Jump to content
Jazz

How to Side in Goat Format

Recommended Posts

+Jazz    5539

How to Side in Goat Format

~from the Perspective of a Goat Player~

 

As the most popular retro format and still growing, Goat Format has been explored to an extent that few formats ever have. While the community is smaller than the Advanced TCG, being an ‘eternal’ format has one serious advantage: time. Over the past few years we’ve witnessed the perfection of the Standard Goat list by Kris Perovic, the establishment of credible Tier 1 challengers, improvements to various rogue decks, and advances in tactical theory. Gone are the days when Goat claimed the top spots in virtually every tournament with little resistance. But does that mean the Goat archetype has been displaced from its Tier 0 pedestal? Is it time to rename the format to reflect this new reality? As an avid Goat player, I believed the answer to these questions was an emphatic “no,” and thus I set out to learn the lost art of ‘How to Side in Goat Format.’

 

During the final few months of Dueling Network’s glorious existence, I worked tirelessly with a testing group of Quantumman, TheAntiMetaAzn, and Tin_Glissando to perfect the side deck for the Standard Goat list. We had two big goals in mind. First and foremost, we wanted to win the post-side matchups against Goat’s two most consistent challengers: Chaos and Zoo variants. Second, yet equally crucial, we wanted the side deck to handle a vast array of rogue decks, including Dimension Fusion Turbo (DFT), Monarchs, Burn, and all the Alt-Win decks of the format. To cover these bases, we sought versatility above all else. Cards that specifically countered a single matchup, even if more effective than another option, had no business in our side deck. As Tin_Glissando likes to say, the Goat Deck should be like Water: fluid, elusive, and relentless in its pursuit of eroding the opponent’s resources.

 

Without further ado, here is the list:

 

wwBIRrAOrcg72GtCgHIzByVZufIjvvdxNfwvM77g


 

The most striking aspect of this side deck is how it fits alongside Kris Perovic’s Standard Goat list: all the ratios are perfectly balanced. Every card in the side is either present in 2 copies, is the 3rd missing copy from Perovic’s list, or is limited to 1 in the format. Aside from the aesthetic value, none of these cards would necessarily be terrible choices in the main deck. These are some of the best cards in the format that didn’t make the cut in Perovic’s list because they were subpar in the mirror match. But damn are they versatile. That’s great for us, because our side is meant to improve the dozen or so non-mirror matchups we might encounter, and to hard-counter Chaos and Zoo variants. The other theme to note is how this side deck is suited to work cohesively within the game plan of the Standard Goat list: to grind out advantage while being able to play conservatively or aggressively at any moment. This side deck fine tunes the Standard Goat list, but it does not stray from its higher level concepts.

 

In the next section of this article, I will discuss each card individually and note the decks it is particularly suited to counter. Then, I will briefly review cards that were considered but ultimately did not make the cut. To conclude, I will delve deeper into the Chaos and the Zoo matchups, noting which cards I might replace from the main deck, along with my thoughts on how to combat those decks.

 

D.D. Assailant (Zoo, DFT, Zombie, Gate, Ben-Kei, Rescue Cat)
D.D. Assailant is our answer to aggressive decks against which Exarion Universe and Airknight Parshath are ineffective. In the Goat Mirror, it fails to punish Sheep Tokens, but versus decks that lack Scapegoat and Chaos Sorcerer, D.D. Assailant is an excellent lead attacker. Notably, it allows the Goat player to play aggressively against the Zoo player--to strike for damage and establish field presence without the fear of being overpowered by a Berserk Gorilla. It also clears the field of pesky monsters such as Abyss Soldier or Mystic Swordsman LV2. Finally, against Dimension Fusion variants, D.D. Assailant fuels your own banished pile with a big booty. It is truly amazing how strong D.D. Assailant is in these matchups. After years of naively thinking it was a useless relic from 2005 lists, I have come full circle to believing D.D. Assailant is one of the most valuable cards in my side deck.

 

D.D. Warrior Lady (Zoo, DFT, Zombie, Gate, Ben-Kei, Rescue Cat, Empty Jar)

As I alluded to above, D.D. Warrior Lady is the one card that stands alone in the side deck because it is limited to a single copy in the format. However, it is effectively the same as D.D. Assailant in its use as a lead attacker, and it can be searched out via Sangan, which mitigates the inconsistency factor. In a pinch, it has the added ability to banish smaller monsters in battle--one example might be if it manages to attack a Morphing Jar in the Empty Jar matchup. Most importantly, D.D. Warrior Lady is an excellent replacement LIGHT monster when 2 Airknights or 2 Magical Merchants come out of the main deck.

 

Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive (Goat, Chaos, Monarchs, DFT, Burn, all OTKs, possibly Zoo)

I have an unnaturally deep affection for this card. Dekoichi is the only card I consistently side for the Goat Mirror. I want it in my deck any game that I am going first, because I will generally be ‘up on the summon’ and won’t have to use normal summons to clear set monsters. Dekoichi is a card I also want against any alternative win-condition deck, because I want to dig to my outs such as Dust Tornado, Delinquent Duo, and Trap Dustshoot as quickly as possible. Where this little train truly shines is against Chaos variants--because while those decks deal well with face-up attackers, they struggle against face-down flip floppers such as Dekoichi, who become imposing floaters. Against decks that do not use Thousand-Eyes Restrict or Mystic Swordsman LV2 to clear set monsters, I will take my Dekoichis to war every time.

 

Mystic Swordsman LV2 (Burn, Seal Lock, Gravekeeper, Last Turn, Empty Jar)

Perhaps better than any card in the format, Mystic Swordsman LV2 can handle passive decks that rely on floodgates and face-down monsters to extend the game. Being Level 2 is a huge asset, and having 900 ATK is nothing to scoff at when attacking directly. Mystic Swordsman puts pressure on those decks like nothing else, and the only option they likely have to stop it are your typical battle traps. It’s debatable whether it would be an effective card to use against Chaos variants, but I would argue it’s not, because I would prefer to side Creature Swap instead.

