Posted by : Abdalaziz al-shammari Nov 9, 2010

After a Summer of domination, X-Sabers continue to be 1 of the most successful – and popular – Decks in Championship-level competition. After an X-Saber mirror match in the Finals of YCS Toronto in September, X-Sabers have been amongst the top 3 most-played strategies at each YCS tournament that followed.

But a new force emerged with the release of Duelist Revolution: Scraps. Scrap Duelists made it to the Top 16 of YCS San Jose, YCS Bochum, and YCS Philadelphia, and made dual Top 8 showings in an October Regional Qualifier event in Oshawa, Ontario, piloted by two previous Championship winners. Scrap Duelists are just discovering the techniques that unlock the Deck’s true power, and Starstrike Blast is going to take Scraps to all new heights. In tonights Monday Night Matchup, we pit the new Scrap Deck against 1 of the most consistent strategies of all time: X-Sabers.

The X-Saber Strategy:

Over the past many months we’ve seen X-Sabers take on several different forms, but the core strategy remains the same: control the Duel with strong defense, while using XX-Saber Emmersblade and XX-Saber Darksoul to search your Deck for the right monsters at the right time. Destroy the opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards with XX-Saber Hyunlei; threaten their hand with X-Saber Airbellum and XX-Saber Gottoms; and Summon extra monsters with XX-Saber Fulhelmknight and XX-Saber Faultroll. The X-Saber Deck is the perfect mix of aggression, control, and devastating Synchro Summon combos.

On its own, a single X-Saber can often be dealt with by bigger attackers, or stopped in its tracks by cards like Book of Moon. But if an X-Saber Duelist can build their field, they unlock more and more plays with every monsters they Summon. By sniping away at the opponent’s cards, while scoring free Summons to replace the cards he uses, an X-Saber Duelist builds victory one card at a time.

The Scrap Strategy:

Scraps actually have a lot in common with X-Sabers. Though they don’t discard cards from the opponent’s hand, they do get plenty of free Summons thanks to their key monster: Scrap Chimera. When Scrap Chimera is Normal Summoned, its controller can Special Summon Scrap Goblin or Scrap Beast from their Graveyard. If that’s successful, you’ll immediately make a Level 7 or Level 8 Synchro Summon. The more monsters a Scrap Duelist has in his Graveyard, the stronger he becomes, and the defensive powers of Scrap Searcher and Scrap Goblin mimic the tough defense that have made X-Sabers so consistent.

The biggest payoff for playing Scraps is easy access to Scrap Dragon. Its effect lets you destroy 1 of your cards and 1 of your opponent’s, and since several “Scrap” cards have special effects that can trigger when you destroy them, it’s hardly an even trade. The Scrap Duelist uses aggressive Synchro Summoning and slick combos to pick apart his opponent card by card, much like X-Sabers. Their combos roll into one another, so your first Scrap Dragon can help you Summon your second, and so on until the opponent is overwhelmed.

There are 2 big new forces making Scraps more powerful than they were before. The first is the introduction of Royal Decree that started in the Oshawa Regionals. Seeing that the top Scrap Decks from recent YCS tournaments needed few Traps, these Duelists took everything one step further and ran triple Royal Decree. Instead of playing more defensive Traps, you can play 3 Book of Moon and 2 Enemy Controller to defend yourself and weaken your opponent’s field. The second boost for Scraps is the addition of 3 new cards from Starstrike Blast: Scrap Twin Dragon, Scrap Mind Reader, and Scrap Searcher all have effects that make the Scrap Deck more flexible and that help strengthen combos Scrap Duelists were already using.

If You’re Playing X-Sabers…

… You’re proably going to have some trouble. Since many Scrap Decks are playing Royal Decree, you won’t be able to rely on signature cards like Gottoms‘ Emergency Call. You might also find it tough to play defensive Trap Cards like Solemn Warning and Bottomless Trap Hole, so you’ll have to rely on Book of Moon a lot more. That’s tough, because if your Scrap-wielding opponent Summons Scrap Chimera and then uses its effect to Special Summon a Tuner, you’ll need to use Book to stop your opponent’s Synchro Summon. But the Tuner that you’ll be turning face-down was Summoned for free, so you have to attack it next turn to keep yourself from being overwhelmed. If you can’t get that attack through, you’ll quickly find yourself on the losing end of some serious Scrap aggression.

