Sunday, January 1, 2012

Deck Essay #20: French Twilight

“It is not very often that we, as Traditional Format players, are given a Limited List in which something has changed to significantly, if at all, affect our game-play... This is quite sad, for... there are some decks which, should they be only given slightly eased restrictions on one or two cards, would prosper... However, I am glad to say that this latest Limited List... has provided for Traditional, giving several decks another chance of competing in this amazing format.” – and so I wrote in my last deck essay. The sentiment is quite obviously true, although it would be mostly meaningless if I failed to back it up, at least to some degree, with more examples of the new, prosperous times afforded by the September Limited Lists. Here, now, therefore, I shall do so, exploring the Lightsworn-based deck known as French Twilight, which is, as aforementioned, made plausible by eased restrictions on key cards (namely, those on Tragoedia and Necro Gardna). While I have, in the past, utilized the Lightsworn engine (and, in at least one case, done so to great effect), this exploration of the theme will be wholly disparate; for, here, I shall be including, as per conventional French Twilight deck architecture, many more Lightsworn Monsters than previously in order to accommodate Judgment Dragon – a very welcome addition.

French Twilight is a variation of the deck formerly known simply as ‘Twilight’, a strategy combining the Lightsworn archetype with DARK Attribute Monsters in order that cards alike to Dark Armed Dragon and, in the Advanced Format, Chaos Sorcerer, can intermingle with the already present Judgment Dragon, creating a mass of overwhelming and, most importantly, synergistic, win conditions. The deck was piloted to a victorious showing at Shonen Jump Championship Columbus in 2009, done so by French premier player Vincent Ralambomiadana, hence the name. Of course, constructing the deck within the Traditional Format, as I will be doing, will afford more speed, more power and, as a result, more efficiency in reaching its end goal. Such is, quite clearly, to create live copies of Judgment Dragon, Chaos Monsters and Dark Armed Dragon as quickly as possible, although, as one might expect, the deck is very capable of filling the gap between drawing its first six cards, and subsequently Special Summoning huge Monsters for game, with the smaller, intermediate plays necessary to make the most of inevitable bad hands. The result is a deck with immense capabilities in speed, power and versatility, if unfortunately a little inconsistent at the same time.

The Monsters: 24

3 Judgment Dragon
3 Wulf, Lightsworn Beast
2 Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior
2 Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
2 Necro Gardna
2 Tragoedia
1 Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner
1 Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid
1 Jain, Lightsworn Paladin
1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning
1 Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End
1 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Dark Magician of Chaos
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Plaguespreader Zombie
1 Honest

I think that last thought is worthy of some further exposition. There is no doubt that French Twilight contains all of those previously mentioned faculties (that is, speed, power, efficiency, versatility), but I would never attempt to hide the fact that it does suffer from an inconsistency otherwise unseen, for the most part, amongst the Top Tiers of the Traditional Format. This is simply due to the Monster/Spell/Trap ratio that is essential during construction, and is, unfortunately, unavoidable. I have done what I can, with the build herein, to allay this problem as much as possible, forgoing some generally accepted options (most of which are Monster Cards) in favour of a more stable line-up, but, in truth, this quandary can never be fully allayed.

To begin with, the deck is, as has already been stated, very heavy in the Lightsworn aspect. Firstly, I have made the possibly somewhat questionable decision to include a full set of Wulf, Lightsworn Beast; many players have shied away from such a devotion to the card, but, in the Traditional Format, one will find not only extra uses for dead copies but also a quicker access to the freely Special Summoned copies, as well. Next, two copies of each Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress find their usefulness by, with the former, granting extra card sifting (and, in especial, during opening turn plays) and, with the latter, in extra Spell and Trap removal. Finally, single copies if Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner, Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid and Jain, Lightsworn Paladin round out the line-up of Lightsworn, being included for the following reasons: the first, only allowable at this one copy, boasts the amazing ability to revive fallen Lightsworn, adding an ever-useful element to not only the initial set-up stage, but also to the final, game-ending stage; the middle, which is, I will admit, a somewhat capricious inclusion, has the ability to prevent some lesser thought of powerful options in this format, such as Ring of Destruction, Change of Heart and the like, when a Lightsworn Monster is involved in such a fray; and the last is simply included for its ATK score and name – nothing too complicated in this last instance.

With the relatively vast array of Lightsworn Monsters, a full three copies of Judgment Dragon have been included. While many players, again in the Advanced Format, have shied away from doing so, I think it is something to be embraced in Traditional; the format offers us a far greater access to the card, and, more importantly, a far greater facilitation for its summon. In short, they will seldom be useless, here. Alongside the other synergistic win condition Monsters, namely Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End, Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning and Dark Armed Dragon, we are presented with an amazing opportunity for six huge Monsters in a single deck, all of which are complimented by the general architecture, and thus very rarely dead weight.

From there, a retinue of DARK Attribute support is included, thus fleshing out the Twilight theme. Tragoedia, the innovation of French Twilight – that is, the card which transforms the standard Twilight deck into that of the French variety – is quite obviously included at its newly allowed two copies. The Monster, of clearly being of the necessary Attribute, functions in such a way so as to act as both an offense and a defence at the same time: the offensive capabilities are of interest here since it allows a transition phase, or an intermediate phase, if you will, between the set-up and the execution of the primary win condition – a chance for one to attack when one is not yet ready to launch the final assault; and the defensive capabilities are clearly of note when regarding a deck which only contains a very few Trap Cards (this particular build, in fact, contains only one). The allowed two copies of Necro Gardna, permissible by their ability to easily be sent to the Graveyard by the inherent milling effect of the Lightsworn, are also included for this latter reason.

