Champion Deck Profile: Jeff Jones’ Herald Deck (July 2010 edition)
Jeff Jones is one of four Duelists here today who received a free trip to this event by winning a Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series tournament in the past year. A few weeks ago at the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series tournament in Chicago, Jones introduced his own take on the Herald of Perfection Deck, adding cards like Ruin, Queen of Oblivion and Gyakutenno Megami. That got him a Top 8 finish in that event, and today he’s looking to build on his success. Jones is back with an all-new take on Herald of Perfection, packing one of the most game-shaping cards in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Royal Oppression.
3 Archlord Kristya
3 Herald of Perfection
3 Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands
3 Sonic Bird
3 Happy Lover
3 Mokey Mokey
2 Gyakutenno Megami
3 Preparation of Rites
3 Dark Factory of Mass Production
3 Book of Moon
2 Pot of Avarice
1 Heavy Storm
1 Advanced Ritual Art
1 Dawn of the Herald
2 Royal Decree
2 Royal Oppression
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Common Charity
Jones has made sweeping changes to the Herald strategy, adding new cards to take advantage of the strengths of the previous versions. Gyakutenno Megami was a card that saw little to no play in Heralds before Chicago, and Jones had so much success with it that he’s running a second copy today. That puts his Deck at 8 Normal Monsters – a high total that could lead to difficult hands if he didn’t work around it. Countering that risk has led to many of the changes Jones has made.
The first is his use of Common Charity, a Trap Card that lets him remove a Normal Monster from hs hand to draw 2 cards. The draw power of Common Charity lets Jones see more cards, which in turn helps equalize his draws across the long term. That lets him get to his Ritual Spells and Heralds of Perfection more consistently, lets him draw Limited and Semi-Limited cards more often, and makes his deck more consistent overall.
Jones compensates for his 8 Normal Monsters in another way, too, by running 42 cards. While conventional wisdom says that you should keep your Deck as close to 40 cards as possible, Jones is running a few more than usual to spread out his Normal Monsters. It also makes a drastic difference in how easily Jones can use his Side Deck: “With a 40 card version of this Deck, it was really difficult to find space to rotate Side Deck cards into. Playing a couple extra cards makes it a lot easier.” With Side Decked cards like Consecrated Light and Mask of Restrict being potentially important in this tournament, Jones could definitely benefit from the added freedom in Duels 2 and 3 of his matches.
He’ll also benefit from Royal Oppression, which he’s playing 2 copies of. Oppression has been a popular card over the past several weeks, shutting down Infernities and Frog OTK Decks to give Monarchs and X-Sabers an edge. At first glance, Oppression may seem like a strange call for a Deck that’s built around a Ritual Monster. After all, Ritual Summons count as Special Summons, and can be negated by Oppression. It also may seem strange to play six Trap Cards in a Deck with Royal Decree, but really, that conflict is one of the biggest advantages Jones has. “If I can get out Herald and then flip Royal Oppression, it’s as good as having Kristya out,” explained Jones. “It actually works really with with Decree, too, because Decree lets me turn Oppression off whenever I need to Special Summon. Though sometimes I can actually make the double Tribute to Tribute Summon Kristya anyways.” Oppression doesn’t just tech against opposing Herald and Infernity Decks. It also opens up a spread of unpredictable options that Jones’ opponents are going to find difficult to deal with. Few are going to be ready for Oppression in this Deck, and fewer will be prepared for the changing playfield Decree can cause.
Another twist? Up until now, Herald of Perfection Decks have been divided between those running Advanced Ritual Art, and those running Dawn of the Herald. The difference between the 2 Ritual Spells has been the dividing line between versions of this strategy. But Jones is smashing that barrier, playing Dawn alongside Ritual Art. That’s one of the reasons he’s running the second copy of Gyakutenno Megami. He can discard it for Dawn of the Herald to pay the full Tribute Dawn requires, and immediately take Megami back to discard her later.
The best Duelists are usually the ones who constantly challenge themselves to raise the bar. Jeff Jones has proven himself as a constant innovator, always looking to improve his skills and his strategies. He’s definitely done that here this weekend, and may have one of the most promising Decks of this tournament.