Allen Pennington: "Crowsworn" | The Irish Duelist

Allen Pennington: "Crowsworn"


Allen Pennington, has published another article over at The Game Academy. Here he talks about a new Lightsworn variant that he's been trying out recently.

January 30th was the first regional to be held in Florida in nearly five months. Many players were there just to get their national invitation. Others entered the event to test for the upcoming Shonen Jump Championship in Nashville, Tennessee, while others were motivated purely by the promise of an X-Saber mat to the players good enough to finish in the top8.

A lot of people asked me what deck I played at the regional or what my record was. The answer is that I choose to judge at this regional. It was one of those things that I’d never done before, and I wanted to see what it was like. As I wrote on the comments form, “It was tiring and stressful, but rewarding.” However, I can tell you what deck I would have played at the regional if I had entered the event. I built a deck before the regional in the unlikely event that they didn’t want me to judge the event anymore.

After I arrived at the venue and confirmed that I was still judging, I had to lend out all of my available decks to my friends (Yes, this was a requirement). These consisted of Gadgets, Blackwings, and Lightsworn. I’d given up on Blackwings as a viable decktype; I had a build that I saw online about three weeks ago that maindecked two Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer. I hadn’t changed my gadget deck at all since it got 1st place at The Game Academy’s $500 Cash Tournament.

I lent one of my friends my latest build of Lightsworn, the deck that I had been messing around with since Charge of the Light Brigade and Honest were reprinted. I decided that Chaos Sorcerer was way too good not to play in Lightsworn, but I didn’t like any of the “Twilight” versions that I’d seen lately. I decided to build one of my own that would better suit my playstyle.

When I showed my deck to the friend that I was lending it to, he quickly looked at the deck and determined that he didn’t like it. I had various judging duties to take care of, so I didn’t really have time to explain my card choices. He decided to change it to a more standard build of Lightsworn and took out my favorite tech card, saying he would side it instead. I replied with, “Yeah, I was siding them at first too, but then I realized I was bringing them in every game and said ‘wait a minute!’ It beats Zombies and the [Lightsworn] mirror.”

At the end of the day, he’d finished 6-2 and landed in 17th place, which is a pretty respectable record. However, he essentially admitted that I was right about my tech choice when he admitted that he had sided it in every game.

Before I reveal my tech, I want to explain some of issues that I have with the most popular version of Twilight, often called French Twilight, that Vincent Ralambomiadana used to win SJC Columbus. One of the first things I look at when viewing a decklist is the monster/spell/trap ratio. I don’t like the fact that 70% of his decklist consists of monsters. I just don’t like getting stuck with all-monster hands in any deck. I think his deck was a good choice for the event that he won, but I think the deck needs to be modified for future events.

I understand why most Twilight decks are playing so many monsters. Once you add your usual suspects for Lightsworn monsters, Dark Armed and Chaos Sorcerer for the twilight component, and dark monsters you already have at least 26 monsters. I had a great idea to solve this issue. How about if we cut the dark monsters like Tragoedia for a dark monster that’s actually a trap? Wait… what?

As you may be aware, D.D. Crow almost never touches the field. It functions more like a trap you can activate straight from your hand instead of setting it (which in reality makes it better than a trap). However, for the purposes of a card like Chaos Sorcerer, it’s a dark monster. A card like D.D. Crow is just what I needed for this deck. It keeps my monster count low, and has the anti-meta flavor that I always love.

As an anti-meta card, I like D.D. Crow a lot more than Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer in Lightsworn for several reasons. The main one is that it wastes your normal summon, which you normally want to use to summon a Lightsworn monster such as Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner or Celestia, Lightsworn Angel. Also, inflicting battle damage with a monster like Kycoo is not as easy as it sounds. It can be stopped dead in its tracks with a trap like Bottomless Trap Hole or Mirror Force. You also cannot inflict damage if your opponent has a wall of defense position monsters. On the other hand, D.D. Crow is unstoppable by anything besides Divine Wrath or something similar. It’s a great way to surprise the Lightsworn player who tries to get back Judgment Dragon with a card like Monster Reincarnation or the Zombie player who tries to set up combos with Mezuki.

There are a few other unusual elements of my deck as well. Take a look for yourself. I’ve titled the deck CrowSworn because it’s the most notable card, and it’s also a catchy name.

