E-Hero Gaia is small talk. Wait until we get Elemental Hero Absolute Zero (look him up, he's amazing) then you can have loads of fun. Elemental Hero Monster + 1 WATER monster. Effect is too good for the simple cost. I've made at least 3 or 4 deck variants with him. So good.
"I run a few things, but I'm mostly the deck builder. I build a deck, play with it, get bored, build another one. So nothing at the moment besides the main deck, which is Gigavise. Also have Empty Jar and Uria, building towards Gadgets soon."
This is the coolest and most relate-able yugioh thing I've read ever. Since this game came out, I've always been a tester. The process is the same. Get a cool idea for a combo/deck theme, find the cards to make it, make the Deck, play with it a little bit, watch it work one out of every nine times, dismantle it, and move on.
I've recently picked up a couple ideas for new decks, especially after reading the spoiler for Absolute Powerforce. Gravekeepers get some nice support, but I was outrageously excited to see freaking Umi getting support. I maindecked A Legendary Ocean for almost a year before picking up other things. So much fun. It's great to see them getting a push.
I've got you on the bit about friends and locals. I've strayed away from running anything really meta because all of my friends run them. I have a 2-time regional champ Lightsworn friend, a Gladiator Beast player, a Blackwing player, a Monarch player, and a cool Japan crossover running Junk and Debris.
Our locals are ridiculous. We go to three different locations and they vary in size. One has about 6~10 good people, one has about 10~20 total attendance. The most recent place we've been going to... god.. upwards of 50 people? At a LOCAL? Ridiculous.
Meta all around, with some random noobs tossed in for easy wins. xD
YGO is good stuff, it seems.