Happy New Year Yu-Gi-Oh community! I hope everyone enjoyed bringing in another great year of our favorite card game. The sneak preview for the next set, Order of Chaos, will be taking placing in under 2 weeks and I know that many players are excited to get the creative juices flowing. However, I wanted to publicly discuss something that I, as well as a few others in my circle, have developed on the side of theory. Before things change with the release of ORCS it would appear that the game is in a sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors stalemate. What I mean by this is the nature of the three top decks—Plants, Dino-Rabbit, and Agents—to beat each other in a triangular fashion. It’s no surprise that Dino-Rabbit has a great matchup against Plants at this point. That was made easy by the fact that the best players in the game were piloting plants since the first days of the September 2011 banlist. When any one deck begins to take prominence it’s no surprise that that deck will be targeted by every other deck in the format. Therefore, Dino-Rabbit decks were made to beat Plants while also being capable of beating the other decks in the format at least more than half the time. Strangely enough the intrusion of Dino-Rabbit has completely shaped the format by making some decks and deck strategies now obsolete, such as Monster Mash and Trapless Agents, while at the same time changing the way players build their main and side decks. I’m going to tell you what I believe has the best matchup against Dino-Rabbit before Order of Chaos and I’ll explain to you why my logic has led me to this point.
It appears the competitive Yu-Gi-Oh community has sort of shunned Agents from the whole “viable deck choices” category. I’ve noticed a huge decrease in the number of players using the deck at YCSs, regionals, and locals. As a result, Agents have been underperforming in the top32 of major events because the better players would rather use Plants or Dino-Rabbit. I see no wrong in that, except for the fact that I think many people are simply ignorant to the Agent vs Dino-Rabbit matchup. When I speak of “Agents” I am not referring to the builds that use no traps, or just trap Dustshoot, instead I speak of builds reminiscent of my close friend’s, Sean McCabe, from YCS Toronto. At the start of December 2011, I had an epiphany about how great Fiendish Chain actually is, not only against Rabbit decks, but also against the other decks in the format. I remembered that I topped this year’s North American WCQ with an Agent deck complete with a full playset of Fiendish Chains. I owe my success to that one card in particular. The worst matchup for the deck at that time was none other than Gravekeepers because of Necrovalley’s ability to shut down Master Hyperion. Fast forward to the September 2011 format where Gravekeepers became obsolete and you’ll have noticed that Agents suddenly have a better chance. In fact, I allowed a friend of mine, Maurice Webb, to use my new Agent build for a recent regional in my hometown, Philadelphia, and he went undefeated in the 9 rounds of swiss. I’ve been getting quite a lot of players asking me via Facebook inbox if they could have my decklist and up until now I haven’t shared it with anyone outside of my inner circle. Well without further ado, here is my Agent main deck that has been geared towards beating Dino-Rabbit and Plants:
Frazier Smith: Pure Agents
This deck is highly consistent. It plays only 21 different cards which means that you’ll be seeing some of the same hands over and over. But do not fret for that was my intention. You see, the hands that you’ll frequently draw are pretty good across all matchups. The deck plays 9 great first turn normal summons: The Agent of Mystery – Earth, The Agent of Creation – Venus, and last but certainly not least Thunder King Rai-Oh. Opening with either of these normal summons should get the deck going fairly quickly. Then there are the support cards like the 3 Pot of Duality, 3 Fiendish Chain, 3 Maxx “C,” and all the defensive traps. I also maxed out on Archlord Kristya which I believe is still the most powerful monster in the game since it spells doom for virtually every competitive deck. But what I see all too often is players forgetting that you can tribute summon Kristya and Hyperion. Tribute summoning for your boss monsters is such a fundamental play in this Agent build because it helps to manipulate the graveyard, giving you 4 fairies and the game ending push of having both Kristya and Hyperion on the field at the same time. You’ll come across different scenarios as you play the deck where you might have to tribute a Gachi Gachi Gantetsu with 2 Mystical Shine Balls attached to it and a Thunder King Rai-Oh in order to summon Master Hyperion and then drop Kristya. It doesn’t matter what you have to tribute to get the numbers to work, as long as you get there.
This deck is packing the essential 3 copies of Maxx “C,” granting it a strong matchup against Plants automatically. The best part is that with the 3 copies of Duality you can get to those crucial copies of Maxx “C” faster. One of the plays that I like to do against the Plant matchup is to grab a Maxx “C” with Duality when I already have a Maxx “C.” This plays a mind game on the opponent who believes that you only have one copy in-hand which will inevitably cause him to try to play around that one copy. Once you play the first Maxx “C” that the opponent thought he baited you into playing he’ll be more inclined to do a much rasher play, like One for One and Dandylion, causing the second Maxx “C” to neuter him. Maxx “C” is also pretty good during game one against the Dino-Rabbit matchup but you may want to side them out in fear of Dimensional Fissure just in case. You’d rather be safe than sorry.
As I aforementioned in my previous article, The “Fiendishest” of Chains, I am a strong advocate for the use of Fiendish Chain to aid in the fight against Dino-Rabbit. You can do little tricks like summon a Master Hyperion against an Evolzar Laggia and have the opponent use Laggia’s negation effect and then chain Fiendish Chain which will allow the Hyperion safe passage. The same thing can be done to an Evolzar Dolkka if it tries to negate any of your monster’s effects. With all the defensive traps in this deck a first turn Earth play can be game ending due to the impending doom of Trishula on the following turn. This is one of the deck’s strongest assets—the defense. Packing 9 traps, one copy of book of moon, and one copy of honest all help to shut down any hopes the opponent might’ve had for killing that first turn Earth. To make matters worse, if you happen to have a Kristya in your hand he becomes instantly playable (That’s right-- HE). You should probably win every game where you successfully summon Kristya just on the strength that it’s so hard to deal with when combined with a couple Fiendish Chains and Solemn Warnings/Judgment.
So at the end of it all I would like to finally state what I meant when I said “Rock-Paper-Scissors.” If built and played correctly Dino-Rabbit will beat Plants more than 50%, Plants will beat Agents more than 50%, and Agents will beat Dino-Rabbit more than 50%. The reasons I put Agents over Dino-Rabbit are because of Hyperion’s ease of access, his high attack power, his ability to destroy simple one for one traps like Dimensional Prison, the deck’s compatibility with Fiendish Chain and Duality for consistency, and the ability of “Pure Agents” to side deck almost anything. I’ll end this article here because I feel like the rest of the ideas behind the deck are either self explanatory or just dated and should be common knowledge by now. Feel free to tweak my build as you please and/or try it on Dueling Network (although I can’t seem to draw real hands on that website but maybe it’s just me). I know many of you are probably wondering why there are no Tour Guides in the deck but that is largely because I wanted to stay true to the whole Agent theme. Also, this deck is very wallet-friendly in comparison with the other competitive decks, with the most expensive card being Maxx “C” and then the second most expensive card being Fiendish Chain. If you can pilot this correctly you should be able to beat Dino-Rabbit more than half the time.