Upon request I bring you a little of my insight on the Agent archetype in the current metagame. A fair warning, this article is quite long. It’s a compilation of my thoughts and current experience with the deck.
So, The Agent of Mystery – Earth’s back at two. I’ll admit I was quite skeptical from the beginning on this effecting the deck at all, but it does give the deck quite the significant boost. On the other hand though, the deck was never down and out to begin with, it just became quite un-favored as soon as it got hit by the banlist, which happens for a lot of decks, like Six Samurai which are beginning to catch there stride once again as well, and Agents was no exception.
While the deck is not teir 1, it’s got nowhere near the power and consistency of decks like Wind-Ups and Geargia, but it can definitley compete when combined with very smart and precise play as well as innovative and expert deck building. So for anyone looking for a deck that’s more on the fringe, not looking for the obvious deck that everyone else seems to be running, but also desiring to wins some games too, might want to give Agents a chance.
Why Run Agents?:
So, what are some advantages of Agent decks? The first one, we all know, is it’s extremely explosive. The deck has the potential to house a lot of the best boss monsters in the game in addition to its own standard ones like Master Hyperion. Depending on builds you can run Chaos Sorcerer, BLS, Archlord Kristya, the Darklord monsters and Dark Armed Dragon. Of course there’s also Master Hyperion, the decks staple boss monster, who could potentially be considered the best boss monster in the game; he’s got high attack an almost irrelevant summon condition, can be summoned in other ways and a really good destruction effect. Also, all the other boss monsters it can run are highly potent removal monsters as well so your opponent ideally will run slim on card advantage very quickly because you can quickly dismember the field.
The deck also has the advantage of evading common threats in the current metagame. A card I always like to talk about is Thunder King Rai-oh, a monster that seems to be defining the current meta now that Inzektors are less imminent. Agents are one of few decks to have relatively no problem dealing with this card. The deck has the potential to be running a huge amount of cards that check T-King and can also run builds that are barely effected by him at all. Venus, Card Trooper, T.G. Rush Rhino and Herald of Orange Light all are options the deck can run to deal with T-King. Not to mention the deck has the ability to force the T-King to negate with its sheer amount of special summons it can attempt to pull. There’s also of course, common spells and traps like D-Prison and Mirror Force that can easily fit into the deck along with cards like Smashing Ground and Soul Taker, which aren’t out of place in the main deck.
Another unique card the deck gets access to is Herald of Orange Light. This card can be looked at as a good or bad choice in Agent decks, but its utility is hard to question. Almost no decks can choose to negate monster effects anywhere on the board even if they haven’t taken a turn yet, and on top of that destruction of the monster is granted. This allows Agents to have really strong counters to cards that are considered nearly un-negatable in peoples minds. Cards like Gorz, Tragoedia and Battle Fader can be stopped with Herald. You can break up opposing players plays on there first turn, like Wind-Up Magician and Shark Combos. You can even negate Thunder-King Rai-oh’s effect to negate summons, which is pretty crazy.
The Basic Engine:
One thing to get out of the way is that when I refer to Agents as a deck, is that I’m referring to a specific setup that is tried and true for the decklist. No weird potentially “fun” builds with your cute Agent engine here. Specific cards are not being run for these decks. Anything having to do with Sanctuary in the Sky is out. None of the unspeakably bad Agent cards. Just the normal refined Agent engine, which is as follows:
- 3 Master Hyperion
- 2 Agent of Mystery – Earth
- 3 Agent of Creation – Venus
- 3 Mystic Shine Balls
No more no less. The only card I would even consider for a moment is 1, and only 1, copy of Jupiter, but that card is highly dependent on the other decks of the format, and in this format there’s nothing worth running it against. There is a slightly different way to run Agents if you make a Herald of Perfection deck, but that’s not what I’ll be talking about today. This engine will be run exactly this way in every good Agent deck and the difference in the deck will be due to the other choices for the deck.
The idea behind this engine is very simple: get to Venus as fast as possible and pull off her effect successfully. Once you’ve achieved that goal, you’ve significantly thinned your deck to help draw better cards as well as set up all your future plays. Venus is always the priority for the early game of the deck, without it your late game potential is lowered unless you’re milling fairies or discarding them en mas because Venus puts and Agent in the graveyard for Hyperion and fairy food in the grave in the form of Shine Balls. This can setup pretty much every Boss monster the deck is looking to run,
The second half of the game plan is pretty much to have absolute control over the opponent. Once the deck is setup your goal is to effectively stop all there plans by blowing all there stuff up and then presenting them with a massive monster body they can’t possibly stop with the lack of resources they have. Master Hyperion is the obvious perpetrator of this. You want to get out Master Hyperion and protect him to continually gain advantage through proceeding turns with his destruction effect. Usually after Hyperion survives for one turn your opponent will be hard pressed to take back the game. Lockout for the opponent can be further achieved through many other means you built into the deck, may it be Chaos monsters, T.G.s or Archlord Kristya.
