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 Smoke and Mirrors - A Guide To Conversion Siding

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PostSubject: Smoke and Mirrors - A Guide To Conversion Siding   Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:18 am

Heyyyy, it's your favorite Pokemon, and I've got an article for you folks (my first one here on WDA). This one concerns a strategy that I've been fond of for quite a while now, and with a good bit of research and a recent rise in relevancy, I figured now would be the time to put it up; thus, here it is!



So it's game 2 of a match at my locals last format; I'm using Evols, and my foe is using Inzektors. We shuffle our decks after siding, and after cutting, he tells me "I honestly don't know what to side against you." I grin a bit at this, and sure enough, he flips up a Decree a few turns in, when I only have 6 traps in my deck. (Side note: I assume he figured I run the deck a LOT like Dino Rabbit, and thus had a ton and a half of traps)

Ever had one of those moments, where you see your opponent has sided in something totally useless against you? You know that feeling, probably, and it's definitely a good one; they just drew into a card totally useless for the whole duel!

Hi, I'm Billy Mays, and I'm here to tell you about I don't think I've ever actually written an article not about a specific deck, but thanks to a totally out-of-the-blue whim of a deck creation not long ago (haha, irony), I have one for you now. As the title states, I'll be talking about a rarely-used, high-risk/high-reward strategy in the game of Yugioh; conversion siding, or transformation siding.

First off, what is conversion siding? Well, the name says it all, as you're literally converting your deck from one to another. It can be from, say, Gadgets to Light Beat, or, what Paul Cooper and Kevin Ward used at YCS Providence to quite a good bit of success, HEROs siding into Wind-Ups! The point is to completely throw your opponent off when they're trying to strategize for how to beat you in the next game, and very possibly renders side deck choices completely useless. Say the opponent of the HERO --> Wind-Up user sides in Kinetic Soldier. Well, now that the HERO player has traded in his superheroes for toys, he can just run right over the now worthless side-in, who very well could have been a card useful for the foe in this game.

Not only that, but imagine this scenario that's based off a deck posted months and months ago on here: You face off against, ugh, Chain Burn! Unprepared in Game 1 (and with a bit of bad luck), you scoop after a few turns and head for the side deck. You side out your monster removal and traps like Compulsory Evacuation Device for the next game, side in Decrees, etc, and you feel pretty good about yourself. You set a backrow of Decree and MST, plus a monster, and pass to your foe... who promptly Normal Summons an Inzektor Dragonfly to the field, equips a Hornet from his hand, and proceeds to absolutely maul you. It's a drastic example, but see how you sided out monster removal and other potentially useful cards against Inzektors because you swore you went up against Chain Burn in the first game? That's what conversion siding can do at its peak.

However, there are downsides to this bizarre strategy, of course. An ineffective conversion side, or one that doesn’t adequately make the foe’s side-ins null, will right away destroy the strategy. You may have come up with the perfect Wind-Ups to Infernities conversion side, but hand traps, Fossil Dyna, extra S/T removal, possibly Needle Ceiling or Macro Cosmos still hit the deck hard, and thus the possible benefits from this tactic go by the wayside. Your conversion side deck must, above everything else, make your foe’s side-deck cards dead, so that they’ll be as caught off guard as possible. Secondly, because your whole side deck is focused on the ninjitsu art of transformation, you don’t actually have a real side deck to counter your opponent! Unless you somehow have room, you’re not going to be able to side Gozen Match against Wind-Ups, Gemini Imps against Dark World, etc.

In essence, you’re trading the ability to side-deck against your opponent for the ability to deceive them by playing a new deck.

Now, there are two main reasons why I’m writing this article now, so I’ll cite the more relevant one first: the conversion side has indeed come back into vogue a little bit recently. Competitive duelists all remember last format’s innovation of Wind-Up Beasts, where Wilson Tsang utilized the conversion side to pilot his pseudo-Wind-Up deck (or, after the side, a FULL one) to a Top 8 finish at YCS Long Beach last format. This was a prime example of a very effective transformational siding strategy catching the foes off-guard, and in turn bringing the user quite a lot of success. Lately, however, the conversion side strategy has been picked up even more so. As mentioned above, two notable duelists used HEROs siding into Wind-Ups at Providence to some very good results, for one thing. Of course, the big note is that the conversion side has been picked up by many operators of one of the defining decks of the format. As pitched by Billy Brake in an article a couple weeks ago on Alter Reality Games’ site, Merlanteans can very much benefit from a conversion side. The approach looks something like this:

Essentially, he morphs his deck into a slower, anti-meta one, mainly taking advantage of Skill Drain. For one, T-King still gets his negation effect under Skill Drain; also, a 3000 ATK Barbaros is a giant middle finger to pretty much any monster. However, the best part is this: Genex Undine still works under Skill Drain. The WATER dumping is a cost, so he’ll still send the WATER to grave (and he’’ll get an effect off that), but doesn’t add Controller to hand. So, basically, one can use Undine an unlimited amount of times as long as a Genex Controller is in the deck.

