Monday, December 8, 2014

December 6/7 Weekend In Review (ARG Atlanta & YCS Milan)

I thought bringing back some form of event result analysis would be beneficial not only for others but for myself so this will be something I try to do more frequently as ARG and YCS events take place. Over the weekend we had 2 events occur (ARG Atlanta and YCS Milan- that's in Italy, it's OK I had to look it up too lol) so I would like to talk about what happened at those events. I believe it is very important that we look at and analyze trends as this helps us be aware of what cards are being ran, how decks look in terms of builds, etc. As they say, knowing is half the battle.

ARG Atlanta
Decklists can be found here.
One of the notable things that people realized early in the event was that Patrick Hoban would not be playing in it. Rather, he provided color commentary for I believe the majority of the event. I'm not exactly sure why he chose not to play at this event but I know quality in general (of the stream itself, commentators, etc) has been put into question so perhaps this was their attempt toward re-establishing viewer confidence. I only watched the coverage for a little bit due to being so busy with holiday-related activities even though I did try to follow along on DGz and via ARG site coverage. There were 237 players at the event, which is roughly the same for Chicago, at 229 players, which occurred the previous weekend. ARG does a good job of posting information on their Facebook page where they provide the deck distribution of all players at the event, top 16, and pairings as the top 16 occurs. I wish they would simply post this on their event coverage as the event was happening though; it seems that for day 2 coverage basically just stops until they post the decklists.

In any regard, we saw the following distribution for all players at the event (source via ARG FB page):
83 Burning Abyss (37%)
45 Shaddolls (not sure why the differentiate Chaos and Artifact) (20%)
41 Qliphort (18%)
24 Satellarknight (11%)
31 Other (14%)

Now there is a slight disparagement between the total players as seen via the standings at the end of round 1 and the total for the numbers above, at 237 vs 224 respectively. I'm not sure what happened to the 13 unaccounted-for duelists but for percentage purposes I had to go with the 224 number.

Clearly we can see that Burning Abyss accounted for the largest percentage of the field. Let's look at the top 16 breakdown:
6 Burning Abyss (37.5%)
5 Qliphort (31.25%)
4 Shaddoll (25%)
1 Satellarknight (6.25%)

Burning Abyss stayed roughly the same in percentage representation from the total player pool to the top 16 at 37%. Qliphort had a considerable rise, going from 18% of the pool up to roughly 31% of the top 16. Shaddoll went up slightly by 5%, and Satellas went down by about 5%. This could lead us to the conclusion that Qliphort may be the best deck to use for those looking to top an event, at least looking at it purely by representation. This is how it would look by considering "what percentage of X players topped?" where X is the particular decktype.
Burning Abyss: 7%
Qliphort: 12%
Shaddoll: 9%
Satella: 4%

So this means that 7% of all the people that played Burning Abyss at the event topped, 12% for Qliphort, etc. If you look at it in this perspective, perhaps Burning Abyss didn't do as well as it should have. Just something to consider because I know a lot of people take the first 2 sets of numbers into consideration but don't take it a step further and consider what percentage of the people that played a particular deck topped. Perhaps it's not even relevant, I'm not exactly sure from a statistical standpoint.

Top 8 breakdown was:
4 Qliphort (50%)
2 Burning Abyss (25%)
2 Shaddoll (25%)

At top 8, Qliphorts seemed well-poised to take this event.

Top 4 breakdown:
1 Qliphort (25%)
2 Burning Abyss (50%)
1 Shaddoll (25%)

Essentially we saw Qliphorts and Burning Abyss switch places in representation. Naturally there was room for this to occur due to a Qliphort mirror-match that occurred whereas each other pairing was a non-mirror.

In the finals we saw Burning Abyss vs Qliphort, with Burning Abyss winning the event once again. Now I didn't watch the final nor do I know the game count for the particular match. It has been said though that Burning Abyss has a good Qliphort match-up due to the disruption that Abyss naturally has. I believe Based Loli (who won the event) was in a great position to take the tournament as he never had to play the deck's arguably hardest match-up, Shaddoll, at all in top 16. This is attributed to Qliphorts beating out the Shaddoll players (which Shaddolls are said to have a bad Qliphort match-up), and Ben Leverett winning his Shaddoll match in top 8.

YCS Milan
Now I know, for some reason, that American players seem to disregard anything that happens in Europe as far as YGO goes. The difference between how much we pay attention to something like US Nats, vs Euro Nats, is quite remarkable considering some of the world's best players come from Europe. There was quite a large turnout at 1461 duelists. For total participants we saw the following deck distribution:
485 Shaddoll (again I hate the separation of Chaos and Artifact) (33%)
338 Burning Abyss (23%)
259 Qliphort (18%)
113 Satella (8%)
266 Other (18%)

Top 32 breakdown was:
11 Burning Abyss (34%)
11 Shaddoll (34%)
9 Qliphort (28%)
1 Evilswarm (3%)

We can see that Burning Abyss and Qliphort had roughly the same percentage distribution as ARG Atlanta, whereas Shaddoll did considerably better. The lone Evilswarm player getting it in lol. Comparing the ratio between total participants and top 32 representation, we saw the greatest difference in Abyss and Qliphort, at roughly at 10% increase in both.

