I still don’t have nearly as much Strike of Neos as I’d like—I really enjoy this set. Apart from the cards that have made it into main decks of all descriptions, there are some really good side deck options in the set that you should consider. Depending on what the metagame is like in your area, some of these cards will be more relevant than others, but if you plan to do any kind of traveling to events in the upcoming months, you should pay attention to all of these.
Here are five picks that caught my eye—I certainly don’t claim to be the first in this respect. I just figured I’d pass them along. Let’s start with:
It’s an odd-looking little guy and it’s like Brain Control for Machines (or Dragons). Since this is a monster and not a spell card, there are some distinct advantages to using it. (Not having to pay 800 life points is kind of nice too, especially if you’re running Solemn Judgment or other life point eating cards). It’s great in the late game when you (and your opponent) might be running low on life. Toss a card from your hand to end the game—what’s wrong with that? Since there are a lot of commonly played Machines out there, consider siding Electric Virus if you’ve got problems with any of the following:
Problems with Cyber Dragon? Nah, who could be having problems with Cyber Dragon?! Seriously though, so many competitive decks run Cyber Dragon that you’re almost guaranteed three potential targets in plenty of matchups. Cyber Dragon’s a good thing to have on your side of the field, so you might as well help yourself to your opponent’s Dragon when he or she makes it available to you.
Most players’ biggest Card Trooper problem is finding three copies to play with. (Remember when that was your Cyber Dragon problem?) Anyway, stealing your opponent’s Card Trooper allows you to tribute it to get it off the field without destroying it—and you really don’t want to destroy it if you can help it, because then all that + and – starts happening again. If you don’t tribute it and want to attack with it, your opponent will probably let it through, since using Sakuretsu Armor or another card to destroy it while you control it will prevent him or her from getting the extra draw. If the opponent’s nuts about card advantage, he or she will have to take the hit.
Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive!
As long as we’ve dragged up card advantage, I might as well mention Dekoichi. It’s still played, and while Electric Virus won’t do anything to keep it from generating that extra draw, you can take it as tribute fodder for Something Big And Mean to remind your opponent that life points win games, too.
Cyber Phoenix and Spell Canceller!
Ha-ha! Cyber Phoenix only protects against spells. Electric Virus isn’t a spell, so Cyber Phoenix or whatever it’s protecting is all yours. The same goes for Spell Canceller—it can’t prevent monster effects. If you’re playing an opponent who is counting on either of these cards to protect his or her field, you’ll really appreciate Electric Virus in your side deck.
You usually won’t want to use Electric Virus on Gadgets, but if two of the same type of Gadget are on the field, you can always take one and knock it into the other, eliminating two of the pesky things in one shot (or, at the very least, the Gadget you took and whatever card your opponent uses against the attack).
Okay, what else has Strike of Neos got to offer? Well, I like this one particularly because I’m a fan of spell and trap removal:
This is pretty much extra copy number two, three, and four of Mystical Space Typhoon, with a bit less utility and a usage tax. All those life points you saved on Electric Virus have to go somewhere, I suppose. You can use it to side against things like:
If your deck can’t withstand Royal Decree, you already know it, so you might as well try out anything that’s going to help get rid of them. Twister is a quick-play spell, so it’s chainable to Royal Decree’s activation. It can also be activated the turn you draw it, which is convenient in a pinch.
Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure!
There are decks that get totally wrecked by these cards, so if you’re running one of them, you’ve figured out by now that you want to get them off the field. Twister will do that for you, and it’ll make Treeborn Frog, Mystic Tomato, Giant Rat, and a lot of other monsters smile.
I hate getting locked down. It just drives me up the wall. If lockdown is making a showing in your area, consider a few copies of Twister—unless you’re facing burn too, you probably have the life points to spare.
Field Spell cards!
Just because you aren’t seeing a lot of them now doesn’t mean you won’t be seeing them soon. Legacy support is something we’ll be cheerily dealing with for the rest of the year, and there are cards coming that will make searching out specific field spells much easier. Field spells that are working for your opponent and not for you can be an absolute pain, and if you don’t want to waste your Mystical Space Typhoon or Dust Tornado on one field spell, you’ll be glad you’re siding Twister.
But wait, there’s more!
If you’re worried about Snatch Steal, here’s another way to deal with it. Twister is also good against Swords of Revealing Light, along with any other face-up spell or trap that’s giving you conniptions.
How about we look at another monster card? I pulled one of these in my Sneak Preview packs, and it’s done a lot to erase the trauma I once experienced at the hands (wings? talons? I don’t know) of Yata-Garasu. It’s D.D. Crow!
D.D. Crow does three kinds of things. First, it can remove the sources (cards) of effects activating in the graveyard by chaining to them before they can resolve—cards like Treeborn Frog, Goldd, Wu-Lord of Dark World, Sacred Phoenix of Nephthys, and so on. Second, it can chain to effects that target a specific card or cards in the graveyard, and get rid of them before the effect resolves—such as the effects of Pot of Avarice, Premature Burial, Call of the Haunted, The Warrior Returning Alive, or Grandmaster of The Six Samurai. Finally, it can preempt effects by removing cards from the graveyard before they can be used for whatever evil purpose your opponent intends . . . you can stymie cards like Freed the Brave Wanderer, Strike Ninja, or Gigantes by removing monsters that could pay their effect costs, or you can send Destiny Hero - Malicious packing when he’s been destroyed on your turn.
I haven’t looked at a trap card yet, so let’s take care of that right now!
The Transmigration Prophecy
This one is a lot like D.D. Crow, in that it can do the same three kinds of things that the Crow can. It can send away two cards instead of one (which is especially handy against Dark World and Six Samurai), and can end up having more utility than the Crow if you’re running recruiters in your deck, since it can return your own cards in addition to your opponent’s. It does have some drawbacks—it’s a trap, so it does need to be set, and there are cards you’d rather remove from play altogether (like Treeborn Frog and recruiter monsters) rather than just stick them back into your opponent’s deck. It is a nice card to set to draw out spell and trap removal which you can then chain to, and if you’re playing against a Return from the Different Dimension deck, constantly putting your opponent’s graveyard monsters back into his or her deck before he or she can remove them is going to be fun. For you at least.
And finally, a card that doesn’t need much hype from me . . .
Pulling the Rug
Pulling The Rug stops all kinds of monster effects that you just hate. It stops Monarchs, it stops Gadgets, it stops Elemental Hero Stratos and Ritual supporters like Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands, Senju of the Thousand Hands, and Sonic Bird (remember those guys from the Columbus Shonen Jump?). It’s also really fun to use . . . especially if you picture yourself actually yanking a rug out from under, say, Mobius the Frost Monarch and sending him— wham!—onto his back. On second thought, maybe that’s kind of mean. At least he’s wearing a helmet.
These aren’t the only viable choices for side decks that you’ll find in this latest expansion, so don’t stop looking through the set to find solutions for existing problems. With the surprisingly large number of “new” deck ideas we’ve been seeing lately, you can’t just sit there and say, “Eh, I’ve dealt with the Monarch problem; I don’t need to think beyond that.” Something new will pop up once again, and you just might need to find a brand new set of solutions. If you haven’t been putting much thought into your side deck choices lately and your win ratio isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, there is very likely a correlation—give some of these cards a try if they’ll address threats that you’re facing, but don’t stop experimenting with other new ideas. You never know what you might come up with.