Attack of the Troll Decks, Pt1
There exists decks that defeat a duelist long before the lifepoints plummet, decks that chill the minds and bones of any opponent facing them. The Hieratics, Firefists, and Gladiator Beasts approach like tractor trailers, with machine guns and missile launchers strapped to the roof. Other decks embody the spirit of a game sanctioned by Jigsaw. Your opponent lures you with acquiescence guided by a gentle smile, sometimes with a chuckle, as you believe you're facing a shy novice. Sitting down to duel has already sealed your fate. You play through a maze of misery. Your opponent answers everything, your lifepoints remain untouched, your enemy builds advantage each turn while your field and hand shrink. For what? You ask yourself after what feels like an eternity of oblivion. By the time you're aware of the answer, it's too late. Or worse. You resign yourself from the painful void of your opponent's snare, like one crawling back on bruised elbows from a vengeful, hungry spirit. However, there's no such thing as an exitless maze, just as there's no such thing as a hopeless duel. With the right preparation and techniques, one can be the Batman to the mad Jokers that are trolls decks, such as No Hope For Escape Exodia, Deck-Out Zombie, Chain Burn, and the Quillbolt OTK Loop.
NHFE Exodia: He's Hungry. Flesh Is On The Menu
The Maze: Facing NHFE Exodia is like being Hansel and Gretel lost in the woods. You eat the sugar drops that are Upstart Goblin and Gift Certificate, laughing as you get fat from lifepoints. The trail leads to the gingerbread house, a card called Hope For Escape, a simple trap that lets a player draw for every 2000 Lifepoints the opponent has over the player. Several Swift Scarecrows and a Wall of Revealing Light later, you fall in terror before an Exodia wearing a witch's dress, pushing you into an oven. You want to run, but Exodia's hands are too big, and your health bar is too fat.
- Arm thyself with a knife: Naturally, grabbing all five Exodia pieces will be the opposing player's aim. Sidedecking any cards that force the opponent to discard not by one's choice; such as Dragged Down to the Grave, Robbin Goblin, Evilswarm Ouroboros, Drastic Dropoff, etc; will successfully sever a limb from a dress-wearing Exodia, granting you hope for escape.
- Don't Eat the Candy: Everyone, except for tiny, sheltered kids skipping through the woods, knows to leave mysterious trails of candy where they lie. Trap Stun, Royal Decree, or Seven Tools of the Bandit can halt the threat of Gift Certificate, the biggest Truffle in old-hag-Exodia's arsenal. For the bird lovers among us, the writer included, Dark Simorgh also proves effective.
Deck-Out Zombie: Playing 40 Card Pick-Up With Your Deck
The Maze: It's the end of the world on a Saturday night, and all you've got is a deck of munitions and a gut feeling something isn't right. You expect the starving, rotting extras from the Walking Dead or Resident Evil, but you're instead greeted by a turtle with a pyramid on its back. You laugh at the creature, itself as miss-matched as a clown performing open-heart surgery, shoot it between the eyes. It falls dead, the pyramid on its back cracking open, revealing a tower of corpses shimmering with an eerie blue light, rooted in the ground. You raise your shotgun at the Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower, but another Pyramid Turtle draws your barrel, the cycle repeats itself, and you lose two precious munitions that are your cards from the deck. Now you're locked, unable to shoot either tower. To cardiac arrest your heart, you attempt to pull more bullets from your bag, but each time a new zombie smacks them down, staring with that open mouth you swear is a dead smile. Your bullets almost gone, you hold a gun you can't use, with bullets as useless as ping-pong balls on a tennis court.
- Target the Soul Absorbing Bone Tower: This little card represents the backbone of Deck-Out Zombie. Any card focusing on destruction (Dark Hole, Tribute to the Doomed, Ryko-Lightsworn Hunter) will reduce a soul sucking graveyard to rubble. Chain Disappearance, a trap card that banishes a card with 1000 or less attack, and all its copies from the Deck and Hand, will demolish the threats once and for all.
- Seal the Undead Evil: Previous readers saw this coming. What's the answer to any deck doing their deed in the dark? Ding! You're correct! The Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror. Prepare a Stardust Dragon well in advance though. These zombies pack Mystical Space Typhoons and Night-Beams in triplets.
