Another article in collaboration with Complexity Card Gaming!
Dear Yu-Gi-Oh community,
As you may already know, I just recently won YCS Prague 2017 with a deck that was not Zoodiac so today I am going to write about my deck decision and tournament experience itself.
I ended up playing 60 card Paleozoic Frog for the event and at this point I want to give a shout out to everyone I prepared with before the event, but mainly my good friend and team mate Marcello Barberi who helped me a whole lot with building the deck even though he did not even play himself as he was commentating. We came to the conclusion that 60 card Paleo was the best deck for the event since it has an incredible Match-up vs Pure Zoo and also beats other 60 card Grass decks very consistently, simply because it is the 60 card deck that relies the least on actually drawing That Grass Looks Greener. Without it it just functions as a regular Paleozoic Frog deck, while playing over 40 actually gives you more benefits than just being able to play Grass. It also makes it way easier to resolve multiple Pot of Desires in a game and allows you to fit cards like Card of Demise as well, which is a really good card in the grind games this format. The inclusion of Absolute King Back Jack and Fiend Griefing was also something that made the 60 card Paleo a lot stronger than the 40 card version. Resolving Back Jack gives you so much control over the game that it is usually very hard for you to even lose once you hit it with Grass or get an early Fiend Griefing. 60 cards also meant we would have the minimum chance of actually drawing Back Jack, which of course still happened a decent amount of times but it is usually manageable since you can discard it with Demise or Dinomischus or just set it and wait for it to be attacked.
So in the end this is the list that I played:
I guess something I should also talk about is the fact that I did not play Maxx “C”, even though it is an incredibly good card vs the shenanigans Zoodiac can manage to do on their first turn. It is basically a combination of reasons that make Maxx “C” just slightly suboptimal in this deck. To begin with, you don’t have a very high chance of opening it when going second in 60 cards, only around 16% to be precise. Since Maxx “C” is at its best when drawn early, that is already a bit concerning, but overall I would still play it in most other 60 card decks simply because it is usually a fine draw mid game in them. In Paleozoic however, you have a lot of anti synergy with Maxx “C” when it shows up in your hand any time after turn 1. With a total of 9 Draw cards (Desires, Demise and Reckless), you have a much higher chance of drawing into it later on after not opening it than in most other decks, which makes it even riskier. It is obviously especially terrible when drawn with Card of Demise. All of that combined with the fact that Pure Zoo is not a hard Match-up to begin with, even when going second vs the combo, made me cut Maxx “C” in the end, even though it felt very weird and took me a long time to finally do it simply because it is so counter intuitive.
There is not much to say about the Extra Deck, just the staples in Toads and Opabinia and then the usual rank 2 Toolbox together with F0, Downerd and 2 Zoodiacs just in case you take control of any Zoodiac monster with Toad. The side deck was geared towards beating Denko by playing Dark Hole, Raigeki, Warning and having Breakthrough Skill to send via Marrella, which is usually fine since Zoodiac is very unlikely to actually kill you the turn they play Denko. In the end we decided to also play a lot for the mirror match in 3 Wiretap and 3 Twin Twisters which turned out to be a very good decision since Paleo was very popular in both 60 and 40 card variations and I played against a total of 5 Paleozoics in 16 rounds.
So now that I have talked about the deck a little bit, lets get into my rounds. I am not going to go in that much detail since its been almost two weeks since and Paleo grind games are usually very long and hard to write down in complete detail.
Round 1 vs 60 card PaleoZoo – lost dice roll – 2:1
I remember him opening Swap Frog and Instant Fusion in game 1 which gave him the turn 1 Toad but I still ended up winning the grind game. Turn 1 Toad is not that gamebreaking anymore now that Lost Wind exists, however I do think that me playing Pure Paleozoic while he played Zoodiacs in his deck helped me winning the grind game a fair amount. I fall behind in Game 2 and decide to scoop before we hit time out so we don’t get a draw in round 1. I end up winning Game 3 in Time.
