Level Up: Battling Ego & Finding Your “Wheelhouse”

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.

The Truth

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.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAAIIIIIIII

Last Action Hero

Yep that’s right, Promo Gogeta is playable, scratch that, he’s highly competitive. To celebrate the release of the Anniversary Box I am sharing another list featuring my favorite card from the set – Jiren, Legend of Universe 11.

As you saw earlier this week, I believe this Unison is the centerpiece to Red mid-range strategies that lean a bit harder into being aggressive. Not only that, but in deck building, since Jiren’s reveal, I have drastically shifted my mentality when it comes to approaching red decks in order to make up for the two main weaknesses of the color:

1.) Energy Inefficient

2.) Inability to Accrue Virtual/Actual Hand Advantage

This version of Red Gogeta not only addresses those things, but it also offers a ton of synergy and is incredibly flexible by being able to be both the “beatdown” and the “control”.

The List – (Heartfelt Variant)

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

The first thing that comes to mind when looking at this list is that the large majority of our threats we are playing for 0 to 1 energy across the course of an average game. The only time we invest more than that is if we are playing Toppo, Righteous Aid on defense, Gotenks, Unison of Rage, Jiren, Legend of Universe 11, or Critical Combination. This is how I am addressing the energy inefficiency of the color. Instead of paying for actual Battle Cards, I am instead opting to make the opponent’s counters worse by going under them, and then investing my energy into, ideally, Jiren.

Turning the Corner

This deck truly plays one of the coolest games once it plays Jiren on turn 3 and your leader is awakened. You now have access to two Double Strikers each turn at all times and you’ll find quickly that your opponent’s Unisons will never stick.

Another powerful thing that occurs is that if your opponent plays anything 20k or less on your turn, it is dead. Yup, Jiren will give it minus 10k, and then your leader’s [Activate: Main] KO’s anything 10k or less. Now factor this in with Whis, Celestial Moderator as your super combo and tools like Frieza’s Death Ball and Yamcha, Merciless Barrage; your opponent will never be able to build a board without it being easily dispatched for little to no effort on your part.

Once you’re here the game starts becoming this awful experience for the opponent where your leader and Unison force them into an inevitable concession.

Upgrades

The list posted is built with all cards I actually own instead of playing the best/most expensive version of the deck. Honestly the only change I would make would be playing 3x Saiyan Instincts just because of how grindy some games can be. As for SCR’s SS4 Gogeta makes the most sense here since you’re reliant on your leader and Jiren more than anything else.

The List – (Jund-ish)

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

This version of the deck includes the Apes because this deck really is trying to play a more consistent, mid-range role. Again, note the average cost of the threats in the deck – we’re still following the same rules as before. The less you invest into your threats the worse your opponent’s counters and defensive measures become. This deck truly focuses on the resource exchanges with your opponent over time and doesn’t rely on any sort of KO punch, just one hundred leg kicks until eventually they can’t stand up anymore.

The biggest difference is straight up -4x Rushing Warrior Pan, -3x Heartfelt Plea for 3x Broly, Crown of Retribution (our Thoughtseize), 3x Saiyan Instincts, and 1x SS4 Gogeta SCR. If you’re looking to remain budget conscious I recommend 3x Frost, Before the Storm or some number of Final Guardian to be pitched to your Toppo’s for value. Additionally for your SCR you can opt for Frieza, Army Reborn or another copy of Critical Combination… or a copy of Foreseeing Hit which Mdolan2 from our Discord has been super high on.

Conclusion

This article started with “Yep that’s right, Movie Promo Gogeta is playable, scratch that, he’s highly competitive.”

Now that you’ve read the reasoning to why and have seen the lists, where do you stand on Jiren, Legend of Universe 11? How do you feel about this new wave of decks with such low converted energy costs? Lastly, what is your favorite card from the Anniversary Box?

