Yugioh Splurge 1: Shaddolls and Artifacts

Let me explain for a moment…

Recently, a trend has been occurring at my locals, as well as on a regional level as well. Player count is way down for Yugioh. Whether or not I’m more or less motivated to play, this naturally makes it more difficult for myself to play so I have less to talk about. With that, I really have reached a standstill as far as deck building goes, so for the most part I just stick with the same decks I have and really have no reason to change. In a similar vein, Konami has given me almost zero reasons to ever buy new cards aside from a handful of commons for 5 bucks each time a new pack rolls around because they’ve honestly been releasing really uninspired stuff and archetypes I don’t care about. So, I’ve decided I’m going to stick to Shaddolls until it’s not, what is in my opinion, the best deck in Yugioh, and as far as articles go I figured I would just splurge my mind each week rather than a more constructed article due to my lack of topics.

For this week I suppose I could try to backup my claim that Shaddolls are the best deck as well as some other random information. In short, I would say Shaddolls is the best deck because they simply have a winning or highly favorable match-up against every deck bar a small amount of decks that aren’t as big in the meta. Here’s my opinion of each match-up, please understand that they are my opinions though:

  • Nekroz: I consider this deck an easy win for Shaddolls. I rarely if ever lose this match-up now that I understand it. Before that I would go fifty-fifty against the deck, but now with a true heuristic for this match-up, which Shaddolls require for every match-up (which makes them more difficult to play, but more powerful at the same time), the match-up is pretty easy. Basically, I just commit as little as possible for as long as possible while always threatening the OTK to force out Valkyrus. Then once you’ve burned all the Valkyrus or once they simply don’t have one they OTK you. There are a lot of simple tools that make this match-up really hard for Nekroz players. Both Construct and Shekhinaga require very specific and projected means to be removed from the field and when you just leave them sitting there it’s hard for Nekroz players to progress.
  • Satellarknights: This match-up became a lot more even when Stellarknight Constellar Diamond came out, but even with that I still think it’s mostly in Shaddolls favor. Shaddolls always sport a secondary engine that completely deals with Diamond (Artifacts, Clowns, Star Seraphs etc.). In addition, with the proper side deck, this deck is really manageable to beat, and most of the Satellarknight side deck choices aren’t spectacular, it’s basically just Shadow-Mirror and Retaliating “C”.
  • Burning Abyss: Really easy deck to beat with Shaddolls, it just requires patience. When this deck was newer, I would push really hard and try to OTK Burning Abyss players which would just expend resources slowly until I lost. What you should do versus Burning Abyss is slowly take away there options and do chip damage until you have a certain win. Shaddolls has advantage over Burning Abyss in almost every instance, so that makes this really painful for Burning Abyss players if you play right. Dark Law is pretty annoying, but Shaddolls has a ton of built in outs to Dark Law even during game 1.
  • Kozmos: I’ll be honest, I’ve never played against this deck, but I’ll be honest again when I say I don’t think this deck is that great yet. I’d say that this deck is scraping by in the tournament scene on lack of match-up knowledge alone. People don’t know how to play against the deck and they lose. As for against Shaddolls, all I can offer is theory, but here’s the theory I offer: Construct is really a nuisance for the deck since it cannot be destroyed by battle in most instances, negating their many battle manipulation cards like Honest and Juragedo. Similar to Nekroz, Kozmos would most likely have a difficult time attacking advantageously through a set Falco that has graveyard setup. Also, most Shaddoll players (or should if your not) main either Mind Crush or Mistake, both do pretty good against the deck, and every Shaddoll player should also be siding Imperial Iron Wall at this point because of Retaliating “C”.
  • Qliphorts: This is one of the only decks I would consider Shaddolls to have a bad match-up against. It can still be won, but the game is highly predicated on how good your opening hand is. You’re basically required to open strong for 2 games to win, unless you’re running a dedicated OTK build of Shaddolls, which I think is bad in general because it’s not as good versus other decks. You can only grind against Qliphorts for a very short amount of time with Shaddolls because most of your best tools are ineffective versus Qliphorts. Depending on your opening hand you’re even given the ability to prevent them from ever setting up scales or are required to do as much damage as quickly as possible. The irony is, in order to OTK you have to basically have infinite MSTs to deal with the waves of continuous traps, meaning you ignore the pendulum scales, giving you less time to win. If you aim for the scales you get bogged down be traps and lose. Such is this match-up’s dilemma.

