The Art of Side Decking

I hope this doesn’t sound too familiar to you: You have prepared days and weeks for a tournament, studying every single match-up inside out. You made it there, get paired against a strong opponent in round 1 and he is able to win the first Duel in a hurry. You desperately need to start a comeback, but have no idea which cards to side in.

This article takes a closer look at the cards that can turn a Duel upside down: The cards in your Side Deck. We asked some of the players that participated in our Feature Matches about their Side Deck decisions, providing us with some good advice for both less experienced and veteran Duelists.

More than 50% of the games you’re playing in a tournament, you’ll not be playing with your original 40. You have to keep that in mind when it comes to playtesting, otherwise you’ll get mixed results at best. Just imagine you decided to run a Burner Deck as most opponents won’t see it coming and you got the element of surprise on your side. You win 80% of your Duels, tricking you into thinking that you’ll certainly make day 2 of the next YCS with your deck.

However, you’ve not been playing a single game against your opponent’s Side Deck! 3 copies of [dust] might work wonders against your defenses and a playset of [des wombat] might just take away your win option. After boarding, the match-up might be 90:10 in your opponent’s favor; granted, that might seem a little unlikely, but a 65:35 can be enough for him to beat you in the other 2 Duels and walk away with the Match win. Let’s not get lost in the theory and take a closer look at some examples from our Feature Matches:

 

Diego Badinotti's silver bullets against the Gladiator Beasts!
Diego Badinotti's silver bullets against the Gladiator Beasts!

 

This picture shows the cards that Diego Badinotti sided in after the first Duel in his Feature Match. Here’s why:

 

  • [cd]: It’s very hard for Gladiator Beasts to overcome its 2100 ATK. [war chariot] can’t do anything about the generic ATK of [cd], so I can defeat a lot of their monsters in battle.
  • [dust]: Set Trap Cards are key to the Gladiator Beast strategy. If I can use [dust] to get rid of them before they negate one of my effects, I’ll be in a very comfortable position.
  • [gozen match]: This card is amazing against Gladiator Beasts; it can pretty much tear the whole deck apart! They can’t overextend any longer as few Gladiator Beasts share the same attribute.

 

You can easily tell Badinotti knew exactly what he was talking about. Even though Raphael Lorenzi found himself on the losing end, he was kind enough to share his Side Decking decisions with us:

 

Only 4 fresh cards for Raphael Lorenzi
Only 4 fresh cards for Raphael Lorenzi

 

I don’t really have a s Side Deck against Worms, but here’s what I came up with:

  • [trap hole]: It destroys [xex], one of the key cards in their deck. If he gets destroyed immediately, my opponent can’t bring back [yagan] to gain an early lead.
  • [gorz]: It seemed like one of my few answers against the huge monsters in the Worm Deck.

 

The fact that Lorenzi’s Side Deck provided him with next to no answers to the threats the Worms can Summon to the field helped Badinotti to gain an even bigger advantage. Badinotti on the other hand seemed to know exactly what he was doing, shutting down all the defenses of the Gladiator Beasts.

So much for our first Feature Match. Let’s see what happened in the third Match today:

 

Vittorio Wiktor wanted to side in some BAM!
Vittorio Wiktor wanted to side in some BAM!

 

Only 4 cards were supposed to make the difference in Vittorio Wiktor’s Feature Match against Boyer Benoít. The choices here are rather self-explanatory:

  • [rai oh]: With 1900 ATK, [rai oh] can strike fear in the faces of most level 4 or lower monsters! Add his first effect, shutting down search effects like [smoke] as well as his second effect, being able to negate the Special Summon of Synchro Monsters or cards like [dad] and you got a great option against Six Samurai decks.
  • [mst]: Wiktor wanted to go on the offense in the second game, dishing out additional damage with his [kinetic]'[s]. He had to clear the way for an attack first, therefore running [mst].
  • [kinetic]: He’s pretty much unbeatable in battle with a Warrior Monster. As all the Six Samurai share that particular Monster Type, he can disect them one by one, dealing lots of battle damage in the process, making it easier for Wiktor’s burn effects to seal the deal.

Here’s what was removed from Wiktor’s deck:

 

Those cards had to make way!
Those cards had to make way!

 

Interesting choices here, but somehow you have to make room for the new cards. Let’s finish the article with the 5 cards that allowed Benoít to turn the Duel around!

 

5 cards that made ALL the difference!
5 cards that made ALL the difference!

 

Easy, but effective, would be my personal resume. Here’s why:

  • [dust]: It destroys cards that are essential to the strategy of every Burner player; or in other words: Cards that are most disruptive to the Six Samurai’s strategy.
  • [noc]: Burner Decks tend to Set a lot of cards. [noc] is the most effective way to deal with them once and for all!

Obviously, the art of Side Decking is essential to your success as a Duelist. Learn to master all the advanced strategies to foil your opponent’s plans and claim your title as a future YCS Winner!

 

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