Duelist Alliance ushered in a new wave of dominant decks for the TCG; it was a drastic change for the competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! scene that completely replaced the "decks to beat" from the previous months of Championship level events. YCS Toronto and YCS Madrid have solidified the new normal, so we'll have to wait for a new Forbidden and Limited List or a new card set before the new kings will be dethroned.

The other option's that everyone will realize the power of my Ice Barrier OTK and switch over to the winning side.

The Burning Abyss, Shaddoll and Satellarknight decks are downright brutal and unforgiving. That trio isn't unbeatable by any means, but simply put: Duelist Alliance raised the bar for what decks can reign supreme. It's an uphill battle for Sylvans, Evilswarm, Mermails and HAT decks against the new Big Three, but isn't that the nature of the beast for stronger and stronger cards to come out every year? Otherwise we'd all still be playing Goblin Attack Force.dek.

DECKID=101146If you hadn't heard, I struggle with remembering the names of cards; pronouncing cards is an even bigger Mountain to climb. For the sake of congruity, I'll list all of the Yang Zing monsters by their names, but trust me when I say it's easier in real life to reference them by their attributes and call Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing "the giant Synchro one." Just don't let Franco Ferrara catch you mispronouncing any of the names.

Seriously, Franco May Hurt You If You Mispronounce The Cards In His Presence
When Xyz monsters were introduced to the game, I feared that the days of Synchro Summons were quickly going out the door. With the Pendulum Summoning mechanic recently introduced, it felt like these oncoming threats would stamp out my beloved Synchros for good.

Thankfully, I've been proven dead wrong. Just look at the onslaught of amazing Synchro Monsters creeping their way into recent packs: Beelze of the Diabolic Dragons; Armades, Keeper of Boundaries; Michael, the Arch-Lightsworn. The list goes on, but it's clear that Synchros still have some life left in them yet. In fact, Yang Zings are here to prove Synchros can still be threatening. If HERO and Shaddoll decks can rock Fusions, who's to say Synchros are dead?

The Yang Zing monsters introduce a new monster type - Wyrm, a change we haven't seen since the Psychic type was introduced seven years ago. So far I've been really impressed with the limited support. The monster type doesn't have any specific support like their own Emergency Teleport that Psychics got when they debuted, but the Yang Zings certainly came fully loaded with theme-specific support.

Similar to Reborn Tengu and White Dragon Wyverburster, the Yang Zing monsters have life after hitting the 'yard. Whenever one blows up by battle or card effect (your effect or your opponent's), Special Summon another Yang Zing from your deck. Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing and Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing have to Special Summon your next Yang Zing in Attack Mode. Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing and Bi'an, Earth of the Yang Zing have to Special Summon a Wyrm in Defense Mode. Honestly, that restriction's pretty irrelevant, just make sure to follow the rules when you're playing in a tournament.

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Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing is the only Wyrm that gets to choose which position your next Yang Zing's coming out in. Being the Tuner, it already has great versatility and provides you with a stream of defense free from damage… so long as your opponent doesn't have something like Downerd Magician to deal piercing damage. Additionally, Chiwen revives itself whenever a Yang Zing bites the dust; so if you know your opponent's done with attacking, you can bring back Chiwen for a quick Synchro Summon post battle. It's a one shot wonder for each copy of Chiwen, though; the Tuner banishes itself after using its effect.

If the Yang Zing's recursive effects weren't enough for you, we've also got Yang Zing Creation, a trap that gets ridiculously annoying for your opponent if they can't shut it down. When any monster gets destroyed, this Continuous Trap (with the fitting name) triggers to give you any Yang Zing from your deck. In short, it doubles your Yang Zing powers so you get two Wyrms for the price of one. Yang Zings revolve around Synchro Summons that consolidate several monsters into one, but Yang Zing Creation cuts out half the cost! Keep in mind that Creation triggers when literally any monster dies, so if a beefy Synchro bites the dust, you have fuel for your next behemoth.

I don't know lore and card history that well, so don't ask me why Constellar Sombres is the one bringing the Yang Zing's out of the woodwork. They probably owe him money or something.

To cap off the Yang Zing support we have Yang Zing Path, a spell that's unfortunately quite expensive on the secondary market for people like me that have had to do some things I'm not proud of to get my playset. Yang Zing Path's one of the best draw spells an archetype can have with minimal restrictions. Its effect is simple – put back three Yang Zing's to your deck and draw two cards. It's like Pot of Dichotomy, but you can attack the turn you use it. Recycling your Wyrms is of the highest importance because you'll run out of steam quickly if you burn through your resources for a few one shot wonders. Thanks to Exodius the Ultimate Forbidden Lord and Yang Zing Path, you can survive the long games where Shaddolls and Satellarknights can run out of steam.

Indestructible Fortress
Outside of infinite Special Summons that put Mother Grizzly and Mystic Tomato to shame, Yang Zings (spoiler alert) have secondary effects. For starters, every Yang Zing but Chiwen can Synchro Summon during your opponent's Main Phase or Battle Phase. If not for Creation that effect would be pretty mediocre, but since Creation gives you the 2-for-1 effect when a Yang Zing dies, your monsters can officially be more than a fragile defensive wall. Additionally, you can surprise your opponent with a Black Rose Dragon to ruin their day. That officially gets the Kelly Locke "neat" approval.

Additionally, Yang Zings beef up the power of whatever Synchro Monster they create. Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing makes your Synchro immune to Spells while Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing makes it immune to traps. Bi'an, Earth of the Yang Zing means your Synchro can't be touched by battle and Suanni, Fire of the Yang Zing adds an Extra 500 ATK and DEF boost.

