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Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG: Analysis of the 2023 YCS Champions

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In this article, I'll bring you some data on the players and decks that won the most Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series throughout the year.

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Introduction

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series, most commonly known as YCS, is a series of high-level tournaments that are held primarily in the United States and Europe, but they have also happened in the other countries in North, Central and South America. YCS are big tournaments, usually featuring a 2-day main tournament event, and other parallel tournaments like Win-A-Mat and ATTACK OF THE GIANT CARD!.

In 2023, there were 20 YCS: 3 featured the "YCS Team (3x3)" modality and 2 the "YCS Remote Duel" modality. Throughout these 20 events, 23 different players became champions, and only 3 of them won 2 YCS in this year. Besides, we had 12 different decks played by the YCS champions in 2023.

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Check out below everything about YCS champions in 2023!

Players who Conquered YCS Titles in 2023

Two Time YCS Champions

Jesse Kotton

To open up our list of players that won 2 YCS in 2023, we have Jesse Kotton, a name that needs no introduction. Jesse Kotton won YCS Sydney (January 7th), and YCS Vancouver (September 9th) using Ishizu Tearlaments and Unchained, respectively.

This Canadian player is considered by many the best competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! player of all time, and counts with 5 YCS titles throughout his "career": YCS London 2017; YCS Knoxville 2019; YCS San Jose 2022; YCS Sydney 2023 and YCS Vancouver 2023. Besides these, he has 1 UDS title (Panama City, 2019) and took part in four world championships, three times for the TCG title (2017, 2018 and 2019), and one for the Master Duel title (2023).

Apart from his titles, Jesse Kotton has broken several records in the Yu-Gi-Oh! competitive scene:

> Excluding National Championships, he won the most premier events, totaling 6;

> Among North-American players, he was the first player to reach 30 and 40 top rankings in main events, respectively. Additionaly, he holds the record for most top rankings since 2019, surpassing Adam Corn;

> He has played ten YCS finals in total, which is more than any other player;

> Between November 2022 and September 2023, he managed to win 3 YCS events in just 9 months and 14 days. No other player conquered this achievement this quickly;

> He is the only player who won YCS events in four different regions featuring the TCG (Europe, North America, Central America and Oceania).

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Jhon Guerrero

The next player on this list is the Ecuadorian player Jhon Guerrero, who won YCS Remote Duel Latin America (January 21st) and YCS Lima (March 11th) using different variants of the Spright: Bystial Spright and Adventurer Spright decks, respectively.

Jhon Guerrero stands out from other players in this list because he was the first player to conquer 2 YCS events this year, and was the only one to win using the same archetype as the decks' main engine both times. Apart from the YCS events, he was also National Champion of his own country in 2014.

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Steven Santoli

To finish this part of our list, we also have the Canadian player Steven Santoli, who won YCS Remote Duel North America (June 24th) and Indianapolis (October 21st) using Exosister and Sinful Spoils Rescue-ACE, respectively.

Steven Santoli stands out among the other players in this section covering 2-time YCS champions in 2023 because he was the only one to win a YCS using an off meta deck at the time, Exosister. Besides, around two weeks after winning his first YCS, he qualified for the World Championship through the World Qualifying Points Playoff in WCQ North America, playing the same deck.

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One Time YCS Champions

> Chris LeBlanc - YCS Lyon (February 10th).

> Cristian Urena; Arnold Nadaban; Walter Jule - YCS Team Mexico City (February 11th).

> Stephen Silverman; Dominic Couch; Alex Cancell - YCS Team Las Vegas (February 18th).

> Samir Bachar - YCS London (April 1st).

> Esteban Velasquez - YCS Bogota (April 1st).

> Paulie Aronson - YCS Los Angeles (April 1st.

> Eddie Alba - YCS Santiago (May 20th).

> Denis Nadas - YCS Philadelphia (May 27th).

> Ruben Penaranda; Kamal Crooks; Pak Pamornsut - YCS Team São Paulo (September 2nd).

> Andree Chavez Curioso - YCS Cancun (September 16th).

> Julie Schwarzkopf - YCS Dortmund (September 29th).

> Michel Veríssimo - YCS Santa Cruz de la Sierra (October 28th).

> Joseph Bellafiore - YCS Richmond (November 4th).

> Joshua Schmidt - YCS Bologna (December 8th).

Decks that Won YCS Events in 2023

Kashtira

Kashtira was Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG's main deck for most of 2023, and, to confirm how much of a favorite it was, it became the deck with the highest number of YCS events won this year, reaching first place 7 times and conquering 5 titles.

> YCS Team Las Vegas (February 18th) - All three players used Kashtira.

> YCS Bogota (April 1st).

> YCS Los Angeles (April 1st).

