Master Peace Turbo
Continous traps and spells has always been a double-edged sword, as it can affect both players. Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King and the True Draco monster have the ability to change all that, by getting rid of Continuous Spells/Traps without incurring any loss in card advantage or cost. Contrary, it aids in their game plan as they can usher out Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King without sacrificing any board monsters, but instead, tributing off Continuous Spells/Traps. Getting rid of Anti-Spell Fragrance allows the deck to use spells freely during their own turn, killing two birds with one stone.
Apart from Vanity's Emptiness, Imperial Order and Skill Drain are among the long list of Continous traps that True Draco users can manipulate to suffocate their opponents. Being able to direct such floodgates unfairly at the opponent is the True Draco's deck strongest advantage and weapon.
While initial builds that surfaced included the True Kings, the Advance Summon build which rushes out Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King stood out as a more popular option.
Shrinking the Kaiju engine
In a bid to combat the threat of Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King, players incorporate a Kaiju engine in their Main Deck. The previous trend was a swap between the Artifact engine in the Main, and the Kaiju engine in the Side. This way, the players can choose their engine choice depending on whether they lead first or go second in the game. Now, reluctance to lose Game 1 outright to Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King has prompted some to split the Kaiju engine, going for a combination of 3 Kaiju monsters accompanied by 2 Interrupted Kaiju Slumber in the Main, while the third copy of Interrupted Kaiju Slumber and a fourth Kaiju monster is kept in the Side Deck. The rationale for the split is to maintain a playable hand when going first in Game 1 while retaining some outs to Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King in the Main Deck.
The Impact of Ghost Ash & Spring Flowers
With Ghost Ash & Spring Flowers being released, Artifact engine also loses their effectiveness, making way for players to Main Deck the 'mini' Kaiju engine. Both Artifact Sanctum and Interrupted Kaiju Slumber can get punished by Ghost Ash & Spring Flowers, but a negated Interrupted Kaiju Slumber can serve purpose in the following turn, by searching out a Kaiju monster.
Artifact Sanctum, on the other hand, is perfectly answered by Ghost Ash & Spring Flowers, which negates, but doesn't destroy. Hence, the secondary effect of Artifact Sanctum can't be triggered. Prepared opponents armed with Forbidden Chalice and Breakthrough Skill
further frustrate the engine's efforts. The engine also gets taken care of easily by Cosmic Cyclone, a Main Deck Spell/Trap removal option, that has gotten even more popular with the introduction of the True Draco Spells/Traps, which have trigger effects in the graveyard.
With a mountain of challenges standing in its way, it looks like the Artifact engine may have to take a backseat for now. One can only lament that the reprint of Artifact Sanctum in the 20th Anniversay Pack is slightly too late.
Perhaps due to the spirit of the upcoming Chinese New Year, Zoodiacs maintain their lead in the current metagame and weren't outmatched by the arrival of the True Dracos. Ironically, if anything, it only turned players to merge the two archetype for a Zoodiac-TrueDraco deck.
Pure Zoodiacs are still a common sight, but the deck is done for once Dimensional Barrier is activated, making it tough for the deck to survive without first weaponising themselves. Here in Singapore, various players took different methods to augment the deck's strength.
- The trap-filled variant of the deck relies on trap cards to stun the opponent and disrupt their game plan. Common choices include Mirror Force, Torrential Tribute to cripple the opponent's card advantage while the Zoodiac deck maintains their own.
- Anti-Spell Fragrance and Imperial Order are also floodgate options that are placed in the Main by some players. Imperial Order will prove to be a challenge for any spell reliant deck, even non-Pendulum decks. And the metagame is indeed populated by decks that rely heavily on spell cards to start their plays; both Invoked and True Draco require their field spell to tutor the deck, and even if Aleister the Invoker is in hand, not being able to activate spell cards lock the deck out from Fusion summoning. By the same logic, Anti-Spell Fragrance slows down these spell-heavy decks.
- To reduce the impact of these double-edged swords, Zoodiac users turn towards a higher trap count while aiming to reduce the number of spell cards they play. This deck variant can wait out and stall for a turn when it is faced with Dimensional Barrier, but can hop into the coffin when prepared players side in Royal Decree. That being said, an active Royal Decree does take Dimensional Barrier out of the equation. From there on, it will be a game of attrition and rushing for damage.