This strategy helps combat or somewhat disregard many common sides against Merlanteans (as Brake pointed out, Barbaros gives no crap about Macro Cosmos, Soul Drain, etc.), and forces the tempo to his own, now gentler pace. As a result, Brake has turned his deck around (and without completely shaking up the monster lineup either), and in Game 2 he can catch his foe ill-equipped to fight his new version of the deck.


Indeed, the strategy has a couple of instances where pros have made it work, but really, this wouldn’t have come to be (this article, I mean) without my own curiosity leading me to quite the trollish version of a conversion side. I had tried to do it before (with something like Blackwings siding into Rock Stun), but the results had always been mediocre. However, almost completely as a joke, I decided to give it a go with a deck I’d seen used before in conversion siding, plus a much more casual deck I’d loved for years that had gotten some recent support to possibly push it up a notch.

Somehow, it worked.

Ladies and gents, humans and Pokemon… meh, just look below.

Haha, yeah, didn’t see THAT coming, huh? Wind-Ups siding into WATTS?

It seriously works well, though. For example, in my first duel with the deck in a high-ish stakes setting (a WDA Live tourney), I faced off against HEROs. I had lost Game 1, but Game 2 was when I carried the advantage, going first and now utilizing a completely new deck. Sure enough, he (as well as the next round’s opponent, using the same deck) ended up siding into and drawing completely useless cards such as Gozen Match and Maxx “C”. I ended up finishing second to Prophecies in that tourney, with the conversion side being the easy MVP. Heck, even in the Single Elimination Tourney here, I managed to beat King with the deck, with Game 1 consisting of total Wind-Up epicness and Game 2 delivering the finishing blow with advantage stocked up by Thunder Seahorse and an onslaught of direct pokers (plus, his D.D. Crow he drew was totally dead)

Essentially, the Watt side accomplishes three things I wanted:

-Making common sides against Wind-Ups dead. Gozen Match and Maxx C are all but worthless against my Watts, Veiler is incredibly diluted (essentially just being saved for Cobra), Needle Ceiling is all but dead, et cetera. It doesn’t cover everything (S/T removal for backrows and Chain Disappearance spring to mind), but the majority of common side-deck cards to counter Wind-Ups become obsolete as soon as I draw my cards Game 2.

-Forcing the opponent to switch strategies. If you were facing my deck, you’d be incredibly surprised to see me drop a Thunder Seahorse Turn 2, search out 2 Wattcobras, summon one, poke, search, and pass. It would force you to rethink everything about how you’re going to approach the duel at hand, with the knowledge that the deck you thought you were facing is suddenly as passé as disco. Plus, the fact that Watts are a rogue deck dated a couple years back means that you very well might not know how to combat them, another plus for me.

-Trolling people using a favorite deck of mine. Watts have been a deck I’ve loved essentially since I got back into the game years ago. I mean, it’s a bunch of electrified, brightly-colored, stunny zoo animals! Not only that, but as mentioned earlier, they have gotten a bit of support of late, mainly indrectly but certainly viable, and three of those cards have places in the side: Wattcobra (themed searcher), Mahunder (Double Summon on legs, gets under Bottomless, at least draws out Veiler), and Thunder Seahorse (discard searcher, sexy as hell in real life). Putting the deck skeleton together with one of the best, most skillful decks of the format like this and actually having them work is, above all else, fun and hilarious, mainly at the absurdity of it all. The shocked reactions I’ve gotten from the deck have been worth it alone, not to mention the fact that I can win with the deck as well.

This deck above, while more unorthodox than most other examples, stands as what I think to be what conversion siding is all about: catching the foe unprepared and stealing a win through shrewdness. While regular side-decking is definitely a far safer and probably more reliable action, I firmly believe that transformational siding is effective in its own right and deserves the spot it’s carving out for itself (especially this year in dueling). If done correctly it’s guaranteed to throw the opponent for a loop, make several cards in their deck completely or mostly dead (subtle Princess Bride reference!), and at the very least get you some kudos for the creativity! Yugioh is a game of innovation (well, as long as it works), and nothing says innovation like making one deck out of another in 15 cards or less.

One last thing to think about: 15 cards is more than some decks run in terms of monsters (and especially deck-specific ones). Simply swapping in 12 monsters for 12 monsters and then sticking in, say, 1 MST and 2 Dust Tornado for a couple dead traps could be enough to effectively convert side. Put another way: 15 cards is 37.5% of a 40 card main deck, which is easily over a third of it!

Anyways, that’s enough for me (2000 words… yeeeeeah); just take three things away from this:

-Conversion siding is definitely underrated

-Watts are amazing

-Absol > you

Thanks for reading all this, stay classy, and with that, Gallade out~

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PostSubject: Re: Smoke and Mirrors - A Guide To Conversion Siding   Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:25 am

Except that Bunny is greater than Absol :D

Nice guide, I am suprised someone is actually taking notice of this >_>

! holykhayos: *TACKLESQUISH*
IamPsychoturtle: *pancake mode*
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