Blackwings | The Irish Duelist


I was just browsing the usual Yu-Gi-Oh! sites this morning when I came across this little blog article on TCGPlayer. Normally I don't really like their articles, but this one was well-written and offers some valuable insight on how Blackwing decks can be built in this post-RGBT environment.


Howdy folks,

It's time for another one of my views on the Metagame. For the last two weeks, I've given my views on the two decks I think are currently in contention for the title of 'Deck to Beat' this format, Lightsworn and Gladiator Beasts. Now I'm going to talk about the newest contender for that title, Blackwings. 

This deck had some success at Shonen Jump Anaheim and at local tournaments all around the world, but it hasn't quite been on the same level as Lightsworn and Glad Beasts. But with the release of Raging Battle, that's just changed.

With Raging Battle now available and the new lot of Blackwing support accessible, the archtype has really taken off. Now, the two other decks gunning for the top slot, Lightsworn and Glad Beasts, have things in common, primarily their toolbox like nature. Blackwings, however, lack that toolbox like nature. 

Lightsworn and Glad Beasts are both fast decks, and they both have a lot of delicate tools to answer any situation they come up against. Blackwings are faster then either, and are less like a toolbox, and more like a sledgehammer. Rather then using delicate tools to answer different problems in different ways, they answer all problem the same way, with ridiculous speed and aggression, and by going at a pace even Lightsworn, the previous holder of the 'Fastest Deck' title, struggles to keep up with.

The deck has a lot of comparisons to TeleDAD from last format. It has a currently unparalelled ability to abuse the Synchro Summoning mechanic, like TeleDAD did, and it even commonly plays the namesake of last format's dominant archtype, and one of the most powerful monsters in YuGiOh's history, Dark Armed Dragon. Any speed that Dark Armed lost with the March 1st Ban list, I personally think it has regained with the release of Raging Battle.

But I'm sure you're all aware of the speed of the deck, so I don't need to keep going on about it. What I will go on about instead is my build of the deck. Now, this deck is still new and undefined, as Raging Battle hasn't been used in a premier event yet, so we haven't seen what all the pros have done with this new monster of a deck. But a lot of the card choices are already becoming widely agreed upon, as most of them are quite obvious. So, on with the decklist, and the discussion of my card choices:

Main Deck: 41

Blackwing - Sirocco the Dawn
Blackwing - Shura the Blue Flame
Blackwing - Bora the Spear
3 Blackwing - Gale the Whirlwind
Blackwing - Kalut the Moon Shadow
Blackwing - Blizzard the Far North
Dark Armed Dragon
Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

Allure of Darkness
Black Whirlwind
Dark Eruption
Monster Reborn
Brain Control
Heavy Storm
Giant Trunade
Book of Moon

Reckless Greed
Mirror Force
Delta Crow - Anti Reverse
Icarus Attack
Solemn Judgment

Side Deck: 15
D.D. Crow
Crush Card Virus
Light-Imprisoning Mirror
Bottomless Trap Hole
Threatening Roar
Trap Eater
Mystical Space Typhoon

Extra Deck: 15
Black Rose Dragon
Blackwing Armed Wing
Blackwing Armor Master
Colossal Fighter
Dark Strike Fighter
Goyo Guardian
Magical Android
Red Dragon Archfiend
Stardust Dragon
Thought Ruler Archfiend

Now, a lot of these card choices are looking more and more standard these days, but as this deck is still new to a lot of people, I'm going to talk about some of the obvious card choices as well as some of my personal ones. I'll start like I usually start, and discuss the monsters.

The 16 Blackwing line-up: 2 Sirocco, 3 Shura, 3 Bora, 3 Kalut, 3 Gale, 2 Blizzard. This is the Blackwing line-up you'll be seeing a lot of until the next set is released and we get some more Blackwings to play with, and I think it's the best. Three Blizzard feels like too many, three of the rest of them bar Sirocco feels right, and all bar Sirocco have pretty obvious places in the deck. I single Sirocco out as he has a competitor for his slot in the newly released Elphin the Raven.

Now let's compare them. The both have ways of cheating their Tribute requirement, and those ways function as total opposites. Sirocco requires you to have no monsters, whereas Elphin requires you to have another Blackwing monster. Now, I can see the logic for Elphin, as this is a swarm deck, and you are likely to have another Blackwing on the table, or something is very wrong. And he is bigger the Sirocco, too. But Sirocco has a better effect, and wins out in my opinion, for one reason.

