How's it going duelists? This is my first attempt at writing an article for this game, but I'm glad to say that I'm writing it as your newest YCS Champion!

First off the deck I decided to run…Bujins. I felt Bujins were an underappreciated strategy, but at the same time I was expecting that people would Side Deck a lot of hate for the match-up. I also felt Bujins just had insanely powerful cards, namely triple Bujingi Crane and Honest. With that set in mind I decided to proceed with my choice and enter Chicago with the Bujins!

DECKID= 99946I'd like to discuss some of the choices I made for my Bujin deck. First off the Bujingi Quillin; I decided to keep Bujingi Quillin in the Main Deck because I was worried about going against the Mythic Dragon Ruler strategy, which can easily make troublesome cards like Colossal Fighter and Skill Drain. Bujingi Quillin's another out to both of those cards. Second, I opted to drop Bujingi Centipede because I felt it was less important to me than Quillin, simply because Quillin can also take out bigger monsters. There wasn't any major backrow cards I was sweating over, so dropping Bujingi Centipede seemed like the best option.

The next choice that I think set my deck apart from other Bujin builds was the pair of mained Mind Crush. I decided that no matter what deck I was using for this event I wanted to Main Deck that card, simply because information in this game is gold. Also, Crush has a huge impact on decks like Fire Fist and Mermails that constantly search and reveal in-hand cards, allowing me to disrupt their plays as well as get a sneak peak at their hand. My opponents letting me know what they have in their hands tells me how best to play out my following turn. I also figured that even if I called Mind Crush wrong, the information I received would be well worth pitching a Bujingi Hare or Bujingi Turtle to the graveyard where they're live cards anyways.

I opted to go for the build with trap cards versus the one with Main Decked Royal Decree because the Decree build lacked any surprise factor. It was the same reason I decided to cut Kaiser Coliseum from my deck at the last minute. I felt like the more cards I had face-up on my field the more I was giving away to my opponent, and with those cards revealed my opponent could try to create plays that could overcome my set-up's. I'm not saying Kaiser Coliseum or Royal Decree are obsolete in this strategy, I just didn't feel like they fit my play style.

When I was Side Decking I applied the same thought process as I do with just about any strategy I use. I first ask myself what cards are clearly of no use in this certain match-up, or what cards would I like to start with by going second, or what cards I'd like to see going first. When going second, depending on the match-up, I often sided out my Mind Crushes; going second, some opponents will have already gone through their deck and made their plays, making a Turn 2 Mind Crush a completely dead card. And if I was starting in Games 2 or 3 I'd always side out my Effect Veilers, as I want to start off with a strong opening hand on my first turn. I just felt seeing Effect Veilers on Turn 1 would limit my options too much.

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I also tended to side out the Pot of Duality's. When I'm going into Game 2 I'd rather not show my opponent what I sided in if I can avoid it, and Duality could reveal multiple cards I sided in for a particular match-up, so I ended up siding out one or two copies in those situations. If I were to move to Game 3 I'd put the Duality's back in, as the element of surprise loses its edge at that point: it doesn't matter what my opponent sees in Game 3, as it's going to be the end of the match anyway.

I won't go over all of my matches round by round, but I want to talk about some of the highlights and more memorable games!

Round 1: Fire Fists
Let's begin with Round 1. My first match was against +1 Fire Fists. This happens to be an extremely popular deck after its performance at YCS Atlanta not so long ago, and it's been increasing in popularity. People were more comfortable with this strategy simply because of its consistent draws and power plays that can be achieved through Wolfbark.

However, Bujins have an incredible match-up against +1 Fire Fists as the Bujingi cards make it nearly impossible for the Fire duelist to make a play; the Bujingi Turtles stop some of the deck's strongest cards, such as Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear, Fiendish Chain, and Forbidden Lance. The deck runs three copies of each. Then we have Bujingi Hare, which lets the Bujin deck overextend and really push for damage and card advantage at key moments.

Round 2: Bujins
In Round 2 I found myself playing the mirror match! I took Game 1, but that hardly means a thing when in Games 2 and 3 the opponent draws their Side Deck cards faster than you can. This goes to show that even if you're down a game, you shouldn't feel like you've lost your safety net, but more like you just have to push harder and keep a certain sense of composure.

Round 6: Gravekeepers
Now to skip ahead a little, I just wanted to take the time to address a more interesting match-up that I wasn't expecting to see: Gravekeepers. Normally this deck has an overwhelming advantage over Bujins, since the entire strategy revolves around the graveyard. I was fully aware of this when I first saw his Necrovalley hit the table.

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But I was fortunate enough to draw into Mystical Space Typhoon on the first turn! I knew it was best to wait it out until I could establish a better board and graveyard. A reckless decision to play Mystical Space Typhoon can instantly lead to a loss in this match up, so eventually I managed to draw into more traps and had Bujin Yamato on the field. I ended up stealing the game from there. In Game 2 I sided in two copies of Full House, two Dust Tornado, and Twister, and well… let's just say I didn't even notice Necrovalley was even there.

