Friday, August 30, 2013

Sifting for Side Deck Gold

How many times have you heard a duelist mutter, “Damn, I didn’t draw any of my side deck cards!”? You may have sided some killer cards; but, if you can’t get to them, they’re useless. However, King of the Feral Imps and Gear Gigant X give you instant access to nearly 400 cards.  So is there side deck gold in that 400 card mountain?  I read through all of them and present the 13 best cards.  You can thank me later for keeping 387 away from you.

King of the Feral Imps
King puts his brother Gear Gigant to shame in the accessibility department.  He’s cheap both to summon and to obtain.  Any deck can make him and any doolist can pick him up.  He has access to 117 monsters providing he dodges Fiendish Chains and Effect Veilers.  So simple, so easy … and yet so worthless. Of the 117, only 99 are effect monsters.  Only two make passing grades.

Reptilianne Vaskii: 2600/0 dark, level 8C+
 This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card cannot be Special Summoned except by Tributing 2 face-up monsters with 0 ATK from anywhere on the field. Once per turn, you can select and destroy 1 face-up monster your opponent controls. There can only be 1 face-up "Reptilianne Vaskii" on the field
This card came to my attention during the height of the E dragon spamfest.  It’s an appealing counter to Draccosack tokens.  The problem is good players can maneuver around the card.  They are very unlikely to leave a couple of tokens lying about so you can summon this monster.  The card may redeem itself in the present format since playing around Scapegoat and Dandylion tokens may be tougher.  They may be somewhat hesitant to activate those cards and Reptilianne could disrupt their play style just enough to give you some advantage.I suspect that scenario is more likely with Scapegoat than Dandylion.

Overlay Eater: 300/800 light, level 2D+
You can banish this card from your Graveyard; take 1 Xyz Material from a monster your opponent controls and attach it to an Xyz Monster you control as Xyz Material
So you can use your precious search to add this card to your hand.  Let’s face it, unless you are totally dominating the game, you only get one search from these cards.  Then, you have to get this card to the graveyard and have an XYZ  monster.  If you do all this, you won’t get to control or destroy your opponent’s monster; you will only get to take material.  In a Synchro meta, this card is only slightly better than sucks.  The only reason I included him is to point out the other 97 are worse … and I did read them all. 

Gear Gigant X
Gear Gigant is much more restricted in that his summon requires machine materials.  He also costs more though reprints should make him more affordable.  He has access to 282 monsters, of which 249 are effect monsters.  Though there is a better selection of machine types then reptiles, most are not worth talking about.  

All of the Ally of Justice monsters were designed for one purpose ... destroy light monsters. Its an odd archetype.  Have you ever met an eccentric acquaintance whose entire life seems to revolve around a single conspiracy theory?  (We've NEVER been to the moon  ... that's what I say!)  The A of J monsters are kinda like that.  Still, Agents may have a real presence in the next several months and people will be playing Bujins.  So these cards are side deck worthy. 

Ally of Justice Core Destroyer: 1200/200, dark, level 3 ... A
If this card attacks or is attacked by a LIGHT monster, destroy that monster at the start of the Damage Step (without damage calculation)
 I love this card against Bujins.  It doesn't target and resolves before the damage calculation.  Yamato has no out.  It also gets in work against ZW monsters, though this deck is too inconsistent to be in the top tiers.  

Ally of Justice Cycle Reader: 1000/300, tuner, dark, level 3B-
During either player's turn, you can discard this card to select and remove from play up to 2 LIGHT monsters from your opponent's Graveyard.
Say good bye to turtle Bujin players.  The card can also cause problems for Agents though Kristya is not seeing as much play.  I've used it against Lightsworns but I don't expect to see that deck in the next several months.

Ally of Justice Quarantine: 1700/1200, dark, level 4 C-
Neither player can Special Summon LIGHT monsters

Ally Salvo: 400/300, dark, level 2C-
When this card is destroyed by battle with a LIGHT monster and sent to the Graveyard, select 2 cards on the field and destroy them.