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIIIII

Anniversary Box Brews: The Grim Reaper of Justice

[Deflect] [Dual Attack] [Union Fusion] 2: <Son Goten> and <Trunks: Youth> [Auto] If your leader card is a green <Gotenks> card : When this card is played, draw 2 cards, then choose up to 1 of your opponent’s Battle Cards and KO it. [Auto] When this card is removed from your Battle Area by an opponent’s skill or KO’d, add up to 1 <Son Goten> card and up to 1 <Trunks: Youth> card from your Drop Area to your hand.

From Irrelevant to Competitive

Rise of the Unison Warrior was a set that brought a ton of balance back to the Dragon Ball Super Card Game, and that is most evident in the amount of success green has seen since the set’s release. The introduction of Unisons, the free Counter: Play, and Dormant Potential Unleashed truly pushed the color to the top tier of competition, and now we have even a ton of decks leaning into green just due to the power level of Demigra, Unison of Sorcery and Frieza, Charismatic Villain.

With these truths alone, it is fairly safe to assume that the only thing really missing from green was the presence of cheap and powerful Battle Cards that were less vulnerable to Counter: Play/removal.

The Anniversary Box finally delivered in the form of Gotenks, the Grim Reaper of Justice.

Not only was Gotenks given to us, but the tools from Anniversary Box have truly removed Prodigious Strike Super Saiyan Gotenks from obscurity and has pushed it HARD into more competitive, tier 1.5/2 territory.

The New Tools

Alright, so we have Grim Reaper… now what? Well, Bandai gave us exactly what this deck needed – consistency. Gokule is a one energy tutor for Grim Reaper that also has the upside of paying an additional energy to sacrifice it and grab both [Union Fusion] targets needed in order to play your Grim Reaper… two energy for all of that seems deece. Next we were given Son Goten & Trunks, Faultless Youth which for one energy, and placing a life in the drop, you get a 15k body that can swing, then you have the ability to use the second [Activate: Main] to return it back to your hand and search the top 5 cards of your deck for a green <Gotenks> card or a 2 cost Unison and add it to your hand. This built-in value for a fusion target is again… deece.

Tying it All Together

Click Here for the Shenron’s Lair Deck List

Inb4 “deck builds itself, breh”

This deck indeed is a ton of 4 of’s and truly focuses on the resolution of Grim Reaper of Justice as many times as possible, so we built it accordingly. There are a few things to note here though:

4x Demigra, Unison of Sorcery – quickly becoming arguably the best Unison in the game, Demigra offers us the best turn one play in the game and when combined with an unchecked Zarbuto it allows to take down opposing Unisons before they have the chance to get out of hand. Not to mention, it enables your Frieza, Charismatic Villain, makes Dormant Potential Unleashed free, and acts as a lightning rod to help get you awakened much quicker than you would in the past.

2x Bardock, Paternal Unison – I was testing this secondary Unison slot as AoD Vegeta and to be blunt, I just never needed or wanted to play it. I would much rather play Bardock for his [Auto] and -3 opposed to playing AoD Vegeta on turn 4 or 5. Additionally, I like having the extra target for Son Goten & Trunks, Faultless Youth. I am still trying to find the best home for AoD Vegeta outside of the actual AoD deck, so stay tuned.

4x Paragus VS Any Other Choice – I tested Lone Prince for a bit, but it just wasn’t necessary, nor did I want to play it over a Gokule or Zarbuto at any point of any game. Paragus allows you to see much more of your deck to find your counters and that is exactly what this kind of deck needs. Even with Bardock Unison, the +1 just isn’t worth downgrading the super combo. Lastly, I found that triggering Power of Legend was so easy with just proper sequencing and the Leader skill so I felt Lone Prince really had no merit at that point.

2x For the Greater Good – this card is just always gas, and being able to pitch it with Dormant gives you just enough incremental value to be happy. Drop area negates are also clutch against Apex of Power and just great in general whenever you’re in a pinch.

Cell Xeno, Unspeakable Abomination – it is truly absurd how easily this deck abuses Cell Xeno. I understand the card has a hefty price tag, but combining the fact that you have the best floodgate in the game, arguably the best Counter: Play, arguably the best Unison, Grim Reapers, AND the best SCR – this deck truly has what it takes to steal a lot of games from a lot of decks who aren’t prepared for this archetype.

