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March 2012 Format Basic Deck Building Tutorial


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DARKPLANT RISING

DARKPLANT RISING

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Hi folks, it’s Darkplant. The http://forum.yugiohc...kbuilding-faq/' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>last Basic Deck Building Guide Thread was made back in 2010, and I feel that 4 formats are quite enough to change stuff. So, I decided to go for this to help you newcomers of this site. Lick my feet.

Now, let me say this before anything: Unless you happen to be the champion of all of the shop tournaments near you (which most of you aren’t), I suggest you read this. No, actually, you’ve GOT TO read this. I 100% guarantee, this guide will help you become much skilled at building powerful decks.


=Table of Contents=
I: The Importance of Choosing a Deck Goal
II: The Importance of Staples
III: The Importance of 40
IV: The Importance of Multiples and Searchers
V: The Importance of “Absolute Inferiors” and “Situational Unusables”
VI: The Importance of Monster/Spell/Trap Ratios
VII: Building the Extra Deck
VIII: The Importance of Card Advantage
IX: The Importance of Consistency
X: How to Modify Your Deck
XI: Building the Side Deck
XI-I. Siding to Take Advantage of your Opponent's Weaknesses
XI-II. Siding Against Deck Makeup
XI-III. Siding to Build on Your Deck's Strengths/Cover Weaknesses
XI-IV. Siding to Counter Your Opponent's Side Deck
XI-V. General Side Deck Construction
XI-VI. Siding
EXTRA XII: Is Netdecking a Sin?
EXTRA XIII: Using Dueling Network



I. The Importance of Choosing a Deck Goal

Now, the first 3 sections of this guide are majorly aimed to lead beginning duelists towards the right way of thinking, to slowly take apart the bricks of wrong beliefs they believe in and in its place stack up piles of pure gold. First I’ll start with this: The Importance of Choosing a Deck Goal. This Deck Goal, also known as a Win Condition, is what the deck should be aimed for. It’s quite crucial for decks.

Why’s that?

Decks exist to…well, duh, win. If a deck can’t win, it sucks, and I think anyone with a working brain can understand that too. Unless you’re going for Self-Destruct Button or Self OTK (both nothing but troll decks), every deck needs its own way to gain victory. For instance, if you’re going to build a deck based around Uria, Lord of Searing Flames, its win condition is to summon Uria and annihilate the opponent with its massive ATK. Or, if your deck is going to be based around Final Countdown, its win condition is to activate Final Countdown, stall for 20 turns, and win. You get the point.
But then, you might think, does that mean that my deck is bad? Well, my deck runs many powerful cards like Swords of Revealing Light, Magic Cylinder, Gene-Warped Warwolf and other stuff. I think it’s better than those decks focusing on a single theme because they’re too reliant on that single strategy.

Well, my answer is: No. A common mistake seen in many beginning duelists is that they randomly throw cards they thought were cool into a pile of 40 to 60 cards, and call it a deck, but this is, simply put, the wrong way of doing stuff. (No, listen! Don’t press that Red X! Keep on reading!)

This, the fact every deck needs a win condition, isn’t just my personal opinion; it’s a 100% officially confirmed fact. It’s virtually the same thing as how headaches ache and geniuses are smart. That sort of “deck” isn’t really a “deck”; it’s a pile of cardboard. Long ago, in the dawn of the game, there was a time when those types of deck ruled, but ever since the rise of Effect Monsters (which could be like, an event that happened before YOU were born, if you’re in elementary), decks that don’t have a win condition have sucked. Hard. Why is that?

That is because, very simply put, if a deck doesn’t have synergy, it loses. If a deck has synergy, it wins.

What is synergy, then?

Synergy is, according to the Oxford Dictionary:

Pronunciation: /ˈsɪnədʒi/
Noun [Mass Noun]
The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.


In the case with Yugioh, Synergy is basically the use of two or more cards that produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. One very easy example of this is Dark Hole and Monster Reborn. You nuke the field with Dark Hole, and then use Monster Reborn on the powerful monster that was just killed so that it’s guaranteed a direct attack. Of course, these two cards are very powerful on their own, but by combining them, they created synergy and resulted in a game-turning move.

The best example of when synergy creates madness is probably in the case with the tournament-level deck known as Inzektors. Inzektor Dragonfly and Centipede activate their uber-powerful effects when cards equipped to them are sent to the Graveyard, and Inzektor Hornet and Ladybug can send themselves to the Graveyard to activate equally uber-powerful effects. This is the reason Inzektors are tournament-level: They have amazing synergy with each other.

If you use a 60-card deck with no win condition (let’s say that aforementioned deck running Swords, Magic Cylinder and Gene-Warped,) chances you can pull off a combo like Inzektors can are EXTREMELY slim. While these cards may be powerful on their own to an extent, they lose before the power of synergy.

On the other hand, decks aimed at a particular Win Condition have many cards that synergy with each other. An opening hand of 6 cards can unleash powers equal to that of 10 normal cards. Isn’t that quite splendid? And see, that’s exactly why those decks win.

Well, they often say in anime that friendship can beat anything. Okay, so maybe normal friendship can’t, but friendship between card effects CAN.

Speaking of anime, anime characters play decks that don’t have synergy but win. I’ve even heard someone say that’s proof decks with no concepts are good.

…Are they stupid?

It’s an anime. It’s entertainment. If the main character keeps on using the same strategy over and over again it becomes boring, so the writers give the main character random cards and stuff. That’s why anime characters almost never use the same strategy twice and…

…Oh, Yuma with his Utopia Ray OTK?

…Forget it.

Anyhow, now care to see why I said that synergy is important, and every deck needs its Win Condition?

Now then, now that you’ve (probably) understood that Win Conditions are necessary, let’s move onto a different level.

After hearing the above stuff, maybe some people will think “Okay, let’s make a deck that has a good win condition!” and go make a deck with a concept – let’s say, Machines. But this guy seems to have done it wrong. Take a look at it:
…Well, see the problem with this? Well, four to be exact. One is directly connected to something I already talked over, so I’ll explain it now.

I decided to waste my time writing that terrible decklist because many beginning duelists do this type of mistake too: They think “Machine deck” “Dragon deck” etc. is considered a valid deck. THIS IS WRONG.