Monsters: 25 (really 23)
[2] Judgment Dragon
[2] Celestia, Lightsworn Angel
[3] Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner
[1] Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior
[1] Ehren, Lightsworn Monk
[2] Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress
[1] Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter
[2] Wulf, Lightsworn Beast
[3] Necro Gardna
[3] Honest
[2] Chaos Sorcerer
[1] Gorz, Emissary of Darkness
[2] D.D. Crow

Spells: 11
[3] Charge of the Light Brigade
[3] Solar Recharge
[2] Gold Sarcophagus
[1] Heavy Storm
[1] Mystical Space Typhoon
[1] My Body as a Shield

Traps: 4 (really 6)
[2] Bottomless Trap Hole
[2] Beckoning Light

Sidedeck: 15
[2] Waboku
[2] Royal Decree
[2] Dust Tornado
[1] Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid
[1] Phantom of Chaos
[2] Lightning Vortex
[1] Breaker the Magical Warrior
[1] My Body as a Shield
[1] Shiny Black “C”
[1] Nobleman of Crossout
[1] Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer

As you may notice, there is no Plaguespreader Zombie found in the deck. The reason for this is that I have a lot of respect for Zombies, more so than the average Lightsworn player. Milling a Plaguespreader Zombie in the end phase against Zombies can spell doom (see what I did there?). The Zombie player can take it with his/her Zombie Master and Doomkaiser Dragon and synchro a lot. When a Zombie player makes a lot of synchros in one turn, it means you lose.

As you can see, no extra deck is listed. It’s impossible for this deck to synchro (bar your opponent Creature Swapping you a tuner). Personally, I do have an extra deck for this in real life just in case I run into some weird situation where I do happen to obtain a tuner. However, you can choose not to run an extra deck for mind games. Sitting down to play your opponent and telling them you don’t have an extra deck can have some interesting effects. Whether you do that or not is your choice.

I’m also not maindecking Aurkus, Lightsworn Druid because I find it to be useless in the Zombie and Absolute Zero matchups. These decks have very few cards that target, only the staple spell Brain Control and monster effects like Caius the Shadow Monarch and Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier. I feel there are not enough targeting cards in the format to warrant a maindeck inclusion. However, I do I have it sidedecked for the Lightsworn mirror, Blackwings, and Gladiator Beasts.

On the other hand, I am maindecking Ehren, Lightsworn Monk, a card that often doesn’t see play in Twilight builds. This card is crucial in the Zombie matchup (although its effect is practically useless in the Lightsworn mirror). Anything that the Zombie player sets is going to get wrecked by Ehren: Mystic Tomato, Pyrmamid Turtle, and Goblin Zombie. I find the early advantage that Ehren gives to be very helpful in this matchup. It’s also useful in the Absolute Zero matchup, often sending back Mystic Tomato or Sangan. Even against Blackwings it has its occasional use of sending back a set Vayu, Blackwing the Emblem of Honor into the deck.

The spells are fairly standard; the only card I would like to talk about is My Body as a Shield. This card is amazing and should be considered a staple in Lightsworn. The card has been discussed recently because it can negate the effect of the deadly Elemental Hero Absolute Zero. However, more importantly it negates Judgment Dragon and Celestia, Lightsworn Angel, two of the strongest cards in a Lightsworn deck. It also negates Icarus Attack, which is considered by many to be the best card in a Blackwing deck (next to Black Whirlwind). And of course we all know that it negates Mirror Force and Torrential Tribute (which have been seeing play since… forever). You see where I’m going with this? It essentially negates the best cards in every deck. However, it’s not quite as good against Zombies, so I usually side it out against them.

I’d also like to explain how My Body as a Shield works against Royal Oppression for those who don’t know. If Royal Oppression is negating a card that special summons itself (such as Judgment Dragon, Chaos Sorcerer, or any synchro) you cannot use My Body as a Shield in response since the monster is not on the field yet. One of the people I know calls it the “limbo” zone; it’s technically not on the field or in the hand. However, if you’re activating the effect of a card like Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner or Zombie Master, since the card is on the field, you may use My Body as a Shield if your opponent choose to activate Royal Oppression.

It’s important to know this for strategical purposes. What I often do is use Lumina to “bait” Royal Oppression while holding a My Body as a Shield. That way it’s safe to drop a Judgment Dragon later. Being able to read Royal Oppression is very important, as you have a number of ways to destroy it if you need to.

