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Tomas's Duel School
Coming to the End to Another Format
Looking Back at the Changes of the Metagame

August 7
, 2007

            When the Banned List for March 1st came out, many players started to really jump on making many decks. The Banned list for March 1st changed much of the game we knew at the time. The return of Snatch Steal, the loss of Breaker the Magical Warrior, Graceful Charity, and Magician of Faith. Even the restriction to an unreleased card Neo Spacian Ground Mole and also the new sensation that was Elemental Hero Stratos, made a big impact on the format, not to mention cards like Overload Fusion going down to one after all of the Machine OTKs we saw and Metamorphosis going down to two. There were other significant changes that affected this format that we are about to say goodbye too in a few weeks.

            There was so much speculation, so many decks that many people were going to try, and even Diamond Dude Turbo, which took SJC St. Louis by storm was said to be dead. Many questions were answered on what would be big, and it was Bazoo Return, Piloted by many, but it was Emon Ghaneian who stood when the dust was settled. A big surprise to many was Overdose teammate, Kris Perovic piloting Diamond Dude Turbo in a field that many though the deck couldn’t do well with just 1 Elemental Hero Stratos. In that Shonen Jump, we saw the other regular decks from before, being Monarchs and even the US National Champion using Gadget Monarchs. Being the first player to Day 2 a Shonen Jump with a Shonen Jump prize card (Being Shrink).

            Then at Shonen Jump Columbus, Marc Glass finished what Kris Perovic started, by winning SJC with DDT (Diamond Dude Turbo). This was the start of Demise OTK with Max Suffrage and Vincent Tundo using Demise OTK. Gadgets, a deck that was really not doing so well after a while, showed up in Day 2 once again. Then one of the defining decks of the format for a while which was piloted by Lazaro Bellido, was what some called Lazaro Monarchs, which was Monarchs with Troopers, also known as Trooper Monarchs.

            With the DDT starting again, in SJC Montreal, standard Monarchs shined once again with Cesar Gonzalez taking down the title. Though thanks to the big decrease of Burn hate, Burn decks really made a huge showing here both slow with OD burn and chain burn that was brought back up to Day 2 Since SJC San Jose. Once again Demise made another showing and many players became weary of the OTK as no one liked playing against OTK decks and with the Banning of Stein after SJC San Jose, many players had to prepare to play it more often. Yet we also saw a really unique deck which was a Cyberdark deck, it was made well for the time and it made a great showing , just couldn’t get there to the end like Yannick Dubeau wanted.

            SJC Anaheim was the day of Demise OTK. Where 3 Demise OTK decks made the top 8, which included the Winner, Michael Songloke and also the OTK master David Rodriguez who won SJC San Jose with Cyber-Stein OTK. It was one last hurrah for DDT with Team Outphase’s Chris Bowling using DDT with 3 Magical Stone Excavation in his deck, this would play a role in the upcoming months of the game. Also, this SJC was the birth of T-Hero (Destiny Hero Beatdown) Piloted by no other than Theerasak Poonsombat, who had his 7th SJC Day 2 that SJC. This would turn out to be one of the defining decks of the format.

            In SJC Philadelphia, Jessy Samek took T-Hero to the promise land, a SJC win. Not to keep T down at this point as he made his 8th Day 2 appearance.  Though many people were ready with their side decks, Demise made another Day 2 and so did burn. This was the first time OD burn was put out on the internet for all to see (that couldn’t be taken down by request), piloted again by Anthony Alvarado, making another Day 2 with his burn deck, and Jonathan Roche using his Chain Burn deck made Burn alive once again. Throughout all of these SJCs there was always some version of Monarchs around, yet we saw a really innovative deck from Jeff Jones again, this time Big City. The deck utilizing Elemental Hero Ocean and Skyscraper 2 - Hero City. There was big talk of this deck, and some kept on playing it and some just brushed it off and started on making other decks.

            International Nationals started to be Covered and we saw a variety of decks in these Nationals. Andrew Lam took down the UK Nationals title with his Ratbox deck. This was something that people were seemingly not prepared for and he was able to defeat Jon Whittaker in the finals who used Decree Gadgets. Which was a huge surprise for the meta as Gadgets has seemingly disappeared for so long and for it to do well really opened eyes of many players, yet it was another 2nd place finish for Jon. Though rogue decks really took UK Nationals, Burn showed up once again, it seemed like people just weren’t going to do so much about it, yet Jon’s deck seemed perfect for that matchup.

            Here I will take a break from the decks to talk about the updated Banned/Restricted list that took effect on June 1st. Where Magical Stone Excavation and Green Baboon, Defender of the Forest were both restricted to one, and that alone was a big blow to DDT, and we have yet to see it back in top form. Many speculated with Green Baboon, in many decks and also in Crystal Beast decks, yet didn’t see much success as time went on in future tournaments and SJCs. But be on the lookout for it as more people subscribed to Shonen Jump to get them.


