We’re just over halfway through the day, and after a quick walk around the top tables a few dominant pieces of tech have emerged. Here are four of the best.
Hydrogeddon: A plethora of competitors here today have decided to play as aggressively as humanly possible, and Hydrogeddon is leading the charge. This metagame is jam-packed with recruiter monsters, almost to a surprising degree, and Hydrogeddon just loves tearing into them. While recruiter monsters like Mystic Tomato and Shining Angel maintain field presence in the face of attacks, Hydrogeddon actively develops field presence. It’s the only recruiter-type monster that works on the offensive to special summon monsters from the deck, instead of the defensive. It’s the polar opposite of stuff like Nimble Momonga, and the 1600 ATK each Hydrogeddon is packing adds up quickly.
An affinity for Rush Recklessly and Enemy Controller makes it a natural complement to Don Zaloog too, a card that has seen a huge resurgence in play. Hydrogeddon is being played in virtually everything, but it’s popping up all over in Warrior Toolbox decks specifically. There it can take advantage of all the monster-based removal that deck offers, clearing smaller monsters while Exiled Force, D. D. Warrior Lady, and D. D. Assailant take out the bigger fish. The result? A lot of direct attacking.
The momentum that a successful turn of Hydrogeddon antics creates has been enough to cause a lot of duelists to scoop here today. While plenty of Hydrogeddons have failed to score hits, instead smacking into stuff like Sakuretsu Armor, enough have been used successfully to make a big splash here today. Pot of Avarice just makes them even more brutal, allowing you to go the distance in a long game by flooding the field with monsters twice if you’re lucky enough. Avarice has already become a popular choice here in Boston, as duelists that used to pack Return have dropped it and subbed in the Pot just for lack of anything else obvious to play. That fact makes Hydrogeddon even more tempting to a portion of the dueling public.
Twin-Headed Behemoth: Twin-Headed Behemoth is absolutely everywhere. In aggressive Warrior or beatdown decks it’s insurance in the face of over-extensions. In a Monarch deck it’s extra tribute fodder. It attacks under Level Limit — Area B and Gravity Bind in Lockdown, and OTK can use it as a sacrificial lamb to set off Last Will while also blocking twice to save life points. It’s useful in virtually anything.
On top of that, the fact that Sakuretsu Armor is seeing so much play makes Twin-Headed Behemoth utterly tantalizing. Attacking directly with Behemoth into an opponent who has Sakuretsu Armor means either scoring a 1500 ATK hit, or costing the opponent Sakuretsu Armor for virtually nothing — he or she will lose the Sakuretsu, but you get your monster back, minus a few hundred ATK points. It’s a trade no one wants to make, and scoring a direct hit with Twin-Headed and then tributing it for Zaborg on a following turn is nothing short of brutal.
Flat out, so long as Sakuretsu Armor continues to be the number-one choice for trap-based monster removal, Twin-Headed Behemoth will continue to be a great fit for the North American metagame. Expect this one to be an enduring piece of tech.
Brain Control: Also sliding onto the list of “cards a ton of people are playing” is this classic monster control card. Brain Control is filling the obvious gap left by Snatch Steal, and is making its way into more than just the obvious Monarch Control decks. This format is seeing tons of face up monsters attacking back and forth, and while Brain Control doesn’t create immediate field advantage on its own, it does create a ton of damage in opportune situations. In an environment where everybody can’t wait to knock their opponent below Stein range, and certainly can’t wait to win, those life points count more than ever. People just aren’t setting monsters nearly so much any more, and that makes Brain Control’s play value skyrocket. Creating massive swings in momentum is no longer permanent, but it is still exceptionally easy.
Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch: As expected, Thestalos the Firestorm Monarch is the MVP of the day for a lot of duelists. Competitors like Bryan Coronel are using it in Monarch decks to wreck the hand of the opposition, but the burn effect that goes along with Thestalos’ discard was highly underrated going into this tournament. A lot of burn cards are being used to tech Cyber-Stein, everything from Secret Barrel to Dice Jar, and that little bit of damage that Thestalos can generate can sometimes go a long way against an opponent running Stein.
Dark World is almost a non-factor save a handful of duelists who are carrying it through the final rounds. For those who didn’t use it, Thestalos is a nightmare. For the few who did opt to run it, it’s a blessing against this beast of a Monarch. Still, losing a Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World or Sillva, Warlord of Dark World to Thestalos’ effect means 500 damage, and there have been duels today where that’s meant game.
In most cases Thestalos has been rotated in over Mobius the Frost Monarch, taking up the two deck slots formerly reserved for the Frost Monarch. Some duelists are handling it differently. Omar Gaspar, as you might have read in his deck profile, kept Mobius, but ditched Zaborg. Another duelist today was running a whopping eleven tribute monsters, including three Zaborg, two Mobius, two Granmarg the Rock Monarch, and two Thestalos. Surprisingly the deck actually went undefeated well into the mid-point of the day. Duelists are adjusting to the use of Thestalos in a variety of different ways, and we won’t know which is the strongest until we see the Top 8 later tonight.
So, that’s some of the most powerful and prominent tech we’ve seen here in Boston. In a few hours we’ll know which fizzle out, and which result in Day 2 placements for the handful of victorious competitors here today!