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Sky Striker - Deck Discussion

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Dunko_Sekka    15

Maybe which zones they get summoned to depends on the matchup, you'd want decks that summon knightmare goblin to make it in the corner, but against a deck which has most of their links using 2 diagonal down arrows, you'd want to have your monster pointing to the middle, because their monster will be pointing there regardless. 

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»Noelle    5847

yeah if you're against pendulum luke's play is prob better and if you're against firewall decks or generall knightmare-centric decks i think my plays better

 

two things:

 

1. i think the brandish mirror theory on mermaid from the last page is valid but its also a free out to iblee which i didnt realize at the time so thats a good reason to play it (frees up your brandish spells and is still able to crash if you want to evenly)

 

2. this might be too enlightened a play but against the iblee decks, particularly spyral, it can sometimes be a good idea not to immediately sanctum them post side and instead wait til they trig iblee in the gy to chain it for scythe. while you're probably going to take some damage that turn, the 1k loss from their mermaid (which they have cus they used it to get to iblee) makes it so they basically cant kill you, and youve made them use a lot of resources at this point. they cant get rid of their own mermaid either cus sleeper can only target their spyral and your cards. this might not work if they immediately link away mermaid though. idk just an idea to keep in mind for the occasional yolo. if you're controlling them its usually prob better to gun it on the second spyral summon tho.

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»Noelle    5847

yo if u get reasoninged blind call 4. infernoid isnt really playing it so there isnt a reason to call 1 and some guys are using it in brandish cus they think ppl will call 1 to just summon rei or diabolos for free.

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Dunko_Sekka    15

Do you think with shared ride in the mirror it should be set all the time or held for a while sometimes? Because I think both players are wanting to set up for one turn where they can gain lots of advantage and I'd not want them to hit my shared ride with jamming wave before they're ready to have a turn where they resolve multiple copies of engage. 

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»Noelle    5847

ill have to make a gouki op at some point, hm

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Brandish gouki seems playable because the hornet bit token is a warrior so it gives you half of isolde

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»Noelle    5847

btw with new end of match procedures diabolos dmg pushes just became even better

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Farester    820
Posted (edited)

Just started trying this deck out last night after researching it the past 2 days and I have to say I'm very grateful for the wonderfully well thought out and detailed op. I haven't played since last year Zoo nats format so getting used to the year's worth link era increase in cardpool has been the greatest challenge. I tried out all the ideas in the op toon engine, goods/fusion, diabolos and different ratios of theme cards and hand traps. I feel like there's a handful of good generic cards that can supplement the lack of aggression and game ending potential we're missing in the TCG without needlefiber, but for the most part I think pure Brandish is extremely viable if not the best variant due to versatility and ability to out grind the mirror especially if they dilute themselves with another engine. More than anything I'm glad to be playing again and am eager to engage in theory discussions with the members of this site once again.

 

There's a couple of things which experience actually playing the deck taught me were slightly off as presented in the op. I think it's actually not a bad idea to build the deck with the idea of getting 3 spells in grave asap since the marginal benefits rack up quickly especially with engage's draw, but in general the mirror gets significantly easier when you have more spells in grave than your opponent, thanks to red you can be more aggressive against all match-ups early on if you fill the grave. Noelle is right to warn against haphazardly building to get 3 spells but if the proper thought is given to achieve this goal less directly and as a consequence of improving the deck's consistency overall then pitfalls like limiting the deck's versatility can be avoided. I think the most egregious offender of blindly building to get 3 spells is the toon engine, not so much because of the potential to draw bad hands with multiple toons but mainly because nothing substantial is achieved with those 3-4 slots as cyber dragon is seldom impactful and can sometimes be awkward or useless and cannon soldier in enabling Diabolos is even more limited. This engine limits the deck's versatility to an intolerable degree imo for the little it accomplishes, its the type of thing that's popular on pojo because they can't see the big picture(the deck's goals and win conditions).

