Welcome in late 2006 ladies and gentlemen. Before the September 2006 list we saw vast numbers of Chaos (Return) decks rising at the top. This era should at a moment’s notice come to an end with the release of the new Banned List.
Shonen Jump promotional cards will now and then be extremely relevant. While the very first, the JMP-001 Blue-Eyes White Dragon, was already released in late 2002 things slowed down a bit. The 12th promo that was released at the end of the September format will finally be one that will see play. And not only that, it will actually be the motor of entire decks that will come up and dominate the meta over months. Therefore I’ll also include the most important promotional cards from now on in the list of releases. So let’s have a look at this pretty impactful September Banned list.
Metagame and happenings in the World of Yu-Gi-Oh
The Banned list definitively set an end to the Chaos era with BLS, CED and Chaos Sorcerer all being banned for now. You can also see the Ban of Cyber-Stein but we’ll get to that in a second. An interesting thing to happen was the Ban of Tsukuyomi and Thousand-Eyes Restrict. From a perspective 10 years later that may seem reasonable but if we look back at the decks that were actually played those cards were not that popular and threatening at all. Still, especially the Ban of Thousand-Eyes is ok if you think that with Chaos Sorcerer one of the biggest enemies of the cards would be gone. Some other stuff happened as well, like the “exchange” of Snatch Steal and Ring of Destruction but nothing too crazy. The most interesting new card affected by the list was probably Future Fusion, a very strong card which could quickly get out of control, especially if it was paired up with Overload Fusion.
So let’s jump into the metagame of this season. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any lists from the bigger European tournaments so we will rely on the 7 SJCs that were held. The most popular decks at the start were some (Warrior) Toolbox decks that included any number of Monarchs. Then we had the heavier Apprentice Monarch decks that run a larger number of Monarchs. Even if this deck was less popular overall it was the most successful this format: 3 SJC winners relied on this archetype. The 5th SJC was won by David Rodriguez and his Cyber-Stein OTK deck.
Cyber Stein lost some of its popularity compared to previous formats. It was a lot less included as a 1-off in the Toolbox decks but still was played occasionally. Then there were also the pure Cyber-Stein OTK decks that only relied on this one card to win the duel, dedicating the rest of the deck to get it into play, deal with your opponent’s monsters and Spells/Traps and make sure you have those 5000 Life Points left to let it go off. I imagine it must have been one of the most frustrating things back then if at some point your opponent fired something like Heavy Storm/Giant Trunade + Cyber Dragon + Exiled Force + Last Will into Cyber-Stein at you and there was absolutely nothing you could do about that. Konami must also have recognized that and they had to do something about it: Out of nowhere on December 21, a Thursday, they changed the Banned List with only 1 addition: Cyber-Stein was now forbidden. This was the very first Emergency Ban Konami had made so far and it was a big surprise for everyone, nobody anticipated something like that at all! This was not much after I started attending tournaments myself and I can remember the reactions of the people 2 days later really clearly. Most just felt super happy that this unfair card was gone. But other were just caught completely off-guard: They didn’t even know about the Emergency Ban when they came to the location and therefore probably didn’t even have a legal deck. It was actually a really weird but also very entertaining situation.
The funny coincidence is that David Rodriguez won his SJC on December 16, only 5 days before. I really wonder if the decision about this Emergency Ban was already set in stone before that event or if it was exactly that event that induced Konami to take that step. Unfortunately I assume we’ll never know.
The duelists had to adapt to the new situation anyway and the format progressed. The following SJC in Orlando was one of the most interesting ones in terms of the meta I’ve seen so far. Out of nowhere, 4 of the 8 seats in the top cut were taken by Chimeratech Overdragon OTK decks. There were no new cards released that could explain the flourishing of the deck. Probably they just caught a lot of players off-guard who thought OTK decks were now gone after Cyber-Stein was banned. It should also stay more or less a one-time thing. Paul Lynn could win this event with his very unique OTK deck that included a variety of Ancient Gear cards. He was awarded the first ever legal copy of Crush Card Virus outside of Japan for his victory as well. And we’re talking about the original one, not the shadow of itself which it became after its errata. The card was obviously one of the best cards ever created. Not only would it deal with all big monsters of your opponent, it would also give you perfect information about his hand and even destroy the big monsters that were drawn the following turns (and not only during the Draw Phase but also by cards like Destiny Draw). In short: For a lot of decks it was an insane power-up and could just win you games single-handedly. Therefore the cards was also very hard to get and super expensive. A fact that was discussed a lot back then as it just felt very unfair for all players that didn’t had the card themselves.
