Dear Yu-Gi-Oh community and YGOrganization readers,
My name is Joshua Schmidt and for those of you that don’t know me, I am a 21-year-old player from Germany and I am playing for Complexity Card Gaming. Most recently I finished second place at the largest European YCS ever held in Bochum. In this article I am going to give you guys a little insight on my deck choice, deck building process and how the actual tournament went for me. So without further ado let’s get into it.
Since it was a German YCS, there is not much to tell about my traveling experience, just a 2 hour car ride from where I live, so we can get straight into my deck choice for the weekend. As you may know, at YCS Liverpool, the previous event to Bochum, I decided to play Minerva Lightsworn, losing the very last round on the bubble. Afterwards, when INOV was released in the TCG, I tried out some variations of my Minerva list from Liverpool with decent success, mainly due to the addition of Tin Goldfish and Jigabyte to summon Bahamut Shark and Toadally Awesome. However, I also noticed that the deck had a really hard time versus a lot of stuff that has not been around before INOV, such as Dimensional Barrier, Fullmetalfoes Alkahest and the whole Metalfoe deck in general because of Kirin. I came to the conclusion that it would not be best choice for YCS Bochum a couple of weeks ago so I focused on testing other stuff. There were a couple of different options such as ABC, Metalfoes, Paleozoics and Mermails. I am generally not a fan of the ABC deck because it is so linear, kind of easy to counter and relies heavily on winning the dice roll to be favored in any matchup so I scrapped that. Metalfoes seemed like the obvious choice since they’re really consistent, have access to Kirin and the Pendulum mechanic in general is pretty broken. However, the mechanic also has a lot of flaws. It forces you to go all-in a lot since you summon all of your monsters at once which makes it very susceptible to Solemn Strike. Alongside Anti Spell Fragrance and Dimensional Barrier, that makes a lot of traps your deck is super vulnerable to and can not really play around, heavily impacting your overall winrate. So in order for me to play a Pendulum deck this format, it would have to be super unfair and basically win all the games where the opponent does not have one of these traps. Metalfoes however are not unfair enough to guarantee that. I also gave Mermail a shot because I still love that deck from back in the day but it really did not convince me since you need to open really specific combos to play or otherwise you are probably not going to win the game. Mermail hands without Prince or Abyssteus just don’t go anywhere usually.
So I tried out Paleozoics, even though I was really inclined to not play that deck just from looking at the amount of trap cards it plays. I am not a fan of trap-based strategies because they are usually very slow and heavily rely on drawing the right answers to the opponents game plan rather than playing their own game. But when playing with or against the Paleozoic deck I quickly realized that this deck was different from your classic trap heavy Anti-Meta deck. All of the Paleozoics only act like Trap cards on the turn they are set, as soon as you use them and get them into the graveyard, they turn into monsters and when you consider Opabinia, the deck can actually conduct crazy combo turns and do what no normal trap deck is able to: play it’s own game and control the pace of the game by being the aggressor. So a few weeks ago I settled on playing Paleozoic Frogs for the event and started going into detailed deck-building.
The way I thought was the best to play the deck was to play a very minimal amount of actual defensive trap cards so you would not be waiting on your opponent to trigger your trap cards. Paleozoics itself already have very good defensive effects in Canadia and Dinomischus so it seemed unnecessarily slow to play that many other defensive traps. So I ended up not playing all of the stuff like Mirror Forces, Solemn Warning, Ring of Destruction, Vanities Emptiness or whatever you would expect from a classic trap deck. The only defensive traps left were Dimensional Barriers, Solemn Strikes and Compulsory, because those were just to good to cut. But like I said, the deck just wants to get a few Paleozoics in grave and then flip a bunch of non-situational traps over to bring them back. The best trap cards for that purpose are Reckless Greed and Waboku, which are both staple at 3 in Paleozoics in my opinion.I even played around with some copies of Legacy of Yata Garasu for a bit just to have more cards that could always trigger my Paleozoics. The ratios in Paleozoics were pretty obvious for the most part except for Pikaia. I generally really liked Pikaia and I even wanted to play 3 copies at some point. I thought it was the absolute best Paleozoic to just activate in an open game state where there is nothing you want to clear from your opponent etc. However, it requires you to keep Trap cards in hand and that usually turns out to be to slow, especially when going second. So in the end, even if I really liked the card, I cut it down to two and eventually to one so I could still search it with Opabinia whenever I needed it. This was also mainly to most of my teammates from CCG constantly bashing me for playing more than one Pikaia, so I had to admit that they were right in the end.
