Last week I talked about a pretty abstract concept compared to the usual content on Metagame.com, so if you didn’t enjoy that, hopefully you’ll enjoy this. It’ll rock your socks off! (Yes, I enjoy puns, and yes, it makes me a mean and bitter person.)
The goal of this deck is to gain field control (and near lockdown) by using Rock monsters that return opponents’ monsters to their hand or deck. In addition, there is a remove/return from play element designed to swarm the field for a final push. The deck often accomplishes this goal, but it just as often falls short. It can get behind quickly and not recover. Conversely, it can lead convincingly, but it can also run into a Torrential Tribute, a Mirror Force, or a Monarch and not recover. If it can’t overwhelm the opponent quickly within the first three or four turns, then it suffers from unusable or ineffective draws. I suppose in summary that it has no legs. What would you suggest changing in order to make this deck a little more consistent and give it a better middle/end game?
Here’s the deck Jeffrey sent me:
Terra Force—41 cards
This is a pretty straightforward deck with some fair offense and control elements—Hieracosphinx and Guardian Sphinx afford it both a heavy hitter and some field control. The combined efforts of Fossil Tusker, Bazoo the Soul-Eater, Gigantes, and Skull Lair supply the deck with beatdown elements and fuel for a finishing move in the form of Return from the Different Dimension. Megarock Dragon is a really nice card since it can swing out for a little under 3000 damage easily. This strategy has a wide variety of answers, but the problem with this (as I discussed last week) is a lack of consistency. Without wishing to be ironic, I’ll say that this is consistent with Jeff’s claims. While his deck can swarm the field with reliability, the duration of Jeff’s army of monsters varies depending on the opponent’s draw as well as his own. And this deck certainly looks odd on paper due to the presence of single copies where multiples would be better.
So now we know what the deck does, which is play as a sort of aggro-control strategy meant to attack hard, but only when it’s ready. Let’s get to fixing. The problems we want to address are a lack of consistency in draws and the inability of the deck to function after being hit with Torrential Tribute.
I’ve seen builds like this go a couple of ways. There are a number of decks which have control as their primary function and only attack when they are safe from retaliation, and that style of play is what many Monarch players are used to. However, the control element is lacking here and not much can be done to reinforce it. In fact, the only cards that seem to support the control aspect are Guardian Sphinx, Guardian Statue, Legendary Jujitsu Master, and, to a lesser extent, Hieracosphinx. Legendary Jujitsu Master is very valuable but is predictable when played in threes. Your opponent will not want to attack once he or she figures out you’ve got three copies of the troublemaking martial artist, so we are going to focus on a playstyle that attacks more, with the following caveat. Certain cards, like the Jujitsu Master and Guardian Sphinx, support the original theme quite well and are powerful tools in the deck, particularly for the direction I intend to go in with the final build. Such cards will stay. That said, fixes abound!
The direction I intend to go with here is going to focus more on attacking with strategic balance and control in mind. A primary fear factor in this deck is Torrential Tribute or a similar field-clearing effect. The solution I have in mind is the ever-interesting Cold Wave, a card that can mess with some players’ ability to play the game in profoundly interesting ways. Cold Wave is certainly fearsome in a deck with lots of spin and bounce effects, because it slows people down in horrible, horrible ways: stalling the game to the point where even something as humble as Fossil Tusker can achieve victory through constant, unabated attacks. The direction this build should go in, then, is one focused on using Cold Wave in conjunction with bounce and spin, with virtually the same aggressive lineup it currently uses. Since Cold Wave stops spells and traps from being activated, it should mitigate the difficulty Jeffrey has with Mirror Force and other field-clearing cards.
That said, some cards need to be cut before we can make any headway. There are not enough monsters to support all the effects that need to remove them from play. Skull Lair, in particular, requires a highly dedicated base of monsters. Not only does it need more fodder than it has right now, but also support like Magical Merchant that fuel the card by putting monsters into the graveyard. The remove-from-play aspect of the deck should be reduced to only a few cards—Return from the Different Dimension can be supported solely by Bazoo the Soul-Eater, Gigantes, and Megarock Dragon, and Release from Stone will be quite powerful with the aforementioned cards assisting it. Burial from a Different Dimension is random in here and we can afford to cut it to make room for Cold Wave. Rush Recklessly is a pseudo-answer to the monster threats this deck faces, and I think that monsters can be answered more efficiently and safely than by combat. Gaia Power is interesting, since theoretically you could win a game based solely off of a few lower-ATK monsters and the field spell, but it is far too situational in this deck and gets cut for Giant Trunade. Rush Recklessly is replaced with another copy of Gigantes, and I’ll add another Megarock Dragon to the mix.
Since I don’t have the monster base for Skull Lair, we will have to make due without it. Reactive monster removal in the form of Sakuretsu Armor and Bottomless Trap Hole takes a back seat to Smashing Ground and Legendary Jujitsu Master, and we’ll add the former to the deck. Enemy Controller and Dust Tornado are good cards here. Enemy Controller has seen a rise in popularity for a number of reasons and Dust Tornado is useful in anything that is otherwise short on spell and trap removal. However, because the deck is angling more toward an aggressive strategy with a small element of player lockdown, both of these cards should be cut for something that helps the strategy more. In this case, I cut them for three copies of Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. The monster section underwent similar analysis, and I figured out this much: Guardian Statue, while useful, is simply too fragile, Blockman will probably be destroyed in battle very quickly, and Hieracosphinx is simply inferior to Granmarg the Rock Monarch in this particular case.
Home stretch now! I haven’t even added Cold Wave yet, so I cut some cards that don’t help the deck as much—in this case, Skull Lair and both copies of Rock Bombardment. The Lair just doesn’t have proper support, and Rock Bombardment doesn’t really live up to its potential. Finally, I’m going to add two copies of Forced Back.
Cut: -1 Blockman
-2 Guardian Statue
-1 Burial from a Different Dimension
-1 Rush Recklessly
-1 Gaia Power
-1 Call of the Haunted
-1 Skull Lair
-1 Dust Tornado
-1 Bottomless Trap Hole
-1 Sakuretsu Armor
-2 Rock Bombardment
As always, I accept all decks and feedback at email@example.com. Until next time, duelists!