The Art of Building a Deck: Part 3 – Perfecting the Side and Extra Decks

What’s up guys? It’s me again, and I have a surprise for you this week! I am going to be continuing “The Art of Deck Building” to a part 3. I felt it was necessary to write a part three after I was finished part 2. There was something missing. That something was the side deck and extra deck.

Side Deck

Let’s face it; your deck can’t cover every opposing deck at a single tournament. Every deck has its weaknesses and it is just impossible to fit all of those answers in your 40-card deck. This is where the side deck comes into place. The side deck is a special 15-card deck that we use to cover these weaknesses. You should maximize the utility of the side deck by using mostly 1 and 2-ofs. This gives you much more options in a format such as the one we are currently in where there is a wide array of top tier decks. I cringe at the thought of 5 different 3-ofs in a side deck. Believe it or not, you will play more games sided than un-sided, so make sure you properly utilize your side deck!

So how do you get started building the side deck? The side deck is built by amassing a pile of cards that both combat the meta and handle some of your weaknesses. Say you are running a graveyard-reliant deck, like Chaos Dragons. Some of this decks weaknesses would include popular cards, like Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Prison, Level Limit – Area B, Messenger of Peace, Banisher of the Radiance, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer, and Thunder King Rai-oh. 2 cards can easily combat all of these cards at once. Mystical Space Typhoon (or Dust Tornado) for the pesky Spell and Trap cards and Soul Taker (or Smashing Ground) for all of the pesky Monster cards!

Now how do you combat the meta? Just take a look at what is going on at the time and side cards that are good in multiple match-ups! Right now, Wind-Ups, Choas Dragons, Dino-Rabbit, Hero, and Inzektors are all top contenders in the current meta. Making a Venn diagram can help you find their resembling weaknesses, because this is what we are looking for in side deck cards, universality. A good example would be snowman eater. It is a great card versus Wind-Ups, Dino-Rabbit, Hero, and it is decent against Chaos Dragons. This is a great side deck card! You don’t want a bunch of cards that are solely for one match-up. Save that for your leftover space, if there is any.

A very intelligent duelist named Evan Vargas has a very informative video series, titled “Intense Hardcore Side Decking.” It explains how to properly side deck and I recommend you check out his videos. It is on his channel, TheSandTrap on Youtube.

Extra Deck

The extra deck was once very easy to build. You could just throw 3 of every card in there and call it a day! Now unfortunately, we have a 15-card limit on the extra deck. With all of the powerful xyz and synchro cards in the game right now, it may be hard to decide which cards to use. So how do we come up with the Ideal extra deck? It is simple, really. Like I have mentioned in my last article about perfecting the deck, play-testing is important. You can apply that same reasoning with the extra deck. There may be 20 cards you want to use in your extra deck, but only 15 slots… so what do you do? Just use them all! Use all 20 cards in your extra deck when testing against friends. After each game, take note of which cards you used and after a while, you will more than likely be able to come up with a list of the 15 most useful cards for your extra deck. I wouldn’t recommend running multiples of cards in your extra deck. There just isn’t enough space. There are always exceptions though. A good example would be Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity. You obviously need 3 of that in Wind-Ups, but it makes sense, because it is practically the decks win condition.

And that’s it for this week’s article. I hope you enjoyed “The Art of Deck Building” series. I’d like to hear from the readers, so give me your ideas for a future article and I will write about the most popular comment in the future. Until next time, play hard or go home!