Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reinventing the Invented.

I love Hieratics, they're the deck I'm most comfortable with and to date, they have never failed me in any event. The past few months did sway me away from my dragon empire but now I'm having my faith back in them and regretted losing them in the first place. Of cause, I doubt any modifications on the old build would take you far, and Hanzo is as inconsistent as ever. I spent my free time for the past few weeks (when I'm not playing Magic) trying to recreate the Hieratic deck. Perhaps the introduction of MTG into my card game career helps me realize this. "I want to build a deck with staying power."

I've been playing Cast-Attack-Win mono-red Aggro in MTG and I've experienced the disadvantages of lack of staying power a lot. Sure, it might not matter if I could pull a good hand and my opponent is playing a slower deck. But a turn 3 Tragtusk almost always set me back a turn and I would lose out due to lack of high power spells. The same is here in YGO. Although I'm pretty much very confident that I can go for the kill whenever I want to. My judgment on when to land an attack using Hieratics has been good so far (except for that match with Sam at ACQ finals), I really do feel the need of increasing the staying power of my deck. By the way, Staying Power is basically a term for the capability of a deck to withstand an onslaught after your tempo has been disrupted and or took away from you. This is especially true in a deck like Hieratics where there are almost no 1-card-top-deck that would change the tides of the game (outside of staples like Reborn and Black Luster Soldier).

So, before I started my project to reinvent Hieratics, I took a bold move and basically remove everything from the deck but the core, which are the Hieratic engine. I know how good Hanzos can be and also how the Exodius engine can benefit the deck. But in order to have a fair view, I throw everything out into the side lines and let the testing tells me whats best. Even my all time favorite pure-Hieratics that features 10 traps were broken up into chunks of dragon meat. I sat down at my desk, looking at the very core of the deck and nothing else, thinking how am I gonna make this thing last longer and also how am I gonna last until I have the perfect window of opportunity where I launch the killing blow.

The 3 Su, 3 Tfenut, 2 Vanillas, 2 Convocation and the Red-Eyes Darkness Metal are staples. There is no way I'm able to take them out. But I've decided to cut down a copy of Eset and have a single copy of Nebthet to increase my options especially against decks with big monsters and Gorz. Another reason why I cut down Eset would be to make space for the other cards that would then be included into the deck. The skeleton of the deck took out 14 space, thats about one-third of the deck right there. I need every bit of space I can get, in order to keep the deck at 40, I never like to go over that magic number, no matter what the statistics tells me. 

Next, I look through my binder to look for a strategy that would be defensive enough to keep me in game until I do a push for game and also help me make a come back after the assault fails. At this point, Hanzo has completely left the picture. I know how good the card is as a starter, but I really hate pulling Ninjitsu Art instead of the Hanzo. While it give the deck more control, it took some amount of consistency from it. I wouldn't want a game lost because I drew my cards in the wrong order. I've searched the net for some decklist and look through some videos (the majority of them doesn't even include Hieratics, I wanna add new elements or borrow them from another deck). Believe it or not, the deck that actually gave me the inspiration for my current build was Mermail Atlanteans. 

We all know how good the deck is and how it totally dominates game 1 in most match ups. The fact that MST and Storm does almost nothing to it speaks a lot. I was thinking, maybe I could borrow this aspect of the deck. And the card that came into mind was so simple. That card was so back to basic I almost always look passed it. This card was none other than Call of the Haunted.

Old, but still one of the best cards ever!

We all know what Call does, it is one of the best cards in the game offensively and defensively. Inzektors play 3 copies of this card to stay in the Meta even after its supposed death by banlist. The next thing that came into mind was how to make Call of the Haunted an Abyss Sphere. Abyss Sphere is good because it wastes a blind MST or Storm. It laughs at destruction and makes your opponent looks like an idiot. But there is no card in Hieratic that would gain you that kind of value, so I look outside the box for cards that you normally don't find in Hieratics, some cards that would be stupid to run in a standard Hieratic deck. Again, the answer was right there all the time. Junk Doppel told us again and again how good a play chaining Call to a MST targeting Sangan really is, we weren't listening. Sangan fetches none of the Dragons, which leads to why no one would play it in the deck. But, the format as of now is very dependent on hand-traps, and Sangan fetches them all, not to mention Cardcar D, the all time Hieratic favorite. 