Why? Well, I said that “a deck needs synergy”. The above decklist maybe a “Machine deck”, but it doesn’t have a single card that supports Machine-Types, so it doesn’t have synergy. In a way, it’s even worse than normal cardboard piles given how it restricts the things you can throw in. If you’re making a “Machine deck”, there should be a reason it’s a Machine Deck, instead of…let’s say, Sea Serpents.

Well, if it’s a Machine Deck, Machines have tons of good support, so you should be running them unless you’ve got a reason not to. Limiter Removal, Machina Fortress, etc. Also, DARK Level 4 Machines have synergy with Black Salvo, one of the best Tuners ever.

However, do keep in mind that just because you chose a win condition for a deck, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run things that don’t match with it. Some cards are so powerful they can be ran in almost anything without much thinking and be expected to work amazing. And remember how I said “three problems” with the above list? Well, the second one is that it’s too Highlander (runs too many cards at 1), and the third is the problem with balance, but those are for later. The final problem leads us to the second section of this guide: The Importance of Staples.



II: The Importance of Staples

So, this section is titled “The Importance of Staples”, but what are “Staples” anyways?
“Staples” in this case refers to the cards that can be ran in almost all decks and directly lead to victories. The most major ones are:

Spells
1x Dark Hole
1x Monster Reborn
1x Heavy Storm

Traps
2x Solemn Warning
1x Solemn Judgment
2x Torrential Tribute

In addition, many decks nowadays tend to run 2 or 3 Effect Veiler. Book of Moon, Mirror Force and 2 or 3 Mystical Space Typhoon are also very important additions to most decks. These cards are quite flexible, and can get you out of situations otherwise difficult to overcome.

However, this rule does not work for all decks. Exodia decks, for example, shouldn’t run any Traps because they want to get all the combo parts as fast as possible. Likewise, decks running Jinzo and/or Royal Decree shouldn’t run many Traps, so they could take out the above Staple Traps during the process of deck building.

Overall, however, you should just remember to run them and you’re fine.

Now, since there’s nothing much more to discuss here, how about I tell you guys exactly what’s so good about the Solemn Trio.

Solemn Judgment and Solemn Warning are known by tournament players as amazing Traps. In fact, many would argue they are the three best Traps in the format.

Many beginning players are puzzled by this. The Solemn Trio require loads of Life Points, and on first glance they MAY seem horrible. However, these three all have effects that make up for it, because many cards in this meta are so powerful you can’t let the opponent even summon it.

In other words, if you let Inzektor Dragonfly or Evolzar Laggia be summoned, it’s pretty much gg*. At least I’d lose 2000 Life Points over 8000. (*gg=Abbreviation for “Good game”. Used often in the online site Dueling Network.) Besides, even if you have only 50 LP left when the duel ends, it’s fine as it’s not 0. So, many duelists try to fit the Solemn Trio into most of their decks.



III. The Importance of 40

Okay, let’s put it nice and simple: If you think 60-card-decks are the best type of deck possible, you’re doing it wrong. And no, this isn’t a random guy from nowhere telling you that you’re doing it wrong. It’s a semi-competitive player who just came back from topping locals. Believe me, there are only a countable number of decks in which there’s an excuse to not making your deck 40 to 45 cards.

Now, the biggest question is: Why?

Simple. Because, if you can draw all the cards you want, you win. …Duh. See why I said “simple”?

In sections I and II, I explained the importance of having a win condition, and focusing your deck on it. Well, let’s look at this from two viewpoints.

Firstly, the chances of drawing a particular Limited Staple in your opening hand with a 40-card deck are without doubt higher than the chances of drawing a particular Staple in your opening hand with a 60-card deck. This makes it easier for you to draw Dark Hole, Monster Reborn, Heavy Storm, and the crew. Staples are called Staples because they win, and the more you can draw card that win, chances you win rise. I don’t think we’re doing advanced stuff here.

Secondly (similarly to above), the chances of drawing 2 particular Combo Parts in your opening hand with a 40-card deck are without doubt higher than the chances of drawing those 2 particular Combo Parts in your opening hand with a 60-card deck. And of course, if you can pull off a combo and activate synergy, chances you win rise. Again, this is pretty easy to understand. If you still can’t understand, try it. That’s the best way.

Of course, there are some irregulars to this rule. However, there are only a countable number of them, and until you become a skilled, tournament-level player, you shouldn’t try to increase the number of cards in your deck.

It can be said that the smaller your deck, the better it is. However, knowing ONLY that isn’t enough. You also need something else, and that’s written in Section IV.



IV: The Importance of Multiples and Searchers

In Section III, I explained how 40 decks are superior to 60-card ones, but that’s under the assumption you’re running the same number of Staples and/or Combo Parts. What do I mean?

I mean that, the chances of opening up with Card A in your hand in a 60-card deck that runs 3 Copies of Card A > the chances of opening up with Card A in your hand in a 40-card deck that runs 1 Copy of Card A. Pretty obvious math, but anyways.

Meaning, you should run the powerhouses and combo-key cards at maximum number. This increases the chances of getting good hands. For instance, most Inzektor Decks run 3 each of Hornet, Ladybug, Centipede, and Dragonfly. Also, a Rescue Rabbit Deck would always run 3 Rabbit and 3 Tour Guide.

Of course, this does not always work. For instance, Uria Decks may not always run Uria at 3 because it can clog at over 2. Also, Gadget Decks may run only 2 of each Gadget because they need only 1 in the opening hand. But, it goes for most decks so it’s something worth noting.

Speaking of Gadgets, effects that search/draw cards win games. There are two reasons for this.

One is quite clear: By searching or drawing cards, you can increase the number of possible moves, and create your combos faster too. For instance, Pot of Duality is often used to search cards you want in that particular situation. Also, if you run 3 cards that can search a specific card that you also run at 3, that’s pretty much the same thing as running 6 copies of it (Take a look at Hieratic Seal of Convocation, which allows a Hieratic Player to pretty much run 6 copies of Tefnuit. Or Su. Whatever he doesn’t have to complete the Hieratic OTK).

Another is, while it seems irrelevant on first glance, simply thinning the deck. If you search or draw, the number of cards in your deck is inevitably decreased by 1. This means, from that second and then on, the chances of drawing stuff you want in normal draws becomes that of when you’re using a 39-card deck. If you get what I mean. If you didn’t, reread it and I think you’ll understand. This might not be a large difference if it’s just 1 card, but the searches and draws stack up till it starts to affect the chances of drawing key cards considerably.

