Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Deck Analysis #25: Chaos Control

If there is one specific deck that the majority of people associate with the Traditional Format, it would be that widely and variably known as Cookie Cutter Chaos, Chaos Stun, Chaos Control, or any number of differing titles. While I have covered many, many Chaos variants (this is Traditional, after all, and one cannot deny the power of the archetype), I have been wholly unwilling to commit myself to the particular playstyle, it not being compatible to my own, necessary for a discussion here; furthermore, with so many players posting decklists of Chaos Control (which we will simply call it from now on) to the various message boards and other websites devoted to Yu-Gi-Oh!, as well as, recently, the overabundance of such decks in my own tournament results, I have been starved of different approaches to showcase. However, after a brainwave a few weeks ago, in which a selection of lesser-used cards, one almost never-used, presented themselves to my mind, I began building, testing, rebuilding and retesting for a possible deck analysis. Here, we have the result, a decklist of Chaos Control highly stylised towards my personal predilections, focusing on some irregular yet powerful combinations.
As with any Chaos variant, the overall goal of the deck is extremely simple: place LIGHT and DARK Attribute Monsters into the Graveyard, use them to summon a Chaos Monster, finally attacking with said Chaos Monster. Beyond that, the possibilities are nigh endless: some use Lightsworn Monsters for drawing and extra attacking power; some Synchro Summon to create One-Turn-Knockouts; some play Destiny Heroes for more draws and any one of the huge number of other uses they present; and so on. Here, however, in pure Chaos Control, one is trying to do only a single, very simple thing: that is, trying to present, through the use of tech cards, a gamestate in which the opponent is unable to make optimal plays, or indeed any plays at all. Through employing a series of single, utility-based, control-centric Monsters, Spells and Traps, some of which are typically seen in Stun decks (hence the previously-mentioned name, Chaos Stun), this build of Chaos aims to slowly grind the opponent into a state of submission wherein one can summon a Chaos Monster to attack for game.
The Monsters: 16
3 Thunder King Rai-Oh
2 Tour Guide from the Under World
1 Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning
1 Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy of the End
1 Dark Armed Dragon
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Magical Scientist
1 Cyber-Stein
1 Destiny Hero – Disk Commander
1 Dark Magician of Chaos
1 Witch of the Black Forest
1 Sangan
1 Sinister Serpent
I shall begin by discussing the core of the control line-up found here within the list of Monsters. Firstly, we see a full set of Thunder King Rai-Oh, a card typically played in such decks; a first-turn Thunder King, with its high ATK and pair of effects, can be one of the most devastating plays imaginable in the Advanced Format, and Traditional is no different: its ability to prevent a long list of commonly-played cards from ever being activated – think here, Painful Choice, Toon Table of Contents, Witch of the Black Forest and Reinforcement of the Army, to name a few – as well as the further ability to negate Synchro Summons, Exceed Summons, Chaos Summons, etc., makes it a forbidding sight from the opposing side of the table. Furthermore, its status as a LIGHT Attribute Monster simply adds the icing to the cake, so to speak, since, upon eventual destruction (or tributing for its own effect), it becomes fodder for a Chaos Summon of one’s own.
From there, Tour Guide from the Underworld, played here in its now-allotted pair, comes in to control the game the old fashioned way – with high ATK. Access to Number 17: Leviathan Dragon and Number 30: Acid Golem give not only their ability to attack as most players know quite well, but also, though it may only appear a tiny nuance, their ability to prevent an opponent from committing to their own plays; such ATK as these two cards boast acts alike to a roadblock, a stop-sign, forcing the opponent to deal with them instead of executing the play they would rather make in order to advance their own game position. In addition to this, the Tour Guides also grant access to the Wind-Up Zenmaines from the Extra Deck, unleashing its extremely powerful effect, while also, if needed, having the possibility of bringing one’s Sangan to the field for a search.
