Making The Metacall: M.A.T.


What’s going on Duelists! I am back this week to talk about my past experience at YCS Toronto a couple of weeks ago and how to expand on what I have learned since. While this YCS was probably one of the most rushed and unplanned trips I had to work with in a long time, it was still very fun and exciting. Before I get into the article I would like to thank my friends Dave and Roche for motivating me to go to the event.

About a week before Toronto I was set on not attending the tournament. The format started to change with the “Top three decks” Satellaknights; Shaddolls and Burning-Abyss decks being released into the Meta and things seemed different from the format prior with Primal Origins being the newest set. While I felt like I could pilot burning-abyss or Satellaknights somewhat decently, I had to be honest with myself and thought I would not do well at Toronto since I would not have enough time to test and learn the complete ins and outs of all of the decks.

With school starting up I wanted to put Yu-gi-oh to the side and only wanted to go to Toronto if I knew I could top with a deck. So the Sunday before Toronto I was hanging out at my friend, John Roche’s, house. Usually Roche is known for his innovations to go against the Meta and try other decks that aren’t considered “tier one.” While some ideas have not held up to par there were ideas that had potential to be better and counter the Meta, and this time around I believed he hit a jackpot on his idea. Roche told me about a deck called M.A.T (Monarch. Artifact. Traptrix). At first glance I did not think that the artifact deck could not hold up against the Meta; however, after thinking about the idea more and more as everyone else was hanging out I felt like the deck could be a strong choice against the Meta and I felt confident enough to the point where I felt I could top with the deck. While I did not meet my goal, I lost on the bubble of the event and could have won the match if it were not for a silly mistake. Without further to do here was the decklist I decided to play at Toronto:
Monsters: 14

Magic: 13

Trap: 13

Extra: 15

Side:15

 

After seeing the deck I’m pretty sure 90% of the people reading this are going to think my statement above is crazy. It’s blatantly obvious that Satellaknights are one of the most consistent decks in the game, Shaddolls have stronger power cards like winda and are extremely aggressive, and burning-abyss play some of the strongest traps in the game and have a very great control game. Not to mention, this deck doesn’t look too different from a standard Artifact deck. How can Artifacts, a deck that solely relies on advantage and applying pressure, can keep up with three powerhouse decks? The answer is simple, the deck can apply pressure, and it can apply it very well. So just because the deck can apply pressure, does that automatically make it one of the top decks? In my eyes, even after Toronto, I would say no. My deck is in no shape way or form one of the top decks to play with; however, there were many factors that made it a good Meta call.

While I am a player who usually likes to play “mainstream” decks, I would say I learned how to make an effective Meta call from that week. Meta calls are only effective if you can find a deck that is unexpected and can go against the Meta effectively across the board. Most “meta call” decks usually can abuse a mechanic or condition that can apply to most of the decks that are being played. The best example was the Gravekeeper Deck that Sean McCabe innovated and Frazier piloted to win YCS Atlanta with. Plants and X-Sabers were the two top contenders that format and necrovalley was very powerful against both of them. If plants did not have a graveyard they were pretty much locked out of the game, and x-sabers plays were severely crippled. Not to mention they had access to Royal Tribute their opponents freely. The deck was for sure unexpected and had a deadly factor to them.

SatellarknightDeneb-DUEA-EN-UR-1EOne key factor that can be looked for in making a “meta call” is trends in the top decks. I wrote earlier that Artifacts were good solely because they were able to apply pressure to my opponent easily. While I was not playing that much towards the beginning of the Duelist Alliance era, I watched a lot of matches on Dueling Network and at my friends match. As I was watching I noticed a trend, which was all of the decks were very strong, but it took time to set up and get their momentum going. Whether it was Satellaknights getting a Deneb setup or Shadolls/burning abyss getting their power plays set up it seemed like the decks took turns and turns to set up. Since all of the decks were slower paced each deck allowed the other to get their setup and start to “play the game.” After YCS Toronto was over I was talking to Patrick Hoban about Toronto and I mentioned to him the exact theory about applying early pressure and he thought I was on point with the theory, and as you guys can tell from his build, he took the same exact theory, but took it in a different direction. While this theory was on point, there will be many times down the road and in the past where the idea will be scraped, do not get discouraged though if you do not like playing the meta or want to try to defy it, the key to this problem is trial and error until you hit jackpot with your idea.

