Hello everyone, I’m back this week to discuss my undefeated run with the new Nekroz deck at the Columbus Ohio regional! Going into the week I did not even know what any of the Nekroz monsters did or have any idea how to play the deck. Needless to say I needed some help, but instead of asking to be spoon fed information I decided to do a little research of my own. The very first thing I did was simply type “Nekroz” in on Dueling Network and copy and paste the card effects onto a Microsoft Word document. This may seem like an unconventional way of trying to establish an understanding of a deck, but it helped me learn how all the cards interacted with each other. I then created a sub category in the same word document entitled Simple Things. In this category I listed the following things.
- You can’t use X monster as a tribute to summon the same X
- Each Ritual spell has the grave effect of “If you control no monsters you can banish this card and a Nekroz monster to search your deck for any ritual spell”
- Unicore, Brionac, Clausolas, and Catastor all rely on interacting with cards that were special summoned from the extra deck
- Nekroz are weak to floodgates
- When you ritual summon using the Ritual spells the monster’s level must exactly equal the tribute that goes into the summon.
As simple as some of these things were, they helped me understand the basics of the deck. Establishing an understanding of the ceiling at which your cards can perform is integral in trying to elevate that ceiling further. These cards on their own simply could not reach higher, which meant I had to look into other cards that could potentially allow me to get to the next level. I looked to the OCG and found they used cards like Preparation of Rites, Manju, Senju, and Reinforcements of the Army, which all helped the deck's consistency as all of these cards have one thing in common: they allow you to search your deck for a combo piece. Then again, almost every Nekroz monster allows you to search for missing combo pieces too! My initial thought was that I should max out each card that allowed me to search for missing pieces, because if I could search my deck for anything I would always have a play. At first I decided not to play Senju at first, but Jeff quickly told me to stop being stupid and I put Senju in almost immediately.
As I began to test with the deck I found that I did not like the amount of search cards I was playing because they limited the amount of other cards I could play. When I say other cards I’m referring to power spells, and outs to suboptimal game one scenarios.
Suboptimal Game One Scenarios
- The Djinn Releaser Lock (Mirror Match)
- Vanity’s Emptiness (Qliphort/Satellarknights)
- Skill Drain (Qliphort)
These are some of the more common situations that you will see in game one and if you don’t have an answer you will most definitely get blown out. The easiest way to answer these situations was to minimize the amount of additional search cards and maximize the amount of main deck solutions.
After I had done my own research and began to understand more about the Nekroz deck, Jeff sent me a deck list to build off of and playtest with. During the week I tested online with Jeff and in person with some of my local friends. Thursday night my good friend Dalton Buxrude and I drove to Michigan to meet up with Jeff and hopefully finish our Nekroz decks. Friday morning Jeff, Dalton, and I went to search for the Nekroz cards we needed. Jeff helped me build the majority of my deck for my birthday, and by the time the local tournament came around I had a full Nekroz deck to use. At the locals I played horribly and felt very discouraged for the regional the next day, but I knew I had to stay positive.
At about 3am Jeff, Dalton, Eddy Lee, and our friend Jake drove to Columbus, Ohio from Michigan. Once we all arrived at the convention center we filled out our deck lists, and I quickly realized I was missing a few cards from my extra deck. Running up and down the convention center I was able to find most of the missing cards thanks to Jordan Bermudez and Tommy Rowe. Round one was about to begin and there were 300 players in attendance, I still wasn’t feeling great about the event but after some sleep I felt a bit more optimistic!
Here is the decklist I used for this event!
Note: The Honor Ark should have been a Cairngorgon, but nobody wanted to sell me one for less than 8 dollars.
Round One: Volcanics
I sat down across from this guy, wished him good luck and we started our match! Unfortunetely before the match the guy dropped his whole deck onto the table revealing to me that he was playing Volcanics! I won the dice roll and let him go first to which he set a monster and a backrow and passed his turn. Knowing that Volcanics could destroy my field at anytime I opted to summon a Unicore using Nekroz Kaleidoscope and searched my deck for a Nekroz of Gungnir. He didn’t have a graveyard yet so I was unable to use Trishula’s devastating effect on him. I used Unicore to kill his set monster, which was a Volcanic shell. I passed my turn with one card set. On his turn he summoned Volcanic Rocket searching Blaze Accelerator Reload and set one card (Obviously the trap). I drew for turn and went for a Trishula play, which he tried to intercept with Blaze Accelerator Reload, but I used Gungnir to protect my Trishula. At this point in the game I was able to take control because Trishula banished the trap card from his graveyard and I managed to take another one from his hand. He drew his next card and conceded the first game. Game two he chose to go first again. He summoned Volcanic Rocket and searched for Blaze Accelerator Reload again and set one card and passed. I drew for turn and played Mystical Space Typhoon on his face down Blaze Accelerator Reload so I could use Trishula’s effect on him and take control of the game. I Trishula’d him and banished his Volcanic Rocket on field, the Blaze Accelerator Reload, and I hit another Blaze Accelerator Reload out of his hand! I was confused as to why he wouldn’t set the extra copy of the trap card, but that was none of my business! He quickly realized that he wasn’t going to be able to get back into the game, and began playing awkwardly. I punished each misplay he made and went on to win game two starting off 1-0!
