SO YOU WANNA FRICKIN' KNOW HOW TO DRIVE TRAINS
WELL YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE
Welcome to the Trains Deck! Trains started WAY back when World Duel Carnival was released with only a few promos, and I WAS RIGHT THERE AT THE START, BUILDING AND PERFECTING TRAINS YEARS AGO BEFORE THE DAWN OF TIME
Anyways, information on this guide is subject to change as new cards and strategies are released. If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them and I might get to them. Heh. So, listen to some music and let's get this show on the road!
The Train Deck refers to the best and possibly only Rank 10 engine. The deck focuses on very strong beaters dealing high amounts of damage with as few cards as possible. The deck itself may not boast the highest rate of swarming, but being able to summon possibly one of the strongest Xyz monsters with as much ease as your average Rank 4 monster is what really gives this deck a claim to fame. The main strategy here typically starts with summoning Number 81 Superior Dora as soon as possible (typically your first turn) and using that to protect additional massive beatsticks such as Gustav Max or Gangaridai; then using said beat sticks to PUMMEL YOUR OPPONENT INTO SUBMISSION. The initial design of the deck was based around Anna Kaboom (best waifu; I refuse to use the original Japanese name it's inferior to "Kaboom") and her playstyle of summoning gigantic beatsticks with absurd ease but with giant downsides. Unfortunately for everyone else, that "giant downside" part was dropped mysteriously. The deck still has hints of that high-risk high-reward mentality, but with recent cards it now plays a lot more defensively than just dropping a brick on the gas and hoping for the best. That said, I only mean "Defensively" in the way of using small plays to bait backrow and disruption plays before going all out and beating the crap out of your opponent. So sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the best Machine Beatdown Decks there is.
All combos and information you should know is given with each card. You may want to read carefully, because there are some specifics a Trains player should know about some of their cards!
All cards listed in this guide are either directly linked to the Trains monsters, or non-staple cards that most players may not consider. Most popular staple cards such as Big Eye, Dracosack, etc. will not be touched upon because their uses can be rather obvious.
Cannot be Special Summoned from the Deck. You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing, but its original ATK becomes 0.
Simple, yet elegant. Night Express Knight is, without a doubt, the bread and butter of the deck. With his ability to be Normal Summoned without tributes, Night Express Knight is the key instigator of almost all rank 10 combos this deck will be running. You have absolutely no excuse running this guy at less than 3 copies; his role in the deck is absolutely vital to its success. There are so many things you can do with this card alone, but the key uses we'll be focusing on are its key importance in rank 10 plays. For all intents and purposes, Night Express is the maindeck ace of this deck. One nice thing about his attack reduction effect is that it completely dodges cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, and this is a very useful aspect. However, keep an eye out for Solemn Warnings; if your Rank 10 play is disrupted, then this guy is a 0 attack sitting duck and that's no good.
You absolutely need to run this guy at 3.
If an EARTH Machine-Type monster(s) is Normal or Special Summoned to your side of the field (except during the Damage Step): You can Special Summon this card from your hand, but its original ATK and DEF are halved. You can only use this effect of "Heavy Freight Train Derricrane" once per turn. If this card is detached from an Xyz Monster and sent to the Graveyard to activate that monster's effect: You can target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy it.
If Night Express Knight is Starsky, then Derricrane is Hutch. The first and most obvious role of Derricrane is to act as a level 10 Kage-to-Kage; this is the guy you chain to Night Express Knight to summon Rank 10 monsters. But that's not just it; Derricrane's effect when he's detached is absolutely NASTY; not only can you use him to pop an additional card with Gangaridai to get more bang for your buck, you can use him with Gustav Max to clear the field a little and get in some extra deck, and you can also use him with Dora in order to directly disrupt your opponent's plays during their turn, whether you need to actually protect Dora or not. However, there is one key thing you need to know: Derricrane's popping effect creates a new chain AFTER the chain that the Xyz Monster whose effect detaches him resolves. This means that you need to be preemptive with popping cards using Derricrane; activate Dora's effect the moment you need see something you need to pop, not at the last possible moment. Derricrane's stat reduction effect allows him to dodge Bottomless Trap Holes and similar cards, which is pretty nifty; but you seriously need to be wary of Solemn Warnings, Mind Crush, Vanity's Emptiness, and anything that may stop this guy from hitting the field and rendering your Night Express Knight vulnerable.
