Greetings, Kaijudo duelists! I hope everyone had a great first week with Dragonstrike Infernus! As expected, this set has already shaken up the metagame quite a bit, and I'm going to jump right into it by giving you a look at the deck I ran in the first post-DSI tournament at my local. If you're subscribed to my YouTube Channel (found at YouTube.com/CVHMusic), you might have already seen a deck profile, but I'll be giving some more in-depth reasoning behind my card choices in this article, as well as telling you about each particular matchup I played.
For just a little backstory, when we first got DSI completely spoiled, I did a bit of play-testing with Carl Miciotto, a.k.a. EarthP0w3R. I was a bit put off by the amount of aggression I could see thriving in the new meta, since the decks we gravitated to for testing purposes were all based around the new dragons in one way or another. Being a player who's most comfortable with a control deck, I went through a few ideas and scrapped all of them purely because I was out of my comfort zone. I knew a few forms of aggressive dragons would take hold, and I knew the existing deck of Saber-Bolt would also be a good choice because of the power of Bronze-Arm Sabertooth, but I wanted to find something that could compete with those decks in a more consistent way. It was during our last pre-DSI testing session that Andy Criss, a.k.a. Aiden Thorne, showed me his Water/Dark/Light control build featuring a few of the dragons from the new set as finishers. I took a liking to a lot of his choices off the bat, and after doing a good deal of testing to get used to how the new cards interacted, as well as fixing it up to fit my needs and my anticipation of the local meta, I decided to stick with it for the Dragonstrike Infernus set premiere at my local. So, with no further ado, here's the deck list of the first deck I ran at a tournament post-DSI!
The Deck: Water/Darkness/Light Dragon Control!
2 [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Dragon of Reflections[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Issyl of the Frozen Wastes[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Spy Mission[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Crystal Memory[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Bone Blades[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Terror Pit[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Dark Return[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Death Smoke[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Lux[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Star Lantern[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Keeper of Dawn[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Grand Gure, Tower Keeper[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Spark Cage[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd]
As you can see, this deck lacks the early aggression or mana ramp which is typical of a lot of dragon builds. This deck definitely functions as a control deck that uses dragons to lock up the game and go in for the win. [ccProd] Lyra, Blazing Sun[/ccProd] is a definite reason I run this deck, as it can keep opposing threats tapped until I have an answer to them through spells or power. It can also target creatures that are already tapped, keeping them down for another turn; this makes it amazing against a deck like Saber-Bolt that relies on Evolutions and Fast Attackers that are often hard to deal with. Keeping them frozen and unable to attack is a good start![ccProd]Andromeda[/ccProd] is the primary finisher of the deck, as it can reset any early damage an early [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd] or something might have done to my shields, or save me from losing the game to an [ccProd]Emperor Neuron[/ccProd] or[ccProd] Fast Attacker [/ccProd]when I have no shields left. A few times in this tournament and during testing, I'd get down to zero shields and be in a seemingly rough position until I dropped one or two[ccProd] Andromedas[/ccProd] and steadily controlled the game from there. The other dragons, [ccProd]issyl[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Reflections[/ccProd], also have their uses. Reflections is especially good for putting down [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd], giving me at least two free turns to hopefully take the game, as my opponent will have to waste one turn hitting the [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd] before they can win. [ccProd]Issyl[/ccProd] was included as another late-game beatstick, and as expected, its effect didn't really go off too often. Both of the times it was relevant occurred in games I had already basically locked up, though the extra Double Breaker and giant body was helpful a couple times. It's definitely one of the spots in the deck I can play with and see how other cards work, but I don't have any real problems with how Issyl performed compared to what I expected.
I suppose that basically covers it for the stuff I needed to explain right off the bat, so let's see how it fared! For this particular event, we had 20 people, so 4 rounds of swiss with a cut to top 8.
Round 1: vs. Madelyne (Mono-Fire)
Mono-Fire, along with mono-Darkness and mono-Water, are all looking to be very viable mono-civ decks post-Infernus. I have to admit I was a little worried in this matchup (and in any rushy matchup, honestly), since my deck only ran five blockers out of 44 cards. Lux was a standout card in this matchup, as it proved to be a great answer to a turn two [ccProd]Drakon Weaponsmith[/ccProd], even though Lux was usually attacked over the turn after. Branca was a small issue because of its 2000 power, but luckily [ccProd]Star Lanterns[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Gloom Hollows[/ccProd] came through and I was able to take control of both games with Lyras followed up by other big things before I took a fatal amount of damage to my shields.
Record: 1-0 (2-0 in games)
Round 2: vs. Carl (EarthP0w3R) (WFL Dragons)
Like I said, I had done a bit of testing in this matchup against Carl, so I knew what to expect for the most part. That being said, it's not exactly a favorable matchup, and I knew it would be back and forth. I lost game one due to some good progressions from his deck, but I managed to take game two by getting him to run out of a hand and having the cards to deal with his dragons. I think a [ccProd]Grand Gure[/ccProd] hit the board at one point or another, a truly standout card against dragons and[ccProd] Saber-Bolt[/ccProd] that I could do cool things with, alongside [ccProd]Lyra[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Spark Cage[/ccProd] specifically. I honestly don't remember much of the third game, but I got it in the end. It came down to a real grind and we were actually the last match still playing, and I recall going in for the game only to hit a [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd], and them him going in for the counter-push for game with a second [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd] that I didn't know he ran, only to hit my own [ccProd]Stormspark Blast[/ccProd]. After those defining plays, I was able to take the game.