In February a lot of interesting cards were released: First Champion Pack 2 introduced Magical Stone Excavation. Duelist Pack: Jaden Yuki 2 included mostly meta irrelevant cards with one very big exception: Card Trooper! This little machine type monster would be played in a variety of decks in the future as it was a very strong card on its own. And if it was paired up with Machine Duplication things could get out of control very easy. The other Duelist Pack: Aster Phoenix brought us more Destiny Hero cards, namely Destiny Draw and Destiny Hero – Malicious. And as if that wasn’t enough Elemental HERO Stratos made its appearance. Perfect timing with the new Destiny Heroes just released. After long months, maybe even years, of a pretty stale meta, those cards would finally shack things up dramatically. Brand new deck archtypes were born. The 2 most relevant ones for the last SJC in this period were Diamond Dude Turbo (DDT) and Trooper/Bazoo Return. We’ll see much more of them in the future as well as other new decks.
The last thing to mention is the release of Strike of Neos. Not especially because the cards in this set would have the same impact on the metagame as the others that were released but because its design itself was an innovation: Secret Rare cards are (re)introduced in Strike of Neos. In addition to the remaining 60 cards, Strike of Neos also included 9 Secret Rare cards. 8 of them were the new cards which were released in Japan in 2006 in the Structure Deck: Surge of Radiance which was never released in the TCG. A lot more interesting was actually the 9th card: Grandmaster of the Six Samurai. This was the first ever released TCG only card and therefore the first card the TCG ever had before the OCG. This would for now be continued for 1 card per set, which was handed out as a Sneak Peek (or Sneak Preview as called back then) promo as a Super Rare Version and being included in the actual set as a Secret Rare.
1st Place, Bobby Chambers, SJC Boston 2006, Monarch Toolbox
1st Place, Kyle Lopez, SJC Seattle 2006, Apprentice Monarchs
Top 4, Chris Moosman, SJC Seattle 2006, Warrior-Anti
Top 4, Theeresak Poonsombat, SJC Anaheim 2006, Dark World Control
Top 8, Kirk Leonhardt, SJC Anaheim 2006, Macro Monarchs
1st Place, David Rodriguez, SJC San Jose 2006, Cyber-Stein OTK
Top 8, Geoffrey Fisicaro, SJC San Jose 2006, Chain Burn
1st Place, Paul Lynn, SJC Orlando 2007, Chimeratech Overdragon OTK
Top 4, Chris Evans, SJC Orlando 2007, Gadgets
1st Place, Carlo Perez, SJC St. Louis 2007, Diamond Dude Turbo (DDT)
Top 4, Jeff Baumgartner, SJC St. Louis 2007, Trooper/Bazoo Return
The happenings in the World of Yu-Gi-Oh
Once again Konami had the feeling to step in mid-format and change the Banned list. For the second time after the Emergency-Ban of Cyber-Stein (Or to be very exact the 3rd time, as Victory Dragon was also immediately limited upon release) they changed a single card, this time it hit Magical Stone Excavation, which was limited to 1 on June 1st. This obviously was to do something against DDT but it was debated a lot if it was really necessary. It surely wasn’t as justified as the Cyber-Stein Emergency Ban but on the other hand the card also wasn’t banned but only limited. But the deck wasn’t that dominant and unbeatable, so it was probably a bit of an overreaction. Overall I’d say it was fine and as usual players couldn’t do anything about it anyway and had to adapt to the new situation.
Only few months after the reintroduction of Secret Rare cards and TCG World Premiere Onlies, a new change for the regular sets was made: On August 15 Tactical Evolution was released and players could now pull Ghost Rare cards. More precise the cover monster, Rainbow Dragon, was printed in this brand new rarity which should stick around for many years. Also the set size changed a lot and went up to 90 cards. With the bigger set size the number of Holos was also increased: The set contained a total of 5 Ultra Rares and 9 Super Rares (before it was 4 respectively 7). And last but not least the number of Ultimate Rare was decreased as from now on Rare cards would only be printed in Rare and no longer in an alternative Ultimate Rare version. This was now exclusive for Super and Ultra Rare cards.
But we’re still not finished: Tactical Evolution also featured a brand new category of monsters: Gemini Monsters. Sadly they won’t see that much play overall but still but they would at least find their niche places in the meta here and there.
