Home > 2011/08 – Indianapolis, IN > Deck Profile: Augustin Herrera’s Anti-Monster Beast Deck

Deck Profile: Augustin Herrera’s Anti-Monster Beast Deck

August 7th, 2011

What looked like one of the most promising Decks of Day 1 actually didn’t make it to Day 2. In Round 3, we showed you Augustin Herrera claiming victory with his Anti-Monster Beast Deck. Three Rounds later in Round 6, Jehanzab Siddiqui defeated Robbie Kohl in another Feature Match, with the same strategy. But neither Duelist – nor any of the other competitors playing Anti-Monster Beasts, of which there were several – would make the Top 16 cut after the Swiss Rounds were said and done.

That’s a shame, because this strategy was really impressive both times we saw it in action. Tapping into the massive popularity of Horn of the Phantom Beast, this strategy both outplayed Horn, and took advantage of Horn itself, making clever use of some old school Beast monsters. Combined with new school tech like Forbidden Lance and Reborn Tengu, it’s got a ton of potential. Here’s what Herrera’s version looked like yesterday…

Monsters: 15
3 Thunder King Rai-Oh
3 King Tiger Wanghu
3 Reborn Tengu
3 Beast King Barbaros
2 Pitch-Black Warwolf

Spells: 7
3 Forbidden Lance
2 Pot of Duality
1 Dark Hole
1 Book of Moon

Traps: 19
3 Horn of the Phantom Beast
3 Dimensional Prison
3 Skill Drain
2 Solemn Warning
2 Dark Bribe
2 Bottomless Trap Hole
1 Seven Tools of the Bandit
1 Torrential Tribute
1 Royal Oppression
1 Solemn Judgment

This Deck is built to capitalize on fast, aggressive monster control, combined with the powerful effect of King Tiger Wanghu. King Tiger’s ability destroys any monster with 1400 ATK or less when that monster is Normal or Special Summoned, so it tears apart stuff like Tour Guide from the Underworld, T.G. Striker and T.G. Warwolf, Gadgets, and the Lonefire Blossom engine. King Tiger can dominate most of the Decks that made it to the Top 16 today, IF (and only if) its owner can keep it on the field.

The first problem is that 1700 ATK isn’t very high; the Tiger gets run over by commonly-played monsters like Thunder King Rai-Oh, T.G. Rush Rhino, Elemental Hero Neos Alius, and other simple beatsticks found in particular Decks. At the same time though, Reborn Tengu makes things even tougher. Tengu can trade off with King Tiger and then Special Summon another copy of itself, making another attack. And while Thunder King, Rush Rhino, and similar cards are found in some Decks, Reborn Tengu could be found in pretty much any Deck. Tengu’s in twelve of the Top 16 Decks that remain in this tournament, presenting a big challenge to anyone trying to play King Tiger Wanghu.

So Duelists like Herrera did everything they could to protect King Tiger, which largely shaped the rest of the Deck. Horn of the Phantom Beast can bring King Tiger to a very respectable 2500 ATK, enough to fend off most attackers. Playing Horn also means that Herrera can keep King Tiger safe against attacks from smaller Beasts suddenly equipped with their own Horn, since Herrera can Chain his Horn to an opposing Duelist’s in the same Damage Step that the opponent flips theirs, it’s an added layer of defense that kicks in at unexpected times. The decision to play triple Horn gives Herrera ample reason to run Reborn Tengu and Beast King Barbaros, and even makes a strong argument for one of the sleeper-hit cards of this tournament: Pitch-Black Warwolf.

Warwolf is cool because its effect stymies some of the most popular Trap Cards being played right now, including Dimensional Prison, Mirror Force, and Horn. Warwolf is weak to point-of-Summon removal like Bottomless Trap Hole, but since many Duelists are still refusing to play Bottomless, it’s the perfect time for Warwolf to explode out of obscurity. Herrera gave his thoughts yesterday, lauding Pitch-Black Warwolf: “A Tech Genus player can’t activate Dimensional Prison or Horn [when the Warwolf attacks]. It locks the Battle Phase down. They can’t stop your Horn with Dark Bribe or anything, and they can’t flip Malevolent Catastrophe or Mirror Force. The card’s really good!” The sidenote about Catastrophe was a sharp one for Herrera to make: that card figured prominently in the Finals clash between Samuel Pedigo and new Champion Hansel Aguero at the North American World Championship Qualifier. We saw it in action yesterday, too, in both our Round 3 and Round 8 Feature Matches. Catastrophe is becoming more and more relevant, and in a Deck with 19 Trap Cards like Herrera’s, it’s something you need to watch out for.

From there, triple Forbidden Lance protects King Tiger from opposing Spells and Traps, and works as a sort of second-tier Horn of the Phantom Beast in the face of bigger attackers. Dimensional Prison, Solemn Warning, Bottomless Trap Hole, and Royal Oppression provide even more protection, and Thunder King Rai-Oh gets the nod because it fits the simple, aggressive pacing this strategy aims for (it also locks down opposing Special Summons, as well as Tech Genus search effects). The whole strategy grows really naturally from its starting point, which is basically “King Tiger’s good, but it needs protection.”

There may be some decisions here that weren’t perfect. It’s possible that two Forbidden Lances may have been enough to get the job done, and that three was perhaps overkill. Not running Mirror Force or Monster Reborn maybe have been the result of careful testing, but they seem like missed opportunities nonetheless. Playing 41 cards in a Deck that’s largely focused on particular monsters was maybe a misstep, too. But in a best-case scenario, a few tweaks could evolve this Deck just like how Tommy Murillo’s strategy from YCS Orlando grew into the Malefic Drain builds that carried Conrad Selig and Luis Zambrana to the Top 16 this weekend. In a worst-case scenario, this could still be the right Deck, just at the wrong time; it could make a big impact somewhere down the road. Try it out for yourself. See what you can do to take it to new heights, and you might be surprised at how well it can do – sooner rather than later.

Augustin Herrera