The past few days have been quite the experience in my own development within the DBSCG, and to be honest it came from a source outside of the game, but definitely won’t come as a surprise to anyone – I have been playing Magic Arena and man has it taken the blindfold off and allow me to come to grips with the truth, I am a dirty, filthy mid-range/hand destruction player.
The Deck I Have Been Playing
With limited resources and just a $50 investment, this is the list I have been tuning and using for the past few days. I started a brand new account (HandBanana) which means I was at the very bottom – Bronze Tier 4. I am now Gold and have just been playing a version of this deck the entire time. The reason why, it happens to be the deck that I was immediately drawn to and has been the most fun/rewarding to me.
Your turns in this deck require a lot of thought and adjustment on your part when approaching various match-ups. You spend the entire game grinding the edges trying to either snowball into a large advantage with Woe Strider and Kroxa coming down on curve or you’re abusing the power of Call of the Death-Dweller to buy you enough time by looping Scorpion and Mire Triton from the graveyard and trying to abuse Village Rites so you can dig further to your threats and/or answers. This is the type of strategy I love, just a ton of utility, flexibility, and the ability for me to use all areas of play to give myself enough opportunities to outplay my opponent’s through superior decision making at a small, incremental level.
In Super I have a history of jumping off of decks I feel are well-liked by a large majority of people and I try to discredit them by saying they’re unfun, then I end up championing a deck that is its polar opposite, even if it isn’t actually my desired style of play. I just get so blinded by my ego at times that I end up creating a poor experience for myself instead of just playing the deck that is my preferred play-style.
A perfect example of this is how recently I have been trying to play these go-wide aggressive strategies in Super and I just end up getting so frustrated because of how “unplayable” they are. Even though I know this already, I just kept being ego driven and kept playing these strategies that don’t fit my preferred way of playing the game. It is so silly, because I have always known my preferred way to play, I just became so easily blinded just due to outside opinions and my own stubbornness in wanting to play something I felt was “cool/different” or prove that I was good enough to make X strategy competitively viable.
In the Panini Dragon Ball Z Trading Card Game I was successful off of the back of Black Devious Mastery and the Cooler Main Personality. My deck was always tuned for the meta game and the deck truly was a grinding machine that was built on snowballing into an advantage, or leveraging all of the available resources to stabilize and then snowball into an advantage.
My “best” tournament performance in DBS came at Origins where I went X-1 in Swiss and finished Top 4 playing my take on Traitor Dende. Again, a deck that was meant to grind opponents out through snowballing, or leveraging all available resources to stabilize and then snowball into an advantage.
My worst performances have always come when I choose to play something that isn’t my preferred way to play the game. I try to be something I am not, or get blinded by my ego and think I can win games with any deck, when the truth is I am just so much better when I play games that give me a ton opportunities to make decisions. I am so much more engaged, and have so much more fun during those grindy games – win or lose.
How to Improve?
Take sometime and find an opportunity to have a “reality check”. If you find yourself forcing it too much, or you’re getting more and more frustrated by your results it is probably time to step back and try to figure out why. Additionally, take sometime and go through the card pool and watch some games on demand. Figure out the cards and interactions you love and think about why those interactions appeal to you.
These were the cards in Arena that hooked me:
And after playing so much with this type of strategy, I realized that there happens to be some parallels to a popular archetype within our own game, and now I am hooked on playing, tuning, and making it as competitive as possible for my own enjoyment. Below I have two builds: the budget version is the one I actually have in paper and the version with promos is the version I test online when trying to be as competitive as possible.
When building these decks I became so excited by the interactions with Pod, the drop area, the Unisons, etc. all because those truly are the elements I find to be the most satisfying to play with. The idea of trying to snowball on the play with Frieza Unison and creating a huge lead early through abusing Pod and Dormant Potential loops to get you to the late game so you can windmill slam AoD Vegeta or Smoke Dragon gets me so juiced. Additionally, the play experience of being behind but then abusing the loops and free counters to help you claw back into it give me the feel of being in every game, which is always something I have valued when building/playing a deck.
Take sometime between now and Series 11 and try to find the cards and archetypes that get you excited. Preview season is an amazing time for that, and to be honest the Dark Broly Unison truly called to me. The card is an absolute dreamboat and I am so excited to start tuning this Frieza list to include it once the set drops.
Drop your comments below on what archetypes or cards you love the most, or just take time to comment/give feedback on all of the lists posted here today.