Rahul Pandya here this week bringing you an article on decks that are a competitive against the Meta, and can be played to great success. For those who do not like to play Meta, this is good to know because it helps you make educated decisions about what to play. These decks are often cheaper than the Meta decks as well, so they can be a better fit for you budget players out there. I feel that knowing what decks can be competitive that are not meta, can help you make educated deck decisions for events, and can help those of you who play meta, make sure that you are not caught off guard if you play against one of them. This can help you decide what to side, and to ensure that you can be more prepared for events. A lot of the decks, that I am going to discuss, lost appeal when the big three came out, Shaddoll, Satellarknight, and Burning Abyss, because people thought they were slower. However, these decks can still compete, and have seen moderate success. With a basic knowledge of what the decks do and how they play you should be more comfortable when you see them..
The first deck that I want to discuss is Geargia, which is one of the most dominant decks in previous formats. The deck’s ability to grind to advantage, by using Geargiarmor to search the deck while protecting it with trap cards, has been very good to this point. However, the deck also used special summoning multiple times a turn to help them maintain advantage. The deck, however, struggled in the Shaddoll matchup when Shaddolls first came out, because of the summoning restriction that El-Shaddoll Winda places on the game-state. Recently, Geargia have been playing Artifact Sanctum and Artifact Moralltach to help them clear problem cards and in an attempt to make sure they are able to maintain the advantage they need to win. Geargia are a good call because they can play almost every major floodgate while not sacrificing part of their game plan. The most competitive Geargia decks have always had cards in the main deck to combat the Meta, in Dragon Ruler format they used Gozen Match and Imperial Iron Wall to combat the Dragon Rulers. The deck right now, needs to have cards to combat Shaddolls and Burning Abyss, as those are the two best decks right now. Geargia needs to main Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror and Soul Drain in an attempt to slow these decks down and to ensure that the Geargia deck can maintain advantage through the game. Shaddoll effects activate both in grave and on field so Shadow Mirror and Soul Drain help Geargia make sure that they are the only deck generating advantage. Shadow Mirror is especially important in this matchup as when you control an XYZ monster, Shaddoll Fusion allows fusion summoning from the deck, which will trigger the Shaddoll monster effects. Soul Drain is better against Burning Abyss, because you can shut down their ability to grind the game out. Geargia is a relatively cheap deck, and has a structure deck coming out soon, so it is perfect for budget players.
Madolche are one of the scariest decks to play against because of the deck’s explosive power and its ability to grind. Madolche have the ability to one turn kill their opponent, and have the ability to put a lot of damage on board without using too many cards, or sacrificing their advantage. Madolches have the ability to spam the field by special summoning from their deck many times in a turn, and have the unique mechanic of being shuffled back into the deck when they are destroyed by an opponent’s card. This helps the deck’s grind game, because Madolche Ticket allows the deck to search every time you shuffle a Madolche back into your deck. The deck, however, suffers from the same weaknesses as Geargia, in that El Shaddoll Winda shuts down the deck, because of its summoning restriction. This deck has adapted well to the new format, however, because the deck has a strong turn one, and because after the core of the deck, there is a lot of room for other cards. This deck, unlike Geargia, cannot play most of the floodgates out there, as the deck is reliant on its cards going to the graveyard in order to send them back into the deck. I feel that this deck is very strong going forward because of its ability to strike quickly and its ability to strike hard. The best XYZ that the deck can play, which is Madolche Queen Tiaramisu is very good against most decks out there, because it returns cards to the deck without targeting them. This stops both Burning Abyss and Shaddoll decks from getting effects from being sent oto grave which is important. Learning to play this deck is not difficult, you just have to memorize the loop, and when you do, the deck is very strong and potent.
