We Can Rebuilt It – The Life and Times of Necroface

Hey there Yu-Gi-Oh! Community! It's been a while, how are you guys doing? This is Michael Boire coming at you guys again with another installment of "We Can Rebuilt it"! It's great to be here again, welcome to my office! In this week's article we will be looking at Frazier Smith's Soul Control deck.

Soul Control is a very difficult beast to doctor. At its core it is a deck designed to accumulate resources at a rapid pace while also leveraging your life points into an unstoppable wall. It does this through Soul Absorption and a combination of many cards that make good use of banishing. What makes this deck so difficult to doctor is that we have to account for player preference and the hundreds of different tech options available. It is difficult to keep the spirit of a deck alive while simultaneously knocking certain tech choices and suggesting your own. I had a million ideas swirling in my head about what to add/subtract and how to make this deck more consistent and overall more fun. In the hands of a player like Frazier Smith you know he is quite capable of building something competent. But sometimes competent isn't enough. You need flair and just a dash of insanity. Sorry Frazier, but you're in my office now, and you may not like my prescriptions.

In Frazier's deck we see cards like Dimensional Alchemist, Necroface, and Caius the Shadow Monarch for example that serve trip our Soul Absorption's. We also see cards like Cyber Valley, Chaos Sorcerer, BLS, Thunder King, Card Car D and Battle Fader that serve to dictate the pace of the game through various degrees of player interaction. All of these cards come together to form a deck that is unique and deadly. It is simultaneously aggressive and defensive depending on the cards at your disposal and rarely will ever run out of steam. This deck has a very simple win condition – build resources and lifepoints while slowly whittling away at your opponents cards.

My best friend, roommate, and teammate Shane piloted this deck to an unfortunate bubble-popping finish at YCS Toronto earlier this year. He has a firm grasp on this type of deck and I have enlisted his help regarding various card choices and changes that I am willing to suggest. If it was not for that last loss I am sure that he would have topped. Since then he has taken the deck to multiple x-2 finishes at Regionals and continues to stomp the locals at our store, Dungeon Comics. When I learned that Soul Control was in store for me in the next round I was ecstatic. Not only do I have a lot of practice playtesting against the deck but I have also picked it up a few times and we have engaged in heated discussions regarding different plays and different cards to use.

In preparation of this article I built Frazier's deck, he built his own variant and we went toe to toe in order to assess which deck was superior and to come to a consensus of which cards to modify, keep or flat out discard. The following is not only going to be my doctoring of the deck but also an in depth analysis into the many plays that we found (or didn't find) successful.

Are you ready ARG? We Can Rebuild It!

Let's take a look at the deck that Frazier submitted:

Monsters: 22
3 cyber valley
2 card trooper
2 dimensional alchemist
2 maxx c
2 effect veiler
2 cardcar d
1 thunderking rai-oh
1 battle fader
1 necroface
1 chaos sorcerer
1 black luster soldier- envoy of the beginning
1 caius the shadow monarch
1 tragoedia
1 gorz, the emissary of darkness
1 sangan

Spells: 10
2 soul absorption
1 machine duplication
1 gold sarcophagus
1 allure of darkness
1 heavy storm
1 mind control
1 monster reborn
1 dark hole
1 scapegoat

Traps: 8
2 solemn warning
2 torrential tribute
2 bottomless
2 mirror force

extra deck: 15
1 stardust dragon
1 scrap dragon
1 formula synchron
1 black rose dragon
1 number 17 leviathan dragon
1 number 20 giga brilliant
1 number 30 acid golem of destruction
1 number 39 utopia
1 leviair, the sea dragon
1 temtempo the percussion djinn
1 abyss dweller
1 wind up zenmaines
1 arcanite magician
1 armory arm
1 ally of justice catastor

Unlike my previous articles in this series where I've opted to break down each section individually, I'm going to try something new this time. I'm going to go over different plays that we conducted with Frazier's list instead and discuss how cards should be moved around based on our results.

Necroface + Gold Sarcophagus

One of the most important plays we found in this deck was the ability to turbo into a Necroface play as soon as possible. An early Gold Sarcophagus into Necroface accomplished four things. First, in conjunction with Soul Absorption you automatically gain 5500 Lifepoints (2500 for your 5 banished, 2500 for the 5 your opponent banished, and 500 for the Necroface banished with Sarcophagus). The ability to create such a large momentum shift in life was huge.