At first I was thinking about the practicality of this play, I mean, turn 1 Sangan and turn 2 Cardcar doesn't sound like the best opening ever. It gets the job done in terms of card advantage, but how is the deck gonna survive 2 or 3 turns without field presence. Simple, hand traps. The lack of cards on the field makes Mermail's destruction pretty much useless at the beginning stages in the game, and because you are digging into your deck at such a fast pace, you would most probably have some sort of hand trap in your hand to survive. As such, I included Gorz and Tragoedias into the staple pile. And, to increase my chances of opening Sangan, Tour Guide of the Underworld sounds very promising. Also, equipping Sangan on an Exa-Beetle is a pretty broken move as you take down a monster and grab a hand-trap of choice then make a 2600 piercer. I've checked several ruling sites to make sure this was possible.


Q : If "Sangan" was treated as an equip card and then sent to the graveyard, would it's effect activates.
A : Yes, it will be activated.

Knowing this, I was thrilled that my strategy was coming together. I've also added another card that would benefit from Call, which was Card Trooper. Trooper's milling effect may seem to contradict with the consistency I was looking forward to, but for the most part it doesn't. My deck is now so jam packed with monsters I would rarely mill more spells and traps. Also, I could always just set the card and treat it like a random floater. Since Thunder King Rai-Oh is still a major pain in the ass, I really like this card in here. Also, M7 gets rid of problems like milling key monsters, although I would normally care less since I have Call.

With good amount of Lights and Darks, Luster Soldier was a no-brainer. But what about the other Chaos? Sorcerer is a good card, being level 6 gives it a lot of synergy with the deck. It is also a one-card out to The Shining without massively profiting my opponent. Banishing a monster and making a M7 to get it back again seems very good. But does that justify playing him. Chaos cards are bad early in the game for a deck that does not do a lot of milling or grave filling. I fear its inclusion would do more harm than worth, but I still list it as one of the cards I want in the deck, since Call makes him a pretty scary card to mess with. I put Chaos Sorcerer on the bench warmer as of now. At this point, the 40 cards have been decided and I jumped onto DN to test it out.

While winning in DN doesn't mean much, if anything at all, I got to know the consistency of my deck. In 20 matches, I won them all, and I have not drawn unplayable hands. I was stunned at that point, I honestly felt I was looking at a monster trying to shed its skin of an innocent bystander. At the end of the deck testing, I took out the Maxx C's from the main deck as it would not be as effective in the Malaysian meta game. I was looking for cards to replace the 2 new empty slots in the main deck, and that Chaos Sorcerer seems pretty tempting at the moment. I went to Kyde's blog for inspiration since he is the only one aside from myself who is still constantly updating on Hieratics, and I need not look further for answers.

I grab Exodius the Forbidden Lord and teched a copy of it in my deck. In addition of making Gustav Max and also recycling M7, I found another use for it in my deck. That was to recycle Sangan and my hand traps, to start my engine all over again. Since I was only playing a Sangan and 2 Tour Guides, the second TGU sometimes finds itself dead. Exodius helps solve this problem to some degree. While I'm not gonna usually waste an Exodius for a TGU, sometimes, what has to be done, has to be done. Also, the Forbidden Lord help me in quite a few games now and I am glad to say, there wasn't once I wouldn't want him in my hand. But, I would not play it in 2's though. So, my last card would obviously be Sorcerer right? Nope! Exodius gave me another option, and that was Zephyrus the Elite.

Zephyrus needs no introduction, it is good and it makes Red-Eyes so much better by bouncing it back after the Atum play, granting access to an OTK without the 3rd hieratic in hand. Exodius can send the Blackwing into the grave by simply declaring an attack. Also, this deck draws so much you could easily end up with more than 7 cards in hand during your end phase. You could also always just summon it since you're not gonna be doing much until your OTK anyways. I'm very impressed at what the bird could do, but is it better than Sorcerer? I don't have an answer to that yet. Zephyrus is capable of granting you OTKs but Sorcerer is the better card when it comes to spot removal and card advantage. So, it comes down to whether I want an extra Sword or Shield. Both seems to flow with the deck just fine and I bet both would do good to the deck, I guess the ultimate choice would be depending on how the meta game forms itself again. And at last, I've finalized my main deck for my new Hieratic build.

The extra wasn't as tricky as the main. The usual rank 6s and 7s are included. Since I have Veilers in my main deck, I really wanted Black Rose Dragon to clear the board. And since TGU is here, I've added Rank 3's Wind-Up Zenmaines and No.17 Leviathan Dragon. I was gonna play Leviair, but I found myself never making him in test playing sessions and taking him out for another Syncro monster, Ancient Sacred Wyvern. He wasn't as important as Black Rose, and doesn't do as much as well. I am currently debating whether to replace him with Ancient Fairy Dragon (for DW and GK matchups) or Scrap Archfiend. But, the potential to grow gigantic is something I couldn't look away from, and being a comrade that have fought together with me since last format, I am bias towards the Wyvern as of now.