It's also worth noting that because Derricrane does not care what level the Machine you summon is, he's not as dead as you think if you do not have a Night Express Knight on hand. A common play I use is summoning a Gearframe and chaining Derricrane to Gearframe while I have Revolving Switchyard on the field. Derricrane summons, Gearframe searches, and then when the chain is over I'm able to trigger Switchyard and summon a Railcar to use as a second material for a Rank 10 that I can attach Gearframe to. It's essentially a +2 play. So in short, you can get very creative with how you use this guy and how you get him on the field, so keep an open mind!
You absolutely need to run this guy at 3.
When your opponent's monster declares a direct attack, if you control a card(s) in your Spell & Trap Card Zone: You can Special Summon this card from your hand, then destroy as many cards in your Spell & Trap Card Zone as possible, and if you do, inflict 200 damage to your opponent for each destroyed card. You cannot Special Summon any monsters, except Machine-Type monsters.
Now here's an interesting fellow. Snow Plow Hustle Rustle sees mixed reactions, and is often not run by the common Trains user. However, there is much value to be had in the old Hustle Rustle! Now the first thing to note is that Hustle Rustle's destruction and burn effects resolve last in its effect, your opponent CANNOT activate cards like Torrential Tribute because it forces them to miss timing with how its effect resolves. There is a way around this, but that's information that doesn't really need to be posted here. I can't reveal ALL of my secrets ;O.
But that won't be enough to sell you on this card; here's what will. Special Schedule is indeed a thing, and Hustle makes its recycle effect actually very nifty. Further, you can couple this card with MST and pop anything your opponent already has on the field in the same chain as Hustle's summon, getting the same bang for your buck out of the card you set. And don't worry, most players are either not smart enough to know that setting spells and traps should be the absolute last thing you do in your turn or you're triggering this guy at a point where there's stuff to pop anyways. Further more, because this doesn't happen in the Damage Step, Revolving Switchyard triggers off of this guy's summon, allowing you to summon a Ruffian Railcar or something else during your opponent's turn and still maintain some card advantage from his use. This card is also searchable, which means you don't really need to run too many to have him be very useful; and adding him to your hand can throw your opponent off quite a bit. Most players will read the self-backrow-nuke effect and run right into his trigger anyways without realizing that you can actually get some nasty plays off of his use. If your opponent is adding a Hustle to your hand, do NOT underestimate his impact; you may very well be playing right into their hands.
tl;dr Hustle Rustle isn't an immediately easy card to use, but playing him smart can lead to some very excellent plays and that's what makes this card very useful. If you're still not convinced and would rather use something a little less risky; don't worry, you still have options.
Run either 0-2 of these guys. I recommend 2, but this is a preference thing. I enjoy the plays I can do with this guy.
Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned (from your hand) by controlling no cards, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you Special Summon this card. You cannot activate cards or effects, or Set any cards. During each of your Standby Phases, destroy this card unless you send your entire hand to the Graveyard (min.1).
WOW now THAT is a bad card! Yet he's still in here, what's the big idea?! That's because, contrary to how clearly AWFUL its effect is, Rocket Arrow Express is still a somewhat useful card, and is absolutely HILARIOUS to use in a game. Now practically the only play you can make off of this guy is the fact that you can summon Night Express Knight still and overlay these two guys; giving you a Rank 10 monster at the cost of your Battle Phase. You can also use this guy in the late top-deck game as a potential threat; you can use him as a straight bluff (I mean look at him! Would you want to kill him or see if your opponent is crazy enough to pitch their hand?); or at the off-chance your opponent is running a Skill-Drain-esque card, you can really make them regret it. Rocket Arrow Express is bad, but he's not useless. That said, I would run this guy at 1 TOPS, or not at all.
Run this guy at 0. If you REALLY want the lolz, then tech at 1 or side it.
Once per turn: You can inflict 500 damage to your opponent. You cannot conduct your Battle Phase the turn you activate this effect. During the End Phase, if this card is in the Graveyard because it was sent there this turn: You can add 1 Level 10 EARTH Machine-Type monster from your Deck to your hand. You can only use this effect of "Ruffian Railcar" once per turn.