There are only a few traps in this deck. The two Beckoning Lights are considered staples in a Lightsworn deck. I don’t think a third Beckoning Light or a 1-of Monster Reincarnation is necessary. Two Bottomless Trap Holes are being played because I like the fact that they’re live in every matchup. I like them against Blackwings, an overplayed deck in my meta, because it stops them from searching with Black Whirlwind (assuming the monster that was summoned had at least 1500 attack, which it usually does). It’s also great against the Lightsworn monster, stopping a Lumina into Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior play. Bottomless is also good against Judgment Dragon, since you know your opponent won’t be able to get it back to his/her hand later.

I’m not playing Mirror Force or Torrential Tribute, which might surprise some people. These “staple traps” are not necessary in a Lightsworn deck. Mirror Force is easily destroyed in the current metagame, and Torrential Tribute doesn’t help when your field is bigger than your opponent’s. Lightsworn like to swarm the field, and neither of these cards when you’re doing that.

I would like to talk about the sidedeck, although it’s not set in stone by any means. In Lightsworn, the sidedeck actually has two functions. The first is countering your opponent’s sidedeck.

[2] Dust Tornado
[2] Royal Decree
[1] Breaker the Magical Warrior
[1] Phantom of Chaos

Whether you side in Dust Tornado, Royal Decree, or both depends on your opponent’s deck. If your opponent is running something very trap heavy, such as Blackwings, I usually bring in Royal Decree. If it’s something with less traps, like Zombies or Absolute Zero, I usually find myself putting in Dust Tornado instead. If I’m playing against something anti-meta I bring in both because you want as much spell/trap removal as possible. Breaker the Magical Warrior and Phantom of Chaos are almost always brought in. They’re the best ways to get around a Light-Imprisoning Mirror.

Next, you have the cards that are specifically sided for the Lightsworn mirror match: Wabokus and Lightning Vortexes. Not only do these cards have synergy together, but they are also good by themselves against Lightsworn. A well-timed Waboku can stop you from getting OTKed and possibly even make your opponent deckout. Lightning Vortex is good at clearly the swarms that Lightsworn and known for getting. Lightning Vortex is a great answer to a first turn Lumina into a Garoth, Lightsworn Warrior (often milling a Wulf, Lightsworn Beast). Pitching a Necro Gardna with the Vortex makes it even better.

Kycoo the Ghost Destroyer is a random 1-of that’s sided in for both the Lightsworn mirror and Zombies. If you can get its effect off it’s great, but not quite good enough for me to want to bring in multiples. In fact I may end up cutting it if I can find something that serves a better purpose.

Shiny Black “C” is mainly against Zombies, but it can also be brought in against any deck that heavily relies on synchros. Once you get Shiny Black “C” into the grave, it becomes very hard for the Zombie player to OTK you, as that typically involves playing multiple synchros. Nobleman of Crossout is directed at Zombies as well. Eliminating set monsters is very important in that matchup.

My Body as a Shield is mainly in the side for the Lightsworn mirror. I find that whoever wins the mirror is often determined by who uses Judgment Dragon’s effect more, so negating its effect is obviously very helpful. I also bring it in against Blackwings because I feel that negating Icarus Attack is just that important.

That covers the side (Aurkus was previously discussed). Feel free to change the side and make it your own depending on your meta. Things that I would consider adding include Malevolent Catastrophe, Brain Control, and Thunder King Rai-Oh.

In testing so far the deck appears to have no bad matchups. In particular, I feel that people are overrating the Absolute Zero vs. Lightsworn matchup. I’ve been hearing some people saying that Absolute Zero should win every game. Absolute Zero itself is a Raigeki, which can obviously hurt Lightsworn. However, you can play around that. Just don’t overcommit to the field. If Lightsworn gets a fast hand, it’s hard for Absolute Zero to keep up with the pace. The earliest the deck can bring out Absolute Zero is turn 2 or 3, and by then the lightsworn player can have done a lot.

Another advantage that Absolute Zero has is the fact that the deck can bring out Ally of Justice Catastor as early in turn 1. This is just another reason why Chaos Sorcerer is good. Other outs include the obvious ones like Judgment Dragon and Celestia. You also have Bottomless Trap Hole and Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter. If you can manage to drop Gorz, Emissary of Darkness it gives you yet another answer.

I don’t want to go as far to say that the deck I’m featuring today is the best deck of the format. I certainly think there are other good options for a deck to take to a big event. I am attending SJC Nashville, and there are a lot of decks on my list to test. However, I would recommend that other competitive players put this deck, or one conceptually similar to it, on their list of decks to test. It may look unusual, but you might be surprised on how well it tests. Based on my testing so far, it has a strong mix of power and consistency.