Once you have a hypothesis about the trend of the decks, the next question is what card/combination of cards can be used to abuse the Meta with? As you noticed in the build I played 3 Monarchs Stormforth and 2 Caius The Shadow Monarch in the main deck with 2 Majesty’s fiend 2 Mobius the Frost Monarch and 1 Soul Exchange in the side. For this particular tournament I believed that Monarchs would be the key to my victory. The monarch cards go along with the theory of “applying pressure” to my opponent and can very easily simplify the game state, clear major threats like burning abyss monsters and Shaddoll fusion monsters. On top of that they have 2400 attack, which is tricky to deal with at that particular point in the format. Mobius the Frost Monarch held a lot of value that weekend because another “trend” I found was that Satellaknights and Burning Abyss were only good if they can maintain control of the field with their back rows, and without them their deck should be inferior to mine. Between that and Full House I was able to clear back rows very easily and win most of my matches with ease.

StygianDirge-DL16-EN-R-UE-RedNow for my favorite matchup from Toronto, Satellaknights. With fellow writer Aaron Furman and Tyree Tinsley getting first and second with the deck at ARG Atlantic City, I felt like that deck would be the most represented deck in Toronto. Needless to say I was on point with that assumption and ended up playing 5 in tournament. Out of the 11 games I played against Satellaknight I only lost two total. Giving me a record of 9-2 in games, with one of my loses being due to an unexpected ceasefire for game. Despite my one unexpected loss, the deck held its own against that matchup fairly well, game one my engines were able to set up faster then Satellaknight unless they opened above average, but what mainly lead towards my wins was the side deck. Which leads to my next point, which is the options that are available due to your deck choice, despite if it is the main or the side. Based on my understanding before walking into Toronto, every Satellaknight player was terrified of Stygian Dirge since the card can essentially turn their XYZ deck into a deck of monsters that have decent attack and can float. While the card seemed decent in theory and very powerful in practice I still felt like there were stronger cards out there. While burning abyss and Shaddolls could not abuse Necrovalley since their plans revolve around the graveyard, my deck can have hardly any interactions with the graveyard and can end up hurting Satellaknights way more then it would hurt me. I would allow their monsters to be level 4; however, they cannot have access to Soul Charge, Call of the Haunted, or Altair plays, which are the decks key power plays. Without those plays their only way to make a XYZ in one turn would be off of Satellaknight Vega. And that assumption is based on the fact that I would have zero cards to respond to their attack with. Not only did Necrovalley have those applications to it but it wasn’t a trap, which means I can play it on my first turn and the card cannot be stopped with wiretap, which means that my floodgate had very minimal outs once it hit the board, and as you can tell from the results said above, the card was a key contribution towards my wins.

Once the card choices and theory seems to be getting to a place where you want to be with your “meta call” deck, the next and very key vital part towards this deck building is being able to adapt to the current part of the Meta. Every tournament, the format will continue to shift in a different direction in some shape, way, or form. Since Patrick won with Shaddolls at Toronto, many duelists are using a similar, if not the exact same deck card for card all over the place. At a regional this past weekend in Philadelphia, 4 out of the top 8 deck lists were Shaddoll Lightsworn variants. Then, after Patrick’s victory, Jeff Jones’s Burning-Abyss deck won ARGCS Indy, which means that the field is more likely then not going to switch to variants of the tournament winning deck, and in this case will be more geared towards Burning-Abyss. With YCS Dallas coming up this coming weekend and with the ban list coming into affect this weekend, there will be a lot of changes that will have to be done. With each change the whole process of evaluating the deck and testing the card choices have to be repeated over and over again. For this Artifact variant deck I would want to emphasis more on the monarch aspect of the deck and cut down on the traptrix monsters since they were not as strong against Burning-Abyss and I tended to side them out more often as the tournament went on. I would make would be:

