After a series of fierce Stage One qualifiers, duelists from around the greater Brisbane area converged on Guf Brisbane for the Local Legends Duelist Series Stage 2 on Sunday November 7th 2015. Up for grabs? An exclusive mat featuring ‘Elder Entity Norden’ for the top eight players, as well as a Super Rare copy of ‘Ascension Sky Dragon’ for first. This prize card was previously reserved for Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series (YCS) and World Championship Qualifier (WCQ) tournaments and has a hefty price tag to match.
In addition to the bounty of prizes on offer, LLDS Stage 2 was also one of the last major tournaments before the November 9 Forbidden and Limited list took effect. This F&L list includes some major hits to decks like Nekroz, Shaddoll and Qliphort, so for many players this tournament was a last hurrah for some of their favourites.
Personally, I opted to play Kozmo. Hailed as one of the top decks of the post-Nov 9 format, I decided to test out just how powerful it was with the support it received in Dimensions of Chaos, despite the presence of older, better tuned decks. This is my final list for the day.
I included a few counter-techs for the expected Shaddoll and mirror match-ups, including three copies of The Monarchs Stormforth. Maining three copies gave me an out to large opposing monsters that benefit from being destroyed (but not tributed!). I also included two copies of Majesty’s Fiend and an extra Kozmo DOG Fighter as strong single tribute monsters.
The final turnout was 46 players, which meant a six round tournament with a top eight cut.
My round one opponent is Stephen. He has also opted to play a Kozmo deck, although it takes both of us a while to realise we are in a mirror match. I lose the dice roll and he elects to go second.
Kozmo wants to be on the draw 100% of the time, since as a fragile OTK deck it has very few first turn plays that don’t involve attacking. My opening hand is packed with really sub-par cards, including several Kozmo Spaceships that I can’t summon. I pass without making a play.
My opponent, having no idea what I am playing, also decides to pass without making a play. This is very good news for me. I summon a Kozmo Farmgirl and see his face drop. I attack, dealing 1500 damage and activating Farmgirl’s effect to add Kozmotown to my hand. I then banish her for the Kozmo Forerunner in my hand and attack, dropping my opponent to 3700 life points. Kozmotown comes down in Main Phase two and I shuffle away my hand of 3 Spaceships to draw some better cards. I then pay 300 life points to add Farmgirl back to my hand.
My opponent manages to land a spaceship of his own on his turn, unfortunately he trades into my ship and I summon Kozmo Wickedwitch in defence and activate her effect. At this point my opponent cannot attack through her for damage.
On my turn, I trade ships with my opponent until he tries to execute the same play. He summons a Wickedwitch and activates her effect, I chain a Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit to destroy her before she can protect herself and I attack for game.
I side deck two copies of Cyber Dragon, removing two Dark Holes from my deck. I wasn’t siding heavily for the mirror, since my main decked Stormforths were already a very functional counter.
My opponent elects to go second again. I have no play, but choose to set a Farmgirl as I have two in my hand. If he elects to attack I have a backup, if he doesn’t I have two girls on the field and bad things happen to him. He elects to attack and my Farmgirl dies.
I attempt to land a ship on board, but my opponent has the Bottomless Trap Hole for my Kozmo Forerunner, which cuts off my ability to float. I take a bunch of damage to the face until I manage to draw a Stormforth. I tribute his ship for a Majesty’s Fiend – a strong lock against a deck that requires monster effects to do just about everything.
My opponent activates an Upstart Goblin, drawing into a second copy. The second copy gets him a Dark Hole and three cards later he outs my Fiend and attacks for game.
Game three I finally get to go second. My hand is very decent this game, and we play the back and forth of large ships and Wickedwitches. Unfortunately for my opponent, he doesn’t find a Kozmotorn until very late in the game, which limits his ability to grind. He is also forced to protect his Wickedwitch multiple times and runs out of life points before I do. This stops his Farmgirl searches, Kozmotown adds and Wickedwitch protection, which means he has no way to stop my attacks.
In round two, I am unfortunately paired against my friend and team-mate Nathan. The last time we played against each other was a Nekroz mirror-match in LLDS Stage one which ended in a really one-sided third game after I drew perfectly. This time I know he is playing Shaddolls, probably the strongest deck which also has a massive out to my high-attack spaceships in the form of El-Shaddoll Construct.
I lose the dice roll and am forced to go first. Nathan and I play the grind game, neither one of us wants to commit too much to the board, but both of us are very aware that we need to put enough bodies on the table to avoid being OTKed if our opponent goes for the throat.
Eventually Nathan plays an Instant Fusion for a massive push and I find myself nearly dead. Fortunately I make a play with The Monarchs Stormforth to put a Kozmo DOG Fighter in attack mode. The DOG continues to generate 2000 attack tokens on BOTH of our turns, and eventually Nathan’s smaller monsters are overwhelmed by attacks.
