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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Round 5 Feature Match: Marcus Carisse vs. John Hubbard

Table 5
Marcus Carisse (Gravekeeper) vs. John Hubbard (Plant Synchro)

Game 1
Marcus Carisse going first

Carisse opens with a set to each zone.

Hubbard sets 1 card to his backrow and ends.

Carisse flips Gravekeeper's Spy and special summons a Gravekeeper's Recruiter in attack. Carisse plays Necrovalley and swings with Spy and Recruiter for 3400, then ends.

Carisse: 8000
Hubbard: 4600

Hubbard starts his turn with Foolish Burial, sending Dandylion to the grave and getting 2 Fluff tokens. Hubbard summons Glow-Up Bulb and synchs with a token to special summon Formula Synchron, drawing him a card. He activates Enemy Controller to tribute the last token and take Gravekeeper's Recruiter. Hubbard tunes it to his Formula Synchron to special summon T.G. Hyper Librarian and Carisse responds with Bottomless Trap Hole. Hubbard sets a card to his backrow and ends.

Carisse draws and swings with Gravekeeper's Spy, then pitches Gravekeeper's Commandant to search out another Necrovalley. Next, Carisse plays Gravekeeper's Stele to add Gravekeeper's Commandant and Gravekeeper's Recruiter to his hand. Hubbard responds with Mind Crush, calling Gravekeeper's Recruiter! Marcus sets a monster and a backrow, then ends.

Carisse: 8000
Hubbard: 2900

Hubbard summons Lonefire Blossom, declaring priority. He responds to his own summon with Torrential Tribute, destroying both Carisse's face-up and face-down Spies! Hubbard special summons Spore in defense and sets 2 card to his backrow before ending.


Torrential Tribute clears the board for Hubbard!

Carisse summons Gravekeeper's Commandant and attempts to attack Spore, only to get hit with Mirror Force. Carisse passes.

Hubbard draws and passes.

Carisse sets a backrow and passes.

Hubbard summons Reborn Tengu and attacks for 1700.

Carisse: 6300
Hubbard: 2900

Carisse plays Heavy Storm. When Hubbard doesn't respond, he chains his own Starlight Road. Hubbard flips Solemn Warning to negate Road! Carisse loses his Necrovalley and set Torrential Triute, then plays another Necrovalley to replace his lost one and ends.


Solemn Warning spells doom for Carisse, as Hubbard uses it to its full effect!

Carisse: 6300
Hubbard: 900

Hubbard draws and synchs Reborn Tengu with Spore to synchro summon Ally of Justice Catastor, special summoning another Reborn Tengu. He activates Glow-Up Bulb and synchs it to his Ally of Justice Catastor to make Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. Hubbard pitches a dead Solemn Warning to bounce Necrovalley, then removes Lonefire Blossom to special summon Spore! He synchro summons Stardust Dragon and before he could even search for his last Reborn Tengu, Carisse scoops.

Game 2
John Hubbard leading 1-0
Marcus Carisse going first

Carisse starts off game 2 with a set to each zone.

Hubbard normal summons Reborn Tengu and sets a backrow, then ends.

Carisse flips Gravekeeper's Recruiter and follows up by normal summoning Gravekeeper's Descendant.

Carisses uses priority to tribute Gravekeeper's Recruiter to destroy Reborn Tengu and John special summons another one in defense, signaling that he doesn't have Mystical Space Typhoon set. Carisse swings on the Reborn Tengu with Gravekeeper's Descendant and Hubbard doesn't summon a third.

Hubbard activates Mystical Space Typhoon from his hand, destroying Necrovalley. He summons Thunder King Rai-Oh and declares an attack on Gravekeeper's Descendant. Carisse flips his set Compulsory Evacuation Device, returning Thunder King to Hubbard's hand. He passes.

Carisse normal summons Gravekeeper's Recruiter and Hubbard responds with Torrential Tribute! Both of Carisse's monsters are destroyed and he searches for Gravekeeper's Assailant. Next, Carisse activates Gravekeeper's Stele for Gravekeeper's Recruiter and Gravekeeper's Commandant, immediately pitching it for Necrovalley. He plays it and sets a backrow, then ends.