Round 9: Karakuri Geargia
In Round 9 I went against one of my most feared match-ups in the entire tournament, Karakuri Geargia. The night before pre-registration I was playtesting against one of my friends running ths deck, and he'd consistently open not just Geargiarmor, but the Geargiagear as well, plus more backrow to go with it. Seeing that happen over and over again made me extremely worried about Geargia.

Just as my fears predicted, my opponent did in fact open Geargiarmor, Geargiagear, Trap Stun, Book of Moon, Mystical Space Typhoon and one other card in Game 1. I simply could not make a move that game. I decided I wasn't going to leave Game 1 without at least gathering some type of information. I myself had a Mystical Space Typhoon set, and before picking up my cards I decided to blind Typhoon a random card to see if I could hit a tech card and learn something.

Many people don't take this sort of action when they know they're defeated, and would rather prefer to go to the next game as quickly as possible, but I believe if there's any way you can extract any kind of information before the game's over then it's well worth the few short seconds you're losing.

Round 10: Mermails
Now we get to Round 10 of my YCS experience and I actually got the Feature Match this round! I went against another deck I felt was a good match up for me, Mermails. I felt this was a favorable matchup because Mermails rely heavily on their monster abilities, as do Bujins. But when it comes to monster effects I felt Bujins have a slightly better advantage.

During the match my opponent wound up discarding cards like Mermail Abysspike and Mermail Abyssteus to pay for the cost of his cards which telegraphed weak hands. I capitalized on that information and I just ended up having stronger hands.

Round 11: Fire Fists
We finally get to Round 11 and I was fortunate enough to go against +1 Fire Fists again! This match was actually quite difficult, as my draws weren't agreeing with me. Game 3 was the only game that really had some excitement.

I ended up going second and opened with a Pot of Duality, taking a Bujingi Quillin as it was my only monster. I Summoned it along with three or four backrows, and the game was at a "pass" and "go" state until things began picking up. My opponent made a huge misplay when I activated my Fire Formation – Tenki, which he quickly Mystical Space Typhooned. At that moment he began shaking his head and I was trying to figure out why.

My next move revealed it all when I activated Duality and he chained Mistake. I believe it was a reflex that he flipped his Mystical Space Typhoon on my Tenki, as it's the most typical response. After that I proceeded to set Black Horn of Heaven. He then drew into Coach Soldier Wolfbark and proceeded to try for Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King, which negated with Black Horn. At that point the game shifted in my favor as all of his spell and trap card zones were completely filled, and he couldn't put anymore on the field.

Top 32: Fire Fists
I ended up coming in 19th place after the Swiss Rounds and in the Top 32 I find out my opponent was playing +1 Fire Fist AGAIN! Couldn't ask for a more favorable match-up!

Game 1 I started with my usual first turn Bujin Yamato play and loaded my graveyard. Game 2 he managed to generate crazy card advantage and I ended up losing that duel.

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In Game 3 the duel got to a point where I had practically zero monsters and just two backrows against his four backrow cards. He flipped Soul Drain in my End Phase and began his turn by summoning Coach Soldier Wolfbark. I responded with Bottomless Trap Hole and as he was about to remove his Wolfbark I inform him of another response, and chained Full House!! I targeted my face up Bottomless Trap Hole, his face up Soul Drain, and the rest of his set spell and trap cards. It was a huge blowout and that was when I was finally able to draw into some monsters to take the game.

Now the moment many of you have been waiting for, the draft! I had zero experience in drafting and actually didn't even know how the drafting process worked. I was also unaware of which cards to choose until a couple of my friends told me which I should prioritize above all others.

First off, draft is not as easy as most people believe. When you start drafting the first three Battle Packs you're not allowed to look at those cards until the entire first round of drafting is over! So that means you have to have some memory of what you picked and make sure you aren't taking too many monsters, spells, or traps. That was probably one of the hardest parts of drafting, besides actually picking the cards. Eventually I drafted a pretty balanced deck with around 21 monsters and 19 spell and traps. I was extremely satisfied with the results. (Obviously!)

Here's the deck list I ended up building:

Monsters: 21
2 Goblin Elite Attack Force
1 Goblin Attack Force
1 Beast King Barbaros
1 Invader of Darkness
2 White Night Dragon
1 Fortress Warrior
1 Chiron the Mage
1 Sergeant Electro
1 Chow Len the Prophet
1 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
1 Cyber Prima
1 Evilswarm Obliviwisp
1 Flame Tiger
1 Madolche Baaple
1 Evilswarm Heliotrope
1 Evilswarm Mandragora
1 The Fiend Megacyber
1 Blackwing – Elphin the Raven
1 Power Giant

Spells: 4
1 Shrink
1 Shield & Sword
1 Graceful Charity
1 Tribute to The Doomed

Traps: 15
3 Tiki Curse
2 Tiki Soul
1 Embodiment of Apophis
1 Rising Energy
1 Shift
1 Dimension Slice
1 Dimension Gate
1 Memory Loss
1 Prideful Roar
1 Magical Arm Shield
1 Miracle Locus
1 Time Machine

When going into a draft it's important to keep a balance of effects in your deck. Before we began opening our packs I put certain cards in a certain rank order, so I wouldn't have to take too much time to make my choices card by card. Ranking 1st was Graceful Charity. You won't always be fortunate enough to get all good cards, so it helps to have some way to get rid of those dead cards in exchange for more playable ones. Graceful Charity helps you draw into your best stuff while eliminating less powerful cards you don't need.