Second, it fills up your banish zone for Dimensional Alchemist. If you end up banishing your Chaos Sorcerer, BLS, Caius, Gorz, Battle Fader or any other power card with Necroface you've automatically created a toolbox where your Dimensional Alchemists are online, locked, and loaded. This puts tremendous amount of pressure on your opponent because your one-ofs are suddenly immediately available to you.

Third, if you can play it earlier enough it allows you to see what your opponent is playing and could potentially decimate their entire win condition. We tested the deck versus Wind-Ups and an early Necroface banished two Magicians and a Shark. Dodged the bullet there. Another game we hit multiple Tour Guide targets. Against Rabbit we were able to hit a handful of Vanillas. Furthermore, you have the potential to hit other power cards of your opponent (Monster Reborn, Dark Hole, etc) as well as game defining traps.

Fourth, with all the other banishing that your doing, when you add Necroface to your hand you have the potential to summon a huge monster with no effort. With one normal summon you can slam a 2200 monster or higher. For even more fun, making this play also sends all of your power cards back into the deck to draw again at a later time. It's like running multiple copies! It also has great synergy and interaction with Allure of Darkness, Caius or other Chaos monsters. When it is added to your hand you simply banish it again. When it is on the field banish it to rip another 5 cards out of the opponents deck and burn them for 1000, and when it is in the grave banish it to summon a bigger monster and load up your toolbox further.

The many times you can banish Necroface is ridiculous and it can generate an insane amount of Lifepoints with Soul Absorption. But the trick is getting to it as soon as possible and this is accomplished through Gold Sarcophagus. We decided to up the Gold Sarcophagus count to 2 in order to run the chance of opening with it or drawing into it as soon as possible with Card Car D. If you draw your second Sarco later in the game you can use it to weed out power cards instead.

The Fix So Far

-1 ?
+1 Gold Sarcophagus

Machine Duplication + Card Trooper/Cyber Valley

In Frazier's monster list he includes three copies of Cyber Valley as well as the allowed two copies of Card Trooper. These machines are complimented by a tech Machine Duplication.

In a deck like this, we discussed the merits of Card Trooper. Shane's deck does not play Soul Absorpion and relies on Necroface/Dimensional Alchemist to load his banish zone with power cards that are constantly recycled after they hit the grave and a new Chaos Monster has been unleashed to banish them anew. In his deck, Card Trooper serves the purpose of milling prospective LIGHT's and DARK's in order to fuel the summoning conditions of Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning and Chaos Sorcerer while also being another floater. After banishing the said materials, he would then use Dimensional Alchemist to weed them back to his hand in the later course of the game.

In Frazier's deck we noticed that with Card Trooper we were never really milling anything worthwhile. I once milled two Soul Absorptions and a Card Car D. Ouch. We found that in a deck like this that focuses more on the Soul Absorption aspect of it that it was better to not risk milling away our main engine. Shane's deck also played minimal traps and maxed out on Hand Traps. In Frazier's variant we found that a lot of purple hit the grave when Card Trooper began his little dance. It was ultimately decided to take him out completely.

Our only argument was the fact that Machine Duplication had favourable interactions with Card Trooper. However during our testing when we duped Trooper, despite the extreme deck thinning that came with it and the ability to control two floaters that helped you dig deeper into the deck, we found a lot of cards that we needed were hitting the grave. We argued that you could still dupe the Trooper and leave them there as a pseudo draw engine but sometimes you needed that boost to muscle through Thunder King's or other small monsters that may be causing you grief and that the mill is going to be needed. Unlike Chaos Dragons or Agents for example that run a large number of monsters and use Card Trooper to load the grave with those monsters, it does not necessarily load anything for us in this deck.

As far as Machine Duplication's interactions with Cyber Valley are concerned, we thought it was a lot more linear but overall it was just a nice trick. With Trooper we ran the risk of milling the Valley's which made our Duplication dead if we drew it later or we would have just milled the Duplication entirely. When we took out the Troopers to try the engine it still left much to be desired. As Cyber Valley is being played in threes it was not unlikely to draw multiples over time while your one lone Duplication sits in your deck. When we were able to pull it off it was great. But it seemed like it was an extremely situational play. With these results, Machine Duplication bit the dust as well.