Hubbard re-summons his Thunder King Rai-Oh and swings directly. He sets 2 backrows before passing.


Can Hubbard ride his Thunder King Rai-Oh to victory?

Carisse: 6100
Hubbard: 8000

Carisse normal summons Gravekeeper's Assailant and attacks into Dimensional Prison.

Hubbard normal summons Reborn Tengu and declares attacks with it and Thunder King Rai-Oh

Carisse: 2500
Hubbard: 8000

Carisse plays Dark Hole to clear the board! Next he plays Pot of Duality, revealing 2 Dimensional Prisons and a Gravekeeper's Stele. He keeps a Prison and normal summons Recruiter, connecting for 1700. Carisse sets a backrow and ends.

Carisse: 2500
Hubbard: 6300

Hubbard draws and passes.

Carisse normal summons Gravekeeper's Descendant and attacks with Gravekeeper's Recruiter for 1700. He attacks with Gravekeeper's Descendant and Hubbard responds with Fobidden Lance, targeting the Recruiter that already attacked. Hubbard takes 2000 and then drops Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness! Carisse moves to his main phase 2 and tributes his Recruiter to destroy Gorz, searches out another Recruiter and sets a third card to his backrow before passing.

Carisse: 2500
Hubbard: 2600

Hubbard draws to 3 cards and normal summons Lonefire Blossom, immediately tributing it to special summon Glow-Up Bulb. He tunes it to his Gorz token and synchro summons Scrap Dragon. Carisse responds with Solemn Judgment. Hubbard finishes up by playing Dark Hole, ending with 1 card in hand.

Carisse: 1250
Hubbard: 2600

Carisse summons Gravekeeper's Recruiter and equips Wonder Wand to it. He plays his last card: Royal Tribute! It discards Thunder King Rai-Oh from Hubbard's hand and Carisse attacks before ending.

Carisse: 1250
Hubbard: 400

Hubbard draws and summons Tour Guide from the Underworld! He special summons another from his deck and exceed summons Number 17: Leviathan Dragon. He detatches a material to bump it to 2500, then ends.


Hubbard tops Tour Guide from the Underworld, allowing him to stay in the game! Can he hold on long enough to make a comeback?

Carisse tops another Wonder Wand! His Gravekeeper's Recruiter goes to 2700, enough to take down Leviathan! He attacks, and in main phase 2 he tributes his Recruiter to draw 2 and search a copy of Gravekeeper's Commandant. He sets a monster and passes over to Hubbard, who draws and scoops.

Game 3
Match tied 1-1
John Hubbard going first

Hubbard starts the final game with Tour Guide from the Underworld, special summoning Sangan in defense. He sets a backrow, then ends.

Carisse plays Pot of Duality revealing Mystical Space Typhoon, Starlight Road, and Gravekeeper's Recruiter. He takes Recruiter and sets a card to each zone before ending.

Hubbard simply mirrors him with a set to each zone and ends.

Carisse flips Gravekeeper's Recruiter, trying to draw out Solemn Warning but is unsuccessful. He sets another monster and passes.

Hubbard is the first to blink, and activates Mystical Space Typhoon from his hand and hits Carisse's Bottomless Trap Hole. He overlays Tour Guide and Sangan to exceed summon Number 17: Leviathan Dragon and detatches Sangan to pump it to 2500 attack. Next Hubbard flips Dandylion, and summons Lonefire Blossom! He tributes Dandylion for it's effect, getting 2 Fluff tokens and special summoning Glow-Up Bulb. He tunes Glow-Up Bulb, Lonefire Blossom and a token to synchro summon T.G. Hyper Librarian. Hubbard mills Smashing Ground to special Bulb from his grave, then tunes it to his remaining token to synchro summon Formula Synchron, drawing 2 cards! He declares an attack with his Leviathan and destroys Carisse's Recruiter, letting him search another. T.G. Hyper Librarian attacks the set Gravekeeper's Spy, and Carisse special summons Gravekeeper's Assailant. Hubbard set a third card to his backrow, then ends his massive turn!