The Opener

The opening hand in Gotenks is everything, very similar to the Anniversary Box Vegito deck in that you need key cards in order to be able to do your thing. In these scenarios it is often best to determine your prioties:

Priority 1 – Resolve turn 2 Grim Reaper of Justice

This means that you’re going to be looking for Gokule and/or Grim Reaper, and some number of targets pre/post mulligan.

Priority 2 – Get Demigra, Unison of Sorcery or Zarbuto into play on turn 1

This is what it is. Demigra enables your best draws and Zarbuto is your best defense against opposing Unisons.

Ideal Sequence

Turn 1 – Demigra, Unison of Sorcery and tick up

Turn 2 – Fuse into Grim Reaper of Justice, Demigra or Leader swing based on hand sizes, swing with Grim Reaper once and then leave in active mode***.

***In testing the only way I have found myself disadvantaged is if I committed to a second swing while I was low on resources. You should be trying to keep your first Grim Reaper alive until you can play your next one and you want to force your opponent to either swing at Demigra or your life so you can Awaken faster. This is honestly the key, the longer your Grim Reapers live, the higher the likelihood that you’re going to win the card advantage war in the mid and late game.

Honestly, once you’ve accomplished that it is going to be a game of you dodging potential land mines while trying to whittle away at your opponent’s hand size and board presence until you can Awaken and then take over the game since your Leader’s draw 2 on Awaken plus Gokule leads to you swinging hand advantage heavily in your favor. You now get to defend yourself with Dormant, keep threats away with Gotenks and Frieza, Charismatic Villain, and cascade into more Reapers while also trying to find Cell Xeno to insure the game is over by turn 5.

Conclusion

It honestly has been incredibly cool testing and tuning this list over the past few days and I am so excited for the Anniversary Box to be released. Stay tuned as we continue to cover the archetypes being juiced up by the Anniversary Box and even try taking some of the AoD cards for a spin outside of the archetype – here’s to you Garlic Jr.

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

Red’s Savior: Jiren, Legend of Universe 11

Definitely the least talked about card from the Anniversary Box, but arguably the most impactful card to be released due to its ability to bring Red mid-range decks back into the tier 1/1.5 discussion – Jiren, Legend of Universe 11 offers something that Red decks have been longing for: the perfect mid-game threat that mitigates the card advantage issues the color has struggled with for the entirety of the DBSCG.

The Stats

Three red energy gets you a 20k body that not only is a natural double striker with the plus one, but also has an [Auto] that triggers when your opponent plays a Battle Card or Unison. When that card is played, you have the option to choose it and give it -10k for the turn. This may seem small, but in practice this effect takes a massive toll on the opponent due to how large Jiren is and how quickly he accumulates counters. Once he hits the board and ticks up to four, in the majority of games I have played, he never leaves. This means you have a 20k double striker FOR-EV-VER.

Oh and let us not forget the additional upside of having a minus three effect that gives -25k, ignoring [Barrier]. This is obviously a powerful effect, especially because it can even take out pesky [Indestructible] threats like 5 drop Zamasu from Draft Box 4. Do not get it twisted though, the money is in the plus one.

Virtual Card Advantage

A topic we have covered a few times, but Jiren happens to be a unique example of virtual card advantage. The first and obvious is that he is a 20k body which means that standard attackers, 15k’s, will require an additional card in order to be able to force Jiren to lose a counter. Jiren’s [Auto] throws quite a wrench into that plan though, since if is able to hit a 25k body or less, it generates even more advantage for you because the opponent is either going to commit more cards to combo, or in the best case scenario – they are losing that Battle Card entirely. Then add in the fact that Jiren is a double striker on offense and now you start to see the value skyrocket due to the cards Jiren will be trading for. The fact that you’re going to be netting a super combo, a negate, or multiple cards from your opponent is huge across the course of a game, and just looking at recent deck lists there are not a lot of 1/10k combo cards out there at the moment which means that you’re always netting the most value out of your Jiren swings. And of course the obvious, you gain access to the free Yamcha Counter: Play which when combined with Jiren’s ability becomes quite disgusting.

