As I was preparing for my first big regional of the season, I wanted to get a more definite sense of the current meta. My intuition told me this was still a dragon ruler game, but I wanted numbers! To that end, I read through 16 regional reports posted on Pojo. The regionals mentioned varied from 96 to over 1,000 doolists. All the reports were from players that topped.
Using these reports, I recorded the number of decks mentioned and summed them up. I made no attempt to weight the deck rankings based on performance. For example, I did not give higher numbers to decks that were mentioned at the top tables. Granted, this is not a scientific sampling. Still, I think these reports represent players’ experience. If nothing else, it shows what a daunting task side-decking can be.
As you can see in the figure, dragon variants remain the most common. If you add dragunities to this group, you will account for nearly a quarter of the decks. Personally, my approach to playing against both is pretty similar, at least for side deck purposes.
Once you get past dragons, it’s really diverse. There are a total of 29 decks in this list and 17 of them are listed more than once. The "Doublets" in this chart include Inzectors, Agents, Infernities, Chain Burn, and Geargia; the "Singletons" include Fire Kings, Psychics, Heros, Malefics, and Frog Monarchs. There is a fairly even distribution of Constellars, Blackwings, Spellbooks, Prophecy, and Mermails between 7 and 8% each.
What to do? First of all, I would not go out of my way to side cards for decks that cause real problems but are ones that you are not likely to see. For example, Spiritualism is a great card for Infernities and my matchup against them is pretty poor. However, it makes little sense to put this card in when it does little against everyone else. Second, you have to shake off losses to some of these random decks. You can top most regionals with 2 losses. Just make sure you win the ones you should win.
As for me, I’m going with the following side deck:
Genex Duradark x 1 Evilswarms, Blackwings, Darkworlds
Ally of Justice Core Destroyer x 1 Agents, Bujins, Constellars
Vanity’s Fiend x 2 Mermails, Dragons, spam happy decks
Effect Veiler x 3 Firefists, Machine based
MST x 2 Field card decks, Skill Drain, etc
Debunk x 2 Blackwings, Bujins, Mermails, Dragons
Rivalry x 2 Constellars, Madolches
Gozen Match x 2 Dragons, Prophecy
I’ll let you know how it goes.
PS: I did some more testing with GeargiaGear. Yes its intoxicating and at 2 it works fairly well. I will give the full deck list after Sunday's regional.