Genex Ally Duradark: 1800/200, dark, level 4A-
Once per turn, during your Main Phase, you can select 1 face-up Attack Position monster your opponent controls with the same Attribute as this card, and destroy it. This card cannot attack the turn you activate this effect.
Duradark has been my answer to Ophion.  Of course, when my opponent sees me add it to my hand, he may play Forbidden Dress.  Key Beetle also makes him a little less playable.  Still, with the return of blackwings, he's worth a spot or two.  One advantage to this strategy is that I don't have to side in triplicates.  Given the diversity of the meta, efficiency in side decking is a real plus.  
Kinetic Soldier: 1350/1800, earth, level 3B+
During damage calculation, if this card battles a Warrior-Type monster: This card gains 2000 ATK and DEF during damage calculation only.
Kinetic Soldier has always been close by given the number of Samurai players I face.  I will also side him in against Heroes but its not a great choice.  I suppose he may raise in popularity if Noble Knights get more support.  However, their equip mechanic is too slow to ever be a real threat.

The Meklord cards are special summoned when one of your monsters is destroyed by card effect and sent to the graveyard.  The limits on Dimensional Cosmos and Compulsory make their summon more likely. The problem is that your opponent will know you have it and will likely resort to simply beating your monsters by battle.  Still, he will probably be a bit more hesitant to activate Mirror Force knowing that Wisel is on the way.  These cards get somewhat of a boast in the Synchro age.  I would consider them if they offer some other form of synergy to your deck.  For example, they all can be pitched to help summon Machina Fortress. 

Meklord Emperor Granel: 0/0 earth, level 1C
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card cannot be Special Summoned except by its own effect. When a face-up monster you control is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard, you can Special Summon this card from your hand. This card gains ATK and DEF equal to half of your Life Points. Once per turn, you can select 1 Synchro Monster your opponent controls and equip it to this card. This card gains ATK equal to those equipped monsters’ combined ATK. During your Main Phase, you can select 1 of those equipped monsters, and Special Summon it to your side of the field in face-up Defense Position
Granel is the weakest of the three Meklords because it leaves you very vulnerable in the event it gets targeted by Fiendish Chain.  Granel does allow you to steal a synchro monster, but the mechanic is slow. 

Meklord Emperor Skiel: 2200/2200, wind, level 1 B
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card cannot be Special Summoned except by its own effect. When a face-up monster you control is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard, you can Special Summon this card from your hand. Other monsters you control cannot declare an attack. Once per turn, you can select 1 Synchro Monster your opponent controls, and equip it to this card. This card gains ATK equal to those equipped monsters' combined ATK. You can send 1 monster equipped to this card to the Graveyard to allow this card to attack your opponent directly this turn.

 Meklord Emperor Wisel: 2500/2500, dark, level 1B
Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned by its own effect, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. When a face-up monster you control is destroyed by a card effect and sent to the Graveyard: You can Special Summon this card from your hand. Other monsters you control cannot declare an attack. Once per turn: You can target 1 face-up Synchro Monster your opponent controls; equip that target to this card. This card gains ATK equal to those equipped monsters' combined ATK. Once per turn, during either player's turn, when an opponent's Spell Card is activated: You can negate the activation, and if you do, destroy it.
Both Skiel and Wisel have a “other monsters cannot declare an attack” clause.  This limits their playability.  I have favored Wisel over Skiel because of the slightly higher attack points and his ability to negate spells.  However, Skiel fits nicely into wind based machine decks like Mecha Phantom Beasts.  Direct attacks are a nice bonus.

 Starship Spy Plane: 1100/500, wind level 4D+
If your opponent controls a Xyz Monster, you can Special Summon this card (from your hand). When this card is Special Summoned from the hand: You can target 1 Spell/Trap Card your opponent controls; return that target to the hand.
Like Overlay Eater, I am including this card so you can get some idea of how bad the other 271 machine cards are.  Returning a spell or trap is only of marginal benefit.  The card would be a bit stronger if you could return any spell or trap and thus enable Safe Zone plays.  If the card was a tuner, it would deserve some play.  But alas, its only real purpose is to fill packs. 

Swift Scarecrow: 0/0, earth, level 1 A-
When your opponent's monster declares a direct attack: You can discard this card; negate that attack, then end the Battle Phase (this is a Quick Effect).
Swift Scarecrow is an excellent card. In fact, I main it in several machine based decks. However, I don’t like it as a Geargigant X target.  Searching for this card smells like desperation.  I suppose you could try to bluff your opponent into overextending and reap some real rewards.  For example, if you had a mirror force set, searched for Scarecrow, began sweating profusely, and mumbled something about playing Vanguard, you could wipe out the opposing monsters and retaliate by summoning fortress.  Congratulations Mr. Brando – you just won a Yugioh Duel.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Zombies: They're Baack!

