Amy Young tells you what to expect from YCS Austin this weekend.
The first YCS of the Spring 2013 format is right around the corner. Players everywhere are preparing to take home the trophy by getting together and playtesting, traveling to regional and local tournaments, and theory-ohing for hours on end. There’s no sure fire way to know which deck will get the gold, but over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what deck I believe is the best to take to the event. I have also thought about how to side deck for all of the matchups I’ll face, and what to do in different situations I’m sure will arise once I’m there. Today, I’m going to tell you all about the conclusions I’ve come to by discussing what the metagame will feature, good side deck cards heading into the event, and what deck I think will ultimately come out on top.
The Metagame: What to Prepare for in the Next Few Weeks
On March 9th, I traveled to a regional regional tournament in Tuscaloosa, AL. This event was going to be the one I used to test out some new tech in my deck and learn my way around my combos. It was going to be the midway point for Austin, and during the day, I formed my opinion of what I think the metagame will be for the YCS. Tuscaloosa had a nice turnout with 289 players (the largest they’ve ever had), so I had a feeling that if I stayed near the top tables, I would get a taste of what everyone was playing.
I decided to play Mermails for this event, as I was pretty set on that being my deck for YCS Austin (more on that later). Before the regional started, it looked like I was going to be facing a lot of mirror matches, but I guess I looked in the wrong place. There was one deck that was played heavily over everything else, but it wasn’t Mermails. It was Fire Fists, the deck I featured in one of my previous articles. Because of that, I felt pretty confident in this matchup, but that didn’t stop me from groaning when I sat down round nine and faced my sixth Fire Fist deck of the day. The deck is easy enough to understand and figure out how to counter, but once they get those Bears rolling, it can be an uphill battle that is especially hard for Mermails in games two and three.
I feel because of my regional experience, and others’ experience that I’ve read about online, Fire Fists is going to be a prominent deck come YCS Austin. It is definitely not a sleeper deck. For the past month or so Fire Fist decks have been popping up everywhere, but it is especially important to prepare for them in Austin. Side deck a lot of spell trap removal. I’ll give specific examples that I think are good in this matchup in the next section.
Along with Fire Fists, Mermails will be a heavily played deck at the YCS. The raw power and explosive nature of the deck appeals to a lot of players. One reason I think some players will choose Fire Fists over Mermails is the cost. Mermail Abyssmegalo keeps rising in price, hitting well over a hundred dollars. The total cost of building the deck can be close to eight hundred dollars, which breaks the bank for most casual players. Fire Fist-Bear is an expensive card, coming in at just over sixty dollars as I’m writing this article; however, the rest of the deck is composed of commons and rares. Tiger King and the extra deck are going to cost you a little, but nothing comes near the cost of Abyssmegalo. Mermails also requires the player to have a Big Eye or two, which runs the cost of an otherwise inexpensive extra deck way up.
So now that we’ve hit on the two big decks I expect to rule this event, I want to talk about some Tier 2 decks that I think could make a splash at YCS Austin. The first one is Wind-ups, something that I thought would die post-March 2013 but has managed to stay relevant despite the banning of its most important extra deck card. In my last article, I mentioned the Wind-up build that utilizes cards like Cardcar D and Pot of Duality to thin out the deck and let you draw your combo cards more easily. With Wind-up Magician at one, the chances you will draw the right cards to go off decreased significantly. Draw power cards like the two I mentioned above can help you get there faster. Another way the deck compensates for the lack of Magician is by using cards like Summoner Monk to get you the extra special summons. A few copies of Maxx “C” can help with this matchup and Mermails, so I would include them in your side deck.
Another Tier 2 deck I’ve been seeing a lot of is Six Samurais. For two years now, Samurais have always been there. At first they were a power house, ruling the first few months of the format after they came out. Then, September 2011 put them to rest with the limiting of a few key cards. Now, Shien’s Smoke Signal is back to three, and while you can still only make one Legendary Six-Samurai Shien, there are still a multitude of plays you can make that put five monsters on board and deal lethal damage to your opponent. In the early rounds of the YCS, you may see a few Six Samurai decks among the crowd. Be prepared, but don’t devote too much of your side deck for matchups like this.
