Hello there, duelists! I hope everyone is excited about the sneak preview for Cosmo Blazer this weekend! It’s yet another game changing set, perhaps even more so than the last thanks to the Fire Formation continuous spell card, Tenki. It allows you to add any level 4 or lower beast-warrior type monster from your deck to your hand and it also gives all of them +100 attack power as long as it stays face up on the field. Believe me when I say that this card adds a lot of utility to several decks; it even makes some decks playable that simply weren’t before its release. But besides that, this article’s main goal is to talk about the new Fire deck(s) and how they fair against Water. There’s no doubt that Water is a top contender in this format ever since its release in November 2012; it has made it to the finals of both YCS tournaments since then. I personally think that is because of the deck’s overall consistency. It isn’t like Wind-ups where you need a combination of cards to go off (Magician Shark, Tour Guide Shark, Rabbit Factory, Shark Factory, etc). Almost all of the Water cards stand alone. There’s Undine, Diva, Linde, Marksmen, Abyssphere, etc. And every other card helps to get to those standalone cards, which makes the deck super consistent. I always tell players that when you play with or against Water, you can expect to see an Undine summon and a Megalo summon in every game. In some games with or against Wind-ups, you may never see/use a Rabbit or a Magician, or even Zenmaighty. The deck plays slightly different during each game across a 10-round tournament. Water does the exact same thing every game. With that type of consistency, it’s no wonder that the deck has been taking tournaments down left and right. But Fire is no slouch in the consistency department. In fact, the deck seems to focus on just that. So let’s dive right into it shall we?
I’ve been doing some testing on DN with Water against various Fire builds and what I’ve found is that if the Fire deck contains the boss monster from the starter deck, Fire King Garunix, there is a very slim chance for Water to claim the victory once he hits the field. He causes some MAJOR problems since every time he is destroyed by a card effect, he returns on the next standby phase—you or your opponent’s—and destroys every other monster on the field. His effect is absolutely obnoxious, and you will get to experience this on the tournament scene soon enough. Destroying it with Heavy Infantry, Ally of Justice Catastor, Raigeki Break, Mirror Force, or Torrential Tribute, which are the typical ways that Water deals with big monsters, will yield no benefits unless you are swinging for game on that very turn. And unfortunately, that’s just what you will have to do once he starts making his rounds, destroying the field in his blaze of glory, and attacking for a third of your lifepoints. I’m sure that by now you’ve all been informed of the card that brings him out, which is a joke in itself, Assault of the Fire King. If you control no monsters and your opponent controls a monster, you may special summon one fire attribute beast-warrior or winged-beast type monster from your deck to the field, then destroy it during the end phase. It instantly brings Garunix out as early as turn 2, assuming the Fire player went second. As weird as it may sound, I found that going second with the Fire deck maining Garunix and Assault of the Fire King, is actually better than going first a lot of the time. I’m more nervous going first with Fire and leaving my field open against Water, knowing that it isn’t hard for that deck to dish out 8000 points of damage in a single turn, and with minimal effort. Assault of the Fire King also happens to trump the Water deck’s best first turn play, which is the summoning of Genex Undine to pitch Dragoons. It’s really annoying how much you have to consider that spell card when you go first now. You can’t just put something on the field if your hand cannot deal with a 2700 Dark Hole with chicken wings.
