Hand Traps in Wind-Ups

My first article this format talked about cutting Effect Veilers from your main deck. Today I’m going to elaborate on that a bit more, specifically for Wind-Up decks. I’d also take it one step further by saying I do not think Maxx “C” should be mained in Wind-Ups either.

As of YCS Indianapolis, Wind-Ups are still taking more spots in top 32 than any other deck. On the surface it would seem counterproductive to cut hand traps entirely when the deck that is taking the most spots in top is so heavily hurt by them.

What is your goal when you go to a YCS? For most competitive duelists it seems like your goal would be to win the tournament. The thing about winning a YCS is that before you ever reach top 32 you have to play 10-11 rounds of swiss. While you may be playing mostly Wind-Ups (about half) once you get into top 32, this is not the case in swiss. As I mentioned last week, most people don’t enter tournaments with the Needle Ceiling or Forbidden Chalice of that tournament. Most people who enter can be categorized into one of two very broad groups; the followers and the wannabe innovaters. The wannabe innovators want to be different, well, for the sake of being different. The enter with Dragons (not Chaos) or Spellcasters. Or someone hasn’t filled them in that 2008 is over and they are still playing GBs. This is fine, for them, but if your goal is to win a YCS you can’t be thinking like this. This brings us to the second group; the followers. They largely have the same goal as you and want to win the YCS. The majority of them, however, will be playing subpar decks. What I mean by subpar decks is that they are very close to the decks of the last major tournament. Sometimes decks don’t change very much from event to event, but sometimes they do. Why are people still playing 42 cards in Wind-Ups with 2 Duality? Because Josh played it when he won Toronto. Toronto was over a month ago. What may have been the best deck then is not necessarily the best deck now (even if it is the same archetype as it was then).  Another thing that you have to understand is that there are significantly fewer followers than there are wannabe innovators. This has not always been the case. During Tele-DAD you could go to a ten round event and expect to play 8 Tele-DAD decks in swiss. Today, for arguments sake let’s say that Wind-Ups are the best deck. I would still not expect to play more than about 4 in a 10 or 11 round tournament. This is the result of a larger card pool, more archetypes, and a different design by Konami.  This brings me to my first point about why I don’t think hand traps are optimal in Wind-Ups. What exactly is Maxx “C” good against other than the mirror? Sure there are a couple of matchups that it’s okay, but for the most part if you’re maining Maxx “C” you’re doing it just for Wind-Ups. If you only expect to play 3 of them, that’s 8 rounds that Maxx “C” would be a subpar card. The same goes for Effect Veiler. It’s slightly better against Geargia, but realistically it’s not that good against them either. Veilering Geargia Armor is very similar to Veilering Rescue Rabbit. If it stays on the field for another turn, they just got an additional +1 off of it (with Armor they would have gotten that plus regardless, but that’s what I’m saying Veiler would be irrelevant if Armor stays) and they play infinite backrow to pretty much ensure that bar Dark Hole, it’s going to live the turn.

That seems to be an argument against hand traps in general, which it is. Personally I don’t think that hand traps are particularly good in general, but there is an even greater reason to not play them specifically in Wind-Ups. What are the games that you lose when you’re playing Wind-Ups? The first type of game that you lose with Wind-Ups is where you go off when you probably shouldn’t have. The other type of game that you lose, and the type that we are going to be focusing on, is where you draw unplayable hands usually consisting of Rats, Magicians, Factories, etc. Now what doesn’t help these hands? Hand traps. They do nothing to further your game state when you are in a situation like this. They are best when you are in a dominant situation, where you already have a board and need to protect it. Wind-Ups are a very combo oriented deck. Many of their power plays, especially early in the game are going to be two card commitments. Sure, having Effect Veiler after you combo off with Magician and Shark is good to pretty much give your opponent no out whatsoever, but it also makes your hands of Magician, Rat, Factory, that much worse. So essentially, it makes your good hands better and your bad hands worse. That is the definition of a win-more card. Those are exactly the type of cards we want to cut in all decks, but even more so in combo oriented decks.

Hand traps also magnify what hurts you. What does a Maxx “C” do to an opposing Thunder King? How about Effect Veiler? This begs the question of what you should be playing over the hand traps. My suggestion, more real traps. They still offer the same defense as a hand trap for when you go off, but they also offer safety and give you extra turns when you draw multiple Rats and Magicians. Real traps also deal with your problem cards such as Thunder King. This isn’t me just spitballing theory over here either. Chris Valters managed to take Wind-Ups to a second place finish at YCS Indianapolis with 0 hand traps mained, 13 real traps mained, and 0 hand traps sided. This seems like a pretty good indicator that this may be the best direction to take Wind-Ups. With YCS Rhode Island coming up next weekend I think you should all consider this theory for your Wind-Up decks. Until next week everyone, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Latest posts by Patrick Hoban (see all)