Most definitely a team player for the deck, and a guy that puts in a LOT of work for the deck's consistency. A lot of Trains decks focus on different creative ways of landing this guy in the grave by any means; whether that be by milling, detaching, or having killed. There's isn't much to say in regards to the plays you can do using this card alone, as his use is fairly obvious right from the get-go. Railcar's different combos with different cards will be explained with those respective cards.
You absolutely need to run this guy at 3.
When this card declares an attack: Its ATK becomes half its original ATK until the end of the Damage Step.
He's the train with the heart of the lion, and the usefulness of a Fusionist! All this guy is good for is walling up for and using as Switchyard fodder IF you're actually running this guy. His stats are REALLY good for a rank 4, but with Skill Drain at 1 and the fact that using Forbidden Chalice on this guy is waste of your resources, this guy is really a huge waste of your time. A fun card if you want to make a character deck!
Run this guy at 0. He sucks.
Things to be careful of: Solemn Warning (summon negations) and cards that chain to his effect (Yuki, Veiler, Breakthrough Skill, etc.) A lot of decks have a very difficult time dealing with this guy unless they have those delicious chainables, so be careful for when those crop up.
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can add 1 "Machina" monster from your Deck to your hand, except "Machina Gearframe". Once per turn, you can either: Target 1 Machine-Type monster you control; equip this card to that target, OR: Unequip this card and Special Summon it in face-up Attack Position. (A monster can only be equipped with 1 Union monster at a time. If the equipped monster would be destroyed, destroy this card instead.)
You can discard Machine-Type monster(s) whose total Levels equal 8 or more, then Special Summon this card (from your hand or Graveyard). If this card is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard: Target 1 card your opponent controls; destroy that target. Before resolving an opponent's monster effect that targets this face-up card, look at your opponent's hand and discard 1 card from their hand.
It's no stretch to say that Machina Fortress is one of THE best Machine-Type monsters in the game. I could do an entire thread on why Machina Fortress is so great, there's so much to talk about in terms of his use and potential! But, I'll instead talk about his impact with Trains. If you do not have a Switchyard to discard a Ruffian Railcar; Fortress is your next best thing. Because Fortress can discard himself when summoning from the hand, you can discard a Railcar as well and turn the effect into a +0 instead of a -1. If you don't have a Railcar to discard with Switchyard, Fortress is the next best thing as he's plenty live when in the grave thanks to his summoning effect. You can also discard any unwanted Hustle Rustles in your hand if you don't need them.
In fact, I've been running these guys at 3 each in Trains. You don't NEED to, but I also run other cards that make 3 Gearframes pretty useful, and opening up Rank 7 plays offers more of a toolbox to the deck. Overall, even at 3 each these guys offer a lot to the deck and have a lot of synergy with Trains. If you manage to overlay Gearframe and Railcar to make Gear Gigant X; detaching Railcar makes you plus very well and it's a killer play. Gearframe is also compatible with Switchyard as a target to summon from the deck, so keep that in mind as well. These two guys are both very useful cards, and I would never underestimate how good Machina Fortress is at baiting out backrow. Seriously, would you want that mean SOB on the field?
Run Machina Fortress from 0-3; preference accounted for, and run Machina Gearframe accordingly.
This card cannot be Normal Summoned or Set. This card cannot be Special Summoned except by removing from play 1 "Cyber End Dragon" from your Extra Deck. There can only be 1 face-up "Malefic" monster on the field. Other monsters you control cannot declare an attack. If there is no face-up Field Spell Card on the field, destroy this card.
Now here's a familiar face. Malefic Cyber End has been used many times with Trains; especially in the now-useless Train Drain deck. However, because Skill Drain is at 1 I'm hesitant to run this guy at all. Because you can't search this guy with Railcar or Switchyard, you have to draw into him while you have the field spell, and that's way too situational for my tastes. You can do some great plays with this guy, and the 4K beatstick is nothing to sneeze at; but overall he's inconsistent and can ruin your day as a dead draw. Fortress helps curve this, but not enough.
Run from 0-2; but I do not recommend you run this guy.
When you take Battle Damage: You can Special Summon this card from your hand. This card gains 600 ATK and DEF for each card in your hand. Once per turn: You can send 1 monster from your hand to the Graveyard to target 1 face-up monster your opponent controls with the same Level as the sent monster; take control of that target. Once per turn: You can target 1 monster in your Graveyard; this card's Level becomes the same as that target's, until the End Phase.
