Side Deck Theory: YCS And Regional Highlights

Kelly Locke

10/27/2015 11:00:00 AM
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YCS Dallas and the Regional events that followed were impacted in surprising ways by the release of High-Speed Riders. Most notably, PSY-Framelord Omega in Infernoids allowed Erik Christensen to sweep through Dallas without dropping a match. PSY-Frames themselves were recognized as a competitive strategy that weekend when Niko Smith won the Attack of the Giant Card!! tournament. Both Infernoids and PSY-Frames were popular topics of discussion last week.

PSY-Frames made a few showings at Regional qualifiers where they punished players for being unfamiliar with the deck's mechanics. This strategy is still in its infancy, so we have yet to see what optimal builds will look like. PSY-Frames could be a major contender down the road; for now it's a bit too early to tell where the deck will end up.

The rest of the crowd – Nekroz, Kozmo, Burning Abyss, Qliphorts, Shaddolls, and Satellarknights – haven't budged since Clash of Rebellions. The Duelist Alliance themes are still hanging around despite their extremely long life. We're three months into this format with no sign of a new Forbidden & Limited List, so it's safe to conclude we'll be waiting for Dimension of Chaos to introduce new elements to competitive play. That said, siding strategies are changing, although the process is so slow it's hard to make news of it. Cards come and go without ever receiving the attention or hype of Main Deck cards like Kozmo Farmgirl and Archfiend Eccentrick.

Converting Machines With Chimeratech Fortress Dragon
Kozmos are becoming a bigger threat as new support draws more players to the theme. Post-Dimension of Chaos builds do everything current builds do now, but better. Kozmo Dark Destroyer is simply an upgraded Kozmo Forerunner, and Kozmo Dark Witch gives the deck more durable field presence. At the heart of this strategy is Kozmo Farmgirl, and with Kozmo Lightsword in play not even Defense Position monsters will prevent it from triggering its search effect.

While Farmgirl plays the most important role in Kozmos, it's Forerunner that creates the most headaches for players. Burning Abyss in particular struggle to deal against a non-targeting, self-replacing monster with easily-met Summoning conditions and a beefy 2800 ATK.

 Kozmo Farmgirl
$8.39
$4.11
$2.79
Kozmo Farmgirl102500
Set Clash of Rebellions
Number CORE-EN082
Level 3
Type Effect Monster
Monster Psychic
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 1500 / 1000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

During either player's turn: You can banish this card; Special Summon 1 Level 4 or higher "Kozmo" monster from your hand. You can only use this effect of "Kozmo Farmgirl" once per turn. When this card inflicts battle damage to your opponent: You can pay 500 LP; add 1 "Kozmo" card from your Deck to your hand.


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For some strategies the solution to the Forerunner problem is Chimeratech Fortress Dragon. Special Summoning Chimeratech sends Forerunner or Kozmo Sliprider to the graveyard without triggering their effects, without starting a chain, and certainly without targeting them. Kozmos have plenty of ways to destroy Imperial Iron Wall, Mistake, and Light-Imprisoning Mirror, but their outs to Cyber Dragon are few and far between.

You can say the same for Qliphorts, where Cyber Dragon converts Apoqliphort Towers into another 1000 ATK for Chimeratech Fortress Dragon. Cyber Dragon doesn't care about Skill Drain or Lose 1 Turn, making it the simplest and most reliable answer to Towers Turbo. You don't even need to allocate Extra Deck space to play Chimeratech – it fits comfortably in the Side Deck too.

There's another card that helps put Cyber Dragon on the field quickly: Cyber Dragon Core. Core becomes “Cyber Dragon” while on the field, so it's another avenue to Chimeratech, but its ability to Special Summon Cyber Dragon from the deck is the reason it's worth playing. Send Core to the graveyard with Dante, Traveler of the Burning Abyss or Shaddoll Fusion and you can banish it later to grab Cyber Dragon on-demand.

Doomcaliber Knight In PSY-Frames
Wind-Up Rabbit and Cardcar D are excellent tech choices for PSY-Frames because they fit into the theme's mechanics so well. Doomcaliber Knight is seeing playing in PSY-Frames for the same reason: it won't stick around on the field long enough to interfere with Framegear Summoning conditions. It's mostly played to burn a card from the opponent's hand, stripping them of another monster that could have been used to push through the numerous negation effects the deck is running.

Aggressively Doomcaliber leads the charge against Kozmos, Burning Abyss, Nekroz, and Shaddolls. Kozmos that attempt to bounce out of the way of Doomcaliber's 1900 ATK will have their effects negated, and other monsters that activate when destroyed will also lose their effects. Nekroz can't successfully stop the Battle Phase with Nekroz of Valkyrus as long as Doomcaliber's around.

Hand traps can bait out Doomcaliber's effect early, but most players won't be keeping in Effect Veiler or Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit against PSY-Frames. Maxx “C” isn't great here either because the PSY-Framegears Special Summon themselves and PSY-Frame Driver simultaneously. When Game 2 comes up the PSY-Frame player can safely side Doomcaliber without losing it to cheap activations. It's a surprisingly effective Side Deck card that unfortunately doesn't fit into many strategies outside of PSY-Frames.

