Home > 2011/08 – Indianapolis, IN > Deck Profile: Luis Zambrana’s Malefic Skill Drain Deck

Deck Profile: Luis Zambrana’s Malefic Skill Drain Deck

August 7th, 2011

We saw Luis Zambrana’s Malefic Drain Deck score a narrow win over Christopher Krause in our Round 7 Feature Match yesterday, and Zambrana wound up making such a strong finish that he won his way to the Top 16 today. He was one of two competitors to take Malefic Drain all the way to Day 2. The other Duelist was the only undefeated 9-0 record-holder in the Swiss Rounds here at YCS Indianapolis: Conrad Selig. While their strategies are similar, there are some big differences between their two builds, so be sure to check out Selig’s version as well. For now, let’s take a peek at the Deck we saw in action yesterday:

Monsters: 13
3 Malefic Cyber End Dragon
2 Ancient Gear Gadjiltron Dragon
3 Beast King Barbaros
3 Thunder King Rai-Oh
2 Gravekeeper’s Commandant

Spells: 15
3 Pot of Duality
3 Terraforming
3 Geartown
2 Necrovalley
2 Royal Tribute
2 Mystical Space Typhoon

Traps: 12
3 Skill Drain
2 Seven Tools of the Bandit
2 Dark Bribe
2 Compulsory Evacuation Device
2 Safe Zone
1 Solemn Judgment

This strategy is all about throwing as many huge monsters at your opponent as possible, in a short period of time. It’s like a vastly evolved version of the Gravekeeper Malefic Deck that carried Tommy Murillo to the Top 32 of YCS Orlando. The basic game plan is centered on beating the opponent’s defensive Trap Cards by brute-forcing your way straight through them, and punishing the opponent for their use of Life Point-costed Traps like Solemn Warning and Solemn Judgment. It does that by attacking on three different fronts.

The first line of attack is big Normal Summons. Thunder King Rai-Oh is a stiff 1900 beatstick with a great effect, one that’s been a top choice this weekend due to the newly-popularized Tech Genus Decks. Beast King Barbaros is also a 1900 ATK Normal Summon, but it can reach 3000 ATK if Skill Drain is on the field

The second offensive thrust is conducted with Malefics: monsters that can be Special Summoned almost for free as long as their owner controls Skill Drain or a Field Spell.

And Speaking of Fields, the third offensive line revolves around Geartown, Special Summoning Ancient Gear Gadjiltron Dragon. Geartown helps fill the need for Field Spells to power the Malefics, while also giving easy access to the 3000 ATK Gadjiltron Dragon.

It’s a neat synergy: everything weaves together, and the fact that everything can happen all at once makes it unpredictable. That’s largely the point of it. Since a deck like this can Normal Summon a big attacker and make multiple Special Summons in a single turn, it can quickly press through a single Warning or Dimensional Prison. Heck, it can press through several, and when you can generate more massive monsters than the opponent can stop, those 2000 Life Point payments for Solemn Warnings are suddenly just as good as attacks. It’s all the same if it brings the opponent’s Life Points within striking distance of one of Zambrana’s attackers.

Perfecting a Deck like this is all about finding the right balance between the three aggressive components. Interestingly enough, both Malefic Drain Duelists made different choices in that regard. Zambrana went heavier on Normal Summons, playing Thunder King Rai-Oh, while Selig went all-in on Malefics, running triple Malefic Cyber End Dragon just like Zambrana, but he’s also running three Malefic Stardust Dragons, which Zambrana didn’t use at all. Both decisions are strong, as proven by the fact that both Decks made the Top 16.

The choices in monster lineups shaped other decisions these Duelists made. For instance, the use of Malefic Stardust meant that Selig had more Level 8 monsters: that let him play Trade-In, making his Deck a little bit faster. He even built on that speed by running Upstart Goblin, as well. Zambrana didn’t run Trade-In since he had fewer monsters he could discard for it, and instead played more Spell and Trap destruction, more negation, and Royal Tribute, to go with his Necrovalleys. Both Duelists played Necrovalley, but Zambrana does a little bit more with his by using it for Royal Tribute. This fearsome Spell Card doesn’t just let Zambrana eliminate opposing monsters, it also lets him scout his opponent’s hand, so he can decide how and when to unleash a flurry of Summons – and in what order.

Neither Duelist ran Solemn Warning: “I just pay too many Life Points,” explained Zambra, when he discussed his Deck after his Feature Match. With Solemn Judgment, three copies of Skill Drain, and two Seven Tools of the Bandit, it’s just too risky to run a card that could wind up being unplayable. Especially since both Decks are light on defense, not running Mirror Force, Torrential Tribute, or Dimensional Prison. Safe Zone and Compulsory Evacuation Device are Zambrana’s only ways to stop attacks, selected for their versatility and their ability to keep Zambrana’s big monsters from ever being trumped.

Tracing this Deck’s lineage to YCS Orlando ten weeks ago is an interesting exercise, and it’s cool to see how far it’s come! Teched to take on the Tour Guide Tengu strategies that occupy nine seats in the Top 16, the Malefic Drain Decks could wind up making a big impact here in Day 2.

Luis Zambrana