Home > 2010/10 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series > Deck Profile: Russ Hunter’s Elemental Hero Beatdown

Deck Profile: Russ Hunter’s Elemental Hero Beatdown

October 9th, 2010

Angel Flores dominated YCS San Jose 2 weeks ago, capturing the Championship title with LIGHT Gemini Beatdown: an Elemental Hero Deck packed with high-ATK Level 4 monsters and tons of monster removal.  Flores’ Deck won by knocking all of his opponent’s monsters off the field, giving him the opportunity to make strong, game-winning attacks with 1900 ATK monsters.  Duelists stood up and took notice: not only are we seeing LIGHT Gemini Beatdown in contention in this morning’s field, but we’re also seeing variants that use different cards towards similar ends.

One such variant is 15 year-old Russ Hunter’s Hero Beat Deck.  While Flores played Elemental Hero Stratos alongside Elemental Hero Neos Alius and Thunder King Rai-Oh, Hunter is using Stratos with Elemental Hero Wildheart, Ocean, and even Heat to pressure his opponents. King Tiger Wanghu fends off a variety of monsters that we expect to see played here today, and Deep Sea Diva gives Hunter easy access to Synchro Monsters and Elemental Hero Absolute Zero.  Here’s what his Deck looks like:

Check back after the event is over for the full Deck List!

Check back after the event is over for the full Deck List!

Russ Hunter’s Elemental Hero Beatdown: 40 Cards

Monsters: 16

1 Elemental Hero Stratos

3 Elemental Hero Wildheart

2 Elemental Hero Ocean

2 Elemental Hero Heat

2 King Tiger Wanghu

3 Deep Sea Diva

1 Spined Gillman

Spells: 11

3 E-Emergency Call

1 Reinforcement of the Army

3 Book of Moon

1 Dark Hole

3 Burden of the Mighty

1 Monster Reborn

2 Miracle Fusion

Traps: 14

2 Solemn Warning

1 Mirror Force

1 Solemn Judgment

2 Bottomless Trap Hole

1 Compulsory Evacuation Device

2 Dimensional Prison

1 Royal Oppression

1 Torrential Tribute

1 Seven Tools of the Bandit

At first glance, some of Hunter’s decisions may be a bit difficult to understand: it’s not often that you see Elemental Hero Heat in Championship-level competition.  But with just 1 more Elemental Hero on the field to boost Heat’s ATK, its 2000 ATK suddenly bests popular monsters like Neos Alius, Thunder King, and XX-Saber Boggart Knight.  It can even match or beat the Attack Points of Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn, 1 of the biggest challenges that the LIGHT Gemini Beatdown Deck struggles to answer.  While cards like Book of Moon, Solemn Warning, and Bottomless Trap Hole seem as if they’d make it difficult to keep multiple Elemental Heroes on the field, Hunter plays so much removal himself that it’s difficult for opponents to attack his monsters.  He plays all the usual defensive standbys we’d expect to see, plus Dimensional Prison, Compulsory Evacuation Device, and even Burden of the Mighty.  Two copies of Miracle Fusion also give him another way to get an Elemental Hero to the field to boost Heat’s ATK.

With all that monster removal, Hunter’s free to use Elemental Hero Wildheart to capitalize on the field he’ll be clearing.  When you’re making direct attacks, size isn’t the biggest issue: not getting your monsters destroyed by Traps is a bigger concern.  Wildheart doesn’t quite have the size of Neos Alius, but it can’t be stopped by stuff like Mirror Force, Dimensional Prison, Torrential Tribute, Icarus Attack, or Hero Blast, and that’s going to let Hunter play around his opponent’s defenses in situations where a more conventional Deck wouldn’t be able to hammer home attacks.

Elemental Hero Ocean feeds the need for both Elemental Hero and WATER monsters for the Fusion Summon of Absolute Zero, and it also lets Hunter recycle fallen Heroes.  Again, the strength of Ocean lies in Hunter’s defensive power: Ocean’s effect lets him return 1 of his Elemental Heroes from his Graveyard (or even his field) to his hand each turn.  Getting back a monster from the Graveyard is a big gain that lets Hunter take risks and play aggressively, but that effect activates in the Standby Phase; Ocean needs to survive the opponent’s turn before Hunter can reap its effect, which would be a challenge if not for the number of ways he can fend off attackers.  The ideal target for Ocean’s ability is of course Stratos, as every time Hunter Summons it he can get another Elemental Hero from his Deck.  Even just reusing Stratos once can be a game-crushing play that overwhelms an unprepared opponent.

King Tiger Wanghu is the last piece of the puzzle that benefits from Hunter’s massive defense.  Though King Tiger has just 1700 Attack Points, it can be extremely difficult to attack if Hunter has an average set of draws.  Its effect can force an opponent to play Book of Moon early just to make necessary Summons, and when that happens, a failed attack that Hunter deflects with Dimensional Prison or Compulsory Evacuation Device can create enough momentum for him to build a win.  Pete Navarro’s Top 4 finish at YCS San Jose should revitalize interest in Quickdraw Decks this weekend, while X-Sabers and Infernities remain popular strategies here on the East Coast.  With so many small monsters likely to see play in those Decks and others, King Tiger’s effect is going to cause lots of trouble for Hunter’s opponents in this tournament.

Russ Hunter’s Deck might look different from Angel Flores’ LIGHT Gemini Beatdown, but with a little digging, the similarities are striking.  Hunter’s taken some calculated risks to build on the strategy and pick up where Flores left off: the willingness to learn from past successes and then build on them may pay off big  for Hunter.