ACQ Malaysia had just passed and Sam had defended his title once again using the same Verz deck that won him the last Christmas Tourney. The top cut was full of Incarnate Dragons and I was told that there were more than 20 Incarnate Dragons joining the tournament (don't quote me on the exact number). While the number of Dragons were 2 times more than what many of us had anticipated, the results were not surprising, either Dragons take another win due to their OP performance, or Verz stood their ground and take the game.
As for myself, me and Kyde (the blogger) had this anti-Incarnate Deck planned out. We started working together a week before the event and fine tune it just in time. We were confident in saying, as long as we don't miss play, or face anyone above our caliber (ie, Wesley etc), we should be able to take down any Incarnate Dragons in our way. The deck we were building was actually Hieratics, surprise surprise (well, considering its me and Kyde, its not that much of a surprise). However, Kyde wasn't confident with his luck and he claimed that he will open double vanilla every game, so he opt to not test it out. Having nothing to lose, I pick the deck up and played.
Round 1 : Vs Incarnate Dragons
Right from the start, our strategy was put to the test. While Kyde keep telling me that the deck we build will come out on top, I wasn't as enthusiastic. I was all negative bout my opponent having the right outs at the right time and shit.
Duel 1 : Maxx C, Veiler and Fader all did their job to stall the game for close to 20 minutes. My opponent was so confused as to what the hell was I playing. Threathining Roars keep skipping his turn and wasting his Dragons. He finally wanted to go for game with a Crimson Blader, double Draco-Sac but I dropped another Fader on him. He made 2 Tokens and passed. That was the opening I was looking for. I finally revealed to him I was playing Hieratics (yes, for the first 20 minutes, my opponent didn't even knew what I was playing). I made Atum and Volcasaurus, Volca destroyed Blader for 2800 damage, and double Gaia pierced through 2 tokens for the remaining 5200.
Duel 2 : I was again controlling the board. I tribute Aset for Su, played something unneccessary at the moment and attacked LaDD (1800 because it negated Eset's effect), he summoned Draco-Sac via LaDD. I was holding Veiler and Reborn, among others. My game plan now was to recycle the Maxx C in grave with M7 and win the game next turn. I quickly played Reborn before checking my grave, thats my fatal misplay, I didn't had another level 6 since LaDD negated Aset. My control quickly fell apart after that and got killed a few turns later.
Duel 3 : I open 2 Hieratics, Maxx C, Fader, Cardcar and Reckless. I set Reckless and played Cardcar for 2. He played DIMENSION FISSURE (I'm not sure why he sided this in, but it had something to do with stopping my hand traps) and I quickly chained Maxx C. He passed with no further action, maybe because he didn't want me to plus off Maxx C? I had 3 Hieratics now in hand, Reckless if I don't , and a Fissure on the other side of the field had stopped Veilers. Since Incarnate don't play Trago, I just go for the kill.
Outside of the misplay in game 2, I was obviously controlling the match, even my friend next to me was stunned at my performance. I myself couldn't believe the strategy me and Kyde build was actually working. After the match, me and Kyde even went as far as stating Incarnate Dragons as free win matchups.
Round 2 : Vs Firefist 3-axis - Ivan
When I saw Ivan's name on the notice as my next opponent, I wet my pants. Not only is he a very accomplished player, he was one of the dudes we test played with. He basically know most techs in the deck, and in the match, he did very well in playing around them. While he doesn't have any recent major wins, he is definitely among Malaysia's finest.
Duel 1 : I was able to gain advantage through Maxx C and also stop Bear with Faders. The deciding moment was when he used Spirit targeting another Firefist in grave and attempt to make something bigger than Wattail, but I chained Maxx C. I gain so much advantage that I won by trading card for card.
Duel 2 : I opened double Vanilla, but other wise, the hand was pretty solid, with my tech to kill 3-axis, Skill Drain in hand. He set a monster and a backrow. I played Convocation for Aset and attacked, setting Skill Drain and MST (Eset is 1900 under drain). He played Fire Formation Gyokko targetting MST and summoned Spirit, which I chained Skill Drain to. Obviously I was very pleased but turns out he had Reborn and made Acid Golemn with both level 3s. Acid Golem destroyed Eset. I wasn't sure if Golem could attack here, since Spirit DID activated his effect but was negated by Skill Drain, but I didn't notice this until after I placed Eset in the grave. He set 2 cards to the back and passed holding 1. I drew into Convocation and decided that its time to go for game. I played Storm, search and special Tfenut, tribute it for Wattail and special summoning another Wattail from hand. I made Atum but his last card was Veiler. I set Reckless Greed but he topped an MST, forcing me to play the card and I didn't draw any out, knowing I can't draw for the next 2 turns, I scooped.
Duel 3 : I opened Cardcar but he had Veiler for it, and I set Reckless. Blaster forced me to played Reckless too soon and put me on draw phase lock for 2 turns. He did his shenanigans and ended. I had an OTK hand and went for it, however he showed me 2 more Veilers and stopped me right there. I had no comeback now and knowing I can't draw next turn, I scooped.
