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More Bang For Your Buck: TRAINS
Zach Buckley9/20/2016 11:00:00 AM
Big monsters are cool. I'm pretty sure that's a basic law of nature. Or at the very least, it's a hidden dimension of the human psyche that we all share in. I've always been a fan of decks that make use of really big monsters. A really recent example of that would be Kaiju. The deck's pretty much comprised of monsters ranging from Levels 8 to 11 exclusively. It's all just beef.
However, the deck that I'm discussing today is a bit more reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite big monster decks: Zielgigas Gishkis. As a whole, I think that Gishkis have a bit of a sordid reputation because of the dark days of their hand loop. But true lovers of the deck are usually all about the big monster variant: Gishki Zielgigas is a 3200 ATK Level 10 monolith that draws you free cards and clears your opponent's field. It's a powerhouse. It's everything that big monsters are supposed to be.
Zielgigas decks have always had an extra dimension of promise to them as well; it's one of the few decks that can capably and consistently deploy Rank 10 Xyz monsters. The Gishki's greatest strength is that they can Ritual Summon consistently while still maintaining card presence. The deck was effectively doing the whole Nekroz thing long before Nekroz came along.
|Set||Hidden Arsenal 7: Knight of Stars|
|A / D||3200 / 0|
You can Ritual Summon this card with any "Gishki" Ritual Spell Card. Once per turn: You can pay 1000 Life Points; draw 1 card and reveal it, then, if it was a "Gishki" monster, shuffle 1 card from the field into the Deck.
In fact, the big draw was that if you could get two Zielgigas on the field then you could OTK your opponent that turn. You'd attack with both of your Ritual monsters for a combined 6400 damage and then you'd Xyz Summon Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max in Main Phase 2 and burn away the remainder of your opponent's Life Points.
It's an incredible move that just ends the game then and there. Even without the OTK, the deck often ran a playset of Tragoedia to help make Rank 10's a reality.Sounds Cool, Right? But Trains Do The Rank 10 Thing So Much Better
There were a number of factors that worked against Gishkis that stopped the deck from ever materializing into any sort of competitive force. First, the deck is by and large a one trick pony. It's a vehicle for Ritual Summoning big monsters and while that's great and all, you couldn't really sustain the duel if your opponent shut that down. Gishki Beast was the deck's sole alternative to Ritual Summoning, and while it's a powerful Rank 4 generator it would never be enough to carry you. The deck was way too dependent on Ritual Summons. As far as Rank 10's go? Well, the deck couldn't make them as often as I would've loved to have seen them: every turn.
To me, Trains play like a unique hybrid of a Galaxy and Gishki deck. The main engine is incredibly interactive and self-sustaining and all of the monsters are so, so biiiiiiiiig. A real merit to the overall deck is the fact that at its core, it's only a 12 card engine. There're definitely certain cards that I'd recommend playing alongside the Trains themselves, but the engine � yes that was a Train pun � is small enough that you can diversify the deck to dodge certain pitfalls� like being too dependent on Special Summoning.
That said, this deck is so speedy and so efficient that you're often building big plays long before your opponent has drawn into the kind of cards they would need to defend themselves.Rolling Into The Station
Revolving Switchyard is the center point of the entire Train strategy. I feel like I say this every time I write about a deck that features a brand new Field Spell, but Revolving Switchyard might take the cake right now for the best of the bunch. It's all about getting your big Trains onto the field and there isn't any card that accomplishes that task so succinctly. Switchyard's first effect is reminiscent of Dragon Ravine. You can discard any card to add a Level 10 Machine to your hand. It's kind of crazy to think that Dragon Ravine has spent years on the F&L List in one way or another for having pretty much the same effect as just one half of Revolving Switchyard.
The second effect Special Summons a Level 4 Machine with 1800 ATK or more from your deck and makes it a Level 10 whenever you Normal or Special Summon a Level 10 monster. Those two effects, aside from being stupidly awesome, are a big part of what makes this deck so formidable. You can only use one effect per turn, but that doesn't matter. They're each used best with different cards anyway. If you've got a hand that plays really well into the first effect, the second one won't be necessary.