 

Creature Swap (Chaos, Seal Lock, Gate, possibly Zoo)

Creature Swap is my favorite card to side as a Goat player, because it builds on what makes the Goat deck unique--its use of multiple Scapegoat. One advantage I have as a Goat player going against rogue decks is that I am the only player using Scapegoat, which means I can use 2 copies of Creature Swap quite easily. When I have Sheep Tokens, Tsukuyomi, Sangan, or Sinister Serpent, Creature Swap becomes a potent weapon that non-Goat decks will struggle to guard against. It’s particularly effective against Chaos variants, as they are somewhat passive, they are prone to telegraph plays, and they have the juiciest monsters to steal. Against Zoo, I might not use it for fear of Solemn Judgment, because stealing their generic beaters isn’t that great, or because they might have floaters such as Mystic Swordsman or Sangan to contend with. However, I would strongly consider using Creature Swap against Skill Drain builds.

 

Scapegoat (DFT, Gate, Ben-Kei, Rescue Cat, possibly Zoo)

Having a 3rd copy of Scapegoat in the side feels like a very safe choice. Despite the fact that OTK decks are typically prepared to counter it with cards such as Lightning Vortex, Tribe, and tramplers, it is still fairly effective. The 3rd Scapegoat makes your Metamorphosis plays more reliable and consequently allows you to remove Magical Merchants from your main deck for Dekoichis, which can inflict damage more quickly. Against Zoo variants, I am a little more hesitant to include the 3rd copy of Scapegoat, although I am much more likely to do so if I suspect Skill Drain. If I want to use Creature Swap against Zoo, I would certainly include the 3rd copy of Scapegoat.

 

Dust Tornado (Zoo, Burn, Seal Lock, Gravekeepers, Last Turn, Empty Jar)
I have been siding the 3rd copy of Dust Tornado for as long as I can remember, and it never seems to let me down. In a slow format with a single copy of Mystical Space Typhoon, the 3rd copy of Dust Tornado is an absolute must to handle floodgates. It’s surprisingly useful in rogue matchups, especially in contrast to other Traps which are much less effective. I would strongly consider using it against Zoo as well, if anything to hedge against the possibility of Skill Drain. The fact that Standard Goat already mains 2 copies of Dust Tornado means we are somewhat committed to the ‘Dust Tornado Strategy’ to deal with traps, which not only makes it easier to side the 3rd copy, but also makes it easier to exclude Jinzo, Mobius, and Royal Decree, saving valuable space in the side.

 

Seven Tools of the Bandit (Zoo, Seal Lock, Last Turn, possibly Burn)

Seven Tools of the Bandit was one of the final additions to the side, and I have to give credit to Kris Perovic for being the first person I saw using this card in Goat Format. What Seven Tools does better than any card is negate Solemn Judgment, which is otherwise one of the most difficult cards to answer in the format. Solemn Judgment is what arguably makes Zoo a consistent Tier 1 deck. It took me a while to appreciate this, but Seven Tools fills a very different role than Dust Tornado. Instead of trying to guess which S/T you need to destroy, you can make aggressive plays backed by Seven Tools without incurring much risk. Crucially, this allows you to take monsters with your Thousand-Eyes and follow up by pressing with an attack. Seven Tools also allows you to get more use out of your Dust Tornados by holding them for cards like Premature, Call, or Snatch, as you would in the Goat Mirror. As a final bonus not to be overlooked, Seven Tools almost always wins the 1-for-1 trade with Solemn when you consider Life Points. A timely Seven Tools on a Solemn can flat out win the game. We can also expect to get decent use out of Seven Tools against decks like Seal Lock, Last Turn, and possibly Burn, because like Zoo those decks rely on Solemn Judgment to counter your best counters. The greatest drawback to siding Seven Tools is that the Life Point payments could begin to add up, considering Premature Burial and Delinquent Duo are usually staying in every game.

 

Trap Dustshoot (Chaos, Monarchs, DFT, Seal Lock, all OTKs)

Just as D.D. Assailant best plays the role of lead attacker in some matchups, Trap Dustshoot best plays the role of trap-based monster removal in other matchups. I often use Trap Dustshoot to replace my Sakuretsu Armors in matches I don’t expect to get much use out of them. For example, against Chaos I am far more concerned about removing monsters before they hit the field, because what they do in the Main Phase is more threatening than what they do in Battle. Another advantage of Trap Dustshoot is the fact that it is chainable. If a Monarch player uses Brain Control, we can disrupt a tribute summon with Trap Dustshoot. If a DFT player uses Giant Trunade, we can prevent a Chaos Sorcerer or Bazoo from loading the banished pile. The major drawback of Trap Dustshoot is, of course, the 4 card in-hand requirement to activate it. This is somewhat easier to accomplish against decks that use Thunder Dragon, and luckily those are also the decks that Trap Dustshoot tends to excel against. Finally, we have the option to use Trap Dustshoot when going first against any type of opponent, but I would advise against it in most cases, as drawing into Trap Dustshoot late game is unbelievably frustrating and very difficult to manage.

 

Other cards that were considered:

Jinzo - For Burn and possibly Zoo. Not worth the investment considering the existence of Spell floodgates, Solemn Judgment, D.D. Assailant, and Exiled Force. Replacing Airknight Parshath with a non-LIGHT is not ideal. Conflicted with Dust Tornado. Turns off your own battle traps. Ultimately we decided not to play any tribute monsters against Zoo because of the pressure the deck exerts and the ever present threat of Solemn Judgment.


Mobius the Frost Monarch - For Burn and possibly Zoo. Similar problems to Jinzo. Like all Monarchs it is weak to Tsukuyomi and not good with Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted. Very redundant with Dust Tornado.

 

Zaborg the Thunder Monarch - For Chaos, Burn, and being a LIGHT. Like all Monarchs it is weak to Tsukuyomi and not particularly good when targeted with Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted. Certainly a more viable choice to replace Airknight being LIGHT, and having a more relevant effect against your more typical decks in the format. However, Airknight is either strictly better or we are better off with no tributes + DDWL as the 5th LIGHT.

 

Asura Priest - For Chaos, possibly Goat, and being a LIGHT. Strong synergy with Creature Swap, but it was too difficult to find space for 2 copies in the side and dropping to 1 copy seemed superfluous. If we want to improve the usefulness of Creature Swap, we are better off bringing in the 3rd copy of Scapegoat, as it covers more matchups. Asura is a fun card, but a bit redundant with Exarion. In testing, it was surprisingly fun to use as the attacker against Chaos because the deck has few outs to it, but ultimately it was not worth the space.

 

Blade Knight - For Chaos, Zoo, Alt Win, and being a LIGHT. One of the first components of our Toolbox, I think even before we understood how important D.D. Assailant was. It seemed to be good in every matchup, but like Exiled Force, it wasn’t great either. It could take out facedowns against Chaos or Alt Win, but quite unreliably because you could easily have other monsters on your side of the field when you need to use it. It could take out Exarions and Abyss Soldiers against Zoo, but that’s all it could do, and only late game when you had a small hand. We gave a little extra credence to Blade Knight because of ‘Smokescreen Zoo’, a deck that converts from Zoo to Chaos.

 

Des Koala - For Chaos, Alt Win decks, or being in a spicy mood. I always liked the idea of having a little burn in the side deck as a surprise. Ultimately it was too similar to Dekoichi but not as good.

 

Don Zaloog - For Alt Win. I believe hand disruption is the best strategy to take down alt win decks, and this card would have worked well with either a Warrior Toolbox or Tomato-box engine. Conflicts somewhat with Trap Dustshoot. Ultimately we didn’t have room for it.

 

Exiled Force - For almost any matchup, or almost no matchup. A largely neutral play, yet always solid, its greatest strength is to repurpose Call of the Haunted and Premature Burial when we take out the Airknights. This was the final card cut from the side deck along with Reinforcement of the Army, and the two of them were replaced with the 3rd copy of Scapegoat and the 2nd copy of Mystic Swordsman LV2. This eliminated the mini Warrior Toolbox we originally had, yet allowed us to see Mystic Swordsman LV2 at the same frequency against Burn decks. Most importantly, this final change created an extra slot to insert the 3rd copy of Scapegoat.


Mystic Tomato - For Zoo and to establish a Tomato-box. Strong synergy with Creature Swap, but conflicts with Scapegoat. Ultimately not as strong as the D.D. monsters and useful in fewer matchups. Its strongest advantage over the D.D. monsters is against Skill Drain builds.

 

Newdoria - For Zoo and to establish a Tomato-box. Has similar strengths and weaknesses to Mystic Tomato.

 

Night Assailant - For Zoo and possibly Chaos. While the ability to soft-counter Delinquent Duo is a nice luxury, this card is simply inferior to Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive. It is also somewhat redundant with D.D. Assailant as monster removal against Zoo, or with Creature Swap as monster removal against Chaos.

 

Spirit Reaper - For Alt Win. Similar to Don Zaloog, but Reaper sneaks under battle floodgates to boot. Ultimately we didn’t have room for it.

 

Brain Control - For Zoo and possibly Chaos. This card would have worked especially well with 2 copies of Mobius the Frost Monarch, replacing either 2 Airknights or Call of the Haunted and Premature Burial. Ultimately, it is too similar to Creature Swap and requires 2 additional slots devoted to Monarchs to get the most out of it.

 

Mind Control - For Chaos Turbo. This card seems great in theory, being able to banish Sorcerers or disrupt flip-effect monsters. In practice it has two fatal flaws. First, it always returns flip effects to the opponent, meaning they can still hurt you with Book of Moon or Tsukuyomi. Second, it is not a versatile card in this format, only being useful in the Chaos matchup.

 

Reinforcement of the Army - For almost any matchup, or almost no matchup. Establishes a mini-Warrior Toolbox any time at least 3 warriors are sided in. I realized it was effectively not worth the space because it required us to use Exiled Force as the bridge warrior in every matchup. Rarely did we want to use the D.D. monsters and Mystic Swordsman together, so despite having so many Warriors, we were not using the Toolbox to its full potential.

 

Smashing Ground - For Zoo. A solid removal card that could clear out Abyss Soldiers and Exarion Universes reliably. It also sets up Magician of Faith for some early game usage in a pinch. Ultimately it is good but not great, and only works well in one matchup.

 

Bottomless Trap Hole - For Zoo, DFT, Zombies. Another solid removal card that has the ability to functionally replace Book of Moon in its use against Breaker the Magical Warrior. Ultimately the card is a horrible top deck and plays awkwardly in a format with Priority and little emphasis on Special Summons.

 

Ceasefire - For Chaos, Burn, Alt-Win. One of my favorite cards from back in the day, but difficult to justify without time being an issue. As a one-of, it’s difficult to rely on this card. It seems fun, but not necessarily appropriate for the goal of this side deck.

 

Raigeki Break - For Burn and all OTK decks. A solid, chainable removal card that has added synergy with Thousand-Eyes Restrict, and has the extra ability to clear your own field clogged with Ojama or Sheep Tokens. Works much better when combined with Night Assailant in the side. I might have included it had I been more concerned about Alt-Win than Chaos and Zoo. The fact that this card fails to double as a card I would side for Chaos or Zoo really hurts.

 

Royal Decree - For Burn, Last Turn, and possibly Zoo. This card conflicts with and is redundant with Dust Tornado, which we have already devoted 2 copies to in the main deck. Unlike Dust Tornado, it does not deal with Spell floodgates. Against Zoo, it could potentially turn off many of their bets cards, but it could just as easily grant you an unplayable hand. Ultimately too much of a double-edged sword and not enough synergy to make the cut.

 

Sakuretsu Armor - For Zoo. A solid removal card that also protects your Life Points, unlike Smashing Ground. The reason I exclude it is because we already run 3 very similar cards in 2 mained Sakuretsu Armors and Mirror Force, so adding a 4th such card might be ‘too many cards that do the same thing.’ Zoo decks are also known to side Mobius the Frost monarch these days. It could possibly make the cut in a future version of the side deck.

