How's it going TCGplayers? This past weekend we had the ARG Circuit Series right in my own backyard of Washington D.C.! Nate Forte took down the event with an innovative take on the Madolche archetype, using the power of Rank-Up-Magic - The Seventh One to secure victories all day long.

But this week I want to take a look at the emerging top deck of the format: Geargia. The deck's been around for a long time, but it really thrives in the slower, trap-heavy metagames we're seeing lately. Explosive, consistent, and able to turtle safely behind a giant line of defense, Geargia are one of the most versatile strategies you can bring to a tournament. I'll be taking a look at two slightly different variants which both performed well at ARGC DC: Aaron Furman's Geargia with Ice Hand and Fire Hand, as well as Tahmid Zaman's more traditional build.

As always, let's start with the deck lists!

DECKID=100418DECKID=100419Right away we can see that these decks share numerous similarities throughout the Main Decks and Side Decks. Furman and Zaman both shared the same Geargia core, with a playset each of Geargiano Mk-II, Geargiaccelerator, Geargiarmor, Geargiarsenal, and a lone Geargiano. Four targets for Geargiagear are plenty, especially with Daigusto Emeral recycling cards should the game run long.

Furman's big difference was choosing to include a pair each of Ice Hand and Fire Hand, with the third copies in the Side Deck. A common tech choice, the Hands pull double duty for Geargia since they can very easily bluff as a set Geargiarmor, only to trigger their effects and go off without netting you any loss when your opponent destroys them. That played out in the Top 4, where Furman simply set a Geargiarmor and a backrow before passing the turn. His opponent went into Fire Formation – Tenki, searched a Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear, then chose not to destroy the set Geargiarmor for fear it would be a Hand that could blow out his play (decklists were public knowledge).

The Hands always make your opponent wary, forcing them to wait and let you gain card advantage or potentially run into a bad situation.

Spells And Traps
The spell lineups were incredibly similar as well, with Zaman and Furman sharing a Book of Moon, Dark Hole, Mind Control, and a pair of Soul Charge between their deck lists. Zaman opted to run a playset of Upstart Goblin to further aid his consistency, sacrificing the added dimension of the Hand monsters. Book of Moon's still one of the most versatile answers we have to any big Xyz or Synchro. Mind Control is an oldie but still a goodie that thrives at the moment, especially with all the Level 4-based decks. Taking control of an opponent's Hand or Geargiarmor can lead to huge blowouts and can outright steal games. While it isn't as effective against Dragon Rulers or Mermails, the majority of top strategies revolve around Level 4 monsters and can be the nail in the coffin against things like Traptrix Hand Artifacts (HAT).

Two Soul Charge round out both of the spell lineups. Much has been said already about the power of Soul Charge, and Geargia's one of the best decks at taking advantage of all the recursion. Rank 4 Xyz like Diamond Dire Wolf, Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, and Daigusto Emeral give you the oomph you need to push through powerful fields (often set up by an opposing Soul Charge). Dark Hole's included as a great answer to the HAT deck that's become so popular, and it's a solid card in the mirror match as you try and gain a Geargiarmor advantage.

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The trap lineup's where we get to the heart and soul of the deck, and what makes the Geargia strategy so effective. All three Top 16 Geargia duelists went with not only a playset of Wiretap, but two copies of Seven Tools of the Bandit. This heavy focus on counter traps lets you have the last laugh in long chains and can surprise any opponent who believes their Wiretap's enough to keep them safe. Additional methods of shutting down traps also help you push your plays through the likes of Black Horn of Heaven and Solemn Warning when you're trying to go for game. I managed to pick Zaman's brain for just a bit on the choice of Seven Tools rather than say Mystical Space Typhoon, and his Reasoning was that in Game 1 it's better to be reactive than proactive; MST can often hit a dead card if you need to use if aggressively, when you'd be much better off just baiting out the threat and stopping it outright.

Three Black Horn of Heaven, Solemn Warning, Torrential Tribute, and Bottomless Trap Hole are a diverse set of removal options to get rid of any Normal or Special Summons. Black Horn of Heaven in particular has risen in popularity due to how effective it is against Xyz and Synchros, and demands a Wiretap or a Seven Tools of the Bandit to stop it (or Counter Counter if you really want to go next-level). The weakness of these cards is that most of them are useless if you draw them after your opponent's already put a fatty on the field. So how do you alleviate that weakness? Fiendish Chain.