As far as Monsters go, it was very clear that the standard ratio of three Swaps, three Dupes and two Ronins was the standard for good reason, there is just no point in changing anything up there. I also played two Maxx “C”s because they help a lot going second and they have natural synergy with the deck because you can XYZ into Opabinia with them which actually comes up more often than you would think. Being able to put a Maxx “C” you topdeck mid-game to good use is actually very valuable because it removes one of the biggest downsides of the card which is drawing it to late.
I think that rounds up most of the theory behind the deck, so here is the finale decklist for a quick overview, you can also find deck profiles of it on YouTube if you would like to hear me talk about it. Which you can find: here.
So lets get into my rounds at the YCS! In advance, I am sorry if I don’t remember all the aspects of the long grind games with this deck, the games just go back and forth to much for me to still know everything, it would make this article to long anyways.
Round 1 – Toad Minerva – 2:1 (lost dice)
I lose the dice roll and he opens Minerva, Bahamut Shark and Toad with a Fairy Tail in grave so a pretty ideal opening for him. I am able to grind it out a bit and actually get into a spot where he is very low on ressources and I have a chance to win if the doesnt hit a Lightsworn with his Minervas grave effect after I run over it but he hits a Raiden and takes me out of the game. Game 2 I start and steal his first turn with Mischief of the Gnomes, following it up by some Opabinia and Toad action on turn 2 making it impossible to come back. His opening in game 3 was not quite was strong as in game 1 so we go into a grind game that is looking much better for me. It goes back and forth a little bit until I use Waboku to secure 3 Paleozoics on the board and he tries to remove them with Scarlight in Main Phase 2, which only results in him losing the rest of his board, haha. But there was no way he could have beaten me that game anyways.
Round 2 – Paleozoic – 2:0 (won dice)
He was playing a version with Accumulated Fortune which was actually a card I also briefly tested before. However, he played game 1 a little sub-optimally which allowed me to take back the board from him. He was ahead on board and just used Reckless Greeds and Accumulated Fortunes for no reason, making me able to bring back my Paleozoics. Game 2 goes back and forth a lot and actually ends in time where he is slightly ahead in life points but completely down in cards. He summons a last effort F0 but I Strike it and have enough damage on the following turn.
Round 3 – Metalfoes – 2:0 (won dice)
I get my first Metalfoe opponent of the weekend and I open a Toadally Awesome turn 1 or the first time, which is always an easy grind versus that deck. He opens solid in game 2 like Metalfoes usually do, but not enough to win the grind game because my deck is so favored against his.
Round 4 – Metalfoes – 2:1 (lost dice)
In round 4 I was paired up against Chris Morrell playing Metalfoes with an unusual twist. He won the dice roll and summoned Ultimaya Tzolkin turn 1. I expected to see Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon but instead he summoned Dragunity Knight – Trident. If you don’t know what it does, it allows him to send up to three cards from his field to the grave and then look through my Extra Deck and send the same number of cards to my grave. He ends up sending two Combinations and another card to the grave so he also gets the double search there. Trident is not at its best against Paleozoics because it does not work on Toadally Awesome (triggers its graveyard effect), but it still got rid of all my Opabinias and some other utility XYZ, but it probably shines more versus ABC or Metalfoe. So it does not set me back as much as Crystal Wing would have, but his Extra Deck set up is still really strong and my hand was not able to grind it out. Game 2 I am able to win going first, even though he had a Royal Decree on my turn 2, but I was able to just bring back a Paleozoic in response and destroy it with Anomalocaris. He opens game 3 with a Kirin but I am able to set up a board under Waboku and lock him out with Anomalocaris again, making sure he can not complete scales later on in the game.
Round 5 – Metalfoe Yang Zing – 2:1 (lost dice)
Immediately after he handed me his deck for shuffling I noticed something was not right, so I asked how many cards he was playing and the answer was 60! He still won the dice roll and opened the full Yang Zing Foe combo so he won game 1 pretty quick. About game 2 and 3 there is also not that much to say other than I won game 2 since he simply could not combo through my backrow. Game 3 he obviously went first, I did not open Maxx “C” so I had to hope he did not open combo twice in a 60-card deck and he did not so I was able to grind it out in a couple of turns.
Round 6 – Paleozoic – 2:0 (won dice)
I opened up Toad with three backrow and he immediately scooped to it which is a smart move in my opinion because he did not reveal his deck. It worked to some extend since I thought he was playing Metalfoe since I knew one of his good friends was playing Metalfoes as well. But the stuff I was siding for Metalfoe was thankfully also pretty decent in the mirror such as Cosmic Cyclone and Raigeki. He ends up just setting for in game 2 so I knew it was a mirror. He tries to go off a little in my End Phase by using Olenoides on one of my face-downs, but he hits a Paleozoic so he can not trigger his Olenoides in grave. We end up grinding it out for a couple of turns but I come out on top after having a Strike on his Swap Frog and taking over the board. He has Lava Golem for my Toad + Dupe but I still get my Swap Frog back with Toad so I just beat him down with Lava Golem and another Toad.