Obviously some of those effects are more relevant than others, and you can see my opinions on the Yang Zing monsters reflected in my deck list. I flushed out the Extra Deck by filling the fifteen card slots with what you can most easily make, not necessarily with the best Synchros imaginable. You'll notice a few less common cards like Underworld Fighter Balmung and Mist Bird Clausolas made the cut; they're surprisingly useful here as they occupy very specific Levels.

Right now Chiwen's the only TCG legal Tuner for the Yang Zing family, so you'll be restricted to what you can make with just a Level 1 Tuner and a handful of Yang Zing non-Tuners. Since Chiwen can revive itself, all you really need is one Yang Zing on the field to get its effect and set up for a Synchro Summon. When a Yang Zing's destroyed and you Summon Bi'an or Suanni, that's the best time to bring back Chiwen because you can immediately make a Synchro on your opponent's turn without worrying about them setting up for your following play, by say, setting some traps after the battle.

Bi'an and Chiwen make Balmung, which is about near indestructible. Bi'an makes Balmung invincible in battle. Armades (made by Suanni and Chiwen) gets even better – its only real downside up until this point was its low ATK, and Suanni boosts it to a staggering 2800 attack points. Not even El Shaddoll Construct is safe from your Synchro. If you combine Chiwen's effect with Creation you'll have three Yang Zings for a massive Synchro Summon, stacking all the materials' effects into one behemoth. If you put Chiwen, Pulao and Suanni together, you get a 3300 ATK Goyo Guardian that's immune to Dark Hole and Forbidden Lance. Playing Bi'an, Bixi and Chiwen instead makes your Goyo immune to all traps and invincible to battle, so you can even crash with monsters like Mobius the Mega Monarch and Scrap Dragon and steal them.

Soul Charge, in tandem with your massive list of ways to spam monsters, gives you access to ridiculously big Synchro Monsters with stacks on stacks on stacks of Yang Zing boosts. If you combine all five Yang Zing monsters you'll get a Star Eater with 3700 ATK that can't be hit by spells and traps, that can't be destroyed in battle. Star Eater's inherent effect makes it immune to El Shaddoll Construct and the like, leaving your opponent with very, very few answers.

Surprise! Your Opponent Can't Play Cards…
In short, floodgates are tickets to victory. A Dimensional Fissure or Soul Drain against Mermails is lethal; Rivalry of Warlords can make decks like Evilswarm inert; if you put a Shadow Imprisoning Mirror on the field against Burning Abyss, the duel could be over in a matter of minutes.

Yang Zings get the privilege of playing Skill Drain, one of the first floodgate cards created back in Dark Crisis. Since the effects of Yang Zing monsters are applied in graveyard, Skill Drain doesn't touch them. In the long run, Skill Drain will hurt your opponent a lot more than it hurts you, though it sometimes is a mild inconvenience.

Additionally, I opted to include Vanity's Emptiness for obvious reasons. It's arguably the best card of the format; something you can turn off any time but that cripples your opponent. If you establish a strong field with something like Leo, the Keeper of the Sacred Tree, flipping Emptiness is lethal for your opponent. Hell, any big monster backed by an Emptiness is a winning combination, not just the mighty Leo.

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However, my favorite pairing with Vanity's Emptiness is Stardust Spark Dragon! At the end of the day, Vanity's Emptiness is really fragile and vulnerable to a plethora of destruction effects. Stardust Spark Dragon protects your Emptiness from errant Shaddoll Dragons or Mystical Space Typhoons. Best of all, Stardust Spark's really easy to make. With a Masked Chameleon and a Suanni, you have an instant Level 8.

I can't do the Yang Zing deck justice without mentioning their exclusive Synchro: Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing. While not completely generic, your Masked Chameleon and Suanni combo makes Baxia just fine, though you won't get as many effects that way. When Baxia's Synchro Summoned you shuffle away cards on the field up to the number of Wyrm monsters with different attributes used to make it. Synchro Summon it with Chiwen, Bi'an and Suanni and you eliminate three threats at the same time.

Its second effect's pretty great too, but isn't useful nearly as often. Actually, I rarely used it in testing, but I did appreciate Baxia's full range of abilities when I had a Creation out. Once per turn it lets you trade in one of your monsters for a Level 4 or lower monster in your graveyard. The kicker? It's not a clean swap – it's a destruction effect, so Creation and all of the Yang Zing monsters trigger. Neat? Yes. Amazing? Eh, sure.

I threw in a few other tech choices for personal flair; likewise, I cut some cards that seemed good on paper but fell flat in practice. For example, I like the one copy of Magic Planter for situations when you have too many Continuous Traps and they're slowing you down. Hell, I put seven in the Main Deck, and sometimes you're overwhelmed by the deluge of traps.

On the flip side I left out Supply Squad. Literally after one game of playing with Yang Zings I wanted to burn every copy of that car. First of all, Yang Zings are already moderately slow on their own and require a decent amount of interaction from your opponent to trigger your effects. Adding in three more cards make you even more dependent on your opponent is bad news. You'll end up drawing more monsters than you want, and trust me, that's not the place you need to see them.

While Yang Zings aren't fast or overpowered, their biggest threat is their vitality and ability to grind out victories. Hopefully you won't go into time every match, but outlasting your opponent and finishing with a Leo will win you a lot of games.

Just remember, beat your opponents before they beat you.

-Loukas Peterson