Some of the most splashable draw engines are Pot of Duality and Cardcar D. Upstart Goblin is another option. Decks running 7+ DARK Monsters can also benefit from Allure of Darkness.

IMPORTANT NOTE-The expected value of how many copies of a card you can draw in the opening hand of a 40-card deck is “How many copies of it you run” X 0.15. So, in the aforementioned Hieratic Deck, 3 copies each of Tefnuit and Hieratic Seal of Convocation means the expected value of how many of them you can draw in the first turn is 6x0.15=0.90.



V: The Importance of “Absolute Inferiors” and “Situational Unusables”

Both of these two words are things I made up for this guide, so they aren’t official terms. But I feel it’s quite an important thing for beginners to know.

Let’s take a look at Hero Barrier, an Elemental HERO support card that negates an attack.

Many beginners may want to run this in Elemental HERO decks, thinking it increases the synergy of the deck. However, this is a mistake. This is because there are countless cards strictly better than Hero Barrier in any given situation, such as:

-Mirror Force
-Sakuretsu Armor
-Dimensional Prison
-Draining Shield
-Magic Cylinder
-Threatening Roar
-Waboku
-Negate Attack

…Pretty damn lot, huh?

Hero Barrier requires a HERO, and only negates one attack. Meanwhile, Mirror Force doesn’t require a HERO, and destroys the attacking monster too. Sakuretsu Armor is similar, but destroys only 1 monster. Dimensional Prison is a Banish version of Sakuretsu Armor…and so on. By this time you can probably see that there is not a single reason to run Hero Barrier in any given deck. Let’s call these types of cards Absolute Inferiors. Because, well, they’re absolutely inferior to others.

Absolute Inferiors are never to be ran, unless when you want to run over 4 copies of its Absolute Superior that you can’t search. For instance, even if you feel that you want to run 4 Mystical Space Typhoons, you can’t. You can, however, run an additional Dust Tornado, normally inferior to Mystical Space Typhoon, and cover it up. However, if there’s a card like this:

Additional Wind
Normal Spell
Add 1 “Mystical Space Typhoon” from your Deck to your hand.


Then, you should probably be running it over that Dust Tornado.

Also, at times Absolute Inferiors can be overall better than the Absolute Superior due to support. For instance, Hieratic Seal of the Sun Dragon Overlord may seem like an Absolute Inferior to Rabidragon, but it can benefit from support of the Hieratics, and its low ATK also enables many fun combos.

Now onto “Situational Unusables”.

Let’s take a look at Rainbow Dark Dragon, a card many beginners tend to run in any DARK deck. Rainbow Dark Dragon may look like a very useful card on first glance to a beginner. It’s got a 4000 bulk and can be SS-ed from the hand. But, in fact it’s considered terrible outside its own deck because it’s a Situational Unusable.

A Situational Unusable is a card that can be only used under specific circumstances, and is therefore considered too hard to summon or activate. Rainbow Dark Dragon requires 7 DARK Monsters in your Graveyard to summon, which is quite hard to achieve unless it’s VERY later-game. Unless you use cards like Armageddon Knight or Dark Grepher, a normal 40-card deck running 20 DARKs and no draw/search engines would take approximately 8 turns to even draw 7 DARK decks anyways. Even if you DO run Armageddon Knight and Dark Grepher, the fact remains firm that Rainbow Dark Dragon can often rot in the hand.

Situational Unusables are considered weak because unless their conditions are fulfilled, they are completely useless dead draws; in most cases, you will not be lucky enough to draw them at the same time as the other card that they absolutely require, which means that that particular draw has essentially been wasted. Imagine if you were suddenly told in the middle of a duel by the judge that you can’t draw anything next turn. You’d punch that judge in the face wouldn’t you? But running too much Situational Unusables can very easily create a similar situation. Except, in that case you’ve got to punch yourself.

Not all seemingly situational cards are really situational. For instance, Dark Armed Dragon can seem like a Situational Unusable at first glance, but in fact it’s very easy to summon. At times, you may need to testplay cards yourself to see if it’s a Situational Unusable or not.

Most of the time, it is best to not run Absolute Inferiors or Situational Unusables.



VI: The Importance of Monster/Spell/Trap Ratios

Many beginners already know this, but in most decks, you should run monsters and Spell/Traps at an approx. 1:1 ratio. Of course, this doesn’t go for everything, though.

For instance, Anti-Meta Elemental HERO Beatdown Decks may run 10 or less monsters. This is for two reasons – one, they run Reinforcement of the Army and E – Emergency Call, both Spell Cards that pretty much act as monsters. And two, they run multiple copies of Elemental HERO Bubbleman, which is a card that is useless in decks running many monsters.

Also, Gallis Decks run 40 Monsters and no Traps, to complete its OTK/FTK. And, they run cards like Effect Veiler to make up for the lack of Spell/Traps. As shown in these two cases, the 1:1 rule can be ignored completely in some decks.

If you can’t find enough monsters that fit into your deck, that probably means it’s fine without 20. Likewise, if you feel you don’t need 20 Spell/Traps, you probably don’t.

Some cards like Effect Veiler, Maxx “C”, and D.D. Crow are rarely summoned, and act more like Traps. These are often called Hand Traps, and it could be better to count them in Spell/Traps.

Okay, so up to here I’ve explained most stuff about the Main Deck. So, obviously, the next step is to explain about the http://yugioh.wikia....iki/Extra_Deck' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'>Extra.



VII: Building the Extra Deck

In the cases with most decks, A POWERFUL EXTRA DECK IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS A POWERFUL MAIN DECK. This is because while cards in the Main Deck are useless unless they come to the hand, Synchro and Xyz Monsters can be used from multiple situations. For instance, you have to draw Foolish Burial to use it, but Lavalval Chain can activate the same effect as Foolish Burial at any time, as long as you have 2 Level 4 Monsters.

Now, first: I explained in Section IV to run multiple copies of powerful cards. However, save for several irregulars, this does NOT go for the Extra Deck. The reason is rather simple.

