Testing is the most common way players prepare for high-level competition. Just like rehearsing before a concert or going to practice before an athletic event, testing is a way to prepare for the big event in a controlled setting where the stakes are lower. Just like any other kind of preparation, there is a right and wrong way to test for a Yugioh tournament. Very few people do it the right way, so good testing practices can give you and your team a huge edge over the competition. In this article I’m going to talk about some of the strategies I use to playtest and why you should start using them too!
The Winning vs Learning mindset
Most people subconsciously play Yugioh in two distinct mindsets. One mindset is the one you are in during a tournament, where the pressure is high and mistakes can spell disaster. We’re going to call this the Winning Mindset. When we play in the Winning Mindset, we’re less likely to take risks or try new strategies, and we instead rely on what we’ve learned previously to guide our decisions. We want to know explicitly what to do in the Winning Mindset, and our highest priority is winning the game. It’s easy to see how being in the Winning Mindset is important during big tournaments.
Our second mindset involves, in many ways, the opposite of the Winning Mindset – our highest priority is not to win the game, but to learn something new about the deck we’re playing. For this reason, we’ll call this the Learning Mindset. In the Learning Mindset, we’re willing to make mistakes and learn from them because the stakes are low. We can make risky decisions, since our main objective is no longer to win the game. We will keep winning in mind because it shapes the things we want to learn, but games played in the Learning Mindset don’t need to be structured like games played in the Winning Mindset – and they shouldn’t.
As a skilled player, you need to be able to completely leave the Winning Mindset and enter the Learning Mindset when you test. This is the only way to learn enough about a deck (or about Yugioh in general) to perform well in a tournament. Removing external pressure will lead you to make mistakes and riskier decisions (and in turn lose more games), but these are the basis of the knowledge we need to be successful in the Winning Mindset. We’ll talk later about when testing in the Winning Mindset is useful, but the tips I’m going to start with are designed to build and support low-stakes environments.
Picking your group
Don’t switch up members of the group too much
When you prepare for an event, you want a consistent group of people to practice with. As you learn more things about your deck, it will be harder to catch new members of your group up to speed. Your team will become your most important resource throughout the testing process, so you want to pick people with a wide variety of skills.
Work with motivated people
You also want to test with people that share your goals and your motivation. This usually means testing with people that are going to the same event you are, or at least one in the same format. Motivated people are more likely to positively contribute to testing since it’s in their best interest as well as yours.
If you’re not arguing, you’re doing it wrong
Finally, you want your circle to be people that you can comfortably argue with, since arguing (in a healthy way) about in-game decisions is necessary to the testing process. If your circle already has the same opinions about a deck, or has differing opinions that nobody is willing to change, it becomes impossible to learn new information.
Setting up a game
One game at a time
If your testing group has six people, there shouldn’t be 3 matches going on at once! Have two people play against each other while the other four watch – everyone will get more out of the experience this way.
Playing with hands reavealed is difficult to learn well but can have huge implications in the long run. If everyone testing has the same information, it is much easier to discuss the particular situation. This is one example of something you obviously wouldn’t do in the Winning Mindset, but is very useful in the Learning Mindset. One challenge of this is avoiding the bias that comes with seeing your opponent’s hand – would you /really/ make that play if you didn’t know they had Maxx C in their hand? This is where you must discuss what the correct play is as a group, given the information you would have in a real game. Since sometimes you actually will know some of the cards in your opponent’s hand, I usually turn cards upside-down to keep track of which cards are public knowledge.
Pick a card, any card
Another trick we can use in the Learning Mindset is setting up a game state we want to test before the game starts. If you’re testing Ghost Reaper in a specific matchup, have one player start with a Reaper and 4 random cards instead of a 5 card. If we want to see if a deck beats Naturia Beast + Cyber Dragon Infinity, one player starts with that field. Clearly this means the outcome of that game is largely decided already, but for more complicated situations this is a great way to break the game down into simpler parts. Especially in fringe situations, it’s also a time-efficient strategy that minimizes the number of games we must play to see a certain game state.
