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Doomkaiser Dragon
Card# CSOC-EN043

Doomkaiser Dragon's effect isn't just for Zombie World duelists: remember that its effect can swipe copies of Plaguespreader Zombie, too!
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The Champions: Calvin Tsang (and Ervin So)
Matt Peddle

Leading up to Shonen Jump Championship Detroit everyone knew TeleDAD was the deck to play if you wanted to win. Infinitely flexible and capable of pulling out victories at any moment, with the right combination of luck and good moves you could advance far into Day 2. There are so many power cards available to TeleDAD duelists that other players just won't see as often. Crush Card Virus, Dark Armed Dragon, Colossal Fighter, and Brain Control win games, and the draw power TeleDAD offers gets you those cards faster.  

TeleDAD also happens to be the best deck at taking down TeleDAD itself. It's not hurt as badly by Crush Card Virus as other competitive decks, it's the best at responding to Dark Armed Dragon and other power cards, and it has the most answers to Synchro monsters. This makes it the best deck to play, and the deck you're most likely to come up against. Often in the TeleDAD mirror match the better player comes out on top, but there are some games where there's absolutely nothing you could've done to win.

Bad luck happens to everyone. You flip Crush Card Virus and your opponent shows you a hand with a bunch of Emergency Teleports. You need something to make your hand live in the late game and you draw a dead copy of Reinforcement of the Army instead. You have an OTK hand, play it out, and lose to Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness or D.D. Crow. It sucks when that happens because it's not like you made a mistake.

But what you could have done was build your deck differently from the start. That's the approach Ervin So took when he made this deck, which Calvin Tsang took to the finals of SJC Detroit:  

Monsters: 16
2 Dark Armed Dragon
3 Destiny Hero – Malicious
3 Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude
3 Krebons
1 Sangan
1 Snipe Hunter
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Prometheus, King of the Shadows

Spells: 19
3 Destiny Draw
3 Emergency Teleport
3 Allure of Darkness
2 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Monster Reborn
1 Brain Control
1 Heavy Storm
1 Magical Mallet
1 Dark Eruption
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Mind Control
1 Giant Trunade

Traps: 5
2 Threatening Roar
3 Reckless Greed

What you see here is a TeleDAD deck that has replaced a lot of good cards with a lot of mediocre cards. It sounds funny, but it's true. I'm not going to try to claim a trap line-up with two copies of Threatening Roar and three Reckless Greed is stronger than the one that places ten to twelve people in the Top 16 of every SJC. But Calvin ran into all the best TeleDAD builds played by some of the best duelists alive, and he still made it to second place.

The idea behind this deck is that the "mediocre" cards are going to support what part of a traditional TeleDAD build you kept. The cards that have been dropped were "risky" power cards. Cards like Crush Card Virus and Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness will win you seven out of nine games, but if they lose you two out of nine games in an SJC that can mean the difference between making Day 2 and dropping out of the tournament. If you look at the cards Calvin has dropped, you'll notice lots of them are risky cards that can at times play right into your opponent's hands.

Threatening Roar and Reckless Greed can't really backfire like that. If your opponent has an OTK hand, Roar will stop him or her dead. If not the opponent will be hurting you slowly, and Roar is the ultimate safety measure. No one really plays Jinzo anymore, so you should be able to chain Roar to anything your opponent does to try to destroy it. Similarly, Reckless Greed can be used early in the game or later on depending on how your opponent is playing. You can work around what your opponent is doing rather than offering him or her up something to play around.

Without the usual trap cards to protect the standard moves TeleDAD players make, Calvin had to adjust his monster line-up. Destiny Hero - Doom Lord isn't nearly as good with these traps as it is with the ones typically played. Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude is much better, and there are more normal spells available for TeleDAD players than they know what to do with. Cards that show your opponent exactly what you're doing like Dark Grepher, Necro Gardna, and Plaguespreader Zombie have all been dropped to make room for normal spells.

The one extra monster Calvin added was Prometheus, King of the Shadows. This deck wants to play around the opponent every game, and that means accepting either long or short games. If your graveyard can’t be reduced to three Darks, Dark Armed Dragon is even more useless in TeleDAD than in any deck before it. Drawing it in the late game is like not drawing at all that turn. Prometheus, King of the Shadows turns copies of the Dragon from dead cards to game winners.

With Reckless Greeds and Threatening Roars Calvin can make that combination happen more easily than you might think. This means he also has the option of just playing to extend the game. He can play his cards out to exhaust his opponent's options, confident in his superior late game. It's a strategy that's been working for a lot of players, and it's the most successful anti-metagame strategy I've seen. Every single deck that makes the top 16 that isn't standard TeleDAD is capable of using this strategy.

The normal spells Calvin uses are geared toward playing around his opponent’s most common moves. Giant Trunade hurts any trap heavy draw if used at the key time, and will beat anyone who's relying on protecting his or her monsters with trap cards. Lightning Vortex is one of the few cards that can take down Colossal Fighter and Dark Armed Dragon at the same time. Also, when used with your own Stardust Dragon, Vortex can get through an opposing Stardust.

Mind Control works wonders in the TeleDAD mirror match. Taking your opponent’s cards to use them as Synchro material is awesome, but taking your opponent's Krebons is even better. Stripping a player of his or her Krebons robs that player of a chance to Synchro summon, while you’ll get to Synchro summon once more than usual. Considering how big Synchros are, and how devastating their effects can be, that's a pretty big deal. Magical Mallet is the final card of interest in Calvin's main deck. It's there simply to smooth a draw of multiple Malicious.

How often does that happen? When you have as many draw cards as Calvin does it actually happens quite frequently. But what happens even more often is the opponent using something like Phoenix Wing Wind Blast or Compulsory Evacuation Device to ultimately bump Malicious back to Calvin’s hand. It's a common and predictable move used by many players, and it's one the usual TeleDAD build has trouble getting around. Even if you can put the Malicious to good use by discarding it for something, you still have one less level six Synchro material. Mallet puts Malicious back into your deck instead, and you make up for the lost card presence of the Mallet by being able to pull another free Malicious from your deck. In this scenario, Mallet is actually better than Destiny Draw.

This is a textbook example of how testing can really pay off. Ervin So and Calvin Tsang have tried so many ways to gain an edge in the mirror match, and obviously this deck can do just that.

-Matt Peddle

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