Building on a Budget with Martyn Jones

17.04.2011 | 20:05 |

Many players think that Pot of Duality and Solemn Warning are essential to the strategy of the Gravekeepers, providing them with answers to opposing monsters and helping them to find their key cards. Some would go as far as claiming that the Deck wouldn't work without them. Here's one Duelist to prove them all wrong: Martyn Jones! He made it all the way to the Top 16 of the YCS Paris, without playing a single copy of Pot of Duality or Solemn Warning! Let's see how he pulled it off!

This is Martyn's Decklist:

Martyn Jones (Gravekeepers)


Monsters: 15 2 Effect Veiler 1 Gravekeeper's Assailant 3 Gravekeeper's Recruiter 3 Gravekeeper's Descendant 3 Gravekeeper's Commandant 3 Gravekeeper's Spy
Spells: 11 2 Mystical Space Typhoon 1 Book of Moon 3 Necrovalley 2 Royal Tribute 1 Dark Hole 2 Gravekeeper's Stele
Traps: 14 2 Seven Tools of the Bandit 2 Dimensional Prison 1 Royal Oppression 2 Bottomless Trap Hole 1 Trap Dustshoot 1 Mirror Force 2 Compulsory Evacuation Device 1 Torrential Tribute 1 Mind Crush 1 Solemn Judgment
Extra Deck: 15 1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon 1 Formula Synchron 1 Armory Arm 2 Ally of Justice Catastor 1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier 1 Gaia Knight, The Force of Earth 1 Iron Chain Dragon 1 Scrap Archfiend 1 Ancient Fairy Dragon 1 Black Rose Dragon 1 Colossal Fighter 1 Stardust Dragon 1 Thought Ruler Archfiend 1 Mist Wurm
Side Deck: 15 1 Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo 2 Thunder King Rai-Oh 2 Cyber Dragon 2 Puppet Plant 2 Kinetic Soldier 2 Gozen Match 2 Rivalry of Warlords 2 Mask of Restrict


Martyn, tell us how your Deck choice came along!

I had a fully fledged Lightsworn Deck around a year ago, but with a change of the Forbidden and Limited List, it wasn't able to perform as good as it used to anymore. I was looking for different Decks to try out and eventually stumbled across the Marik Structure Deck. I originally wanted to get it just for Mirror Force, but once I realized I couldn't put together most of the other good Decks, I felt like Gravekeepers were a great choice for me.


That doesn't sound bad. How did you end up with the final list?

It started to get better once some of my friends helped me out and traded some good cards with me, but I still didn't own any copies of Solemn Warning or Pot of Duality. I decided to use more tech cards that were easily available to me instead of trying to simply copy the Decklists that did well. I doubled tech cards like Compulsory Evacuation Device or Seven Tools of the Bandit – cards I often saw played as 1of's in the Decks of top contenders. I also added Effect Veiler as I think it's a great card!

I felt the Deck I came up with was very consistent thanks to the Gravekeeper engine. Though Solemn Warning is a very powerful card, you have to invest 2000 Life Points. I have won games as my opponent's paid too many Life Poins and couldn't take the attacks of my monsters in the following turns. I thought that's the way to go, building the perfect Deck that can easily work around Solemn Warning, so I tried to always use Seven Tools of the Bandit against opposing counter traps to trade 1000 Life Points and a card on my side of the field for their 2000 Life Poins and their Counter Trap Card. This worked extremely well, in fact, better than expected!


So what other changes did you apply to your Deck?

I added Mind Crush and Trap Dustshoot. The first is good against all Decks that like to search a lot, while the latter is great in the early game and can be extremely disruptive to your opponent's strategy. Those cards aren't great against every Deck in the format, however, but you can use that to your advantage, too! They can make room for cards from my Side Deck, making it easier for me to figure out which card to swap in between Duels.


Martyn Jones with 3 of his signature cards!

Martyn Jones with 3 of his signature cards!


You mentioned you had a good Side Decking strategy when you're getting paired against other Tombkeeper Duelists?

I always side out Royal Tribute and 2 copies of Necrovalley. My opponent's are using Pot of Duality to get to Royal Tribute, so they're often faster than me. I figured I shouldn't try to win that race and simply add some more cards that can turn the Duel around. Necrovalley is on the field most of the time anyway, so I side them out as well.
I often sided in Thunder King Rai-Oh, Puppet Plant and Cyber Dragon, all able to give me an advantage over my opponent!


For more information how those 3 cards can help you beat the Gravekeepers, you may check out our article The Art of Side Decking.

So there you have it! Martyn Jones' Deck proved to be extremely competitive, helping him to score a respectable Top 16 finish. With the better options for the Gravekeeper mirror, this might be a Deck you'll see even more often in the future!