Here at TCGplayer we've been mentioning the gigantic YGO Series $10k Championship event this weekend in Indianapolis, and you can find all the information about it here. It's an all-weekend-long extravaganza filled with spectacular prizes and side events, and all you need to enter the main event is 20 TCGplayer MaxPoints.

Most players have picked those up already throughout the year at various TCGplayer tournaments, but if you're lacking 20 MaxPoints and still want to compete in the $10k don't fret: there'll be Last Chance Qualifiers running all Friday. I thought I'd take today to discuss deck choices for the main event while my colleague Kelly Locke handles individual tech on a card-by-card basis. Without further ado, let's get the big ones out of the way.

Burning Abyss and Shaddolls
It's no secret that these two strategies have been dominating competitive metagames over the past month. While Satellarknights made up the "Big Three" with Burning Abyss and Shaddolls it's become clear that this is now a "Big Two" situation. Burning Abyss and Shaddolls - as well as hybrids that players like Billy Brake have been running successfully - are the powerhouses going into the TCGplayer $10k Championship. If you're not playing either of these two decks then you'd better be playing to beat them.

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That brings me to my next point: if you're playing either of these strategies your plan should be to do something different to set yourself apart from the pack. Whether it be through specific tech, solid ratios, or tons of playtesting, just make sure that you're not playing the same standard Shaddolls or Burning Abyss a large portion of the field will also be playing. Be aware that you're bound to go against either these for more than half of your matches, should you keep a good record. If you've been practicing at Burning Abyss or Shaddoll-free locals, now's a good time to start cramming on how to play the mirror match.

Satellarknights
I just mentioned that Satellarknights aren't at the top of competitive metagames anymore, but I still feel that they're a strong candidate if built and played correctly. Satellarknight Deneb and Satellarknight Altair are two tremendously powerful cards, and Rank 4's are inarguably more useful than the Rank 3's that Burning Abyss churn out. Problem solvers such as Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer; Number 101: Silent Honor ARK; Number 80: Rhapsody in Berserk; and Evilswarm Exciton Knight are all extremely solid monsters, and Satellarknights can kick them out for free.

Additionally, Reinforcement of the Army just got bumped to unlimited, so Satellarknights are more consistent than ever. A Turn 1 Satellarknight Deneb backed by Stellarnova Alpha's frightening to go against, and smart managing of your Extra Deck can help combat Shaddoll Fusion. Satellarknights aren't the fastest deck and they can't play the traps that Burning Abyss can, but they're really good at what they do: putting out Rank 4's consistently for free. As far as Rank 4-centric strategies go, Satellarknights are one of the best.

Geargia
Oh, how the time passes. Just half a year ago Geargia - a deck based almost entirely around Geargiarmor and Gear Gigant X - was dominating tournaments across the nation. Since then, newer themes have emerged and Geargiagear has been Limited. Players kind of forgot about these little gearheads for a couple months, and up until last week the archetype hasn't gotten any new support. What changed, of course, is that the Geargia Rampage Structure Deck was released, and along with it came Geargiauger!

One of the previous problems with Geargia was that you were just as likely to draw good hands with Geargiarmor or Geargiarsenal as you were awful ones with Geargiaccelerator and Geargiano Mk-II. Now though there's Geargiauger, which is essentially just a faster version of Geargiarmor. Its effect can be read "When you Normal Summon this card: Special Summon one Gear Gigant X from your Extra Deck." That might not seem amazing, but considering the previous best Turn 1 Geargia play was just setting Geargiarmor it would seem that Geargiauger is a step in the right direction.

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Geargias are a fan favorite amongst the playerbase and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few pop up at the $10k event. If you have most of the cards already and don't have the funds to build Burning Abyss, Shaddolls, or Satellarknights then Geargia might be the perfect choice for you. The only real downside is that they suffer against Phoenix Wing Wind Blast and Karma Cut; careful usage of Wiretap or Trap Stun should mitigate that issue.

Dragon Ruler Plants
Hear me out: virtually nobody is playing this deck except me and maybe five other people, but it's a fantastic metagame call. Sure, I'm a bit biased because this is what I've been testing the past three weeks, but it's just so much fun. For info on how it works, check out my earlier article. Your goal is basically to grind through all your opponent's cards with the recursive abilities of the Dragon Rulers. Every time you revive a Dragon Ruler from the grave it's a free +1, which means any time the other player wastes a trap card they're just taking a straight minus.

The real reason that Dragon Ruler Plants are a good call though, is because of their conversion Side Deck. I've been playing them against Shaddolls and Burning Abyss and found myself struggling to get over threats such as El Shaddoll Construct and the 500 Burning Abyss trap cards, so eventually I settled on siding into a lockdown strategy. You often take out all of your Plant cards and some of your Normal Summons (like Card Trooper or Kuribandit) and throw in Koa'ki Meiru Drago, Koa'ki Meiru Diamond Core, and Forbidden Lance.

As Pasquale wrote about last week, Koa'ki Meiru Drago is definitely worth building around. It almost single-handedly shuts down Burning Abyss, Shaddolls, and Satellarknights. A Turn 1 Drago backed by Royal Decree is almost a guaranteed win against the aforementioned decks. Dragon Rulers have a ton of ways to dig for it, too. Between the six combined Koa'ki Meiru cards, Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms, Dragon Shrine, Trade-In, Cards of Consonance, and Gold Sarcophagus you've got a hell of a lot of routes to locking the opponent out. Royal Decree is really just icing on the cake, and in all honesty you can still win without it. Drago itself puts a lot of pressure on board, and combining it with the Dragon Rulers points the other player on an incredibly short clock.

Mermails
Mermails are the last theme I want to talk about . Whether it be a more conventional build hinging on your Mermail and Atlantean monsters, or even something like Loukas' build that he wrote about previously one thing's clear: Atlantean Mermails are a force to be reckoned with. Powerful interactions between cards like Mermail Abysspike, Mermail Abyssteus, Atlantean Marksman, and Atlantean Heavy Infantry make Atlantean Mermails difficult to play against. They're constantly and consistently building up board and hand presence, and often just straight up outpace current popular choices like Burning Abyss or Shaddolls.

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Actually, this theme has an almost perfect matchup against the big decks right now. The deck makes so many plays that Burning Abyss don't have enough traps to deal with them all; they don't need the Extra Deck to win, which makes Shaddoll Fusion not nearly as amazing; and they can push through the heavy back rows presented by Satellarknights and Burning Abyss. I view them much as I view Dragon Ruler Plants in those respects, but they're a bit more consistent over the course of a longer tournament. That said, the best part about Atlantean Mermails might just be that nobody's expecting to play against them anymore, so unprepared opponents could make crucial misplays at the worst times.

The Final Roundup
Like I mentioned earlier: you're either playing one of the "Big Two" strategies this weekend or you're playing to beat them. Hopefully I've shown you some other options to consider, but I know I can't cover them all. Rogue picks such as Batterymen, Madolches, Yang Zings, Blackwings, and many more all have a chance of winning the YGO Series $10k Championship. It's really up in the air and anybody's game, and that's extremely exciting!

And remember, Kelly Locke and I will be at the event all weekend doing Feature Matches and other written coverage, so make sure to stop by and say hello! We'll be the well-dressed generic males with glasses in the back of the room on our laptops. See you in Indianapolis!

-Doug Zeeff
#YGO10k