Monday, August 30, 2010

Plants Gone Wild

Plants are one of the most interesting Types to base a deck around because there are so many variants you can choose from. I still remember back when the only plants I used to run were Gigaplant and Lonefire Blossom, both in triplicate. Of course this was two years ago, back when the only competitive Plant-type monster was Lord Poison (which I didn't own at the time). I don't remember the entire build I used but I remember using a lot of Insects to fill in the blanks. I believe it was something like:

3x Doom Dozer.
3x Gigaplant
2x Grasschoper
3x Insect Knight
3x Blazewing Butterfly
3x UFO Turtle
3x Lonefire Blossom

Those where simpler times, months before Synchros and TeleDAD emerged and rocked the meta. Nowadays when you say that you want to run a "Plant Deck" you need to be much more specific. There are a number of methods currently available: 

Debris-Hime: A variant previously considered "dead" when Lonefire Blossom became semi-limited and Black Rose Dragon's limited in September 2009. Now that BRD is off the the list again and with the extra copy of Dandylion available, expect to see the the return of these builds. The deck focuses on clearing the field when necessary and recycling BRD to carry out the job. With your opponent's defenses down, you can control the game with Tytannial's ability to negate most 1-for-1 cards.
Key Cards: 
-Tytannial, Princess of Camellias (run 1)
-Lonefire Blossom (run 2)
-Dandylion (run 2)
-Debris Dragon (run 2-3)
-Black Rose Dragon (run 2-3)

Quick Draw Plants: Considered by many to be the successor to Debris-Hime, this variant takes advantage of the synergy between Dandylion and Quick Draw Synchron to summon Synchron-based Synchro Monsters, most of which were not considered competitive before the deck debuted in March 2010. Be wary, however, you have to devote a good portion of Extra Deck space to monster you can only summon through Quick Draw Synchron.
Key Cards:  
-Dandylion (run 2)
-Quick Draw Synchron (run 2-3)
-Lonefire Blossom (run 2)
-Tytannial, Princess of Camellias (run 1)
-Drill Warrior (run 2-3)
-Nitro Warrior (run 1-2)
-Junk Archer (run 1)
-Junk Destroyer (run 1-2)
-Chevalier de Fleur (run 1-2)

Cherry DAD: More of a DAD variant than a plant deck per se, but an effective one at that. These builds use Cherry Inmato's recruiting power to set up a Dark Armed Dragon play as quickly as possible. Optimally you have a DAD and Ally of Justice Catastor on the field by your second turn, which is an impressive, no doubt. It is prone to dead hands, however, as Inmato itself is pretty useless and drawing multiple copies of "Inmato" Monsters can ruin your combos.
Key Cards: 
-Cherry Inmato (run 2-3)
-Inmato (run 0-2)
-Dark Armed Dragon (run 1)
-Tytannial, Princess of Camellias (run 1-2)
-Dandylion (run 2)
-Lonefire Blossom (run 2)
-Mystic Tomato (run 2)
-Card Trooper (run 1)
-Allure of Darkness (run 1)

Naturias: One the archetype first introduced in the Duel Terminal series, the Naturias are all about control. Plant-based Naturia decks are usually focused on using Naturia Bamboo Shoot to control your opponent. While the TCG exclusive Naturia Pineapple does offer a solid method of getting out BS, at the same time you deprive yourself of the Rock and Insect-type Naturia due to the limitations set on it. Furthermore, BS's ATK stat is quite low for its level and can easily be run over by something as simple as a Cyber Dragon. it is still a viable deck, but you'll need appropriate defensive support.
Key Cards:
-Naturia Bamboo Shoot (run 3)
-Naturia Pineapple (run 2-3)
-Naturia Cherry (run 3)
-Snyffus (run 1)
-Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter (run 2-3)
-Lonefire Blossom (run 2)
-Dandylion (run 2)
-Tytannial, Princess of Camellias (run 1)

