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 Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!”

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PostSubject: Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!”   Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!” EmptyThu Mar 12, 2015 10:25 pm


The biggest news is the introduction of a new archetype, the Nekroz!!
If any of you didn’t know already, this deck dominated Japanese metagame for months and for sure there are valid reasons behind that.

 The deck is ritual oriented, something we didn’t see on top tables for a long time (Chetoni from UG almost made it last year with an Herald of Perfection deck to the tops of the European WCQ) moslty for the incovenience of having to tribute monsters from your hand in order to perform a ritual summon, or having to run awkward normal monsters in order to use Advanced Ritual Art. This usually ended up with inconsistencies in the deck and frequent brick hands.

Well, Nekroz fixes all these problems!!

 First of all, the biggest silver lining of this strategy resides in its consistency, thanks to old carts such as Manju, Senju, Preparation of Rituals or Reinforcement of the Army, as well as just-released cards like Nezroz of Brionac and Nekroz of Clausolas.

Then, the problem of wasting resources from the hand in order to summon a Ritual monster is also solved thanks to the 3 powerful Ritual spells this deck has access to.

Nekroz Mirror allows you to remove Nekroz monsters from your graveyard as materials, Nekroz Kaleidoscoupe is able send a monster from your extra deck to the grave to summon any number of rituals you have in hand, and finally Nekroz Cycle also helps since it can special summon any Nekroz Ritual directly from your graveyard.

These abilities let you abuse of cards like Herald of the Arc Light and Nekroz of Shurit as materials, which replace themselves and don’t cause the typical disavantages.
Best part is that all these spells also share an additional effect, which is the possibilty of removing them from the grave along with another Nekroz monster, while you control no monsters, to add another copy of any of the 3 mentioned spells directly from your deck!!

If consistency isn’t enough for convincing you of the power of this deck, let me just tell you that this strategy brings back the effect of one of the best cards, which some of you may have played years ago : Trishula!!

In fact, thanks for Nekroz of Trishula, you have access to the old synchro disrupting banishing effect (even if slightly worse, since your opponent must control a card in each zone both at activation and resolution in order for you to resolve the effect).

Even though it may seems like it is possible to play around this powerful monster, when you take a look at popular strategies in the current meta (especially Burning Abyss and Shaddoll) that ain’t the case and the presence of Trishula in the Nekroz deck can give you a huge edge by itself over the old strategies.

Last but not least, this deck has easy access to a soft lock that can cause quite some problems and exists thanks to Djinn Releaser, allowing you to stop your opponent special summons as long as he is on the field and which is forcing people to maindeck outs to it such as Book of Eclipse or Dark Hole.

With all these advantages on its side, it seems clear to me that Nekroz will have a huge effect on the meta, increasing the minimum required parameters (consistency, power, high ceiling) for any deck to be considered a tier 1, and as such to be able to compete at the same level.
I will explain in the following chapters what I think the meta will look like and how are the current strategies supposed to adapt their decklists in order to counter the Ritual deck efficiently.


I decided to include the term “paradox” in this title, because I think it perfectly represents the Qliphorth deck in the upcoming meta.

As I said, the arrival of Nekroz will force current decks to change the cards they are both maining and siding, but pretty much everyone already noticed (or already did by checking out Japanese metagame) how Qliphorth is the most obvious answer to new Ritual deck.

In fact, mainly thanks to its maindecked floodgates (Vanity’s Emptiness and Skill Drain), Qliphorth can usually win game 1 without too many problems.

This could lead us to think that playing the Pendulum deck can give us pretty much the same advantages of Nekroz, but the reality is this statement couldn’t be more wrong : here is the Paradox!!

Qliphorth may win against Nekroz (even though, when we are evaluating the games played after side decking, the matchup changes completely), but that doesn’t mean they are equally good as decks.

In fact, Qli does not fix minimum parameters for decks to adapt to, and by saying so I mean that it doesn’t have the same advantage as Nekroz in the other matchups.

As we saw in the past weeks or months, Shaddoll is still a problem for them (especially the Denko/OTK version) and Burning Abyss is nothing close to a easy contender.
Finally, another important aspect to consider are the mirror matches.

Nekroz’s mirror match reminds me a lot of the Dragon Ruler’s one, which any good player won’t deny to be one of the skillest in the history of Yu-gi-oh.

