How's it going TCGplayers? The North American World Championship Qualifier is almost here! Hopefully you've all done plenty of testing and have at least some idea of what you want to run for the main event. If you're still having trouble, you can always look to the other large WCQ over in Europe for some deck ideas! Mermails, Evilswarm, Spellbooks, and Lightsworn all made fantastic showings, but that doesn't mean we should forget about format juggernauts like Geargia and Traptrix Artifact Hands which have dominated smaller tournaments.

This week I'll be giving a rundown of the decks you should expect to see at the NA WCQ and some reasons for you to champion each archetype!

DECKID=100582We might as well get started with the deck that won the European WCQ, Eugen Heidt's Mermails. Mermails have been on the outside looking in when it's come to top decks this format, but Heidt came out strong by winning one of the biggest events of the year!

What makes Mermails so good that they could take down a tournament like the European WCQ? For starters, you can take a look at Jason's article from Monday (http://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/article.asp?ID=3659) that took a look at how the finals went down. Mermails have always been able to prey on passive decks like Geargia, and the late-game focused Lightsworn Rulers are no exception. Atlantean effects are hard for strategies like Geargia and Traptrix Artifact Hands to play around, and the lack of traps makes tools like Mystical Space Typhoon, Wiretap, and Artifact Ignition dead draws. While Mermails are inherently a combo deck, they have some very consistent single card plays thanks to Mermail Abysslinde, Mermail Abysspike, and Genex Undine.

Eugen ran only 40 cards, playing triple Upstart Goblin in a deck we've seen played to successful finishes with as many as 50 cards in the main. That may seem risky, because drawing Genex Controller can be lose you games, leaving you scrabbling for an Allure of Darkness, but the odds of you drawing more than one Controller ā€“ even after an Upstart Goblin or two ā€“ really aren't that high. You often only need one Controller in your deck to go off successfully with Undine, and while there are times where Genex Controller can be a dead card in your hand, digging to your power cards like Soul Charge and Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord at the pace a 40-card deck can afford you is invaluable.

That brings me to my next point: Moulinglacia the Elemental Lord. An early Moulinglacia drop is absolutely devastating against decks like Sylvans and Lightsworn Rulers, which often have numerous cards in hand as they assemble their combos. Lightsworn Ruler's especially vulnerable to Moulinglacia's discard effect, because if the Lightsworn player doesn't hit early Eclipse Wyverns, cards like Lightray Diabolos and Judgment Dragon can be stuck dead in their hand waiting to be discarded.

One Mermail Abyssmegalo is a number that also stands out, as it's often the catalyst for many of your big pushes. But the truth is, you really don't want to see more than one Abyssmegalo over the course of a single game. Running one copy lets you search it when you need it with Atlantean Dragoons.

Not to be outdone by decks like Sylvans and Dragon Rulers, Mermails have some pretty devastating Soul Charge turns on the back of cards like Bahamut Shark and Mermail Abysstrite. Don't forget that Xyz Summoning using Materials like Atlantean Dragoons and Atlantean Marksman can give you extra uses of their abilities, even after they've gone to the graveyard previously.

A pair of Forbidden Lance and a Mind Control are the standouts of the spells. Forbidden Lance lets you push through things like Torrential Tribute and Bottomless Trap Hole while being unaffected by Wiretap and Seven Tools of the Bandit. Mind Control's a great board breaker after your opponent's played Soul Charge, and it's even solid against a Turn 1 Fire Hand, Ice Hand, or Geargiarmor.

Heidt's Side Deck was chock full of shutdown cards like Light-Imprisoning Mirror and Black Horn of Heaven. Mermails also get easy access to Xyz Universe thanks to their pre-existing use of Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, a trick that can be an absolute nightmare for an unsuspecting Geargia or Madolche opponent. Stopping your opponent for one turn is normally all you'll need to put them so far behind that you can finish them off with a powerful OTK.

Mermails don't have the devastating late game of Lightsworn or other Dragon Ruler variants, but with a powerful early game backed by explosive OTK's and disruptive beaters like Mermail Abyssgaios and Abyss Dweller, they're are a fine choice for this weekend's Championship.

Up next is the second place deck from the European WCQ, Marcel Burri's Lightsworn Rulers!

DECKID=100577It seems like it's Lightsworn week here on TCGplayer.com, and for good reason! With the release of the Realm of Light Structure Deck, Lightsworn have surged in popularity. The most successful builds have taken advantage of Eclipse Wyvern coupled with the Dragon Rulers to search out Judgment Dragon or Lightray Diabolos right when you need them.

