Thursday, June 7, 2012

Deck Analysis #23: Fusion Control

I should like to begin this analysis with a quote – one of my own, in fact: It is true that in the Traditional Format, many cards long since forgotten in the Advanced Format become playable; this is due to the abundance of effects that have been deemed too powerful for Advanced Format game-play (and subsequently Forbidden), and with Cyber-Stein, Magical Scientist and Metamorphosis, Fusion Monsters are just one group of such cards. Through the three aforementioned cards, immensely powerful Monsters such as Thousand Eyes Restrict, Cyber Twin Dragon, Dark Balter the Terrible, and Ryu Senshi – just to name but a few – become highly playable in the Top Tier. While it would be plausible for me to illustrate how to build around any of these cards (and that is something I will indeed do at a later date). . .” – and yet, inexplicably, I never have. This quote comes from the Absolute Zero analysis I composed all the way back in 2010, only the second ever to be published after the construction of the Traditional Format Academy, and, while I made this statement so long ago, I have since failed to make good on the promise it contained.

Now, I should point out that this is not, in any part, due to my inability to do so, nor is it due to a changing of opinion regarding that specific idea. Nay; neither of these reasons even comes close to explaining the problems encountered hitherto. In truth (which is far less interesting than it might sound), I have instead merely been far too interested in – and, therefore, too busy exploring – other possibilities within this amazing format. However, I recently decided, after reviewing my quite frankly enormous list of potential featured decks and undertaking some subsequent research into promising builds, decided that the time had finally come when Fusion Control would be the unhindered subject of a full discourse. Thus, in the following paragraphs, I will be expounding upon a strategy that discovers its win condition through the use of those Monsters highly underutilized – or, at the least, not utilized to their fullest degree – in the format of Yu-Gi-Oh! that can bring out their full power – those Monsters that have been slowly but surely bolstered into competitive viability through extremely strong additions to their numbers since the beginning of the game (and, specifically, a very notable one just recently).

The Monsters: 16

2 Tragoedia
2 Destiny Hero – Malicious
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Elemental Hero Stratos
1 Dark Magician of Chaos
1 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Cyber-Stein
1 Magical Scientist
1 Sangan
1 Witch of the Black Forest
1 Yata-Garasu
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Magician of Faith
1 Sinister Serpent

The deck is essentially a combination of the remaining allowable parts from the four most infamous, most powerful Fusion-based decks in the history of this great game. Those are, in no particular order: Goat Control; T-Hero (or Destiny Hero Beatdown); Cyber-Stein; and Magical Scientist. Although this single deck can and must be classed as an amalgamation of several, consistency has in no way been sacrificed. Instead, each and every element seemingly disparate on first glance overlaps to create a degree of synergy almost unheard of in control-based strategies. For this reason, it will be extremely difficult to discuss each component on its own, so instead I shall note every card and its uses as they come up.

To begin with, I should like to give explanation on the inclusion and uses of the Destiny Hero engine, for it brings possibly the most complicated and interesting synergy to the deck (as is quite often the case). Not only does the prospect of extra drawing power through the use of Destiny Draw stand out, as well as the extra deck thinning afforded then by the necessary copies of Reinforcement of the Army and Elemental Hero Stratos, but the actual Destiny Heroes themselves, as they should, find special uses – namely in the prospect of using their Special Summons, essentially free of any costs due to their effects, to Tribute for Metamorphosis: Destiny Hero – Malicious, clearly included at its allowed two copies, provides fast and simple access to the admittedly short but essential list of Level Six Fusion Monsters in the Extra Deck; and Destiny Hero – Disk Commander, in addition to the extra drawing potential prominent in other strategies, also gives, through the activation of the aforementioned Spell Card, the ability to access the Level One Fusion from our list of win conditions. I would dearly have liked to include a fourth Destiny Hero (thus giving three discards for the two copies of Destiny Draw), but I was simply unable to find room or further justification.

From there, we find what might be to some a rather surprising two copies of Tragoedia. Now, the Monster Card is most definitely good – there is no doubt in anybody’s mind about this fact – but it is most often reserved for decks that can maintain hand presence in order to increase its ATK, through its own effect, to a substantial size. While this is entirely possible in the Traditional Format, there is no such goal, here; instead, the copies of Tragoedia are for the express purpose of Tributing, as with the Destiny Heroes, for Metamorphosis: its status as a Level Ten Monster (and a relatively easily to Summon Level Ten Monster, at that) makes it prime fodder for the Special Summon from the Extra Deck of Naturia Exterio, the card noted at the end of the introductory paragraph. There is a possible argument here against the running of Tragoedia – namely, the card is too low on utility and, most especially in the First-Turn-Knockout match-up, can be completely useless in a number of situations. I find this to be a valid point; however, I also find that through careful play (and siding them out when facing an FTK) the two copies of Tragoedia are rarely dead weight, and are in fact a powerful option.

