Engines and Innovations | The Irish Duelist

Engines and Innovations



Here's a guest article by InfusionsCap (John Patrick Boring to those who know him outside of the Internet) looking ahead to the September 2011 TCG Advanced Format. If you're still planning out your Deck to early events in September and october it's well worth a read for some ideas and inspiration, check it out:

Hello again. After a short break from playing and a long break from writing articles, I finally got back on DN and began testing decks for the upcoming format change. It has been a lot of fun as always to try and anticipate where the game is heading and what sort of impact this new list will have on the overall status of the game and the meta. To me, this is one of the most exciting times in the game, because a new list means new possibilities, and a chance to break the stagnation and repetition we have been seeing for several months now. I personally feel like this list however takes this from the typical changes and adjustments we face every six months and blows that up to a much more grand scale, because of not only how much was changed on this list, but also the specific changes made. I'm not writing this to make meta predictions, even though I have those (and will be happy to discuss them with anyone who wishes to do so) but rather to bring to light an observation I have made regarding this list. Some of you may have noticed this already. Today's topic is about engines and innovation.

First of all, for those who are not in the know about this, what is an engine? Well, it's the thing under the hood of your car that makes it run. Just kidding. In YGO terms, an engine is a specific group of cards that your deck is either focused around or is used to help your deck makes transitions within the game, such as defense to offense, or maybe even just to make power plays and bring your different combos to fruition. An example of this from the current format (probably the best example as it has been a mainstay for the last six months) is the Plant engine involving Lonefire Blossom, Debris Dragon, Dandylion, etc.

Now that the terminology is out of the way, why am I bringing up something this fundamental? Well, although the Plant engine was hit pretty well by this list (hit, not killed off mind you) there are tons of other engines still in the game and I expect many of them to have a big impact on the game in the upcoming months. Now we have come full circle. This is the main point of this whole thing I am talking about here. The game is ripe for innovation and engine splashes. Let's take a look at a few examples of some other engines made possible by the actions (or in some cases lack of action) of Konami on the new list.



HEROes

This is the one many people are the most excited about I think. Destiny Draw is finally back to two. The question now becomes a simple one, what are we going to do with it. Well, Disk Commander is still gone obviously (and I doubt he is ever coming back without drastic changes to the game) and that kinda makes Fear Monger useless as well. Dasher can be useful in the right deck I suppose, and the same can be said about Plasma. That leaves Diamond Dude, Malicious and of course the ruler of all, Stratos. Basically, to run a Hero engine in a deck does not require a lot of commitment in terms of space. You are really only looking at about eight cards (Stratos, Reinforcement of the Army, Malicious x2, D-Draw x2, Diamond Dude x2) to splash this engine into something. There are tons of possibilities for this; Zero gains speed and consistency, you can even run Neo-Alius and E-Emergency Call with this engine to open up the possibility of Gemini Spark being in the mix, or access to LIGHT monsters for Black Luster Soldier/Chaos Sorcerer.



Tour Guide From the Underworld

Like we need a long discussion about this one, I know. Point is, it didn't get touched on the list, and Leviair is absolutely insane in any kind of deck where...well almost anything. The TGU engine requires only four cards to play, Tour Guide x3 and a Sangan. Avarice and Allure are obvious includes in this as well, but I don't really consider those part of the engine specifically, as they can be played with a number of other engines and are just overall support for the deck in question. The point is not that we will see this a lot, we already know that. The point is that it requires virtually no card/space commitment to play this and it combos with virtually every deck that is being explored right out of the gate on this list.



Zombies

Well, it's about that time again. In for a format, gone for two. We have come back around to a time when Zombie's are going to be relevant again. The Zombie engine can be played with a variety of other things is what I personally think is so solid about it. Mix it with Hero's, Lightsworn, other DARK monsters in a value/beatdown type of deck, or just add in Tengu and Tour Guide for a never-ending stream of monsters and power. Zombie's can be played as their own deck with other things splashed in for support/syncro tricks like I mentioned, or can be used as a smaller engine to support other deck types. When doing this, you are really only looking at a 6-8 card commitment (2-3 Goblin, 1-2 Master, Mezuki, Plague., Foolish Burial.) A deck dedicated to Zombie's might consider Burial from a Different Dimension as an option, but as a splashed engine I'm not sure if it would be quite as efficient.

Tengu

Another duh I suppose, but it's so solid I wanted to give it a mention. We all know what Tengu does for any deck that abuses the syncro mechanic, and I don't think that even the limitation on Librarian and Formula Syncron will keep it off the tables.



Lightsworn

Lightsworn/Twilight decks will probably occupy a sizable portion of the meta in the upcoming months, but the basis of the Lightsworn engine can be splashed into other decks (usually Zombies, but not limited to it) to add speed and a series of LIGHT monsters for Chaos summons and additional combos. The LS engine commonly used when doing this is very streamlined and does not use Judgment Dragon, as he is not the focus in this regard. Typically you see something along the lines of Charge, Recharge x3, Lumina, Lyla x2-3, Ehren x1, Garoth x1, Ryko x1-2. Obviously those numbers can be played with, and combining archtypes and engines like this are all about innovation, experimenting, and trial and error.

