Yugioh April 1st 2017 TCG Banlist Reaction: Is Zoodiac PePe 2.0?

Tfw you try to get your guest writers to do this post for you, but then they’re all busy so you gotta do it yourself.

Anyway, the TCG FINALLY after almost a 6 months got its new banlist. Heads rolled, money was lost, people cried and once again we were forced to bow before the tyrant Komeny.

As you’ve likely already seen and heard opinions about it, let me add my own thoughts to the discussion table:

 

Forbidden: 
Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin: And so ends the rain of terror of the one of the best Pendulum monsters ever printed. To be fair, I think Kirin had passed his prime. He used to be a key card in Magician decks, but of late Kirin has only seen play in Metalfoes decks. Despite his lack of current play Kirin was stil a powerful card, that

  • Stunts most removal
  • Lets you reuse pendulum monster effects after bouncing them (See SkullCrobatJoker)
  • Disrupts the opponent
  • Is terrible in its own archetype…
  • Can be Pendulum-summoned back if Kaiju’d
  • Protects itself innately…

Yeah…

You know what…

Screw this card, good riddance. RIP Bunbuku though

 
The Tyrant Neptune: This card is part of an FTK combo with the Lyrical Luscina fusion monster. It’s interesting that the TCG preemptively banned it, but it’s not that surprising given how much Konami hates FTKs.

 
Vanity’s Emptiness: Best thing to ever happen. This card has stolen games, caused salt and been relevant for way too long. It’s generally the last piece to any unbreakable board (because don’t let the memes fool you, almost nobody actually plays Ra Sphere Mode). I am very glad to see it go.

 

Limited:
Maxx “C”: Whelp I will say that this is a reasonable hit. Maxx C in this day and age has become one of the most powerful cards to open with. If you have an established board plus Maxx C your opponent basically has 2 options:

  • Kill you through Maxx “C”/Take the Maxx “C” Challenge (which seldom works)
  • Pass their turn and die

I will miss this card. There was a time when Maxx “C” was a counter to unfair special summon spam decks, but now its just another card to provide an unfair card advantage while preventing plays. That being said limiting Maxx “C” to 1, just makes it infinitely sackier if you actually open it. I could see it getting banned some day.

 
Rescue Cat*: Rescue Cat has been errata’d to be once per turn and to negate the effects of the monsters that it summons. This still reads essentially as a 1-card xyz or synchro (as there are a billion beasts that it can summon at this point). Whether or not that’s broken still remains a question.

 
Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier*: Brionac is now once per turn. Once again if this is broken or not I don’t know.

 
Brain Control*: Brain Control with its errata to only take monsters that can be normal summoned is terrible. It won’t see any play and will likely go to 3 in no time.

 
Future Fusion*: This card can mill all of the Infernoids in the user’s deck to the graveyard..

It’s been errata’d to not send until the following turn, but its ceiling is still too high. It will be banned again eventually (I think so at least).

 
Imperial Order*: Oh boy no more spell cards. Sure you have to pay the 700 life on both standby phases and you can’t turn it off manually, but it’s still an overpowered effect. I see it being re-banned or at the least getting Anti-Spell Fragrance limited to curb spell hate down the road. Actually maybe that’s wishful thinking since once pendulums dies, anti-spell dies with them. Speaking of Pendulums…

 

 

Semi-Limited:
Wisdom-Eye Magician: Thank goodness they’re giving Pendulums support before nerfing them to death in Link Format. This won’t do anything except maybe help sell the last pendulum set they’re releasing. I doubt that will happen though.

 
Zoodiac Ratpier:

 

Really? This quick?

So you basically can’t build the best deck in yugioh anymore huh? This isn’t as bad as the adjusted ban list, BUT let’s see here.

Perhaps no deck in Yugioh can remain tier 1 (or 0). That being said it’s pretty clear that no deck can be tier 0 for very long these days.

 
Interrupted Kaiju Slumber:

  • Conceptually one of the strongest cards ever printed (Dark Hole that summons a 3300 beater and can search more Kaiju)
  • Surprising that we would get this hit so soon (It was just hit in OCG)
  • Reasonable since everyone is more or less siding Kaijus to combat established boards.

 

 

Unlimited:
Sangan*: Errata makes it unplayable. I guess it can finally search Tour Guide again though (long live the power couple)

 

So all in all, I have but one thing to say about this list…

MLGNorden

Norden confirmed as the new Dante

Dodges the ban list yet again…

Thanks for reading as always.

When Zoodiac Finally Dies (Yugioh in the Promise Land) OCG April 1st Banlist Reaction

In hindsight, what if this banlist was all an elaborate joke to fool Yugioh players? I mean an April 1st banlist, that’s just inviting trolling. Anyway, let’s react and stuff:

You can view the list here (though I’ll list all the changes below anyway)

Oh before we get started remember that the OCG is almost 2 formats and multiple packs ahead of us. We won’t see a banlist like this until likely the Winter of this year.

 

Forbidden:

The Tyrant Neptune (Unlimited to Forbidden): This card was being used in an FTK combo with Lyrical Luscina Independent Nightingale. Konami hates FTKs (especially burn FTKs). It’s easy to see why this card got banned.

 
Zoodiac Drident (Unlimited to Forbidden): The first hit to tilt all viewers is the banning of the Zoodiac boss monster. This has killed the deck’s top end threat. Without Drident, the deck can no longer effectively react on the opponent’s turn.

 
Zoodiac Barrage (Unlimited to Forbidden): So this was the card I think deserved to get hit. Zoodiac Barrage essentially gave you access to 6 copies of Ratpier. Since that little bugger is a 1-card combo to swarm the board this needed to be stopped. Furthermore, virtually all of the Zoo variants abused Barrage’s destruction effect in a manner not originally intended (one would hope). Barrage also allowed you to keep going after your normal summon or first special summon was disrupted. All in all it was the most infuriating in the Zoodiac deck, which I fully support being banned.

