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Deck Profile: X-Sabers – Today & Tomorrow

August 8th, 2010

A new Forbidden & Limited Cards List will take effect on September 1. In the aftermath of this Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series, we checked in with a few Duelists running some of the most popular Decks from the last few months, to take a look at how they’ve been playing the Deck, and what they might change starting next month.

Since the emergence of X-Sabers as a top competitive Deck, X-Sabers have centered on a two-method approach, with the hand-wrecking XX-Saber Gottoms and X-Saber Airbellum, and the on-field destruction of Saber Slash and XX-Saber Hyunlei. Play your cards, and you’d lose them to Slash and Hyunlei. Don’t play them, and you’d lose them to Gottoms and Airbellum.

Once Boggart Knight and Darksoul made their thunderous debut, the Deck became more aggressive. If you don’t keep up with X-Sabers, you’ll lose to their crushing speed. Saber Slash fell out of favor for months, only recently re-emerging after an impressive Top 4 finish in the hands of Gary Miotke at YCS Chicago, but Hyunlei was always a threat. Now, with Slash gaining popularity and X-Sabers operating at high speed, the threat is even more vicious than ever. Cold Wave and Rescue Cat are two of the most feared cards in Dueling at the moment, and X-Sabers run both.

But the innovation is not over, and Desmond Boyd has made some drastic changes to take X-Sabers in an exciting new direction! Here’s what he’s playing:

Monsters: 24

3 Giant Rat

3 XX-Saber Emmersblade

1 Gorz the Emissary of Darkness

3 XX-Saber Darksoul

3 XX-Saber Faultroll

1 Sangan

1 Rescue Cat

1 XX-Saber Boggart Knight

2 X-Saber Airbellum

2 XX-Saber Fulhelmknight

1 Summoner Monk

3 D.D. Crow


Spells: 11

2 Gold Sarcophagus

1 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Giant Trunade

1 Cold Wave

1 Heavy Storm

1 Brain Control

1 Mind Control

3 Book of Moon


Traps: 5

1 Trap Dustshoot

3 Dust Tornado

1 Solemn Judgment


Side Deck: 15

1 Royal Oppression

2 Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter

3 Thunder King Rai-Oh

2 Doomcaliber Knight

2 Cyber Dragon

2 Trap Stun

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Mirror Force


Extra Deck: 15

1 X-Saber Urbellum

1 Black Rose Dragon

2 XX-Saber Gottoms

1 Chimeratech Fortress Dragon

1 Flamvell Uruquizas

1 Red Dragon Archfiend

1 Arcanite Magician

1 Mist Wurm

1 Goyo Guardian

1 Ally of Justice Catastor

1 Stardust Dragon

2 XX-Saber Hyunlei

1 Brionac, Dragon of the Ice Barrier


Many Duelists started to shy away from XX-Saber Emmersblade around the time of YCS Chicago. Infernities were the hot new Deck, and their of Mist Wurm made Emmersblade an unfortunate draw against Infernities. Lately we’ve seen that trend reverse, with Duelists like Gary Miotke and Desmond Boyd returning to a full 3 copies of Emmersblade. Emmersblade creates stability, gets to your key cards, and puts together combos faster.

Boyd took that philosophy to a whole other level this weekend, playing not just 3 Emmersblades, but also 3 Giant Rats. He gave up some multiple copies of X-Saber Airbellum, XX-Saber Fulhelmknight, and XX-Saber Boggart Knight to find the space he needed. He even added cards like D.D. Crow and Gorz the Emissary of Darkness to help him fight out from under an opposing Cold Wave or Giant Trunade.

Giant Rat is perhaps the biggest addition to the Deck. With it, Boyd can search out and Special Summon cards like Fulhelmknight and Darksoul to put together Synchro Summons, or bring out more Rats and Emmersblades to block long strings of attacks, or search out Rescue Cat. Combining Sangan, Summoner Monk, and the Rat, Boyd has five cards total that can get his Cat out of the Deck. While Boyd has afforded himself a number of subtle advantages, especially in the defensive department, make no mistake: the big difference between Boyd’s build and everybody else’s is that he can and probably will see Rescue Cat far more often than any other X-Saber Deck in the building.

Starting September 1

We asked Boyd what he thought could happen with the Forbidden & Limited Cards list, and how he’d adapt the Deck in response.

“Personally I think that Rescue Cat will stay at 1,” Boyd explained. “I think Faultroll will definitely get hit to 1, so I think I’ll have to manipulate the Deck to play Ragigura and a card I topped with in Regionals: Key Mouse, the Level 1 Beast-Type Tuner.” Key Mouse is useful for Synchro Summoning, it works with Giant Rat, and it can help Boyd get to Faultroll through XX-Saber Darksoul.

“I think I’ll play more Boggart Knights. I’ll probably switch my Deck up to an anti-meta version with 3 Saber Holes, 3 Boggart Knights, and Oppressions. I think Sabers will still be good because Cat will still be around. But even if it isn’t, I think the Deck can still be played, because Sabers can be run as an effective anti-meta Deck.”

Boyd’s predictions for the future seem bright: the X-Saber Deck is more flexible than some Duelists give it credit for, and even if it loses some of its speed, it still makes for a really effective control strategy. Will the Deck go in that direction? We’ll know in a few weeks, once we find out what’s going down on September 1st!

Desmond Boyd