January 18th was the Legacy of the Valiant Sneak Peek. I spent the majority of my time desperately trying to pick up Nikitamas, Number 101: Silent Honor ARKs, and Evilswarm Exciton Knight. I ended up getting everything but the Exciton, and I remember telling friend and fellow writer Loukas Peterson that Spirits would be the deck I would top a Regional Qualifier with. That wasn't the first time Loukas had heard me say that I was going to top, but to me something felt different. The strategy and play style of Spirits paralleled my personality so well that it was hard not to think the deck was put here just for me. I believe all Loukas said when I told him these things was a passive "Okay, Doug, whatever works."

Little Did either of us know that weeks later, we'd both be Top 8'ing the same Regional playing two different versions of Spirits.

After winning my Yu-Gi-Oh! Day with a questionable build of Blue-Eyes Spirits I discovered that the Blue-Eyes White Dragon engine was completely unneeded. I've pretty much worked non-stop at perfecting my build since then, attending multiple locals every week to try and figure out what worked best. Last week I even wrote about one of my older versions, and you might want to check that out before reading this to see how the deck functions on a fundamental level. Here's what I played at the Regional:

DECKID=99765I'd like to cover a couple card choices that vary from the last version of Spirits I showed you. First off, Rasetsu has always bounced in and out of the deck. It's always been either really good or really bad, and at the end of the day I wanted to be as consistent as possible. Dropping it was a fairly easy decision. Additionally, Divine Wrath and Gorz the Emissary of Darkness repeatedly underperformed the past few weeks. Threatening Roar's a really good card, I'll admit, but I'd rather have stuff like Mirror Force and Silver Sentinel that punish overextensions and Blind Destruction. Sentinel was also really cool because once my opponent saw it they'd have to always hold their Mystical Space Typhoons, keeping my Mirror Force, Bottomless Trap Hole, and Solemn Warning safe.

As for the Side Deck, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer was the best card in there. It was a last minute pick that paid off big time as you'll see in the round by round recap. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory besides Skill Prisoner and Closed Forest. Those two cards help against the only two matchups I didn't want to face: Frog Monarchs and Harpies. I'm terrible against Frogs of any sort, and I just really don't know how to play against Harpies. The Last Regional I went to I lost on the bubble to Harpies and I wasn't going to let that happen again. As for Fire Fists, Mermails, Spellbooks, and Geargia I just felt like I had naturally good matchups across the board. I didn't need to go out of my way in the Side Deck to hit any of those strategies specifically because I was confident in my deck's ability to take them out.

The Extra Deck seems pretty standard to me, but for some reason a lot of people are confused by my use of double Evilswarm Exciton Knight, Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, and Abyss Dweller. Simply put, this strategy doesn't have a themed boss monster. I don't get a Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Tiger King, Constellar Omega, or Evilswarm Ophion. The closest thing Spirits have to an Xyz boss is Fairy Cheer Girl. That made playing two of all the really good Xyz pretty obvious to me, and hopefully you agree with the logic.

Before The Tournament
As I mentioned before, every week I attend one or two local tournaments, tweaking my build after each one. The Thursday before the Regional I split the finals of my last local, and after the tournament I was completely satisfied with every card choice. I opted not to change anything, and that was a big confidence boost going into the weekend. I'd spent weeks making sure everything was perfect, and now I was finally okay with my deck! I was extremely excited to go to the Regional.

Saturday morning went pretty badly. I only got six minutes of sleep, and the second I woke up my friend John texted me saying he was halfway to my dorm. I had approximately five minutes to get fifteen minutes worth of things ready. I jumped out of bed and promptly headed down to my dorm's main lobby to print my deck list. Of course, the printer was ridiculously slow. At that point I'd already paid to print the thing and Loukas texted me saying he was outside and wouldn't wait more than five minutes. As if I wasn't crunched for time enough, I had this container of about fifty cherry tomatoes in my backpack and it just exploded as I tried to put my deck list in the pocket. I carefully had to try not squish any of them while also packing my stuff fast enough that Loukas wouldn't leave without me.

