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Baneful's Column
A History of Competitive YGO
Pt. 1 (2002-2003)
By Baneful
November 30, 2015

A New Beginning (Basic Beatdown Era)
 
Consider this series a historical database of Yu-Gi-Oh from the very beginning, where I talk about every single past format and the decks which reigned.  This series is designed to inform players on the common patterns of winning decks, providing nostalgia to veteran players, history to newer players and, hopefully, inspiration for people who want to host retro formats.  We already started a renaissance of Goat Control era, but let's also take a look at other formats. 
 
Patrick Hoban did a few articles on past metagames, and while I won't cover them in depth, I'm covering them in breadth.  For the first year that the game came out, there were very few (if any) large tournaments and there really wasn't a competitive atmosphere.  As a result, the first few decks I'm writing about are ones designed by myself as a compilation of the best cards to have in a deck within their respective times.  From 2003 on, however, I'm going to be discussing decks built by competitive players.
 
March 2002 (Debut Deck) -- by Baneful
 
With just one booster pack out and 2 starter decks (which are mostly identical), I just barely cobbled together this deck, but it's pretty much the best you could do with what you had at the time.  Of course most players were just beginning to learn how to play, much less constructing a meta deck, but I like this little simple beatdown build nonetheless.
 
1 Summoned Skull
3 La Jinn the Mystical Genie of the Lamp
3 Battle Ox
3 Neo the Magic Swordsman
3 Giant Soldier of Stone
3 Wall of Illusion
3 Man-Eater Bug
 
1 Pot of Greed
1 Raigeki
1 Swords of Revealing Light
1 Change of Heart
1 Last Will
1 Dark Hole
1 Card Destruction
1 Monster Reborn
3 Fissure
 
1 Ultimate Offering
3 Trap Hole
3 Reinforcements
3 Waboku
 
July 2002 (Metal Raiders Deck) -- by Baneful
 
With a 2nd more well-rounded booster pack came varying degrees of choice for deck building.  The counter traps had too high of costs to them, so they were waived, but my monster arsenal was strengthened (mainly with quality low-level choices).  Dark Elf gets over things or forces the opponent to waste removal.  Stim-Pack was the best equip of its time and Heavy Storm (along with a lean trap line-up for myself) makes this an aggressive deck. 
 
1 Summoned Skull
1 Dark Elf
3 La Jinn the Mystical Genie of the Lamp
3 7 Colored Fish
3 Wall of Illusion
2 Witch of the Black Forest
1 Sangan
1 White Magical Hat
2 Man-Eater Bug
2 Magician of Faith
1 Mask of Darkness
 
1 Pot of Greed
1 Raigeki
1 Swords of Revealing Light
1 Change of Heart
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Tribute to the Doomed
3 Fissure
2 Heavy Storm
2 Stim-Pack
 
3 Trap Hole
2 Waboku
1 Mirror Force
 
September 2002 (Magic Ruler Deck) -- by Baneful
 
Magic Ruler provided us with an avalanche of busted spell cards to use.  The trap line-up was tightened up a little bit to accomodate them.  The monster line-up is largely the same except with the pivotal Cyber Jar and Mechanicalchasers, which were released in Tournament Pack 1 at the time (it was a $100+ card but it was the highest ATK cost-free LV4 beater at the time). 
 
1 Summoned Skull
1 Dark Elf
3 Mechanicalchaser
3 La Jinn the Mystical Genie of the Lamp
2 Wall of Illusion
1 Witch of the Black Forest
1 Sangan
1 Mystic Tomato
1 Man-Eater Bug
2 Magician of Faith
1 Morphing Jar
1 Cyber Jar
 
1 Pot of Greed
1 Raigeki
1 Swords of Revealing Light
1 Change of Heart
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Confiscation
1 Deliquent Duo
1 Axe of Despair
1 Snatch Steal
1 Painful Choice
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Rush Recklessly
1 Megamorph
1 Tribute to the Doomed
1 Fissure
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
 
2 Trap Hole 
1 Waboku
1 Mirror Force
 
October 2002 (Pharaoh's Servant Deck) -- by Baneful
 
PSV gave us new staples like Nobleman, Premature, Call and Imperial, so I cut out some less essential cards.  Jinzo also replaced Summoned Skull as the best 1-tribute (For slightly less ATK, you got a great effect in turn).  I decided for this deck to have a little more muscle to it with 3 Goblins and Gearfried was a little bit better than your standard 1800 beater.
 
1 Jinzo
3 Mechanicalchaser
3 La Jinn the Genie of the Lamp
3 Gearfried the Iron Knight
3 Goblin Attack Force
1 Witch of the Black Forest
2 Magician of Faith
1 Morphing Jar
1 Cyber Jar
 
1 Pot of Greed
1 Raigeki
1 Swords of Revealing Light
1 Change of Heart
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Confiscation
1 Deliquent Duo
1 Axe of Despair
1 Snatch Steal
1 Painful Choice
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Fissure
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Premature Burial
2 Nobleman of Crossout
 
3 Trap Hole
1 Mirror Force
1 Time Seal
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Imperial Order
 
April 2003 (Labyrinth of Nightmare Deck) -- by Baneful
 
Labyrinth of Nightmare was perhaps the least consequential of the first 5 sets, but it gave us more quality beaters which made Mechanicalchaser a little less necessary.  The biggest boost was Graceful at 3 (from Starter Deck Pegasus), Sinister and Feather Duster (from the video game promo) which made me cut out a few monsters but it's a solid of line-up as ever.
 