 

The best goals for deck building should simply involve improving access to rei, engage, and less crucially 3 spells in grave asap this ensures that you will outpace the opponent in the mirror with good technical play, if in the process versatility can be increased all the better, toon engine doesn't assist in seeing rei or engage turn 1. In my build I achieved all three goals by playing 3 Terraforming, 3 field spell, 3 mst, and 3 twin twister. Field spell+mst/twin twister+any theme spell results in floating rei, red->blue, that same spell in hand, 3 spells in grave or more depending on terraforming and twin twister, and potentially one more brandish card off reveal from field and you can play around cherries. Mst and Twin  twister are vastly more versatile than toon engine and open up room in the side that would normally go to addressing IO and ASF games 2 and 3, as well as allowing plays to be made more easily against the mirror. As far as I can tell the only practical way to improve the chances of seeing engage is with field spell and foolish goods, goods engine with fusion is already extremely versatile at all points in the game. Another card I chose to play which was undersold in the op and that works really well with the extra s/t removal and field spells is Hercules Base which almost guarantees you win the grind against the mirror not just by allowing you to recycle your extra deck maidens but also by getting draws from beating over their links and cutting their rei off from floating or netting an extra draw.

Edited by Farester
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Farester    820
Posted (edited)

Forgot to discuss Mecha booster in my previous post but this is another card that got no attention in the op but is very important in the mirror and for avoiding disruption in general. Booster can protect your links from veiler, impermanence, and ash in the case of the first 2 this means you can keep their effects on for bp(Booster always lets you beat over opponent's blue) to keep making pushes every turn considering new EoM procedures. Booster is also a direct counter to widow anchor on either player's turn and it also counters the play I discussed above using Hercules Base to keep rei from floating. Once you use Booster on your link in the mirror there isn't much of anything the opponent can do except set back row and pass. Base and Booster both make it so you can protect the important resource of extra deck maidens to more easily out grind opponents and maintain pressure, maybe the op can be updated to include more info on these two cards and their interactions in the mirror.

Edited by Farester
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LukeRandi    233

Eagle Booster also means you are more likely to survive against aggressive decks. If you can set up the Blue Link and 3 Spells in your grave, Eagle Booster makes your Link Monster unaffected by effects and cannot be destroyed by battle. That's pretty hard to get rid of / OTK through (their monsters all lose at least 400 ATK).

In the mirror, i think the "standard" method to get rid of a Link Monster is Afterburner + Shark Cannon / Called by the Grave (if played). If you protect your Link Monster with Eagle, you stop that play in its tracks (unless they have Widow Anchor with 3 Spells ofc)

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I’ve been reading a lot of articles this past week as I’ve been traveling for work. One article in particular stood out to me to be increasingly relevant in this format. The article: 

 

 

 

While I do highly recommend reading the article and the additional materials the author suggests to fully understand my point, a TLDR would be: in each game of a match there exists two roles: beatdown and control. In matchups such as gouki vs brandish or, to reference a matchup in the past, Spellbook vs  Geargia, it is very easy to understand which deck plays what role(Brandish and Spellbook as control). However in a mirror match  it can be more complex.

 

One clear example of how to determine what general strategy to take in the brandish mirror match is to analyze which fringe cards each player is running or has access to. Generally, the player who is playing Skybase(the Daigusto Emeral) will have more longevity and be more suited to playing control with afterburners/skilljammers than to search for and make damage pushes with Diabolos. Whereas on the other side of the game if my opponent starts engage multiroll, I should focus my strategies at finishing the game as fast as possible. It is obvious that sky base is a terrible card in the gouki matchup, but what about an increasingly popular card that on the surface looks good against brandish and gouki.

 

This leads us to card choices such as droll and lock bird. Skipping a Gouki players turn with a droll is extremely valuable as prolonging the game as much as possible is in your best interest as the control in the matchup. On the other hand, the inherent neg 1 that droll can be in the brandish mirror match can lead to a loss in card advantage that could cost you the game if you are in the position of control.

 

To conclude, the success of particular card choices in the main and side such as droll and lock bird can be game-winning or a straight up neg 1 in certain situations. Know whether you are the beat-down or control before siding or maining cards for a particular matchup.

 

 

also this was posted from my phone so apologies if the formatting is bad

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»Noelle    5847

good posts everyone. id just like to mention the op and early posts are obv a bit outdated at this point. anyway the reason im posting is so i can get my thoughts written down in solving the problem of:

 

if you're maining cherries and have one extra spot in extra, do you play hexstia or skull dread? (or stated differently, if you're maining cherries, is hexstia played before skull dread or is skull dread played before hexstia?)