The last point to touch on here is just how oppressive Jiren is to opposing Unisons. Not only does his [Auto] touch them, but pressuring Unisons with 20k double strike is just too good right now.

Homes for Our Hero

Click here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

A deck that has been going through an identity crisis in Series 10, Surgeku, has finally found its way. There is no mistaking it, this is a Jiren deck, but the ability of Surgeku to dig so hard to find it and your highest impact cards just fits so well together. Surgeku struggled in S10 due to how powerful Unisons were and the fact that the best variants of Surgeku to date all centered around the combo step, not to mention the pool of Unisons Surgeku has access to was relatively poor making it so attacking opposing Unisons was almost impossible. Now though, Jiren has changed the game and Red/Yellow is so fetch.

That Was So Fetch Gretchen Wieners GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Taking you through the list I want to point out the dirty secret to deck building in the DBSCG – EVERYTHING MUST BE FREE, CHEAP, or BUSTED.

This list thrives off of the fact that, on average, the most expensive card in the deck is Jiren. Then the next most expensive cards end up being Toppo, Beerus Arrival, Gotenks Unison, Saiyan Instincts, Saiyan Lineage, and Raider’s Warcry. After that, everything in the deck is free or cost one.

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

Pilaf gets a huge upgrade from the existence of Jiren. The deck was already so potent with its ability to generate in upwards of 15 attacks on a given turn, but now with Jiren you can activate your leader ability to have a 20k, Triple Attack, Double Strike body that the opponent is going to either lose to, or dumb a ton of cards trying to defend. There are plenty of other Pilaf variants out there, but I have really been trying to push the power level with the addition of Nappa Super Combo and Gogeta, Resonant Explosion.

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List

Beerus goodstuff.dec has always been a fan favorite, but again Jiren just brings exactly what this kind of deck was missing in the past – a perfect mid-game threat to begin accruing advantage with and the ability to pressure opposing Unisons to the max.

Conclusion

I think we all can agree that the hype for Anniversary Box is real, but I will definitely be the most excited to jam Jiren into pretty much all of my red decks going forward. Red had a ton of tools before with Toppo, Yamcha Counter: Play, and Bardock, the Resolute but the addition of Jiren just pushes the power level of Red so much.

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Drop your comments below on what you’re excited about with the Anniversary Box, and share your own takes on Jiren decks as we move forward.

#scrubfamisbestfam #KTHXBAAAIIIIII

Frisco Brews: Red Vegito is Back!!!

By Frisco Fahs

Hey Scuba Scrubs! 

We’re back with another deck profile and my first deck profile with the new Anniversary product that’s going to be released in the coming weeks. I’m super excited to go over my Vegito Deck profile that I’ve been working since Vegito, Resolved Combined was teased. Let’s dive right into it!

Click Here for Shenron’s Lair Deck List Link

What does this deck do?

The goal of this deck is to play Hyper Rush SSB Vegito on Turn 2, 3 and maybe 4. The way you do this is by using Vegito, Polymorphic Potara on turn 1 and Union-Potara with Vegito, Resolved Combined and use the Activate Main on turn 2. You can also, do this play by playing a 1 drop Goku/Vegeta on turn 1 and spend 1 energy on the 2nd turn on the Goku/Vegeta you need with a Senzu bean to make the same play live. Also, you can achieve the same goal with a Saiyan Duo Son Goku/Vegeta Package or a turn 2 Vegito, Polymorphic Potara with a Senzu Bean. There’s a lot of nuances that I will get in with the card interactions portion of the article.

Mulligan Strategies: 

This is probably the most important section of the article because you need to know how the deck is built and functions to plan accordingly on your mulligan.

Priority 1 – You need a Vegito, Resolved Combined in your opener. If you don’t have it, mulligan all 6 back. If you do, move onto the next Priority.  

