I suppose it all started with ACP launching GoatFormat.com, the main feature of which was a ranked ladder for Goat Format that didn’t exist on DuelingBook.com’s own functionality. Fast forwarding back to recent months, after playing standard Goat Control for a while, I guess I got bored and decided to make my own deck. I had seen that Jay had success with a Reasoning Gate Combo deck but, with knowledge of various combo decks from my years playing current format, I was pretty convinced that a lot of the cards he played just shouldn’t even be in the deck.
Building Reasoning Gate Combo
Right off the bat, Scapegoat and Metamorphosis were two cards that really didn’t make any sense to me along with low-impact stuff like Dust Tornado. If I’m playing a combo deck, I’m not playing it so I can have a “fair” game of Yu-Gi-Oh! where I set some cards, maybe summon a monster, attack, you do the same in return, play a trap card, and so on. There are decks which are built for that, but it’s mismatched to the essence of playing a combo deck.
The longer the game goes, the more chance there is for something to go wrong, especially considering that with a Dimensional Fusion strategy, your life points being under 2000 can be effectively the same as losing. There is, of course, a grace period of 1-2 turns that you can abuse, since the average Goat Format deck can’t just kill you, but after that you’ll have to actually play.
Going by this logic, there were other cards that made no sense too. One of them was Airknight Parshath. What one must realize is that the hidden effect of Parshath is, “Your opponent gets another turn.” This is because, with the exception of piercing for game, the draw only matters insofar as it’s a card that you can play after the battle phase that turn, and since the game did not end in the battle phase, then your opponent gets another turn. In other words, you’ve played your combo pieces (Monster Gate, Reasoning) presumably getting yourself an Airknight, and all you got from it comparatively to other options is giving them another turn and using up combo cards, which is mismatched to the maximum 1-2 turns you want to give them as previously dictated.
Thus, Metamorphosis, Scapegoat, and Airknight Parshath would not be making the list. Same with other cards that played “fair Yu-Gi-Oh!”, or otherwise implied that my opponent would get more turns, including most traps like Dust Tornado. Using these ideas, I quickly made the prototype for my first Reasoning Gate list, and the public (GoatFormat.com and FormatLibrary.com discord servers respectively) received it with shock and horror.
I wasn’t only maining three Toon Table of Contents and Toon Cannon Soldier, I was also playing three Thunder Dragons, and (at the time) 2 copies of Reload. The obvious responses that I had anticipated followed:
People thought that the deck was bad because you can Reasoning or Monster Gate into Thunder Dragon, ignoring the disproportionately strong things that the card allows you to do when you draw it, be it Graceful Charity, Card Destruction, light(s) in grave, mulligan with Reload, and so on. Thunder Dragon compares favorably to Airknight Parshath as the other light level 5 that you can hit with Monster Gate/Reasoning, because we determined earlier that Airknight Parshath is effectively a vanilla for our purposes.
The deck also played a lot more draw power than the other Reasoning Gate Combo decks. Simply put, it doesn’t matter how strong of a card Dimensional Fusion is if you never draw it, and the other Reasoning Gate decks didn’t have as high of a chance of actually drawing the card.
Speaking of Dark Magician of Chaos, which is the centerpiece of the deck, my deck also has a better engine of soft-searching cards I need to win than a Reasoning Gate Combo list playing fair cards. This is because the low monster count which gets even lower when using Thunder Dragon and Toon Table of Contents in order me mill more with Reasoning/Monster Gate, as well as the draw power in general. This all lets you get to your problem-solving cards like Lightning Vortex (added later) on their Scapegoat, or Monster Reincarnation for a chaos monster.
The deck went through several optimizations over time but retained the same basic structure. I took out a third Sacred Crane because people just kept calling LV4 for Reasoning once they saw my list. I took out Spell Economics for Lightning Vortex under the logic that, while both are effectively win conditions when they chain Scapegoat to Giant Trunade, one of them requires less combo pieces to actually work, making Lightning Vortex comparatively better ignoring the corner case of assembling a random FTK going first.
After making these changes, and constructing a side deck, here was the list I took to the 7th Format Library Championship (not the 8th which is soon the topic of this report):
Reasoning Gate Combo - Technical Play
The crux of this deck’s technical play, as ACP had mentioned during his livestream of FLC8, is deciding on which turn to “go off”. Unless your hand is exceptionally overwhelming, you don’t often play your cards on your first turn. Also, try not to half-ass it; don’t play one Reasoning or Monster Gate and stop there. Go all in or pass, lest you end with a mediocre board after using up combo pieces and then lose. Most decks give you a turn or two to work with, and instead of playing a normal game of Yu-Gi-Oh! with them like other Reasoning Gate Combo strategies, during those turns you’re really just trying to draw into your win buttons.
Much of the deck’s technical play is knowing which resources to commit when, such as calculating odds of a game-ending Reload, Card Destruction, or Monster Gate/Reasoning. If you can’t win that turn, you must decide on whether to end on either the best possible board or a smaller board with some follow-up for next turn. Luckily, since many opponents understand that this Reasoning Gate Combo deck isn’t one that you can afford to waste time against, they’ll play their power cards early, meaning that if you get through them, they often don’t even have much of a follow-up.