Lightsworn Rulers have without a doubt the most devastating late game of any deck right now; access to three Judgment Dragon, Lightray Diabolos, Soul Charge, and the Dragon Rulers, you're almost never out of options as the game drags on. Your goal is just to escape the weak early game to proceed to your dominating late game. Marcel took an interesting route in his defenses with Rainbow Kuriboh in the place of Necro Gardna. Another Light name for Lightray Diabolos is nice, and its ability from the hand to completely lock down an attacker is incredibly powerful. It buys you time for multiple turns, and serves as a pseudo-Necro Gardna if the game drags on and you're open to a direct attack. So why hasn't everyone hopped on the Rainbow Kuriboh hype train? For starters, its graveyard effect can only be used when you're under threat of a direct attack, so it can't protect things like your Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner or Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand. You also can't search it out with Reinforcement of the Army, and although that's a minor flaw, there are times where it can come up where you need a Necro Gardna to survive and don't want to chance milling it.

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The other notable inclusion in Marcel's Lightsworn Rulers as a pair of Forbidden Lance, much like his opponent ran in the finals. Forbidden Lance is the perfect card to stop things like Fiendish Chain, Bottomless Trap Hole, and Torrential Tribute, and it's great protection for your Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand.

The Side Deck is all about stopping floodgate cards like Vanity's Emptiness, Light-Imprisoning Mirror, Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure, and Skill Drain. Any of those cards can be devastating to a Lightsworn duelist's early set-up, so things like Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter and Mystical Space Typhoon are incredibly handy at removing them in a pinch.

If you're looking for a deck that eschews a bit of consistency for insane raw power, look no further than Lightsworn Rulers. You have great matchups against things that can't deal with Judgment Dragon such as Sylvans, and you can tear apart slower decks like Geargia and Traptrix Artifact Hands with Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress and Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. Just remember to side accordingly for all of the hate that will be coming your way.

Now we come to one of the staple format juggernauts, Geargia!

DECKID=100570Geargia have easily been the most dominant deck in North America this format, racking up numerous top cut appearances. What makes Geargia so successful? While it's a combo-oriented deck much like Sylvans or Mermails, it's highly consistent thanks to cards like Geargiarmor and Geargiarsenal that search out the combo pieces you need. A set Geargiarmor's incredibly hard to deal with, especially with Geargia duelists often including Ice Hand and Fire Hand in the Main Deck to mindgame opponents into falling prey to their effects.

If I could convince anyone to run this deck with just one word, I would undoubtedly say, "Geargiagear." The card is just so powerful, it's no wonder that it will immediately be Limited following the WCQ. A one-card Rank 4 Xyz is critical in a deck like this, and you can even use it to keep yourself alive should the situation call for it. Geargiagear's the reason most duelists have gravitated away from the Karakuri OTK engine as the standard Geargia variant, because you simply don't need those cards to be effective.

And Geargia aren't just about OTK's. Boasting one of the biggest trap lineups of any strategy, Geargia players can slowly accrue card advantage off of Geargiarmor while sitting behind a wall of defenses. Black Horn of Heaven, Breakthrough Skill, and Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare are all highly effective at dealing with your opponent's pushes. Wiretap gives you the edge in slower match-ups like the mirror match and Traptrix Artifact Hands. We saw a trend earlier this format with players going so far as to run triple Wiretap and Seven Tools of the Bandit on top of it, but with the likes of Lightsworn Rulers and Sylvans around playing few to no trap cards, there's a high chance that trap hate could wind up dead in your hand.

Christian's Side Deck introduced some newer tech that entered competition with the arrival of the Lightsworn menace. Dark Trap Hole' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Deep Dark Trap Hole">Deep Dark Trap Hole is an outstanding card against Judgment Dragon and Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand alike. Geargia also gets to take advantage of numerous floodgate cards, including Rivalry of Warlords. While not as effective against the likes of Mythic Rulers or Sylvans, Rivalry shines in match-ups like Traptrix Artifact Hands, Madolche, and Lightsworn Rulers.

Geargia's the most proven deck of the format; if you're really unsure about what to run for the upcoming WCQ, look no further than this powerful Machine archetype; this will be the last time you'll get to run the deck at full strength before two copies of Geargiagear say goodbye. With a host of diverse Side Deck options and an incredibly strong OTK backed by devastating Soul Charge plays, Geargia should easily be one of the most-played decks at the North American WCQ.

Now keeping in the same vein of trap-oriented strategies, we come to the sweet but deadly Madolches!

DECKID=100574Madolche draw their strength from a searchable and powerful one-card combo with Madolche Anjelly. Anjelly searches out Madolche Hootcake, which then banishes the Anjelly to bring out a Madolche Messengelato so you can search Madolche Chateau or Madolche Ticket. While many duelists play the Madolche strategy as a combo deck, it's best played as a war of attrition. With the combination of Madolche Ticket and Madolche Chateau, you'll never run out of threats. That continuous stream of monsters is often too much for opponents to deal with, and backed up with plenty of defensive traps like Fiendish Chain and Black Horn of Heaven Madolche can be a really tough nut to crack.

