Siding For: Awesome Heroes

Kelly Locke

1/3/2017 11:00:00 AM

Awesome Heroes are one of several championship-level strategies that use Toadally Awesome to secure powerful set-ups and disrupt your opponent. Masked Heroes are already playing a defensive, ‘protect the castle' strategy that's built around a single floodgate monster, so Toadally Awesome's a perfect fit.

When you put them together, Toadally Awesome and Masked HERO Dark Law are one of the fiercest Turn 1 set-ups in the game. Negation paired with a one-sided blanket banish effect makes that pairing really tough to break through. Any removal effect will probably be negated and stolen by Toadally Awesome, and any search or draw that does resolve will trigger Dark Law and pluck a card from your hand. Replacement effects that rely on the graveyard are bypassed by Dark Law's banishing, and Pendulums will never make it to the Extra Deck.

You can't play defensively against that field for long. Bahamut Shark will crank out another Toadally Awesome on the following turn and eventually you'll be overrun. There's little chance of stalling out against Dark Law; its blanket banishing effect will prevent most replacement effects from activating and quickly run Pendulum decks, Yang Zings, and Burning Abyss out of cards. And it's astonishingly easy to create that exact set-up. A Hero Lives, Instant Fusion, and E - Emergency Call bring the necessary combo pieces together. It's a consistent strategy that pays off big in the early game.

Five of the fourteen Awesome Hero players who started Day 2 at YCS Bochum made it to the Top 32. That was a nine deck drop off following three additional rounds before the top cut; no other deck had such a high retention over the same time period. Awesome Heroes are a seriously strong contender this format with plenty of Regional and championship-level tops, and this week we'll be discussing the best Side Deck picks against them.

What's Old Is New Again
Elemental Heroes have been around for over a decade, and the HERO Strike Structure Deck is nearing its two year anniversary. Unlike Mermails, the return of Masked Heroes wasn't even partly the result of a new Main Deck card. Instead, it was the existing synergy of Tin Goldfish and Elemental Hero Bubbleman that pushed Masked Heroes back into the spotlight.

Toadally Awesome continues to be a format-defining card. It's the biggest reason why Awesome Heroes are vastly outperforming their previous incarnations. We've already seen Toadally Awesome push Mermails and Paleozoics to the top of the competitive scene, and even Spellcasters have put it to use. You need Level 4 Water monsters to Xyz Summon Bahamut Shark, but you'll find lots of themes have those materials.

 Effect Veiler (UTR)
Effect Veiler (UTR)58434
Set Duelist Revolution
Number DREV-EN002
Level 1
Type Tuner Monster
Monster Spellcaster
Attribute LIGHT 
Rarity Ultimate Rare
Card Text

During your opponent's Main Phase, you can send this card from your hand to the Graveyard to select 1 face-up Effect Monster your opponent controls. Negate the effect(s) of that monster until the End Phase.

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Having to solve a board of Bahamut Shark, Toadally Awesome, Masked HERO Dark Law, and any number of backrow cards is kind of the worst situation you can land in. We've already discussed the merits of siding to prevent those ‘Awesome' fields in the first place; in a perfect world you'd never have to side proactive removal because your opponent was stuck behind Dimensional Barrier or some other floodgate. Games rarely play out like that, thankfully.

Masked Heroes are terrified of hand traps in the early game. Effect Veiler shuts down Summoner Monk in a devastating way, and leaves your opponent down a spell with nothing to show for it. Veiler's also great against Tin Goldfish, Elder Entity Norden, and even Bahamut Shark. Its worst target is Elemental HERO Shadow Mist since your opponent can chain Mask Change to resolve it anyways. Typically your opponent will have to use Summoner Monk or Tin Goldfish to activate its effect in the first place, but A Hero Lives can make Veiler an embarrassingly bad choice.

Maxx “C” can be a solid hand trap for this match-up and its effectiveness depends on your opponent's opening hand. Drawing a card from its effect will trigger Masked HERO Dark Law's banish effect, so it's slightly less effective here than in other match-ups. Your opponent will often need at least two Special Summons to put Dark Law on the field, so you'll draw twice and lose a card to Dark Law. That leaves you breaking even, and that's only if your opponent uses Mask Change that turn. There's nothing stopping them from setting it and forcing you to take a minus. That's actually a better play most of the time.

On the other hand Maxx “C” really discourages Bahamut Shark. It's hard to know exactly when your opponent's trying to go for Bahamut, and in the majority of situations a Hero player can settle for Dark Law as soon as Maxx “C” is activated. During Game 1 you can resolve Maxx “C” and thin your deck, but it's likely one of the first cards you'll be dropping going into games 2 and 3.

Retaliating “C” doesn't affect Awesome Heroes nearly as much as other graveyard-dependent strategies, so I find it hard to recommend here. You could use it in part to search Maxx “C”, but as I just mentioned there's little value in having Maxx “C” at all, let alone on Turn 2. It's probably best to keep this card sided for other match-ups.

Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries is excellent as expected. If Dark Law is seriously disruptive and shuts down dozens of relevant decks that use the graveyard or the Pendulum mechanic. It's an outstanding answer to Metalfoes, for example, because it banishes virtually every card they play. Winter Cherries eats up a lot of valuable Side Deck space, but it pays off by completely denying your opponent a card that might otherwise shut down your strategy.

