We Can Rebuild It – A Slice So Nice They Gave it an X Twice!

Welcome back to another installment of my Deck Doctor series fellow ARG-nians. This is Michael Boire, and I'm ready to slash (wait for it) another deck apart and give it some proper mending. Are you ready? We Can Rebuild It!

I say slash because today we are going to be looking at Alex Vansant's X-Saber deck. Sabers have always been a fan favorite. Back in their heyday they were capable of insane plays that generated huge momentum shifts and largely dictated the pace of the game. When you were behind the wheel of these aggressive soldiers you weren't a duelist. You were a War General.

But then something happened. The deck vanished, faded into obscurity. Well our good friend Thunderpants has dug up the coffin and plans to unleash the fierce powers of the X-Sabers once again! The dueling community better beware!

Like my previous article, I'm going to be focusing on each individual portion of the deck and fix it as I go. Let's start with the monsters - the units which will act as our unstoppable Saber army!

Monsters: 18
XX-Saber Darksoul x3
XX-Saber Emmersblade x3
XX-Saber Faultroll x3
XX-Saber Fulhelmknight x3
X-Saber Pashuul x2
Tragoedia x2
X-Saber Airbellum
Gorz, the Emissary of Darkness

One of these things is not like the other...
The X-Saber strategy, like many popular strategies seen in the current metagame (Chaos Dragons or Agents for example), build up a slow momentum and make huge shifts out of nowhere. They have to follow a very linear set of practices in order to line up the perfect offense and be capable of achieving these momentum shifts. Although the deck is fast-paced mid and late game, it suffers a slow early game as you're going to be setting your Darksoul's or Emmersblade's to get the right combo pieces for a successful push. The awesome thing about this is you can hide behind your Emmersblade's or (eventually) Pashuul while your setting up before you unleash hell. With this in mind, I believe it is necessary to cut out the cards that prevent your set-up from building up properly.

Sabers are all about building up to a snowball finish with Faultroll and his gang of awesomely decked-out sword wielding pals to tear through your opponents life. This is done through a lot of searching as well as small pushes that force your opponent to commit to using resources they would have normally wanted to hang onto to. When the time is right, your soldiers jump into action through a flurry of Synchro (and now Xyz) summons and take your opponents breath (and Lifepoints) away.

I am a strong advocate of Gorz and Tragoedia, as they are both great cards. But in a strategy like this, where your relying on each of your individual X-Saber soldiers to do their part, they are less then stellar. Gorz is one of those interesting cards where when you draw him, you wish he was something else. In a deck like this, you want to see more X-Sabers. You want to see more searchers, you want to see more Tuners (and non-tuners subsequently) and you want to see your defensive trap and offensive spells. You want to see what will constantly be putting pressure on your opponent. Gorz does not do this. He simply sits in your hand and waits to see if your opponent is reckless enough to clear your field and run into it without respecting the fact that he exists. The beautiful thing about Gorz is that even if you're not running it, people will think you are. Gorz will also rarely be live as you will be running a lot of backrow to make sure your pushes go unscathed and to mitigate your opponents resources. As far as Trag is concerned, sure Darksoul helps you maintain a hefty hand size, but the majority of that hand will be hitting the table as you attempt to go for your opponents jugular. Trag allows you to make some trick Xyz plays but your win condition is deeply rooted in Synchro monsters. He also helps steal some opposing monsters but the big monsters you will be seeing nowadays are Level 10 (Other Trag's, Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon), 8 (Black Luster Soldier, Hyperion), 7 (Abyssmegalo, High Priestess of Prophecy) and 6 (Lightpulsar Dragon, Chaos Sorcerer). With your handful of Level 3's and 4's you won't be stealing much. For the benefit of advancing your strategy I believe it is best to cut these damage-reactive cards from our deck completely.