 

(sorry if this comes out jumbled and randomly i didnt plan this post formally at all)

 

this may seem like a pretty specific question but its relevant to my build right now. if this doesnt apply to your build just skip this post i guess.

 

a few assumptions are woven into this question. first, that you're covering the other bases with red and blue for mirror (and cus they're part of your deck obviously,) double helix for spyral, and isolde for gouki. second, at least in my list, it assumes that you're not planning to cherries any other targets against those decks, such as firewall against gouki (im not playing firewall currently.) third, it obviously assumes your regular non-cherries cards are all accounted for, making this extra spot the "15th card" in extra.

 

what these assumptions do is establish that the only real cards you're left with to choose from are hexstia and skull dread. skull dread obviously to be an autowin against rouge world chalice decks, and hexstia to gain a slight advantage in the more popular altergeist matchup. 

 

we're immediately hit with a tough question: 

 

do we play the card that autowins an unpopular matchup, or do we play the card that gives a slight advantage in a popular matchup?

 

now, of course, drawing cherries isnt that good against altergeist and it will be sided out. we're dealing with worst case scenario here of you drawing it. while cherries on skull dread giving you a huge advantage in the world chalice matchup is obligatory, what needs to be established is the circumstances in the game that would lead to cherries on hexstia mattering, since they involve a few assumptions as well.

 

first, altergeist cannot really turn 1 hexstia. hexstia is something for later turns, ideally turn 2. the best thing hexstia does is back up a floodgate. 

 

so, we have a card meant to back up a floodgate that is summoned after turn one. this means that its only a problem comparatively if they draw the floodgate after turn one as well. why? because if they had it turn 1 (floodgate here meaning anti-spell/imperial order btw) the question of whether or not you had an out to it (twin, typhoon, cyclone, mst,) would have already been resolved and if hexstia arrives on the board next turn backing up that same flood, then you didn't have an out to it anyway. 

 

the question then becomes: if they didnt have a floodgate turn 1, how much of a chance do they have of seeing it in the next turn? also, do you usually win anyway since you're given that turn 1 to play, as they didn't have a floodgate?

 

answering the latter question depends how good your hand is. if you can resolve a multiroll against that deck you can outpace them easily taking advantage of that turn, but that means you would have had to either draw engage or multiroll itself to do it that turn. in this case you wouldnt need to cherries hexstia regardless, since you already win from this power play.

 

but if you have a decent or bad had, and you're given the chance to play that turn because they didnt have a flood, we'll assume that you didn't resolve a good multiroll and cherries on the hexstia may become more important if they draw the floodgate after.

 

to answer the question of how much a chance they have of drawing the floodgate on the turn after. it's not that great. most of those decks play duality, some play card of demise, and usually desires too. the good news is that if they duality they cant hexstia that turn anyway, same with card of demise. so that means they either have to hard draw the flood for turn or desires into it to get to it.

 

what all of this does is end up rephrasing the question of whether to play a card for a popular matchup thats decent or one for an unpopular matchup thats sort of an autowin. since we can assume that the only time the cherries for hexstia will be an issue is if they didnt open a flood AND they only either desires or hard draw it for turn next turn, that is relatively unlike and although the matchup is more popular, the unpopularity of that very situation counterbalances it and leads to the question being asked as follows:

 

would you rather play an autowin against an unpopular matchup or play a decent card in an unpopular situation

 

and here the answer becomes obvious, you have two unpopular situations but one card does more in its respective situation (we're assuming of course that cherries on skull dread hurts world chalice more than cherries on hexstia in the aforementioned situation.) while we dont have precise numbers here and are speaking in looser generalities, i think the case full skull dread before hexstia is pretty clear

 

if any criticism of my line of thinking here especially as regards the actual dynamic of the matchup, id appreciate it. ive played a fair amount against both decks (more than probably the average duelist has vs world chalice unfortunately lol,) so i think my grasp on the facts here is pretty good but i may have missed something obvious or perhaps not obvious. thanks everyone. against just ignore this post if the original question doesnt apply to your deck

 

_________________

 

edit: rereading this i found 2 issues. i fucked up lol.

 

first, another thing in skull dreads favor that is that because you would side out the cherries vs altergeist and not side out the cherries vs world chalice if u played skull dread, you get more utility out of cherries overall in the world chalice matchup cus its in your deck for both or all three games. i dont think this changes that much though.