I've done a fair bit of testing with the deck so far, and in a lot of my test runs, the kill turn is my second one. Now, on my first turn, I play out a Blackwing monster, usually with some protection. But every time I play out that first Blackwing, it is usually as bait, because I know it's likely to die. I can't attack my opponent and kill him on turn one, and I don't want to leave myself totally open to an opposing OTK turn, so I have to play a monster and pass the turn, and that monster is quite likely to die. Now, if he does die like I expect him to, I can drop a Sirocco without a Tribute. 

Now, this deck is a glass cannon, much like TeleDAD was, and it does not have a massive amount of protection. It sacrifices defensive abilities for more speed and more damage-causing ability. So while I will open with a Blackwing and a protection card ready to protect it, I will rarely actually use said protection card, because it generally has a more important purpose, like helping me to secure an OTK on the following turn. So with this use of protection cards in mind, that turn one Blackwing is likely to be a sacrifice, which makes Sirocco a better choice then Elphen, in my eyes.

Gorz the Emissary of Darkness: I see a lot of Blackwing builds playing either 17 or 18 monsters. The first 16 are the obvious Blackwings. The 17th is the obvious Dark Armed Dragon, who goes so well with the archtype, with it's all-Dark monster line-up and it's OTK nature that I don't even need to explain his presence in the deck. And the 18th is this guy,Gorz the Emissary of Darkness.

Now, Gorz got a lot of hype when he was first released, and while he has made an impact of the way we play the game, he didn't quite live up to all the hype, because instead of being the one-of random tech in every deck that a lot of people thought he would be, he found himself more often living in people's side decks, as the main just didn't feel like the right place for him in most decks. But now he's found a perfect home.

The Blackwing archtype is, like I've said, a glass cannon. It can fire a deadly shot in the form of an OTK turn, but it can only really fire once. If your shot misses it's mark and you don't get the OTK, you are often overrun by their counter-attack, and what option do you have then? Drop a Gorz, that's the option you have. He is the closest thing to a second shot you can really get, and he is an excellent counter to most counter-attacks.

But that's only one of his functions. One thing he adds is a level of mindgames. If your opponent knows or even suspects you're playing Gorz, he has to try and play around it. This is relatively easy to do, but it might not be too easy for a lot of players. So signaling Gorz, like asking your opponent in which order they're attacking with their monsters, can be a great thing to do, whether those signals are true or false, because in a lot of situations, neither good or bad players will want to have to deal with a Gorz, so it could save you from an OTK turn, even if he's not there. 

Another feature of Gorz is his ability to add to the deck's already incredible OTK potential. I've gone through a lot of hands where I'm holding most of an OTK turn, but I'm missing that last bit of damage, and the first turn is mine anyway, so I can't even go for it. And normally, going first means dropping a sacrificial Blackwing out, possibly with some protection. But with Gorz, you can happily not play anything. This is another situation where Gorz and mindgames come together. In this situation, you just have to act as though your opening hand was bad, and you have made no play because you can't make one. A lot of players can see through this and read a Gorz, but some will fall into this trap, make a direct attack, and suddenly be dealing with a Gorz they didn't see coming. 

And just as suddenly, you have that last bit of damage you needed to get the OTK on your turn. Variations of this can include playing no monsters and just setting chainable cards, mostly Reckless Greed, so the Gorz becomes less readable. But readable or not, I still think he is an amazing choice in the deck, and he deserves that slot as the 18th monster.

And that's the monster base talked about. Now it's time to discuss the Spell line-up. So, where do I begin?

Three Black Whirlwind: I might as well begin with what I believe to be the heart and soul of the Blackwing deck. I see this occasionally getting play as a two-of, but that is just wrong. While the inherent Special Summoning abilities of the Blackwing monsters gives them a lot of speed, it is this card that gives the deck consistency. TeleDAD had Destiny Draw, Lightsworn hasSolar Recharge, and Blackwings have this, and in a lot of cases, it's better then any draw card currently available. 

Sure, it can only add certain cards to your hand, but in most cases, those cards are incredibly powerful. My most common search targets are Gale and Kalut. This can search for a might-as-well-be-Honest or a Tuner that can Special Summon itself and that has an amazing effect besides being a Tuner that can Special Summon itself. Now tell me how a card that can search cards like that isn't a broken advantage engine.

Two Book of Moon: While I've said Blackwings usually have very little protection, this is one of the few protection cards they do play. And this is one of the best protection cards going right now. It disrupts Glad Beast Tiger tricks or tag outs, Lightsworn mills, and various other things. 

