|Hello duelists! In this week's article I will discuss some things that I've noticed can help put you ahead in the Shaddoll mirror match. First off I'd like to congratulate Patrick Hoban for winning YCS Toronto using his variation of Shaddolls! Now let's dive right into it.Armageddon Knight vs MathematicianMost players have been maining Mathematician in their Shaddoll decks, but some people have been using Armageddon Knight instead. Both cards have their benefits and downsides.
Mathematician is a 1500 Attack point monster that will net you a card when it is destroyed by battle and has the effectively the same “Foolish Burial” effect that Armageddon Knight does, except to send Shaddoll Beast you need to send Squamata first due to the level 4 restriction. However, unlike Armageddon Knight, Mathematician can send non-Dark monsters to your graveyard, which gives you options like running Felis (which I don't recommend due to consistency issues) and setting up BLS more easily. 1500 Attack also lets you run over opposing Shaddoll Falcos and Armageddon Knights which is a very relevant interaction in the mirror match.
Armageddon Knight, on the other hand, only has 1400 Attack. Why would you play Armageddon Knight when he has 100 less Attack and doesn't float?
Simple: Armageddon Knight lets you make better use of Soul Charge. If Armageddon Knight is in your graveyard you can Soul Charge it back and that will trigger its effect to send a Dark monster from deck to grave. Armageddon Knight is also a level 4, which is much more useful when considering Soul Charge plays than being a level 3. A last minor point regarding Armageddon Knight is that it is a Dark monster, which means that it can be used as a material for Shaddoll Fusion (but also your opponent's Super Polymerization!).
While both cards can help you set up the very intimidating lock of Number 66: Master Key Beetle and Vanity's Emptiness, Armageddon Knight has a clear advantage, which I will explain after showing the combo. It requires Soul Charge, Vanity's Emptiness, and either Mathematician or Armaggedon Knight.
First you Normal Summon Math/Arma and use its effect to send Shaddoll Squamata to the grave. If you have Mathematician, send Shaddoll Dragon to the grave using Squamata's effect. With Armageddon Knight, send Shaddoll Beast. Use Soul Charge to bring both monsters back, and overlay into Master Key Beetle. Use Master Key Beetles effect to target your facedown Vanity's Emtpiness
Tributing your Fusion monster
When playing in the mirror match, it's very risky to leave an Extra Deck monster out on the field during your opponent's turn because that gives them a lot of value out of their Shaddoll Fusion by letting them send monsters from the deck. This is something you do not want to let them do.
"But they have a BLS on the field; how am I supposed to out it without leaving a Construct on the field?” Easy! Assuming you have a Shaddoll Fusion or a Super Polymerization you can activate. Fusion summon El Shaddoll Construct and use Construct's effect to send Shaddoll Hedgehog to the grave to add Shaddoll Beast to your hand. Clear your opponent's field of monsters if they have any or just deal damage by attacking, then in Main Phase 2 Tribute Set your Shaddoll Beast by tributing El Shaddoll Construct (don't forget to trigger Construct's effect and add a Shaddoll Fusion from your graveyard to hand if you have one!).
Maining Super Polymerization
Looking at the YCS Toronto results, it looks like we're in for a three deck format (Burning Abyss, SatellarKnights, and Shaddolls). Super Polymerization gets you very far ahead in most of these matches. SatellarKnights can't use Stellarnova Alpha to negate Super Polymerization as it can't be responded to. Against Burning Abyss, it becomes very easy to disrupt their Tour Guide plays by summoning Winda during their turn, leaving them unable to summon a rank 3. This is also one of the best cards in the mirror match since you can use your opponent's monsters as materials. While their Shaddolls will get their secondary effects, this will still often represent a huge swing in tempo and makes it very easy to push for game unexpectedly.
At YCS Toronto, Patrick Hoban saw great success by utilizing a Lightsworn engine in his deck, rather than relying on the standard Mathematician or Armageddon Knight engine. There are indeed some advantages to this. I won't discuss this for too long as I'm sure Pat is going to do it in one of his articles and he obviously knows exponentially more than me about his deck. First, Lyla and Raiden are both fairly large for Normal Summons in this format. 1700 is difficult to out in the mirror without wasting a Normal Summon on a Squamata or Dragon, and 1900 is impossible without Dragon or touching the Extra Deck (which, for obvious reasons, is inadvisable). Lyla can out Vanity's Emptiness while also setting up your grave with a Light monster and triggering Shaddoll effects during your End Phase, all at the same time. Raiden, meanwhile, gives you access to level 8 Synchro plays, most notably Stardust Spark Dragon. This can serve as an easier alternative to Master Key Beetle for the Vanity lock. Additionally, the Lightsworn engine makes it much easier to run multiple chaos monsters, which are very powerful in the Shaddoll mirror, given that they can out Extra Deck monsters without forcing you to touch your own Extra Deck. Finally, Soul Charge becomes a much more powerful card when you can load up your grave quickly by milling before all the Shaddolls didn't do much when revived since there weren't really any good cards to bring back but thanks to the Lightsworns there are, you can even clear boards easier and trigger your Shaddolls thanks to Scrap Dragon (which can be made with Raiden and any level 4, using Lyla to destroy a S/T and then synchroing gives you a huge amount of value out of your Soul Charge). This engine may suffer from consistency issues, given the random nature of milling, but the sheer strength and speed it provides to the deck may be enough to outweigh that!
That's all for this week's article! If you'd like to see me write about a certain topic feel free to message me on Facebook. The Circuit Series stops by Indiana, Indianapolis next on September 20-21.
And as Always Play Hard or Go Home!