Friday, March 29, 2013

The HEROs Still Lives

I'm really hesitant on posting anything remotely similar to a deck list this format just because everything is pale in comparison to the Incarnate Dragons. The Archfiend's of Judgment of the Light are good, very powerful in some match up even. But, after a brief discussion between myself and Mike, and between myself and Kyde, we came up with the same conclusion (in 2 separate conversations), that as long as it's not on par with the Incarnate Dragons, its not going to do much. Granted, I still hold my position that the Archfiends are an amazing deck, and as a beatdown based deck, nonetheless. Its consistent (maybe not on par with Firefist), it had some pretty sick plays and also it knows whats it doing and how its gonna get the job done. But sadly, the deck is still inferior to Incarnate Dragons, although I have to point out the margin isn't as big as some of the other decks like Mermail Atlanteans. Maybe my build wasn't as good, but only time will tell.

Now, today I'm gonna give a my two cents on how HEROs do in the current Metagame. As some long time readers of this blog may know, I really love HEROs, they are one of my two all time favorite decks (the other being Hieratic, no doubt). Sadly, to many, this format is the bane of HEROs, as every deck in the format outplays them and the introduction of Incarnate Dragons sealed the fate of HEROs as a non-competitive deck. Although a reasonable amount of people ran HERO Beat this past weekend at ACQ Malaysia, I would have to assume that they played the deck because it was their only option. However, despite my gloomy start, this blog post is NOT a post to discourage people from playing HEROs this format, on the contrary, I would say, HEROs aren't dead like most people think they are.

Before you start reading, I must give a fair warning on my part. Some may feel utterly offended with the things I'm about to say. I'm not referring to anyone in particular unless expressly stated. Also, I must point out that, I shall assume that both players are of exactly the same level. Meaning, they are equally matched in terms of skill, as the better player will have a greater advantage despite the matchup.

We are now basically playing a format where 1 deck laid dominant, where only very few decks could be even relevant to take on the Behemoth known as Incarnate Dragons; Verz being the noticeable exception. However, this kind of condition will always come into the favor of the HERO player. I understands that the power held by these decks are miles ahead of what HEROs can do. But with a more concentrated top deck count, its easier to utilize the 15 card limit of our side decks. HEROs are a deck that heavily depends on games 2 and 3. It always had been and always will be. While HEROs will have a hard time going against the established Tier 1s and that 0.5 of this Meta in Game 1, I've always find games 2 and 3 a 50-50 split, where generally, the better player wins.

However, this doesn't sound like a good deal at all. From the statement I've made just now, its as if I was saying, your gonna give a win to your opponent and then attempt to win 2 50-50 games in a roll. As such, the possibility of you winning the match would be 25%, even less so if your playing against someone whose better than you. However, thats just one side of the story. Truth is, if you could pull of 50-50 wins post side decking against the top decks of this format using HEROs, I dare say, you are better than the majority of the players at your locals. Cause, while HEROs have the luxury of siding any number of cards in and out without affecting their original game plan, the deck is inconsistent. While being worshiped as the most consistent anti-meta deck until a few years ago, a HERO deck's consistency is a joke when compared to Firefist and some of the newer decks, even when we had our entire tutor engine with us, HEROs still open random hands 1/4 of the time. So, if you can go 50-50 against these top decks, despite the inconsistency, you had to be pretty good (unless your stacking).

One of the things most players would say bout HEROs this format is, "they are bad against everything". But I've always thought, "so, whats this everything you say of?"

Verz and earlier Mermail Atlanteans were viewed as HERO killers, where they would have a dominant game 1 against HEROs, and the real match would only start post siding. I'm always puzzled with this statement and it is still puzzling me as of now. Who made these statements? Cause if they are true, I shouldn't be winning against these decks as much as I am. Verz, to me, is a 50-50 game, throughout the whole match. I've never once felt that my deck couldn't do anything against it, and that some of my cards are dead (Miracle Fusion and Super Polymerization). Maybe thats because I'm not sticking to the norm of main decking 3 Miracle Fusions, but if you can't break from the norm, don't play HERO, cause if you can't adapt, your out. Mermails are a joke, I've always viewed them as free wins when I played HEROs. Truth is, I've rarely lost a match to Mermail Atlanteans (except Asia Plus, which was team tournament and I didn't have a full deck with me) when I'm playing HEROs. This might offend someone, but, were you trying to play every game exactly the same?