Running the gauntlet
You should have some idea of the decks you’ll be playing against before a particular event. The best way to prepare for the field is to build/proxy each deck and play against them one at a time. Even if you are pretty sure a matchup is unwinnable or unlosable, there’s a chance that it isn’t – and you won’t know unless you actually play it. Doing this for every deck in the field gives you a full understanding of what you’re up against.
In addition, make sure to play against the decks you actually expect to face. If you’re trying a teched-out version of some deck, don’t test the mirror against a card-for-card copy of your deck unless that’s what you expect other people to play. The purpose of this testing is to give a realistic impression of what you’d play in a tournament, and not just playing against your teammate!
Play sided games
Statistically, more of your tournament games will be played sided than unsided. Your testing should represent this! To get a complete picture of how your deck performs, you need to see what it does going first, going second, and pre/post sideboarding.
Play unfamiliar decks
Testing is a perfect opportunity to play decks you otherwise wouldn’t. If you never would consider taking Thunder Dragons to an event, proxy it out and try a few games. Especially in matchups you struggle with, knowing what you’re up against can be incredibly valuable. This is the best way to learn things about your opponents’ decks, and you may discover strengths with a deck you originally thought wasn’t very good.
During the game
Taking notes is one of the most important parts of testing, especially if it’s taking place over multiple days (which it should). Write in a notebook, record games with a camera– whichever way will give you the best record of your results. If you’re writing/typing, include all the important information – what matchup is it? How was the game decided? Were there any unexpected interactions? Taking good notes and making sure to share them with the group means you have a permanent record of your testing that you can look back on whenever you want.
Talk about every play
In a given situation, there is always exactly one correct play. If each player has some set of cards in their hand, and some set of information, there is one play that gives me a higher percent chance to win more than any other play. Having said that, your goal in testing should be to find that play for every situation. If you disagree with the play your partner suggests, talk about why each play could be better (this is where the arguing comes in). The same applies to deckbuilding decisions – your goal should be finding the deck that gives you the highest chance of winning, independent of your playstyle. It’s not enough for one play to just be “your playstyle”, the purpose of testing is to determine which plays are correct, even if they aren’t ones you would make otherwise.
Talk about why to make each play
In the same vein, it’s not enough to know what plays to make, you also need to know why to make that play. Even with lots of testing, the situations you encounter in a tournament are going to be different from the ones you practice. How will you know whether that difference means you should make a different play? Understanding the “why” in addition to the “what” is essential for translating the things you learn in testing to an actual tournament.
Focus on what you don’t know
Since the purpose of testing is to learn, it makes sense that little time needs to be spent on the obvious things. It doesn’t take many games to know that Danger FTK wins when it resolves its combo, for example. The purpose of the above tips is to direct your time towards the situations that you don’t know – if you don’t know how good a card is, or what the right play is, these are things that you can learn through practice. Part of good testing is identifying which of these are most important to learn, and then learning them.
Play the same game lots of different ways
A lot of times in Yugioh, one topdeck can make or break an otherwise close game. In these scenarios, sometimes it is useful to rewind the game and try a different situation. Events like drawing Soul Charge or banishing all of a certain card with Desires can certainly happen in real games, but sometimes it’s useful to see how the game turns out if this doesn’t happen. On the flip side, if the game is almost completely decided, try lots of different topdecks to see if any of them lead to a comeback. These situations might be unlikely, but just like testing a specific card or situation, they give us a more complete understanding of what can happen in a game.
When to practice the Winning Mindset
Everything I’ve talked about so far has been in the context of the Learning Mindset, where the focus is learning rather than just winning the game. However, just like anything else, it can be useful to practice the Winning Mindset as well. I usually wait until I’ve done all the testing I plan to do in the Learning Mindset before I practice the Winning Mindset, and use it as a rehearsal for the real tournament. The Winning Mindset can help practice playing under pressure and all the other constraints of a real tournament. Whether this means playing in a smaller tournament first or playing your friends for money, practicing the Winning Mindset under realistic conditions gives you a valuable sense of what the actual tournament will feel like.
