Home > 2011 North American WCQ > Successful Decks in today’s event: Gravekeeper’s

Successful Decks in today’s event: Gravekeeper’s

July 16th, 2011

While Decks like Gladiator Beasts, Six Samurai, and Plant Synchro variants have grown in very obvious ways over the past six months, Gravekeeper Decks have largely remained the same since their reappearance – and newfound dominance – at YCS Atlanta last year.  With that said, the best Gravekeeper Decks here today have been innovated, and a handful of important tech cards have elevated the Deck to new heights.

The Gravekeeper strategy is all about control.  Royal Tribute can force the opponent to discard every monster they have; Necrovalley stops dozens of important effects that involve the Graveyard; and Gravekeeper’s Descendant allows for the easy destruction of challenging monsters, especially Set monsters that would usually provide ample defense against other strategies.  Gravekeeper’s Recruiter; Gravekeeper’s Spy; and Gravekeeper’s Stele give the Gravekeeper Duelist plenty of free monsters to work with, so they can play extremeley aggressively to turn a big Duel with lots of cards, into a small Duel where the opponent has no options.  Here’s a great example of the kind of Gravekeeper Decks that are doing well here today, as played by Adam Ginsberg:


Gravekeepers – 41 Cards

Monsters: 13

3 Gravekeeper’s Spy

3 Gravekeeper’s Commandant

3 Gravekeeper’s Recruiter

3 Gravekeeper’s Descendant

1 Gravekeeper’s Assailant

Spells: 15

3 Necrovalley

3 Gravekeeper’s Stele

3 Pot of Duality

2 Royal Tribute

2 Mystical Space Typhoon

1 Dark Hole

1 Book of Moon

Traps: 13

2 Solemn Warning

2 Compulsory Evacuation Device

2 Fiendish Chain

2 Gozen Match

2 Dimensional Prison

1 Royal Oppression

1 Solemn Judgment

1 Torrential Tribute

No matter how a Gravekeeper Deck is built, the core lineup of Gravekeeper monsters tends to remain the same:  3 Gravekeeper’s Spy; 3 Gravekeeper’s Commandant; 3 Gravekeeper’s Recruiter; and 3 Gravekeeper’s Descendant.  Anything beyond that is gravy, and the high searchability of the all of the Gravekeeper monsters (thanks to Spy and Recruiter), means that the Deck puts together its best combos really quickly.  The key move is the combination of Recruiter and Descendant: Descendant lets its controller Tribute a face-up Gravekeeper monster to destroy any opposing card.  Recruiter allows its controller to search a Gravekeeper monster from their Deck when it’s sent from the field to the Graveyard.  So when Recruiter is Tributed for Descendant’s effect, the opponent loses a card, but Recruiter replaces itself.  There’s no net loss for the Gravekeeper player.  Frequently, the Gravekeeper Duelist just goes and gets another Recruiter.  Descendant’s effect can be used more than once a turn, too, so it can create big shifts in the Duel if given the opportunity.  With that said, it usually just grinds down the opponent turn after turn.  Once a Gravekeeper Deck gets going and has a few monsters in the Graveyard, it can use Gravekeeper’s Stele to trade a single in-hand card for 2 more Gravekeepers, retrieving them from the Graveyard.  Getting over that early game period, and establishing that Graveyard set-up while getting to the right monsters, is often the main challenge for a Gravekeeper Deck.  Once it can accomplish that, the whole Duel is a downhill stroll.

So that’s been the state of the Gravekeeper Deck since late last year.  The new changes are represented here in Ginsberg’s Trap lineup: the threat of Reborn Tengu and T.G. Hyper Librarian has brought some more tech that kind of keys off of the Deck’s more subtle strengths: namely its heavy use of DARK monsters.  Everything in this Deck save Gravekeeper’s Commandant is DARK, and Commandant itself is played more for its effect than as an actual attacker (though its high ATK is nothing to sneeze at when it’s boosted by Necrovalley).  The rest of the monsters can all be played under Gozen Match, so the Continuous Trap does very little to restrict Ginsberg and other Gravekeeper Duelists like him.  Against a Deck like Tengu Synchro though, which can play as many as 5 or more different Attributes, Gozen Match is an absolute beating.  It can force a Duelist to leave their field wide open, making it easier for the Gravekeeper Deck to create a grinding pace that it can capitalize on.  Reborn Tengu’s an impressive card, but not when it’s all alone on the field; Glow-Up Bulb and Spore are both EARTH Tuner monsters, while their most common non-Tuner partners are other Attributes; and Debris Dragon can’t even Special Summon Dandylion.  Some of the most competitive (and popular) decks in today’s field rely on a mish-mosh of combo cards to create huge plays.  But Gozen Match reduces them to rubble, by keeping them from ever being more than the sum of their individual parts.

With so much Championship-level success, the Gravekeeper Deck remains a top prospect.  The fact that it’s relatively easy to build also works in its favor, keeping it popular even at times over the past eight months when it wasn’t perhaps the best choice.  But with the ability to control more complicated Decks with cards like Necrovalley and now Gozen Match, Gravekeepers are destined to be a big part of the Day 2 field tomorrow.  Time will tell just how far they’ll go here at the WCQ.