My side deck has eight cards for Shaddolls, more than I have for every other deck combined. I choose to side in three De-Fusion and three Retaliating C. The biggest threat to my deck is Construct. The De-Fusion eliminates Construct on the table and the Retaliating C makes it harder for the Shaddoll monsters to float enough to make another one.
I ett to go first again, lucky me. This game starts with me using ships to fight my way through Nathan’s multiple backrow until I establish a decent field. That’s when Nate drops a System Down on the table, banishing every Machine monster on the field, totally clearing my board. I don’t remember the exact series of plays that happened next, but my tournament notes just say “MURDER” in all caps, so that gives you a pretty good idea of how well I faired.
We go to game three, the place where it all went downhill for Nathan in LLDS Stage One. On this occasion though, it is my turn to feel the burn. My hand going second is two copies of Kozmotown, two copies of Monarchs Stormforth, a Dark Hole and a Raigeki. It would be a super strong hand if any one of those cards were a monster. They aren’t though, so I pass my turn and Nathan makes an El-Shaddoll Construct and a Performage Trapeze Magician. The double-attacking Construct + Magician is enough to put me away for good.
At this stage of the tournament I am fairly convinced that only players with an X-1 record are guaranteed to top, so I resolve to not lose again.
My next opponent is Josh, my second new opponent of the day. I introduce myself and we get down to business.
I win my first dice roll and elect to go second. My opening hand contains two copies of Maxx C, which is just as bad as opening with four cards in hand, since you can only use one per turn.
My opponent is playing Satellaknights, and I am interested in how my deck will fair against a control deck, rather than against another OTK. He opens a mediocre hand, which means no first turn Deneb. Just a first turn Unukhalhai to send one to grave.
I eventually grind through my three copies of Maxx C (I drew the third from the effect of the first). Most of the C’s are thrown away for a single draw, but fortunately playing against a slower deck gave me some time.
Multiple uses of the Kozmotown to shuffle away Kozmo monsters eventually allows me to draw into the cards I need to finish my opponent. I Stormforth the big monster on his board to land a ship, which I ride at warp speed to victory.
Against Satella I side three copies of Royal Decree and two copies of MST. This is my general catch-all side against rogue decks, since most of them attempt to beat meta decks through use of floodgate traps which are shut down by those five cards.
My opponent makes me go first. I open a near-perfect hand of Raigeki, Farmgirl, Forerunner and Kozmotown. I summon the Farmgirl, banish to summon Forerunner and use town to add her back, ending with the same five cards I started with and a 2800 monster on the field.
My opponent summons a Satellaknight Vega and uses the effect to bring out a Satellaknight Deneb, searching for an Altair. He overlays the two monsters in a Number 101: Silent Honor Ark. He attempts to activate the effect, detaching two materials to target my Forerunner and attach it as a material to 101.
It is at this junction that I point out that Forerunner has an ability that prevents him from being targeted by opponents’ card effects. Unfortunately for him, the summon of the 101 was perfectly legal, just not the effect, so he is forced to keep his sub-par choice of Xyz monster. He sets three backrow and ends.
I draw a Royal Decree – a card that would have been a total blowout the turn earlier. Regardless, I push on and attack his 101. My opponent tries to activate Fiendish Chain to stop the attack, forcing me to remind him that Forefunner cannot be targeted. It is a definite advantage of playing newer decks that opponents will sometimes make sub-optimal plays because they are unfamiliar with the cards.
I set the Royal Decree and flip it at the end of his next turn. With his traps totally paralysed, I am free to push forward with gigantic monsters unopposed.
My next opponent is Jacob, who I also played against in the LLDS Stage 1. We were both playing Nekroz then and he is playing Dolls today. Deja Vu sets in.
I win the dice roll and go second. He sets a monster and a backrow and passes. I summon a Kozmo Wickedwitch and attack. His monster dies and I decide to go in. I activate Emergency Teleport to grab a Kozmo Farmgirl from my deck. He chains Maxx C and I realise that I can probably kill him, making the cards he draws irrelevant.
I attack with the Farmgirl and search for a Kozmo Dark Destroyer. I execute the textbook Kozmo strategy for OTKs, banishing the Wickedwitch to summon the Forerunner in my hand and attacking. I then banish the Farmgirl for a Dark Destroyer, using the Dark effect to destroy my OWN Forerunner, summoning a Sliprider from deck. Jacob asks me if I have enough to kill him and I explain that I can still attack with both of the ships I have summoned, since it is still in the battle phase. I ask if his backrow is relevant, he says it isn’t and scoops it up.
