Saturday, 30 November 2013

Yu-Gi-Oh! Asia Championship Plus 2013 Singapore Nationals - Team 食力派

Yu-Gi-Oh! Asia Championship Plus 2013, a team event which typically draws the curtain of official events in South-East and East-Asia for the year has just concluded its Singapore Qualifier last Sunday...

Personally, I had also participated in the event with my team, 食力派. We participated in a total of 3 Seeding Qualifiers and also the Main Event. Below are the Decklist used for the main event:

We finished 16th overall in Swiss for the Main Event. A lack of competitive testing and some poor luck can be attributed to our less-than-ideal finish.

However, I am pleased with my overall result in this season, achieving an overall 10-0 with no duels dropped from the 2nd Seeding Qualifier onwards. The only potential mar to this record would be on the 3rd Seeding Qualifier, where my opponent Sherwyn, would proceed to concede despite leading the game 1-0 after his team-mates have won their games. He wanted to enjoy his Jelly Beancurd.

Deck Building & Strategy

Noblswarm Beelzebuth and the Metagame State

The release of Leagcy of the Valiant (LVAL) right before 3rd Seeding Qualifier changed the landscape of resource management in the entire tournament. No longer would you be able to win easily after starting the match first and set 4 to 5 M/T to stifle opponent's every move. Instead, you would be punished heavily by an early Noblswarm Beelzebuth, which would reverse the tempo of the game by 180°

This scenario is further reinforced by the nature of Nobleswarm Beelzebuth's effect - Quick Effect. This means that the conventional traps like Bottomless Trap Hole and Compulsory Evacuation Device are unable to stop this XYZ's monster from activating its effect, contrary to many of its predecessor. Traps like Solemn Warning and Solemn Judgment, both with hefty cost of lifepoints, remains the only effective and all-round solution to it.

Early into the metagame after LVAL was released, I noticed a substantial number of players attempting to play against Noblswarm Beelzebuth by flooding more than 1 M/T in the same chain. This means that players would be attempting to handle it similarly to how Light and Darkness Dragon used to be handled.

However, this style of handling Noblswarm Beelzebuth does not stop the initial effect from going-through. It merely prevents the Xyz Monster from utilising its effect on their turn, during the battle phase. It is neither effective nor efficient.

I reckon that if anyone is to have a fighting chance against such monstrosity, they will definitely need to adjust their play style to handle such a card. On top of that, the demand to find an efficient and effective solution remains the most pressing concern as play style compensation has its own limits.

The "Solution"

The very first solution which comes to my mind would be Starlight Road. A normal trap which when triggered, would bring about an almost game-winning scenario by special summoning a Stardust Dragon onto the field.

However, play-testing and theory-crafting as an Evilswarm player tested the limits of the "solution." I realised that efficient it may be, Starlight Road is simply not effective against Noblswarm Beelzebuth due to the following reasons.

1. Forbidden Lance, Forbidden Dress and Infestation Pandemic:
Out of the few decks that could summon Noblswarm Beelzebuth consistently; Fire-Fist, Evilswarm and Meta-Beats, the consistent theme would be the inclusion of the above-mentioned cards as combat tricks. This is even more so for Evilswarm, which could highly consider playing all 3 of those mentioned cards in the same (main) deck. Starlight Road counts for nothing against such cards in this scenario.

2. Extra Deck Congestion:
The special rules of Asia Championship Plus, where teams must build decks within the confines of a shared card pool meant that a larger variety of cards would be utilised. This in turn, creates an even larger variety of scenarios where one must be prepared to handle in order to stand any chance of victory. As such, my consideration for extra deck emphasises more on variety, and less on quantity. The only 2 card which were packed in multiple copies would be my central deck engine - Evilswarm Ophion and the monstrosity - Noblswarm Beelzebuth, which would be central in some of my strategies against Fire-Fist and Evilswarm.
This eliminates Starlight Road from my option to handle Noblswarm Beelzebuth altogether, since Stardust Dragon would not have any slot in my Extra Deck.


"The Huge" ReSolution

The solution would come in the form of the Normal Rare trap from the Booster Set: Order of Chaos.

The Huge Revolution is Over (THRIO)
Counter-trap: When a Spell Card, Trap Card, or Effect Monster's effect is activated that destroys 2 or more cards on the field: Negate the activation and banish it.

