The Will to Live: Swift Scarecrow vs. Battle Fader

Frazier SmithLast week, Jerry Williams reigned supreme at ACS Boston with his Standard Dragon deck (take that, Hoban), utilizing main decked copies of [ccProd]Electric Virus[/ccProd], [ccProd]Castle of Dragon Souls[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Dragunity Darkspear[/ccProd]. We’re at the point in the format where people are using side deck cards in the their main decks because it’s expected that you’ll play against Dragons in more than half your rounds. And that is true. At any serious tournament, for the rest of this format, you will face off against mostly Dragons. But one of the scariest things that I’ve seen while doing coverage in Top4 and the finals of that event, was how [ccProd]Swift Scarecrow[/ccProd] is no longer the safest bet against getting OTK’d. This is largely due to the release of [ccProd]Divine Dragon Knight Felgrand[/ccProd], who basically gives any of your monsters the same protection as [ccProd]Star Eater[/ccProd]. This article will focus on the pros and cons of both [ccProd]Battle Fader[/ccProd] and Swift Scarecrow, and the things you’ll need to consider when maining one over the other, or both.

Swift ScarecrowUp until now, Swift Scarecrow has been the end-all-be-all against getting outright OTK’d or just losing the game abruptly. I mean, sure, we all knew that the opponent could have his one copy of [ccProd]Book of Moon[/ccProd], or maybe a [ccProd]Raigeki Break[/ccProd] that he doesn’t mind using on his own attacking monster, but for the most part, we were safe. The biggest fear when playing against Dragons was always dropping to 3200 or lower because of Star Eater. Now, you have to consider that many players are teching copies of the Mythic Dragons to give them a bit of an edge in the mirror match, and other matches, too. Felgrand has changed the way we think about defending ourselves, or at least it should have. His effect can make anything unaffected by Swift Scarecrow, which means you can’t depend on it against the Mythic Dragon matchup. In fact, Jerry lost game one of the finals at Boston because his opponent knew he played Scarecrow, and realized that his full field of monsters could swing for game with Felgrand’s effect. If you were watching the livestream, it was very clear that Jerry had that game stolen from him, as he was in complete control prior to that moment. Had he been playing Battle Fader instead, he would have won game one in an orderly fashion, however, let’s not disregard the power of Swift Scarecrow without further analysis.

Battle Fader can be stopped, too. In fact, there are some very nasty ways to deal with an opponentbattle fader who plays that card. Most recently, we have seen increased play in [ccProd]Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo[/ccProd], which says that neither play can special summon monsters. So if someone is going for game and knows that you play Battle Fader, they will make it a priority to summon Fossil Dyna before making the final attack. There’s also [ccProd]Vanity’s Emptiness[/ccProd], which is a trap version of Fossil Dyna, and then there’s [ccProd]Vanity’s Fiend[/ccProd], which is a higher attack version of Fossil Dyna. All three of the aforementioned cards are being played throughout tournaments. They each have their pros and cons, too, but they all stop Battle Fader in the same way. And then there’s [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd], which you will see played here and there, and that can negate the summon of Battle Fader, thus causing the attack to still go through.

On the plus side, Battle Fader cannot be [ccProd]Crimson Blader[/ccProd]’d because it will get banished when it is removed from the field. In that way, it can soak up another attack on the following turn, or allow you to summon [ccProd]Formula Synchron[/ccProd] if you play it. On the downside, Battle Fader, unlike Swift Scarecrow, is not one of the four elements (Earth, Wind, Fire, Water). This means that you can’t ditch it for any of their effects like you could with Swift Scarecrow, who would be used for [ccProd]Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders[/ccProd] if you wanted to use his [ccProd]Monster Reborn[/ccProd]-like effect. It also doesn’t contribute to summoning any of the elemental dragons, either, because it’s dark.  Battle Fader is a bit surprising, though, and could cause you to lose a game by going in on a [ccProd]Maxx “C”[/ccProd], thinking you’re going to get there. It’s one of those cards that I think its largest impact will be in Boston where it first debuted. Now you will start to see people playing more cautiously when trying to go for game, and that’s a good thing because no one likes to lose to aping.

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Perhaps the scariest thing I’ve seen happening at Boston were players summoning [ccProd]Stardust Spark Dragon[/ccProd] and then pitching [ccProd]Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo[/ccProd] for Redox’s effect, targeting Fossil Dyna. This would give them a virtually indestructible Fossil Dyna and a strong lock on the game. I suppose in this situation, Battle Fader wouldn’t be all that great, and Swift Scarecrow would only give you an extra turn, but it’s better than nothing. You’re still up against Spark Dragon and Dyna together. This is why cards like Book of Moon and [ccProd]Phoenix Wing Wind Blast[/ccProd] are so good right now.

It’s hard to say which one is clearly better. At first, when I saw Felgrand released, I immediately thought Battle Fader was just better, but with the many different ways to stop that card, just like the many ways to stop Swift Scarecrow, I cannot make that judgment call so easily. Some people actually use both of them, which isn’t a bad idea if you have room. Playing the one Scarecrow or one Fader is a bit unreliable, realistically. And I’m speaking from experience here because I’ve been OTK’d so many times while running just the one copy. Sometimes, you will put your opponent in such a bad position that he has no choice but to go for game while the opportunity is still there. If you’re too far ahead, he wasn’t going to win anyways, so why wouldn’t he go for game? These are the things you have to consider when building your deck for a long competitive tournament.

So which one are you using, Battle Fader or Swift Scarecrow, and why?

The ARG Metro Series makes its first stop in Montreal coming up on December 7! Click the pic at the bottom for more info!

Thanks for reading! Remember, Play Hard or Go Home!

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Frazier Smith

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