Yu-Gi-Oh! is unique compared to most other big TCGs because it allows cards dating all the way back to the game’s launch in 1999 to be used in current-day decks. Those older cards don’t always make the biggest impact on the meta, but it does allow for surprising moments like seeing Exodia the Forbidden One win four straight matches at a massive event.
At Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series (YCS) Indianapolis, the field was full of Sinful Spoils Rescue-ACE, Labyrinth, Purely, and other top deck representations.
And, while Sinful Spoils Rescue-ACE player Steven Santoli won it all at the first Age of Overlord-legal event, one of the 1,957 players shattered the ancient seal and won viewers’ hearts with an incredible FTK in the opening rounds.
Jeffrey Leonard isn’t the biggest name in Yu-Gi-Oh! but is an icon in the competitive community because he famously started playing the TGC with his son and topping events playing Mystic Mine at the peak of its powers. The backstory behind his Yu-Gi-Oh! entry has become a meme of its own, but he has made a lasting impression by continuing to compete and occasional appearances on YouTube and Twitch content.
In the opening rounds of YCS Indianapolis, he started an entirely new meme by beating one of the best decks in the game with Exodia Pendulum FTK.
The Tearlaments list piloted by Justin Singh was formidable, but Leonard was able to build out the necessary Pendulum Scales and other resources to search for multiple pieces of Exodia in a single turn.
This was done by looping and linking off Blue Dragon Summoner’s non-once-per-turn effect to add a Dark Spellcaster from Deck to Hand when it is sent to the Graveyard.
Not only did Leonard perform this FTK on-stream during a featured match in the tournament, placing all five pieces of Exodia in their proper place on his playmat to take the Yu-Gi-Oh! victory and make the crowd explode with cheers TWICE, but that win also gave him a perfect 4-0 record to start his event run.
Fans quickly crowned Leonard the King of Games while using him as the perfect example of why anyone can learn to play competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! at its highest level.
Despite the hype, Leonard’s hybrid Exodia strategy would not carry him much further and he ended up finishing in 591st place after Swiss Rounds following that incredible start. His son, Jason Leonard, placed 385th at the event.