Round 2 vs 40 card Infernoid Zoo – lost dice – 2:1
The only way Infernoid consistently beats Paleozoic is by going first and opening a way to resolve Feast, since otherwise they wont really be getting enough resources in the graveyard to win the grind game. He did exactly that in Game 1, however I was still in a very good position in the grind game until I activated Desires and drew double Grass while I had like 1 or 2 cards less in my deck than he did. With a bunch of actual traps I could have won that game but sitting on 2 dead Grass` was a quick end to the first game. Going first the Match-up is way too favoured for Paleo so I take Game 2 relatively quick. He opens very good in Game 3, this time opening the Zoo combo plus Vanishment into Feast, but I am able to out grind him this time and actually kill him one turn later with F0 taking his Onuncu and a 3k Daigusto Phoenix connecting directly twice.
Round 3 vs Zoodiac – won dice – 2:0
Not much to say about the match. My deck was designed to beat Pure Zoo and especially when I win the dice roll there is not much that can go wrong before siding. He also did not manage to blow me out with a Denko or something post side so it was a smooth 2:0.
Round 4 vs Metalfoes Zoo – lost dice – 2:0
I don’t remember much about this round other than him opening Totem Bird, Zoo combo and Kirin game 1 and still losing somehow because he used Kirin poorly. He told me afterwards he was not very familiar with the Paleozoic Match-up since he tested mainly against Zoodiac. Game 2 he did not open quite as good and so I was able to win that as well.
Round 5 vs Zoodiac – lost dice – 2:0
Same as before, but this time even without winning the dice roll. As long as there is nothing crazy happening like double Twin Twister the Match-up is very easy. He ended up having a very clutch Trap Stun in Game 2 but could not actually OTK me that turn so I took back control afterwards and won on like 1000 Lifepoints left.
Round 6 vs Metalfoes Zoo – won dice – 1:2
I opened 2 Dupes, a Swap Frog, a Marrella and Barrier in game 1, which gives me Toad with 2 Dupes on the field and 2 facedowns, but obviously only one of them is an actual Trap. Which would have been a fine opening against Pure Zoo, but Metalfoes can have a bunch of hands that deal with it fairly well and he just so happened to have pretty good answers in Terrortop, Baobaboon, Eccentrick and a bunch of scales. The grind game goes on for a bit longer but I eventually lose. Game 2 I open Fragrance and 4 Mirror Forces which is pretty terrible. He goes for Terrortop and Taketomborg and attacks before making Grampulse for some reason even after I flipped Fragrance in his Draw Phase. So he loses his only out to Fragrance to a Mirror Force and eventually scoops to it shortly before Time. But going second I have a very hard time dealing with Foes especially in Time Out since I always fall back on the board and have to take a few hits until I can slowly take over the board, so I ended up losing Game 3 to simply not having enough turns to do the damage.
Round 7 vs 60 card Infernoid – lost dice – 0:2
Once again, he goes first and opens Zoo combo plus Vanishment and I eventually lose the grind game to it. I go first in Game 2, fairly confident that I can still win the match, but my opening hand just lined up very poorly vs his since I had no trap that handled Decatron well and he opened not only Decatron but also One for One. We once again go into a grind game but he plays it out well and wins it in the end.
Round 8 vs Metalfoes Zoo – won dice – 2:0
This time it was going a lot better against Foes, I opened with solid backrow and took Game 1 relatively fast so I was in a comfortable position to have enough time for a solid grind game in either Game 2 or 3. I ended up winning Game 2 after he opened not terribly but also not very good. I think it was just regular Metalfoes stuff without being able to do the Zoo combo or something. So overall not that hard to out grind.
So I finished Day 1 6:2 after starting 5:0, not what I was hoping for but I was still in it so I came back for Day 2 having to win 8 matches in a row in order to win the whole thing.