In their place we opted to fit in a pair of Tour Guides and a Gren Maju Da Eiza . We found that Tour Guide has great synergy with the deck as it is a one card Leviair. It can bring back the number of cards you banish as well as take advantage of the cards that Necroface has stolen from your opponent. Frazier's Extra Deck is chock full of Rank 3's - I think it was an open invitation for Tour Guide and pals to join the party. It also has interactions with Sangan, which in turn allows you to grab the majority of your deck: Card Car D, Veiler, Maxx “C”, Alchemist, Cyber Valley, Necroface and Battle Fader.

Gren Maju De Eiza was more of a personal choice of mine (and to be honest, an example of flair!). It is a second Tour Guide target isn't a terrible top deck either. For those unfamiliar, Gren's attack is equal to the number of banished cards you control x 400. If you manage to banish a significant amount of cards, Gren comes to the field with a whopping attack. A single successful Necroface creates a 2400 beater and he only gets stronger.

The Cyber Valley's will remain in the deck because they are just too darn good! They are a solid summon for your turn and combo with so many cards like Scapegoat, Mind Control and Leviair while also being able to fuel your Soul Absorption. You can also keep recycling them with Alchemist to keep your opponent at bay. Not only do they allow you dig through your deck but also let you recycle power cards like Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning or even something like Monster Reborn while you continue to banish cards and increase your Lifepoints. A brilliant card in this strategy.


The Fix So Far

-1 ?
-2 Card Trooper
-1 Machine Duplication
+1 Gold Sarcophagus
+2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
+1 Gren Maju De Eiza

The One-Of's

Frazier's monster list contains a ton of one-of monsters. Here take a look:

1 thunderking rai-oh
1 battle fader
1 necroface
1 chaos sorcerer
1 black luster soldier- envoy of the beginning
1 caius the shadow monarch
1 tragoedia
1 gorz, the emissary of darkness
1 sangan

In testing, we found that some cards were more beneficial that others as tech while others were either seldom used or we wished would be used more. The first tech that we put on the chopping block of Thunder King. Thunder King is a great card but unfortunately serves little purpose in a deck like this. If you open with it then it becomes a strong play however if it is banished by Necroface (as we want to do this as soon as possible) you will likely toolbox a different card back with Alchemist later on in the game. It is also dead late game acting more as a quick beater and a flood gate card against certain decks. Furthermore, Thunder King doesn't really fuel your fire here: he doesn't banish anything. And frankly I believe your normal summon can be taken up by better cards. We found that we was better relegated to the side deck and in multiples.

The second tech was Caius. Although Caius is extremely powerful and has a lot of interactions with this deck, we found that when we drew him we seldom had monsters that we wished the tribute. The only exception was Cyber Valley. If our opponent left our Valley sitting there then it became an easy monster to ditch for the Shadow Monarch. When he was in our banish zone for Necroface he was rarely grabbed in favour for just more powerful cards that better suited the situation. We believed that Caius would make a better side card and toyed with the idea of creating a conversion side into Corn Monarchs complete with D.D. Survivor and Macro as a way to counter the general metagame. This deck usually only has monster on the field at any given time and it is usually a floater (Valley/Alchemist/Sangan), a power card (A Tour Guide XYZ/BLS/Chaos Sorcerer/Synchro) or a beater (Trag/Necroface/Gren/any consolidated Extra Deck card). We felt it was very difficult to mitigate tributing any of these types of cards for a Caius.

Since we have an open space for the second Gold Sarcophagus, I'm going to take the liberty of replacing our new open slot with a second Tragoedia.

Tragoedia was one of the best cards in this deck. You will always be sitting on a hefty hand and Trag will always drop with a significant attack. We found in the turns where you were unable to turbo a Necroface play or begin with any Soul Absorption shenanigans that Trag was the perfect back-up plan. The problem was at 1 we rarely saw it and unless we drew into it or were lucky enough to hit it off a Necroface or Alchemist play we were never seeing. Upping it to two allows us to see more copies of it in multiple ways and gets to our hand much faster. We also found that Trag had a lot of interactions with various floaters such as Sangan or Dimensional Alchemist. This allowed us to ram our monsters into our opponent, take damage and gain a card whilst then dropping a massive Trag to beat over whatever they had. The amount of different level monsters that we play also allows Trag to to move threats out of the way into our territory. We found the "take-control" effect of Trag really useful because of how it complimented Cyber Valley. We can steal an opponent's monster, banish it with Valley, draw 2 and gain 1000 Lifepoints. Amazing!