Hubbard unleashes a huge turn involving the deadly T.G. Hyper Librarian and Formula Synchron combo! Can Carisse even comeback after this?

Carisse: 6700
Hubbard: 8000

Carisse draws to 6 and Hubbard plays Mind Crush, calling Gravekeeper's Recruiter! Carisse discards 1 copy and reveals his hand. Carisse continues, activating Necrovalley and Hubbard chains his Formula Synchron, tuning it with Librarian to synchro summon Ancient Fairy Dragon in defense. Carisse attacks and switches Leviathan with Gravekeeper's Assailant, destroying it. He sets a card to each zone and ends.

Hubbard activates the effect of his Ancient Fairy Dragon, destroying Necrovalley and gaining 1000 life points. He normal summons Reborn Tengu and attacks over Gravekeeper's Assailant before ending.

Carisse: 6500
Hubbard: 9000

Carisse activates Mystical Space Typhoon and targets one of Hubbard's 2 set cards. He hits Torrential Tribute, then flips his Gravekeeper's Spy and special summons Gravekeeper's Descendant. Next, he activates Gravkeeper's Stele to recover Gravekeeper's Assailant and Gravekeeper's Recruiter from his grave. Carisse summons Gravekeeper's Recruiter and Hubbard flips Solemn Warning, paying 2000 to negate the summon. Carisse overlays his Gravekeeper's Spy and Gravekeeper's Descendant to exceed summon Number 39: Utopia and swings over Reborn Tengu. Hubbard specials another and Carisse ends.

Carisse: 6500
Hubbard: 6200

Hubbard normal summons Breaker the Magical Warrior and destroys Carisse's only backrow: Mirror Force! He overlays his Breaker and Reborn Tengu to exceed summon a Number 39: Utopia of his own, then plays Book of Moon targeting Carisse's Utopia. Hubbard's Utopia kills Carisse's in battle, then ends.

Carisse sets a monster and passes back.

Hubbard draws to 3 cards and swings on Carisse's face-down Gravekeeper's Spy, letting him special summon Gravekeeper's Descendant. Hubbard sets a backrow and ends.

Carisse plays Pot of Duality revealing Book of Moon, Necrovalley, and Breaker the Magical Warrior. He opts to take Book of Moon and summons Gravekeeper's Assailant. He activates the effect of his Gravekeeper's Descendant and tributes Assailant to kill Hubbard's Ancient Fairy Dragon. He sets a backrow and ends his turn with 1 card in hand.

Hubbard summons his last Reborn Tengu and swings over Gravekeeper's Descendant before ending.

Carisse: 6300
Hubbard: 6200

Carisse sets a monster, then ends.

Hubbard attacks the set monster with Number 39: Utopia and destroys Gravekeeper's Recruiter, allowing Carise to search another to his hand. Hubbard attacks with Reborn Tengu next and Carisse activates his set Book of Moon, targeting Utopia! He takes 1700 then drops Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness and a 1700 token in defense! Hubbard sets a third backrow and passes.


Gorz shines its light on Carisse, allowing him back into the game!

Carisse activates a huge Heavy Storm! It destroys Hubbard's set Foolish Burial, Mirror Force and Bottomless Trap Hole. Carisse switches both Gorz and its token to attack mode and crashes the token into Tengu. Gorz then destroys the face-down Utopia and in main phase 2 Carisse pitches his last card, Gravekeeper's Commandant, to search out Necrovalley from his deck. He activates it and ends.

Hubbard draws to 2 cards and sets a monster before passing back.

Carisse swings over the set Tour Guide from the Underworld, then sets his topdeck to his backrow.

Hubbard draws and passes.

Carisse draws and passes.

Hubbard draws and passes again!

Carisse calls his bluff, attacking with Gorz for 2700. He ends.

Carisse: 6300
Hubbard: 3500

Hubbard draws and sets a card to each zone.

Carisse draws and normal summons Breaker the Magical Warrior. Hubbard responds with Bottomless Trap Hole, then loses his set Thunder King Rai-Oh to Gorz.

Hubbard sets a backrow and passes.

Carisse swings with Gorz for another 2700, sets a backrow and ends.