 

Limited:
Witch of the Black Forest (Forbidden to Limited, Text Change): We don’t know what the errata is, but it’s likely the exact same as Sangan. That much beloved furball is at 3 in OCG and no one plays him. We can assume Witch will share the same fate.

 
Zoodiac Ratpier (Unlimited to Limited): Now this was unfair. Without Ratpier, Zoodiac goes from being a consistent, powerful deck to a bizarre entourage of fringe use trash monsters. I mean Throughblade and Whiptail are good, but they don’t come close to what Ratpier does. Now to be fair, I think limiting Ratpier was completely reasonable. It’s just that its limitation alongside banning Barrage/Drident is just incredible overkill.

 
Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow (Unlimited to Limited): It’s been a long time since a Blackwing graced the banlist. After watching a few link summoning combo videos online I can safely say that Gofu is more broken than ever perform. Thank goodness they limited it.

 
Interrupted Kaiju Slumber (Unlimited to Limited): From a card design standpoint Kaiju Slumber is absurd. It takes the one of the best cards in the game (Dark Hole) and essentially adds get a 3300 attacker. The fact that you have to summon a weaker Kaiju to your opponent’s field generally doesn’t matter since you just theoretically wiped their board. To play devil’s advocate for a minute, like with Brilliant Fusion Kaiju slumber forces you to play multiple non-synergistic cards. If you open multiple Kaiju, even if you summon both to the field the kaiju slumbers in your deck become dead. However, even with that Kaiju are a polarizing subject in Yugioh. Many (like myself) believe they’re a godsend preventing unbreakable boards, while others think they’re ruining the game. Anyway, Kaiju Slumber is still dumb and it’s being banned is reasonable.

 

Semi-Limited:
Elemental HERO Stratos (Limited to Semi-Limited): We’ll never have Stratos free. If you think he will be, you’re lying to yourself.

 
Armageddon Knight (Limited to Semi-Limited): It’s a good card. It’s a combo piece. I’m sure there are ways to break it, but Dark Synchro is probably dead in Link format (I’d assume).

 
Fairy Tail – Snow (Unlimited to Semi-Limited): This card is broken. With this card limited, it pretty much nerfs Lawnmowing/Lightsworn decks. Snow is very powerful as it provides both disruption and a body. Try killing your opponent through a Fairy Tale Snow… try even making a board through a Fairy Tale Snow. Good hit Konami.

 
Goyo Guardian (Limited to Semi-Limited): Who cares… Literally who cares…

 
Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer (Limited to Semi-Limited): This card is powerful, but Pendulums are dead now so it doesn’t matter.

 
Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier (Limited to Semi-Limited): It’s a good day to get back this iconic card with an errata that doesn’t make it unplayable.

 
Fire Formation – Tenki (Limited to Semi-Limited): It’s ok, killing Zoodiac had to come  with killing Yosenju, Fire Fist and literally all other Beast-Warrior decks.

 
Brain Control (Limited to Semi-Limited): With the errata, it’s unplayable.

 

Unlimited:
Artifact Moralltach (Semi-Limited to Unlimited): Bring back this mans in TCG, he’s no longer broken. Artifacts are literally just him, Scythe and maybe Lancia. I don’t even think it’ll see play at 3.

 
Magician of Faith (Semi-Limited to Unlimited): We all love her, we’ll all never play her. Nuff said.

 
D/D Lamia (Semi-Limited to Unlimited): I guess D/D/D had to be freed? I don’t think this matters, but I guess it’s here.

 

And that’s the list. I feel bad for Zoodiac. The deck is totally dead after being tier 1 for months. Like Dragon Rulers, Nekroz and Burning Abyss it’s going to fade into Yugioh history.

Zoo Prison smol

Thanks for reading as usual.

Yugioh ARG Atlantic City YosenZoo Kaiju Deck Profile and Tournament Report Good Synergy or Horrible Mistake?

Two friends went to ARG Atlantic city playing their homebrew deck Yosenju-Zoodiac-Kaiju. Each played the exact same list. How did their tournament go?

Deck List:

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Duelist A

The reason behind why I ran this deck is that I wanted to run the best deck that required 0 thinking or time commitment. This was the most consistent and required least amount of thinking throughout the whole day, which was my main goal. Myself and a friend of mine played a nearly identical main, side and extra deck. Today I played Yosenzoo Kaiju, a deck that was designed specifically to go second and OTK (since every deck this format wanted to go second, and most didn’t play mirror force traps). Main-decking 4 board wipes, and multiple ways to 2-card combo, the deck specialized in making the typical zoo combo but overlaying for Tiger King instead of Daigusto Emeral, and setting Fire Formation Tensu, allowing the Yosenju engine (which you search off bullhorn because they’re beast warrior) to completely go off. In a lot of testing, we left the main deck at 46 to try and mitigate lawnmowing mills and we felt that (also running pot of desires) there was not a single card we could cut to make room.

 

The Combo:

Any way of summoning rat and a slumber OR Zoo and 1 Yosenju and Raigeki or kaiju and zoo and 1 Yosenju.

It’s same as zoo setup, except you search a Yosenju with Bullhorn and then make Tiger King with the 2 rats to set Tensu (or Tenki if you used Zoodiac Barrage) and Yosenju swarm.
Round 1: Pure Zoo (I think) 2-0

This is probably the fastest match I’ve ever had in my life. It was a total of 4 turns, and ended in less than 5 minutes. He went first and opened standard zoo combo, made Emeral+Drident and set 2 passed. I draw for turn with an opening hand of Tenki, Twin twisters, Kama 1, Kama 2, Kama 3, and Slumber. I twin twister ditch Kama 3 to which he reveals my body and chalice. I then slumber, search Kama 1 with Tenki, and then summon Kama’s 1,2,3, bounce my opponent’s kaiju back to my hand, and then attack for game for a total of 2 turns.

Game 2 he opened very similar, and I opened slumber zoo for the combo, ending the match in 4 turns.

 

Round 2: Infernoid Zoo (2-1)

Game 1 he wins die roll and goes first, setting up a board of decatron (with Devyaty-negate monster-effect), Drident, Rafflesia, and Totem bird. I Kaiju the Totem bird, slumber, and then OTK with Barrage and 2 Yosenjus in hand.

