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Be in the Zone:
Understanding the Lingo of the Duelist – Agro and Control
May 1st, 2005

By JMatthew

Over the past few months I’ve received a number of e-mails asking questions such as, “What is agro?” or “How do I know if I am playing a control deck?” I decided this week would be a good time to address this question in greater detail than I can normally answer a single, simple e-mail. So, to help us all be sure that we are speaking the same lingo here, I present the following article…

“Danger? HA! I walk on the wild side! I laugh in the face of danger!


– Simba ‘The Lion King’

Agro is any deck with the goal of beating down the opponent before they have the chance to set up a viable defense. Cheap and fast creatures are the order of the day if you wish to successfully use this type of tactic. Fire and Nature are typically the most successful of agro civilizations, as they each possess cheap, under costed creatures with the ability to begin beating down on the opponent by the second/third turn. Often, agro decks will dominate the early game only to slow down during the mid-game and then come to a crashing halt during the late game. In other words, you need to beat your opponent early of you will not be beating your opponent at all.

“Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.”

 - Seneca

Control can be divided into two styles of play – “terminus” control and “pure” control. Neither version of control is necessarily better than the other, rather they each appeal to differing styles of play.

Terminus control has been common in Duel Masters since the base set came out. These decks simply defend themselves for a period of time until they are able to put together just the right cards in their hand or on the board. Once these cards are finally in place the terminus player is able take control and/or swiftly end the game.

The first example of this style of deck to be successfully introduced into Duel Masters was the old mono-Light “Diamond Cutter” decks. Since then we have seen an array of terminus decks including “Ballom” and  “Hydro Hurricane” centered ones. As  Duel Masters progresses we are sure to see more and more of this style of deck being introduced and at times dominating the field.

There have been few successful pure control decks since the introduction of Duel Masters. Pure control decks maintain a steady pace of control over nearly the entire game and slowly, excruating tear the opponent down. These decks take a bit more skill to successfully play than the terminus style decks and may often appear laughable on paper. When well played there is nothing more demoralizing to your opponent than a pure control deck. Your opponent will likely feel as if you are simply toying with them. While it maybe possible to toy with your opponent, the serious player will be sure to take the first clear chance they have to end the game. Don’t mess around just because ‘you can.’ Trust me, you may regret it.   

The only truly successful pure control to rear its ugly head thus far has been the “Ill-folk” decks. I believe the likes of Cecillbill and a few others have been experimenting with new variations and I wholly encourage this type of experimentation. If we can have another great pure control deck, perhaps we will stop hearing the complaints about Illusionary Merfolk being ‘too powerful.’  

“The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason.”

 – Marya Mannes

Agro/Control attempts to mix the best of both worlds. Often the skillful deck builder can successfully pull this off. We’ve seen plenty of Fire/Darkness and Nature/Water, which have served just that purpose. The problem with agro/control is as these decks attempt to gain all the great power of each style, they loose some of the power a solid agro or solid control deck would possess. While these decks can switch between control and agro roles, you rarely want to go agro against another agro deck, as they will outpace you. The same goes for attempting to out control a solid control deck, which will normally bury the agro/control deck. Still, these decks have the wonderful ability to change roles when necessary and should not be easily overlooked.  

I apologize for the lack of an article for last week. Originally it was supposed to be this article, however it seemed to have been lost in the e-mail and I no longer possessed a copy. I will also have a tournament report later this week from the weekend before this last.  

Lastly, I have request for all you out there. I would like any stories or examples you may have about how you have used or do use the “Kaijudo Code.” These examples can come from playing Duel Masters or even from every day life. I will be looking to compile this information for a future article and would greatly appreciate your participation! I’m currently switching ISPs so I’ve set up a new temporary e-mail account, so e-mail this information to jmonpojo@hotmail.com. Thanks! 





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