When we look at the overall and top cut breakdown, we see a metagame that might as well have been pre-Lightning Overdrive. The new strategies introduced in the set, such as Amazement, were not posing threats on the competitive tables—yet. (Why is Amazement Administrator Arlekino climbing so hard?) Very similar to what we saw at previous large events, there are still a couple of big decks to beat, such as Tri-Brigade and Dragon Link, with plenty of rogue strategies being perfectly viable as well.
Nonetheless, the format has been shifting somewhat. Thanks to the new support, some decks changed up their game plan, and today I want to look at the two decks that changed the most.
The Drytron deck definitely took a bit of a back seat after the limitation of Cyber Angel Benten and ban of Union Carrier. Despite that, the deck was still seeing moderate success in the hands of skillful players.
Lightning Overdrive introduced two big new cards to the deck: direct support in the form of Drytron Mu Beta Fafnir and indirect support thanks to Diviner of the Herald. These cards are definitely the secret rares you want to be pulling from your box. Mu Beta Fafnir boasts multiple powerful effects: when it is summoned you get to send a Drytron card from your deck to the graveyard; it can negate spells and traps while on the field along with a machine-type ritual monster; and it lets you simply not pay the tribute cost for ritual summons.
Diviner of the Herald is equally flexible: when this card is summoned you get to send a fairy-type monster from your extra deck to the graveyard and gain its level. If it is used as a tribute, you get to summon a low-level fairy from your deck to take the Diviner's place on the field. While its first effect will often send Herald of the Arc Light to the graveyard to then search another card off it, you can also go for the niche Elder Entity N'tss to destroy a troublesome card on the field, such as Secret Village of the Spellcasters, Anti-Spell Fragrance, or There Can Be Only One. They are both level four monsters, so Diviner would become level six. Some Drytron players use that to their advantage in symbiosis with Megalith Phul, which also becomes level six by recycling Cyber Angel Benten to bring out Beatrice, Lady of the Eternal. Beatrice can send Eva to the graveyard to trigger even more searches, but that is not the route the topping duelists at this event went for.
Marijn van Duivenboden is already well-known for his ability to lead this army of machines and fairies to victory, and this time he took fourth place with the deck. He and his friend Sam Haijes, also known as SufferYGO, once again cooked up something spicy, using all their experience from multiple Remote Duel Extravaganza tops. You can read more about the intricacies of the strategy in his own article, which explains the general game plan of the deck pre-Lightning Overdrive way better than I ever could. They incorporated the new cards, which they obtained with not a lot of time to spare before the event, in a brilliant way.
There's a few obvious changes since his last event top, such as the normal summon of choice now being Diviner instead of Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands and the removal of the Megalith package and Vendread Battlelord. That doesn't mean the Megaliths are completely out of the picture. Many duelists sill chose to take that route. In this particular tournament for example, the other topping Drytron list by Max Van Nijverseel kept Megalith Phul and friends around.
|Marijn van Duivenboden - Benelux RDE June - 4th Place|
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The Tri-Brigade strategy, combined with the Zoodiac monsters, was already one of the most popular decks at the top tables, and this event proved no different. In fact, it ended up the most played strategy overall. Almost one in five players decided to bring it to the event, and its conversion going into the top cut was pretty similar, taking two of the Top 8 spots.
Tri-Brigade Bearbrumm the Rampant Rampager is a new card for the strategy, and it gives the deck a massive consistency boost. Thanks to its effect, Tri-Brigade players are now able to search out Tri-Brigade Revolt and thus have an in-theme way to access it. Previous builds often used Trap Trick alongside a full suite of Revolt, which took up a bit more space in the deck.
Still, the entire Tri-Brigade Zoodiac package is relatively small, so the deck has no issue accommodating a big trap lineup, as well as hand traps. Raphael Neven's build, which only lost to Joshua Oosters' pure Zoodiac, contained a total of 21 on-theme cards, and nineteen other cards. It included a wide variety of hand traps such as a teched duo of Skull Meister and a full playset of Pot of Desires.
|Raphael Neven - Benelux RDE June - 2nd Place|
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This type of decklist is definitely one we'll be seeing more of in the future, as it seems to excel at what it does, namely being consistent. Saturday's Giant Card event featured a very similar list piloted by Henrik Huizinga, but if you're not a fan of team Tri-Brigade, pure Zoodiac definitely isn't off the table!
The other players were definitely prepared for these matchups! Artifact Lancea and Droll & Lock Bird were present in almost every decklist. Of course, in a varied format like the current one, hand traps with a lingering effect that counter an entire game mechanic, banishing and adding cards respectively, are a surefire way to ensure you'll be able to counter whatever comes your way.
Besides the players mentioned already, the rest of the Top 8 consisted of two Shaddoll Dogmatika Invoked players, Gerben Van Engen and Fabian Ruland, for whom sticking to a tried and tested game plan helped them reap rewards. Closing out the Top 8 was Nick Scheffer, who brought a Dino deck unleashing the raw strength and combo potential of the new Scrap Raptor, and Youri Lansman, who surprised the competition with a cheeky Paleozoic deck that aims to loop Rise to Full Height until he has gathered enough resources to play Paleozoic as if it were a combo deck.
With only a short while to go until the Invitational Qualifier that closes off season two of Remote Dueling, and the upcoming Remote Duel YCS, duelists will surely need to put their brains to work to figure out either how to use the reinvigorated strategies to their fullest potential or cook up more of a homebrew to give them the edge.
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