 

Solemn Judgment - For almost any difficult matchup. This card could be an answer to anything your side deck doesn’t already cover, but paying half of your Life Points is generally a very steep cost. Of course this cost is minimized against Alt-Win decks, as your life point totals are typically less important to them. The fact that we are not playing a particularly aggressive deck makes me skeptical of using Solemn. I didn’t test this card very much, but it could be worth revisiting. I think I would want to side 3 copies to get the most out of it, so I don’t know how to fit them without drastically altering the entire side.

 

How to approach the Chaos matchup:

The typical Chaos deck wins by maximizing the effects of Graceful Charity, Card Destruction, and Chaos Sorcerer before the Goat player can establish control. The deck leverages mathematical probability to get to these cards as quickly as possible by deck-thinning. Thunder Dragon is an integral component of this strategy, but so too are 3 copies of Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive and Magician of Faith. Chaos consistently pushes the envelope, putting pressure on the Goat player to respond to its actions early and often. This can either be incredibly successful or it can backfire badly. If either flip-effect monster is purged by Nobleman of Crossout, the deck gets closer to its power cards. There is little downside to this strategy because Chaos does not depend on Magician of Faith to be a LIGHT for its summoning requirements.

 

In my opinion, the biggest weakness of the Chaos deck is its linearity. With so many cards run in 3 copies, the deck lacks versatility. Every game follows a similar pattern, culminating in the reliance on Chaos Sorcerer to establish field presence. Usually this practice works well for the Chaos player, as Sorcerer is easy to summon, has excellent stats, and has one of the best effects in the format. Not surprisingly, some players attempt to prevent Sorcerer from dropping in the first place, using cards like Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer or Soul Release to banish LIGHTs and DARKs from the Graveyard. I find this strategy to be completely underwhelming.

 

I approach the Chaos matchup from a different perspective, asking the question: ‘How can I exploit the deck’s dependence on Chaos Sorcerer?’ The answer I came up with has three components. First, I want to adjust my monster lineup to be less vulnerable to Sorcerer. This is actually fairly easy. Since Sorcerer only banishes face-up monsters, cards like Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive are effectively immune to its ability. Second, I want to adjust my trap lineup to be more appropriate for the monsters in the Chaos deck, including Sorcerer, which typically become floaters before they attack. This means I will get more mileage out of a card like Trap Dustshoot than Sakuretsu Armor. Dustshoot provides tremendous leverage over the deck’s linearity, often leaving the Chaos player with an extremely predictable or very poor line of play. As a bonus, Dustshoot is easier to activate because Thunder Dragon inflates the size of the Chaos player’s hand. The third and final component of my side strategy is to capitalize on the Chaos deck’s lack of field presence outside of Chaos Sorcerer. The best card for the job is undoubtedly Creature Swap, which allows the Goat player to convert floaters, Spirits, and tokens into permanently stolen monsters. Not only does the Chaos player lack Scapegoat to thwart Creature Swap in a chain, but the deck is often behind on pace before Sorcerer drops. The fact that the Chaos player does not press with monsters such as Exarion Universe or Airknight Parshath can be exploited by Creature Swap. For example, this lack of pace can allow weak monsters such as Sangan or Sinister Serpent to survive for a turn while face-down. Then on the following turn, the Goat player can summon Tsukuyomi and activate Creature Swap. This line of play highlights how the Goat player can ensure a successful Creature Swap, playing around outs such as Phoenix Wing Wind Blast or Ring of Destruction.

 

To make room for all of these cards I would consider removing the following cards from the main deck: Airknight Parshath, Exarion Universe, Tribe-Infecting Virus, Book of Moon, Delinquent Duo, Premature Burial, Call of the Haunted, Dust Tornado, Mirror Force, and Sakuretsu Armor. I certainly wouldn’t side all these cards out, but I can see an argument for each of those cards being less effective against Chaos than they are in the Goat Mirror, especially when we consider what our deck might look like in Game 2. My best advice is to focus on the functional replacement of subpar cards with like cards that perform a similar role, and to keep in mind how the cards you bring in might work together as a cohesive unit.

 

How to approach the Zoo matchup:

The typical Zoo deck wins by being hyper aggressive early and often with cards such as Abyss Soldier, Berserk Gorilla, Exarion Universe, Mystic Swordsman LV2, Solemn Judgment, and Trap Dustshoot. Some Zoo players prefer to use Skill Drain instead of Solemn Judgment, or prefer not to use Trap Dustshoot at all, which can make their Trap-lineup difficult to predict. The central goal of the Zoo deck is to create an awkward, tense game-state for the Goat player. One method to achieve this goal is to create dead cards for the Goat player, since the Zoo deck does not run commonly played cards such as Scapegoat, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, or Flip-Effect Monsters (at least in Game 1). This turns cards such as Airknight Parshath, Book of Moon, and Nobleman of Crossout, which are assets in the Goat mirror, into major liabilities in the Zoo match-up. In a sense, Zoo makes Goat feel like a combo deck that struggles to get going, and by the time Goat mounts a push, there is a strong chance Zoo will have either Solemn Judgment or Skill Drain to counter. Zoo is a highly efficient aggro deck that creates beautifully simplified game-states, in which the odds are stacked in its favor to emerge victorious. It’s a great anti-meta strategy that is highly challenging for the Goat player to overcome.

 

In my opinion the biggest weakness of the Zoo deck is its inability to increase its own card count. Zoo is designed to force the Goat player into making poor trades that cause him to lose cards. If the Goat player can resolve his bread-and-butter plays, the small but important combos like Sinister Serpent+Metamorphosis, he can begin to make inroads into the Zoo player’s resources. You could say that the best weapon the Goat player has to combat Zoo is time: if we can fend off Zoo’s initial onslaught, we can reach the better plays in our deck. Getting the most out of cards like Magician of Faith, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, and Black Luster Soldier is how the Goat player will likely win, if he is going to win. Some players might think the best strategy to extend the game against an aggro deck is to bring in battle floodgates, like Swords of Revealing Light or Messenger of Peace, but the Zoo deck is well-equipped to handle these cards with answers like Abyss Soldier, Mobius the Frost Monarch, and Mystic Swordsman LV2. Further problematic, these battle floodgates don’t fully support the game plan of the Goat deck. They force the Goat player to become one dimensional, but a major strength of Goat is its ability to play passively or aggressively at the opportune moment. Arguably, the Goat deck already runs a far more versatile and natural battle floodgate, Thousand-Eyes Restrict, and we should focus instead on bolstering the reliability of that built-in answer.