Game 2 He goes first again and sets up a similarly unbreakable board. I don’t draw slumber so it’s harder to bait out/break, but I set myself up (backed by storming mirror force) to not die. I survive the turn because storming mirror force is broken, and all I need to do to swing for game (he was at 300 life) was topdeck any monster. I draw a dead Tensu, set it, and wait for him to kill me as long as he didn’t’ mess up.

Game 3 I draw Maxx c Lancia going second so there was just no way I was losing, especially when he left arm offering’d his hand for an instant fusion to bring back zoo. He took the maxx c challenge and I drew 6 cards, Slumber’d for game and held Forbidden Chalice in hand for Fairy Tale Snow.

 

Round 3: Pure Zoo (1-2)

Game 1 I bricked double Chalice, Tensu, Raigeki, Kama 2, Kama 3. I cleared his board but got hit by Solemn Strike to my Kama 2, by which he had enough resources to otk me next turn.

Game 2 I pulled off the yosenju combo and won.

Game 3 He opened an unbreakable board and I had no board clears.

 

Round 4: Metalfoe Zoodiac (0-2)

Next to Paleo, this is my second-to-worst matchup, as I simply lose to a board that they can bring back next turn if I can’t otk.

Game 1 his opening board was Majespecter Kirin, Totem bird, Drident, Emeral, Metalfoes Counter and a Fullmetalfoes Fusion set. I Kaiju’d totem bid and slumber’d, but he chained maxx c and I couldn’t OTK with Kirin on board and the maxx c/fullmetal combination.

Game 2 I elected to go first (my 3 strikes and 2 barriers in the side were for against pendulum-based decks and Paleo) but drew none of the 5 traps that I sided in, even after desires for a 6-card opening hand.

 

Round 5: Lunalight Zoo/Fusion Draw Norden Turbo Zoo (1-2)

Game 1: He went first and apparently, this deck turbo makes Elder Entity Norden, fusion substitute, and draws 4 cards. I didn’t have twin twister and he had double strike barrier set.

Game 2: I OTK’d with the combo.
Game 3: He opened the nuts again and I couldn’t contest.

 

Round 6: Invoked Artifact Windwitch (2-1)

Game 1: I surprised him with the OTK.

Game 2: Given limited options, I had to go for the OTK, even chalice-ing the scythe, but I had no idea he ran Drowning Mirror Force, which ended up winning the game for him.

Game 3: A bit of a grind because I bricked, but stalled out long enough to kaiju Crystal wing, slumber, and OTK.

I only played Round 6 because my friends were finishing up a side event,  I ended up giving my opponent the win and dropping.

 

Looking back: Nothing can keep up with the consistency and the 1-card combo that zoo requires. Nor the strikes or mirror forces that I couldn’t twin twister enough of. I can live with Drident, but Kirin, strikes and barrier still hurt.

 

MVP of the day: Storming Mirror Force. Nearly every time I drew the card I won the game, or it saved me from losing badly when I bricked. It’s just way too strong.

LVP of the day: Juragedo. I was originally going to play Yosenju Tsujik, but I couldn’t find one (because honestly who owns that card) so I tried to replace with Juragedo. In theory, it helped beat over drancia if they popped rat since it special summons during battle phase, and it’s essentially a swift scarecrow I draw into to prevent getting OTK’d with an open board and running only 4 traps. Card was awful all day, and every time I drew it I lost.

That just about summarizes my experience. Shoutout to all my friends for letting me borrow cards and I’m sorry the deck didn’t perform better.

 

Duelist B

Round 1 – Pure Zoo

0-2

Opponent went first and opened Terrortop, strike, warning, and dimensional barrier.  I did not open any form of backrow removal and got otk’d

Game 2 was strange.  I pushed for some damage and set torrential in main phase 2.  I thought I was safe, but then my opponent summoned Denko sekka.  Why did he side in Denko? I have no idea.  He didn’t even know I was playing Yosenjus, and on top of that I was only playing 4 trap cards in the entire deck.  The Denko tech confused me, but it won him the game so I guess it was the right move.

Round 2 – Pure Zoo

2-0

Opponent went first and opened very well.  He negated my slumber with my body as a shield, which allowed me to use a second slumber.  I flipped vanities during his standby phase and continued to beat him down with Jizukiru over the next several turns.

Game 2 was almost exactly like the first.  He summoned Drancia/Emeral and set backrow.  He then negated my first slumber.  I followed up with a second slumber.  Poked for game.  Very boring for both of us.

Round 3 – Pure Zoo

1-2

He opens the sheep combo and sets double strike and barrier.  GG.

Game 2 he literally burns himself to death with all the strikes and instant fusions.

Game 3 he plays into Needle Ceiling and Torrential Tribute.  Then he activates Lullaby of obedience, calling Terrortop, and gets nothing.  Then he messes up the rat combo.  Despite his several misplays he still wins because I didn’t draw a single monster all game.  In fact, the only monster I drew all MATCH was the Kama 1 in game 2.

Round 4 – Paleozoic

2-0

Game 1 I opened Twin Twister, for the first time all day!  That card alone was enough to win.

Game 2 I actually managed to otk with Slumber, Twin Twister, and Yosenjus.  Despite playing a deck that was built specifically to otk, this was the only time all day that I actually drew into one of the several possible otk’s.

Round 5 – Paleozoic

0-2

He stuns me with his traps on my first turn.  Then made double toad with backrow.  GG

Game 2 he does the same thing, but instead makes triple toad and Opabinia.  GG

Then I dropped.

 

This version of the deck failed miserably.  It was 46 cards…much larger than any other variant I had made before.  This diluted my chances of seeing cards like twin twister.  In testing, the 46 card deck did not seem to be a problem since every card was something I was okay with seeing in my opening hand…if I also drew a monster with it.  I don’t know what the odds of this happening were, but in the over 10 games I played, I drew almost no monsters and had to set fake backrow.  Immediately after I dropped I decided to cut the deck down to 42 cards and play in a side event.  The event was an 8 man (3 round) tournament similar to the last chance qualifier at nationals.

