Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Deck Essay #5: Beginning of the End Turbo

Within a game such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, which boasts not only an enormous card pool but also a great deal of disparate mechanics, archetypes and categories of cards, the strategic possibilities are nigh endless. However, many decks quite simply (and sadly) do make not it very far off the page, and, for the most part, are not even considered at all past their paper and ink beginnings. This is unfortunate, for every now and then an idea comes around that is so brilliant (albeit a slight bit out of the ordinary, or indeed one might say ‘crazy’) that it absolutely needs to be explored, but is not. One such idea came to me, and, as somebody who is thoroughly engrossed in building many decks and studying this great game of ours from an academic viewpoint, I felt the urge to test it out; the result is what I will be presenting hereafter in this essay, a DARK Return turbo strategy based around the oft-maligned Spell Card The Beginning of the End.

The central Win Condition of this deck (which I have simply titled ‘Beginning of the End Turbo’) is to Special Summon a multitude of large Monsters through the use of Dimension Fusion, and to end the game with subsequent attacks from those Monsters. The deck functions much like Diamond Dude Turbo, drawing many cards in a single turn while sending all of its Monster Cards to the Graveyard and then Removing them from Play for recursion. However, the draw and facilitation engine is ultimately disparate: Hand Destruction and Trade-in with Dark Grepher and Armageddon Knight are used as the primary ways to fill the Graveyard, while the eponymous card, The Beginning of the End, draws more cards while also sending the necessary Monster Cards to the Removed from Play Zone. The result is an immensely fast deck (albeit one lacking a certain amount of versatility displayed by other decks from the DARK School), designed to reduce the opponent’s Life Points to zero as early as the second turn of the Duel.

The Monsters: 15

3 Dark Nephthys
3 Darklord Zerato
3 Dark Grepher
3 Armageddon Knight
1 Dark Magician of Chaos
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Makyura the Destructor

The first thing one will notice when looking at the above list is the vast majority of high-level, high-ATK Monsters – seven out of a total fifteen. I have constructed the deck in this way for the sole purpose of maximum consistency across each individual game; one will see this theme occurring in all areas of the deck’s architecture, but here, having so many large Monsters (all of which are, I should point out, Level Eight) ensures that almost any given hand will have the necessary Monster Cards to use for the abundance of included discard effects. While this can, on the odd occasion, create a hand of nought but unusable Monsters, the number of times this occurs as opposed to number of times it does not occur make it an easy decision in my mind; One must remember that Yu-Gi-Oh! is a game of statistics, and the statistics are well on the apt side here.

A word on the selection of these large Monsters: within the DARK archetype there are many, many such Monster Cards to choose from, but I chose the three different ones above for specific reasons (apart from simply their high ATK and high level, that is): firstly, Dark Nephthys was chosen to add a layer of much needed versatility to the deck, for it can be used to remove other Monsters from the Graveyard in order to carry out a small Dimension Fusion swarm, or Special Summon itself, should the need arise, and it can also be used to destroy any Spell or Trap cards the opponent may have had on the field when it was Special Summoned; next, Darklord Zerato was chosen for its Monster destruction effect, which is not only invaluable when going for a game-winning turn, but also does not fall prey to Imperial Order as the Spell Cards Dark Hole and Raigeki do (although Dark Hole was still included, but more on that later); finally, Dark Magician of Chaos was included for its Spell Card recursion, which is simply amazing in any turbo strategy for it can continue an otherwise stalled draw engine by taking back a draw Spell, or recovering a lost combo piece (which is most usually Dimension Fusion in this particular build). Others, such as Dark Armed Dragon and The Dark Creator, could very well have been included, but their inability to be Special Summoned by Dimension Fusion led to them being omitted.

From there, Dark Grepher and Armageddon Knight are both included at three copies each, which are used to place DARK Monsters from the deck and/or hand into the Graveyard. Obviously the former is preferable, for it will send anywhere from two to three DARK Monsters thither, but the latter is still acceptable powerful. Now, most often, one find the use of only one or two of these Monsters necessary, with the rest being sent to the Graveyard through Painful Choice, Graceful Charity, Hand Destruction, Card Destruction, or either of their own effects, to then be used as DARKs for The Beginning of the End; however, Special Summoning multiple copies of Dark Grepher can be the correct course of action if one is holding The Beginning of End, for the Spell will mitigate the loss of so many in-hand cards to Dark Grepher – if one is not holding The Beginning of the End however, it may be a better idea to simply pass with the infrastructure one was able to accomplish (as with any other deck, one does not want to overextend unnecessarily).

Finally, the last two Monster Cards were included at their allowed single copies: Destiny Hero – Disk Commander is included to be used as extra drawing potential, and it is easy to access with the amount of cards this deck wields to send DARK Monsters to the Graveyard; and lastly, Makyura the Destructor was included to facilitate the use of Reckless Greed as even more drawing potential, and, again, with the amount of cards this deck wields to send DARK Monsters to the Graveyard, there will be no problem in using its effect.