 

The primary goal I have when siding against Zoo is to make the cards in my deck more useful early and mid-game. Instead of adding battle floodgates, I prefer to beef up my field presence in the form of monsters that don’t roll over in battle. That’s why D.D. Assailant and D.D. Warrior Lady are such excellent counters--they hold the field more effectively than the battle floodgates, and they can be used both offensively and defensively. Siding the 3rd copy of Scapegoat is as passive as I want to get in this match-up, but unlike Swords of Revealing Light or Messenger of Peace, Scapegoat supports our game plan by being chainable and setting up reliable Metamorphosis plays. I would also consider siding Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive, simply for being a decent use of a normal summon that can turn into a strong floater. Finally, I want counters for the Zoo deck’s counters, because when I’m ready to make a push, I want to ensure that it goes through. I like Dust Tornado and Seven Tools of the Bandit for this job, because they let us respond with our power plays that are fundamentally more advantageous than Zoo’s.

 

To make room for all of these cards I would consider removing the following cards from the main deck: Airknight Parshath, Exarion Universe, Tribe-Infecting Virus, Tsukuyomi, Morphing Jar, Magical Merchant, Book of Moon, Nobleman of Crossout, Premature Burial, and Call of the Haunted. Again, I wouldn’t side all these cards out, but I can see a case for each. All of these cards can be dead at times against Zoo, and as I’ve discussed, creating dead cards is a critical component of Zoo’s anti-meta strategy. One thing to note: we probably can’t remove both Airknights and Magical Merchants, even though we might want to. That would leave our LIGHT count dangerously low, and Black Luster Soldier is one of the key advantages we want to maintain over Zoo.

 

How to approach Alt-Win matchups:

Since there are so many Alt-Win matchups in Goat Format, and each one is unique, I want to discuss my general approach to Alt-Win matchups instead of talking about each of them individually. When I am facing an Alt-Win deck, I consider taking out nearly every card in my main deck. Some cards that we consider staples, such as Snatch Steal, are surprisingly useless and even counter-productive in an Alt-Win matchup. Conversely, some cards that we think are totally useless actually have a hidden purpose--for example, Airknight Parshath, which through Metamorphosis is a gateway to Dark Balter the Terrible, one of the best answers to Alt-Win. I try to use as much of my side deck as possible against Alt-Win. This means I consider cards like Trap Dustshoot and Dekoichi near staple additions, because while they are not always great, they are much better than some of the cards I might have kept in my main deck. It’s a bit harder to ‘own’ the Alt-Win matchups with a side deck that is designed to aggressively fight off Chaos and Zoo. Unfortunately, we have no room in our side deck for specialists like Neko Mane King or Royal Decree, but I think we have enough options to hold our own in every matchup. If we play well against the Alt-Win decks, we should be able to beat them without tailor-made counters. I recommend practicing against lots of Alt-Win decks, being creative with how you use your side, and being willing to make unconventional plays. You can think of each Alt-Win deck as a unique puzzle to solve.

 

Final Thoughts

I want to end on a cautious note, a disclaimer, and then an optimistic note. First, the caution. As I said earlier, every card in this side deck could also be used in the main deck. The 15 cards in this side deck are versatile and generic, like a Swiss Army knife. It is very tempting to over-side, especially against Chaos and Zoo variants. Every change we make has a rippling effect on the deck’s performance as a whole. If we remove too many cogs, that well-oiled machine might fall apart.

 

Now, the disclaimer: this side deck is quite possibly imperfect. While we put a lot of work into it, and I enjoyed writing this article, I want to say that this is only the beginning of a broader discussion. It is still a work in progress. It’s very possible there are flaws. It’s very possible that different side decks will work better for different people. And it’s overwhelmingly likely that different side decks will work better in different metagames.


Finally, I want to thank every Chaos player, every Zoo player, and every Alt-Win player for expanding what was already an immensely deep format. I may have complained about these decks in the past, and I can’t always say that I enjoy playing them, but they certainly pose a new and interesting challenge for us all. Without pushing the limits of what we can do, we will never truly know all that there is to know about Goat Format. I hope that ‘How to Side in Goat Format’ is merely the beginning of another chapter that we can write as a community. Thanks for reading.

  • Upvote 24

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13

Great read, Jazz. Good work, as usual. I think this is something that was really needed for this place. While I may not necessarily agree with every choice, your reasons are solid. This is something I feel everyone who is interested in Goats should read.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+scuzzlebutt    23565

now THIS is the sort of shit the goat community needs, 9/10 would posrep again

 

you prob should have covered the specific alt-win sidedeck cards like neko mane king or w/e, even if ur siding out the same shit vs all of them ur prob bringing in diff shit for each of them and im not sure if i buy that we just dont have room for them

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13

@ACP Good counterpoints. I disagree with your statement about the D.D.'s against Zoo. 1-for-1 trades are an important part of countering that deck as Zoo has a hard time overcoming a loss of resources. Most Zoo decks I've seen eschew advantage generators for more beaters. Wiping those out and keeping ahead of the summon tends to lead in more wins. Zoo does best when it can outbeat its opponent and keep their field full of beatsticks.

 

I also disagree with your statement about Mystic Swordsman LV2. Flip Flop is something we see a bit of in most every deck in the format. If a deck places an emphasis on flip effects, Swordsman can provide a strong counter for those and help keep the numbers on your side instead of your opponent's. In my personal testing I've had a lot of success with the little dude. 

 

I do however agree with your assessment of Dekoichi. In my personal testing I've found him to be subpar in both the main and the side, at least in the Standard Goat build. It has its place in some decks, but I feel that there are other cards that can provide the benefits that Jazz speaks of, particularly its status as a Chaos counter. 