These are just a few common playtesting strategies that are simple to implement, but can lead to big performance improvements. The most important of these is staying in the Learning Mindset, where your primary goal in testing is to learn new things rather than to win. From there, you and your testing group can explore testing strategies to find what works best for you. Let us know what tricks you use when you playtest, and until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!
My last couple of articles have talked about crazy combo decks that can do some incredible things under the right conditions. However, how do you know which of these decks to take to the next ARG and which to leave at home? For decks that are commonly played in tournaments, it is easy to see how that deck performed in the last big event. However, for newer decks, there are a few easy questions we can think about to determine if a deck is good or not. Today I’m going to talk about what makes a deck viable, and how to decide if your deck fits the bill.
The first thing we want to ask ourselves with any new deck is “What are we trying to beat?” - ideally the answer is “everything”, but with real decks we have to pick our battles. For example, if we have a deck that summons a lot of untargettable monsters, we’re going to have a great Sky Striker matchup but probably a below average Thunder Dragon matchup. On the flip side, indestructible monsters are good against Thunder Dragons but weak to Sky Striker Widow Anchor. This means different decks will be good for different tournaments, which we will talk about later. Most sleeper decks succeed because of a niche that they leverage to get ahead, so the first step in determining a decks strength is deciding what makes that niche valuable.
First, we want to decide if our niche is actually good. This is best done with respect to three different variables: power, consistency, and flexibility. When we ask ourselves if a strategy is powerful, we want to know how close we get to winning the game when we do it. Drawing the five pieces of Exodia, resolving a Cannon Soldier + Firewall loop, and using Gumblar + Extra Link on the first turn are all examples of extremely powerful plays. If our deck aims to gain an advantage with one of these, we will usually focus on maximizing the frequency we can do this combo. This is where consistency, or how often our deck can do something, comes into play. Consistent strategies are ones that happen almost every game, like Sky Striker setting Widow Anchor, Burning Abyss summoning Dante, or Monarchs doing absolutely nothing. Power and consistency let us look at how strong an individual play is - no strategy is perfect, so every deck will have some balance of power and consistency for each of its plays. However, the power and consistency of each individual play might depend on how a particular game is going. This is where the last variable comes in - flexibility. In this case, a “flexible” deck is one that has a lot of options available to it with a given hand. Decks like Sky Striker are flexible because they have searcher cards (Engage and Shizuku) that fetch a whole host of different cards. Where power and consistency let us look at one particular play, flexibility compares how valuable each of those plays are worth over our whole deck. In general, strong decks excel in at least two of these variables: Sky Strikers are flexible and consistent, but none of their plays are particularly strong on their own. Gouki is powerful and consistent, but the strongest builds focus only on a single combo. A deck like Monarchs is powerful and has lots of different options, but won’t consistently get off the ground. As we are building our deck, we want to consider which of these qualities it will have.
The next thing to think about is what tournament we are preparing for. Let’s say we have a deck that we know is very good against Sky Strikers. If you are preparing for a locals, there is a good chance we know exactly how many Sky Striker players to expect. If there are a lot, then great! Our deck is going to do very well. If there aren’t many, maybe we should consider something else. At a larger event, we might not know exactly how many Sky Striker players there will be. If Sky Striker has done well recently, we can expect at least a few people to play it - but some of the people that played it at the last event might switch to their own Sky Striker counter. This is when we have to consider how polarized our deck is. If our deck beats Sky Striker 100% of the time but beats everything else 0% of the time, it’s probably not a great choice for a big event. It’s a lot better if our deck wins 70% of the time against Sky Striker and 50% of the time against everything else. In general decks with polarized matchups are good for small tournaments, while we need decks with a good matchup against the field for larger ones
These first two points are largely theory-based; even a deck that sounds good on paper must be tested to see if it’s actually good. Before a big event, one of the best ways to prepare is build a “gauntlet” of all the decks we expect to play against. From there, we can have one person play the deck we intend to test and another person play one of the “meta” decks in the field, and then repeat for all the other decks. This will give us a real sense of how our deck will perform in a tournament setting, and covers some of the blind sports our theory may have. However, beware! It is very easy to be deceived by results, and just because we lose the first 10 games with a deck doesn’t mean we won’t win the next 50. It’s important not only to play lots of games of each matchup, but to practice smart playtesting strategies (which will be another article soon!) to get the best results.