 

second, and more pressing, maybe concluding that both were "unpopular situations" was kind of a loaded term because the popularity of altergeist as a matchup compared to world chalice would still make that situation come up some more times. so perhaps the more honest way to phrase it would be:

 

an autowin vs unpopular matchup vs a decent card in an overall "decently" likely situation. that would, of course, make the question open again. which just makes my head hurt. ill sleep on it lol. i think im on the right track though

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FVFRYTHFNG    346

World Chalice literally isn't a deck, and as long as I'm not missing something, if you just play Firewall over Isolde you solve both problems because World Chalice can't do anything meaningful without Firewall in the same vein that other Knightmare combo decks such as Gouki can't really do anything explicitly powerful without Firewall (I'm not sure if the core World Chalice extra deck cards have been supplanted by Knightmare cards but outside of them raw drawing Waterfront and climbing into Skulldread targetting Firewall cuts them off of Curious->Firewall as options for Gameciel anyway, I'd be interested in seeing whatever this supposed World Chalice strategy is post-FLOD/DASA if I'm wrong).

Regarding the other Knightmare Combo decks, you're already forced to play Helix for SPYRAL, so discounting that, whilst all of the most exposed points in the combos of Knightmare decks are usually on Firewall, especially where a Link-2 Knightmare is turned into Mermaid, at which point Firewall is often forced to be CL2 otherwise they can't special from hand due to Iblee's effect on field, but also at any point where resolving the 2nd effect of Firewall is neccessary; it cannot be protected by a higher chain link either, so this naturally lends itself towards honing in on Firewall as the point of attack regarding Handtraps more generally, especially in the context of discussing Sky Striker as a deck that can quickly take control of the game and can't allow the full Extra Link combo to resolve lest they get locked out by the Iblee effect with no way to remove it. Standard Gouki decks are required to oftentimes use their Normal Summon and/or Rematch to set up the Isolde->Link-2>Firewall->Mermaid line even with the advent of DASA and the Engage/Hornet engine giving access to more free SS because you're required to resolve Gouki effects to continue fueling Firewall. This seems to support the concept of targetting Firewall as without Left Arm->Soul Charge (assuming they didn't Left Arm for Called) or other such outliers their ability to continue playing is severely hampered.

Now as to whether this means that Hexstia is then the valid 15th card as a Cherries target despite it's perceived inefficiency across 3 games, it would seem to be in regards to your question, especially considering that without access to a Floodgate the only possible way that Altergeist can effectlively seal the game is the Multifaker resolution into the Marionetter double Hexstia play or something similar. I would imagine though that the contradictions presented to Altergeist in a format where every other deck does more powerful things going 1st whilst also possessing a greater ability to play concessions that aren't in opposition to each other across matchups would mean that the deck gradually sees less and less play as the format evolves, but I'm not sure that players who choose altergeist do so on the grounds that it's an effective metagame pick, as for example, a blind 1st Floodgate deck in the Nekroz format may have been, considering that Knightmare combo decks have shifted a perceived Sky Striker Mirror format in which going 2nd would potentially become the standard to a more ambiguous set of circumstances. It is true that Altergeist can utilize Secret Village & Rivalry as floodgates that would somewhat allieviate the issues of going 2nd in a strategy of that nature, however they cannot play cards such as Gozen Match or There Can Only Be One to ensure a consistent way to play going 2nd, on top of the fact that this would neccessitate playing Terraforming over the more popular and cohesive Metaverse. Furthermore, whilst Secret Village could be considered an effective floodgate going 2nd into a Sky Striker Field, the same cannot be said of such going either 1st or 2nd vs the majority of Knightmare Combo decks, and what's more, Rivalry, or even Evenly Matched also cannot effectively be utilized going 2nd against said Combo decks because Altergeist has 0 way to force the Tri-Gate wizard negation before resolving those cards in the respective windows. As such it seems that Altergeist is then forced to concede maining X Handtraps to deal with these strategies whilst somehow still maintaining a coherent structure for resolving Multifaker as often as possible. It seems to me that Altergeist is a strategy for those who feel confident in their ability to win die rolls above all else.