Priority 2 – You need a Polymorphic or a Senzu Bean. Since the deck requires 1 drops or playing both Goku’s and Vegeta with 1 energy, it’s best to have a Senzu Bean to if you don’t have a polymorphic since you can make your Hyper Rush turn happen more consistently.

Priority 3 – Keep a 1 drop Goku’s/Vegeta’s as the alternate way to Union-Potara so you can awaken turn 2 when you take your own life 3 times (1 life with a Goku/Vegeta and 2 life with Hyper Rush and the 4th life will be coming from an opponent’s attack turn 1 attack)

Important Interactions to Note:

Broly, Ultimate Agent of Destruction: I think the biggest shock to the deckis the SCR choice. Well, I like free things and this card is played for free after my opponent has to deal with my threats or I can offensively trigger his auto with Belmod, Double Devastation. This deck as many ways to go to 1 life like all the 1 drops and Hyper Rush himself! There’s another cool target for Broly. Find Out below!

Son Goku, Strength of Legends: Yep, he’s back againand better than ever! There’s a lot to note on this card. If you have more then 1 in your hand in the early game, he’s not only a black energy which helps a lot. You only need 1 yellow Vegeta/Goku to fulfil the cards conditions to play him for free turn 4. Also, he say’s you can’t Evolve of him but Union-Potara is a different skill so he’s a free Union-Potara target. Once you do that, you can play another for free from your hand which is awesome. Funny thing is, I think paying 4 for his Activate Main ability is better then paying for either Vegito SCR’s since Goku SoL plays around most of the Counter Play cards in the game! Just make sure to have at least 1 yellow energy charged by turn 4. Lastly, he’s a 9 drop that’s now a green battle card that also triggers Broly, Ultimate AoD with Belmod 4 drop which is insane!

Bardock, the Resolute: Just a FYI, you can’t play him after you use Polymorphic. Therefore, try to apply pressure before committing to that line of play to apply more pressure onto your opponent. The same goes for Belmod as well.

Tutors:  When you’re looking through your deck, you need to confirm what’s in your deck. How many 7 drop Vegito’s are left?  How many Saiyan Duo Vegeta’s are left? Is my Lightning Speed Vegito in the deck? All these questions need to be answered ASAP to insure you make the right lines of play for future turns. Make sure you don’t take too long since you can get called for time on this.

Lightning Speed Vegito: This card acts as a 5th copy of Hyper Rush Vegito. Once Hyper Rush is in your hand, you don’t really want to charge it since you need that red energy. Therefore, Saiyan Duo Son Goku makes a perfect way to pitch it out of your hand. Just make sure you have a Duo Vegeta in your drop or deck. Also, Son Goku Saiyan Reborn is a great way to get Hyper Rush out of your hand while accruing value. Also, blowing up a 3 drop or less during defense is not so bad after all!

Vegeta, resolve Renewed: If Green becomes more and more popular, you can probably max this out since it counters Frieza, Charismatic Villain!

Power Modifications: As a reminder, Senzu Bean, SSB Son Goku, Tenacious Warrior and Vegeta, Savior of the Future all transfer their power modification to their Union-Potara targets. Therefore, if you use Vegeta skills to take 1 life for 10k double strike, the Vegito, Combined Resolved would be a 35k but then you use the Activate Main, to go into Lightning Speed for a 30k Attack then into a Hyper Rush for a 35k Triple Strike.

Conclusion: 

The decks biggest weakness is itself. If you don’t see the 5 drop Vegito, you’re going to have a bad time. However, once you resolve 1 chain and awaken, you have a 10+ card hand which more often then not, it’s super easy to go in the second chain. I will be testing this deck in the gauntlet and see how it fairs against Invoker, Dredgeku, Syn Shenron and Vegeks. If I had to make an educated guess, I think the deck is definitely Tier 1.5 and has a decent shot to make an impact. I hope you enjoyed!

KKKkkkkkkkkkk, Byyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Agents of Destruction… HERE TO DESTROY!!!