As for the rest of the breakdowns, all they gave us was the names of who was facing who, rather than including what deck they were running. As far as I can see there also isn't a list of "who played what" besides the top 8, so this will have to be skipped.

In top 8 we saw:
3 Qliphort (37.5%)
3 Burning Abyss (37.5%)
1 Shaddoll (12.5%)
1 Evilswarm (12.5%)

Evilswarm managed to make it top 8 which is pretty remarkable but is arguably better positioned now than it may have been in the past format or two, at least with Shaddoll's popularity.

In top 4 we saw:
2 Qliphort
2 Abyss

We are once back to the match-up between arguably the 2 best decks in the current game with no mirror-matches. Theoretically Abyss was in a great position to take this event as well but we had a winner in each to where the final would be Qliphort vs Abyss. In what could be considered a surprise win, Daniele Stella won with Qliphorts. I thought it would've been funny if Mr. Stella won with Satellas, but perhaps that is just my sense of humor lol.

Trending Up, Trending Down
I'd like to commit this section to trends I notice and will focus on ARG Atlanta as all of the decklists are readily available.
Trending Up:
Denko Sekka
All of the Shaddoll players that topped at this event ran some number of Denko Sekka. Its viability was questionable when the card first came out, but has proven itself to be a potential blowout card and valuable tool to overcome and lock out valuable backrow.

Night Beam
We have seen this emerge as essentially a 4th MST but one that we can be used to stymie anything that could be chainable. Its usage has continued to hold and isn't just a one-event tech.

Maxx C
Hand traps (Veiler and Maxx) saw very little play for a period of time as they basically did very little at the time. Now Maxx has seen an upswing, most likely to combat Burning Abyss and make them stop from combo'ing off.

Enemy Controller
Like Night Beam, we have seen this card's usage explode in numbers and again it has held strong in Abyss and Shaddoll decks. The interactions it has is definitely interesting.

About the Same:
Fiend side
Both Fiends, Majesty's and Vanity's, are continuing to see sideboard play to combat the meta and create a lock-down situation for the opponent. Enemy Controller's popularity could be a direct correlation with this as it provides an avenue for tribute fodder to summon the Fiends, or put them in defense mode to run over the opponent's. Like I predicted earlier in the format, the emergence of tech would occur once again in a 2 or 3-deck format.

Ojama Trio side
It is funny this card has emerged as tech as my teammate Drew mentioned this card as a potential card vs Abyss or decks that can spam a lot. I still have my apprehensions of the card itself, as I feel that all it does is help you stall a few turns and isn't really winning you the game per se, but nonetheless it has been holding its usage.

Fairy Wind
Fairy Wind has seen a great amount of usage with the emergence of Qliphort and is the favored sided-in mass-S/T destruction card. Spell Shattering Arrow is also a popular option, but not as popular as Fairy Wind has been.

Trending Down:
For a period of time we saw virtually every deck try to squeeze in the Artifact engine as a means of disruption and changing the momentum. This strategy has virtually fallen off the map, with Shaddolls still holding onto it the longest, but the Denko/Chaos variant proving to yield more positive results.

The hands, Fire and Ice, similar to Artifacts, were often seen either splashed into the main or used in the side to circumvent floodgates or problematic monsters. They were held in fairly high regard in the Qliphort match-up, where they would be unhindered by Skill Drain and they would be free to wipe the field but players have not been going with this approach, most likely due to the high commitment of the side. These could see a re-emergence once Nekroz are released but for the time being they are virtually unplayed.

Solemn Warning/Non-Chainable removal
Solemn Warning was once considered a staple card as it stopped nearly every special summon effect in the game. It still does, but perhaps the life point cost and the fact it is a non-chainable form of removal makes it unappealing. Cards like Dimensional Prison, Bottomless, and Fiendish Chain, have all seen a uniformly decreased amount of play. Compulsory is still holding a little play due to it being a chainable out to Winda.

Flying C/Stygian Dirge
At one point these were fairly popular side cards vs decks like Burning Abyss that relied on XYZ plays. C still seems some play, but not to the extent that it used to and Dirge has fallen off.

Monarch side
This could be a direct correlation with a decrease in Flying C usage, where Burning Abyss players considered siding in Raiza, Caius, or Mobius as a way of getting Flying C off the field while also providing field disruption. This strategy is basically unseen and the Fiend side is a more popularized option.

Trap Stun/Wiretap
Theoretically these cards are the best answers to blowout traps like Fire Lake, but they have seen a continual decrease in usage as the format has progressed. Indeed the format has become more monster-heavy, and neither Stun or Tap do much in that regard besides making your own plays go through, but for Shaddolls Denko basically fills that role now and Abyss naturally have Fire Lake. Qliphorts basically don't care as they have built-in forms of recursion.

The "Unique Tech" Award:
If there was such a thing as receiving an award for playing the most unique tech at an event (not to be confused with troll card), it would have to be a tie between Ben Leverett's Revival Gift, and Casey Barbee's Storm. I know Storm was considered for a while but as far as I know this is the first time we've seen it in a decklist that has topped a premier event. It will be interesting to see if these cards see any additional play in future events.

That about wraps up this very long analysis of the events that took place over the weekend. If anyone has any ideas of other things/aspects I can analyze please feel free to leave a comment.

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