Firefist IS a tough matchups to HEROs, despite no one realizing it. Remember my attack-power-theory I've made last year, where a 100 attack boost takes you a long way when your playing against a beatdown based deck, yup, that definitely applies here. Firefist, both 3 and 4-axis, have a considerable amount of advantage game 1. What lead them to this dominating position is the lack of an obvious general strategy. Yes, we all know what both these deck can do, and what is their best plays. But, unlike some decks, stripping them of their abilities to make these big plays doesn't hurt them as much. I'm not saying that these are unstoppable match-ups, nor do they hold considerable advantage even post-siding, however, the advantage is definitely there, especially when HERO's main weapon, their huge attack power and ability to search-and-destroy specific targets, aren't exactly helping them.

Now, lets us finally talk about the match up everyone is here for, VS Incarnate Dragons. No doubt, there is an huge gap in advantage in game 1. Super Polymerization is a card I find extremely good versus the Incarnate Dragons. Getting rid of LaDD without much trouble is definitely good, but thats not the main point. Incarnate Dragons, doesn't play a lot of defensive cards, because of how boss like their monsters are and how unfair their gameplan really is. However, that is something we could use to our advantage (I've demonstrated this last ACQ with my Hieratics). Once our guys get pass that front row, it's just a matter of whether your could take the game. Its not as easy as ABC, but its how you'll have to win game 1 with. However, you can't play too many copies of Super Poly in the main deck, because you risk making your chances against Verz and Firefist matchup worst. All you can really do in the game 1 against Incarnates would be to hope for the best, play your best grind game and look for that one game defining opening. Games 2 and 3 are considerably much easier (I'm not saying the game is in your advantage, its just that the win-lose-ratio is much closer to 1-to-1), especially when they don't know what your gonna do. Thats why I despise of Alive HERO, true, they can OTK much simpler, but its too easy to side against them, the same can be said to standard HERO Beat; which is why my current version of HEROs, are neither.

Now for something really really cliche. The one thing I really depend upon when I play HEROs, is, the  Heart of the Cards. Yes, I can't believe I've just said that myself .... But throwing away the thoughts of advantage and also risk management is one way I think HEROs can really survive this format. This may seem contradictory to most people, as I've always said that grinding for plus-ones are how HEROs are meant to be played. Well, I'm gonna quote Wallace from Pokemon (yes, I'm quoting a character from Pokemon, laugh all you want), "when facing an opponent as powerful and overwhelming as this one; logic, theory and also personal preference must be cast aside.

"The Sam Style", this is a term used by some of us Malaysian bloggers, in reference to Sam Kee, our most recent ACQ Champion. He sets a lot when his using a control based deck, when I say a lot, I meant his whole hand. Sometimes, without protection; and sometimes, random things like Dark Hole. While no doubt being a high-risk move, as a Heavy Storm might spelled game, the chances of your opponent opening Storm is much lesser than Typhoon. Even when he did, Starlight Road immediately comes to mind as there is no way a player as experienced as he is would ever make such a fatal misplay. While I've never discuss this with him personally, in my opinion, thats is a really really good opening for a control deck. I mean, if you set two, holding 2 more in hand, and your opponent plays Storm then proceed to kill you, whats the difference? Its usually game over when a top tier deck plays Storm, no matter what advantage you hold; looking at the other side of the coin, if he doesn't hold Storm, 4 cards is always gonna be better than 2. I really do hope that made sense. I've been practicing this "style" of his since the end of last year, and its been proven to be a very successful opener. You should definitely do this against Incarnate Dragons, because LaDD killed Storm for you.

Finally, something very personal, and I'm not sure how this is gonna help your game. I'm actually very dependent on Bubbleman. If you've played against me or seen me play, you'll know that I absolutely love Bubbleman (no pun intended). You'll sometimes see me, setting 2 of my own cards, play Storm and drop Bubbleman. Thats quite insane for some people, and I especially love the face Sazabi showed me last weekend when I did it in a friendly match against Kyde. My theory behind this play is simple, if my cards aren't gonna help me win, why keep them when I could potentially draw into an out? There is really no way of being certain of what your gonna draw and hence why some people despise of my play. But, in reality, it helped me won more games than losing. I mean, why bother keeping Gemini Spark when yo have no Allius? Mike is one guy who I induced the hate for Bubbleman more than anyone else. Also, maybe its just me, but I've always draw broken cards with Bubbleman, hence, Heart of the Cards.

