written by mike thomas
Starting off the season with an underwhelming, and ultimately unsatisfying personal
performance at YCS Toronto, I decided to make an attempt to redeem myself at one of the first
regionals of the season: Indianapolis, IN. Unlike Toronto, where I’d hoped to round out my 2017
season with a premiere event top, I entered this tournament with a more casual goal in mind:
Simply obtain my invite for the 2018 North American World Championship Qualifiers.
I approached this event much as I did Toronto, choosing to run a pure Zoodiac deck, as I
believe it to be the most consistent and reliable deck of the current format.
(Continue reading below.)
3 Zoodiac Whiptail
2 Zoodiac Ratpier
2 Zoodiac RamRam
2 Zoodiac Thoroughblade
3 Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit
2 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
1 Maxx “C”
1 Kumongous, The Sticky String Kaiju
1 Gameciel, The Sea Turtle Kaiju
3 Zoodiac Barrage
3 Fire Formation - Tenki
3 Cosmic Cyclone
2 Pot of Desires
2 Dark hole
1 Soul Charge
1 Shuffle Reborn
3 Dimensional Barrier
1 Zoodiac Combo
1 Missus Radiant
1 Zoodiac Boarbow
2 Zoodiac Hammerkong
2 Zoodiac Tigermortar
3 Zoodiac Chakanine
3 Zoodiac Broadbull
3 Zoodiac Drident
1 Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring
1 Jizukiru, The Star Destroying Kaiju
2 Interrupted Kaiju Slumber
2 Floodgate Trap hole
3 Enemy Controller
3 Magic Deflector
3 Solemn Strike
About the Deck:
As my decklist remained unchanged from Toronto, the thoughts behind many of the card
choices remained the same.
Since True Draco Zoodiac hybrid decks proved again to be the more popular variant this
weekend, cards such as Cosmic Cyclone, Pianissimo, and the two Kaiju monsters were
included into the Main Deck to better my deck’s Game 1s against the unfavorable matchup.
Dimensional Barrier was chosen to be my Trap Card of choice in the Main Deck, as I felt that
the Zoodiac engine handled rogue matchups well enough on its own, and could easily be
replaced with Solemn Strike post-side in appropriate matchups.
The inclusion of two Kaiju names in the Main Deck allowed me to have answers to problem
monsters going second, while also reducing the number of Kaiju-package cards I sided Games
2-3 from five to three.
Enemy Controller was a necessary Side Deck card to answer opposing Floodgate Trapholes,
while my own Floodgate Trap Holes were sided to lock out my opponent’s Extra Deck Monster
Finally, the Extra Deck consisted of 14 Zoodiac XYZ Monsters and one copy of Missus Radiant.
This was a decision I discussed with the team before YCS Toronto, which we concluded was
correct, as the opportunity to make Rank 4 XYZ Monsters is rarely optimal under the new Link
After convincing two friends, unaffiliated with Team Ziege, to make the drive to Indianapolis 12
hours before registration, and the late-night drive that followed, I arrived at the Indiana
Convention Center determined to prove my performance at Toronto a fluke.
Round 1 -- Dinosaurs (0-0):
Sitting down across from my first opponent, I sensed a immediate rivalry brewing. Having
forgotten my Team Ziege jersey in a friend’s car, I was forced to (proudly) wear my University of
Michigan football shirt underneath my Team Ziege hoodie. My opponent, however, made the
fatal mistake of sporting an Ohio State University hoodie. Upon noticing this, and seeing that he
was running Dinosaurs (a deck which has proved problematic for me in the past), I knew I could
not let myself lose this match.
I ended up winning this match easily 2-0, GO BLUE!!
Round 2 -- Twlightsworn (1-0):
Having joked about the lackluster effects of the new Twilightsworn cards with my friends on the
drive down, I was surprised to play against this deck just hours later during the tournament.
This match was as unremarkable as the new cards themselves, the only thing of note was that I
managed to lose game 2 due to not drawing a Zoodiac card, and that he was under the
impression that Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring negated Charge of the Light Brigade’s cost to
mill 3 cards. I win 2-1.
Round 3 -- Pure Zoodiac (2-0):
Simply put, this round was weird. My opponent was extremely unresponsive, and frankly
belligerent during our games, refusing to answer when I asked for responses, remarking “Don’t
ask me stupid questions, I’ll tell you if I have a response.” His attitude drew the attention of
several players sitting nearby, and quite frankly made the match uncomfortable.
Aside from the inclusion of Breakthrough Skill in his Main Deck, our match was fairly
straightforward. I win 2-0.
After our match, my opponent apologized for his seemingly rude behavior, and caught me to
return my teammate Zack Sitek’s Gameciel (which I had borrowed) before the start of the next
round. We ended up talking quite a bit in between rounds for the remainder of the event.
Round 4 -- Pure Zoodiac (3-0):
Not much to say about this match. I opened Maxx “C” Game 1, and Interrupted Kaiju Slumber
Game 2. I win easily 2-0.
Round 5 -- True Draco Zoodiac (4-0):
This match is where things started to go wrong. The mid-day nerves and fatigue set in, and I
misplayed Game 1, forgetting to pop his Dragonic Diagram with Zoodiac Drident before
attacking over his Master Peace, The True Dracoslaying King, costing me the game. Game 3
he goes first in time and sets 4 facedown cards -- all of which were live.
My choke Game 1 cost me the match. I lose 1-2.