I think I made it to his car with about thirty seconds to spare.


We typed in the address to Loukas' GPS and after two hours of driving we arrived at our destination!…or at least the location he'd typed into the GPS. Unfortunately there are two different places with the same address that are in separate cities. We were forty minutes away from a Regional that about to start in fifteen minutes. Luckily Loukas texted Jeff Jones and he managed to help us out. It felt terrible while it was happening but looking back on it it's actually kind of funny. Two Top 8 finishers almost got Round 1 losses for being late! Thank God I had my deck list printed beforehand because we had about ten minutes before Round 1 started by the time we got there.

Once the first round was posted I sat down, took my supplies out, and prepared myself for the long day ahead.

Round 1: Gagaga
I have nothing against my opponent – he was a really nice guy – but the second he sat down across from me I figured I had the game in the bag. He pulled out one of the mats that they give you from buying the Legendary Collection, and the majority of the time the players using those mats aren't too competitive.

Game 1:
My opponent started off with a Gagaga Gardna, and I had to read it well over four times to confirm its effect. I didn't want to go too hard on him but the game still ended very quickly.

Game 2:
Once again, I tried my best to not have this be a total blowout. I took a hit from my opponent's Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, and next turn I Creature Swapped it and took control of the duel. Luckily this match was over in ten minutes or so, and I was able to grab a bite to eat before the next round started. Once Loukas was done facing a Spellbook player with teched Kuriboh' rel="https://yugioh.tcgplayer.com/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Rainbow Kuriboh">Rainbow Kuriboh we headed over to McDonalds for a luxurious lunch.

Record: 1 – 0

Round 2: Atlantean Mermail
Continuing the pattern of nice opponents, this guy was really cool! We exchanged pleasantries and he acted very much like an Atlantean Mermail duelist would. His first turn confirmed my prediction.

Game 1:
I opened with a set Aratama. My opponent opened with Mermail Abyssteus in defense mode – discarding Atlantean Marksman to pop my Aratama – and an attack position Mermail Abysslinde. The latter scored three hits on me before I could draw another monster, and by then it was too late to make a difference.

Game 2:
I drew Aratama again and got the ball rolling early on. My opponent actually did get some small amounts of damage in early on, but a huge double Xyz play with Tragoedia forced him to scoop with over 7000 Life Points remaining.

Game 3:
I can't remember the early part of this game very well, but my notes tell me he did get a Solemn Warning down. The real turning point of this game was when I Mind Crushed calling Abysspike, forcing him to discard two copies and reveal his hand of Atlantean Marksman and Dark Hole with nothing but a Mermail Abyssteus on the field. He attacked with Marksman, brought out Atlantean Dragoons from his deck, and passed.

Next turn I had to make a decision on which Rank 4 to play. I summoned Nikitama and Yaksha, attacked over Dragoons, and overlaid for Lavalval Chain, putting Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning on top of my deck. I set Torrential Tribute, well aware that he literally couldn't draw a card that would allow him to win. He was forced to Dark Hole, leaving me wide open with 2600 life points to his 5400. He passed to me, and attacks from BLS and Yaksha next turn got rid of his remaining Life Points.

Record: 2 – 0


Round 3: Frog Monarch
I sat down and my opponent apparently knew three adjacent players near our table. I didn't really talk to him much because he was talking to his friends, but he was still a nice individual.

Game 1:
My opponent set one monster and passed to me. Not knowing what it was I summoned my only in-hand monster, Nikitama, and attacked over Treeborn Frog. I was freaking out at that point because I have a terrible history with this matchup. Not only that, but my hand was two Mystical Space Typhoons and a Trap Stun – cards that are all but dead against Frogs. I did manage to pump a few Xyz Monsters out with the help of Izanami getting rid of my Mystical Space Typhoons, but he had triple Enemy Controller to ensure I never kept a monster on board for more than a turn.

