House O’ Champions Jonathan Moore here to discuss the common theme that seems to plague many of the semi casual and semi competitive and even top level competitive players. When is it time to invest actual money into a deck? From cards that are needed to round out the deck to deciding when it’s time to drop the money on the whole of a deck, this is often the struggle people go through. Decks never seem to remain competitive long enough for the money they are worth, and the meta seems to be ever changing. The thing is, even in a dry local area, thanks to the internet and sites like hotsaucegames.com, you’re able to obtain almost any deck for a price that cost a net of about $500 or less. Also, it’s not like if the deck’s value goes down that it goes down fast. It’s usually gradual, and if you’re looking to the next format, you can trade pieces or all of it off to get the new cards. Unlike pasts points in the game, this is pretty reasonable. Shaddolls, Burning Abyss, and Satellars can all be mostly obtained for a full list for around $500. The upcoming Qliphoth archetype is likely to be more expensive, with cards announced super, ultra, and secret, as well as a twenty five dollar rare in the card Summoner’s Art, very similar to the situation of how Vanity’s Emptiness is. I saw many people at YCS Dallas playing either two or less copies of Vanity’s Emptiness either due to fear of the coming reprint and not being able to hold on due to the risk, or the unwillingness to invest the ninety extra dollars into three common cards. The thing is, it’s not about cost when it comes to competition. Look at the whole rest of your deck, and then look at the cost of three copies of Vanity’s Emptiness. Sure, this may seem daunting, but if you come to play, there’s a price to pay.
You have to accept that yu-gi-oh decks, until you get it how you like it, have the ability to brick. I had made a 42 card Burning Abyss deck that would brick about one out of maybe ten games, which I was fine with. Billy Brake’s 60 card control (which is very very expensive. The current market price for reference is about $760) bricked only one hand for him out of the entier tournament! Most Shaddoll builds can avoid brickings, and with excessive backrows, Satellarknights tend to enjoy avoiding bricked games too. After losing to a Satellar Burn, I’ve been testing it on dueling network and trying to tweak to a build that I like, that doesn’t brick as much. The thing is, we’ve got some talking to do about this. Dueling network is an AMAZING tool for deciding what you like the feel the most of, but not for deciding your actual build you’ll be playing or for deciding what would do well in the real world. Many of your ranked matches on dueling network are going to be fought against uncommon decks. I recently beat a top 10 player on DN who was using Spellbooks. I’m very often fighting other people trying to find their builds, which are decks among choices such as Stun, Fire Kings, Fire Fist, Spellbooks, Mermail (rarely), Evilswarms, Watts (seriously, one of the top 10 guys beat me with it), and Constellars. I keep seeming to fight high ranked Constellar decks abusing Fire Formation Tenki and going into an early Constellar Pleiades. The thing is, not only does this not happen to me EVER at locals, regionals, or YCS’s, but I always seem to deal with the situation easy. It’s going to be different than if Artifacts do it to me, because they clear the board and establish a different board before doing into a rank 5 XYZ. I face a Shaddoll deck here and there, and see many amazing original ideas, but it isn’t good real world matchup knowledge. There are multiple reasons that it is good, though.
A) You get to see some really amazing original ideas
You get to see decks you’d not normally see, in competitive ways. Decks such as Watts seem whack, but the thing is, in a backrow heavy slow format, they fit right in. Thunder Sea Horse gives appropriate power to gain advantage going first or second, and the deck doesn’t really care about much else happening besides Shaddoll Dragon since they don’t special summon. You also gain valued matchup knowledge in the rare case you do run into one of these in a competitive scene or local.
B) You can see real brick-ratios
This is big. Before investing those $$$ into real cardboard blindly by seeing others do good at an event with a deck, you can test hands, scenarios, and tweak things to your own preference before sinking in the big bucks. It’s one thing to know that the top three decks are the top three, but it’s another to sink in money with another set upcoming and without knowing specific tech or cards you might want to use inside them
C) Learn yo’ combo. Show yo’ moves!