Round 6 -- True Draco Zoodiac (4-1):
This round I played against 2017 Dragon Duels World Championship participant Charley Futch
III. Although somewhat humorously complaining of his wrist hurting after shaking my hand,
Charley soon proved that our games would be no laughing matter. His skill at the game was
quickly made apparent when he swiftly defeated me Game 1, even after losing the dice roll. I
knew that I would need to play very carefully in order to make the 2-0 come back to win the
Game 2 I manage to set up a strong opening field, consisting of: Zoodiac Drident, Zoodiac
Hammerkong, and Missus Radiant backed up by a set Pianissimo and Solemn Strike. Charley
opens up with a Dark Hole, which I assume he’d hoped would secure his victory. Unfortunately
for him, Pianissimo protected my Drident from destruction for the turn. Despite his best (albeit
obvious) attempt to bait her destruction effect, the interruption proved to be enough to prevent
him from getting off the ground.
We began Game 3 close to time, and had gathered a large crowd at this point. While he
managed to establish a very threatening opening board with Zoodiac Drident, and Master
Peace, The True Dracoslaying King, backed up by a Dimensional Barrier, I was able to draw a
strong hand of my own, including Kumonguous, the Sticky String Kaiju and my own copy of
Dimensional Barrier. The game went back and forth for a few turns, but I managed to draw a
decisive Maxx “C” as well as another Dimensional Barrier and Solemn Strike, sealing the game
in my favor.
Although he seemed upset about losing, I gladly accepted my victory and proceeded to the
semi-final round with a 2-1 comeback.
Round 7 -- Kaiju Zoodiac (5-1):
This round I played against a friend from Michigan, Stamati Kaplantzes. While I was excited to
play a friendly round, I felt bad having to play against someone I knew as it guaranteed that one
of us would lose out on a chance at Top 8.
Unfortunately for Stamati, his chance at Top 8 was scattered to the wind in what I can only
describe as the most one-sided match I have ever played in my Yu-Gi- Oh! Career.
After winning the dice roll, I proceed to open: Zoodiac Barrage, Zoodiac Whiptail, Dimensional
Barrier, Pianissimo, Pot of Desires. I establish a field of Zoodiac Drident, Zoodiac
Hammerkong, and Missus Radiant, setting Pianissimo and Dimensional Barrier. Before ending
my turn I use Pot of Desires, adding Maxx “C” and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit to my already
impressive opening. Stamati begins his turn by activating Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, to which I
chain Maxx “C” and Pianissimo, allowing me to protect my Drident and draw a card off. Upon
being destroyed, Missus Radiant returned Maxx “C” to my hand, immediately sealing the game
in my favor.
In our second game, I open equally well with: Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, Raigeki, Zoodiac
Thoroughblade, Zoodiac Barrage, and Maxx “C”. Although Stamati was able to prevent me
from sealing the game with my Maxx “C” by chaining his Ash Blossom and Joyous Spring, he
was unable to stop my Interrupted Kaiju Slumber. After clearing the board, I summoned
Zoodiac Thoroughblade, and despite Stamati cutting my deck multiple times before I activated
Thoroughblade’s effect, I managed to draw Soul Charge and immediately apologized.
Needless to say, I won 2-0.
Round 8 -- True Draco Zoodiac (6-1):
As the final round approached, my ambition for making the Top 8 cut soared. After rolling a 12,
I felt as though lady luck was on my side. My opening hand was promising, but I soon ran into
my opponent’s Maxx “C”. Immediately putting me at a disadvantage, I soon lost the game
simply to card advantage.
Game 2, I took a deep breath and again opened a solid starting hand. Again, I immediately ran
into my opponent’s Maxx “C”, however, this time I managed to have the Ash Blossom and
Joyous Spring. This game goes favorably for me, and my opponent soon runs out of resources
Game 3 is where my luck ran out. While I was excited to see an opening hand that contained
Zoodiac Thoroughblade, Zoodiac Barrage, Pianissimo, Cosmic Cyclone, Pot of Desires, and
Soul Charge, I soon became nervous when my opponent established a field of Zoodiac Drident,
Zoodiac Hammerkong, and four facedown cards.
As I attempted to push through my opponent’s backrow, I discovered that he played the trap
card Grand Horn of Heaven, which negates the special summon of a monster, and skips my
Main Phase. Having to enter the Battle Phase to enter my Main Phase 2, Soul Charge was
suddenly worthless. Upon activating pot of desires, I ran into my opponent’s Imperial Order,
which forced me to use my Cosmic Cyclone. Without any viable options remaining, I proceeded
end my turn and pray. Unfortunately, my prayers went unanswered as my opponent quickly
developed lethal damage and won on his following turn. He revealed his last remaining face
down card to be a second copy of Grand Horn of Heaven, proving to me that no matter what my
hand had been, I likely would have lost the game regardless.
I finished the round by losing 1-2, and the tournament 6-2.
While I was saddened by my final round, I finished the tournament in 14th place, and achieved
my proclaimed goal of obtaining my invite for the 2018 North American World Championship
Qualifiers. I was proud of my deck’s performance overall, and aside from my Round 5 misplay, I
believe I played well this weekend.
The only change I think I’d make to this list, going into this coming weekend’s regional would be
the addition of Grand Horn of Heaven in my side deck, replacing Floodgate Trap Hole and one
copy of Enemy Controller.
I’d like to give special shoutouts to Joseph Gehlmann and Justin Cheney for riding with me to
this event, and for enduring a long stressful night together after an unfortunate car accident on
our way home. This weekend wouldn’t have been possible without either of you, and despite
some rough moments, I’m glad I was able to spend it with you both.
Thanks of course to Jessie Swinton and Ziege Games for including me as a member of Team
Most importantly of all, thank you for reading my report of this weekend’s regional, and I hope
you’ll check out my next article following this weekend’s upcoming regional!