Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Format of Control/The Backrow

After the most recent banlist, it is not surprising to see that a lot of common anti-meta builds and control decks bite the dust, mostly due to Heavy Storm greatly restricting their ability to, y'know, control the game. Indeed; the new banlist is the bane of the control deck as we knew it.

And yet, looking at the deck types floating around on the Internet makes me think: while we lost control decks, our decks are now all bending towards control. Or, rather, the metagame is becoming more control-orientated, while control decks as a concept are waning a little. Or, rather, all of our decks are attaining control elements, because they have to compete with the other decks which control perfectly well. Adapt or die.

In my last post, I brought up Tour Guide From the Underworld, and it's friend Effect Veiler. How often do you see these two (and Sangan) maindecked in many builds? And Trap Dustshoot and Mind Crush, run together in pairs. Talks of main-decked Thunder King Rai-Oh once more. (By the by, I've changed the colour of the Trap cards here: for better or for worse, d'you think?)

Is the meaning of this not clear? The metagame is moving into the direction of controlling the opponent's cards and setting up; whoever draws Effect Veiler first to stop the opponent's Tour Guide play has a noticeable advantage in this department. This isn't counting specific decks; my very own Agents retain their love for Archlord Kristya, especially now that monsters are "in", thanks to Heavy Storm, for example. And there's numerous others. But Effect Veiler will be hot stuff in the coming format; despite the heavier Spell/Trap hate nowadays, expect some players (especially Scraps) to be maindecking Fiendish Chains as well.

To summarise: from pre-format observations, it looks as though control  is now in; but not as a deck type, but as a way of thinking that permeates each and every competitive deck in the upcoming format. Never have I been more glad to have been shown wrong in thinking that this would be a format of OTKs; if the metagame continues to develop like this, it could be a very fun game in future.

Also: rogue thoughts on spells and traps. Considering the downturn in Trap usage, it may be advisable to drop down to two or even one MST, and using just your deck's non-generic spell/trap destruction, if it has any (and you run it anyway). I've seen a few people cut Heavy Storm entirely because, in their words, the lack of extensive backrow means that it's not as useful as it could be. I like the line of thinking, but I'd rather cut the Mystical Space Typhoons first, since they break even at best.

I've seen rumours of people going for Nobleman of Extermination instead of Mystical Space Typhoon, which I'm not so hot on; while Extermination is a great troll against Solemn Warnings, since they can't react to it, it isn't so good in this format, since the return of Heavy Storm results in much greater amounts of chainable trap cards. I've also seen people running the "anti-MST" brigade, which consists of Legacy of Yata-Garasu/Jar of Greed, which are both cards which generate pluses if targeted by Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado or Heavy Storm. Of the two, I'd recommend running Legacy, if either: there are a few decks which run Spirit monsters, even if only one jumps to mind (and even then, it's a rare tech).

But that's besides the point. The fact is that the level of S/T hate in the format is slightly overhyped; this is why Fiendish Chain may welll remain a useful card in September 11. Why, yes, people can run Heavy Storm, Mystical Space Typhoon, Dust Tornado, Breaker the Magical Warrior and whatever bit of archetypal destruction that suits their tastes (whether it be Grapha, Dragon God of Dark World or Master Hyperion, or what-have-you) but there are only two words to summarise why this is a bad idea: dead draw. (Except for the archetypal stuff, because they generally have other uses besides hatin' on the backrow.)

Running too much S/T hate when there are not enough spells and traps in people's decks hurts the consistency of your deck. Therefore, the amount of S/T hate drops; this will lead to an increase in the S/T used in people's decks. There may well be a happy balance found here; but I think the metagame will now largely depend on how well people deal with the new list. We're out of the woods of "set five S/T, end", and we're now in the game of weighing up the opponent's two traps; "is one a Starlight Road, or is that just what he/she wants me to think?"

Even if they're running the four spells (3x MST, 1x Storm) that everyone crows about, that's a tenth of their deck. You are not always going to draw into it; you should be more cautious because such things exist, but not especially so.

Either way, I'm pretty sure Chaining a Lyla and forcing your opponent to MST it is always funny.


  1. yeah some forget that this format has alot of control too in the form of veiler, bth (still viable here in ocg) and other stuff

  2. basically u take risks from the 3 mst 1 heavy situation n traps relationship that you brought up.

    nice post btw

  3. Completely agree. I'm also starting to think this format was somehow overhyped. I have some decks that don't use heavy or mst just to add to their consistency and it works quite well. Makes for better plays.

  4. (I like how the ratings for this post are more varying for this post - either "awesome" or "bad" ;P)

    And yes; I'd actually recommend keeping Storm and MST in the side at the very least, just in case you run into decks which bet that the opponent will undervalue S/T counts due to the threat of Storm.

    And yeah, the S/T hate is definitely overhyped. I don't run any deck at the moment which runs triple MST, and I'm thinking about going down to one in quite a few as well.