Goat Format: Changes in the Meta

Years ago, Goat Control was the #1 deck of Goat Format.  It is still used and still good.  But for the past few years, it’s been a 3-way split between Chaos Turbo, Aggro/Warrior and Goat Control.  

Most recent Goat tournament events: PWCQ42 and FLC31.  There are deck lists and match replays in the links.  You keep all 3 matchups in mind when choosing cards for your main deck and side deck, but more weight is given to matchups against the most used deck.  Lately that’s been Chaos, but you never know, people are discovering new things in this format.

How does Chaos affect the meta?

  • Kycoo, Trap Dustshoot and Mind Control are in almost every side deck.  Many decks in tournaments even main them when they expect to play against a lot of Chaos.  Kycoo is a safe bet; you can main 1/side 1, main 2 or side 2.  Trap Dustshoot is high-risk and high-reward; very strong into Chaos and other decks, but a dead card into aggro.  Whether you main 0, 1, 2, or 3 is debatable.  Mind Control is the riskiest of the 3.  Good into Chaos, but not into other decks.  And you need the skill to properly read what monsters the opponent is setting.  Most people side 1-2.  Some brave people main it.
  • Book of Moon is less good against Chaos than other decks.  Because Chaos Sorcerer has high def, and most of their other monsters are flip effects.  Some people cut down their Books from 2 to 1.  Or they main none and just have it in the side goat control (TER).  Similar points apply to Tsukuyomi, though it can get over beaters like Kycoo, Zombyra, Blade Knight, Breaker, Tribe and Ninja GMS.

Sometimes choosing which deck to build against puts you between a rock and a hard place.  Trap Dustshoot is bad against Aggro, yet strong against Chaos.  But when Chaos has a high pickrate, decks take the risk and use Dustshoot.  And Goat decks debate on how many Sakuretsu Armors to use, since it’s great into Warrior, but not into Chaos. 

How does Aggro affect the meta?

  • Many side decks include either Zombyra the Dark or Berserk Gorilla.  Gorilla is more versatile into other matchups as it can push for damage.  But Zombyra is a DARK for Chaos, searchable by ROTA, gets over Spy and can even get over a defense position Chaos Sorcerer.  Lately some Chaos decks have even mained Zombyra the dark because it’s great into Warriors, yet still okay in the Chaos mirror.
  • Sakuretsu Armor is always sided at 3 (if its not main decked)
  • Other side deck options against Aggro include: 1-2 Mobius, Jinzo, 1-2 Bottomless Trap Hole, 1 Widespread Ruin (as a 4th Sakuretstu), Swords of Revealing Light, 1 Cipher Soldier, 1 Smashing Ground.  (and maybe a few Royal Decrees if your deck is light on traps, since their deck is trap heavy)

How does Goat Control no longer being #1 affect the meta?

  • Airknight Parshath is rarely played, with less goat tokens to punish.  Chaos has GK Spy and Chaos Sorcerer to block it; plus it definitely doesn’t want to get hit with Phoenix Wing Wind Blast.  Warriors have 2000 ATK beaters and some removal cards.
  • Monarchs are used instead of Airknight.  Zaborg if you need a light, and its effect is hard to counter; even if you kill Zaborg with a trap card, it will still destroy a monster at least.  Mobius is a water for Abyss Soldier (which many Goat Control decks have been using lately) and Mobius’s effect is strong against trap-heavy decks like Warriors and some off-meta decks that rely on spell/trap cards.  
  • Some goat decks use Dark Magician of Chaos and Fusilier in those slots instead of LV5-6 tribute monsters.
  • Spirit Reaper is great with no Airknight to punish it, and no goats to block its attacks.
  • Creature Swap is less risky to main deck (assuming your deck has synergy with it)
  • Asura Priest is occasionally side decked at 1, but not main decked in the majority of decks.

Alternative win condition decks

  • These go in cycles, and can flare up from time to time whenever people stop siding against them. 
  • Panda/Ojama Trio burn is common.  People are siding Mystik Wok to tribute an Ojama token.  Hysteric Fairy (and Amazon Archer for ROTA) are options too.  Cards like Dust Tornado, Mobius and maybe Royal Decree are also viable; and they work into other matchups too.
  • OTK’s.  There’s Reasoning/Gate OTK and Cyber-Stein.  Your side deck should have some answers to it.  Solemn Judgment can stop an OTK.  Maybe 1-2 Threatening Roars).

Other cards

  • Dust Tornado — Obviously an amazing side deck card.  But whether to main it is debatable.  If you can hit a spell/trap as its set, it’s good.  But there are lots of chainable traps right now if you’re using it after the opponent set it for a turn.  (Also, Airknight being used less made this card slightly teeny teeny bit less powerful; since Dust was the card to block Premature/Snatch so the opponent couldn’t plus on it, and kill traps so you could plus on Airknight)
  • Jinzo — Will he see a comeback?  He gets over Sorc/Spy.  Great into trap heavy warriors.  Chaos can’t use their chainable traps against him.  But Solemn Judgment exists.  And a number of decks still use Goats, so maybe I’m keeping him in the side for now
  • Solemn Judgment — is seeing a bit more play lately than it used to.  It’s high-risk, high-reward.  Amazing card late-game, but you hate seeing it early game (paying more LP) and you hate to have to use it before Ring of Destruction is played.  It’s one of those cards that people use at 0, 1, 2 or 3.  Some like to use it at 3; they’re “all in”.  But some players use 1-2 just to reduce their chance of drawing it early game.  But since it can stop anything, it’s a safe bet that is safe against most matchups.

Overall, I notice the format goes in cycles.  When a card is meta, people try to play against it.  Then, the old card isn’t meta anymore and the new card is the new one to beat.  Goat format has been going strong for 18 years.  It’s an adult now.  We’ll see where it goes.