- Strengthing the Zoodiac Core
- Now, previously unseen Zoodiac monsters such as Zoodiac Ram and Zoodiac Rabbina see play in the deck, to compensate for the loss of Speedroid Terrortop and Fire Formation - Tenki.
- Zoodiac Ram supports the deck in OTK attempts while preserving field presence at times due to its ability to replace itself with another monster on the field. As Xyz materials, both Zoodiac Ram and Zoodiac Rabbina provides exceptional support to the deck, being capable of negating, respectively, traps and spells that targets. This directly nullifies common threats such as Breakthough Skill, Compulsory Evacuation Device and Forbidden Chalice.
- Ironically, in the year of the Rooster, Zoodiac Cluckle isn't that commonly played, wheras Performapal Monkeyboard made headlines in every article in the previous year of the Monkey.
- In response to this, opponents have shifted to playing Torrential Tribute instead, a board-wiping trap that can punish greedy opponents looking to over-extend their hand.
- The lineup of Zoodiac Xyz monsters has also increased, from a pair of Zoodiac Broadbull and Zoodiac Drancia to a playset of each in the Extra Deck. Ghost ASh & Spring Flowers does indeed drain the a Zoodiac player of resources, including their Extra Deck toolbox. Following this change, Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries has gained a slight increase in effectiveness again and thus, is beggining to be sided once more.
- The Kaiju engine is still compatible with the deck. The Zoodiacs farm for advantage and searches its key cards to thin out the deck, while the Kaiju does the heavy lifting. Having a Kaiju engine in the Main Deck better the player's chances when battling Master Peace, the true Dracoslaying King-turbo decks.
- Metalfoes - Despite appreciating new support in the form of Baobaboon, Metalfoes are severely outpaced by the metagame. Measures can be adopted to contest Zoodiac Drancia and Anti-Spell Fragrance, but the meta hasn't been kind to the previous fan-favourite Pendulum deck. Things look bleak, and it looks like their time may be up. The deck is still playable, but the aggression the deck has to offer simply can't stand to the True Dracos, which can work their way around Anti-Spell Fragrance and Vanity's Emptiness by tributing it away during their turn. The release of Eternal Nightmares in Maximum Crisis only adds insults to injury. As a constant form of Spell/Trap removal, it has found its way into plenty of Side Decks. #RIPMetalfoes
- Paleozoics - With an initially strong standing at the start of the month, the deck faded in the background after the metagame settled. Dekko Sekka shuts down the deck, and even without it, opponents can disrupt the chain-building to prevent Paleozoic traps from reviving themselves. Once again, as players switch from Twin Twisters to Cosmic Cyclone, the life of a Paleozoics player got harsher.
- "Magician" Pendulum - Being a Pendulum-orientated deck limits its chances of winning, especially when one loses the dice roll and has to face Anti-Spell Fragrance. Without an out to it in hand, the game can be simplified in a matter of minutes. Iris Magician's updated rulings is now the least of the problems the deck is facing. A silver lining is that Eternal Nightmares impact them lesser than it does for other Pendulum decks.
- Invoked - Among all decks, The Invoked decks probably has the most potential to combat the both Zoodiacs and True Dracos, due to its ability to disrupt the opponent's graveyard, coupled with the fact that both decks are arguably graveyard reliant. However, by the hands of either Artifact Scythe or Dimensional Barrier, Eidolon Summoning Magic can easily fizzle away without being able to recycle itself as Aleister the Invoker is not banished. Plenty players only play two copies of Eidolon Summoning Magic, and if both hits the grave without a banished copy of Aleister the Invoker, the deck writes off from its recycling technique. A favoured strategy currently would be to play around and bait out such response before devoting resources into a Fusion Summon. Therefore, some staples previously missing from The Invoked decks are spotted in recent decklists, namely Pot of Avarice, Monster Reborn and Book of Moon. To make way for these new additions, it isn't uncommon for players to sacrifice a third copy of Terraforming and/or Reckless Magic Circle.
It is unlikely that the release of 20th Anniversary Pack will warp the metagame further, but I will keep my fingers crossed since there are over 10 cards yet to be revealed, although most of them might just be reprints. The competitive scenes for the final weekend of January will be quiet since it coincides with the Chinese New Year.
At this point, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year. May things go smoothly for everyone as success greets you in work and life.
Dueling "C" will see you again with a new article on 1st February.