Home > 2014 North American WCQ > Tech Update:

Tech Update:

July 12th, 2014

Every year the WCQ season is about one thing: innovation.  With a field of acknowledged strategies that have been heavily studied and dissected by competitive Duelists for over three months, success is just one smart tech pick away – that’s all it takes to define yourself from the rest of the pack, and get you on step ahead of thousands of other Duelists.


Day 1 is just heating up here in Round 3, but we’re already seeing some trending tech cards that are making an impact!  As Sylvans, Lightsworn and Mermails become more popular, competitors are tweaking their strategies to adapt.  That means more compensating moves to counter big, explosive plays, and in this particular play environment, a whole ‘lotta Graveyard hate.  Here are four of the most popular tech cards we’ve seen so far, early in Day 1.


Soul Release:

From the looks of the tournament floor this morning, Soul Release could easily become the most popular breakthrough Side Deck card of the day.  Virtually every strategy in competition right now has some sort of dependency on its Graveyard, but the up-and-coming explosive decks are the most reliant.  The ability to banish five cards from Graveyards is tremendous, offering a ton of disruption for just one Spell Card activation.  The fact that Soul Release can banish “up to” five cards and can thus be played on fewer than five makes it really easy to use; it’s both high-impact, as well as flexible and high in utility.


Soul Release can banish Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls to keep Mermails from reusing it for Rank 7’s, and it can remove would-be targets for the abilities of Mermail Abyssturge and Mermail Abyssgunde before those effects are activated.  Sylvans rely on triple Soul Charge and triple Miracle Fertilizer to create massive Special Summon plays and big fields with multiple Xyz Monsters, so Soul Release can make those powerful Spell Cards into virtually dead draws by depriving them of targets.  But Lightsworn might get hit the hardest of all: with key boss cards like Judgment Dragon, Lightray Diabolos, and the occasional Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning all relying on fuel from the Graveyard, the Deck can lose all of its best plays to one well-timed Soul Release.  It can also bleed defense when it loses Rainbow Kuribohs or Necro Gardnas, and you can even kill the effect of Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner.


Soul Release is easy to activate and delivers a tremendous amount of banishing power compared to the alternatives.  That said, many of those alternatives are faster and offer better timing…


Ally of Justice Cycle Reader:

…Such as Cycle Reader!  While D.D. Crow has long been the go-to Graveyard banishing hand trap, Cycle Reader is just as surprising dropping from your hand, and mirrors Crow’s ability to work on either player’s turn.  Ally of Justice Cycle Reader is a more specific card: it can only banish LIGHT monsters.  But it puts in twice the work in the match-ups where it’s useful, banishing two monsters to Crow’s one.  That makes it a top pick against Lightsworn, Bujins, and to some extent Artifacts and Constellars.


Cycle Reader’s also a Machine-Type Monster, which means a Geargia or Gadget Duelist can search it straight from their Deck with Gear Gigant X.  (Remember, Gadgets could be a big sleeper hit in this tournament since Rogger Antonio Vera Moran won the South American WCQ with that strategy.)  Not only can Gear Gigant X search Cycle Reader, but it can also recycle Machines from the Graveyard too, so you can reuse one copy over and over to continually strip a Bujin or Lightsworn player of their most important infrastructure.  That’s not a common move, but it could become an important one in this tournament, where Bujins and Lightsworn both likely to be big contenders.  It’s a big asset: cards like Soul Release and D.D. Crow simply do not offer that element of repeatability.


Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk:

Hailing from Primal Origin, Rhapsody in Berserk is a double D.D. Crow on legs.  Like Cycle Reader’s searchability in Geargia and Gadgets, Rhapsody’s easier to get to than a more conventional banishing card like Soul Release or D.D. Crow.  It’s a simple Rank 4 Xyz Monster with no specific Xyz Materials; if you’ve got two Level 4 monsters on the field, you can Summon Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk.  And since its effect activation isn’t limited to “once per turn” like most Xyz abilities, you can Summon it and immediately pop two cards from your opponent’s Graveyard.  While giving up two monsters from your field just to banish two cards your opponent’s already used can appear steep, remember that cards like Traptrix Dionaea, Bujincarnation, Geargiarmor and countless others allow you to effectively make Rank 4 Xyz Summons for just one card from your hand.  Or even for free.


One of the cool differences between Rhapsody and other Graveyard hate is that once you’ve banished cards with Rhapsody, it sticks around.  Other cards in the same vein go straight to the Graveyard.  Rhapsody has no Attack Points and just 1200 DEF, but its first effect lets you equip it to one of your face-up Xyz Monsters to boost that Xyz by 1200 ATK.  That’s awesome for a ton of purposes: you can keep something like Ghostrick Alucard or Leviair the Sea Dragon around for an extra turn by bumping its ATK to 3000, grifting more cards off their effects.  You can keep control of the game longer with a beefier Abyss Dweller, or even boost the Attack Points of Number 50: Blackship of Corn so it can send bigger monsters to the Graveyard.


Rhapsody’s a hugely accessible form of Graveyard hate, allowing you to leverage your Extra Deck into tech territory instead of relying on slots in your Main Deck or Side Deck.  It requires a commitment of cards, but you don’t have to luck into drawing it to make it work.  It’s seen a fair amount of Regional Qualifier and National Championship success, and it’s seeing more play today than perhaps ever before.


And The Band Played On:

An effective floodgate in the Mermail, Geargia, and Sylvan match-ups, And The Band Played On has been a sleeper hit in tournaments since it debuted in Primal Origin.  Shutting out cards like Mermail Abyssmegalo and Mermail Abyssteus, Geargiaccelerator, and high-Level Sylvan cards makes it exceptionally tough for those respective strategies to Xyz Summon,  while And The Band’s restriction on Ranks lends an extra advantage against Madolches and to some extent Traptrix Hand Artifacts.


Traptrix Dionaea, Tour Guide from the Underworld, and countless other economy-driven cards hate this thing, and all those factors have earned it a lot of hubbub on the floor this morning.  It’s only Round 3, so it’s tough to tell if And The Band Played On will see significant Side Deck play, but it’s certainly a promising answer to a wide array of threats in contention this weekend, and the talk going around has been pretty big.


These are four of the cards seeing the most discussion and verified use here in Day 1, but we’ll see how the field pans out in the later rounds!  We may be back later with another Tech Update to keep you looped in.






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