Another cut of the monster list (it seems everyone has the same consensus regarding this guy) comes in the form of X-Saber Airbellum. I LOVE Airbellum. He's a Spirit Reaper with muscles. The problem is, he doesn't have any of the additional benefits that Reaper has such as the ability to hide behind when needed. The only thing going for Airbellum is the fact that he can force opponents into wasting resources they wouldn't normally waste. You can't Bottomless a Reaper, but you can an Airbellum for example. I like the tech but I believe that we can use the empty space for better cards. This is a really hard card for me to cut. He is a Tuner (Check), he is searchable (Check), he puts pressure on the opponent (Check), he has a lot of good things going for him. Unfortunately, it's going to be difficult to get any value out of his effect when these days you're going to be facing bigger monsters and more often then not consolidating him into a bigger Synchro or Xyz monster. So with sweet, bitter regret I say goodbye to our friend Airbellum.

Get out of here, Billy!
I must have a soft spot for Giant Rat. He made the cut in my last Deck Doctor article and he's making a repeat performance in this one as well. Billy's fuzzy friend just can't get out of my head. And for good reason. Not only does Giant Rat help you search out Emmersblade or Darksoul, he also adds that extra level of consistency by searching out what they could also have searched as well (Fulhelmknight or Pashuul). He helps correct those hands where you don't open with any of your regular turn 1 plays. I'm going to throw in 2 copies.

I know what you're thinking. In a format like this where Inzektor's made a sudden resurgence and where stuff like Atlantean Marksman exists, I should be avoiding Set monsters like the Plague. But here me out. In a deck like this, you have so many monsters that you can set. You're opponent will never be able to get the proper read on you, and I believe that is what makes having so many monsters to Set so important. Your opponent may think twice about destroying a potential Darksoul that not only nets you a plus but may have also dug the piece you needed to win the game. Giant Rat and Emmersblade combined are also really good at dodging Abyssmegalo's double attack as it allows you to absorb multiple hits while still advancing your game state.

Big Swords Make Big Cuts
I'm also going to elect to cut a Pashuul. Since we have so many ways to access it, I do not believe it is worth running in multiples. If you draw multiples, your Reinforce Truth is going to be dead. However with one less copy, Reinforce Truth is already teetering on being a dead card. I'm going to take the liberty of slashing it early.

The rest of the monster list pans out smoothly, giving us triplicates of all the power cards in our deck. However we still have another space to fill. In Pashuul's absence (as well as the empty space I currently have) I'm going to invite a pair of Boggart Knights to the party. Boggart Knight is a respectable 1900 beater. At his worst, he helps you muscle through a Thunder King, at his best he helps you set up game crushing Faultroll plays.

The Fix So Far
-2 Tragoedia
-1 Gorz, Emissary of Dakness
-1 Reinforce Truth
-1 XX-Saber Pashuul
-X-Saber Airbellum

+2 Giant Rat
+2 XX-Saber Boggart Knight

Now onto the spells:

Spells: 11
Forbidden Lance x2
Enemy Controller x2
Scapegoat
Mind Control
Book of Moon
Heavy Storm
Pot of Avarice
Monster Reborn
Dark Hole

Controlling the Enemy, or Trading with Them?
I'm sure you can all agree when I say that one of the best aspects of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game is well you know...TRADING! I'm going to argue that we take our games namesake a step further and actually implement trading into this deck.