Round 7 – Metalfoe – 2:1 (lost dice)
His start is solid and we get into a pretty decent grind game and it gets to the point where I know all of his cards. He goes for Fusion, I bounce his Mithrillium with Compulsory in response so he has to fuse with a Foe on the field and the last card in his hand which was Gofu for Adamante. He shuffles his Fusion back and top-decks Emptiness, which was the only thing that could have won the game for him. So he just locks me and beats me down with Adamante and Goldriver which he drew in a following turn. I get ahead on board early in game 2 and he scoops it up relatively quick after I Barrier him in a very crucial turn. I know he was siding Jinzo since he beat a Paleozoic deck in round 6 with it in the Feature Match by the way. So I am kinda happy to open a Dark Hole when he goes first in game 3. But he actually just sets 3 and passes, which is way to slow to beat Paleozoics with Foes. He showed me his hand after I won and he actually drew double Jinzo with no way to Pendulum summon them turn 1 which was unfortunate but I had the Dark Hole anyways.
Round 8 – Metalfoe – 2:0 (lost dice)
By this time I was already super tired since I did not sleep much at all the night before. Game 1 he opens Gofu and I finally have Maxx “C”, which is probably even better than going first against Metalfoes. He can’t really set up any board, I still get extra cards and he loses the Gofu so I win quickly. Game 2 he opens Gofu again and Maxx”C” was my 6th card this time around sadly. He ends up making Ignister turn 1 instead of Omega and I punish him with a Dark Hole. We get into the grind game and I come out on top by making Opabinia with the Maxx “C” I drew to kill his scales with Olenoides and Dinomischus followed up by Toad.
So I finish day 1 8:0, being 3:5 in dice rolls so it went really well overall. I was also really pleased with how well the Metalfoe matches were going since I won all of them even when losing the dice roll or game 1. We went to bed pretty much immediately after getting some food so I was actually able to get a decent amount of sleep before day 2 started.
Round 9 – Paleozoic – 2:0 (lost dice)
I knew my opponent pretty well and we both knew we were playing the mirror match as well. When he sat down he actually said “well I guess whoever wins the dice roll wins the match”. He proceeded to win the dice roll and still lost the match 2:0 though which was kinda funny. Game 1 just is not very dice roll based in the mirror unless the one who gets to go first opens super broken which was not the case this time. He opened well with Marrella to immediately get two Plaeozoics to the grave and even had Reckless Greed to trigger them, but I was able to look him out under his own Reckless with double Barrier so I still won. In game 2 he starts with a set Monster and I immediately Ghost Reaper him in his End Phase, putting me so far ahead in the grind game since he can never establish a Toad so I have a lot more time to win. We actually get very close to time still but at some point he just sees that he can’t win the game in the long run and scoops it up.
Round 10- Metalfoes – 2:1 (won dice)
This round was a Feature Match versus Billy Brake and is was a really good game so you should definetely check it out if you have time:
Side note: the last turn of game 3 was not an OTK because I called Fusion on Dimensional Barrier so Orichalc did not do double piercing damage. It was still a game winning play though since it put him at 600 to my 2000 with no cards in hand and only a Bismugear search in the end phase. So I can simply put a 2500 Downerd over my Daigusto Phoenix and since I can negate anything he could potentially draw with Toad, the maximum damage he can do with Orichalc is 600 over my Toad so I still win in time.
Round 11 – Paleozoic – 2:1 (won dice)
In the last round of swiss I played Eugen who played the same list except for one card which was a second Pikaia as the 41st card. I actually end up losing game 1 after going first because he has a super Frog heavy hand to push through my not so good backrow and still establish a Toad first. We agree on not siding Ghost Reapers and I win game 2 relatively quick. Game 3 goes back and forth a little bit more but I have two crucial Solemn Strikes allowing me to prevent his XYZs without him being able to bring back and Paleozoics so I eventually win.
So I end up 11-0 in swiss, obviously first place in standings and I was feeling pretty confident after already beating really good players like Billy and Eugen. I was awake, I was focused and I was ready.
Top 32 – Metalfoes – 2:0 (won dice)
I went first, I opened Toad so I won, it really is as simple as that against Metalfoes. He opens game 2 with just a Gofu into Omega, not even conducting any Pendulum or Fusion summon so I can easily out-grind him from there.