One reason the banned … uh … forbidden and limited list … is so intriguing is its potential to resurrect long lost archetypes.  Infernities, Blackwings, and maybe even X-sabers appear poised to return to the big stage.   Of course, not all doolists react with the same nostalgia.  Some of us may be having flashbacks.  My first FTK and OTK in the same duel came to the hands of an Infernity player. Blackwings also stick in my caw since I entered the game when they were still a tier one deck. 

Zombies, on the other hand, are like the love one experiences when thinking of the cookies your mom made for you.  It was my first deck and one that I always try to resurrect.  But now, thanks to Konami, there is a real chance.  Macro at one, D fissure at one, Soul drain at one.  Yessirree, it’s a zombie party!

Overcoming the Neg 1 Special Summon
The main problem facing zombie duelists is the “neg 1” special summon.  Zombie Master is a great card; he is, after all, the master.  However, when you use him to bring out a monster for synchro or XYZ summon, you are essentially replacing 2 cards for one monster.  If that monster gets hit, you’re bleeding card advantage.  Synchro summoning tends to be better if you can work in Goblin Zombie.  At least, you’ll get to search out a card.  Unfortunately, Konami ruled early on that sending XZY material to the grave did not activate GZ’s effect.  The ruling was probably aimed at Sangan, but everywhere Zombie Duelists got a bit teary.  As a result of these mechanics, Zombies have always been better at synchro summoning.  

Of course, Zombie decks do have some great cards.  Book of Life doesn’t completely make-up for the Neg 1 summon but adding three Monster Reborns to the deck is pretty good … and you can remove a card from your opponents graveyard.   Say good bye to Bujingi Turtle.  

So to all of the Yugioh duelists out there I say, “Zombies … we’re back from the dead and we’re pissed”

The Deck List
This is a very aggressive deck list.  The goal is to make level 8 synchro monsters as quickly as possible. This group of special summons monsters remains the best in the game.  To do so, we will take advantage of Destiny Hero Malicious or D’licious.  This monster easily summons another level 6 D’licious, which can be combined with Plague Spreader or Krebons.  This strategy requires getting him into the grave quickly before another copy is drawn.  In the past, duelists have relied on D Draw, but I don’t like it.  Using D Draw requires putting in more Heroes, which takes away from the strategy.  Instead, I would use Lavavalval Chain, Foolish Burial, and Zombiemaster.  Armageddon Knight is reasonable if you wanted to focus on more darks.  

There are not a lot of traps in this deck.  The beginning of the format should see a lot of people playing 3 MSTs.  I decided to give them fewer targets.  I am moving to hand traps, especially Swift Scarecrow, to buy a little time.  Zombies do take a little set up so be prepared to take some damage – but that is so zombie-like.  They beat you, cut you, and try to destroy you … and you keep coming back.  

I have included Creature Swap, which I think is the card of the format.  It doesn’t target and you have so many lovelies to give to your opponent.  In addition to Pyramid Turtle and Goblin Zombie, Malevolent Mech can burn them for 2400.  Burial from a Different Dimension not only allows you recycle Mezuki but it can stop your opponents Dark Armed Dragon play.

So here’s the list:

Zombie Master x 2
Goblin Zombie x 3
Malevolent Mech Goku En x 2
Mezuki x 2
Plaque Spreader x 2
Spirit Reaper x 1
Pyramid Turtle x 2
Krebons x 2

D’licious x 3
Swift Scare Crow x 3
Maxx C x 2
Redox x 1

Book of Life x 3
Burial from a Different Dimension x 1
E Tele x 2
Foolish Burial x 1
Dark Hole x 1
Creature Swap x 2
Lance x 3
Allure of Darkness x 1

Trap Stun x 3

This deck focuses on earths, which allows me to play Redox.  That is a great card for bringing back your synchro summons.  You can pitch it with Mezuki to bring out one monster and then remove Mezuki to bring out a second.  Nevertheless, there are several variations of this deck. You can use Effect Veilers and add another Malevolent Mech. Some will also add Dimensional Alchemist.  This will give you at least 6 lights to go along with your darks … and that means BLS time.  You can also drop the earth monsters and add more darks for your own Dark Armed plays. The decision is pretty reasonable because Pyramid Turtle is pretty slow and not one of my favorites. 