Finally, after the long wall of text that could easily fit into a text book. I'm sorry for dragging you guys on a long boring lecture on how I made this deck. Please take note that while I didn't copy this deck idea (from another Hieratic) off someone else, I am not sure if this deck is new. Someone might have already build something similar and is doing quite well with it, but that's beyond my knowledge. Really big thanks for sticking with me so far and now to the decklist.

monster (28):

3 Hieratic Dragon of Su
3 Hieratic Dragon of Tfenut
2 Hieratic Dragon of Eset
1 Hieratic Dragon of Nebthet
1 Red-Eyes Darkness Metal Dragon
1 Luster Dragon
1 Wattail Dragon
2 Tour Guide from the Underworld
1 Sangan
2 Card Trooper
3 Effect Veiler
2 Cardcar D
2 Tragoedia
1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
1 Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning
1 Exodius the Forbidden Lord
1 Chaos Sorcerer // Blackwing - Zephyrus the Elite

spells (9):

2 Hieratic Seal of Convocation
2 Pot of Duality
3 Mystic Space Typhoon
1 Heavy Storm
1 Monster Reborn

traps (3):

3 Call of the Haunted

Extra (15):

1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Ancient Sacred Wyvern
1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
1 No.17 Leviathan Dragon
1 Tiras Keeper of Genesis
2 Hieratic Dragon King of Atum
1 Photon Streak Bounzer
1 Number 25 Focus Force
1 Inzektor Exa-Beetle
1 Sword Breaker
1 Constellar Plolemys M7
2 Gaia Dragoon
1 Superdreadnough Rail Cannon Gustav Max

side (15):

3 Rivalry of the Warlords
3 Debunk
2 Nightbeam
2 Thunder King Rai-Oh
2 Maxx C
2 D.D Crow
1 Neospacian Grand Mole

Well, the cards in the side are meant to counter the decks in my area, so it might not work on a universal scale. Rivalry was a card that I wasn't too sure of either since I have quite a few different types of monsters in here, but I've tested it out against Wind-Ups and it works just fine. Since I couldn't play both Soul Drain and Macro Cosmos, I settled with Debunk for the Mermail and Dark World match ups. Crow is gaining more popularity over here too.

Thanks for staying on for so long and reading my ridiculously long post. Any constructive criticism is welcome, just don't leave a comment like "This deck suck!" without reason (Mike, I know you and/or Andrew are gonna do it, so I'm gonna give you a warning before hand). I wasn't planning to review this deck until the end of next week, because I wanted everyone to see what this deck could do. But, I don't have Tour Guides and I couldn't find a Gustav Max. The chances of this deck being completed before the 22nd is grim. Not wanting a decklist to go to waste, I would really wish for a brave soul to pick up this deck list and enter a tournament. 


Nic said...

The major flaw I see so far in Hieratics is how vulnerable it is to Verz Ophion which is gaining popularity here in M'sia. (Well, at least in my area.) From your list, I see nothing to stop it unless tour guide into zenmaines but they usually have traps like warning and CED to render your only out useless.

GQ said...

Ophion IS a problem, I haven't took that into consideration when I was building the side deck. I haven't seen any around my area thou. I wouldn't really change the main for a specific deck type thou. Still, thanks for the advice and I shall update on the side.

Rauzes said...

lol turn 3 thragtusk. Best play evar :P
Almost as imba as turn 3 Trostani or Turn 3 Armada Wurm or Turn 4 Restoration on Thragtusk

GQ said...

I'm having nightmares of some damn cow chasing me after being foiled by it over and over again.

K'yde Ren said...

I like the direction you are going with your deck. I wouldn't play it but i see a lot of ways to abuse stuff in it. Go with Zephyros over Chaos Sorcerer. Free recycle of REDMD and CotHs definitely brings more versatility into the deck and i doubt you need CS which is a "win more" card.

If you are actually worried about Ophion i would recommend you finding space for Forbidden Lance since Trooper+Lance deals with it in Game 1. Otherwise Electric Virus in Game 2/3. Other cards you might find useful would be Ghost Ship and Solar Wind Jammer.

Anonymous said...

Not boring at all, thank you for the lecture :) Nice ideas u got there.

Greetings from switzerland


Paradise said...

Tefnuit + Su + Armageddon Knight is huge

After you have Atum, REDMD 0/0 and Wattail, summon Armageddon Knight, dump Zephyros and bounce REDMD. You even have access to Queen Draun Djinn at this point

And I just did a post about Hieratics too, maybe you want to check it out