Good duelists run multiple copies of powerful cards in the Main Deck to increase the chances of drawing it. However, how many copies of Stardust Dragon you run obviously does NOT increase the chances of summoning it. It does, however, increase the chances of summoning a second copy from 0% to 100%, and this is why I said “save for several irregulars”. If a deck constantly wants to summon over 2 copies of the same Extra-Decked Monster, you should run multiple copies of it. Otherwise, run 1 each of everything. There are only 15 slots for the Extra Deck, and the more options you have, the better your chances of victory are.

Then, most of you will be thinking: What are the best options?

So, for those of you thinking like that, here’s a list of the several best Generic (Generic = “Not having summoning requirements except Levels”. For instance, Constellar Pleiades and Chaos King Archfiend are not generic, while Maestroke the Symphony Djinn and Black Rose Dragon are) Xyz and Synchro monsters for each Rank/Level. Cards already released in the TCG are bolded. Others are OCG only. The higher the place in the section is, the better it is in most decks (for instance, in Rank 3s requiring 2 materials, Wind-Up Zenmaines > Leviair the Sea Dragon > Number 17: Leviathan Dragon > …etc.) However, this is (i) just my personal opinion, and (ii) does not go for all decks. This is just some advice, and does NOT go for everything. Also, Xyz Monsters requiring over 3 materials are generally looked down upon, but depending on the deck, it could be more powerful than a weak Xyz Monster of the same Rank with 2 materials.



Now onto the non-Generics worth using. You may have realized that there are a low number of generic Synchros compared to Xyz – that is because most of the best Synchros are non-generic. Now, the list is very long, and it took me several hours to copy-paste everything. All my wasted computer time.
Non-Generic Synchros (Alphabet Order)
Non-Generic Xyz (Alphabet Order)


…*Pant pant pant pant pant*

…I hope…you…got…the…idea.

*Faints*



VIII: The Importance of Card Advantage

...I’m…back…to…normal. Yeah. Damn, that list was so…yeah.

Okay, back onto topic: When you’re going to create a deck that can win, Card Advantage is a very important aspect. The next several paragraphs are copy-pasted from Crab Helemet’s previous Deck Building FAQ, because I felt it was written perfectly:

Card Advantage is determined by how many cards your hand contains compared to your opponent's hand - your Hand Advantage - and how many cards your field contains compared to your opponent's field - your Field Advantage. Essentially, a player can be considered to "have" cards in their hand and field (but not in their deck and Graveyard), and card advantage is about increasing the number of cards that you "have" compared to the number of cards that your opponent "has".

For example, Two-Pronged Attack requires the user to lose three cards he or she controls - two monsters and Two-Pronged Attack itself - in order to eliminate a single monster the opponent controls. This means that Two-Pronged Attack hurts the user by putting the user two points of card advantage behind the opponent. This is represented in standard notation as a "-2". Meanwhile, cards like Smashing Ground and Destiny Draw, which do not put the user behind at all in terms of card advantage, are called "+0", as the user "breaks even". Most good cards are +0 or better; -1 cards drain the user's card advantage.

Card advantage does not take into account Life Points and is generally considered to be more important than Life Points - thus, cards like Ookazi are -1 in terms of card advantage, as the user gives them up to obtain no more cards and remove no cards from the opponent. This is because a player with more card advantage can expect in the remainder of the game to be able to do much more Life Point damage to the opponent, while a player with low card advantage is unlikely to be as effective. A Life Point advantage, on the other hand, is no nearly as useful, as having higher Life Points does not provide any system with which to gain even more Life Point advantage - the only Life Point that makes any difference is the last one. (Darkplant Note-Remember how I said the Solemn Trio are amazing? Well, this is exactly what I meant.)

Note that analyzing the effect on card advantage of a card is not the singular, final way of analyzing its strength. For example, Thunder Dragon is a pure +1 in terms of card advantage, but the cards it adds to the hand are basically useless, which means that it is not widely used. Meanwhile, Foolish Burial is a -1 in terms of card advantage, but it is capable of setting up powerful plays, so it is still considered a very good card.

Now, back to me, Darkplant.

I said in Section V to not run Situational Unusables. This is because if a card rots in the hand, it’s virtually the same thing as nothing, and that draw becomes useless. Compared to when you drew a useful card, it’s a -1.

Also, many staples can generate mass advantage. Take Dark Hole and Heavy Storm for example.

Now, back to the point.

Powerful decks are normally defined by being able to consistently either (i) OTK, or (ii) generate mass advantage. Hieratics, Chaos Dragons, etc. belong in (i) and are often called OTK Decks (in a way, Wind-Ups can be seen as an OTK deck too, because the opponent is often left with nothing to do after the loop activates successfully and pretty much has to surrender). Inzektors, DinoRabbit, and Dark Worlds etc. belong in (ii) and are often called Control Decks. Most of the time, Control Decks are more likely to top tournaments than OTK Decks, because OTK Decks often throw out most of its protective cards, and are easily steamrolled if their main strategy gets countered in the Side Deck. OTK Decks generally end up in 2nd~8th place, but if its user knows well how to counter the counters, chances of victory are undeniable.



IX: The Importance of Consistency

Consistency is, according to the Oxford Dictionary, “the quality of always behaving in the same way or of having the same opinions, standard, etc.” In Yugioh, Consistency refers to “the quality of always being able to pull off its combos or winning plays, etc.” Of course, consistent decks are more likely to win compared to inconsistent decks, because they can almost always get their combo parts in the opening hand.

All of the tournament-level decks I mentioned in Section VI are consistent. Hieratics and Chaos Dragons can consistently OTK, while Inzektors can consistently complete the hideously overpowered Inzektor Loop (Dragonfly + Hornet/Ladybug). DinoRabbit can consistently summon multiple copies of the dreaded Evolzar Laggia, their win condition ace monster that’s a walking Solemn Judgment. Dark Worlds can consistently rip apart the opponent’s strategies with Dragged Down into the Grave, and gain mass card advantage through Gate of the Dark World and Grapha, Dragon Lord of the Dark World.

Well, now that I explained Card Advantage and Consistency, a question: What do you do when you find your deck can’t generate much card advantage and/or isn’t consistent? Let’s move onto Section X: How to Modify Your Deck.