Since you don’t want to draw more copies of them, there’s little point of not using Toon Table of Contents and Thunder Dragon immediately. People also try the fancy Reload plays with them too much. While it is true that you’d rather not have Toon Cannon Soldier in your deck, that does not mean that having it outside of your deck is worth more than a random draw; it actually isn’t. Upstart Goblin you play immediately, but only hesitate on the second one or if you have game otherwise due to lifepoints.
Proper play also changes a bit in games 2 and 3 when you’re setting cards to play around Trap Dustshoot and Mind Crush, sometimes banking on them either siding out Heavy Storm or not having it. Luckily, since most people will set multiple cards against you due to Giant Trunade putting them all back regardless, then their Heavy Storm becomes worse, and they become more hesitant to play it.
Final note is that what you actually hit with Reasoning tends to be the least important function of the card in this deck (unless you really need Dark Magician of Chaos). Rather, it’s about the good spells you mill that you can get back later as well as milling Chaos Sorcerers to put more darks in the grave.
Preparing for Format Library Championship #8
As I alluded to earlier, my deck was becoming more popular in the Goat Format community. You would commonly encounter players on DuelingBook.com netdecking me, ones who very likely didn’t even know who I was! Flattering, if a little weird because I tend to underestimate my own influence on things. People started getting wise to my deck and started trying to find ways to beat it. They began siding a litany of Jowgen the Spiritualist, Trap Dustshoot/Mind Crush, Anti-Spell Fragrance, Royal Oppression, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, and so on. I began to go on a bit of a downswing in terms of win/loss ratio as a result, and I had to update my strategy in response.
Now, it was still absolutely clear that my deck was the favorite to win game 1. My deck’s engine was just flat-out superior to almost any other deck I played against, making my worst theoretical matchup ACP’s Library FTK deck, or even Mascis’s Spell Economics/Mass Driver OTK deck. Most people aren’t so bold as to main deck cards to beat me/my deck, which meant that games 2 and 3 were when the real business of the match began.
With all of this in mind, here is the deck that I took to the 8th and most recent Format Library Championship on 4/13/2019:
Spell Cancellers have always been in the side since I can basically search them in the mirror or against Library FTK. The Morphing and Cyber Jars bank on people siding out Nobleman of Crossout against me, which they usually do.
Throughout the tournament, I routinely sided out Giant Trunades, 1-2 Reload, 1 Reasoning, 1 Monster Gate, and 1-2 Toon Table of Contents. It’s frowned upon in current format Yu-Gi-Oh! to side out “engine cards,” but the magic is that when I’m siding them out for other draw effects like Jar of Greed or other semi-win buttons like the Jars, then I’m effectively mitigating the whole problem with it, breaking down the hard line of “don’t side out engine cards.”
Cards like Jar of Greed (and Reckless Greed for that matter) also help especially in games 2 and 3 since, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be setting more cards in those games anyway. They can try to capitalize on my setting with Breaker the Magical Warrior or Heavy Storm, but such will be for naught against Jar of Greed.
Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force were a good idea because people had begun to realize that the only way to actually win against my deck, other than Dark Balter the Terrible, was attacking. They also weren’t respecting Mirror Force and Torrential Tribute at all, so I could catch them off guard, just like with the Jars.
I suppose the only other things to explain would be Delinquent Duo and Cyber Stein. The reason Cyber Stein is there is because ACP suggested that I play it to make Last Warrior from Another Planet in the mirror. I didn’t really theory it out and just threw it in. I never got the opportunity to side it in, unfortunately.
The reason why Delinquent Duo is not maindecked is because, with the exception of an amazing hand that allows you to double Delinquent Duo on turn 1, it doesn’t accomplish much. It also doesn’t lineup with your strategy, which ignores card advantage and just tries to attack for game. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it can hurt you more than help you sometimes, since the 1000 life points can let your opponent get you below 2000 a turn faster. It’s different in games 2 and 3 because of their Trap Dustshoots (even if you miss Dustshoot with Delinquent Duo, if they keep Dustshoot, they only have 3 cards remaining), but I’d still only side it in going first, under the aforementioned theory that they’re just going to play all of their power cards as soon as possible, making the cards left for Delinquent Duo to hit mostly negligible.
The final facet of the siding strategy that I want to talk about, when it came to what I sided out, was that Giant Trunade isn’t as effective in games 2 and 3 when they’re just waiting to play chainables in response to it. Conventional traps aren’t even that good against my deck because I can just plow through them or negate them with Jinzo. So, if they side any out, then Giant Trunade becomes even less effective. I still would keep at least one copy in, so it was available as a target for Dark Magician of Chaos for the Premature Burial + Giant Trunade combo. Other than that, siding out Giant Trunade helps the overall dynamic of the deck’s strategy post-side. The only thing that makes slightly worse is not being able to force Scapegoat before Lightning Vortex, but if your engine is working you can just try to get to Heavy Storm or whatever Giant Trunades are left post-side to do the same.