 

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»Noelle    5847

skull dread is what makes the skull dread + gamaciel combo possible which is the only scary thing that deck does. ive never seen firewall do a lot in my games vs it. ive found the only games im losing to it are when they go for the skull dread + gamaciel play so hitting skull dread would be important in that situation. also there are other rouge "brilliant fusion decks" i guess you could call them where skull dread is the only relevant thing they do (played against one last night that went skull dread into rescue ferret into nat beast lock.) but anyway regarding world chalice being a deck or not, idk if ive just played vs a disproportionate amount of them but they seem to be one of the only decks im actually losing against with my build lol, and id rather just not take that externality if i could avoid it.

 

on hitting firewall vs gouki, its something i considered with that vs isolde before but in thinking worst case scenario, which is a soul charge followup, i think stopping them as early as possible is stronger as they have less of a gy to work with. if they just go junk forward + gouki and cherries resolves on isolde then making their soul charge good is really awkward. im assuming for the most part that you win otherwise hitting either firewall or isolde.

 

also respond to my discord pms

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»Noelle    5847

in fact the skull dread + gamaciel combo is so obnoxious that some have taken to play lava golem as it hits both the gouki field and that combo.

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FVFRYTHFNG    346
55 minutes ago, Noelle said:

skull dread is what makes the skull dread + gamaciel combo possible which is the only scary thing that deck does. ive never seen firewall do a lot in my games vs it. ive found the only games im losing to it are when they go for the skull dread + gamaciel play so hitting skull dread would be important in that situation. also there are other rouge "brilliant fusion decks" i guess you could call them where skull dread is the only relevant thing they do (played against one last night that went skull dread into rescue ferret into nat beast lock.) but anyway regarding world chalice being a deck or not, idk if ive just played vs a disproportionate amount of them but they seem to be one of the only decks im actually losing against with my build lol, and id rather just not take that externality if i could avoid it.

 

on hitting firewall vs gouki, its something i considered with that vs isolde before but in thinking worst case scenario, which is a soul charge followup, i think stopping them as early as possible is stronger as they have less of a gy to work with. if they just go junk forward + gouki and cherries resolves on isolde then making their soul charge good is really awkward. im assuming for the most part that you win otherwise hitting either firewall or isolde.

 

also respond to my discord pms

 

48 minutes ago, Noelle said:

in fact the skull dread + gamaciel combo is so obnoxious that some have taken to play lava golem as it hits both the gouki field and that combo.

How many copies of Gameciel does this deck play (In the past I 've rarely seen many decks use the full 9 copies and now with how powerful these Knightmare combo decks are without disruption I'd imagine that the engines with all the requirements and vanillas are somewhat encroached upon by the need for handtraps, especially considering that gameciel doesn't do anything going 2nd vs Knightmare) and how many routes to Skulldread are there, particularly through 1 of the commonly played handtraps? I think to consider the full scope of this calculating roughly exactly how often this play occurs would be neccessary, I'll look into it.

 

Outside of that I'm not saying that the concern for the deck is invalid, moreso that I don't expect representation above perhaps a couple of percent. Extrapolating that to an event the chances of pairing vs such and then losing the die roll on top of not having any disruption (idk where the chokepoints are for the deck yet, maybe it's better at playing through disruptions than I expected) definitely seems like a much less common outcome than the Altergeist scenario as you noted. Perhaps as we get closer to NAWCQ it'll have picked up more steam. It's also worth noting that if we're talking about Duelingbook experience, there is data from the previous couple of weeks that puts Hexstia between a 70+75% winrate when it hits the field, above every other card in the format (It'll be interesting to see how this changes with DASA being TCG Legal). Of course, there are a series of assumptions in that figure similarly to the appearance of cards like Toadally Awesome in the same data in previous formats whereby these cards being so effective are predicated on the resolution of previous cards but if we're talking about the minutae of matchups for a card that doesn't require you to sacrifice anything other than an extra deck slot it's worthy of more attention imo.

In regards to Isolde vs Firewall, the decks I've been playing with/against aren't really comparable to the standard Gouki combos so perhaps I'm missing something (I.E doing the entire Firewall play without using either the 1st or 2nd NS) but it is true that with respect to cherries hitting Isolde leaves you with less blowouts it's just that with an increasing number of Special Summons and ways to extend without the Normal Summon plus the discussions over the merits of forcing them to commit resources it doesn't seem a straightforward question. It's also true that Cherries on Firewall at the point whereby it would be possible leaves them with more options even before Soul Charge (I.E they have have Isolde, Octo, Batt into Rematch/Suprex, which to be fair, still doesn't extra link/trigate without something like Soul Charge, so they're presented with the issue of either stopping anyhow or risking wasting resources to get picked apart) but then at that point the question transforms more into the efficacy of Cherries as a whole compared to other handtraps since other handtraps are better at various chokepoints surrounding Firewall. If the metagame centralizes somewhat further so as to render the additonal Cherries targets moot that would be worth more consideration.

