Siding For: Trickstars
The new themes from Code of the Duelist have had a rough start this Regional season. Gouki, Trickstars, and World Chalice have struggled to compete against Zoodiacs, Dinosaurs, and True Dracos. Part of the problem is the sheer power of these holdover themes have. It would take a major power creep for new themes to outpace the best decks of the post- Maximum Crisis environment. It's tempting to wait for a Forbidden & Limited List to balance the format and bring the old in line with the new.
In the meantime there are duelists out there right now showing the world what these themes are capable of. Trickstar players have scored a few noteworthy wins at Regionals in recent weeks, and while that's a relatively small number it's still absolutely worth checking out. Rogue deck tops embolden players to attend events with those strategies, so in the short term there's a growing possibility that you'll be matched up against Trickstars at a Locals or Regionals. It might be time to take a serious look at this match-up.
And there's another reason why we should start talking about this deck now: it's very popular in the OCG. With more support on the way in Circuit Break there's bound to be even more Trickstars at locals, Regionals, and YCS events toward the end of the month. Now is a great time to pick up Side Deck cards for the match-up – especially if you want to avoid the frustration of losing to Droll & Lock Bird.
Profiling Successful Builds
Chain Summoning's incredibly explosive in Trickstars; you're very likely to lose the turn after your opponent resolves it if you don't have some form of interruption. Your opponent can search multiple Trickstar Reincarnation by bouncing Candina with Lycoris' effect, then Normal Summoning it to trigger its search effect. Chain Summoning is a crucial part of the Trickstar burn OTK, which relies on having the right number of Lycoris on the field and sufficient Trickstar Reincarnations or Disturbance Strategy.
Essentially, each time you're forced to draw your hand after discarding it with Reincarnation or Disturbance Strategy you'll get hit with a sizeable chunk of burn damage. Trickstar Lycoris hits for 1200 burn damage if you draw three cards, and Trickstar Light Stage stacks on an extra 200. Reincarnation on a six-card hand with two Lycoris and Light Stage on the field burns for a total of 2800 Life Points. Burning out a full 8000 Life Points isn't as difficult as you might think. Trickstar Candina, Dark Room of Nightmare, and Windwitch - Ice Bell help reach that magic number.
Michael State's Windwitch Trickstars aggressively chased a burn OTK with three copies each of Disturbance Strategy, Trickstar Reincarnation, and Dark Room of Nightmare. His odds of opening with an OTK hand were about as high as can be realistically achieved, and even if he couldn't pull off the play Turn 2 he could stall his opponent for a while with Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon. Crystal Wing can negate Ash Blossom & Joyus Springs and keep draw traps safe, and the small amount of burn damage offered by Windwitch - Ice Bell helps bring the duel closer to an end.
Trickstars can also win duels by resolving Droll & Lock Bird and wiping out their opponent's entire hand. Droll can be activated after the opponent adds a card from their deck to their hand, but it doesn't have to be Chain Link 1. Trickstar players will activate Trickstar Reincarnation or Disturbance Strategy after a search or draw effect resolves, then chain Droll & Lock Bird. Regardless of the trap used, the result is the same: their opponent will end up with no cards in their hand.
The Droll & Lock Bird combo shows up in every topping Trickstar build. Sylvain Machat made the Top 64 of YCS Rimini with sided Null and Void to rip freshly drawn hands away from his opponent. His pure build is heavy on hand traps and mostly maintains retains the same core Trickstar engine that we've seen in other decks. This Zoodiac Trickstar build from the Catskill Regional maintains the conventions of prior builds with a more stable Zoodiac engine backing up the Trickstars.
The biggest threats in the Trickstar deck are game-ending burn damage and the Droll & Lock Bird combo. As far as Side Deck strategy goes we want to primarily address those two win conditions and do everything we can to avoid losing to them.
Staying In The Game With Hand Traps
Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring is the easiest way to keep yourself in the game when your opponent is attempting to burn you out. It only stops one Trickstar Reincarnation or Disturbance Strategy, but sometimes that's enough. When your opponent only has two draw effects available they can't activate Droll & Lock Bird if one of their cards doesn't resolve. You're saving your hand with a single discard, and even your total burn damage for the turn will go down drastically. There's really only one reason to not side Ash Blossom for this match-up: you don't own it.
PSY-Framegear Epsilon can negate a trap from the hand and give you the materials to Synchro Summon on the same turn, so it's at least an interesting option. Unfortunately all it takes is a second Trickstar Reincarnation to cost you the free Summon. It's also uniquely counterable by Solemn Warning and Ash Blossom. Other hand traps can only be stopped by Solemn Strike and Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon.
Droll & Lock Bird conveniently works against Trickstars too. Activating it after Terraforming resolves is ideal, but in most cases a single Droll is enough to prevent your opponent from building their OTK field. You can also chain it to Windwitch - Glassbell's effect to avoid losing Droll to Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon. Effect Veiler's also an option, but Chain Summoning may let your opponent push past a single Trickstar Candina negation.
It's possible to play around a single Trickstar Reincarnation if you're fortunate enough that your opponent only opens up with one copy. Simply put: don't add cards to your hand before you take out their backrow. You want to avoid any cards or effects that allow Droll & Lock Bird to be activated. If your opponent can't force you to add or draw a card then they'll have nothing to activate Droll to, and likewise the threat of losing your hand vanishes. If you have to search you should set all other cards in your hand first. Again, that's only possible in the rare situation where your opponent only has a single Trickstar Reincarnation or Disturbance Strategy.
Preventing Burn Damage
Chainable cards, including Quick-Play Spells, help empty your hand and reduce the damage you'll take when you draw a fresh set of cards. Twin Twisters is exceptionally good for that, and with its discard effect you can take another card out of your hand and set up your graveyard. Cosmic Cyclone is a bit worrying as the Life Point cost is fairly steep, but it can banish copies of Trickstar Reincarnation to prevent your opponent from using their graveyard effects.
If you have the opportunity to play first you can side in trap negation like Royal Decree, or just basic backrow removal. Knocking out your opponent's backrow with Twin Twisters is a quick way to win the duel, and so is flipping Royal Decree during the End Phase. A monster that negates burn damage, or mitigates it in some way, can also keep you in the duel provided you aren't hit with mass removal or a Kaiju. Prime Material Dragon is an old school favorite with a handy destruction-negation effect. It's only answerable by an Xyz or a Kaiju, and its continuous effect turns all of your opponent's burn effects into Life Point gains for yourself.
Trickstars have some brutal win conditions that are frustrating to lose to. Hand traps can solve some of that frustration if you're lucky enough to open with them, but it's an uphill battle. Much like Chain Burn this deck is light on interaction, and I don't think many players fee the Droll & Lock Bird combo is ‘fair'. I highly recommend you look for cards that work against both Chain Burn and Trickstars when you can. Hanewatta's a solid option, and Ash Blossom is of course another.
Until next time then