Round 1 – Windwitch, Artifact, Invoked

2-0

He went first and make the ultimate providence-like monster and crystal wing with backrow.  He had one card in hand (Aleister).  I opened a kaiju, slumber, and barrage.  He activated Maxx “c”, but I didn’t care and just pushed for game.

Game 2 he goes first, but I open Artifact Lancea.  Chaining lancea to his invocation let me otk him the following turn with the rat/tensu combo.  He tried to stop my combo with artifact scythe, but I had chalice in hand.

Round 2 – 60 card Infernoid

2-0

Game 1 he goes first and opens void feast.  I deal with the double decatron with book of moon and slumber.  Push for game with rat combo.

Game 2 I open lancea and shut off his lawnmowing mills.  I can’t otk on my turn so I make Rhapsody in Berserk and banish the threats he had in grave.  He has no plays the following turn because everything good is gone and scoops his cards.

Round  3 – Yosenju Kaiju

2-0

Believe it or not, I played against a Yosenju kaiju player in round 3.  He was bad though so it was a free win.  I watched him play in a previous round and he thought that he could negate the draw effect of toy vender with vanity’s emptiness.  Also I was tired and made a pretty bad misplay.  The only monster on board was my Drancia. He activated slumber and I forgot to chain Drancia to pop itself to force slumber to fizzle out. Whoops.  Also he sided flying “C” to stop my xyz summons.  Chalice made flying “C” a non-issue.

I ended up winning the side event (prize was a mat and an invite to the ARG invitational).  Super small tournament means no glory.  This was basically just another way to playtest changes to the deck.

Comparing my performance in the main event and the side event gives me some insight on how to move forward:

Based off the matchups I would say that the pure zoo matchup is more difficult that I had seen in playtesting.  This is undoubtedly due to the amount of backrow they can set.  Would cutting my deck size down improve this matchup for me?  I would assume so, but haven’t tested yet.  Seeing backrow removal is essential for my deck to function…as is seeing monsters.  Bricking cost me the main event, but I think it was probably due to my own bad deck building.  Smaller is better.

Infernoids is the deck’s easiest matchup since noids play virtually no backrow.

Paleo is impossible to beat.

Main take-away: Reduce deck size.  Add more backrow hate.  Consider playing another deck at Brooklyn regional (maybe BA).

YosenjuBarrage

(Submitted by friends)

A Few Comments Regarding the Upcoming Changes to the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG (What does Link Summoning mean for the game?)

Starter Deck 2017 is scheduled to be released in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Official Card Game on March 25, 2017. Along with new cards that will be featured in the upcoming Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS anime, the release of Starter Deck 2017 introduces changes to the rules of the game as well as the introduction of a new Summoning type, Link Summon.

For many, what has just been stated is old news, and the introduction of the new rule changes have been met with mixed feelings from players. However, I will attempt to briefly address some of the ways the changes to the rules and the new Summoning method will affect game mechanics as well as mention some things we need to keep in mind when moving forward with the new rules.

I will be going forward with the assumption that you have at least heard about these changes to some degree, if you have not, please refer to this external source for a light catch-up: https://ygorganization.com/reallypendulumswereverysorry/

I will begin with the concept of “Extra Deck Monsters”. In order to help with adjusting to the new rules, I encourage you to think of monsters not as “Extra Deck Monsters” but as “monsters Summoned from the Extra Deck” and “monsters not Summoned from the Extra Deck”. Monsters Summoned from the Extra Deck must go into either the Extra Zone or a Main Monster Zone Linked to a Link Monster. Monsters Summoned from the Hand, Main Deck, Graveyard, or from being banished would be Summoned to any Main Monster Zone. It is permissible to Summon any monster into a Linked Main Monster Zone, not just monsters summoned from the Extra Deck.

This does raise the question of how the Returning a banished monster to the field would work. For example: if I have a PSY-Framelord Omega which was Summoned from the Extra Deck and I use its effect which would involve banishing itself, could I place it in a Main Monster Zone that is not Linked? Official clarification would be required to answer this question, but my guess based on my understanding of how Returning a banished card works, is that the process of Returning seeks to preserve the game state as much as possible, therefore the Return of a monster Special Summoned from the Extra Deck must be to a Zone that it would be able to occupy based on the rules of the game. Therefore, if no available Extra Monster Zone or Linked Main Monster Zone exists for the PSY-Framelord Omega from the above-mentioned scenario is available; I would conjecture that the correct action would be that PSY-Framelord Omega would then be sent to the Graveyard, and not placed in a Main Monster Zone that is not Linked.

With the introduction of Link Summoning, every single one of your monsters will count, even after they have been used as Link Summoning Material. Remember that Link Monsters can also be used as Link Summoning Material, and the indicated Link value of a monster also indicates how it can be used toward the Link Summon of another Link Monster. Keep the directional arrows that indicate which zones will be Linked by your Link Monsters in mind as each of those will play a part into how you can Link other Main Monster Zones. Link Monsters Summoned from the Graveyard into Main Monster Zones will still Link the Main Monster Zones which their arrows point to. So take advantage of cards that Special Summon monsters from the Graveyard, such as Soul Charge, and Link your Main Monster Zones so that you can utilize Fusion, Synchro, Xyz, and other Link Monsters.

Take advantage of cards that allow you to summon multiple monsters at once, such as Brilliant Fusion, Zoodiac Barrage, and Blackwing – Gofu the Vague Shadow, in order to bring out Link Monsters as fast as possible.  Cards such as Ground Collapse or Zany Zebra may have an interesting role to play when it comes to impeding additional Summons from the Extra Deck. Cards like Dimensional Barrier and Artifact Scythe will also be very strong as we can certainly expect Synchro, Xyz, and Fusion Summoning to become intermediate steps to Summoning the first Link Monster for any game.