Round Two: Qliphort
I sat down and could just tell this guy was going to be a really stingy player so I greeted him respectfully and we began game one. He won the dice roll and elected to go first. He summoned a Carrier, equipped Saqlifice and ended his turn with one backrow. I looked at my hand and didn’t see any out to Saqlifice and felt really uneasy about how the game was going to go. Then I realized that I could just Castel away the Saqlifice. I activated Kaleidomirror to which he chained Vanity’s emptiness. Frustrated that I didn’t have an out to Emptiness I passed. He attacked me directly for 2100 and ended his turn. I drew a Brionac for turn, but held it. I already had a Valkyrus in my hand so there was no need to search for another one yet. I passed my turn and he once again attacked for 2100. I drew and yet again no solution to Vanity’s Emptiness. I was certain I was going to lose game one. He drew for turn and asked me what life was at to which I responded with “I’m at 3800.” He then played a Summoner’s Art to search for a Scout, which greatly overjoyed me. He played the Scout, paid 800lp, and searched for a Qliphort Shell. He tribute summoned for the Shell and tried to attack for game. I thought to myself “Does this guy really not know what my cards do?” I used Valkyrus to negate his attack and he then passed his turn! I began my play by using Trishula to Banish the Shell off of his field, banished the Saqlifice from his graveyard, and I managed to hit the Scout out of his hand too! I then used Kaleidomirror to summon a Valkyrus and a Unicore by sending Dragon Master Knight! This put a total of 7900 damage on board, which killed him that turn. When we began siding he acknowledged his mistake, to which I agreed. I put in three twisters because I wanted an immediate out to Vanity’s Emptiness and Skill drain. He let me go first; I set two twisters and ended my turn. He tried to use two Scouts but I countered both with my Twisters. He then summoned a Carrier, swung for 1800, and passed his turn. I drew and used Kaleidomirror to summon Unicore. I used Herald of Arc light to search for a Brionac for future plays. I killed his Carrier and ended my turn. He drew for turn and shook his head. He could only summon a Helix and set one backrow. I was almost certain he had a skill drain set because his Helix only had 1800 while my Unicore had 2300, the only card that could have possibly mitigated that situation would have been a skill drain. I drew and used Brionac’s effect to search for a Trishula. I played mystical space typhoon to destroy his set card and sure enough it was skill drain! I then ritual summoned Trishula and a Valkyrus to finish off the game.
Round Three: Burning Abyss
My opponent sat down and asked me if I had my invite. I told him yes, and then he told me he really hopes he gets his today. I won the dice roll and elected to go second. He summoned two Dante’s and passed. I smiled, as Burning Abyss was one of the easiest match-ups for Nekroz. I summoned a Manju to search my deck for a Kaleidomirror, which I then used to summon Unicore and search for a Brionac. I then used Nekroz Cycle to summon Brionac from my hand tributing a Shrit from my hand. I used Shrit to search for another Brionac to ensure I had a play for my following turn. I used Unicore and Manju to make an Abyss Dweller and used its effect to negate all my opponent’s grave effects. I followed up with Brionac’s effect to return both Dantes to the extra deck. This put him very far behind and allowed me to win on the following turn. Game two started quickly, he ended his turn with a Dante, and Cir on the field, with one backrow. I drew and assumed his set card was fire lake, which made me instantly mystical space typhoon his set card. It was a Vanity’s Emptiness, which was also a relief to see gone. I then went for a Trishula play and banished the Cir on field, another Cir in graveyard, and I managed to banish one from his hand too! Going this far behind put him on tilt and caused him to misplay, which allowed me to nab game two for the third win in a row!
Round Four: Satellarknights
I sat down and saw I was playing against my friend Chris! I knew he was playing Satellarknights and elected to go first game one! He wasn’t quite sure what all my cards did so he read almost everything. Game one was quite the grind game, but ended with my winning due to my near infinite resources. Game two he drew very unplayable and I was able to comfortably ease through the game and win. I actually used Djinn Releaser to attack for game!
Round Five: Satellarknights
Feeling really good about the day I began to wonder if I was really going to win the regional. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself so I stayed humble, shook my opponent’s hand, and got game one underway! Similar to round four I was able to grind through all of his backrows and win due to my immense card advantage. Game two he drew a vast majority of trap cards and I opened royal decree. Need I say more?