Dark Magician of Chaos, Destiny Hero – Disk Commander and Plaguespreader Zombie complete the DARK Attribute suite by acting as excellent cards when sent to the Graveyard (which, of course, happens very quickly here), not only in terms of their Attributes but also their effects: the former two, upon being revived, help so much in allowing further deck sifting through either drawing more cards or, in the case of the Magician, retrieving a Spell Card to then draw more cards (thus doing so indirectly); while the latter, the single allowed copy of Plaguespreader Zombie, gives the deck access to Synchro Monsters, thus affording, when needed, the creation of large Monsters from the Extra Deck. You will note, however, after the mention of this card, the absence of Glow-up Bulb. While it is no doubt an amazing card, functioning as it does as a free Tuner, Special Summoned from the Graveyard once, being neither DARK nor a Lightsworn plays against its inclusion here. I needed, to put it simply, the room for another, more desirable card.

Finally, the single allowed copy of Honest completes the Monster line-up, granting that chance to protect a smaller LIGHT Attribute Monster from battle, and, of course, the threat of doing so weighing heavily on an opponent’s mind when conducting their Battle Phase.

The Spells: 15

3 Solar Recharge
3 Monster Reincarnation
1 Pot of Greed
1 Allure of Darkness
1 Graceful Charity
1 Painful Choice
1 Charge of the Light Brigade
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
1 Harpie’s Feather Duster
1 Raigeki

To be completely honest, there is very little complication to discuss with regards to the Twilight deck. The strategy draws many cards, sends even more cards to the Graveyard, and then drops multiple large Monsters in a single turn to claim victory – that is all. For this reason, as well as the plethora of Monster Cards which require, at the very least, mentioning, the Spell line-up needs only a short discourse. We can split the list of Spell Cards into two general categories, the first being drawing and searching, and the second being general support. One will notice that one, the first, by far outweighs the other, the second. This is for the reason that, in this archetype, the Monsters ‘do the talking’, so to speak. In other words, they realize everything the deck must accomplish, and in so doing only require a small amount of help from other types of cards.

Within the first category, we have, in terms of options for drawing additional cards, a full complement of the Lightsworn-specific draw Spell, Solar Recharge, backed up by Pot of Greed, Allure of Darkness, and Graceful Charity. Each one aids in the instant sifting of cards necessary in this format, with the first and last particularly furthering the strategy by loading cards into the Graveyard which need to be thither. The draw Spells are then backed up by a group of searching cards, namely Painful Choice and Charge of the Light Brigade, both of which have the amazing ability of also helping to set up the Graveyard for future use, and a full three copies of Monster Reincarnation. Now, I have termed this latter card a ‘searcher’ due to the fact that the deck, by its very nature, sends a massive amount of cards to the Graveyard, and is typically neither selective nor careful about doing so, burying, quite often, its win condition Monsters; Monster Reincarnation, therefore, becomes necessary to retrieve said cards, and, in effect (taking into account the speed of the strategy) searching cards from the Graveyard. This Spell has been chosen over the arguably more powerful Beckoning Light for the simple consideration of instantaneous use.

Within the second category, one will find only four cards: the single allowed copies of Raigeki, Harpie’s Feather Duster, Monster Reborn and Premature Burial. The former two are quite obvious and need little justification, and the latter two are much the same. I will, however, before I continue, note that I have lumped Monster Reborn and Premature Burial into the category of ‘general support’ because they don’t, in actual fact, present any specialised use to the deck; while they may bring such to other strategies, such as Synchro-based decks, or ones abusing Dark Magician of Chaos and the like in order to create combos, there is no such employment to be found here. Indeed, the deck does run Dark Magician of Chaos and Destiny Hero – Disk Commander, but I have included them on a more as-needed basis, and there would be no problem, I think, in playing without them in this instance.

The Traps: 1

1 Crush Card Virus

With thirty-nine cards already mentioned and accounted for, and my unspeakable anguish at having to construct a deck with anything more than forty cards, it should come as no surprise that there is only a single Trap Card. With regards to instances where a single Trap Card is involved, as I have done before, there are an overwhelming number of options as to what could rightly fill the spot: Imperial Order is the obvious choice, being so incredible as it is in shutting down, more often than not, an opponents’ entire strategy, and Ring of Destruction grants spot removal and a chance to finish a game instantaneously. For the subject of this particular essay, however, I have decided to go with Crush Card Virus, for the simple reason that the cards is too amazing to pass up when given the distinct chance to play it. An opponent without any large Monsters is often an opponent with nothing to do, clearing the path for a shot at game very quickly.

It must be said, I think, that, while I am most often and most vehemently a supporter of strategies very specific to the Traditional Format (that is, ones that, due to the simple fact of the deck existing not at all within the Advanced Format, by means of the necessity of Forbidden cards for proper or better functioning), the French Twilight deck, and, indeed, the standard Twilight deck, presents very little in the way of differences between the two aspects of gameplay; this is, no doubt, due in large part to the vast number of cards essential to its core structure, and which, by no means, can be removed, leaving only a small amount of additional support in terms of cards either exclusive to the Traditional Format, or made plausible by it. However, that being said, I find that there is almost no consequence to speak of here. As was noted in the introduction, the deck already boasts high levels of speed and power, which are, to be sure, the two prerequisites necessary for successful performance in this format, and the movement here simply amplifies, by way of the few additions one is able to make, these aspects. By doing so, although, as also aforementioned, it suffers from slightly more inconsistency than others I would myself consider to be Top Tier, a deck capable of enormous potential is created. For only a small foray into the strategy, as I do with these deck essays, I am very much impressed.


  1. no magician of faith and sixth sense?

  2. i would also replace the harpies feather duster with giant trunade because its harder to stop and you will only use it to push for game. it can bring a premature burial back to your hand.