My Wind-Up Deck Explained

hobanThis past weekend was YCS Austin. I piloted Wind-Ups to a disappointing 8-3 finish after losing on the bubble to teammate Sam Pedigo. I want to take this opportunity to share the deck I played with, explain my card choices, and talk about the deck’s future.

Let’s start out with the list I played:

Monsters: 16

2 Cardcar D

2 Tour Guide From the Underworld

3 Wind-Up Rabbit

3 Wind-Up Shark

3 Wind-Up Rat

1 Wind-Up Magician

1 Wind-Up Warrior

1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness


Spells: 12

2 Pot of Duality

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

3 Wind-Up Factory

1 Fire Formation - Tenki

1 Heavy Storm

1 Dark Hole

1 Monster Reborn

1 Pot of Avarice


Traps: 12

2 Fiendish Chain

2 Mirror Force

2 Torrential Tribute

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

2 Dimensional Prison

1 Solemn Warning

1 Solemn Judgment


Extra Deck: 15

1 Wind-Up Zenmaines

1 M.X. Saber Invoker

1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon

1 Leviair the Sea Dragon

1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn

1 Soul of Silvermountain

1 Diamond Dire Wolf

1 Number 16: Shock Master

1 Number 50: Blackship of Corn

1 Maestroke the Symphony Djinn

1 Abyss Dweller

1 Photon Papilloperative

1 Tiras, Keeper of Genesis

1 Number 16: Volcasaurus

1 Gaia Dragon, the Thunder Charger


Side Deck: 15

2 Maxx "C"

2 Tragoedia

2 Snowman Eater

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

2 Level Limit Area - B

2 Messenger of Peace

1 Dust Tornado

3 Mind Crush


Mermail AbyssmegaloWhy Wind-Ups?

It seems obvious to start with the general and work our way to the specific. We can’t really get more general than “Why Wind-Ups?”

Once Miami had concluded I turned my full attention to the new ban list. I assumed that Water would be the best deck with Fire and Rabbit falling shortly behind. As I began testing Water, there were several things I did not like about the deck. The first was that I could not find a consistent way to beat the mirror match. It was very back and forth and hardly better than a coin flip. The second thing was that I didn’t like the idea of not being able to play cards games 2 and 3 whenever my opponent had either Macro Cosmos or Dimensional Fissure on the field. This lead to oversiding with multiple Dust Tornados and MSTs in an attempt to balance mitigate the Fissures which in turn caused awkward hands of multiple removal cards and less combo pieces to get me going. So I didn’t like the mirror or decks siding Fissure/Macro. In this meta, you’d be hard pressed to find a deck that didn’t fall under one of those categories.

My next choice was Fire Fist. I liked Bear and Tenki, but wasn’t a fan of Dragon or the traps. This lead to a lack of good monsters in the deck and a very heavy reliance on my normal summon to gain advantage. If they cut that off, I was done for my turn. Combine that with the deck’s inability to due generally unfair things in a meta where every other deck can and I was about done with the deck.

reborn tenguAt this point I was really unsure of what to play when all of a sudden I had an idea. Why play all the bad monsters (relatively speaking) like Tengu and Gorilla in Fire Fist when you could just replace them with good cards like Rabbit and Factory? This is when I first considered playing Wind-Ups again.

The idea of Wind-Ups was further perpetuated by the fact that very few people were siding Rivalry or Gozen since they were both rather subpar against the rest of the meta, Wind-Ups excluded.

My initial testing was rather lackluster so say the least. Whenever I played against Water I would just get OTKed before I could set up. I was Cardcaring into Rabbit Factory instead of Magician Shark. This took about 3 turns to set up and by that time I had all the combo pieces and 0 life points.

My solution to this problem was to sacrifice a bit of my Fire Fist matchup in favor of an overall better game 1 in a fast meta by maining Tragoedia. This allowed me to stay alive while I got to my setup. I ended up cutting Tragoedia in the end. This was because I had adapted the protect the Banisher + Dimensional Fissure side deck against Water. I was just trading a bunch of 1 for 1s with their Water monsters in order to protect my Banisher which lead to a super simplified gamestate. This made Tragoedia bad games 2 in 3 in the matchup I was using it game 1 for. That was rather contradictory, so it did not make the cut.

This was all during the first week of the format which was right before the release of Volcasaurus. Up until it’s release, I was very ignorant to how good that card was and how much it actually contributed to the deck. That and Gaia Charger together and Factory on its own gave the deck the unfair aspect I was looking for in Fire Fists. Upon its release, I added Tour Guides, a card that I initially saw as subpar since it didn’t actually contribute much without Invoker, and Warrior to the deck to give it more of an explosive edge.  Once this was done I was content with my deck choice for Austin and set out to find the best build.

fire fist - bearCard Choices

If you noticed, Bear did not actually make the cut in the final build. This is somewhat ironic in that the original reason I considered Wind-Ups was to utilize Bear and Tenki and to replace the subpar Fire Fist monsters with good ones. I tested Bear extensively as a means of spot removal and starting my engine with Rabbit. Unfortunately, Rabbit just isn’t the end all be all of Wind-Ups and getting it and setting a couple of traps with it was rather lackluster. It had the same problem as Fire Fist in that it didn’t do anything unfair. Because of this, I ended up cutting Bear and keeping 2 Tenki with just Rabbits as the targets.

