto Lightsworn decks, with once again the Bellido Brothers brought out their build with Judgment Dragon. Many players though that Lightsworn and Judgment Dragon would take over the game and dethrone Dark Armed Dragon, but they have all fallen short, even with Honest and how game changing it has shown in many fairy decks. The power to increase attack makes it like a Magic Cylinder that destroys the attacking monster too. Jerome McHale showed that counter Fairies will always stand a chance, thanks to Honest to protect Bountiful Artemis.

    Speaking of Counter Traps, who knew the game would shift to almost everyone main decking Solemn Judgment.  Now paying half of your life points is nothing to players trying to stop potential game breaking plays or even game-ending plays. The ability to shut down anything to defend yourself or going for the win yourself has made this card come into the spotlight. Though a counter trap that is under the radar is Black Horn of Heaven, it can have such a great effect on so many decks and the upswing of it can be devastating. To stop that monster reborn on Destiny Hero - Disk Commander, to any of the Gladiator Beasts and even to Elemental Hero Stratos to give your opponent even more outs and cards. Yet, ,any decks are finding that Divine Wrath has become a really nice side deck card to help combat all effects, with so many tag out effects with Gladiator Beasts and to DAD decks, that it can stop them cold.

    Speaking of cold, Cold Wave, not necessarily a staple in Gladiator Beast decks, but can really cause many problems as many players use it to take total control of the match or just win it outright with it. You can usually bet there is a Solemn Judgment waiting to stop it, but that doesn’t always work out with GB decks using them too.

    Another big main decked card now, back from the past of T-Hero format, Phoenix Wing Wind Blast has been making a huge return with so many players wanting to get rid of all of the Gladiator Beasts, if they aren’t on the field, they aren’t going to be a threat to them. With bounce coming back, many players have come back with, yet another blast from the past, Legendary Jujitsu Master. His ability to start sending monsters away has helped so much too.
    Though not too many players use it all the time, Dimensional Prison has helped to deal with all those monsters you don’t want to see come back. With Return From a Different Dimension at 1 and Dimension Fusion banned, you can almost count on those monsters not coming back at all, except for when D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation is used, but its not abused so much, just a splashed card in some DAD builds.

    US Nationals has brought so many cards into the light, mainly Prime Material Dragon, as Adam Corn used so many times to help will push his way back to the top 8.   Prime Material Dragon’s ability to negate any card that destroys monsters really helps, especially to save life, but other players also brought out My Body as a Shield to do the same but at a hefty 1500 life points to do so. Deck Lockdown has been able to see play, to stop special summons, but for only 2 turns. Its more versatile than Royal Oppression, unless Royal Oppression is used to control the whole deck you’re playing, like in gadgets. It gives you time to deal with the deck you’re playing against and if you play against DAD, Lightsworn or Gladiator Beasts, this card can help you a lot.

    Then to Prohibition, one of the Gladiator Beast killers, with the new rulings, cards can’t have the name, or even be discarded by an effect. That means being able to stop Elemental Hero Prisma when wanting to turn into Gladiator Beast Beastiari.  That shuts down and makes them dead cards now, when many would just dump them away with other effects, now with Prohibition, they don’t have such luxury. Book of Moon, has made it’s comeback, especially with it’s power to control Elemental Hero Prisma to not let Gladiator Beast decks contact fuse for the monster they are wanting, usually Gyzarus. The big surprise for decks that many didn’t even notice was Mind Control. For Gladiator Beasts, it’s a Godsend against the mirror, not to mention the fact that it can move anything out of the way. It’s a really underrated card for many players, but just because the National Champion Chris Bowling and Runner-up Shane Scurry didn’t use it, doesn’t mean its not a good card.

    The combo of Trap Dustshoot and Mind Crush is more popular than ever. With Jae Kim’s first showing of Crush shoot a while back, to the controlling factor it can have now. Mind Crush has really stopped many decks and cards in their tracks, searching for cards just fall to the graveyard. Controlling of the hand and the field are so much more important now than ever, especially taking away outs from any deck. Though not many people are out to use hand control decks because of speed, there are many ways you can. Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch may be slow because it’s a monarch, but his effect can change games and his 2400 ATK is nothing to scoff at.

    This next year has so many questions behind it, though the big decks are going to virtually untouched come Worlds, we all just have to wonder what new decks people will bring out of their sleeves. With the new monarch, Kuraz the Light Monarch, we can just wonder what new tricks people will try to do with it and how it will be used. Could magical explosion come back? Or will the loss of Dimension Fusion make it not see play? We only have a few more weeks to find out what will happen with them, in SJC Philadelphia and SJC Honolulu coming up, we can just wonder and then find out. Good luck to everyone in the upcoming weeks and year. Last one though, congratulations to Robert Ackerman, Miguel Garcia, Shane Scurry and Chris Bowling on their great showings at Nationals and overcoming the 627 to gain their qualifications to Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship, take the title home for America!

- Tomas Mijares





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