But the most impactful change in TAEV is most probably the introduction of multiple TCG World Premiere Onlies. Till now there was only a single card per set, from now on there would be a total of 10 brand new cards that would be exclusive for the TCG. Even if the 10 cards in TAEV aren’t too amazing and didn’t really have any impact on the metagame (except Il Blud) this was a huge thing in the Yu-Gi-Oh! World. For the first time the TCG wouldn’t have a 100% precise preview at the upcoming cards and meta by just looking over to Japan. Now there could potentially be cards in the sets that nobody knew before and that could lead to massive changes in the meta compared to Japan.
The meta for this season had quite a bit of variety if you have a look at the decks that topped the 9 SJCs, the American Championship and the European Championship. But some archetype were definitively more dominant than other. The Banned List didn’t influence the meta in an extreme way, even if a lot of relevant cards moved positions. An interesting thing is the listing of Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness because this card would not be released yet during this Banned List period.
Monarchs overall came out on the top. First (and also later) in its pure form but later on also when it was mixed up with the Destiny Hero Engine. After the release of Stratos, Destiny Draw and Malicious that deck got its last power house (which is a bit weird to say as it only has 300 ATK and DEF): Destiny HERO – Disk Commander. The card had a very high abuse potential by summoning if from the Graveyard over and over again. But right now the number of good reborn cards was kind of limited and therefore it couldn’t unfold its full potential.
Destiny Heros could also be played as a more aggressive Beatdown deck, combining it with more Machine type monsters such as Card Trooper or Cyber Phoenix. In Germany the deck was called “Gulasch” which just means Goulash and was referring in a way that all good cards and engines were just combined together to form this new deck.
With the release of Force of the Breaker even the biggest opponents of Monarchs were basically forced to include them now, as Raiza the Storm Monarch was just too powerful not to use. It combined the strengths of Zaborg and Mobius and was able as it was able to target either monsters or spell/traps. The effect of bouncing the card back to the deck overall was also considered stronger than just destroying them as it would probably give your opponent and awkward draw in his next turn. Obviously that wouldn’t always be the case.
Kind of a resident sleeper in this meta was the machine beatdown deck which relied on cards like Cyber Dragon, Card Trooper, Cyber Phoenix and Dekoichi. The deck got much more popular at the end of this season. Cyber Phoenix was an extremely powerful card with all the Monarch decks around and their nasty Brain Controls, etc. Also a lot of your Machines let you draw a card when flipped/destroyed so you didn’t really lose any resources by using them. An important thing to keep in mind is that Chimeratech Fortress Dragon wasn’t released yet in the TCG so even if most decks maindecked 2-3 Cyber Dragons, all your machines were safe.
The last SCJ was won by a very interesting deck we only saw topping a single time: Skill Drain Burn. The deck was a great counter to the current meta game and should also remain in that position. Therefore we’ll see even more of the archetype in the future.
1st Place, Emon Ghaneian, SJC Houston 2007, Trooper/Bazoo Return
1st Place, Marc Glass, SJC Columbus 2007, DDT
1st Place, Cesar Gonzalez, SJC Montreal 2007, Monarchs
1st Place, Michael Songloke, SJC Anaheim 2007, Demise OTK
1st Place, Jessy Samek, SJC Philadelphia 2007, Perfect Circle Monarchs
1st Place, Shane Scurry, SJC Minneapolis 2007, Perfect Circle / D-Hero Beatdown / “Gulasch”
1st Place, Kenny So, SJC Indianapolis 2007, Skill Drain Burn
3rd Place, Guy Israel, SJC Indianapolis 2007, Machine Beatdown
World Championship 2007
On July 28/29 the 5th World Championship was held at the Comic-Con in San Diego. Andres Toro from Chile won with his Trooper Monarch deck. The Top 8 consisted of 2 Trooper Monarchs, 2 “Regular” Monarchs, 2 Machine Beatdown, 1 Gadget and 1 Lockdown/Stall Burn decks.
Winner and Runner-Up Decklists
1st Place Andres Toro (Chile)
2nd Place Mattia Sarpa (Italy)
3rd Place Adam Corn (USA)
4th Place Dexter Dalit (Canada)
This week we saw the rise and takeover of the monarchs and machines. They will stay there for a while longer, mostly supported by the Destiny Heroes. But more challengers will appear, we’ll see Zombies rise again respectively for the first time ever.