The quite obviously included Cyber-Stein and Magical Scientist are found here at their single allowed copies. While the latter only grants a one-time use of a certain Fusion (I say ‘only’, but this is still an invaluable resource in the situations where its need arises), the former, although with an effect attached to a hefty Life Point payment, is the real star of the duo; with instant access to every single Fusion Monster within the perfectly constructed Extra Deck, the versatility Cyber-Stein offers is unparalleled: fear of an opponent’s Spells, Traps or Monster effects; facing down too many Monsters, or too big a Monster; a defence position Monster lying between oneself and chance at game – all are solved. I will, of course, make note of the very necessary immense amount of thought that should go into activating the effect, for, with the cost being so high (and, furthermore, with its own ATK so low), the probability of backfire if activated at an incorrect moment is likewise great. This statement also applies to Magical Scientist, if slightly less.

The list of Monsters cards is thence rounded out by primarily generic picks, some for their effects in aiding the central strategy and number of Level stars, others merely their effect: Dark Magician of Chaos, of the Level Eight, retrieves a needed Spell Card (quite often Metamorphosis in this case); Dark Armed Dragon, with seven Levels, becomes a clear inclusion with the amount of DARK attribute Monsters present to offer another win condition; Sangan and Witch of the Black Forest (of unimportant Levels) search for any needed small Monster Card; Yata-Garasu continues the control of the game, locking out the all-important Draw Phase; Gorz the Emissary of Darkness, with seven stars, prevents OTKs while also giving a free Token (again, Level Seven) which can then be Tributed for Metamorphosis; Magician of Faith, another Level one, can again retrieve a Spell Card for a second or third use; and Sinister Serpent, a further Monster of single Level, provides free discard or Tribute fodder for the various such cards played here. 

The Spells: 18

2 Destiny Draw
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Allure of Darkness
1 Painful Choice
1 Reinforcement of the Army
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
1 Scapegoat
1 Metamorphosis
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Delinquent Duo
1 Confiscation
1 Harpie’s Feather Duster
1 Snatch Steal
1 Dark Hole
1 Raigeki

The list of Sell Cards is constructed in such a way that three distinct categories become apparent, each one offering something special to the strategy: draw and search cards; specific Fusion-aiding cards; and hand and field control. They all do, of course, share one goal in common – that is, their overall ability to power the strategy through its game plan as quickly and consistently as possible.

To begin, we find a group of seven cards within the first category. The two copies of Destiny Draw and single Reinforcement of the Army, already mentioned, complete the Destiny Hero engine, adding desirable speed to a deck otherwise relying on simple, generic forms. The same can be said of the single allowed copy of Allure of Darkness, permissible due to the large DARK count. Pot of Greed and Graceful Charity can be found here as most obvious inclusions, requiring little justification, although the latter does require, as is always the case when running Graveyard-centric effects, the note of being able to discard such cards for later use. The last card in this category, Painful Choice, is one I must admit I was sceptical about adding: while there is no doubt that the Spell is absolutely incredible in many strategies, I was for a long time (and still am, to be completely honest) of the opinion that, with only four prime targets for its effect (the fifth spot then being filled by either a piece to a combo or a card functionally dead), the slot would be better off spent on something else. I have included it in this analysis for its overall power and status here as ‘good’, but would urge the reader to make their own decision regarding its validity.

Next, we come to the suite abovementioned as ‘specific Fusion-aiding cards’. Made up of three Special Summon cards and Metamorphosis, the set is focused on creating a Monster which can then be Tributed to the named Spell Card in order to bring to the field the necessary Fusion Monster from the Extra Deck. Monster Reborn and Premature Burial, two of the three Special Summon cards, are no doubt the most versatile, being able to create any Level that one may require (given the correct Monsters in the Graveyard, of course), but also clearly contain other uses beside merely this. On the other hand, Scapegoat, the third, really only has this application (outside of a possible roadblock in the OTK match-up): Tributing a Sheep Token in order to Special Summon Thousand-Eyes Restrict was the central basis of the Goat Control deck cited earlier, and, although several other tricks from that strategy are dropped for space and modernity issues, this aspect is most definitely a powerful and worthy addition to this deck.

