Side Deck Philosophy with Billy Brake

Hello Yugioh Community! I am back this week just in time for the last American Yugioh Championship Series that will be held in Kansas City this weekend! I will be there trying to win my 3rd straight championship in a row and I hope to see many of you guys there. With this final major event only a few days away I thought I would give you duelist some insight on my thoughts on how to side deck properly in the current format. I am going to give you an inside look on my Philosophy of side decking and go over the match-ups that I think will be the most relevant, mentioning what cards I like to side in. Please take notice that I am writing this article from a general stand point so I will try and list a bunch of options in cards that you can side in, hopefully this will be helpful not matter what deck you are wielding at the moment. Don’t forget to answer the question of the article down below!

Question of the Article: What is your side deck Philosophy?

My Side Deck Philosophy – Pay attention to what you take out for what you put in!

When I am side decking for Games 2 and 3, I look at each card individually I am siding out and what exact card is going in. For example, let’s say I am playing against Frog Monarchs and I side 4 cards for that match up: 2 Mask of Restrict, D.D. Crow, and a Chain Disappearance. I would take out my 2 main deck copies of Mystical Space Typhoon for the 2 Mask of Restrict. I would swap my Heavy Storm for the D.D. Crow and a main decked Thunder King Rai-Oh for the Chain Disappearance. Now that I know exactly what cards I want to take out for specific side deck cards it can help improve my play testing immensely. If you have this philosophy it will not only help you figure out what cards to take out of your deck, but also maximize the efficiency of play-testing. When you are playing Game 1’s you can draw certain cards in a match- up and see that they are sub-par you can decide what card from your side deck you would want it to be so when the time comes to side you know exactly what it will become and how it will work in game play.

This idea is essentially how I prepare and build my side deck. I make sure to play many, many, many Game 1’s against all of the match-ups that I feel will be relevant so I can see what cards in my main under-perform and then I can also get an idea of what cards I would rather them be in those certain situations. Being able to know exactly what card it will be in Games 2 and 3 is essential for being able to side successfully.
My Philosophy will also prevent side decking and messing up the ratios in your deck. Countless times have I seen players side out maybe 5 or 6 monsters and put in 5 or 6 spells and traps and then when they draw them all, but no monsters they lose and blame it on bad hands. While it is good to put in a lot of hate against the deck you are dueling against you have to be sure not to throw off the synergy of your own deck. When I use my technique I can look at the hands I’m drawing in play testing and it will help prevent me from creating this problem. For instance, let’s say I am up against a Dimensional Fissure Deck and I want to side in two copies of Mystical Space Typhoon and two copies of Dust Tornado. If I were to just side out my Sangan, Monster Reborn, Black Luster Soldier, and Debris Dragon because all of those cards aren’t the greatest in that match up I would be setting myself up to fail. It is true the cards I listed are hurt by my opponents Dimensional Fissure, but the whole reason I am putting the back row removal in is to make the power cards in my deck like those live. I am trying to demonstrate the fact that just because a card isn’t the greatest in a particular match-up that perhaps instead of taking it out, you could take out another card to put in some side deck support that will help your cards be live and effective.

Decks to Side Deck Against – Making a List and Checking it Twice!

Something that I have found to be very productive is to list out all the top decks I am most concerned with playing against, make a list of all the cards that I can side in the match-up, see what cards overlay with each match-up, and then use the list to help pick my side cards from there. I will go ahead and do that just for you guys!

Synchro Summon (Plants) : D.D. Crow, Maxx “C”, Debunk, Thunder King Rai-Oh, Vanity’s Fiend, Vanity’s Emptiness, Dimensional Fissure/ Macro Cosmos.

Dark World: Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, Gemini Imps, Bottomless Trap Hole/Dimensional Prison, D.D. Crow, Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado, Gravekeeper’s Watcher.

Rescue Rabbit (Dimensional or not) – Fiendish Chain, Mystical Space Typhoon, Spirit Reaper, Smashing Ground, Bottomless Trap Hole/ Dimensional Prison, Dust Tornado, Maxx “C”.

Agents: Leeching the Light, Fiendish Chain, Dimensional Prison/Bottomless Trap Hole, Smashing Ground, Spirit Reaper, Maxx “C”

T.G.: Bottomless Trap Hole/Dimensional Prison, Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado, Cyber Dragon, Chimeratech Fortress Dragon, Thunder King Rai-Oh.

Karakuri: Cyber Dragon, Chimeratech Fortress Dragon, Bottomless Trap Hole/Dimensional Prison, Dust Tornado, Fiendish Chain, Maxx “C”.

Anti-Meta: Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado, Cyber Dragon, Chimeratech Fortress Dragon, Bottomless Trap Hole/Dimensional Prison, Spirit Reaper, Smashing Ground.

Conclusion: There are many options out there when it comes to building and utilizing the side deck. I shared my Philosophy that I use when I build my side and explained how I come to decisions on what to take out of my deck for Games 2 and 3. I hope I was able to give a basic blueprint that some of you guys will be able to use to help improve your dueling skills and become a better overall player.

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below! If you are going to be attending Kansas City this weekend, feel free to come up to me and say Hello! Thanks for reading!

-Billy Brake
YCS Toronto & Columbus Champion