While siding in my six anti-Doll cards, he muses that his set card was an El-Shaddoll Fusion and that if he had drawn his last two cards he could have potentially made an El-Shaddoll Construct during my turn to block the last attack. Unfortunately it is too late to go back at this point, so we start game two.
I go first in game two and open a hand of a Spaceship, Maxx C and Emergency Teleport, a potent hand against Shaddolls. I land a ship on board in my own turn and stop Jacob mounting a counter-attack with two copies of De-Fusion to eliminate a Shaddoll monster as well as an Elder Entity Norden.
Jacob has a good turnaround when he drops a Black Luster Soldier, but unfortunate BLS on his own lacks the ability to get past my monsters. Forerunner can’t be targetted by the banishing effect, and replaces itself when it is attacked and the little Kozmo monsters can banish into a Forerunner from hand if he tries to target them as well.
Fortunately for him, Forerunner is the biggest monster I have access to, and 2800 attack isn’t enough to take the big warrior down. We stall out for a few turns, until I draw a Stormforth, the perfect out to a big monster.
I take the game from there.
At this stage, quite a few of my team mates were also X-1, so the inevitability of playing against one of them started to dawn on us all. I ended up playing again Brandon. Cool guy, also playing Shaddolls, but at this point I knew the deck wasn’t as unbeatable as I had previously thought.
I win the dice roll and elect to go second. Brandon and I enter a long grind game, with me playing through self replacing ships and him making fusions and reviving them with floating Shaddoll monsters. He is eventually able to make a Construct and an Abyss Dweller, which completely shuts down my Spaceships ability to replace themselves, sealing the game.
I side in the standard six cards and go second again. Brandon decides to go all in on the first turn, unluckily for him I have a Maxx C and draw about eight cards. He is unable to build a board strong enough to withstand my massive card advantage and I take this out pretty quickly.
The final game is a whitewash. I finally draw the dream first-turn Retaliating C, and when he fuses on his first turn I summon the C, banishing both monsters used for the fusion, as well as the fusion spell itself, denying all their effects and Brandon’s ability to recover the spell later on.
On my turn, I summon a pilot and banish it for a Dark Destroyer, which destroys the Construct for no advantage, as Brandon has nothing to add back to hand. At this point he has two cards to my six and I quickly overwhelm him.
Of the eight cards I was siding for Shaddolls, Retaliating C is the only one that will remain in my side deck after Nov 9, as it also has uses again Infernoid. That being said, I am very glad I had it against Brandon!
I am X-1 heading into the last round, so even if I lose now there is still a good chance I will top. I am feeling much more relaxed than I was when I was facing the prospect of having to win 4 matches in a row to have a shot.
My last opponent is Harry, who I know is also playing Kozmo. The mirror-match is something that I have had very little practice with, as most of my team mates do not own the deck. Some of them detest the cards enough that I had to convince them to trade them to me rather than burn them. Harry, on the other hand, has been testing against his friend Kane for at least a week, so I am concerned that he may have the upper hand.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to find out in game one, as I lose the dice roll and go first with a hand of Farmgirl, Farmgirl, Kozmotown, Kozmotown and Allure of Darkness, forcing me to pass without a play. Harry draws a very similar hand to my Game 1 hand against Jacob and OTKs me.
In game two, I grind Harry out by looping my ships and pilots with Kozmotown, as well as a huge push with a Cyber Dragon.
In game three, I go first again and make a pretty reasonable push for board control. Unfortunately, Harry has the sided Cyber Dragon and is able to consolidate my entire board into a Chimeratech Overdragon on his side of the field, and has the follow-up normal summon of Kozmo Farmgirl to seal the game.
At X-2, my chances of topping are okay, but will largely come down to tie-breakers. Unfortunately, Nathan was not able to pull up as well as I did after our game, and is sitting at X-3. This proves to be my undoing when I come 10th, just outside of the top eight. Tie-breakers were an absolute killer, with two X-2 players making it and six not.
I think my deck on the day probably had some sub-optimal card choices, but I was somewhat torn between trying to cater to the strengths of some of the older decks while still accommodating for mirror matches. Now that the new F&L list is in full effect, I think Kozmo will really shine as one of the stronger decks of the format, especially now that one of the cards that kept it in check, El-Shaddoll Construct, is forbidden.
Tested a new deck to reasonable success
Prize support was very decent
Team-mates encountered a Rain of Salt
Missing Top-Cut due to Tie-breakers
Overall LLDS Stage Two was a well-run tourney with a good blend between the casual local environment and the slight competitive edge of a major event. This is the first time a series like this has been run in Australia during the Yu-Gi-Oh Off-Season, but hopefully it is something that continues in the future.