Carisse: 6300
Hubbard: 800

Hubbard special summons Cyber Dragon in defense, then summons Effect Veiler. He tunes his 2 monsters together to synchro summon Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier with 1 card in hand. Carisse activates Solemn Warning, Hubbard responds with Solemn Judgment, and Carisse flips his own! Hubbard scoops and concedes the match.

A huge Heavy Storm lets Carisse comeback from an unwinnable game, allowing him to defeat John Hubbard and continue on in the tournament with an x-1 record!

Round 4 Feature Match: Mike Steinman vs. Jonathan Weigle

Table 3
Mike Steinman (Agents) vs. Jonathan Weigle (Agents)

Game 1
Mike Steinman going first

Steinman normal summons The Agent of Mystery - Earth, adding The Agent of Creation - Venus to his hand before ending.

Weigle activates Pot of Duality revealing The Agent of Mystery - Earth, Mind Control, and Thunder King Rai-Oh. Weigle picks and summons Earth, also adding the Agent of Creation - Venus to his hand. The Earth's crash and Weigle sets a card to his backrow, then ends.

The Agent of Mystery - Earth hits the field for both players, a solid opening play!

Steinman draws to 7 cards and activates Mystical Space Typhoon to destroy Torrential Tribute. Steinman summons The Agent of Creation - Venus and pays 1000 to bring out 2 Mystical Shine Balls in attack. All 3 monsters attack and Steinman sets a backrow before passing, opting not to exceed summon for Gachi Gachi Gantetsu.

Steinman: 7000
Weigle: 5400

Weigle starts his turn by summoning The Agent of Creation - Venus, paying 500 to activate its effect but Steinman responds with Solemn Warning. Weigle activates Monster Reborn! Venus hits the board once again and Weigle pays 1500 to special summon 3 Mystical Shine Balls (2 in attack, 1 in  defense). Weigle takes his time to ponder his next move, then returns a Mystical Shine Ball to special summon Genex Ally Birdman, then pays 500 to special summon it back to the field. Weigle tunes Genex Ally Birdman, The Agent of Creation - Venus and a Mystical Shine Ball together to synchro summon Scrap Dragon. Then he removes The Agent of Mystery - Earth from the grave to special summon Master Hyperion! Weigle removes a Mystical Shine Ball to destroy Steinman's The Agent of Creation - Venus, then sets a card to his backrow. Next, he activates Scrap Dragon's effect to destroy his freshly set Bottomless Trap Hole and one of Steinman's Mystical Shine Balls. Weigle enters his battle phase and crashes one of his Shine Balls into Steinman's. His other one attacks directly for 500, then Master Hyperion hits for 2700 and Steinman drops Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness! Both Gorz and its token come out in defense, and Weigle attacks the Gorz token with Scrap Dragon before ending.


Steinman's Gorz allows him to survive Weigle's massive turn! Would it be enough to allow him a comeback?

Steinman: 1800
Weigle: 3400

Steinman draws to 4 cards, then removes The Agent of Creation - Venus from his grave to special summon Master Hyperion and switches Gorz to attack. Steinman swings with Master Hyperion into Weigle's and drops Honest! Gorz attacks over Mystical Shine Ball for game.

Game 2
Mike Steinman leading 1-0
Jonathan Weigle going first

Weigle starts game 2 with the normal summon of The Agent of Mystery - Earth, adding The Agent of Creation - Venus to his hand. Weigle followups with Pot of Duality revealing Mind Crush, The Agent of Creation - Venus, and Genex Ally Birdman; he takes Genex Ally Birdman, then ends.


Weigle foreshadows a huge turn coming by taking Genex Ally Birdman from his Pot of Duality!

Steinman summons Card Trooper and activates its effect, milling Master Hyperion, The Agent of Creation - Venus, and Bottomless Trap Hole. Steinman swings over The Agent of Mystery - Earth, then sets 3 cards to his backrow before ending!

Steinman: 8000
Weigle: 7100

Weigle draws to 7 cards, then summons Mystical Shine ball and swings over Card Trooper. Weigle sets a backrow and passes.

Steinman: 7900
Weigle: 7100

Steinman draws and summons a Mystical Shine Ball of his own, crashing it into Weigle's. Steinman sets a fourth card, then ends.