Game 2:
Things got better and I controlled all of Game 2 with Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. My opponent was playing Dragon Rulers, and he made a Mistake when he discarded Tempest, Dragon Ruler of Storms and Raiza the Storm Monarch to search for Tidal, Dragon Ruler of Waterfalls. When he attempted to banish Raiza and Tempest for Tidal I was quick to point out that Kycoo prevents banishing, swiftly moving us to Game 3.

Game 3:
This one was rough. My opponent started off with a Vanity's Fiend. Luckily I had the perfect set of outs: I summoned two Nikitamas, Creature Swapped one of them, and attacked over it to draw a card. He didn't make a single play the rest of the match because he was locked out by his own Vanity's Fiend. I felt sorry for him but at the same time I was just glad I actually beat Frog Monarchs.

Record: 3 – 0

Round 4: Geargia (No Karakuri)
I'm not going to name names here, but this was my least favorite match of the day. My opponent is fairly well known, and he was very snobby. No offense to him or anything, but he just was not someone I enjoyed playing against. I've lost games and felt better about them than I felt after winning this one. Not only that, but immediately after I won he got super salty, complaining to every single person near him about how I sacked him. Like, maybe he was just having an off day or maybe he was just mad at losing to Spirits, but either way I found his style unsportsmanlike.

Game 1:
My opponent kicked this off with a Cardcar D that I promptly Effect Veilered. I Summoned my own Cardcar D and he also had a Veiler to stop it. Next turn when he attacked I Mirror Forced his Cardcar D. It was a funny exchange of Cardcar madness and was the only enjoyable part of this entire match. Later on I pushed him down to 100 Life Points but wasn't quite able to finish him off. He eventually took out my remaining 900 LP, and I felt frustrated going into the second game.

Game 2:
I barely remember this game at all. I didn't take much damage and I was able to slowly whittle him down to 2600 Life Points. I believe that BLS ended this game, but I'm not exactly sure.

Game 3:
I went second facing down my opponent's four set cards. I summoned Cardcar D, he Veilered, and I poked for 800 damage. Neither of us really could draw any monsters, and by the time he eventually saw a Geargiarmor I had already resolved several Aratamas.

The turning point of this duel saw him use up a ton of resources to clear my field while I had a Nikitama in hand. All I needed to do was draw any Spirit monster and could make Exciton Knight to his double Gearigiarmor and three back rows. I drew Aratama, made Exciton Knight, and when I activated the effect he had Fiendish Chain. I had Forbidden Lance to force the effect went through and I took out his entire field, leaving him with one card in hand. His next two draws weren't good enough to stop Exciton Knight, putting the match in my favor.

Record: 4 – 0


Round 5: Bujin
Similar to the deal with the Atlantean Mermail player, this guy just reeked of either Fire Fist or Bujin. I couldn't quite pinpoint which one, although I was definitely hoping that he was playing Fire Fist. Naturally I was Mistaken.

Game 1:
My opponent activated Fire Formation – Tenki and I was praying that he'd search Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear. Sadly he searched for a Bujin Yamato, and after Summoning it he set three back rows and passed. I barely played any cards this game and he won shortly afterwards.

Game 2:
All I really needed to do was open with some trap cards. Instead, I started off with double Tragoedia, Chaos Sorcerer, Cardcar D, and double Nikitama. Not exactly ideal. I used Cardcar D and passed, watching my opponent once again activate Tenki to search Yamato.

He did a lot of damage early on due to me making some awkward Tragoedia plays, but eventually I did take control of the duel. I had Thunder King Rai-Oh on board with Nikitama and Aratama in hand, but I only had 1700 Life Points. He had Bujintei Susanowo and one card in hand. He attacked, and I flipped Forbidden Lance targeting his monster. I said out loud "if you somehow top decked a Bujingi Crane I guess you win." Of course, he did have the Crane, tarnishing my undefeated record.

Joke's on him, though, because he ended up getting knocked out of Top 8 by Loukas in the final round. Spirits always get vengeance!

