I am a numbers kind of guy. I have a master’s degree in math and I examine and create statistics for a living. For years, I have taken deck lists from various YCS events, thrown them into spreadsheets, and tried to find clues to the secret of this game. So, you can imagine my excitement when ARG announced their intent to provide more data. Oh goody … numbers.
Before I go into my little analysis, I should point out this ain’t money ball. Yugioh is a fairly fluid game. The meta is constantly changing. Though I have only looked at decks which topped big events in the past few weeks, this information goes stale fast. You don’t want to play last week’s meta – you want to define next week’s meta.
Here’s how the changing meta can quickly make my results obsolete. In my last post, I mentioned that MST was commonly placed in the side deck. As more doolists follow this trend, clever people are going to start to play more continuous traps. As these traps begin to burn players, MST goes back in to the main deck and so the circle of Yugioh continues.
So now you know – previous performance does not predict future results. However, there are things we can learn.
Now that the caveats are finished, this analysis looked at the 53 side decks listed on TCGPlayer on September 25, 2013. Using a little Excel magic, I counted 798 cards and listed them by frequency. I then divided by the number of cards you are allowed to play. For example, there were 8 Dark Holes and 14 Soul Drains. I divided 8 by 1 for Dark Hole and 14 by 3 (or 4.7). This is a quick and dirty way to equalize for the potential number of cards that can be played. If everyone sided 3 copies of the same card, the maximum number would be 53.
For (mystical) space reasons, I am only listing the top 59 cards. The unlisted cards were seen only once or twice in all 53 decks. So with that introduction, I bring you the list of the most popular side deck cards.
30.3 Mystical Space Typhoon
15.7 Royal Decree
12.0 Xyz Encore
11.7 D.D. Crow
11.3 Maxx "C", Skill Drain
11.0 Electric Virus, EEV
8.0 Effect Veiler, Dark Hole
7.3 Mind Crush
7.0 Mirror Force
6.7 Dimensional Prison, Rivalry
6.3 Needle Ceiling
6.0 Deck Devastation Virus
5.7 Gozen Match
5.3 Imperial Iron Wall
5.0 Bottomless Trap Hole, Compulsory Evacuation Device, Macro Cosmos
4.7 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Retort, Soul Drain
4.0 Fencing Fire Ferret
3.3 Anti-Spell Fragrance
3.0 Swift Scarecrow, Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, Solemn Warning, Thunder King Rai-Oh
2.7 Dust Tornado, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror
2.3 Prohibition, Vanity's Emptiness
2.0 Apprentice Magician, DNA Surgery, Light-Imprisoning Mirror, Puppet Plant, Smashing Ground, Torrential Tribute
1.7 Divine Wrath, Koa'ki Meiru Drago, Mystical Refpanel
1.3 Consecrated Light, Delta Crow, Chalice, Old Vindictive Magician, Stumbling, Transmigration Prophecy
1.0 Battle Fader, Curse of Darkness, Lightning Vortex, Malevolent Catastrophe, Metaion, Mind Drain, Scapegoat, Soul Release, One for One
So what have we learned?
1. MST is the most popular side deck card. This may explain why Dragunity decks did well. Dragon Ravine likely stayed on the field in game one. I suspect MST will slip back into the main deck and other dragon decks may do better.
2. Royal Decree was frequent and often sided in triplicate. This may be the reason that the loss of Heavy Storm has not led to a raise in trap heavy decks. In fact, the trend in deck choices continues to move towards trapless or trap light builds.
3. DD Crow is back. This type of analysis helps me to pick up on trends at the regional level that I may miss at my locals. I found it interesting that TCGPlayer is featuring an article on DD Crow by Beau Butler. I’m not the only one who is seeing a revival of this card. I will add that the card causes some problems for me. As I mentioned in my tournament report, I watched Fortress get removed twice for a nice neg 1. However, no one used it in triplicate. This suggests it will remain somewhat infrequent. If it gets sided in triplicate, I’ll get a bit worried.
4. Malevolent Catastrophe ain’t no Heavy Storm. There were only 3 copies of Malevolent Catastrophe in the whole list. The reason … it sucks. The players who submitted these lists know their Yugioh. You may want to think again before siding this card. I’m not saying don’t play it – you just better have a good reason. That lesson can be applied to a long list of cards that I have not included.