Although I do understand the purposes and versatility of Enemy Controller I believe that Creature Swap is going to be a Superior addition. With in the inclusion of the double Giant Rat that gives us a whopping 8 monsters that we will likely be setting on the first turn or at least monsters that we will be expecting to be destroyed by battle in order to advance our combos. That's nearly one fourth of our deck. I do love Enemy Controller however my only big complaint is that it only lasts for the turn and unless your going for game or plan to Synchro/Xyz/Tribute the monster that you've stolen you're going to be taking a minus. The same applies for it's position switch ability (unless combo'd with a Fulhelm). Although the same logic can be argued with Creature Swap, you're going to be gaining from it in ample amounts. With Enemy Controller, we have very awkward early game cards that although can be crippling as the game progresses, serve to do nothing in the early stages of a duel. Unlike Plants where you had a multitude of monsters to tribute off for E-Con (Tengu, Dandylion, your recursive Tuners), the only monster that actually benefits from being tributed in a deck like this is Darksoul. And when your opponent flips Dimensional Prison or Mirror Force on your Fulhelmknight won't you be red in the face that you flipped that Enemy Controller and chose its second effect. Trading your Rat/Emmersblade/Darksoul for one of your opponent's big monsters is not only satisfying, it is crippling to their game state and helps break apart their combos. Furthermore, it advances your combos by allowing you to capitalize on a search effect that will activate in your Graveyard. But it doesn't stop there. Give your opponent a used up Fulhelmknight, or better yet, give them a defense position Pashuul and burn their life away. Not only does Swap force your opponent into an awkward position where they must give up one of their monsters, it lets you trade-up potentially dead cards or awesomely live cards to tear through your opponent's board in one fell swoop. Your opponent will likely have to make sub-par plays like committing extra cards to the field just to dodge the Swap. That's when the rest of your Sabers go to work and take out their scapegoats so you can take the real prize. I'm going to Swap (pun intended) the double Enemy Controller in Vansant's build for 2 Creature Swap.

Speaking of Scapegoat, I don't believe it serves a giant purpose in a deck like this. You're going to be maintaining a hefty field presence so you will never have the space for all of these fluffy goats. I appreciate the idea, being as they are EARTH tokens, a well timed Fulhelm can transform into a Naturia Beast or Barkion however they do not generate as big a value as a using Darksoul as Synchro material for example. In this deck you're going to be playing triple Gottom's Emergency Call in order to generate plusses. In order for them to be live you will need those empty monster zones. Scapegoat gives you a nifty two-card Synchro engine but outside of that serves to do nothing but potentially absorb 4 attacks. This is what we have defensive traps for.

Throwing the Lance into the Typhoon
Vansant has made this very difficult for me. While he keeps selecting cards that I have a soft spot for I must trade them off for better options. Now I know what you're thinking. Hyunlei helps us push through backrow. And while this is true, that does not mean that it is any less wise to play a pair of Mystical Space Typhoons. This deck is heavily reliant on our Graveyard - especially in its earliest stages. If someone flips a Macro Cosmos or a Dimensional Fissure we are stumped. Lance will simply not help us play around that. But Typhoon can. Typhoon helps us outplay popular metagame cards that are detrimental to our strategy. It is also handy against the nasty new Mermail deck, to which you can chain your Typhoon to their Abyss-Sphere, or even against Wind-Ups to chain to their Factory, or even (a less likely scenario), an opportunity to chain to a Madolche Ticket and prevent their combos from advancing. It's also handy when you just need to pick off pesky solitaire backrow cards that are run in spades like Mirror Force, Torrential Tribute, or even Solemn Warning. Where Lance allows one monster to push through an attempt to break up your combos, Typhoon eliminates the threat entirely.

Most will argue that MST should be sided and that Trap Stun + Hyunlei is going to be the way to go, and I do somewhat agree. However in this format we have reactive cards such as Effect Veiler, or in even more unlikely scenarios, Herald of Orange Light. With this in mind I do not believe that she will be resolving that easily, which is why we have MST to pick up her legwork.

With the empty slot generated from Scapegoat as well as the one provided to us by the lack of Reinforce Truth, I'm going to elect to throw in double Pot of Duality. Duality is critical for our early game set-up, allowing us to weed out all of the cards needed to get that search power nice and ready. It also allows us to dig for those Creature Swaps to make an early game momentum shift and generally allows for hand correction when you get some clumpy draws. Not to mention it digs those Gottoms Emergency Calls out faster. Jason Grabher-Meyer once wrote that "redundancy equals consistency". With the amount of search power and deck thinning we have coupled with a few good Pots, we will always have what we need.