Record: 2-0 (4-1 in games)
Round 3: vs. Matt (WDF Control)
From what I could see of his deck, it was a pretty standard Water/Darkness/Fire Control build that utilized two[ccProd] Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd], which unfortunately shut down Gorby's Blurple deck in round one. This match, for a control mirror, was actually one of the fastest I've played, due to having [ccProd]Razorkinder Puppet[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd] at the right time (namely, turns 6 and 8 respectively), and getting rid of his hand before he could do the same to me. Feeling I could then lock up the game with Lyras, Andromedas, and the rest of the crew, the game was scooped to me at around that point in both games.
Record: 3-0 (6-1 in games)
Round 4: vs. Jacob (Mono-Water)
At this point, there were three undefeated players. Myself, Sean (Pogiforce), who was running a mono-Fire deck that had gotten some good matchups, and Jacob, running a mystery deck. We got paired up, and I quickly realized it was mono-Water, which was rather scary because I have a limited number of answers to a turn three[ccProd] Emperor Neuron[/ccProd], which is still incredibly threatening. I actually got put down to zero shields in the first game due to that card and its friends, but I was able to keep his field down with Lyra until I could deal with it, and then Andromeda came down for me and basically sealed the game. The second game went smoother than the first, though I can't really remember specifics, but I was able to survive until the point in the game when I could drop my big threats without staring down an absolutely huge field, so I was able to pull it out. Lyra was definitely a great card in this matchup, being able to keep Neurons tapped and then attack over them on the following turn.
Record: 4-0 (8-1 in games)
Going into the top 8 I was ranked first, since Sean, who was also 4-0 at this point, had played down.
Top 8: vs. ?? (Fire/Dark Rush)
I honestly can't remember this guy's name, as he was one of the new players to get into the game today. His deck was basically an updated version of one of the demo decks, which turned it into a Fire/Dark rush type thing. He had slipped into the top 8 with a 2-2 record, but obviously his deck had some pretty poor card choices, through no fault of his own. That being said, [ccProd]Gilaflame the Assaulter[/ccProd] could have been a big problem, but luckily my two copies of [ccProd]Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow[/ccProd] came to my rescue in both games, and as expected, Lyra, Andromeda, and [ccProd]Dragon of Reflections[/ccProd] were too much to handle in the late game for him.
Record: 5-0 (10-1 in games)
Top 4: vs. Carl (WFL Dragons)
The top four consisted of Madelyne, who had just come off a win in the mono-Fire mirror match against Sean in top 8, Nathan Bond, who had been doing well with WFN Saber-Bolt all day, Carl, who had won out after taking the round two loss to me, and myself. I knew I could basically handle the mono-Fire matchup at this point, and I believed my deck had a pretty solid matchup against Saber-Bolt due to cards like Terror Pit, Bone Blades, Lyra, Gloom Hollow, and others, so I honestly was hoping to play either of those two matchups, but that's not how the brackets worked themselves out.
Like in round two, I lost game one in this match as well. However, I came back game two with a good progression of dragons including one of the only times I really summoned Issyl. Its effect actually got used, but I was already in a winning position by that point anyway. Game three was like the last game three in that it came down to a real grind. I was put down to no shields by his assault of dragons and was hoping to draw into an Andromeda as soon as possible. If I was able to get one, I probably could have survived a turn and then gone in for the final push on the following turn. I summoned a [ccProd]Gloom Hollow[/ccProd] and a [ccProd]Star Lantern[/ccProd] in one turn and passed, knowing that while no single removal spell would win him the game, a[ccProd] Stormspark Blast[/ccProd] would, and as luck would have it, he drew into one that turn. After the game, I revealed my next card and it was the [ccProd]Andromeda[/ccProd]!
Record: 5-1 (11-3 in games)
While it was an unfortunate end to the tournament for me, I'm happy with how the deck performed. Carl went on to play Nate in the finals, where Nate took a 2-1 victory. His Saber-Bolt had a pretty favorable matchup to Carl's dragons, since nothing in Water/Fire/Light is really a permanent answer to Sabertooth or Bolt-Tail, short of summoning a creature with even more power. Nate actually took game three by neutralizing Carl's hand with an [ccProd]Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd]. While I do wish I had won the event myself, I can appreciate the Dragonstrike Infernus set premiere being won by Infernus himself.
That about wraps it up for the tournament itself! It definitely gave a lot of new decks and cards the chance to shine, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the decks evolve over the coming weeks leading to the Duel Days and Kaijudo Master Challenges. Even though the set just came out and things are sure to change a lot, I hope this report gave you all some insight into some options that may very well become some of the new tier-one decks. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts!