Hello everyone! I’m back this week to talk about another one of the “big three” decks, Shaddolls. Shaddolls are, in my opinion, the best of the three new decks because they can function as both a combo and a control deck, kind of like Dragon Ravine Dragon Rulers or Plants, which were both exceptional formats. Being able to play a few defensive cards and use 1-2 a game and after just outright win is pretty much how Shaddolls play out. There are many ways to build the Shaddoll deck. For example, you can add the Artifacts, the mini chaos dragons, Lightsworns, or just play it pure. For this article, I’m going to be delving into the mini chaos dragon variant.
The mini Chaos Dragon deck is extremely powerful due to Soul Charge. I’ve seen other Shaddoll builds refuse to abuse Soul Charge, and I think that’s flat out wrong. Soul Charge, as I’ve said before, is one of if not the best card ever printed. Therefore, it would be silly not to try and utilize Soul Charge in your deck. Another positive about the min chaos dragon variant is most of your hand is live all the time, aside from the Shaddolls themselves if you don’t have access to Shaddoll Fusion. Other versions can have a whole bunch of normal summons clog their hand, in addition to their mediocre Shaddoll monsters. Since the mini chaos dragons special summon themselves, you will rarely not be able to have the option of using every card in your hand. Here is a list that I won a regional with about a week ago:
- 3 Armageddon Knight
- 2 White Dragon Wyverburster
- 1 Black Dragon Collapserpent
- 2 Effect Veiler
- 1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning
- 2 Shaddoll Beast
- 2 Shaddoll Falco
- 2 Shaddoll Hedgehog
- 2 Shaddoll Dragon
- 2 Shaddoll Squamata
- 3 Soul Charge
- 3 Upstart Goblin
- 3 Shaddoll Fusion
- 2 Reinforcement of the Army
- 1 Foolish Burial
- 1 Allure of Darkness
This card is Elemental Hero – Stratos on crack. He thinned your deck and was able to become a Breaker, the Magical Warrior, an Elemental Hero – Stratos, a free draw, or lets you special summon Shaddoll Falco face down. Everyone knows how important the starter cards are for Shaddoll, so I won’t talk about why they’re good. What I will discuss is the Mathematician vs. Armageddon Knight argument. Obviously I think Armageddon Knight is better because I included it in my decklist. My reasoning is that Armageddon Knight is a Level 4, and triggers off Soul Charge. Mathematician has 100 more attack, which is actually really important this format, and draws you a card when he dies by battle. Mathematician also having to send Shadoll Squamata in order to send Shaddoll Beast can be hurtful. Mathematician also being Level 3 is awful, and it not triggering off Soul Charge might be its worst drawback. So those are the merits of both of the cards. Honesty, making your Soul Charges better is why I opt to play Armageddon Knight. Turning your +3 Soul Charge into a +5 because you brought back two Armageddon Knights is actually just insane.
Here’s a cute play I found myself doing if you opened Armageddon Knight + Soul Charge/White Dragon Wyverburster:
Start: Armageddon Knight + White Dragon Wyverburster.
Armageddon Knight send Shaddoll Squamata to send Shaddoll Falco to special summon it.
Banish Shaddoll Squamata for White Dragon Wyverburster and XYZ into Lavalval Chain.
Activate Lavalval Chain to send Shaddoll Beast to draw 1 card.
End: Lavalval Chain + Shaddoll Falco with Shaddoll Beast in grave.
The above play is my least favorite of the two. While still incredibly strong by ending with Lavalval Chain, and Shaddoll Falco with a Shaddoll Beast in grave with four cards in hand is devastating. Your field costed you one whole card. Lavalval Chain is the equivalent to Gear Gigant X, or King of the Feral Imps. If you opponent doesn’t answer it, the game will spiral out of control in your favor very quickly. Also, one thing I see people doing is sending Shaddoll Beast before Shaddoll Falco. You want to send Shaddoll Falco first because it thinks your deck of a card you do not want to draw. It’s very simple, but it has the potential to lose you a game if you screw it up.
Start: Armageddon Knight + Soul Charge
Armageddon Knight send Shaddoll Squamata to send Shaddoll Beast to draw 1
Soul Charge both of your Shaddolls back
XYZ into Lavalval Chain and detach Shaddoll Squamata to send Shaddoll Falco to special summon it.
