Tournament Report – Top16 – 200th YCS: Utretch 2018 by Dinh Khang Pham

On October 4, 2018 by Valerio Zucco

Hey Guys!
My name is Dinh Khang Pham and I’m one of the newest members of this big family named United Gosus. Today I want to present my tournament report of the 200th YCS in Utrecht. This event was not only the big jubilee for Konami, it was also the first major event I attended as an official member of this team. I felt a bit pressured, because I wanted to achieve great results as a new representative. It also didn’t help that I was really ill and exhausted all the time, but the show had to go on!
With the Forbidden & Limited List released one week before the event my friend and teammate Kian Shahbazi, who got into the Top 64, started our grind to find the optimal build. We quickly realized that backrow decks like Sky Striker, Trickstar, Altergeist and Draco would take over the void Gouki had left, that is why we put six backrow removals into the main and 6 more into the side deck. Of course Gouki didn’t die with these minor hits, but as you can see in the deck breakdown, many players decided to switch to a different deck.
But who can predict the exact numbers of decks before an event especially with a F&L List 1 week prior? So we decided to not only run Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring as our only handtrap, but Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit also got her time to shine. Overall I felt really comfortable with this build and couldn’t wait to play this big tournament.
Quick information before I start with my round report: This event was europe’s biggest major event so far with 2.356 participants. We played 9 Rounds of swiss on Day 1 and 3 more Rounds of swiss on Day 2 before the final cut to the Top 64.

Day 1 Swiss Rounds 1-9:

R1: Trickstar 2:0
There were two variants I’ve known of: the Floodgate Variant and the Combo Variant with cards like Phantom Skyblaster and Mekk-Knights. I hoped for the first variant and my decision to play so many backrow removals paid off.
Both Game 1 (G1) and Game 2 (G2) went pretty fast in my favor, because I could bait the infamous Scapegoat and Trickstar Reincarnation before they could do considerable damage. The Floodgate Gozen Match also didn’t last long before it got struck by the all time classic Mystical Space Typhoon.

Standing 1:0

R2: Sky Striker 2:0
I expected a more calm start, but in the second Match I faced Team Shift’s Carl Ross-Walker. I knew him from their deck profiles and was quite nervous. As known if both Sky Striker players play at the same skill level, the draws are almost game deciding on their own. G1 was decided by me having Shared Ride and the overall advantage. G2 wasn’t more exciting with me having Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries on 3 of his Sky Striker Ace – Kagari. But Fortuna wasn’t done, she went on and let me draw one Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage from the first engage and another engage from the second one, ending my turn with discarding cards because I couldn’t set anymore cards.

Standing 2:0

R3: Sky Striker 2:1
This game was interesting, because my opponent chose to main Mind Crush instead of Shared Ride like me. Looking at the breakdown Shared Ride would have been the right choice and so that decision of him lead to his demise.
G1 was decided between Mind Crush and Shared Ride as we both had one copy in our hand. This game was in his favor from the start. He was allowed to start and had a Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage and Sky Striker Mecha Modules – Multiroll setup, but Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit put a quick stop to his Multiroll. At the start of my turn I got rid of his backrow, where his Mind Crush got revealed. With the help of Sky Striker Ace – Hayate and Kagari I got my hands on my own Engage. After my setup and the successful resolution of Shared Ride in my opponent’s turn this game was sealed and I went into G2 with a good feeling.
G2 was over rather quickly as I saw my hand and had no starter card. It happens (sometimes).
G3 went into a balanced grind game, where in the end I had more resources than him.

Standing 3:0

R4: Sky Striker 2:0
This match was quite odd. My opponent, who was 3:0 at this round, seemed really inexperienced with his own deck. I won’t further elaborate on his misplays, but the match went really quick in my favor.

Standing 4:0

R5: True Draco 2:1
I was really happy when I saw my opponent had no Extra Deck. It could only be True Draco and my deck was built to beat True Draco.
G1 and G2 were a true grindfiesta, where it went back and forth multiple times thanks to the completely balanced card named Card of Demise.
G3 he was allowed to start. Despite we grinded hard in G1 and G2 we still had about 10 minutes on the clock. He started with setting 4 cards and of course Card of Demise. Fortunately he set another card, discarded 2 cards and ended his turn. All the theory crafting paid off at that point. My hand I was starring at consisted of: 2x Twin Twister, 1x Mystical Space Typhoon, 2 other spells and the lovely Sky Striker Ace – Raye. As you can imagine his hope to win went down, when my green cards blew up his entire asset of pink cards.