Completing this section of the examination, the final category of Spell Cards is compiled from both hand and field control options, the most powerful available. Confiscation, Delinquent Duo and The Forceful Sentry most notably aid in forcing the opponent into the desired state of inaction, limiting their hand size and removing options before they have a chance to become threats. Conversely but complimentary, the field control cards – namely, Harpie’s Feather Duster, Snatch Steal, Dark Hole and Raigeki – remove those threats already posed in order to regain one’s grip over the game, forcing the opponent back into the mentioned state to subsequently end in defeat. While these are mostly obvious picks, the lack of Change of Heart requires a note, I think: with only Metamorphosis providing an easy route to the full removal of a Monster (Tribute Summoning being extremely rare), the card is simply too high a risk to think about running here, and so its slot has been given to something far safer and better in the long run.

The Traps: 6

3 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
1 Crush Card Virus
1 Ring of Destruction
1 Imperial Order

Half – or, at the very least, a third – of the above list of Trap Cards requires little to no justification: Imperial Order and Ring of Destruction are quite simply the two most powerful controlling Traps ever printed, while Crush Card Virus, possibly the only choice to be annotated, is no doubt of equal – and, in some cases, greater – strength when the option to play it presents itself (as the high number of possible Tributes does here). However, the full set of Phoenix Wing Wind Blast likely stand out as a potential oddity, and thus conversation is needed to explain its addition. I have made this somewhat questionable decision for the primary reason of versatility: with other potential cards only removing Monsters, and only destroying them, the ability that Wind Blast offers, in the shape of sending any card to top of the opponent’s deck (thus manipulating their draws, as well), is far more desirable in the simplified gamestate that the deck aims to create. Having the facility to also include a retrievable source of discard fodder (Sinister Serpent) helps to makes this a far simpler decision if the Traditional Format.

Extra: 15

2 Naturia Exterio
2 Ryu Senshi
1 Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon
1 Cyber End Dragon
1 Cyber Twin Dragon
1 Cyber Ogre 2
1 Gatling Dragon
1 Super Vehicroid Jumbo Drill
1 Dark Blade the Dragon Knight
1 Dark Balter the Terrible
1 Fiend Skull Dragon
1 Reaper on the Nightmare
1 Thousand-Eyes Restrict

Now, for the purposes of this theoretical representation of a Fusion-based control deck, I have taken the necessary direction in constructing the entire Extra Deck out of Fusion Monsters (this might not be the case in a practical, tournament-designed deck, hence I am making this point). A Full range of Levels, all the way from Ten down to One, has been included in order to create the most versatility across the board of possible gamestates that one might face; the effects of some might appear to be rather rare candidates for use, but, with no other potentialities to utilize the Extra Deck in another way, I figure the space is far from wasted.

These Monsters and their uses appear thus: first, a pair of Naturia Exterio and a pair of Ryu Senshi, Level Ten and Level Six, respectively, each negate Spells and/or Traps, and find inclusion at two copies for being essentially the stars of the control show, more or less shutting down an opponent’s entire gameplan when played correctly – Fiend Skull Dragon and Dark Balter the Terrible are also a part of this most important group for their effects, negating Monster effects and Spells, respectively, although both are only played at a single copy due to their relative difficulty in being Summoned (only Cyber-Stein and Magical Scientist have access to them, there being no Level Five Monsters to Tribute for Metamorphosis); next, single copies of each Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon, Cyber End Dragon, Cyber Twin Dragon, Cyber Ogre 2 and Super Vehicroid Jumbo Drill function to control the field using their ATK scores and battle-based effects; and, lastly, single copies of each Gatling Dragon, Dark Blade the Dragon Knight, Reaper on the Nightmare and Thousand-Eyes Restrict come in to fill those previously stated, somewhat random yet most definitely required applications that undoubtedly rear their heads in competitive play. 

It must be said that, in a competitive setting (although I have indeed used that word throughout the analysis), it would be very rare to come up against a deck based entirely around Fusion Monsters, as this one is; while it does boast many amazingly powerful plays that are extremely difficult for an opponent to break (especially in the FTK match-up), such a strategy is inherently slow and inconsistent due in simple point of fact to the inability to run more than one copy of each Fusion-creating card. The case most often will be a Cyber-Stein, a Magical Scientist or a Metamorphosis splashed into another deck, along with a small but carefully chosen selection of the most powerful Fusions slotted into the normal Extra Deck of that particular strategy. Having said that, I feel it necessary, during my in depth exploration of the Traditional Format, to look at all the possibilities, and, as stated in the introduction, a control deck centred solely on Fusions was something I had been meaning to do for quite some time. I admit the tone of this conclusion might seem like I am not happy with the result – this is not true: nay, I have spent a great deal of time researching and testing, then researching and testing again and again and again, in order to design the fastest, most powerful, most consistent Fusion Control I could, and I am extremely happy with the results. Whether it can be a contender in the modern Traditional Format, however, will require further study.


