Hello duelists! Hopefully the transition from weekly to bi-weekly articles didn’t throw anyone off, and yes, I am still alive. Since I lack a way to transition from that to an article without looking silly, let’s just see a letter from Steven N. about an interesting Fairy deck.
I recently made a Fairy deck, which —upon drawing the right cards—can pull out a really fancy win. But I’m currently having problems drawing those cards, and I’m finding myself continuously open to attacks. It’s supposed to be a kind of charge-up deck, where I’ll stall with things like Marshmallon, The Sanctuary in the Sky, or Wall of Revealing Light, then wait to increase my life points above the opponents, and then whack The Agent of Judgment - Saturn into play. I try to keep extra combos available, but I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with the deck. Could I possibly have some help?
Here’s what Steven’s deck looks like:
Fairy Tale —41 cards
1 Dunames Dark Witch
1 Shining Abyss
2 Airknight Parshath
1 Asura Priest
1 Freya, Spirit of Victory
1 Guardian Angel Joan
2 Meltiel, Sage of the Sky
1 Neo-Parshath, the Sky Paladin
2 Nova Summoner
1 Soul of Purity and Light
1 The Agent of Force - Mars
2 The Agent of Judgment - Saturn
1 The Creator
1 Cestus of Dagla
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Poison of the Old Man
1 Pot of Greed
1 Premature Burial
1 Spell Absorption
3 The Sanctuary in the Sky
1 United We Stand
This is a lot like the normal Fairy decks fans of the angelic monster type build. A lot of support for Fairies has to do with gaining life points (see Zolga, Guardian Angel Joan, and Cestus of Dagla). Ancient Sanctuary offered two ways to cash in on this life point gain theme: The Agent of Force - Mars and The Agent of Judgment - Saturn. They made cards like Cestus of Dagla interesting to play. With, as an example, Zolga on the field equipped with Cestus of Dagla, Mars would grow to the impressive size of 3400 ATK, and then reach 6800 ATK after it hit your opponent. The same can be said in a different way for Saturn. In later booster sets we saw counter traps, card drawing, and swarm supported with cards like Meltiel, Sage of the Sky and Freya, Spirit of Victory. A lot of these themes contradict each other though, and it shows in Steven’s deck, which appears to be all over the place!
The deck presented to us has a few win conditions—Neo-Parshath, the Sky Paladin, Guardian Angel Joan, The Creator, Soul of Purity and Light, and The Agent of Judgment - Saturn are all monsters with sizeable ATK that could be focused on. The trouble is that all of these monsters have completely different and mutually exclusive goals. The Creator cannot be used to any great effect in this deck. Saturn is slow and only marginally more useful than a Monarch in a deck not wholly focused on the "judgment" mechanic. Mars suffers from the same deficiency here. Put simply, this deck lacks focus. At some moments your hand looks like you’re playing with life-point gain and counter traps, and at other moments it’s focused on swarm and graveyard recursion. What we need to do is pick a direction and go with it. I am not a huge fan of life-point gain decks because, while the decks are fun, they are traditionally difficult to win with. There is a strong Counter Fairy theme present, and that is worth expanding upon.
However, something funny popped into my head when I looked at Steven’s e-mail, so I’m going to follow my gut and turn his deck into what feels a lot like a one-turn-KO deck. This is a major change to the original build and the resulting deck is irreconcilably deviant from the list Steven sent me, but in my defense, the deck Steven sent me is not actually legal for the Advanced format, and if I did fix the deck traditionally, I’d either make a lackluster life-point gain deck or turn it into Counter Fairy. Neither of those options is as fun as the deck I have in mind. Besides, there’s a certain flare to winning with The Agent of Judgment - Saturn that I think we all can appreciate.
The first change I want to make is cutting the entire deck. There are a few reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that the list as presented is not legal in the Advanced format. My biggest concern with the deck presented was the lack of focus. The Creator is present with nothing to make him better or support him. Normal monsters are present with no justification for them, such as Shining Abyss and Dunames Dark Witch. Nova Summoner is in here with only two targets for its search effect. Life point-gain is present, but not enough to make Saturn or Mars worth playing. Then the deck throws us a fast ball with Wall of Revealing Light, and I’m not even sure why Spell Economics is in there. I’ve played some random decks before and they are excellent fun, but if I had to improve this deck, I’d have to cut too much to simply make a straight deck fix.
So let’s go over why a one-turn-KO deck involving Fairies works. One of the principles behind burn decks like Chain Burn or Bubbleman Burn is that each card is worth a set amount of damage, and drawing enough cards will mean that you deal enough damage to win. What really interests me about The Agent of Judgment - Saturn in particular is that it effectively makes Ookazi 1600 direct damage. While gaining 1200 life points will yield an additional burn effect of 1200 direct damage when you use Saturn’s effect, playing Poison of the Old Man to deal damage instead is more effective. It does the initial 800 damage in addition to boosting damage you get by Judging your opponent with Saturn’s effect by 800 for a net result of 1600 damage your opponent has taken after counting Saturn’s effect. If you are at 8000 and your opponent is at 6000, what makes this deck work, then, is that you don’t actually need to burn 8000 damage—just the initial 4000. The rest is keeping yourself alive until you can "judge" your opponent with Saturn. The plan then, is a three-step one:
1) Deal damage or gain life points to the degree that your life points are more than double your opponent’s.