I'm confused about why people are playing Lava Golem, you can't summon it against the full Gouki fields because it's a Special Summon whilst you have an Iblee up; so you'll be required to crash Iblee, move to MP2 and then Lava Golem their board on top of needing additional concessions or a way to get yourself back into the game beyond that point. Leaving up a majority co-linked board against a deck that is likely to have 3+ cards in hand to follow up with handtraps to potentially stop your play seems like an inelegant solution, but it's potentially workable in something like Sky Striker perhaps. Crashing Iblee becomes less of an option once Borrelguard dragon hits in BoL:RR (albeit the legality of that set for NAWCQ is unconfirmed to my knowledge), or even now with many people utilizing Necro Gardna, but also say, people choosing to either go Beatrice/Curious -> Gryphon with Mask of Restrict. But more interestingly I'd wonder about the structure of these decks in breaking up Knightmare Combo fields because Lava Golem over Ra Ball seems like a less effective solution considering that both take up the Normal Summon; does the WC Combo end on exactly 2 monsters to play around Ra Ball? There is seemingly a small contradiction in regards to playing Lava Golem as your only out to such fields in conjunction with handtraps insofar as it would seem more efficient to focus on or the other, and there are a few decks that can exclusively focus on breaking up the board after the fact, although idk whether other people have explored that option as much.

I haven't been on Discord in ages lmao, didn't even know I had PMs

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»Noelle    5847

i suppose its relevant to mention im using a going second list even vs combo decks, because gamma and transcience are the only hand traps that get around called by the grave vs the combo decks and obv gamma sucks going first. the only things that might make me wanna go first is if i was switching to artifacts and shared rides i suppose, since i dont wanna rely on not getting my s/t destroyed between twin twister and spyral killing them for free.

 

also good point i totally forgot ygoscope.com i should be checking that. however its only been 2 days since sky striker were legalized and i think they updated weekly but good thing to note.

 

and yeah thats true about iblee and lava golem. ill get back in more detail a bit later tonight

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FVFRYTHFNG    346
Just now, Noelle said:

i suppose its relevant to mention im using a going second list even vs combo decks, because gamma and transcience are the only hand traps that get around called by the grave vs the combo decks and obv gamma sucks going first. the only things that might make me wanna go first is if i was switching to artifacts and shared rides i suppose, since i dont wanna rely on not getting my s/t destroyed between twin twister and spyral killing them for free.

 

also good point i totally forgot ygoscope.com i should be checking that. however its only been 2 days since sky striker were legalized and i think they updated weekly but good thing to note.

 

and yeah thats true about iblee and lava golem. ill get back in more detail a bit later tonight

Yeah I don't outright disagree with the premise of still blinding 2nd you just can't really play cards like Twin, Evenly, Typhoon etc in the main, those being replaced by Handtraps like you stated, and you'll be required to play a higher amount of concessions since you won't have access to Anchor on T1 to stop shit. More generally I think a discussion on the hierarchy of handtraps if you will is probably going to be incredibly central as people discover exactly where to both play through and where to hit with them. I like Gamma a lot not only because it gets around Called but also because at the point where Firewall is forced to be the highest chain link it's equivalent to Ghost Ogre in value; and it naturally has utility going 2nd against say, Altergeist with a floodgate up (providing no Protocol) against Silquitous allowing you to synchro off for something that pops Village/Anti-Spell/Order etc. although the nature of these Knightmare Combo decks forcing other strats out of the metagame it doesn't seem like something that would come up much outside of using Gamma to force through a resolution against Tri-Gate if it were your 6th card for example. Of course, as you said it's complete horseshit going 1st since they're only going to be targetting Shizuku but going 2nd of course already assists with the Shizuku issue when you don't open Engage because not only are you not forced to play neccessary evil cards such as Eagle Booster which are only really effective in such scenarios if you play 3 of them but you also obviously increase the chances of hitting engage from 34% to 40%.