Oh Trag, infamous Trag. How many people see this guy as useful is obvious, but I encourage you not to run him. Compared to Hustle, Trag requires to take damage first and then you pray your opponent doesn't destroy it during your next turn. Trag also cannot be searched in the deck, and because of his fragility as a monster (his stats depending on your hand), he's overall just not an optimal choice for the deck. Hustle is useful because you can search it and because of how much you can do with him thanks to his effect and the field spell, so even if he dies chances are you summoned a Railcar and got something useful out of that deal anyways; Trag just forces you to take a hit and then hope for the best. Hustle also has the benefit of the fixed 3000 booty. Your instinct may be to run this guy; but don't. There are better options and more stable plays for the deck.
Do not run. He's inconsistent and slow.
Cannot be Normal Summoned/Set. Must be Special Summoned (from your hand) by shuffling all monsters in your Graveyard into the Deck, and cannot be Special Summoned by other ways. When this card declares an attack: Send 1 monster from your hand or Deck to the Graveyard. This card gains 1000 ATK for each Normal Monster in your Graveyard. If this face-up card would leave the field, banish it instead. If there are 5 different "Forbidden One" cards in your Graveyard that were sent there by this card's effect, you win the Duel.
Speaking of inconsistent, here's Exodius. Think of Exodius as a Malefic Cyber End with no ATK but less situational uses. He's not as bad as Tragoedia in this deck, but his inconsistency is still something to be wary of. If you're running Machina Fortress, Train Connection, Special Schedule or Scrap Recycler (more on him later), then you might not actually want to run this guy as shuffling your grave can be counter productive. But, that's not to say it can't be useful. If you want to run this guy, you can if you want, but you don't need to. I would tech him at best. Of course, I actually recommend you run him in at least 1 in a Shaddoll Trains deck since they burn through the Extra Deck like a hot knife through butter and that deck isn't as reliant on the grave as other Trains decks can be, so keep that in mind.
Do not run. He's inconsistent and can mess up any graveyard setups you have going.
When this card is Normal or Special Summoned: You can send 1 Machine-Type monster from your Deck to the Graveyard. Once per turn: You can shuffle 2 Level 4 EARTH Machine-Type monsters from your Graveyard into the Deck; draw 1 card.
When this card is Normal Summoned: You can send 1 Level 4 or lower monster from your Deck to the Graveyard. When this card is destroyed by battle and sent to the Graveyard: You can draw 1 card.
The first you may not know of, but the second you will. With Ol' Math looking at time on the banlist for the TCG, you may want to keep Recycler in mind. Both cards are excellent in the deck, so I'll break each down so you can choose which you want to run.
Mathematician is fantastic for the early game. With alright stats and the draw effect when killed in battle, he sets up a good starting play that can usually grant you that bonus draw. Unfortunately, he only mills level 4 or lower so you will ONLY be using this guy to mill Railcars. Still, you're essentially getting a +2 off this card most of the time if your opponent kills him in battle, so he's a pretty safe play for some early advantage.
Recycler, on the other hand, rules the mid and late game. With a similar effect, Recycler can get you that additional draw on your own terms the turn you summon him; which means you don't need to rely on whether your opponent kills him or not, and you get the additional draw right away (faster than Math in that respect). To top it off, you'll also be recycling your Railcars for use with Switchyard, so you're extending your lategame plays as well. Unfortunately, with weaker stats, there's no question on whether your opponent should or should not attack Recycler. In fact, once you've finished milling and drawing, he's a sitting duck, which can potentially be dangerous. Of course, this just means you need to be careful and smart with how you use him; and if you are, you're getting a lot out of this little guy.
It's also worth mentioning that Recycler can mill ANY machine; you can use this guy to make Machina Fortress live, or if you have a Special Schedule and Derricrane or Switchyard in hand and don't want to wait for Railcar to go off, you can mill of a Night Express Knight for a faster play as well. What I like about Recycler is that there's more you can do with him than simply mill a Railcar and then be done with him, but there's always the risk of that measly 900 ATK. Thankfully, you can use that as bait so that your opponent won't attack something else you would rather keep on the field.
