Thursday, March 11, 2010

Deck Essay #1: Diamond Dude Turbo

The Traditional Format, in complete contrast to the Advanced Format, is immensely fast and immensely powerful. Due to the number of additional cards it has to offer – which are, more often than not, cards that have been long since forbidden in the Advanced Format – Tier One in Traditional is an extensive omnibus of some of the most powerful Decks to ever be created in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Other Decks, quite simply, find it nigh impossible to stand up to them. In this essay, I will be analysing one of such Decks, which I myself played with much success last format (September 2009), leading me to consecutive tournament Top Two’s and Four’s for months: Diamond Dude Turbo.

The central Win Condition of Diamond Dude Turbo (often abbreviated to ‘DDT’) is to set up a game state wherein there are enough Monsters in one’s Removed from Play Zone to create a swarm of Monsters – and subsequent Game winning attacks – with one of the most powerful cards in the game, Dimension Fusion. The Deck uses Destiny Heroes as its Monsters of Choice, backed up by a multitude of Spell Cards (of which the main contingent are Normal Spells for abuse with the eponymous card, Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude), to create this state: through Destiny Draw, Reasoning, Monster Gate, Painful Choice, and the Synchro Summon Mechanic (this latter option being a new addition to the Diamond Dude Turbo arsenal) to fill the Graveyard, and Allure of Darkness, Dark Armed Dragon, Plaguespreader Zombie, Dark Magician of Chaos, and Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade to fill the Removed from Play Zone, it is easily achieved, and the Deck often wins before the end of its second turn.

I will say, however, before I go any further, that Diamond Dude Turbo is the most complicated (and therefore difficult) Deck to pilot correctly, and is often far out of league for many players. While the end goal is simple, the combinations of Cards which eventually lead to it are an almost infinite number of obscure, unintuitive plays, which are more often than not executed with split-second decisions in a single turn. It takes an immense amount of skill to recognise and carry them out properly; ergo, I would recommend caution for any player wishing to attempt using this Deck, and for anybody unsuccessful to not discount the Deck in any way.

The Monsters: 10

2 Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude
2 Destiny Hero – Malicious
1 Destiny Hero – Dasher
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Dark Magician of Chaos
1 Plaguespreader Zombie

In order to achieve its purpose, Diamond Dude Turbo needs very little Monster Cards, but do not be mistaken – every single one is essential to the strategy. The list begins with Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude, which will become apparent when the Spell Cards are listed later; the Traditional Format boasts an immense list of powerful Normal Spells to abuse with Diamond Dude, and using any one of them for free will more often than not result in a game winning turn. Three could very well be played, but I included only two copies because I needed room for other Monsters I felt were necessary as well.

Next, the two copies of Destiny Hero – Malicious are long-established cards in this Deck. They: make for a perfect discard for Destiny Draw or any of the other discard-costed cards (because its effect activates in the Graveyard); provide free field presence to be used as a Tribute for either Monster Gate or Dark Magician of Chaos, or as a Synchro Material with Plaguespreader Zombie (a use that, while not previously used in this Deck, fits it perfectly); thin the Deck; and also fill the Removed from Play Zone.

Getting to Destiny Heroes is a key aspect to the success of this Deck; without Destiny Heroes, Diamond Dude Turbo quite simply falls apart. Elemental Hero Stratos (backed up by Reinforcement of the Army in the Spell line-up) allows the player access to any Destiny Hero at any given time. In the early game (the first turn in the Traditional Format), Destiny Hero – Disk Commander or Destiny Hero – Malicious are the most appropriate picks for moving the Deck along. However, if one opens badly, Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude is the correct choice for use of its effect the following turn.

Destiny Hero – Dasher is included as a strong Monster that is also a Destiny Draw discard, Dark Magician of Chaos is for raw power and the reuse of any needed Spell Card that successfully made its way into the Graveyard, and Dark Armed Dragon is for additional firepower and card removal. It is very important to note that Dark Armed Dragon can be Special Summoned more consistently here than in any other Deck in the history of Yu-Gi-Oh!, due to the speed at which it can be drawn, the low Monster Card count, and the nigh flawless DARK control via Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade when Monsters do make it into the Graveyard.

Finally, there are a couple of off-beat choices I included: the first is Destiny Hero – Disk Commander, a card which, in the prime of Diamond Dude Turbo (late 2007 to early 2008), was left out because it would interfere with Reasoning and Monster Gate; however, with those two cards Limited to one copy each, and the ability to draw towards key cards it offers, I believe Disk Commander is well justified; the second strange pick is Plaguespreader Zombie, a card that, with the field presence this Deck generates, is another well justified choice. In fact, with the addition of these two cards, it is now possible for Diamond Dude Turbo to perform a First-Turn-Knockout: if one can summon Dark Magician of Chaos and Dark Strike Fighter on the first turn, with Dimension Fusion in the Hand, one can loop Tributing Dark Magician of Chaos for Dark Striker Fighter’s effect and Special Summoning it back with Dimension Fusion. Due to the speed and consistency of this Deck, I performed this combo many times.