  1. Heya Jamie! I loved the article, some things to go over:

    3 points, mainly.

    1: Tribe Infecting Virus and Sinister Serpant are overly powerful field wipe and synergy. Use them with Yata Garasu or a Water Traditional deck please!

    2: Magical Scientist in your deck does not have Dark Strike Fighter, so it cannot win on the first turn of the duel like FTK decks can. I consider this a liability in Traditional.

    3: Your build looks very close to my builds, so close. I would suggest the use of XYZ monsters, and Synchro monsters in your extra deck. Being able to use certain Fusions as XYZ targets themselves gives this Fusion control deck a extra level of versitility XYZ monster summoning decks do not even get! The only problem, is coming up with the perfect 15 for the Extra deck. Unless, unless you can put Synchro/Fusion/XYZ cards into your Sidedeck to be put into the Extra deck for game 2?

  2. Likewise after reading more of your article you note on how you do not use Synchro's/XYZ. This does bring versitility not expected as your Fusion pool is 15 cards deep instead of about 6-9.

    But yeah I def. will test this out, thanks again!

  3. PS: I like Scapegoat in here, but I think Snatch Steal and Change of Heart are just as strong if not stronger in the long run.

    Scapegoat's more of a metagame or Sidedeck slot, since like you said, it stops OTK decks pretty well while aiding the TER plan.

    But so do Steal and CoH.

  4. Matter of fact, I like Change of Heart in here so much I suggest cutting x3 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast for a Change of Heart, Sixth Sense, and Tribe Infecting Virus.

    The reason I say this is because, at most the best thing your PWWB is for is to be your crutch, why not make the crutch 3 banned cards. The banned cards are more powerful individually unlike PWWB, which will always require a card in your hand to be effective, and usually has to be used on your opponents turn. Change of Heart, Virus get immediate value which is what you sometimes want.

    The virus is a bit of a stretch for creature metagames and contributes 0 value to the Fusion board plan, but it's a great card and facilitates your hand way better than PWWB since it lets you dump your hand on your turn for a normal summon, while destroying face up monsters.

    Change of Heart is just too good with Magician of Faith in the deck.

    Sixth Sense is too good to not be in this. It flips over SSerpant, D-Hero, can draw 6 cards. Gets DMoC and fills cards into the graveyard for Tragodia. Helps Dark Armed Dragon Dark monster count. Helps Magician of Faith for spells. Makes Monster Reborn and Premature Burial randomly live cards. So Sixth Sense gets the nod from me on adding a very huge offense in a single trap card, while PWWB in this spot effects your hand more. SSense does this deckwise or draw power to win the game on the spot usually.

  5. PSS: Tribe Infecting Virus also has Synergy with Tragodia, since there are good 4 star creatures used in Traditional waiting for the taking when not using the virus offensivly.

    And I see your Snatch Steal now. :)

    1. Okay, a lot of things to go through, here, so I'l keep it brief:

      -Tribe-Infecting Virus: is very iffy in my opinion. The chances of facing a full field of the same type of Monsters is not very likely, and it can only be used during your turn. Just to top that off, 1600 ATK is far too low. (TIV was used in the Absolute Zero analysis, where it's WATER Attribute had a use.)

      -Extra Deck: there is most definitely the possibility of playing Exceeds in the Extra, but this narrows the range of Fusion Monsters, because not only do you need the Exceeds, but you also need multiple copies of Fusions you wouldn't otherwise play in multiples. A 15 card Extra is just too tight to play both strategies. As for the lack of DSF... there are no Tuners either. To put both of these in would completely destroy the deck's balance.

      -Change of Heart: was mentined in the analysis. Scapegoat is much better here.

      -Phoenix Wing Wind Blast: was also discussed in the analysis. It's amazing in the simplified gamestate because of its pure versatility (the fact that it can be used on your opponent's turn is key to this).

      -Sixth Sense: is too inconsistent here. The probability of drawing six cards is extremely low, and the probability of milling Destiny Heroes or other Graveyard-centred cards is also too low.