1 Jinzo
3 Gemini Elf
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
2 Mechanicalchaser
1 Goblin Attack Force
1 Zombyra the Dark
1 Bazoo the Soul Eater
1 Witch of the Black Forest
2 Magician of Faith
1 Cyber Jar
1 Sinister Serpent
 
3 Graceful Charity
1 Harpie's Feather Duster
1 Pot of Greed
1 Raigeki
1 Change of Heart
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Confiscation
1 Deliquent Duo
1 United We Stand
1 Snatch Steal
1 Painful Choice
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Heavy Storm
1 Premature Burial
2 Nobleman of Crossout
 
2 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Magic Cylinder
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Imperial Order
 
There were very few big tournaments until mid 2003 and most deck lists didn't survive.  The first major Yu-Gi-Oh tournament was the World Championship of 2003 ; right around the time that Pharaonic Guardian was released.  Although, Legacy of Darkness (at least in this point of the game) was making a bigger impact.  Also, Graceful Charity was limited to 1.  This tournament overall was the starting point of the game developing an actual meta.
 
August 2003 (Control Deck) -- Adam McNeely
 
This is the most well-rounded deck of the format, with most cards being used at only 1 or 2 to make room for a wider breadth.  There's floaters, beaters and weak monsters which aid in card advantage.  His spell count is plentiful including everything, but there's a balanced trap line-up too.
 
1 Airknight Parshath
1 Don Zaloog
1 Injection Fairy Lily
1 Goblin Attack Force
1 Bazoo the Soul-Eater
2 Gemini Elf
2 Spear Dragon
1 Yata-Garasu
1 Fiber Jar
1 Exiled Force
1 Mystic Tomato
1 Twin-Headed Behemoth
1 Witch of the Black Forest
1 Sangan
 
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Fissure
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Pot of Greed
1 Delinquent Duo
1 Premature Burial
1 Monster Reborn
1 Snatch Steal
1 Change of Heart
1 Raigeki
1 Dark Hole
1 Mirage of Nightmare
1 Graceful Charity
1 Painful Choice
1 Swords of Revealing Light
1 Harpie's Feather Duster
 
1 Drop Off
1 Mirror Force
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Imperial Order
1 Ring of Destruction
2 Waboku
 
Side Deck: Nobleman of Crossout, Heavy Storm, Confiscation, Soul Release, Scapegoat, Exchange, Card Destruction, Jinzo, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Magician of Faith, Magic Cylinder, Torrential Tribute, Drop Off, Royal Command, Solemn Judgment
 
August 2003 (Defensive Control) -- Luca Casadei
 
Luca's deck in this format is unique (compared to many others) and it focuses on different things.  While it has more muscle (with 3 Goblins) it also is one of the earlier decks to utilize Spirit Reaper for defensive control.  He manages to cut out a lot of great spell cards (like Painful Choice, which I guess was better suited for Chaos format anyways) in exchange for a very defensive line-up of traps.  There's Cannon Soldiers and Scapegoats for heavy late-game damage too.
 
3 Gemini Elf
2 Cannon Soldier
3 Spirit Reaper
3 Goblin Attack Force
1 Cyber Jar
1 Magician of Faith
1 Jinzo
1 Fiber Jar
1 Sinister Serpent
1 Witch of the Black Forest
 
1 Harpie's Feather Duster
1 Graceful Charity
1 Change of Heart
1 Pot of Greed
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Raigeki
3 Scapegoat
 
2 Waboku
2 Torrential Tribute
2 Gravity Bind
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Mirror Force
1 Imperial Order
1 Magic Cylinder
1 Ring of Destruction
 
Side Deck: Yata-Garasu, 2 Prohibition, Confiscation, 2 Nobleman of Crossout, Exiled Force, Penguin Soldier, 2 Seven Tools of the Bandit, Mirage of Nightmare, Magic Jammer, Fairy Meteor Crush, Mystical Space Typhoon
 
August 2003 (Tomato Control) -- Ng Yu Leung
 
Leung won the event.  Tomato Control originated far before Dale Bellido.  With Sangan, Witch and Tomato itself as an already strong toolbox array, the release of Don Zaloog solidified it.  He was one of the few players to use 3 Mystical Space Typhoons which cleared backrow before it could be chained, and reactively stopped cards like Snatch Steal/Premature Burial. 
 
1 Sangan
1 Witch of the Black Forest
1 Jinzo
3 Gemini Elf
3 Mystic Tomato
2 Don Zaloog
1 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
1 Sinister Serpent
1 Magician of Faith
1 Yata-Garasu
1 Fiber Jar
 
1 Raigeki
1 Dark Hole
1 Change of Heart
1 Snatch Steal
1 Nobleman of Crossout
1 Heavy Storm
1 Harpie's Feather Duster
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Delinquent Duo
1 Confiscation
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Mirage of Nightmare
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
 
1 Imperial Order
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Ring of Destruction
1 Mirror Force
3 Drop Off
 
Side Deck: Electric Snake, Exiled Force, White Magical Hat, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Airknight Parshath, Painful Choice, Scapegoat, 3 Book of Moon, 3 Torrential Tribute
 
In the next installment, I will write about the Chaos formats.

 

 


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