Last week’s article discussed countering the emerging metagame with sly tricks and counter-moves. The base of counter traps are aimed at negating the options of both Diamond Dude Turbo and Advanced Ritual Art OTK, allowing the savvy player supreme control over the field. This strategy would ideally provide an outlet for a swarm of control-based monsters to dominate the field and counter their way to victory.
I want to take a different approach this week. We’ve already discussed the fact that both DDT and the Ritual OTK deck base themselves around an inordinate amount of spell cards that must resolve successfully to give them victory. However, both decks also suffer from a few more weaknesses that I’d like to exploit.
More Weaknesses of Top Level Decks
If last week’s deck was a feint artist—weaving and ducking against the heavy hitters of the environment with counter-punches galore—this week introduces a sledgehammer. Brute force that drives the opponent out of the duel—often within the span of a few short turns—is effective when considering that:
1) Like all combo-based decks, Diamond Dude Turbo and Ritual OTK like to take a few turns in the early game to get started. The primary mechanism toward setting up a stable game and generating more options is field presence through a few 1400 ATK monsters. DDT enjoys using Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude to fish for normal spells, while Ritual OTK employs the triumvirate of Sonic Bird, Senju of the Thousand Hands, and Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands to solidify the field and dig for the combo pieces it needs to prevail.
In both cases, the 1400 ATK monsters they recruit are very important. DDT uses Monster Gate and Reasoning to full effect (along with devastating tribute monsters), while Advanced Ritual OTK needs the 1400 ATK Ritual searchers on the field to block damage and serve as tribute fodder for standard Ritual summons (ones that don’t involve Advanced Ritual Art).
The threat of monsters such as Mystic Tomato trading with Diamond Dude or Hydrogeddon running roughshod over Manju is what prompts skilled players like Kris Perovic and Marc Glass to run subtle traps like Threatening Roar. If we overload our deck with 1400 ATK recruiters that can equalize the field, and use hefty doses of spell and trap removal to eliminate the scanty defenses that both archetypes employ, our deck should dominate the duel. This leads rather nicely to the next point.
2) Both Diamond Dude Turbo and Advanced Ritual Art OTK are on a set timer. Since both Dimension Fusion and Demise require 2000 life points to activate, a few swift hits with powerhouse monsters like dual Hydrogeddon cards or Injection Fairy Lily can be too much for either deck to sustain. Two hits with Lily and the Demise player will scoop it up.
With these two weaknesses in mind (an over-reliance on 1400 ATK monsters for field presence and a dependence on comfortable life point totals), we’ll construct a “Sledgehammer!” build that can easily tech the current North American metagame.
Constructing the Monster Lineup of the Sledgehammer! Build
The main goal is to keep monsters off the opponent’s field. While a card like Reasoning generally can’t be helped, other monsters, such as Sonic Bird, Malicious, and even Jinzo or Doom Dozer, should be swept off the field with relative ease. We’ll do this by using an aggressive base of monsters that start with the following familiar names:
Familiar Names of Angry Angry Aggro
3 Cyber Dragon
2 Exiled Force
1 Zaborg the Thunder Monarch
These monsters are constantly thrown into aggressive builds, and with good reason. Hydrogeddon and Cyber Dragon both provide special summon fodder to stabilize and support our field. Exiled Force removes opposing monsters. I would like to run three copies, but both Demise OTK and Diamond Dude Turbo rely on low monster counts. In these cases, Exiled Force will be used to sweep face-down monsters and large threats off the field to push through more battle damage.
The primary method of removing Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude or the three Ritual searchers from the field will be a stable base of 1400 ATK recruiters that destroy the opponent’s monster while generating another for us. The main goal is to either dig up a Spirit Reaper through Mystic Tomato and get into the opponent’s hand (combo-based decks hate hand disruption), or find an Injection Fairy Lily through Giant Rat to put the game on a very, very short timer.
