Hello! Let me take a second to introduce myself. My name is Evan Vargas, and I’m an Electrical Engineering major at Texas A&M University. I post on the Pojo forums as Sand-Trap. I’ve been playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game since it came to the U.S. I qualified for Nationals last year at the Houston Regional tournament with a Fairy deck. I ended up in twentieth place at that tournament, losing to some insane luck. This year I’ve qualified for Nationals by winning a Regional event at Gen Con Indy, and with topdecking CED impossible now in the Advanced Format, I’m feeling much more confident about my chances.
For my introductory article for Metagame.com’s Yu-Gi-Oh! section, I’d like to start off big. This article is going to be about countering the new Advanced Format metagame, something I’m sure every duelist would like.
First, let’s look at what’s gone in the Advanced format. Raigeki, Dark Hole, and Harpie’s Feather Duster are all banned, and Torrential Tribute is restricted to one copy per deck. What does this mean? Well, mass removal for the most part has been eliminated. It’s no longer very easy to gain card advantage, and card advantage is what wins games. For example, if I have four cards and you have one, chances are that I’ll be in a dominant position with field control and thus be able to control the flow of the duel. If you’re in control, you’re going to win—most of the time.
Yata-Garasu, the notorious hand-locking monster, is also banned in the Advanced format. There’s not much of a worry when it comes to the late game, as that’s where topdecking is often seen. Even blowing your hand away to quickly grasp field control early in the game isn’t a bad move, and now it can be very successful. With mass removal gone and no Yata-Garasu to punish you for bad hand management, a quick rush for the opponent’s life points can earn you a fast and efficient victory.
The first step in countering the metagame would be to find and use ways to gain card advantage. At U.S. Nationals before the Advanced format was introduced, almost every deck was running at least one Torrential Tribute, and many had two or three copies. When I can use one card to destroy two or more, why wouldn’t I want to play it? That’s card advantage, plain and simple. That same logic can explain why almost every deck ran Delinquent Duo and Dark Hole.
With the Advanced format in full swing, it should appear obvious that many, if not all, decks will run one Torrential Tribute. Other cards that can give card advantage include: Pot of Greed, Mirage of Nightmare, Sinister Serpent, Spirit Reaper and Don Zaloog, Airknight Parshath and Masked Sorcerer, and Morphing Jar. Expect to see more of these cards as other duelists realize the need to gain card advantage as a key to winning.
Next is the second step to countering the metagame, which is knowing your opponent and his or her deck. To do this, we need to analyze the current Advanced format metagame. So far, the most dominant types of types have been Warrior/Chaos, pure Warrior, and Stall/Burn.
Why are these decks working so well? The Warrior decks use great monsters, such as Blade Knight, D. D. Warrior Lady, Don Zaloog, Command Knight, Goblin Attack Force, Marauding Captain, and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, combined with the support of Reinforcement of the Army and The Warrior Returning Alive to create a dominating force. Since Warrior-type monsters are often stronger than other types, the Warrior-based decks also used a couple Nobleman of Crossout and multiple copies of Dust Tornado to keep the opponent off balance and on the defensive. If there’s nothing to back up the weak monsters, the Warriors will simply sweep over them with their brute strength and superior effects.
As for Burn/Stall, the emphasis is on key spells and traps. With Mystical Space Typhoon restricted to one copy per deck, spell and trap removal has been slowed down. With this in mind, Burn/Stall decks use cards like Gravity Bind, Level Limit - Area B, Messenger of Peace, and Wave-Motion Cannon along with Solar Flare Dragon, Stealth Bird, Lava Golem, Cannon Soldier, and other cards to slowly deplete your life points without attacking, while you sit helplessly, unable to attack in return. I’ve even seen Ectoplasmer used in combination with Malice Doll of Demise—nasty combo. These kind of decks start off the early game strong, setting up some stall cards, maybe some burn, as well as some protection for the spells and traps.