X: How to Modify Your Deck

Now that you’ve chosen your concept, thrown in the staples and searchers and draw engines, made the deck 40 cards, taken out the Absolute Inferiors and Situationals, and set the Monster/S/T ratio to the ideal form for the concept, you might have a very consistent and advantage-generating deck at your disposal. However, chances are it still needs some fixing.

When you’re editing a deck, keep in mind the obvious fact that you’re taking cards out and throwing cards in. In other words, you’re taking the useless cards out and throwing the needed cards in. Deck Editing is basically an infinite loop version of this.

For instance, let’s say you start your Inzektor Deck like:
First Draft

After several test plays, you realize you often get dead draws. This is because Inzektor Giga-Mantis, Ant, and Verdant Sanctuary are not worth running at 3 in this deck. Giga-Mantis is a dead draw if you don’t have an Inzektor. Ant and Verdant Sanctuary are useless, each because Dragonfly and Centipede’s effects don’t activate in the Damage Step so Ant can’t trigger them, and Dragonfly and Centipede give you enough searching power so Verdant Sanctuary isn’t needed.

Also, Dark Armed Dragon turned out not very useful since Hornet destroys everything on its own.

After taking out the 10, you decide to throw in things that can solve problems about the deck. For instance, if you found Inzektor Dragonfly can’t activate all the time because of Solemns and Veilers, you can run Call of the Haunted to solve that problem. If you always got OTK’ed by Chaos Dragons and Grapha was a constant threat, it may be best to run Bottomless Trap Hole. And since Inzektor Ladybug acted as an out when you couldn’t draw Hornet, you should decide to run 3 copies of it.

-3 Giga-Mantis
-3 Ant
-3 Verdant Sanctuary
-1 Dark Armed Dragon

+3 Call of the Haunted
+2 Bottomless Trap Hole
+2 Inzektor Ladybug

Now, there are still 3 slots left. Here, you could run 3 Pot of Dualities, because they increase the overall consistency of a deck. IMPORTANT: If a deck is inconsistent, try running 3 PoD at a start.

Now, revised:
Second Draft


Now the deck is much better. However, after some tests, you realize something.

Giga-Mantis WAS important.

Gigamantis can OTK when combined with Hornet. And, it’s easily searchable via Centipede. You think of running 3 again, but remember how it clogged. Two? No, still not the best idea.

…Running at 1?

Yes, that’s the answer. If a card can have explosive powers, and is searchable by consistent means, but can rot in the hand at times, it’s a good idea to try it at 1. Giga-Mantis is the perfect example of this.

What should you take out now? Well, if you felt you don’t need 3 Haunted, you can take that out. Let’s say you did that.

So, now it’s:
Third Draft


Now, only 1 card has changed, but this is quite enough to raise the win ratio of the deck dramatically given how Giga-Mantis can OTK.

Up to here, I’ve explained how to create your own deck and edit it to make it better. But there’s another approach to building decks.


EXTRA XI: Building the Side Deck

Now that we’ve built the Main and Extra Decks and edited them to make it stronger, let’s move onto the Side Deck.

Unlike the other two, at least I think most people don’t use the Side Deck in duels against friends, and so not many people know how to build it competitively. This is because Side Decks are meant for Matches, the rules set for Official Tournaments. Of course, competitive duelists might test their decks in Matches with friends, but anyways.

Given how I’ve written a lot of stuff up to here, you might be thinking I’m a world-level duelist, but in fact, I myself am far from an expert with Side Decking. Sure, I am an experienced player, and I have enough skills to consistently top the locals nearby, but those locals are far from the best. When I go to the larger ones, I can’t get past the third round consistently. :(

Well, since this is meant to be a perfect guide, I have to make a Side Deck section too. So, to do that, I got some help from another famous member of the TCG Section, Agro. Most of the following in this section was written by him, and then edited a bit by me. Thanks!

NOTE-To make it easier to read, Agro divided this into 6 sections.

XI-I. Siding to Take Advantage of your Opponent's Weaknesses

This is the most important reason why Side Decks directly lead to victory, and arguably, the original thing for which the Side Deck was created. You use the Side Deck to side into cards that attack the weaknesses in your Opponent's deck.

The first thing to remember is that ALL decks have a weakness. Why? Because all the good decks rely on synergy. While synergy may be amazing as I explained earlier, it also means that a deck needs to rely on a strategy, and it becomes utterly useless if that strategy is foiled. A consistent strength always means a consistent weakness. (And if your opponent DOESN’T have a strategy, you should be able to win without siding.)

Inzektors may be able to work with each other by using Dragonfly and Centipede to continuously use Hornet, Ladybug, and Hopper, but that also means that they rely on having those three cards in the hand or Graveyard, where they can be Equipped to other Inzektors. Therein is the weakness of the deck: If they can't fetch Hornet, Ladybug or Hopper, they can’t complete their overpowered combos and their synergy is eliminated. Without those three, Inzektors can’t activate their effects, and become nothing but worthless Vanillas.

In simpler terms, this method of Side Decking is meant to limit what the opponent can do, and, inevitably, stop the deck from achieving its Deck Goal.

Inzektors rely on the Graveyard, so you’ve got to attack the Opponent's Graveyard. The same can be said of Chaos Dragons, Lavals, Dark Worlds, or Hieratics, all of which can be considered top tier-material in the OCG or TCG. Likewise, any Rabbit deck relies on using Rescue Rabbit's effect to bring out their win conditions, so, as you can expect, the idea would be to stop Rabbit from reaching the field. But finding the card to side against Rabbit may be harder than against Inzektors.

If you think about it, Rabbit's combo to bring out their main cards takes a few steps, going first from Rabbit, then to the two Normal Monsters that the opponent Special Summons, then to the monster they intend to use to attempt to win with (most likely Evolzar Laggia or Dolkka). Any of the points up to bringing the final monster out can be attacked by a side deck card.

Even the win condition can be a card that one could side against, mainly to remove it. Snowman Eater is commonly sided against Dino Rabbit because if it's attacked by Evolzar Laggia, Laggia won't be able to stop it from destroying it, thereby eliminating the win condition.

So that's the first idea: Siding against the strategy of the deck to attempt to stop it from doing what it wants to do. Simple enough, right? The more a card does to stop a deck, the better it is as a side option.

XI-II. Siding Against Deck Makeup

I'll make this simple to understand from the get-go. The second way to side against a deck is to attack the structure of the deck.

