Pro Tips: Side Decking/Synergy and Countering the Meta


StygianDirge-DL16-EN-R-UE-RedJonathan Moore, back today to cover a subject that I plan to touch on once in a while (probably about after the first major tournaments complete after a set release). I’m going a bit out of routine from my typical articles to talk to y’all about a few subjects that seem to be some of the most common mistakes that people make in my eyes. I keep in tune with the Yu-Gi-Oh! market more so than most people would. I’m always on facebook groups and the deep inner yu-gi-oh know it all circles of play testing powerful deck. This allows me to know cards long before they catch on, such as Stygian Dirge, which has been a dollar plus card for over a year and always had the potential that it has now. The thing is though, on top of choosing your deck and how to play it, you have to choose your Extra deck and Side deck cards, both of which are limited to a start of fifteen cards each, and make it work in conjecture as smoothly as possible with the main deck to cover as much of the metagame as you can. This is an extremely small number of cards compared to the thousands you can run up against in tournament, so you have to do your best with what you have, rather than just whine and complain like many people do.

DanteTraveleroftheBurningAbyss-DUEA-EN-ScR-1ESo with that in mind, you have to define your ways to win and what to do to counter decks that you constantly run into, or might run into. To understand how to counter the metagame, you must understand the metagame itself. From the most recent ARG Circuit (Atlantic City) in which fellow article writer Chase Furman won with Satellarknights, it’s clearly apparent that the format is taking place between three our of four of the newest set’s archtypes. If you haven’t taken a look at DUEA, several decks were created from the set. Among them were Burning Abyss, which contain three monsters that all have effects that activate the same as Dandylion’s, so if they’re sent from the field to the grave, deck to the grave, from an XYZ monster to the grave, or from the hand to the grave, their effects all activate. Their effects all work in conjuncture, sending each other from the deck to the field, searching each other out, or special summoning each other from the grave. They all have the effect to self-special summon from the hand, to exchange not being able to use their second effects that turn, cranking up the consistency of the deck. Then Burning Abyss also got a strong floating boss monster in Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss, with a beefy 2500 defense that he takes advantage of by switching to defense after attacking, the ability to mill 3 (so, ability to get more abyss monsters effects off) to raise his attack by up to 500 per card (so a 1500 boost), and when he’s sent to the grave you add a Burning Abyss monster to the hand. It floats well, stings well, and revolves around rank 3’s.

SatellarknightDeneb-DUEA-EN-UR-1EThe second deck took a strong showing, having a mirror match in the finals in which Chase Furman took a 3-2 victory with SatellarKnigts. This deck uses light warriors (so, searchable by Reinforcements of the Army, and they all have effects that are quiet powerful. The two strongest core monsters would be Deneb, their version of Stratos who can search Satellarknights to the hand when summoned, and Altair, who brings back a tellarKnight from the grave and makes it so only Tellarknight monsters may attack that turn. They also have Vega, who when summoned allows you to special summon a Tellarknight monster from your hand. This deck is much like the feel of Fire Fist combined with a warrior tool box, and goes into rank 4’s.

300px-ElShaddollWinda-DUEA-EN-UR-1EThe third deck was the most anticipated deck of the format thus far, Shaddolls. The thing about being a front running deck that’s claimed to be the most powerful is that people are already working with it and learning the most about it before it comes out. This means more players know how the deck works, so they learn the weaknesses it contains. They experience both the plays and cards that hurt them most, and when to make them. To those that get in this experience and switch decks from Shaddolls, it becomes an easier matchup that becomes much more containable. The deck relies on flip effect monsters, and it seems that Konami Europe has ruled that Royal Command will work on Shaddolls much how it works on them in the OCG, and will negate ALL effects of flip effect monsters from activating. This would mean Shaddoll’s sent to grave yard effects would be negated.

300px-GozenMatch-TU08-EN-R-UEAll I have to say about Yang Zing’s and the Wyrm monsters is that despite the cheaper price, it’s hard to gather a bunch of supers together from a new set in a limited time. I don’t know if this impacted their performance, or if they just yet to be broken, but from what I see, they aren’t really holding up against much, and get wrecked by a single card, Gozen Match. I honestly should and will educate myself on the deck more before I come to a strong conclusion on them, but from what I can tell they need more support.

The reason Shaddolls, Satellarknights, and the Burning Abyss decks are doing so good it their simplicity in how they work, and the fact that all three regenerate their resources on their own. Deneb recycles through Altair, Graff, Scarm, and Cir all help recycle each other and search out Tour Guide from the Underworld, and make for a strong engine on their own, and the Shaddoll monsters not only have Shaddoll Fusion which can turn into a Winda or Construct and then bring more Shaddoll effects from grave, but they have high base attacks and double effects for every monster, making it super versatile.

