Hello fellow duelists, let me start things off with that I am a European duelist where events for YGO are limited for me. That however does not mean I do not have anything to share that could be useful for you, so I would like to thank ARG for giving me this opportunity!
Evolution is a theory that resolves around the ability to adapt, the survival of the fittest. This is something we see all the time in YGO. When a tier one deck becomes affected by the ban list several spots in the deck opens. The deck then has to adapt to the meta to keep its reputation of being the #1 deck. The changes might be small, heavy, or the deck might even go through a metamorphosis, such as only keeping a small part of the engine and yes plants are the epitome of this. Remember, there are also times when the deck cannot keep up with other decks after a hit on the banlist.
Tengu-plants, the name of the deck that dominated last format from the moment it was born. Tengu-plants got hit by the ban list, and it had no other choice than to go through changes, a lot of changes. As a matter of fact it went through such a metamorphosis that it only kept the quintessential part of the deck. Making changes such as maxing out the copies of Tour Guide, and several copies of Maxx C, fitting in BLS, splashing in powerful yet versatile cards, all this palpably to keep its #1 spot.
The paragraph above is nothing other than common knowledge to most people I assume, but the reason I mentioned it is because it is the epitome of adapting and changing. Now let us move on to one of the reason behind this article; making changes in the deck and tech choices out of the ordinary.
Last format MST was at two, Heavy Storm banned, and Giant Trunade allowed at one. Those factors led to the format being more conservative, as well as giving the deck, “Gravekeepers” a good starting point. This format however is a lot more aggressive, with less traps being played due to the high amount S/T removal as well as the decks that are being played. But is that statement really through though? If you think about it, there is only one more S/T removal card being played in the main deck, and that is Heavy Storm. People do not want to lose to a Heavy or an easy -1 or more. Decks who relies heavily on S/T support such a T.G. Stun had to do something about this threat, and at least one Starlight Road became mandatory, although this gave them a worse starting point as that one SLR is often dead and the space it occupies could be used for something better.
If we look at “A Hero Lives GBs” build, we will most likely notice trap stun. The reason behind that is you are paying most of your life points to go off, and if your opponent negates your push you are in big trouble. What if instead of playing MSTs you could tech in Dust Tornadoes? Why would you play that over MST you ask? The reason is that with DT you could blow off a card off your opponent S/T during the end phase AND then set your Trap Stun, avoiding the fear and risk of losing it on your opponents turn, making sure you can push safely. This choice will be out of the ordinary, out of the standard main decking, but how come nobody chooses DT over MST (note that this is from what I have seen and experienced)?
The past plays a big part on our choices, cards that we count as staples are excellent, and because we know that they deliver due to the results we have seen from the past we use them. Although we have to not forget that the format also changes all the time and to make the best choices available we have to continuingly put staples to their test and see if they actually are the best choices for the deck. Flow and synergy are some of the most important aspects that you need to think about when it comes to building a deck.
Now to the second part of the article, what should I take out? A question that always bothers me when I make changes, a question that has to be answered, but that always leads to some sort of agony. As mentioned earlier synergy and flow are some of the most important things in a deck, when making changes you cannot look at cards alone, you have to look at the deck as a whole. How does that card work with the deck? And one thing that people HAS to take into account is how many cards of that sort of effect do I actually run, and how important is that for the deck?
What I like to do is sort the deck and lay all the cards on the floor or the table. Proceeding to think of the staples in the deck, the strength and weaknesses of the deck and how many cards that I have in the deck to counter its weakness that I will most likely encounter. A deck that struggles with heavy beaters, Gladiator Beasts, has to have a lot of answers for big monsters for its strategy to be functional; therefore Dimensional Prison is a must for the deck. T.G. Stun on the other hand has a lot of options to main decked standard beaters, TG1, HotPB and etc, so Dimensional Prison does not have the same priority to make the cut as in Gladiators Beast.
The mistake of adding in a lot of cards that practically do the same thing is a mistake I often see, they forget to take balance into account. This problem occurs especially when it comes to side decking. They side cards that deal with one thing for cards that deal with another, messing up the whole balance, or they side in cards that could make other cards in the deck worse. We have an example of T.G. Stun meeting Lightsworns that focuses on bringing out the boss monster JD and BLS as much as possible, using several copies of Beckoning Light and Monster Reincarnation. If I were the T.G. Stun player sure of the Lightsworn player not having Royal Decree in his side deck, my choice of side decking would be swapping my two copies of TG1-EM for two copies of Light Imprisoning Mirror. I would maybe make several changes, but that one is certain. You might think it is a bit of overkill with two Skill Drains and two LIM. Think about it though; I am maxing out my chances of starting with a card that would lock down his deck, and making several cards in his deck dead. We also have to take into account what he will most likely side in, S/T hate. Why would I side out a card that would give me access to one of his boss monsters though? Because my deck resolves around control, TG1-EM1 should be an out, and I plan on making his boss monster to never be alive, and with his boss monsters dead TG1-EM1 would follow suit and be dead as well.
Of course you have to down prioritize some aspects depending on the deck you meet, but you need to always take into account the balance! Adapting, and taking balance into account for changes in the deck are vital, these facts are something I cannot stress enough. All factors needs to be taken into account for the product to taken to its limit. lI hope you learned something off this article, that is all for now folks!
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