So what does Water do about such a problem? Well, I’ve been suggesting to people in my group that maybe it’s time to switch those Raigeki Breaks to Phoenix Wing Wind Blasts (ironic, I know), change the Mirror Force(s) to Dimensional Prison(s), and hope for the best. I would not recommend that you take out Torrential Tribute—if you play it—for Bottomless Trap Hole because those cards are not interchangeable at all. They just so happen to have the same timing. Torrential is great against everything but Fire King Garunix really, so I wouldn’t change my entire lineup just to deal with one card in one deck. And there may be some benefits to Wing Blast that you couldn’t get from Raigeki Break, such as spinning a freshly set backrow back to the top, forcing the opponent to draw it again when it could be dead (think Solemn Warning, Torrential Tribute, Bottomless Traphole, etc). It also deals with annoying monsters like Tiras, Zenmaines, Maestroke, Gachi Gachi, Lightpulsar, and several others. However, in some instances, it can be way worse than Raigeki Break, like against Wind-ups where you’d much rather just destroy Zenmaighty instead of putting him back into the extra deck where he most certainly will sail his way back to the field at a later moment. You also don’t want to spin a Hyperion or BLS back to the top if they can be summoned again, either. And even things like Macro Cosmos, where you’d rather just be done with that copy instead of having to play all of your cards in one turn because you know it’s coming again. So while Raigeki Break is undoubtedly the “safer” card to play, I think the more appropriate yet riskier card is Wing Blast.
So now that we’ve talked about the new thorn in the side of Water, I think it’s time we discuss the other Fire theme coming out in Cosmo Blazer—The Brotherhood of the Firefist. These guys revolve around searching and setting their theme-specific spell/trap cards from the deck. They also benefit greatly from Fire Formation Tenki, which is pretty much a ROTA for the entire deck. The Firefist are not very explosive, and they won’t be doing much OTKing, but they are extremely consistent at what they do do. They can pop monsters and backrows, gain savage plusses through battle and Xyz summoning, and they can all be pumped by Horn of the Phantom Beast. They have their own attack boosting card as well, but we all know that Horn is by far the scariest thing to attack into at any point in the game. When playing against Firefist, you need to always calculate what their maximum attack power could be considering the number of backrows. It gets outrageously tiresome, too. You’ll find yourself making Maestroke, Zenmaines, Catastor, and Adreus more than ever just to avoid getting decimated by Horn of the Phantom Beast and whatever other attack boosting cards they might have (almost all—if not all—of the Fire Formation cards boost attack points).
Abyssgaios, a card that many Water benders have decided to forego in their extra decks, is a great answer to Garunix. Not only does he prevent the angry rainbow chicken from attacking, since its level is too high, but it also negates the thing’s effect because it doesn’t have more attack power than Gaios, himself. And that also means that Gaios can outright beat it in battle which is the best way to deal with it. While Big Eye may seem more appealing, it does leave you open to a nasty turn of events. If the original owner of Garunix can find any way to destroy the thing with a card effect, like with the effect of Brotherhood of the Firefist- Bear for example, you will suffer the consequences; so just be aware of that. Taking monsters with graveyard effects is a recipe for disaster, but there may be times when you have to walk on the wild side. Count the outs and make your decision accordingly.
I’d strongly advise holding power plays until you can do something worthwhile against Fire. I cannot tell you enough how much of a mistake it is to drop Moulinglacia against any type of Fire deck, and NOT win that turn. You will absolutely lose that game if Garunix is involved. Being stripped of the ability to attack next turn, as well as losing your whole field, isn’t fun for anyone. And the Firefists can get over Glacia with the help of Bear, who destroys monsters by sending Fire Formation spell/traps to the grave. I’ve also found that Wind-ups can run out of steam against Garunix once they’ve already used Acid Golemn and Maestroke. I guess you could also Magician Shark into Adreus and Abyss Dweller if you have that option open to you, but the main point here is that you shouldn’t waist your power cards to kill the big chicken if you aren’t going to secure the game that turn with at least 95% certainty. Whatever you put out there in your failed attempt, will be destroyed. So you might drop them low, but if you don’t have any cards to make an opening again you will just lose. I believe the saying goes, “you don’t fight Fire with Fire.” You don’t use Dark Hole on Garunix just to get some damage in with Marksmen and Dragoons. That’s just silly. You wait until you can build an OTK, which is completely reasonable considering we’re talking about Water and Wind-ups here, and then you make your push.
Well that's enough for now duelists! Until next time, remember play hard or go home!
-The Dark Magician
*Random thought: Magician is Fire. Shark is Water. Together, they are the 2 most powerful cards in the format. So how many times have you been "Smoked" this format?