Winning The Tournament
Moving forward, then, to the tournament itself. Looking at the entrants, the only duelist that I didn’t really want to get paired with was Mascis, since he often uses (and did use for this tournament) an FTK version of Reasoning Gate Combo with Spell Economics. Luckily, I never got paired with him, since he was defeated in top4. The tournament was 5 rounds of swiss, 18 players, and cut to top8.
Round 1: Noelle Yves vs. PhantomLogic (Horus Aggro)
Nothing much happened here. My opponent didn’t appear very experienced, going from both this match and previous matches I’ve had with them. At one point he didn’t Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell on my Heavy Storm for three and remarked later that it was a mistake. I quickly win 2-0.
Round 2: Noelle Yves vs. andrewbergen (Thunder Dragon Chaos)
Andrew is a pretty good player so I knew this would be a hard match. I got nutted on Game 3 and lost (tried to throw in an “uh” when he summoned Black Luster Soldier to telegraph Torrential Tribute but that didn’t deter my opponent). But that’s not the reason I lost. The reason I lost is because when I was watching people’s matches at the end of round 1 I didn’t make a mental note when I saw in my peripheral vision a Raigeki Break in Andrew’s graveyard, leading me to ignore playing around it game 2, which cost me the match. Also if I recall correctly, at some point I crashed a Sacred Crane with their Thunder Dragon where I probably should have just waited with my Torrential Tribute set. But the operative reason I lost was because of throwing game 2 by not playing around the Raigeki Break that I should have made a mental note of him playing.
This loss kind of bothered me throughout the rest of the tournament because, on the one hand, I think I’m capable of playing better than that, on the other hand, it meant I wasn’t going to go undefeated, and on the third hand, it was well within the realm of possibility to receive my divine punishment by getting getting nutted on then losing out on the whole tournament and dropping.
(Note that if I lose one round in a tournament because of poor play, and if I get nutted on later in a tournament, the reason I lost the tournament isn’t because I got nutted on later, it goes back to the original match of where if I won, the whole course of the tournament could have gone differently and perhaps I would have never played the person that nutted to begin with, or perhaps it wouldn’t have knocked me out of the tournament. My point being that this is how I look at assigning culpability when it comes to tournament performance, and how I believe other duelists ought to assign culpability as well on a player-philosophy level, always take responsibility for oneself no matter what, and set your standards very high. Even if you never meet those standards, what matters is the journey there, and the mindset. Everything else flows naturally.)
Round 3: Noelle Yves vs. Alex Gleason (Goat Control)
Nothing interesting I just won. Love you Alex <3 . (Oh I think at some point I just forget I have Jar of Greed set whilst Alex has Anti-Spell face-up, whoops lawl.)
Round 4: Noelle Yves vs. spankthemonkey (Anti-Meta Warriors)
(Two replays because of a disconnect.)
Game 1 clearly didn’t go well for me. When they got disconnected I was fine to just recreate regardless of what the judges said to be courteous, but I wasn’t sure how it worked because in other Format Library tournaments they’ve had disconnections count as losses. The judge tells us to reconstruct and we continue. I lose game1, win game2, and win a very close game3.
Round 5: Noelle Yves vs. Smoker_ (Thunder Dragon Chaos)
He was mad. Also, almost threw using Reasoning before Dimension Fusion. Whoops. I win 2-0.
Top 8: Noelle Yves vs. spankthemonkey (Anti-Meta Warriors)
We get into a ruling dispute about Blast with Chain and I win it eventually, but let them take back the move. I play through Anti-Spell Fragrance and some purple cards and probably Solemn Judgment or something and win because the Goddess of Putting Trinity into Snatch Steal on Top of My Opponent’s Deck apparently didn’t show up for work that day.
Oh and he conceded game 1 for no reason, although I would have been more than happy reconstructing and playing it out.
Top 4: Noelle Yves vs. Tony Luke/Pojo (Anti-Meta Warriors)
Misplayed by waiting in weird increments when I set 5 spells/traps in game 2, but it didn’t matter because of Heavy Storm + Solemn Judgment anyways. I made sure to throw in a cringy, “fear my 5 backrows >:)” to make him think that they were bluffs when I in fact had Mirror Force set, but I figured he was competent enough not to fall for it regardless. Anyway I win Game 3.
(Protip: I don’t talk to my opponents much in-game, so if I’m talking to you, there’s usually a reason for it.)
Finals: Noelle Yves vs. WorldGoneMad (Thunder Dragon Chaos w/ Sasuke Samurai #4)
I’ve never been good at 50/50s. The first one I missed when I was born, by coming out of the womb and being assigned “boy” rather than “girl”. Anyway I went for it and whiffed game 1 but still won because he bricked off of my Card Destruction. Got memed on by a Legendary Jujitsu Master in game 2. Game 3 I set Sacred Crane to play around his 2 Trap Dustshoot then won the tournament.
And that was that. I’ll be disappearing for a while, as I meant to a week ago but wanted to just win this tournament real quick. I’ll eventually have to return to Yu-Gi-Oh! though to become a World Champion/National Champion in the current format. Until then I’ll focus on being the best Trans-Bisexual-Buzzword-Schizophrenic-Buzzword-Communist-Oppression-Olympics I can be.
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