Now that you know what some of the competition is like, you can figure out how to beat them. Warrior-based decks tend to lack any “trample.” By trample, I mean monsters that can deal damage through defense-position monsters, such as Airknight Parshath or Spear Dragon. With some Scapegoats to help defend against the Warriors, you can stall until you can get an advantage, or use the Goat tokens to attack your opponent. I don’t mean attacking with those powerful 0 ATK things, but instead using cards like Metamorphosis, Creature Swap, and Enemy Controller in conjunction with Scapegoat to create a wall that not only stalls but also transforms into an offensive machine. This is especially useful when facing a Marauding Captain/Command Knight lock.
Also, you’ll want to wait for a particular moment. Watch for when the Warrior deck overextends by searching for a Warrior like Marauding Captain with Reinforcement of the Army, then slap down two monsters. This overextension can decide the flow and control of the duel. If, with this move, the Warriors gain field control, it may be tough to break. Make sure you save your Torrential Tribute for this moment. If you can clear the field by the end of your next turn after the Warriors overextend, then you’ll be in the lead. Both Torrential Tribute and Tribe-Infecting Virus can help accomplish this goal.
As for Stall/Burn decks, they are actually a bit easier to counter than the Warriors. If hey don’t attack, and just play defense, how hard can it be to counter? In your side deck, just keep a few Swarm of Locusts, some King Tiger Wanghus, extra Dust Tornadoes, a couple Raigeki Breaks, and . . . heck, how about De-Spell? It’d be hilarious to bust out a couple De-Spells, destroy a Messenger of Peace and Level Limit - Area B, and win the finals of your Regional tournament. Of course, Jinzo, Mystical Space Typhoon, and Heavy Storm would also help as well. Just watch out for Solemn Judgments—those things are annoying.
We know that card advantage is immensely important, and we can now effectively fight back against the multiple Warrior, Warrior/Chaos, and Stall/Burn decks out there. However, don’t think that’s those are the only competitive decks around. With the ban of a lot of “staple” cards, more successful and original decks have invaded the metagame than ever before. Some examples include Fiends, Zombies, XYZ, Beast, as well as Beatdown, Final Countdown, the various FTK and OTK decks, etc. Here’s a good one: the winner of a recent Regional played a Warrior/Chaos deck, but lost in the first round of the event to . . . a Reversal Quiz deck. Unfortunately, the Reversal Quiz deck just narrowly missed the Top 8.
I’m sure some of you just fainted, so I’ll wait while you recover.
All right, you’ve got your deck themed planned out, and you’ve been scribbling notes down. But what other cards are being used throughout the new metagame? Here are the main ones: Berserk Gorilla, Scapegoat, Smashing Ground, Book of Moon, Enemy Controller, Creature Swap, Sakuretsu Armor, and Magic Cylinder. Everyone is also playing Scapegoat. Seriously, it has just flooded into the metagame.
I firmly believe that every deck needs to have some relatively easy to get rid of Scapegoats, or turn them against the user. For example, I ran three Airknight Parshath in a Fairy deck recently and was glad to see all the Scapegoats. Trample is now a more relevant factor in a deck than ever before. You can have Airknight Parshath, Enraged Battle Ox, Spear Dragon, Dark Driceratops, or possibly Mad Sword Beast? Whatever it is, just be sure to include some trample into your deck. In the early game, it will give you an early lead that you can try and hold. In the mid-game, if you can keep your trampling monster active and alive, you’ll be getting pretty close to victory, especially against Goat tokens. And in the late game, trample can win it for you. If the duel is in topdeck mode, and you bust out an Airknight Parshath, it’s going to be very, very difficult for your opponent to turn the situation around.
There’s also a Spirit monster that I like to use against decks with a lot of weak monsters. Asura Priest can clear fields fairly effectively. It also works well against Shining Angel and Mystic Tomato, as well as knocking out a field of Goats in one turn. Then it jumps back into your hand, away from Smashing Ground and other similar cards. However, Asura Priest is less effective during the late game. I only say this because it may leave you open to a direct attack, and you really can’t afford it in the late game. And if anything, it’s a Light monster that can help feed Black Luster Soldier.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot more depth in this topic than I can cover in one article, so I’ll end here for now. Many thanks to Metagame.com for accepting and publishing my article, and I look forward to becoming a proud writer for this respectable site.