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How to Defeat Annoying, Popular Yugioh Decks, Part 4
Welcome Ladies and Germs to the 4th installment of stopping annoying, mind-drilling Yugioh Archetypes! Since the writer’s absence, the game has changed dramatically. Synchro decks now tune like cellos with broken strings, Xyzs builds stack like bricks made of zombie limbs, and Pendulums swing in like supply jets that drop tanks and mine fields. The Age of Pendulums caused many a duelist to hang-up his or her deck, or at least to lose one’s joyful faith in the game. Like the dragons that once ruled the meta, every deck now has its signature Pendulums, and any deck with them is feared, at least until angry duelists with pitchforks can come together in a forum and light their torches. However, Pendulum decks, in the writer’s opinion, haven’t earned the widespread panic they induce, for they’re made of paper and pretty paints, just like any other deck. Also, would you believe the writer if he said some new archetypes exist, sans Pendulums, that can maintain pace with the ole’ hair-raising orange and blue, and that these archetypes rival them in the flip-the-table department? Today, the writer will remind you just how plain Pendulums can be by explaining how to overcome today’s most potent meta: the Kozmos, the Fluffals, the Monarchs, and the DracoPals.
The Kozmos: Beam me up, Dorothy Skywalker
The Plague: We apparently now live in an age where mixing two brands together with as much in common as peanut butter and ketchup, along with just a pinch of nostalgia, creates a winning recipe for millions of fans to throw their money into an incinerator, or in this case at an irritating Yugioh archetype. Utilizing the mechanics of Star Trek teleporters, the adorableness of Wizard of Oz (the 1st movie, not, for all that is holy, the creepy sequel), and the coolness of Star Wars, the Kozmos are an archetype of Light and Dark Psychic and Machine monsters who have recently formed a truce to trim your lifepoints. The level 4 or lower Psychic types can search for the level 5 or higher Machines by paying lifepoints, and, when the little guys find themselves staring at something their size, they can banish themselves during either player’s turn to bring down a starship. These dime-store Star Wars ships not only Special Summon a Kozmo of a lower level from the deck when destroyed in any fashion, but also have nasty effects when summoned to the field, such as Spell/Trap and Monster destruction, and high enough attack points to rival a Dragon deck. Add their big daddy ships’ ability to be untouchable by cards that target, and the Field Spell that adds banished Kozmo monsters back to the hand, and it’ll feel like you’re fighting the entire Empire rather than a single duelist. Is the dark side of the Kozmojo terrifying you? It shouldn’t be. Cheap knockoffs that hide in their cozy starships can’t even compare to the journey of Dorothy or the battle within of Luke. It’s about time someone set these space psychics adrift in space, and pulled the hyperdrives from their overpriced engines.
- Stop ‘em from Runnin’: Imperial Iron Wall, a continuous trap that stops all banishing, will keep the scared little space travelers from beaming-up to the mothership, as well as prevent the ships from dropping monsters when their sunk.
- Too Bipolar for the Final Order: The Kozmos, unless you’re facing a mutant hybrid-build born in a mad duelist’s lab somewhere, consist of Psychic and Machine type monsters. Play the continuous trap Rivalry of Warlords and watch your invading Farmgirls, Tincans, and Strawmen look clueless as their floating sanctuaries remain in orbit.
- Declare Martial Law: Deck Lockdown, an older continuous spell restricting searches and Special Summons from the Deck, halts one of the annoying aspects of the Psychics, as well as the Machines when destroyed. If you’re solely running this card, still be prepared for those Special Summons from the hand, though.
FYI: It’s almost pointless to target Kozmos for card effects: the Pychics banish themselves as a cost to Special Summon from the hand, while the biggest Machines are immune to targeting effects entirely. When siding, trade out targeting cards for your disruption strategy.
The Fluffals: Killer Toys, A Concept That Never Gets Old
Plague: …Sigh… How many times does the writer have to sit across from a duelist and act like Chuckie’s cousins would pose a threat against his jet fighters/spirit-dragons/bird women? From Wind-Ups, to Gimmick Puppets, then Shaddolls (Puppets are just toys with strings; please do not try to argue otherwise) and now, the Fluffals send mixed messages of cute and terror to the heart of every duelist. These Earth-Fairies work in tandem with Edge Imp monsters to become fusions with the looks and effects to keep many a player sweating cold through the night. With just a Polymerization, which Fluffal Owl grabs immediately from the deck, or a Frightfur Fusion, you can find yourself staring down a Frightfur Tiger, who not only destroys cards on the field for every monster used to form it, but also grants an attack boost to all Fluffal and Frightfur monsters. And then there’s ole’ Frightfur Sabertooth, who grants an attack boost to all Frightfurs too, and special summons a Frightfur from the Grave when he crawls from under your bed. The writer never thought he’d see little Terrors for Tots outpace the Elemental Heroes in terms of fusion summon annoyance, but the day has come. Before the Frightfurs’ ability to recover quickly like conventional Fusion Decks, and storm the field, Blade from Puppet Master resembles Edward Scissor-Hands swimming in cement; Chuckie from Child’s Play becomes your sister’s favorite Dora the Explorer doll. Yes, these little toys have earned their reputation as the spiritual successors of Annabelle if her demonic soul was spread among twenty Yugioh cards. But it’s okay. Come from under those sheets and stop sleeping with those lights on. The writer’s got your exorcism right here.
