Tech Update: Round 6

August 30th, 2015

With Clash of Rebellions and the new Advanced Format both shaking up competitive norms, we’ve seen a lot of big innovations here at YCS Toronto – new choices and techniques that are twisting well-acknowledged match-ups in different directions. Here are some of the standouts we’ve seen so far today, both on and off the Feature Match table.


Performage Engines

Collectively speaking, the new Performage monsters have seen the most play of anything from Clash of Rebellions. You can Special Summon Performage Hat Tricker from your hand if there are two or more monsters on the field, letting you fight back into the Duel when you’re overwhelmed, or build on your momentum when you’re already rolling. Performage Trick Clown lets you pay Life Points to revive a Performage monster when it’s sent to the Graveyard, and it’s really easy to play because it can revive itself.


Both monsters are searchable with Performage Damage Juggler, a mash-up of Kuriboh and Reinforcement of the Army for Performages, and all three monsters clock in at Level 4. Played together in varying numbers, those three Performages are helping Decks like Shaddolls and Nekroz tap into their Rank 4 toolbox, making the most of effects that can send Performages to the Graveyard. Even rogue picks like Gem-Knights and Volcanics have been getting in on the action.


Since all the Performages are Spellcasters too, the new Rank 4 Xyz Performage Trapeze Magician has popped up in several top table matches so far. Its effect targets another face-up Attack Position monster of your choice, controlled by the turn player, and lets that monster attack twice per Battle Phase. The catch? It destroys that monster at the end of the Battle Phase. That means you can double up one of your own attackers for maximum damage, or target an opposing monster and destroy it for free. The monster doesn’t even have to attack to be destroyed, making Trapeze Magician a tremendously versatile card. Just remember: it can’t target itself. A lot of Duelists have been misplaying that aspect of the card.


Performage Nekroz are garnering huge attention here midway through Day 1, played by high-profile duelists like Frazier Smith, Chris LeBlanc, and Bodan Temnyk. We don’t have solid numbers yet, but watch for that deck in the Top Table Update later on.


Number 104: Masquerade

While Performage Trapeze Magician’s making a splash, Performages have brought another high-powered Rank 4 into serious competition; one that’s pulled from the past and has nothing to do with Clash of Rebellions. You Summon Number 104: Masquerade by overlaying three generic Level 4 Xyz Materials, a feat that just wasn’t possible in Nekroz before. Now, with Performages to overlay with your Manjus, Senjus and Unicores, it’s much easier to make those three-Material Xyz.


Masquerade’s primary effect works only during the Battle Phase: by detaching an Xyz Material you can negate the activation of an opposing monster effect, and deals 800 burn damage. That’s makes it a great answer to Nekroz of Valkyrus. “I can OTK through anything,” explained two-time YCS winner Chris LeBlanc, one of many Nekroz Duelists who’ve taken up the Performage suite this weekend. And while 800 damage might not seem like much, Masquerade has 2700 ATK to begin with. When your opponent’s expecting to take no damage because they expect their Nekroz of Valkyrus’ effect to work, and all of a sudden they’re taking all of the damage you can send at them, those 800 points of burn can actually mean the difference between winning and losing.


Masquerade looks even better when you compare it to other common Valkyrus outs. Book of Eclipse is no longer seeing play, as it was run almost exclusively as an answer to Djinn Releaser of Rituals last format. But Book of Moon remains popular, and for ages, one of the most common methods to outplay a Valkyrus was to attack, wait for your opponent to activate Valkyrus’ effect, and then Book your own attacker to stop the attack from continuing. Doing that would interrupt Valkyrus’ effect, allowing the rest of your monsters to attack as normal. Destroying your own monster works as well, a fairly common move with Nekroz of Gungnir. Compulsory Evacuation Device, Tribute-costed effects, or anything else that gets your monster off the table on the Chain will work.


But all of those tricks have one thing in common: your attacker’s no longer attacking. You lose out on damage. Masquerade’s one of the few options that actually lets you retain most, if not all of your damage dealing potential, and it consolidates three monsters into one to leave you with four more open Monster Zones. It’s drastically different from what most are used to in the quest to beat Valkyrus.

Retaliating “C”

With Nekroz still expected to be the biggest strategy of this tournament, Retaliating “C” has been immensely popular – possibly the most-played single card from Clash of Rebellions in its entirety. Though its narrow match-up utility limits it almost exclusively to being a Side Deck pick against Nekroz, it’s tremendously effective in that role. At its heart, Retaliating “C” pressures a Nekroz player by cutting them off from their Graveyard, keeping them from building Graveyard presence. That robs them of the Ritual Spells and accompanying monsters needed to cycle through their Nekroz Ritual Spells; alienates Shurit, Strategist of the Nekroz to keep them from banishing it with Nekroz Mirror; and deprives your opponent of banish fodder for Nekroz of Valkyrus.


But beyond that, Retaliating “C” can block an attack, or become Level 4 Xyz Material if it survives until your turn. It works especially well with the Performage monsters, serving as yet another Level 4 to make combos with. Its 1400 ATK is respectable in tandem with other sources of damage, and it can be Tributed for Tribute Summons, Ritual Summons, or Infernoid abilities as needed.


It also searches Maxx “C” when it’s sent from the field to the Graveyard, effectively making Retaliating “C” free in terms of card economy, and doubling your range to stun your opponent’s progress. That’s made Maxx “C” even more popular this weekend than it was last format.


Mistaken Arrest

This new spin on a classic Trap Card hasn’t seen widespread play on the level of Retaliating “C”, but it’s still popped up in Feature Matches. While a Continuous floodgate like Vanity’s Emptiness, Imperial Iron Wall, or Mistake has the advantage of longevity – those cards can sit on the field turn after turn, remaining on the field until you eventually win the game because of them – Mistaken Arrest lasts for just one turn cycle. On the surface that’s a weakness, but there are lots of little advantages that have made it a choice pick here today.


First up, you can play Mistaken Arrest in Decks that heavily rely on their own search effects – Decks that couldn’t run Mistake without losing highly important plays. There are lots of examples, but Burning Abyss seems to be the biggest one today. In that strategy, Mistaken Arrest lets you shut down Nekroz, Tellarknights, or even an opposing Burning Abyss Duelist for just long enough to slow them down or get them to waste a card, while still leaving you the chance to use your own Scarm, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss.


Beyond that, the big problem with Continuous floodgates is that they turn off when your opponent has removal to get them off the field. Often that means your opponent makes a play, you Chain your floodgate, and a Mystical Space Typhoon shuts you down. You wind up in the same position you would’ve been in without a floodgate, but you’re down a card and the game is simplified while your opponent’s cast as the aggressor. That’s bad. Even a Continuous floodgate that’s been on the field for several turns can be used against you if your opponent can wrestle away control of the field; they can leave your card on the table until they’re ready to go off, then blast away your defenses at will.


And that’s not an issue with Mistaken Arrest. While there are ways to negate the activation of Mistaken Arrest, Mystical Space Typhoon, Fairy Wind, Twister, and other common removal cards won’t get the job done since you don’t need to keep Mistaken Arrest on the field for it to resolve. There are a lot of subtle advantages here, and I think as more Duelists explore Mistaken Arrest it’ll become more popular. It’s netted some great results here so far.


Those are our four big standouts so far, but the weekend is young, and there are lots of new cards and developing trends! Stick with us to see more, as YCS Toronto continues.