Nationals 2015: What Will You Tech Into Your Deck?

The North American World Championship Qualifier is this weekend and thousands of players across the country are readily preparing their decks for a shot at the prestigious title of National Champion. Last year we saw Korey Mcduffie claim first place piloting his Hand Artifact Traptrix deck, but who will take home the title this year? Winning a National Championship is no easy task; just ask anyone who has managed to accomplish this feat. It’s all about the hard work you put in and how much you care about winning. It’s also important to realize that almost every major accomplishment cannot be done alone. There’s always a team behind a champion and a champion’s team should be just as celebrated as the winner himself. If you don’t already have a group that you consistently playtest with, this is the perfect time to form one! I’ve had the same inner circle for the majority of events this year and I’m proud to say that each and every one of us has managed to top multiple events since working together.

This leads me to the initial premise of this article, which is discovering what the hot tech card will be for Nationals, or if one even exists.

 

While playtesting with Jeff Jones, Marjanco Gorgievski, and Edward Lee we found ourselves alternating between the popular main and side deck cards for the Nekroz mirror match. As testing progressed, Marjanco and I in specific, found ourselves at a loss of what to main deck for the Nekroz mirror match, or if it was even worth main decking any cards for the mirror match. The first draft of my nationals deck was composed of both Maxx “C” and Effect Veiler because I wanted to consistently open up a hand trap that would give me an edge in the mirror match. I also wanted cards that made my opponent going first even stronger for me. While playing against Jeff, I found that playing both hand traps was not the way to go because they contributed to unplayable hands and made some rogue match-ups even worse.

This led me to throw Shared Ride into the main deck, because I wanted to improve the instances where I would have to go first. Shared Ride, unlike the hand traps, was perfect because it was great against the mirror match and it wasn’t horrendous when playing against Qliphort. As we continued to playtest it became very apparent to us all that there wasn’t going to be any brand new tech card that would give us an edge in the Nekroz mirror match. The goal of testing then became a quest to figure out which of the former tech cards was going to be king for Nationals. This begs the question, what are these former tech cards, and what has the rest of the field done to deal with Nekroz?

Once I was posed with this question I compiled two lists of cards. The first list is composed of cards that Nekroz players have used for the mirror match to grant them some form of edge at any point this entire format. The second list I made was of cards that the other decks have used to try and defeat Nekroz. The two lists are shown below.

Cards That Have Been Used In The Nekroz Mirror Match

  • Secret Village of the Spellcasters
  • Mistake
  • Shared Ride
  • Maxx “C”
  • Effect Veiler
  • Mind Crush
  • D. Warrior Lady
  • Exiled Force
  • Bull Blader
  • Camera Clops
  • Armageddon Knight
  • Vanity’s Emptiness
  • Solemn Scolding
  • Forbidden Lance
  • Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer
  • Torrential Tribute
  • Retort
  • Artifact Lancea
  • Mathematician

 

Cards That Have Been Used By Other Decks To Combat Nekroz

  • Anti-Spell Fragrance
  • Shared Ride
  • Maxx “C”
  • Effect Veiler
  • Mind Crush
  • Vanity’s Emptiness
  • Torrential Tribute
  • Artifact Lancea
  • Vanity’s Fiend
  • Majesty’s Fiend
  • The Monarch’s Storm Forth
  • Imperial Iron Wall
  • Debunk
  • Thunder King Rai-Oh

 

After compiling these two lists of cards I then entered them into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, which I then used to track these card’s performance at the past two events in North America, ARGCS Edison and ARGCS Syracuse. The data that I collected is listed below.

Using the above data I discovered a few important things that greatly benefited my card choices as well as my understanding of what the rogue decks will be doing at this upcoming National Championship. The first thing that stood out to me while observing this data from the most recent ARG Circuit Series events was the fact that the most preferred warrior solution to the Djinn lock was Bull Blader, followed by Armageddon Knight, and lastly D.D. Warrior Lady. Exiled Force and Camera Clops had completely fallen out of favor for Edison and Syracuse, which was a massive indicator to me that the majority of the field would be using Armageddon Knight and Bull Blader in their Nekroz decks. This means that when playing the Nekroz mirror it will be most important to search Nekroz of Valkyrus and Nekroz of Trishula because these two cards will allow you to counteract the most common solutions to the Djinn lock.