Mathematician is Limited, and I would encourage you to run it if you can. Scrap Recycler is a strong alternative, but I wouldn't run more than 2. Ideally, if you have 6 Level 4 Machines or more in your deck, you're running 2 Scraps and 1 Math. If you're running something like Shaddoll Trains, you're better off with Maxx "C" than Scrap Recycler.
When this card in your possession is destroyed by your opponent's card (either by battle, or by card effect) and sent to your Graveyard: You can target 1 monster they control; destroy that target, then you can Special Summon 1 "Ice Hand" from your Deck.
When this card in your possession is destroyed by your opponent's card (either by battle, or by card effect) and sent to your Graveyard: You can target 1 Spell/Trap Card they control; destroy that target, then you can Special Summon 1 "Fire Hand" from your Deck.
I post these guys here not as personal preference but because the OCG decks have often seen use with these guys in Trains. Good for Rank 4 plays and maintaining some field control while also thinning the deck, these guys don't have any direct synergy with Trains but can still be useful to run in the deck if you so please.
You don't need to run these guys. If you must, refer to popular numbers for running these guys (usually around 3 Fires and 2 Ice iirc)
Add 1 Field Spell Card from your Deck to your hand.
I post this here simply to say this: ABSOLUTELY run this card at 3. No questions asked. If it's dead, either discard it for a search with Switchyard or use it as Hustle Rustle fuel. DO NOT run this at any less than 3.
Target 1 face-up monster on the field; until the end of this turn, that target gains 400 ATK, but its effects are negated.
I use this guy for a few reasons. One, you can target your own monsters and if you really need to, a sudden 3400 Night Express Knight can really shock your opponent in the Battle Phase. Two, I run Royal Decree and this guy won't be negated if I use it while Decree is active. And three, I can activate this from the hand in a quick manner if my opponent activates a flip effect I don't like or something else on my turn. Also, the 400 boost can come in handy. I use this guy because it's a very versatile card in Trains, and it took the OCG forever to realize this. You can also use Breakthrough Skill or Skill Prisoner if you want to maximize on your Hustle Rustle plays.
Run from 0-3; preference accounted for.
Pay 1000 Life Points; Special Summon 1 Level 5 or lower Fusion Monster from your Extra Deck. (This Special Summon is treated as a Fusion Summon.) It cannot attack, and is destroyed during the End Phase. You can only activate 1 "Instant Fusion" per turn.
Elder Entity Norden:
Send 1 monster from your Deck to the Graveyard.
Wow, that image is dark. A staple in Trains for obvious reasons; always toss this guy in!
If you control no monsters: Target 1 monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it, but its effects are negated, also banish it during the End Phase. You can banish this card from your Graveyard, then target 1 card you control; banish 1 card from your hand during the End Phase of this turn, also shuffle that target into the Deck, and if you do, draw 1 card. You can only use this effect of "Shuffle Reborn" once per turn.
Now here's a card that has proven FANTASTIC in my testing so far. Shuffle Reborn essentially is like Special Schedule in this deck, but you get to resummon ANY monster in your grave. This is really big because not only does it open up Rank 4 plays a little better in the base deck, it also opens up much, much stronger Rank 10 plays. For instance, now you can summon Number 81 using TWO DERRICRANES in one turn! That's crazy! The draw effect can come in pretty clutch, but be wary of its costs and only use it if you absolutely need to. Unfortunately, this card doesn't outclass Special Schedule entirely. Special Schedule is still able to summon regardless of how many monsters you have on the field (This guy requires that you have no monsters) as well as having that second effect that can prove to be very useful in a variety of situations. Both cards are very solid, and this one can open up some very creative plays.
Do not run more than 4 revival cards. If your preference is this card, you can run up to 3 if you so wish; but for consistency purposes, I do not recommend you run more than 4 revival cards. 5 is pushing it, but shouldn't prove to be terribly cloggy; but you will need to sacrifice some of your other techs.
Activate by paying 1000 Life Points. The effects of all face-up monsters on the field are negated while those monsters are face-up on the field (but their effects can still be activated).
Once the defining aspect of the Train Drain deck, Skill Drain has lost its luster. VERY useful with Trains, now Skill Drain is a side-deck card or maindeck tech at best. I used to only side this guy and I still do; but at 1, running him isn't really as worth it as it used to be. Activating this guy kills your Extradeck plays and forces you to run off the maindeck, which requires a different build; so I wouldn't recommend running this guy in the maindeck anymore.
