Home > 2009/10 - Austin, Texas, SHONEN JUMP Championships > Deck Profile: Jake Johnson’s Swap Blackwings

Deck Profile: Jake Johnson’s Swap Blackwings

October 17th, 2009

“Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor” was recently released in the Ancient Prophecy booster set, and was the big new star at the SHONEN JUMP Championship in Orlando last month.

There are lots of different ways to play “Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor.” Certain key cards are the same regardless of your strategy, so many Vayu Decks look similar, but it’s the differences between them, and the personal touches everyone puts on their Vayu Deck, that make the difference.

Take the Deck that Jake Johnson’s playing this weekend. At first glance, it looks a lot like the Deck that won Rodrigo Togores the SHONEN JUMP Championship in Orlando. But watch the Deck in action, and what appear to be a few small differences change the whole strategy. Instead of playing “Royal Oppression” to stop the opponent from Special Summoning big monsters, Johnson uses “Creature Swap” to take them over instead. And he’s running a lean and mean 40-card Deck to more reliably draw his key cards.

(Deck list will be posted after Day 1 of competition is over – check back later!)


On the surface, Johnson’s Deck has all the plays you’d expect from a Blackwing Deck:

  • It can search for monsters with “Black Whirlwind”
  • It pulls off a lot of Special Summons with “Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame,” “Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind,” and “Blackwing – Bora the Spear”
  • It can pair “Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn” with “Blackwing – Vayu the Emblem of Honor” in the Graveyard to Special Summon “Blackwing Armed Wing”
  • “Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow” lets Johnson’s monsters win battles they wouldn’t survive otherwise
  • “Icarus Attack” clears the field and breaks up combos

These are all staple cards used for the key plays that make Blackwing Decks so popular. But at the same time, there are some different things going on here that you might not expect.

“One of the reasons I didn’t use Deck like Togores used [in Orlando] is because the Deck as a whole needs a lot of things to fall into place,” explained Johnson. “Dark Grepher” (which Togores used in multiples to load his Graveyard for Blackwing – Vayu) is great when he can be paired with the search power of “Black Whirlwind,” by using these cards to get Vayu and something to Tune Vayu to. Grepher is less helpful to a Blackwing Deck if “Black Whirlwind” isn’t in play. “His Deck is faster, but the numbers that I’ve run personally aren’t solid enough for me.” That explains the lack of “Dark Grepher,” but why isn’t Johnson running “Royal Oppression”? Togores tore up the field with that card.

Johnson’s explanation was his educated guess about what Decks he’ll face here today. “Royal Oppression” isn’t very useful against other Vayu Decks, which most Duelists are expecting to see more of this weekend. After all, Vayu took first and second at the latest SHONEN JUMP Championship, which usually influences Deck choices in later events. But beyond that, “Royal Oppression” is also useless against many Decks designed to counter the Vayu strategy. Anti-Blackwing Duelists this weekend are coming here with Decks specifically designed to get around the Oppressions they expect to see in the Vayu matchup.

Without those cards in his Main Deck, Johnson cut his Deck down to a more consistent 40 cards, so he draws his most important cards as often as possible. He also used that extra room to add a pair of “Creature Swaps.” If Johnson has “Blackwing – Shura the Blue Flame” and “Blackwing – Bora the Spear” in hand, he can Summon Shura, Special Summon Bora in Defense Position, and then use “Creature Swap” to trade his Bora for a higher ATK monster. From there, he can send Shura to attack Bora, destroy it, and use Shura’s effect to Special Summon another Blackwing from his Deck. That lets him trade his Bora for another monster, and search with Shura’s effect, too. He can even search for Vayu with Shura’s ability and then Tune Vayu to one of his monsters, since Shura’s effect will negate the drawback that Vayu has on the field. This could be a pretty awesome combo since lots of players just leave big Synchro monsters on the field all the time.

The same trick works with monsters Special Summoned by “Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North,” too, and “Creature Swap” can even be used to isolate strong cards like “Honest” or “Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow.” If Johnson takes one of his opponent’s Attack Position monsters with Swap and gives them a Defense Position monster in return, those ATK-boosting cards aren’t going to stop his attack. “Creature Swap” can really wreck an opponent’s general gameplan too, taking their “Mezuki” so it can’t be used for Special Summoning, swiping their fourth Lightsworn to hinder “Judgment Dragon,” or keeping their third DARK monster out of the Graveyard to keep “Dark Armed Dragon” out of the game.

Watch out for “Creature Swap” in other Decks today, too – it’s a powerful card with so many big monsters seeing play, and Johnson isn’t the only Duelist running it.