Sylvan is another deck that has extreme potency, and the ability to have strong pushes and the ability to make a very strong field on the first turn. Since on the newest forbidden list Soul Charge became limited it greatly reduced the power of the deck, as the deck is no longer able to consistently create an unbreakable field on the first turn, however the decks ability to grind has gotten better. Using cards like Solar Super Nutrient, Sylvans can ensure they can see one of the key cogs in their combination of cards, Lonefire Blossom. Instead of playing to using Soul Charge, the deck has become more focused on making plays using Miracle Fertilizer, in order to maintain the advantage that it builds. Glow-up Bulb returning to the game also helps this deck because it makes the deck more open to Synchro Summons. This allows the deck to use another mechanic to try and control the game, rather than just using the power of XYZ summoning. It also makes Blaster, Dragon Ruler of Infernos, stronger in this deck because of the free summon of a level 7 monster that you can use to synchro summon level 8’s when you use Bulb’s effect. I think this deck is much weaker than it once was because of the hit to Soul Charge lowered the deck’s turn one potential. While it still has the ability to explode it needs to adapt to the new format in order to continue to stay relevant.
Fire Fist, is a deck that will see a lot more play now that Coach Soldier Wolfbark is unlimited again. This allows the Plus One variant to make a comeback, and it will be competitive. The drawbacks to this deck is that it is too slow to keep up with the Meta decks because it is heavily reliant on normal summoning every turn, and if you disrupt the normal summon, the deck loses the advantage that it gains. Currently, with all of the monsters the deck plays effects not happening on summon, if you do something to stop the normal summon, the deck flounders until they can draw another monster, or a card to prevent you from interrupting their play. This deck’s strengths far outweigh its weakness. The deck can play almost every single floodgate without hurting itself too much. This is very good because it means it can be used to stop almost every deck while causing minimal damage to itself which is important. Another strength is that Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Bear and Forbidden Lance are together one of the stronger combinations of cards in the game. The two cards together can take care of almost every problem monster that exists, as long as the monster is 2400 attack or less. This allows you to use Bear’s effect to search your deck for a Fire Formation spell card.
The other variant of the deck, 3.5 axis, is much more explosive but far less consistent. The deck plays to make big plays, but is easily interrupted, and if you do, the deck implodes. It does not use Bear to continually grind for advantage, it uses Brotherhood of the Fire Fist – Spirit to synchro, and attempt to control the game by summoning big monsters that your opponent cannot respond to. This is not as strong as it once was, as using this strategy allows Shaddolls fuse directly from the deck, and their monsters are bigger than yours.
I feel that the Plus One variant is stronger because it continually grinds and attempts to maintain advantage throughout the game. This deck will be a definite contender and is relatively cheap as most of the cards in the deck have been reprinted.
The last major deck I wanted to talk about is Bujin. This deck is never bad because of its “protect the castle strategy”. What this means is that the deck lives and dies by its ability to protect Bujin Yamato. As the main searcher of the deck, Yamato is the most important part of a Bujin player’s strategy. The deck is good because it has the ability to play cards that limit the amount of moves the opponent can make, while not hurting itself. It can play one of the biggest control cards that has risen to prominence recently, Kaiser Colosseum. Kaiser allows this deck to maintain control of the game-state, while continually gaining advantage by resolving Yamato. Bujin also has Bujincarnation as one of the best comeback cards in the game. Bujincarnation allows Bujins to recycle their banished monsters and allows them to continue grinding for advantage. The drawbacks to this deck, is that it will be hurt by association. The deck relies on graveyard effects, the best three floodgates in the game, Soul Drain, Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos, all hurt the deck, and most decks that do not rely on graveyard effects are playing them to combat Shaddolls and Burning Abyss. The other card that really hurts the deck is Light-Imprisoning Mirror, as all of the Bujin monsters are light monsters, and this card also stops their graveyard effects. I feel this deck is strong, but will be hurt by association, and struggles to play out of bad situations if it does not see Yamato. Any deck that can play Kaiser Colosseum and Royal Decree will be strong because of the restrictions it puts on your opponent.
I have decided to play Geargia, because of its ability to adapt to the change in formats. The ability to main floodgates and to continuously maintain advantage is the reason why I have decided to play this deck. The decision on what to play should be easier now that the decks have been broken down. Good Luck in your deck decision and remember to play hard.