Weigle draws and activates Mystical Space Typhoon from his hand, targeting Steinman's Typhoon! He chains it and destroys Weigle's Mind Crush. Weigle continues, summoning The Agent of Creation - Venus. He pays 1000 to summon 2 Mystical Shine Balls in defense. Weigle returns one to special summon Genex Ally Birdman, then tunes The Agent of Creation - Venus, Mystical Shine Ball and Genex Ally Birdman together to synchro summon Stardust Dragon. Weigle drops Archlord Kristya next, but Steinman responds with Solemn Warning. Weigle keeps going! He removes The Agent of Mystery - Earth from the grave to special summon Master Hyperion, removing Mystical Shine Ball to destroy Steinman's set Dimensional Prison. Weigles removes The Agent of Creation - Venus for a second Master Hyperion and Steinman scoops.

A huge turn for Weigle lets him overwhelm the board and clinch the game!

Game 3
Match tied at 1-1
Mike Steinman going first

Steinman starts game 3 with a set card to his backrow.

Weigle normal summons Thunder King Rai-Oh. When he attacks for 1900, Steinman drops Tragoedia. Weigle sets a backrow, then ends.


Will Steinman be able to capitalize on his Tragoedia play?

Steinman draws to 5 cards, giving Tragoedia 3000 attack points. He flips Heavy Storm, destroying Weigle's set Mirror Force. Tragoedia swings over Thunder King Rai-Oh and Steinman sets a backrow before passing.

Steinman: 6100
Weigle: 6900

Weigle draws and passes back.

Steinman draws turns Tragoedia to defense, setting a monster before ending.

Weigle draws and normal summons The Agent of Creation - Venus. Steinman responds with Solemn Judgment!

Steinman: 3050
Weigle: 4100

Steinman draws and tributes Tragoedia and his set Mystical Shine Ball for Archlord Kristya, attacking directly. A set card to his backrow ends his turn.

Weigle activates Pot of Duality revealing Thunder King Rai-Oh, The Agent of Mystery - Earth, and Genex Ally Birdman; he adds The Agent of Mystery - Earth and normal summons it to add The Agent of Creation - Venus to his hand. He ends.

Steinman normal summons his own The Agent of Mystery - Earth and activates its effect, but Weigle responds with Herald of Orange Light! Mystical Shine Ball is discarded with it and Steinman declares an attack on The Agent of Mystery - Earth with Archlord Kristya, destroying it. Steinman sets a card to his backrow, then ends.

Steinman: 3050
Weigle: 2300

Weigle sets a card to each zone and ends. Steinman flips Mystical Space Typhoon in the end phase, destroying Weigle's set Bottomless Trap Hole.

Steinman plays Dark Hole, destroying the set Agent of Creation - Venus and his own Kristya, then special summons Master Hyperion to attack for game!

The powerful Archlord Kristya shuts down his good friend Weigle's plays, and allows Steinman to continue undefeated in the tournament!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Feature Match Critiques - Toronto Round 1: Sorosh Saberian VS Eric Hennig

    In this article I'm going to go over this Round 1 Toronto feature match. I'm not going to go over the obvious things (like Hennig taking Venus over Earth off his Duality, for example) but I am going to go over some of the questionable plays that both players made. The first one was made by Saberian:
Hennig opened up the day with 3 Set cards to his back row, and used Pot of Duality to reveal The Agent of Mystery - Earth; The Agent of Creation - Venus; and Mystical Shine Ball.  He added The Agent of Creation to his hand, then Set a fourth card to his back row.  He Normal Summoned Venus to end.
Saberian had a hand of Dimensional Prison; Gorz the Emissary of Darkness; Super-Nimble Mega Hamster; Gleipnir, the Fetters of Fenrir; Torrential Tribute; and Tour Guide from the Underworld.  He summoned Tour Guide and Special Summoned Sangan from his deck in Defense Position.
    I don’t agree with the summoning of Tour Guide. I definitely think he should’ve set the Hamster, and he dodged a bullet when Henning didn’t have Solemn Warning or Effect Veiler. By setting Hamster first, it would’ve either got hit with the Warning instead, or it would’ve given him access to Ryko to try to hit the potential Warning or even draw out an Effect Veiler. You could argue that if it got Warning’d, he could set Gleipnir and drop Gorz to the Venus attack but one of those back rows could be yet another answer (best case, a 2nd Solemn Warning). I think it’s usually best to try to take out your opponents’ threats with lesser threat cards like Ryko and save your better cards for when your opponent has fewer options to deal with them.
    Another arguement you could make is that he was actually trying to draw out Veiler or Warning, in hopes of later using his Hamster to get Tanngnjoster and make a Black Rose Dragon play to wipe the field. I don't agree with that play either though, because there was a big chance that Hennig had a Starlight Road set. The last thing supporting the Tour Guide play was that Saberian valued information and keeping his deck secret more than trying to destroy his opponents' outs to his plays. Summoning a Tour Guide doesn't give his deck choice away, while showing a Hamster might make Hannig play differently.
Our next play is made by Hennig:
Hennig flipped Royal Decree, which he'd Set the turn previous.  He Normal Summoned The Agent of Creation, and when Hennig activated its effect, Saberian Chained Book of Moon to turn Venus face-down.  Hennig Special Summoned a single Shine Ball in Defense Position.  "Not like I can do anything with it now."

    Now the field at this point features Saberian having a single monster and s/t, and Hennig having Earth and 2 s/ts. I believe he should’ve not flipped the Decree so prematurely. Instead, summoning Venus and declining priority. This can draw out removal cards like Torrential, Bottomless, etc. If he was really reading the s/t to be Warning, he could activate the Decree now and then activate Venus’s effect (Note that it was highly unlikely that Saberian would Warning the summon of Venus, unless he was reading Decree or Trap Stun).
    Another play was to use the effect, and after the Shine Balls hit the field is when Saberian would respond like a card like Torrential to which he would chain his Decree. By prematurely activating his Decree he shut off the rest of his sets and let his opponent make plays he maybe wouldn’t have made. In this unfortunate case, Saberian had Book and shut off any potential play that could’ve been made. If Hennig had played it correctly, his Decree would still be face-down and his opponent would’ve had to play with a completely different mindset.
The last play I want to talk about was again made by Hennig:
 Saberian drew Bottomless Trap Hole, and activated Dark Hole to clear the field!  Hennig returned Kristya to the top of his Deck, now with 4 Fairies in his Graveyard: Saberian Special Summoned Hyperion with Monster Reborn and attacked, depriving Hennig of his fourth Fairy.  He Set Bottomless.
Hennig Summoned another Agent of Mystery next turn to get another Venus from his Deck: he had 3800 Life Points left.  He Set another Spell or Trap.
Saberian drew Tour Guide from the Underworld, and Summoned her to get another Tour Guide from his Deck.  He stacked the Tour Guides together to Xyz Summon Leviair, then detached to Special Summon The Agent of Creation - Venus.  Venus attacked into Earth; Hennig boosted its ATK with the effect of Honest; and Venus went down.  But Hyperion attacked over the boosted Earth, and Leviair made a direct attack.  Hennig had six Fairies in his Graveyard, so Kristya was likely a non-factor.

    Henning should’ve made the play to bring his Kristya online and shut down Saberian’s special summoning. He should’ve just swung with his Earth into Hyperion, taking 1700 damage and bringing himself to 4 fairies. I believe this was better than just hoping his opponent didn’t have a second monster to attack over Earth, drawing out Honest and then putting him to 6 fairies. He would’ve lost his Kristya to Bottomless and lost anyway, but figuring that Saberian didn’t have the Bottomless set the turn before and it was his top deck, I think it was still the safer play. It was just unfortunate that Saberian had in fact topped an answer to the Kristya in the form of Bottomless.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Agent Variations & Tech Choices

    Heading into the 2 YCS events this weekend almost every player believes Agents are the deck to beat. Whether or not you decide to use Agents at Toronto or Guayaquil you need to be prepared for them. It is my personal opinion there is absolutely no reason to use a deck at these events unless it is Agents or can consistently beat Agents, so this article will aim to help you with the mirror match and find ways to up your odds Game 1 for other decks.