- No More Fusions!: Want to see what happens when a toy bear and a pair of demonic scissors love each other very, very much? Neither does the writer… Use Non-Fusion Area, the continuous trap that ends all Fusions, to put an end to your opponent’s onslaught of deadly stuffed animals.
- Beware the Tiger: The Fluffals may have Naturia Synchro options (you know, the annoying Beast who negates spells and his not so famous brother-in-law, Barkion, who negates traps?) but the Frightfur Tiger is the true threat of the Deck. Save your disruption cards for his appearance, or just grace the field with Stardust Dragon early to put a damper on his destructive tendencies.
- Cancel the Effects of the Big Guys: Tired of the all your cards getting mawed by stuffed animals and the support they give their allies? Use the Shadow Imprisoning Mirror to hinder the effects of all the Frightfur Fusions, and effectively turn this mass haunting into a Night of the Living Dummies.
FYI: It may be tempting to try and target the cute stuffed animals responsible for you facing phantasmal fusions of horror, but all it takes is a Frightfur Fusion to make your efforts equivalent to one trying to catch a bullet with one’s hands. Don’t waste time on the Fluffals; save your cards for the big dogs, or in this case the big Tigers, Wolves, and Sabertooths.
The Monarchs: Who’s Laughing at Not Running an Extra Deck Now?
The Plague: In a game where Synchro, Xyz, and Pendulums summons are considered the beginning and the end of victory, there exists one deck that refuses to change. Like a creed etched in stainless steel, this deck stubbornly sticks to the old traditions that birthed the Yugioh TCG: Normal summons, tribute summons, and gold ole-fashion Special Summons from the Graveyard and hand. This deck is ruled by the Monarchs, oversized rulers of the Dueling World who use their thrones to crush lesser kings, queens, and pawns to activate their card effects, and later gained greater forms to unleash more havoc on their enemies. But to sate their hunger for dominance, even this wasn’t enough. Exhausted with carrying around their fat thrones themselves, they enlisted the help of squires, fancy talk for meek golfers, and more Spells and Traps than a magical huntsman. To force you to prescribe to their outdated dogma, the Spells restrict both players from accessing one’s Extra Deck while searching for Monarch cards, and the Traps are used as draw power, tribute fodder, or negate the effects of all monsters excluding those tribute-summoned. Add in the ability of each squire possessing its own effect when sent to graveyard, those ranging from allowing additional tribute summons, special summoning themselves, and gathering each other before crying for their king to stomp you, and the field spell, Domain of the True Monarchs, which reduces the level of the big monarchs by 2 in the hand, and one really feels the artwork of March of the Monarchs. Most duelists will say, “Those Kings of Kings are unstoppable!” This writer will say, “Grandad’s cards need to stop riding around in horse and buggy.” These grumpy old men want to stick to the plays their comfortable with? That’s fine. They want to get together to brag about the “good ole days” when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and Christ was walking on water? That’s okay too. But take our monsters so their fat idols can sit on their butts, or restrict our Extra Deck so we have to move to their cane-limping speed? That’s simply unacceptable. The Old-Folks Home, the one with the cranky nurses, beds as stiff as concrete coffins, and cold porridge for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is already set for the lesser Monarchs. For Ehther and Erebus, the ones too bitter to retire and too bourgeois to touch? Get the guillotine.
- Bribe them to your side: There’s no better feeling than getting a pompous, high-nosed prick to bow to one’s will, either by using his or her greed or sins to one’s advantage. Since bribing or coercing a Monarch duelist is bad sportsmanship and illegal, you’ll have to settle for Intercept, a counter trap that takes control of a tribute-summoned monster. You’ll not only have an overpaid fathead yourself, but also get immunity to the Field Spell’s Extra Deck-locking ability.
- Spell Negation: The Monarchs may be capable of using a plethora of Monster effects, Spells, and Traps to their gluttonous ends, yet the writer would argue the Spells do more damage to the opposing duelist. The Monarchs Storm Forth and Soul Exchange are used to tribute your monsters for theirs, The March of the Monarchs makes them immune to targeting and destruction, and The Domain of the True Monarchs, the infamous Field Spell, will lock-out one’s Extra Deck options. Battle their magic with Magic Jammer, Dark Bribe, Twin Twister, Spell-Shattering Arrow, or Mystical Space Typhoon to keep your side of the field safe from their influence.