An interesting thing to note about decks these days is that the cards within may share similarities. Decks like Dino Rabbit or Inzektors use many key monsters with low ATK power, as well as key cards with high ATK power. Either of these traits can be attacked (for example, you can use Chain Disappearance to take out low ATK monsters or Bottomless Trap Hole to take out high ATK monsters)

Other similarities you may see are that a certain deck may use the same Attribute. In those cases, you can use cards that attack the fact that your Opponent only uses one Attribute. Inzektors and Dark Worlds are all DARK, therefore you can side against them by using something like Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror to negate all their effects.

You can do the same thing with Types instead of Attributes. The best example of this is versus Machine Decks, where you can use cards like Cyber Dragon (along with Chimeratech Fortress Dragon) or System Down to eliminate all your opponent's Machine-Types.

The basic idea is that, if a deck uses many cards that are similar in one way or another, you can side in cards that attack that similarity. Similarities can even be as simple as having unusually high numbers of Monsters, Spells, or Traps; even that can be something to attack.

For Spells or Traps, you can have cards like Royal Decree, or for more general backrow removal, any extra Mystical Space Typhoons or Dust Tornadoes. For Monsters, you have Skill Drain to take out effects, or cards like Smashing Ground or Soul Taker to simply eliminate them.

You can also attack a Deck's variety. If your opponent uses many Types/Attributes, it’s not a good idea to use pinpoint-killer cards like Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror or System Down, but you can side in cards that punish “running many Types/Attributes” instead for a devastating blow. There are not many cards that belong in this category; in fact, there are only 2 of them even worth talking about. However, these two, Rivalry of Warlords and Gozen Match (both Continuous Traps that force a duelist to use only one Type or Attribute, respectively), are both extremely efficient against decks with variety.

That’s pretty much it for this section.

XI-III. Siding to Build on Your Deck's Strengths/Cover Weaknesses

Usually, these types of cards are those that can be ran in the Main Deck, but aren’t because they’re useless in some common matchups. There aren't many examples of cards like this, as cards that attack the opponent are much better and more commonly sided, but there are certainly more than a few that address these issues.

A good example of one of these cards is Return from the Different Dimension. Chaos Dragons sometimes decide to run this card, but most duelists will side it. The reason for this is that while it can, many times, bring out many monsters in an OTK scenario, if the matchup won't end up banishing monsters consistently, the card won't be as consistent.

D.D Crow is more generic, and can also be thought of as one of these cards. Crow is very good against many matchups, but it's terrible against others. With that in mind, it’s usually sided instead of main'd, since it's not considered important enough to keep in the Main Deck and can be easily be sided in in a matchup that requires it. Other examples of this type of Side-Decked card can be Super Polymerization in HEROs and Dark Smog in Dark Worlds.

Siding is more than just strengthening your matchup; it's also making sure that your deck doesn't lose to the basic ideas of the matchup. And speaking of which, most of you might have already realized: Just countering your opponent isn’t enough. Why? Because, your opponent will also try to counter you too.

XI-IV. Siding to Counter Your Opponent's Side Deck

Even if you can side against an opponent's Deck, you also need to know what your opponent will try to side against you. Against Chaos Dragons or Inzektors, a Dino Rabbit deck will try to side in Macro Cosmos to crush the win condition of the deck. Given how your opponent will be siding too, you’ve got to side not only against your opponent's Deck, but also your opponent's Side deck.

Many competitive players use this idea when creating their side deck, and it derives from the basis of knowing your own deck. If you don't know your own deck's strengths and weaknesses, you'll never be able to properly side as your opponent will always be one step ahead of you.

This changes with every deck, of course, but an example of what I mean here is along the same line of thinking as what I said at the end of Section III. You're siding to eliminate your deck's weaknesses. In a match-up against Dino Rabbit, Graveyard-manipulating decks such as Dark Worlds, Chaos Dragons and Inzektors will side in Royal Decree or other Spell/Trap destruction because they know what a Dino Rabbit deck will try to do to them (as already mentioned, Macro Cosmos).

XI-V. General Side Deck Construction

While many cards are very good to side against certain decks, they may not all be the best choices. No cards should be sided in if they directly affect your own deck's consistency and can stop your own deck's win condition too. You won't side in Macro Cosmos if you're running Chaos Dragons and you won't side in Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror if you're running Dark Worlds. Why? Because it crushes your own strategy too.

That being said, there are some cards that can be played around. Koa'ki Meiru Drago can be sided into Chaos Dragons even though its effects negatively impact every other monster in the deck because it can easily be removed from the field and then brought back without no trouble at all to the user. (Similarly, back when Royal Oppression was at 1, Blackwings ran it without any problem. The objective was to activate it AFTER you spammed the field, and leave your opponent with no resources to clear the field.)

Much like Extra Decks, remember that having a maxed out side deck doesn't decrease deck consistency and, in fact, only increases your options, so you should always be playing with 15 cards in the side deck. When making decisions on what to use those 15 cards for, your best bet is to focus the majority on cards that attack the win condition of other decks and focus only a small bit, or none at all, on increasing your own deck's defenses. (However, much like Main Decks, you’re better off running multiples of strong cards in the Side Deck. Obviously, because cards in the Side Deck mainly go into the Main Deck and are useless unless you draw them.)

The side cards best used towards covering your own deck's weaknesses are only really necessary if the weakness is extremely apparent. Chaos Dragons and Inzektors almost NEED to side in Royal Decree because of how easily a card like Macro Cosmos, which is run or sided in Dino Rabbits (one of the best and most used decks, I might add), can utterly destroy them.

Remember to look at the decks that you'll normally play and know their strengths and weaknesses when deciding what to side. After all, you won't ever need to side against a deck you'll never see played.

At the time of this article's writing, the top decks (in the TCG) are Dino Rabbit, Chaos Dragons, Inzektors, HEROs, and Dark Worlds, so if you're going to side against ANYTHING, your best bet is to side against these decks.

Another thing to note when looking at those decks is to see if there are cards that work against many of them. Inzektors and Dark Worlds can both be stopped by Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, so rather than put two different cards into the side deck to deal with the two decks, you can just side in one and have more space for other decks.

