The Beauty of Checks & Balances

Looking at all the cards within the S10 format as it is, from a purely competitive perspective, you’d probably gather that, without testing, Red and aggressive strategies in general would be the best archetypes in the format.

“Unisons are too slow”, “Dredgeku taking its own life is bad”, “You have to draw your floodgate”, etc.

These are all quotes from highly respected players within the community and in some ways, they are 24% (arbitrary %) right. In practice though, they, and a lot of other folks, got it wrong.

Post Universe 3 Bans there was a clear tier 1 that ended up developing –

“Vegeks is dead” – a quote heard around the DBS community once the U3 bans were announced, was quickly debunked by folks that adapted and added the actual Vegeks chain.

“Dredgeku is bad” – the power level of Dormant Potential Unleashed plus a built-in sweeper every turn led to an unprecedented showing in week 1 with 2 copies of Dredgeku facing each other in the finals of an event

These two quotes and quick debunking ultimately are what led to such a diverse meta game being created.

Green and hand destruction became so popular in week 1, that in the following weeks to come Syn Shenron and Invoker both ended up overperforming. Reason being, they go over the top of fair decks better than anyone else.

Yellow Gotenks even got a huge push, mostly due to the format’s diversity. This is a fact within the DBS TCG and is the reason Gotenks sits in Tier 1 – in a world of where there is high variance within your match-ups, playing the best cards and drawing more of them will get the job done.

Now we begin looking at the Gamerz event and events from this past weekend and Blue has started overperforming. This has to do with Vegito and Zamasu’s ability to win off of the back of non-battle card attacks combined with the fact that they both awaken early enough to stifle a lot of the aggressive strategies out there. Ultimately though, we saw Vegito fall into the finals of the Gamerz event to Vegeks; which logically makes a ton of sense. The average converted energy cost of Vegito’s deck is so much higher than Vegeks, and Vegeks can essentially play the game forever as long as it has access to Bibidi and Supreme Kai of Time.

The Defined Checks & Balances

Syn Shenron & Invoker < Red Aggro and Go-Wide Aggressive Strategies – These are decks that truly take over the game after turn 3 and both require a specific card to stabilize in the early turns, Aggro punishes variance and can heavily tax the resources of these decks in the first few turns.

Red Aggro < Dormant Potential Unleashed and Vegito – All of us dream of a world were we can play our Bardock, the Resolute and Mercenary Taos and turn our cards sideways to win the game; Dormant and Vegito singlehandedly render these strategies unplayable at the top tables.

Goodstuff Midrange Strategies < Vegeks, Invoker, & Syn Shenron – If you are a blue deck or a Gotenks deck, you’re going to struggle against strategies that do everything cheaper than you or interact with your battle cards whilst taxing your resources. Midrange decks are not unplayable by any means, they are just soft to drop area-based decks due to the lack of interaction combined with the fact that their battlefields are replenishable for little to no energy. To speak on Invoker and Syn Shenron, this has a lot to do with the fact that again, both of these decks go so far over the top of you and can defend themselves well enough to make the game go to the later turns.

Blue Goodstuff Midrange Strategies > Dredgeku – Decks that can stick a Unison and win with it often have a solid footing against Dredgeku. Combine that God-Sealing Technique trumps every threat in Dredgeku and you are already off to a good start as to why Dredgeku is weaker to blue. Zamasu and Vegito both present the option to win the game without battle cards, which is exactly where you want to be when your opponent’s ability to accrue advantage comes from saving life by wiping the field and spamming Dormant.

Gotenks = Dredgeku – this is of course play/draw dependent and really depends on if Dredgeku has Bardock Unison on time. If Dredgeku has it going first, that matchup leans hard towards Dredgeku; but if it doesn’t, Gotenks can out draw the hand destruction and pressure with a few key threats to close it out since the leader skill inherently hates on Dredgeku’s use of Dormant Potential Unleahed and other extra cards.

Vegeks < Dredgeku – a tale as old as time, the best deck at generating a board presence loses to the best removal and hand control deck in the game. This is probably my favorite match-up in the S10 format because even though Dredgeku is favored, experienced Vegeks pilots who are familiar with this match-up can find ways to pull it out if they lean hard into winning off the back of Gotenks Unison.

Does Invoker have Apex of Power? Yes > Dredgeku
Does Invoker have Apes of Power? No < Dredgeku

Syn Shenron > Dredgeku – we have a deck that wipes the board every turn against a deck that accrues card advantage whenever the board is wiped and can revive a billion-energy worth of battle cards on turn 6 and beyond. Play this matchup enough and you’ll start to feel bad for Dredgeku players across the community.

Invoker > Syn Shenron – the premier control decks of the format, and the deck that can deal burn damage is the deck that is favored. Unless Syn Shenron goes the route of Mechikabura, the Broken Seal into Fu, Shrouded in Mystery the following turn, and even then it still looks rough for our dragons.

Deck Selection for GenCon

To me, it is quite clear what must be done to perform well during these upcoming events and that is to either be the best aggressive strategy that allows you to play a longer game against midrange/control, or to be one of the decks that is the best at going over the top of all of the fair decks.

Of course, you can take the route of Buu or Reboot Gohan to try and be hyper aggressive, but those decks will struggle as the meta game becomes less varied towards the latter part of a highly competitive event.

With Blue having a strong showing last weekend people will begin latching onto those archetypes since some of their favorite players played them. This is the weekend to hard punish those players who adopted Zen-Oh, Cosmic Unison as their paramour.

Do not Get Too Fancy

Syn Shenron – 2x Mechikabura, the Broken Seal in the main along with Fu, Shrouded in Mystery (popularized by Ryan Severin)
“Stock” Invoker
Vegeks list that has been winning events lately, except I am not running 1x Hatchhyack

#Scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIII

2 thoughts on “The Beauty of Checks & Balances

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