Deck Building, Side Decking, and Rulings

Hey there ladies and gents, hope everyone had an amazing Christmas. For those who do not know me, my name is Sorosh Saberian.  Here is a brief description of my credentials: I have attended around 8 jumps/YCS's, and topped four.

The four events topped are:

-          YCS Edison NJ,

  • I got 3rd - largest YUGIOH event to take place thus far with plants

-          YCS/Shounen Jump Toronto

  • I have topped this event twice; I got 4th once and placed top 16 another time. The first time I introduced the Dark Creator Turbo deck. The second time I played plants J

-          YCS Providence/ Rhode Island –

  • I placed top 16 or 32 and used fables

Now that everyone is a little more familiar with me, we can start on the meaty stuff. It seems that most articles nowadays talk a lot about side decking, this is great and all but they seem to only discuss what cards to side when playing a deck like plants. In this article ill take a stab at how to make you a better deck builder and in turn a better player as a whole.

Here is a list of things that I’ll go over throughout the article in order to dramatically improve your game.

  1. Deck building
  2. Side decking
  3. Card rulings

Deck building:

A good question that I often get asked is: “Is deck building really a skill you need to have as a good player? Why not just net deck what won the last YCS?”

To answer very briefly, I strongly believe that the better players are those who know how to build decks. Most people do not realize how big of an asset it is so ill go over it briefly. If I play a net deck plants that has been played before, any good opponent understands the decklist and knows what cards I have in the deck. A good player will know roughly 85-90% of your decklist just after the first turn. This makes making reads about cards that you have in hand or set a lot easier. The game essentially becomes more mathematical. It’s not much of a guessing game anymore. Now that we have established that deck building is a good skill to have I’ll discuss how to obtain it.

This is really not a skill you can just gain by being told what is good and what is not in order to make a new deck. Everyone has their own way of thinking. Unfortunately this is the biggest problem that most deck builders have. For example, most players love playing with 5-8 traps. If I randomly give you a new deck that plays 0 traps, you will have a hard time adjusting. If you see the decklist you may even assume it’s bad because it doesn’t fit your play style. It’s important to test new decks and often move out of your comfort zone. Creativity plays a huge role in deck building as well. Usually when I go to an event, I play a deck that most people have not played versus (the deck does have to have good matchups vs. the meta decks.). This is because in any strategy game, your goal should be to put your opponent out of their comfort zones. If you never put a good player in a tough situation, it is likely that they will not misplay and win. For example, at YCS Providence, 70% of the players had no idea as to what The Fabled Unicore did and dealing with it was a huge issue for them.

Essentially, the lesson here is to make new decks constantly to improve your skill. Even if you make a deck that is horrible, playing with that deck vs. better decks teaches you important lessons (i.e.: MST is not all that necessary in certain decks). This will enable you to make better card choices next time when you make a deck.

Side deck:

Perhaps the most important part of the game is the side deck. There are two methods to side deck. Normally, players play a deck that has a great matchup vs. Multiple decks and side vs. Those unfavourable matchups. The other method is to essentially create a different decklist. This can be done by either adding a ton of traps to a decklist that does not play any traps or taking out monsters for new ones.  To better explain side decking. I will show 2 deck lists that I have been playing with.

The first deck is a variant of plants that plays no traps:

Monster: 28

3 Chaos Sorcerer

3 Tour Guide From The Underworld

3 Maxx “C”

2 Tragoedia

2 Card Trooper

2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

2 Effect Veiler

1 Gorz The Emissary Of Darkness

1 Dandylion

1 Spore

1 Debris Dragon

1 Lonefire Blossom

1 Sangan

1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy Of The Beginning

1 Dark Armed Dragon

1 Battle Fader

1 Lyla, Lightsowrn Sorceress

Magic: 12

1 Pot Of Avarice

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Mind Control

1 Foolish Burial

1 One For One

1 Heavy Storm

1 Monster Reborn

1 Enemy Controller

1 Charge Of The Light Brigade

1 Dark Hole

Side: 15

3 Royal Decree

2 Thunder King Raioh

2 Debunk

2 Solemn Warning

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Smashing Ground

1 Book Of Moon

1 Trap Dustshoot

This is what I was talking about a little earlier. This deck doesn’t main any traps and is rather fast because of it. Furthermore, because you do not play so many traps, the deck is able to play 5 boss cards not including Gorz and Tragoedia. Furthermore, you have lots of combos just like any other plant deck. This is not to say that this is a better plant deck than other variants, this deck is only being used to demonstrate how decks can be transformed dramatically from one deck to another. So for example, when you side vs. a standard plant deck, you will want to put in most traps in the side deck as well as TKR (not decrees XD). To really go into detail, you would roughly be taking out any number of lightsworn cards, charge of the light brigade, dark armed dragon, the two tragoedia, a few sorcerers and possibly even some troopers. Everyone has their own preferences but when you take out these monsters and add new traps, you essentially have a new decklist that only plays 20-22 monsters.

The other decklist that I will look at is a dark world variant:

Monsters: 15

3 Broww, Huntsman Of Dark World

3 Snoww, Unlight Of Dark World

3 Grapha, Dragon Lord Of Dark World

3 Tour Guide From The Underworld

2 Sillva, Warlord Of Dark World

1 Sangan

Magic: 18

3 Upstart Goblin

3 The Gates Of Dark World

3 Dragged Down Into The Grave

3 Dark World Dealing

1 Dark Hole

1 Heavy Storm

1 Monster Reborn

1 Card Destruction

1 Trade-In

1 Allure Of Darkness

Traps: 7

3 Reckless Greed

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Trap Dustshoot

2 Mind Crush

Side: 15

3 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Rivalry Of Warlords

2 Gozen Match

2 Debunk

2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

1 Reaper

1 Mirror force

While some cards in the side deck are questionable, they each serve their own purpose and are there due to play style preferences. As you can see, you can essentially side cards for each matchup when you side in. For example, you can side in gozen match, reaper, mirror force, and rykos vs. a rabbit deck and can side much more vs. a plant deck. You can also do this by knowing exactly which 8 cards to take out when you side. In this particular build, going second allows you to take out some of the speed cards for those side cards. So you can easily take out trade-in, reckless greeds, upstart goblins, and even dustshoot when you second.

As you can see, the deck is built in a way that would enable you to swap out the exact number of cards that you want to side in vs. a certain matchup. This is what good players generally do when they make a good deck.

Card rulings:

Aside from the deck building and side decking, having knowledge of card rulings will enable you to make the right plays in tough situations. I have seen players who have the nuts lose because they do not know card/game rulings. This is perhaps one of the biggest skill gaps between an amazing player and a decent player. An amazing player knows every ruling that he needs to for an event and prepares accordingly.  Back when people were not sure about how honest worked in the damage calculation, Player A played honest, and player B chained honest not knowing how the chain would resolve. Player B ends up losing his monster and an honest and proceeded to lose the game. So make sure that you know all your card/game rulings before going to a big event.

I hope I was able to help you guys understand some of the key differences between an amazing player and a decent player. I promise you that when you polish these three skill sets, you will see dramatic improvement in your game. Until next time,

Sorosh Saberian

Toronto Ontario

Card Masters & 401 games

Sorosh Saberian

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