In addition, Shaddolls are the most versatile of all the power decks, meaning it has the least linear play style allowing you to combat different scenarios by altering how you play the deck, rather than folding almost completely to a specified floodgate or strategies. This also means the deck has inherent outs to almost every scenario without even using the side deck. It also is more versatile in the side deck, allowing it to side many of the most painful cards in the game for each deck. This altogether means Shaddolls require the most match-up knowledge of all the decks, making them difficult to play but more rewarding, you must know the decks so you know the style in which you play and cards you need to side.

Next, I’d like to say that I think that without a doubt, Artifacts are the best secondary engine for Shaddolls, even better than Clowns. I will agree that clowns are powerful aggressive, but as I said previously, a more OTK oriented version of Shaddolls is worse against a lot of match-ups. For example, Nekroz which is the most prominent deck, running an OTK makes the match-up a gambit of whether or not you drew Effect Veilers. The deck has little to no defense, making you super vulnerable to Trishula, which can be played around, but it’s not fun to do so and not always possible.

Clowns are good though for one of the same reasons I prefer Artifacts, and that’s that they provide really good outs to bad scenarios. For example, Stellarknight Constellar Diamond, floodgate cards like Shadow-Mirror and ways to play around Retaliating “C”. Clowns basically provide easy access to Castel, who’s an out to all things, but it makes you more vulnerable to Unicore once again making the Nekroz match-up worse. Artifacts on the other hand, provide outs to all floodgates with Ignition and Moralltach but do many additional things which I think makes them stronger. Artifacts also provide access to both Scythe and Lancea giving you favor over Nekroz and more answers to Trishula. (Lancea also stops Kozmos to a degree) Artifacts also provide control during the opponent’s turn, something clowns do not do, and can also provide protection and more OTK potential on your turn using the Artifact monsters for damage or by XYZ summoning Pleiades or Durendal.

One of my favorite things about Artifacts is that their cards are always useful. Unlike MST, which I think is a terrible card, Artifact Ignition is amazing because it simultaneously moves your agenda forward. MST is bad because all it does is simplify the gamestate, having it means you have one less card to complete your agenda because it doesn’t do anything other than simplify the game. On the other hand, Ignition always sets an Artifact, meaning even when you’re using it the same as MST it can setup very powerful plays. For example, if you have Ignition plus either another Ignition, Sanctum, El Shaddoll Fusion, Sinister Shadow Games or a Double Cyclone, you can make a play with the Artifact you set with Ignition for what in most instances is a plus 1, and depending on others a plus 2. With two Ignition you can set a Beagalltach and do the Beagalltach Ignition play to get Beagalltach and Moralltach and pop 1 card then have a Rank 5 XYZ. Sanctum is basically the same play but is performed in a different order. El Shaddoll Fusion and Sinister Shadow Games can be used in the opponent’s turn to send a Shaddoll Dragon to the graveyard to pop your own Artifact as a control mechanism. Double Cyclone of course destroys another spell or trap and gives you the Artifact monster, making a plus 1, and if that Artifact is Moralltach and you pop another card it’s a plus 2. As a final thought, also unlike MST, in match-ups where the opponent doesn’t even run back row, Ignition is still an amazing card making all of these combos function with or without the opponent’s support.

And that’s all I have to say. Feel free to comment in any way below!

Written by: Kyle Oliver