World Chalice was the original Link spam theme from the earliest days ofMaster Rule 4, but it's rarely been a top choice of any format since thedeck debuted in 2017.
SPYRALs exploded onto the competitive scene just a few months later, andGoukis followed suit in 2018 as the definitive Link-centric strategies ofthe early VRAINS era. World Chalice was quickly left behind as otherstrategies proved to be more consistent and better equipped to play throughdisruption. Success stories from World Chalice players have been few andfar between, but the deck hasshown up occasionally. Unfortunately2019's been particularly bad for World Chalice, even as Ib the WorldChalice Justiciar sees play in various strategies.
Last weekend Las Kadr made Day 2 at YCS London with World Chalice, but he wasn't quite able to break the deck's streak of missing Top Cuts. I don't like to dismiss decks out of hand following an excellent run at aChampionship-level event for the same reasons I think we should spend more time looking at Regional Top 16s, and even Top 32s at larger events. Thereare so many tech choices, unique builds, and meta-breaking strategies hidden just below the Top Cut at any event, and YCS London was noexception. Las Kadr wasn't alone: Dino Shaddolls, Subterrors, and a Dange rLunalight hybrid narrowly missed the Top 32.
Kadr's build of World Chalice runs plenty of familiar cards likeGuardragons and Dangers, but its combos and end field are much more unique than your typical Dragon Link decks. World Chalice also offered Kadr achance to leverage tools that other Dragon Link players didn't have access to. All of those advantages came at the low cost of playing a mere sevenMain Deck World Chalice monsters, and those cards gave Kadr access to specific World Chalice Link Monsters and an easier path to Ib the WorldChalice Justiciar.
DECKID=110172 Remember World Chalice Guardragon? That adorable green Dragon fromCode of the Duelist that's had a dozen or so incarnations since itsdebut? It's shown up in Dragon Link strategies here and there as a way toSpecial Summon Galaxy Serpent or another Normal Monster from the graveyard,but it's more than just an extender.
World Chalice Guardragon's also a hand trap, and while that's something you won't often see other decks use, it's hugely relevant here considering therest of Kadr's monster line-up. Kadr was playing two other World Chalice monsters that either added Guardragon to his hand, or Special Summoned it to his field. Both effects helped him get to Guardragon early in the duel, and it made all the difference in his ability to play through disruption.
World Chalice Guardragon's negation effect helped Kadr bypass hand traps and other Quick Effects that targeted his Linked monsters. While it's not quite as capable as Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay, it's still an impressive counter to Infinite Impermanence or Effect Veiler. In his deck profile Kadr mentioned negating a Sky Striker Mecha - Widow Anchor at the YCS, and you can almost imagine the incredulous look on his opponent's face when their only copy of Widow Anchor was stopped by a Level 1 monster.
Kadr was removing his opponent's only counters to his plays while simultaneously setting up Guardragon's graveyard effect. He could use both effects of Guardragon on the same turn, but its negation effect isn't even limited to once per turn. Theoretically he could negate three or more targeting effects if he continuously recycled Guardragon.
That said, World Legacy Guardragon's contribution to Kadr's build is still largely based around its typing and Special Summon effect. The ability to negate cards that target Linked monsters is nice, but a standalone Link orSynchro is still vulnerable. It's a definite plus for the World Chalice engine though, and there are a couple more of those we should talk about.
First, World Legacy - "World Chalice" is a fantastic card that's made evenbetter by the sheer number of Special Summons Kadr managed to cram into thedeck. Of course the traditional combo using Imduk the World Chalice Dragonto pick up an extra Normal Summon still works, and finding a way to includeImduk in broader combo was a priority for Kadr. Otherwise, simply TributeSummoning World Chalice using a Defrag Dragon or Danger! would set thefield for his full combo.
The availability of World Legacy - "World Chalice" gave Kadr another toolto counter his opponent's plays. Even a Special Summoned World Chalice can send an Extra Deck monster straight to the graveyard immediately after it'sSummoned, so Kadr could build defensive set-ups to stall for time bySpecial Summoning it early.