Special Summon this card in Defense Position as an Effect Monster (Aqua-Type/WATER/Level 10/ATK 0/DEF 3000). (This card is also still a Trap Card.) This card cannot attack.
It baffles me my they required to put a cannot-attack clause on this card. Anyways, don't use this card. It's slow (Requires you to wait a turn to actually use it), inconsistent, and the engine itself doesn't actually need it all. You're much better occupying your trap-card slots with other things than this card. Heck, I'm only putting this guy here to tell you not to use him. I mean you could get into some shenanigans chaining this card to Hustle Rustle, since Hustle specifies the Spell and Trap Zones, but even then this guy still isn't really worth it.
Do not run. Slow, fragile, and inconsistent.
I won't be posting images and full effects here since there are a bunch, but if you really want to make use of that Hustle Rustle, consider these cards:
- Wild Tornado
- Pole Position (RISKY!)
- Dark Coffin
- Abyss-scorn (Sends, not destroy!)
- Mischief of the Yokai (better for the side-deck; can be combo'd with Proof of Powerlessness)
- Skill Successor
- Galaxy Cyclone
- Breakthrough Skill
You can also Xyz Summon this card by discarding 1 "Rank-Up-Magic" Spell Card and using a "Utopia" monster you control as the Xyz Material. (Xyz Materials attached to that monster also become Xyz Materials on this card.) Once per turn: You can target 1 "Number" monster in your Graveyard; Special Summon it in Defense Position, but its effects are negated. During either player's turn, when a monster effect is activated that targets this face-up card: You can detach 1 Xyz Material from this card; negate the activation, and if you do, destroy that card.
Number 35: Ravenous Tarantula:
The above two decks I would say are the most capable of Trains builds, but there are many other options for this deck that you can try if you want. Because the Train cards are technically generic support, there are a lot of different combinations and options you can work in with the deck. Other builds that I either have not tried or do not consider as viable but could work in the right hands are:
- Geargia Trains - A more rank-4 focus, but difficult to get going because of the space the Geargias take up and the weaker synergy.
- Volcanic Trains - They topped once or twice. Never tried them for myself; I hate Volcanics.
- Pure Trains - Really more of a for-fun deck than anything.
- Hand Trains - One of the more common OCG tournament builds, but the OCG sucks at building Trains IMO, so take this build with a grain of salt.
- And possibly main more!
Below are a list of match-ups based on either existing popular decks in either the TCG or OCG, or relevant decks in the OCG. Keep in mind that this is all based on my own experience, which as much as that is, is still limited. If any decks pop up or information changes with new cards, banlists, etc. I will change this accordingly. As well, if you have different experiences than my own and have a different opinion on the match-up then let me know and I'll take it into consideration. There are still a couple decks there that I haven't played against much, so if you have information regarding those please let me know as well!
- B.A. - Strong - B.A. can't do much, if anything, against Number 81. Lock down their traps and the deck is as good as dead. November list didn't change too much.
Recommended Side: Shadow Imprisoning Mirror, 3 Royal Decrees
- Cyber Style - Strong - Chimeratech Fortress Dragon is a very good out to Number 81, but if you can see it coming then make sure to stop it ASAP. Cyber Dragon Infinity on its own cannot win against Number 81 with a Derricrane; the best case scenario is that they both die. Machina Fortress continues to be a fantastic out against Infinity. Just play smart and stop the plays when you see them coming.
Recommended Side: Mirror Force, in case of OTKs.
- Infernoid - Neutral - Infernoids have some strong plays, and their grave-hating effects can really hurt your plays as well. That said, Infernoids are rather easy to side against, and as soon as you have an 81 on the field then they're going to start sweating. Be careful of their one continuous spell and make sure that Lilith doesn't hit the field. She can be a real problem.
Recommended Side: Imperial Iron Wall
- Raid Raptors - Strong - Once again, RaidRaptors tend to have a very tough time against Number 81. Keep your monsters backed up, and don't let their combos intimidate you.
Recommended Side: Royal Decrees to stop their sides.
