Going Rogue… or Not! Traptrix (Part 2)
Traptrix Hands is the next big thing, and there are so many ways to build the deck that it can be hard to decide exactly what to do when building it. In my last article I discussed the basics of the two core engines – the Traptrix and the Hands – and also discussed many of the supporting card suites that can flesh out the monster lineup, but I still haven't gotten to talk about the biggest variant of the weekend – the top HAT deck! The Simple ‘Facts
While Traptrix Hands did really well this past weekend, the most popular suite to pair with the deck at the moment is without a doubt Artifacts. The Traptrix Artifact Hand deck, or HAT, appears to be the biggest breakout deck through the events last weekend, netting more Top 32 finishes than any other Traptrix Hand deck at YCS Philidelphia, and having the highest placing finish through the top cut at the YGO Series, with a Top 4 finish in the hands of Nicolai Howlett.
The Artifacts are a bunch of monsters that you can set to your Spell and Trap Zones as spell cards. If they're destroyed during your opponent's turn, you Summon them to the field, and they all get effects when they're summoned on your opponent's turn. On the most basic level, that means you can set them alongside your massive amounts of real backrow cards and deter your opponent from destroying your cards, or punish them for being greedy and destroying them anyway. However, you also get to play the powerful trap card Artifact Sanctum, which allows you to Summon any Artifact from your deck, triggering its effect if it's your opponent's turn.#####CARDID= 16117#####
The most notable of the Artifacts is Artifact Moralltach. It destroys an opposing face-up card when Summoned on your opponent's turn, without targeting, making it difficult to stop directly. Generally you'll use Artifact Sanctum to Summon out a Moralltach and take out a key card at the most disruptive time, making it like a better Raigeki Break, but there are a few other useful Artifacts to grab, as well. Artifact Begalltach's the general support Artifact, allowing you to destroy up to two of your own set cards when you Summon it on your opponent's turn. That allows you to trigger Artifacts that you draw into and have to set, and can create huge shifts in momentum, priming your field for a Rank 5 Xyz play on your following turn.
The last notable Artifact commonly seen in the HAT deck is Artifact Scythe, which prevents your opponent from using their Extra Deck on the turn it's summoned. Summoning out a Scythe right before your opponent consolidates into a Synchro or Xyz stops a lot of plays in their tracks, protecting any bigger monsters you have from threats like Number 101: Silent Honor ARK. It can even save your entire field from being decimated by Evilswarm Exciton Knight or Black Rose Dragon by preventing them from hitting the field in the first place. Stopping your opponent's Extra Deck plays also leaves a lot of decks with a field full of weaker monsters, ready for you to clear them out with attacks from your Scythe or the effects of your hands.
By using the Artifact suite you add tremendous depth to the deck, giving you another powerful reactive engine, non-targeting removal, access to Rank 5 Xyz, and the ability to deter spell and trap removal. However, the HAT deck does come with some larger risks. While many people have not learned to play around them yet, with a little practice it becomes easy to differentiate real trap cards from set Artifacts, and simply never destroy those set cards. Against an experienced player, an opening hand with multiple Artifacts is essentially drawing multiple blank cards, and forces you to take things into your own hands to get any value from the Artifacts at all.
That might not seem like much, but if you're forced to destroy your Artifacts yourself, it can set you back quite a bit. A Mystical Space Typhoon on your Artifact may trigger its effect, but it comes with the cost of not destroying an opposing card. That lets your opponent keep up a stronger defense, and it's comparable to being forced to discard your Typhoon. Artifact Beagalltach can help mitigate that – to a point – but it can still be very easy to lose control when you're forced to destroy your own cards.
While the HAT build may appear to be the best at the moment, I'd keep an eye on the results of major tournaments over the coming weeks. As people adapt to the threat of Artifacts and learn how to play around them, the strength of those builds will slowly decrease.The Trix's Traps (And Spells)
Between your Traptrix, the Hands, and one (or possibly more) of the strong supporting suites, you've got a strong core of a deck to begin with; but once you've decided on your core of monsters, there's still plenty of other decisions to make. Certain spells and traps have more strengths in some builds than in others, and depending on your local metagame, you may have completely different choices of Trap Holes.
