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September 2008


Looking Under The Bed - The Side Deck


Hey all, and welcome to another edition of "Looking Under the Bed!" Before we dive in to the article for today, I wanted to point out a glaring mistake in my previous article, "Looking Under The Bed - Earth Control." It seems that I misread the effect of "Soul Taker," and was under the impression that you gained control of your opponent's Monster for 1000 LP, instead of merely destroying it. That said, the basis for the Earth Deck has been changed. Since Soul Taker no longer does what I expected it to do, and after much consideration, I believe that the best alternative in this deck is Enemy Controller (in threes). The reason for this is that you need to be able to handle the huge swings of advantage, and with Enemy Controller you can sacrifice a monster to pretty much negate all that advantage, or you can simply make that advantage a disadvantage for your opponent by switching their monster into Defense. Using this card in threes will more than make up for Soul Taker's decreased playability.
I am sorry for the mistake; I pray it doesn't detract from the main article here today.
The sidedeck. The most versatile 15 cards of your deck. They need to be able to work in tandem, to work on their own, to stop, to drop, to roll, and to do all the things you need them to do. What the sidedeck does is shores up your weak points, while at the same time being able to replace a card in your deck without losing an advantage. This may seem contradictory, but when you break down a deck into its many parts you begin to see the slight beginnings of synergy, and the sidedeck is able to help with that synergy and make it flow better. The idea is to look at your main deck, playtest it, and see what goes right and what goes wrong.
Playtesting is critical in building a sidedeck, but before playtesting comes card choice. Card choice is easy enough - you know your deck well, you play it a lot, you know what needs to be fixed and what needs to just be patched up with some band-aids. Card choice is simple if you want to make Top-8 at a local tourney; but if you're in it to win it, you're going to want to take a good look at your deck and really focus on what cards you're putting in there. If you're playing a Macro Cosmos deck, chances are you won't want a Bazoo the Soul Eater in there, because not only is he a worthless card (due to the fact that you can't pump him up), but he takes up a slot. A better idea would be something that can possibly help your deck: a Gren Maju da Eiza, for instance.
It's simple card choice that can make or break a good sidedeck, but card choice is only step one. Step two relies on you, as a duelist, to playtest your choices in a variety of different ways. If you have a team, bounce ideas off them and run a gauntlet, throwing any and all cards in your sidedeck in while pulling a variety of different cards out. I'm not going to tell you how many duels you need to play to perfect your sidedeck - some need only a match, others need 100+ games. It's how you play and what you want in there that counts.
Sidedeck building isn't easy, and I'm not going to point out some cards that are "staple" sidedeck cards, because the truth is there isn't a "staple" sidedeck. But the main thing you need to know is your main deck. If you don't know the main deck, you won't be able to run the sidedeck effectively at all. That's why running the gauntlet is so important - you need to know your deck's weaknesses inside and out before you can even think about building a sidedeck. You need to be prepared for any and all matchups: Gladiator Beasts, Lightsworn, Dark Armed Dragon, Exodia, Trick Burn (coming in a feature article sometime soon), Warrior Toolbox, Monarch, Tomato Control, Macro Cosmos, Gren Maju Macro, and any derivative thereof. That's a lot of decks to play against, but you don't necessairly have to play against them. You could pull a Top-8 deck off of Metagame.com and proxy it, then run your deck against that deck until you find where you're pressure points are. Once you shore up your weaknesses with your sidedeck cards, you should come out on top 80-90% of the time, in all your matchups.
That's a lot of hard work, but it pays off in the end. If you want to be a top duelist, believe me - your sidedeck is your best friend.
I know this article was short, but there are reasons for that (the main one being I don't have to explain cards or reasons why I put them in). This is a simple reminder of what you should do if you want a good sidedeck (and 1st place to boot), but what it mainly was was an apology to all my fans out there for making such an obvious mistake.
Anyway, next time I'll be taking a look at a new deck called "Trick Burn." I'll let you figure it out.


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