I certainly have not touched on every possible scenario that can happen with these new rules, but that’s where a lot of potential lies. Think about the cards that exist and consider how they will change their roles once the new rules come into effect for the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, and enjoy! After all, the theme of Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS is “Take a step forward, and try!”

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, and I will do my best to respond.

GaiasabertheVideoKnight-COTD-JP-OP

Submitted by a friend.

Magic the Gathering “Competitive” EDH Primer: Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, Who pays for their creatures?!

(Hello. I’m just some random guy. Big thanks to TooManyCardGames for hosting this deck tech.)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is a pretty strange card. He’s one of only three legendary creatures with an X in the mana cost. He is one of only two cards (that I know of) which interact with the bottom of the library beyond just putting things there. Also, his hands are bigger than his face, and he’s just funky lookin in general.


So Wait, What Does Grenzo Do Again?

Grenzo lets you pay two mana (at instant speed, and repeatedly) to put the bottom card of your library into play if it is a creature of lesser or equal power to Grenzo. Since he is an X spell, his power is equal to the mana you choose to pay, letting the selection of creatures you can grab scale with your investment.

This suggests two strategies: either make Grenzo really big, and push out huge monsters on the cheap, or ensure that the creatures in your deck are small enough that even a mini Grenzo can get them. While the former is something I’ve tried in the past, I’ll be discussing the latter here.


How Can We Win With Just Small Creatures?

Pretty easily, as it turns out. In RB we have access to some pretty nasty creature-based combos, the simplest being Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts. Oh wait, did I not mention? This is a combo deck. Yes, I’m one of those guys you heard about in the Kangee deck tech. If you didn’t want to read about that, you can stop here and go try to play Grenzo with Vampire Nighthawk or Herald of Leshrac or whatever.

I’ll wait.

Are they gone? Cool. I lied about waiting.

The other standalone combo we’re playing is Necrotic Ooze. Since we spend most of the game milling ourselves, and our curve is pretty low to begin with, the Phyrexian Devourer/Triskelion win isn’t very reliable. I’ve opted for Kiki-Jiki + Mogg Fanatic in its place. Tap Necrotic Ooze to copy itself with haste, rinse and repeat until you have half a billion Oozes, then sacrifice them all to ping people to death.

I specify “standalone combo” here because there are numerous loops that require Grenzo to be in play, many of which have interchangable or surprising pieces. I will go over these in more detail later, but for now it’s sufficient to get the idea of what the deck is trying to do: flip through as much of the library as possible, stabilize a loop, repeat until you’ve won.


Just Show Me the List Already.

Fine, fine. You can find the most updated list on Tappedout here.

Creatures

When I activate Grenzo, I want a greater than 50% chance of it paying off. As such, I run over 50 creatures.

Mana dorks are incredibly important to the deck’s strategy. Ramping by only one land per turn is not sufficient, so there needs to be some amount of creatures that give you consistent mana increases across turns. This is both so you can flip increasingly large numbers of cards (which get you more mana), and so you can cast actual spells while still holding up Grenzo activations.

These creatures provide less reliable mana production, but generally in greater bursts. They allow you to flip more creatures in a turn than normal, leading to unexpected wins.

Recurring resources is pretty important here, as bringing back a key combo piece from the grave is generally easier than trying to get a funcitonal copy from the library. Epitaph Golem is the sleeper hit here, in its repeatability and the sheer number of combos it enables.

Sources of haste allow you to often play one turn ahead with mana dorks and reanimator creatures.

If there’s one thing Rakdos is good at, it’s removal. This package is relatively small compared to what we could be playing; in a meta with more things like Linvala or Elesh Norn, I would definitely expand this list.

Some combination of these creatures is responsible for the vast majority of the deck’s wins. Again, I’ll give a more full list of combos later on.

These guys are more generalized utility. The slots are pretty flexible, none are required for the deck to accomplish its plan.

So there’s all your creatures. The non-creatures have to be pretty darn good to justify the slot, so I’ll address these individually.

Instants

The most flexible removal in Rakdos. The only mana-efficient way to permanently deal with enchantments. Required.

The spot removal I play needs to be either super flexible or so cheap you don’t need to pay for it.  Fire Covenant and Snuff Out currently fill those roles.

Pyroblast and Red Blast are really nice “gotchas” to have in your pocket. You could play both; I like just the one to keep the fear in ’em.

None of the modes individually are good enough, but the flexibility lets this make the cut. It has game against nearly any opposing combo, can shut off value engines, and blows up that nasty early game Sol Ring. Couldn’t ask for more.

Sorceries

This one is something I’m trying out. The flashback on this is the only reason it’s here, since it’s more likely to hit the grave than it is to be drawn.

This should probably go in every red deck, honestly.

Artifacts

Convert a creature into another flip. Seems fair, given that it’s roughly a 50% exchange rate with the deck’s composition, and it is fair, until you combine it with other cards.

Just double your flips. That’s enough.  The fact that I’m running Bracers should tell you how good Heartstone is.

Fixes iffy draws, recovers you from certain doom, goes crazy with Skirge Familiar. This is banned in modern for a reason.

Auto-include in… everything?

Enchantments

Oh boy, this thing. It’s worth rephrasing exactly what this card does. Whenever a creature comes into play, on anyone’s field, you get one colorless mana per creature you control that shares a creature type with it. If it was your creature, you get one mana for itself. If you stack triggers such that more creatures come into play with this ability on the stack, you can start getting mana on the order of polynomials. This card is actually absurd. If you untap with it, you will almost always win. I’ve seen someone try to Reclamation Sage it down, only to win in response because I controlled a Shaman, and that gave me enough mana to kill everyone on the stack. Of all the cards in the deck, this is the single one that will win the game on its own.

…What’s that? You say there’s one more? Oh… that one.

Okay, so Doomsday. You cast it, stack the 5 cards you need to win, activate Grenzo once, and you win. The competitive EDH version of Grenzo does exactly this, because it is in fact the most efficient, deterministic way to win with Grenzo. It’s also, uhhhh… super boring. For the sake of fun, I generally don’t cast this card that often. It’s just way too easy, and turns the game into “Do you have an answer, like, right now? k i win.”