Chain Burn: Every Inch Taken, Brings You More Pain
The Maze: Hello there fellow duelists. We're about to play a little game... You awaken to a dark room, a body at your feet, facedown, with a deep gash clearing the head's backside, an odd device secured high behind you. You try to wiggle to get free, but three little goblins of varying hues grab your legs and an arm. The body rises, laughs like one of those people who find their own jokes comical, replaces his face with a creepy white mask with red, spiral cheeks you know you've seen in a creepy movie before. He forces you to drink a vile of green, disgusting fluid, to consume a nasty candy for each goblin, then the device swings a thick chain that slaps the back of your head. You think the combination of torture annoying, nasty, and slightly painful, but realize a little pain can build to something unbearable. He confronts you again, this time with a barrel of half nude pixies dancing in fire, a meteorite in his left, and another bag of nasty candy in his right, but none of that makes your heart trip in its sprint. That chain to the head hurt like hell.
- Don't Play to Their Pace: Most of the time, Chain Burn requires stalling to create the perfect set-up that burns for maximum damage. Afterall, Chain Strike, a Quickplay Spell that burns for 400 times how high on the Chain it is, needs a high Spell/Trap buildup to really whip you into shape. Side your Magic Jammers or Dark Bribes, and get aggressive against your oppressor to end things quickly.
- Don't Get Blinded By Bling: Chain Burn does play its fair share of Spells, but in the end Traps serve as its engine. Accumulated Fortune, Reckless Greed, Legacy of Yatagarasu, and Appropriate are all Traps containing the potential to replenish your adversary's magic murder bag. The simple solution: Side Royal Decree, the continuous Trap which ends all Traps, and see if he can shudder behind that cheap, Halloween mask.
Quillbolt OTK Loop: Don't Blink, Don't Fall Asleep, Don't Look Away
The Maze: Unlike other troll decks on the list, the Quillbolt OTK is known for how well it disguises itself behind other deck strategies, making it the leopard you miss among the bush. At face value, it appears like a friendly, normal game against Zombie or Quickdraw Synchro. You sit at your friend's house, drink tea and eat cookies, all while your buddy keeps talking to his mom, a woman you've never seen before, hiding in her bedroom. He suggests you look dogged, that you should take a shower to ease the tension weighing your shoulders. On the way, you catch a glimpse of a dress and a wig, out of place, like the Imperial Iron Wall and the Quillbolt Hedgehogs he played earlier. You think it odd, but soon decide it just an idiosyncratic quirk as you step through the shower curtains. You embrace the warm jets of rain, until you hear the mom's voice beyond the white mist. The curtains snatch open, you cover yourself in chagrin, but what you see stops the scream in your throat. Your friend, wearing his “Mom's” dress and wig, wields a knife in one hand, a Plague Spreader Zombie and a Canon Soldier in the other. You've allowed yourself to relax, wasted your mental resources on a pointless front. You're trapped, helpless.
- Don't Blink: If the opponent plays an Imperial Iron Wall, a continuous trap that prevents the banishing of cards, be on guard. The loop needs this card to keep the Quillbolt Hedgehog from banishing itself so the opponent can keep burning for the loop. Keep Mystical Space Typhoons handy and side into trap-disrupting cards (Seven Tools of the Bandit, Royal Decree, etc.) to keep yourself from wandering into crossdressing, serial-killer territory.
- Beware What Burns: If the Plague Spreader is set, the Imperial Iron Wall is active, and the Quillbolt sneers from six-feet under, you can still protect yourself from the Cannon Soldier. Since the banishment of Mass Driver, thanks to the Frog Wars some of us still carry scars from, the formerly mentioned card offers burn options just as potent as a magically-summoned railgun. Prevent its summon, prevent the finishing knife from reaching your throat.
There's a Little Bit Of Troll Inside Us All
An abundance of hate exists for strategies given the insulting title of "Troll Decks." They do annoy players, make games longer than the norm, and make the field seem unfair by primarily disrupting decks, but they embody the true spirit of the game. Players running Stall Decks play strictly for fun, because their strategies lose pace when compared to Top-Tier decks, their techniques easily exploitable to those containing knowledge of their weaknesses. So remember, next time you stare down Exodia dressed like he's shopping in Salem, Zombies eating your bullets rather than your brains, a Jigsaw obsessed with whipping you with chains, or your buddy holding a wig of Quillbolts behind his back, that Stall Decks represent a challenge all duelists should accept, not shun, for they add a necessary cog to the joyful machine that is the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG.