Siding For: Post-RATE Infernoids

Kelly Locke

2/21/2017 11:00:00 AM

A cursory glance at the Regional tops filling our deck database since the release of Raging Tempest reveals that Zoodiacs have taken control of the game. Zoodiac variants of all sorts represented the vast majority of Regional Top 8's, and consisted chiefly of four different flavors: Kaijus, Metalfoes, Infernoids, and pure builds.

Infernoids in particular got a lot of attention heading into February, largely due to That Grass Looks Greener and Void Feast. I even previewed the post-RATE Infernoid strategy last month. The deck's performing extremely well here, and old tech from the days of Nekroz are showing up in Side Decks again.

Modern Infernoids are much more robust, and won't lose to the same floodgates that used to cost them game after game last year. That said, the deck's new direction has made them more vulnerable to spell negation and disruption, as well as floodgates that prevent Special Summoning.

Zoodiacs Solve Everything
Imperial Iron Wall, Chaos Hunter, Necrovalley, and Artifact Lancea have been the most popular Side Deck picks against Infernoids for years. The goal when siding for the match-up has remained the same ever since Infernoids hit the competitive scene back in 2015: don't let your opponent banish cards to Summon their monsters. Cards that stop your opponent from banishing have straightforward applications against a banish-dependent theme, and essentially cripple your opponent's Summons.

You can also play cards that keep the graveyard empty. Masked HERO Dark Law, Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure, and Different Dimension Ground halt the buildup of Infernoids in the graveyard. Without that pool of resources the Infernoid strategy quickly runs out of cards. It's not hard to fill up the graveyard these days, especially with That Grass Looks Greener and Void Feast. Void Imagination, Reasoning, and Monster Gate are still around to dump over a dozen cards into the graveyard at once too.

Lastly, blocking Special Summons remains a great strategy here as it does pretty much everywhere else. Infernoids are largely unaffected by Dimensional Barrier, but they still struggle against floodgates like Vanity's Fiend and Vanity's Emptiness. It's perhaps the riskiest Side Deck strategy given the number of Main Deck outs your opponent will be playing, but it's definitely possible to keep a floodgate monster on the field for a number of turns despite your opponent's best efforts to destroy it.

 That Grass Looks Greener
That Grass Looks Greener127321
Set Raging Tempest
Number RATE-EN066
Type Normal Spell Card
Attribute SPELL 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

If you have more cards in your Deck than your opponent does: Send cards from the top of your Deck to the Graveyard so you have the same number of cards in the Deck as your opponent.

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Siding strategies against Infernoids without Zoodiacs is mostly unchanged, although it's possible you might see a blowout if they resolve That Grass Looks Greener against you. Unfortunately there's no Turn 1 solution to Greener outside of Artifact Lancea. Without it, you're stuck trying to break your opponent's board and follow up with your own floodgates to shut off their stream of Summons. That could be nearly impossible if your opponent mills a lot of Infernoids and can set up with lots of negation, or relatively easy if they mill mostly spells and traps.

The Zoodiac engine gives Infernoids an answer to floodgates that shut out their banish effects. Imperial Iron Wall was already weakened by Twin Twisters, and now it's even worse due to Zoodiac Drident. It only takes one Zoodiac monster to bring out Drident, and there's no need to banish cards. Your opponent can and will freely play around Iron Wall, Necrovalley, and Chaos Hunter to ultimately Summon Drident, destroy your floodgate, and resume banishing cards.

The most effective Side Deck cards against the Zoodiac variant are Special Summon-blocking floodgate monsters. Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo is afraid of Infernoid Decatron, Speedroid Terrortop, Zoodiac Whiptail, Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn, and various forms of monster removal. Despite that it's surprisingly safe, relatively speaking, and you can protect it with just a few backrow cards. That was Antonio Izzo's strategy with his Barrier Statue Demise Stun build, which he used to Top 8 the Palm Beach Florida Regional. Barrier Statue of the Stormwinds blocks every Infernoid and Zoodiac monster, and his backrow was more than enough to deal with any other Normal Summon that might break through his defense.

Artifact Lancea remains the safest pick against the threat of removal, but its stopping power is entirely limited to keeping most Infernoids off the field. If you're looking for a consistent, relatively unanswerable way to slow Infernoids down, this is the card you'll want play. Artifacts in general are picking up in play, and while Artifact Scythe isn't particularly effective here it's almost worth playing the engine just to Summon Lancea from the deck.

Updated Solutions To Infernoids
Not every Infernoid build is teching Zoodiacs, and more conventional choices are still as effective as ever In those match-ups. Taking a second look at Antonio Izzo's Barrier Statues, he also played Thunder King Rai-Oh in his Main and Side Deck. Rai-Oh's great in this match-up as a counter to Left Arm Offering, Void Vanishment, and Charge of the Light Brigade. Sure, it's quickly outed by Infernoid Harmadik and Decatron, but in the meantime it's an extremely disruptive floodgate. If your opponent tries to run it over in battle with a larger Infernoid monster you can send Rai-Oh to the graveyard to negate that Summon.

