Monday, 4 April 2011

Deck Thinning: How it works and why it's so darn important.

Today i would like to write a lengthy review about one of the most important aspects of Yu-Gi-Oh!. Every deck uses it, and decks use it to win. Use it right, and you can manipulate your deck to toolbox any situation, without compromising on advantage.

The power of Deck Thinning is one of the tools avaliable to any duelist who wishes to use it in their deck. Firstly, what is it?

To thin your deck is essentially to make the deck card count smaller. To weave through the arsenal of cards in your deck to the one that you want is probably the most powerful weapon you can wield. In many decks, there are ways to thin your deck, but all decks have access to draw cards. Draw cards have been put under control by Konami's banlist in the recent years. Pot of Greed did so much for such a simple effect. If you drew it early in the game, you could really outspeed your opponent and set up much quicker. Konami released Pot of Duality in The Duelist Revolution (Which i did a review on ages ago) which is the definition of consistency as we know it today. It is one of the ways that competitive duelists (competitive as in spends lots of money on a game with the intention of winning and making a profit) dig through their deck to the card they want. While that might thin the deck by 1 card, it does not thin it enough. Some decks need to thin their deck to get access to a single card.

The most common method of doing that is Milling. Milling is the process of sending many cards from your deck to the graveyard so the cards sent can be used. Debris plants (which is not so potent anymore) uses Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter to destroy a card on the field and mill 3 cards in the hopes that they mill anything that can be special summoned with Debris Dragon. It thins their deck immensely and the player does not have to worry about drawing the monster that they would rather have milled to the graveyard.

Lightsworn is the king of deck thinning. It uses cards like Necro Guardna and Glow-Up Bulb which are milled to the graveyard so that they can be used and not drawn into. There are other ways of thinning the deck other than milling. Upstart Goblin lets you draw a card and your opponent gains 1000 life points. Some see the 1000 life as too much of a benefit to the opponent, but others see it as a way to get to the cards you want quicker. It does not matter if you have 11000 life points and your opponent has now assembled multiple beaters on the field, ready to wipe you out right there. But with draw cards, your deck needs to be as small as possible. Many competitive players, such as myself, refuse to play a deck over 40 cards. with every extra card in your deck, the chances of drawing an out to the current situation is slimmer and slimmer. Cards like Upstart Goblin and Pot of Duality are completely useless if your deck has over 40 cards. If you're playing a 41 card deck, the card you just drew with Upstart Goblin could have been in your hand already if you were playing a 40 card deck (theoretically).

Another way to thin your deck is through controlled milling (a term i just made up). That is, sending the cards to the graveyard that you want there, rather than just sending anything that you might of wanted to draw instead (monster reborn, dark hole etc.). A deck that uses this well is Frog monarchs. They use Swap frog to send treeborn frog and fishborg blaster to the graveyard from the deck. Treeborn frog special summons itself every standby phase and fishborg is a tuner which can be summoned by discarding a card while you have a water monster on the field. This allows you to synchro both into Formula synchron and draw a card, and you have not even wasted your normal summon yet! But controlled milling (or dumping) is generally more costly on resources. Foolish burial can be used in any deck, but is a -1 depending on what you send to the graveyard. Konami know how placing "send ____ from your deck to the graveyard" on a card is a powerful tool to thin your deck, and don't make many cards that can do that.

The best decks can fetch nearly any card from their deck and place it on the field immediately. Search cards like Reinforcement of the Army, Charge of the Light Brigade, Gateway to the Six, Dragon Ravine all let you fetch the monsters from the deck that you need, allowing for increased consistency and deck thinning at the same time. If you don't run a deck that uses search cards, you can use recruiters like shining angel and mystic tomato if you really wanted to. There is no reason why you shouldnt be trying to thin your deck during a duel.

Now, back to card reviews!

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