From time to time, I like to look at tournament results from the OCG to get an idea of what our eastern brothers are putting into their decks. It’s a means of looking for techs and trends that often predate our own. For example, Overworked was popular in the side decks of OCG players for at least six months before Billy Brake’s endorsement of the card sent its value soaring.
That said, I should remind you how different the two metas are. The Forbidden/Limited status changed for 28 cards in the OCG; however, the TCG list included 47 cards. There were only 11 cards common to both lists. Here is a side-by-side comparison.
|Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks||Burner, Dragon Ruler of Sparks|
|Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts||Lightning, Dragon Ruler of Drafts|
|Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles||Reactan, Dragon Ruler of Pebbles|
|Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets||Stream, Dragon Ruler of Droplets|
|Spellbook of Judgment||Spellbook of Judgment|
|Elemental Hero Stratos|
|Gateway of the Six|
|Number 16: Shock Master|
|Pot of Avarice|
|Genex Ally Birdman||Genex Ally Birdman|
|Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Rooster||Bottomless Trap Hole|
|Divine Wind of Mist Valley||Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit|
|Mermail Abyssteus||Compulsory Evacuation Device|
|Number 11: Big Eye||Constellar Ptolemy M7|
|Super Rejuvenation||Deep Sea Diva|
|Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier||Dewloren, Tiger of the Ice Barrier|
|Wind-Up Shark||Dimensional Fissure|
|Eradicator Epidemic Virus|
|Evigishki Mind Augus|
|Thunder King Rai-Oh|
|Fire Formation – Tenki||Fire Formation – Tenki|
|Black Whirlwind||Dimensional Prison|
|Gladiator Beast Bestiari||Plaguespeader Zombie|
|Gorz the Emissary of Darkness||T.G. Striker|
|Neo-Spacian Grand Mole|
|Pot of Duality||Pot of Duality|
|E – Emergency Call||E – Emergency Call|
|Advanced Ritual Art||A Hero Lives|
|Mirror Force||Black Whirlwind|
|Reasoning||Destiny Hero – Malicious|
|Wind-Up Magician||Hieratic Seal of Convocation|
|The Agent of Mystery – Earth|
The other major difference is the introduction of the Shadow Specters set, which was released in the OCG in July. We won’t see it until November. The TCG meta can also be set apart by the presence of TCG exclusive cards, as those who remember the Wind-Up loop will attest.
With those caveats out of the way, I can tell you I looked at decklists from 10 OCG tournaments listed on Shriek from September 1st to 22nd. I only included those tournaments with 50 or more participants. This strategy yielded 92 decks from 1,371 participants. Some of these tournaments used a “team format”. I believe teams of three players duel each other and the team advances if two out of three players win. This means that weaker decks can be included in the results if they are teamed with stronger decks. However, I did not correct for this bias. I did include monster/spell/trap averages for each deck as a means of comparing archetypes between metas. For example, dragon players in the OCG tend to use fewer traps. Therefore, you could conclude I am not making a “like” comparison. Take it for what you will.
Here are the results:
|10.9||4 Axis Flame Star||15.8||13.6||11.2|
|6.5||Gadgets, Laval, Machina Geargia|
|9.8||Blackwings, Bujins, Chain Burn, Dark World|
|Glad Beasts, Infernity, Madolche, Prophecy|
Here are my questions:
1. Is Atlantean Dragoons that good? You would have thought that Mermails would have a better time in the TCG. After all, Macro Cosmos, Soul Drain, and D Fissure are all limited over here. Yet, Mermails are more dominant in the OCG. This is likely a testament to the power of Trishula, which sits ideally by in the binders of TCG players.
2. Is it the traps or the rabbit that make Evilswarms so good? Or perhaps both? I suspect that limiting Rescue Rabbit is the main difference.
3. Will the Shadow Specter set change the TCG meta? I think not. There was only one Bujin deck in this list of 92 decks even with Mikazuchi, Centipede, and more traps. The Vampires are also missing. Granted, we will have access to two Mezuki and two Plaquespreader. Furthermore, I have no doubt the deck will be popular and it will have some regional tops. However, this deck cannot keep pace with the Dragon Rulers.
4. Is there no stopping the dragons? I am struck more by the similarities than the differences between the OCG and TCG. Substantial differences in the Forbidden/Limited list do not translate into big differences in the respective metas. If the OCG switches Rescue Rabbit and Trishula, we would likely have near identical deck lists.
Hopefully, the Elemental Dragons are the apex of the Yugioh power creep problem. For those of you who may be unaware of this phenomenon, the power creep is the introduction of increasingly more powerful cards as an enticement to sell more product. At some point this trend has to reverse or we are left with a degenerate game. To Konami’s credit, subsequent sets have included cards with a more balanced design. Unfortunately, this restraint means your newer cards are going to lose to the older ones.
5. Will the OCG and TCG metas coalesce? My answer to this question is yes! I suspect we will see similar F/L lists in the spring. This prediction is based on my positive impressions of Worlds. The tournament was much more balanced than previous ones. The OCG and TCG both had finalists in the Dragon Duel and Senior Tournament. The tournament did a nice job of highlighting the game. Konami should take notice.
Unfortunately, I did not see any new tech cards in these lists. Most of the choices were very similar to what we see already in the TCG … but keep your eyes open – you never know when the next great tech choice will appear in an OCG list.