Yu-Gi-Oh! History: The Gadget Archetype, Part 2


The last article went over the first six years of the Gadget life cycle. We talked about their initial play in the "Good Stuff plus Machines" deck. We talked about the Machina deck and how rank four xyz monsters improved them. But the Dragon Rulers were coming. How would they fare in that unfriendly landscape?

Boot-Up Soldier - Dread Dynamo - Stronghold the Moving Fortress

The Third Wave of Hope

Luckily, one of the big bad dragons was friendly toward our little buddies, and this Dragon Ruler would become Machina Fortress's best pal. Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders had two effects that made it fit right into the Machina Gadget deck. Its in-hand effect lets you discard Redox along with another earth monster to summon any monster from the graveyard. That means Redox could be used as a double summon by getting rid of a Gadget and then bringing it back, but it could also revive a Fortress. While Redox is in the hand or the graveyard, you can banish two earth monsters from the hand or the graveyard to bring him onto the field.

This meant that summoning rank seven xyz monsters became easier, and that pool had some pretty impressive monsters in it, such as Number 11: Big Eye and Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack. Setting up your Redox was easily achieved by the new rank four Lavalval Chain, capable of sending any monster from your deck to the graveyard.

Redox, Dragon Ruler of Boulders Lavalval Chain Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack
Rank seven was the new rank four

This didn't rocket Gadgets to the top of the meta – they hadn't been a top meta deck for a few years by this point – but it did keep them afloat as a rogue strategy. Robbie Kohl, who was well-known for playing the deck back then, kept doing well at regional qualifiers, and Michael Rasmussen took a top-four spot at the Danish National Championship. This era was also the last time the little machines could make use of Ultimate Offering, which would finally find a home on the Forbidden list in September 2013.

Ultimate Offering wasn't missed though, as players discovered another way of summoning multiple times per turn through Chain Summoning! This quick-play spell card lets you normal summon three times in the turn it is played, with the catch being that it can only be activated as chain link three or higher. Kagetokage was an excellent tool for achieving this goal, seeing as it could be chained to the effect of any of the Gadgets, Machina Gearframe or Traptrix Myrmeleo, the latter being an incredible inclusion in the deck due to synergizing with the heavy trap lineup the deck was still playing. Players could even make use of cards like Forbidden Chalice or Forbidden Lance, which in its turn could turn on Number 103: Ragnazero. Using the three summons granted by Chain Summoning, setting up Number 16: Shock Master was easier than ever, which was an excellent turn one play to prevent the opponent from making big pushes on turn two.

Chain Summoning Kagetokage
Three normal summons are better than one

This sounds wonderful, but it's important to note that Gadgets were on the fringes of the rogue meta, and the deck certainly wasn't making a big splash like it did in 2010. I was amazed to learn that someone qualified to play the World Championship of 2014 with Gadgets. Rogger Antonio Vera Moran surprised the world with a build playing eight Gadgets rather than six or nine as was customary. I remember meeting Rogger and asking him about it, and to summarize, he wanted to have access to the grinding aspect that nine offers but have a slightly lower chance of bricking. He made this choice because he was expecting a lot of rogue decks, even in the top cut of the South American championship. The build that he ended up taking to the World Championship only contained six Gadgets, but he expanded his Traptrix package by maxing out on Myrmeleo and playing a copy of Traptrix Dionaea.

Also included was Soul Charge, a card that was somewhat controversial in the deck since playing it too early could have underwhelming results, and holding it for a big push meant being behind a card. With our modern-day hindsight, I'd be in favor of including it and building my deck around being able to abuse it on the first turn. Rogger made it pretty far in the tournament, making it to day two but losing to Oliver Tamajko's Infernities, which was the deck's hardest matchup due to barely being able to come back from Infernity's explosive opening moves. Gadgets might be one of the few decks to top the World Championship in three different years, which demonstrates its ability to adapt.

Traptrix Myrmeleo Soul Charge Traptrix Dionaea
Topping worlds again with our new Insect friends!

After that brief flash in the pan, Gadgets ended up on the back burner. The deck received some new tools like Elder Entity Norden that basically made Instant Fusion a one-card rank four xyz. Some of the cards that were in the OCG "Clownblade" deck saw play in Gadget decks in 2015, like Heroic Challenger - Assault Halberd and Juragedo, which enabled easy access into Tellarknight Ptolemaeus. All of this was well and good, but the fast metagame of Duelist Alliance, followed up by other strong decks like Nekroz and Qliphort were too strong an opponent for the Gadgets. It seemed like the gameplan of Gadgets, namely holding the opponent off with backrow cards while slowly maintaining resources through the monster lineup was just handled better by other decks, and Gadgets were quickly becoming a footnote.

The Medal Bearers

When we started getting small sneak peeks of the Dark Side of Dimensions movie, there was a pleasant surprise for Gadget players. The original Yu-Gi-Oh anime had ended over a decade ago at this point, but in this movie, Yugi would once again be dueling to save the world. Despite them only making a short cameo in the movie, we did get a few new Gadget monsters.

