Steve Koelbel isn’t a terribly familiar name in the North American Yu-Gi-Oh! community, but one of my friends, Kevin Demott, was in attendance today as a spectator and seemed to think Koelbel was worth backing. They came here together, and Demott and I, along with Julia, had at one time been professional duelists together. I don’t take his opinion lightly, so I sought out Koelbel and asked to see his deck.
He’d just come off of a round three win with Elephant Statue of Disaster, and I was intrigued. Steve is running a Lockdown deck with some key innovations, and I think his model for the archetype could very easily present a standard for the deck’s future. Here’s what he was running.
Koelbel’s Lockdown Burn
The deck is truly committed to its lock, not using any monsters that can survive outside of their protective man-made vacuum. While Stealth Bird and Lava Golem are standard for any Lockdown Burn build, Koelbel goes in some riskier directions by committing a lot of deck space to flip monsters like Swarm of Locusts. This too has been done before in major events, but the twist is Golem Sentry.
Sentry offers a lot to the deck, including its Rock-solid defense (pun intended). More than that, though, it provides an aggressive way to continually remove the opponent’s threats from play. Swarm of Scarabs could do that, and Koelbel is using them as well, but Golem Sentry has the advantage of being able to return Lava Golem back to Koelbel’s hand. That creates a powerful monster destruction engine capable of tributing away two of the opponent’s monsters every turn! As such, the Sentry performs a variety of tasks as long as it can stay on the board, and its versatility lies in its ability to perform both defensive and offensive jobs.
The spell set is a little edgier than most in this archetype. While the use of Wave-Motion Cannon for damage and Messenger of Peace for defense is highly standardized, the single copy of Mask of the Accursed is rather original. Sure, many have tried it, but few have found success with it. The trick with using this card in an era filled with Book of Moon and Tsukuyomi? Overwhelming the opponent. In addition to the one Mask, the deck is also using three copies of Nightmare Wheel, and that makes for a great deal of redundancy that one or two Book of Moon simply can’t overcome.
The Metamorphosis engine is also a new addition to the concept, and it’s actually the only one I’m willing to Question a bit. While locking down the field with Thousand-Eyes Restrict does keep the field safe, it also immobilizes some of this deck’s offense. Lava Golem needs to be on the field before Thousand-Eyes Restrict hits. If you can get that set up properly, though, then a win is almost assured.
The traps are also very smart—I cringe whenever I see a Lockdown Burn without Ceasefire, I really do. Ceasefire can easily shunt out 3000 damage in the mid-game once the opponent’s monsters start sitting around waiting for your defenses to fall, and 3000 damage is a substantial chunk out of any opponent’s hide. On top of that, the use of Interdimensional Matter Transporter reinforces the use of the self-flipping monsters. Even when your lock falls, you can pull important monsters like Golem Sentry and Swarm of Scarabs out of the line of fire before an opponent can step on them. You may take more damage if it clears the road for attacks from your opponent, but you maintain your board presence and thus will be able to regain control of the duel faster.
The decision to side deck a pair of Elephant Statue of Destruction was a good one, and it serve Koelbel well in his matches. It’s quite possible that with the popularity of Morphing Jar, Card Destruction, and Delinquent Duo, we may very well see Elephant Statue become maindeck material for this type of strategy.
If you’ve been looking for the next evolution of Lockdown Burn, Steve Koelbel’s build may be it! Give it a try yourself, tweak it as needed, and show your opponent that old decks can learn new tricks!