If you really want to know what Doomsday piles work best:

If that won’t work for whatever reason, you have to think. Odds are you won’t have to think very hard. The only time I had to try when casting Doomsday, an errant Newlamog exiled a piece of every combo I had available. I could still find a way to win.

Lands

I’ve found running about 32 lands to be good for this deck. It can’t afford to run too many real mana rocks, and there isn’t all that much card draw, so going below that is pretty risky. Too many, and you dilute your Grenzo activations too much.

For the most part, this is the standard semi-budget Red/Black manabase. Notable inclusions are Cabal Coffers, which is pretty much only good if you accidentally the long game, and Temple of Malice, Spinerock Knoll, and Howltooth Hollow. These get their value from being able to stack the bottom of the library to some extent, allowing you to plan your flips in advance.

Notable Exclusions

The most obvious missing cards are tutors. Vampiric Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Gamble, Diabolic Intent, and more could all find their way into this list. As far as I’m concerned, they take a lot of the fun out of this deck, though. I’d never begrudge anyone for running them, but in a deck where the optimal play is almost always to tutor for Doomsday, then cast Doomsday, then win… No thanks.

Many cards are excluded for budget reasons. Badlands, fetchlands, Imperial Recruiter, and Mana Crypt are probably the biggest of these. None of them are really necessary, but all would be nice to have.

With an average CMC of 2.94, Ad Nauseum is not at its best here, and even if it were included, drawing tons of cards actually helps surprisingly little. Mana is nearly always the biggest constraint under which the deck works, not cards.

Budget

You can pick up this list for under $200. With a simpler manabase, it can still function reasonably well and drops to well below $150. Start dropping Bloodghast, Simian Spirit Guide, and a few others, and you can go even lower without significantly affecting the functionality of the deck. What I’m saying is, as far as commander decks go, this one is pretty darn cheap if you want it to be.


Okay, I Didn’t Read Any of That. How Do I Play?

Generally speaking, I’ll follow these guidelines when I play this deck.

  • Always cast Grenzo for X=1, or three power. This lets you get everything in the deck except for Necrotic Ooze, which will probably end up getting reanimated anyway. Only cast Grenzo for X=2 if it doesn’t prevent you from activating an additional time, and even then probably not.
  • Never activate Grenzo at sorcery speed unless you’re trying to win right now, or there’s a problem you can’t let someone untap with. You have instant speed interaction. Make sure your opponents know it. Even if you can’t bluff, it’s always possible to flip into something that opponents assess as a threat; it’s better to do this when they can’t answer at sorcery speed.
  • Don’t always cast Grenzo as soon as possible. If you have stuff to do in your hand, it’s sometimes worth running out mana and utility creatures when they don’t have to compete with Grenzo activations. The longer Grenzo stays on the field, the more likely he is to die, and that can be a major tempo hit if you don’t have recovery options.

Where’s That List of Combos You Promised?

Sure, fine. This is a partial list. I’m constantly finding new combos and interactions.

Kiki-Jiki + Conscripts = Infinite hasty attackers

Necrotic Ooze + Kiki-Jiki and Mogg Fanatic in the graveyard = Infinite damage

(The remaining combos require Grenzo on the field, usually at X=1)

Mana Echoes + some quantity of starting mana = You probably win somehow

Doomsday + 2 mana + Grenzo = You win however you want

Ashnod’s Altar + Heartstone/Illusionist’s Bracers/Ogre Slumlord/Pawn of Ulamog = Every creature results in two more flips. Since we play over 50% creatures, on average this flips the deck, especially considering the creatures that add mana on their own.

Epitaph Golem + Workhorse = Infinite ETB and death triggers.

Epitaph + Workhorse + Zulaport Cutthroat/Blood Artist = Infinite drain

Epitaph + Workhorse + Ashnod’s Altar/Heartstone/Illusionist’s Bracers/Pawn of Ulamog = Infinite mana, flip your deck.

There are many more specific loops that can use Carrion Feeder or Viscera Seer in place of Ashnod’s Altar, but these are generally too complicated to try to enumerate.  A representative example might be something like:

Epitaph + Priest of Gix + Viscera Seer + Heartstone = Infinite mana, scry, every creature in your library.


This Guy is Confusing. I Want to Play Something Else.

Well, if you want something from Rakdos specifically, you might have a bad time. Playable legends are relatively slim in this color pairing, with the best options likely being Kaervek the Merciless and Rakdos, Lord of Riots. Yes, I know Vial Smasher is a card. I also know that it’s never just red/black, also shut up. Anyway, these clearly lend themselves to quite different strategies than Grenzo.

If you don’t like Rakdos, and I wouldn’t blame you, you can find similar abilities in YisanAleshaThrasios, and Mayael the Anima. All of these have their individual limitations relative to the Dungeon Warden, and their strengths.


This Has Gone On Way Too Long, Wrap it Up.

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is a pretty cool guy. I’ve been playing him since I pulled the card in a Conspiracy draft over two years ago, and there’s always something new to find. Practically every set gives him new toys to play with, even for a relatively focused combo list like this one. The fact that I wrote just… way too much about this should make it clear how much I like this deck. It’s really cool.

Thanks for reading, folks. If you enjoyed this, consider checking out my youtube channel 1600 Horsepower or my website here.

Magic the Gathering “Competitive” EDH Primer: Kangee, Aerie Keeper UW Bird Tribal, Don’t worry just peck their eyes out

Yes, I can’t believe that this is happening either. It dawned on me that while I claim this is a blog is about like 7 different card games, we only ever talk about Yugioh (mostly due to the fact that Yugioh is easy to write about). So in an attempt to try something completely different I’m going to go into way too much detail about my only EDH/Commander deck Kangee, Aerie Keeper which is essentially Blue/White Bird tribal.

 

Why of all the possible EDH generals are you playing this?

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So despite having access to many Magic cards, this became my only EDH deck to not get scraped/sold when my local meta became nothing, but Storm and Infinite Combos. While I had many decks at one point this is somehow only deck I somehow really cared for.

