Monday Night Matchup: Blackwings vs X-Sabers | The Irish Duelist

Monday Night Matchup: Blackwings vs X-Sabers

Welcome to Monday Night Matchups, where we take an in-depth look at 2 Decks you’re likely to see in high-level competition and find out what happens when they go head to head! What do the Decks do? What are the key plays to make if you want to win? What do you need to do to stop the opponent? All this and more, tonight, as we find out what happens when Blackwings take on the X-Sabers!

Blackwings and X-Sabers are both consistent performers in high-Level competition. Blackwings were a threat from the word “go” when they first appeared after the release of Crimson Crisis, but they didn’t really come into their own until Raging Battle brought them Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow and the now-Limited Black Whirlwind.

In comparison, X-Sabers only recently took to the grand stage after XX-Saber Darksoul, XX-Saber Boggart Knight, and XX-Saber Emmersblade hit the scene. They went all the way in Toronto, taking 2 Duelists to the Finals where Lazaro Bellido defeated Roy St. Clair to take the title!

(Konami Editor’s Note: X-Sabers and Blackwings were very nearly tied for being the second most popular Deck in Toronto, with exactly 2 more Duelists opting to take X-Sabers over Blackwings.)

Both of these Decks aim to win Duels by either “freezing” or outright destroying all the opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards, then Special Summoning several monsters and finishing off with their signature Synchros.

How Blackwings win Duels:
With Blackwings, most of your Special Summons will come from the effects of Blackwing - Shura the Blue Flame, Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North, Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor, Blackwing – Bora the Spear… actually most of the Blackwings have a way to either Special Summon themselves or other Blackwings.

Blizzard is especially deadly. It’s a Tuner that Special Summons a Level 4 or lower Blackwing from the Graveyard, giving Blackwing Duelists instant access to Synchro Monsters like Ally of Justice Catastor and Blackwing Armed Wing. Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame Special Summons a monster from the Deck whenever it takes down an opposing monster in battle, and Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor can Special Summon Synchro Monsters while it’s in the Graveyard.

In terms of Spell and Trap destruction, Blackwings have access to Delta Crow – Anti Reverse, which destroys every face-down Spell or Trap an opponent controls if you control a Blackwing, and can be played directly from your hand if you control exactly 3 Blackwings!

How X-Sabers win Duels:
Whenever XX-Saber Emmersblade is destroyed as a result of battle and sent to the Graveyard, you get to Summon a Level 4 or lower “X-Saber” monster from your Deck. XX-Saber Boggart Knight can Special Summon another X-Saber when it’s successfully Normal Summoned. XX-Saber Faultroll is the Deck’s trump card, Special Summoning itself whenever you control 2 or more X-Sabers, and then Special Summoning another one from the Graveyard each turn for free. A common play is to Summon Boggart Knight, use its effect to Summon XX-Saber Pashuul, Special Summon Faultroll, then Synchro Summon XX-Saber Hyunlei.

X-Sabers rely on Cold Wave or Trap Stun to prevent the opponent’s Traps from being used. This is usually followed up by XX-Saber Hyunlei to destroy the Spells and Traps while they can’t be played.

As well as Special Summoning in different ways, each Deck has their own unique cards and traits that the other Deck has no access to.

Key Cards in Blackwings:
Blackwings are Winged Beast-Type monsters, letting them use the Trap Card Icarus Attack. It lets you Tribute a Winged-Beast to destroy 2 cards. It’s useful for destroying opposing monsters without having to battle them, while also taking care of Spells and Traps. This is key, especially when you’re dealing with X-Saber Decks that make heavy use of XX-Saber Emmersblade.

Delta Crow – Anti Reverse is gaining popularity now that Heavy Storm is Forbidden because players are Setting tons of Spell and Trap Cards at the same time, thinking there’s no way they can all be destroyed at once. These players are very wrong, especially when it comes to Blackwings and their ability to use Delta Crow – Anti Reverse.