The Fix So Far

-1 Thunder King Rai-Oh
-1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
-2 Card Trooper
-1 Machine Duplication
+1 Gold Sarcophagus
+2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
+1 Gren Maju De Eiza
+1 Tragoedia

The Rest

The rest of the deck flows nicely together. Cards like Mind Control and Scapegoat allow more interactions with Cyber Valley as well as options for Synchro (Scapegoat + Veiler) and Xyz (What Mind Control takes). Cards like Veiler and Maxx "C" allow us to prevent opponents from going off as well as build our hand up and dig through our deck. Card Car D helps us reach our Soul Absorption's faster and Necroface is the glue that holds it all together.

The one section I've yet to discuss is the Traps. I believe the 8 Traps included in Frazier's build are near perfect. They help us control the pace of the game and help us to navigate through various threats or attempts to come back into the game. And when we are without them, this is what we have our Hand Traps for. However, this is a doctor article, and I believe there is a small wound that needs to be stitched. If we lose our Soul Absorptions, then we no longer have the ability to "Control" the game in our favor and leaves us extremely vulnerable. Shane and I found that in this deck, Absorption is one of the key cards and needs to be protected. We came to two answers. Either Dark Bribe or Magic Drain. With most top decks running 2-3 Mystical Space Typhoon is was ultimately decided that Magic Drain would win. While Dark Bribe is a straight +1 to your opponent, Magic Drain can either be a one-for-one or a two-for-two (in the case of a Mystical Space Typhoon). Furthermore, with most big decks this format only playing 8-9 Spells (all of which are power cards) the opponent will either be forced to discard one of their strong Spell cards in favor of destroying your Soul Absorption (or activating a Monster Reborn or a game defining Heavy Storm) or simply letting it resolve because they will have no other Spells to discard. Our only fear was that it conflicted with Gorz. However Frazier himself once said that Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game of paradoxes and so I believe it is well worth the risk.

But what to take out? Let's take a closer look at Frazier's Traps:

Traps: 8
2 solemn warning
2 torrential tribute
2 bottomless
2 mirror force

I assume that Bottomless is Bottomless Trap Hole and not Bottomless Shifting Sand because that my friends is a Game Loss for Deck List Error. But I digress. 2 Warning and 2 Torrential are great. Warning stops opponents from mitigating game winning Xyz's among other monsters and since Soul Absorption lets us gain bountiful Lifepoint amounts, the cost is arbitrary. Torrential combos well with our Dimensional Alchemist's and Sangan and is ultimately a powerful card this format. Like the Mermail deck, 2 Mirror Force in a deck like this that doesn't set much can cause massive confusion to the opponent and can result in a great gain. If an opponent sees an early game Magic Drain they may assume that the one card sitting there passively is just another copy so when they make their big push and don't see a Warning or a Torrential they will walk right into a Mirror Force!

So what does that leave? The unknown Bottomlesses of course. Instead of attempting to figure out what card they actually are (although it is painfully obvious and I'm sure this joke has lost its novelty), I'm going to elect that we cut them out. We found that although Bottomless is great but is terrible late game. Once an opponent has set up with whatever deck they are playing, the set-up occurs very quickly and by the time you draw Bottomless, the card(s) you would want to Bottomless are either already on the field or you've managed to fend them off. Magic Drain can also be terrible late game but can also seal a game in your favor when your opponent rips that Salvage, Pot of Avarice, Monster Reborn etc. Once again, a Paradox. For the sake of the Deck's design, I believe cutting Bottomless for Magic Drain is the best choice. Bottomless may be relegated to the Side Deck depending on the matchup.


The Fix So Far

-1 Thunder King Rai-Oh
-1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
-2 Card Trooper
-1 Machine Duplication
-2 Bottomless Trap Hole
+1 Gold Sarcophagus
+2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
+1 Gren Maju De Eiza
+1 Tragoedia
+2 Magic Drain

Finally, the Extra Deck

Veiler is the driving force for most of the Extra Deck. He is your only Tuner. If not for him (unless you take another Veiler, Deep Sea Diva or Genex Controller for example by Monster Reborn), none of the Synchro's will see the light of day. I do not believe the Extra Deck is meant to be used very often in a deck like this, but to have access to these options are a great benefit within themselves. The Extra Deck is all about options, possibilities, and ways to extend your plays.

