The title “Snake in the Grass” is coming from the old concept of having a deck a deck that is underestimated, but still holds the power it needs to have to compete on a similar level as the current “meta” decks. It is different from the concept of “black sheep” decks, because these decks are well known, but underestimated. It is important to keep in mind I define meta as the most popular decks. This article is going to be about Six Samurai.
Six Samurai has been a really well known deck, and hated, since Storm of Ragnarok. Within this pack they got MANY support cards that made them insane at the time. Gateway of the Six because of this got limited almost a month after the packs release. Samurai have a really passive aggressive playstyle, and I must admit I really enjoy this deck myself. It has some inconsistent hands, but overall they are very aggressive and fun. This deck just got a small boost from the ban list, and a lot of players are picking it up, but I almost guarantee this deck will be used a lot less midway into the format, which is why I am considering it a black sheep.
So what makes Samurai good? It is the fact that they can kill fast, and control the board for long periods of time. Many people drop the deck fast though after they learn how easy it is to have their fields torn apart IF YOUR NOT CAREFUL. I don’t think I can stress this enough, many people overextend much more then what they need to with Samurai. I am not saying I am not guilty of this, or that it’s not necessary sometimes, but people picture this deck, because of Legendary Six Samurai – Kizan and other fast cards, as a deck they are suppose to just drop cards onto the board and hope to win.
I am here to tell you that is not how it is, first turn shien is good, but don’t over do that anymore, times have changed.
A player got 5-8th at YCS Bochum at the very end of last format, here is his list.
2 Elder of the Six Samurai
1 Grandmaster of the Six Samurai
1 Hand of the Six Samurai
2 Kagemusha of the Six Samurai
1 Legendary Six Samurai - Enishi
2 Legendary Six Samurai - Kageki
3 Legendary Six Samurai - Kizan
1 Legendary Six Samurai - Mizuho
1 Shien's Squire
3 Asceticism of the Six Samurai
1 Book of Moon
1 Gateway of the Six
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn
1 Reinforcement of the Army
3 Shien's Dojo
2 Shien's Smoke Signal
3 Six Samurai United
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
3 Double-Edged Sword Technique
2 Fiendish Chain
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Solemn Warning
2 Deep Dark Trap Hole
2 Dimensional Prison
2 Mind Crush
1 Musakani Magatama
3 Mystical Space Typhoon
2 Rivalry of Warlords
2 Soul Drain
1 Temple of the Six
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En
1 Mist Wurm
1 Naturia Barkion
1 Naturia Beast
1 Naturia Landoise
1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
2 Shadow of the Six Samurai - Shien
1 Steelswarm Roach
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
Shien’s Dojo is always something people are iffy on using, personally I feel like it’s really helpful within this deck. It allows you to make many synchros in a single turn. I should mention that, while this is the most popular version of samurai ([ccprod]Asceticism Samurai[/ccprod]), this is not the only version, but in my opinion this is the best version. Many people would agree with me.
The general strategy is to quickly overwhelm your opponent by controlling the board through strong cards such as 1 Legendary Six Samurai - Shi En, Naturia Beast, and Naturia Barkion. His build ran 3 Double-Edged sword techniques which allowed him to make very fast synchros and exceeds, while giving him ways to make pushes past torrential tribute and mirror force.
With Wind-Ups currently off the tier 1 scene (although I personally believe we may see them return for the first half of this format), hand traps are not as useful. This allows him to concentrate on today’s match ups, which for the beginning of the format, I will personally consider fire fist, rabbit, and mermail the most popular decks, so that is what I am going to talk about with this deck.
Fire Fist, or furry fist as I like to call them, is a popular deck introduced to the TCG in the pack Cosmo Blazer. They usually play large amounts of searching spells, and then combat tricks. Since Shi En negates, he can use his effect to stop a lot of their battle tricks during the damage step! This is really important, because it gives samurai a really favorable match up against this deck. Shi En and some kind of summon or effect negation will almost guarantee you end this game early. As soon as you know you are facing this deck, concentrate on clearing their initial setup, then getting out the strong combination of naturia beast and barkion. They will be locked down and will not be able to take advantage of their monster’s effects without their support spells / traps.
Rabbit has always been a 50/50 match up with samurai in my opinion. It seems to me it really depends who opens better if both players are equally skilled, and especially who goes first. A first turn Laggia plus protection tears apart Samurai, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, a first turn Shi En and protection is pretty much game against them. The 2500 attack gives Shi En an edge against most of the monsters this deck can summon.
Mermail is probably the most notable match up, since their popularity has been really high since their release. They are also, sadly, Samurais hardest match up, and the reason why players need to stop overextending with this deck. Samurai can EASILY deal with mermail in my experience, it just takes some patience to learn how to play it. There have been many frustrating games where they just take Shi En with Number 11: Big Eye, or they simply destroy my backrow with marksmen, or one turn answer Shi En with undine using Atlantean Heavy Infantry as the cost. This is the reason I hear that most players avoid Samurai, but what is something Samurai can do really well? Defend their cards. What else can they do really good? Make rank 4 exceeds. At the same time Abyssmegalo came out, so did a really good rank 4 exceed that can claim you games easily if you defend it against that deck, as many of you know, I am talking about Abyss Dweller. After many games playing against mermail I have learned that holding off from first turn Shi En can be a really good idea because of that deck. If you hold onto your cards for a turn or so, you can usually summon abyss dweller and one of the multiple spell / trap negation based synchros on the same turn. That is a really crippling blow to mermail. Proper siding has made it so I have nearly a undefeated ratio to mermail with Samurai.
Samurai are a strong choice right now in my opinion. They have good match ups across the board, and the future decks such as prophecy can easily be torn apart by a well timed naturia synchro. Even evilswarms, which is a reason many players are dropping this deck, are not necessarily a great deck against Samurai.
Just remember, when using this deck and any other, keep your options open and don’t burn through your resources faster than you need to.
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