Time to wrap things up. I've never have problems playing HERO this format, despite what I've always saying. The reason why I've chose Hieratics and not HEROs last weekend was purely because people weren't as familiar with Hieratics as compared to HEROs. I'm not sure whether my playstyle or my deck was the defining factor on why I'm capable of doing what people deemed highly unlikely. But, I've received a lot of feedback from people that my playstyle and also the way my deck works just departs a lot from your standard HEROs. Maybe I was able to do so because my opponent's aren't fully aware of what I've been doing? That could also very well be the determining factor. When I've first played mirror matches against Mike last year, I was dominating him for the first dozen of games, but the games after that were like 50-50, he did say something on getting used to how I played. Well, who knows.

Thanks for reading this long blog post. I'm really sorry for not posting anything on a regular basis, its just that there isn't much room for innovation this format. The next set is definitely gonna be interesting. And please, if you have something to say, please do so, I welcome all constructive criticism, as my theory and views might very well be entirely wrong and different from the truth.


petqwe said...

Some questions:

1. Is Photon Slasher worth playing now? It helps to get past those pesky Verz Thunderbird and with another monster, it is a Rank 4 to battle Ophion. It is also bigger than the extremely abused Raioh, and being 200 bigger also means a Fire Fist player may need to activate an effect to kill it. However, my main concern is the Dragon matchup, because EVERY SINGLE PLAYER I RECENTLY MET PLAYS DRAGON. Should I really continue to play this card?
2. It seems that you have absolutely no difficulty in the Mermail matchup. However, I cannot stop their numerous advantage every game. The situation is worse after they dropped a Moulinglacia even if I have Veiler for it. How do you generally stop them from spaming cards to the field? Is Raioh a good maindeck card?

mike said...

Fuck the bubble man !

mike said...

Also after constantly testing mermail, I found out they not as hard to beat and they're actually not as hard to play around unless they open broke and you open bad.

I used to think mermail sure lose, ff sure win. But for now ff rank 4 is still a sure win matchup for me. Grind games nia

GQ said...

@petqwe : I can't say this for the TCG, for for the OCG, drop Rai-Oh, its no different from a piece of cardboard with no Elemental HERO name on it. Also, Veiler proved itself, close to useless this format, despite what many may think. Theres never a time I've drawn Maxx C and wished that it was veiler, but thats not true for the opposite.

Well, we don't have the TCG exclusive abyssteus here, so that might be a defining factor, but who knows.

Regarding Thrasher, yeah, its kinda hard to say if its still good. I still play a copy but thats mainly just to make Shock Master in the incarnate matchup.

Anonymous said...

I will try out the sam style and see if it works. YOLO!!

GQ said...

Its high-risk, high-return. YOLO!!

petqwe said...

Thank you very much for the reply. And I am playing in OCG >_>

Moreover, I prepared triple Overworked and Mind Crush against Fire Fist. They are absolutely good, but I still find that insufficient. I am not very sure whether I have to devote even more of my side deck against it.

Something unrelated to Hero
I was playing against Fire Fist and had a Mind Crush set. During my opponent's turn, he activated Tenki to search for a Panther (the 0 attack Fire Fist monster).
1. Should I Mind Crush it?
I did not because I was afraid that I was actually forced to make a premature decision. He summoned it and searched for Tensu, activating it. I chained Mind Crush, declaring Spirit (the lv3 tuner) and FML, HE GOT NONE.
2. Did I make a wrong inference?

Paradise said...

HERO is no lockdown deck, which means card advantage is important. That's the only thing I think about when talking of HERO

You don't have anything to stop a whole deck like Ophion. Grinding for +1 every turn doesn't seem like a good strategy right now

IMO Arrive HERO is the only good build left for the meta with Dragons and Prophecy

And can you add me to the blog list D:

Anonymous said...

A Hero lives!!