Speed Duel: A Look at the Current Format
- Ryan Atlus
One of the more lively Discord servers focused on the format, Tetra Speed Duel, recently hosted a tournament with an ultra rare Jinzo as the prize. Under the current social regulations the special events where you could pick one up in your store have been scarce, so naturally people were pretty hyped about this.
Changes to the Format
Legal in Speed Duel, Jinzo, a special sneak peek in anticipation of the Battle City Box, which will be coming out in late November, was sure to make an impact on the game. It is the only change in the card pool since the release of the latest Starter Decks in May. Gacha-style booster packs seem to be a thing of the past for Speed Duel, which makes the format incredibly affordable for anyone.
When we last looked at the Speed Duel metagame, we were only just getting into the new format after the Starter Decks. One of the more expensive Speed Duel cards, Parasite Paranoid was still causing quite the upstart, although the expansion of the card pool did bring some alternatives to the table. Those alternatives simply had not yet been explored. A few months later, and the Cocoon of Ultra Evolution strategy to bring out Perfectly Ultimate Great Moth has lost a good bit of popularity and meta representation.
The New Meta
The complete breakdown of the tournament shows that about a third of the participants opted to go for the Insect strategy. However, the big new players in town were Marik and Bakura who are paired with control strategies.
Bakura's skill Inner Conflict works like his signature card Change of Heart, with the major change that the stolen monster cannot attack directly. The cost for this is paying half your life points, but you'll usually be pushing for game after resolving this skill anyway. Before the release of Jinzo, your main targets to tribute summon using the opponent's monster was Gaap the Divine Soldier.
Marik brings Twisted Personality to the table. This skill builds up counters whenever either player takes damage with a maximum of three. By removing two counters you can make the opponent discard a random card, and for one more you can destroy any card on the field instead! Keep in mind that skills don't start a chain, a rule that you can use to surprise your opponent or force them to activate effects proactively.
These are the two strategies that made it to the Top 4, both represented twice. So next up we will analyze the two pairs.
Marik's Twisted Control
|Player: Tzaki [TSM] (Semifinalist)|
|Player: Stevie (Semifinalist)|
These two lists show different approaches to the strategy. Tzaki's list included several cards that proactively and aggressively helped them accumulate counters like Twister and Prideful Roar. Besides that, their choice of Gearfried the Iron Knight meant that they'd often take on the role of the aggressor. Stevie played Newdoria over it, which can still help put some damage in against open boards, or help clear boards that are not open. It, alongside Offerings to the Doomed, was no doubt an excellent out against opposing Jinzos. Both players ran a lot of traps, with the dangerous burn cards Nightmare Wheel and Zoma the Spirit surely working very well to help reduce their opponent's life points from 4,000 to 0.
These decks are extremely price-friendly. Blade Knight is the only card you'll need from the booster packs, and they're available at under €5 for a pair of them. If you're really looking to go low budget, or you want to only play cards from the Starter Decks, Charging Gaia the Fierce Knight is a great replacement.
Bakura's Tribute Control
|Player: shimakaru (Runner-up)|
|Player: AVAULT (Winner)|
For a slightly higher budget due to the inclusion of a full playset of Jinzo, which is hard to find outside Italy, you can build what one might see as the best deck Speed Duel has to offer right now. These decks would probably work alright even without having access to Inner Conflict, but being able to tribute an opponent's monster for your Jinzo makes it even better.
We are again seeing variations in the builds. Shikamaru's deck featured a bigger line-up of beatstick monsters that can be normal summoned, while AVAULT would usually be setting monsters that can clear opposing threats. They were clearly planning to play a bit of a slower game where they stay ahead in terms of tempo and card advantage. Old Vindictive Magician made a surprising appearance. It had gained interest at the start of the format due to interaction with Apprentice Magician and Allure of Darkness but hadn't made as big a splash as it did now, showing up in a full playset.
The decks both ran a very slim trap line-up as to avoid conflict (inner or outer) with Jinzo. Instead they went for protection in the form of Sphere Kuriboh. Offerings to the Doomed made an appearance over here as well, making it one of the standout staples of the format.
The Future of Speed Duels
We're less than a month away from the new Battle City Box, which will bring a lot of exciting cards to the format, like the Egyptian Gods, Dark Paladin, XYZ-Dragon Cannon, and Book of Moon! While the set's main purpose will be to play the decks against each other and to draft with friends, these cards will all be added to the Speed Duel card pool. Since so little is known about the box so far, it's had to tell how the metagame will adapt. With the card pool growing from over 400 cards to over 600, it most certainly will have an impact. Once we get closer to the release date of this amazing new product, I'll make sure to tell you all about it right here!
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