Once these decks get their pieces all lined up, they operate at a power level that some players might consider unfair. They are strong decks with lots of potential.
High ceiling decks have evolved throughout the years. They share specific characteristics, which make them a ton of fun to play but also pretty difficult to pilot correctly. One misplay and you literally will lose the game the following turn. What high ceiling decks do is make up for their lack of consistency through sheer raw power.
All of the decks in this category are combo decks, therefore they appeal to a very select niche of players. High ceiling decks always fall in the rogue category but the opposite is not the case. These type of decks typically have the surprise factor on their side as most players will not be prepared to go against them. After all, decks aiming for an unusually high power ceiling are, almost by definition, never meta decks. That fact is very appealing to a certain subgroup of players.
Before the release of several hand traps like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Infinite Impermanence, et cetera, these decks were considered high ceiling because you were heavily reliant on opening the combo pieces you needed, mainly two-card combos. However, since the release of said hand traps, that changed. Now it is no longer just a question of whether or not you open your combo pieces. As you can see in my analysis below that aspect has evolved through released support, but the existence of these hand traps and the placement of Called by the Grave on the ban list will always keep some decks confined to the high ceiling category.
Two of my favorite decks of all time fall right into this category, Junk Doppel Synchro and World Chalice. I want to analyze these decks as an example.
It is a good time to be a duelist if you were a Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's fan like me. With the new support released in Dawn of Majesty, this deck has reached heights it had never seen before. I specifically picked Junk Doppel because, since the release of the structure deck Synchron Extreme, this deck has always been considered high ceiling. However, with the release of cards like Synchro Overtake, Arrive in Light, and Stardust Synchron, it got even more powerful and consistent.
Unfortunately, as much fun as it is to pilot Junk Doppel, a deck that can be stopped by a single Effect Veiler on Junk Speeder cannot be considered as anything else but rogue at best. Admittedly, the end board of Junk Doppel is incredibly strong. If your opponent does not stop you, you can end on Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon plus Cosmic Blazar Dragon plus Shooting Majestic Star Dragon plus PSY-Framelord Omega. While writing down this board state, even I can barely believe how powerful it looks: several negates and you get to rip a card from your opponent's hand—crazy, right? But in order to get to said end board, you have to be quite lucky. Going second, there is not much you can do with this deck at all—unless the opponent severely bricks, but in the current metagame I would not bet on that.
When Master Rule 4 introduced link summoning, World Chalice was among the first link archetypes to be released in Code of the Duelist. The deck is fun to play and it has an incredibly high ceiling. It relies on The Agent of Creation - Venus's effect to summon Mystical Shine Ball, and if you can combine that with World Legacy - "World Chalice", you can go into Ningirsu the World Chalice Warrior to draw three as well as Saryuja Skull Dread. The end board may be different depending on the style of play. You can end on an Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess and Knightmare Gryphon lock or my favorite—the combo of Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju with Kyoutou Waterfront.
That being said, the deck heavily relies on its first normal summon, and if that does not resolve, your turn will end right there. So just like Junk Doppel Synchro, with World Chalice you can put out a crazy board. However, what's different from Junk Doppel Synchro here is that World Chalice has not evolved with the game and still lacks consistency. It also requires a heavy amount of skill as demonstrated at YCS Bochum 2018 when Marco Pericho caught everyone by surprise, winning the entire event piloting World Chalice.
Decks that are considered high ceiling always have one thing in common: they are so much fun to play. There's no better feeling than when you get your combo pieces together and your opponent has no idea what they are up against. But always keep in mind the skill and that bit of luck you need to be succesful with these decks, as well as what to expect when playing them. In order to keep up with the metagame, these decks require constant support. At the fast pace the game is evolving currently, these type of decks can easily be left behind.
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