The final cut I'm going to be making for the spells is going to be in the form of Pot of Avarice. The only thing we will likely be recycling in this deck is Faultroll and by the time we've put three on the board I think its safe to say that we've won. This deck is all about deck thinning so we see our power cards a lot sooner. By putting all of our thinning cards back into the deck to do it all over again seems a little redundant. The only other plus to Avarice is the ability to recycle our Synchros. But why recycle them when we can special summon the majority of them back with Emergency Call in the first place? Speaking of which, that's one of the reasons why you would elect to keep the majority of your Saber soldiers in the Grave.

The Fix So Far
-2 Tragoedia
-1 Gorz, Emissary of Darkness
-1 XX-Saber Pashuul
-X-Saber Airbellum
-1 Reinforce Truth
-2 Enemy Controller
-1 Scapegoat
-2 Forbidden Lance
-1 Pot of Avarice

+2 Giant Rat
+2 XX-Saber Boggart Knight
+2 Creature Swap
+2 Pot of Duality
+2 Mystical Space Typhoon

Next in line is our Traps

Traps: 12
Gottoms Emergency Call x3
Solemn Warning x2
Bottomless Trap Hole x2
Torrential Tribute x2
Reinforce Truth
Solemn Judgment
Starlight Road

The Defense is Strong With This One
Vansant's trap line-up is almost where it needs to be. Gottom's Emergency Call at 3 is brilliant as it enables us to constantly plus and continue to make back breaking Synchro monsters that will be keeping our opponents in check. Double Solemn Warning is also beautiful because it helps us take out potential threats and helps us to break up opponents combos.

We've already eliminated Reinforce Truth, and Bottomless Trap Hole is Fantastic in a format where big monsters fall prey to the new Fast Effect Rules.

Unfortunately, I'm strongly against Solemn Judgment right now. In a format where decks with heavy beaters reign supreme, that hefty cost for Judgment could spell doom for you where you could have originally used those Lifepoints to absorb a few hits while you mount a comeback. Unfortunately my judgment for Solemn Judgment is guilty and it will have to be cut as well.

Although I would normally cut Torrential Tribute from a deck like because it always handles field presence extremely well, I believe it should be kept in because of all of the spam decks that are currently in circulation. It has great synergy with Darksoul, and you can even do a trick play of getting your opponent to summon a monster while you control an X-Saber, flip Emergency Call and chain Torrential. This way you wipe the board and then still have two monsters prepped and ready for the next turn. It is actually because of Gottom's Emergency Call that I insist we keep Torrential, simply because we have the ability to recover from a devastating field wipe much easier then some opponents.

The final cut for the traps is going to be Starlight Road. I'm going to be contradicting myself a little bit here. Starlight only really stops a reactive card like Mirror Force or Torrential (and on the opponents turn, Dark Hole). Meanwhile, we have cards like Mystical Space Typhoon and Hyunlei to break through backrows in attempt to make our bigger pushes successful. I'm contradicting myself because my entire reasoning behind MST was because Hyunlei would rarely resolve. While I still stand behind this, I strongly believe that she will still help by forcing opponents to waste cards in an attempt to block her summon. She will always be able to pick off something. Remember my comment about Trap Stun earlier? With minus a Judgment and the space we've freed up from Starlight Road and Pot of Avarice earlier, that gives us three more slots to fill. I'm going to be reserving two of them for Trap Stun. Stun + Hyunlei is just a combo that is too sweet to ignore. Although we run the risk of hitting a minus by getting Veiler'd, Trap Stun also helps us push through backrow with Faultroll and his gang and can be chained to stuff like Macro Cosmos or Abyss-Sphere if we don't have the MST handy. It's all about making the right reads.

This leaves us with one spot remaining. I'm actually going to leave this one up the community. I'm on the fence between a tech Compulsory Evacuation Device, Fiendish Chain, or Dimensional Prison. They each serve their own individual purpose and each comes with their own pros and cons. I'm leaning more towards Compulse because it helps it navigate around stuff like Zenmaines, Maestroke, and even pushes Thunder Kings and other threats off the board (while allowing you to dodge monsters with the new fast-timing effect). I'm going to put in Compulsory Evacuation Device for now, but if you guys feel strongly towards any of my other suggestions or even something else entirely I'll be sure to make a note and tell the ARG community that you're genius is to thank!