    In order to beat a deck you must understand all the nuances of the deck and how it plays. Agents are a very aggressive deck capable of ending games quickly so your deck needs to either be able to withstand everything they can throw at it or cut them down before they can set up their game-winning plays. You need to be prepared for every different strategy you might encounter at the event. As of right now, there are 3 different variations of the Agent deck floating around the forums.

    The first is the Tour Guide From the Underworld build, or TGU Agent for short. I would guess this variant will be the most popular at the YCS events this weekend by a solid margin, so this is the variant you need to get down before you move onto others. The biggest perks of TGU Agent are that unlike the other 2 variants that only have 6-7 good Turn 1 summons (3 Earth, 3 Venus, Sangan) this variant has 9-10 good Turn 1 summons. Tour Guide increases the consistency of the deck by leaps and bounds while giving the deck solid DARK monsters for Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning (Chaos Sorcerer is also an option but not a commonly seen one).

    The best way to beat this variant is to find ways to either get around the Sangan search with cards like Thunder King Rai-Oh, Caius the Shadow Monarch, or Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. Since you may not always have those available, you can simply refuse to attack the Sangan until you can get the game into a position where the search will not make or break the game-state. What I mean by that is if you can drop Archlord Kristya (preferably with other Monsters already on the field) there is only 1 card in their deck Sangan can search that will help them get out of your lock: Honest. As long as you have an answer to the Honest or a way to finish the game that turn, you should cruise to victory most of the time.

    The problem with playing like this is I do not believe Agents are the kind of deck you can expect to play passively against and beat them. The more you turtle up against Agents, the more opportunities Agents have to draw into their combos. Your deck needs to be able to lean on Agents early and force them into premature combo plays, which will allow you to counter back and take control of the game. It is for this reason I believe Thunder King Rai-Oh is an incredibly viable Main Deck card right now, which brings me to the second Agent variation: Pure Thunder King Agent, or TKR Agent for short.

    TKR Agent lacks some of the explosiveness you get with the Tour Guide version, but you gain a excellent counter to their Tour Guide opener and a way to stop an Archlord Kristya/Master Hyperion/Black Luster Soldier drop. The biggest issue with the Rai-Oh variant is that you have to play extremely carefully with Rai-Oh because he is very susceptible to the Agent of Creation - Venus -> Gachi Gachi Gantetsu play. If you go the Rai-Oh route you need to have ways to protect your Rai-Oh from this. You are probably not going to want to Herald of Orange Light a Venus so cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, Maxx "C", and Effect Veiler will all combo nicely with Rai-Oh. The first 2 variants create kind of a unique decision for players. I personally believe the Tour Guide Variant is the better of the 2 decks but it is more susceptible to Thunder King Rai-Oh for running Tour Guide. For this reason, I have chosen to use the Thunder King variant as I believe Thunder King gives you a better chance at dealing with their plays and an extra defensive monster for the times you cannot keep backrows alive, but the decision is ultimately up to you.

    The third variant is Tech Genus Agent, or T.G. Agent for short. This variant normally run 3 T.G. Striker and 3 T.G. Warwolf, sometimes alongside 2 copies of Tragoedia. Striker with Agent of Creation - Venus gives the deck easy Trishula access, while Warwolf with Venus creates some Gachi Gachi Gantetsu -> Rank 3 plays. The T.G. engine also floats all day, allowing you to keep a higher card in hand count for Tragoedia. With Tragoedia and Warwolf the deck has easy access to Black Luster Soldier and the ability to main Creature Swap with ease. I feel this version is the worst of the three because not only is it more susceptible to Rai-Oh than the Tour Guide version is, the T.G. engine is at its best when it is allowed to continuously float on the field and press, not used for Synchro/Xyz plays. The Synchro/Xyz plays are indeed nifty but they are not better than the ones the TGU variant puts out with Genex Ally Birdman in my opinion. Striker is a more flexible Genex Ally Birdman, but Striker has a much more limited to access to the Synchros your deck can put out. However ,I am sure this build will see some play because Creature Swap is devastating against monsters such as Archlord Kristya and Master Hyperion, so do not underestimate it.