Often playing on DN, I find a move or two I didn’t know about, or come to learn things I didn’t know just from watching others play the deck. I also see from mirror matches and random matchups how to go into other things, and what I might need to do in situations I hadn’t expected. For example, thanks to extensive testing, I actually sided a copy of Temtempo the Percussion Djinn for Burning Abyss and Satellars and mained a copy of Mechquipped Angineer for the Shaddoll matchup to tribute for monarchs. You also learn the basic combos down to perfection. For instance, if I have a Tour Guide from the Underworld and a Cir in hand, I use Tour Guide‘s effect to get Graff, make Dante and pitch said Graff, use Graff to get Scarm, special Cir from hand, and make another Dante to pitch the Scarm to get his effect end phase. From two cards, to two XYZ’s with an end phase search and a Cir behind a Dante (the best one to have), but depending on which one you started with in hand you can still get two rank 3 XYZ’s out as long as you have a TGU and Scarm or Cir thanks to Graff.
So when is it time to take the leap? Don’t do it just because the big event is coming. You probably won’t do to well in the event to be honest. It’s very rare you can get everything exactly the way you want right before an event in a cost effective manner and be happy with it. You have to take the leap knowing two things. You’re happy with your deck and it suits your playstyle. All three decks are about resource management and poking rather than large pushes. With both Super Polymerization and Soul Charge to one each, Shadolls and Satellars lost push power. Thus it becomes about managing the 3 Shaddoll Fusions and use of Shaddoll Falco in Shaddolls, and the use of your Altairs in Satellars. However, Tellarknights get three copies of Call of the Haunted, Daigusto Emeral, and Soul Charge, so it more so becomes about managing that extra deck space and what’s left in there. Not everyone is good at resource management, but that’s the competitive game we currently play. You can play an alternate win condition such as Exodia or Burn, but with Trap Stun and Effect Veiler rampant in people’s main decks, the answers are already there for your rouge strategies in the main decks of competition. Realistically, you want to have fun at the game, but for most people having fun is winning.
My dark horse for YCS Dallas, and another deck rampant and doing good on Dueling Network is Fire Kings. A good friend of mine from North Texas, Brendan Perry, piloted the deck and went very far, having a chance to top cut in day 2 but fell short of the goal. While this deck is even more vulnerable to Vanity’s Emptiness than the main three decks, it’s summonable monsters are relatively strong on their own and get even stronger from Fire Formation Tenki. Then on top of it, they got extra help from Wolfbark becoming unlimited. I also think antimeta decks are a lot better now, but Tellarknights make it harder on these decks to cover the spread of Burning Abyss and Shaddolls.
Again, I want to stress. Online testing isn’t the do all, end all. It’s just a measuring stick into the oil tank of your deck. That’s literally what I would compare it to. It isn’t anything to what your deck actually does, feels like, or can do. While it can tell you specs on one thing, getting out in the real world, testing with friends, and viewing things with the actual cards in your hands versus other top tier decks in your local area and at WCQ/YCS/ARG events is the only way to truly test the metal. You don’t get an end phase button for Scarm in real life. You have to spread out your graveyard instead of clicking a button. You have to thumb through your deck and remember what’s in it instead of seeing it all on the screen at once when selecting options for Squamata or Tour Guide or Deneb. Even if the answer is the same most of the time, you’ve got a lot more work to do playing in person, and if you find yourself wondering why your deck doesn’t do as good as it does online, remember the matchups in person VS online, and see if the problem is yourself and not your deck! Many people find themselves above this being any possible answer, but often it is the answer. It was the answer for myself at YCS Dallas, and I’m going to do my best to make sure that isn’t the answer at ARG Dallas or YCS Anahime if I go!
Questions, comments, and concerns are always more than welcome! I want to learn just as much from my readers as they learn from me!