Home > 2014 North American WCQ > Pressure Point: Mermails – High Risk, High Reward?

Pressure Point: Mermails – High Risk, High Reward?

July 12th, 2014

It’s no secret – Mermails were outshined in Regional and YCS competition these past three and a half months, giving way to more popular strategies that saw more play and better results.  And yet when the chips were finally down in WCQ Season?  Mermails won both the European and Central American Championships, making Eugen Heidt and Jose Lagunez international stars and Champions on the highest level.


When it was all on the line Mermails outperformed their reputation.


And it’s easy to see why: the Mermail deck plays a relatively low trap count, but Abyss-sphere and Mermail Abysslinde keep it resilient and secure in the early game.  The removal power of Atlantean Marksman – played in threes in both winning WCQ decks – gives the deck a powerful ability to smash through heavy backrows, as well as a distinct edge over the Geargiarmor-driven Geargia deck.  The Deck can open big with commanding fields; it can lock up the table with powerful Xyz; and it can hang back, committing very few cards until it decides to explode.


And explosions are what this strategy’s all about.  While strategies that prioritize stability over raw and sudden aggression have largely been the most successful this format, putting in more results over Mythic Rulers, Lightsworn, Sylvans, and Mermails, those strategies have seen a big resurgence the past few weeks.  And while Sylvans have bigger openings and Lightsworn have bigger explosive plays, Mermails have more search power and a more secure early game – not only do Mermail Duelists have on-theme cards that can absorb multiple destruction effects, the deck doesn’t depend on Kuribandit (which Sylvans and Lightsworn do).  That’s been an issue lately: while Kuribandit can get you to cards you need and can fill your Graveyard, it can fail to Effect Veiler and Breakthrough Skill; even when it works it leaves you with one less monster on the field, vulnerable to attacks.  A number of competitors have started to recognize that as a significant risk, and it’s a total non-factor for Mermails.


The Mermail deck’s consistent, reliable, secure, and explosive.  It’s also got a proven track record, coming off two massive WCQ wins in as many weeks.  So what’s the catch?


The biggest threat to the Mermail Duelist in this tournament is Games 2 and 3.  Even before the Mermail match-up was a priority, Debunk was a Side Deck staple for countless competitors – a card that demolishes essential functions in the Mermail deck.  Now that Mermails are suddenly the most successful strategy of the WCQ season that problem’s going to be exponentially tougher to deal with, as players are once again Side Decking hard to beat it.  Everyone we spoke to yesterday that were considering playing Mermails had doubts about the situation and were largely still undecided, predicting favorable Game 1’s but worrying about the Side Deck hate they felt would be inevitable.


This issue’s influenced by the Lightsworn versus Geargia issued we discussed earlier: while the Mermail deck has a stellar match-up with Geargia, largely thanks to its face-down removal power and easy access to Rank 7’s, a big Lightsworn representation today could diminish the number of Geargia decks in the field.  And that could weaken the Mermail strategy overall.  In a big, highly competitive tournament like this one, it’s those kinds of far-reaching implications and second level interactions that make the metagame so complicated and in some ways, so tough to predict.


Will Mermails score the hat trick and capture a third Championship?  It’s possible, and it’s one of the biggest stories to follow through the day.









Written by:
Categories: 2014 North American WCQ Tags: ,