The biggest downfall of the deck is inconsistency. 2 Earth does make the deck infinitely more consistent than before, but that still doesn’t excuse the deck from bad hands. With just the blanket engine I just described there’s some clear flaws that come up that every Agent deck must work around in some way. First off, there’s only 5 monsters in total you want to start off with. Roughly 50% of your games you’ll start with one with those numbers, and surely in some of those games your attempt to use that monster will be stopped. So, we’re looking at less than 50% of your hands not being ideal openings. What we need then is other monsters or cards to use to either wait with, bate out opponent’s cards or further improve consistency. On top of this the deck also has the issue of running 3 useless normal monsters, the Shine Balls. It’s pretty clear you don’t want to draw those at all, so that issue has to be address in deck building as well.
Chaos in Agents:
The first subsection of cards to be run are Chaos monsters. This is essentially Chaos Sorcerer and Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning mixed with some extra dark monsters to facilitate there summoning as a sort of side project with the Agents. This engine relieves the main focus of the deck and splits it between two separate decks that can fuel each other simultaneously. This allows the deck to play out of hands where it may not be dealt well in terms of Agent plays by allowing it to do something else that can either allow you to wait or fuel the Agent portion of the deck without the normal Agent setup. Here’s some of the basic monsters that are seen for this style:
- Chaos Sorcerer
- Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Beginning
- Thunder King Rai-Oh
- Tour Guide From the Underworld
- Dimensional Alchemist
- Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
- Card Trooper
Archlord Kristya is quite the point of controversy in Agent decks. A lot of skilled players have thrown in the towel on this card for very good reason, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered.
The card has many downfalls, most of which are consistency issues, which I already mention is one of the deck’s weaknesses. Sometimes, the card itself can cause you a loss because its stacks itself back on your deck, which requires a lot of getting used to to stop you from killing yourself. It’s really easy to dead draw Kristya too since it requires a very specific setup to work. Pretty much the only way to setup for Kristya is to pull of the basic Venus into Gachi Gachi Gantetsu combo, and as I stated earlier it doesn’t happen every game. Plenty of times you’ll draw Kristya and not the Venus, so in order to run Kristya it would b best to build your deck to facilitate it in two ways. The first is to have alternate methods of getting fairies in the graveyard so you’re not bound to the Venus play. The second is to have other ways to use the Kristya than its special summoning condition, since that’s not the only way it has to be used. We need to capitalize on every point of the card to make its place in the deck worth it, if not we probably shouldn’t run it.
In my testing I’ve only found 2 ways to get fairies in the graveyard other than normal that where good enough for me to consider. The first is Card Trooper. Card Trooper excellently sets up the graveyard for Kristya with sub par hands as well as boosts consistency by drawing as well as sets up Master Hyperion. The second card is Herald of Orange Light. A lot of times the best way your going to get for putting fairies in the graveyard is by pitching them with this. Say you summon Earth get Venus; next turn summon Venus and they Torrential and you can’t stop it. The best bet you’ve got is to pitch for Herald so you can summon Kristya, then you can add back Venus to make a second push later.
Using Kristya in alternate ways is fairly odd at first. Many times if you watch a good Agent player’s deck profile they say something along the lines of “don’t be afraid to tribute summon Hyperion” or Kristya as well. This is definitley true. Always be keeping this mind as an option; sometimes the flow of the game calls for aggression when the option isn’t so easy. It can be ideal at some moments to tribute Venus and a Shine Ball for Master Hyperion or Kristya to more quickly aggress the opponent. One of the more interesting ways to help this out is that card Gellenduo. Gellenduo helps stall for consistency reasons as well as allows for tribute summons since it’s treated as 2 tributes for a LIGHT Fairy monster. The card itself is also a fairy making it a nice fit with Kristya as well as with Kristya’s almost standard partner Herald of Orange Light. One of the biggest reason why Herald is used with Kristya though is actually so that you can discard Kristya. A lot of times Kristya becomes dead in the hand and the best way to get rid of it is with Herald. Not to mention this also sets up one to the other effective ways to use Kristya, which is Call of the Haunted. When running both Herald of Orange Light and Card Trooper, another very effective way to use Kristya is with Call of the Haunted. This helps to more quickly lock the opponent out since you can stop there special summons in there tracks or negate there effects on there turn and quickly drop a Hyperion and revive Kristya to seal the game.
The last possible tech engine is T.G.s or Tech Genus. This build never really caught on in America but was wildly popular in Japan in the OCG meta. Rather than T.G. Stun, this was actually the reason for T.G. Striker’s limitation on the banlist. So about the engine, why is it being put in Agents. It seems rather random at points but it very nicely fills a lot of the decks needs very simply.
The Tech Genus engine first and foremost brings consistency. This is because it inherently does a lot of helpful things for just about any deck they’re in. The first is the obvious deck thinning through the “T.G. Effect” which searches for T.G. monsters when they’re destroyed during the end phase. It’s really easy to quickly blow through and extra 5 cards in your deck with T.G.s and not loose any advantage as well as take out a few of your opponent’s cards in the process. With this deck thinning they also bring a nice element of Stall. Because you don’t invest anything with them, you can make easy plays with them to buy time for more appropriate plays and are even more likely to draw into them with the deck thinning.