- Atlantean/Mermail - Strong - I've often commented that Trains (pre-Switchyard) were like Machine Mermails in how they functioned, but the swarmability of Mermails can be a problem if you're not prepared. Chalice/BTS will be putting in overtime work against this deck.
Recommended Side: Debunk
- Graydles - Strong - I hesitated to write "Strong", but after some further testing I realized something. Graydles have some very annoying plays, but you just need to know how to play against them. The trick is if you chain Number 81 to a Graydle's equip effect, you can not only deny them taking control of your 81, but you can destroy the Graydle without losing your monster. The other thing is that this deck is very easy to side against. If you find yourself having a hard time wrapping your mind around your plays, Skill Prisoner will shut them down right. These games go slow, and make sure you aren't playing terribly aggressive because this can bite you in the butt. Deal with threats as they appear, and be okay with dealing poke damage for several turns in a row.
Recommended Side: Debunk. Holy crap Debunk.
- Majespecters - Neutral - Majespecters may win the Single, but Trains will win the match. If you're playing a single, there's one thing you need to know as your fighting these guys: Do not focus your efforts on their monsters. Instead, focus your efforts on their Pendulum Scales. Majespecters all have very strong immunities, but they lack any real muscle. Muscle that you have in abundance. Ignore their little monsters and focus on stopping them from setting up their end-game plays. In the side game, Mask of Restrict shuts down all of their spell and trap plays and keeps them from summoning their level 6 monster in a vanilla build. Fairy Wind will also be a very solid choice. In the side game, ditch your Forbidden Chalices; those will not be putting much use in these matches. The trick to this deck and Graydles is that you need to really rethink how you approach fighting them and change your strategies.
Recommended Side: Fairy Wind, Mask of Restrict, Skill Drain, Galaxy Cyclone
- Kozmos - Strong - This match-up will not exist in the real world for quite some time, and for who knows how will will remain in the confines of the online world. That being said, Kozmos get royally screwed by Trains. Being able to spit out beatsticks exceeding the Kozmo stats is one thing, but having access to strong protection is another thing. Kozmos have a tough time dealing with a single 81, and matters only get nastier when you bring out a Number C9 with decent protection. I'll keep this brief here, but C9 absolutely decimates the Kozmo strategy. Side Imperial Iron Wall for the lolz.
- Dragons - Neutral - Dragons are able to keep up with the Muscle of Trains, but 35 adds a lot of problems for them when it comes to beating stuff down. Be ready for fast and aggressive plays, and if you're ready for what's to come you should be fine.
- Monarch - Strong - Monarchs have a lot of weaknesses to Trains. While Domain may shut you down, Machina Fortress is the absolute bane of their efforts. His inherent summon allows you to take care of Majesty's Fiend quite handily, and his destruction-death allows you to remove of pesky Domains. 81 can be very difficult for them to remove, and be ready to make good work of your Chalices.
- Dracopals - Weak - Dracopals are just simply too fast for Trains. While 81 is a beast, they're able to consistently and effectively remove of 81 despite Derricrane's best efforts. Don't let them go first, because a well-placed Solemn can cost you the entire game, and be ready for very fast and aggressive plays. If you can coordinate a fast kill with 35 or Gustav, take it. You'll need it.
- Phantom Knights - Neutral - Phantom Knights require some setup, and their backrow can be a pain, but they have to put out some effort in order to deal with larger beatsticks. Be ready for anything, because PK's can launch an attack from almost nowhere.
Note: I am not building your side deck for you. These are just recommendations for those match-ups, then choose from those depending on what your weakest matchup is.
- So why haven't they topped more often if there are that many good match-ups?
Keep in mind that I'm not playing with the OCG playerbase, and that not only will the skill-level, mindset, and card pools differ but so will the banlists. On top of that, I honestly think the OCG sucks at building Trains. Shaddoll Trains have been the first OCG builds to actually be decent in my eyes since Trains have hit the meta, and that says a lot.
I should also mention that I don't feel Trains are complete, but the latest Rank 10 support we got was already a huge surprise to me so I do not see any new support coming out at least in the near future. IF we were to actually get some support, what would be really nice is another card like Night Express Knight. The deck hinges too much on that card for its combos, and it would help consistency a lot if we got another card like it. Another nice thing would be a Level 10 Altair. That would be cool. Finally, Iron Draw is a card I've been drooling over for a LONG time, and that would be really good to have.