Mystical Space Typhoon has widely been considered a staple for any deck, but its strength in Traptrix Hands varies. With both Traptrix Myrmeleo and Ice Hand can destroy opposing backrow, MST even be necessary some portion of the time. If you're playing multiple copies of Call Of The Haunted, you can trigger those effects even more reliably, making MST even less important for the Main Deck. HAT builds will be playing Artifact Ignition for the ability to prime an Artifact for destruction, along with destroying a spell or trap, but those duelists will still probably want a few as an additional way to trigger set Artifacts in the first place.
Forbidden Lance is amazing in builds that opt for the +1 Fire Fist engine, allowing Bears to win battles that they normally wouldn't and net more card advantage. It's useful in general for keeping your Hands safe from the likes of Dimensional Prison and Memory of an Adversary, which will likely pick up in popularity again if Traptrix and Artifacts continue to perform as strongly as they did last weekend. Pot of Duality's great if you can fit it in amongst all of the other spells and traps, and Pot of Dichotomy's an amazing card that I regret not fitting into my build for the YGO Series. Both Pots keep your card quality high, and Dichotomy's incredibly easy to play despite its activation requirement. The Hands provide two different types of monsters for you to recycle, while Traptrix Myrmeleo and Traptrix Dionaea give another two types. All of the other splashable suites have yet more types, making this quick +1 spell a perfect fit.
The last spell I really want to talk about is Soul Charge. This card's easily the most powerful spell that's legal at the moment, but it isn't always an amazing fit in control decks. That said, you can generate a ton of card advantage through your Traptrix effects, and leaving a Thunder King or a Hand on the table next to a Rank 4 Xyz is really strong. I've been playing a single copy in most of my builds and love it, but feel free to play a second. It's a bit of a high-risk card to play in multiples in this strategy, but when it pays off, it pays off big.
Looking at the traps, you'll find the core of your control aspects. Obviously the most important part of the trap lineup is your Trap Holes, as they're what you'll be searching out straight from your deck. Bottomless Trap Hole's a shoe-in for nearly every strategy as it is, but what exactly you decide on for the other Trap Holes can vary. The original Trap Hole can be somewhat narrow at the moment, but it's incredibly good at disrupting the early game for a lot of decks. Keeping Bujins off of their early-game Yamato can win the game outright and Trap Hole can hit the powerful turn one Madolche Anjelly play. Stopping a Geargiarsenal or a Fire Fist – Bear is huge and you can even strip the Turn 1 momentum of a Dragon Ruler or Sylvan player away when you Trap Hole a Kuribandit. Trap Hole's strength in most matchups peters off as the game goes on, so I generally only run one or two right now, but it's still definitely worth considering.#####CARDID= 12811#####
The other big Trap Hole to play right now is Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare. Negating the effect of any monster that was Special Summoned that turn is huge, and it's a move that's applicable in nearly every matchup. To start with, it stops any Xyz from using its effect the turn it's Summoned. Geargiarmor summoned off of Geargiano Mk-II or Geargiarsenal gets killed before it flips down. Any Mermail's on-Summon trigger is stopped cold, preventing Mermail Abyssteus, Mermail Abyssmegalo, and even stopping things like Mermail Abysspike when summoned off of Mermail Abysslinde. A Madolche Hootcake brought in off of Madolche Anjelly gets locked down; Artifacts are prevented and destroyed; and many other cards just fall to it. Because Nightmare negates the effects and not their activations, it even makes the optional trigger effects of monsters like Gear Gigant X miss their activation timing (their effects on the field still try to resolve after the monster's destroyed). Right now I wouldn't be playing fewer than two Nightmares in any Traptrix build, and I'd try to fit the third copy at least into the Side Deck.
As for other Trap Holes, Void Trap Hole's a slightly narrower alternative to Traptrix Trap Hole Nightmare, hitting only monsters with 2000 ATK or more, but it has the upside of destroying monsters that wouldn't be activating their effects anyway. Void Trap Hole also kills monsters that can't be destroyed by card effects normally, like the troublesome Bujintei Kagutsuchi, but most of these monsters are easily answered by the more reliable Black Horn of Heaven. Black Horn may not be a Trap Hole, but it's still incredibly powerful, and should be carefully considered in balance alongside the on-theme traps.