The Spells: 20

3 The Beginning of the End
3 Hand Destruction
3 Trade-in
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Card Destruction
1 Painful Choice
1 Harpie’s Feather Duster
1 Heavy Storm
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Dimension Fusion
1 Dark Hole
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial

Here we can see the overall theme of consistency over versatility played out again. The three draw cards of The Beginning of the End, Trade-in and Hand Destruction were all included at three copies each to maximize the potential of not only seeing them in the hand, but also seeing them in the hand with their appropriate conditions being met: Trade-in was quite frankly a simple inclusion for, with the entirety of the large Monster line-up being Level Eight, it would let the deck draw cards while also sending those necessary Monster Cards to the Graveyard; Hand Destruction was also a rather simple choice, for it would allow the sending of other DARK Monsters to the Graveyard while also still drawing cards; both of these Spells set up the use of The Beginning of the End, the deck’s namesake, which sends the Monsters to the Removed from Play area (for subsequent recursion) while drawing even more cards. The three Spell Cards complement each other perfectly. However, due to the high DARK Monster requirement of The Beginning of the End, one may sometimes find dead copies in the hand; this is, unfortunately, an occupational hazard of the strategy and cannot be rectified, for, while one could very well drop a single copy, I find such a decision to be too detrimental to the overall consistency of the deck.

From there, the suite of drawing Spells is rounded out by Pot of Greed, Graceful Charity and Card Destruction. Each of them draws more cards for use, but the latter two also put more DARK Monsters into the graveyard. Painful Choice is also included to instantly fill the Graveyard with four DARKs, and is an invaluable addition to this deck as it is in most other Traditional Format strategies. With three copies each of Dark Grepher, Armageddon Knight, Trade-in, and Hand Destruction, as well as these four Spells, one will more often than not find the Graveyard being loaded very quickly with the necessary seven DARK Monster count for The Beginning of the End.

Harpie’s Feather Duster and Heavy Storm are included here as some needed removal of an opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards, in order to clear the way for a game-winning turn. Monster Reborn and Premature Burial were included as not only ways to Special Summon Monsters – namely Destiny Hero – Disk Commander and Dark Magician of Chaos – to continue the draw engine, but also to Special Summon a big Monster to attack with if necessary, thus adding some options other than Dimension Fusion if one is not all that confident in one’s Removed from Play Zone infrastructure. Reinforcement of the Army is a simple inclusion due to the high count (seven total) of Warrior-Type Monsters in the deck, and Dimension Fusion is obviously included as the central Win Condition.

Lastly, I would like to take some time to discuss the most difficult decision I had to make when constructing this deck: the inclusion of Dark Hole over Raigeki. The deck is so concentrated on a single end goal that there are many, many cards that must be in it, and, because of this, I had only room for one piece of Spell-based Monster Removal (although I did indeed consider omitting it completely due to the inclusion of Darklord Zerato, but I ultimately decided against this). The reason I chose one instead of the other is that Dark Hole can be used to destroy one’s own field of small Monsters (that is, Armageddon Knight, Destiny Hero – Disk Commander and any Dark Gephers one may have used) in order to either put more DARKs into the Graveyard for The Beginning of the End, or to swarm the field with Dimension Fusion. While this play does, in theory, sound rather idiotic, I have done it several times and found it to be an acceptable move.

The Traps: 5

3 Reckless Greed
1 Imperial Order
1 Crush Card Virus

The Trap line-up, as it most often is in the Traditional Format, is very slim. The first thing is the three copies of Reckless Greed: with the ease of which Makyura the Destructor could be sent to the Graveyard in this deck, and having the need for one more draw card (and finding nought any appropriate Spell Cards to use), as well as the fact that Reckless Greed needed no specific activation requirements, I decided that it would be the best option. And actually, with the introduction of Reckless Greed, the strategy now boasts its most interesting facet: due to the downside of the Trap Card (or, rather, what would under normal circumstances be considered a downside) one is able to draw the entire deck out – something which will be necessary on the occasion – and survive for a further two turns. This gives the strategy the ability to set up the necessary infrastructure on the very first turn by drawing every card if one needs to, and still be able to make the game-winning attacks on the subsequent turn.

Lastly, Imperial Order and Crush Card Virus are included as simply the two most powerful Trap Cards existent in the game. I should point out that, while there is only one Monster in the entirety of the deck that is able to be tributed for the activation of Crush Card Virus (that being Destiny Hero – Disk Commander), do not forget two things: the first is that this deck, as aforementioned, has consistent access to Disk Commander; and that, due to the use of Makyura the Destructor, Crush Card Virus can be activated during the very turn it is drawn, eliminating the need to wait a turn. One will have very little problem in activating it.

I have presented in this essay a strategy that was born from an idea that sprang to my mind during a time of nothingness. To the best of my knowledge, the only other deck that even comes close to similarity is one published by Jerome McHale, but he took a vastly disparate approach with his build. I would like to state, quite plainly if I may, right now, that people should not be afraid of their ideas; if one has an idea, and even if it seems a little ‘crazy’ as the one herein does, I urge one to try it. The chances are it will not function properly, but equally the chances are that it might. Through a thorough exploration of the idea (that is, going through many different builds and testing each one with rigor and an open mind, making many decisions along the way), as I have done, one can come up with the best build possible. Here, I have designed a deck that, although it is overly unwieldy and can often draw strings of completely useless cards, is immensely fast, amazingly powerful and, despite everything, surprisingly consistent. It is something I definitely think to be a contender in the modern Traditional Format.

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