The Advanced Format
and the Top Tier Decks of the New Metagame
Hello everyone Iím DeathJester. To tell you a little about
myself; I was a National Qualifier for Yugioh Nationals 2004
and Iím a UDE certified Level 2 Judge of Yugioh TCG Rules.
Iím currently 18 years old and I just started college at the
University of Central Florida.
In this first article I will be discussing the emerging
metagame following the implementation of the new Ban List.
As all of you may know, most of the mass removal in Yugioh
has been either eliminated from the game or restricted to
one. (For example, Torrential Tribute.) The days of Chaos
Emperor Dragon and Yata-Garasu are now a figment of the past
when we talk of the new Advanced Format. Many wonder, which
deck archetypes will be, the top tier decks. After
researching this topic extensively, by reading numerous
forums and discussing the topic with many players like
myself, Iíve come up with my take on the new top tier decks
in the Yugioh Advanced format.
The Warrior theme has always had a large amount of support.
Cards like Reinforcement of the Army, The Warrior Returning
Alive, Don Zaloog, Goblin Attack Force, etc., have made the
Warrior deck very deadly and hard to deal with. When you
think of a Warrior deck the concepts of speed and removal
come into mind. Warriors are arguably the fastest deck in
the Advanced Format. For those of you who disagree, let me
Warrior decks boast a type of search that no other deck has
which is, spell-based search. Unlike the Gravekeeper deck,
commonly referred to as the fastest deck, Warrior decks have
Reinforcement of the Army. Reinforcement of the Army allows
you to search for any Level 4 or lower Warrior monster from
your deck to your hand. Many a duelist would agree that with
this card Warrior decks could grab a Warrior for any
situation. If thereís a 2000 ATK beater in your way, search
for a Goblin Attack Force and run over it. Is that Spirit
Reaper stopping you from attacking your opponentís Life
Points? Search for a D.D. Warrior Lady or Exiled Force to
get it out of the way. Is there a clear field and you want
quick damage? Search for a Marauding Captain to summon
another Level 4 or lower monster from your hand to dominate
Gravekeepers only have monster-based search which means that
they rely on their monsters to search for other monsters.
Monsters are FAR more vulnerable than Spells. Warriors also
have a form of revival with The Warrior Retuning Alive. With
mass removal nearly non-existent, the Warrior theme is
easily at the top of the list with their blazingly fast
field domination and in-game adaptation.
Next up, we have the Zombie deck. Zombie decks are famous
for their large monsters and annoying habit of never staying
in the graveyard for too long. Zombie decks accomplish these
feats with the spell card, Book of Life. Book of Life is not
only their key form or revival but allows the user to remove
one of the opponentís monsters from the graveyard while
reviving their own. A 2 for 1 deal is always excellent when
it comes to card advantage. Zombies also have the best
battle searcher in the entire game, Pyramid Turtle. This
1200 ATK monster can Special Summon any 2000 DEF or less
Zombie monster from the deck to the field. Now letís take a
minute to analyze hereÖhow many zombies are below 2000 DEF?
Nearly all of them! The ability to easily summon annoyances
such as Vampire Lord, Ryu Kokki, and Patrician of Darkness
make the Zombie decks not only unfair, but also extremely
powerful. Zombies never really had to fear mass removal due
to easy revival. With the lack of removal in the Advanced
Format Vampire Lord is going to stick around a lot longer
than expected. As most have said, Vampire Lord is probably
the best tribute monster in the entire game with its unique
self- revival effect. With all this in mind, Zombie decks
have only gotten stronger with the Ban List.
Next up is another deck that boasts not only mass summoning
power but also exceptional field domination with tricky
monster effects rivaling the power of Warriors. The
Gravekeeper deck has always been highly underrated and
highly underplayed. Gravekeepers summon other Gravekeepers
quickly with aid of Gravekeeperís Chief and most
importantly, Gravekeeperís Spy. Gravekeeper decks, like
Warriors, can easily have 3 or 4 monsters on the field on
turn 2! Not only that, but Gravekeepers have the best field
spell card in the game we all love and hate: Necrovalley.
Necrovalley gives all Gravekeepers on the field +500 ATK and
DEF and locks the graveyard by not allowing revival or
removal. The Gravekeeper player can abuse this lockdown by
reviving their own monsters at no cost with Rite of Spirit,
which is unaffected by Necrovalley. With the elimination of
cheap revival (i.e. Monster Reborn) and the restriction of
Mystical Space Typhoon in the current format, Necrovalleyís
playability is easily doubled.
The monsters of the Gravekeeper deck are also as deadly as
Necrovalley. Gravekeeperís Spear Soldier has the always-fun
ability of trample. A 2000 ATK trampler is nothing to
ignore. Next is Gravekeeperís Assailant. Easily one of the
deadliest monsters in the game, Gravekeeperís Assailant
switches an opponentís monster position to ATK or DEF
depending on the current position. This makes Jinzo a
minimal threat and makes Scapegoat nearly unplayable. One of
the nastiest tricks with Gravekeeperís Assailant is the
ability to wipe out 3 Berserk Gorillas or Spirit Reapers
with one Assailant and still be able to attack directly! How
could this be possible you ask? Allow me to explain.
Assailantís switching ability triggers on the declaration of
attack. So when you declare an attack with Assailant you
immediately choose a target for switching before the attack
resolves. For example, if you declare an attack with
Assailant and target Spirit Reaper, Reaper will be
immediately be destroyed since it was targeted by
Assailantís effect. Since the number of monsters on the
opponentís field had changed when you declared your attack,
you get to re-declare your attack. Following me here?
Declare an attack and target Reaper. Reaper is destroyed and
you re-declare targeting another Reaper and it is also
destroyed. When the last Reaper is destroyed and there are
no more Reapers left you may re-declare your attack and
target your opponentís Life Points! (Note: This only works
if you have Necrovalley active on the field. This process
also applies to Berserk Gorilla.) The Gravekeeper deck still
has many more tricks that I will discuss in future articles.
It takes a large amount of skill to play this deck. So donít
expect to build it and master all of its tricks in one day.
Lastly, we have the Water decks. Water decks have Chaos
Emperor Dragonís little brother, Levia Dragon Daedalus. When
you offer the field spell card A Legendary Ocean as a
tribute with Leviaís effect, you will destroy every card on
the field expect for Levia and will be free to attack
directly for 2600! Can you say cheesy? Donít worry though as
this requires much more effort to accomplish than just
summoning CED and paying 1000 LP. ALO (A Legendary Ocean)
makes this process a bit simpler by downgrading Levia Dragon
from a 7-star monster to a 6-star monster making it a
also boast very large 4-star monsters with the help of ALO
and Umirukka on the field. Also, with ALO the 4-star Water
monsters can attack under Gravity Bind as well. Water decks
will definitely be seen in the competitive Yugioh
As you can see there is a common pattern among the deck
archetypes Iíve discussed. They all involve some form of
swarm or field domination with easily summoned high ATK
monsters. I see these types of decks as the top tier decks
in the emerging metagame of the Advanced Format. Iíve
stressed many times throughout this article that mass
monster and spell removal in no longer something to fear.
This lack of removal allows offensively based decks such as
these to thrive once more. Beware and prepare to see many
examples of these archetypes in your Regional competitions
as well as the upcoming National competition.
In my next article I will discuss the Burn/Stall archetype
in the Advanced Format and determine whether itís over-hyped
or underrated. See you next time!