Standing 5:0

R6: Sky Striker 1:2
With a 5:0 Standing I was really confident to reach the topcut until I read the name of my next opponent, my friend and E-Man’s Jonas Koschel!
As expected of one of the current best players in Europe he played his deck perfectly. 
G1 went in his favor. Despite that, the grind game we had was really exciting and funny. I can’t tell more about it, because it was like any other Sky Striker grind game.
G2 was completely different. I had literally everything and he had almost nothing in comparison.
G3 was decided in the first few turns. My hand consisted of double Mind Crush, but he was allowed to start. I still had high hopes, because he didn’t start with the powerful Multiroll and Engage setup. In my turn I was hit by a Shared Ride. Not a big deal, because I had 2 Mind Crush to deal with the Engage plays in Jonas’ turn. It was at that moment, when I saw a second Shared Ride in his hand due to my Mind Crush, my hopes to win dwindled. My only chance to win was top decking an Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring or to draw my own Shared Ride and both didn’t happen and so I had no chance to keep up with his advantage.

Standing 5:1

R7: Trickstar 2:0
Playing against a Trickstar after my loss was really refreshing.
As I expected the match was decided really quickly , because my opponents bricked both games and because I had all the answers to his backrow, which consisted of Scapegoat, Trickstar Reincarnation (with Droll & Lockbird) and Gozen Match.

Standing 6:1

R8: Cyber Dragon 2:0
Who would expect a young teenager piloting Cyber Dragon with a 6:1 Standing at a YCS? He made a big impression like he played Yu-Gi-Oh! competitively for many years. (Shoutouts to you, if you read this!) G1 he let me start and I was expecting a deck like Mekk-Knight Invoked or Crusadia. As such they were probably main decking Kaijus, I thought. My hand allowed me to search cards with my Engage, but I didn’t go the standard route, because of the fear of Kaijus. So I didn’t search multiple Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor, instead I chose to go for double engage. With the Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring in my hand I still felt pretty safe. My opponent bricked unfortunately, but every second he gave me that unpleasant feeling, I could die to an OTK at every moment.
G2 he let me go first again and I almost had the same setup as in G1. This time he could play, but this time I had two Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor, one for his Chimeratech Rampage Dragon and one for his Cyber Dragon Nova, which prevented an OTK. So he ended on just one Cyber Dragon Infinity. One negation isn’t enough to stop Sky Striker’s powerful cards, so this match was over at that point.

Standing 7:1

R9: Sky Striker 0:2
Normally we all could go our accommodation and sleep at this time, but we had to push through another round.
My opponent was Erikos Beck, who ended his journey in the Top 8 of this event!

G1 was completely in my favor, but I don’t know what my brain thought at that moment, I misplayed many times and ended myself. G2 was the punish for my misplays and I bricked heavily. Really disappointed in myself I gave him my hand.

Standing 7:2

Day 1 ended for me on the bubble. I wasn’t happy with this result, because I misplayed way too often in the last match. But your family is always there for you, so my team cheered me up and I managed to stay focused. I needed to win at least 2 Rounds and win or draw the third Round in order to reach the topcut.

Day 2 Swiss Rounds 9-12

R10: Anti-Meta (Raioh) 2:1
Mentally prepared for another grueling Mirror Match for the start of the day I was really surprised to be matched against an untypical backrow deck, Raioh Anti-Meta. As expected his backrow didn’t have a chance to my sheer number of backrow removals, but in G2 I just got beaten down by 2 Thunderking Raiohs and 1 Banisher of the Radiance without having an out to the first Raioh. G3 I went first and destroyed his entire backrow in his Endphase and so the match ended.
Winning the first round of Day 2 always gives you a big motivation push and so I was really happy, I got the perfect match for my deck.

Standings 8:2

R11: Draco 2:0
This match was like a Déjà-vu to me. My opponent was a friend of mine, who also lives in my region, Marlon Reimlitz of the Team Next Level Card Gaming. We played at 4 LLDS Finals against each other and I’ve won them all. Despite that fact I couldn’t get overconfident and start to take him lightly. So with all my focus I went into that match.
G1 I started and already had Twin Twister and Ghost Ogre in my hand. Unfortunately for him I knew what he was playing, because we were talking all day about our matches. So I didn’t search any Widow Anchors, instead I went for double Engage and passed with nothing but a Sky Striker Ace – Shizuku on the board. In his turn he made the fatal mistake to kill my Shizuku with his Majesty Maiden, The True Dracocaster. Because of that I could go into Shizuku in his End Phase and search another Engage. With a Twin Twister and 3 Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage! he realized, that there was nothing he could do.
G2 he started with the double Dragonic Diagram play, where he destroyed a True Draco Trap and Spell to draw 2 cards with True Draco Heritage, but it met its demise (HA!) on activation, when Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit made her appearance once again. He activated another Draw Spell, but I don’t remember, if it was a Pot of Desires or Card of Demise. Either way Twin Twister was there to save the day against Anti-Spell and Rivalry Of Warlords. With 3 Spells in the Graveyard resolving Engage put the final nail in the coffin.