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I think Hexstia is the better cherries target. It not only protects floodgates, but it’s also the way the deck usually wins with its attack boosting effect. It’s hard for Altergeist to close out games without it and you will outresource them in the long run. 

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FVFRYTHFNG    346

I forgot to mention this because SPYRAL wasn't the focus of discussion at the time, but regarding Double Helix being selected as the correct Cherries target for that matchup, I'm sure that everyone who pays attention to ARG results will have seen Justin Singh's deck that uses Power Tool Dragon to perform Tri-Gate + Sleeper combos in the abscence of Ancient Fairy Dragon. If you haven't, then here it is (you can find the deck profile on the same channel):
 

 

This combo is particularly powerful but there is also another one that does significantly more, ending on Extra Link + Tri-Gate + Sleeper with multiple cards in hand, D.D. Crow & Big Red to follow up, which is located here:
 


Both of these combos are wholeheartedly reliant on accessing 2 ways to send both Destrudo & Master Plan to the graveyard, and as such since they don't use SPYRAL engine cards to start you'd imagine that they would be outliers. However on closer inspection it's actually much easier to build a deck with more ways to start the combo off like this (Grepher, Arma, Ravine, Shrine, Foolish, you can also play more than 40 cards whilst using Isolde to turn any 2 warriors into Arma/Grepher, Malicious, Vyon, generic warrior toolbox stuff etc.) which would lead to this combo being more prevalent than the starndard SPYRAL combos which are reliant on opening combinations of 1/5 + 1/X or limited cards.

This presents a problem for Cherries because in these combos, Helix only gets summoned later on in the combo which leaves them with opportunities to improvise upon being hit with Cherries. It's possible that there is another chokepoint with a Knightmare card that most players may already be using but then at such a point is Helix even worth consideration as a Cherries target more generally, if we accept that we could perhaps hit say, Mermaid against the vast majority of these Knightmare combo decks (this is particularly pertinent in Europe & Australia given that Linkuriboh isn't legal there, leaving them with needing multiple additional materials to complete extra links or make Tri-Gate live) leaving them in a position where their board can be picked apart with much greater ease, which would be entirely possible for Sky Striker if Goblin were not providing them with Targetting protection, for example.

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Onion    12

Haven't played in a couple years and was highly considering it.  Been testing a lot on Dueling Book with the pure build.  Saw the day 1 results at YCS and majority of decks are trickstar sky striker.  Ummm, quick question, is this because the new end of match procedure or is it because the deck legitimately can out resource the pure build? Really not sure where to go from here.   

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FVFRYTHFNG    346

The vast majority of Trickstar Sky Striker decks are fundamentally Trickstar decks but seeing how the core engine of that deck is only 17 cards at maximum; as we've seen in older formats Trickstar decks are usually just comprised of the strongest possible "generic" cards tooled towards the most common matchups in any given metagame. The new inclusion of Sky Striker cards is just an extension of that, but they're particularly effective because they solve a few inherent problems with Trickstar, and Engage is such a versatile card that they do so with a relatively low opportunity cost because the engine is incredibly compact. That being said though, there are reasons to play Trickstar more generally that hold true with or without Sky Striker cards, EOMP are a small part of that but there are a bunch of interactions that are just good in this format.

 

What cards you're going to see:

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These are going to be the most frequent cards you'll find in Trickstar simply because they're the most "splashable", there are other configurations of the deck with more Sky Striker cards, but given the concessions necessitated by the format (handtraps for Knightmare Combo decks mostly) at that point you're better off just playing Sky Striker itself and maximizing the commitment to the engine, since you get more out of a smaller Sky Striker engine than you do a smaller Trickstar engine.