GigaVise: One of the few Plant Decks capable of OTKing, its consistently has fluctuated over the past few formats. The focus of this deck is to use a Gigaplant equipped with Supervise to Synchro Summon Power Tool Dragon. If your fortunate enough to pull another Supervise with Power Tool's effect and have a Lonefire Blossom in your hand/Graveyard, you can swarm the field with multiple Synchro Monster including more copies of Power Tool. There's a level of lucky involved if you choose to go the Power Tool Dragon route, but there are alternative Synchros you can use as well, including Black Brutdrago.
Key Cards:
-Gigaplant (run 2-3)
-Lonefire Blossom (run 2)
-Tytannial, Princess of Camellias (run 1)
-Spore (run 1)
-Naturia Cosmobeet (run 1-2)
-Supervise (run 3)
-Mark of the Rose (run 2-3)
-D.D.R. - Different Dimension Reincarnation (run 1-2)
-Power Tool Dragon (run 2-3)
-Black Brutdrago (run 1-2)

Black Garden Control: While this decktype is not my specialty, I do know it takes advantage of the weakened monsters summoned while Black Garden is active. Simply Normal Summoning Cactus Bouncer followed playing Black Garden can put pressure on your opponent. With double MST's floating around this format, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable, however.
Key Cards:
-Black Garden (run 3)
-Cactus Bouncer (run 2-3)
-Lonefire Blossom (run 2)
-Tytannial, Princess of Camellias (run 1)
-Terraforming (run 0-2)

While the number of choices available can be overwhelming, the format is still young. Since much of the support is cross-compatible its possible to hybridize current builds together, such as Debris-Hime and Quick Draw Plants, but that's a matter of personal preference.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Card Trivia: Did you know that Gigaplant has its art based on a Godzilla series villain, Biollante?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Plague of Frogs

It is come to my attention that there are a large number of players that—while they may be able to grasp enough of the gameplay—lack sufficient understanding of simple game mechanics. One of these mechanics is the concept of "missing the timing." 

Now I'll admit, the fact that cards can miss their timing closes off a world of combos. I was disappointed when I learned that using Ceasefire would not allow me to trigger Flip Flop Frog's effect and bounce my opponent's monsters after inflicting damage to them. But I digress, it's just one of those things players have to come to acknowledge.

About a week ago, a friend of mine was telling me how he lost to some kids at his locals. From his description it was evident that the players didn't realized that certain combos wouldn't not work due to missing the time. Although I was able to convince him, the players would not accept my word since I'm technically not a judge (yet).

I subsequently e-mailed Konami to prove my point, and yesterday they finally responded:

From: ****** ******* []
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2010 7:44 AM
Subject: Frog Rulings
I'd like to clarify some rulings since the previously released rulings which don't expressly state what I presume to be true.

1) A Poison Draw Frog that is tributed for the cost of another card effect (ex. Substitoad, Mass Driver, Enemy Controller, Spiritual Water Art - Aoi) will miss the timing for its effect, correct? This is because it is an Optional Trigger Effect. But would I also miss the timing if it were used for a Synchro Summon or Tribute Summon?
2) Same question, but for Dupe Frog, which also has the word "can" in its effect.

Thank you for your time.
From: US YGO Rules
To: ****** *******
Sent: Mon, August 23, 2010 1:15:25 PM
Subject: RE: Frog Rulings
Correct on all counts. The timing will be missed for both of those cards in the scenarios you described, including being used for a Synchro Summon or Tribute Summon.

Now I'll say it here: I'm not perfect, I don't know every single ruling out there and occasionally I'll make mistakes.

I was once asked what would happen if an Ally of Justice Catastor battled a Neo-Spacian Grand Mole. At the time, not knowing that there was already a ruling for it, I told my friends that the attacking monster would be Chain Link 1 and the other Chain Link 2 in terms of activation. As I would later find out, this is completely wrong. Grand Mole's effect is optional, whereas Catastor's is mandatory. As such, Catastor would always be Chain Link 1 in this instance:
If “Ally of Justice Catastor” battles “Neo-Spacian Grand Mole,” the mandatory effect of Catastor will activate first and become Chain Link 1 and the effect of “Neo-Spacian Grand Mole” will be Chained to it.
If I do make a mistake I will correct myself, and I usually try to contact everyone I've mislead to inform them. It can be troublesome at times, but its definitely worth it when I can help others improve their game. 

On that note, it seems that Frog Monarchs are still putting up a fight in the OCG. Will they continue to dominate? Only time will tell.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Return of the King

In recent formats, the only Monarchs that were very considered in deck construction were Caius, Raiza, and occasionally Thestalos. Kuraz saw limited play in Geartown varients, while Mobius was often relegated to the side deck. Zaborg and Granmarg saw very little, if any, play at all.

I find it quite amusing really, especially since Zaborg and Mobius were once considered the crème de la crème in terms of Single Tribute Monsters. It was Raiza that changed things and dethroned Zaborg. Once Caius was released, Mobius too lost his pride.

But in this new age where the mass removal power of Heavy Storm is lacking, the Frost Monarch may yet see some play again. Being one of only three Monarchs with Optional-Trigger Effects (the other being Kuraz and the soon-to-be-released Delg)  means that he can even dodge a suspected Starlight Road by choosing to destroy only 1 Spell or Trap. If you're able to predict well, and avoid the Trap, then you've just +1'd in card advantage, provided those cards weren't chainable.

Even with Starlight Road as a potential threat, let's not forget there are ways around it. Remember, if Starlight Road fails to destroy the intended card its controller cannot Special Summon Stardust Dragon. A well timed Spiritual Water Art - Aoi should take card of those nasty retaliatory plays.

And Mobius can even serve as Fusion Material for Elemental Hero Absolute Zero, which I often use him for.

Overall Mobius the Frost Monarch should prove to be a solid main deck choice for the coming format. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's Official

Sorry for the lack of updates lately guys. The new banlist (which has officially been confirmed by Konami) has forced to be rethink my old tactics for the upcoming format. I've been spending the last few days practicing on YVD. I still have a lot more testing that needs to be done but some decks I have my eyes on include:
  • Monarch Synchro (my pride and joy)
  • Plants (Quick Draw/Debris-Hime/GigaVise)
  • Machina variants
  • Elemental Hero variants
  • Beast Synchro
  • Cyber Dragon
  • SalvoDAD
  • Chaos Zombies

Decks I've retired or will likely discontinue:
  • Junk Wetlands
  • Volcanic Junk/Debris
  • Reptiliannes
Well I have my work cut out for me, but the format is still young so I'm optimistic.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Banlist Denial

I'd mentioned in my last post that Konami sometimes likes to throw curve balls. If you've seen the spoilers for the banlist, then you may have realized that they've thrown one heck of a pitch. The bizarre nature of this banlist has many people at my locals in denial. They say that Konami would never do something like that or that the OCG list is different than the TCG one anyway. I didn't really care for their opinions regardless, it just makes it easier to get the new staples I need for the upcoming format off them.

First off, the OCG list is ALWAYS the same as the TCG list. The sole exception to this rule applies to cards that exist in one meta but not the other. For example, Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier was released between formats in the TCG (it debuted earlier for the OCG). Because of this, the previous banlist did not have any restrictions placed on Brionac until the end of the format.

The only other way for there to variations between the lists is if a card is Emergency Banned. Cyber-Stein was the first card to be banned during the middle of a banlist cycle, and not during the new banlist announcements.

Other than those ways scenarios I've mentioned, the two lists are nigh identical, there's no two ways about it. I know that there's still going to be people that wait till September 1st, or whenever Konami decides to update their website, but I guarantee it would best to get a head-start right now. After all, the previously banned-now limited Monster Reborn and Dark Hole's prices are going to skyrocket.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

P.S: is generally accepted as the #1 source for all upcoming information for the OCG. It's counterpart for the TCG is Remember these two sites, and you'll have all the knowledge you need of all upcoming cards for both metas.

P.S.S: Haha, Rescue Cat finally got banned.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Players that are newer to the game often look at the banlist and question the logic behind choices Konami has made. I've heard arguments calling for cards like Tribe-Infecting Virus and Sinister Serpent to brought back, at least to one. The logic they use stems from the fact that there exist cards that can be used to counter them, should they get out of hand. In this case, suitable counters would be Starlight Road and D.D. Crow.

Now it is not my intention to insult anyone, but this is inherently flawed logic. Cards are on the banlist are there for a reason. The existence of a card that can counteract it does not make said card any less unbalanced. I can use Solemn Judgment when my opponent summons Chaos Emperor Dragon - Envoy of the End, but does that make him any less broken? Heck no!

The only reason I bring this up is because recently I've seen a growing number of players calling for Thousand-Eyes Restrict to be brought to 1 or higher, and I will say this now: "It will NOT happen!"

Thousand-Eyes Restrict, which I shall hereby refer to as TER, was first brought into notoriety during the Goat Control Format. For those of you unfamiliar with the format, 
A Goat Control Deck centers around using "Metamorphosis" on "Magician of Faith" or a "Sheep Token" to summon "Thousand-Eyes Restrict". "Tsukuyomi" is also a vital card to this Deck, as it allows you to re-use "Thousand-Eyes Restrict's" effect.
Goat Control Decks became practically dead after the September 2005 banlists, when "Scapegoat", "Metamorphosis" and "Thousand-Eyes Restrict" were all Limited. This Deck is now truly dead in the Advanced Format as of September 1, 2006, since "Tsukuyomi" and "Thousand-Eyes Restrict's" banning. "Magician of Faith" and "Metamorphosis" have also been banned since. 
~ Yu-Gi-Oh! Wikia

Some of you may still wonder why TER can't come back if Metamorphosis remains banned. The reason for this is because now there is any even better alternative: Instant Fusion

Instant Fusion (Normal Spell)
Pay 1000 Life Points. Special Summon 1 Level 5 or lower Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck. (This Special Summon is treated as a Fusion Summon). It cannot attack, and is destroyed during the End Phase. Only 1 "Instant Fusion" can be activated per turn.

Instant Fusion triumphs Metamorphosis in several ways. For one, it treats the Special Summon as a Fusion Summon, meaning TER can be revived later. With Book of Moon currently at 3, bringing TER back would definitely slow the meta considerably. Monarchs would likely benefit the most, being able to use TER + Instant Fusion as a pseudo-Soul Exchange that lets them retain their Battle Phase.

Indeed, for the reasons I've mentioned as well as others, there are some cards that just can't come on the banlist. Sure, Konami may throw a curve ball like they did with Monster Reborn a few formats ago, but the odds that happening again are extremely slim, so I wouldn't bet on it.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Real Reason for the Extra Deck Size Limit

People say that the Extra Deck (formerly Fusion Deck) had a limit imposed due to the introduction of Synchro Monsters, which is completely untrue.

This is the real reason:

Talk about a guy who's always prepared...

Sunday, August 8, 2010


 Elemental Hero Burst Lady (OCG)
Elemental Hero Burstinatrix (TCG), doesn't it?

And don't even get me started on the dub.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Staples

A lot of people have been saying that Pot of Duality will become the newest deck staple.

Do you know what that means?

Mind Crush is now 100% a staple as well.

Think about it.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Damage Step for Dummies 2

I feel kind of bad for quoting someone else all the time, but since my friend's been on a roll lately I thought I'd continue he left off: 

"For the sake of having everything in a condensed view...
1 - Start of the Damage Step, where cards like Mystic Swordsman LV2, Sasuke Samurai #4, Neo-Spacian Grand Mole, & AOJ Catastor activate their effects.

2 -
Flipping the Face-Down monster Face-Up. This is where monsters with "Flip" or "flipped face up" effects are first understood to have such effects, but are not activated at this time, and when the continous effects of monsters such as Jinzo will begin to apply.

3 -
Before Damage Calculation, where cards like Shrink, Rush Recklessly, Forbidden Chalice, and Mirror Wall have their last chance to activate(be flipped face-up). This is also the time where cards like Reflect Bounder (effect damage), Drillroid, Ehren Lightsworn Monk, Dreamsprite, Ancient Lamp and Blast Sphere's equipping effect will activate.

4 -
During Damage Calculation, where cards/effects like Kuriboh, Injection Fairy Lilly and Prideful Roar are instructed to activate because they specify so. Honest and Blackwing Kalut can be used here, as well as during the previous windows.

5 -
Battle Damage is Inflicted/After Damage Calculation, where effects like Don Zaloog, Airknight Parshath, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, Gorz and Red Dragon Archfiend's defense position destruction will activate.

6 -
Activating the Flip Effect of the Flipped Monster and a few Guest Stars, where monsters are "considered to be destroyed" by battle, when continous effects of monsters are generally unapplied, and where cards like D.D. Warrior Lady, D.D. Assailant, and Wall Of Illusion activate their effects.

7 -
End of the Damage Step - Monster(s) Destroyed by Battle are Sent to the Graveyard, where effects such as Goyo Guardian, Giant Rat, Apprentice Magician, Newdoria and cards that specify "at the end of the damage step" like Ryu Kokki and Legendary Jujitsu Master will activate. I'd also like to add that while most normal trap cards cannot be activated during the damage steps, there are a few rare exceptions. These include Michizure, Chthonian Blast and Broken Blocker. Soul Rope however, is NOT among these exceptions."
Whenever I'm confronted with an unfamiliar ruling, I ask myself, "What would Val do?"

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Damage Step for Dummies

I'm not trying to come across an elitist or anything, but having to explain the why things like Torrential Tribute and Starlight Road can't be activated during the Damage Step to players can be a tiring process, especially to those that don't have a fundamental grasp of the rulings. Since a friend of mine was able to sum things up quite nicely for another layer the other day, I'd like to post his words here today. Hopefully, my efforts will not be in
When it comes to the Damage Step restrictions, one might ask why something like Torrential Tribute or Bottomless Trap Hole should be given special allowance in the first place? If the only answer to this is to dumb down the game, then its really not gonna fly, as we have enough of those already. Instead, just consult the following chart when asking yourself if an effect can be activated during the Damage Step or not.
  1. Counter-Trap cards.
  2. Spell speed 2 stat modifiers (which are only valid candidates up to and including the "Before Damage Calculation" window)
  3. Monster effects that activate with the intent of negating the activation of a card or effect.
  4. Cards and effects with special allowance written in their text or rulings.
  5. Appropriate trigger effects, which often fall under the above category or don't need to specify otherwise.
And there you have. I could not explain things any simpler if I tried.

Remember players, the game ends with you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Speed Racer

 When it comes to speed, a deck that is able to draw more than the others has the advantage of being able to to gain access to its key cards faster. In fact, most FTK decks capitalize on this concept by running 1 or more draw engines to thin their decks. But engines aren't limited solely to draw cards. They can function in recycling cards or maintaining field presence. Today I'll be listing some engines that can be incorporated in various decks to courtesy of Pojo user Yukichi:

Synchro Cat:
3 X-Saber Airbellum
1 Rescue Cat
1 Summoner Monk
0-1 XX-Saber Darksoul 

0-2 Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
2-3 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
1 Charge of the Light Brigade

2 Lonefire Blossom
2 Dandylion
1 Tytannial, Princess of Camellias
1 Spore

3 Flamvell Magician
2-3 Flamvell Firedog
2-3 Rekindling

1 Summoner Monk

2-3 Gravekeeper's Spy
0-1 Gravekeeper's Descendant
0-1 Gravekeeper's Guard

Frog Tribute:
2 Treeborn Frog
3 Swap Frog
3 Substitoad
1-2 Ronintoadin

Dandy Warrior:
2 Dandylion
2-3 Quickdraw Synchron
3 Drill Warrior

2-3 Machina Gearframe
2-3 Machina Fortress
0-2 Machina Peacekeeper
0-2 Machina Force