Deciding whether a deck is viable can be hard, but these are just some of the questions we should ask ourselves to make the decision easier. These tips certainly do not give all the answers, but Identifying our decks strengths with strong theory makes it a lot easier to decide which decks are even worth testing. The more we practice these techniques, the better we will become at deciding which of our ideas are worth building into real decks.
How do you guys decide what decks are good? Let us know and make sure to follow the ARG PRO Yugioh! Facebook page for all of our team’s updates. As always, Play Hard or Go Home!
This season is back to school time for many duelists, so in this article we will be jumping into my favorite office supplies-based archetype: Deskbots!
Deskbots haven’t seen much of the competitive spotlight, so why build a deck around them? For starters, the Deskbot Pendulum monsters have powerful effects that synergize with Heavymetalfoes Electrumite – Deskbot 005 Special Summons a Deskbot from the graveyard when it’s destroyed, and Deskbot 006 adds one from the graveyard to the hand. This means that the Deskbot cards have strong synergy with all the Pendulum cards that are already good at making Electrumite. However, the deck also picks up some advantages over a standard Pendulum deck by using the Deskbots. Deskbot 003 has a powerful Normal Summon effect that isn’t once per turn, so we can take advantage of cards that give us an addition Normal Summon, like the Symphonic Warriors. In both cases, we are designing a stronger deck by giving it access to strong cards from other engines.
In the Summon Saur-ceress article, we built the deck backwards – we started with the combo we wanted our deck to do and chose cards that would let us do it most consistently. We’ll be going through this deck in the opposite way and start by building the engine that will give us the most options. From there, we’ll figure out the most powerful things that engine can do.
3 Deskbot 002
3 Deskbot 003
1 Deskbot 004
3 Deskbot 005
1 Deskbot 006
The power players of the Deskbot lineup are 003 and 005. Their effects to Special Summon a Deskbot when they are Normal Summoned and destroyed, respectively, give the deck an easy way to find monsters to Pendulum Summon. Deskbot 002 is usually the best one to summon with these effects, since it searches another Deskbot card when it’s Special Summoned to keep the combo going. This effect isn’t once per turn either, so the engine can find lots of copies of the cards it needs with only a single starter. Deskbot 006 isn’t nearly as good as 005, but it’s included to have a searchable 1 scale. Deskbot 004 Special Summons 2 Deskbots when it kills something in battle, which makes it very good going second. The other Deskbot cards’ effects aren’t good enough to make the cut, so these 11 are all we’ll be using. One card you might notice is missing from this list is Machine Duplication – although this is very powerful with Deskbot 002 or 003, it’s not strong enough when drawn by itself to include in this type of deck. Besides, most hands with Deskbot 002 or 003 in this deck are usually good enough to win without the help of Machine Duplication!
The Pendulum Monsters
3 Mythical Beast Master Cerberus
2 Mythical Beast Jackal Knight
3 Chronograph Sorcerer
1 Timegazer Magician
3 Symphonic Warrior Guitaar
3 Symphonic Warrior Miccs
2 Abyss Actor Curtain Raiser
The next set of cards are all common inclusions in any pendulum deck, perhaps apart from the Symphonic Warriors. Curtain Raiser, Chronograph, and Master Cerberus are all great draws that get us started by efficiently summoning Electrumite. The Symphonic Warriors serve the same purpose of putting a Pendulum monster on the board, but also combo directly with our Deskbot cards by giving easy access to an extra Normal Summon. The scales in this package aren’t great for most Pendulum decks (all our 1 scales have some kind of restriction, and our next lowest scale is a 4) but they will work fine for our purposes. When we make Electrumite, it will almost always be before Pendulum Summoning, so we can use its effect to fix our scales to fit the particular play we’re doing. We will often fix our scales by searching Miccs to pair with Guitaar, so including the 3rd Miccs means we can usually do this without wasting an Electrumite effect. If we can’t do this it is usually not a problem, since the most important monsters we’ll be Pendulum Summoning are level 5 and up.
