Clicking through a match isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, especially given the game's long history in cardboard, but I personally grew fond of this way of playing after the first Extravaganza held way back in late 2020. I'll have to admit that, after that, I stuck mainly to playing online locals where most of my opponents either were friends or would become friends over the course of a few months. As for the Extravaganzas, I decided to give something back to the community and work at them as a volunteer instead, putting on the judge shirt metaphorically (I'm saying metaphorically: not because I wasn't actually wearing a judge shirt, but because the judge shirt never comes off).
There was a lot of skepticism about whether an event like this could work, and estimates of the total player count went anywhere from only a few hundred to a few brave people daring to think it would go into four-digit numbers. When registration finally opened, a grand total of 1,796 players signed on, and 1600 of them didn't just collect their goodie bag and go home. The players were randomly divided into seven different servers of about 250 players and, on Saturday morning, it was go time!
This event took place right after a new Forbidden & Limited List had come into effect. Decks like Dragon Link took severe hits when they lost Guardragon Elpy and copies of Striker Dragon, and Dinosaurs would have to play with only a single copy of Miscellaneousaurus. Decks like Drytron, Invoked, Virtual World, and Prank-Kids were unaffected by the new list and were represented by some five-to-eight percent of the players at the event, but big winners after the list were even more popular. Salamangreat Miragestallio and Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!, two key cards from fan-favorite decks, returned to the game in full glory. They took bronze and silver respectively in the battle for most popular deck of the event, each at 10% of the total player population.
The most commonly played deck, however, was the Tri-Brigade strategy. While the forbidden Zoodiac Drident had been a key component in the mashup between the two themes, the freshly released Tri-Brigade Bearbrumm the Rampant Rampager pumped a lot of hot blood into this strategy. It allows players to search out the incredibly powerful Tri-Brigade Revolt, which eliminated the need for playing cards such as Trap Trick. 216 Players, a whopping 12% or about one in eight duelists would be on this strategy this weekend.
This would have been only 215, and the Dark Magician's allies would have been represented by double digits, if I had not picked up a Tri-Brigade core less than two weeks before the event.
Two weeks between playing a deck for the first time and entering an 1,800-player event is a pretty crazy idea for someone who never plays online. Luckily, I have a lot of amazing friends and teammates who helped me see what the deck can do and how I can make it do it. That aside, I was really not confident of my winning odds in the main event. None of my previous YCS experiences scored higher than eight wins, three losses, and I was more or less expecting to be normal summoning Breaker the Magical Warrior at Speed Duel Public Events for a good portion of the weekend.
I like to think that my decklist was as standard as can be. While I had heard about wild plays that could be made with Blackwing - Zephyros the Elite or abusing the raw strength of Harpie's Feather Storm, I had not playtested them. While there can probably be some adjustments made to the decklist, I am comfortable with suggesting it to people looking to play the deck for the first time.
|Ryan Jacobs – YCS Remote Duel Top 32 – Tri-Brigade|
|Main Deck||Extra Deck||Side Deck|
Despite saying I rejected several ideas on the basis of not having playtested them, plenty of choices were made purely on theory alone. I tried to tailor my deck to both the possibility of playing exclusively mirror matches and Drytrons. I also didn't put all of my eggs in those two baskets, and looking at my matchups, that was definitely a perfectly balanced choice.
On Day one, I only encountered two players who were also a part of the Tri-Brigade crew, being my opening and closing match for the day. The journey through the first eight rounds literally started and ended on familiar terrain, but between them, I saw some unexpected strategies! I had a run-in with Prank-Kids and Aleister. I was even taken aback by an Infernoid duelist playing a Dogmatika package! My first and only loss of the Swiss portion was a Sky Striker match in round five, after which I immediately retaliated, taking down another Sky Striker player in round six. My penultimate match of the day before encountering a second Tri-Brigade brother was a grindy match against Ancient Warriors with an Eldlich engine.
I ended the first day on a 7-1 record, which definitely made me feel at ease going into Day 2. 6-2 is a very uncomfortable score to be on, because not every 9-2 duelist is guaranteed to make it into the Top 32. After a good night's sleep I, some coffees and a shower, I played two matches against Drytron where Solemn Strike was the MVP. When it was time for the last round of the event, I was sitting on a 9-1 record; a very comfortable score! I managed to win the final round, another Tri-Brigade mirror, and ended up at 10-1, enough to take ninth place after Swiss.
Unfortunately, my YCS adventure came to an end in the Top 32 match, playing against an incredibly teched out Subterror deck where subpar hands combined with a bit of stress and a generally imperfect knowledge of my own deck ended up costing me the match.
While I was unable to make it to the end, I was very satisfied with my first YCS top. I had come close in the past, when Trickstar Sky Striker was still a contender, and was not doing too bad after transitioning to Orcust Sky Striker, but eventually moved on to playing more casually after the banning of Orcust Harp Horror. Finding another meta deck I liked and could pilot properly, even with subpar preparation, has really inspired me to start taking competitive play more seriously again—especially when regionals restart at some point in the future.
Until I can get a hold of another top cut spot, I'll keep providing you with the regularly scheduled rogue content and meta-unrelated articles.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.