News from February's Benelux Extravaganza
- Ryan Atlus
The Extravaganza event for the Benelux region, comprised of the Netherlands, northern Belgium, and Luxemburg, had 76 players entering. This put us just over the seven-round mark—plenty of playtime for these duelists to show off their skills! (Or in my personal case, lack thereof.)
The Big Breakdown
The event attracted a wide variety of different strategies. Eldlich was the most popular archetype, with thirteen of 76 players running some variant. The Golden Lord is still going strong, almost a year after the card's initial release. It's no big surprise: being able to replace a substantial part of the cards used every turn, the deck is sure to have a strong grind game. Combine that with the Zoodiac engine, like half of the Eldlich player base was doing, and you'll be finding yourself with two consistent lines of play.
The old deck was closely followed by three new decks. Virtual World, Drytron, and Bird Up were played by ten, eight, and seven players, respectively. The Virtual World has an exceptionally strong opening turn, able to establish True King of All Calamities backed up by Virtual World Gate - Chuche, which is usually so strong that the Virtual World player will be able to swarm and push for game by turn three. Even if this combination gets broken, the Virtual World has plenty of plays to offer, such as its in-theme boss monster Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen being a walking Macro Cosmos.
Drytron is the latest attempt at making ritual monsters playable, and just like Nekroz it features an intense card advantage gimmick to make sure it can compete. Able to resolve Cyber Angel Benten three, four, or even more times in a turn, the deck doesn't run out of steam and can easily establish a board of Herald of Ultimateness backed up by several Herald hand traps.
Bird Up combines the speed of the Lyrilusc engine with the power of the Tri-Brigades, including the newly released Tri-Brigade Kitt. This allows the deck to establish Simorgh, Bird of Sovereignty and to bring out Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds or Mist Valley Apex Avian. Throughout their combo, they'll often be able to search out a D.D. Crow and field a Linkuriboh to protect their Barrier Statue.
Also represented by a handful of players were Paleozoic (because traps are really good this format) and Prank-Kids (supported by the new Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu). A total of 28 out of 76 players were playing even other decks, such as Phantom Knight Burning Abyss, Shaddoll, Dinosaurs, Plunder Patroll, Zombie World, Dragon Link, … The format is pretty varied!
The Little Breakdown
With such variation in the event breakdown, we could expect a multi-flavored pie chart for the Top 8 players as well. That is exactly what happened, with six different decks making the cut.
We'll be looking into the gold, silver, and bronze medallists in a bit, each of them bringing a different strategy. Despite being played by only three and four players respectively, Dinosaurs and Phantom Knight Burning Abyss each had two players in the top cut—talk about an amazing conversion rate! The three most popular decks each only had one player making it, which means that the rogue players were well prepared for this matchup.
Speaking of rogue decks, the Dragon Link that made it to the top cut is a great example of that. The deck aims to quickly bring out a ton of boss monstersn such as Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon, Borreload Savage Dragon, and Hieratic Seal of the Heavenly Spheres, for plenty of interruption options.
Coming in at third place we saw Max Van Nijverseel, former national champion of both Belgium and the Netherlands who had won the giant card public event the day before. He chose to bring Eldlich Zoodiac to the table for his remote duel debut.
|Max Van Nijverseel: Eldlich Zoodiac|
|Main Deck||Extra Deck||Side Deck|
Max's deck had plenty of place for high-impact traps in the form of Ice Dragon's Prison, Torrential Tribute, and his signature Solemn Strike. His hand traps of choice, D.D. Crow, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, and Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion were excellent picks to counter the big decks of the format. The Zoodiac engine synergizes well with the Eldlich cards, since the latter doesn't use the normal summon. It can easily clear boards thanks to relative newcomer Divine Arsenal AA-ZEUS - Sky Thunder. If all your cards replace themselves, you won't really mind blowing up the entire board.
Siemen Kiebooms is no stranger to top cut seats at big events in the region either, placing in the Top 4 at the last Belgian national championship. He chose to bring his signature Dinosaur strategy.
|Siemen Kiebooms: Dinosaurs|
|Main Deck||Extra Deck||Side Deck|
Siemen played the deck as a going-second strategy, as evidenced by cards like PSY-Framegear Gamma, Mystic Mine, and a full set of both Triple Tactics Talent and Forbidden Droplet. Once he had used all of these cards to brush off the opponent's interruptions, Siemen had free reign to bring out his boss monster Ultimate Conductor Tyranno to manually clear the opponent's board and inflict big damage in the process.
An interesting pick in his sideboard was Rivalry of Warlords. Since Lost World sets the opponent up with a dinosaur type token, Rivalry locks them out of summoning anything else. The opponent won't even be able to crash the token into one of your monsters, since Lost World protects it. This going-first option definitely caused some people to scoop up their cards!
The event was won by Joshua Oosters, another player with multiple national championship wins! He brought his signature Phantom Knight Burning Abyss deck to take the event by storm.
From there on he could summon the link 3 The Phantom Knights of Rusty Bardiche, which enabled the PK part of his deck. This allows to set up Phantom Knights' Fog Blade and other dangerous interruptions such as Evilswarm Nightmare and Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon. The first step of the process is of course, gathering level 3 monsters onto the field. Joshua chose to play plenty of extenders such as Kagemucha Knight, Junk Forward, Danger! monsters, Psychic Wheeleder, and as a starting card Tour Guide From the Underworld.
This Extravaganza was yet another great event! While everyone misses dueling in real life, these tournaments are a very welcome replacement, because they bring us together as a community once more. In between the rounds we could share our tales of victory, our salty loss stories, and sometimes a song in the general voice chat channels. If you haven't yet given Remote Dueling a chance, I would definitely recommend playing in one of these events when they are held again.
Your local store might even be hosting locals, such as Card Guild. They set up the event for our region and provided the nice charts used in this article. Over on their Facebook page you can find the other Top 8 decklists as well as the giant card lists as well. Keep on dueling!
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