Top 16 – Brilliant ABC – 2:0 (won dice)
My first ABC opponent of the tournament. I was not particularly scared of ABC since Paleozoic is still favored against the deck but it is always a little bit awkward playing a match-up that is so heavily based on the dice roll. Luckily I won the dice roll and opened really well so he could not do anything game 1. Game 2 was even better since he opened Hangar, Gadget and Magnet Reverse but I had the perfect counter hand in Maxx “C” and Ghost Reaper. Really nothing he could do.
Top 8 – Paleozoic – 2:1 (lost dice)
In Top 8 I was playing against a friend of mine and former worlds competitor and teammate Niccolo Mazzoleni. He opened really well with Marrella and double Reckless so he takes the board very convincingly by turn 2 and does not give me any chance to take it back, especially after I attack into a Storming Mirror Force which I did not see coming. Game 2 I was able to capitalize on the fact that I know knew he was playing Stormings and he actually kept them in so when I was playing around the card he actually had it sitting dead in his backrow until I eventually just hit it with an Olenoides in the turn that I went off. Won game 2 after a pretty clutch Waboku. He opens game 2 with luckily no Toad and we get into the grind game. He ends up having 2 Maxx “C”s, but used them to interrupt my chain links so he did not actually draw any cards with them. We end up in a very simplified game state where I have like one Paleozoic monster on the board with like one face down and he has one card in hand only. I am praying for a Monster at this point so I can take over the game and I draw the Swap Frog after 2 turns of passing back and forth so I win a very intense match.
Top 4 – Brilliant ABC – 2:1 (won dice)
In top 4 it was time for the fifth game between me and my good Italian friend and teammate Marcello Barberi, who is also a former YCS Champion. We were tied 2:2 in matches until this point so there was a lot on the line! Thank god I won the dice roll and actually had good answers because he opened Brilliant Fusion and Hangar in game 1, but double Olenoides solves the situation super well for me. Game 2 he opens Buster, I stall one turn with Barrier but he just Barriers me back and makes like a million XYZs and Busters on the following turn so I cant come back. On a side note he also played really well turn 1 where he ended with a Buster which was immune to Spells due to the equipped Union since he knew I was only playing System Downs and no Kaijus so there was really no way out for me. We are like two minutes away from time at this point and I open really well in game 3, including a Toad. However, his hand was also decent so we were actually playing a really intense game. He forced my Toad with Dark Hole and since I hit all of my remaining Frogs, I decided to tribute the Toad itself instead of the Dupe Frog next to it. This opened up a window for him to lock me out with Emptiness since I could not run over his monster which was immune to the Dark Hole because of the equipped Union. So all I can do is set Ronin next to my Dupe and bring back a trap in defense in response to Emptiness. In time out, it was his second last turn with me having two more as well, both still at 8000 where he decides to go off and get rid of his own Emptiness with another Hangar. I block him a little bit using Mischief, but because he already had stuff on board he can still go for Castel plus Buster which he used to banish the Dark Hole he knows I have set. He also clears my entire board in the process except for a set Ronin. In my turn, I activate a System Down that I had since turn 1, putting me to 7000 to his 8000. He chains Buster to banish my Ronin, leaving him with only Castel and no cards in hand. I have access to one rank 2 with the Ronin in grave and the Swap that I got back earlier with Toad when I tributed it. So I make Toad, attack Castel for 200 and overlay for Downerd in Main 2 in case he draws a Monster to stall. He draws, sets a Monster and I beat over the set Maxx “C” with piercing damage on my last turn to take the match in time. Super intense games!
Finals – Metalfoes – 1:2 (won dice)
I honestly don’t have much to say about the finals. It was obviously a Feature Match so you can check it out yourself:
All I can say is that I think I was super favored to win the whole event 16:0, since there was a point in game 2 where I had everything under control to take the 2:0 win until he drew the one Emptiness with Metalfoes Fusion which stole him the game, followed by that broken Denko Sekka opening in game 3 alongside a high scale, low scale, Kirin and Rabbit. But that’s the game sometimes. Billy was a great guy to play against and he played it all really well so he deserved it in the end. Would have loved to win the biggest European YCS undefeated, but what can you do. Congrats!
Overall I had a really good weekend in Bochum, I am still happy and proud about my performance, but still just a little frustrated that I could not finish it properly in the end. But there will always be a next time. So this rounds up my YCS Bochum tournament report, I hope you guys liked it! I want to give a shoutout to the whole team and everyone else I hung out with at the event, it was great seeing everybody as always! Feel free to leave any feedback or questions if you have any and make sure to check out Complexity Card Gaming on Facebook for more Yu-Gi-Oh related content from Europe’s best team.
Until next time! #YPFL
– Joshua Schmidt