Archfiend Eccentric Sneaks Into Competitive Play Early
Last week Archfiend Eccentric doubled in price as players prepared for Majespecters, Magician Pendulums, along with Performages and Performapals. OCG Pendulum strategies use Eccentric as recurring monster removal and one-time spell and trap removal. Pendulums that can take themselves off the Pendulum Zone are valuable too, as they free up space to play new Pendulums or build different Pendulum Scales.

It's a great card that's poised to become one of the most popular Pendulums of the next few months, but it's already appearing in Side Decks as a multi-purpose solution to cards you're likely to see in Games 2 and 3.

 Archfiend Eccentrick
$19.95
$13.65
$10.00
Archfiend Eccentrick102456
Set Clash of Rebellions
Number CORE-EN042
Level 3
Type Pendulum/Effect Monster
Monster Fiend
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 800 / 1000
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Pendulum Effect : You can target 1 other Spell/Trap Card on the field; destroy both it and this card. You can only use this effect of "Archfiend Eccentrick" once per turn.
Monster Effect : You can Tribute this card, then target 1 monster on the field; destroy it. You can only use this effect of "Archfiend Eccentrick" once per turn.


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Archfiend Eccentric destroys Continuous Spells and Traps like Mistake, Imperial Iron Wall, Lose 1 Turn, Dimensional Fissure, Deck Lockdown, and many other popular floodgates. It's also useful for destroying opposing Field Spells, Fiendish Chains, and Pendulum Spells. The fact that it's searchable through Wavering Eyes fully establishes its place in Igknights and Zefra, but it even has some utility in Qliphorts. It destroys Spell Canceller or Thunder King Rai-Oh with its monster-removal effect, and doubles as a possible Pendulum Scale option with any of the Scale 1 Qliphorts.

Outing monster-based floodgates is a big part of Archfiend Eccentric's appeal. Vanity's Fiend, Masked HERO Dark Law, and both cards I mentioned earlier–Spell Canceller and Thunder King Rai-Oh–are easily dispatched by Eccentric's effect. It would have been a great solution to the Djinn lock from last format. Now it's potentially even more powerful with the emergence of new Pendulum themes and a push towards generic Pendulum Scales.

Voiding Monster Effects
Traps that respond to Special Summons, or the effects of Special Summoned monsters, have spiked in play over the last month. Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, Void Trap Hole, and Black Horn of Heaven have been appearing in both Main and Side Decks much more frequently. Traptrix engines have popped up in Kozmo especially, but Void Trap Hole is seriously good even when it's not being searched by Traptrix Myrmeleo. By negating and destroying monsters it does the job that Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit and Effect Veiler leave halfway finished. Nobody wants to let cards like Nekroz of Trishula, Stellarknight Triverr, or El Shaddoll Construct successfully resolve, and most would rather have those cards off the field rather than on it.

High-ATK monsters are a threat for strategies like Kozmos with limited monster removal options. Void Trap Hole plays essentially the same role as Ghost Ogre by destroying anything Kozmo Forerunner can't take down in battle. Eliminating those monsters empties the field and let's Kozmo Farmgirl score direct attacks. Elsewhere Void Trap Hole simply saves resources. You're not forced to find solutions to the high-ATK monster you just negated, so you can hold onto your Dark Hole or Raigeki for another turn.

Trap Hole cards, and Summon response traps in general, are bound to see a ridiculous level of play over the next few months. New Pendulum strategies debut in Dimension of Chaos, Structure Deck: Master of Pendulum, and Breakers of Shadow – several of which are easily answered by Time-Space Trap Hole and Void Trap Hole. Traptrix Rafflesia's also appearing in Breakers of Shadow alongside a new piece of Summon negation: Solemn Notice.

Trending Out With Black Horn of Heaven
In its Astral Pack Eight reprint Black Horn of Heaven now specifically negates only a single Summon, and therefore can't negate the Pendulum Summon of two or more monsters. Does that mean Black Horn will drop out of Side Decks? It's certainly possible, but that depends entirely on which match-ups it was sided for in the first place.

It's just as viable against Xyz or Synchro-heavy strategies as it was in the past, but it's worse against Pendulums. Xyz strategies definitely aren't going anywhere thanks to Performages, and Cyber Dragon Infinity is arriving early next year in Breakers of Shadow. Burning Abyss and Satellarknights are also still dependent on inherent Special Summons to put their best monsters on the field. Black Horn of Heaven should remain highly playable throughout the rest of the format, although it will be instantly overshadowed by Solemn Notice in January.

There are a some great Side Deck cards out there right now, including a bunch of cards just hitting the competitive scene in response to PSY-Frames. We'll be talking about siding strategies for that deck in the coming weeks as DOCS nears release.

Until next time then

-Kelly



Kelly Locke is a West Michigan gamer, writer, and college student with too much free time on his hands. Besides playing Yugioh, Kelly posts Let's Play videos of Minecraft on his Youtube channel and plays a possibly unhealthy amount of Destiny. He is currently studying marketing at Western Michigan University, and hopes to graduate before Dragon Ravine is Unlimited.


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