Gold Gadget and Silver Gadget have the same effect. Similar to Tin Goldfish, they will let you bring out a level four machine from your hand, but this effect gets to trigger when they are special summoned as well. That means that if you have Gold, Silver, and one of the older colors in your hand, you can bring out all three of them. Secondly, when Gold and Silver are destroyed, they can summon a level four Gadget from your deck, similar to how Giant Rat brought out Gadget monsters way back when they were just introduced.

Gold Gadget Silver Gadget
Time to shine, literally

Sadly, the support was not enough to bring Gadgets back into the meta, but I remember trying quite valiantly – if I do say so myself – to give the deck its day in the sun at the 2016 LLDS season. All the stars aligned for me at one of the bigger qualifiers of my region, and I managed to grab second place, losing in the finals to Metalfoes. The build featured a hefty trap lineup including the newly released Solemn Strike, a strict upgrade to many traps the deck was playing previous to its release. Pot of Desires played a role in the deck as well, allowing for that extra card advantage.

Silver and Gold Gadget are two cards that are very significant to my Yu-Gi-Oh career. Due to my desire to play them to their fullest potential, I picked up the ABC deck, which was a dominant force in late 2016, and used these cards to establish monsters like Bujintei Tsukuyomi.

Within the Gadget community, these two Gadgets were nicknamed the Johto Gadgets, being a reference to the second generation of Pokémon games in contrast to the first generation consisting of Red, Green, and Yellow Gadget. (Gear Gigant X is kinda blue, right?) There were speculations that we'd maybe get a Crystal Gadget to go along with it, but it turned out we'd have to settle for "Bronze Gadget".

Ancient Gear Gadget finally connected the Ancient Gear and Gadget decks in name. Some of the older Ancient Gear cards received extra benefits when they were tribute summoned using specific Gadgets as materials, and Ancient Gear Gadget capitalized on that by being able to change its name into any Gadget monsters. This might not seem very relevant, but if I told you that it has 500 ATK, you'll know where this is going. Machine Duplication allowed summoning either two extra copies of Ancient Gear Gadget itself, or of the Gadget whose name you declared. If you chose one of the Kanto Gadgets, you'd get both of their searching effects, and if you picked a Johto one you'd be able to bring out an extra Gadget from your hand.

Ancient Gear Gadgets Machine Duplication
Gadgets, Assemble!

With a deck heavily focused on this particular play, I entered a fairly large regional, for my home country, and took my final regionals top with Gadgets; my one loss late in the tournament meant that I was finally able to win the deck box with Gadgets, whereas usually I'd be pretty happy about just taking the mat home. The decklist combined all of the strong points Gadgets had to offer at that time: being able to dish out rank four xyz monsters using Machine Duplication, recovery plays through Norden thanks to maxing out on Instant Fusion and Call of the Haunted and some of the best traps of the format like Lost Wind and Dimensional Barrier. As I was trying to become a bit more competitive at that time, I decided to put away my Gadget deck, but my memories of the deck are ones I'll always hold dear.

The Bad Ending

Just because I put them aside doesn't mean that was the end for Gadgets though. Cyberse Gadget was a card exclusive to the OCG for quite a bit and was used in cyberse-based link climbing strategies. Unfortunately, it barely synergizes with the Gadgets, not even being a machine type!

Let's fast forward a bit. The year is now 2019, and as summer is approaching, the name of an upcoming set is revealed. Fist of the Gadgets was going to have the support that revitalized the Gadgets, as well as the Fire Fist brotherhood. How successful was that attempt? Let us just say that the player bases of those two strategies agreed unanimously about how good the set was and that the set is now best remembered for introducing Code Talker support and True Draco reprints.

Cyberse Gadget Boot-Up Order - Gear Charge

The set's Gadget support was loosely based on Stronghold the Moving Fortress and Boot-Up Soldier - Dread Dynamo, two cards that were technically part of the first wave of Gadget support, but had no competitive relevancy. The new support cards played around with the gimmick of equipping Gadget cards to them. The payoff was supposed to be Boot-Up Order - Gear Charge, which can then special summon them. There might have been a glimpse of potential, but it felt as if the developers missed the mark. For example, being destroyed while equipped to a monster because that equipped monster leaves the field won't trigger the Johto Gadgets since they don't trigger when destroyed by game mechanics.

The Wheels Have Turned

Despite the last bit of Gadget support being a bit of a dud, the little machines had quite an incredible journey. They had some competitive relevancy in multiple different eras of the game. This is easily demonstrated by their three World Championship top cut spots in different eras of the game, dozens and dozens of regional tops, and thousands of hearts won. While the original Gadgets might not ever see the top tables again, I think a retread of the old archetype could lead to competitive relevancy again, as long as it's not Fist of the Gadgets 2.0. If that ever happens, I could see myself giving them a shot once again!

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Freezing-1(23.10.2021 23:40)

That 2 Articels are amazing! I'm playing Dark Magician Decks since 20 Years and i know how its feeling to top a bigger event with a Deck that nobody expect or are interested in. Good Job!

RyanAtlus(24.10.2021 22:13)

Freezing-1: Dark Magician is super fun to play right now! I played it in a 3v3 tournament today and didn't lose a match until the finals!