Competitive Corner: Steven Baker’s Awesome Spellcasters

Doug Zeeff

12/26/2016 11:00:00 AM
 Comments

I love cards like Bahamut Shark, chiefly for their impact on rogue decks. Bahamut Shark's commonly splashed into Heroes and Mermails, but really you can play it in any deck with Level 4 Waters. That means any deck with a few Water monsters can kick out one of the most powerful cards in competition right now: Toadally Awesome.

Heck, you could even make Bahamut Shark in Cloudians by overlaying Cloudian - Storm Dragon and Cloudian - Turbulence!

It reminds me a lot of Number 16: Shock Master back in the day. As long as you could turbo out three Level 4's you could lock your opponent out of the game on Turn 1. I have fond memories of using Crystal Beacon to flood my field and make Shock Master, beating stuff like Dragon Rulers by cutting them off from card effects.

Steven Baker didn't quite take Cloudians to a Regional Top 8, but he was successful with an off-the-wall deck centered around Bahamut Shark, and Summoning it in strange ways. I don't know if this is a testament to the power of Toadally Awesome, or if it's a new breed of Water deck entirely, but there's a ton of stuff going on here and it's all worth a look.

Here's what Baker played to Top 8 the Altoona, Iowa Regional Qualifier last weekend.

    Awesome Spellcasters Steven Baker    
  Location:  Regional - 2016-12-18 Altoona Iowa - 5th - 8th Place
Main Deck
Side Deck
3 Aqua Madoor
2 Chocolate Magician Girl
2 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
3 Jigabyte
2 Maxx "C"
3 Performage Hat Tricker
2 Performage Trick Clown
1 Rescue Rabbit
3 Tin Goldfish
Monsters [21]
1 Book of Moon
2 Cosmic Cyclone
3 Instant Fusion
3 Pot of Desires
1 Raigeki
1 Soul Charge
3 Unexpected Dai
Spells [14]
1 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Dimensional Barrier
1 Floodgate Trap Hole
3 Solemn Strike
1 Time-Space Trap Hole
1 Vanity's Emptiness
Traps [9]
Deck Total [44]
3 Anti-Spell Fragrance
2 Book of Eclipse
3 Denko Sekka
1 Dimensional Barrier
2 Retaliating "C"
3 System Down
1 The Winged Dragon of Ra
Side Deck [15]

EXTRA DECK

1 Abyss Dweller
2 Bahamut Shark
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
2 Daigusto Emeral
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Elder Entity Norden
1 Gagaga Cowboy
1 King of the Feral Imps
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
2 Toadally Awesome
1 Traptrix Rafflesia
Extra Deck [15]
Notes:


The strategy draws immediate comparisons to those Bahamut Shark variants I mentioned earlier: Heroes and Mermails. It might not have Masked HERO Dark Law, and it might lack the raw aggression of Mermails, but it makes up for that with pure consistency.

I mean it. Virtually every hand in this deck ends with Bahamut Shark, Toadally Awesome, and another Rank 4 backed by at least one trap card. Sometimes that second Rank 4 is another Bahamut Shark for a double Toadally Awesome first turn, but other times it's Traptrix Rafflesia, ready to cause disruption with any of three Trap Hole cards that Baker played.

Rank 4's All Day, Every Day
Basically everything in this deck is played to summon Level 4 monsters for free. Performage Hat Tricker, Jigabyte, and Unexpected Dai all load up your field with basically no drawback. There's a lot of overlap between Spellcasters and Water monsters here, making Jigabyte fantastic.

Oddly enough, Aqua Madoor might just be the most important Spellcaster here. At first glance it looks like it's played solely for Rescue Rabbit, but Baker remarked post-event that he only resolved Rescue Rabbit once in the entire tournament. The reality is that Aqua Madoor works in every situation that this deck puts you in, and it lets you abuse Unexpected Dai at the start of your turn to set up for a Bahamut Shark.

For example, if you open with Aqua Madoor, Tin Goldfish, and either Jigabyte or Hat Tricker you can go into King of the Feral Imps and then Bahamut Shark. You can also revive Aqua Madoor with Daigusto Emeral, which explains why Baker ran two copies of it. You're constantly recycling Aqua Madoors every turn to make more Rank 4's, creating a ton of momentum out of very few cards.