- End the Stomping: They may care little for their lives, but the writer truly grieves for the squires and vassals the Monarchs must step over to dominate their enemies. The continuous trap, Mask of Restrict, saves their underlings from hara-kiri by stopping all tributes. Zombie World, a Field Spell making all monsters on the field and in the Graveyard zombies, while making tributes for non-Zombie monsters impossible, can hinder the Monarchs, but remember Erebus, the Underworld Monarch, is a zombie himself, and therefore immune to its restrictions.
FYI: Aside from the Spells, be wary of Majesty’s Fiend, a Level 6 monster who stops all monster effects. Him looking down on you, a Dominion of the Monarchs, and a March of the Monarchs will leave you in a stickier situation than an elephant in quicksand.
DracoPals: The Whoralliance of the Century
The Plague: If the Dracoslayers are the high-priced prostitutes of Pendulum monsters, the Performapals are the crack alley whores of the mechanic. Separately, both archetypes have been splashed in most Pendulum decks, from lumbering Qliphorts to hydro-powered Dinomists, and both archetypes were hit by banlists for their crimes of promiscuity. So, similar to the overused troupe in espionage/military novels, when “The Man” limits the activities of two crime syndicates, what do they always do? The Pimps of the Dracoslayers and the Madams of the Performapals have signed a treaty, and the dueling world couldn’t be in darker times. A single paragraph fails to describe the consistency and combos available to this deck… Luster Pendulum not only destroys its owner’s own Pendulum to add a copy of it to the hand, but is also a tuner that opens the gateway for the powerful Ignister Prominence. Skullkrobat Joker, Monkey Board, and Pendulum Sorcerer search, Lizardraw draws, the Eccentric Archfiend destroys Spells and Traps, Vector Pendulum negates the effects of your opponent’s monster in Pendulum Zones... The writer could go on with what the DracoPals do: It’s how they do it that makes them the monsters monsters shudder from. The Dracoslayers and Performapals both learned tricks from their suicide-bomber cousins, the Igknights, but what the DracoPals have the Igknights lack is the bleach/ammonia mix of the Performapal effect versatility plus the stiff Pendulum Scales of the Dracoslayers: One can easily form a powerful level 4 Deck with Scales between 3 and 5. And the rest, as they say folks, is Tier 0 history. Well, almost. The whorallegiance of Dracoslayers and Performapals seems like a worse threat than pissed off prostitutes in Sin City. However, these aren’t a gang of scorned women with machine guns and samurai skills, but two beaten and abused archetypes that formed a support group after getting pimped by every other monster guild. Konami may, one day, be kind and give these guys enough support to stand with pride in their own respective archetypes. Unfortunately, until that day comes, only a little tough love can teach the DracoPals their place.
- When diversity goes wrong: With Reptiles, Dragons, Spellcasters, and Fiends fighting side-by-side, they’re bound to have some differences, right? The continuous trap Rivalry of Warlords makes it so you and your opponent can only control 1 Type of monster. If your deck can handle it, use it.
- Tip the Scales: As always, the top weakness of the Pendulum mechanic is it runs on mutations whose daddy’s were monsters and momma’s were spells. Magic Jammer, Twin Twister, the Spell-Shattering Arrow, or Magic Drain will drop a DracoPal player’s scales before they can weigh in his or her favor. Oh, and if you’re using Pendulum mechanics yourself, Wavering Eyes is also a potent option.
- The right incense solves everything: The Anti-Spell Fragrance is an older continuous trap known for annoying players by forcing them to set Spell cards before they can be played. However, Pendulum monsters, who become Spells when played in Pendulum zones, cannot be set in the Pendulum zones…
Until Next Time, My Peeps
On the forums, at tournaments, and even among his closest confidants, the writer remembers hearing many players despair over the direction the game is heading. Allowing monsters to continuously spam from the Extra deck, and the tendency for a first-turn setup that may freeze-out any decks unprepared, the Pendulums seem to make all older archetypes obsolete from their speed and ability to recover. However, from the writer's experience, these fears are nothing but widespread panic over something new, or resistance to a new wave of change. Pendulum monsters possessing a Spell duality opens them to the same vulnerabilities plaguing Field Spell-reliant decks, and Konami keeps inventing new ways to improve older archetypes, enabling them to keep pace and even often overcome Pendulum decks. Hiding our faces beneath the dirt like pimple-faced ostriches is not the way to deal with this new system incorporated in our favorite TCG. Incorporating our own flavor in the game, while at the same time understanding what it takes to be competitive and realistically setting our expectations within what we have and how far we want to go, is a progressive mindset in approaching any life endeavor. If you desire to play the game for fun, then do just that. However, just as Synchros held the crown before Xyzs, and Xyzs before Pendulums, if one wants to be furiously competitive, then expect your deck to carry some blue and orange cards.