The question on everyone's mind right now isn't which deck is the strongest. TeleDAD has proven itself to be the hands down favorite. The question on everyone's mind these days is: can another deck win a tournament dominated by TeleDAD decks? Obviously the vast majority of people think the answer is no. They show up with TeleDAD decks, often teched out to beat other TeleDAD decks, and have practiced entirely for the expected metagame. But clearly some players think TeleDAD has a weakness.
These players show up to Shonen Jump Championships intending to exploit the unfamiliarity most players have with their deck. Skill Drain has a lot of weird rulings that allow you to play around it with commonly played cards like Enemy Controller and Torrential Tribute, but because a lot of players don't see the interaction they can't play around the opponent's Skill Drain and lose. You don't even have to show up with an entirely new deck or tech card. Just by playing a different style of game you can throw opponents off who are used to playing a certain way.
That was the idea behind the first Zombie deck Superfriends took to Shonen Jump Washington. Intense aggression combined with the possibility of OTKs or huge draw combos pushed the metagame around. Since then the metagame has been introduced to many different cards that have made the deck unplayable. That is until the release of Plaguespreader Zombie.
Plaguespreader ties the whole deck together. Burial from a Different Dimension
has always been a useful but redundant card for Zombies. It was usually a one-for-one trade with a Mezuki
for another special summon. Plaguespreader gives it another purpose, allowing you to easily get a second monster with the Burial. Now that you can max Burials you can play Allure of Darkness
. That opens up another lot of possibilities, but before I talk about the whole deck, let me show you the build that made Top 16 at San Francisco:
3 Upstart Goblin
3 Allure of Darkness
3 Burial from a Different Dimension
2 Foolish Burial
2 Card of Safe Return
1 Lightning Vortex
1 Card Destruction
1 Brain Control
1 Giant Trunade
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn
2 Book of Life
1 Crush Card Virus
3 Reckless Greed
2 Threatening Roar
The first thing I like about this deck is that Burkhead was able to do what most players weren't: cut a lot of Zombies. Zombie Master is great for this deck. It revives Plaguespreader Zombie without removing it from play, it cycles a monster from your hand to the graveyard, and it's a special summon for Card of Safe Return. Similarly Pyramid Turtle is an awesome monster in general. It can special summon any good Zombie monster, including a 2400 ATK beater.
The problem with Zombies is they have no monster that can destroy other monsters. In general you want to have cards that can deal with other monsters. Therefore you can't afford to draw a lot of monsters in Zombies. Other decks can afford to play between 18-20 monsters because they have discard effects and cards that thin the deck of monsters. Zombies have some thinning cards, but for the most part if half your deck is monsters you'll be ending games with three or four dead Zombies in your hand.
At 13 monsters that's not going to happen to Burkhead. Two copies of Foolish Burial and three copies of Upstart Goblin mean he's 15/37 to open up with monsters in his opening hand, including the copies of Foolish as monsters. That means he'll draw one or two most of the time, occasionally drawing more and maybe once or twice drawing none at all. Drawing none is a problem, but Burkhead has smoothed it over by playing three copies of Reckless Greed and Allure of Darkness. Allure doesn't really help the monster shortage in the early game, but it can turn a monster overload into a playable hand.
In case you don't know yet, here's how the deck works. Plaguespreader Zombie can usually only be used once or twice. If you normal summon it or have Monster Reborn you can get a second use out of it, but otherwise you'll be stuck just using it once and losing a draw in order to do so. Zombies however can abuse Plaguespreader in many more ways. Playing Goblin Zombie and Pyramid Turtle mean you can search it onto the field or to your hand so normal summoning it is always a possibility. That means you should always have a least two Synchro opportunities.
You'll have more than two Synchro opportunities though. Zombies have seven cards that work like personal Monster Reborns and another nine cards to search those out, effectively playing sixteen copies of Monster Reborn. That's a lot of extra Synchro opportunities. Normally you'd begin to get worried about Synchro fodder, but Goblin Zombie, one of the search cards for the Monster Reborns, can continue to search more fodder after the Mezukis are gone. Also since you have Zombie Master you've got your level 4 material, and it can be special summoned by all the same Reborn-esque cards. All you need is a Zombie in hand which, thanks to Goblin Zombie and Card of Safe Return, shouldn't be a problem.
It works something like this: use the first Goblin Zombie to search out Mezuki and use that Mezuki to revive that Goblin Zombie. Then use that Zombie to search out the second Mezuki, repeat and search out the third Mezuki. Now that the Mezukis are gone you can search out more Goblin Zombies. At any point you can search Zombie Master and Plaguespreader Zombie if you don't have them, but in the meantime you have a self-sustaining army of eventual combo pieces. All the while you've got Card of Safe Return up adding cards to your hand and allowing you to turn the engine into one that pumps out Synchros.
Since the self-replacing Zombie horde does nothing to protect Burkhead from losing, he's packing two copies of Threatening Roar and Gorz the Emissary of Darkness. Gorz is incredibly strong in the opening hand, allowing you to pass and play him when you take damage from Elemental Hero Stratos. The resulting 4500 ATK points on your field should be enough to produce an OTK next turn. The Roars are good against any opponent who threatens to win the game next turn.
It's important to be able to turn your engines into victory though and that’s what Burkhead's spell line-up is about. Giant Trunade, Heavy Storm, Brain Control, and Lightning Vortex are the cards that give Burkhead the opportunity to attack with all his monsters and win the game. Dark Armed Dragon does the same, only better, adding 2800 ATK to the mix and destroying any cards you want. Burkhead can afford to play Dark Armed in here because even in the late game his graveyard control is magnificent (which, by the way, is another bonus of cutting the total monster count).
Burkhead's got the right idea here. Most people are too concerned with making endless loops via triple Zombie Master and using Destiny Hero - Malicious to make better Synchros. The Zombie engine is enough for the early game. Save your Synchro plays for the mid to late game when the opponent's doing it and you'll be much more successful.