Record 4 – 1

Round 6: Geargia Karakuri
It was late in the day, and I could tell my opponent was tired. The people sitting next to us were all talking about how many girls they can get, which seems weird not only because I was the only person in proximity that actually has a girlfriend but also because we were all playing a children's card game. I'm not exactly sure why people find it necessary to brag about how un-nerdy they are when we're all clearly being nerds. My opponent was on the same page with me and I was Cracking up every time he rolled his eyes at our neighbors' childish comments.

Game 1:
I went first, setting Mirror Force. My opponent went balls to the freakin' walls and filled up his field with huge monsters. Unfortunately for him he didn't make Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack, and as such he ran straight into Mirror Force after I allowed the first attack so I could drop Tragoedia. He had only one face-down and when I bounced it with Yaksha he scooped.

Game 2:
This game lasted three turns. My opponent started with a set Geargiarmor and three backrow. I set Aratama, and in my End Phase he Mystical Space Typhoon'd my Solemn Warning and flipped Geargiagear. During his next turn he started comboing off and I just picked up my cards, realizing that there wasn't anything I could do.

Game 3:
This was a real grind game. At one point my opponent had used the majority of his trap cards and was down to 600 Life Points. I had Nikitama and two Tragoedia in hand. He'd used Solemn Warning and two Fiendish Chains, and I needed to score some damage because he was holding a Geargiano Mk-II.

I summoned Nikitama, crashed into a defense position Zenmaines, summoned a 600 ATK Tragoedia, attacked into Zenmaines again, and summoned my second Tragoedia in defense. In Main Phase two I made Gagaga Cowboy, and he used his last Fiendish Chain on it. Next turn he made a Gear Gigant X, but he didn't have anything in his deck to search so he grabbed a Geargiaccelerator from his graveyard. He passed, unable to get over Cowboy for a turn or two.

Eventually it got to a point where I was at 4900 Life Points and still needed to get rid of his last 600 LP. I tried to make Number 50: Blackship of Corn but his one face-down was Torrential Tribute. We were in time, and he brought out Gear Gigant X and Geargiano Mk-II to drop me to 1600. He didn't have any backrow though, and Yaksha sealed the match by pressing over his attack position Mk-II.

Record 5 – 1


Round 7: Spellbooks
At this point there were two matches left and all I needed to do was win one of them to earn my invite to this summer's World Championship Qualifier. I figured I could probably achieve this, and hoped I wouldn't get paired up against Bujin. I'd also like to mention that this was my favorite opponent of the entire day. He was a pleasure to duel against, a good player, and an overall chill person. To be so cool after so many rounds is commendable, and I really respected and appreciated that!

Game 1:
My opponent started with Spellbook Library of Crescent and some other Spellbooks. He set two backrows, summoned Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, activated The Grand Spellbook Tower, and passed to me. I Mystical Space Typhoon'd his Spellbook of Fate, Summoned Yaksha to bounce away the Tower, and attacked over Kycoo. I actually ended up bouncing Tower five times with Yaksha, never letting him get an extra draw. That created a situation where at one point he was stuck with three Spellbook of Secrets, two Spellbook of Eternity, Spellbook of Fate, and two Spellbook of the Master in his graveyard, and couldn't get any of them back to his deck. I won shortly after.

Game 2:
My opponent started with Crescent again, and ended with Kycoo and Tower, again with two backrow sets. I targeted his Mind Crush with Mystical Space Typhoon and he activated it: I had Aratama, Nikitama, and Yaksha in hand, so there was a pretty good chance he'd blindly call one of them. I thought he'd call Yaksha but he ended up hitting Nikitama instead.

I used Yaksha to bounce Tower, but unfortunately I had to play Forbidden Lance to get around his Bottomless Trap Hole. That meant I couldn't get over his Kycoo that turn because Yaksha wasn't big enough, and I was forced to end with no follow-up. He used Spellbook of Secrets to get Spellbook of the Master, and I used my own Mind Crush to discard it.

