Writing a column like The Apotheosis, I tend to run into a lot of dedicated theme decks. That’s no problem for me; I love building a really hardcore themed strategy, taking it to a local, and beating on top decks like TeleDAD and Lightsworn. But the thing to remember when you build a theme deck is that if you want it to be more than just a handicapped oddity, you need to take full advantage of your theme. If your goal isn’t tournament success (even just on the local level), by all means build your theme deck however you like. But if you want to at least give the top decks a run for their money, you’ve got to use what you’ve got.
Today’s featured deck didn’t exactly do that before I got my hands on it, so my goal in this deck fix is to amplify the unique strengths of this reader’s deck. Here’s what he had to say about it:
My name is Favio and I’m getting back into Yu-Gi-Oh! — I haven’t played in a long time and I’m trying to make a Dark Warrior Toolbox deck with lots of Shrinks, Don Zaloogs, and Strike Ninja. My usual move is to summon Mystic Tomato, then activate Creature Swap and attack my Tomato to summon Don Zaloog for a direct attack and a discard.
-Favio T, Vista, CA
Here’s Favio’s decklist: see if you can spot my concern . . .
Dark Warrior Toolbox — 41 Cards
2 Strike Ninja
2 Don Zaloog
2 Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
2 Caius the Shadow Monarch
1 Cyber Dragon
3 Mystic Tomato
1 D. D. Assailant
1 Spirit Reaper
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1 Snipe Hunter
1 Breaker the Magical Warrior
1 D. D. Warrior Lady
If you immediately jumped at the deck’s size (41 cards), well sure, that’s issue number one. But the real problem is that Favio has given up a lot of options to restrict himself to a Dark theme, and he’s getting nothing in return for his sacrifice save Strike Ninja. The Ninja can be a solid card — he’s a bit on the small side these days, but he still has the ATK power to end games in a matter of turns.
Unfortunately, building an entire deck around two copies of a card that isn’t gamebreaking to begin with isn’t a great competitive plan. Ideally this deck would run Crush Card Virus and Dark Armed Dragon to reward its adherence to the Dark theme, but since those can be tricky cards to get, I’m going to have to find more ways to benefit from the Dark lineup.
Beyond that, arguably the best Dark Warrior for a non-Synchro Toolbox setup is missing. We’re going to have to change that. First, let’s trim some fat.
The single copy of Jinzo doesn’t really belong here, and while Cyber Dragon is a solid aggressive card, its sheer size doesn’t help much these days. It’s trumped by bigger monsters, and over-extending into a flurry of Synchro monsters from TeleDAD is a recipe for disaster. One Plaguespreader Zombie with no real support to get it to the graveyard isn’t of much help either, and I’m going to remove one copy of Mystic Tomato to make some room.
Nobleman of Crossout is mind-boggling to me; very few monsters really get set these days, and running a single copy in a deck with very little draw power or acceleration almost guarantees that you’ll never have Nobleman when you need it. There are better removal options than Fissure, and the pair of Creature Swaps are just too slow for this type of deck in the current format. It won’t be tremendously useful unless you have Mystic Tomato or Sangan on-hand, and it just doesn’t work well given the current play patterns of the top decks. If this deck lets a big Synchro that’s worth taking control of hit the field, the game could be over before you ever get a chance to play the Swap.
One Dust Tornado might as well get bumped to the side deck for all the good it will do on its own, and while Compulsory Evacuation Device and Bottomless Trap Hole can each deal with particular Synchro monsters relatively well, this deck has a far better option that is relatively unique to Favio’s choice. We’re going to go with the higher-powered card that rewards this theme, instead of the generic tech.
So, we’ve got twelve card slots freed up — let’s start filling them! The first card I want to add is Greenkappa. This is a Dark Warrior deck, and Greenkappa fills both of those requirements. It’s a great budget answer to opposing strategies that tend to set Solemn Judgment with another spell or trap, meaning that not only do you have a low-cost way to pre-empt your opponent’s Solemns, you won’t suffer quite as much from not having Solemns yourself. Flipping Greenkappa, even when it’s being destroyed by an attack, is an awesome way to weaken your opponent’s defenses for the following turn, and to earn some quick card advantage. Strike Ninja thrives in a simplified game state, and Greenkappa is a searchable, Dark attribute monster that makes it happen. I can easily justify two copies here.