2 Ancient Gear Box
2 Ancient Gear Wyvern
3 Ancient Gear Catapult
If you thought this deck couldn’t get any weirder, we’re now adding Ancient Gear cards to it. Ancient Gear Box searches a Deskbot card when it’s added to your hand, which is conveniently done by Ancient Gear Wyvern when it’s summoned. However, don’t really want to draw either of these two, since we’d rather use Ancient Gear Catapult to fetch Wyvern from the deck. This play starts off our combo with an additional monster on our field and in our hand, as well as searching a Deskbot monster (usually 003) that we can Normal Summon right away. Although these cards can be bad in multiples and can conflict with some of our Pendulum cards, it’s important that we maximize consistency by including the greatest number of cards that access our core engine.
1 Glow-Up Bulb
1 Soul Charge
1 Upstart Goblin
1 Foolish Burial
1 Monster Reborn
If you’ve been counting, you’ll notice that we’re at 35 cards which leaves us 5 spots to build some actual defense into our deck. This is more than enough, because the type of defense we want is going to be searchable anyway and will mostly come from our Extra Deck. At this point, we have a good number of level 4 Earth monsters (both Ancient Gears and Deskbot 004), which means we can probably look at Naturia Beast as a defensive tool. Since Deskbot 001 is a Tuner, it might make sense to access Beast with that, but it can’t be Pendulum Summoned and its effect is hard for us to use. Instead, we’ll use the classic Glow-Up Bulb, since it is almost as easy to dig for and can summon itself much more easily. This deck has a bunch of level 6 monsters, so we could send Bulb with Beatrice, the Eternal Lady, but our level 6 monsters are all Pendulums and we would rather use those to make Electrumite. We can use Meliae of the Trees, which takes 2 level 3 Earth monsters, for the same effect – we should be able to make it with the 2 copies of Deskbot 003 we plan to Normal Summon. Even though consistently summoning Naturia Beast will be enough sometimes, we would also like another layer of defense to protect it. Since Deskbot 005 and Miccs are both level 5 machines, we can easily make Cyber Dragon Infinity with cards already in our deck. We can fill in the rest of our Main Deck with some generic good stuff to round it out to 40.
The Extra Deck
1 Naturia Beast
1 Cyber Dragon Nova
1 Cyber Dragon Infinity
1 Meliae of the Trees
1 Heavymetalfoes Electrumite
1 Qliphort Genius
1 Knightmare Phoenix
1 Knightmare Unicorn
1 Knightmare Cerberus
1 Proxy Dragon
1 Decode Talker
1 Borreload Dragon
1 Borrelsword Dragon
1 Topologic Bomber Dragon
1 Saryuja Skull Dread
The Extra Deck contains everything we’ll use in our combos, including the monsters we plan to end on (Beast and Infinity) and the monsters we’ll use to get there (Meliae and Electrumite). Qliphort Genius and Saryuja Skull Dread are not integral combo pieces, but they offer additional ways to do things our deck already can do. This means we will still be able to do most of our combos, even if we don’t draw a great hand. The rest of the Extra Deck is left open to strong Link monsters, mostly things we’ll want going second.
Although this is still a combo deck, there isn’t one single combo that we are trying to do every game. One hard part about learning to play this deck is figuring out how the different cards can get you to whatever end field you’re trying to make, usually Naturia Beast and Infinity. Here’s one example of a combo done with Guitaar, Deskbot 003, and Master Cerberus, plus a card to discard for Guitaar (this video was recorded before Knighmtare Goblin was banned, but you can just as easily use Proxy Dragon for this). Notice how this combo uses 2 Deskbot 002’s instead of a Deskbot 004 or Ancient Gear monster to make Naturia Beast – intricacies like this make the deck flexible and powerful, since you can do a combo many ways. It takes a while to play a deck like this perfectly, but that’s part of the fun!
That’s it for today’s article! If you have a deck idea you would like to see in an article, message the ARG PRO Yugioh Team Facebook page and we will try to make it happen! Thanks for reading and as always, Play Hard or Go Home!