    Now that we have that out of the way, the question is: how do we deal with them all? I've already covered Thunder King Rai-Oh, who I believe is one of the best cards against Agents if you can protect him from Venus, so I won't repeat myself. Here are some other splash-able cards that can be used in various decks to deal with Agents:

Maxx "C": Maxx "C" is one of the best cards to have against a Venus play. It basically reads "Draw 1 card. Your opponent ends their Turn". Maxx "C" is not as good as Effect Veiler overall, but its strengths are that C is considerably stronger versus specific things. I personally feel C is at its best in Tour Guide decks since maining 1 copy of it gives you a nice Sangan toolbox where C can be searched out when he is most effective.

Bottomless Trap Hole: I feel like decks that run defensive Trap cards need to be maining Bottomless again. It basically hits every game winning Monster in Agents, and is probably the best way of getting rid of Kristya. Bottomless also helps keep the Venus and whatever else you might hit out of the graveyard, cutting off Hyperion, Kristya, and Black Luster Soldier.

Doomcaliber Knight: I don't see a lot of talk regarding this card right now. I believe most of it has to do with the fear of Effect Veiler, but Doomcaliber Knight is still a solid option for cutting of the Venus Plays and stopping them from dropping Archlord Kristya (Kristya's add a Fairy to hand effect is mandatory, so if you can keep it on the field it can at least stall the Kristya a turn). Most Agent lists I have seen lately are running 0-1 copies of Effect Veiler with at least 2 copies of Herald of Orange Light. This means they probably will not have Effect Veiler most of the time, and while they can just Herald the Doomcaliber that is an exchange they are probably not going to be thrilled to make and you can make your plays next turn a little more confidently since 1 Herald is out of the way. Doomcaliber Knight, unlike Thunder King, also protects himself from the Venus play. Lastly, Doomcaliber Knight is a DARK which means you have other ways to fuel Black Luster if you are not playing Tour Guide.

Mind Crush: As mentioned under Bottomless Trap Hole I would definitely main Bottomless over Mind Crush right now. Bottomless is a far more consistent card and Mind Crush is not the kind of a card you want to be maining at the first event of a format in my opinion. You may think half the field will be running Agents and Mind Crush is the stone cold nuts but what is predicted and what is realistic are almost never the same thing. That being said Mind Crush is an excellent Side Deck card against Agents (and many other decks). I would go as far as to say 2 copies of Mind Crush are a Side Deck staple right now. Against Agents Mind Crush hits the monsters the search off their Turn 1 summons (Sangan, Earth), cards they get off Gold Sarcophagus, and gives you the ability to strip them of obvious boss Monsters if they play a certain way. A good example would be is if they can make the Gachi Gachi Gantetsu + Stardust Dragon play but they pass it up in favor of Trishula to put them at 4 Fairies it is a pretty safe bet to Mind Crush Archlord Kristya in this situation. Obviously Mind Crush is a very risky card, and almost everytime you play Mind Crush wrong you will lose (there are exceptions to every rule but missing with Mind Crush hurts) so if you use Mind Crush you definitely need to test many sided games with it to get a feel for what you need to call and when you need to call it.

Leeching the Light: This isn't a card every deck can side, but if your deck can pump out Monsters with ease (Agents, Plants, etc) this card can steal you games and double as a card that can clear Rai-Oh/Kristya/etc in a pinch. In Agents your opponent can have out Gachi Gachi Gantetsu with 2 Shine Balls attached and 2000 ATK Venus. You summon your Venus, get 3 Shine Ball in attack, then activate Leeching the Light. You now have 3 2500 ATK Shine Balls and a 3600 ATK Venus. This is probably most effective way of dealing with the Venus/Gachi combination. Unlike the other cards mentioned this is not the kind of card you can side in everything and expect equally good results across the board but in decks that can Special Summon with great frequency Leeching the Light is an excellent card.

That about wraps this up, hopefully this article will help everybody be prepared for this weekend. I will probably have another article up after the YCS results are up discussing how completely wrong I was, so until then good luck to everybody from DGz attending events this weekend!


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