The last deck I want to talk about is a Tier one deck that I’m wavering on: Macro Rabbit. It has a good Mermail matchup, but it seems like people are switching to various other decks because of consistency issues. The lack of targets for Tour Guide could be a problem, so I’m not sure how many Dino Rabbit decks are going to be at YCS Austin. I plan on devoting a few spots in my side deck for this matchup because I’m going to be playing Mermails and don’t want to be caught off guard. They will make a showing, but I don’t expect the deck to perform particularly well.
The Side Deck
While every deck will side for different matchups in different ways, there are a few cards that I am going to touch on that are just generically good right now. It’s always best to construct your side deck based on your strengths and weaknesses as well as your deck’s. Know before you go what to side out and in against what matchups. Studying the side deck and utilizing it to its full advantage is something that will increase your level of play exponentially. When you’re playtesting, always remember to side deck and test out how your deck works games two and three. Figure out how to maintain consistency while still getting the most out of your sided cards. Now onto the specifics.
Mind Crush was recently unlimited. It could not have come at a more perfect time, as it can be used against two of the most relevant decks this format: Mermails and Fire Fists. It seems to be especially useful against Fire Fists. Fire Formation-Tenki is the main search card of the deck, and the way they cycle through their Bears. If you can stop the continuous stream of Bears by Mind Crushing the one they add to their hand, you can slow them down and gain advantage over them. Some Fire Fist decks also play Pot of Duality, so you can Mind Crush the card they take off of that. Over the weekend, Mind Crush won me several games against my six Fire Fist matchups, taking out Bears and even a Dimensional Fissure (gotten off Duality).
Mind Crush also gives you another advantage in letting you see your opponent’s hand. That information is invaluable. It allows you to know your opponent’s set spell/trap cards and what plays they might make next. With all of that set in front of you, it’s easy to play your cards in a manner that takes advantage of your opponent. After a well-timed Mind Crush, you can control the game in a way that makes you counter every move your opponent makes. Mind Crush also couples well with Deck Devastation Virus. I side two copies of DDV in my Mermail build. If I’m playing in the mirror match or against a Wind-up deck, I can activate DDV, get rid of all their monsters, then Mind Crush whatever other problem card I saw in their hand.
Before I move on, I want to make one more note on using Mind Crush. Make sure that if you want to use Mind Crush in the draw phase, you have your opponent declare their phases. If they move into Main Phase one, you lose the ability to use Mind Crush before they make a play. If they’re moving too quickly, make sure you tell them to hold on a second, as you might have a response. It is always best to declare phases, but make sure that you don’t lose your opportunity because you’re careless.
These cards and others like Malevolent Catastrophe all fall into the category of spell/trap destruction. With Fire Fists running rampant, it is important to have spot removal for spell/traps. Mystical Space Typhoon is obviously the best choice for this, so if you don’t already main deck three, this should be the first spot removal you put in your side deck. After that, I prefer Dust Tornado. It can be used on facedown or face up spell/traps, which gives it an advantage over Twister. That way, you can respond to a Tenki/Tensu/Tenken as well as destroying a potential defensive trap. I prefer the versatility of Dust Tornado. Twister doesn’t have to be set first, so that gives it an advantage against a first turn Dimensional Fissure, but I would rather play the Dust Tornado and just wait a turn to activate it. Twister is too situational, in my opinion.