Your monster lineup's composed of three Trains: two Level 10's and a Level 4. All three of them are equally important, so let's take them in order of understanding how the whole suite works together. Night Express Knight is the monster you're always going to want to see in your opening hand along with Revolving Switchyard. It's a 3000 ATK Level 10 that can't be Special Summoned from the deck, but can be Normal Summoned without Tributing. Its ATK is reduced to 0, but that won't matter because you'll be Xyz Summoning with it anyway. Night Express Knight is what makes the second effect of Revolving Switchyard so good. You can Normal Summon it and then pull your next monster straight out of the deck.
|Set||Dragons of Legend: Unleashed|
|A / D||3000 / 3000|
Cannot be Special Summoned from the Deck. You can Normal Summon this card without Tributing, but its original ATK becomes 0.
Ruffian Railcar's the sole Level 4 amongst your Trains, but it's way more important than its Level might suggest. First, it fulfills Switchyard's second effect. In the future we might see another monster to run alongside Railcar to help meet Switchyard's needs, but there's really nothing else right now. You could maybe make the argument for Express Train Trolley Olley, but I wouldn't recommend it. T
he rest of Railcar's considerable value is bundled up in its powerful second ability. During the End Phase when Railcar's sent to the graveyard, you can search a Level 10 Machine. That gives Railcar an added level of synergy with Switchyard and even gives it extra value as an Xyz Material. Really, it's just one of those great effects that triggers regardless of how it gets to the graveyard.
The last card of note is Heavy Freight Train Derricrane. It's effectively the Galaxy Knight of the deck. You can Special Summon it from your hand whenever an Earth Machine is Normal or Special Summoned; its ATK and DEF will be halved, but much in the same way as Night Express Knight, it won't really matter all that much. It has a pretty great second ability, too: when Derricrane's sent to the graveyard as an Xyz Material to activate an Xyz monster's effect, you can target a monster your opponent controls and destroy it.
The obnoxiousness of that ability is best illustrated when you apply it to the deck's new star Xyz, Number 81: Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Super Dora. It's a card with a name so grand and long it requires the word �super� twice because you'll have forgotten the first super by time you get to the end of its name, making the second one necessary. It's got 3200 ATK and 4000 DEF and packs a Quick Effect that shields a face-up monster from card effects for the remainder of the turn.
When you add Derricrane into the mix, it's a classic �your card's destroyed, not mine� exchange that feels entirely unfair when you acknowledge the fact that it's a 3200 ATK behemoth as well.
So, how about the deck?
As you can see, a twelve card suite does not a deck make. You need more cards to not only help make lots of big Xyz Summons, but also to diversify your win conditions a bit. There're two very popular routes to go here: Kaiju or Shaddolls. For today's build I went with the more common choice of Shaddolls.
Shaddolls are a great option because they tackle a lot of perceived weak points in the Train strategy. First, you want to make a lot of Rank 10 Xyz but you don't want to clog your hand with monsters you can't Summon. Running a Shaddoll engine mitigates that quite a bit because you're running small monsters with utility on their own, which you can then fuse into the insanely useful El Shaddoll Shekhinaga. It's a Level 10 Earth Machine that crosses off so many of the deck's needs.
I've already mentioned the second big reason Shaddolls are great: they're small, and you can Summon them. If your deck hinges on monsters that need to be Special Summoned, then you have to run monsters you can Normal Summon as well, or your deck is just a metaphorical Death Star: big, powerful and seemingly unconquerable but with a glaring weakness. Shaddolls help defeat that challenge too.Wow, Buck! That's A Lot Of Bang!
Seriously, hop on the hype Train quickly. I don't see a future where these cards don't play at least some role in competition. You're running a lot of big monsters that hit the field easily and it's a successful cocktail.
It's also an incredibly flexible and customizable deck, and you could run it a ton of different ways. At the very least, get familiar with it before you get burned to death by Superdreadnought Rail Cannon Gustav Max.
Zach Buckley is a junior at Illinois State University where he studies Arts Technology. When he isn't doing his best to meet deadlines for homework and articles, he can often be found trying to strike up a conversation about politics, theology, electric cars, music and videogames with literally anybody who'll listen. The poor soul who is most often subjugated to these talks is his loving wife, Emma.