End: Lavalval Chain + Shadoll Beast + Shaddoll Falco
This play is my favorite. You turn your five card opening into seven cards. You went +2 on your first turn, which is awesome. FOr this play, you have to send Shaddoll Beast before Shaddoll Falco because you want o Soul Charge your Shaddoll Beast back. I’ve heard people criticize that play by saying you want to leave your Shaddoll Beast in the grave for Shaddoll Falco, but they could not be more wrong. Odds are, your opponent won’t even attack your set Shaddoll Falco, so you would have to wait two whole turns to get value out of your Shaddoll Falco. With the Shaddoll Beast already on the field, you can still get value out of your Shaddoll Falco by bringing back your Shaddoll Squamata. Also, with Shaddoll Beast alredy on the field, it’s much easier to make a Level 7 synchro play on Turn 2. Why would you not pay an extra 1000 for a free +1?
Be careful making these plays though. Both of them are highly vulnerable to an opposing Shaddoll Fusion.Obviously you wouldn’t make that play if you knew you were playing against Shaddolls. Therefore, if you don’t know what you’re playing against game 1, you have to weigh the odds and see if the risk is worth the reward.
Also, I like Armageddon Knights much more than the Lightsworns. You get to pick what you send with Armageddon Knight, whereas the Lightsworns mill randomly. In addition, this all happens during Main Phase 1 with Armageddon Knight. Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn only mills 2 during your Main Phase 1, and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress mills in the End Phase.
I actually love this card. It is a solid set midgame when you have a board. People know all of Shaddoll Falco’s uses, the only thing debated on is the correct amount to play. I prefer two because I like having access to the second after I use my first. It is hardly a dead draw in your opening hand if you also have Foolish Burial or Sinister Shadow Games. Shaddoll Falco actually applies a decent amount of pressure to your opponent because they don’t want to attack it so you get instant value, so it acts as a nice wall for a turn. Overall, I think the benefits outweigh the cons on playing two Shaddoll Falco, so that’s what I will continue playing.
Again, no explanation should be needed on Shaddoll Beast’s application in the deck, just the correct amount that are supposed to be in the deck. In Armageddon Knight variants, I think two is the best because you play six cards to dump Shaddoll Beast from your deck. Also, drawing beast is often pretty terrible outside of the Shaddoll mirror.
I’m not going to talk about this guy, he thins your deck and sets up Soul Charge plays/ He’s awesome.
I play two Shaddoll Hedgehogs because if you don’t open Armageddon Knight, a set Shaddoll Hedgehog is the next best thing. So that’s makes seven starter cards we would like to see one of in each of our opening hands. Also, if you’ve playd the Shaddoll mirror a bunch, you would notice Shadoll Hedgehog is usually the last Shaddoll monster left if your deck. If you only played 1 Shadoll Hedgehog your’re at a disadvantage in the mirror because your Shadoll Fusions aren’t free if you don’t have fusion materials in your deck. Having that one extra Shaddoll really does come in handy.
This card is super standard and so is the amount I chose to play. Two is the perfect number on this card. Shaddoll Dragon being 1900 attack is also really important in the mirror and against Satellarknights. Satellarknights have to XYZ to get over it because all of their normal summons are under 1800 attack, so they set us up for a free Shaddoll Fusion. In the mirror match, Shaddoll Dragon just applies extra pressure acting as a Vorse Raider. It’s kind of sad that 1900 attack beaters are decent in the meta’s most relevant mirror match.
Both of these guys applications in Shaddolls are pretty self explanatory. They provide free fusion materials if they are on the field, free synchro material monsters, and are strong in the mirror match. I chose the ratio I did because it’s hard to get lights into the grave early game, so opening Black Dragon Collapsterpent is less than ideal. As I stated before, these cards are really good in the mirror. They are strong because they are high attack, floating, Level 4 monsters, which is exactly what you want when you’re playing the Shaddoll mirror. You need to apply pressure to them without using your extra deck. Since our mini chaos dragons are big floaters, it’s hard for our opponent to deal with them without going into their extra deck, which is exactly what we want them to do.
Honestly, there weren’t many defensive cards I felt comfortable playing besides Vanity’s Emptiness, so Effect Veiler was a card I had to settle for. It’s really good if you can open with it to cut your opponents engine off, but it’s pretty awful in next to every other stage of the game. However, Effect Veiler hits way too many key cards this format and it’s a Light, so I decided to give it a try. Just as I imagined, it was really good when I opened it, but terrible when I drew into it to an established field. You have to be a little lucky to play with Effect Veiler and get the most value out of it, but sometimes that’s what it takes.
This card is just downright insane. it is essential in the Shaddoll mirror match because summoning win conditions from the main deck is just so threatening. No more needs to be said on this card.
