Deck Spotlight: U.A.
- Sherif Lewis
U.A. is an archetype based on sports and team play. It debuted as a TCG exclusive deck in 2014's Duelist Alliance set and it received support through 2015's Crossroad Souls. Phantom Rage has finally introduced a wave of support that has made the deck more playable and more consistent.
It's All About Teamwork
U.A., also known as Ultra Athletes, is a deck composed of earth warrior effect monsters. There are no on-theme extra deck monsters. The idea of the deck is that the U.A. monsters tag and replace one another to enter the field, some having offensive abilities and the others having defensive ones. The heart and soul of the deck is its two field spells U.A. Stadium and U.A. Hyper Stadium as well as the continuous trap card U.A. Penalty Box, which we will talk about later.
Stadium allows you to add any U.A. monster to hand from the deck once an U.A. monster is normal summoned. It also has the additional effect of giving all monsters on its side of the field a permanent 500 attack boost once an U.A. monster is special summoned. Hyper Stadium, which is one of the new cards in Phantom Rage, takes it up a notch by allowing you to add any U.A. monster to hand upon activation. Alternatively, it can add one Athlete from the graveyard instead. If that's not enough utility, by revealing a U.A. field spell in hand, the controlling player can normal summon a second time for the cost of 1000 life points. It should be noted that Hyper Stadium is also treated as a Formula Athlete card and helps that deck as well.
The main idea of the deck is to return a U.A. monster from field to hand to special summon one with a different name from hand while using the spell cards to add more monsters to hand. There are only two monsters that are level four, U.A. Midfielder and the new U.A. Libero Spiker. The rest of the monsters are all level five or higher. Both monsters share the same effect that all U.A. monsters share – they can summon themselves to the field by returning another Ultra Athlete from the field to the hand. Midfielder has a quick effect that returns an Ultra Athlete from the field to the hand – except itself – to special summon another U.A. monster from hand. Meanwhile, Libero Spiker has a quick effect that can only be used during the opponent's main phase. By shuffling a level five or higher U.A. monster from the hand to the deck, you get to special summon any other U.A. monster from the deck, and then return Spiker to hand.
Both effects are quite useful as Midfielder can either push for more damage during the battle phase or replace a monster that is currently being targeted for an attack or a card effect. If this happens during the opponent's turn, both Midfielder and Spiker can summon defensive monsters like U.A. Perfect Ace, which can negate any card or activation with the cost of a discard, or U.A. Blockbacker which activates in response to the opponent special summoning a monster(s) by negating their effects and changing their battle positions. Unfortunately, Blockbacker's effect cannot be applied in response to link monsters being summoned and it can't negate the activation of on-summon effects, only changing the battle position after the effect has already activated.
The best defense is a good offence. Although the deck is relatively unknown and is nowhere close to being competitively viable, the deck can OTK with ease thanks to U.A. Powered Jersey. Jersey gives the target 1000 extra attack and defense points, and damage is doubled if the equipped monster battles an opponent's monster. The best part here is that if the opponent's monster is destroyed during this battle, the equipped monster can attack once more. Also, in case you fail to OTK and replace the monster with another one from hand, you can return Jersey to your hand and try again next turn.
The deck has two main attackers, U.A. Mighty Slugger and U.A. Dreadnought Dunker. When Slugger attacks, the opponent cannot activate any cards or effects until the end of the damage step, ensuring that all 2300 attack goes through, and coupled with Jersey, those are two relatively safe 3300 attacks. Dunker however is the strongest of the two. It inflicts piercing damage when attacking, and when it does inflict damage, you can target and destroy a card controlled by the opponent. Couple that with Jersey and you get a 3500-double attacker or even 4000 if it gets a boost by U.A. Stadium.
The last star of the deck is U.A. Player Manager, a monster than can be used offensively and defensively. It is the only monster that doesn't share the same effect of special summoning itself from the hand by bouncing an Ultra Athlete from the field – except during the damage step. During the damage step, if you normal or special summon a U.A. monster, Player Manager can be special summoned from the hand and can apply one of two effects. The first is to target a card on the field and destroy it and the second is to negate the effects of all face-up monsters on the field, except U.A. monsters. You can even tutor it from the deck via U.A. Libero Spiker's effect during your opponent's turn. Or, if you have it in hand, you can summon it from the hand along with a big body or a negate of choice.
|Main Deck||Extra Deck||Side Deck|
The extra deck is largely irrelevant since the deck needs Pot of Extravagance for draw power. But the Knightmare package is there just to provide utility in case of need while the Cyber Dragon Nova, Invoked Mechaba and Elder Entity N'tss are there in case you face a deck playing Dogmatika Maximus. As for PSY-Framelord Omega, it is rather important as it has the effect of targeting a banished card and returning it to the graveyard. In our case, the card you would always want to reload is U.A. Penalty Box in order to search for a needed spell card. Penalty Box's is other effect is that if it is on the field and a U.A. monster battles an opponent's monster, the latter can be banished until the opponent's second end phase, providing non-targeting/non-destruction removal, which is important in today's meta.
Going back to Omega, the only way to summon it in this deck is through resolving PSY-Framegear Gamma on your turn, which is very important in this deck. You can only play a maximum of six monsters that can be normal summoned, therefore the chances of drawing them in your opening hand are somewhat slim. Luckily, sending Penalty Box to your graveyard via Foolish Burial Goods, or searching for your monsters with U.A. Hyper Stadium, or even summoning one directly from deck using U.A. Signing Deal can get you to what you want. All these previous methods make the player prone to being halted with hand traps. Luckily Gamma can stop most of them and the PSY-Frame Driver can even be used for the summon of a high level U.A. …
Overall, it is a fun deck that can deal massive damage quickly and control the board during the opponent's turn. Hopefully, the deck gets more support but for the moment the deck is finally playable and is a lot of fun. Who knows, someone might end up turning it into a meta contender and I know that I will be happy if that happens. For the moment I am content to know that someone in the United States won their twelve-player locals using a going-second version of this deck.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.