819083Deck Syergy is your first step to building a good deck. You have to waste as little space in the main deck as possible. For instance, Torrential Tribute is a decent trap in Burning Abyss. You can get a field wipe, and then establish your field presence right away again in the same turn. It can be used both offensively and defensively in this deck. The same can’t be said for Satellars with this card, since they use StellarNova Alpha, and would like to keep that to help their field presence.

300px-CaiustheShadowMonarch-PGLD-EN-GUR-1EI’m using specific examples from this metagame to show you how synergy works. Just because a card has power, doesn’t mean it will fit in. When testing a winning deck from an ARG circuit or a top cut deck from a regional or YCS, drawing hands and feeling out the deck can help you learn a lot of plays, and why that Pro or player made the choices they did. The thing is though, you can’t be scared to improve the deck or change it to fit your local area. For instance, perhaps you’d prefer to replace cards in the extra deck for different choices than the top decks. Perhaps you’d rather play Monarchs in your burning abyss than Rank-Up-Magic Astral Force. These are all personal choices, and none of them are wrong. It just comes down to your play style and how you operate to which you can make better suit you.

VanitysEmptinessSTBL-EN-C-1ESo how does one counter the meta? Well, first you look for consistent trends across the top decks and decks of your area. Cards like Vanity’s Emptiness are running rampant. If you’re in a winning position, and your opponent needs to special summon, Emptiness can win the game right there by shutting down their deck. Your main deck picks might decide to counter this, or play along with this. You could main Emptiness, or Mystical Space Typhoon, a card that counters Emptiness and can wipe other backrows to allow you to start your push for game. I’m not saying MST is great, but it is also practical right now.

MysticalSpaceTyphoonSDMA-EN-C-1EAside from mistakes in deciding with what works with a deck, I also see players often play a card where they shouldn’t have used it yet. The game of yugioh is mostly reactive rather than proactive. Your plays are supposed to react and surround your opponent’s, countering them and setting up to counter their future plays. Picking your spots with say, Maxx “C” or Effect Veiler can be tough, or your Mystical Space Typhoon. Some of these plays will only come with experience in both playtesting and high level play. If you want to learn what to do with these cards, you have a lot of hands to draw and games to play before you can really learn for yourself. While someone else can start guiding you, these cards are based off reading your opponent, backtracking to try to figure or predict what else it in their hand or set face down, and timing their effects right to disrupt what you think they’re trying to do.

So what shuts down what that you might want to side deck? Things to remember when side decking are…
1) How does this effect my own deck including extra deck?
2) What are my problem matchups?
3) How often will I need this even if I hit x matchup?

LightImprisoningMirror-DT07-EN-DNPR-DTLight-Imprisoning Mirror
“Negate all LIGHT monster effects activated on the field or in the Graveyard.”

This card hurts Satellarknights soooo gooood, and covers the spread by putting the hurt on Lightsworn Rulers and Bujins too. Shaddolls have no problem putting this card on in, but unfortunately Burning Abyss’s Dante suffers from it, and the rank up version suffers even worse. That being said, you still control when it’s flipped.

300px-RoyalCommand-TU05-EN-C-UE (1)Royal Command
“Negate the activation and effects of all Flip Effects.”

If this card works as it does in the OCG and Europe, it will completely shut down Shaddolls, forcing them to turn to cards like MST in their own side deck. It’s a good side deck for both Tellars and Abyss against shaddolls as they don’t play any flip effects themselves.

500px-ShadowImprisoningMirror-DT07-EN-DNPR-DTShadow-Imprisoning Mirror
“Negate all DARK monster effects activated on the field or in the Graveyard.”

The “hurt me so good” card that Satellarknights get to abuse on both Shaddolls and Burning Abyss. Almost the whole of both those decks gets shut down completely.

ChainDisappearanceTU06-EN-SR-UEChain Disappearance
“When a monster(s) with 1000 or less ATK is Summoned: Banish that monster(s) with 1000 or less ATK, then your opponent banishes all cards with the same name as that card(s) from their hand and Deck.”

Goodbye Graff, Dante, Scarm, and TGU. Get “reckt”, Burning Abyss. You w0t m8?

KarmaCut-DT05-EN-DNPR-DT (1)Karma Cut
“Discard 1 card to select 1 face-up monster your opponent controls, and remove it from play. Then, remove from play any cards in your opponent’s Graveyard with the same name as that monster.”

This card is strong against Dante and Shaddoll Winda. Burning Abyss will abuse it the best since they can get their effects off of costs pitching.

What are some common side decking mistakes you’ve seen happen first hand? What are some Synergetic disasters you’ve seen? How are you countering the metagame? How disgusted are you with me for the lack of Yang Zing love? Questions, Comments, and Concerns are all welcome below.

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