Remember that all of those hand traps become useless as soon as Dark Law hits the field; you can't activate Effect Veiler, Maxx “C”, or Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries if you can't send a card to the graveyard. All of the choices have risk associated with them and trade utility against established boards for reactive Turn 1 interaction for that can prevent dangerous fields from appearing in the first place.

 Chaos Hunter
Chaos Hunter39235
Set Storm of Ragnarok
Number STOR-EN085
Level 7
Type Effect Monster
Monster Fiend
Attribute DARK 
A / D 2500 / 1600
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

When your opponent Special Summons a monster, you can discard 1 card to Special Summon this card from your hand. Your opponent cannot remove cards from play.

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Lastly, Chaos Hunter exists as an option for players who really don't want their cards banished. At 2500 ATK it's just narrowly weaker than Bahamut Shark, yet still has enough ATK to take out Toadally Awesome and Dark Law. Its main benefit is the continuous effect that prevents Dark Law from banishing your cards.

You can Summon it immediately after Dark Law hits the field provided your discard cost is irrelevant. Summoning it ahead of Mask Change will give your opponent a chance to make a different play, so keep that in mind. Also, there's nothing stopping your opponent from making a Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer on the same turn with Instant Fusion.

Options For Going First
Playing first against a ‘protect the castle' strategy is almost always ideal. Dimensional Barrier, Solemn Strike, and Solemn Warning can shut down plays and leave your opponent with few options for the remainder of their turn. Strike and Warning are especially powerful because Mask Change can't be chained to it. This lets you negate an effect or Summon and feel relatively safe provided your opponent doesn't have a follow-up A Hero Lives or Instant Fusion. Of course, your opponent is likely playing those cards in threes, so they're not nearly as effective as we'd like.

You can chain Dimensional Barrier to Mask Change, but Awesome Heroes are far from limited to a single Summoning method. Your opponent can simply shrug off their spent Mask Change and make an Xyz Summon instead. Still, outside of Bahamut Shark this deck's Rank 4 toolbox isn't too threatening, especially if you started with ABC-Dragon Buster or some other Quick-Effect monster.

Psi-Blocker can block Masked HERO Dark Law specifically, and represents a flexible proactive floodgate that can't be blown out by Twin Twisters very easily. Continuous floodgate monsters like Vanity's Fiend and Amorphage Sloth have great staying power against a deck with few Main Deck answers to them. You're most afraid of Breakthrough Skill, Raigeki, Dark Hole, or Forbidden Chalice, but none of those cards are searchable. Amorphage Sloth runs the risk of being eaten by a Kaiju though.

I'm not a fan of spell or trap-based floodgates in this match-up due to both Twin Twisters and Masked HERO Acid. Anti-Spell Fragrance will slow your opponent down a bit and can hurt them if they open with too many offensive spells. Setting Mask Change is usually fine, however, so you'll delay your opponent by a turn at most. If that helps you win more so than other Side Deck picks then go for it, but I imagine that's not often the case.

Playing Against Dark Law And Toadally Awesome
Most of the time you'll have to deal with Masked HERO Dark Law while it's on the field. Mass removal is, surprisingly, a great choice here. Yes, Toadally Awesome can and will take your Dark Hole, Raigeki, or Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, but those cards still perform wonderfully in this match-up. Almost none of your opponent's Extra Deck options have any kind of replacement effect, so Dark Law won't magically transform into another monster if you try to destroy it.

Kaijus avoid the negation of Toadally Awesome and can dispatch both it and Dark Law. Opening with two Kaijus is an easy way to take out both monsters, but you'll often leave Bahamut Shark around for another turn. The solution? Pair a Kaiju with a mass removal effect. Tribute Toadally Awesome, then use Dark Hole or Raigeki to blowout the field. From there your opponent will need to pick up the pieces and use their backrow to buy time.

Denko Sekka solves the problem of mass backrow in this match-up. You'll need a follow-up play of course, though Denko itself is a great way to lock down a card your opponent took with Toadally Awesome. Pairing Denko with two other mass removal options can quickly back your opponent into a corner after you've cleared their field and locked their backrow. It doesn't take much to break your own set-up, however, so don't overestimate Denko's strength here.

 Denko Sekka
Denko Sekka94557
Set The New Challengers
Number NECH-EN041
Level 4
Type Effect Monster
Monster Thunder
Attribute LIGHT 
A / D 1700 / 1000
Rarity Ultra Rare
Card Text

Cannot be Special Summoned. While you control no Set Spell/Trap Cards, neither player can Set Spell/Trap Cards nor activate Spell/Trap Cards that are Set on the field.

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Awesome Heroes almost demands to go first, and it's an uphill battle trying to take down larger monsters without opening up with an ideal hand. Rank 4's are the go-to answer to committed monsters like ABC-Dragon Buster, Metalfoes Fusions, Majespecter Unicorn - Kirin, and Blue-Eyes Spirit Dragon. Your goal while defending your field position is to push back an Xyz play and still prevent Masked HERO Dark Law from having an impact.

Conversely, a proactive approach requires you to dismantle whichever aspect of your opponent's set-up is most threatening to your strategy. That might be Dark Law, Toadally Awesome, or their backrow. Maybe it's none of the above and you already won by opening Exodia. Whatever the case is you'll want to build your Side Deck by prioritizing cards that best answer your vulnerabilities, then trust the rest of your deck to achieve its victory condition regardless of what your opponent throws at you.

Until next time then


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​'s​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.

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