Both of our highlighted duelists here ran a full playset of Fiendish Chain, forgoing the popular Breakthrough Skill. While powerful, Breakthrough's most effective against things like Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand, Wind-Up Zenmaines, and Stardust Spark Dragon, as well as Traptrix and Artifact monsters: getting two negations out of one trap can help you power through cards with relevant effects on your turn. It also can't be MST'd to stop the effect. So why use Fiendish Chain?

Fiendish Chain has always had the added benefit of not only negating an effect, but stopping a monster from attacking. Its biggest matchup weakness is against the HAT deck, which Geargia pairs off favorably against anyways thanks in no small part to Geargiarmor's beefy 1900 DEF. Mystical Space Typhoon has become scarce in Main Decks as of late, so it only makes sense that Fiendish Chain would see more play.

Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare is the newest breakthrough trap card in tournaments, after seeing huge success in the HAT deck and just alongside any Traptrix support. The ability to negate effects and destroy monsters is crucial when you may not have a Fiendish Chain or Black Horn of Heaven for your opponent's key Xyz or Synchro. It's also highly effective in the mirror match, letting you destroy Geargiarmors brought out by Geargiarsenal, or against Madolches so you can turn that Hootcake into a whimpering stack in the graveyard.

Side Deck Tech
I'm a firm believer that you Side Deck gives you more opportunity for personal choice than anything else in defining how to attack a particular match-up, but once again we see some similarities between these two duelists' Side Decks. Dimensional Fissure, Macro Cosmos, Debunk, and Soul Drain all perform admirably against the HAT strategy as well as graveyard based decks like Dragon Rulers, Mermails, and Infernities. The shared copies of Nobleman of Crossout give a nod to the mirror match, which is why you'll often see Geargia duelists leave their Geargiarmors in face-up defense during Games 2 and 3 to keep their Geargiarmors from being banished. Needle Ceiling works like another Torrential Tribute while also letting you keep your facedown Geargiarmors safe on the field.

Furman chose to run a pair of Xyz Reborn, which many people have been trying to make work since it was first printed. Reborn's great at fighting through things like Torrential Tribute and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. If you take a look at the Extra Decks, you'll see many of the key Rank 4's could function with just one Xyz Material. Getting a clutch activation from a card like Evilswarm Exciton Knight or Diamond Dire Wolf can swing a duel back in your favor much like Call Of The Haunted (except this one works for Xyzs). Furman's other key difference was the use of additional copies of Fire Hand and Ice Hand for further mind games, as well as a pair of Maxx "C" to hopefully freeze opponents in the mirror match or just slow down his opponents when he was going second.

Zaman went a different route packed with more removal. A playset of Mystical Space Typhoon come in when you know what you need to hit: match-ups like Madolches or Bujins. Rivalry of Warlords is an amazing lockdown card right now since many of the top decks play a range of different monster types. Lastly, the two Dimensional Prisons help further strengthen the HAT matchup and protect you in the Battle Phase. Cards like Mirror Force and Dimensional Prison aren't too popular at the moment – you'll often see duelists swinging for the fences without fear. So they can really catch your opponents off guard.

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Since Geargia have several different ways to Summon Rank 3 and Rank 4 Xyz, they make really flexible use of their Extra Deck. Soul of Silvermountain and Ghostrick Alucard let you pick apart backrows, while Number 101: Silent Honor ARK and Number 50: Blackship of Corn let you get rid of threats that would be impossible to deal with otherwise. Blackship's strongest against opposing Hand monsters since it doesn't destroy them and won't trigger their effects, while the newest tech in the Extra right now is Number 103: Ragnazero, which can deal with Madolche, Bujins, and Fire Fists all at once!

While Geargias been around for a long time, it's still one of the most powerful themes you can sleeve up for any tournament right now. It's unbelievably consistent, so it's a great choice for a long event running nine, ten, or eleven rounds! That's all I have for you guys this week. I hope everyone's testing for Nationals and WCQs is going well, and remember to dig through those common boxes and think outside the box!

(Speaking of thinking outside the box, Geargia and Madolche players alike watch out for Xyz Universe from the likes of Mermail and Dragon Ruler duelists. I witnessed many a player this past weekend watch helplessly as their field turned into an opposing Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack or Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand!)

~Joe Soto

Invictus