The latest prize card for a Shonen Jump Championship event is always the rarest, most valuable card in the game. The dazzling legacy of promo cards, beginning with Cyber-Stein, continuing through to Shrink, and currently resting at Crush Card Virus (probably the most powerful trap card ever released) is difficult to ignore.
The balancing factor to these wonderful promo cards was the fact that many players did not have access to their abilities. The typical duelist would not be packing a few copies of Cyber-Stein or Shrink in the main deck, and any time a player ran such cards, it would create insane buzz (e.g. David Jamieson, Dale Bellido, Hugo Adame). Therefore, building decks based around such rare cards was often a fantasy.
But now, things have changed. You heard it right on the latest Seven Days: Shrink is being reprinted, in easily accessible form in the Strike of Neos Special Edition.
Revisiting the Shrink Equation
Shrink is on the short list of the best quick-play spell cards in the game. The only quick plays that come close to matching it in scope are Mystical Space Typhoon, Book of Moon, and My Body as a Shield. However, it unlocks a few strategies that have long been unavailable to the average duelist. Let me run down a few of the perks to running the card.
1. Shrink is one of the few cards in the game that can function as both an offensive enabler and a defensive tool.
If you use Shrink during your own battle phase, it can disable a monster such as Spirit Reaper or Mobius the Frost Monarch, enabling your other monsters to attack. A card such as Sakuretsu Armor can’t double as an offensive enabler in this case—it’s a purely defensive card. Also, while Book of Moon can do the same, it has a few nasty drawbacks, such as re-enabling flip effects, disabling battle damage for that particular attack, and failing against monsters with high DEF values.
On defense, it can enable a weak monster of your own such as a Gadget or Don Zaloog to effectively double attack. Since very few players will commit multiple cards to an attack into a face-down spell or trap (such as special summoning Cyber Dragon and normal summoning D. D. Assailant to attack a face-up Zaloog), the Shrink will effectively double as a defensive trap if you have the monster presence to back it up.
2. Shrink, when played correctly, packs some of the most deceptive utility in the game.
Shrink is the type of card that will cause your opponent to revisit all of the previously held ideas he or she took for granted. Head games can be played at the highest level, such as declaring a weaker monster like Mystic Tomato into your opponent’s Cyber Dragon, and waiting for a response. This may cause them to prematurely play trap cards such as Sakuretsu Armor, even when you don’t have a Shrink to back it up.
The damage step has huge relevance here. Often, asking for a “response before the damage step” will elicit a pause while your opponent contemplates your next action. This type of deception is extremely powerful, especially when used in your opponent’s own battle phase!
3. Shrink enables deadly effect monsters such as Don Zaloog and Winged Sage Falcos unprecedented leverage in applying their effects.
In short, Shrink can be played as a Smashing Ground, a Sakuretsu Armor, or a Rush Recklessly. While it does require monster presence to unlock some of the more complex abilities, many mid-sized or small monsters thrive off the support that Shrink provides. Let’s build a deck to illustrate this mechanism.
Constructing the Monster Lineup of the Shrink Deck
I want to base the deck around a Warrior toolbox variant (Elemental Hero - Stratos, which searches for Elemental Hero Wildheart, and Don Zaloog are two of the strongest options for a Shrink-based strategy). In addition, other Warrior monsters such as D.D. Warrior Lady and D. D. Assailant, which insure themselves against their own loss in battle, are also extremely potent when paired with Shrink.
1 D. D. Assailant
1 Elemental Hero - Stratos
2 Elemental Hero Wildheart
1 D.D. Warrior Lady
1 Don Zaloog
3 Exiled Force
This looks like a solid lineup for two Reinforcement of the Army cards. The rest of the monster slots will focus on maximizing potential with our Shrink tools.
3 Cyber Dragon
2 Gravekeeper’s Spy
1 Asura Priest
1 Twin-Headed Behemoth
1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
The lineup of Gravekeeper’s Spy, Cyber Dragon, and Hydrogeddon maxed out or near maxed out is a great move with Shrink supporting the cards. We throw in an Asura Priest and Twin-Headed Behemoth to cement this obviously aggressive monster strategy. Add Neo-Spacian Grand Mole and Sangan, and you have incredible field presence at the expense of the opponent.
Constructing the Spell Lineup of the Shrink Deck
1 Snatch Steal
1 Premature Burial
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Nobleman of Crossout
These six cards augment a very aggressive strategy. The rest of the spell line will look something like this.
2 Reinforcement of the Army: The monster line allows us plenty of time and room to use this type of strategy revolving around the Warrior toolbox field. It will allow us to fetch a variety of answers to a puzzling field.
3 Shrink: The namesake of the deck.
2 Smashing Ground: Essential to clearing the way for your monsters to push through battle damage. Smashing Ground has become increasingly necessary in this environment.
Constructing the Trap Lineup of the Shrink Deck
The popular traps we should consider for most strategies are all present.
1 Ring of Destruction
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Mirror Force
1 Call of the Haunted
To this, we’ll add two copies of Dust Tornado for times when we don’t have a flipped Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, Stratos, Hydrogeddon, or Wildheart on the field. This should enable proper battle phases for our aggressive deck.
2 Dust Tornado
Expected Matchups with the Best Decks in the Format
The presence of Hydrogeddon, along with Shrink, should swing certain matchups in your favor just by the ability to get a good draw. For example, a great hand such as Cyber Dragon, Dust Tornado, Shrink, Hydrogeddon, and Gravekeeper’s Spy should lead to victory in a few turns. You set your Spy with Dust Tornado, and either flip it for 4000+ damage next turn, or get it removed somehow and have the Cyber Dragon follow up the very next turn.
However, the deck is tuned to deal with most of the problem cards in a matchup. Card Trooper may be doing some damage, but you can always come back at the puny 400 ATK monster next turn with a bevy of threats such as Don Zaloog or Hydrogeddon.
The side deck should deal with different one-turn KO combinations and alternate strategies, so have fun playtesting the brand new Shrink reprint!