Another thing that stood out to me after looking over the data was that Secret Village of the Spellcasters was quite popular at ARGCS Edison, but not a single player was able to top ARGCS Syracuse with it in their deck. I found that the decline in Secret Village came because it became too widely known as a blow-out card against Nekroz. The first deck to use Secret Village of the Spellcasters against Nekroz was actually Shaddolls, because it was an unknown blow-out card that devastated Nekroz players until they found out about it. Patrick Hoban was the first player to try and utilize Secret Village in his own Nekroz deck to create an autowin in the mirror match. Unfortunately for Pat, his strategy was revealed and most players at YCS Columbus were prepared for his strategy with a main or side decked copy of Dance Princess of the Nekroz. Secret Village is incredibly powerful when nobody knows about it, but once it becomes a common occurrence, the card loses its edge. With Nationals coming this weekend, one of the biggest questions I asked myself was whether or not I wanted to autolose the mirror match to a potential Secret Village. I was reluctant at first, but I eventually decided that it would be best for me to play a Spellcaster monster in my main/side deck to combat a probable Secret Village play.

Solemn Scolding was a card that I was very hesitant to try because I knew that most Nekroz players would be main decking Mystical Space Typhoon or Armageddon Knight to send a Shaddoll Dragon and out it. Either way I very much wanted to give this strategy a try and had Marjanco test it out for me. We both found that it was a fantastic way to protect your Djinn lock, but if your opponent had at least two outs they would be able break your lock and win.


The cost of 3000 life points terrified me because of the aforementioned reason regarding multiple Djinn outs. It only takes a minimum of 2900 damage before your opponent can push through your Valkyrus with Gungnir and win the game, which means that paying 3000 life points for a card that protects your Djinn could prove to be very detrimental in the long run. For these reasons it became no shock that hardly any players used Solemn Scolding at ARG Edison and zero players elected to use it at ARG Syracuse.

A card that I noticed has been rapidly increasing in play is Maxx "C" because of its relevance in the Nekroz mirror match and against the increasingly popular Burning Abyss deck. I previously mentioned that Maxx "C" wasn't great because it takes away a combo piece from your hand if you're going first and makes your Qliphort match-up even worse game one. Since Maxx "C" will no doubt be very prevalent at Nationals it will be very important to play around it when piloting Nekroz and Burning Abyss. When playing around Maxx "C" in the Nekroz mirror match it's important to have Valkyrus present in your hand. If you have a Manju/Senju, Kaleidomirror, and a Valkyrus you can effectively play around Maxx "C" while still being able to advance your own game state. A common trend that I've noticed amongst most Nekroz players is the fact that they will rush into plays and forget that Maxx "C" is popular. A very common example of this is the hand that I had just mentioned. The common error is that a lot of Nekroz players won't try to set themselves up with a Valkyrus and rush into the Kaleidomirror into Unicore play, which will give your opponent a minimum of three cards off their Maxx "C" (In the Mirror Match or Game One). Maxx "C" very well may not be a combo piece, but it turns into combo pieces in the Nekroz mirror match.

Shared Ride is a card that saw a heavy increase in play transitioning from ARG Edison to ARG Syracuse because it makes going first much better in the Nekroz mirror and as I previously stated, it's not awful against Qliphort game one. With such a spike in play from one event to the next, I would expect to see even more players using Shared Ride at Nationals. The problem with Shared Ride is that it's very difficult to play around when playing Nekroz because Nekroz players have to search on their turn to advance their gamestate.

With so many cards to choose from it's quite difficult to pinpoint the perfect tech choice for this upcoming nationals. The only cards on the above list that I am certain I'll use are Maxx "C" and Shared Ride in some capacity due to the Nekroz mirror being very relevant and Burning Abyss being fairly popular as well. The rest is up to many more hours of play testing on my end and yours! I look forward to seeing all my friends at Nationals as well as making new friends too, so don't be afraid to say, Hi! Until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!

Maximillian Reynolds
Maximillian Reynolds

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