 

@JazzI disagree with your statements regarding Zaborg. I feel like Zaborg is a solid counter to a number of decks that Airknight is weak against, notably Zoo. While yes, it does die hard to Tsukuyomi, most Zoo decks don't run it. It can clear out two monsters especially if the deck doesn't play Solemn, and if it does well then they just waste half of their LP to stop one tribute monster. Zaborg puts immediate pressure on board and floats well against most boards that Zoo can make. The deck runs outs in the form of the Warrior Toolbox and Abyss Soldier (and also it's S/T, but I figure that's a given); it has zero attackers that can get over it. I think this makes the card worth it.

 

 

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
1 hour ago, ACP said:

This is one of the worst goat format sidedecks I have ever seen, and this is no exaggeration. Virtually all of the cards in your sidedeck are suboptimal vs their intended matchups, and some of your most important matchups are basically not covered at all. You've made the classic mistake of siding a lot of cards that are ok against everything but not gamebreaking against anything.

 

It seems like we have a philosophical disagreement about how to side in goat format. I believe in generic counters that work against multiple decks and have strong synergy with my main deck, you believe in specific counters. It's downright absurd of you to say that my side is 'one of the worst side decks' you have ever seen.

 

Spy is a card I should have touched upon as a 'consideration'. I don't think it's a particularly effective answer against Zoo, because all it can do is stall. I think GK Guard is generally a bad to mediocre card in the format. Spy is something the Zoo deck comes ready to handle in the form of Rota, Exiled, LV2 and Mobius. Setting spy is also not a good answer to an Abyss Soldier lock. Yes, if we resolve Spy, it's difficult for them to get past two of them in defense, but I don't believe the potential to resolve it is worth the space (what other deck does spy counter?) or the risk of doubling down on flip-effect monsters as our outs against a deck that is constructed to clear them out.

 

I'd appreciate it if you try out the D.D. monsters against Zoo before commenting on them in that specific matchup any further. I can understand your ideas about having no synergy with the main deck or playing the 1-for-1 game that Zoo wants us to play. I had those same thoughts myself and was very skeptical of their effectiveness in these matchups. I primarily use them to replace my Airknights as one of my 'up tempo' aggressive leaders against Zoo. I find that having leaders against Zoo is actually really important. We need aggressive, generic normal summons to stabilize the early-game and mid-game and set up our power plays down the road.

 

I think Dekoichi is actually really strong. It's good in the Goat mirror going first. I still care about the Goat mirror. It's also good when I want to convert my Merchants into 1400 attackers. It's very effective against Chaos--probably more than any other single card I could side, even Creature Swap.

 

You're right to point out the weakness of this side against Burn. That's a deck I need to test more against. My intuition is that 2 copies of Mystic Swordsman, 2 Dekoichi, and 3 Dust Tornado are close to sufficient.

 

I'm not overly concerned about Empty Jar. First of all, hardly anybody plays it. Second, I can side beaters, Dekoichis, Dustshoots, and Dust Tornadoes.

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mark    3105

ACP is so on point right here. Main deck needs overall good cards, but side deck needs auto-wins against specific match-ups. A card that doesn't make the main deck shouldn't be sided just because: the criteria are almost the opposite. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
28 minutes ago, Anteaus44 said:

 

@JazzI disagree with your statements regarding Zaborg. I feel like Zaborg is a solid counter to a number of decks that Airknight is weak against, notably Zoo. While yes, it does die hard to Tsukuyomi, most Zoo decks don't run it. It can clear out two monsters especially if the deck doesn't play Solemn, and if it does well then they just waste half of their LP to stop one tribute monster. Zaborg puts immediate pressure on board and floats well against most boards that Zoo can make. The deck runs outs in the form of the Warrior Toolbox and Abyss Soldier (and also it's S/T, but I figure that's a given); it has zero attackers that can get over it. I think this makes the card worth it.

 

 

Zaborg is really not that good against Zoo. Unless maybe we are siding spies as Allen suggests. I don't find myself having floaters to tribute against Zoo, and when I do, they typically have a clear field with nothing to destroy with Zaborg's effect. So maybe I would be tributing my TER's for Zaborg, but I don't really want to do that either. TER is almost too good to tribute, if used properly against Zoo. I'd rather go 'naked' and run zero tribute monsters against Zoo. I'm very afraid of spending my normal summons on tributes against a deck that typically runs 3 Solemn Judgments. I can use my normal summons pretty effectively without tributes.

 

Zaborg isn't that good against Chaos Turbo either. I'd rather go with Airknight. Sure, they can respond with Sorcerer, but if they do that, at least Airknight has already paid for itself. Airknight repurposing Call and Prema into +1's is also really important in that matchup. As is tributing off a flip summoned Morphing Jar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
6 minutes ago, mark said:

ACP is so on point right here. Main deck needs overall good cards, but side deck needs auto-wins against specific match-ups. A card that doesn't make the main deck shouldn't be sided just because: the criteria are almost the opposite. 

 

That's a nice modern ygo theory that doesn't necessarily apply to goat format or other really old formats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
1 hour ago, ACP said:

Dekoichi is a card that makes no sense in the sidedeck. it's quite marginal and like the D.D. monsters will not swing any of your matchups particularly much. But even if we take you for your word and assume that it's good in every matchup that you say it is, then you've basically made an argument for Dekoichi in the maindeck. You don't side in cards for 90% of the field. We especially don't side cards for a standard goat mirror. When a card's use is that broad, we put it in our maindeck. Either Dekoichi's good enough to play in the main, or it's not good enough at all (hint: it's not good enough at all).

 

I think Dekoichi is borderline main deck worthy. I just don't want it going first against another Goat deck.

