Marco Perico's win at YCS Bochum withWorld Chaliceshocked the Yu-Gi-Oh! world. His success among a field of Pendulums, TrueDracos, and Trickstars is both incredible and an overall positive sign forthe state of the game. Check out the diversity among theTop 32 at Bochum: Pendulum FTK was present but far from an overwhelming force, Mekk-Knightsscored two spots, and Burning Abyss, Zefras, and Dinosaurs also made theTop Cut.

That diversity's a huge story itself, and it's at least partially driven bythe slowly maturing Link mechanic. We're finally reaching a point whereLinks are an asset rather than a hindrance.

The story I want to highlight in this article is Perico's World Chalicebuild and what it means for the strategy going forward. His successimmediately reminded me of Erik Christensen's 2015 YCS Dallas win withInfernoids, which promptly launched a buyout of PSY-Framelord Omega and asurge in Infernoids across the competitive scene. Perico was far from thefirst player to find major tournament success with World Chalice, but heabsolutely boosted the excitement for the theme by winning YCS Bochum.Saryuja Skull Dread spiked in price immediately following news that WorldChalice had made the Top 32.

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World Chalice will almost certainly start seeing more competitive playgoing forward, but again, that trend existed before Perico's win. He'slikely accelerated the pace at which players are picking up the deck, andhis turn-around victory highlighted the exact reason World Chalice arecompetitive. Saryuju Skull Dread lead Perico to victory when he was able todraw into Soul Charge and Special Summon Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaijuwith two of its three effects.

There are five topping World Chalice decks inour databasefrom this year alone – three since the latest F&L List – and possiblymany more to come. Perico's unique tech choices deserve discussion in thecontext of the larger competitive scene. Of course, we're also here todiscuss how to beat the deck, too. World Chalice has a number of ways toplay around hand traps and deceptively strong Turn 1 set-ups. In thismatch-up, knowing how to play your sided cards is just as important as yourSide Deck choices.

Saryuja Skull Dread Revives World Chalice
How exactly did World Chalice end up winning the largest European YCS yet?The theme hasn't received any new cards since Code of the Duelistoutside of a few World Legacy spells and traps, but none of them weregame-changers for the strategy. World Chalice actually took a few hits onthe last couple of Forbidden & Limited Lists, reigning in some of thedeck's best combos. Daigusto Emerald, a key combo piece used to recycleMystical Shine Ball, hit the Forbidden List last year, and Firewall Dragonwas Limited in February. However, losing the second and third copies ofFirewall Dragon was a fair trade for ridding the game of another card thatwas holding World Chalice back: Maxx "C".

Without Maxx "C" World Chalice and other Special Summon-heavy strategiesare a bit more consistent. Previously you would simply lose to Maxx "C" ifyour opponent opened with it – a trait that's not shared by other handtraps this format. Instead, massive Turn 1 field commitments are punishedby Raigeki and Evenly Matched, which is exactly why negation bodies are socrucial right now. World Chalice used to have issues building up adefensive board, but that's no longer the case. Saryuja Skull Dread'slargely fixed that problem, and it's handed World Chalice a consistent endgame that Firewall Dragon struggled to provide.

Summoning Saryuja Skull Dread with four monsters grants access to threeeffects, but it's the final one that makes all the difference in WorldChalice. It's Sylvan Charity on steroids, and it effectively lets you seefour new cards as you dig for a way to continue your combos, or for thelast card necessary to set up your board. If you can Summon Saryuja nearthe beginning of your turn you can dig for World Chalice monsters, KyoutouWaterfront, Soul Charge, Monster Reborn, or another power spell. Towardsthe end of a combo you're more likely to grab Gameciel, the Sea TurtleKaiju, a hand trap, or a floodgate.

Unlike other strategies that Summon Saryuja and let it sit there, WorldChalice can capitalize on its Summon effect by putting Gameciel or ArchlordKristya into play. With its downward arrow Saryuja pairs perfectly with aFirewall Dragon placed in the same column, and because it can SpecialSummon a negation body or a floodgate your final field's significantly moredurable. That's hugely important with Evenly Matched showing up in so manySide Decks. Drawing into a trap floodgate like Anti-Spell Fragrance is alsoamazing in Games 2 and 3, and Saryuja lets you see those cards more oftenthanks to its 'draw 4' filtering.

Properly Using Hand Traps Against World Chalice
World Chalice have a hard time competing against heavy backrow loaded withSolemn cards, or several large negation bodies. Like most combo strategiesWorld Chalice falls apart without their two or three card interactions, andsomething as simple as a Torrential Tribute can leave your opponentimpossibly far from a Link 4 Monster.

Lee the World Chalice Fairy is among the most important cards here: itssearch effect typically adds World Legacy - "World Chalice" from the deckto the hand, and the World Legacy itself is a seriously powerful card. Ifit's sent to the graveyard after being Normal Summoned its effect willSpecial Summon two World Chalice monsters from the deck, adding tons ofpotential Link fodder to your opponent's field.

