Last weekend, we got to see two of the best players of all time, Patrick Hoban and Sean McCabe, go head to head in the finals of YCS Toronto. Patrick piloted Lightsworn Shaddolls while McCabe opted for Satellarknights. Both players were in their comfort zones, using decks that were built similarly to ones they had topped with in the past. Hoban prefers his builds to be combo based and McCabe prefers to max out on copies of almost every card, giving his deck a linear yet effective playstyle. In this article, I will be giving an analysis of Sean’s list from Toronto as seen below:
3 satellarkight deneb
3 satellarknight unukalhai
3 satellarknight altair
2 satellarknight vega
3 pot of duality
3 mystical space typhoon
2 soul charge
2 reinforcement of the army
2 forbidden chalice
3 call of the haunted
3 breakthrough skill
3 stellarnova alpha
3 vanity’s emptiness
1 compulsory evacuation device
1 solemn warning
It goes without saying that Satellarknights should be played with a low monster count. I have seen some players opting to use the Artifact package, or some other addition (Traptrix), but the most successful versions of the deck do not play any of those things. This is one of those decks that thrives off the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid). In McCabe’s build, we have a solid 12 monsters total. We both count cards like Reinforcement of the Army as monsters, so technically there are 14. Anyways, you will notice that he maxed out on Unukalhai. Some players have not realized the important of this card yet, but I can assure you that he is imperative to the strategy. In a way, Unukalhai acts as additional copies of Deneb. If you have Call of the Haunted or Soul Charge, you can gain access to your infinite Stratos plays.
The other part that makes him so relevant is his attack stat. He has 1800, which is the highest in the Satellar lineup. The main monsters being played at the moment have very low attack, outside of Shaddoll Beast and Squamata. In the late game, he can thin your deck of extra copies of Deneb, since once you have one, you won’t need the rest (usually). Sean plays two copies of Vega because you don’t want to see him as much as your other monsters, but you do NEED him. His niche is going into Delteros, one of the best Xyz monsters out there right now. Speaking of which, did you know that you can’t respond to Delteros or ANY monster summoned to the controller’s field? Well, duh, it says it on the card, but it doesn’t tell you just HOW absurd it actually is.
A lot of players make the mistake of trying to use cards like Compulsory Evacuation Device or Book of Moon before Delteros uses his effect to destroy something, and then they find out that you have to wait until his controller uses his effect or some other effect first. Normally, when a monster is summoned, you can respond to it before the effect is activated, unless it’s an effect that triggers on the summon. We all know this already; you can Book of Moon a Judgment Dragon before I pay 1000 to destroy the field. However, Delteros has a built-in protection against that, which makes it impossible for you to do so. Hypothetically, if a Lightsworn player ever controlled a Delteros, you’re in trouble.
I asked Sean about his choice to play Honest and he said, “It’s another win condition and a way to beat over Shaddoll Winda without using the extra deck.” I think we can all agree that Honest is one of the best cards in the game with his Ring of Destruction-esque effect. He allows you to win games that you would have lost otherwise, like those where the opponent has +4 on you. Sometimes, all you can do is play to lifepoints when you’re losing in the card advantage war. There have been many occasions where a player will Soul Charge down to dangerous levels (2000 or lower), and pray to Slifer that the opponent doesn’t have Honest. In the Satellarknight mirror match, I like that Honest’s defense walls every monster except Xyz. This means that you can stall with a card like Vanity’s Emptiness until your hand is ready to play—usually because you haven’t drawn Deneb yet. On a less specific scale, Honest keeps the tempo in your favor when you’re already winning, too. It can be devastating when someone is trying to mount an offensive and you drop Honest.
In the spell section, we have only one interesting choice—Forbidden Chalice. McCabe said that he would rather play Chalice over Dimesional Prison because he doesn’t want to have a dead card in the backrow against Shaddolls. The best players will read it and pop it with Shaddoll Dragon. Since Chalice is a spell card, so you don’t have to wait a turn to use it like you would with a trap. Also, its overall versatility right now makes it a strong pick against the meta. For example, you can safely attack a facedown Shaddoll monster when you have Forbidden Chalice in hand because it will negate the flip effect in the damage step. This is especially effective against Shaddoll Falco who aims to bring back Shaddoll Beast to draw two cards, or against Shaddoll Hedgehog when you want to Xyz, but don’t want them to search out Shaddoll Fusion.
Forbidden Chalice can be used in the mirror match to give one of your guys the added strength it needs to win a battle, or it can be used to prevent an opposing Altair/Delteros from going off. Make sure that the 400 attack boost does not hurt you when using it on the opponent’s monster and all will be well. In even rarer scenarios, the extra 400 damage can be used to win the game when attacking directly. You never know when something silly like that will come up and make all the difference. It’s all about getting the most value out of each of your cards—that’s how the hardest games are won.
Mystical Space Typhoon is played at three in this deck to fight off Vanity’s Emptiness and to simplify the gamestate. Satellarknights are a deck that does not mind when both players have few options because it can do a lot with a little. The more simplified the gamestate, the better your chances of winning against a combo based strategy.
In regards to the trap section, everything seems pretty standard except maybe the third copy of Breakthrough Skill. Sean had fears of being locked out of the game by El Shaddoll Winda, or having the opponent resolve multiple copies of El Shaddoll Construct’s effect via Super Polymerization. Breakthrough can stop your opponent from sending that much needed Shaddoll Dragon to pop your backrow, or from drawing a new card with Shaddoll Beast to correct his or her hand. When I look at this list, seeing how many cards negate monster effects, I come to the realization that some of his opponent’s most likely lost games by having their initial setup plays halted. If you need a Mathematician, Armageddon Knight, Kuribandit, or Shaddoll Hedgehog to get your deck started, you will be in trouble against Sean’s 3 Stellarnova Alpha, 3 Breakthrough Skill, 2 Forbidden Chalice, and Solemn Warning.
Satellarknights will continue to be a solid pick for the rest of the format because of their consistency. On the YCS level, since all you need to do is make it to Top16, it is fair to use a deck like this just for that reason.
Until next time, duelists! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!
-The Dark Magician