How to Beat Final Countdown

Hey everyone, I’m back and this week I’m going to be talking about how to beat Final Countdown. Two weeks ago a former teammate of mine, Santiago Vera, piloted Final Countdown to win Argentina’s National Championship. Two weekends ago in Philadelphia, Tyler Tabman managed to go 10-0-1 in swiss and make it to Top 16 with a similar Final Countdown deck. Because of this deck’s recent success it has become surprisingly relevant heading into the next few weeks of the 2012 National season. With the North American WCQ is only five short weeks away and many other Nationals are closer than that, this is not a deck that you want to go in blind against having no idea how to best play against it. That is why this week I am going to tell you how to most effectively play against this deck and avoid being suicide bombed out of the tournament.

To beat the deck, the first thing you have to know is what cards they play so here is Tyler Tabman’s deck list from Philadelphia:

Monsters: 9

3 Cardcar D

3 Swift Scarecrow

1 Sangan

1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

1 Morphing Jar

Spells: 16

3 Final Countdown

3 Gold Sarcophagus

3 Pot of Duality

3 Upstart Goblin

3 One Day of Piece

1 Dark Hole

Traps: 15

3 Threatening Roar

3 Waboku

3 Frozen Soul

3 Thunder Ruler

3 Hope for Escape

3 Lava Golem

3 Mystiacal Space Typhoon

1 Heavy Storm

3 Golden Ladybug

2 Poison of the Old Man

3 Secret Barrel

Conserve Your MSTs

This should almost go without saying, but playing a Mystical Space Typhoon from your hand on a set spell or trap is death in this match up. Mystical Space Typhoon is the single most important card in your deck when you play against Final Countdown. Final Countdown’s ideal game is play Final Countdown and set 1 stall card per turn until turn 20. If you can disrupt this game, you’re on your way to winning. You also don’t want to mindlessly MST the first thing they set either. I’ll expand on this in a minute.

Game 2 and 3 you’re going to want to set multiple backrows when you set your MST. They’re going to be siding MSTs of their own so that they can MST your MST and then set their stall card safely. If you start setting more games 2 and 3, you can mitigate their MSTs and decrease their chance of hitting your MSTs.

Don’t Attack

Not attacking seems a bit contradictory as you’re on a clock and only have 10 of your turns to beat them. That being said, don’t do it unless you have 8000 on the board. Anything under that, they’re going to take it anyway. They aren’t going to waste a stall card on your 4000 damage. They want to be lower than you. Hope for Escape lets them draw 1 card for every 2000 life points they’re losing by. If you do 4000 damage and they play Final Countdown, they are drawing 3 cards if they draw Hope for Escape. Letting them draw 3 cards is handing them the game on a silver platter. Instead wait until you can put 8000 on the board. In this format, this can be accomplished within a couple of turns for just about every deck.

The reason that you don’t want to immediately end phase Space the turn after you draw it is because you’re not going to attack anyway if you don’t have 8000 on the board. Wait until you can put 8000 on the board and then end phase space their stall card. That forces them to use Scarecrow and if they don’t have it, they lose.

Declare your Battle Phase

Thunder of Ruler and Frozen Soul both skip your battle phase. In top cut of Philadelphia last weekend they ruled that if you do not declare your battle phase, there was no battle phase for Thunder of Ruler or Frozen Soul to skip. This means that the next time you tried to enter your battle phase the card would skip that battle phase instead.

Frozen Soul and Thunder of Ruler already stack so that if you activate two of them on the same turn, you cannot conduct your next two battle phases. If you did not know that you had to declare your battle phase and just assumed that it would skip the first two and you didn’t attempt to enter your battle phase until the third turn, it would skip that battle phase and the one after that. You would have just skipped 4 of your 10 battle phases. The game’s over at that point.  Remember, you don’t need any monsters on the field to attempt to enter your battle phase.

Solemn Warning and Solemn Judgment

These cards serve dual purposes game 1 against Final Countdown. First of all, Solemn Warning will 1 for 1 with Cardcar D instead of them going +1. If you can 1 for 1 when they are already taking minuses from cards like Threatening Roar and Waboku, you’ll steadily be working towards making them run out of cards.

Also if you manage to draw Solemn Judgment early in the game and can Solemn their Final Countdown, it puts a lot of pressure on them to find a second copy. Now they’re going to have to burn their stall cards trying to stay alive before they get Final Countdown. Then they’ve got to survive another 20 turns once they find the second copy.

On top both of these things working in your favor, you’re paying life points when you activate them. This is very good as it makes their Hope for Escape dead.

Dolkka and Bounzer

All three of the top decks have access to one of these cards. Dolkka is significantly better than Bounzer in this matchup, but Bounzer is still stops 5 cards.

It’s important to make Bounzer when you are attempting to OTK with Inzektors or Dragons. You don’t want to be going for game and let them drop Gorz to stop your push. If you start with Dragonfly, Giga-Mantis and Hornet, you can OTK through Gorz using Bounzer. Floating a Bounzer against them also stops their Cardcar Ds and Morphing Jar since they both activate on the field. Bounzer, however, will not stop their Scarecrows since they activate in the hand.

Rabbit probably has the best match up against Final Countdown because they are the only deck with access to Dolkka. Swift Scarecrow is one of the best cards in the deck as it’s the only one not vulnerable to an end phase MST. It is, however, vulnerable to a Dolkka negation. If you’re playing Rabbit and you set up a field that has at least 8000 damage on it including Dolkka and you wait until you draw an MST, you should win that game.

Tempest Magician and Blood Mefist

Both of these cards are very good against Final Countdown. The problem is most people do not have access to Blood Mefist and most decks don’t have access to Tempest Magician.

The only way to effectively make Tempest Magician is if you are running Plaguespreader Zombie in Dragons. If you do run Plaguespreader, you can synchro summon Tempest with Plague and Lyla. If you have access to Tempest, you have to play differently. You will have to attack them wherever you can even if you can’t put 8000 on the board. As I said earlier, the Final Countdown player will gladly take the damage if it is not game. They want to fuel their Hope for Escape. So if you have access to Tempest Magician or Blood Mefist, oblige them. Then once they’ve taken a few hits, drop either  Tempest or Mefist and burn them for game.

These cards are even more important when you are going into game 3 against Final Countdown. They’re playing a stall deck, there’s no way that the first two games will finish quickly and when you’re starting game 3, you’re probably going to be getting pretty close to time. Because of this, they are going to side burn cards to complement their stall cards and they will side completely out of Final Countdown. Because you’re it is unlikely that you’re going to be able to get very many attacks through in a time like this, a burn card like Tempest Magician or Blood Mefist would be perfect.

Also remember, at a YCS, a draw is essentially the same thing as a loss. All x-2s don't make it that means that any x-2-1s definitely won't make it. Avoid everything you can do to draw with the deck, as this is on deck that can drawn on a consistent basis. Until next time everyone, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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