It also sets up monsters for Shura to kill. A Monarch is a problem for him in Attack mode, with it's 2400 ATK. But one Book of Moon later, and that 1000 DEF is getting run over and you're getting a free Blackwing monster off of it. And putting things in Defense mode is good(slightly less good, but still pretty good), for Bora the Spear and the Blackwing Armed Wing, too. 

I will admit, a lot of people do omit this, and include things like Mind Control, which makes the deck potentially more explosive, but I feel the level of protection and control Book of Moongives you is worth sacrificing a little bit of speed for.

Two Dark Eruption: This card impresses me more and more. It had a home in the Diamond-Dude focused version of TeleDAD for a while, but now it has a better home. 

It can get you back your version of Honest in Kalut, or Blizzard to get back another Blackwing to make a Synchro monster, or Gale for a Special Summonable Tuner with an amazing effect who will often lead to you winning the game, as Gale usually leads to Dark Strike Fighter, andDark Strike Fighter wins game. 

This card may only recur those three cards(until after the side deck), but those cards are worth recurring, so Dark Eruption is definately worth it's slots.

Giant Trunade over MST: Again, like in Lightsworn, this is the choice I find myself making, for the same reasons. This card is an OTK enabler, and this deck is the most OTK-capable deck in the format right now. While MST is a more permanent answer to a single card, Giant Trunade is a temporary answers to all their back row, and temporary answers are all you usually need in a deck with this much OTK potential, so it earns it's slot in the deck, in my opinion.

And that's the Spells talked about. Now to the Trap section of the blog.

One Delta Crow - Anti Reverse: This thing is a nightmare for anyone trying to answer your OTK strategy. On your first turn, you play a Blackwing and set this. On their first turn, they set some defensive cards to their back row, because they know to expect OTK turns from Blackwings. And in their End Phase, you sweep their back row away, and you will usually win the game off of that. And in the mid-game, when getting three Blackwings on the board is commonly a simple task, you don't even have to set it. 

There are no signals for this card in the mid-to-late game. You can just drop it from your hand and clear anything that isn't chainable from their back row. For the opponent, a Heavy Stormhappening in their end phase is never something they want to see.

And while this card is incredibly powerful, I feel one is the right number, at least in my build. I play Giant Trunade over MST, and three S/T sweepers feels like enough. I'd like to see an S/T sweeper in my games, as they enable or even guarantee an OTK turn, but I don't often want to see more then one per game, which playing more then one Delta Crow might cause you to do. So if you're playing MST, you might want to consider two of these guys, but if you're like me and you like Giant Trunde, I suggest trying one.

Two Icarus Attack: I've liked this card since it was released. It has the word destroy two cards on it. But before now, the cost was just too hard to meet. For the longest time, Raiza was the only truly tournament worthy Winged Beast. 

That's all changed with the Blackwing monsters coming to us, and that makes this card much more playable. It can be risky, as it has to destroy two cards, so if your opponent makes a read on your Icarus Attack, they can play around it and often turn a two for two into a three for one, which isn't good. 

But if they don't make the read, this card can be devastating, and the level of damage it can cause makes it worth all it's risks, in my eyes.

Three Reckless Greed: This deck is all about reckless speed, and that is what Reckless Greedgives it more of. This deck has Allure of Darkness and Black Whirlwind, but to me that doesn't feel like enough. 

Some people play Upstart Goblin alongside Reckless for even more speed, but I feel the deck is tight enough already, and Reckless, Allure and Whirlwind provide enough speed. Reckless really does speed your game up a lot, and the downside is one you usually ignore, because those extra cards you get early can often win you the game, which means you don't have the Draw Phases you'd skip anyway. Getting two cards for two Phases in two turns that won't happen seems like a good deal to me.

Mirror Force over Torrential Tribute: I see Torrential a lot in Blackwings, but I feel it's out of place. You are a swarm deck, and a lot of the time Torrential will be killing a lot of your own guys too. I can see the postivites of Torrential over Mirror Force as your monster sweeper, but I think, in a deck that is more swarm based then anything I've seen in a while, Torrential has more negatives then Mirror Force does

Three Solemn Judgment: This is a very common choice, for a lot of reasons. This is a format of OTK decks, and Solemn is good for and against decks like that. So in this format, it's good for you, and bad for them, for a couple of reasons.

It takes out a key card in your opponent's OTK turn, like their big Synchro monster, Dark Armed, Judgment Dragon, Gyzarus, or even their first Blackwing in the mirror to stop them being able to chain more Summons.