Round 9 vs Zoodiac – won dice – 2:0
Won dice, won Game 1. Game 2 he opens with the full Sheep combo and sets a backrow. I go for a bunch of sets and pass and he starts his turn by flipping a face down Instant Fusion. I felt like the only reason he would Instant Fusion before attempting to normal summon etc would be Denko, so I immediately used Marrella to send Breakthrough and used Dimensional Barrier afterwards. He ended up just normal summoning Denko and attacking. I just use the Breakthrough next turn and summon a Toad. The grind game goes on for a bit with him having a total of 3 D.D. Crows, but the only real way Zoodiac wins the grind game is by hitting blowout cards like Denko Sekka, which he had but it was not enough.
Round 10 vs 40 card Paleozoic – won dice – 2:0
Another advantage of the 60 card Paleozoic is that it is heavily favoured against the 40 card version, because it just has more resources in the deck and especially
because of Fiend Griefing into Back Jack. Going first in Game 1 obviously also helped, but even in Game 2 I won the grind game after a while. He was also prepared for the mirror as he was siding Twin Twisters as well, but a timely Fiend Griefing on Ronintoadin blew him out in Game 2 so I won 2:0.
Round 11 vs Zoodiac – lost dice – 2:1
I won Game 1 after he opened Sheep combo still, but Game 2 I got blown out by exactly what I mentioned earlier, just that it was not Denko this time, but an End Phase XYZ Universe into Kali Yuga so I scoop Game 2 immediately. Game 3 we go back to normal and he does not blow me out so I win to guarantee Top 32.
I was obviously very relieved after winning all my matches on the bubble, but after coming so close in Bochum I really wanted to win this time so I stayed very focused.
Top 32 vs 60 card Paleo – lost dice – 2:0
I love the 60 card Paleo mirror match. The chance of one player blowing the other player out by opening Toad are so slim and therefore it almost always goes into a grind game where almost every small decision can have very big impact in the end. My Top 32 opponent played the deck very well though so he definitely gave me a very good match here, but in the end I was able to take it 2:0 fortunately.
Top 16 vs 60 card Paleo – won dice – 2:0
Once again a very nice mirror match. This time I won Game 1 after going first and also because his deck was not quite as optimal for the mirror match. I ended up winning Game 2 as well. Its really hard to remember details about these mirrors since even when I won 2:0, both games were very long and usually very good. The 60 card Paleo mirror might actually be one of my favourite Match-ups of all time. (honestly.. no really)
Top 8 vs 60 card Paleo – won dice – 2:1
In Top 8 I was up against my team mate Themis, who played almost the exact same list. Since it was the third 60 card Paleo in a row, I was extremely happy with my Side Deck choices at that point. Once again, we had a very grindy Game 1 that I ended up taking. Game 2 he opened pretty standard with a set monster and 4 backrow, while I had 5 Paleos and a Mirror Force. I was debating to just set all Paleos in case he would Olenoides in End Phase so he would hit one for sure, but I ended up taking the risk and setting the Force and he ended up hitting it with an Olenoides. The game went on for quite a bit longer but as it turns out, his draw was not actually that great and I think if he would have hit a Paleo there I would have been able to win it but oh well. We actually end up starting Game 3 in Time and I open with Mathematician into Back Jack with 4 sets, which is an insane opening in the mirror, but it might not matter as much in Time since he does not necessarily have to win a grind game when he can just do a little bit of damage. But my backrow also included Twin Twisters and I was able to push through the damage that was necessary.
Top 4 vs 60 card Infernoid – won dice – 2:0
This was a Feature Match, you can watch it here:
So after a pretty insane run once again, I was in the finals of my second YCS in a row and my opponent was none other than Billy Brake. The odds of this happening were so low that I actually could not really believe it was happening while we were playing the finals, but it did, so here it is:
Finals vs 60 card Infernoid – won dice – 2:0
I was so happy after winning, especially with a story like this and I still can not really believe it, but yeah I guess it happened. So also a huge shout out to Billy for a once again incredible performance and for making this possible. I am sure we are going to meet again at some point in some event and I am looking forward to it. Also a huge Thank You to everyone that was cheering me on during the event and especially for everyone that was there after the finals to congratulate me. There are to many names to name everyone, but you know who you are. It meant a lot to me.
So yeah, this rounds up my tournament report for YCS Prague, it was an incredible experience for me and I hope you liked reading about it!