Next are ATK modifiers. Battle Pack 2 has some pretty interesting cards but it lacks monster removal, which practically forces the players in draft to compete for the strongest monster on the board in order to win. So by having ATK modifiers like Shrink or Rising Energy, you can get rid of your opponent's monster while also maintaining your field and dishing out some damage at the same time.

Then we have monster protection. Keeping your monsters on the field is essential for winning in draft as you'll make a bigger push on your following turn; again, there's almost no big monster removal cards. Unfortunately the only card I pulled in this category was Dimension Gate. Don't misunderstand, it was a very good card to draft; I just wished I'd drafted more copies! I would normally combine it with my on-board Beast King Barbaros when he was targeted by an effect or an attack, then remove it from play. And if my opponent ever declared an attack I could send Dimension Gate to the grave and bring back my Barbaros at its original 3000 ATK!

And finally we get to the last thing in draft you should look out for, BIG ATTACKERS! There's nothing more frightening in draft than the times you have to face a monster with a base ATK of 1900 or more. It goes without saying, you need to have plenty of monsters in your deck that won't get run over easily. I actually didn't expect the trap monsters to do much for me. As I mentioned before, the faster you can increase your numbers on the field the faster the game will end in your favor. Having the Tiki cards in my arsenal made that happen.

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When I set 4-5 backrow cards and played a monster, and it then turned out I actually had 2-3 monsters already on the field just waiting to get a direct attack off, it created big swings opponents didn't anticipate. The trap monsters got me that huge advantage throughout the draft. Also, when you have both Tiki Curse and Tiki Soul on the field they both support each other with their effects, in a way that seems almost unfair in draft competition. One gives the other the ability to destroy anything it battles, and the other says that if a trap monster's about to be destroyed you can reset it to your spell and trap zone instead. Such a combination can catch opponents off guard and easily put you in a winning position.

Top 16
Next we started the Top 16! My opponent started off by summoning Injection Fairy Lily along with some backrows. I ended up Summoning Fortress Warrior and attacking into the Lily; my opponent promptly activated her effect. Fortress Warrior's effect states that I take no battle damage, and it can't be destroyed once per turn, so Summoning it was a huge in that game.

On the following turn my opponened played a second monster and attacked me with Injection Fairy Lily, and I then flipped over Magic Arm Shield. I took his second monster and he ended up paying yet another 2000 Life Points just to take out his own card. From there his life was too low to continue and he ended up conceding.

Top 8
Top 8! Another feature match and a really good one at that. Alejandro Ahearn is a good friend of mine; we met at YCS Toronto last year. Game 1 I thought I was doing really well. I was able to play White Night Dragon and take out a lot of his monsters, until I hit his Legendary Jujitsu Master!! That card completely ruined me, as the cards I drew after all either had 1800 ATK or required a Tribute to Summon. Safe to say he took that game!

In Game 2 I was able to rely on my Tiki cards to steal the win, as I drew into both Tiki Soul and Tiki Curse.

The Finals
Now we skip to the most important match of the entire tournament, THE FINALS!

This match was mostly about who could keep a stronger monster on the board and maintain a field presence. In Game 1 he had Salamandra' rel=" Salamandra">Evilswarm Salamandra on the table and I overextended by flipping both Tiki cards. He then responded with Needle Ceiling and chained Forbidden Dress on his monster, which led to him having the only monster on the field.

He ended up Summoning Cyber Gymnast to his field along with his Salamandra against my Evilswarm Oblivowisp. On my following turn I managed to rip Shield and Sword and that's when I realized I could clear his field. I instantly played it to make my Oblivowisp 2050 ATK against his Salamandra and Gymnast. I then played Chiron the Mage and continued to clear everything. From there the game was over.

Game 2 he finished me faster than I was hoping as he had at least three monsters with minimum 1800 ATK. Game 3 was all about offense. It was a string of back and forth turns with me attacking him and him attacking me, but eventually the Tiki cards sealed the game as they allowed me to field extra attackers!

So guys, I hope you enjoyed this tournament report and I hope you can take my experience at YCS Chicago and use it to your own benefit. I'd like to say thanks to all my friends and my local store Alternate Universes, as well as those at Konami for making me your newest YCS Champion!

-Tom Mak