Dimensional Fissure/Macro Cosmos/ Banisher of the Radiance
The best defense against Mermails is making it so they cannot discard to the graveyard. This stops all of their Atlantean effects, stops them from discarding to summon Abyssmegalo/Abyssteus, stops their Abysslinde, and just generally shuts their entire deck down. Cards like this make extra spot removal like I mentioned above essential for the Mermail player. Fortunately for the non-Mermail player, most decks can side some form of this defense. For Fire Fists, Dimensional Fissure is the best option. Macro Cosmos stops your Bear/Gorilla effects (the spell trap you destroy to get rid of a monster/trap has to go to the graveyard), so it would give you a handicap as well. Dimensional Fissure shuts down Mermails while giving you your Gorillas/Bears. Banisher of the Radiance is another good card for Fire Fists. You can summon it and build advantage with your Tenkis. Then, once they answer the banisher and waste their resources, you can overwhelm them with Bears.
Macro Rabbit has an advantage in that they main deck Macro Cosmos. This makes their game one especially good against Mermails. Games two and three the Mermail player will probably side in multiple Dust Tornados, so I would put a few copies of Banisher into my Rabbit side deck. Six Samurais can side into Dimensional Fissure, as can Wind-ups, as long as both decks play smart and don’t get into a situation where they mess themselves up with the removal. If you aren’t playing Mermails, some version of these cards is essential. If you are, some way to get rid of them is equally as important.
Messenger of Peace/Level Limit Area B
These cards are great options in a variety of decks. They’re used as both a defense and a way to stall out until you draw your combos. Messenger of Peace saw play in Wind-up decks last format. Mermails are following suit, side decking two copies to stall the opponent out. You either wait to draw your combos or an answer to their Dimensional Fissure/Macro Cosmos. Level Limit can be played in Rescue Rabbit. A combination of Level Limit and Macro Cosmos can shut down a Fire Fist or Mermail deck. If you have a Laggia on the field, it creates a lock that is very difficult to break. Consider some version of these cards in your side deck. I wouldn’t call them essential, but they could come in use in the upcoming YCS.
The Big Winner
There are a lot of decks that have a chance to do well at this YCS. The beginning of a format is always open to creativity, and the unlimiting of various cards on the ban list allows for decks like Six Samurais and Lightsworn to make a come back. There can only be one winner, and I believe it will be Mermails.
I know this isn’t a revolutionary choice, as many people believe Mermails are the best deck of the format. They have yet to capture a YCS win, and I think its about time that they get that victory. There are two versions running around right now: Mono-Mermail and Genex Undine Mermails. Both decks are powerful, and I think either has the chance to win. Mono-Mermail seems to be more consistent, and you don’t have to play the vanilla monsters (Genex Controller). It also abuses Abyss- squall, a card that makes using Abyssgaios and Big Eye easy. There are some interesting hybrid builds out there, but I think the ratios that you have to play are too strange, so I would commit to either version if you are playing Mermails at the YCS.
I think this deck will win because of its raw power. There are so many ways to OTK using Abyssmegalo and Deep Sea Diva, but you can also get into a control game with Abyssgaios. There is even an element of hand control with Moulinglacia and Abyssleed. Mermails has every element packed into one deck. It also has a great matchup against rogue decks because it can easily overwhelm them. This deck has a great game one against Fire Fists if you play your cards right.
A lot of people may disagree with my pick for the simple reason that it is really easy to side against this deck. Almost every other deck can side a version of banish removal (Dfissure/Macro etc.), so Mermails have to dedicate a lot of their own side deck just to counter this. Fortunately, there are a lot of cards out there that can take care of Dfissure and Macro Cosmos. Main decking triple MST can help with this. I also side deck three copies of Dust Tornado. Games two and three are going to be more of a struggle, but I still believe this deck will take care of everything else out there. Because of its power and strong game ones, I think Mermails is the ideal deck to take to YCS Austin. It is what I will be playing, and I think it is what will be on top come Sunday night.
I hope you guys enjoyed the article. Feel free to leave comments and let me know what your playing, what you think will win, and if you want any advice. I’m ready for the YCS to come, and I hope you are too. Make sure to add me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. I hope to see you all in Austin!Share this article