Countering Nekroz

Hello Duelists! As many of you guys have noticed, Nekroz have taken up the most spots in the top cut in each of the last three events (more than 50% each time).  This week I'll be discussing certain cards and tactics to counter the Nekroz deck - if you aren't using it.

Let's start out with the strategies most players are currently employing to counter Nekroz. The best-known way that players have been trying to defeat the Nekroz deck is through the use of floodgates such as Vanity's Emptiness, Skill Drain, Mistake, and even Anti-Spell Fragrance! Some Qliphort players have even started to main cards such as Re-Qliate and Fiendish Chain to make sure that the effect of Nekroz of Trishula doesn't go through. Did you notice something that these cards have in common? All of these cards will remain face-up after their activation. That may not seem like such a big deal on the surface, but when you think about it, it's actually quite a flaw. Let's say your opponent opened Mystical Space Typhoon, and you didn't open multiple of the trap cards that I listed above. Nekroz players usually won't blind Mystical Space Typhoon but rather will wait for you to use one of your floodgates. So you won't get any actual value out of them.

Now that we've established the problem we can use this information to our advantage. Usually when playing against a deck that's not the mirror match Nekroz will try to resolve Nekroz of Trishula's effect as quickly as possible. Because most decent Nekroz players will never blindly shoot off a Mystical Space Typhoon against multiple backrow, the way to play against Nekroz wouldn't be to try to floodgate them. Once your opponent draws Mystical Space Typhoon they will be able to go off. So instead of using Floodgates as the solution I think cards that aren't continuous are the better alternative.

For example: Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare

This card is probably my favorite card against Nekroz. Let's say you’re one of the many players still using Qliphort. You’re probably aware that one of the most common loss-scenarios when playing against Nekroz was them resolving either Trishula’s effect or Evilswarm Exciton Knight. This card solves both of those problems! The best part is that since most Nekroz players won't blind Mystical Space Typhoon, this card will almost always resolve and save your hide. I think that this card deserves a slot in the main deck. Yes, this card will pretty much always be dead in the Qliphort mirror match (or even the Yosenju mirror match), but because Nekroz are the most played deck as of right now I believe that the benefits greatly outweigh the costs right now.

Effect Veiler

This card has potential to be both good and mediocre depending on how you use it. For example, you never want to really use Effect Veiler on a Manju or Senju but rather should be saving it for when your opponent summons Nekroz of Trishula, or extends deep into some other play to the point where they won’t be able to resolve a Trishula or Exciton. Effect Veiler isn't a Spell or trap card so it can't fall victim to Mystical Space Typhoon, but the best thing that Effect Veiler has going for it is the surprise factor, as the Nekroz player will not expect it and thus won't be trying to play around it by summoning cards like Nekroz of Gungnir first. The problem is that Veiler doesn't really do anything on its own. You need to have either a board of monsters or cards like Raigeki/Mirror Force to make sure that you can deal with their monsters on your next turn. And there's also the obvious problem of Veiler being a blank card against Qliphort since all of their monsters will be unaffected, but it's very solid against Nekroz (and even Yosenju, Satellarknight, and Burning Abyss) so if I wasn't maining Effect Veiler then I would at least side it.

Mind Crush

This card is amazing against Nekroz because you almost always know the cards that are in their hand. Usually when your opponent activates Nekroz Kaleidoscope they will be trying to special summon Nekroz of Unicore (unless they didn't open very well, or are making a read on a set Mind Crush in which case they'll search Shrit to try to summon something that's not Unicore but this doesn't happen very often) then not only will you get to see their hand but if they can't summon something else (which they usually can’t) you just went +1 because they lose at least one Unicore and the Kaleidoscope.  Sure, they’ll be able to recycle Kaleidoscope, but they won’t be able to use it again until next turn, and with two fewer cards in their hand, the chances of them being able to successfully resolve a Mirror or Cycle are reduced. Of course, Mind Crush is not limited to being useful against Nekroz, it has strong applications against nearly every other deck this format, easily going 1-for-1 against Qliphort, BA, Satellarknights, Yosenju, etc.

Monster floodgates

Trap cards are not the only floodgates in the game.  Monsters like Thunder King Rai-oh, Spell Canceler, Vanity’s Fiend, and Majesty Fiend can all prove to be incredibly powerful options against Nekroz.  The use of these depends strongly on whether you think your opponent will be siding out their Djinn outs (Raigeki/Dark Hole/Book of Eclipse/Book of Moon), as well as the constraints of your own deck.  For example, you wouldn’t necessarily side Thunder King in Qliphorts or Burning Abyss, as it interferes with the game-plan of both decks.  However, Vanity’s Fiend can be a solid option.  Spell Canceler depends more on whether your opponent is running outs to it (Gishki Chain, or Dance Princess/Grand Sorcerer + Decisive Armor).  Carefully consider whether your deck can support the extra Normal Summons and pay close attention to how your opponent’s deck is built when using these. You also need to consider whether your opponent will be siding into Fire and Ice Hands as these do greatly cripple the monster floodgates, If your opponent does side Hands I don't think it makes Monster Floodgates not worthwhile to side, it just makes them weaker.
That's all for this week's article! Special thanks go out to Jeffrey Torres for giving me the idea for the article! If you'd like to see me write about a certain topic feel free to message me on Facebook. The Circuit Series stops by Hartford, CT next on March 14-15!

And As Always Play Hard or Go Home!