Yesterday I jumped on the reappearance of Artifacts in the Top 32 of YCS Charleston, but really, the biggest hubbub has been about Volcanics. By now you probably know – Sohrab Pasikhani made Top 32 last weekend off the back of the new Blaze Accelerator Reload, ascending to the playoff rounds with an undefeated record in the Swiss Rounds. Yes, it was no fluke: Pasikhani went 10-0 against topnotch duelists all Day 1 and through Day 2 to take his spot as first seed, before falling just short of the Top 16 cut to Draft.

Pasikhani faced five Burning Abyss decks in Swiss, two Shaddolls variants, Qlphorts, and one rogue deck, knocked out by some poor draws in a Burning Abyss match-up in Top 32. While a rogue deck bricking is often a red flag, I think the deck's consistency up until that point speaks well enough for us to take it seriously. This is a deck we've covered before here on TCGplayer, first in Doug's two-parter the last two weeks, and then later in a smaller piece in the TCGplayer Newsletter, where Kelly Locked looked at a successful Yu-Gi-Oh! Day build as our Deck Of The Week. Be sure to check out those articles if you want to learn the complete fundamentals of the strategy, but let's recap in brief as a refresher.

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The new Volcanic deck revolves around Blaze Accelerator Reload, the revolutionary trap card from Secrets of Eternity. Searchable with Volcanic Rocket – which can in fact search Volcanic "cards," not just "spells," despite what our online database may say – it lets you pitch a Volcanic from your hand to the graveyard once per turn on either player's turn, to draw a card. Since you can search Volcanic Shells from your deck at the cost of just 500 Life Points each, you can trade each Shell for a free draw and get a hard plus of card economy. And since Volcanic Rocket's effect is free when it searches Accelerator Reload in the first place, you wind up scoring +1 after +1 in a very short span of time, drawing cards while thinning others from your deck.

That would be awesome on its own, but add Volcanic Scattershot to the picture and suddenly you start to understand the deadly scope of this strategy. Pitch Scattershot to draw a card with Accelerator Reload and you'll deal 500 damage with Scattershot's effect. You can then yard two more from your deck – or your hand if need be – to destroy all of your opponent's monsters. You'll draw a card in the process and dish out an extra 1000 damage, bringing your opponent that much closer to defeat.

Beyond all that, you can banish Accelerator Reload from your graveyard – again, in either player's turn, though in this case only during a Main Phase – and send one Volcanic card from your deck to your graveyard. That gets Volcanic Shell going, or sends all three Volcanic Scattershots to Raigeki-burn your opponent.

To be clear: Blaze Accelerator Reload with Volcanic Scattershot is Raigeki on your opponent's turn, for 1500 damage, and it thins your deck. It's pretty crazy.

Royal Firestorm Guards draws you more cards, and reloads your Shells and Scattershots back to your deck so you can keep using them. It's also got a solid body, attacking into your opponent's cleared field for 1700 damage. Summoner Monk keeps everything consistent by searching Volcanic Rocket; while you'll have to Normal Summon Firestorm Guards to get its effect, Rocket can be Special Summoned to search Blaze Accelerator Reload just fine.

And that's it. That's the whole strategy. Build card advantage, clear the field, and get in for damage fast enough to blow out more complicated decks.

So What Made Pasikhani's Build So Good?
That's really the question we're really interested in, and the answer comes down to one word: focus. Pull up the Yu-Gi-Oh! Day first place build in another window by clicking here, and compare these two decks side by side:

DECKID= 101686 Pasikhani plays several cards the Yu-Gi-Oh! Day build didn't, and vice versa. Blaze Accelerator and Upstart Goblin stand out in the first build, as two cards Pasikhani passed on. Understandably so: if your goal is to win as quickly as possible then delaying your own attacks and giving your opponent Life Points would be counterproductive.

Don't believe that Pasikhani was going for speed? Check out his Round 7 Feature Match against Qliphorts and watch how aggressively he dispatches his opponent, pressing through Saqlifice not once, but twice. Pasikhani wins the entire match in a total of five turns. Spectators at the Charleston Area Convention Center didn't even have time to ask what was happening before the match was over.

The goals here are simple, and Pasikhani optimized his build to meet them: he wanted to draw cards and deal damage as quickly as possible. That meant cramming in draw power, deck thinning, attack enablers, and damage effects.

Let's Talk About How He Did That
As far as draw and search power goes, any build of Volcanics will run Volcanic Rocket to get Blaze Accelerator Reload, along with Royal Firestorm Guards to recycle your Volcanic Shells and Scattershots. Those go without saying, and every card in that list helps slim your deck and get you to more cards. Note that both the Yu-Gi-Oh! Day build and Pasikhani's version both play Pot of Duality too.

From there the two decks diverge. Pasikhani plays Foolish Burial to load up Volcanic Shell and Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos. He runs Magic Planter with nine Continuous Traps for more "draw 2" power, and he plays triple Reckless Greed to really get where he's going. There are 23 cards here that pull stuff out of the deck. There aren't any more options: Pasikhani pulled out every trick in the book to make the deck fast and precise.

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With his draw, search, and thinning power locked in, Pasikhani then had to turn all of that acceleration and card advantage into a win. While the field-clearing power of the Scattershot Reload combo is obvious, he also ran Wildfire to Dark Hole his opponent – again on their turn – and played Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos for both spot removal, and to get certain cards into his graveyard. Even Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and Vanity's Emptiness shine here for their ability to buy time and allow key attacks. Remember, with enough of a lead in the early game Pasikhani could win later on with burn effects, even if he lost control of the field.

The damage dealing ability of Scattershot can't be understated, often sealing games that might take another turn to win otherwise. While this deck relies on recycling Fire cards with Royal Firestorm Guards, Pasikhani could also banish them to Special Summon Blaster and finish a game then and there. A similar sort of mentality led Pasikhani to run one Volcanic Counter, which he could load as needed with Accelerator Reload's third effect.

On the Extra Deck side he played Gagaga Cowboy, Number 50: Blackship of Corn, and Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon, three cards that can take an opponent with a dug-in field and steal games with unexpected damage. He even went so far as to Side Deck Magic Cylinder, taking the surprise factor of this strategy to heights unknown.

And that's it. That's the deck. While Qliphorts and Burning Abyss are better prepared to field recurring threats over and over, with smart card economy across the long term, Volcanics play an entirely different game. Pasikhani didn't care that a Qliphort opponent might just Pendulum Summon back everything he destroyed next turn, or that Graff, Malebranche of the Burning Abyss could score his opponent a free card.

All of his disruption was about creating attack opportunities, speeding up his win by turns at a time. The fact that he didn't run Raigeki, and instead emphasized control effects that work on his opponent's turn to disrupt attacks and prevent big fields of Extra Deck monsters from ever being Summoned, speaks volumes about how this strategy operates.

Some people have said that Volcanics won't be competitive moving forward, and that Pasikhani only succeeded due to the element of surprise. But I'm not sure that's true. While we've seen plenty of strategies over the past year and a half that have tried to rush to a win just by shunting out monsters, I don't think we've seen a speed-oriented deck with such fast, repeatable field wipes. That, combined with the sheer card advantage that seems to be required in competitive strategies today, makes me think that Pasikhani's build could lead to even more refined builds down the line. I think this strategy has a real future.

What do you think? Are Volcanics a one-hit wonder? Is it all over now that the cat's out of the bag? Or is there a real competitive force here. Are you preparing for the Volcanic match-up, and if so, how? Let me know down in the comments – this is a discussion I'm really interested in having.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer