Hey there fellow Kaijudo duelists, Aiden Thorne here, and this will be my first article as an official member of the Alter Reality Games team!
The Kaijudo community has been in an upheaval lately while everyone is trying to finalize their decks for the upcoming Kaijudo Master Challenges (KMCs). As most of you probably know, KMCs are the 24 tournaments hosted throughout the United States and Canada that allow you to qualify for the Kaijudo Championship. This is a pretty big deal, and for many this will be their first time at a large tournament; so I'm going to do my best to help make sure you are prepared!
As a debut article, I will be giving you insight into the decks that you can expect to run into at the upcoming KMCs, and a few tips on how to beat them. If you're an avid Kaijudo reader then you have likely read CVH's article about the popular cards at the KMCs; I'll be showing you the applications of these cards.
So without further ado, let's check out those decks!
This deck has been receiving more hype than any other, and that isn't without a good reason. Darkness/Water/Light (DWL) decks are very powerful contenders, and will likely be the most played deck at any Kaijudo Master Challenge.
The reason for this deck's success is because of it's near infinite amount of answers presented in the toolbox-esque mechanics. Many cards serve multiple purposes, and this deck can generally out last any other control deck out there. Not only can it out last the mirror control match, but if aggro/tempo/rush decks don't win quick enough then they are faced with a painful opposition, [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd].
[ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] is not the sole component of the deck, though she does play a crucial role in the deck's consistency. Her support cast of [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] can easily take over a game. While the Light civilization plays a large role in the decks defensive capabilities; we can't forget that it has the removal of Darkness and draw of Water.
[ccProd]Terror Pit[/ccProd], [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd] oh my! One of the most important cogs in this controlling machine is [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd], and that is because [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd] is able to recycle all of the above removal, and cards like [ccProd]Dark Return[/ccProd]—this gives DWL a near infinite engine of removal, draw, and creatures.
DWL decks are the slowest of all control decks, and this can be used to your advantage. If you generate enough advantage early it is very possible to take over the game, but be careful, the longer the game goes the more powerful DWL becomes. Decks that run both Nature and Darkness are extremely dangerous to DWL; the mana ramping abilities can allow you to play finishers or the dreaded [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] before DWL knows what to do, and [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd] can get past [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] and make sure [ccProd]Dark Return[/ccProd] is useless at the same time!
This is a deck that saw a lot of play last format, and is only recently returning to the top tier for DSI. Unlike DWL which is primarily defensive; Darkness/Water/Fire (DWF) has the backing of the Fire civilization which allows it to transition between control and aggression. Almost every card in the DWF provides card advantage, and it plays a couple of removal cards that have bodies attached such as [ccProd]Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Tatsurion the Unchained[/ccProd].
One of the strongest, and most appealing aspects of DWF is the ability to have early game removal and multi removal spells. [ccProd]Heat Seekers[/ccProd] is able to target opposing birds and helps slow aggressive decks, and both [ccProd]Barrage[/ccProd] and Dragon's Breath can completely stop rush decks in their tracks.
My personal favorite aspect of DWF is the Fast Attackers; [ccProd]Gilaflame the Assaulter[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd] can make fantastic finishers, and this is especially true when you throw them both on the field in the same turn!
Just because Fire is more aggressive doesn't mean it can't also be control though. Expect to see fast, slow and everything in between when it comes to DWF decks—when [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd] is on the field DWF can start drawing while producing threats and removing your creatures; that is not something you want to be staring down!
While their ability to become aggressive is their greatest strength; it is also their greatest weakness. When pushed into a corner or put on the defensive DWF struggles to turn the game around unless they can start dropping their big creatures back to back—that might not even be enough. As for specific counters it varies based on the card choices of the list, but cards like [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] that completely reverse momentum can be huge!
Fire/Water/Light (FWL) is a very powerful deck that can have huge dragons such as [ccProd]Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] appear out of no where through [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd]. Because of this, rush decks or decks that rely heavily on early aggression are completely countered by FWL—this is especially true if they summon [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Nix[/ccProd] within the first few turns.
Unlike DWL or some DWF variants, FWL is a primarily aggressive deck. This doesn't mean they blindly attack every chance they get; they still run draw spells such as [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd] and understand the importance of card advantage—this is very important as FWL has no reliable removal outside of battle.[ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] punishes players who summon creatures early by being used in conjunction with cards such as [ccProd]Spark Cage[/ccProd], [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd]. Don't think the game is over just because you get past [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd]; FWL still has late game capabilities and can even get far ahead of control decks in resources with a well timed [ccProd]Kindrix the Psionic[/ccProd].
A counter many players have been using to FWL is to simply not summon creatures early, and while this does work, you need to be careful of them beginning early aggression fire birds as well as [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd]. [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd] has become increasingly popular to counter dragons that cost 5-6, and FWL is very susceptible. Finally, decks that play a lot of early discard can normally stop FWL from making any huge plays by keeping their hand empty so [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] has nothing to get into play.
Saber-Bolt has been around for awhile now. For those who don't know this is a very aggressive deck that uses [ccProd]Bronze-Arm Sabertooth[/ccProd] to attack your opponent early, and if they decide to remove it, it goes to your mana zone allowing you to summon high cost cards like [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] far before they would normally be a threat.
There are two versions of this deck, and both work well in different situations. The first and more commonly played version is the Darkness/Fire/Nature; this version plays Darkness for reliable removal and for a card that can be absolutely devastating if cast early in the game—[ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd]. The other version is the Water version or Aqua Saber-Bolt; this version does not have reliable removal, but it does have very powerful tempo cards such as [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd]—it even gains a bit of consistency through [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd]!
With DSI many Saber-Bolt decks have done some updating and incorporate cards such as [ccProd]Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd], but their main strength still lies in their beast kin line up. With both [ccProd]Bronze-Arm Sabertooth[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Flamespike Tatsurion[/ccProd] paving the way through your opponent's shields your opponent will be hard pressed trying to survive.
Saber-Bolt can be stopped in its tracks by cards such as [ccProd]Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Grand Gure, Tower Keeper[/ccProd]. Most Saber-Bolt decks will run [ccProd]Heat Seekers[/ccProd] for the former, but only some tech [ccProd]Comet Missile[/ccProd] for the latter. In addition to those two cards, cards such as [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] are huge tempo stoppers that can completely remove Saber-Bolt from the game in some cases.
Rogue decks are some of the most dangerous decks in a tournament setting; these are decks that aren't commonly played and will likely catch you off guard, and even worse they often run cards or mechanics that are powerful against the most popular decks.
Due to their obscurity most times they aren't as consistent as the top tier decks, but some manage to be hidden gems that will eventually help redefine the meta. When you see a deck you didn't expect make sure you pay attention to the cards they play so that you don't fall victim to not understanding their strategy!
A few decks that might show up are Mono Darkness that use [ccProd]Scavenging Chimera[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Chimera Tyrant[/ccProd], and equally as dangerous can be Mono Fire Drakons that uses [ccProd]Laser-Arm Drakon[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Burnclaw the Relentless[/ccProd]. It is also very possible you will see older decks that have faded out such as Blurple remade!
Well everyone, this was my first article on Alter Reality Games; I really hope you enjoyed it and found it useful. I look forward to helping you stay informed for the KMCs, and I hope you all perform well!