“What are my side deck options for this format?”

Hello everyone, Mike “Tubz” Glow checking in again this week to discuss the what your side deck needs to combat popular decks like Qlipoths, Burning Abyss, and Shaddolls. This past weekend ARG Raleigh took place, and Patrick Hoban took home the victory playing Burning Abyss. Congratulations to him, and the other duelists who made the Top 16.

331px-TheMonarchsStormForth-DUEA-JA-CGoing into the event I’m sure there was concern amongst duelist regarding how many people would play the highly anticipated Qlipoths. When we look at the side decks of the different duelists in the Top 16 we see some things that people have in common. Vanity’s Fiend along with The Monarchs Stormforth were the two most popular side deck choices, as 10 duelists sided Fiend and 8 duelists sided Stormforth. We also see cards like Bottomless Trap Hole and Black Horn of Heaven making a comeback. I’m going to breakdown the Side Decks from ARG Raleigh and discuss what cards you should be siding. For this article, please refer to this spreadsheet, which compiles all the cards and quantities that were sideboarded in the Top 16 from ARG Raleigh.

VanitysFiend-CP07-EN-R-UEVanity’s Fiend was the most popular card in the side deck this weekend. This should not come as something new, as Vanity’s Fiend is a card that can completely lock out the opponent from playing. When playing late game situations against decks that rely on Special Summoning as their main strategy, Vanity’s Fiend can completely win a game in your favor. Your opponent can keep drawing cards, but if none of them are an answer to Vanity’s Fiend then you will probably win that game. Stormforth of the Monarchs was sided in conjunction with Vanity’s Fiend, as it requires a tribute. Not only does Stormforth act as a monster for your tribute summon, it can get rid of cards that there aren’t many answers too. For example if you tribute an opponents Shaddoll fusion monster such as Winda or Construct, it can set your opponent back because they do not get back their Shaddoll Fusion or El Shaddoll Fusion. Stormforth is also very good as it can tribute an opponent’s Qlipoth monster that is equipped with Saqlifice that you cannot deal with.

PuppetPlant-YSKR-EN-C-1EThree different duelists played Puppet Plant this weekend, the winner being one of them. Puppet Plant would be sided in with Vanity’s Fiend or Majesty’s Fiend like Stormforth, but the one part that makes it better is the ability for you to attack with the monster you take. This can be very useful if your opponent has two monsters that you cannot get over with Majesty’s or Vanity’s Fiend. Majesty’s Fiend was sided by four duelists, and this card is somewhat self-explanatory. You want to be able to drop him knowing your opponent doesn’t have a strong play to remove him. As well, you probably want to make sure you have some trap protecting him because leaving him out alone may result in a very easy removal of him.

Bottomless Trap Hole was a very popular option in Side Decks this weekend. The reason this card is gaining popularity again is because of how good it is against the Qlipoths. When an opponent Pendulum Summons using multiple monsters, Bottomless Trap Hole can remove all that are above 1500 ATK. This can be very crippling to an opponent, as the monsters don’t go to the graveyard but are banished instead. As anyone who plays Qlipoths knows, you would prefer that your monsters go back to the extra deck instead of being banished. Black Horn of Heaven was sided in multiple duelist’s decks this weekend. This card is also sided against the Qlipoths as it can negate the summon of multiple Pendulum Monsters, but it also stops them from going to the extra deck and send them to the graveyard. Stopping the monsters from going to the extra deck can be key in beating the Qliptohs.

300px-FairyWind-ANPR-EN-C-UEFairy Wind was a very popular choice for side decks amongst duelists as every person who sided it had 3 copies of it. Fairy Wind can be very useful against the Qlipoths because not only does it get rid of the pendulum monsters, it can remove a face up Skill Drain. In the Burning Abyss matchup for Qlipoths, one could even hit a Shadow-Imprisoning that is stopping the player from committing to the board. If a duelist is in time, the combination of paying 800 for Qlipoth Scout along with 600 or 900 from Fairy Wind can be all you need to win in time.

Fire Hand and Ice Hand have made a comeback as well. These cards are sided against the Qlipoths as well. We can see that there clearly is a late of hate against these guys! Fire Hand is very good when Skill Drain is out, because it is a graveyard effect. It can remove any monster you have a problem with, and replenish itself with an Ice Hand. Ice Hand is very good against this deck because it should almost always have a target in the Pendulum Zone, and most Qlipoth players don’t play many cards that banish monsters. These cards can change the tempo of a game very quickly, and should be good for the foreseeable future.

SpellShatteringArrow-LCYW-EN-C-1ESpell Shattering Arrow was a popular card before the tournament, and it was in the Top 16. This card differs from Fairy Wind in a couple ways. The obvious being that it can only hit Spell cards, which would leave a Skill Drain unaffected. However, this card deals 500 damage instead, and doesn’t destroy your own face-up Spell and Trap cards.  This can be advantageous in the mirror match because you don’t want to destroy your own Pendulum Monsters.

Mind Control was a popular choice again, and we haven’t seen that card since the Geargia was the dominant deck. This one card would dictate a Geargia mirror match, so it’s not surprise the card is back again. This card can be used in the Qlipoth matchup because you can take an opponent’s monster and use if for an XYZ summon. This card is very good against the Shaddoll mirror match as well, because it can take an opposing Shaddoll Beast or Shaddoll Falco. That can be very devastating in the late game.

Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror was a popular choice to side from Qlipoth players. This card is almost a must, as it can really hinder an opposing Burning Abyss player or Shadoll player. The one problem with this card is that Fairy Wind can destroy it, but Spell-Shattering Arrow doesn’t affect it.  We also saw people side decking Mystical Space Typhoon instead of playing it in the Main Deck. This is probably due to the variety of the Meta, but players would definitely want it for a Skill Drain or Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror. As well two duelists sided Trap Stun, which is a card I thought would see more play. The plus side to playing Trap Stun is that it can stop all traps to go for game, but if you don’t win that turn you don’t actually remove anything from the board.

RaigekiMany thought that Raigeki would be in every person’s Side Deck if it weren’t in their Main deck. As we can see, this is not the case. Raigeki was a very powerful card in the old days, but as we get farther into the game it has less of an impact. Against Qlipoths, it just sends the monsters to the extra deck. That doesn’t really do much as they can Pendulum Summon them back the following turn. Against Shaddolls, it sets off their effects for when they are sent to the graveyard. This is normally the opposite of what a person wants to do when playing against Shaddolls. Against Burning Abyss it doesn’t do any harm as most of the monsters get their effect when they are sent to the graveyard. Raigeki was once one of the best cards, but it is just a good card now. The reason for its lack of play is the need for it to be combined with a floodgate. In combination with a Soul Drain or Dimensional Fissure, Raigeki can be very powerful. Without any “floodgates,” this card is just mediocre.

There were many different cards sided this weekend, and we can clearly see that duelists were worried about Qlipoths, Burning Abyss, and Shaddolls. Vanity’s Fiend and Stormforth were the favorites of the weekend, along with Fairy Wind and Spell-Shattering Arrow. What is interesting is what didn’t make the top cut. Time Space Trap Hole was a card that many believed that would be good against Qlipoths, yet we don’t see any copies in the Top 16. As well we only see one person playing a solo copy of Anti-Spell Fragrance. Many believed these cards would be sided indefinitely, yet we see the results differ. Is this the result of a new format, or are these cards just not good enough. Only time will tell as the format takes shape! Thanks for checking in this week and as always Stay Classy San Diego.

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