In order to combat Royal Decree, you’ll want to make careful use of XX-Saber Hyunlei. The Scrap Deck is pretty good at keeping your monsters off the field, so make sure to take advantage of the plays that let you unleash Hyunlei easily: don’t waste your Boggart Knights and Pashuuls, because when the Scrap Duelist’s defenses are down, those 2 monsters can team up in 1 turn to let you Synchro Summon Hyunlei and wipe Decree off the field. Try to make sure that you aren’t completely devastated when those Scrap Dragons start destroying your cards: Setting XX-Saber Darksoul, and Chainable Spells like Book of Moon and Mystical Space Typhoon, is one way to play around the Dragons’ effects. If you don’t Main Deck Mystical Space Typhoon because you play Seven Tools of the Bandit or Trap Stun instead, you’ll definitely want to Side Deck in Typhoons.

When you’re forced to play Book of Moon to break up a Synchro Summon, try and capitalize with XX-Saber Fulhelmknight. You can’t afford to play Book, and see the monster you turned face-down Flip Summoned on the following turn. Clear away the Scrap Duelist’s Books and Enemy Controllers and make your move: if you can nab a free Special Summon or 2 with Fulhelmknight, it’ll go a long way towards helping you win. If you don’t think you can mount a counter-attack after using Book, then you might just want to let your opponent Synchro Summon and Book whatever they bring out. At least then, you’ll only be dealing with 1 big monster instead of 2.

If You’re Playing Scraps…

…Then Royal Decree is your biggest advantage in this matchup! The top X-Saber Duelists from YCS Philadelphia played as many as 14 Trap Cards in their Main Deck, all of which are useless if you activate Royal Decree and keep it on the field. Aside from perhaps Stardust Dragon, you won’t have many ways to protect a face-up Decree, so you want to speed your way towards a win as fast as you can. When you have Scrap Dragon or Scrap Twin Dragon, you’ll normally want to use them to clear your opponent’s monsters and deal as much damage as possible. Remember, Scrap Twin Dragon’s effect won’t destroy XX-Saber Darksoul, so it can be really good in this matchup.

Book of Moon and Enemy Controller are even more important for you than they are for the X-Saber Duelist. Use them to break up opposing Synchro Summons – especially Hyunlei – and protect your monsters when your opponent uses THEIR Books to try and weaken you. XX-Saber Faultroll is another concern, so use Book to keep your opponent from having the 2 face-up X-Sabers he needs to Special Summon it.

You can play Enemy Controller to snag 1 of your opponent’s monsters for a turn too, a move that will also help break up Synchro Summon attempts. But keep in mind that Controller is also a powerful aggressive card: you can Tribute the smaller monsters you Special Summon, like Scrap Searcher and Scrap Mind Reader, to take your opponent’s best attacker and turn it against him. You can even take a monster and use it as Synchro Material. Again, Controller’s another way to outplay XX-Saber Darksoul: if it’s sent to the Graveyard from YOUR side of the field, your opponent won’t get to search a card with its effect. You can also use it to take a Thunder King Rai-Oh that’s keeping you from Synchro Summoning, or swipe a Fulhelmknight that’s still got its attack-negating effect. Keep in mind that Effect Veiler is a great card to Side Deck here, since it deals with many of the same threats.

Both of these Decks are flexible: they pick apart the opponent card by card; search cards from their Deck as needed; and each can roll combos together for big plays. But Scraps have a natural advantage thanks to Royal Decree, and cards like Scrap Twin Dragon and Enemy Controller allow specific moves that give the Scrap Duelist further advantages. While X-Saber Duelists have dominated in many tournaments before, they’re going to have to work extremely hard to beat the new breed of Scraps.

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