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Being Ready for Anything
Side Decking in the Current Format

July 12, 2007

In this recent format, we have seen such a variety of decks. From Demise OTK, Magical Explosion, Chain Burn and OD Burn, Monarchs, Machines, T-Hero, Perfect Circle Monarchs, Big City, Gadgets, Earth Beatdown with Gigantes, Bazoo Return, Six Samurai, DDT, Crystal Beasts and just regular decks. It’s not always easy to pick which one of those to run, or maybe even a Rogue deck like Dimensional Fissure deck s like Vincent Tundo and Adrian Madaj. Yet, in major tournaments, it comes down to what is in your Side Deck that can be the difference between a win and a loss. I will go in depth, on the many cards that are sided in this format to help combat these decks.

I will start with Pulling the Rug. This card was a Godsend after Tsukuyomi was gone for so long and there was really no real answer to Gadgets and especially Monarchs. Pulling the Rug is in pretty much every side deck, and it has multiple uses. Not just stopping Gadgets and Monarchs in their tracks, but also popular cards like Elemental Hero Stratos and even a Normal Summoned Dark Magician of Chaos. Be aware when you play Pulling the Rug, as you must make sure that cards Elemental Hero Stratos and Mobius the Frost Monarch choose their targets, or you can be in serious trouble.

If you don’t Main Deck Trap Dustshoot, then you should side deck it. This is one of the most disruptive cards there is, and early game it can be devastating. Not only can you see their hand but you take away their monster, and can also see if they have dramatically changed the deck that you saw in game 1. This was a card sided by many when Cyber-Stein decks were big, and since the Demise OTK deck was made, people now main deck or side deck it. The drawback is they have to have 4 or more cards in their hand, but on the times you play it, usually first turn if you can draw it, it can do some damage.

Which leads me to this next card, Mind Crush. The famous Crushoot combo, From Jae Kim and Japan did we find out about this combo. Mind Crush was limited to 1 for this Banned List and we can see why. Though it’s a really good card and that also takes some skill in playing, this card goes great with Trap Dustshoot and Confiscation. You gain the knowledge of your opponent’s hand and be able to take more away from it. You see that game ending card from the start, you can easily get rid of the problem with Mind Crush. This is also a big card in decks that search out cards. Mind Crush saw more play with Demise OTK out there and also it’s a overall good card with the majority of the players using Sangan, to help get rid of cards that way. Also, when Dark Magician of Chaos is played, you can call out the Spell they get back, and even with the new Searchers we have seen in Force of the Breaker.

A deck that really hit the scene hard this format was Burn. Not just the famous OD burn, which was piloted by one the premier teams of Yu-Gi-Oh! Team Overdose, but Chain Burn. Though, seeing less play after SJC San Jose, many players have used Chain Burn to Victory, from SJCs like Jonathan Roche and Mark Au who got Top 8 at United Kingdom Nationals with his unorthodox build. A card that has been Side Decked by many to try to stop Burn is Des Wombat. This card stops all damage (except battle damage). So burn cards don’t affect the owner of this card, to the exception of Dimension Wall and Ring of Destruction. If the Burn player does not have an answer to Des Wombat, matches become a lot harder to win.

Which turns to the next card that most players Side Deck that can take down burn and a lot of other decks, Royal Decree. The ability to Negate Traps outside of Jinzo and other Counter Traps is just mind blowing. Burn takes a huge hit from this card and any deck with many traps in the Main Deck. Royal Decree has been a big side decked card in many combo and OTK decks like Demise OTK and DDT. Though the overall playability of it has grown more with more duelists maining more traps like Trap Dustshoot, this can stop them in their tracks, but remember, you can’t chain Royal Decree to a Counter Trap.


There are many explosive decks, but not many have been explosive as Six Samurai decks. Though inconsistent at times, when they go off, you can start scooping up your cards. A big threat to the deck is Lightning Vortex and Needle Ceiling. In many decks like T-Hero (Destiny Hero Beatdown), they can easily side deck 1 Lightning Vortex. Even though Needle Ceiling you need 4 or more monsters on the field total, when you play against Six Samurai, that usually isn’t a problem. You can have set monsters and they can lose all the face-up ones. Don’t be discouraged if you lose to Six Samurai decks, they aren’t the easiest decks to beat when they get really good hands, but usually can be when they don’t.

Another card against Six Samurai and many other decks that have been seen in the format is Kinetic Soldier. Six Samurai, if they don’t get The Six Samurai - Irou, they are in big trouble. Same can be said with  Dimensional Fissure decks with D.D. Survivor and also Warrior Toolbox. Sometimes this card can come in handy with T-Hero and even DDT, if they attack with Elemental Hero Stratos or Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude. Even in attack mode does this card to damage to many decks with a lot of warriors. The added 2000 to DEF or ATK can be game winning and game breaking. This card has been seeing a lot more play that before, with it being a Machine, it compliments the Machine decks quite well, keep on the lookout if you play Warriors.