 

This gets into another conversation that's worth having: is Perovic's deck still the ideal main deck to use against today's field? It's pretty clearly geared toward the mirror match, which is faced less frequently than it was in 2014, and the other decks have 'caught up' so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mark    3105

I don't think it's format dependent: it's true from a mathematical point of view. For example, you say Dekoichi is so good against every deck, but why aren't you maining them then? The possibility of having to go 2nd could have to do with it, but now we're talking about really small edges right here. You are going to side in cards that are good against almost every deck, by taking out cards of your main deck (which means they are also good against each deck, or at least against goat), meaning the difference will be small. However, if you were to side specific counters, you may be able to side less cards against each deck: but they do have more impact when drawn. And because this is an older format, you're going to draw them. I might even say the opposite of what you're saying: siding against specific decks is more important in old yugioh, because you're more likely to draw them. In modern yugioh, you will only get 1 or 2 turns, meaning you need to side at least 7 cards if you want to reliably draw any, which means you need cards that can deal with multiple decks at once. 

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13
18 minutes ago, Jazz said:

 

I think Dekoichi is borderline main deck worthy. I just don't want it going first against another Goat deck.

 

This gets into another conversation that's worth having: is Perovic's deck still the ideal main deck to use against today's field? It's pretty clearly geared toward the mirror match, which is faced less frequently than it was in 2014, and the other decks have 'caught up' so to speak.

I think that, with all the discussion we've seen over the past few days, that the Perovic deck was once the deck to beat in the format - the meta, as it were. I think now, though, the format has surpassed it, which is why we're able to discuss things the way we are right now. That's the metagame, though - we see the top decks, try to stop them, and re-establish the meta. Then we try to stop the new meta, and the process repeats. So long as we can keep that going I think we have a viable, vibrant format which really is the most important thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
24 minutes ago, mark said:

I don't think it's format dependent: it's true from a mathematical point of view. For example, you say Dekoichi is so good against every deck, but why aren't you maining them then? The possibility of having to go 2nd could have to do with it, but now we're talking about really small edges right here. You are going to side in cards that are good against almost every deck, by taking out cards of your main deck (which means they are also good against each deck, or at least against goat), meaning the difference will be small.

 

I understand the math behind the theory, but I think I disagree with the values you are placing on how much these 'specific counters' (whatever they are) actually add against whatever decks you are purportedly concerned about. Furthermore, while a card like Trap Dustshoot is generic in that it works against many decks, it is also specific in that it greatly improves our chances of winning one of the rouge match ups we encounter if we draw it in a timely manner. We want our side choices to be both generic in how many match ups they work against and specifically effective in those match ups. I agree with your math, now you can disagree with specific choices if you want. Or propose percentages that your cards add versus mine. That's also fair game in this discussion.

 

I don't think Dekoichi is 'great' against every deck. I think it's great against some and slightly improves our match ups against others. I realize I am siding Dekoichi a lot and I've thought more than once about putting it in my main. The problem comes in the possible 'proposed solutions' concerning our monster lineup. I don't feel comfortable with any of them as my 'main deck' in a format that I would estimate to be about 50% goat, 25% chaos, 10% zoo, 15% other. Here are some alterations we could make to perovic's monsters:

 

-2 airknight
+2 dekoichi

 

This leaves us with no tributes, which is not great in the goat mirror. This also reduces our LIGHT count significantly. Hard to justify.

 

-tribe
-morphing jar

+2 dekoichi

 

This is probably a net neutral change against both Chaos and Zoo. It's definitely net negative against Goat though. Leaving Tribe in the main is nice for Game 1 because it let's us repurpose dead cards that we haven't had the chance to side out yet.

 

-2 exarion

+2 dekoichi

 

This leaves us with a weaker overall lineup that quite probably struggles against aggro decks. I wouldn't want this as my lineup against Zoo in game one, I'd actually prefer to keep both Exarions in. This is definitely what I would want to do going first against goat, and I would be ok with it going second against goat. It's possible that this change is in fact +EV, but I don't quite feel comfortable with making it my permanent main just yet. I've played around with it though, and I like it. I didn't feel like posting an article about how to side with perovic's deck while trashing the choice to main Exarion in the first place: I wrote this from the starting premise that we want to keep the Perovic list as our main.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
29 minutes ago, ACP said:

Spy is the generic answer to any and all aggro decks, whether it's Zoo, GKs, or some random warrior beatdown deck.

 

Quick add: I don't see GK or random warrior beatdown as decks that I am concerned about. I would rather not over-side for those decks that are already pretty weak against mine.

 

So I see Spy as a one-trick pony that I don't particularly like against Zoo (see previous post about spy).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539

I guess another thing I should interject is my overall approach. I would rather have tough but winnable match ups against every opponent and rely on my in-game abilities to overcome each one of them. I don't need a few auto-wins for a handful of decks, and I don't particularly like the odds that I will see any of them on a given day or in a given tournament. Just give me cards that I can make something out of, so I have a very good chance to win every match if I play my best. I'd rather make a mistake and lose a tight match because of that than try to guess if I'm going to face Empty Jar or Burn today. I am also much more concerned about the 'tier 1' decks than the 'tier 2' alt-win decks, I admit. This side is designed to face that type of metagame, and probably works better in the later rounds of a tournament.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mark    3105

Against Zoo, from my experience they beat you within a few turns by just attacking with monsters when you've drawn weak. In the grind game, you should win. So my strategy against that deck would be to stall. Whether that's best done with Swords, Messenger, Spy's or Scapegoat, is another question: but I think this should be the approach against this deck.

Chaos: All they do is draw, then set up for Sorcerer/BLS. So I would probably side stuff like BTH/dustshoot etc. to beat those. 

Tsuk lock decks I'm not sure: but I'd consider mind crush, or the mind crush-like spell card, also dustshoot if you're already siding it, basically blocking their tsuk's. Your deck should then just be better than theirs so you can win.

I think your main should already be designed to beat goat, because it's the best deck, it's played the most and I assume that the best players are probably going to play goat more often than not, although I wouldn't bet my money on that one. So there don't need to be too much cards to side in against it, I think. 

When talking about cards such as Dekochi, I'm not saying we should main them necessarily: I'm saying it could be one of those 'main - or don't play at all' kind of cards. I don't see the benefit in siding such cards. 

