How to Defeat Annoying, Popular Yu-Gi-Oh Decks
Hey to all, and welcome to the third installment on how to beat Yu-Gi-Oh decks that make you want to pull your hair out (and then the hair out of the opponent you're dueling). So far, the articles have covered everything from the self-righteous, kamikaze cult (Lightsworns) to the ugly-spawn of hell and the denizens of the Mariana Trench (Mermails); however, just when duelists think they can relax while shining their decks, Konami loves to throw grenades painted as baseballs over their way.
If the Darkworlds, Wind-ups, Firefists, and Heroes pushed you to the edge of insanity, the Hieratics, Geargia, Sylvans, and Prophecies will push you over the edge and follow you with a ten-ton anvil. Their strategies make warriors cry, spellcasters turn monotheistic, fiends shiver under their sheets, and dragons hand over their hoards of gold. But they'll leave you, the reader, smiling, for after reading this article, you'll have the knowledge to wreck the newest, most annoying Yu-Gi-Oh decks that have the nerve to wander onto your dueling scene.
Hieratics: The Most Dangerous Sacrificial Lambs You'll Ever See
Just when you thought sacrificing went out of style with the Mayans, these ghastly things pop from the Pharaoh's tomb. There used to be one thing a duelist could count on when facing a mutated lizard's nest: With a deck bogged down with high levels, its acceleration equaled that of tractor trailer on an icy road.
Unfortunately, those days are done. The Hieratics are a new archetype of mostly level 5 to 6 dragons that specialize in tributing to get effects. They tribute each other to destroy Monsters, to destroy Spells and Traps, and to Special Summon themselves to the field. But the worst part is that they summon Special Normal dragons from the deck, hand, or graveyard when they're tributed. The summoned dragon may have 0 attack and defense, but who cares? With Tuners like Galaxy Serpent and Labradorite Dragon, a Stardust Dragon, Scrap Dragon, or even a Star Eater is just a summon away.
Then there's the Xyz potential of the deck, the place where these flying coffin-stuffers really shine. Hieratic Dragon King of Atum, Photon Strike Bounzer, M7, and their big boss, Heliopolis, will leave you wondering how dragons got so fast while they gnaw at your lifepoints. Ghost Dragons may be the most horrifying fusion since zombies with chainsaws, but they're still nothing more than fodder for holy talismans and the Ghost Busters. It's time to put finishing nails in some sarcophagi, because nobody likes a dragon mummy.
- Stop the OTKs: OTK is the Hieratic player's game, but that's it. Their strategy centers on summoning a large number of Xyzs or Synchros and striking in one turn for game. No draw power, no recycling, no protection. Side Battle Faders, Swift Scarecrows, or Threatening Roars to halt their descent from heaven before you return these mutated ghost-lizards to hell.
- Break the Altar: Just as the Ancient Mayans would be considered sane without their sacrifices to the Sun, the Hieratics become turtles towing a freight train when they don't butcher themselves to the almighty Heliopolis. Mask of Restrict or Fog King will give you the pleasure of ending their suffering before they can laugh at you from a bloody altar top.
- Banish the Light: The writer forgot to mention one vital fact about the Pharaoh's secret dragon army: they're all Light monsters! The Light-Imprisoning Mirror saps the souls straight from these ethereal nuisances' armor. With no Light monster's effects on the field and in the graveyard, these guys might as well be your classmate's pet lizard he thought would be cool to bring to show-and-tell.
FYI: All Hieratics have levels between 5 and 7, so any card restricting the summon of high levels (Winking at Steelswarm Roach) would devastate them. And be modest with your Spell and Trap cards. With this deck running A Wingbeat of Giant Dragon, your support will last as long as a straw house in Oklahoma.
Sylvans: Yeah, It's Another Overpowered Plant Archetype
Here we go, folks . . . remember those religious zealots who built their casualties so they'd have an excuse to bring their ultimate dragon to war? Some of those guys got lost in the woods, became pantheistic from their “enlightenment,” then started humping Gigaplants and Lonefire Blossoms with a can of Miracle Fertilizer as an aphrodisiac. The result will make your eyes melt and decks flip . . .