0-3 D.D. Survivor
0-3 Cyber Valley
0-3 Caius the Shadow Monarch
1-2 Macro Cosmos
2-3 Dimensional Fissure

2-3 Green Gadget
2-3 Red Gadget
2-3 Yellow Gadget 

1 Mezuki
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1-3 Zombie Master
1-2 Goblin Zombie

3 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
1-2 Super-Nimble Mega Hamster

3 Volcanic Rocket
3 Volcanic Shell

1 Summoner Monk
1-2 Blaze Accelerator

Destiny Draw:
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
2 Destiny Hero Malicious
1-2 Destiny Hero Dasher

1 Destiny Draw
1 Allure of Darkness

1-3 Hand Destruction
1 Card Destruction
1 Morphing Jar
2-3 Appropriate

1-3 Krebons
0-1 Psychic Commander
1 Emergency Teleport

Deep Sea Diva:
2-3 Deep Sea Diva
0-1 Reese The Ice Mistress
0-1 Spined Gilman

Counter Fairy:
3 Bountiful Artemis
3 Dark Bribe
2-3 Divine Wrath
1 Solemn Judgment

2-3 Genex Controller
1-2 Genex Undine
1-2 Genex Neutron
0-1 Genex Spare

Gemini Spark:
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
3 Elemental Hero Neos Alius
3 Gemini Spark

2-3 Emergency Call
0-2 Hero Blast 

2-3 Geartown
1-3 Ancient Gear Gadjiltron Dragon

Fortune Lady:
1-3 Fortune Lady Light
1-3 Fortune Lady Dark
1-3 Fortune Lady Water
1-3 Fortune's Future
1 Future Visions

2-3 Reptilianne Gardna
1-3 Reptilianne Naga
1-2 Reptilianne Vaskii
0-3 Offering to the Snake Deity

3 Royal Magical Library
3 Toon Table of Contents
1-3 Of Any Toon Monster
2-3 Magical Citadel of Endymion

Dragon Draw:
3 Cards of Consonance
3 Legendary White Stone
3 Blue-Eyes White Dragon
3 Trade-In
3 Super Rejuvenation

Reptile Worm:
2-3 Worm Cartaros
2-3 Worm Xex
2-3 Worm Yagan
0-3 Worm Jetelikpse

3 Malefic Stardust Dragon
0-3 Malefic Blue-Eyes White Dragon
0-3 Blue-Eyes White Dragon
0-1 Allure of Darkness.
1-3 Trade-In
1-3 Advance Draw
0-2 Magical Mallet

Koa'ki Rock:
2-3 Koa'ki Meiru Guardian
2-3 Koa'ki Meiru Sandman
0-3 Koa'ki Meiru Prototype

Immortal Bushi:
2-3 The Immortal Bushi
2-3 Armageddon Knight
1 Necro Gardna
1 Reinforcement of the Army

DARK/WIND Fortune:
1-3 Fortune Lady Dark
1-3 Fortune Lady Wind
1-3 Dark Simorgh
1-3 Fortune's Future

1-2 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Allure of Darkness

0-1 Foolish Burial 

Reinforce Truth:
1 Reinforce Truth
2 X-Saber Pashuul

2-3 Convert Contact
2 Neo-Spacian Glow Moss
2 Neo-Spacian Dark Panther
1 Neo-Spacian Grand Mole
0-1 Neo-Spacian Aqua Dolphin or Neo-Spacian Flare Scarab
2 Cross Porter

3 Cyber Valley
2-3 Battle Fader
2-3 Dimensional Alchemist
1 Plaguespreader Zombie 

3 Armoroid
3 Expressroid
0-2 Drillroid
3 Supercharge
1-3 Trade-In
2-3 Reckless Greed

2-3 Mask of Darkness
2-3 Reckless Greed

Machine Duplication:
3 Tuningware
0-3 Darksea Rescue
0-3 Cyber Valley
2 Machine Duplication
0-2 De-Synchro

The list is by no means complete but it is a good reference for any duelist. I'll be updating this post as the original link gets revised.

Remember players, the game ends with you.