The engine also brings combos, which is the most important reason for there use:
T.G. Striker allows you to make s some Synchros in a pinch and just about any Synchro you can think of with a Venus + Shine Balls in deck. Striker also allows for defense since you can special summon it before summoning another monster so that you don’t take extra damage from attacks, but you don’t lose any advantage from the battle. Striker is also level 2 which allows for all your Rank 2 XYZ summon combos to be extended.
T.G. Warwolf is probably the biggest combo machine. Like striker, he can also be used as a meat shield when a monster is special’d. You can also combo off pretty hard with Venus to make OTKs with the right hands. A specific combo is Earth + Warwolf + Hyperion. You first summon Earth and add Venus, assuming they kill Earth (although you just win a little more if they don’t), next turn you summon Venus and use its effect to get 3 Shine Balls and Special Warwolf. XYZ for Gantetsu and Leviair. Special Hyperion by banishing Earth. (If Earth isn’t in grave you summon Daigusto Phoenix with Earth and a Shine Ball and detach Earth) Revive Earth with Leviair by detaching probably Warwolf, but depending on the hand Venus is fine as well. XYZ Earth and the last Shine Ball for Daigusto Phoenix. Use Phoenix to allow Leviair to attack twice and then you’ll probably pop once with Hyperion. 3100 + 2100 + 2100 + 1900 + 900 = 10,100 damage. I think that’s game sir. There’s lots of alternative ways to OTK from there as well. The last factor about Warwolf is that he’s DARK meaning he fuels the Chaos Engine or maybe a stray BLS you may have wanted to main deck.
There’s also T.G. Rush Rhino. A little less important than the other two but not to be forgotten. In a normal T.G. deck he takes center stage, but he’s not all that combo-licious so he’s not as effective. He does have a lot of merits though. The other two T.G. monsters don’t really put any pressure on the opponent, but Rhino does. He can usually warrant the use of a card the opponent has, so its next to waste there cards on something that doesn’t matter as much. He’s also one of few stand alone monsters the deck can use in the grind game. If you get late into the game, cards like Venus and Earth kind of suck, but Rush Rhino’s got a nasty 2k when on the offensive, which is great. This 2000 attack can also help steal the game really early by pushing there lifepoints to low for them to come back, or giving you a much earlier opportunity to OTK.
One interesting point about Agents is they have the ability to successfully run heavy trap builds as well as literally trap-less builds. You can look at Alister Albans top 32 Agent decklist at YCS Indianapolis and he runs 10 traps, which a good fourth of the deck. And then we look at Jesus Suarez’s build that topped a 600 man regional recently and he ran absolutely no traps.
Some of the best spells and traps for the deck include the likes of Call of the Haunted, possibly the best stand alone trap if you going to run almost no traps. It plusses of MSTs and also revives your crazy boss monsters for round two. There’s also Forbidden lance which puts to shame your opponents attempts to Torrential, Bottomless, Mirror Force or D-Prison your Boss monster out of the game. There’s also Pot of Duality, which seems like an odd choice at first, but the consistency it bring is definitley needed. Nothing feels better than starting off your first turn with Earth into Venus plus Duality. Mystical Space Typhoon is a must in this deck, maxing out on it is what just about every Agent deck should do. You could almost make a good case to run Night Beam with the deck as well.
I feel like I’m rambling now, so I’ll cut myself off for now. I was also been requested to give my decklist as well, for those who haven’t seen there’s also a YouTube video of my current deck profile, I’ll be posting it here as well. I’ve made some minor changes since the video, but nothing huge.
- 2 Agent of Mystery – Earth
- 3 Agent of Creation – Venus
- 3 Mystic Shine Ball
- 3 Master Hyperion
- 2 Archlord Kristya
- 3 Herald of Orange Light
- 2 Card Trooper
- 2 T.G. Rush Rhino
- 2 T.G. Warwolf
- 1 T.G. Striker
- 2 Tragoedia
- 1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness
- 1 Honest
- 2 Pot of Duality
- 3 Mystical Space Typhoon
- 2 Forbidden Lance
- 1 Dark Hole
- 1 Heavy Storm
- 1 Monster Reborn
- 3 Call of the Haunted
- 2 Gachi Gachi Gantetsu
- 1 Daigusto Phoenix
- 1 No 96: Dark Mist
- 1 No 11: Leviath Dragon
- 1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
- 1 Temtempo the Percussion Djinn
- 1 Wind-Up Zenmaines
- 1 No 39: Utopia
- 1 Hieratic Sun Dragon Overlord of Heliopolis
- 1 Ally of Justice Catastor
- 1 T.G. Wonder Magician
- 1 Naturia Beast (just for fun, maybe I’ll summon it)
- 1 Ancient Fairy Dragon
- 1 Black Rose Dragon
On another note, I’ll be gone in about a week and a half from now, so I’ll not have an article for the next 3 weeks! Sorry about that. I’m sure you’ll all be fine though. Other note, I’m trying to think of other things to make articles about, and I was told it might be cool if I made some fake Yugioh Card archetypes, would anybody like to see that, feel free to say no, I’m just looking for some input here.
As always, happy dueling everyone!