Welcome back, Kaijudo duelists! It's been an exciting week since Clash of the Duel Masters released. With Set Premieres across the continent this past weekend, people everywhere have been experimenting with the new cards and trying to come up with the best future strategies for the second half of Kaijudo Master Challenges. Well, my team is no exception, and we've done a lot of testing with the new cards trying to find out how different strategies have benefited. In this article, I'll be going over some of our findings and some of my predictions on which decks might shape the metagame from here on out.
I think it'd be a little blasphemous not to start with control. LWD Dragon Control took more top 8 spots at KMCs than any other deck up to now, and from our testing results, it will probably continue to be a dominating deck. It might not be quite so dominating as it was, since there are other decks that come to light with this new set, but LWD got a few amazing cards.
The first of these is [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd], a card which many people speculate might be the best in the set. We all know how insane [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] has been for control, and [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] offers the same ability on a level 3 spell. It's not a +1 in card advantage like the puppet, but the fact that it can potentially be played three turns earlier is a huge advantage. One of the few problems LWD control has had in the past was the inability to recover from a progression involving a mass amount of birds followed up by dragons. [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] can throw a huge wrench in those plans, being able to even get rid of a [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd] before it's played if you're on the play. In addition, [ccProd]Mesmerize[/ccProd] has amazing synergy with the commonly-played [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd]. Being able to recycle a card that can give you so much insight into your opponent's strategy while taking away their cards is brutal against almost any deck.
Another card that has definite potential to help control is [ccProd]Keeper of Laws[/ccProd]. Looking at this card in the context of a control mirror match is really sort of frightening. All of a sudden, opposing copies of Logos Scan break even instead of netting your opponent a +1, and all their great one-for-one removal spells like [ccProd]Terror Pit[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd] actually give you a +1. On top of that, it's an incredibly hard card to get rid of. Summoning it after a turn three [ccProd]Cyber Lord Corile [/ccProd](another great card for most control decks) will make it invulnerable to cards like [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd], leaving [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd] as one of the only valid ways to deal with it. Even [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] can't tap it down if you have another creature in the battle zone! [ccProd]Keeper of Laws[/ccProd] is just another card that could give this already powerful deck the strength it needs to stay on top.
Since the new [ccProd]Cyber Lord Corile[/ccProd] makes it a lot easier to take advantage of Shield Blasts, I think it's appropriate to talk about one amazing new Shield Blast we got in Clash: [ccProd]Piercing Judgment[/ccProd]. Basically, this card simply outclasses [ccProd]Veil Vortex[/ccProd] in any deck playing both the Light and Water civilizations. it's incredibly against a deck like Greed Dragons because it can return their [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Hyperspeed Dragon[/ccProd] to their hand, while tapping a Fire Bird which can then be dealt with through attacking. As a Shield Blast, it also functions very well as it can prevent two creatures from attacking as opposed to just one. While this card will probably be seen in a lot of control decks, it can also easily be fit into just about any deck running the appropriate civilizations.
Everything from "Greed Dragons" to "4/5-Civ Dragons" also dominated pre-Clash. There are a lot more viable strategies now I think, but dragons still have what it takes to remain tier 1. We actually got a couple great new dragons in Clash, such as [ccProd]Infernus the Immolator[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Shadeblaze the Corruptor[/ccProd]. These decks give those dragon-heavy strategies including birds, [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd] even more finishers to help get the most out of those cards, making their deadly late-game even deadlier. [ccProd]Infernus the Immolator[/ccProd] is actually the most powerful creature released so far, with a 17,000-power body and some amazing effects. Giving this kind of deck even more threats basically assures that it will continue to be a force in the meta, in addition to spells like [ccProd]Piercing Judgment[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Fight![/ccProd], which can help [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd]'s effect go off with more consistency.
Aggro/Midrange decks got some very interesting cards in Clash. Early-game beatsticks in the form of [ccProd]Weaponized Razorcat[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Sword Horned[/ccProd] force the continued inclusion of [ccProd]Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd] in control decks. [ccProd]Sword Horned[/ccProd] also has two very relevant races (Beast Kin and Enforcer) so the potential is there for a deck including Light and Nature with [ccProd]Bronze-Arm Sabertooth[/ccProd] and Enforcer evolutions. Starseed Squardon and [ccProd]Steamtank Kryon[/ccProd] are other cards that could influence future aggro decks. Steamtank acts as a [ccProd]Hyperspeed Dragon[/ccProd] for any race, with a power boost to boot. I honestly haven't experimented much with these strategies as of yet, but I expect there to be a lot of people trying things with these cards since they've generated a lot of hype, and I'd be surprised if they don't take a few top spots at upcoming KMCs.
Even the scariest deck type of all time got some boosts! Rush is known by many as a hit-or-miss strategy since it usually loses if it can't win in the first five or so turns, but it got some cards that might help to make it more consistent. Fire/Darkness variants look like they could be especially strong, as [ccProd]Baron Burnfingers[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Lizard-Skin Puppet[/ccProd] are both strong level 2 creatures. The most exciting card released for rush this set definitely has to be [ccProd]Shapeshifter Scaradorable[/ccProd], though. Sure, it has the ability to evolve into any creature, but the scariest application of this card is its ability to evolve off of any creature in the game. Almost all the creatures in a typical rush deck are low-level, so it's easy to get the new Scaradorable into play, effectively acting as a fast-attacker. Then, [ccProd]Shapeshifter Scaradorable[/ccProd] goes right back to your hand when it's banished, so even [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd] isn't as threatening as usual! Scaradorable can then be played again as early as your next turn when you draw a new creature for it to evolve on, giving the deck an almost endless supply of fast attackers.
In short, I think the top decks of the Dragonstrike Infernus metagame can still definitely compete and hold their own as tier-1 strategies, but there are a lot of new cards that all of these decks can use to adapt. Dragonstrike Infernus gave birth to entirely new decks such as Dragon Control, but Clash might change the meta in a different way - simply changing the way these decks are built. I expect variants of LWD Control and Dragon Control to still be as solid as ever, along with new aggro and rush strategies that could be created using the new cards. It will definitely be interesting to see the results of the first few KMCs post-clash, and expect my future articles to cover any new developments in the meta! Until then, Play Hard or Go Home!