To complete the core control-based Monster contingent, we have the single allowed copies of both Magical Scientist and Cyber-Stein. The former is undoubtedly the more powerful of the two, Special Summoning as it does a full field of threats at once: for example, one can bring out and overlay the three copies of Darkfire Dragon for Number 16: Shock Master, detaching a material to render one type of card useless during the opponent’s turn: or, one can bring out and overlay just two Level 4 Fusions for either the Number 39: Utopia, to negate attacks, or the Steelswarm Roach, to negate Special Summons (as with Thunder King); or, one can bring to the field and overlay the two copies of Flame Ghost for any of the Rank 3 Exceeds; or, indeed, one can accomplish any two or three of these summons at once. The Scientist is all about versatility, here, while the Cyber-Stein, not to be outdone or forgotten, grants the possibility of summoning Naturia Exterio, undoubtedly one of the most powerful options in the Traditional Format owing to the reliance on Spell Cards. Each, of course, can also summon Thousand-Eyes Restrict, as usual, if required.
The list of Monster Cards is completed by win conditions, general aiding and consistency options, or choices one might term ‘staples’: the two Envoys quite clearly check in, but as does Dark Armed Dragon – the deck is able to place enough DARK Attribute Monsters into the Graveyard for its summon, owing primarily to the Exceed mechanic, but, since it operates at a far slower pace than many others, also has to time to build that infrastructure required; Gorz the Emissary of Darkness prevents battle-based (and sometimes burn-based) One-Turn-Knockouts; Dark Magician of Chaos and Destiny Hero – Disk Commander turn Monster Reborn and Premature Burial into draw or Spell-retrieval cards; Sangan and Witch of Black Forest can search, depending upon which, for any Monster one might require save only a few; and Sinister Serpent becomes an easy inclusion when the deck packs so many discard-costed Spells and Traps (more on that in the following sections).
The Spells: 15
2 Mystical Space Typhoon
1 Mirage of Nightmare
1 Pot of Greed
1 Graceful Charity
1 Allure of Darkness
1 Painful Choice
1 Monster Reborn
1 Premature Burial
1 Raigeki
1 Harpie’s Feather Duster
1 Snatch Steal
1 The Forceful Sentry
1 Delinquent Duo
1 Confiscation
One will see taking centre stage in the above list of Spells the card alluded to in the introduction as ‘almost never-used’ – that is, Mirage of Nightmare. With so much of the strategy herein accomplished by simple cards which require very little or even no interaction whatsoever from others, there was a surplus of space to be found whilst designing the deck. This allowed me to lean far more towards my eccentric tendencies than usual, including a long list of cards that are so close yet so far from being viable, this example being the most singular one. Quite simply, Mirage of Nightmare has the potential to be absolutely amazing; since the deck can commit so many cards at once (a Monster, some hand control, and then some Traps), the opportunity to activate Mirage of Nightmare, draw four new cards, and then chain with Mystical Space Typhoon, destroying the Mirage in order to keep all cards drawn, was simply too tantalizing to pass up. That play is a plus two (+2) in card presence (not to mention the access to fresh options), which, when the opponent is already under constant pressure, can be devastating. Only two Mystical Space Typhoons have been included, for, while it is a decent choice in its own right, chaining to Imperial Order to force through Spells or pre-empting Ring of Destruction, I think it not quite good enough to warrant the third (space was not quite that surplus).
The remainder of the Spell Cards are all rather ordinary inclusions (more interesting choices emerge in the Trap line-up), and is a combination of regular additions for drawing, searching, summoning, and field and hand controlling: Pot of Greed and Graceful Charity sit alongside the only specific draw Spell, Allure Darkness, as a means to find new and/or extra options; Painful Choice comes in to set up the Graveyard for the entire game, as it does in most others, although I will admit that I was hard pressed to keep it here – with only three optimal targets, and combos few and far between, it is rather risky in my opinion, but it has been listed for this analysis; Monster Reborn and Premature Burial allow either the recovery of a needed Monster or potential plays with Dark Magician of Chaos and Destiny Hero – Disk Commander; Raigeki, Harpie’s Feather Duster and Snatch Steal all check in for their arguable status as the best of the ‘big six’ field control options (the other three being Dark Hole, Heavy Storm and Change of Heart); and, to round out the list, the full hand control suite is present and accounted for – the massive swings in advantage The Forceful Sentry, Delinquent Duo and Confiscation create, not only by removing powerful cards but also by the knowledge gained to play around others, has rightly been considered one of the most powerful effects in any Trading Card Game, not just Yu-Gi-Oh!, and are almost given additions to a control-centred deck.