After the match, he told me that he was aware of my set cards being Reckless Greed. He purposely targeted them to force me out of tempo since the card is really bad when activated at a wrong timing.
Now to my decklist. But I'm sure most of you aren't interested since I didn't won the event or made a top 8 showing.
3 Hieratic Dragon of Su
3 Hieratic Dragon of Eset
3 Hiratic Dragon of Nebthet
3 Hieratic Dragon of Tfenut
2 Wattail Dragon
1 Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
3 Cardcar D
3 Effect Veiler
3 Battle Fader
2 Maxx C
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Heavy Storm
1 Nobleman of Extermination
1 Monster Reborn
2 Hieratic Seal of Convocation
2 Mausoleum of the Emperor
3 Reckless Greed
2 Threatening Roar
1 Gustav Max
2 Gaia Dragoon
2 Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
2 Constellar M7
1 Photon Streak Bounzer
1 Gauntlet Shooter
1 Number 61 Volcasaurus
1 Constellar Pleiades
1 Tiras Keeper of Genesis
1 Shark Fortress
1 Ancient Sacred Wyvern
1 Black Rose Dragon
3 Electric Virus
2 Droll & Lock Bird
2 Skill Drain
2 Imperial Iron Wall
2 Dimension Fissure
Now, you've must be wondering how the deck stops Incarnate. I've showed this decklist to quite a few guys yesterday after I scrubbed but no one understood how it was meant to be played, even the dude who lost to this don't get it.
LaDD is a pain in the ass, but I actually want to see it across the board. LaDD makes sure that my opponent can't do anything other than attack with it and Drago-Sac. Fader doesn't stops the attack, but it makes LaDD a 1800 without even wasting any card, that makes it in kill range for Hieratics. Also, post side boarding, Trago and Fader makes LaDD an instant 800 after it and Drago-Sac attacks, again, I lose no card at all.
As you can see from the main board, there are a lot of cards that gets you extra draw or just last you a turn longer. Maxx C acts like a pseudo Threatening Roar in this case. The problem with most Incarnate players is that they tried to go for game too fast, that waste their resources in a few turns. My deck was built to stall the game to the point that the Incarnate player would have almost nothing in his grave and left for pickings. Again, I doubt this would work on someone like Sharmir or Andrew, since its main goal is to force my opponent into misplay.
Post side board, the game swings heavily into our advantage. Tragoedia served as another arrow in the knee to LaDD and also lets me make Gustav Max, with my own Red-Eyes or the one from across the field via Electric Virus. I would never leave a monster on the field unless its a Bounzer or backed with Veilers in hand, hence Big Eyes is of no threat.
Imperial Iron Wall may seem bad at first glance due to Drago-Sac, but I can justify this card choice. I side this in together with a copy of Skill Drain. I take out all Spell and Trap Removal and Mausoleum. Between Maxx Cs, Veilers and also Skill Drain, there's not much Drago-Sac can do. While Blaster is ever present, you just need to play it right. Also, Iron Wall isn't a card that was meant to stay on the field for long, as long as it bought you a turn or two, it's enough for you to take the game.
Now, being Hieratic, this deck is inherently weak to Verz. I main deck 2 copies of Mausoleum for that match up. While it doesn't change the fact that it's still a bad match up, it does give you some hope of winning game 1. Games 2 and 3 are anyone's game. I've tested the side deck against Verz extensively and the win-lose-ratio is about 1-to-1, or 50-50. Skill Drain and the MVP Electric Virus puts up a lot of work in this match up. That said, I doubt this deck can beat Sam's Verz, its very very unlikely I could even take a game, considering its Sam.
In case your wondering how Shark Fortress contributes to the deck. I've had some people question me this card's effectiveness. Me and Kyde will outright tell you "Its broke!"
Before Fortress, there was no 3-card-OTK if you have Red-Eyes in hand (REDMD being one of the 3 cards). But Fortress made it possible. Atum into a level 5, banishing Atum for REDMD and bring back another level 5, making Shark Fortress is OTK for those of you who're aren't aware of this.
Nebthet, a second level 5 Hieratic and another random Hieratic is also an OTK even if your opponent had monsters.
Nebthet pop monster gives you 2 Vanilla for Atum. REDMD brings back a level 5(EDIT) for Pleiades which in turns bounces REDMD. REDMD specials itself by banishing Atum and summons a Vanilla from grave. M7 overlays on Pleiades makes 8000 damage on the board.
I would really loved to at least make top 32 (or 24), that would be the best shout out for this deck. Unfortunately I had to play a contributor to this deck's structure. Ivan was the one who said "Lol, Fader and Trago in hand, LaDD dies faster", I think he was joking, but damn he was spot on.
Finally, shout outs to Kyde, couldn't have build this without you. He was the one who came up with the Mausoleum and Roars. Fader was mine, and I made the last minute call of main decking Maxx C, right call for the format indeed.