Why, hello #ScrubFam.  For those that don’t know me, I go by Brian Read (since that’s my name) – aka: hurricanegl. It is my pleasure to bring to you today, a deck list I am quite fond of and simply cannot wait to play with IRL.  First, a couple of obligatory shout-outs:  Thank you 3xG for providing me the opportunity to share this deck list and all the help you’ve provided me throughout the years of me playing DBS.  Big shout out to Richard Zapp for introducing me (and the world) to the OG Agents of Destruction deck way back with Dende AoD. Shout out to Daniel Brown for inspiring this with one simple comment to a FB post: “You should try Cell Xeno as the SCR”.  Now onto the STARS of the new Anniversary Box – the NEW Agents of Destruction.

https://www.shenronslair.com/DeckBuilder/View/b278992d-1fd1-4248-968b-5abf562406e8

Enter AoD by Babidi

So, this deck obviously revolves around all the new AoD cards we are getting in the new Anniversary box, starting with the leader: Babidi, Leader of the Agents of Destruction//Majin Buu, Leader of the Agents of Destruction.  For this deck I focused on the Yellow & Green AoD in order to work towards that spicy recommendation of Cell Xeno. The AoD Leader Front side we have the Permanent skill that removes all specified cost from <Agent of Destruction> cards.  It’s Auto allows you to take up to 1 life AND look at the Top 5 of your deck for a card with {Agent of Destruction} in its name.  (((Ruling Note: Bandai has ruled that Agent & Agents will be treated the same))).  This deck is HEAVY on the AoD cards so the probability of hitting one of these is VERY HIGH, especially when you add in the Extra Card AND the Unison Warrior as viable targets.  Back Side gets even better with TWO Activate: Main skills.  The first allows you to play a 2 cost or less card with <Agent of Destruction> in the name for FREE.  The 2nd costs 3 energy and allows you to play a Unison Card with {Agent of Destruction} in its name with 3 markers.

AoD Strikes Back

Now the leader is not our only new toy in the set.  Bandai really has produced some HIGH-QUALITY cards in this archetype. Let me tackle them in order of optimal play:

  1. Hatchhyack, Vengeful Agent of Destruction – the most IMPORTANT skill to get the deck going is the Activate: Main (1), discard this card from your hand : Play up to 1 <Evil Wizard Babidi> card with an energy cost of 1 from your deck…shuffle.
  2. Turles, Chaotic Agent of Destruction – this card lets you dig and thin, which is super important for finding all those pieces that can overwhelm your opponent.
  3. Garlic Jr, Immortal Agent of Destruction – this is our clutch Negate that when it gets played allows you to play a 2 cost or less AoD from your deck.
  4. Lord Slug, Mighty Agent of Destruction – the primary target of Garlic Jr.  He’s a Super Combo with Unique and a Counter: Play deterrent for your opponent.  Once he’s established, if your opponent activates Counter: Play they have to discard 2 cards….EVERY TIME.
  5. Android 13, Exterminating Agent of Destruction – Counter: Play that prevents a 3 cost or less from coming into play, play the card, and opponent discards 1. THEN it’s auto triggers and you can shuffle up to 2 AoD or Babidi back into your deck.
  6. Broly, Invincible Agent of Destruction – Activate: Main is ok, but not it’s meat and potatoes.  Auto is the money maker.  When you play this card, you choose an opponent Battle Card 5 cost or less, KO it, look at up to 3 cards of deck, take ANY 1 to hand, the rest go to drop.
  7. The Agents of Destruction Strike Back (Extra Card) – Permanent: The card gains <<Agent of Destruction>> in all areas. Activate: Main – look at the top 2 cards of deck, grab up to 2 that have {Agent of Destruction} in their name. Bottom deck the rest. If you took a card to hand, you may take up to 1 life.
  8. Vegeta, Resolute Agent of Destruction (Unison Warrior) – Double Strike & Critical. Auto, when you play him, pitch one and nuke your opponent’s board ignoring Barrier. (+1) Give him +5K powr. (-5) If your Leader is an <<Evil Wizard>> or all your energy is mono-green: Choose 3 cards in your opponet’s hand and discard them.