> YCS Santiago (May 20th).

> YCS Philadelphia (May 27th).

Ishizu Tearlaments

The second spot goes to the ex-tier 0 Ishizu Tearlaments, which, even though it is a 2022 deck, kept itself at the top of the metagame until the first half of February 2023, when it conquered first place in tournaments 5 times and conquered 3 YCS titles.

> YCS Sydney (January 7th).

> YCS Lyon (February 10th).

> YCS Team Mexico City (February 11th) - All three players used Ishizu Tearlaments.

Spright & Unchained

Still conquering 3 YCS titles this year, we have Spright and Unchained with a tie. However, Unchained has the advantage somewhat, considering it only reached the metagame from 2023's second semester onward, whereas Spright has existed since 2022. Additionally, each Spright title was conquered with a different variant of this deck.

> Bystial Spright: YCS Remote Duel Latin America (January 21st).

> Adventurer Spright: YCS Lima (March 11th).

> Melffy Spright: YCS London (April 1st).

> Unchained: YCS Team São Paulo (September 2nd).

> Unchained: YCS Vancouver (September 9th).

> Unchained: YCS Richmond (November 4th).

Sinful Spoils Rescue-ACE & Sinful Spoils Mikanko

We're now discussing decks that conquered only one YCS title in 2023. Rescue-ACE and Mikanko stand out in this section because they use the newest engine the metagame can offer: Sinful Spoils. Even though they use the same engine to support their strategies, these decks work quite different from one another, something that showcases the versatility of Sinful Spoils as an engine.

> Sinful Spoils Rescue-ACE: YCS Indianapolis (October 21st).

> Sinful Spoils Mikanko: YCS Santa Cruz de la Sierra (October 28th).

Bystial Dragon Link & Runick Bystial

Another engine that significantly stood out throughout the year was Bystials, which at first were heavily used as handtraps against Tearlaments, but they are critical in Bystial Dragon Link and Runick Bystial. In these decks, they are essential for their strategies and have guaranteed 1 YCS title each this year.

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> Bystial Dragon Link: YCS Team São Paulo (September 2nd).

> Runick Bystial: YCS Bologna (December 8th).

Exosister, Purrely, Floowandereeze & Rikka Sunavalon

To finish, we have Exosister, Purrely, Floowandereeze and Rikka Sunavalon among the YCS winners in 2023.

> Exosister: YCS Remote Duel North America (June 24th).

> Purrely: YCS Team São Paulo (September 2nd).

> Floowandereeze: YCS Cancun (September 16th).

> Rikka Sunavalon: YCS Dortmund (September 29th).

YCS Champions in 2023 - Players and Decks

Check out below the complete list of players and decks that won YCS events in 2023:

> YCS Sydney (January 7th) Jesse Kotton - Ishizu Tearlaments.

> YCS Remote Duel Latin America (January 21st) Jhon Guerrero - Bystial Spright.

> YCS Lyon (February 10th) Chris LeBlanc - Ishizu Tearlaments.

> YCS Team Mexico City (February 11th) Cristian Urena; Arnold Nadaban; Walter Jule - Ishizu Tearlaments 3x.

> YCS Team Las Vegas (February 18th) Stephen Silverman; Dominic Couch; Alex Cancell - Kashtira 3x.

> YCS Lima (March 11th) Jhon Guerrero - Adventurer Spright.

> YCS London (April 1st) Samir Bachar - Melffy Spright.

> YCS Bogota (April 1st) Esteban Velasquez - Kashtira.

> YCS Los Angeles (April 1st) Paulie Aronson - Kashtira.

> YCS Santiago (May 20th) Eddie Alba - Kashtira.

> YCS Philadelphia (May 27th) Denis Nadas - Kashtira.

> YCS Remote Duel North America (June 24th) Steven Santoli - Exosister.

> YCS Team São Paulo (September 2nd) Ruben Penaranda - Bystial Dragon Link; Kamal Crooks - Purrely; Pak Pamornsut - Unchained.

> YCS Vancouver (September 9th) Jesse Kotton - Unchained.

> YCS Cancun (September 16th) Andree Chavez Curioso - Floowandereeze.

> YCS Dortmund (September 29th) Julius Schwarzkopf - Rikka Sunavalon.

> YCS Indianapolis (October 21st) Steven Santoli - Sinful Spoils Rescue-ACE.

> YCS Santa Cruz de la Sierra (October 28th) Michel Veríssimo - Sinful Spoils Mikanko.

> YCS Richmond (November 4th) Joseph Bellafiore - Unchained.

> YCS Bologna (December 8th) Joshua Schmidt - Runick Bystial.

Final Words

So, what did you think of the 2023 YCS champions? Which deck will be the greatest champion of 2024? Tell us in the comment section.

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