For as long as competitive Yu-Gi-Oh has existed, side-decking has determined the outcomes of most matches. Knowing how to build your side deck can immensely decrease the amount of matches that you would have lost to your deck's bad match ups. But not only do you have to understand how to build your side deck, you must also learn how to efficiently use your side deck as well. Even though a card may be good to side in against the particular match up you're playing against, there are times where it is not correct to side the card in. Mastering the concepts of building your side deck and using your side deck efficiently through out the match is an effective way to win more overall matches.
How To Make A Side Deck
To be able to make a good side deck, you must first be able to understand the different interactions certain cards have with your main deck versus a certain match up. By being able to understand this, it allows you to define whether a certain match up is good or bad. This means that if the match up is good, you'll be siding less cards in a match up than a deck you have a bad match up against. An example of this would be Spellbooks versus Fire Fist in comparison to Spellbooks versus Mermails. Since Spellbooks has a better match up versus Fire Fist than they do with Mermail, you would most likely side less cards versus Fire Fist than you would with Mermails to dedicate more slots to the worse match up. Knowing there are a plethora of cards you can side versus every match up can also make side decking a very tricky process. This is because you have to pick the cards that have better interactions with your deck after siding than others. A simple example of this would be the interactions between Dimensional Fissure in Fire Fist and [ccProd]Macro Cosmos[/ccProd] in Fire Fist versus Mermails. Even though Macro Cosmos has the ability to stop Mermails from making any legitimate play, it has very bad interactions with Fire Fist. Not only are you unable to Bear/Gorilla pop any card you would wish to destroy, (Since the Fire Formation card has to go to the graveyard) but if you were to make a XYZ under Macro Cosmos, the materials wouldn't go to the graveyard unlike with Dimensional Fissure. This is a relevant point due to future [ccProd]Coach Soldier Wolfbark[/ccProd] plays that are now dead to Macro Cosmos. Another way of building a side deck is by accounting for your opponents own side deck cards. One example of this would be our past Nationals format with E-Dragons. Against the rouge match ups that would side cards such as Dimensional Fissure, Macro Cosmos, [ccProd]Soul Drain[/ccProd], [ccProd]Imperial Iron Wall[/ccProd], [ccProd]Gozen Match[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Rivalry of Warlord[/ccProd]. Most E-Dragon builds sided in cards that would counter these problems such as [ccProd]Mystical Space Typhoon[/ccProd], [ccProd]Royal Decree[/ccProd], [ccProd]Fairy Wind[/ccProd], and [ccProd]Eradicator Epidemic Virus[/ccProd]. Another example of this would be our Mermail versus Fire Fist match up of last year. Mermails would side heavy backrow removal to destroy the sided in cards that wouldn't allow them to make plays such as Dimensional Fissure, and Soul Drain.
Difference In 1st/2nd
Going first or second may possibly determine the way the game will be played out, but it can also influence how one sides as well. There are cards in certain situations that are better when you go first because you are able to set up with these cards. Cards such as Cardcar D, Bottomless Trap Hole, Solemn Warning, Black Horn of Heaven and Vanity's Emptiness are all better going 1st than they are going 2nd because when these cards are in your deck while you go second, they are bad to draw into while there's already a developed board on your opponent's side of the field. This means that these cards are viable options of being taken out/not being sided in when going second. However, there are cards that are better going 2nd than 1st as well. These are cards that are better against a developed board. Cards such as Dark Hole and Needle Ceiling are better going second because they require no set up and they're cards that you're able to draw into while they already have an established board. There are also cards that are good to be in your deck even if you're going first or second. Dimensional Prison, Mirror Force, Raigeki Break and Compulsory Evacuation Device are all cards that are good going 1st and 2nd. This is because you're not only able to set up with these cards, you're also able to draw into these cards while there's a developed board.
Downfalls Of Over Siding
Earlier I mentioned that you would most likely side in more cards versus a bad match up than a good match up. However, siding in too many cards in general can actually be a bad thing. By siding in too many cards, you disturb the consistency of the deck. What I mean by this is, there's only a certain amount of cards you can side out in a specific match up before you side out cards that help your combos. This is true because most of your main deck should be geared towards the current meta anyways. An example of this would be with Hieratics. A majority of the cards in the deck are all combo cards which is why whenever I sided with the deck, unless it was the mirror match, I was siding a maximum of 5 cards. Trading your main decked defensive cards for cards that are more effective in the particular match up allows you to adjust to the deck and keep your deck just as consistent at the same time. To truly overcome the downfalls of over siding, practicing consistently will allow you to understand what cards to side out for certain match ups, while not conflicting with the combo oriented cards of your deck.
In conclusion, this is why it's very important to know every and any small detail when coming across this process of properly building a side deck; while also making sure to take the utmost advantage as possible of the better variety of cards for that particular match up. All in all, this is why it's so crucial to test not only your main deck but your side deck as well. The Circuit Series makes its next stop in Las Vegas on March 15-16, 2014! Click the picture below for all the information!