The Spells: 26

3 Destiny Draw
3 Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade
2 Magical Stone Excavation
2 Allure of Darkness
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Card Destruction
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
1 Dimension Fusion
1 Painful Choice
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Reasoning
1 Monster Gate
1 Raigeki
1 Dark Hole
1 Snatch Steal
1 Change of Heart
1 Heavy Storm
1 Harpie’s Feather Duster

The Spells are the core of the Deck. First and foremost, one will notice the amount: twenty-six is a very high count, even for Traditional Format (a format ruled by Spell Cards). It is crucial the Spell count (and specifically the Normal Spell count) be this high, for, not only will the Deck often fizzle into nothing if Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude’s effect is not used successfully, one needs to send Dimension Fusion and at least one copy of Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade to the Graveyard when Reasoning and/or Monster Gate is used. In addition to this, playing so few Monster Cards will allow for a more consistent chance of hitting Dark Magician of Chaos with Reasoning or Monster Gate, which is a crucial play.

The majority of the Spells (twenty-one out of twenty-six) are Normal Spells, which means there is a very high chance (twenty-one out of forty) of hitting one with Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude’s effect, and, as aforementioned, the free use of almost any single one can make game (one can also use Plaguespreader Zombie’s cost to put an appropriate Spell Card on top of the Deck to ensure a successful Diamond Dude hit).

Destiny Draw and Allure of Darkness provide not only draws to move the player towards key cards, but also an outlet to discard Monsters and Remove from Play Monsters, respectively. Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity and Card Destruction are all cards that achieve those same objectives, though Graceful Charity and Card Destruction will also allow the player to discard Spell Cards (such as Dimension Fusion and Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade). Painful Choice, Reasoning and Monster Gate sift through even more cards while also filling the Graveyard.

Once the Graveyard is full (or one needs discard fodder or DARK Monster regulation), Monsters are then Removed from Play for the cost of Divine Sword – Phoenix Blade, which then returns to the hand. Next, Dimension Fusion, if it successfully made its way to the Graveyard, will be added back to the hand with Dark Magician of Chaos or one of the two copies of Magical Stone Excavation; this makes Dimension Fusion, the primary win condition of Diamond Dude Turbo, a searchable combo piece. There are very few Decks that can boast such a feat.

Finally, all Traditional Format agents of removal have been included: Heavy Storm and Harpie’s Feather Duster are included to clear the back field, while Raigeki, Dark Hole, Snatch Steal, and Change of Heart are included to clear the front field. There is little justification needed in playing these cards – they are so powerful that not playing them in a battle-based Deck if one has the chance would be a severe folly, and, just like Dimension Fusion mentioned above, can be searchable cards. In this way, Diamond Dude Turbo layers synergy upon synergy to create a flawless strategy.

The Traps: 4

3 Threatening Roar
1 Imperial Order

With thirty-six slots in the Deck already taken up by essential cards, and my desire to keep any Deck I construct at forty cards for maximum consistency, there is only room for four Trap Cards. One would not want to include much more than four anyway, otherwise one would be sacrificing the ability to use Destiny Hero – Diamond Dude’s effect successfully on a reliable basis. The only Trap Cards really needed are three copies of Threatening Roar, which I find to be the best defensive card in the Traditional Format due to its ability to trump Spell and Trap removal by being chained, and Imperial Order, which is an all important card to cancel an opponent’s access to Spell Cards for a turn, which more often than not cancels said turn entirely.

There is but one problem I have found with Diamond Dude Turbo: and that is the impossibility in Side-Decking with it. This is due to the fact that every countermeasure to First-Turn-Knockout Decks in the Traditional Format is Monster-based, and extra Monsters interfere with the delicate balance between Spell Cards and Monster and Trap Cards this Deck thrives on. In effect, to successfully Side-Deck with Diamond Dude Turbo, one must Side-Deck out of Diamond Dude Turbo and into something else. My preferred method was to Side into a Magical Scientist First-Turn-Knockout Deck, although I still included extra Spell and Trap removal for Decks based around Macro Cosmos/Dimensional Fissure, Skill Drain and Royal Oppression, all of which kill this Deck.

There is no doubt that Diamond Dude Turbo is one of the fastest, most powerful and most consistent Decks in the history of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game; it is also one of the most important Decks in the development of the game, for it announced a transition period between slow, control-based Decks into fast, One-Turn-Knockout-based Decks. Unfortunately, though, with the introduction of the March 2010 Limited Lists, it is no longer possible to play this Deck due to the Limitation of both Destiny Draw and Allure of Darkness. This fact is something which, while it gives me (or rather forces me) the exciting opportunity to innovate, I am saddened by. Because of this, I felt the need to document my Traditional Format version of it, which is a version I personally believe to be the best.


  1. May I ask why you chose snatch steal over brain control? Brain is a normal spell so has synergy with diamond dude. Great article btw.

  2. Brain Control indeed does have that degree of synergy with the deck, but I find Snatch Steal to be infintely more useful purely, and overall more powerful, simply because you get to keep the opponent's Monster.

    Thank you for the compliment.