Izzo's Side Deck included Banisher of the Radiance, which makes cards like That Grass Looks Greener, Reasoning, and Monster Gate entirely counterproductive. Banisher puts in a ton of work in this match-up as long as it can stick around on the field. Its survivability is linked to your opponent's immediately-available answers. They won't be able to load an out into the graveyard, and even Infernoid Decatron can't copy Infernoid Harmadik to destroy it.

 Different Dimension Ground
Different Dimension Ground38611
Set Starstrike Blast
Number STBL-EN077
Type Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Super Rare
Card Text

During this turn, any monster sent to the Graveyard is removed from play instead.

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Almost any blanket banishing effect can slow, stop, or seriously disrupt your opponent's attempts to build their graveyard. Different Dimension Ground is a blowout card against That Grass Looks Greener, especially if your opponent activated Left Arm Offering to get it. It's less vulnerable to Zoodiac Drident and can be chained to removal effects like Infernoid Patrulea or Twin Twisters.

There are two Field Spells that help push this match-up in your favor: Necrovalley and Secret Village of the Spellcasters. Secret Village of the Spellcasters and, to a lesser extent, Anti-Spell Fragrance shut off your opponent's spells for a turn. In the past both cards were a nuisance to play against, but the modern Infernoid deck is much more spell-heavy than its predecessors. Spells like That Grass Looks Greener, Void Vanishment, and Left Arm Offering are tremendously important, and can't be left on the field for a turn. Just disabling Charge of the Light Brigade, Reasoning, Monster Gate, and Instant Fusion is a major setback. Your opponent's best hope at that point is to somehow stall with Void Feast and hope for the best.

Speaking of Void Feast – it lets your opponent play around your anti-banish floodgates. Unless you're blocking traps, Special Summons, or monster effects, you can be sure that your opponent will load their field with two or three Infernoid monsters. They don't need a graveyard to activate Void Feast either, so it dodges yet another set of answers. Still, your opponent either needs to activate and resolve Void Vanishment, or draw into Void Feast. Since your opponent's probably playing a 60-card deck you have a good chance of blocking Void Feast by destroying Vanishment with Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit, or by chaining Twin Twisters.

Full Force Virus knocks out all monsters with 1500 or less DEF, which includes all but the biggest Infernoid monsters. It might seem counter-intuitive to help your opponent fill their graveyard, but you'll find that it's worth ripping those monsters out of their hand straight away. Infernoid Decatron and Raiden, Hand of the Lightsworn are both vulnerable to Full Force Virus, and there's very Little Downside to taking them out early. You'll get information about their hand, kick away key monsters, and potentially hit any remaining hand traps.

Likewise, Eradicator Epidemic Virus is much more interesting against Infernoids these days. Spells are the lifeblood of the Infernoid deck because they drive so many mill effects. Without those your opponent won't have many ways to get their monsters to the graveyard, and their resource pool will dry up in the early game. Calling spells will most likely solve the issue of Void Feast by robbing your opponent of Void cards to discard. Unfortunately it's much less predictable, less consistent, and requires a much stronger Dark monster for a tribute. If you're already trying to find a generic Rank 4 or Synchro to pay for Full Force Virus it might be hard to find a second card if your first pick doesn't have both 2500 or more ATK and 2000 or more DEF.

 Full Force Virus
Full Force Virus127334
Set Raging Tempest
Number RATE-EN078
Type Normal Trap Card
Attribute TRAP 
Rarity Secret Rare
Card Text

Tribute 1 DARK monster with 2000 or more DEF; check your opponent's hand, all monsters they control, and all cards they draw until the end of their 3rd turn after this card's activation, and destroy all those monsters with 1500 or less DEF.

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The Infernoid match-up's a tricky, one-sided affair with an outcome that's decided largely by your opponent's opening hand. Can they dump twenty cards into their graveyard on Turn 1, and were those cards mostly monsters? Did they set up with one or more negation bodies? Will they be Summoning three monsters for free on Turn 2?

If they answer to just two of these questions is “yes” then you're in for an extremely difficult uphill battle. Preventing your opponent from establishing those boards is critically important, or else breaking their field and setting up some sort of floodgate might be too difficult.

That Grass Looks Greener can be frustrating to play against. As a single spell it generates an almost unfair amount of card advantage. At the very least the deck's glass cannon design makes it vulnerable to bricking, and at least some games are lost due to opening with too many irrelevant spells. But that wasn't enough to prevent the deck from making Top 8 appearances at Regionals last week, and I imagine it'll continue to be successful throughout the remainder of this format.

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​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.

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