Madolche Tiaramisu does double duty as a boss monster. Not only is she a hefty 2700 ATK with the help of Madolche Chateau, but she aids the strategy of grinding your opponent out as she recycles Madolche spells in addition to the Madolche monsters. Coupled with Chateau, it's a potential +4 with each of her activations!

Now there's always been a bit of dissension on what you should run to supplement your Madolche monsters. We saw Chris Leblanc take down YCS Philly with Double Summon in his Madolche deck, while Nate Forte won ARG DC on the back of Fire Formation - Tenki and T.G. Warwolf. Other duelists have opted for Instant Fusion to get immediate access to a Rank 3 or 4 Xyz play. I'm personally not a fan of Instant Fusion as it eats up two Extra Deck slots in a deck where space is tight; Double Summon is almost a win-more card as it is outstanding in good hands, but makes bad hands even worse should you happen to draw it. I really like the Tenki engine myself, as you get to tech Brotherhood of the Fire Fist - Bear, but that does consume more Main Deck slots. Whatever you prefer, just know that none of these options are that great when you don't draw them in conjunction with your Madolche monsters.

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Much like Geargia, Madolche can Side Deck a myriad of floodgate cards. Hand trap monsters are also great here because they give you fodder for your Madolche Hootcake when you pitch them to use their effects. Looking at the above list, Nick Ma went with a pair of Tragoedia in his Side Deck to combat OTK's. I really like that approach because Madolches can keep their hand full relatively easily with Madolche Chateau and Madolche Ticket.

The only drawback to Madolches is that you can't take advantage of Soul Charge, since you're constantly bouncing or banishing monsters from your graveyard. But the consistency of the one-card Madolche Anjelly combo helps shore up that weakness. While Madolches have fallen by the wayside a bit due to the rise of OTK decks like Sylvans and Lightsworn Rulers, plenty of prevention in the Side Deck can help you in Games 2 and 3 against these popular strategies.

If you're a fan of grinding out your opponent with a stream of delectable monsters, look no further than the conservative, but no less explosive Madolche archetype! Last but not least, we have to include the Plant-based Sylvansā€¦

DECKID=100578Sylvans, along with Lightsworn and Mythic Rulers, possess one of the strongest Soul Charge plays in competition today. A Lonefire Blossom coupled with a Soul Charge can lead to numerous draws thanks to Sylvan Hermitree and allow you to end your turn with a board of multiple Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand. Sylvans also have a similar engine to the Mermail deck's Atlantean monsters, in the form of Sylvan Komushroomo and Sylvan Marshalleaf. Both of these cards let you destroy spells, traps, and monsters respectively, hopefully clearing away problematic monsters and floodgate defenses. But looking at the above deck list as well as many other Sylvan builds, you can't help but notice the lack of trap cards.

Sylvans shore up their defensive weakness by going on full offense, using cards like Forbidden Lance and Rose Archer to push your plays through, while relying on Effect Veiler to disrupt your opponent during their turn. Hand traps are your best defense in a seemingly defenseless deck. The Sylvan play style's very similar to Infernities. You want to go off quickly and incredibly strongly, setting up a field that's nearly impossible for your opponent to push through. That leaves you free to finish off your opponent on the next turn.

But Sylvans aren't just about OTK's. Sylvan Marshalleaf and Sylvan Komushroomo let you set up for your big plays by clearing away your opponent's field. Alsei, the Sylvan High Protector and Orea, the Sylvan High Arbiter can also singlehandedly create plenty of field presence and card advantage. Both bosses also have effects that can be used every turn without detaching an Xyz Material, letting you set up for subsequent turns where you can finally end your opponent!

Sylvans are better off Side Decking disruptive cards like Black Horn of Heaven and Mystical Space Typhoon to stop your opponent from stopping you. You can also take advantage of Rivalry of Warlords because all of your monsters are Plants! Rivalry, as previously mentioned, can outright win you games against decks like Madolche and Traptrix Artifact Hands.

The allure of Sylvans is easy enough to see: strong Soul Charge plays with a consistent draw engine of Sylvan Charity and a powerful field spell with Mount Sylvania. More consistent than Lightsworn Rulers and on par with Mermails, Sylvans have incredibly powerful plays when going first. They are however vulnerable to early Breakthough Skills and Fiendish Chains, and they lack the powerful late game of a deck like Lightsworn Rulers or Madolche. Yet they're definitely a popular choice going into this weekend and if you're a fan of Lonefire Blossom, look no further than Sylvans!

This recap may not have covered every one of the top decks, but don't let that discourage you from running something like Spellbooks, Evilswarm, Bujins, or even your own creation! While there are definitely established decks on top, let nothing stop you from innovating your way to victory. That's all I have for now. I wish you all the best of luck at the upcoming NA WCQ!

~Joe Soto
Invictus