Recently I made a post on Facebook comparing Kozmo to Fire Fist. The underlying implication there is that they are incredibly fair and not the kind of deck I would want to be playing with in a tournament. If you look at YCS San Jose all four spots in the Top 4 were Kozmo, a level of dominance seen rarely outside of Tele-DAD and Dragon Rulers. How could a fair deck be so dominant? Then if you factor in every other top deck from last format getting severely damaged or outright eliminated on the ban list, it seems like Kozmo are primed to be the best deck in the upcoming format. This week I’d like to explain why I don’t think Kozmo will be nearly as good of a choice in the new format as it may intuitively seem to be after taking all four spots in the Top 4 last week and then most other major decks being crippled by the ban list.
In my last article I talked about the implications of Unicore’s presence in the metagame. In addition to having to run subpar ways to get around it, the card made deckbuilding about how much you can do and how readily you can do it with your main deck. In most recent formats leading up to the release of Nekroz in February, deckbuilding has been about that exact thing minus the specifications about the main deck. Deckbuilding has always been about doing more than your opponent and being able to do it more easily than your opponent. Unicore and the rest of the Nekroz made extra deck strategies subpar to non-extra deck strategies. Your deck could have an insanely high ceiling that would allow you to do anything, but if you used your extra deck to get there then it didn’t matter because you’d lose out to Nekroz.
Up until the release of Dimensions of Chaos, Nekroz were better at not relying on the extra deck than every single other deck. Then DOCs gave us new Kozmo support and Nekroz a run for their money. To say that Kozmo don’t rely on their extra deck would be an understatement. After winning the YCS, Jessy Samek claimed to have only used four extra deck cards the entire weekend.
What ended up happening is that the presence of Nekroz kept decks reliant on their extra deck out of the meta almost entirely. Then up until Dimensions of Chaos, Nekroz could do main deck things better than any of the other decks. Then when DOCs came out Kozmo could do main deck things better than Nekroz could and the resulting effect was Kozmo takes all four of the Top 4 spots in San Jose.
This doesn’t seem like it’d necessarily be the case anymore. If Unicore is not there to keep extra deck decks out of the meta, then what’s stopping them from coming back in? Unicore forced an emphasis on main deck power and Kozmo could thrive in that environment. While I don’t think they will be a good choice going forward, they were certainly a great choice for San Jose because of the existence of Unicore forcing the emphasis on the main deck.
Without Unicore here, decks revolving around the extra deck can return. Typically extra deck monsters are better cards than main deck monsters, because if they weren’t we wouldn’t give up our main deck monsters on the field to make them. Since every format in the game’s recent history leading up to the release of Nekroz we have chosen to give up main deck monsters on the field for monsters from the extra deck, it stands to reason that monsters from the extra deck are just better monsters.
Without Unicore here to keep extra deck monsters out of the meta, why would there not be a shift back toward using extra deck monsters? And if extra deck monsters are better than main deck monsters, why would Kozmo have an advantage over decks that use better monsters, given that Kozmo does not use extra deck monsters? It seems to me that Kozmo will become worse by comparison because Unicore doesn’t exist to keep monsters that are better than Kozmo out of the meta.
Not only does Kozmo not use extra deck monsters, but that also seems like a lot of missed opportunity. If every other deck in the game can make use of both main deck monsters and extra deck monsters effectively and Kozmo can only really make use of extra deck monsters, when why would Kozmo be a better choice than a deck that could use both? While not having to rely on your extra deck was an advantage this past format, not doing so now seems like missed opportunities.
I made the comparison of Kozmo to Fire Fist because of how incredibly linear the deck is. “Summon, attack, set a backrow, pass.” Does that not remind anyone else of Fire Fist Bear? I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want when I build a deck. I want to have lots of options. You stop one? That’s fine, I’ll just do something else. I want to have lots of different plays to make and for each play to have lots of different options. I don’t want to have to end my turn because I had one play and it got stopped or have one play and lose because it couldn’t deal with what was going on and I didn’t have another alternative.
Kozmo embodies the exact things I don’t want in a deck. When you do something I want five different ways to out it. When you stop one of my plays, I want to be able to make another one readily. I don’t want to have to rely on drawing traps to out my opponent’s monsters, because their monsters were better than mine. I just want to have the better monsters than my opponent, aka the extra deck, and any traps I draw are just a cherry on top.
I think Kozmo was an excellent choice for San Jose because Unicore kept all extra deck decks out of the meta and Kozmo was the best non-extra deck deck. Without Unicore I just want to use my extra deck so I have plenty of powerful plays at my disposal. Kozmo can’t do any of this in the upcoming meta and while I’m sure it will maintain a presence in the meta, I don’t think it’s anywhere near the powerhouse that everyone seems to think it is due to how linear the deck is. I hope to see everyone next weekend in Anaheim as the Circuit Series makes its first stop in California! Until next time, play hard or go home!