There are a lot of decks out there that are ‘almost’ viable for competitive play. These are tier two and tier three decks that need that little shove to make a big impact on the metagame. We saw this with X-Sabers after The Shining Darkness, and more recently, Wind-Ups. Both archetypes were decent after they released, but became very potent after getting the right amount of broken support (in the form of TCG-exclusives, of course). Players are always looking for that ‘next’ big deck, or even a card that will suddenly become very popular. Maxx “C” is a good example of the latter.
So which decks have the potential, but are just missing out on the action? Well, that’s what we are going to look at in this article. I have a few decks and strategies listed here and I’ll talk about each in detail. Specifically, what the deck does well, what problems it faces, and what kind of support it needs.
Koa’ki Meiru is a huge archetype with dozens of support cards that all feature great effects, typing, and stats. Many players have a moment of shock when they actually read cards like Koa’ki Meiru Urnight or Drago because they are just so good. Urnight is a Summoner Monk that can grab ANY level 4 Koa’ki Meiru monster from the deck, simply by revealing an Iron Core. Crusader generates pluses by attacking over opposing monsters, and does even more damage when combined with Horn of the Phantom Beast. Boulder, Guardian, and Wall help to shut down power cards and keep control of the duel, while Drago prevents most of the boss monsters in the metagame from even being summoned! Did I mention that virtually all of them have been 1900 and 2000 attack?
It’s hard to look at many of these cards without thinking “why aren’t they being played?” Urnight is an instant Rank four Xyz monster at no cost, and can be recycled again and again. That alone should count for something, right? Well, yes and no. When talking about Koa’ki Meiru it is impossible to ignore the elephant in the room: the maintenance cost. Most Koa’ki Meiru monsters require you to either discard the Iron Core of Koa’ki Meiru, or reveal a monster in your hand of the same type. In addition, the best effects that this archetype has to offer are limited by requirements such as discarding or revealing an Iron Core. It’s a challenge in itself to keep the deck from self-destructing and it happens all too often.
For this archetype to realize its full potential it will need one of two things. First, a card to better utilize the Iron Core of Koa’ki Meiru would go a long ways towards making the deck more consistent. Multiple copies of Gold Sarcophagus and Pot of Duality are currently needed to ensure that the Core accessible at all times. Something to easily search it, or at least make better use of it after being played, is necessary. And no, Core Transport Unit is not that card. Secondly, more generic monsters that fulfill the ‘reveal’ part of the maintenance cost will keep Koa’kis on the field longer without sacrificing too much. Reborn Tengu has been an amazing tech to keep Urnight and Crusader on the field, but something else, something searchable, would be preferred.
Extreme Victory introduced us to Warp Psychics, a branch of Psychic-type monsters that were heavily floater-based and relied on manipulating Esper Girl for Synchro plays. Serene Psychic Witch, Silent Psychic Wizard, and Hushed Psychic Cleric make some really interesting combos with Esper Girl and form the backbone of this new strategy. While the deck has some great cards and can support things like Miracle Synchro Fusion, it ends up falling short compared to other Synchro-based strategies. It’s hard to imitate the versatility of Plant Synchro, especially since the strategy relies so much more on its tuners.
Wizard and Cleric can be a bit difficult to use at times, and that presents a bit of an issue. While banishing and summoning Esper Girl again and again can lead to some serious draw power, it can be unstable and tough to set up. The early game is plagued by a lack of moves outside of start-up floaters like Serene Psychic Witch, and is often easy to play around or delay. In this way the deck is comparable to X-Sabers, but lacks the same late-game explosiveness. Although many players have been trying to alleviate this with Overdrive Teleporter, the same problems still persist and those plays are just too easy to shut down.
I would like to say that the deck just needs more generic Psychics, and over time we will get something worth using. However, I want to stay away from “more support” because I could use that for every competitive strategy that is currently on the edge of success. Still, general Psychics would be nice, especially if they continue the Warp theme. Otherwise, the deck needs to be able to start looping Esper Girl much earlier, and have other plays beyond that. Solid cards to trigger the many floater effects like Enemy Controller are nice, but the ‘right one’ for the deck hasn’t quite shown up yet (I don’t believe that Mind Over Matter is that card). Lastly, there are some interesting cards like Psi-Blocker and Psychic Nightmare that have yet to find their place, but a new card or strategy that focuses on hand control could very well be their new home.
My last major article was about Dragunity and I have virtually devoted this entire format to perfecting it. Simply put: First turn Stardust Dragon still wins games. Heavy Storm and Mystical Space Typhoon are meaningless when the deck can continuously negate destruction effects. Dragunity can churn out Synchros consistently, and that’s an important key term. The deck is shockingly consistent, and opening with Dragon Ravine is more likely than not. Extra draw power, should a player choose to use it, is also exceptional and helps take some pressure off of Ravine. Counter tech like Koa’ki Meiru Drago is easy to run, and Malefic Stardust Dragon is a near perfect fit.
The problems plaguing Dragunity come in all shapes and sizes. From hand threats like Maxx “C”, Effect Veiler, and D.D. Crow, to dangerous traps like Solemn Warning, Bottomless Trap Hole, and Chain Disappearance, and even monsters like Thunder King Rai-Oh, Evolzar Laggia and Dolka, all of these can swiftly shut down plays and the entire deck as a result. It’s a dangerous and difficult time to play the deck, and it’s often because players choose not to run options outside of the ‘standard’ line-up. Simplistic building adds to consistency and synergy, but at the cost of versatility, which is needed to not run headlong into these threats.
Order of Chaos has some interesting Dragon support (and likely more to come in the form of TCG exclusives) so there is some hope there. More importantly, new Winged-Beasts and Dragons are always going to be potential options for Dragunity. Gusto for instance has some archetype members and Synchros that can be used to help diversify the deck, and that’s exactly what Dragunity needs. The more plays that exist outside of ‘summon Dux/Legionnaire ‘, the more likely players will be able to bypass the counter tech facing them. The deck is doing moderately well in the OCG, but that is largely the result of the new priority rulings. Down the line, this is a deck you’ll want to keep your eyes on, especially if Stardust Dragon becomes more important.
While all of these decks are playable they are still floating somewhere below the top tier. Yet, the foundations for each strategy are solid, and I fully believe that with the right support they can prove to be viable choices for larger tournaments. New support can easily move a deck up a tier, something that has been proven many times. Even a card that nobody thought was useful could finally make some strategy come together, and that’s where the real fun begins. Pot of Duality and Tour Guide are probably the best two examples of indirect support, because they helped fuel hundreds of strategies. Anyways, keep an eye out for those misfit cards that don’t seem to quite fit the meta, because they might fit somewhere else, somewhere that could be the meta down the road. Until next time then.