Countering Six Samurais

Hello readers. Let me introduce myself, my name is Jake Mattern. I’ve played Yugioh since Metal Raiders was first released as a casual player, but wasn’t really into competitive play until about 2-3 years ago. My credentials outside of regionals are that I Top8ed Shonen Jump Edison 2010. Players that know me know that I enjoy playing Gladiator Beasts over most archtypes, although I am not running them in the current metagame at the moment. I plan to try and run them again in the upcoming meta in Storm of Ragnarok.

This gave me an idea for an article to write. I understand that most people understand by now the massive amount of strong support that Six Samurais are receiving out of the upcoming set. Also for those of you who keep up with the OCG then you already know that the deck is a dominant force in their metagame already. So obviously everyone wants to either run Six Samurais or find a deck that can counter them. This is where I want to explain a strong counter option for the format, Gladiator Beasts.

Now shown by many formats before, Gladiator Beasts are a fairly adaptable archetype, moreso once a format is defined. It is a control deck, which means the player piloting the deck needs to know what to expect when entering a tournament and when building a decklist. I could go into a long speech on why the deck functions better in certain formats than others, but this isn’t the time when Dallas is coming up in a few weeks. The deck is an extremely consistent toolbox that can create a lot of advantage off of a single monster. The deck also contains one of the most dangerous counter traps in the game, Gladiator Beast War Chariot, a correctly feared card due to it having no cost outside of a Gladiator Beast being in play and it being retrievable by Gladiator Beast Equeste. This deck tends to have a set monster lineup that varies slightly format to format, but the spell and trap lines are where the heart and soul of the deck lies. Many players hate playing against a Gladiator Beast deck because they don’t want to see the opposing player summon Laquari first turn and set 3-4 spell or traps, because that player understands that War Chariot is most likely facedown, along with cards meant to protect the Gladiator. And a single Gladiator surviving for many turns can cause problems.

So the way to deal with Samurais is to alter the spell and trap lineup. Now Samurai decks (if they end up reflecting the OCG) are expected to play 12-13 Samurais, searcher cards, the continuous spells, and a trap lineup along with the usual Dark Hole, Monster Reborn, etc. Players are afraid of the of advantage that a single Gateway with a Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki and a Kagemusha of the Six Samurai can create, which doesn’t even factor in the possibility of opening up with other Samurais that special summon themselves, additional Gateways, Uniteds, etc. So in any deck, a strong addition would easily be Solemn Warning if it hasn’t already been included. Bottomless doesn’t quite due the job by itself against this deck for multiple reasons. Many times the first Samurai summoned will be Kageki. Also, it does not prevent the Gateway/United counters. Another card that will see play again in many decks will be Dust Tornado. It takes care of the continuous spells as well as the traps, unlike Trap Stun and Seven Tool of the Bandit. Also, since basically all decks will be running traps like Solemn Warning to deal with Samurais, the Dust Tornados will not be dead cards like they might be in the current meta due to all of the Decree decks, and no-trap decks such as Formula Monarchs. It's also a great card against Blackwings, one of the well known tougher matchups for this deck.

Now those are some generic good options for any deck in the upcoming format. Now to deal with issues the deck will cause to Gladiator Beasts. Many of the monsters have fairly high attack power, but there are so few total creatures in the deck. Dimensional Prison will be a very good card choice. It gets around Magatama of Musakani and can help deal with monsters already in play that Solemn Warning could not deal with. The card will also keep Samurais away from the graveyard to help prevent Double-Edge Sword Technique from being a live card as well as being a Grandmaster killer. True Six Samurai - Shien will also be a problem, but it can be dealt with a bit more easily than with other decks. The card still cannot stop monster effects, leaving it susceptible to Gladiator Beast Murmillo and Gladiator Beast Gyzarus. Outside of that though, it can be stopped by War Chariot. Effect Veiler is another good card to use to prevent Shien from ever hitting the field. If you use Veiler on the opponent’s Kageki then they cannot summon the tuner that turn, which means no Shien that turn. This is especially important because it can even stop Samurais’ first turn play if that play goes first, and stopping their first turn setup can be huge. Naturally though Gladiators can deal with a lot of the threats the deck may present. Thanks to Gladiator Beast Bestiari and Gyzarus, if you Solemn Warning their Samurai then you can easily destroy their Gateway/United sitting on the field for free. Also, the deck has Gladiator Beast Hoplomus which cannot be easily ran over outside of a synchro or Gateway play.

Here’s a sample decklist:
17 Monsters
2 Gladiator Beast Laquari
2 Gladiator Beast Darius
2 Gladiator Beast Equeste
1 Gladiator Beast Bestiari
1 Gladiator Beast Retiari
1 Gladiator Beast Murmillo
2 Gladiator Beast Hoplomus
1 Gladiator Beast Secutor
1 Elemental Hero Prisma
3 Test Tiger
1 Effect Veiler

8 Spells
1 Gladiator Proving Ground
3 Book of Moon
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Monster Reborn
1 Dark Hole

17 Traps
3 Solemn Warning
3 Dust Tornado
3 Dimensional Prison
2 Gladiator Beast War Chariot
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Mirror Force
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Solemn Judgment
1 Call of the Haunted

Now this is a just a sample list and especially since the format hasn’t began yet it is not something I recommend taking card for card to Dallas without testing and editing. It is just something meant to be a jumping off point in order to help you (the reader) to build your own list.

Gladiator Beasts are a deck that is extremely well at controlling the game, forcing the opponent to be slightly on-edge at all times, and not giving them the option of slow-rolling the Gladiator Beast player. The fact is that the Six Samurai deck will be a very aggressive deck with some elements of control, meaning that aggression will not be the most consistent answer to the deck. Considering how powerful and adaptable of a control deck Gladiators are and not to mention the deck’s matchups against other decks in the meta, it would be a very good meta call for YCS Dallas.

Anyways I really hope you guys enjoyed my article.

-Jake Mattern

Jake Mattern

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