The Fix So Far
-2 Tragoedia
-1 Gorz, Emissary of Darkness
-1 XX-Saber Pashuul
-X-Saber Airbellum
-1 Reinforce Truth
-2 Enemy Controller
-1 Scapegoat
-2 Forbidden Lance
-1 Pot of Avarice
-1 Starlight Road

+2 Giant Rat
+2 XX-Saber Boggart Knight
+2 Creature Swap
+2 Pot of Duality
+2 Mystical Space Typhoon
+2 Trap Stun
+1 Compulsory Evacuation Device

Finally, we've reached the money pot. The gold mine. Where all of our X-Saber dreams come true...The Extra Deck.

Extra: 15
XX-Saber Gottoms
Scrap Dragon
Stardust Dragon
XX-Saber Souza
Black Rose Dragon
XX-Saber Hyunlei x2
Naturia Barkion
Ally of Justice Catastor
Naturia Beast
Armory Arm
Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
Inzektor Exa-Beetle
Photon Strike Bounzer
Wind-Up Zenmaines

Vansant has the chunk of the Extra Deck right, and that is our theme specific Synchro monsters. He's already packing Hyunlei, Souza and Gottoms. Hyunlei helps us fight through backrows as we've already discussed, Souza is a beast that can turn himself into a pseudo Catastor or a pseudo Adreus - Each of which has its merits. And Gottoms is a Wind-Up Hunter with a huge body and no restrictions to the amount of times he can rip a card out of your opponents hand. Furthermore, I believe Vansant has the numbers right where they need to be. 1 Gottoms, 1 Souza and 2 Hyunlei. If Souza or Gottoms fall in battle then they are immediately targets for Gottom's Emergency Call. A scary fact that once your opponent finally eliminates them that you have a Call of the Haunted on steroids ready to bring them right back into action.

Running through the Synchros we see other notable inclusions such as the Naturia brothers, Black Rose Dragon, Armory Arm, Catastor, Scrap Dragon and Stardust. Then down on the Xyz production line Vansant included Gaia Dragon the Thunder Charger, Wind-Up Zenmaines, Inzektor Exa-Beetle, and Photon Strike Bounzer.

Black and White
An Extra Deck like this is really tricky, because we want to leave enough slots to have a toolbox of readily available monsters to call upon when the time is right. The first cut I'm going to make is Black Rose Dragon. We are going to be committing to the field in spades, so Black Rose is more of a curse then a blessing if we opt to make one. Granted combined with Trap Stun it is just as (if not more) deadly then Hyunlei. However while Hyunlei strictly impacts our opponent, Black Rose can also leave us with a sour taste in our mouth. The second Synchro I'm going to cut is Armory Arm. The only ways to make it are if we Monster Reborn an Effect Veiler or Mind Control one that the opponent may have set. Either way, it's a very awkward play and these cards have much better uses. Thirdly, I'm going to eliminate Stardust Dragon from the Extra Deck. The only way we are going to make him is through Faultroll and a Pashuul. The same can be argued about Scrap Dragon, however now only is Scrap Dragon bigger but it is also has great synergy with stuff like Darksoul and can help you pop off dead cards like late Creature Swaps to push through opponents resources. Because Hyunlei will help you get through backrow, Stardust only really protects you from a Dark Hole. I'm aware that is a big deal, but if you're worried about Dark Hole you should have never committed so much without ensuring your victory beforehand.