Next, even though this deck is relatively vulnerable to Crush Card Virus, I’m going to add two copies of D. D. Assailant. These guys are searchable beat sticks that serve as answers to pretty much any Synchro monster, and while Exiled Force would dodge the threat of Crush, it wouldn’t stop Stardust Dragon nor would it beat the opponent into defeat. I love Assailant in this format; just be careful if you know you’ll be facing Crush Card Virus. If your local happens to be chock full of them, feel free to replace Caius with more trap support to compensate.
From here there are some no-brainer choices. A Warrior Toolbox deck with only two Reinforcement? Really? The entire strength of this deck is largely invested in its ability to dig for the right Warrior at the right time, making a third Reinforcement of the Army a must. From there, we’ve got a heavy Dark lineup — why not take advantage of it by playing three Allure of Darkness? It helps smooth draws, justifies some of the tech choices we’re doubled up on (such as Greenkappa), and it helps you get to cards you couldn’t search for otherwise.
Which is good, because my next addition is Royal Oppression. It can’t touch Strike Ninja or Mystic Tomato, so the only card in this deck that Oppression could conflict with would be Monster Reborn — frankly, I’ll take my chances and keep Reborn in. Flipping Oppression in this format so often means game, and with Greenkappa controlling the back row, Oppression’s impact on your opponent’s monsters will be felt even harder. It’s a nice dual-pincer attack on your opponent’s card presence, and it makes Strike Ninja really matter.
Beyond that I’m just going to add one copy of Mirror Force as another straightforward addition, but if you want to play with the trap lineup you can mix in Threatening Roars, Phoenix Wing Wind Blasts, or even Karma Cuts to fit your taste. Here’s what the list of changes looks like:
The final build looks like this:
Dark Warrior Toolbox — Jason’s Fix — 40 Cards
With Don Zaloog backed by Shrink, Greenkappa, and Royal Oppression all taking chunks out of your opponent’s card presence, it’s actually quite possible to disable a competitive opponent’s big combos before that player can start hurling them at you. Your ideal openings are Sangan or Mystic Tomato set, followed by Spirit Reaper. If you’re feeling really gutsy, you can always set two cards to your back row to bluff Morphing Jar, then set Greenkappa too, but remember: that trick only works once.
It is, however, glorious when it does.
From there your goal is to take as many cards from your opponent as quickly as possible, so that when they do go off the best that player can manage is a single big monster. You can deal with single big monsters: Shrink, Smashing Ground, D. D. Assailant, D. D. Warrior Lady, and other cards ensure that. The threat you need to preempt is a flood of multiple big monsters, and the best ways to accomplish that goal is to have Royal Oppression in the right place at the right time, or simply devastate your opponent’s card count.
Remember too that Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer’s effect can keep your opponent from removing Destiny Hero – Malicious from his or her graveyard. He’s not a Warrior, but he gets the job done, and he’s yet another big attacker. Caius is a powerful non-Warrior option as well, giving you even more ways to eliminate big Synchros or problematic Lightsworn.
When all else fails, you’ve got some serious on-field defense too. Mystic Tomato, Assailant, Warrior Lady, and Spirit Reaper can all help cushion the blow of a big attacking push, turning an OTK into a survivable experience, and a two-turn aggressive set-up into a three or four turn trickle of damage.
I actually think this deck can be quite competitive with the right metagame reads and appropriate tweaks, so it’s definitely worthy of seeing play at a local. Get some experience with it, switch things up a bit to fit your style, and you could have a Regional level deck on your hands. Try it yourself!
Want to see your deck featured in The Apotheosis? Send your decklist, formatted like the one in this article — along with your name, location, and a short description of how the deck works — to metagamedeckfixes(at)gmail(dot)com.