            Going back to US, and SJC Minneapolis where Team Overdose took the win thanks to Shane Scurry. Using T-Hero with Crush Card Virus seemed like too much for his opponents throughout the tournament. We saw Big City in Day 2 once again, but from then on, it hasn’t made a Splash at all, and Elemental Hero Ocean has been nowhere to be found. Machine OTK was seen once again with a twist with 2 UFO Turtle and even a Blowback Dragon in the decklist. Yet it was Perfect Circle Monarchs that shined at this SJC. Though some made Top 16 back at SJC Anahiem, like Hooman Farabakush, it was seen in decklists here in this SJC.

            Then came the two weeks that has changed the face of Yu-Gi-Oh! as we know it. This started with Canadian Nationals where Dexter Dalit won his 2nd Canadian Nationals with Decree Gadgets, doing what Jon Whittaker couldn’t do in the UK. Yet it wasn’t necessarily Decree Gadgets that made the biggest impact and
even Though T-Hero was seen in that Top 8, it was Matt Peddle’s machine deck that would really break the format as we would see at US Nationals. Yet I don’t want to leave the subject of Canadian Nationals without talking about Matthew Lai and his explosive version of Six Samurai, though he wasn’t able to win it all, he had a nice build that fit how he played, and brought Six Samurai back to top 8.


            Here we are now at United State Nationals, where now Team Overdose member, Adam Corn took the championship with Trooper Monarchs. His 2 Thestalos, 3 Raiza combination to take down the Championship. Yet T-Hero and Matt Peddle Machines ran rampant in the top 16. Then when all the dust was settled, the final 4 stood out with Trooper Monarchs and Adam Corn, 13-Gauge Monarchs piloted by Bryan Rockenbach, A very Aggressive deck that hit fast and big which had cards like 3 Card Trooper, 3 Dimension Wall and 3 Injection Fairy Lily piloted by Justin Womack and Machines with some tweaks from Canadian Nationals which Michael Bueno used to get his spot in World Championships.  Though there was Augustin Herrera using his Magical Explosion siding into a DDT variant which also hit the scene. Crystal Beasts made a charge yet couldn’t go all the way to Day 2 even with the explosive start of 6-0 piloted by Adam Donahue, but Marc Glass was given a Featured Deck using Crystal Beasts as well. Vincent Tundo, like always, is a crowd pleaser with new innovative decks, and showed up with a Macromonarch Lockdown deck with Gravekeeper’s Servant to stall out then go on the offensive.
Another deck was the deck called “E-Mon Heroes” used by Emon Ghaneian, and in this Nationals, it started a very big trend in the game, Transformation Side decks. Augustin and Emon helped to start that trend in the game and it showed in other SJCs.

            SJC Phoenix was one for the record books. Theerasak Poonsombat was the first National Champion to win a Shonen Jump Championship, breaking the curse, like the Boston Red Sox did a few years ago in Baseball. Using a Machine deck with The Light - Hex-Sealed Fusion. It was 9 top 8’s and it was the one that mattered. Bryan Rockenbach and Adam Corn just off Nationals Finals was in Top 16 yet again. What I said about the trend that Augustin and Emon started was true here in this SJC. George Saavedra used T-Hero siding into Demise OTK, which he went Undefeated in Swiss with. Bryan Rockenbach from Monarchs to Machines, which was the same for Billy Brake and Hugo Adame. The transformation side decks really changes the game and makes some matchups hard for players to handle because it can be a surprise to their opponent. Alexander Thomas-Johnson almost took Crystal Beasts to Day 2, but losing to time in the final swiss round featured match to Josh Fuzy put Crystal Beasts going to Day 2 on hold. We saw a new version of Monarchs in Destiny Monarchs used by Jason Halloway and there was 2 burn variants, one using Gellenduo and the other being machine burn, both good solid decks that did well and both made the top 16. Earth control was seen again just like in UK Nationals, I guess the international Nationals did rub off on some players.

            Then there was the most recent, SJC Detroit. Fili Luna took down the title for the 2nd time of his Yu-Gi-Oh! career with a deck like what Emon used at US Nationals, but side decked into his Machine deck that he used to Top 16 2 straight Big tournaments. (US Nationals and SJC Phoenix). The trend continued as 4 other players had transforming side decks. Jeremy Frierson with Monarchs siding into Machines, Michael Cordero with Machines siding into Monarchs, Shaun Kuchta with T-Hero side into Horus lock and Jonathan Labouny using a machine monarch variant with more monarchs in the side.

            With SJC Indy so close, we can only wonder what decks will flourish and make it to the spotlight of top 16. With new Regional playmats releasing that weekend and a new SJC Prize Card, many players will be utilizing all the knowledge they have of previous decks and that those decks have done. Matches won’t be easy and there are many players out there working hard on the next best thing of this game. This will be the last SJC of this Banned list and as the time clicks down to the new format in a few weeks, all we can do is speculate on what cards will be banned, what can come off, what can be restricted somehow. We won’t know for a few weeks, but as we look back at this format, Speed, Damage and Control is what we saw a lot of in this format. All people can do is wonder what can happen and when we see the new list, we can start building accordingly. Good luck to all of those Duelists out there and hopefully those who have all talked about Snatch Steal and Ring of Destruction not being banned, can be satisfied with the new list. (I am eager to see the changes as well)

- Tomas Mijares

P.S. If anyone has anyone has any questions, feel free to PM me on the forums, or email me through the forums.








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