This card is a staple at three. It gives all your dead Shaddolls you drew value, and can single handedly win games against rogue.
I wanted to see my best cards more often, so I played three Upstart Goblin. People are concerned about the life gain in the mirror match, but it’s worth it in my opinion. Seeing your blow-out cards like Sinister Shadow Games or Vanity’s Emptiness earlier and more often than your opponent will win you games.
This is what separated my deck from most other Shaddoll decks at the regional I won. They all thought Soul Charge was mediocre, but they quickly realized how wrong they were. They were building their decks without abusing Soul Charge in their mind, and then I showed them what Shaddolls can do when they abuse one of the best cards ever printed. Patrick Hoban then goes on and wins YCS Toronto with three Soul Charges just to prove the cards dominance. Sadly, there’s not really much to explain on this busted card, we all know the insane boards Soul Charge creates.
Like Armageddon Knight, Foolish Burial had the option of doing many different things which is what I want in a card. If a card has the option of doing more than one thing, that’s a very good trait because it allows you to deal with more problems.
This card is also staple in my opinion. It lets you remove a dead Shaddoll in your hand for two fresh cards. The more cards you see, the more options you have, and we all love having options.
This is just the most flexible card this format. It deals with so much for just 1 card, and it sticks around until your opponent answers it. Not many defensive cards are viable in the current format, but Vanity’s Emptiness certainly is. It i only mediocre against Satellarknights, and even then it stops their Satellarknight Altair, which is how that deck wins. I thought about playing two because it’s bad to draw to established fields, but the sheer power of the card, and the fact that seeing two Vanity’s Emptiness is better than seeing none, led me to play the full set.
I think this is a staple three of. The card is just too powerful in the early game to not play three. It is also just as flexible as Armageddon Knight and Foolish Burial, so what’s there not to like? The argument behind playing less than three, is you run out of Shaddolls and the Sinister Shadow Games become useless. In my opinion, outside of the mirror, if you’ve gone through all of your Shaddolls, you should have already won the game. Also, if you went through all your Shaddolls, chances are you used a Sinister Shadow Games or Shaddoll Fusioned for free, which should be enough to blow your opponent out of the water, with the correct line of play.
The only reason I played these cards was because I expected a lot of Rogue. If I were going to a YCS or an ARG, these cards would probably not be in my list.
Since I’ve broken down the deck for you, let me discuss the three common matchups you will experience in tournament play.
This is my favorite matchup to play against. Satellarknights cannot keep up with Shaddoll’s power creep, so they rely on floodgates to win. When a deck is relying on floodgating a deck to beat it, that’s a pretty good indicator that your deck is just worse. Clearly that deck is more powerful than yours, so why are you willingly playing the weaker deck? Overall, Shaddoll’s ability to tear through backrow and having access to Shaddoll Fusion makes this matchup very favorable.
This matchup is a bit harder than Satellarknight due to Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, but stil very manageable. Burnng Abyss cannot win without summoning Rank 3s. The best part about that is they cannot deal with a Shaddoll Fusion that resolves. Sure, they can use a trap on your Fusion monster you brought out for free, but you still plus hard off of the Shaddolls you sent to the rave. Burning Abyss has very few main decked threats, so they often have to go into the extra deck to out your cards. Because of this, it pushes the matchup in our favor.
I keep going back and forth on this mirror. On one hand, it’s a pretty skill intensive mirror if you get into the late game, but on the other hand, you can just get blown out in the early game and not be able to keep up with your opponent. Cards that create blow-out mirrors are Sinister Shadow Games, Vanity’s Emptiness, and Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning.. Personally, I think the mirror comes down to who built their deck better and plays better. With that being said, I find it hard to complain about the Shaddoll mirror.
This deck actually just thrashes rogue decks like no other. Shaddolls power creep is just too high to compete with. Almost all decks rely on Extra Deck threats to win the game, which is exactly what Shaddolls take advantage of. All rogue decks rely on floodgating Shaddolls to beat them, which is a sign showing that your deck is just weaker.
That’s about it for this week’s article! I hope you enjoyed my list and my explanations of my card choices and the common matchups.One thing I would like to mention is to keep in mind the main deck was build for a regional, not a YCS or an ARG. If I were going to a premiere event, some changes I would make would be to swap 3 defensive cards for 3 Super Polymerization. and maybe try to find room for the 3rd Shaddoll Beast if the mirror becomes extremely prevalent. I’ll be in Indianapolis this weekend for the ARG Circuit Series so feel free to come up and say hi! Thank you all for reading!