Its been a LOOOOONG time since i wrote an article with and real content, but after reading Bonacini's blog about how Yugioh went wrong and how we all must take responsibility to save the game we love, i decided to do an article about 2 lists from players from Australia's Team Progressive.
Having the honour of being in the team too, i was able to get their decklists, and am gonna do a review of it.
I remember Matt peddle doing articles for metagame.com back in the old days where he would review creative and good decklists which topped tournaments.
Kosc and Hanson have both topped different tournaments, where Kosc finished 12th in swiss and came 3rd in nationals, and Hanson finishing 4th in swiss and came 4th in the oceanics tournament.
The first thing we notice about both lists is that they both play 40 cards. 40 is the optimal build for dragons while some players extend up to 41 or even 42 cards. Personally, i would play 40 but it is so hard to minimize space in dragons because of how many cards are dedicated to the main engine and 3 copies of dragon spellbook judgment day.
The whole point of playing 40 is to excess reju faster, as well as to get to your power cards. Playing 40 in dragons means you can only choose a certain amount of power cards which suit yourself to play. Some choose REDMD, LADD, reborn, Dark hole, etc depending on their player's choice. This makes dragons a really personal deck, because you cannot just netdeck someone's list, because you are bound to have a few cards which you disagree with or just hate playing throughout the tournament.
Both lists also share 2 very powerful under the radar cards: Psy Blocker and Forbidden chalice.
Most players from progressive are in love with psy blocker, and i have to agree. the card was brought up in a topic discussion on DGz forum, whereby it could be used as a wind fodder for tempests' effects, or just used for its solid effect. For those who do not know, Blocker negates all lingering effects if they are already activated which means Iron Wall or Ophion face up would be negated by Psi Blocker, and an active maxx C will have its effect negated for the rest of the turn.
Why Psy Blocker is good is because it has so much more variety than droll & Lock Bird. While droll can be insane if you drew it right, if you drew it after people went off with SJD, it becomes a liability in hand. Psy blocker does the same thing droll does, but better because it is not terrible after SJD. It can be used to bait out removal such as Fate, or stop fate/traps if you can make reads, or just call Jowgen/Kycoo. Draw it first turn? Then just summon it and call Spellbook of Secrets. Opening Dragosack and Blocker is a really strong opening, and your opponent needs to summon Batel/Kycoo and need to have the power to destroy blocker and search. In both situations, Droll and Blocker only prevents your death.
The difference is that Blocker is harder to play around compared with droll and lock bird. Both needs specific cards to counter, and Blocker can also stop spellbook of fate, because mostly fate is fueled by JD, secrets, master in the grave. By cutting off secrets, the spellbook player would have to open a combination of batel and power or a master, to pull off a fate. Even so, without Batel + power, the spellbook player needs to commit Kycoo to the board to destroy the Blocker, instead of conserving it for a better play.
In the verz matchup, blocker is far from terrible, unlike droll & Lock Bird. I dont have to go over this because even without blocker, verz is not a deck against the dragon matchup. Put Blocker in the equation, and it just gets completely destroyed.
For the dragon matchup, blocker allows you to bait the Veiler, or stop the scarecrow. You can also bait Maxx C out, by summoning a dragon, and then summoning blocker to call Maxx C. If your opponent wishes to respond with Veiler, you would have baited 2 hand traps with just 1 card. Provided you have your own hand trap or a protection card like compuls, or chalice, you are in a good position and can just go off in the next turn. Even without all that, you can call a dragon in their graveyard to stop their plays. If your opponent has only 2 colours, he's pretty much fucked, and if he has 3, it could drastically reduce his plays and options.
The next card to discuss is Forbidden Chalice. Chalice used to be popular in OCG when Wesley Seek first used it in his side during the SG Asia Champs Qualifiers. Chalice has many uses to it, and because it is more versatile than Breakthrough Skill, Progressive decided to play 2 copies. While BTS is dead in some ways, chalice is almost never dead. Being able to use it in your own turn after drawing it is huge, and chalice allows for some cool plays such as the Colossal fighter deckout combo if you're under Maxx C. This is really huge because it adds another win condition for the deck, and makes your opponent weary to drop Maxx C on you if he has a big monster on the field. The situation happens really often and is really easy to pull off.
Chalice is also good versus spellbooks when they try to overpower your dragon with Kycoo+ Power. Chalice adds 400 to your Tidal/blaster/dracosack and causes your opponent to waste 2 very important cards!
Last but not least, Chalice is very solid versus Verz, although not as solid as BTS. Using Chalice in the damage step against Ophion is crucial where you can summon a baby and chalice ophion to avoid getting Pandemic-ed. Follow that up in main phase 2 with a dracosack and you have game.
Both lists played the same power cards where they focused on Heavy Storm, Book of Moon and Card destuction, while cutting Monster Reborn. Reborn is a very subpar card especially in a list with 8-9 hand traps because it can increase your chances of opening strange hands.
Another interesting thing is that Kosc sided Vanity Emptiness. Even without Stardust karat Dragon, emptiness is very interesting because not many players side removal for it, or removal for your monsters. Emtpiness + Dragosack was not solid because sack can be easily electric virus-ed. Instead, if you made Big eye, or a synchro, this play can easily lock your opponent out of many plays. I would have sided 2 if i could have gotten my hands on any.
On the other hand, Hanson decided to side Kycoo which was clutch for the mirror and for prophecy. a well timed Kycoo + vanity emptiness iis deadly for the mirror match, and a well timed Kycoo beats over prophecy while stopping their bottomless and their fates.
All in all, it is innovation like this that makes dragons such a personal list. You can play just about any card you can think of in dragons from psy blocker to droll bird to even obelisk ! As the saying goes for dragons, old is gold. :)
Thats all for today.
PS: Nationals and Oceanics was fun in the sense that I got to meet so many new players, and awesome people, like the rest of progressive, and B0dan, and even some fans and readers of the blog (im surprised! but shoutout to ryan nelson, dylan mangione, and the other asian guy who came to shake my hand when i was emo when the top 16 commenced)