Home > 2010/04 - 75th SJC - Edison, New Jersey > Deck Profile: Tyler Nolan’s Black Garden Deck

Deck Profile: Tyler Nolan’s Black Garden Deck

April 25th, 2010

If you’ve been with us all weekend, then you probably remember Tyler Nolan from his Round 3 Feature Match win in yesterday’s coverage. Nolan is playing an insightful and finely-tuned Black Garden Deck this weekend, halving his opponent’s ATK and then following up by walling up with high-DEF monsters like Gravekeeper’s Spy, Don Zaloog, and Volcanic Rocket. He uses the Garden’s ATK-halving effect and its Token Summoning effect to slow the pace of play to a crawl, then grinds down his opponent’s cards with Zaloog and Blaze Accelerator. Once his opponent can’t fight back, a series of small attacks ends the Duel.

It’s a great strategy – here’s what it looks like:

3x Volcanic Rocket
3x Volcanic Shell
3x Don Zaloog
3x Gravekeeper’s Spy
2x Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotive
1x Gravekeeper’s Descendant
1x Card Trooper
1x Blackwing – Gale the Whirlwind
1x Morphing Jar

3x Black Garden
2x Blaze Accelerator
2x Pot of Avarice
1x Terraforming

3x Dimensional Prison
2x Divine Wrath
2x Phoenix Wing Wind Blast
2x Starlight Road
2x Bottomless Trap Hole
1x Solemn Judgment
1x Mirror Force
1x Torrential Tribute

“Tons of theory went into this deck,” explained Nolan, “and the amount of combos and synergy the deck has is difficult to notice at first glance.” One of the cards that some Duelists misunderstand is Don Zaloog. “People often think it was included as a joke, when it’s actually one of the best monsters in the deck. People don’t realize that if you control Black Garden and set Zaloog, nothing can get over him.” Zaloog’s 1500 DEF would require a Normal or Special Summoned monster to have more than 3000 ATK to attack through it when Garden is halving the ATK of Summoned monsters. Zaloog is particularly useful in the Gladiator Beast matchup, historically the number 1 Deck Black Garden Duelists don’t want to see. “If a Gladiator Beast attacks Don Zaloog, they have to discard a card.” Then, if the opponent Special Summons Gladiator Beast Murmillo to destroy Zaloog, Nolan will just attack Murmillo next turn with a Rose Token and destroy it. End result: opponent loses Murmillo and 1 card from the hand, while Nolan loses Zaloog and gains 2 Tokens.

Volcanic Rocket is another star, partly due to its high DEF and partly due to the Volcanic engine it supports. 1400 DEF allows Nolan to Set the Rocket when Garden is on the field. From there it’ll either be flipped by battle and survive, or Nolan will Flip Summon it. Regardless of how it goes from face-down to face-up though, the Rocket’s 1900 ATK becomes a devastating wrecking ball when everything else is halved by Black Garden. If the opponent Sets something like Gravekeeper’s Spy or Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, Nolan can use Blaze Accelerator (searched for with the Rocket) to destroy that monster. If the opponent refuses to commit, then the damage from Rocket quickly adds up, and Don Zaloog forces discards. “I’ve won games easily just by playing ‘Protect-the-Rocket’, since the Rocket can be so difficult to destroy.”

There are several cards that famously give Black Garden some serious trouble: Gladiator Beast Bestiari, Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter, and Lyla, Lightsworn Sorceress are always tough – effect monsters that can break apart the combos this Deck relies on. Part of the genius in Nolan’s build is how he addresses that, running a pair each of Divine Wrath and Phoenix Wing Wind Blast. Both cards can eliminate or delay those problematic monsters, keeping them from using their effects, and both take advantage of the 3 Volcanic Shells Nolan is already running.

Nolan’s creation forces the opponent to commit cards to the field, punishing them if they don’t, but giving little reward if they do: monsters get destroyed almost for free with Blaze Accelerator and Volcanic Shell, and strong attackers are suddenly unable to deal real damage. In a tournament environment where Spell and Trap Removal is seeing relatively little play, it’s easier than ever before to keep Black Garden on the table. Nolan runs a pair of Starlight Road too, another new factor that contributes to Black Garden’s newfound success.

We are heading into Round 10, and right now, Tyler Nolan is still 8-1. With 3 rounds remaining in the Swiss portion of the tournament it looks like he just needs to win 2 more Matches to be a lock for the Top 32!

Tyler Nolan