The Traps: 6
2 Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
1 Crush Card Virus
1 Imperial Order
1 Ring of Destruction
1 Trap Dustshoot
The selection of Traps round out the listed Main Deck by continuing its most prominent feature – the fact that cards one might ordinarily find in such a deck proudly sit beside others which very few people would have considered. Here, specifically, we see in the former category those three Traps which, through the past years of constructing and playing within the Traditional Format, I have found are the most consistently powerful in a battle-based strategy: Crush Card Virus and Ring of Destruction do so much in terms of controlling the field and hand that, when presented with the space (and, while considering the Virus, the Tribute potential), it would quite simply be a crime to omit them. Similarly (though, if possible, more so), Imperial Order is without a doubt the best Trap Card to open with, as I have alluded to many times before, for the ability it grants to shut down, more often than not, the opponent’s entire gameplan can easily be translated into a first-turn victory.
With these three obvious choices set in place, we discover then, as aforementioned, the final three cards occupying the realm of technically interesting. Owing to the speed at which Life Points are depleted within the Traditional Format (including, noticeable here, by the player’s own cards), as well as the need for chainable and versatile defence, I have long held the view that Phoenix Wing Wind Blast is a superior card to others we might use in its place (Solemn Warning, Bottomless Trap Hole and Dimensional Prison all spring to mind); the amount of possible discards, and even one that can be retrieved (Sinister Serpent), also aid in this decision. Moreover, the ability to further disrupt the opponent’s plays by placing the targeted card on top of their deck instead of destroying it, forcing them to redraw it a turn later, makes it preferable in my opinion to other, similar cards such as Raigeki Break. Finally, the list is completed by the single allowed copy of Trap Dustshoot, continuing the overall goal of control and the sub-goal of hand control by offering one more chance to remove a needed Monster from the opponent’s repertoire, also granting, as with the Spells discussed previously, important information as to further plays. 
+ 3 Tech cards
I have left the above decklist at only thirty-seven cards, allowing the last three slots to be chosen by the individual wishing to test the deck in their own environment. One might play a set of Effect Veiler, a set of Droll & Lock Bird, a set of Doomcaliber Knight, or any combination of such cards or others; it merely depends upon the specific circumstance.
The Extra Deck: 15
3 Darkfire Dragon
2 Karbonala Warrior
2 Flame Ghost
1 Thousand-Eyes Restrict
1 Naturia Exterio
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number 16: Shock Master
1 Steelswarm Roach
1 Number 17: Leviathan Dragon
1 Number 30: Acid Golem
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
The entirety of this list was discussed while talking earlier of Magical Scientist and Cyber-Stein; I record it here merely for reference purposes.
I stated quite plainly in the introduction, and then alluded to many times throughout the remainder of the analysis, that the deck herein was a build of Chaos Control heavily modified to suite my own penchants – that it contained many of the commonplaces of the strategy intermingled with more unconventional choices, choices which may not be considered up to scratch by some. Obviously I disagree with this latter notion; while there are undoubtedly bad cards, ones which should never under any circumstances be played in a competitive environment, there also exists a lazy attitude by subpar players towards making that decision (or the reverse) for themselves. It is my fervent position that such risks need to be taken in order to fully understand the intricacies of deck architecture and construct the fastest, most powerful, most consistent decks imaginable. Through this desire for understanding, I have come to present this wholly unusual control-based Chaos strategy which arguably has the potential to outstrip the norms in terms of speed, power, consistency, potential plays and versatility of plays, while never sacrificing, for the most part, the stability of a simple, single card-oriented deck. Such would not be possible without observing what other people are saying about particular decks and individual cards, and then saying to oneself: “I think that’s wrong”; “That could be better”; or “I’d like to try that and see if it really works”. There is no harm in trying, and sometimes the results are worth it.

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