Supporting our base of 1400 ATK Recruiters
3 Mystic Tomato
1 Spirit Reaper
3 Giant Rat
2 Injection Fairy Lily
1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
2 Card Trooper
There are a few similarities to last week’s monster line, simply because I think Giant Rat and Mystic Tomato are some of the best counters to the 1400 ATK-infested environment at the moment. In this deck, Mystic Tomato can either segue nicely into hand disruption through Spirit Reaper or Don Zaloog, or else lead into a Sangan for some easy damage.
Giant Rat has the two Exiled Force cards from earlier to draw upon, while also leading into Injection Fairy Lily (for life point explosions) or Neo-Spacian Grand Mole. Both are good options and should further your control of the field. Injection Fairy Lily in conjunction with multiple copies of Exiled Force does not bode well for your opponent, particularly if he or she is running a combo-based deck that packs few reliable monsters.
We’ll throw in two copies of Card Trooper, mainly because defense-position Diamond Dudes and attack-position Elemental Hero Stratos can be a pain. Card Trooper can remove those threats while still tying nicely into our theme of self-replacing monsters that remove their opposition from the field.
Constructing the Spell Lineup of the Sledgehammer! Build
Again, we’ll dip into the pool of commonly used spell cards.
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Heavy Storm
1 Nobleman of Crossout
1 Premature Burial
1 Snatch Steal
All six of these spell cards have great power in our deck. There’s no need to cut any of them for our purposes. We’ll also include:
1 Rush Recklessly: This is one of the few builds where Rush Recklessly functions better than its cousin, Shrink. Rush will give Hydrogeddon the gas needed to push through big DEF monsters, such as Legendary Jujitsu Master and Gravekeeper’s Spy. It also allows for subtle game-ending pushes when your opponent is at low life point totals. For example, using it to boost Mystic Tomato into the 2100 ATK range, when your opponent is at 2000 life points, during the damage step, is a standard maneuver.
1 Enemy Controller: Another card that enables you to push through damage, activate Hydrogeddon, and generally play a whole variety of versatile tricks that can give you the upper hand in a duel.
1 Scapegoat: The different array of self-replacing monsters that Monarchs, Diamond Dude Turbo, and Demise OTK pack make it very difficult to ignore the use of Scapegoat. It’s one of the few cards that can ward off a Jinzo plus Dimension Fusion, or an onslaught of 1400 ATK Sonic Bird cards when you can’t seem to draw a monster.
1 Creature Swap: With six recruiters, Creature Swap is difficult to ignore. However, the presence of low monster counts and a lack of suitable targets makes this one copy perfect for the occasion. You can side deck the second for more traditional matchups.
Constructing the Trap Lineup of the Sledgehammer! Build
Let’s include the four of the most commonly played trap cards.
1 Ring of Destruction
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Call of the Haunted
1 Mirror Force
All of these traps are great choices for the deck. To round out our theme of denying monsters to our opponent, we’re going to include spicy copies of . . .
3 Trap Dustshoot: With the tendency in the current environment to build up cards in hand, Trap Dustshoot should effectively handle the most important monster threat in your opponent’s arsenal. Using this card in conjunction with a beast like Lily should lead to very quick games.
2 Dust Tornado: Spell and trap removal is very powerful, especially in conjunction with our strategy of clearing the opponent’s field with recruiters and other such monsters.
Expected Matchups with the Best Decks in the Format
This “Sledgehammer!” build holds its own with Monarchs, mainly because of its ability to generate more options and stop threats while still maintaining field presence. However, I feel the build truly shines against the twin threats of Diamond Dude Turbo and Demise Ritual OTK.
You can side out the three Trap Dustshoot cards for the likes of Drop Off or Magic Drain when your opponent opens. Other than that, flexible side deck choices should let you bring out cards that are bad for certain matchups while still being able to counter the decks that are big right now.
A nice draw with something like Lily, Dustshoot, Dust Tornado, Cyber Dragon, and Exiled Force or Giant Rat should lead to a nearly unbeatable setup.