Round Six: Burning Abyss
I ran to my table, sat down, shook the guy’s hand, and began game one! He was a very nice guy and informed me that he actually won a YCS in 2010 at Gencon! In the past that would intimidate me, but I have become very accustomed to playing credible players, after all Jeff has won three major events in his life! I knew he was playing Burning Abyss, which meant I wanted to Djinn lock him if at all possible. He went first and set one backrow. I looked at my hand and noticed I could Djinn lock him. I normal summoned Manju and before I could even reach for my deck, he dropped an Effect Veiler! I got completely blown out by Veiler and was forced to pass my turn. He then summoned three Dante’s and a Black Luster Soldier to finish the game off. I had single handedly lost game one to Effect Veiler, which was extremely disheartening and worried me going into the remainder of the match. After siding I opted to go second again, he opened mediocre, while I was able to resolve multiple Trishulas and win comfortably. This was the first time I was going into game three on this day, which naturally made me a bit nervous. He wanted to go first game three and set one card and passed. The exact same situation as game one! I also had the potential to put him under the Djinn lock and I had mystical space typhoon! I debated making a different play, but then realized that if I could Djinn lock I would almost certainly win the match. I played MST on his set card, and normal summoned Manju…there was no Veiler! I set up my Djinn lock and won from then on!
Round Seven: Shaddoll
After a tense round five I was eager to get back to 2-0ing my opponents and feeling unstoppable. I knew my opponent was playing Shaddolls so I let him go first and he foolishly played Foolish burial in an attempt to draw into better cards off Shaddoll Beast. He set one card, and passed. I immediately realized he didn’t know how to play against Nekroz. I summoned Trishula without a second thought and took control of the game. Breezing through game one we went on to game two! Game two began and he let me go first. Eagerly looking for a way to Djinn lock, I was unfortunately unable to. The game went back and forth, but the fact that none of his Shaddoll fusions were free put me very far ahead and allowed me to win fairly comfortably!
Round Eight: Qliphort
Going into round eight I was feeling very good and confident with my deck. I was sitting close to this guy all day and we both knew what the other was playing! Excited to take on another challenge we started game one! I ended up winning the dice roll and elected to go second. He set up a board but didn’t manage to generate enough advantage. I luckily had a mystical space typhoon, which allowed my ritual summons to safely resolve. I grinded through more backrow in game one and was able to win game one. Game two I drew very poor while my opponent opened quite optimal. We went back and forth and then reached a point where I had a very minimal amount of resources while he had a continuous flood of Qliphort monsters. I summoned a Decisive Armor knowing it would be difficult for him to swing over. He then summoned a Shell and equipped it with a Saqlifice. He entered his battle phase and attacked my Decisive Armor. I sat and thought for a moment and convinced myself that he had to have Limiter Removal in his hand otherwise he would take unnecessary damage. I opted to use Valkyrus to negate the attack and then he ended his turn. I didn’t draw anything that would help me survive the next turn and time was quickly approaching. I scooped up my cards and went into game three. Much to my surprise he didn’t even have Limiter Removal, he just made an error that turned out to not punish him. Going into game three I wanted to win quickly before time became an issue. I opened multiple ways to prevent Scout from resolving and was able to push for game in three short turns.
Round Nine: Nekroz
Making it through eight rounds and being the only person undefeated felt incredible, but there was still one more game to win. Having not played the mirror all day I was itching to see how well I would do! Unfortunetely I didn’t draw very well, while he opened quite optimally. Despite being in a losing situation for the majority of game one, I still managed to fight back and drop him down to 1200LP with only one card in hand. I was unable to get all my cards off the field, which meant I had to hope he couldn’t get to a Trishula on his next turn. After all he didn’t really have that many outlets to Trishula left in his deck! He drew a Manju! I scooped up my cards and we went on to game two with barely any time left in the match. We went back and forth this game, and I eventually had the game in a very simplified state where he only had a Manju on board with two cards in hand. I ended my turn with a Vanity’s Emptiness set, a Trishula, and a Valkyrus on board. He drew Book of Moon! This allowed him to reuse his Manju’s search effect. I still felt okay, because I had a Vanity’s Emptiness face down, but then he played Mystical Space Typhoon! Feeling exposed he Trishula’d me and ended his turn with only one card in hand! I was able to fight back with a Trishula of my own and then killed him but not before time being called. This match ended in a draw, with me learning a lot and finishing with 8 wins and a draw in first place!
It was a great day, and I got to spend it with all my friends and Jeff! After the event we all went out to eat at the Spaghetti Warehouse and drove home. Having only played Nekroz for a short time I want to learn even more about the deck, because it is so complex! I hope you all attend the upcoming ARG in Fort Lauderdale on March 7th-8th, and until next time… Play Hard or Go Home!