Playing the Curve

I have found that my first 3 turns are pretty standard, if I can pull it off.  I am looking to start with 2 cards in my opening hand: Hatch & Turles.  These guys get this deck going so I REALLY want to see them.  If I see Cell Xeno, then it’s my lucky day.  T1 I am looking to resolve Hatch to get Babidi in play.  I want him to turn all my 2 cost AoD into 1 cost, my 3 cost AoD into 2 cost, and my 1 cost Extra Card is now FREE. The lynchpin of this deck being absurd is Babidi, Overseer of Destruction.  It is a 1 cost card with Barrier AND the Permanent that reduces the cost of all <Agent of Destruction> cards in your hand by 1.  If I have the Extra card, I am playing it here to get some of the AoDs to hand, especially if I’m missing Turles. Attacking obviously depends on if you are on the play/draw.  When you can attack with the leader, do so to dig and thin the deck.

T2 I am looking to dig and thin some more to garner more resources.  So, I’m swinging with my leader, likely taking the life, and grabbing an AoD from my Top 5.  Then I am going to tap my 1 to play Turles thanks to No Specified Cost from leader and reduced cost from Babidi Battle Card.  I am looking to swing and dig for another AoD card. Again, if I have the Extra Card…I am going to play it for FREE.  I’ll take life so I can set up a T3 Awaken.  T2.5 I’m passing to my opponent with 1 energy up.  By now I SHOULD have a Garlic Jr and/or A13 in hand.  I will use my one energy on which ever is the best play for the situation. Usually this means I’m going to Negate with Garlic Jr and free play Slug from my deck.

T3 I should be set up to Awaken just needing my opponent to attack my leader ONE time.  Once I charge, I’m going to sequence in the most optimal way for the situation. I want to dig with my leader and with Turles. I want to get value out of my 1 energy I’m going to Untap from leader Awakening. This can play out in a variety of ways.  If I need to take another life to Awaken, I’ll play DPBMS.  If I need to draw, hopefully I have a Koitsukai in the drop to allow me to dig 2 cards deeper into my deck.  If neither of those are required, I likely just play another Garlic Jr or A13.  I’d prefer the Garlic so I can bring out an A13 off of his skill. Then I’m looking to Awaken.  Here I’m going to use Leader Skill to Free Play a 3 cost AoD.  This is possible, once again, due to Babidi on board making them cost 1 less.  Primarily, I want to play Broly.  He let’s me pop a card off my opponent’s field and dig deeper into my deck (I’ve hit my Cell Xeno SOOOO MANY times off Broly).  If I still need to dig, and I have a 2nd Broly in hand, I likely hard cast him for 2.  If not, I will play ANY of the other G/Y 3 Cost AoD.  I’m reserving my 1 energy in case I need to counter a counter: play.  This is where I start putting the real pressure. I swing like crazy using almost no combo power.  I just want to deplete my opponent’s life and/or hand. Once I’ve swung as much as I can, my opponent is likely sitting at 4 or less life.  I probably tap my last energy if I haven’t used it and play another 2 drop.  Swing one last time for another 15k base.  If my opponent still is surviving, they should have a relatively small hand.  So, my final trick is to sack 2 of my 3 Cost AoD and 3 of my 2 Cost for successor into Xeno Cell.  I’ve been able to do this so that I can swing 8-10 times for 11-14 damage on T3.  OPPRESSIVE.

The Extra Spots

The deck is obviously more than just AoD.  One of the toughest setbacks the deck has is limited natural draws. To compensate I went with a 2-2 split on Super Combos. AoD Slug for the effects and Roshi for the draw.  I also included 3 of the Goku Draw Ape to help me dig and recover if I fall behind curve. Koitsukai is a great draw engine with the added benefit of making my opponent pay if they want to Counter: Play me with a card that comes into play and has 20k or less power.

