Friday, 26 August 2011

Agents from the Underworld

For those of you who recognise my name (all zero of you!), I was someone who wrote for this blog back at the start of the last format, then schoolwork and computer breakings hit. But you probably didn't sign up to read this, so I'll talk about something relevant to your interests.

After being forcibly ejected from regular research on the format, I come back to what I can only call banal madness or laughable stupidity. Given that this is the Internet, it's likely mostly the latter, with a few spoonfuls of the former. As I've remarked before, the September 2011 format is amusing; it certainly mixes the game up, but it doesn't turn it into a melting pot so much as it does a lumpy gruel. I'll go over a few points that I'm sure that you're all familiar with by now, since

Let us take a card we are all very familiar with: Tour Guide From the Underworld. Combined with the old hat Fiend, Sangan, we have the "Sanguide engine", which is a group of four cards which increases the consistency of most decks that it's splashed in. Combined with two/three Effect Veilers, you have a rather splashable method of summoning Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning; or so the theory goes.

I don't even want to talk about the other things which I believe some refer to as "broken"; Reborn Tengu is the top of my "I am making faces at this card" list. But hey, don't hate; abuse.

But let's go back to Tour Guide, because it's relevant to my current pet archetype; the Agents. Tour Guide is great in Agents, if you can afford it; it increases the consistency of the deck by a great deal, since Tour Guide turns itself into Number 17: Leviathan Dragon, or Leviair the Sea Dragon, as we all know, no doubt. Below, you can find my current "Tour Guide Agents" build. The below post will presume that you have some basic familiarity with the Agents and their playstyle. If you'd like an Agents 101, leave a comment below and I'll get started on it.

Monsters [24]
[2] Archlord Kristya
[3] The Agent of Mystery - Earth
[3] The Agent of Creation - Venus
[3] Mystical Shine Ball
[3] Master Hyperion
[3] Herald of Orange Light
[1] Sangan
[3] Tour Guide From the Underworld
[1] Genex Ally Birdman
[1] Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
[1] Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
Spells [11]
[3] Cards from the Sky
[2] Gold Sarcophagus
[2] Mystical Space Typhoon
[1] Monster Reborn
[1] Heavy Storm
[1] Book of Moon
[1] Dark Hole
Traps [5]
[2] Solemn Warning
[1] Solemn Judgement
[1] Compulsory Evacuation Device
[1] Torrential Tribute

[2] Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
[1] Leviair the Sea Dragon
[1] Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
[1] Armory Arm
[1] Ally of Justice Catastor
[1] Magical Android
[1] Orient Dragon
[1] Brionac
[1] Black Rose Dragon
[1] Genex Ally Triforce
[1] Ancient Sacred Wyvern
[1] Stardust Dragon
[1] Scrap Dragon
[1] Trishula

Now, I have no doubt that at least one of you read that and your eyes were instantly drawn to Gold Sarcophagus, and are now hurriedly rushing to the comments section, no doubt with comments of the likes of, ahem, "lolscrub". And I will then point those people in the general direction of an opticians, because they clearly missed the description below.

Gold Sarcophagus, Tour Guide From the Underworld and Master Hyperion/Black Luster Soldier. Against a clear field (or a field with one monster on it, since the bosses can destroy it), this is an OTK. How, you ask? Before I go on, I first saw this combo laid out by Samuel Pedigo (who was 2nd place at the 2011 North America World Championship Qualifiers), which I'm reposting below.

1) Summon Tour Guide, grab Sangan.
2) Xyz into Leviar the Sea Dragon with Tour Guide and Sangan.
3) Gold Sarcophagus The Agent of Creation - Venus.
4) Detach Sangan for Leviair's effect, special summoning Venus from Banishment. Sangan searches out Genex Ally Birdman.
5) Use Venus' effect. -1500LP, +3 Mystical Shine Balls.
6) Xyz into Gachi Gachi Gantetsu with two Shine Balls.
7) Bounce Shine Ball to special summon Birdman.
8) Venus' effect. -500LP, summon Shine Ball from hand.
9) Birdman+Venus+Shine Ball into Stardust Dragon (or Scrap Dragon).

That's all doable without Hyperion or BLS, by the way. You turn two cards (which can be run in threes!) into a wall (Gantetsu), and two beatsticks (Leviair and Stardust/Scrap), both of which are boosted by Gantetsu. You may, if you so choose, use Scrap Dragon's effect to destroy an opponent's card; if you target Gantetsu on your side of the field, Gantetsu preserves himself through his effect, and generates a nifty +1. But if you have BLS or Hyperion in hand...