What does this thing actually do and why should I remotely care?

Kangee, Aerie Keeper is a 2 generic, 1 white, 1 blue legendary bird wizard (high ho erratas) that reads Kicker 2x, when Kangee enters the battlefield put x feather counters on it if it was kicked (an additional mana cost you can choose to pay). Other birds get +1/+1 for each feather counter on Kangee (Erratas reee).

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So what does this mean? Kangee is essentially an anthem effect for birds. The issue is that in order to gain any benefit you have to pay a minimum of 8 mana to get a mere +1/+1. Now to be honest this is a pretty good effect if you actually have the mana. I’ve cast Kangee where x was 6 before (which gave my birds +6/+6). While this cost a whopping 12 mana it did create a dangerous board. Kangee is a cool anthem that gets better the later in the game, which is only hindered by the fact that Blue/White are terrible colors for ramp…

Now wait a second here… Isn’t Derevi, Empyrial Tactician a Bird Wizard too? Isn’t he an infinitely better commander in far better colors ???

Yes, that’s all true. Derevi is a good commander that’s also a bird. He also gives access to the birds in Green (one of which we all know about and many others that we don’t). Why don’t I just play Derevi instead? Well think for a moment about the type of mindset that makes one consider playing BIRD tribal at all. If I said I came here with the aspiration of winning that would be a boldface lie.

 

Strengths and Weaknesses of Birds

To be fair birds aren’t a bad tribe. Flying is and will always be a good keyword, giving every bird  essentially pseudo-unblockable. Furthermore, as a result of being fairly common in world-building there are tons of these darn things.

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Another major strength of this deck is that absolutely no one will deem you enough of a threat to waste resources on in the early to mid game. The target should only appear on your head after who’ve hopefully assembled a flock, played an anthem and hit one player for enough damage that they will likely lose the game. After which a board wipe will happen and you won’t be able to recover because you’re playing birds…

And thus we reach the first (of many) weaknesses of this tribe. Birds are completely wrecked by any sort of wrath (board-wipe) effect, which are unfortunately very common in the EDH format. Furthermore, unlike most magic tribes the actual bird specific support cards are beyond sub-par. Here’s a quick example…

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The stats of almost every bird are also pathetically weak as if to add insult to injury. So how do we get anywhere with a tribe of non-synergistic weak creatures?

 

A Clear Bird Strategy

In order to survive the horrible situation you’ve knowingly put yourself into by playing birds you need a solid strategy that makes the best use of these fowls. For example, I play a very low to the ground (hah!) aggro deck that uses very low cost birds and many high-end anthem effects. The creatures I use are typically 2-3 drops like Welkin Tern and the anthem effects are 3-5 drops like Gravitational Shift. I have tried multiple variants of bird tribal and would not claim my current build to be the best one. I’ll discuss some more variants later on.

 

Staple Birds 

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Aven Mindcensor

In a sky of creatures barely above your 5th draft pick, an actually good bird soars above the average mediocrity of the flock. This is one of the only birds in the game that’s actually a good creature worthy of competitive play. Aven Mindcensor pretty much stops your opponents from searching their decks and can be flashed in allowing you to hold up counter-spell mana (You are a Blue deck after all). This card does everything you could possibly want other than hit for big.

Thrummingbird

This card is really good in combination with many cards in the deck. It adds counters to Kangee, Door of Destinies and Soulcatcher’s Aerie. While normally just a 1/1 for 2 mana it synergies very well with many other cards.

Warden of Evos Isle 

It makes your birds cost less. By bird standards this thing is amazing. Need I say more?

Keeper of the Nine Gales

This one is hard to gauge. On paper its effect is adequate, tap it and 2 other birds to bounce literally anything. The issue is that in practice, this means that you’re not attacking with 3 birds…

Mirror Entity

While not a bird technically, this card is on the short list of ways that you can actually kill someone with this deck. Use its effect, make your flock have actually respectable stats and then hit one player for big. This is as close to win condition as we’re going to get people.

 

Staple Enchantments, Artifacts, Sorcery/Instants (Sort of)

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Always Watching

How are we going to play to the Alfred Hitchcock “Birds” theme if the flock isn’t always watching?! This makes it so your birds can attack and block (in theory). It’s also another solid anthem effect.

Marshal’s Anthem

So after your birds inevitably die a painful death and you have nothing to your name, this card is one of the best ways to revive your crew and prepare for another attack on the next turn. Also anthems for the win.

Soulcatcher’s Aerie

This is an absolute gem of a card. It turns your birds dying into a positive as every subsequent bird you cast becomes larger and larger. I’ve gotten 8 counters on this card before which made every bird I top-decked an actual threat. It’s slow in the early game, but amazing late game.

Favorable Winds

It’s a 2 cost anthem for birds…

This is quite frankly amazing.

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I don’t need to explain why EDH staples like Sol Ring and Sensei’s Divining Top are in this deck. If you have them, you put them in every Commander deck…

Skullclamp

Another card that makes the death of your birds hurt less. There are also many birds with 1 toughness you can just kill to draw more cards (until you start stacking anthem effects ofc).

Obelisk of Urd/Door of Destinies

I play Obelisk of Urd over Door of Destinies (gasp!) because I like the immediate +2/+2 boost over the eventual high end boost of the Door. Both do the same thing essentially as an artifact anthem though.

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Migratory Route is the only “staple” here. These are just some of the cards you can play that I find acceptable (or the case of Sphinx’s Rev actually good). I highly recommend Counterspells to protect your birds though.

Well time to stop beating around the nest, here is my actual deck:

birdsdeck

This is by no means the best (or likely even decent) way to build the deck. My greatest success is usually just killing one player before running out of resources or hitting one player for big damage. I do enjoy this deck (more than any normal person should) because once you get the chain of anthem effects going it’s very satisfying to see just how big you can grow a tiny little Storm Crow.

Here are some other ideas I had for the deck.