Standing 9:2

R12: Sky Striker 1:1
I was really relieved, that I made this far. Now I only needed a win or a draw to reach the topcut.
G1 I could start and the game started really slow. Both my opponent and I depended on the search effect of Shizuku, but in the first two rounds we disrupted each other. This game went pretty long, but at some point I got the momentum and had the advantage of Sky Striker Modules – Multiroll. My opponent refused to give up and played that game to the last card. After long 30 minutes, he decided to give up.
G2 ended unfortunately went to the infamous end of match procedure, because we started it way too late. With one direct attack from Hayate ahead he won that game. If we had had more time, I would have definitely won that match due to my advantages I had.

Standing 9:2:1

I hoped for a better Standing, but it doesn’t matter, if you reach the topcut. So I was relieved that I managed to reach it even with bubbling since Round 10. My close friend and teammate Kian Shahbazi also managed to top. As new members of this team we were so happy, that we both could achieve a top for the team. But we couldn’t afford to let loose and we had to stayed focussed! And then it happened…

Top 64: Sky Striker
I was shocked, when I went through the Topcut Standing and found out, that I was paired against my friend and testpartner Kian Shahbazi. We knew each others deck, play style and each way of thinking. Same deck, same mat, same shirt and even the same sleeves, it was truly a „Mirror Match“. We both knew, the starting hand decides everything.
G1 I was allowed to start. I drew the first 4 cards and almost gave up, but the 5th card rescued me: it was Sky Striker Ace – Raye, My hand consisted now of 3x Mystical Space Typhoon, 1x Sky Striker Mecha – Shark Cannon and Raye. I ended my turn with set 4 and Shizuku, which got negated by an Ash Blossom. Without any negation or relevant disruption or follow up for the next turn, my chances were small. Kian started with the usual Multiroll and Sky Striker Airspace – Area Zero combo, but he didn’t use Multiroll on the Area Zero, because he revealed and added a Raye of Area Zero’s effect. I couldn’t disrupt any of his plays except the Endphase effect of Multiroll. Somehow that was enough to get onto my plays and get more advantage than him.
G2 was cruel to watch. He and I wanted a good mirror match with some form of skillful grind, but he just bricked entirely and passed with 2 Set cards. With no further explanations the match was decided.
Relieved and sad at the same time I went to the Top 32. At this point I want to give a shoutout to my dear friend Kian Shahbazi, who helped me the most to reach this point in this competition!

Top 32: Sky Striker 2:1
The next big name! My opponent was Max van Nijverseel. I sat next to him or near him the whole tournament, so it was quite funny to face him now. I don’t remember much of this match, but it was really close. He is a great person and it was really nice to play against him.

Top 16: Sky Striker 1:2
At this point I started to feel the prize card in my hands, only one Match to go!
G1 he could start, but the game went downhill for him, when I topdecked Engage as 6th card and got another Engage from Area Zero’s effect. At one point I made a big mistake again. I didn’t destroy his Multiroll, but chose to destroy his Set card, what I believed to be an Anchor. Even if it was Anchor, I should have gone for the Multiroll and with that I lost the first game.
G2 was pretty fast with me having all the good cards for the mirror like Shared Ride.
G3 started near the timeout, so he had the advantage of going for Hayate, but it didn’t even matter, because I started with 0 starter. I just passed and my loss was guaranteed.

Deckbreakdown for my matches:
9x Sky Striker
2x Trickstar
2x True Draco
1x Anti-Meta
1x Cyber Dragon

Despite the two games, I lost due to big misplays, the entire event was a blast! The build played so smoothly and as you can see based on my breakdown, the call to play many backrow removals was right! The team was really supportive. We talked very much and had so much fun! I’m truly happy, that I’m part of this big family and this motivates me to go even further and get better at this wonderful game, we all enjoy!

I hope you liked my report. Until next time!