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 Beat Connection - Pt. 1/2

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PostSubject: Beat Connection - Pt. 1/2   Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:43 am

With a diverse format coming to a close and the incredibly varied success of each deck, whether they’re Tier 1 or 3, I’d rather not, at least right now, put up some speculative article about a deck (though I am very very intrigued by the Undine-less Mermail decks seeing a rise in play).

Okay, well, except for the one I've been main-decking in real life for a month, has literally no noted showing anywhere but a few Japanese tournaments, and is flexible enough to be able to be covered at essentially any time.

That’s right: Chain Beat.

The deck, if I had to compare it to any other deck, would most resemble Gadgets. It focuses heavily on recurring monsters (Gadgets by the searching, Chain Beat by the hopping), and utilizes them and a heavy backrow to have a sort of weenie beatdown. However, this deck is even more about pushing through the opponent’s backrow, with Wind-Up Rabbit and Evilswarm Thunderbird essentially invalidating anything that isn’t the Solemn Brigade or a well-timed effect negater like Fiendish Chain or the recently released Breakthrough Skill. Common traps like Bottomless Trap Hole, Dimensional Prison, Fiendish Chain (if activated before the hoppers’ effects), and Torrential Tribute all don’t affect the two or three core cards of the deck, with the last of those even being beneficial to us. This is the “Chain” in Chain Beat. By being able to dodge so many cards that are normally outs to monsters (adding cards like Dark Hole and Black Luster Soldier), the core monsters of the deck are able to very easily retain their presence on the field.

From there, the large backrow serves to whittle away the foe’s resources, which is where the “Beat” in Chain Beat comes in. By clearing away their options, it leaves a more open field for the few monsters we run to poke through for damage, which is obviously a good thing. The special tech basically exclusive to the Chain Beat builds is Compulsory Escape Device, a common trap that has each player choose a monster they control (in the same vein as Creature Swap), then shuffle them back into the deck. Using this, then subsequently chaining the effect of one of our three hopper monsters means that you keep your monster, but their monster still goes back from whence it came. It’s a card seemingly custom-made for the deck, and in my experience is the MVP of Chain Beat.

From there, the variant of the deck is inserted, after what’s generally this sort of skeleton:

3 Wind-Up Rabbit
3 Evilswarm Thunderbird and/or 2-3 Winged Rhynos
1 Dark Hole/Heavy/Reborn
2 Pot of Duality
1 Solemn Judgment
2 Solemn Warning
2 Torrential Tribute
2-3 Compulsory Escape Device

Semi-Staple Traps such as
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
2 Dimensional Prison
1-2 Mirror Force

That’s just over half the deck, leaving easily enough room to input basically any engine or style you feel would fit the deck. That’s where the other huge and innate strength of the deck lies: its sheer flexibility. Like Chaos Stun but with more coherency (rather than “40 Good Cards.dek”), the deck can run a huge range of cards that may contribute to the image of the deck, from self-searchers to common techs like Forbidden Lance to the obscure (Ever heard of Blasting Fuse? Pineapple Blast?).

This article, for length reasons, will be split into two halves, so we’ll wait on looking at the different variants. For now, let’s take a look at matchups, as well as the plus/delta of the deck.

As mentioned before, flexibility is a huge strength of the deck. The fact that I need a second part to this article for the number of builds should tell you enough right there. Standard(-ish), Anti-meta, Legacy, Burn, Beast-Warrior, Black Garden, Seal of Orichalcos… like other control decks of this nature, builds and card choices are practically unlimited. Not only that, but side decking is incredibly lithe as well, with only a couple common sides really being unable for use (Gozen Match/Rivalry of Warlords spring to mind). Beyond that, the deck is very adaptable based on the matchup and the player, so it can conform to the situation at hand with ease.

