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Strategy and Gameplay:
Aggro in the ‘05 Metagame – Mono-Fire
February 21, 2005
By JMatthew


Mono-Fire attracts many players immediately upon their inception to Duel Master’s. Is it due to the pyromaniac found deep inside nearly every adolescent boy? Hopefully not. Perhaps it’s thanks to Fire civilization’s lightening fast creatures and enormous (and just plain cool) Dragons. Wait! Not just Dragons,
split_head_hydroturtle_qbut Armored Dragons! As if the concept of a dragon wasn’t scary enough, now Duel Master’s got them wearing the armor of the knights the Dragons once consumed!
Fortunately for these new players, Fire civilization’s first impression is well deserved. However, each player seems to make the same mistakes upon building those early decks. Let’s see if we can formulate a solid build.

Fire is both the quickest and the strongest (in relation to Power) civilization in the game of Duel Masters. Often, Fire creatures can slam into your opponents shields before they have a chance to set up a viable defense. If they do present a defense, then you can always hope to bust your way through that defense with the most powerful creatures in the game. In addition, Fire has creature kill and more of it is available than nearly from any other civilization.

Fire’s quick and deadly creatures can often be countered by Light, Water and, sometimes Darkness each of which possess cheap and effective blockers. These blockers can quickly put a halt on your assault. Fire’s large and in charge creatures have issues of their own when it comes to casting cost. With no mana acceleration, no protective creatures, and few defensive spells it’s difficult to nearly impossible to field these creatures. Lastly, while Fire does have a good deal of creature kill, there is always a cruel disadvantage to playing these creatures and spells, which make them not entirely ideal.

Basic Build Formula

20x Three Casting Cost or Less Creatures
While Fire does hold the record for the most powerful creatures in the game of Duel Masters, focusing on those creatures is often a mistake of many players. You should keep majority of a mono-fire deck primed toward small, cheap creatures so you can consistently begin your game quick and deadly. Your objective should be to hit them fast and hard – eliminate your opponent before they can even get of the starting line.
Examples: Deadly Fighter Braid Claw, Mini Titan Gett, and Brawler Zyler.

8x Support Fatties
Sometimes the game will go on longer then you will normally want it to despite all the fast and deadly Fire weenies you can play. When that happens you will find yourself with a need to drop some heavy firepower. This is why I call these guys “support” fatties.
Support fatties should only be in the deck to be used in case your smaller creatures come across a situation they can’t handle. Ideally, you will avoid playing most of your fatties two out of three games. Remember though, for the most part, you will want to drop two or three smaller creatures rather than that heavy 6 to 7 casting cost fatty. This presents more targets for your opponent to deal with. His Death Smoke is just as powerful against your Deadly Fighter Braid Claw as it is against your Billion-Degree Dragon.
Examples: Bolshack Dragon, Twin Cannon Skyterror, and Armored Blaster Valdios.

12x Creature Kill
Darkness has the best creature kill in the game – with out a doubt. This doesn’t mean that you should scoff at the creature kill offered up by Fire. However, you will be forced to change your strategy with Fire creature kill. Unlike with Darkness creature kill, where you can (and often will) use them to defend yourself, Fire creature kill must be used offensively.
This is due to the way Fire creature control works. Nearly each Fire creature control cards possesses one of two disadvantages (and in some cases both): limited kill condition (the opposing creature’s power can not exceed and certain number) or the sacrificing of a shield. Because of this you will need to use your creature kill to beat back your opponents early creatures. Limited kill condition means if the game goes on long they may drop creature bigger than you can handle which will allow your opponent to dominate the board. As for the loss of shields, it is important that you use these cards to prevent your opponent from holding a presence on the board. If you use these cards defensively, then it mean they already have a presence on the board and the loss of one of your shield versus the loss of a creature or two on your opponents are part will not hurt them much. In fact, if it’s your last shield you could be in some real trouble.

As a note, a common misconception amongst many Duel Masters players says you can’t play spells that require you to remove a shield (such as Volcanic Arrows) if you don’t have any shields. According to WOTC’s rulings this is absolutely incorrect. If you play one of the spells and can’t rid yourself of a shield then the spell still successfully goes off and you simply get that part of the cost for free!  Examples: Searing Wave, Volcanic Arrows, and Rothus, the Traveler.

Sample Decks
The budget practice deck provided here keeps right in line with the formula I have provided above without exception. I’ve designed this deck as one that you can practice against without breaking the pocket book. If you can’t beat this deck, then you will be in big trouble against a primed deck with some money put into it. This will mean, back to the drawing board for you.
The sample, primed deck is for those who are interested in running this deck for real. The deck provided follows pretty close to the formula above, however it goes a little bit off on it’s own. This deck is borrowed from “Knives101’s Secret Weapons Lab” article from December 13, 2004 with the original structure provided to Knives101 by Synon. If you have yet to check out “Knives101’s Secret Weapons Lab” then you definitely should take some time to do so. I’ve made a change based upon an additional recommendation by Knives101 and added Armored Blaster Valdios to the deck. The only place I take issue with this deck is in the case of Rumble Gate. Personally, I would prefer to trade it out for another creature kill card.
Feel free to experiment around with these decks and come up with your own build. This is merely supposed to be a place to start, not an end unto itself.

Budget Practice Deck:
4x Deadly Fighter Braid Claw
4x Brawler Zyler
4x Mini-Titan Gett
4x Immortal Baron Vorg
4x Explosive Dude Joe
4x Ruthless Skyterror
2x Bolgash Dragon
2x Explosive Fighter Ucarn
4x Searing Wave
4x Crimsom Hammer
4x Volcanic Arrows

Sample Primed Deck:
4x Deadly Fire Braid Claw
4x Baby Zoppe
4x Brawler Zyler
4x Mini-Titan Gett
4x Snip Striker Bullraizer
4x Onslaught Triceps
4x Armored Blaster Valdios
4x Rothus, the Traveler
4x Searing Wave
4x Rumble Gate

Over the next few weeks I will continue to explore Agrro Decks in the ’05 Metagame. You can expect us to explore Mono-Nature, Fire/Darkness and Fire/Nature. If there is one of these you would prefer me to write about sooner than later, please feel free to leave me feedback. Also, please feel free to write me as I will base your response on whether I move on into Control Decks and then Agrro/Control. So, let me know and in the meantime, enjoy!



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