2) Get The Sanctuary in the Sky and The Agent of Judgment - Saturn into play.
Step 1 is probably the most difficult of the three. While cards like Meteor of Destruction and Ookazi make the initial burn factor seem simple, there are only so many cards you can play on the first turn that deal significant amounts of damage. For our purposes, Tremendous Fire has about as much use as Hinotama, since the net difference in life points is only 500 in your favor. Around 2/3 of the deck should be focused on keeping your life points high and damaging your opponent, and 1/3 of the deck should be focused around setting up Saturn. Let’s go!
The choice of burn is pretty limited here. Since we only really aim to get our opponent’s life points at 4000, Meteor of Destruction is a perfect choice. Ookazi is essentially a lesser version of Meteor of Destruction in this context: not the heavy hitter we’d love, but a useful card nonetheless. Draining Shield is incredible here, not only protecting you but also effectively acting as a Magic Cylinder. Cylinder itself is great, since burn is twice as effective in this deck. Poison of the Old Man is a redundant copy of Ookazi that may draw out Mystical Space Typhoon or Breaker the Magical Warrior. Aegis of Gaia is a nifty trick, as it can often boost your life points enough to make a "judgment" lethal. Next I add Wave-Motion Cannon, which is capable of burning for 4000 all by itself. While stall is nice in this deck to give you time to draw the things you need, many of the cards that burn or gain life points are focused around responding to an opposing attack. So while I’m not adding stall, strictly speaking, I will add something that reduces damage I take from combat in the form of Dimension Wall, and more burn in the form of Secret Barrel.
As for setting the deck up, there is no way to summon Saturn without having the card itself in your hand. I’ve racked my brain and the only thing that makes sense is Damage Condenser, which will not work at all since it requires you to take damage and can only be activated by a Monarch anyway. So we have to either get it into our hand or do something else. The two possibilities which seem to be most effective are Phantom of Chaos and Monster Gate. Phantom of Chaos works with Foolish Burial in really nice ways, the downside being that the two cards you need to get your combo moving are unsearchable. Monster Gate seems more effective, for reasons explained below.
So the monster portion of the deck has to be structured around getting our win condition out with Monster Gate. This means that Scapegoat goes in to help give us tokens to tribute for Monster Gate and to stall, and also that the deck should not actually run any other monsters. Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted are really good here, since allowing you to "judge" your opponent twice in one turn means you really only have to get him or her down to around 6000 life points (5600 if you use Premature Burial to win, assuming you stay at 8000 life points). Soul Exchange is very, very good in this deck. I mean very good. It gets rid of opposing headaches like a Monarch, Jinzo, or Des Wombat if the opponent sides it in and fuels both Monster Gate and Saturn itself without a cost of life points to activate. Yes, you can’t conduct your battle phase that turn, but you weren’t going to anyway since you’re summoning The Agent of Judgment - Saturn. Brain Control is good as a redundant copy of Soul Exchange with the added benefit of being able to use it to burn away your opponent’s life points. Also, the deck would look rather silly without The Agent of Judgment - Saturn and The Sanctuary in the Sky. To make things easier, I also added a copy of Terraforming to help get the field spell into our hand.
A cards cut/added section is impractical here, so here’s the deck and a tidbit about English as a language. Judgment has two acceptable spellings that vary depending on area and dialect, and also country. A general rule of thumb is that Americans use the spelling "judgment" and residents of Canada, Australia, and the UK use the spelling "judgement." Since English is a living and adapting language it’s not fair to say that either variant is accurate, but that has nothing to do with the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG so let’s get on with it, eh?
Solemn Judgment —41 cards
3 The Agent of Judgment - Saturn
The new deck simply keeps you from taking damage while it has time to set up a victory with the life-point gain cards and burn effects, using Magic Cylinder, Scapegoat, Draining Shield, and Dimension Wall to stop incoming attacks. Mirror Force is there as a panic button. Since Monster Gate will only be able to summon The Agent of Judgment - Saturn, once you have more than double your opponent’s life points you can simply use one of four effective copies of The Sanctuary in the Sky (Terraforming being the fourth) and tribute for one of six copies of Saturn (Monster Gate being copies four through six). Most of the cards in this deck burn for around 1000 life points, and there are multiple ways to get both the field spell and Saturn out. There are a couple of weaknesses and I think the side deck should compensate for that, so I might suggest that when building this, you use Dark Bribe, Heavy Storm, Giant Trunade, and Forced Back or Pulling the Rug in there to help deal with swarm tactics and Light and Darkness Dragon.
As always, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Got a deck you want fixed? Need help tuning your masterpiece? Got some feedback for me? Send it in. Until next time, duelists!