Of course, there are problems with it, Djinn locks being number one by far, but it is still a matchup were most of the times the best player is gonna be awarded with a victory.

The Qliphorth mirror match, on the other hand, is famous for being one the worst you can possibly imagine.

Especially after the unban of Snatch Steal, it is mostly based on luck and that means even the best player can consistently lose to anyone picking up the deck the same morning of the event for the first time.

I’m not gonna blame anyone playing the Qli deck in the upcoming events, especially with the current absurd prices of Nekroz of Brionac, but I definitely think that’s probably the worst choice you can pick.

If though you still want to or are forced to play it, my suggestions are to max out on the floodgates I named and to go back to a control-based version of the deck, maining Pot of Duality.
As some of you may have already got, I’m going to talk about Burning Abyss next.
I already said that they surely struggle more then other strategies in playing around Trishula, since the typical Tour Guide/Dante play first turn would be suicidal.

At the same time though, in the past months Burning Abyss proved to have a high power level and great possibilities of deck building innovation, so I would not say the deck is dead, especially thanks to the release of the new Hero Structure Deck.

In fact, if it wasn’t already clear by the results of previous American Ycs’s/Arg’s, maining multiple copies of Mask Change II is definitely the way to go now that Nekroz is arriving.

The versatile hero spell, which we will see splashed also in Shaddolls and possibly in Nekroz too (for disruptive plays with Acid), gives you easy access to Dark Law, a very powerful monster against the ritual deck, since it will surely banish a card from their hand (make sure you wait and chain Mask Change to a card that searches) and will also banish the Ritual Spell they will use to get rid of it (cutting them off from recycling It later on the in the game).

At the same time, thanks to the new Burning Abyss cards, you are able to turn Mask Change costs into a Scarm search in the end phase and a Good and Evil in grave (discarding the spell itself or via Cagna), and I definitely suggest you to main a couple copies of the spell.

The Djinn lock is something you should definitely be aware of when playing Burning Abyss, you do have Farfa as a possible searchable out (since banishing the ritual monster that way will get rid of the Vanity Emptiness’s like effect once it comes back in the end phase) but I definitely suggest you to main some outs such as Raigeki, Book of Moon or even the old Phoenix Wing Wind Blast.
While I said Qliphorth is one of the worst choices due to its other matchups, this ain’t the case for Burning Abyss and I strongly suggest you to play this deck if you can find a way to beat Nekroz consistenly (main decked Vanity Emptiness’s are the way to go in my opinion).


Last but not least, there are the under dogs : Shaddoll and Satellarknight
I am a die hard fan of Shaddoll, and some of you may know I kept playing it these weeks before the release of Nekroz but I am finally ready to say goodbye to it.

The deck is surely still valid, but if the Qliphorth matchup already forced you to turn the strategy into an Otk (maining enemy controller, no traps at all, ecc), now you are forced to change again and it is a hard challenge to able to do that.

In fact, Qli and Nekroz are both unfavourable matchups but way too different from each other for Shaddoll to be able to adapt its maindeck to both.

My suggestions for any Doll player out there is to try multiples floodgates mained (Vanity Emptiness and Mistake over the others), and possibly splashing the hero cards in there too, which helps fixing the awkward monster hands this deck is famous for.

Satellarknight, on the other hand, saw the release of few support In the last month (Diamond), which thought proved to be enough for them to fight efficiently the metagame and even take over an ARGCS championship.

Unfortunately for them, Nekroz is not gonna be a simple matchup and I expect the warrior.dek to go back to where it was a couple months ago.

As Shaddoll, it is surely not dead neither, thanks to the possibility of maining/siding multiple floodgates or annoying cards (Mind Crush over the others) and protect them with Alpha, but the engine of rank 4 toolbox is definitely outdated and I don’t expect it to do that well in the upcoming tournaments.

Watch out though for the release of Ocg exclusive cards in April, cause Star Seraphs are coming and they may bring back Satellarknights to the top tables.
This is the end of my article, I tried to explain my ideas and I hope you could get anything helpful out of them.

I’m surely excited for YCS Prague, since it really look like there will be creativity in the decklists, hope to see you all there and have a good Yu-gi-oh weekend!!

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Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!” Empty
PostSubject: Re: Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!”   Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!” EmptySat Mar 14, 2015 11:11 am

nice read
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Marcello Barberi on Card Strategies – “Ritual’s Take-Over!”

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