Defeating Agents

Agents, agents, agents.. a deck I took lightly at during YCS Rhode Island. That is until I lost to it in Round 9 and Top32, the place where it also beat my teammate Jonathan Weigle and knocked out another good friend Samuel Pedigo from being able to make the top cut. For a deck I thought was a joke it definitely showed me I shouldn't have underestimated it. Agents absolutely decimate Wind-Ups, and actually have great matchups overall. Geargia, Chaos Dragons, Dino Rabbit.. those are already 4 of the top tier decks that have trouble with the deck. That's not all though because on top of those decks already having a bad matchup, there isn't anything you can sidedeck to completely cripple Agents outside of Dimensional Fissure and Macro Cosmos. This is actually a huge problem that comes with playing the Mermail/Atlantean deck or any other graveyard reliant deck because you can't use those cards. Its not like you can just ignore that they're a deck either because in my honest opinion I think Agents will be the most played deck at YCS Seattle. Alistar was the only one playing it at Indy and look at how many people copied him the next YCS. Seattle will be Agent-ville.

Before I go to the cards that'll help you beat the deck I want to discuss what the deck really is and that'll make it easier to understand how to counter it. You might remember Alistar Albans' article on his Trooper Inzektor deck before YCS Dallas and he explained his deck's goal very clearly. Float and pressure your opponent with self-replacing monsters and make your opponent waste resources on those cards, then go in for the kill and drop the big guns. In that deck's case it was Inzektor Dragonfly and Centipede. Before that with Tengu Plants, it was the plant engine (Namely One for One+Dandylion) after floating with Tour Guide, Reborn Tengu and Thunder King Rai-Oh. Why am I bringing this up? Because Agents are exactly the same! Thunder Kings, Earths, Venuses, TGU, and Card Troopers are the first line of offense, all while being able to defend their lifepoints with Gachi. You usually have to use some kind of resource to get rid of all of those cards outside of maybe Card Trooper and Earth, and they replace themselves so you've gained nothing for your efforts. After that they get to drop Master Hyperions and Kristya almost unlimited times thanks to Monster Reborn and their 3 Calls, all while countering your attempts at advancing your gamestate with Herald of Orange Light.

So how do you beat Agents? Well for one you need to be able to deal with their smaller floater monsters without wasting too many resources because you need to save those for their Hyperion and Kristya + Call drops. And while the deck is incredible in the early game which is another reason why the deck is good, the deck really thrives off the long game. It can create unbreakable setups with Hyperion, Kristya, Thunder King, Calls, Heralds and trap card if you give it enough time to. You need to hit the deck as fast as you can. This is hard for most decks right now because most of the top decks are slow (Something Simon He exploited with his incredibly fast Agent deck) but you can build your deck to be faster or even just more consistent so you can do what you want to do earlier in the game and get going faster. This is something people need to realize. Agents players are forcing you to either join them, or build your deck to be as consistent and fast as them. I can't go over how to make every top deck faster and more consistent in one article. I'm here to talk about cards you can side to help further that strategy in games 2 and 3 once you know you're actually playing against the behemoth of a deck. The first card? None other than..

Tsukuyomi - This old favorite of mine helped me get my first ever regional top and now it's helping me defeat Agents. It's almost as if Konami knew Alister would create Agents and make them big so they brought this card off the banlist to help counter it. The fact that she's re-usable is what makes her to awesome. She's an out to Thunder King, Venus, turns Gachi and Krystia's effects off, and let's you play around Honest. If they aren't expecting it and are trying to push early with Tour Guide and make Leviathan it's an easy out to that, too! Being able to turn off Kristya is best in a deck like Chaos Dragons or Agents itself where it can special summon after the fact. Decks like Wind-Ups can't do that outside of Monster Reborn or a returning Rat that was previously banished. It's still useful in those decks too though, because you can just set her, flip Kristya down on the attack and go off next turn with Wind-Up Rat, Magician + Shark, or anything else. This card doesn't really have any other applications across the board in other matchups other than small things like turning down and destroying Gearframes (and combo'ing with any sided Noblemans you already side for Gears!), turning Alius down to run over with Wind-Up Rabbit, killing Monarchs, etc. It even has its uses in the mirror. Imagine the look on your opponent's face when he swings his Rabbit into your set Tsukuyomi only for you to swing over it with a Rabbit of your own! But I feel like Tsukuyomi is one of the best cards to side against Agents and I honestly wish I could open up with it in my first 6 cards every game against them. My friend Jono leaked this card on the internet a week ago and it's already popping up in Top8 Regional decklists all across North America. If you're looking for a good answer to Agents for Seattle definitely test this card. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Dimensional Fissure - Not much I really have to say here. If you weren't already siding this, the sudden surge of Agent and Water decks should've already pushed you to if your deck allows it. It stops their plays, Thunder Kings, Troopers, hand traps, everything. That's honestly all I need to say about Dimensional Fissure. Some people side the standard 2, some people side 3, and some even side 2 in conjunction with 2 Macro Cosmos for Inzektors and Water. Whatever you decide, removal cards will definitely help against the Agent matchup.

I wouldn't really recommend these next 2 cards since they're so matchup specific but if you're really having trouble then you should try them. First up is Ally of Justice Core Destroyer. Similar to Tsukuyomi it destorys Thunder King Rai-Oh and Venus, but also destroys Master Hyperion and Kristya! It also stays on the field so to shield your life points every turn. But with the pros come the cons. That makes Core Destroyer susceptible to removal like Dark Hole and Hyperion. It can also get run over by Card Trooper unless you have Dimensional Fissure up at the same time, which isn't very likely. I would run Tsukuyomi over this card in almost every deck but since it's limited to 1 this is a nice option if you want more copies her.

Last is Leeching the Light, the card that was once a sidedeck staple to blow out Agents in the fall of 2011. For one, I think it's extremely weak in the Wind-Up sideboard. Their traps (namely Gozen Match and Herald of Orange Light) should keep you from having enough monsters on board to game them through Leeching. And if you are able to get that many monsters on the field against Agents then this means they don't have anything opposing you and you should be able to grind out a win without the help of Leeching. Where this card has potential is in the side of decks that won't get Gozen sided against them. But even then you have to be careful and make sure they can't stop you with any traps. This is especially relevant when you can only get 1 or 2 monsters on the board and need to clear a Thunder King or Kristya. If you can't land your attack then you've taken a -1 from activating Leeching and just 1-1'd with your opponent which is the last thing you want to do after you minus. But when this card is used correctly and goes off, the game is usually sealed.

Popular cards people side for Agents that I don't think are very good? Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer is one of them. It's way too easily ran over and only good if you can land it early before they can set up a Gachi or boss monster. Spirit Reaper is another card I think is overrated. I mean sure if you're already siding it for Rabbit then I could see siding this in and being okay but I wouldn't side it specifically for Agents. Stalling isn't what you want to be doing against the deck. Spirit Reaper might save you for a couple extra turns but those are turns you're giving to your opponent to draw more counters to your deck and if they draw Hyperion they just get to laugh at you. Messenger falls in this same category.

If you were having problems with Agents I hope I was able to help you! And if any of you are going to Seattle make sure to be prepared for the deck along with the new Water, Spellbook, and Madolche decks. I see a lot of people ignoring them and I think that's a big mistake! Also Rabbit should be popular thanks to the new tins and being a good meta call, and in turn Machina Geargia should be too. Good luck this weekend to anyone playing and remember to play hard or go home!