Also, in those games where my opponent is able to stall me out, I want the option to do it to them as well.  Putting Flying Nimbus in the deck can help me accomplish this.  Also, when the game goes longer, I can play out Vegeta AoD (Unison Warrior).  He works to reset my opponent’s board, apply more pressure, and gives me the opportunity to play Frieza, Charismatic Villain Counter: Play against them.

Conclusion

I LOVE THIS DECK.  It’s not Tier 0. But I think it will have a share in Tier 1.  There are “Unexpected” & “Righteous” answers to the deck. People should definitely start preparing now.  If you sleep on it, it will give you nightmares.  Can’t wait to hear feedback from all of you Scrubs like me out there.  Now grab a deck and get your game on.

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

Frisco Brews: Gogeta Strength of Legends

Scrub Fam!!!! We’re back with another Son Goku, Strength of Legends (SOL) deck profile. If you followed 3xG in the Draft Box 5 format, you probably remember me making several decks based around SOL with  Surgeku Leader. Now with Unisons and the restricted specified cost, we must tailor the deck in a different way. Check it out! 

What does the deck do? 

Currently, the deck is 52 cards. The idea of the deck is that Zen-oh, Cosmic Unison turns on SOL on turn 3 since the requirement of the card is that you need 4 energy. The goal is to mill or combo away the non-blue cards in the deck to make this possible. The main thing to note is that we’re sacrificing the Activate Main ability to make this happen. Then you can use your leader ability before attacking to bait a negate to finish them off with Fu, Shrouded in Mystery or SS4 Gogeta, Peerless Fusion. Another cool note is that Zen-oh unison get’s to 5 energy quicker to turn on your double strike for your leader swing. 

Mulligan Strategies. 

Zen-oh unison is the most important card in the deck. If you don’t open with it, mulligan everything back. If you do have it, try to mulligan for Vegeta, Savior of the Future to have your self-awakening tool. 

Card Choices 

Non-Blue Cards: The cool thing about being blue is that you’re mono blue card is accounted for. If you steer away to a different leader, then the best generic blue cards require you to charge a blue energy. This way, we can get value from Great Ape Son Goku, Saiyan Instincts and Furthering Destruction Ciampa without it costing any specified energy. Then, we can utilize Hasty Dispatch Dyspo to recycle our super combo, Zen-oh, edge of Space. 

SS Gotenks, Absolute Unison: I look at this card more of a Barrier Deflect Alternate Finisher with Removal or Draw engine. It fits nicely as a two off and your opponent must deal with since they don’t want it to stick for multiple turns. 

Hit Deadly Vanguard: I don’t know if it’s just me but Dimension Magic seemed to be gotten worse with Set 10. The main reason why is the ability to play free counter play’s when the Unison is on board (SS Trunks, God-Sealing Technique). However, I added 2 of these just so the you can get value off your extra energy since there are a lot of times that your defensive energy gets wasted. 

Soul Punisher: Making your leader a double strike crit for 35k for 1 energy is the definition of “DEECE”! Also, it fits in the conversation of utilizing your defensive energy wisely. 

Vegeta, Savior of the Future: 1 Cost double strikers are super important in this meta to deal with opposing unisons and you need a clear way to awaken. It’s a match made in heaven! You could potentially cut 1 to make the deck 51 cards. 

Secret Rare: You can either go with Black Smoke Dragon or SS4 Gogeta. I think I like Gogeta more since he has the ability to close out the game that turn whereas Black Smoke Dragon usually needs a second activate main skill to resolve to turn the corner. Fu, Shrouded of Mystery acts as another secret rare. When your opponent is at 2 or less life and you use the activate main skill so they can only use 1 counter for the turn, when you bait out the negate FU Shrouded or SS4 clears a path  to victory! 

Conclusion 

If you’re looking for a super fun deck to play at locals, this is the deck for you. It’s not tier 1 by any means but it does do something powerful meaning it’s a blue leader that utilizes the drop area. For the next SOL deck, I’m going to tinker with Warp Lands with Zen-oh Unison and SOL to utilize the activate main ability. Stay tuned!