Speaking of Dimesional Fissure decks with D.D. Survivor, there are 2 cards that have seen a lot of play in side decks. They are Dust Tornado and Twister. Twister was a Godsend for Chain Burn decks that they have another out against Royal Decree that wasn’t MST. With play of Snatch Steal and other Equips and contiuous cards, Twister has been a nice addition to side decks. Also Dust Tornado has seen more play especially since US Nationals. Dust Tornado is great with the increase of Trap Dustshoot and other traps. This card can compliment a Trap Dustshoot in hand if you draw it outside of your turn. Many cards can be set with the Second Effect of Dust Tornado, and it can be devastating.

With OTK decks on the rise and also fall like Demise OTK and DDT, there are also the machine OTKs and the potential OTKs from T-Hero. Waboku and Threatening Roar have been able to deal with that problem giving that player another turn to try to stop the madness. Though Threatening Roar has proven to be better, so that your opponent doesn’t just suicide their Mystic Tomato into a Destiny Hero - Diamond Dude or Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive when you do play Waboku. Waboku also causes a face down monster to still flip up, if you wanted to flip that set Morphing Jar on your turn, then Threatening Roar is your best bet. Don’t worry as both of these cards at Chainable.

Another OTK and combo deck killer is found is the Invasion of Chaos Counter Trap, Cursed Seal of the Forbidden Spell. With many OTK decks like Demise OTK or DDT, or even decks like T-Hero and Perfect Circle Monarchs, this card can be one of the most devastating cards to see. By discarding just 1 Spell Card from your hand you can negate a Spell Card, and your opponent can’t activate a spell with the same name for the rest of that duel (not match). If you hit major cards in the decks like Advanced Ritual Art in Demise or Destiny Draw and/or Reasoning, and even Metamorphosis, your opponent can be in a lot of trouble. Remember, just because you stop a major card, doesn’t mean your opponent still can’t win. Be aware of what you do.

Speaking of T-Hero and Perfect Circle Monarchs, another good card against those deck types and many deck types in general that have anything to do with a Graveyard is D.D. Crow. Being able to stop Pot of Avarice, Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted is nice, but so is taking away other Key Monsters to said deck types. Removing a Destiny Hero - Malicious before your opponent chooses to, is a really nice effect, and also, to remove Destiny Hero - Disk Commander, from their Graveyard from play, can cut of the drawing of extra cards. This card can also be useful against Six Samurai to take away Samurai’s from their Graveyard and also against Demise OTK when they try to Special Summon Doom Dozer.

Next is a card that removes cards from play as well, though many thought this card would take US Nationals by storm, it didn’t, but it does still see much Side Deck play. The card I speak of is Banisher of the Radiance. When DDT was a big deck, so was Banisher of the Radiance side decked. This card really can get the best of Machine decks, T-Hero, Prefect Circle Monarchs, Demise OTK and also Magical Explosion. Also decks that depend on the Graveyard like Six Samurai and other decks like Gadgets.

This next card is probably the most side decked Monarch, Mobius the Frost Monarch. Mobius is a killer to decks that have a lot of spells/traps that are set or continuous. This card can be the winner against decks like OD Burn, Dimensional Fissure, Decree Gadgets and Crystal Beasts. The Versatility of this card and what it can accomplish is great. Taking away cards from the field, adding advantage for yourself, can add so much and can really push the match toward your way. Be on the lookout for this card being side decked, even though it is seeing less lately, it can be a surprise later on.


Another card that is seeing much main deck play, but if not there, a lot of side deck play is Jinzo. One of the machines of all machines, this is a potential game winner. Locking your opponent out of traps can really make the game go faster and make you be able to make a big swing into your opponent’s side deck. If you don’t main deck this card, be sure to side deck it, as it can also shut down the trap cards of burn and any trap be a problem. Remember, with Call of the Haunted, if Call of the Haunted is Destroyed, Jinzo won’t be.

Even though I just talked all about specific cards, one thing many duelists must remember is to be on the lookout for decks that can easily side deck into a totally different deck. We saw with the undefeated in Swiss at SJC Phoenix George Saavedra side into Demise from T-Hero. Also, decks that side deck into another isn’t uncommon, but then again isn’t always easy for players to prepare for. The same goes with Emon Ghaneian’s deck at US Nationals, Burn that sides into Monarchs or a Beatdown Variant as we saw from OD Burn and the Slow Burn deck from United Kingdom nationals. So always be aware of what can be out there.

You can’t always be prepared for every matchup, but hopefully this helps everyone who reads this. Never give up until the final Life Point is gone, there can be miracles in this game, so keep at it. Good Luck to all at future events.

- Tomas Mijares






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