Obviously Aqua Madoor doesn't have an effect, but another Water Spellcaster does: Chocolate Magician Girl. We've seen it pop up in a couple Lightsworn decks in the past, and it's not surprising to see it here, too. Chocolate Magician Girl does have an attack blocking effect that's kind of cute, but the real gold is her discard effect: once per turn you can pitch a Spellcaster to draw a card. This deck's packed with Spellcasters – including your best discard, Performage Trick Clown – which leads you to a Rank 4.

 Chocolate Magician Girl
$5.27
$3.38
$2.00
Chocolate Magician Girl120954
Set The Dark Side of Dimensions Movie Pack
Number MVP1-EN052
Level 4
Type Effect Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute WATER 
A / D 1600 / 1000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Once per turn: You can discard 1 Spellcaster-Type monster; draw 1 card. Once per turn, if this card is targeted for an attack: You can target 1 Spellcaster-Type monster in your Graveyard, except "Chocolate Magician Girl"; Special Summon it, then change the attack target to it, and if you do, the attacking monster's ATK becomes half its current ATK.


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But the best thing about Chocolate Magician Girl is that you're almost always drawing into something useful. If you can get to Performage Hat Tricker, Jigabyte, or Instant Fusion you've lain the groundwork for a bigger combo. And Baker played nine useful traps to get to as well, any of which he'd be happy to see.

The beauty of this deck is that you can often play your entire hand to the field and make a really secure board. I'm a big fan of any decks where every card is playable on Turn 1, and this one might just take the cake by that metric. You hardly ever see an awkward hand, because even if you just end your turn with Bahamut Shark, Toadally Awesome, and some traps you'll usually win the duel… or at least stall enough to draw into better cards. This deck thrives off card advantage, and that's why stuff like Chocolate Magician Girl, Pot of Desires, and Maxx “C” are so crucial.

Power Versus Consistency
I think that this deck is a classic example of a duelist prioritizing consistency over power. I truly believe that Heroes and Mermails are more inherently powerful than this strategy, but since all of your cards accomplish the same goal, this is much more consistent than either of those decks. That's really important for a longer tournament.

I'm also a fan of Baker's streamlined Side Deck, engineered to tackle his worst matchups with cards like Denko Sekka, System Down, and Book of Eclipse. Those are all good against ABC-Buster Dragon and Paleozoics, which means that now is probably the right time to mention that Baker managed to duck those matchups in his Regional.

Initially that was a huge turn off for me: after all, if this deck didn't even face two of three most popular strategies, then how can it be considered competitive? But after you pilot it a couple times yourself and see how similar it feels to other great decks this format – namely Heroes and Lightsworn – you begin to understand that even if Baker didn't play against those decks, that doesn't mean he wasn't capable of beating them.

I also wanted to give a quick nod to his sided copy of The Winged Dragon of Ra. It's mostly a joke pick, but the idea was that if Baker were to get hit by The Winged Dragon of Ra - Sphere Mode he could then use its effect to Special Summon the actual Ra for free. It's almost guaranteed that an opponent using Sphere Mode in their Side Deck would play it against him, so I thought it was an interesting pick that most players haven't considered.

Going forward I think Baker's list could benefit from a few adjustments. Chocolate Magician Girl seems like an automatic three-of, and Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju is a bit outdated. If you had the funds for Minerva, the Exalted Lightsworn, I could even see a successful mash-up with Lightsworns. Duelists are clearly still experimenting with different versions of Bahamut Shark strategies, and that's awesome to see!

-Doug Zeeff


Doug Zeeff hails from Michigan and is currently an English major in college. When he's not found emailing Konami about why there's not a single walrus card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh! you can find him regularly posting unorthodox, unfiltered semi-Yu-Gi-Oh! related content on his Youtube channel, Dzeeff. In his spare time he enjoys eating cheese, Overwatch, and, of course, playing Yu-Gi-Oh. Click here to follow him and his adventures on Facebook!


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