Main deck:

  • -3 traptrix doinaea
  • -1 traptrix myrmillio
  • -1 soul charge
  • -2 Breakthrough Skill
  • -2 Wiretap
  • +1 Caius, The Shadow Monarch
  • +1 Raiza, The Storm Monarch
  • +2 Gorz, The Emissary of Darkness
  • +1 Black Luster Soldier, Envoy of the Beginning
  • +2 Puppet Plant
  • +2 Trap Stun

Extra:

  • 0 Changes

Side:

  • -1 Wiretap
  • -1 Needle Ceiling
  • -1 Full House 
  • +3 Royal Decree

As I said earlier, the traptrix cards seemed less and less effective as the tournament went on and the monarchs seem to be more effective cards to play, so I want to put more emphasis on that aspect as Satellaknights falls in popularity. The traptrix cards were solely in the main deck to help my grind game vs. Satellaknights game one before the Necrovalleys are put into the equation. Now with Shaddolls and Burning-Abyss being more relevant in the Meta and will more likely then not be the top representatives at YCS Dallas, the Monarch aspect of the deck will have to be more emphasized game one and the side deck will have to help the deck continue to adapt game two and three. Now lets go over the changes real quick:

 

Main deck:

20140614094358!TraptrixDionaea-PRIO-EN-R-1E (1)-3 traptrix doinaea and -1 Traptrix Myrmeleo

As I said before the Traptrix aspect of this deck was only meant to be used against Satellaknight and no other deck. With the format not being totally defined and the traptrix cards being very subpar vs. Shaddolls and extremely underwhelming with its speed and massive amount of removal vs. Burning-Abyss and their massive amount of back rows, the cards just do not seem to make the cut and just seem too slow to make any kind of impact against the majority of the meta.

 

-1 Soul Charge

The best card is at one, no explanation needed.

 

BreakthroughSkill-SDLI-EN-C-1E-2 Breakthrough Skill

This card has seemed to be dropping in popularity over the last month. While breakthrough is strong vs. Satellaknight. Being able to cut off Deneb and Altair is huge. While that card shines in that matchup, it does not shine that strongly in the other match-ups at all. Against Burning-Abyss the card can stop Tour Guide From The Underworld; however, the card is sub-par at most with it only being able to stop one main monster in the deck. Against Shaddolls, breakthrough skill does have the application of stopping Winda; HOWEVER, thanks to Patrick, the deck is played so it an apply damage really quickly and summon monsters really quickly and beat your opponent down and the deck is not as reliant on locking your opponent down using Winda. Also, with the changes that were made with the deck, Winda will not be as much of a threat between the Monarch summons and beaters like Gorz that we just added to our deck

 

300px-Wiretap-DRLG-EN-SR-1E-2 Wiretap/+2 Trap Stun

Trap stun has more applications then wiretap. While wiretap guarantees that the trap card you negate goes back to the deck and does not resolve, Trap Stun is more likely then not guaranteed to go off with the lack of Wiretap being played in other decks. While there are cards like Stellernova Alpha that can negate Trap Stun, you can essentially guarantee that your stun goes off and you get to lock down your opponent for a turn, which is huge. By shutting down multiple back rows you are guaranteeing that your pushes go through, which can be challenging facing multiple chainable cards, and this deck thrives on applying early game pressure, so this card fits the applications that we want in a trap negation card.