Frazier gave me a great number of Rank 3's to work with already, and they will remain unchanged. For the Rank 4's I would love to throw in a Maestroke or a Gagaga Cowboy, and the newest addition to the Rank 4 family, Number 50: Blackship of Corn for more toolboxing options but since the only way to make them is through various combinations of Mind Control, Alchemist, Trag, Necroface or Armory Arm (your only available Level 4's in the deck), it is difficult to make that call. If I were to change any of them it would likely be Number 39: Utopia. I just do not like Utopia as much as I once did and the risk of getting Mind Controlled into a Utopia Ray - although rare - still exists and I'd rather not run the risk. Furthermore we have Trag and other defensive traps so we would never need to negate attacks. But who would replace him?

In testing I found that I rarely made Rank 4's. In the current metagame there are very few Level 4's running around to take with Mind Control or Trag (Perhaps the only real candidate for this is Dino-Rabbit). The majority of the Mermail deck is Level 3 and Wind-Ups will rarely ever leave a lone Level 4 on the board to steal in the first place. You might get something out of a Hero player but Super Poly may just ruin your chances of overlaying in the first place. The only time I ever wanted to make a Rank 4 was usually for a Blackship. Blackship is able to clear the field of Zenmaines and Gachi Gachi which are big annoyances to this deck. This deck doesn't push through damage often but when it can, having to deal with cards like that can cause a problem as it allows your opponent to see more cards in the long run. The extra 1000 burn is icing on the cake. I brought out Blackship more often then any Rank 4 and I believe he is a solid new addition to the Extra Deck line-up.

I rarely Synchro'd during testing, preferring to save my Veiler's for game-breaking effects. When I would Synchro, there are certain cards that rarely made the cut. These are Arcanite Magician and Armory Arm. Arcanite can literally only be made with Chaos Sorcerer. And therefore is extremely situational in itself. My level 3's were almost always leveraged into Rank 3's and therefore Armory Arm collected a lot of dust. The only time I really wanted to pull off an Armory Arm is if I successfully summoned a Black Luster Solider - Envoy of the Beginning and could hammer home a good chunk of damage. Outside of this I don't think Armory Arm will ever hit the table. Similar to Arcanite, although extremely powerful, I do not believe deserves a place in the Extra Deck.

In their place I'm going to throw in that Gagaga Cowboy as well as Maestroke. I did say Rank 4's came seldom, but the Extra Deck in respect to Soul Control is all about options. Armory Arm and Arcanite, although powerful cards do not give us an ample amount of options in a deck like this, because their summoning conditions are met even rarely then those of Rank 4's.

The rest of the Synchro's are a perfect balance of cards that are available when the opportunity is required.


The Fix So Far

-1 Thunder King Rai-Oh
-1 Caius the Shadow Monarch
-2 Card Trooper
-1 Machine Duplication
-2 Bottomless Trap Hole
-1 Arcanite Magician
-1 Armory Arm
-1 Number 39: Utopia
+1 Gold Sarcophagus
+2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
+1 Gren Maju De Eiza
+1 Tragoedia
+2 Magic Drain
+1 Gagaga Cowboy
+1 Number 50: Blackship of Corn
+1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn

With these final changes, I've created a new, well-rounded Soul Control deck that packs a bigger punch than it's predecessor and is all about speed. Without further ado here is the final list:

We Have Rebuilt It! - Frazier Smith's Soul Control

Monsters: 22
3 Cyber Valley
2 Dimensional Alchemist
2 Maxx "C"
2 Effect Veiler
2 Cardcar D
2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
1 Gren Maju de Eiza
1 Battle Fader
1 Necroface
1 Chaos Sorcerer
1 Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
2 Tragoedia
1 Gorz, the emissary of darkness
1 Sangan

Spells: 10
2 Soul Absorption
2 Gold Sarcophagus
1 Allure of Darkness
1 Heavy Storm
1 Mind Control
1 Monster Reborn
1 Dark Hole
1 Scapegoat

Traps: 8
2 Solemn Warning
2 Torrential Tribute
2 Magic Drain
2 Mirror Force

Extra Deck: 15
1 Stardust Dragon
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Formula Synchron
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
1 Number 20: Giga-Brilliant
1 Number 30: Acid Golem of Destruction
1 Number 50: Blackship of Corn
1 Leviair, the Sea Dragon
1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 Ally of Justice Catastor

That's all for me this week folks. Please be sure to leave any comments and criticism's and I'll be sure to get back to you!

It's been great writing for you all and I certainly hope that I've provided a good amount of insight and have given you all great suggestions regarding these decks. Here's hoping I can do this again for you next week! If this is the last time we see each other then...

PLAY HARD OR GO HOME!

Michael Boire
DN: Synaku

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