Afternoon Tech Update:

August 31st, 2013

The tournament’s only in Round 4, but Duelists have been abuzz over a few key combos and cards since before competition started this morning!  Here’s what’s setting the tournament floor on fire this afternoon at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

Number 66: Master Key Beetle and Vanity’s Emptiness:

Blackwings are a big presence here this weekend, and this combo may be the number one reason.  Blackwings have strong, resilient card economy; removal power thanks to Icarus Attack; a great battle trump in the form of Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow; and numerous Special Summoning tricks.

In the past those Special Summons were used for swarming and Synchro Summons, but this weekend they’re being used for Number 66: Master Key Beetle.  While the big hype bout Key Beetle has always been its interaction with Number Wall and Safe Zone, both of which make Key Beetle really tough to get through, the play this weekend is to Summon Key Beetle, flip Vanity’s Emptiness, and then lock it in by protecting it from destruction.  The Beetle’s effect will shelter Emptiness from common outs like Mystical Space Typhoon and Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos.  It’ll even keep it from being destroyed by its own effect, which means you can use your cards with impunity.

That combo shatters anything that relies on Special Summons to win – or even just to survive.  Tidal Mermails, Dragon Rulers, Infernities, and other big competitive picks all tap out to Emptiness, and this play is the number one reason we’re seeing so many Blackwing Duelists here this morning.

Xyz Encore:

With Compulsory Evacuation Device now Limited, Decks like Dragon Rulers, Blackwings, Fire Fists, and Mermails are all banking on set-ups with key Xyz Monsters like Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Lion Emperor, and Mermail Abyssgaios.  In addition, old standbys like Wind-Up Zenmaines and Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King are all over the place – cards that either block attacks and slowed opponents down, or that provide valuable Ignition Effects.  When Compulsory Evacuation Device and Spellbook of Fate were running wild those kinds of Xyz fell from popularity, partly because Compulsory cards could knock them off the field or kick them away before they could use their abilities.  Now, with those two disruption cards gone, these monsters are back in a big way.

…Which makes Xyz Encore a hot topic on the tournament floor this afternoon.  Since most players have underestimated the card they’re leaving themselves vulnerable to it, and if the hubbub’s to be believed that’s paying off for a number of competitors.  While returning one or two monsters to your opponent’s field comes with complications, the ability to eliminate a big wall or fend off an attacker is incredibly valuable.  The fact that Encore can’t be chained to, and is largely impossible to stop, is another huge benefit.  Will we see Xyz Encore in Day 2?  That’s up in the air, but it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Mermail Abyssocea, Aqua Spirit, and Mechquipped Angineer:

While there are quite a few people playing Tidal Mermails here this weekend, it seems as if the competitors who truly prepared for this tournament are abusing a combo that starts with nothing but Mermail Abyssteus and Aqua Spirit.  Here’s how it works.

-Special Summon Mermail Abyssteus to search out Mermail Abyssocea.

-Summon Abyssocea and activate its effect to target Abyssteus.  That’ll let you Special Summon a Level 3 like Mermail Abysslinde or Mermail Abyssgunde, plus a Level 4 like Mermail Abysspike.  The monsters you Summon here don’t really matter, so grab whatever you like.  Abyssteus will be sent to the Graveyard.

-Overlay Aqua Spirit with your other Level 4 to Xyz Summon Bahamut Shark.  Use its effect to Special Summon Mermail Abysstrite from your Extra Deck.

-Overlay Abyssocea with your Level 3 and Xyz Summon Mechquipped Angineer from Number Hunters.

So far you’ve traded three cards from your hand to Summon Bahamut Shark, Mermail Abysstrite, and Mechquipped Angineer.  But the cool part is that since Mechquipped Angineer can keep Bahamut from being destroyed on your opponent’s next turn, it guarantees you another free Abysstrite.

The combo gets even better if you have, say, Atlantean Dragoons to discard for your Abyssteus Summon, or if you roll Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls into the play sequence.  This is a huge combo that gives you a ton of control over the field, and the Angineer’s ability combined with Abysstrite’s effect makes it hugely tough to power through, even with something like Black Rose Dragon.

Black Rose Dragon:

Speaking of Black Rose Dragon!  This card’s been huge here in Day 1 as many competitors expected it would be.  Since a large portion of the Dueling population is now setting cards en masse to their backrow in the absence of Heavy Storm, the mass removal of Black Rose Dragon can wipe away everything your opponent has if they make the wrong choices.  We saw that exact situation in our Round 2 Feature Match, where Thomas Mak demolishing his opponent’s field destroying more than half a dozen cards.

Two cards are largely responsible for making Black Rose Dragon such an easy, smart, and devastating pick this weekend: Debris Dragon and Masked ChameleonDebris Dragon is easily searched in the Dragon Ruler Plant Deck we’re seeing so much of, eminently searchable with both effects of Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms. Masked Chameleon works in a number of other strategies like Mermails and Archfiends, bringing up free Level 3’s to make Black Rose.  When you’re effectively making Black Rose for one card, almost any mid-game situation becomes an opportunity to wreak havoc on your opponent’s card economy.


The last big card that people are talking about on the tournament floor today is Transmodify!  So far we’ve seen it in Agents, turning The Agent of Mystery – Earth into The Agent of Creation – Venus, and Infernities, where it gives an Infernity Duelist more ways to bring Infernity Archfiend into the picture and speed along your combos.  Along with Archfiend Heiress and even Archfiend Palabyrinth, the Infernity Deck’s access to Infernity Archfiend has made it a vastly more precise control engine.  Will Transmodify emerge as a hit this weekend?  It saw a ton of hype heading into this tournament, but we’ll need to see the field on Day 2 before we can know if it was truly justified.

There’s a ton of innovation on display here in Toronto, and these are just some of the highlights.  As more key combos and tech picks become apparent, we’ll be sure to bring you updates!