Welcome back, duelists! It's no secret that aggressive decks aren't the most popular choices right now. Light/Water/Darkness control (often with a Nature splash) and Dragon-centric decks have been taking many of the top spots at Kaijudo Master Challenges even after Clash of the Duel Masters' release. However, a lot of players have been tiring of this trend and have been working to generate different aggressive strategies that could de-throne those late game-focused decks. From the numerous Rush decks being seen throughout the top 8 decklists to Preston Brimage winning the Colorado KMC with a unique Light/Water/Nature deck, it'e clear that aggro can still compete in some forms. As my last article was dedicated to the viability of Rush in the current meta, I'm going to take this week to talk about a different aggressive strategy that has been gaining popularity recently: Water/Fire/Nature Aggro!
This deck was originally created by my teammate Carl Miciotto, known throughout the community as EarthP0w3R. He ran its first incarnation at the Hartsville KMC where he finished with a 4-2 record, one of his losses being a scoop to our teammate Spencer Swan, the tournaments's eventual champion. He built it partially because of his love of aggressive decks, but also with the goal in mind to create something that had an actually good matchup to some of the most popular decks like LWD Control and Greed Dragons. I'll post the list as it stands currently, and then I'll discuss some of its matchups and the tricks it has up its sleeves!
Carl Miciotto - Water/Fire/Nature Aggro
3 [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Cyber Lord Corile[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Logos Scan[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Veil Vortex[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Gilaflame the Assaulter[/ccProd] 1 [ccProd]Blade-Rush Wyvern[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]General Skycrusher[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Barrage[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Return to the Soil[/ccProd] 2 [ccProd]Reap and Sow[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Root Trap[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Weaponized Razorcat[/ccProd] 3 [ccProd]Tatsurion the Champion[/ccProd]
How It Functions
This deck plays a very tempo-based early to mid-game if all goes well. One of the first things to point to this fact on the deck list is the inclusion of three [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd]s alongside three [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd]s. Gone are the days when every article of mine would reference these cards that used to run the metagame before the release of Dragonstrike Infernus, but they definitely shine here. Control players don't have an early game that can really compete with this set-up unless they have a level 2 or 3 blocker followed up with a Keeper of Laws or something that can deal with the Seneschal. Rusalka can often pave the way for Seneschal or even [ccProd]Weaponized Razorcat[/ccProd] to come at shields unopposed in the battle zone. I've been on the opposite side of that progression, and unless I have a great early game or a timely Shield Blast, it turns into quite the uphill battle.
[ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd] is definitely one of the stand-out cards of the list. The card basically
screams "tempo" and acts as additional copies of Rusalka. It also has a bigger body at 4000 power and an additional effect, "Finbarr's Command", which essentially turns all of your other creatures into Aqua Seneschal. Playing this when you have a field of creatures allows you to clear your opponent's board and then break their shields while maintaining or even gaining cards in hand. [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd] gets even more nuts if you happen to have a copy or two of [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd] in the battle zone. Sure, you might be giving your opponent a few cards from their shield zone, but you're also gaining cards, and yours are a lot easier to play. Again, without a timely Shield Blast, a play like that can be pretty crazy. The real glory of this deck is that Finbarr can be preceded by other removal like [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd] and [ccProd]Blade-Rush Wyvern[/ccProd]. This ensures that if you're able to draw early attackers, you can keep your opponent in a constant state of instability in the battle zone.
By the time turns six and seven roll around, this decks Midrange qualities start to take hold. As you can see from the list, it packs a total of nine Double Breakers: [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd], [ccProd]General Skycrusher[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Tatsurion the Champion[/ccProd]. Cards like Seneschal, Finbarr, and Logos Scan allow this deck to progress into these crucial turns with relative ease, keeping a hand along the way as the deck applies early pressure to the battle zone. Successive summons of these Double Breakers turn after turn can usually spell the end for a control deck, as [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] can't hit the board as early as they can.
This deck is all about its progressions. In addition to the obviously strong early progressions such as [ccProd]Weaponized Razorcat[/ccProd] to [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd] to Rusalka, [ccProd]Tatsurion the Champion[/ccProd] opens up some very interesting possibilities later in the game as well. As a level 6 creature, it can be preceded by [ccProd]Reap and Sow[/ccProd] and played as early as turn five. In addition to having Double Breaker, its mana-ramping capabilities allow it to be followed on the next turn by [ccProd]Bolt-Tail Dragon[/ccProd] or two level 4 creatures such as Rusalka and Gilaflame. The fact that it gets Fast Attacker almost half the time in this deck is also a pretty important bonus to the card. The slight amount of ramp might not seem overwhelming, but it's very important in preempting cards like Andromeda and [ccProd]Skull Shatter[/ccProd], which can spell the end for this deck if they're allowed to see play too early.
The Good Match-Ups
As I said, this deck was created with LWD Control and Dragon-centric decks in mind. Its dominating early game really gives control decks a hard time. [ccProd]Weaponized Razorcat[/ccProd] is the strongest aggressive play on turn two in the game and progressions like [ccProd]Aqua Seneschal[/ccProd] to Rusalka are still devastating, especially if aggro is on the play. Early blockers like Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow aren't even as effective against this deck because of the numerous answers to them like Rusalka, [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd] and the [ccProd]Blade-Rush Wyvern[/ccProd].
Against a deck like Greed Dragons, Shield Blasts can be problematic. A timely [ccProd]Bottle of Wishes[/ccProd] into a card like [ccProd]Infernus the Awakened[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Andromeda of the Citadel[/ccProd] can be very hard to come back from. Even so, this deck takes that risk, since most of the creatures Bottle could bring out can easily be bounced away. [ccProd]Herald of Infernus[/ccProd] can potentially cause major problems when coupled with cards like [ccProd]Piercing Judgment[/ccProd] or [ccProd]Lyra, the Blazing Sun[/ccProd], but that implies that Herald of Infernus had been allowed to stay on board for a full turn. [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd], [ccProd]General Finbarr[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Veil Vortex[/ccProd] exist in this deck purely to make sure things like that don't happen. Then, as turns five through seven come around, this deck can start dropping threats faster than Dragons, and barring some very good Shield Blasts, do too much damage for the Dragon player to stabilize out of.
The Bad Match-Ups
With this deck, there's really only one match-up that's always bad: Rush. While Rush may have a difficult time beating decks packed with Shield Blasts and Blockers, it has substantially less to worry about against a deck like this. Nine Shield Blasts isn't too low, and the deck uses Cyber Lord Corile to put them down, but it really has to rely on them heavily against Rush. In addition, it's necessary to open up with a strong early game, preferably consisting of [ccProd]Weaponized Razorcat [/ccProd]and [ccProd]Rusalka, Aqua Chaser[/ccProd]. If this deck can get something like that along with one or two relevant Shield Blasts, there's a good possibility it can take early control of the battle zone and win the game before Rush does a fatal amount of damage. If it can't, it's just going to be very difficult to win the game in this particular match-up.
As always, leave a comment down below with any thoughts on the article and the deck! I do believe a deck like this could make the top 8 at KMCs if it was piloted in stronger numbers; it's definitely proven it has the potential take matches off the traditional control decks we've been seeing. I hope you all enjoyed my breakdown of it, and until next week, Play Hard or Go Home!