Or it can take out a key card in their plan to survive your OTK, like their Threatening Roar orTorrential Tribute or Mirror Force, or things like that. In this deck, as in every deck, Solemn is an incredibly high-risk, high-reward choice. And this deck is all about high-risk, high-reward, so Solemn fits in perfectly.

And that's the main deck talked about. Now for something that is still quite definately up in the air with this deck, and that is the side. Sides all depend on your local Metagame, so this side is more of a blanket side deck, the kind I'd take to a Meta you're unsure of, like Shonen Jumps and other events of that size, all that have predictable-but-unknown Metas.

Three D.D. Crow: It's a Dark type. It's a Winged Beast. It ruins Lightsworn, and can even do a bit of damage in the mirror. But it's mostly there for Lightsworn, because Lightsworn is the only deck that can currently keep pace with Blackwings, and as such is a deck you want to hinder a lot. It's a perfect side deck card for this deck, and it feeds another side deck choice of mine.

Three Light-Imprisoning Mirror: Speaking of hindering Lightsworn, here's another card that's here to do just that. It's common knowledge how much damage this thing does to Lightsworn, so I doubt any of you are surprised by it's inclusion here.

Crush Card Virus: Now, I couldn't support it in the main, by any stretch of the imagination, with my current monster base. But this card is too good against Lightsworn to not play, and luckily for this deck, it gets fed by another card that is good against Lightsworn and perfect for Blackwings, the aforementioned D.D. Crow. That makes the 7th card in the side deck for Lightsworn. So post-side, this should make racing Lightsworn much easier, thus giving Blackwings the edge.

Three Threatening Roar: I had to have something for Glad Beasts, and I did not want to useRoyal OppressionThreatening Roar is good against Glad Beasts, denying them chances to tag out. It is good in the mirror, denying them an OTK turn and setting up your counter-attack turn. And it is good against Lightsworn, for the same reasons it's good against Blackwings. It is just a good card to have in your side deck, if you haven't fitted it into your main.

Two Trap Eater: An answer to problem cards like Shadow-Imprisoning, the still-gaining-popularity Skill Drain, and most importantly, Royal Oppression. It gives you another Tuner, a decent sized monster, and an out to cards you don't want to see on the opposing side of the table, which are likely to get quite a lot of side deck, if not main deck, play these days. What's not to love?

Mystical Space Typhoon: Again, this card is an out to a lot of your problem cards, which are mostly continuous and sit in the back row. It's not just a third Trap Eater because cards likeBurden of the Mighty and Black Garden are also a pain(a less popular pain, but still a pain).

Two Bottomless Trap Hole: This is another card that is very good this format, like Threatening Roar. It is good against all the major deck types, but I just couldn't find room for it in the main. But post-side, it deserves to see play over certain cards in certain match-ups. If they don't see it in the main, they might not expect it from the side, so they might not play around your big holes in the ground, which is a small bonus of Bottomless living in your side and not the main. 

And that's the main and side talked about. Now I'm actually going to talk a little bit about the Extra Deck, because Blackwings gear their Extra Deck a little bit differently to previous Synchro Summoning happy decks.

The focus of the Synchro Summoning decks of last format were the Level 6 and Level 8 Synchro monsters. But this format, it's all about the number between the two old favorites, the lucky number itself 7. Last format, Black Rose Dragon was the only truly playable Level 7 Synchro monster. But now we have the Blackwing specific Armor Master, who is incredibly powerful against Lightsworn, and more importantly, you have the game winner, Dark Strike Fighter.

I'm sure you're all aware of why he's good. He can win games by himself, as alone he can dish out 4000 damage in a turn. But with friends, he will just end the game. His ability is not limited to once per turn, which makes him an OTK machine. And Blackwings can summon level 7 Synchro monsters easier then anyone, as their primary Tuner, Gale, is a Level 3 monster. Gale is getting play outside of Blackwings for his amazing effect, and the access to Dark Strike Fighter he grants. 

And Blackwings have Black Whirlwind, Allures, and Reckless Greeds to help them find Gale, and they get to abuse his Special Summoning effect, which turns an already amazing card into a broken one, and gives the deck more synergy then any other with the new winner of games,Dark Strike Fighter. And it's this synergy that makes this deck so explosive and deadly, and it's this synergy that is going to have this deck winning matches all around the world.

And those are my opinions of the Blackwing archtype. It really is the fastest deck since TeleDAD, and if you expect to do well in this Advanced format, you now have to prepare for Glad Beasts, Lightsworn, the these guys. OTK turns just got a lot more common, so get ready for them, and 'til next week people,

Have fun.



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