Hello everyone, I’m back to talk about the different Shaddoll variants that have seem to become popular amongst players. After YCS Toronto, we saw people playing Patrick Hoban style Shaddolls with the Lightsworn engine of Raiden Hand of the Lightsworn and Lyla Lightsworn Sorceress. After the event, we had a swith to Burning Abyss being dominant and now it looks like Burning Abyss and Shaddolls are right with each other for best deck in the format. One capitalizes off of floaters for strong tribute monsters like Vanity’s Fiend and having access to level 3 XYZ monsters, while the other focuses on using flip effects and and sending cards to the graveyard by card effect. In addition we now we have Shaddolls with Artifacts, Shaddoll control, Burning Abyss Shaddolls, and Lightsworn Shaddolls. I’m going to explain each of these, tell you the pros and cons of each, and hopefully you can use this to help you decide which one is best for you.
The first variant I wish to discuss is Shaddolls that play the Artifact Engine. This deck plays Shaddoll monsters with Artifact cards like Sanctum, Ignition, Beagalltach and Moralltach. The idea is that this deck can have easy access to lights for Shaddoll Fusion and also capitalize on Artifacts ability to make aggressive plays. This build is pretty good against a majority of decks, because it makes the opponent decide if they want to use card effects that destroy spell and trap cards. If they decide to use cards such as Shaddoll Dragon or Mystical Space Typhoon, then they have the chance of hitting an Artifact Sanctum or Artifact Moralltach. This can have an impact early game if you destroy a Mathematician Turn 1 to clear the board for an early big push giving your opponent fewer turns to recover. It can also have a large effect late game because not only will destroying the card from Sanctum be key, but Moralltach coming out and destroying another card. That can be a huge swing in a game, and may decide the game. The deck can draw awkward at times. This is a downfall for any deck, but when deciding what deck to play you should play the deck that is the most consistent with your playing style.
The second type of Shaddoll deck I wish to talk about is the Shaddoll control. Billy Brake made the Top-16 playing a Shaddoll Control deck, and won the event. Ever since, players have been adopting Billy’s strategy of having more resources than the opponent, as Jeff Jones played a 50-card control build this past weekend at Arg Columbus. More or less the idea of these control decks are not necessarily to beat your opponent quickly like the Artifact version, but to draw the game out and beat the opponent because you have more monsters or access to cards to play monsters. Brake opted to play Burning Abyss monsters with his, while Jones played Artifacts with his. When playing a mirror match this format, many find themselves playing a long drawn out game, that mostly depends on who has monsters in the end because each player has used a large portion of theirs. These control decks look to compensate the problem of not having enough spells or monsters by playing extra of both. The one problem I could see with these decks that is the combination of multiple strategies may sometimes produce awkward hands. We will see if people continue to try this trend out and if it seems to be successful.
Next is the Burning Abyss Shaddolls. This deck plays Scarm, Cir, Graff, and Tour Guide with the Shaddoll list. The idea of this variant is to be able to put a Dante on board, along with a Shaddoll Construct or Shaddoll Winda. This deck can put a lot of pressure on board, and has access to a variety of Fusion, Syncro, and XYZ monsters. Playing against a backrow heavy deck? Make Alucard to clear backrows in combination with Dragon. The Beginning of the End can be played with these decks, because they fill the graveyard so fast. As well, you could abuse the large number of monsters in the graveyard with Sephylon The Ultimate Time Lord. Some variants of this deck also play Lyla Lightsworn Sorceress and Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn. These lightsworns are played to help speed up the process of sending monsters to the graveyard, and Lyla helps get you get out of a Vanity’s Emptiness this is causing problems for you. A problem with this deck is it can draw high monster hands, and without protection will lose very quickly. As well, you won’t see your side cards that often. This can be a problem in matches sometimes, so if you are playing this deck make sure to shuffle your deck effectively and thoroughly.
Another deck some people have been trying is Lightsworn with Shaddolls. I’m not talking about Shaddolls with just Lyla Lightsworn Sorceress and Raiden Hand of the Lightsworn. I’m talking about Shaddolls that focus on Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner special summoning a Lyla or another Lightsworn monster, so they can mill up to 6 cards in the end phase, having a larger likeness they will mill a Shaddoll monster and get the effect. The deck can get to its resources quite quickly, which is definitely a positive thing. As well, this deck fuel the Chaos monsters rather quickly, allowing for Black Luster Solider Envoy of the Beginning and Chaos Sorcerer to have their requirements filled rather easily. The deck has a couple problems in my opinion. The first one being that it becomes heavily dependent on sending Shaddoll monsters to the graveyard. If this part of their strategy is shut down with a Shadow Imprisoning Mirror or Abyss Dweller, it will be difficult for them to deal with a board that can place a monsters with a lot of attack on board. The second is that unlike the other decks, it doesn’t really have a focused strategy other than milling cards and hopefully drawing Chaos monsters. Maybe adding more cards to the deck count can help, but for now it seems this build is inferior to the others.
Finally I will re-evaluate the two Shaddoll decks previous to this latest surge. The regular shaddoll deck with Mathematician is not a terrible choice, but it is like the vanilla ice cream of the bunch. Everyone knows what to expect from this build, and it doesn’t have the explosiveness that you sometimes need to get a poor hand to playable hand. Raiden can’t solely win you games with the deck, so you will have to have other things to back you up. The White Dragon Wyvernbuster and Black Dragon Collapserpent builds aren’t terrible as Rank 4 XYZ monsters are good late game, but putting up a Lavalval Chain up against the mirror match won’t help you. The deck isn’t bad overall, but is to be expected and too plain. The deck still has had recent success as Kenneth Booth played something similar this build this build at Arg Columbus.
The main problem I have with the Shaddoll deck is how the deck responds to Majesty’s Fiend or Vanity’s Fiend. If you are playing against a Burning Abyss player Game 1, you should immediately expect to see Vanity’s Fiend. Once you see a Burning Abyss monster, you should conserve your Squamata and Dragon because those and Breakthrough Skill are your only outs Game 1 to Vanity’s Fiend. Dalton Bousman was one of those people this past weekend. If Majesty’s Fiend hits the board and you don’t have the Stormforth of the Monarchs Game 2, it can be a quick 2-0 defeat. To deal with the Fiends people have been siding Raigeki and Dark Hole, along with Stormforth and Vanity’s Fiend of their own. As well, it can be a problem if the deck doesn’t draw spell trap destruction. It’s hard for a Shaddoll player when your fusion monsters don’t stay out so that you ensure they go to the graveyard for you to get back Shaddoll Fusion. It is also a bit of a problem to draw the Chaos Monsters early, as they can be dead until you can draw a light monster or dump one to the graveyard with Shadoll Fusion. We did see Parker Roberson tech Burst Rebirth in the main to set Shaddoll monsters from the graveyard, and this card may become more popular as the format continues.
The format has begun to be a little more defined as we progress through October. It won’t be long though before The Next Challengers is out and introduces the highly anticipated Qlipoths! After Jordan Bermudez won ARG Columbus this past weekend with Shaddolls, we can say Shaddolls are yet again on top. Will this be the case for the rest of the format pre Next Challengers, or will Satellarknights and Burning Abyss take the spot from them this weekend at ARG Des Moines. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, this format sure is shaping up to be an exciting one. Good luck to those competing in regionals and ARG Des Moines this weekend, and as always thanks for checking in this week and have fun!