10) Remove from play necessary monsters (Sangan+Shine Ball for BLS, Venus for Hyperion).
10a) Use Hyperion's effect, removing a Shine Ball from play to destroy an opponent's card (if needed).
10b) Use Black Luster Soldier's effect to attack twice, if the opponent has a monster on the field.
11) Attack directly. You will do over eight-thousand damage if you attack with all monsters, insuring a victory: the weakest combination involves using Scrap Dragon's effect, and summoning Hyperion. 700+2000+2900+3000=8600LP)

And thus, with a certain trio of cards in-hand, you win the game. You don't need Gold Sarcophagus for this; if you're willing to wait a turn, you can use Cards from the Sky to Banish Venus instead (as Cards from the Sky restricts your Special Summons and Battle Phase).

Now, you may ask: why no Pot of Duality? Unlike the standard Agents build, Tour Guide Agents will be special summoning a lot; Cards from the Sky is only tolerated due to it's great use on the first turn, and greater deck thinning ability. Despite what the little combo up there may seem to show, this deck isn't a one-trick pony. It can adapt to almost any hand you throw at it, and it includes that most saintly of cards, Archlord Kristya. Kristya will be highly significant in the current format, believe me; it's ability to shut down special summons will be very handy for slowing down decks which specialise in spamming them. Indeed, I've seen Agent builds floating around which use Gold Sarcophagus and Miraculous Descent to summon Kristya straight to the field. They're not too great from my experience, but the theory is sound. Kristya is perhaps the ultimate win condition of this deck, because it's special summoning restriction tends to hit many decks very hard.

But that's enough gushing about Kristya. Despite what it's detractors claim, Tour Guide From the Underworld gives a noticeable benefit to the deck if you can afford it. The ability to summon Leviair (who can give you additional Synchro Summons by returning Birdman to the field, or make use of Banished Fairies) or Leviathan Dragon (2500/3000ATK beater. Enough said) who can also search your deck for almost all of your non-boss monsters (through Sangan) is a great addition to the deck. That it opens the door for Black Luster Soldier is merely icing on the cake. But the underlined is important; if you can't afford Tour Guides, don't try and find a replacement - don't throw in Summoner Monk, or something silly like that. Tour Guide = Tour Guide = Tour Guide. Nothing can replace it's role as it is in the deck; and nothing will be able to, should the TCG go to the same ruleset as OCG.

Let's go over some quick basics here, for the uninformed. Herald of Orange Light is a card with a similar design to Effect Veiler, but you have to discard another Fairy as well, and you destroy the opponent's monster as well as negating the effect (Veiler discards itself and doesn't destroy, by the by). Some may see the extra cost and shake their head; "too much hand advantage lost". Not so! Personally speaking, I'd much rather destroy a Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, or a Leviair the Sea Dragon, or a Tour Guide From the Underworld then keep it hanging around. The minor loss of hand advantage (when you can easily discard a useless Mystical Shine Ball, or The Agent of Creation - Venus when there's no more Shine Balls left to summon) is offset by the destruction of your opponent's monster; plus, it puts Fairies into the graveyard for Hyperion's effect, and brings you closer to that all-important four-Fairy target to summon Kristya. This is all Agent 101, though.

Many people say Agents will be a "Tier 1" deck in the coming format; and, to be quite frank, I agree with them. But, of course, everyone says that about their deck. That it's cutting edge; that it has something over the opponent. So that shouldn't surprise anyone; but Agents are consistent, powerful and quite terrifying in their ease of summoning powerful monsters to the field.

And that's it for my Agents at the moments. I'll be giving out updates regularly, of course; new factoids are eternally interesting and, no doubt, fascinating to you all. Not. If you have any questions about Agents, please leave them below: I'll either answer them in the comments, or write up a new post on anything you can suggest to me. Much appreciated,
-A. Assiduity


  1. Indeed.

    Heads-up: Sarc's are still in testing. The combo is really cool (and has worked out for me thus far), but you never know. I've been testing out Dark Worlds for the last few days, so xD

  2. This is what I want to play, but I don't have Tour Guide...
    Just maybe I change Compulsory for Dustshoot.
    Jupiter and Tragoedia don't interest you?

  3. If you take TeleDAD at it's peak and account for the game's power creep, you'd have this deck. It's ridiculous.

  4. @Ariko: Yeah, Dustshoot is amazing. Dunno how I forgot it.

    Jupiter is just kinda meh to me, since it can be a beater that hits over Stardust, Tengu and other common threats; but being a beater is all it does. I'd consider sliding in a single copy, but there's other stuff I'd want to put in more.

    Tragoedia is something I've seen punted around, and I'm in two minds for it; I prefer Gorz to it, and would rather keep a decent amount of Fairies to fuel Hyperion. On the other, it's Tragoedia. When making edits to my deck, I normally have Tragoedia in there as a card I'd like to include, but by the time I've made the edits, it just always seems to be left to one side... heh XD;