Nekroz have been a fan favorite since 2015, when several their cards (including their Strategist) found themselves on the restricted list. Shurit is still banned, but with the help of some new cards from Soul Fusion, can the deck still be competitive? Let’s find out!
The first cards we’re going to look at are the Impcantations. They all have two effects – you can reveal a Ritual card (two need a monster, two need a spell) from your hand to summon them from your hand, and when you do that they pull a different Impcantation out of your deck. Their other effect triggers when they’re summoned from the deck to add a Ritual Monster or Spell from your deck or graveyard to your hand. This means if you have one in your hand that you can summon, it turns into two monsters on the field and just about any card from your deck, which is clearly a ton of utility for a card we can play 12 of. Combined with the utility of the Nekroz cards themselves, we have a consistent engine to access the cards we will need.
The obvious benefit of playing these cards is the searching effect, but we can also take advantage of the two monsters summoned by the other effect. We can tribute them for Valkyrus to draw more cards, but we can also tribute them to summon Zaborg the Mega Monarch! Zaborg’s effect will destroy itself when it’s summoned, and then we select and send 8 cards from each player’s Extra Deck to the grave. We can send our opponents’ best cards out of their Extra Deck (Sky Striker can’t do much without any of their Link monsters), but we can send even better cards out of our own Extra Deck. Herald of the Arc Light, PSY-Framelord Omega, and Toadally Awesome give us more resources to work with, while Elder Entity N’tss takes away cards from our opponent. The Impcantations ensure we’ll always have two monsters to tribute for Zaborg when we draw it, and sending 8 cards from our Extra Deck to the graveyard will almost always be enough to win us the game.
Finally, Nekroz cards are as powerful as ever thanks to the game-breaking effects of Trishula and Unicore. Even without Shurit, the engine still has a lot of the consistency it used to (plus 3 copies of Preparation of Rites). Let’s look at the decklist:
3 Impcantation Talismandra
3 Impcantation Bookstone
3 Impcantation Candoll
3 Impcantation Pensilver
We’ve already talked about how powerful these cards are, but even if they weren’t it would be difficult to cut any of these. Our best hands will have two different Impcantations so that we can summon the two we don’t draw from our deck, which means we actually want to draw the ones with the worst secondary effects. However, we want to max out on the best ones as well so that they’re always in our deck to be summoned.
3 Zaborg the Mega Monarch
3 Manju of the Ten Thousand Hands
2 Senju of the Thousand Hands
In addition to Zaborg, these other Normal Summons will make the deck more consistent and give us something to do when we don’t draw Zaborg. One Senju is excluded to make space for other cards and to avoid drawing too many Normal Summons in the same opening hand.
2 Nekroz of Trishula
2 Nekroz of Valkyrus
1 Nekroz of Gungnir
1 Nekroz of Brionac
1 Nekroz of Unicore
3 Nekroz of Clausolas
1 Reinforcement of the Army
2 Nekroz Mirror
2 Nekroz Kaleidoscope
Our Nekroz lineup is mostly self-explanatory with a few twists. Brionac, Unicore and Clausolas are the best ways for us to access the rest of our engine, so we want to play as many copies of each as we can. Gungnir, Valkyrus, and Trishula are all searchable and bad in multiples so normally we would only play one of each. However, it’s important that we’re able to summon Trishula and Valkyrus while we have another one in hand to avoid dying and to negate Widow Anchor. All the Ritual Spells are here except for Cycle, which is a lot worse without Shurit or any of the Nekroz Effect monsters.
3 Preparation of Rites
2 Extra Foolish Burial
Preparation of Rites has always been one of Nekroz’s most powerful cards, and now that it’s back at 3 it’ll help make our deck even stronger. Another new card from Soul Fusion, Extra Foolish Burial, will also help us out – by paying half our Life Points we can send Herald of the Arc Light to the graveyard, which will then search any Ritual card from our deck. Unlike Preparation of Rites, Extra Foolish Burial is limited to one copy per turn, which is why there’s only 2 in the deck.
