Posted by : Abdalaziz al-shammari Dec 15, 2011
Oscar Hopkins piloted a creative new version of X-Sabers to the Top 32 of YCS Kansas City, taking the strategy in totally new directions! X-Saber Decks have always focused on strong defense and big Special Summoning combos. But Hopkins set aside some of the most popular cards that X-Saber Duelists normally play, and focused on stopping his opponent’s Trap Cards. The result was an extremely reliable deck that was able to stall out the game, and pull off its best moves in almost every Duel.
Here are the keys that made Hopkins’ Deck so good:
- Cards like XX-Saber Darksoul, XX-Saber Emmersblade, X-Saber Pashuul, and Giant Rat give unparalleled defense.
- Creature Swap and Enemy Controller let you take control of your opponent’s best monsters.
- Gottoms’ Emergency Call and XX-Saber Faultroll give huge Special Summoning plays.
Hopkins’ goal was to make sure that he could consistently play Emergency Call and Faultroll, because those two cards start combos that can easily win Duels:
- You can activate Emergency Call when there’s a face-up “X-Saber” monster anywhere on the field. It lets you Special Summon two more X-Sabers from your Graveyard.
- Faultroll’s ability lets you Special Summon it from your hand when you control two face-up X-Sabers, and its effect Special Summons an X-Saber from your Graveyard.
Both cards require you to control X-Sabers, and need more X-Sabers in your Graveyard to work. But by playing fewer X-Sabers and running Giant Rat instead, Hopkins was actually able to make better use of those cards. It was a stroke of genius, and the Deck wound up looking like this:
3 XX-Saber Darksoul
3 XX-Saber Faultroll
3 XX-Saber Emmersblade
3 XX-Saber Fulhelmknight
3 Giant Rat
3 X-Saber Pashuul
1 XX-Saber Boggart Knight
3 Enemy Controller
1 Dark Hole
2 My Body as a Shield
3 Creature Swap
1 Book of Moon
1 Mind Control
1 Monster Reborn
1 Level Limit – Area B
3 Gottoms’ Emergency Call
2 Trap Stun
3 Royal Decree
Extra Deck: 15
1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Naturia Beast
1 XX-Saber Gottoms
3 XX-Saber Hyunlei
1 Scrap Dragon
1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
1 Stardust Dragon
1 X-Saber Urbellum
1 Colossal Fighter
1 Naturia Barkion
1 Magical Android
1 Black Rose Dragon
1 Ally of Justice Catastor
.Defense, Sabers! Defense!
This strategy is all about defense. By controlling the field and keeping the opponent from beating you in the early game, you can buy time to draw into copies of Call and Faultroll. While you defend yourself, you’ll also build your Graveyard and your field so that when you get to those combo cards, you have everything you need to use them.
Giant Rat is a “recruiter” monster – when it’s destroyed in battle and sent to the Graveyard, it lets you Special Summon an EARTH monster with 1500 ATK or less. It “recruits” that monster from your Deck. X-Sabers already have their own recruiter: XX-Saber Emmersblade works likeGiant Rat, but it Special Summons Level 4 or lower X-Sabers with no ATK limit. Most Duelists just use Emmersblade, but Hopkins played three Emmersblades, plus three Rats. The only card Rat can’t Summon is XX-Saber Boggart Knight; by playing Rat and Emmersblade together, Hopkins increased his chance of seeing at least one recruiter in all of his Duels. That’s a big improvement to his defense, and it also let him use three Creature Swaps. If you Swap your opponent a recruiter, you can take their big monster exchange. When you use their big monster (which is now YOUR big monster) to attack over the recruiter you gave them, you’ll get the Special Summon when your recruiter (which was temporarily THEIR recruiter) hits YOUR Graveyard.
With Darksoul and Pashuul around to block even more attacks, this Deck was a brick wall that was almost impossible to break through. These monsters are strong blockers, but they also help you play Faultroll. Darksoul can search Faultroll from the Deck, and Pashuul can’t be destroyed by battle, so it makes Special Summoning Faultroll really easy. Fifteen of the nineteen monsters in this deck have defensive effects. The only ones that don’t are Faultroll and Boggart Knight – which is why Hopkins only played one Knight when most X-Saber Duelists play two or three.
Even though some Decks don’t play many Trap Cards these days, Hopkins ran three RoyalDecree and two Trap Stuns. Both cards can interfere with Emergency Call, so sometimes it’s important to use your Calls before your Trap negation. But Stun and Decree ensure that when you’re ready to make big moves with Faultroll, nothing stands in your way. They also help guarantee the Synchro Summon of XX-Saber Hyunlei, which can destroy up to three cards in your opponent’s back row. All that Trap negation was another factor that made this Deck so consistent.
Oscar Hopkins found new ways to play to the biggest strengths of the X-Saber theme, and he was rewarded with a Top 32 finish because of it! His strong showing doesn’t just pave the way for more X-Saber Decks in future tournaments: it also demonstrates the strength of powerful defense. Remember that the next time you build a new Deck yourself.
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