 

Other Potential Strategies

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Big Bird(s)

You could drop the low cmc birds and focus on ramping into huge birds instead. Some of these creatures actually have decent stats/effects. Aven Fateshaper is efficient card filtering and Aven Brigier is a cheaper anthem than Kangee (he also rewards using bird soldiers).

Birb Tokens

Other than Migratory Route, there are many cards that make bird tokens (more than I listed ofc). With Eyes in the Skies and Scion of Vitu-Ghazi you can make a flock of tokens to attack the enemy. Playing tokens also gives you access to the anthem Intangible Virtue and the wrath protection using cards like Rootborn Defenses (which also makes you even more bird tokens!).

Morph Synergy

While I didn’t have any to pictures, there are many birds with Morph that also care about you flipping cards face-up. Cards like Aven Liberator for example give protection effects when flipped up. One appeal to this play style is that it might be fun to play multiple Morph creatures. The caveat is this that is likely even weaker than my current deck xD

Ishai, Ojutai Speaker

I honestly forgot this was a card until I added it last night. It could be a good general, especially since the partner mechanic can give us access to green and thus ramp! That being said it might lead us down the long and dark path to just being discount awful Derevi deck (my greatest of fears).

Alright, I’ve discussed this more than anyone ever should have.

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Thanks for reading as usual (if anyone could manage to get this far)

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Is it expensive to play Meta? (In Yugioh)

Disclaimer: Submitted by a friend referring to a regional BEFORE Zoodiac was released. I think the story holds true even more so now.

 

Once again, Yugioh players await the release of a new pack that completely redefines the meta as we know it. And once again, the rarity of the cards for that particular archetype are among the hardest to obtain, and priced the highest on preorders. For a deck that already mandates a minimum investment of $400 of cards both in the main and extra deck, the recent revelation that 3 of the core cards in Zoodiacs are secret rare certainly do not offer much resolve to those looking to play the deck, myself included. The deck has shown extreme success in the OCG, a likely precursor to what will happen in the TCG. Unless Konami issues an emergency banlist, similar to what they did during PePe (Performapal Pendulums), the cards will likely maintain their $50+ value and the deck cost will sit at around $600-800. For anyone, this is an enormous sum of money to put aside for one deck, especially when metalfoes and ABCs cost as little as $200-300 to build. Although it is, there are definitely ways to minimize the initial investment and still have decent success. You can still play meta, at a discounted price, as long as you are willing to accept that you will lose some matches because you don’t have the expensive cards to win.

 

Personal Example 1: Philadelphia Regional with Metalfoes (No desires, no barriers, no strikes).

 

I played Philadelphia Regional with a Metalfoes list as seen below. Granted I borrowed most of the deck (Thank you to player who loaned me the cards), I was able to be successful (initially) without pot of desires, dimensional barrier, or solemn strike in my decklist. By the end of round 5, I was undefeated with a record of 5-0 against 1 Brilliant ABC and 4 mirror matches. Although every single one of my opponents activated pot of desires at least twice during each match, I was still able to edge out my opponent because of my conservation of resources and deep knowledge of my deck. Despite them generally having +1 or +2 advantage due to desires, or stopping me for an entire turn with strike/dbarrier, I was able to play around it. I instead played a very Orichalc/Mithrilium/Alkahest turbo version, which utilized my monsters as traps in place of dbarrier and strike. There were plenty of times where I would have won sooner if a summoner’s art was a strike/barrier/desires instead, but I was still able to make it work. At least until the later rounds.

 

Rounds 6-9 were an absolute nightmare. Round 6 was against an extremely rude mermail frog player who attempted to blatantly cheat me on 4 separate occasions. Game 1 he opened double toad moulinglacia (ban soul charge pls) so I scooped before he could see what I was playing. Game 2 I bricked and he opened with gaios, the equip spell that negates spell cards, and moulinglacia. He tried to attack for game with moulinglacia, but I reminded him gaios had xyz material attached to him and he couldn’t win that turn (despite saying he played the deck for years and is the best mermail player ever). He then tried to use swap frogs bounce effect twice in one turn, and tried to scoop my cards for me when he tried to attack with gaios for game when I had bounced moulinglacia the previous turn, rendering him unable to conduct his battle phase. In the end, I grinded enough to make Vermilion with gofu and cleared his board to put him at 4k life. He topdeck’d soul charge and trish’d me, but I drew eccentric and was able to pop his trish and swing for game. In this case, the presence of strikes and barriers didn’t matter, but desires certainly would have helped me come back game 2 quicker and not get sucked into time, leaving the match in a draw.

 

Rounds 7-9  truly proved the power of expensive staples. Round 7 my opponent outgrinded me in the mirror because he could desires twice to gain more advantage than I could, and Round 8 my opponent had barrier and strike, calling fusion and then striking my pendulum summon in my last attempt to make a play. Had he been playing any other card, I would have been able to steal it from him. However, the true power of these staples spoke for themselves, and I couldn’t win.

Round 9 my opponent opened infinity kirin and I had no way of outing it easily without strike, so I proceeded to lose that game as well due to low advantage.

 

The same scenario occurred with my budget ABC deck. I ran it at Yugioh day at Alternate Universes, a pretty competitive locals, opting to play floodgates and chalices over dbarriers, desires and strikes. I ultimately finished top 8 and received a token, but the two matches I lost were because I didn’t have those staples, and my opponent had them instead. The advantage they bring is just too strong to pass up.

 

What started out well, proved that at the highest level, the fact remains that expensive staples will outright win you games. Any top 8, 16, 32 YCS or regional decklist will reflect that. You can still be competitive, but you will never be able to consistently perform because the fact is you’re at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, the same rule applies to anti-meta decks this upcoming format. As of right now, Zoodiacs will ultimately dominate the format-and the market-until nationals. That doesn’t mean you can’t build anti-meta decks, but if you do, they require the expensive staples to be relevant. Unfortunately, this is not a format for budget players. If you’re a budget player reading this, I’m sorry to say you should take a break until after nationals. Hopefully everything will cool down by then, or just suck up the initial cost and sell the strikes and barriers before nationals to minimize loss. Either way, it’s going to take a huge chunk out of your bankroll.

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