Lessons Learned Pt. 2: Don’t Get Too Cute

Spending 3 straight days testing series 11 with Frisco and Jose did a lot to not only uncover some truths within the format, but additionally it radically changed how we would have to approach deck building due to the massive engines included within Vermilion Bloodlines. Not only that, but certain cards and ways of thinking just weren’t good enough anymore as we got deeper and deeper into testing. What I am about to talk about today is certainly something I have always been guilty of and I am certain others can relate as well.

At the time this article was posted, https://3xgproductions.com/2020/08/18/vermilion-bloodlines-broly-returns/, the promo Broly 1 drop had not been previewed, I tested limited games, and ultimately felt I knew better based on the games and match-ups I was playing. I was dismissive of Planet Vampa at the time, and ultimately I tried to be smart and more correct, when in fact I was wrong. The best part about going into a testing environment with others is that you get to start over, and now that we had everything previewed we could see how all of the pieces were moving together, so I went back to the basics – 4x of everything important with a hyper focus of mitigating any and all possible points of failure. This is where I ended after the weekend:

Shenron’s Lair Deck List

As you can see, there are only 7 slots ultimately that became dedicated to me being more “creative” or “smart”. I have seen builds that go further with creativity by reducing chain pieces, Unisons, etc. but in all of my experience the most powerful thing I could always do was try to abuse the Broly chains as often as possible. Sure, you could try to invest some space into Toppo, but if you leave 2 energy up on a turn, you probably lost already. You could add FDC, but is it better than using that energy to progress your chain? It is debatable, but when my mindset is “I always want to do this” then that means my deck needs to be focused on doing so. My plan to express creativity will come from the sideboard, but for the main deck I am all good on pulling off Broly more than you can/will.

3x Max Power Kamehameha for the Gogeta: Br match-up (great against Syn Shenron too)
3x Crown of Retribution for Blue match-ups to play around God-Sealing and other counters
3x Beerus Ball to counter Heroic Prospect
3x Unending Awakening in match-ups where there are more 15k attacks than 20+
3x Toppo, Righteous Aid for the Vegeks match-up

Broly happens to be the easiest, most extreme case due to it being a Series 11 deck, but how do we apply this same logic to a deck from the past to something like… Dredgeku?

Arguably the most underplayed archetype in Series 10, Dredgeku, only got better with the release of Series 11. In the previous environment lists were stretched thin to account for everything and provide enough versatility and power to be able close games. In series 11 though we have the ability to trim away all of the fat and finally get this archetype in a place where it plays an entire deck of good cards and is completely focused on maximizing every slot.

Shenron’s Lair Deck List

54 cards and I really don’t want to increase it at all. Dredgeku has always been the best deck when it comes to utilizing Unisons, so why try to dilute that? Additionally, I know that To Save a Hopeful Future was a cute package you could play, but why invest all of those slots when you have the new Lebron James of DBS with Prince of Destruction Vegeta, Prideful Warrior – he does it all!!! When you look at this deck list now as compared to lists from the past you can clearly see what this deck is trying to do: establish a Unison, tax your resources, keep the game close, and then use some combination of Bardock, Man on a Mission, Cooler, or Lebron to close the game. Is there some creativity here? Sure, but honestly not a lot. Instead we’re focused on what makes the archetype so good. Again we will flex our creativity a bit when it comes to approaching our sideboard:

1x Cooler and 3x AoD Unison for the Syn Shenron match-up
3x Max Power Kamehameha for Gotenks, Gogeta: Br, and Syn Shenron match-up
3x Dark Power Black Masked Saiyan for the Vegeks match-up
1x Ribrianne against Syn Shenron and other match-ups where you want to lean into discard more plus bring in AoD Unison
1x Saiyan Instincts for any more attrition based match-up, green mirrors, etc.
3x Arena Wrecker is great against Invoker and can be brought in against Broly: Br for added pressure/disruption

Conclusion

The biggest change from series 10 to now for me has been getting away from the old ways of thinking and instead focusing on trying to maximize the best attributes of every leader and archetype I work with. Instead of trying to force a deck into being something it isn’t due to my own biases, I instead try to lean as hard as possible into enabling the deck to be at its very best doing the most powerful things it is capable of, as much as possible. Of course as we start receiving more meta game data, we will start adjusting, but for now our focus has to be on truly maximizing these more competitive archetypes – Dont’ Get Too Cute, because ultimately with the release of Vermilion Bloodlines you’re going to be heavily rewarded for consistency in your deck building, as opposed to creativity and flexibility.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII

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