That often happens as a byproduct of World Chalice combos, especially since the World Chalice Link Monsters can Special Summon a themed from the hand.We've seen this tactic used before in Orcust Guardragon variants from two formats ago, but it's even more consistent in Kadr's larger World Chalice line-up.
A Different Kind Of Win Condition
Kadr's win condition unfolded shortly after he Synchro Summoned Ib theWorld Chalice Justiciar. Mathematician and Draconnet were both one-cardLevel 5 Synchro Summons thanks to Galaxy Serpent and Carboneddon, and Ibcan also treat Chosen by the World Chalice as a Tuner for its Summon.
Kadr could also use Dinowrestler Coelasilat as a Tuner, and he playedFossil Dig specifically to search it. Pairing Coelasilat with a Level 3monster – a negated Mathematician or Draconnet works fine – made for quickLevel 5 Synchros that often didn't use his Normal Summon. Coelasilat helped him push through interruption and make the most of his Danger monsters whenhe didn't have immediate access to World Legacy - "World Chalice", and it also acted as tribute fodder in addition to his Dangers.
Kadr was set on reaching his Level 5 Synchro Summon regardless of his opponent's actions. His copies of Defrag Dragon, Destrudo the Lost Dragon'sFrisson, and Unexpected Dai were all largely in service of reaching that initial Synchro. Ib itself typically searches World Legacy Guardragon, but its second effect is much more relevant given Kadr's World Chalice line-up.Sending Ib to the graveyard for a Link Summon would let him Summon a WorldChalice monster from the deck, and Lee the World Chalice Fairy was likelyhis top choice. His plays would quickly start to branch off at that point, but ideally he'd attempt to resolve World Chalice at some point after searching it with Lee's effect.
In his deck profile Kadr discusses Summoning Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess before beginning his Guardragon combos. He was betting on a trend we've seen many players take advantage of already: duelists are holding their hand traps to negate Guardragons. Kadr could build up his field and Summon Apollousa without a single hand trap hitting the field, or convert his Link4 play into a Guardragon combo if his opponent fired off their interruption early. World Chalice Guardragon's so readily searchable that any WorldChalice combo can quickly transform into a Guardragon combo.
Resolving Guardragon Elpy typically leads to bigger Link plays, but Kadrhad different goals in mind. The latest World Chalice combos take advantage of Omni Dragon Brotaur's ability to search any monster as long as it can target a monster on the field with the same Type and Attribute. SpecialSummoning Brotaur with Elpy, Pisty, Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon, or WorldLegacy Guardragon while Lee the World Chalice Fairy was on the field let Kadr search Archlord Kristya – a vital piece of his ideal final board. Kristya's easily Special Summoned by Saryuja Skull Dread in exactly the same way as Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju used to be in older WorldChalice variants. Its floodgate effect wasn't just used in Kadr's build atYCS London: it also appeared ina Lunalight/Danger hybrid that narrowly missed the Top Cut.
Archlord Kristya's stopping power is complemented by the direct negation ofApollousa and Gameciel, and it illustrates the continued power of the Guardragon engine even without Guardragon Agarpain. Players have had to find new ways to end their Guardragon combos, and for Kadr the solution was obvious: use Omni Dragon Brotaur to search Archlord Kristya. It's a playthat can absolutely win the game on its own since so many decks need toSpecial Summon to remove monsters. Super Polymerization and Dinowrestler Pankratops are totally useless against Kristya, which leaves largely unsearchable outs to a card that at least two Day 2 strategies wereconsistently fielding on Turn 1.
I think World Chalice decks have a lot more potential this format thantheir popularity – or lack thereof – would lead you to believe. I wouldn'tg o so far as to say the deck is underrated, but I do think it's positionedwell to take advantage of some of the changes on the last two Forbidden& Limited Lists. The deck's final boards have always been about loading up with disruption effects attached to Main Deck monsters, and Agarpain's ban doesn't change that. Whether we see more players pick up World Chaliceor not I think Archlord Kristya looks like it's here to stay, and I can't help but wonder if that means Vanity's Fiend is also poised for a return.
Until next time then