Sometimes I’m asked what deck I’d play if I could play any deck. Well, disregarding deck construction rules, it’d be the five pieces of Exodia and no other cards. For current Advanced, I’m not really liking any of the decks. That happens sometimes, and when it does, I default to what I think the best deck is. Is it really correct to just play the best deck? Or should I be playing a deck that beats a certain deck?
In summer of 2013, Spellbooks and Dragon Rulers were the best decks. Spellbooks accrued advantage through the 30ish Spell Cards it ran, while Dragon Rulers threw caution to the wind and Level 7 Dragons and Dracossacks at you until you died. Evilswarm relied on Evilswarm Ophion and Eradicator Epidemic Virus to beat Dragon Rulers and Spellbooks, respectively. Constellar had a similar engine to Evilswarm, but its main Xyz was Constellar Pleiades, which was only 2500 ATK and could only get rid of one threat a turn and it doesn’t protect itself. However, since Evilswarm can realistically only put out one Xyz a turn, Pleiades got rid of it.
Skipping over a lot of the intricacies, let’s pretend that Evilswarm always beats Spellbooks and Dragons. Dragons and Spellbooks have a roughly 50/50 matchup. Evilswarm beats Spellbooks and Dragons. Constellar beats Evilswarm. Dragons and Spellbooks beat Constellar. If Dragons and Spellbooks are marginally better than the other decks, is it correct to play Spellbooks/Dragons or Evilswarm?
Looking at it like this, if it’s rock-paper-scissors, but rock has a slight advantage, why not play rock? But if everyone plays rock, you can play paper to beat them all. But, if paper gets too prevalent, scissors will come back in. Yugioh is not rock-paper-scissors though, and the meta doesn’t change fast enough to see this kind of play.
The previous format might be defined as a triangle, or rock-paper-scissors meta before Infinite Gold. I initially thought that we were currently in a triangle-style meta, but right now Monarchs only have a good matchup when they don’t have to play through traps. Other than one-sided floodgates, even if one deck is more powerful, it seems pretty fair and isn’t obvious which one is the best.
Let’s get to today’s point. What deck should I play? The deck that has a power level of 10? Or the deck with a lower power level, say a 5, but if I assemble a certain combo, I’ll win. Cards like King Magnus, Towers, Ultimate Falcon, and Ronald McDonald are great examples here. If, for the sake of theory, we pretend summoning Ultimate Falcon wins you the game, you’re going to want to do that. A lot of the times it will win you the game, but the key piece to keeping degenerate decks like Towers Turbo out of the meta is Konami keeping consistency down. A dedicated King Magnus deck isn’t going to be able to do much when it can’t summon Magnus. A dedicated Ultimate Falcon deck isn’t going to be able to do much when it can’t summon Ultimate Falcon. Monarch FTK is another example of this glass cannon dedicated combo deck style of play. This category can even be extended all the way to rogue decks that rely on a floodgate(s) that otherwise wouldn’t be able to compete. Card of Demise rogue decks come to mind.
You can make arguments about a dedicated combo deck being able to play other cards which help you win when you can’t assemble your combo, but that (usually) dramatically decreases the consistency of your combo while only slightly increasing the chances of not auto losing if you don’t have the combo.
So now we’re at my real question. Is it better to play the best deck or a deck that beats the best deck but has an unfavorable matchup against everything else? Generally, I’d play the best deck, or at least something established that has been putting up results. Right now, Monarchs, Burning Abyss, Performapal, Magicians or Kozmo.
Let’s look at Raidraptors against the meta. Meta is going to beat Raidraptors almost every single time they don’t get Ultimate Falcon and some of the time when they establish an Ultimate Falcon. Look back to the summer of 2013. Dragon Rulers and Spellbooks had stronger engines than Evilswarm. If the deck isn’t able to assemble its combo (Ophion, Ultimate Falcon, Buster Blader Fusion + Buster Dragon), it’s probably going to lose. That’s why the good stuff is played. Because it’s good. Of course, if there is an undiscovered deck that is good, you can play it.
If you’re playing to win, give yourself the best chance to win, play the best deck, or one of them. I’ll probably talk about why you should play the best deck in the future. This was just to arm you with the knowledge that your bad pet deck is bad because it doesn’t have the consistency or power.
I know I’ve said a lot. What you should be taking away is that if Dragon Rulers and Spellbooks are the best decks, but Evilswarm can beat them, that doesn’t make Evilswarm the best deck.
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