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Anteaus' History of Yu-Gi-Oh!
Analyzing Goat Format: D.D. Assailant
April 21, 2016

I want to preface this by saying that Goat Format is over a decade old, and it doesn’t have any formal support from Konami. There are no sanctioned tournaments for the format, there is no massive campaign to have every local card shop support it, and as such the format has a lot of information in a lot of different places - and a lot of different opinions, particularly when it comes to certain cards to play or not to play. In a way it’s a bit like how it was back when Goat Format was live, at least in the sense that everyone had a different prevailing theory about how to go about playing the game. While most will agree that the core of the Goat Deck is around 30 cards, there are a lot of different tech choices that different players play. As such, people have differing opinions on specific cards, and some will argue their points vehemently, especially on the internet. 

That said, the things I say in my articles are opinions, nothing more and nothing less. You can agree or disagree, but the point of writing these articles is to get people to think about modern Goat Format and to increase its popularity and spark discussions. It has quite a following online, and many people opt to play online through systems like Dueling Network. But online games do not define the metagame - in fact, Goat Format, for all intents and purposes, really doesn’t have one specific metagame, simply because there are no in-person tournaments or strategy discussions pertaining to winning a specific event. While we may see some reports of local tournaments, those always have turnouts of hardgore and casual Goat players alike, which can often skew the local metagame and result in cards that may seem illogical to play at a larger event. 

Just like today, back in 2005 people tailored their decks to beat the meta, which for high-profile players meant looking at prior events to figure out patterns. Most players saw the metagame and were looking at different ways of combating it, and one of the mainstays of the format back then was D.D. Assailant, the focus of this article. One of the most important things in the original Goat Format was the idea of monster removal - being able to clear big beaters such as Jinzo or Airknight Parshath was important then, and is still important now. D.D. Assailant didn’t just take care of a beater - it flat-out removed it from play if it was destroyed by battle. Check it out: 

D.D. Assailant
4 Star
After damage calculation, when this card is destroyed by battle with an opponent’s monster: banish that monster, also, banish this card.

A simple exchange, a one-for-one, that’s all it is. D.D. Assailant doesn’t draw cards for you or get a Spell Card back, but what it does do is wipe out a big beater on the board and help skew the initiative back into your favor. D.D. Assailant packs decent stats - nothing to make your eyes bug out of your skull, of course, but 1700 ATK puts a decent beater on board that can both attack over smaller monsters such as Magician of Faith and Tsukuyomi, but also a good defense against cards like D.D. Warrior Lady, and it’s absolutely hilarious to watch your opponent run an Exarion Universe into a face-down Assailant and drop Exarion’s attack only to have it backfire.  

Today, I think that many duelists are replacing D.D. Assailant with other cards because it doesn’t trample, doesn’t generate any immediate numerical advantage, and can pretty much be summed up as a monster version of Smashing Ground in terms of what it brings to the table. Of course, it does banish the monster, a utility I think that has really become underrated as Goat Format continues to age. D.D. Assailant was a great out to cards such as Jinzo, Airknight Parshath and even something like Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning simply because it can banish. Back when Goat Format was live, D.D. Assailant was a staple - everyone ran at least one copy, with most decks running two. As the format has changed and evolved, though, many people are starting to look more at advantage generators such as Dekoichi, the Battlechanted Locomotive and multiple copies of Magical Merchant instead of the usual Assailants. 

This isn’t all that surprising - as the format has been streamlined quite a bit over the past decade, new strategies and tactics were bound to come to light. With so much time having passed, players who have stayed dedicated to the format have formulated new concepts on how to approach a duel or a match, which really isn’t all that surprising. Today, it seems that there has been a paradigm shift in how players look at specific cards in decks; it seems today that many players are focusing more on dealing damage through defense position Goat tokens with cards like Exarion Universe and Airknight Parshath as opposed to high-utility cards like D.D. Assailant. Even cards like D.D. Warrior Lady are seeing less play because players are starting to think that it’s better to cycle through resources and dig for power spells in order to widen the advantage gap over their opponent. Why banish a Jinzo when you could flip a Magician of Faith to grab back a Snatch Steal and simply take it, or excavate a Metamorphosis with Magical Merchant and then morph that Merchant into Thousand-Eyes Restrict?  

