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Dick van Dyke

Pioneer Format Theory

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@Jazz wanted me to write this to explain my reasoning behind why I build my decks the way I build them in his custom format, because discord is big gay 2000 character max

 

Ok so the first thing I think about Pioneer is that despite its goat origins and upbringing it is at its very core a modern format. What I mean by this is that it is fast, it has very specific deck archetypes that you refer to when building and choosing your cards, and it is constantly evolving. I don't mean that it is bound to how we play yugioh in current and I don't mean that it is yugioh we know and love in the exact year of our lord two-thousand and eighteen, simply the 3 parameters I named earlier. This really influences how I build decks for the format. Me and Jazz are very different in this regard. He's an old school goat fucker and I'm a modern day master peace fellater, and as such we butt heads very often.

 

Well, when I build decks the first format I usually look to for theory is Edison, a format I'm really good at and value a lot as part of yugioh history. This is for a few reasons: the first is the deck types involved, which include plants and heroes, and the specific cards that jazz has allowed them to play. The second is that I consider it a modern format, just like Pioneer.

 

So the first thing I think when I build decks both in current and pioneer is that being a trap card is a detractor to what i want to do, and I learned this from none other than Hoban himself. Unless they are integral to my deck, or named ring of destruction, traps are the last cards I add. This is simply because they're slower than what I want to be doing. Some traps, like torrential, bottomless, and phoenix wing wind blast, which I almost always wind up using, are very good and worth it, and they arent nearly as susceptible to removal as cards like mirror force are, which I rarely include. i'm in general a pretty aggressive player so I tend toward aggressive strategies like zombie and water, which can combo pretty heavily and win the game in a single turn at times. My current water deck has 24 monsters, 6 spells, and 10 traps, 2 being skill drain, while my zombie deck has a measly 7 traps to match its 23 monsters and 10 spells. For pioneer format, 7 traps is pretty small. But this is because while both decks are aggressive, I consider water to in general be playing a beatdown role, and for zombies to in general play a control role, to throw out as many buzzwords as I can in one sentence.

 

Now jazz knows these opinions of mine, or at least I hope he does as much as I've talked about them. But a recent argument was had over he and another refusing to test many of my ideas, with me trying to explain why I think they're worth testing. This is where discord falls short.

 

The first reason I think they're worth testing is just because pioneer is nothing like goat and everyone who is used to goat needs to get in the habit of trying to break formats instead of play them the way they want and hope everyone else does too.

 

The second reason is because I think they make good decks.

 

Now what is a good deck? Well I tried to explain it before and he asked me to make this post. A good deck is a deck that functions well in the context of several matches and consistently achieves its win condition before it loses. So now I need to define these words.

 

Functioning well is a matter of a checklist of the following items:

 

Drawing well

Performing a combo reasonably

and Getting lucky

 

Drawing well is as simple as saying that the deck can draw the cards with which to perform its combo often and can both play its combo and deal with its opponents cards (or "out them") with little variance. I don't know exactly how I'm going to define this any more because thats pretty straightforward, but a deck being able to draw well is very much rooted in whether or not it plays useless cards, which most traps are. PWWB and ring and torrential are really good, but is mirror force? Will drawing mirror force make you reach your goal of winning the game if every deck has the ability to kill it before the battle phase or entirely recover if you do activate it? I don't think so. This is true of the majority of trap cards in pioneer format, except the ones which I resolve to play in almost every deck due to their versatility, those being the ones I've named. Drawing trap cards hinders your deck's ability to make crucial game changing plays, where drawing monsters increases that ability, as long as those monsters are all good themselves. I play 24 water monsters because water monsters need to hit the grave and I need to normal summon one every turn, or discard them with abyss soldier for added removal. I need monsters to summon every turn to load my grave in zombie decks and fuel my zombie master combos. Yugioh has always been a monster-focused game with spells and traps aiding the monsters attacking your opponent's life points. In a modern format like pioneer, I shift my deckbuilding focus to monster oriented combos because every turn I can use a monster to grind through a trap card, but I can't do the same with mirror force or dimensional prison or book of moon.

 

Performing a combo reasonably means simply, not having to have a very specific combination of cards to do it, or if you do, that it's fewer than the cards you have in your hand. You need other cards to force backrow, like heavy storm, mst, and fuel for phoenix wing wind blast, or even just big monsters to bait them out first. you can't be trying to combo with 5 cards, but you definitely need to be combo-ing to some degree to win in a format as fast as pioneer is at the moment. Mind you, pioneer has slowed down greatly with the banning of snow, but it's still very fast paced, especially with zombie master and mezuki combos outputting >5000 damage a turn. The ability for me to build a deck to perform a combo without using every card in my hand is crucial, and its for this reason that I include more than 22 or so monsters in my zombie build. Every monster is a monster that works with zombie master. Every card trooper is 1900 beater that loads the grave and floats or baits backrow. These kinds of cards are crucial to the success of your combos because they ensure that you will be doing something. Dust tornado cannot attack for 1900 damage, but card tooper can try and if that backrow is d prison then it is, you used a dust tornado. If not, then you're 1900 damage closer to winning the game. That's huge. 

 

Another reason I use card trooper and ryko in conjunction is that milling is good and my deck wants to get lucky. Getting lucky is really just that, I dont think I need to define it, but milling puts zombies and waters in the grave. Tidal uses waters in grave, tidal comes from the grave, mezuki does both as well for zombies. I want to be milling and setting up tons of combos. If I mill spells then that's fine because theres a good chance I would be shuffling my deck before the next turn and thus wouldnt see them that game anyway. Milling any number of cards puts me closer to the other cards in my deck, so getting lucky from milling is twofold. I load my grave, and I thin my deck. Milling increases your chance of drawing well!

 

So anyway this is all pretty basic theory stuff but for some reason I was asked to spell it all out. 

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Decided to move this to Past Formats since it seemed like the more appropriate place compared to having it posted in the Deck Garage. 

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I'd like to update that after playing more matches I have a newfound respect for mirror force as a card and have shifted my build of zombies to be slightly grindier after realizing that mirror force can fuck me up pretty bad, especially in the mirror match where my opponent mirror forcing me just opens me up to 6000 damage wombo combo

 

Im playing water the same though, I dont think I need to change anything there

 

tagging @Jazzso he can see the evolution of theory for his format in such a short time period

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