Giant Trap Hole's another narrow card, but the things it stops are all powerful, most notably hitting Geargiagear, Bujincarnation, and Soul Charge. It clears the entire field while leaving your Traptrix safe. It's weaker than Darkfall, but unlike the card that was previously named “Dark Trap Hole,” Giant Trap Hole's actually searchable with your Traptrix. If your local metagame has an abundance of Geargias it may be worth playing a single copy Main Decked, but otherwise it's pretty much restricted to the Side Deck if you opt to use it at all. Dark Trap Hole' rel="/db/WP-CH.asp?CN=Deep Dark Trap Hole">Deep Dark Trap Hole's like an additional Bottomless Trap Hole against Level 5 and higher decks. Most notably, those are Dragon Rulers and Scraps, but it also hits key monsters in decks like Machinas and Dark Worlds. It's a strong Side Deck choice and one I wouldn't leave out.
As for other traps, you want to have solid answers to threats that are already on the board. HAT builds can use Artifact Sanctum with Moralltach to answer most threats, but you're going to want cards like Dimensional Prison and the slightly weaker Mirror Force to keep established monsters away. Depending on how competition shapes up in the coming weeks, Memory of an Adversary may become a very powerful answer to opposing Ice Hands and Fire Hands, while also taking opposing Traptrix and Artifacts and turning their on-Summon effects against your opponent.
Continuous cards like Call Of The Haunted and Fiendish Chain best complement Mist Valley Falcon, but are strong in nearly any build, reviving a Traptrix to get more card advantage or a Hand to resume a broken chain of Hand effects, or even simply answering a single card. Call Of The Haunted gets additional mileage in HAT builds since reviving an Artifact on your opponent's turn will trigger its effect.
For more effect negation, Breakthrough Skill shines as a very strong alternative to Fiendish Chain. While its uses on the field are a bit narrow compared to Fiendish, HAT builds can struggle to resolve it, since chainable removal like MST is generally withheld in fear of hitting an Artifact card. That means Breakthrough Skill can keep your opponent's effects off balance very reliably. In addition to that, Breakthrough Skill's second effect is really useful when used in tandem with the Hands, negating opposing monsters like Abyss Dweller and turning off the self-protecting effects of monsters like Stardust (Spark) Dragon, Number 101: Silent Honor ARK, and Bujintei Kagutsuchi!
The last cool trap I want to go over is another popular Side Deck pick: The Transmigration Prophecy! It keeps seeing sporadic use in competitive play, but this deck gives you huge reason to use it. In addition to all of the utility as an alternative to D.D. Crow, shutting out graveyard-based effects, you can also play Transmigration to recycle your Hands, extend your chain of Hand effects, and return your copy Bottomless Trap Hole to your deck so you can search it out again with Traptrix Myrmeleo! While I'm not entirely sold on the idea of running The Transmigration Prophecy in the Main Deck, it's a powerful Side Deck option for a lot of matchups that comes with the bonus of returning your own cards.
Space can be a little tight, but nearly any strong disruptive spell or trap can fit into this strategy; feel free to be creative. The deck's as wide open as it comes, so if you know of a tech card that will give you an edge, more power to you to take advantage of it!My Future Trix
I haven't played a popular deck as my main strategy in a long time, so the sudden appearance of so many Traptrix decks is a huge shock to me. I've always played rogue stuff to keep my opponents off balance. However, just because Traptrix Hands may not be a rogue deck going forward doesn't mean I'll shy away from it; just the opposite! I know the deck like the back of my hand, so the goal from here on out is to stay a step ahead of the competition and keep them on their toes. There are so many ways to play this strategy that I'm sure I won't run out of new tricks for a while to come.
That's not to say I'm giving up on rogue decks, though! Primal Origins has given countless decks some competitive life. I'll be back next week with one of my favorite underrated strategies, bolstered in strength with some new support.
-By Bobby Kenny