Engage is just RotA, the draw effect seldom goes off early but because Trickstars main gameplay loop isn't reliant on this card it doesn't matter. Once you move into the mid-late game this card starts to become increasingly powerful in Trickstar though as that deck is based around an efficient 1-card loop and simplifying resources so the draws just let you pull ahead by grabbing more generic high EV cards. Afterburner & Anchor are pretty important because they give Trickstar a way to do things they've never been able to before; which is actually remove threats. Before Trickstar struggled really badly with reacting to monsters on the field, since all their cards are small and mostly oriented around effect damage & interacting with the opponents resources before they were established (Reincarnation doesn't actually remove anything without other cards or taking advantage of the opponent's actions, Lightstage only locks set cards etc.) so you had to play generic removal. These cards are just the most efficient generic removal in the format, and what's more also contribute to assisting with the other main problem Trickstar had, that of applying pressure, because Afterburner lets your smaller monsters get damage in whilst Anchor can steal big bois for gameshots, which in turn makes the incremental damage the deck racks up more valuable. You will often see a Jamming Wave in the side deck as a swap out for Afterburner or along side it against backrow heavy matchups where Lightstage isn't enough or where you need non-targetting removal (against say Diabolos for example), but Jamming Wave does have some cute interactions like prematurely putting your own Reincarnation in grave. The most important card by far though is Hornet because it's the biggest contributor to solving these 2 issues of Removal & Pressure. On the one hand it toolboxes all of the other cards through Shizuku, but on the other, much like Scapegoat it puts out free dudes that let you toolbox your extra (particularly pertinent with Knightmares, Kagari lets you double up on Burners/Waves through Phoenix/Cerberus/Unicorn) and actually try to win the game. There are a couple of specific combos that Hornet enables but there is a particular one which takes advantage of the Sky Striker matchup to set up the infamous Firewall OTK Loop. The combo is detailed in this video (also a deck profile):
 


There are other reasons to play Trickstar outside of how good Sky Striker cards are in the deck though; Trickstar being a compact engine lends itself to being able to fit enough concessions to Knightmare decks and the fact that Droll & Lock Bird is so powerful this format makes this even easier, given the Reincarnation combo. In addition Reincarnation by itself can often be powerful enough to disrupt decks like SPYRAL + Gouki by utilizing it as search cards resolve to remove key combo pieces; make Super Agent resolve without effect etc. The most impactful trick that Trickstar can pull off though is probably the Lightstage interaction against Sky Striker. Big Multirole turns are among the most powerful things Striker can do; but as you'll always know where their re-set cards are, you can continually target the appropriate card to cut them off of lines like multiple engage resolutions in the same turn to keep up with them in resources, but also easily snipe unknown sets given you know the others. EOMPs are another part of this as mentioned, but the important thing to note is that the vast majority of when time is called will be in MP1, often the 1st turn of the match, so whilst Lilybell can attack directly, and Lightstage + Candina/Lycoris/Reincarnation can rack up effect damage, the only inherent way Trickstar has to do effect damage in G2/3 T1 MP1 is something akin to searching Lilybell or Lycoris with Lightstage then going NS Lilybell -> Lycoris eff bounce Lilybell, SS Lycoris -> Lilybell eff SS Lilybell -> Link Summon Bloom with Lilybell -> Bloom eff -> Lycoris eff, burn for 200/400. Everything else requires greater planning & timing given both players need to agree to move phases.

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FVFRYTHFNG    346

Something I forgot to mention: It is technically possible to maximize the value of Engage in Trickstar Sky Striker to a level almost present in the Pure Sky Striker deck because there are a few additional cards and interactions that enable you to put multiple spells in the grave t1. However it remains to be seen as to whether these are neccessary given the amount of handtraps you're required to play in order to not lose against Knightmare decks; and having a higher chance to hit a handtrap going 2nd probably increases your winrate higher than these inclusions which improve going 1st given the relative advantage of winning the die roll. Trickstar already plays a full suite of Terraforming, and it is a much more efficient card in Trickstar than it is in Sky Striker since not only does it immediately add the required card as opposed to scrying for it, you don't need the additional card to send, but most importantly, Lightstage is not OPT so Terraforming becomes a way to immediately put 2 spells in grave via Terraforming -> Lightstage -> Candina -> Lightstage ->Lycoris if you don't need/want to search Reincarnation. In addition, it is also possible to main Foolish Burial Goods in this deck alongside Metalfoes Fusion because whilst drawing Metalfoes Fusion is significantly worse in this deck the value of FBG increases the longer the game goes as Reincarnation does not have the "Except the turn this card was sent to the GY" clause, which significantly improves the longevity of the deck and enables more game attempts through Lillybell & Lycoris shenanigans. There is also the obvious interaction with FBG + Hornet but all this being said you're adding a functionally worse Upstart Goblin to your deck with a mediocre engine requirement in order to be able to resolve the 2nd Engage effect slightly more often, so it's questionable to say the least.

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