At that point I knew he had Spellbook of Life, The Grand Spellbook Tower, Fiendish Chain, and Justice of Prophecy in hand with Kycoo on field. He set everything, activated Tower, and activated Justice's effect in his End Phase. The problem was that he forgot he sided out both his High Priestess of Prophecies, meaning Justice had to be returned to the field. Next turn I used a combination of Exciton Knight and Forbidden Lance to get over his entire set-up, and that pretty much ended the game right there.

Record: 6 – 1

Round 8: Machina Gadget
To say that I was excited would be an understatement. At this point I knew I'd locked in my invite despite losing hardcore to Bujins, and I almost didn't play the last round just because I didn't care. Loukas was also X – 1 going into this round, and I was having trouble imagining how cool it'd be if we both made Top 8. Once I found out we miraculously weren't paired up against each other I was focused on continuing my record and finishing strong. I sat down, placed my trusty Spheal Pokemon card on the table, and was ready to earn my spot in the Top 8.

Game 1:
I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I actually hate playing against Gadgets. They were always annoying, and Tin Goldfish made them really good. When my opponent started off with a Gadget I wasn't happy. Regardless, I eventually grinded through all of his resources and won.

The turning point for me came when I had Number 101: Silent Honor ARK on the field and he made a Maestroke the Symphony Djinn to take it out. I jokingly asked if he didn't have an ARK to which he proudly replied "I don't have an ARK, Exciton Knight, Lavalval Chain, or Daigusto Emeral." No offense to my opponent, but hopefully he learned something from this: never give your opponent information that's going to hurt you. That isn't to say that you're supposed to lie to them or ever hide public knowledge, but if your opponent asks if you own a card for the love of all that is good, say yes! It's much better to have your opponent think you misplayed than to have them know you don't even have certain options. Anyway, I ended up Creature Swapping the Maestroke and Special Summoning BLS for game.

Game 2:
This duel was much of the same. My opponent was at a huge disadvantage because I knew I didn't have to play around ARK. There came a point where I was at 1900 Life Points, playing it safe so I wouldn't lose to something random. He was basically down to topdecking by that point, but he had two Fiendish Chains for my Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning and I believe my Lavalval Chain.

Eventually I drew a Mystical Space Typhoon, and I carefully played around his Machina Fortress and self-reviving Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders until I could eventually deal the final blow.


I was in shock that I won, and I was internally freaking out that I got Top 8. Not only that, but I saw Loukas win his match moments before mine ended and we were super-pumped that two Spirit decks played by two TCGplayers that drove to the event together got Top 8. I haven't felt this awesome about something Yu-Gi-Oh! related in a long time.

Record: 7 – 1

The big question for me is if I would change anything going forward. Honestly, I really liked my build, and as of right now I'd only make two changes.

First off I'd definitely drop Trap Stun for Seven Tools of the Bandit. Trap Stun's pretty much only played here for Evilswarm Exciton Knight, and Seven Tools does the same thing except it stops Solemn Warning, too. The only downside to Seven Tools is that you can't preemptively use it to take a -1 and help out Exciton Knight that way, but that's not too big of deal. The other change would be to find space for DNA Surgery in the Side Deck. I took them out a few tournaments back, but after taking my only loss to Bujins I'd put them right back in.

Overall, I'm impressed not only with my performance but the skill level of the players at my locals. At the first Regional of the format, friends from my locals got 3rd, 15th, and 16th place. At the next Regional nearby in Chicago, a friend of mine took 5th place. At the Livonia Regional two weeks ago another of our players got 1st. Lastly, at this Regional players from my locals took 2nd, 3rd, and 7th place. That's really cool, and I'm proud of us for doing so.

It's good to have a competitive environment not only at different Regionals, but also on a local level. Hopefully you enjoyed my tournament report and if you read the entire thing I appreciate it! Let me know in the Comment section if you have any thoughts about the deck or the event itself.

-Doug Zeeff

Article Aftermath #35