The Sylvans specialize in excavating, a fancy term for revealing cards from the Deck before sending them elsewhere. All Sylvans Excavate, and all get effects when Excavated:
- Komushroomo destroys Spells and Traps.
- Peaskeeper special summons from the Grave.
- Marshalleaf destroys monsters.
- Hermitree rearranges the top 5 cards of the owner's deck.
Combine this with their field spell, Mount Sylvania, which places a plant on the top of the deck during the owner's turn and excavates the deck's top card at the end of the opponent's, and you have the ultimate nightmare scenario. But don't worry: A dandelion is nothing more than a pretty weed. Pack the right weed killer, and you can have this field of dancing crab grass “excavating” its own grave.
- Pave Over the Grave: These FernGully rejects get their effects when their excavated to the Graveyard. Soul Drain negates card effects in the Graveyard, while Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure make them miss it, ensuring these overgrown weeds' effects stay underground where they belong.
- Maintain the Home Field Advantage: From the writer's experience, Sylvans lose a lot of speed without their signature field spell, Mount Sylvania. Save your MSTs for that card and you'll have your tree-hugging opponent excavating blind.
- Aim for the Attributes: Unfortunately for the Sylvan duelists, yet fortunately for you, more than two Sylvans barely share the same attribute. Save your Gozen Matches and Battle of the Elements to make your opponent bloom their deadly orchards during different seasons.
FYI: Sylvans have great Spell support, considering that any card that works for Plants supports them, too. Magic Jammer, Dark Bribe, Magic Drain, or Spell Canceller will hinder Avatar's rainforest from casting Miracle Fertilizer, Sylvan Charity, Mount Sylvania, and so on and so forth.
Geargia: Play Peek-a-boo With NASCAR's Private Militia
Speeding through your lifepoints faster than the cast of Need for Speed during a heist, the Geargia are this year's new machine-deck stars. These mutant racecars given make-overs by 10-year-olds specialize in two things: hand advantage and level 4s.
Geargiarmor, a level 4 with 1900 defense, adds a Geargia from the deck to the hand when flipped face-up, and their trademark Xyz, Gear Gigant X, can do the same while detaching and Specials a level 3 one from the Grave when destroyed. When it comes to the level 4 department, all Geargias are level 4, yet their tiny, drag race buddies, the Geargianos, can be Special Summoned from the deck as level 4s with a simple trap.
The generous hand advantage along with the 4 star march transforms a weak speed deck into a monster truck outfitted with a nuclear payload. How, you may ask? By changing two simple strategies into a toolbox for the most useful Xyzs in the game: Rank 4s.
- Need to stop attacks? Switch to Number 39: Utopia.
- Fighting a deck that runs from the Grave? Reel up an Abyss Dweller.
- At a terrible disadvantage and own a money tree? Pull out an Evilswarm Exciton Knight or Silent Honor Ark.
These transforming, rolling toolboxes have an answer for everything, but at the end of the day, they're just an overclocked PC without fans: Overheating is inevitable. But we're not here to wait for that, are we? We're here to have a heater, an open oven, and the central heat blasting right next to the processors while they're overclocked.
- Slow Down the Searches: The Geargia thrive on grabbing their buddies from the Deck, but you can set-up road blocks with Mistake, a continuous Trap card making adding cards from the deck to the hand via effects impossible, or Thunder King Rai-Oh, a monster containing the same effect with the additional ability to negate Special Summons. Just make sure your Deck follows a different route than your Toys-For-Tots assembly-line adversaries.
- Limit the Special Summons: Clockwork NASCAR swarms the field faster than any Wind archetype with a rising air current (pun intended). When you also consider how this Deck's only advantage is Xyzs, the continuous trap card Summon Limit, and the annoying Kaiser Colosseum, will set a spike strip against the Geargia.