Your opponent won't have to wait to Normal Summon the World Chalice if theycan Summon Imduk the World Chalice Dragon or Gem-Knight Seraphinite. Leecan activate off a Special Summon too, so there are lots of avenues to setup a Link Summon that triggers the World Chalice's effect. So where do youthrow in your interruption? Your opponent can play around cards like AshBlossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, and EffectVeiler if you activate them at the wrong time. Droll & Lock Bird is, ofcourse, less affected by timing. It's fairly straightforward protectionagainst Kyoutou Waterfront and Saryuja's draw effect, but other than thatit won't stop your opponent from making huge Link plays.

The Agent of Creation - Venus totally blows through Ash Blossom negationsand will eventually Summon Mystical Shine Ball anyways. Hitting Lee withAsh Blossom can work too, but don't forget about Transmodify. If youropponent is playing it you'll immediately regret not saving your negation.The better play would be to hit the World Chalice monster's graveyardeffect instead, but there's a problem: your opponent can block the negationby building a chain using Imduk's effect at Chain Link 2.

Ash Blossom's surprisingly awkward to play here despite an abundance oftargets. Brilliant Fusion's perhaps the best choice, and it sometimescreates a situation where your opponent will use the World Chalice monsterand Lee together for a Link Summon. They can't chain block if they're notusing a World Chalice Link Monster, or if they don't have a valid target intheir hand.

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Ghost Ogre turns The Agent of Creation - Venus into a Normal Summon for aMystical Shine Ball. It's a great way to remove potential Link fodder fromthe field, but Transmodify can help your opponent recover and continuetheir plays. Lee is also sometimes a solid target just to take a WorldChalice card off the field. Effect Veiler's usually a better pick in thismatch-up across the board. It stamps out Venus, negates all of Saryuja'seffects, and works in a handful of other situations where Ash Blossomdoesn't cut it.

Herald of Orange Light's an exceptional tech choice that can answer yourhand traps while your opponent is making their plays. It's something you'rea bit more likely to run into after a Saryuja or Eva resolves, but it couldcome up earlier in the duel. If you have the opportunity to go first you'llwant to stick to traps to avoid Herald of Orange Light's negation, andcards like Torrential Tribute, Solemn Judgement, Solemn Warning, and SolemnStrike are perfect for the job. Anti-Spell Fragrance and continuousmonster-based floodgates are also great for slowing your opponent down.Artifact Sanctum and Artifact Scythe can work if you can resolve Scythebefore your opponent finds their Heralds.

Mass removal needs to avoid negation or interruption from Gameciel andFirewall Dragon. Gameciel can make two negations in a single turn, andpotentially more if cards are sent to the graveyard on your turn. Raigekiand Evenly Matched are only viable if you can bait out those negations, andeven then, Firewall Dragon, World Legacy - "World Chalice", and Lee willgive your opponent enough resources to make a big play next turn. Herald ofOrange Light can stamp out monster effects too, and in Games 2 and 3 you'lllikely be staring down an Anti-Spell Fragrance, a Solemn, or a DimensionalBarrier drawn off Saryuja.

Depending on how effective your hand traps were, and how good youropponent's opening hand was, you might find that most of your mass removalis useless. That won't happen every time, of course, but in the worst-casescenario there's still one outstanding option: The Winged Dragon of Ra -Sphere Mode. It's a fantastic going-second card that immediately outs youropponent's Kaiju, Firewall Dragon, and potentially an Archlord Kristya.Keep in mind that you can't attempt to Summon a Kaiju while your opponentcontrols one, but you can use Interrupted Kaiju Slumber.

World Chalice are a serious competitive threat this format in a match-upthat can vary wildly. It's far from the most consistent deck in the gameand it's prone to brick hands. Interrupting a combo with a single hand trapcan bring the deck screeching to a halt, but it's those times where youropponent opens well where your sided cards are absolutely necessary toavoid a swift defeat. Thanks to Saryuja Skull Dread those games are morecommon than ever, and knowing when to put your Side Deck cards into actiongives you the best possible chance of emerging victorious.

Until next time then

-Kelly

Kelly​​​ ​​​Locke​​​ ​​​is​​​ ​​​a​​​ ​​​West​​​ ​​​Michigan​​​​​​gamer and writer. In​​​ ​​​addition​​​ ​​​to​​​ ​​​writing​​​ ​​​onTCGplayer,​​​ ​​​Kelly​​​ ​​​writes​​​ a ​​​​​​personal​​​ ​​​blog​​​​​​ ​​​covering​​​ ​​​Yu-Gi-Oh!,​​​ ​​​Destiny,​​​ ​​​and​​​​​​other​​​ ​​​hobbies. You​​​ ​​​can follow​​​ ​​​him​​​ ​​​on​​​​​​​​​Twitter​​​​​​ ​​​and​​​ ​​​check​​​ ​​​out​​​ ​​​his​​​ ​​​​​​Youtube​​​ ​​​channel​​​. He​​​ ​​​also studied marketing at Western Michigan University.