WARNING: LONG POST ALERT PREPARE YOUR EYES!
So many changes in a relatively short amount of time. Hey guys! My mid format discussion is here! This is a follow up on my early format discussion. This post will not only discuss the differences between the early and mid format but I will also discuss what the format is currently like, if you didn't read my early format discussion you can check it out here
The passing of the Torch
In the early format boss monsters were key. Whoever played the last big boss monster often won the game. More importantly the most important boss at the time was archlord kristyia, this card single handidly won games. If you didn't have a answer for it right away you lost the game. This in turn leads to agnets being a tier 1 deck and a top contender for the best deck of the format.
What Has Changed: Boss Monsters are still key, but they are slightly less important than before. Now in the mid format it is who ever does the last big combo wins the game. Sure a deck with a lot of big boss monsters still does good but a deck like tengu/tour guide which has almost unlimited combo potential is better than a deck with many boss monsters. With this slight shift in boss monsters<combos comes a change in what boss monsters are good. While kristyia has some clout in the meta and you should never forget it exists(that will lose you games!) kristyia is not nearly as important as it was before. There is one main reason for this: tengu/tour guide is the best deck of the format hands down which makes agents less than a stellar pick when matched up against plants. It really is a vicious cycle since tengu/tour guide decks are better than agents, agents see less play and since tengu/tour guide is a combo deck this makes boss monsters slightly less powerful, which makes kristyia less powerful, to sum it up agents got the short end of the stick. Building on the point of boss monsters<combos in YCS kansas about 20 decks that topped were combo based decks(depending on if you count rabbit lagia which would make it 24 combo decks). Theme decks like Dark World continue to under perform and not live up to their hype and decks like agents continue to trend down. This change is subtle and did not happen over night and I expect to see this subtle change grow even larger.
The Hand Trap Switch
In the early format effect veiler was a mandatory card to run at least 2, all in order to stop tour guide from going off and other key monster effects.
What has Changed: Like I said before the change from boss monsters to combos has been a subtle one but it has far reaching effects. Effect Veiler is returning to its "tech card" status and has for the most part lost its staple status. Effect Veiler was not very good at handeling boss monsters and can stop some critical combo plays but Maxx C has mostly replaced it. Maxx C is a combo stopper. It is this formats royal oppression. Again the subtle changes are impacting what we play, there is less of one card being the enabler(tour guide is the exception) and more off multiple combo pieces that go off and give a massive end result. Maxx C thrives off of this it attacks these combos and nets card advantage. Combos have changed the way we play hand traps it is very common to see people main 3 Maxx C and none or 1 effect veiler, the truth is veiler is not a dynamic card it can stop critical monster effects, but Maxx C can stop these card effects by stopping the combo, netting card advantage off of the combo, or discouraging a combo that woud not have won the game but made a minorly aggressive push all in fear of card advantage. Summary: Maxx C can adapt to the ever changing situation of yugioh while veiler cannot.
The Return of Control
When Heavy Storm came back many people were predicting the end of mass backrow and said that backrow was dead and setting any backrow at all was suicide. Some even said that control decks were dead.
What has Changed: While setting mass backrow has mostly died(there are always some T.G decks that still top with mass backrow) saying that setting any back row is suicide is completely wrong. Sure Backrow has decreased in many decks especially decks like agents and tengu/tour guide where most decks don't exceed 5 traps, the staples are all still there, warning, judgment, dustshoot, mirror force, and torrential proving that even non chainable traps are still too good not to run. Instead these decks opted to use a new way of control. Thunder king Rai-oh is fast approaching if not already at staple status because of its ability to slow the game down. Many of the newer tier 1 decks(karakuri and dino rabbit) have opted to use cards like bottomless and d-prision to gain better control over the game. So while pure control decks might have died another subtle cahnge has taken place: the return of control. Whether it is incorporating control in the monster form or a slighly heaver trap lineup control still plays a large role, larger than you might think in today's meta.
The Power Cards
In the early format power cards were everything, If you played your power cards too early and wasted them you would lose the game and conserving them and playing them at exactly the right time was of the upmost priority.
What has Changed: Another subtle change has occurred power cards are even more important than ever. Also it is much easier to waste them than before thanks to the return of control. A first rai-oh can be game ending and finding a out is very important. At that point playing dark hole could be your only viable option, at that point your opponent has got a major threat out of the way and only has to worry about mirror force and torrential. With combo decks taking center stage playing mirror force against a large field could seem like a good play until they combo again next turn by playing reborn and other combo enablers. Torrential quickly falls into the same category. Maxx C could also be considered a power card as knowing when to play it correctly is the difference between a loss or win. Players then started to play bottomless and d-prision in order to combat this. You could say the return of control influenced this as it made players play more control in order to fight the control. Combo decks also helped this change, in order to not waste that clutch dark hole on rai-oh you could instead play bottomless and keep that dar hole in hand. In essence we are are fighting control with control and combos also with control, yugioh is a complicated game!
Tour Guide's influence
In the early format tengu/tour guide decks made full use of tour guide and agent decks made the occasional use of tour guide some players opting out on tour guide.
What has Changed: Tour guide has achieved staple status in 90% of tier 1 decks. The power it provides has only gotten better after the releases of diverse and good rank 3 exceeds. Tour guide is the one card tool box engine. Summary: Tour guide influences almost all of our meta and has warped it around tour guide(unfortunately).
Thanks for reading! Also if you read my last post you might have noticed the error of me saying that there were no more YCS's this format, apparently I should never write when I am tired as we still have YCS Brighton, Mexico, and Atlanta(Thanks to LFN for pointing this out!) Please leave your feedback and discuss!