Defining the Metagame: Dark/Nature Control
4.08.04 This is the first of hopefully many articles Iíll be writing. On a brief introduction, my nameís Ronald Waclawski, Hydromorph for short. Iíve been doing Card of the Day for Pojoís Duel Masters site since it first started. Iíve been playing CCGís for roughly 6 years now, since Pokťmon first started up. Since then Iíve played MTG, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Duel Masters, of course. I also works as tournament coordinator at Two Guys Card Shop in Fredonia NY.Well, so much for that, letís get down to business. Duel Masters has just got started, and sanctioned tournament play will be beginning mid-April. Now is crunch time for getting the cards your deck will need. Most of the decks that you see will be 2-3 colors, with some mono-colored and multi-colored nonsense running around. Itís still pretty hard to tell which decks are going to make top tier in Duel Masters, and which archetypes will be left in the dust.
In the games Iíve played at the shop pre-tourney level, it seems that one effect proves dominant in every way shape or form, creature removal. While true for a mass majority of card games, everyone loves good, reliable creature kill. Youíll have to get used to it in Duel Masters, since it will probably run rampant through the game or at least a portion of the decks that have the option of running it, especially Darkness.Putting it to your advantage, creature kill can be a devastating deck, and Iíve already been tinkering around with a few decks that can totally lock your opponent out of keeping much of anything on the field. The build utilizes the mass creature removal of Darkness, with the mana manipulating power of Nature, which gets some nice creature kill too. Most of the deckís creatures seem like theyíd jump out of the swamp, so until I find a better name, I dub this deck Swamp.
Swamp Ver-1.0Creatures (28)
4 Bone Spider4 Bloody Squito
4 Bronze-Arm Tribe3 Deathblade Beetle
3 Mighty Shouter4 Storm Shell
4 Swamp Worm2 Vampire Silphy
Spells (12)4 Death Smoke
4 Terror Pit4 Natural Snare
A quick overview of what the deck does, quite simply, is kills your opponentís creatures in any way shape or form that you can. 22 Darkness cards and 18 Nature cards makes it nearly as even as you can possible get mana-wise. Youíre running the full eight creatures that kill a creature upon entry into the battle zone, and twelve spells that have pinpoint creature kill, or things of that nature.Bloody Squito
Against the early rush, this guy will save your butt more times than not. At two itís the fastest drop in the deck, and doesnít interfere much with the overall strategy, it can also be used later to protect your Wormís and Shellís. Although you should have enough creature kill to overlook the potential for most blockers, 4 Squito is pretty important.Mighty Shouter
Three Mana for a 2000 means it stays on the table, either in the battle or mana zone, granted youíre not playing against Water. Itís a pretty straightforward creature that will probably end up as mana before it even reaches the battle zone nine times out of ten. Aside from that 2000 is enough attack to deal with random little dues after the initial rush.Bronze-Arm Tribe
The meat of this deck, Bronze-Arm is usually my favorite turn 3 play since it paves the way for your deck to ramp into a turn 4 Beetle, followed up by a Terror Pit and Swamp Worm. It gets the deck going, and will usually net you the last of the mana you need after you get rolling. It also breaks shields, despite the weak package. Either way it should be well gone before Silphy hits the table, if it even does.Bone Spider
Random 5000 attacker to stop Onslaughter Triceps rushes, which will probably be big since Fire is every little kids favorite. Good vs. quick rush and a decent mid to late game threat.Swamp Worm / Storm Shell
The best tools in your arsenal. With all the kill you have, you should be able to kill the big things with your pinpoint removal and start clearing the board with these dudes, while getting a body in the process. 2000 is nothing to scoff at, since they still break a shield. Mana acceleration for your opponent will rarely mean much by turn 7, and if it lets them play a huge creature, you should be able to kill it. Storm Shell also gets round Dark Reversals and stupid Aqua Knights and Soldiers.
Deathblade BeetleThe early game threat this deck needs. It usually kills any creature it wants, or breaks two shields. Donít be afraid to play it as mana early game though. You can also plan for one turn 4 if you got the Tribe.