Now, while it does do its job of control (and possibly stun) very very well, there are downsides of course. For one, there are indeed cards that hit this deck hard. Monsters such as Snowman Eater and Ryko aren't dodgable by our hoppers, as well as Damage Step shenanigans. Skill Drain and Royal Decree smack this deck HARD, meaning we need to counter-side quite a bit to offset the issue. The fact that it's a weenie beatdown means that big or troublesome monsters, if left on board, can provide a huge issue. Finally, because of the nature of our monsters' hopping, the field is often left open for assault; this is offset a bit by the abundance of cards such as D-Prison, Mirror Force and Torrential, but the perils of having your Rabbit out of the way, only to let in a boatload of damage, cannot be underestimated, especially if the backrow isn't plentiful.

The deck does have solid matchups across the board, though. For one, a formerly bad matchup (Wind-Ups) has now been mauled by the banlist; a hit in popularity for one of Chain Beat’s bigger challenges is always a plus. Also, the deck performs very well against the slower, grindier decks of the format. Gadgets are easy: just slow the Gadget flow and keep Fortress/GGX as nonfactors. Meanwhile, Dino Rabbit’s backrow doesn’t do much, and the same goes for Macro. Just watch for Dolkka and their Lances and keep them from setting up. Seal of Orichalcos, if you run it, is godly in this matchup.

As for other matchups:

---Inzektors are actually an easy matchup for us. They hate the large backrow we pack to keep them from getting combos off, and our hoppers dodge their destruction. Plus, we use Macro.

---Mermails are a pretty good challenge, what with their aggressive nature (especially with the Undineless builds in vogue right now), OTK potential, and Marksman forcing out backrow. If they’re running Undineless, Escape Device becomes more effective, as their searching isn’t as big in that build, but overall it’s actually a bit mediocre. You’re going to need to have a good bit of backrow and to know where the links in each combo are (so that you can snap them off there), or it’ll be over in a flash. Also, Macro~

---Dark World is NOT FUN Game 1. Even less fun than normal, with Grapha reeeeally hating on us. Escape Device is good, but they can draw back into the card or Snoww it to hand, but obviously the key is your Bottomlesses and D-Prisons. Oh yeah, and Macro. Side note though: watch out for Skill Drain and the viruses, because those can really ruin our day as well.

---Fire Fists are a decent matchup for the deck. The key, obviously, is to keep their monsters off the field, and we do that quite well with our large backrow (however, Gorilla is a threat in this regard). Bear doesn’t pop our monsters if he can’t catch them (at the very least, depending on the build, Rabbit dodges). Other than Gorilla, be wary of their ATK modifiers such as Lance and Tensen before making plays. Basically though, just keep monsters off their side of the field and you’re golden.

---Prophecy is… annoying. Breaker pops or forces your backrow, Priestess pops errything (and has a 2500 body), and they have a searchable Lance to disrupt a lot of our backrow. Early beatdown, while a bit difficult for the deck, is a solid strategy, but overall, you just need to make sure you keep your backrow very much intact and be able to parry their plays. Game 1 will be the toughest in the matchup.

---Six Samurai can be a nightmare if they get a decent field: Shi En negate our S/Ts, Barkion hits our traps, Musakani Magatamas can hurt us further, and cards like Mirror Force can be dead (Torrential if they get the Synchros out). Don’t ever let them get going, even if it means using up any and all backrow, and get creative with your side-ins (Macro can have more of an impact than you think, Needle Ceiling is fun, etc).

With all of this in mind, though, it should again be noted that the matchups vary based on which build is being used (i.e. Beast-Warrior variant is probably better against Fire Fists, thanks to its own ATK boosting). Chain Beat is as versatile as they come, so it can make like a chameleon and shift according to the meta.

Like I said earlier, I've been playing this deck for a month now in real life, taking it to a very competitive locals, and it's been performing up to my expectations and even a bit beyond. Its surprise factor obviously has most foes clueless on how to face it, especially Game 1, which is a plus in itself, and the ability to conform to the popular decks and counter them with various card choices is, I'd venture to say, one of the best in the game right now. Next week (or the week after if I get lazy), I'll give you an article detailing just how diverse the deck concept can be, so stay tuned until then, chew on this, and thanks for reading!

P.S. Beat Connection is an awesome song by the awesome LCD Soundsystem. Perfect title for the articles, I know.

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