An alternative to Bear to get my engine going was Cardcar D. It allowed me to get to my Wind-Up cards to do the unfair things the deck needed to be able to do in order to compete. Between 2 Cardcars, 2 Dualities, 2 Tenki, and 3 Rabbits, I was seeing multiple Rabbits far too often and ultimately cut Tenki to 1 because of this.

The inclusion of Pot of Avarice is something I often see debated. I felt that Pot was too much of a power card to cut since Wind-Ups definitely needed power plays to compete. Additionally, Tour Guide put 4 monsters in the grave on its own making it almost instantly live.

I wanted a full suite of trap cards to protect me while I was setting up so that accounts for the larger trap lineup. I tried Zenmailstrom earlier in the format, but it wasn’t live often enough, despite it being a complete blowout when you didn’t have Factory.

mstThe next thing I want to explain is why I played 2 Mystical Space Typhoon. It seems like a no brainer to play 3 in this meta and I’m pretty much the only person who disagreed. Joe ran 39 of the same 40 cards I ran at Austin and his one difference was the third MST. I did not feel like the third Typhoon was necessary because Factory is essentially a better Typhoon. I can throw Rat into backrow and not care if it’s just replacing itself. Additionally I ran Soul of Silvermountain which is like an MST I don’t have to draw when it’d be bad. Also I felt like MSTing a Tenki was just simplifying the gamestate against a deck that was better at it than I was.

My final card explanation in the main deck is Gorz. Gorz is actually very good in this deck. If you have Factory up, you’re winning, but if you don’t Gorz really shines. Wind-Ups lose to early game aggression and Gorz was the perfect answer to that. It also improved the Mermail matchup in the same way Tragoedia did.

In the extra deck, I believe 14 of the 15 cards are mandatory. The only one that is debatable is Corn. Other options are Giga-Brilliant or Utopia. I didn’t feel Utopia was needed for the OTKs since there is an OTK with Magician Shark Shark without it. Corn serves as a second Dweller against a Linde if my first is gone. Additionally it gives me a good out to Zenmaines.

The side deck is the big thing I want to speak on. Level-Limits were for Fire Fist. I felt like that and the third MST would be enough for that deck. I had played this matchup enough through playing Brandon Wigley to know that oversiding would be the death of you in this matchup. Because of that, no Messengers or Snowmans went in. The Messengers and Snowmans were for Rabbit.

If you’ll notice, we completely dropped the Banisher Fissure route in favor of another way of tackling the Water matchup; Mind Crush, Maxx “C,” and Tragoedia. This was a change that happened the night before the tournament. Joe and I were discussing our side deck. At this point we both had the Banisher Fissure side for Water. Joe asked about why I cut Tragoedia from the main and I said because it conflicted with my game 2 strategy against Water which created a simplified gamestate. Joe then suggested cutting Fissures and Banishers altogether since that would be what they would side cards like Soul Taker and Dust Tornado against. I suggested we do Mind Crushes, Maxx “C”s, and Tragoedia instead.  With that we changed half our side decks the night before the YCS based off of theory alone. Looking back, Tragoedia and Maxx “C” were good, but Mind Crush was really subpar. I’d probably add back in Fissures if I could do it all over and just leave Banisher alone in favor of the Trags and Maxx “C”s.

Rescue RabbitThe Tournament

Really I want the main purpose of this article to be about the deck itself and not a tournament report, but I suppose I should speak briefly on the actual tournament. As expected, the meta was very underdeveloped. I figured this would be the case, but not nearly as bad as it was. In 11 rounds I played against 9 different decks. It’s not really possible to side for 9 decks with 15 cards.

I also figured the top decks going into the event would be Water, Rabbit, and Fire Fist. Unfortunately I only played 2 Water decks and 0 Rabbit and Fire Fist decks.  Instead I played 2 Dark World, Karakuri, Psychics, Blackwings, Fire Kings, Geargia, Spellbooks, and Herald of Perfection. I don’t really feel like this was an accurate representation of the meta as a whole.

I took my first loss to Fire Kings in round 3. Garunix makes the matchup very difficult. If I remove Rabbit when he draws, he’s free to summon Bear. If I don’t, he can play Onslaught. The recurring boss monster proved to be too much and I certainly wouldn’t consider that a good matchup, though hopefully not a very played bad matchup.

My second loss came to teammate Billy Brake. I thought this was ironic as the only people Joe and I told about our side was Paul Clarke and Billy Brake because they were in the room. Sure enough, I get paired with Billy and he’s able to make decisions based off that knowledge.

My final loss came on the bubble another teammate, Sam Pedigo playing Geargia. This matchup was abysmal last format, and it certainly didn’t get any better. Game 3 I got OTKed on my second turn. Again, hopefully this bad matchup doesn’t make up much of the meta in the future.

I beat the rest of the aforementioned decks (though I did find it ironic that I played 2 Dark World and Herald of Perfection after taking out Banisher and Fissure). I do think Wind-Ups are a top contender in the format, but they are very tedious. You have to know all the combos and exactly what to do when. They are not a forgiving deck. If you put forth the necessary effort to master the deck, you will have good results and I consider it a strong choice for day 2 of San Diego next weekend, if I am able to make it that far. I hope you enjoyed the explanations I gave for why I played the cards that I did. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. Until next time, play hard or go home!

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

Patrick Hoban

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