Remember though, that just because a deck is topping at an YCS doesn't mean that the decks you will play will be those decks. Each area has its own niche. For all you know, your locals could be filled with a ton of Ninja players! There'd be little point in siding against all the top tier decks if you don't face them, right? So be sure to check out what type of decks you'll facing, to know just what type of decks you should be siding for.

XI-VI. Siding

So now you've built your side deck. Now, how do you use it?

Well, this is actually pretty simple, and all you really need to do is understand a few key principles.

First off: When taking cards out of your Main Deck, take the cards that are least helpful in your matchup.

Sometimes this may come down to you just having an inkling of doubt about whether you should take it out. After all, you spent so much time making that deck the way you want it, if you look at it while siding you may see just a bunch of cards that are too important to possibly take out. That being said, you don't always NEED to side. Sometimes you may not have the resources or your matchup is just that good enough anyway.

For instance, against Hieratics, Heavy Storm is useless. Against Dark Worlds, you should take out your Effect Veilers.

Secondly: Don't throw everything in.

Oh look, all of these cards can be sided against the opponent's deck and be used very well, let’s throw them all in – that’s what most beginner professionals think, but most of the time, it’s not that easy. It's not an exact science, though, really, not much of siding ever is, but it's important to know when siding in certain cards will only work to hurt consistency. If you lose consistency because you throw in too many anti-opponent cards, that defeats the purpose completely.

Most of the time, you should side 7 at most. This is because, as explained in Section IV, the expected value of how many copies of a card you can draw in the opening hand of a 40-card deck is “How many copies of it you run” X 0.15 (yeah, as far as games of luck go, mathematics solve everything). This means, if you side in 7 cards, you’re bound to draw approximately 1 card you sided in. More than that, and it becomes difficult for you to set up your own strategy.

Third: Don’t take out the cards that can increase consistency.

The act of siding itself is a double-edged sword; cards originally in your deck were all there for the sole purpose of winning anyways, and taking them out can result in very dangerous issues. Consistency drops drastically if you side out the wrong cards, and at times, you could have been better off without siding. Yes, consistency. Not again, you groan, but it’s the inescapable truth. The game is basically MADE OF consistency.

Well, some beginners side out Pot of Duality and Cardcar-D against bad match-ups because they think it doesn’t directly lead to victory. Most of the time, this is a bad idea – in fact, consistency-increasing cards like draw engines/searchers act crucially in the second and third duels of a match.

Fourth: Don’t take out too many monsters.

At times, beginners take out many monsters in a side change because they feel they’re unneeded. Again, a mistake. This could lead to many hands that can disrupt the opponent, but never get its combos working. Of course, you can’t win with that.

In some cases, you can even take out the staples when side changing. For instance, against Hieratics and Dark Worlds, you can take out Dark Hole and throw a Bottomless in instead. That’s better than taking out a crucial monster.

Fifth: Obviously, never take out combo parts.

I don’t think I need to explain on this. If you’re taking out your Inzektor Dragonflys to increase your Anti-Macro-Cosmos cards, you deserve to go down a lava pit for stupidity.

Well, those are pretty much it. Good luck with your siding.


EXTRA XII: Is Netdecking a Sin?

Netdecking is the act of copying a decklist you saw on the internet and using it yourself. Now, some may think, “that’s unfair!” But, I personally think this is quite fine in some cases.

One example of what I consider “fine netdecking” is when you want to look at how a particular deck moves – because, the best option is to use it yourself. For instance, if you can’t beat the Karakuri decks dominating your locals, you might want to netdeck it and see how it moves. During the duels, you find what exactly can annoy a Karakuri player most, and likewise, what sort of enemy it can crush with ease. After those test duels, you can edit your side deck and give it a solution to Karakuris. In other words, netdecking a deck allows you to see its strong and weak points. I mentioned in Section XI about how you can you use your Side Deck to destroy the key strategies of the opponents’ decks, but to do that, you’ve got to know how they work.

Also, decks posted on the internet are generally better than those beginning players create. By looking at them, you can learn their techniques and, in a way, basically get advice straight from the pros. If you just copy-paste without thinking, that’s a bad netdeck. But if you think carefully – “Why does this guy run this?” “Should I really run this too?” “Does this fit my playstyle?” – that’s perfectly fine, at least in my opinion. The easiest way to learn is to look at the best stuff.

Finally, when creating a new deck you have no idea how to make, you can first netdeck and then edit it to your choice. When you want to know about an undermeta (non-competitive) deck, this comes in quite handy at times because no one around you knows how to build it right.

Well, but of course you can’t go buying all the cards in the things you netdeck. One way is to use Proxies. Proxying is the act of printing cards out on your home printer and cutting them out, and using them in card sleeves with real (useless) cards under them. Of course you can’t use Proxied cards at tournaments, but it’s fine when you duel with friends as long as you tell them before the duel.

Then there’s Dueling Network.


EXTRA XIII: Using Dueling Network

Dueling Network is…basically a revolution to deck creators. It’s an amazing site that allows you to create hundreds and thousands of decks on its server. For free. With no downloading required. This means Konami’s Yugioh Online is officially s***.

The link to Dueling Network is here.

Before using: There are two problems with Dueling Network that you must know.

One: Some of the people on Dueling Network don’t know manners. If you don’t want to get into stupid fights with people who claim you’re a retard just because you used Evolzar Laggia, the best idea is to duel with your friends only. There’s a “Friend” function on DN, and it allows you to always see your online friends on the site once you add them to your Friend List.

Two: Unlike Yugioh Online, Dueling Network’s Dueling Function is completely manual. For instance, if you want to use Lonefire Blossom, first you hover your mouse over the Lonefire Blosssom in your hand, and click “Normal Summon”. Lonefire Blossom will be Normal Summoned. Then, when you hover over the Lonefire, instead of the “Activate Effect” pop-up commonly seen in Konami’s games, there pops up a bunch of possible things to do above, including things you can’t do in that situation (Change Control, Banish, etc.). Choose “Send To Graveyard”, hover over your deck, click “View”. Scroll through your deck, hover over the Plant-Type you want Special Summoned, and Click “SS” from the options. Finally, the monster will be Special Summoned.

Sounds hard? Well, for the first few duels it might be, but you’ll learn.

