Shawn Kelly shocked us all when he went undefeated for round after round at Shonen Jump Championship Arlington. He did it with a dedicated Cyber Dragon Fusion deck, and was possibly the only person that day to properly special summon Cyber End Dragon. After tearing through almost half a dozen opponents he hit a wall, having to face two of his teammates in quick succession. Up against people who knew his deck inside out, he just couldn’t pull out the wins. Still, it was a valiant effort in an era where virtually everyone but Kelly was running Chaos Sorcerer.
Two Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive help Kelly dig towards his Cyber Dragons and the cards that let him Fuse them. You’ll notice that unlike his previous build, this one doesn’t run Proto-Cyber Dragon. The added utility of Future Fusion and Overload Fusion make them unnecessary and patch up a potential weak point in the first build we saw. This version has fewer dead topdecks than the last, and can even draw into Overload Fusion as a late game win condition once the opponent has taken some damage. Kelly’s original deck was all about the explosive power it could generate through The Light — Hex-Sealed Fusion and Power Bond. While the latter is no longer being run, the addition of the new Fusion cards from Power of the Duelist makes the deck even faster.
A toolbox of Machines comes in handy, too: Blowback Dragon, Jinzo, Cyber-Stein, Drillroid, and Cannon Soldier can each clinch a game win in different situations. Though Kelly can’t search out his options as easily as other decks might be able to (his only sources of monster search are Sangan and Last Will), the fact that he’s stayed true to his theme is what enables him to go off with Overload Fusion. Even just five Machines can be fused into a mammoth Chimeratech Overdragon, big enough to clear out an opponent’s entire field.
Threatening Roar has been rotated in over the deck’s original pair of Royal Decree. With so many duelists here depending on Sakuretsu Armor, Decree would be negating a lot of cards that Cyber Phoenix could address on its own anyway. In exchange, Kelly gets an edge on two major decks in the format. Warrior toolbox loses much of the use of its Mystic Swordsman LV2, and Threatening Roar leaves it stranded on the field to be attacked on the following turn. It also stops Cyber-Stein, buying Kelly extra turns in situations where he’d otherwise just take a loss. Threatening Roar is chainable and, while it’s good against Stein, it’s also nice against Monarchs and Warriors, so it’s a very viable piece of tech in the current environment. Kelly’s not the only duelist who’s picked up on that, and you might see it in other decks and feature matches later on today.
Kelly opens strongly — UFO Turtle, Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, and even Morphing Jar, Cyber Phoenix, and Sangan are acceptable. The deck can hit hard and fast very early, so keeping the opponent attacking is valuable; it keeps the opponent’s monsters face up, and gives Kelly more intelligence about which cards are currently going to be factors in the duel. That’s important when you’re playing with the fire that is Cyber Twin Dragon or Cyber End Dragon. Kelly will frequently leave one of the big Dragon Fusions on the field for turns at a time, so knowing what the opponent’s options are is invaluable. In addition, face-up attack position monsters are just fodder for Cyber-Twin and Chimeratech Overdragon, so any damage Kelly takes in baiting out attackers is just going to be returned threefold.
Coming off a Round 1 win, Kelly had nothing but a smile to express his experiences thus far in the tournament. “My opponent used Creature Swap to give me an Apprentice Magician, and got one of my Hex-Sealeds. He looked at it, and called it random. Next turn I was like, ‘Fuse for Overdragon and attack for game?’” That’s what this deck does. It put out pressure at the least expected times in a duel and steals wins.
Kelly’s strategy is unpredictable and, in a format that’s all about dictating tempo through the use of aggressive field presence, it could be incredibly dominant. You just can’t do much when the opponent has Cyber Twin Dragon or Chimeratech Overdragon out. If Kelly can put in a showing as impressive as his last and avoid running into the six people who happen to know his deck by heart, he could be a strong bid for a Day 2 qualification!