The small hook and arrow on the top right hand corner of the card meant that it would not suffer from the same ineffectiveness as Starlight Road.

Envision a scenario where you start first and draw it, while your opponent attempts to kick-start his game with a turn-1 Noblswarm Beelzebuth. You would have taken his summons for the turn, 2 of his resource and a whole lot of tempo and game control.

Now, I haven't mentioned the fact that it could link into a 2nd turn One-Turn Kill easily  if it were to happen, have I?

To achieve that, basically you will utilise the 2nd copy of Evilswarm Monster used as Xyz Material along with Evilswarm Kerykeion. There is a good chance that there will be an Evilswarm Castor amongst the Xyz Material.

The damage output would likely be along the line of:
2,550 Damage - Evilswarm Ophion
1,750 Damage - Evilswarm Castor
1,600 Damage - Evilswarm Kerykeion
1,550 Damage - Evilswarm Mandragora
800 Damage - Gagaga Cowboy's effect
8,250 Damage in total

Over large number of games, there would be instances where you fail to draw THRIO. When this happens, Effect Veiler could cover-in as a stop-gap solution before you attempt to diffuse the situation on your next main phase.

The protection comes in two forms:

  1. Effect Veiler is sent to graveyard upon activation as a cost, so you could do a resource adjustment of 1 to even the cards that you and your opponent controls to prevent him from activating Noblswarm Beelzebuth's effect. This move is to pre-empt an effect that could utilise how chain-ing works to undo  your Effect Veiler. Some example of such cards are Book of Moon and Compulsory Evacuation Device.
  2. When cards advantage are beyond 1, simply wait for opponent to activate Noblswarm Beelzebuth's effect before responding with Effect Veiler.
The result of these considerations along with other intrinsic developments formulated in a play style which works along the line of playing conservatively to manage resources while poking at opportunities for the aggressive swing. 

Prior to formulating moves for any turn, the main consideration would be to avoid running into a scenario where I unlock opponent's Noblswarm Beelzebuth's effect and do not have any outs for it.

The end result is a deck that could turtle extremely efficiently and switch-up the tempo at full swing easily.

Hope you enjoy reading this.

P.S. Feel free to comment or raise any questions in the comment box.


  1. Hi, would like to ask why starlight road isn't useful against Noblswarm Beelzebuth? Does forbidden lance actually prevent starlight road from negating Beelzebuth's effect?

  2. Hi Justin, Starlight Road is still useful against Noblswarm Beelzebuth. However, the strategy explored in this article is looking at efficiency and effectiveness.

    To put it simply, efficiency is looking at how much resource do you need to commit in order to achieve the outcome you desired, while effectiveness is simply the next part of the story where how often or easily does the outcome succeed.

    For eg.
    Smashing Ground, Lightning Vortex and Neo-Spacian Ground Mole can be used to clear an Evilswarm Ophion on opponent's side of the field. Smashing Ground and Neo-Spacian Ground Mole can both achieve that desired outcome on their own (1 card) while Lightning Vortex requires an additional card for activation cost (2 cards). Lightning Vortex is not as efficient as the other 2 in this case.

    A common play after summoning Evilswarm Ophion would be to utilise its effect to fetch a copy of Infestation Pandemic. As Infestation Pandemic is able to block out both Smashing Ground and Lightning Vortex, in a simple comparison they would be less effective as Neo-Spacian Ground Mole.

    To answer your question directly, Forbidden Lance does indeed prevent Starlight Road from affecting Noblswarm Beelzebuth when it is used on Noblswarm Beelzebuth. To add more material to this line, Infestation Pandemic is also able to achieve the same effect, complicating things further when playing against an opponent piloting Evilswarm Deck.

    Comparing Starlight Road against The Huge Revolution is Over (THRIO), both card have approximately the same degree of efficiency. However, when it comes to effectiveness, THRIO have the edge as it is a Counter-trap with speed 3 on the chain, and opponent may not chain with Forbidden Lance, Infestation Pandemic or any other speed 2 or lower cards. The only reasonable response which most players might pack in this metagame would be Solemn Judgment or Dark Bribe. Since either of them stops any other card(s) which could be responded to Noblswarm Beelzebuth with an almost certainty, there is not much cause to explore them into the consideration.

    I hope this answers your question sufficiently and offer you additional insight into the thought process I had while coming up with the deck/strategy.