In their place I elect to replace them with the final piece of the Naturia brotherhood - Naturia Landoise, as well as Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction and finally Gagaga Cowboy. Landoise helps us outplay stuff like Gorz and Trag while helping us ditch dead spells like MST or Creature Swap. While Bounzer only negates the effect, Landoise effectively removes them. Acid Golem combos great with Creature Swap. We play enough Level 3's to help us mitigate its creation and when it runs out of materials, just swap it to your opponent and let it be their problem. Although we only play two Level 4's, they will be recursively hitting the field again through Faultroll and Emergency Call. Sometimes you just need to dish out that extra piece of damage and Cowboy helps you do that effectively and with style. I would love to find room for Abyss Dweller but I just don't want to take out anything else. Having two Boggart Knights alone is situational enough, let alone going out of your way to make the Abyss Dweller. Cowboy is just an option for when your either in time or the game state demands it. If it is really necessary, I'll ask the community again, what would you take out for it? My vote is going to be Catastor, but if you have any other suggestions be sure to let me know! So it's decided, Abyss Dweller gets the swap on Catastor since Souza is just a bigger version of him and hits all attributes.

I'm a big fan of Exa-Beetle of Bounzer in a deck like. Despite the fact that their requirements strictly require double Faultroll (or in some instances, used Hyunlei's), Bounzer helps you mitigate opponents that rely heavily on monster effects if your push is unsuccessful or if you're lacking the Synchro materials to make a Landoise in an attempt to push through Gorz. Exa-Beetle's key wording is "Send" which helps you outplay popular cards like Gachi Gachi Gantetsu. Exa-Beetle can also get you a free Darksoul search if you choose to send it via its ability. Gaia Dragon is great because of its synergy with Exa-Beetle as well as Mind Control on an opponents Bounzer (or Adreus, Tiras, etc). They are both powerful cards and serve a tremendous help to this deck.

Overall this rounds out the Extra Deck.

The Fix So Far
-2 Tragoedia
-1 Gorz, Emissary of Darkness
-1 XX-Saber Pashuul
-X-Saber Airbellum
-1 Reinforce Truth
-2 Enemy Controller
-1 Scapegoat
-2 Forbidden Lance
-1 Pot of Avarice
-1 Starlight Road
-1 Stardust Dragon
-1 Armory Arm
-1 Ally of Justice Catastor
-1 Black Rose Dragon

+2 Giant Rat
+2 XX-Saber Boggart Knight
+2 Creature Swap
+2 Pot of Duality
+2 Mystical Space Typhoon
+2 Trap Stun
+1 Compulsory Evacuation Device
+1 Abyss Dweller
+1 Gagaga Cowboy
+1 Naturia Landoise
+1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction

With all of these changes made, I present to you the final mended X-Saber build.

Alex Vansant's X-Saber Deck - We Have Rebuilt It!

X-Sabers: 40 (I've purposefully brought the deck down to a solid 40 to increase its consistency)

Monsters: 17
XX-Saber Darksoul x3
XX-Saber Emmersblade x3
XX-Saber Faultroll x3
XX-Saber Fulhelmknight x3
X-Saber Pashuul x1
Giant Rat x2
XX-Saber Boggart Knight x2

Spells: 11
Mystical Space Typhoon x2
Creature Swap x2
Pot of Duality x2
Mind Control
Book of Moon
Heavy Storm
Monster Reborn
Dark Hole

Traps: 12
Gottom's Emergency Call x3
Solemn Warning x2
Bottomless Trap Hole x2
Torrential Tribute x2
Trap Stun x2
Compulsory Evacuation Device

Extra: 15
XX-Saber Gottoms
Scrap Dragon
XX-Saber Souza
XX-Saber Hyunlei x2
Naturia Barkion
Naturia Beast
Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger
Inzektor Exa-Beetle
Photon Strike Bounzer
Wind-Up Zenmaines
Abyss Dweller
Gagaga Cowboy
Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
Naturia Landoise

So there you have it folks. Thanks for joining me again this week and I hope you all remember to stick to the ARG moniker: Play Hard or Go Home!

Be sure to leave any comments or questions below and I'll be sure to get back to you as soon I can. Thanks for reading guys!

Michael Boire
DN: Synaku

Discussion

comments