- Shut 'Em Down!: For any deck thinking a Deux Ex Machina will save it, System Down takes the Machina out of their Deux, permanently. For a mere 1000 lifepoints, banish all Machine types on your opponent's side of the field and in their Graveyard. Need the writer say more?
FYI: A special mention goes out to King Tiger Wanghu, a monster capable of destroying any pest with less than 1400 attack when its summoned, flip summons the sole exception. What non-Xyz Geargia have more than 1400 attack? Not enough of 'em.
Prophecies: You'll Never Want To See Another Spell Card Again
Confused, fellow reader? The Prophecies, a.k.a the Spellbooks, are more known for the cards they abuse than their actual archetype, and that should tell you something right there. The Prophecies work in tow with the Spellbook Spell cards. Using the Spellbooks, they can:
- protect themselves from Spell and Trap cards
- boost their attack by 1000
- add other Spellbooks from the player's deck to the hand
- grab banished Spellbook spells
- replicate the effects of Spellbooks in the Grave
- return Spellbook spells in the Grave to the Deck
To further irritate things, these blasphemous bibliophiles get effects from Spellbooks, the most annoying Temperance of Prophecy and the High Priestess of Prophecy. If a single Spellbook is played that turn, Temperance can tribute itself to Special Summon a level 5 or higher Light or Dark Spellcaster from the deck, while the High Priestess can banish a Spellbook from the Grave to destroy a card. Combine her with the Spell Book of Eternity and Power, and this little lady will close you in a loop tighter than Gotenks's Galactic Donuts.
Yeah, going against the Prophecies it seems knowledge is truly power, but when's the last time anyone's ever been afraid of a dork sporting a robe, thumbing through a tome he can barely lift while staring through fogged-up glasses? Please. Time for an old-fashioned book burning.
- Negate the Problem Children: Temperance and the High Priestess represent the greatest obstacles in overcoming your opponent's weaponized Barnes and Noble. Save your Effect Veilers, Fiendish Chains or Breakthrough Skills for them to make a more even fight. But really, and the writer emphasizes really, look out for Temperance. Big things come in small packages, especially when that small thing can turn into something as big as a High Priestess or a World of Prophecy.
- Make Them Burn for Their Magic: All these cultists are going to burn in Hell someday anyway, so why not give them a taste of their fate? Curse of Darkness burns any player that plays a Spell card for 1000 lifepoints. If they like spamming spells so much, play this continuous trap, stand back, and watch the stake burning commence.
- Erase the Spells: There's no better way to stop a wannabe magician than to cast Silence on him or her. Spell Canceller ends the threat of Latin curses forever, granted you keep its mere 1800 attack from getting overwhelmed. If your deck can support it, the Dark Simorgh and Anti-Spell Fragrance combination also halts the blue-book threat.
FYI: The Prophecies protect themselves well from Spells and Traps. Focus on disrupting the Spellbooks and on smacking the glasses from these library fanatics with Monster effects.
And There Are More Decks to Crumble!
We've successfully plowed through another group of archetypes that looked unstoppable. The Hieratics have been buried in cement coffins under the Pentagon. The Sylvan forest has been cleared, because a brother gotta have his toothpicks. We have an EMP perimeter set around the Geargia racetracks, accompanied by spike strips on the roads. Finally, the Prophecies were rehabilitated into society, after we demolished their Tower and threw their tomes in an incinerator, of course.
But the battle is far from over. As the seasons change, five new archetypes will emerge to replace every three old-and-tried ones. Just as in life we must change our approach and upgrade our knowledge to stay marketable, in Yu-Gi-Oh we must pinpoint the weaknesses of new decks while adjusting to the changes in the old to stay competitive. The next article will explore how to defeat strategies lacking a competitive edge, yet ensnare decks unprepared in a cycle of boredom and despair. Until then, shuffle those cards, and stomp some decks.