3 Elder Entity N’tss
1 Shooting Quasar Dragon
1 Star Eater
1 PSY-Framelord Omega
3 Herald of the Arc Light
2 Toadally Awesome
1 Knightmare Unicorn
1 Knightmare Phoenix
1 Knightmare Cerberus
1 Knightmare Mermaid
Since the Impcantations prevent us from summoning from the Extra Deck, the Link monsters in this deck are limited to only the most powerful generic Links we could want. Instead, most of our space is dedicated to cards we can send with Zaborg like Herald, Toadally Awesome and N’tss, as well as some high-level Synchros we can send with Nekroz Kaleidoscope.
Nekroz is one of many decks getting support in the newest set. What are you looking forward to in Soul Fusion? Let us know, and make sure to like our ARG PRO Yugioh Team Facebook page to find all our other articles. Until next time, Play Hard or Go Home!
Now that the summer is almost over, players have turned their attention to cracking the last few releases in North America - including the new promo Summon Sorceress.
It’s got a powerful effect that can summon just about any monster from the deck, which makes it a great fit for decks that are already doing well, and allows for some cool combos we’ve never seen before. Today I’m going to walk through the construction of my Summon Sorceress Dinosaur deck, which uses the less popular of Sorceress’ two effects to do some crazy combos. Let’s get right into it!
Summon Sorceress has two effects; the first one reads “If this card is Link Summoned: You can Special Summon 1 monster from your hand in Defense Position, to your opponent’s zone this card points to.” We’re focusing on this effect, because until now it was almost impossible to reliably get a specific monster onto your opponent’s field, unless it did so with its own effect. That’s a big deal, because there are some cards that enable insane combos when they’re not under your control.
One of those monsters is Ryu Okami, which reads “If your opponent Special Summons a monster(s): Your opponent sends 1 card from their Extra Deck to the Graveyard”. This means when we give it to our opponent with Sorceress, we’ll be the ones sending a card each time we Special Summon. Monsters like Herald of the Arc Light, Elder Entity N’tss, and PSY-Framelord Omega have powerful effects after they’ve been sent to the Graveyard, and Ryu Okami is a great way to activate the effects of these monsters without needing to summon them. In this deck, we’ll be using Omega alongside Cyber Dragon Nova, whose effect summons a Machine Fusion monster from the Extra Deck when it goes to the GY by an opponent’s card. Since the Okami is on our opponent’s field, after each Special Summon we’ll get to send Nova to the grave, then its effect will summon another monster. This will trigger Okami again, this time sending Omega to put Nova back in the Extra Deck so we can keep the combo going. Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s get into the deck!
Since the actual combo of Summon Sorceress + Ryu Okami uses almost exclusively cards in the Extra Deck, we can be pretty flexible with our Main Deck choices. We want our Main Deck to facilitate the combo as much as possible, which means:
1. Searching Ryu Okami and 2. making Summon Sorceress.
Sorceress needs 2+ monsters with the same Type, which is easily done with the Knightmare Link monsters. Using Knightmare Mermaid to summon Knightmare Corruptor Iblee, we can turn any 3 monsters into a Link 1 Fiend and a Link 2 Fiend, giving us the materials for Summon Sorceress. On the first point, Mariamne, the True Dracophoenix will search Okami when it’s destroyed by a card effect, meaning the True King engine will help us consistently search out our combo pieces. This engine pairs great with dinosaurs in an already-powerful deck, which also can flood the field with monsters to help make Summon Sorceress. It also gives us Miscellaneousaurus, which will be especially important in this deck because it helps start our combos and triggers Okami additional times after we get the ball rolling.
The True Kings
3 True King Agnimazud, the Vanisher
3 Mariamne the True Dracophoenix
3 Draconic Diagram
For the True King part of the deck, there’s nothing out of the ordinary from a standard True King Dinosaur deck except for Mariamne. The engine basically gives us 9 additional copies of Okami, as well as setting off the dinosaur effects we need to make Sorceress in the first place.