Personally, I feel that this is reductive thinking. D.D. Assailant may not be the buster that he once was, but he still has just as high utility as it did ten years ago, and for the same reason it was used so extensively back then - it can clear the field of a powerful monster or help swing the initiative in your favor. Everyone talks about Goat Format like the only cards worth playing are the power spells and Thousand-Eyes Restrict, when in reality there were decks that topped back then that didn’t even run an Extra Deck. Metamorphosis wasn’t the end-all-be-all of the format because it simply could not be - there were too many cards out there that you might run into. How useful is that Thousand-Eyes Restrict when you have nothing to suck up, nothing to flip it face-down, and you’re low on card advantage? 

D.D. Assailant forces your opponent to immediately try to remove it. Are there are a number of ways to do that in Goat Format? Yes, of course, but it still forces them to do it. Cards like Smashing Ground and Sakuretsu Armor, though, are often played only at one copy in most modern decks, if at all, and running too much monster destruction can leave you vulnerable in other areas. If drawn early in the game, Assailant can quickly establish soft control of the field and put your opponent into an immediately disadvantageous state. Who wants to waste an Airknight Parshath or an Exarion Universe to get rid of a D.D. Assailant? Zaborg the Thunder Monarch is a good out to it, but in the early game using Zaborg to clear the board of an Assailant can be considered a waste of a resource - it’s almost always better to use Zaborg to clear a real problem, and often later on in the duel when some of the cards that could get rid of that Zaborg were already gone, like Snatch Steal or Brain Control (another card that no one plays in modern Goat Format, but for vastly different reasons).  

When you drop D.D. Assailant on the board, you immediately push a bit of early initiative away from your opponent. This in turn gives you options, and forces them to out a card that can otherwise completely disrupt what they want to do. If they decide to kill it by battle, it requires them to run it over with a big beater, as mentioned, oftentimes getting rid of something like Exarion Universe, Berserk Gorilla, Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer or Enraged Battle Ox within the first few turns of the duel. This is big in Goat Format because that is one less beater that they can use to get at your LP, and those cards all have better uses in Goat Format than destroying a D.D. Assailant.  

D.D. Assailant also has high utility in the mid-game - being able to suicide into a bigger monster, such as a Monarch, Jinzo, or even a Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning, in order to clear a bigger monster off of your opponent’s field, can help swing the initiative in your favor, especially if you’re down in the numerical advantage count. In the mid-game, you likely will still be hovering around 5000-6000 LP, more than enough to absorb a 700 hit via suiciding into a Jinzo, or the 1300 from hitting a Black Luster Soldier.  

In the late game, D.D. Assailant still offers you a lot of utility thanks to his ATK and DEF stats. Once you and your opponent are low on resources, the initiative tends to be in the hands of the person with the bigger field. While in the early game hand advantage is everything, in the late game most of the time you and your opponent will be down to only a few cards in hand - if the advantage disparity is much higher, whoever’s on the losing end is likely going to lose the duel, and the bigger the difference the faster the end more often than not. But when things are roughly even (a swing of 1-2 points either way), D.D. Assailant can give you that monster that makes your opponent unable to do anything to get over it - and if that Assailant can stay on the board until your turn, chances are that the initiative is firmly on your side.  

On the deckbuilding side of things, D.D. Assailant serves as an able 4-star monster that is searchable via Reinforcement of the Army. While not able to be fetched via Sangan, Assailant often didn’t need to be; like Airknight Parshath or Jinzo, D.D. Assailant is a card that does not rely on being able to be brought to hand, but rather kept until needed or used to advance your board, swing the initiative to your side or force your opponent to get rid of a problem before they try to establish a dominant field over you. It could limit your opponent while providing a stable piece of advantage that was rarely a dead draw. Perhaps the only time you didn’t want to see Assailant was when you were in the midst of a Tsukuyomi-Thousand-Eyes lock, but in that situation there are few cards other than your own copy of Tsukuyomi or Book of Moon that can break it. 

D.D. Assailant was a powerful card then and is a powerful card now. A lot of people are saying that the card is not worth it, and they all have their reasons - at the end of the day, the choice to play it is yours. This is my take on the card in a format that I enjoy playing. I personally am playing a single copy in my Goat Format deck, but there are so many different ways to build the deck that some people prefer other things. Is it a bad card, as people have said? Not at all. In fact, it’s as powerful now as it was then, and perhaps even more so considering how much we know about the game and how much our views on advantage have shifted over the years. Is it a staple in the format? I don’t think so, not anymore, though it is a card that should be prepared for and tested thoroughly before deciding whether or not to include it.

As always, you can hit me up on Twitter @AnteausonYGO or email me at anteausonyugioh@gmail.com.


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