Vampire SilphyWhile I donít agree this card is good in itís own right, your primary concern with this deck would be masses of random good dudes, with small bodies. Vampire Silphy usually clears up the left over muck your opponent has if theyíre trying to consolidate their little forces while staring down a few Squitos. Also, after a Silphy attack, you should be able to widdle down the leftovers with Swamp Worms and Storm Shells quite easily, and if not, Terror Pit or Natural Snare.
Death SmokeKills almost any blocker thatís out there, along with any creature that hasnít attacked. Great versus Toel decks as well. Pretty much a must have for Darkness
Terror PitKill any creature, 6 mana. Also between Snare and this, youíll probably have one or two lurking in your shields for wary creatures with the early game motivation. Play four, and donít look back.
Natural Snare...and while youíre at it, run eight...
First thing, Iíd like to dispel a few myths that people confuse about the game. The first seems to keep many people from thinking Storm Shell or Natural Snare are good. Thatís the fact that instead of destroying the card, it sends it to the mana zone. And everyone whines ďWhy would you want to help your opponent out!?Ē
To answer the all the hyper, mana-loving, Duel Masters children of the world out there: Itís not helping your opponent. Putting a creature in the mana zone is one of the most aggravating things you could do to any player. If a creature is destroyed via Terror Pit, they could still potentially get it back with Dark Reversal or something. Additionally, Aqua Knight could be a hassle since it really canít be destroyed. Sending it to the mana zone almost guarantees it stays there, for now at least. If your deck is good enough, one extra mana should look like next to nothing to destroying their bomb, like Hanusa.
Next is the blocker situation. You donít need half a deck full of creatures with blocker, thatís not the way the game was designed to work and isnít the way it does. Yes, walls in this game are slightly better than in Magic: the Gathering, but it doesnít mean you should automatically staple 10 into every deck, or that a deck needs blockers to be good, which is false, though often times early game blockers are necessary for the early rush.
Bloody Squito is insurance of the Fire.dec nut draw, where theyíll dump their hand in like 3 turns. Bloody Squito should intercept them until you get an attacking threat down turn 3, which you should, at which point you should be able to stabilize.
From experience against Fire rushes, they only have a real chance when theyíre on the play. So you have about 7-8 cards from your deck to pull a Squito, in addition your shields have to have no Squitos or the 8 shield triggered creature kill spells to let the fast decks win. This has happened to me once of all the times Iíve played this deck. In addition, as the control deck in the match-up, youíll be getting extra cards in the grip early on, which is a good sign when youíre trying to push control of the game on your opponent.
Your usual turn 3 play will be Bronze-Arm Tribe, possibly Bone Spider, or at worse Mighty Shouter if you havenít pulled either. After that you should follow it up with a Death Smoke, a few attacks to widdle down your opponents team, then wash up the leftovers with a Storm Shell or Swamp Worm. You basically just carve your hand to pave the way for this series of events as you work your way to victory.
Another thing is donít attack Shields to early, until you establish control. Deathblade gets out early and can apply Double-Breaking beats quickly while paving off the mid-game rush. If they canít deal with Deathblade after the initial swing, pat yourself on the back and repeat. Also, after you Natural Snare and Storm Shell, they could have quite a bit of mana, so if they have a lot of shields, control yourself. Donít swing for as much as you can and give them a chance to get back into the game. Keep your opponentís options limited until you gain full control and can deal with any threat they can serve.
Another added perk is Storm Shell and Natural Snare havenít become heavy big name rares yet, so you may be able to pick them up on the cheap. Vampire Silphy also goes fairly low for a Very Rare. Itís hard to replace the insane amount of creature kill in this deck, so youíre just going to have to find as many pieces as you can. Cards like Deathblade arenít a necessity. Steel Smasher might almost be a better call at it comes out quickly enough to stop the early rush. I considered cutting Mighty Shouter from the deck for it, but late game mana is fairly important, and I have a heavy control metagame around here, so I take it on personal preference.
Personally, I think this could very well be one of the better decks in the format. So try it out, tweak it if you wish. (Mail me if you have to) just see what you can do with it. Enter a tourney and let people know how you did with it. Thatís all for now, until next timeÖ-Hydromorph
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgAOL: Hydromorph1602