3 Souleating Oviraptor
1 Black Ptera
1 Ultimate Conductor Tyranno
1 Overtex Qoatlus
3 Fossil Dig
1 Double Evolution Pill
The ugly duckling of the dinosaur lineup is Black Ptera; it’s generally a bad draw but gives us a much-needed Wind Dinosaur to use with Mariamne. It replaces Jurrac Aeolo in this list because we don’t really have the Extra Deck space for the usual Synchro plays. The single copy of Overtex Qoatlus, Ultimate Conductor Tyranno, and Double Evolution Pill are a contingency plan that let us do standard dinosaur plays with hands where we don’t have “the combo”, and strengthen our boards in the hands where we do. Ultimate Conductor has an additional niche role in the deck, where it can set Iblee on the opponent’s side of the field as a way to trigger Mariamne without other True King cards.
The Sky Strikers
3 Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage!
3 Sky Striker Mecha - Hornet Drones
If you thought this deck was too far out for Sky Strikers, you’d be mistaken! The Sky Striker cards are as powerful as ever in starting our combos, since they give 2 Link materials for our Summon Sorceress plays. Kagari being a Fire monster is also huge, as it lets us summon Agnimazud and start the rest of our plays without needing Miscellaneousaurus.
3 Ryu Okami
1 Speedroid Terrortop
1 Speedroid Taketomborg
1 Knightmare Corruptor Iblee
3 Called by the Grave
These cards aren’t found in most dinosaur lists, but they all tie in to the combo we’ve based the deck around. The Speedroids seem out of place...unless you know about Super Vehicroid - Mobile Base, a Machine Fusion that summons any “roid” monster from your deck! This will be the first Fusion we summon with Nova’s effect once we make Sorceress, since Mobile Base gives us more Special Summons and more Link materials without needing any other cards. Iblee helps us make Sorceress, since Knightmare Mermaid and another Knightmare monster meet its summoning requirements. This lets us turn any 3 monsters into Sorceress, which is another reason the Sky Strikers work so well in this deck. Last but not least, Called by the Grave is an obvious inclusion in a combo deck with so many hand traps running around.
The Extra Deck
1 Sky Striker Ace - Kagari
1 Knightmare Mermaid
1 Knightmare Cerberus
1 Knightmare Goblin
1 Summon Sorceress
1 Saryuja Skull Dread
1 Space Insulator
1 Cyber Dragon Nova
1 True King of All Calamities
1 Number 81: Super Dreadnought Rail Cannon Super Dora
1 PSY-Framelord Omega
2 Invoked Mechaba
2 Super Vehicroid - Mobile Base
One of the downsides of this deck is how little Extra Deck space there is to work with, but within the combo pieces there are almost limitless possibilities. The most flexibility is in the Machine fusions, which is where we can decide how we want the final boards to look. Invoked Mechaba is probably the best one, since it’s a strong ending monster by itself and is also Level 9, so we can combine it with a True King to make True King of All Calamities. We want at least one Mobile Base to extend our combos, but two are included here so we can end with Number 81 as an extra layer of protection. Other possibilities include Chimeratech Rampage Dragon, which is a Level 5 to make Cyber Dragon Nova and Cyber Dragon Infinity, along with an effect that sends Light Machines to the graveyard to summon ABC - Dragon Buster! With access to monsters of almost any level and a variety of effects, the combo enabled by the core of the main deck lets you flex your creative muscles and make lots of ridiculous boards.
For those of you that want to see the deck in action, here’s a video of me playing a version of the deck that ends with 2 Invoked Mechaba, ABC - Dragon Buster, Cyber Dragon Infinity, and True King of All Calamities! To get there, it’s all about using your Ryu Okami triggers to pull out monsters or put monsters back in your deck, while keeping in mind which zones your Link arrows point to. The order of your effects matters a lot, so it’s important to practice the combo before playing real games with the deck!
Summon Sorceress is one of the most talked-about cards of the year, enabling some crazy new combos that almost any deck can use. What ways are you planning on using Summon Sorceress? Don’t forget to message the ARG Pro Yugioh Facebook page if you have a deck you would like to be featured in a Deck Doctor article, and as always, Play Hard or Go Home!
By VINNIE SILVERMAN
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