The past few months have been a tough time for players looking to innovate new strategies for use on the competitive scene. Ever since Synchro monsters and the Extra Deck were introduced, rogue strategists have had to deal with the fact that the best deck in the format has 15 extra cards it can draw from with extraordinary powers that can break up almost every conceivable strategy and be accessed effectively at will without diminishing the user’s overall card presence. Teleport Dark Armed Dragon took Gladiator Beasts, a deck that thoroughly dominated every major tournament in the world bar one, and drove it into the ground with the force of a hydrogen bomb. Gladiator Beasts have had a grand total of three Day 2 appearances in the last six Shonen Jump Championships, so when I tell you that this is the most punishing format in years in terms of what can and cannot work, know that I’m not exaggerating at all. If a deck that can do anything can only take 3% of the Day 2 berths over the last half a dozen Jumps . . . is there really anything that can stand up to Teleport Dark Armed Dragon? I believe there is. In fact, I believe there are plenty of things that can be done to stop the deck if you can come up with the right deck to support the strategy.
For the last few months, conventional wisdom has stated that you either play a deck that special summons a huge swarm of monsters for an OTK or you play Royal Oppression. My goal at Shonen Jump Championship Detroit was to give everyone a third option, a deck that special summoned tons of free monsters to prevent OTKs and allowed you to take control of the game as a result of your opponent’s overextension. Today, I want to show you a deck that only wants to summon one monster and then keep it on the field.
Normally, it’s a difficult strategy to maintain owing to the fragility of monsters and the fact that most of them aren’t really going to single-handedly win you the game. This one, however, will win you the game if you can keep it out. Your opponent won’t be able to attack, defense will be useless, and only one card in his or her entire deck will be able to successfully deal with the threat without any truly unpleasant repercussions. Why hasn’t this monster seen any tournament play? It lacks a delivery system potent enough to make it a consistent strategy. I want to change this. While this build is merely a first look at the idea, I’m confident that anyone who can successfully and consistently put Neos Wiseman on the field will win the game.
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
3 Elemental Hero Prisma
2 Elemental Hero Neos
1 Card Trooper
2 Doom Shaman
2 Neos Wiseman
3 Herald of Creation
2 Armageddon Knight
1 Monster Reborn
3 Fake Hero
2 Foolish Burial
3 Swing of Memories
3 Reinforcement of the Army
3 Limit Reverse
3 Solemn Judgment
2 Elemental Hero Ground Neos
Obviously there are some serious issues with the deck, but I contend that it will still win a lot of games even with massive consistency problems, and it’s entirely because of what it attempts to do. At risk of turning this into the deck version of Jason’s Binder column, I’m going to tell you exactly why a successful Neos Wiseman deck would bring the competitive metagame to its knees.
Despite being a secret rare, Neos Wiseman is one of the easiest foils to come by in Crossroads of Chaos. This is largely because people are willing to just hand it over to you in return for minor favors or items, such as card sleeves or lending a secondary deck to someone who doesn’t have one. I’ve never seen anyone trade high for it or even ask for it, so the biggest challenge will be finding someone who has the card rather than gaining possession of it. Unfortunately, once you have the card, the first thing you’re likely to see is the thing that’s currently keeping it out of competitive play: it’s not a contact Fusion like every other special summon that requires Elemental Hero Neos and one or more other specific monsters on the field. This adds an extra layer of complexity to the equation by forcing you to have three specific cards under your control at the same time: Elemental Hero Neos and Yubel on your field with Neos Wiseman in your hand. It forces you into spending deck space on it and then finding a way to get it into your hand consistently. Gold Sarcophagus would be my card of choice for this, but since I don’t own one or even have access to one to use for tournaments, it’s not in the deck. Failing that, another strategy for setting up all your combos and finding Neos Wiseman would be by dumping all the cards into the graveyard and then retrieving them, similar to the reverse toolbox employed by the first generation of Six Samurai decks.
As I mentioned before, the deck presented really isn’t anywhere close to the best possible build that you can make to support Neos Wiseman. Personally, I believe that a deck using Lightsworn monsters and Solar Recharge would work the best, but I couldn’t find a combination of cards that I liked enough to present. Instead I’ve opted to convert the engine employed in the old Yubel decks to accommodate Elemental Hero Neos and Neos Wiseman. I would still recommend trying to come up with the Lightsworn build though, as you’re extremely likely to win any game in which Neos Wiseman reaches the field. The primary reason for this is that it has the most all-encompassing protection effect that’s okay to print on a usable card. Being totally immune to destruction by effects means that the opponent’s potential outs to the card are very few in number. In the standard Teleport Dark Armed Dragon deck, the only things that can possibly eliminate your monster are Brain Control and an in-hand tribute monster, Phoenix Wing Wind Blast, or a Synchro monster with 3000 or more ATK, maybe. In the latter case, you still might win anyway if your opponent’s life total is less than or equal to the ATK of his or her monster, because that’s the minimum amount of damage the opponent will be taking if that player tries to swing into Neos Wiseman. At the end of the damage step, regardless of whether it survived the battle, Neos Wiseman burns your opponent for his or her monster’s ATK and heals you for that monster’s DEF. Think about that for a second.
This card cannot be destroyed by card effects, so outside of maybe three cards in the entire Teleport Dark Armed Dragon deck and a few really bad choices in Lightsworn, there’s almost no way to get rid of it. The damage one would incur sending Judgment Dragon into it is pretty rough, and Honest just isn’t an out anymore. Seriously, it isn’t. If you drop Honest against Neos Wiseman you are literally asking to lose the game. It’s the only time where the first person to play Honest loses, and in this case it’s more than just losing the battle. Normally, if you play Honest and then I chain my own, your guy will trump me and deal damage. With Neos Wiseman, that’ll still happen, and then you’ll take 3000 damage plus twice your monster’s pre-Honest ATK in burn damage. There’s also a bit in there about gaining life points equal to the DEF of the opposing monster, but in the Lightsworn matchup that’s not really relevant given their paltry DEF scores. Judgment Dragon and Celestia, Lightsworn Angel can’t take it out, and Ehren, Lightsworn Monk tends to be an afterthought at best during deck construction. Thus, you could just stick Neos Wiseman in defense position and wait for your opponent to attack it, at which point you flip Waboku. Most decks would use Threatening Roar here to flat out prevent attacks of any kind, but in this case we absolutely want the attack to start. We just don’t want it to be successful at all. Waboku will still save you against OTKs, and I haven’t really worried about Gladiator Beasts in months. Like I said before, when the deck that does anything gets just over 3% of the total Day 2 spots across six major events, it kind of makes you want to discount it as a serious contender . . . for now anyway.
There’s another new set on the horizon, and no one knows what the world debut and import cards are yet. For all we know there may be a card in there that facilitates the summon of Neos Wiseman in a way I’ve never before imagined. The point I’m trying to hammer in here is that without effect based destruction, there are a grand total of three ways to get rid of Neos Wiseman. Two of them can be easily negated by counter traps. The last burns out the player who attempts it and likely doesn’t even work. I’ll say it again. If you can make a deck that consistently summons and protects Neos Wiseman early in the game, you will win tournaments. It’s all a matter of figuring out how to make it happen. Until next time, play hard, play fair, and most importantly, have fun!