Dueling Network allows you to create and test any deck for free. If you want to build a deck in real life, first test it on Dueling Network, and THEN buy the things at your local card shops or Troll and Toad.com. Or, you can simply go test a new deck idea in your spare time. Beware of enraged mothers screaming at you to study when doing this.

I think that’s all for now, folks. Hope you learned lots from reading this, and good luck with your future deck building.

If you have a suggestion, say it here and I’ll fix it. Happy to be a help for one of the largest children’s-card-game communities in the world, and hope the newcomers read this and learn. Again, thanks to Agro for helping me. Also thanks to Rai. for fixing the url coding. And last but not least, jabber2033 who notified me that aforementioned coding problems also made it a giant wall of text and allowed me to fix it. Cheers!

-Darkplant

BTW, this is the March 2012 Format guide. The game constantly changes - as long as I’m active, I’ll write a new one every format and update this thread, once we can all say for sure what the best decks are.


#2
Dementuo

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Once again, you've truly made a masterpiece, Darkplant. Although, maybe you could put in a "Tech card" section? Like with Chaos Dragons and their teched JDs and Chaos Puddles.


#3
Lonk

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Bravo Kenta. This tutorial has a level of interactivity that keeps new players into reading, yet makes a very clear point of expressing the message.

also, go play Uprising

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#4
MACHISCODE TALKER

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You can also add a side deck section that explains who to build the side deck by explaining how to study which decks are current, and provide examples of cards to run.

Also, techs?

Also, to add to the Gallis deck paragraph in ratios, Monster Mash decks that don't run Gallis/Witch of the Black Rose don't have to run 40 monsters as the deck despite it's name. Most of my Mash decks (namely, Geargia Mash, Block Mash, and Unifolia Mash) that don't run Gallis now run 36 monsters, and Reborn, Hole, Storm, and Treacherous (36 monsters, 3 spells, 1 trap). If you like monster-heavy decks that don't have much use for Gallis besides a free mill and burn, you can still run staple S/Ts mentioned in the tutorial, along with a Treacherous Trap Hole if it's your only trap.

#5
Wildflame

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I salute your effort on writing this, I read most of this tutorial and I am yet to find a single flaw on it.

I would suggest an Extra Deck section, some people just don't know how to build them.

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#6
Eien no Unmei

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Very good tutorial.
Netdecking is good too to decide which card remove of deck.
and a Extra Deck section is a good idea, I think that I not know create a Extra Deck yet... ¬¬



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#7
DARKPLANT RISING

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Ignore this post please.

#8
evilfusion

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Excellently written, and certainly worthy of replacing Crab's guide.
Wiping out 500,000 LP on my second turn: Priceless.
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In a perfect world we'd have 12 evilfusion's and the rest of us could retire.


#9
DARKPLANT RISING

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Thanks. :3

#10
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Aside from you using Inzektor Ladybug as an example instead of Hopper, I can't fault this.

Much, much better than the old thread.

#11
DARKPLANT RISING

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...Waitwaitwait.

So the TCG considers Hopper to be better than Ladybug? WTF?

#12
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...Waitwaitwait.
So the TCG considers Hopper to be better than Ladybug? WTF?


Not everyone.

Smarter players generally realise Hopper's higher consistency and utility use.

#13
Chéderz

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No clue. But, exelently written. I agree on every thing written here. 60 card decks that are really random annoy me. Thanks for pointing that out darkplant! i have only topped at locals once :( But, all the local champs only use 40, exept the rare gadgets.

No clue. But, exelently written. I agree on every thing written here. 60 card decks that are really random annoy me. Thanks for pointing that out darkplant! i have only topped at locals once :( But, all the local champs only use 40, exept the rare gadgets.

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#14
Master White

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My entire intent of building an deck don't have enough cards for it, it has a good start, but lets say Konami hasn't released enough to make it great, what should I do?

And I haven't played yugioh in awhile, is fast effect timing just pretty much normal chains and spell speeds, only for monsters? Or is it something entirely new and more confusing like the websites confusing article on it.

#15
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Hopper is generally more efficient in pulling the combos off much more smoothly. Not to say Ladybug isn't good, too.

Great guide though. Helpful in a variety of ways.

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#16
DARKPLANT RISING

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Not everyone.
Smarter players generally realise Hopper's higher consistency and utility use.

...Um, so how the hell is Hopper supposed to be "more consistent"?

Hopper and Ladybug both have the same activation conditions (which makes them better than Hornet depending on the situation), but Ladybug can lead to Rank 4s and 5s. Sure, Hopper can go for Rank 3s, but generally the existance of-

...Oh, Volca. Whatever.

But still, TBH I think Ladybug is better if you look at it overall. Prolly gonna test Hopper before it comes to OCG, though.

And I haven't played yugioh in awhile, is fast effect timing just pretty much normal chains and spell speeds, only for monsters? Or is it something entirely new and more confusing like the websites confusing article on it.

Might write 'bout that too.

#17
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...Um, so how the hell is Hopper supposed to be "more consistent"?
Hopper and Ladybug both have the same activation conditions (which makes them better than Hornet depending on the situation), but Ladybug can lead to Rank 4s and 5s. Sure, Hopper can go for Rank 3s, but generally the existance of-
...Oh, Volca. Whatever.
But still, TBH I think Ladybug is better if you look at it overall. Prolly gonna test Hopper before it comes to OCG, though.


Simply put, Hopper isn't dead without the other Inzektors, and it's also not dead with only Hornet, or only Sword.

With Sword, it has a 2500 body which is ridiculously hard to kill by battle in the current metagame, because most decks have to go out of their way just to beat it, coupled with the fact that it's still popping a card every turn (provided you have Hornet) it becomes a legitimate threat by itself.

And who can complain about running over both Dolkka and spent Laggia, and Darkflare for that matter?

#18
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Oic.

...How come the OCG and TCG are so different?

#19
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Oic.
...How come the OCG and TCG are so different?


OCG doesn't have TGU, Dolkka, Hopper, while having Gustav Max.

Not many cards, but makes an obscene difference.

Does beg the question why non-TGU Chaos Dragons don't show up in the OCG though.

#20
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Annoying typo in Section IX, where it is XI, making there be 2 XIs...
But yeah, much, much better than the previous guide, though I would like a bit more explanation on the 43-45thing. (40-42 is passable; the others seem a bit overkill)

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