 

+1 Caius, The Shadow Monarch

+1 Raiza, The Storm Monarch

+2 Puppet Plant

Now this four-card package may seem a tad abnormal. As most of us saw, multiple people in the top cut including Patrick Hoban and Brandon Wigley decided to main two copies of Puppet Plant in their main decks. At first glance this card seems a tad abnormal, but the card is something that can give this deck a major edge against the field. I think this card needs no explanation against Shaddolls, between 3 Storm forth and 2 Puppet plant it’s going to be very challenging for your opponent to resolve a monster effect or keep any kind of board, and since we are upping the amount of Monarch fodder cards, we will have to bump up our Monarch count a bit. Also another really cool interaction that you have with these cards is that you can tribute them for your Artifact monsters worst case scenario. So in theory we have 9 monsters we can tribute for, but only 4 have to require a monster to be tribute, making these cards less likely to be dead.

 

GorztheEmissaryofDarkness-LCYW-EN-UR-1E+2 Gorz, The Emissary of Darkness

Gorz has always been an old time classic in Yu-gi-oh. Being able to drop an unexpected Gorz at a critical point in the game can easily lead to free wins since Gorz himself is a monster with really high attack on his own, and then the token that is dropped should have a decent attack as well. Between the two monsters that are dropped off of the one card, Gorz should cause a lot of problems for your opponent. Against Shaddolls, their only real out to Gorz would be a Construct or Synchro/XYZ play, which would require them to commit multiple cards to try to defeat your Gorz. Against Burning-Abyss Gorz defies the attack barrier, being higher then Dante and most of their rank 3 XYZ. As a result, your opponent will have to play awkwardly to be able to play around your Gorz. Also once Gorz resolves, your opponent will have a tricky paradox to play around the entire match. If you were to pass or not have a really committed field, your opponent will more likely then not attack directly in fear of being hit by a Gorz, which can by you time by taking less damage as the game goes on.

 

+1 Black Luster Soldier, Envoy of the Beginning

Who isn’t a fan of Black Luster right? He is a win condition and a very strong power card. Before Artifacts lacked the dark support to play him. Now that we have 5 dark monsters in the main deck and one in the side deck, darks will be able to come a lot easier and the Black Luster can be active a lot more easily. This card can easily win multiple games just be drawing him. Why not play cards that can just hand you free wins?

 

Extra:

0 Changes

 

Side:

-1 Wiretap

-1 Needle Ceiling

-1 Full House

 

Royal_Decree (1)+3 Royal Decree

This change may seem a bit abnormal to people. Why plays Royal Decree when about 33% of the deck is traps. I will flat out say that Royal Decree does critically hurt my deck and it does cut off a lot of strong plays that the deck plays. Heck, the best trap card in my deck Artifact Sanctum cannot be activated while this card is face up. While I cannot have access to some of my traps, my Burning-Abyss opponents will not have access to their traps either. Burning-Abyss is the only matchup I intend to use this card in. This card can easily put a major dent in that matchup, and even lead to free wins. If people are going to be playing similar Burning-Abyss decks then Jeff Jones’s from Indy, then half of their deck will be traps, and having 50% of a deck locked down is way better then having 33% or less of your own deck being shut down. Also, with multiple traps being useless on your opponets Burning-Abyss field, the only trick that they have left is to try to tutor into a Tour Guide play to Wind-Up Zenmaines your decree. While we do not main spell defense in the deck, it will take turns for your opponent to get that Zenmaines setup going, which can give you time to get your hand setup to counter their board. I believe that the Burning-Abyss matchup can only be won through knocking out their backrow. Not only does that card give us leverage in that matchup, but if we need to turn off our Decree using one of our five magic/trap removal cards if we draw then, and the card can be bounced back with Constellar Pleiades. So we have multiple game plans to turn off our own Decree if the card has to be turned off depending on the game state.

Remember the key components to finding a strong “Meta Call” deck are to find a common problem with the top decks, to find card choices you can abuse to hit those problems, and to continue working and testing until you find something that is consistent and is strong against the field. Ideas can constantly evolve and change over time, so do not be discouraged if your idea does not work at first and do not give up on your ideas. Even with this deck I am still thinking of ways to change the deck and make it better. Also remember there are multiple ways to abuse a formats weakness. Do not be afraid to innovate the next top tier deck. Till next time.

Negative Ned

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