 

edit:
I also agree with being more afraid of tier 1 than tier 2 decks, both because they're weaker, and because they are such a small part of the field. However, if there would be some really blow-out cards that might warrant a few spots. 
 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13
8 minutes ago, ACP said:

There isn't really a defined goat metagame on a global scale. So you know what, if you say "I don't expect any burn or OTK in my metagame" I'll take your word for it, because who I am to tell you what's in your metagame? But if you expect a metagame composed of purely goat mirrors, chaos, and zoo (ie the tier 1), your sidedeck is still far from optimal in that meta. It would also just further strengthen the merit of narrow, but highly effective counters that deal with one specific matchup.

 

I think this is the hardest part of siding for Goats. For instance, my view is skewed by the fact that many of the people who I play Goats against play rogue. Here, we all want to play the Perovic build and think the meta has been "solved." Out there, most people don't. Building a theoretical sidedeck for what we see on DN amongst players here is one thing, but applying that to the whole host of decks out there that people experiment with is quite another. 

 

Not having a nationwide or global metagame for Goats really sets the sidedeck discussion back I feel. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ynusgridorh    143

The "all Spy does is stall" argument doesn't hold up. Why would you not want to stall against a deck that wants to finish you in just a few turns and has the resources to do so? Beastdown likes a simplified gamestate and Spy doesn't allow them to simplify. Every turn they can't deal with it, you have an opportunity to gather combo pieces, set up a Tsuku Lock or draw into BLS. Meanwhile, they'll just be drawing useless beaters afters useless beaters. There will come a time when what you can put on the board is too much for them to handle.

  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ynusgridorh    143

Also, I'm not sure maxing on Dust like Jazz does is the best strategy against Burn. Most of their traps are chainable so you'll be forced to either blind Dust and let them keep their floodgates or target the floodgates and let them keep their traps. And even with 2 Seven Tools, there's a good chance their threats will outnumber your counters. That's why I think Royal Decree is the best side deck card in Goat Format. It takes care of Burn, Time Lock and Last Turn by completely shutting them down. You don't even have to think about when to activate it. If you resolve it, you win, plain and simple. Of course, it means you'll also have to side an additional Chiron or Mobius for Burn but we're talking about one of the best decks of the format in game 1 so it's more than worth it. Sure, it also make your own traps useless but most of the standard traps are naturally bad against decks that fear Decree so you'll be siding them out anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mark    3105

Dust tornado is to get rid of their stall cards so you can atk until their LP hits 0 before they can burn you out. Royal decree might be good but it doesn't solve their stall spells, so you would still need a way to out those before they can out your decree with their mst etc. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13

Burn's stall can be dealt with via Chiron the Mage in conjunction with Decree and the rest of Goat's arsenal of S/T removal. I think Ynusgridorh is right in saying that most of their traps are chainable. It's a deck that forces a time limit on the game via cards like Wave-Motion Cannon while lowering the turns needed via things like Just Desserts and Secret Barrel. Being able to handle the latter with a card like Decree, which can also shut down problematic cards like Ceasefire and Ring of Destruction, while saving the rest of your removal for cards like Wave Motion Cannon, will enable you to lengthen the game and stop burn from dealing fast damage. I like Decree against it and I would side out Dust Tornado for it along with some other cards for stuff like Mobius or Chiron.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+Jazz    5539
53 minutes ago, Ynusgridorh said:

The "all Spy does is stall" argument doesn't hold up. Why would you not want to stall against a deck that wants to finish you in just a few turns and has the resources to do so?

 

Let's clarify: All spy does is stall, and it does not do so very effectively against Zoo. I'd rather not depend on a card that can be banished Turn 1 by Nobleman. I'd rather not keep tribute monsters in my deck just to have synergy with Spy. I'd rather not depend on a card that the Zoo deck is equipped to out, because it runs Abyss Soldier, Mystic LV2, Exiled, Mobius, and 2 copies of Reinforcement of the Army.

 

In short, a line-up of DDA/DDA/DDWL is both more versatile and more effective than a line-up of Spy/Spy/Guard against Zoo. It works more reliably. It let's me play both ways. It works well against other major threats in the format like Dimension Fusion decks.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ynusgridorh    143
25 minutes ago, mark said:

Dust tornado is to get rid of their stall cards so you can atk until their LP hits 0 before they can burn you out. Royal decree might be good but it doesn't solve their stall spells, so you would still need a way to out those before they can out your decree with their mst etc. 
 

That's certainly the best way to use Dust against Burn but even if you get rid of their stall spells, it's still not that easy to win via beatdown. Good Burn decks run 3 Ojama Trio and 3 Nightmare Wheel along with a bunch of monsters with good defensive stats (Stealth Bird, Koala, Gardna) so they can still survive long enough to Burn you out. I'd rather not take any chances and shut down half of the deck with Decree right away so I can focus all my attention on cards like Wave-Motion Cannon.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13

@JazzI personally feel that DDA and DDWL are go-to monsters when building a deck and careful thought must be applied before excluding them, especially in pre-Exarion goats. Versatility is important against any and every deck and the DD monsters are certainly versatile if nothing else. However I think that burn is going to be a problem against your side more than anything without Decree. I agree with @Ynusgridorh in that Decree is a almost sidedeck staple unless you know the meta you're going to be playing against isn't going to have burn in it. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anteaus44    13

@ACP You're right, there are many and more different burn lists. However I think that the ones that do best are those that have a high amount of traps. Besides Decree also has uses against Tsuk Lock especially those that feature Time Seal. I think more testing will be required in determining which of the burn variants is most powerful. However, as a standalone option Decree still isn't a bad choice considering how many other rogue decks use high trap counts.

 

Also I love me some Wave-Motion Cannon. It was a popular side choice in 2005 for the reasons you give. And Dancing Fairy is hilarious. It's just a shame WMC is one of the more expensive cards in the format - needs a reprit along with Dimension Fusion lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ynusgridorh    143

@ACP I've found out that double MSLV2 and double RotA work wonders in Beastdown. Every time a monster is set, I want to summon MSLV2 and run over it. A lot of times, they won't see it coming and won't be able to stop the attack. And even if they stop the attack, now is the time to fire Nobleman. MSLV2 also allows you to save your Nobleman for Sinister and can put your opponent in a very uncomfortable situation when used in conjunction with a beater.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×