Plants

They aren't dead, at least I don't think so. Even with Lonefire x1, Debris x1, Dandy, Spore x1, Bulb, and Librarian and Formula to one splashing this small card commitment into another archtype for extra tricks is still a viable option in my opinion, and it's something that I will not be at all surprised to see in the near future of YGO.

So What Other Innovations Do I Expect?

Splashing other engines into decks goes beyond the typical means of doing so outlined above. Sometimes you will see a couple of cards getting added into already existent archtypes to add another element to them, be it explosiveness, consistency, or just a cool new combo that can be hard to avoid. We have seen this at other times in the game, and just like with engine splashes, I think we are coming into an era in the game where we are going to see this again. One quick example off the top of my head involves Summoner Monk in Gladiator Beasts. Glad Beasts are the go-to deck at the beginning of the format for a lot of people. As I have mentioned before in my articles many players tend to gravitate to this deck at the beginning of a format because it's a stable deck that always has some sort of chance at making a run for the top tables in virtually any environment. However, many things have changed for this deck since the last list came out. Essedarii is out now, and that gives this deck a quick beater that they can access in a number of situations, and anytime a Darius play can be made. XYZ's are a big factor now as well. Utopia is an amazing card and this deck can access that quickly and easily. This brings me to Summoner Monk. Monk allows for a solid opening play in GB's, where you can use it to bring Stratos to the field and search for Prisma, setting up the pieces for a power play later on in the game. Then you can XYZ summon together Stratos and Monk for Utopia and get a big beater turn one, something that GB's are not usually able to do. It get's a lot more crazy when Rescue Rabbit comes into the mix, as many more possibilities open up not only for this deck, but many others as well, but that's down the road, I am really trying to focus on what's right around the corner right now and not what is a few blocks away.

This is just another example of what I mean by the list and new game mechanics coming together in a unique way to offer the possibilities of seeing atypical engine splashes or unusual cards being played in a deck for specific combos and power plays, be it something brand new that we have not ever seen before, or something like Monk in GB's that has not been seen since the days of Rescue Cat, another card that was certainly powerful enough to warrant something as potentially strange as Monk in GB's.

That's not all. Blackwings might be able to make a stand once again. TGU is a fine addition to the deck as a splashed engine. It's DARK to combo with Allure, it allows you to apply early pressure, and Sangan getting to search out Blizzard (which I still think it the best card in the deck,) or the restricted cards Gale and Kalut give the deck a shot at making more consistent plays. Plus Icarus Attack is back to three now as well. All these things together create a more favorable situation for this deck to have a chance at seeing mainstream play again.

Gravekeeper's are another thing that needs to be touched on. Many people already suspect that the deck is dead, but I don't think that is the case. This deck saw play before way back when we had Heavy Storm, and multiple MST, and Featherduster, and there was no Starlight Road then, no Dark Bribe, Solemn Judgment was not seeing play, no Stele for late game resource control, no Descendant for power plays, and no Commandant or Recruiter for consistency. The loss of Oppression coupled with the other obvious issues will change the way this deck has to be built from a tech perspective, but Royal Tribute is just as strong as ever, and a consistent tempo deck like this will always have some place in the game given the meta permits that. If Lightsworn/Zombies/whatever make up a large portion of the meta, look how graveyard dependent those decks can be. Can you honestly tell me that you don't think there is any way that a Gravekeeper deck with appropriate tech against the hate cards would not be worth a second look?

So Where Do We Go From Here?

I think we are finally where we want to be, for many of us at least. One of the most common complaints I hear about this game when browsing the boards, talking to people at events, on DN, whatever is how boring the game is because all the decks are really just the same thing over and over and the only things that are different are some of the monsters in the deck unless it is a complete anti-meta approach. Well, the time for change has come. This format will shake the foundation of the game like no other format before it has done. The possibilities are virtually endless. Splashes, tech, cool combo innovations, they are here. You get to decide how far it goes. No I don't think we will end up with anything as crazy as Gravekeeper/GB's or Blackwing/Infernities or anything like that. This is just a chance to try out different combinations of cards and different engines put into one deck (not thrown into one deck, but carefully planned out.) My predictions for the format (not deck-wise but overall environment) is that it's going to be a very fast format with many decks that are either "turbo" style decks or LS variants, or decks with many consistent combo plays in which they can produce a number of large creatures or creatures with restrictive abilities early in the game without sacrificing many resources.

All in all, I think this is going to be an exciting time in the game and I encourage all of you to try and have fun with it. We don't know how long it will take to get another format like this where we have a lot of possibilities to experiment with, or even how long within this format this will last as future releases could have such a dramatic impact on the meta that it streamlines to the usual 3-4 dominant decks once again. So enjoy it, test yourselves to try to new combos, and above all, have fun with the format that I think many of us have always wanted to see. As always, a big thanks to anyone who took the time to read through this.

Until next time, play hard and play well!