Blackwing monsters can have their ATK boosted by an additional 1400 by discarding Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow during the Damage Step, allowing Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame to destroy practically anything, triggering Shura’s effect.

Blackwing Decks also have a number of ways to draw cards or search for cards, including Cards for Black Feathers and their trump card, Black Whirlwind. Black Whirlwind allows you to search your Deck for another Blackwing each time your Normal Summon one. This effect is so powerful that the card itself is Limited, and players use Pot of Duality and Cards for Black Feathers, giving up their Special Summons for the turn to try and draw it as early as possible. Without any Blackwings, the strategy can fall apart so it’s important to have a constant supply of monsters, especially against an X-Saber Deck that has effects to discard from the Blackwing Duelist’s hand.

Key cards in X-Sabers:
While Blackwing Decks aim to draw their key cards and use their monster effects to do various things in battle, X-Sabers tend to add cards directly from their Deck to their hand, and then discard the opponent’s cards, sometimes even their entire hand. If you’re the X-Saber Duelist, the biggest key to your victory is the cards that let you search your Deck.

Whenever XX-Saber Darksoul is sent from the field to the Graveyard, the X-Saber Duelist can add any “X-Saber” monster from their Deck to their hand during the End Phase, usually XX-Saber Faultroll. Similarly, XX-Saber Emmersblade lets you Special Summon a Level 4 or lower X-Saber from your Deck when it’s destroyed in battle.

XX-Saber Hyunlei, which can destroy up to 3 Spells and Traps when it’s Synchro Summoned, is always a standout, and Saber Slash is a helpful way to destroy multiple monsters that can’t be stopped by Starlight Road. Finally, X-Saber Duelists can negate the opponent’s Summons with Saber Hole. It’s way easier to mount an assault if your opponent has no monsters, and Decks like Gladiator Beasts and Blackwings have a lot of trouble if they can’t Normal Summon successfully.

If you’re playing Blackwings…
Your aim is to prevent your opponent from getting free monsters with XX-Saber Emmersblade and Darksoul, and to make the most of Royal Oppression, Solemn Warning, and Icarus Attack to shut down their combos. Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame is one of your most important cards, as it can take down both Emmersblade and Darksoul in battle, giving you a free monster as well. You can also take advantage of the low DEF of most Set X-Sabers by Summoning Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn, then Special Summoning Blackwing – Bora the Spear, boosting its ATK to 3700 with Sirocco’s effect. If you take down a Set XX-Saber Darksoul now, your opponent will lose 3600 Life Points!

Be careful though, as if you fail to finish your opponent off, you risk them being able to use a Trap Stun to prevent your Traps from working, then Summoning XX-Saber Boggart Knight along with a second X-Saber, following it up with Faultroll, and clearing out your cards and Life Points. Attacking is risky in this match-up, especially against a face-down monster, so if you’re going to do it, make sure it’ll hurt.

If you’re playing X-Sabers…
You need to cut your opponent off from his Blackwing monsters. Use cards like Bottomless Trap Hole, Saber Hole, Solemn Warning, and Book of Moon when they Summon a monster to prevent them from getting another one with Black Whirlwind or even having a monster on the field.

Since most of their monsters will be in Attack Position with high ATK, XX-Saber Fulhelmknight’s second effect (which Special Summons monsters after it takes down one in Defense Position) will only come into play if you flip the monsters face-down with Book of Moon, and attack them afterwards.

Icarus Attack is going to be your biggest concern, so Trap Stun is a life-saver. Blackwing Duelists Set a lot of cards, and if you lock down the Traps, you can destroy them with XX-Saber Hyunlei. Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow is another card to watch out for, but if you discard it with XX-Saber Gottoms or X-Saber Airbellum, your opponent won’t be able defend against your bigger monsters.

Both of these Decks will prove to be extremely popular in the coming months, as their strength has been proven at YCS Toronto and will again at YCS San Jose (and YCS Bochum in Europe) on September 25/26th, so you can expect to see this matchup a lot more often. With the above tips, you should have a greater chance of winning, no matter what side you’re on.