The extra deck should have a limited number of XYZ monsters.  Pearl and Ouroboros work well for Evilswarms.  Maestroke is a good chump blocker and possibly Black Ship to get rid of pesky monsters like Gachi Gachi.  Level 6 synchros remain fairly weak.  Orient dragon may make a comeback now that synchro summoning is back.  Hades is usually in the deck because he is a Book of Life Target.

The extra deck can be full of mischief.  MSTs will be needed because people will side in Shadow Imprisoning.  I will probably try Zombie World because it can causes havoc with decks that rely on type. I'll also side in Return from a Different Dimension since I suspect my opponents to try to remove may monsters.  DD Crow may see a comeback; Debunk will also be around.  But fear not ... those zombies just keep coming and coming and coming .... A hahaha.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Answers to questions about the 2013 Banlist

By now the initial shock of the banlist has passed.  Solemn Judgments, extra copies of Compulsory, and (*gasp*) Trishulas are making their way back into the binders.  A portion of us are salty that our $800 E dragon deck is wasted, while others are grateful that the Dracossack poundings may be a little less common.  Though there is no shortage of commentary, I thought I would add my thoughts and observations to the Blogosphere.  So here are the answers to the Yugioh communities most burning questions:

1. Who is helped by this ban list?
While this list affects all of us, there is one group that is truly its beneficiary: Yugioits!  Though many think the term yugioit is a combination of the term Yugioh and idiot, the actual derivation is from Yugioh and pundit. Pundits are the often self-appointed experts and spokesmen for some area of interest.  In the yugioh community, yugioits include bloggers and yugitubers.  This group is helped immensely by the radical change in the list and the policy of introducing new lists every three months.  Here’s the cycle

a.       Banlist predictions:  Predictions are usually good for two episodes.  The first is the What-the-banlist-should-be and the second is What-the-banlist-will-be.  Most yugioits need to comment on both because it gives the audience the impression that they know what is both good for the game and good for the corporation.  If there is a need for more content, they can also comment on the idiocy of someone else’s prediction.
b.      Reaction to fake banlists: That’s right – thanks to Konami we will be treated to twice as many photoshopped banlists.  You have been warned.
c.       Reaction to the OCG list:  For a while it seemed that we would have uniformity between OCG and TCG.  Ask all of this people who bought Trishula several weeks ago. Alas, our lists are once again quite different.  Nevertheless, the Yugioits were given fuel for their commentaries.
d.      Reaction to the TCG list: This is the part of the cycle that we currently find ourselves. 
e.      The reality of the TCG list: Pundits like to point out their correct predictions and often ignore the wrong one.  Yugioits are not really much different.  Hence, we don’t get as many of these submissions. But who cares? Everyone will get to do it again in two months. 

2. Who is hurt by the ban list?
Frequent banlists really hurt individual traders. Though Yugioh is a trading card game, most of us are not trying to gain any real value or income from trading. To those that are, I say beware!  Trading for value or income is a bad idea.  I should know; I traded mortgage-backed securities and I think Yugioh makes that market look like blue chip investing.  

To understand why trading for value is nuts, look at the bid-ask spread.  This is the difference in price that professional traders will buy (ask) and sell (bid) a security.  It’s their “take” for the transaction.  The more the value of the security changes, the greater the bid-ask spread is.  Traders use the term volatility for describe these changes in price.

Here is an example of some typical bid-ask spreads for some common stocks:

  • Google: 873.19 – 877.05  (0.44%‎)
  • McDonalds: 95.38 – 95.65 (0.28%)
  • Facebook: 38.56 – 38.8‎ (0.61%‎)

Here is an example of some typical bid-ask spreads for Yugioh cards 

  • Black Ship of Corn: 11.00 – 19.99 (45.0%)
  • Diamond Dire Wolf: 13.91 – 28.49 (51.1%)
  • Ally of Justice Catastor 5.25 – 20.38 (74.2%)

That’s right – the volatility in Yugioh cards is 100 times more than that seen in stocks.  Of course, this is a tongue-in-cheek analysis.  Still, my advice is don’t chase after high rarity cards. Your battle pack rare CardCar D gives you the same extra draw as the secret rare.  

I’ll give more answers to the burning questions at a later time.