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Monday Night Matchup: Blackwings VS LIGHT Gemini Beatdown

November 1st, 2010

Back in September, some Duelists had written off Blackwings as a competitive force. With Black Whirlwind Limited, people were taking a very pessimistic stance on the Deck’s chances to thrive. They were wrong. Duelists who were clever enough to see that Delta Crow – Anti Reverse along with Pot of Duality and Cards for Black Feathers paved the way for Blackwings to take two of the top 4 spots in YCS San Jose, as well as two top 8 placements in YCS Philadelphia.

LIGHT Gemini Beatdown has only recently become a huge hit, starting with a Top 16 appearance at YCS Toronto, and then later with a victory at YCS San Jose. While both versions had their own creative stance, they both retained the same basic strategy. With the ability to completely shut down the opponent with cards like Solemn Warning and Thunder King Rai-Oh and then defeat their opponent with very high ATK monsters, LIGHT Gemini Beatdown can cause an unprepared Duelist a pretty big headache.

But what happens when these two Decks meet? Find out in this week’s Monday Night Matchup!

How They Work

When it comes to Blackwings, you always want to be able to catch your opponent by surprise, whether it’s with a huge swarm of monsters out of nowhere to drop your opponent to 0 Life Points, or with a well timed Trap Card like Delta Crow – Anti Reverse or Icarus Attack. One of the Blackwing Duelist’s favorite plays is to Chain an Icarus Attack to an opposing Bottomless Trap Hole. You can then destroy two of your opponent’s cards, and your opponent’s Bottomless Trap Hole will have been completely useless!

That’s not just limited to Bottomless either, it also works in a Chain with Dimensional Prison, Mirror Force, or even Torrential Tribute! Since Duelists all over the world are feeling a lot more confident in setting all their Spell and Trap Cards as soon as they get them, you can easily swoop in and catch them by surprise with a nicely timed Delta Crow. If you’re able to hit three or four cards with it, you might be able to wrap up the Duel right then and there!
As far as general strategy goes, the Blackwing Duelist always wants to see Black Whirlwind in their hand. Since Black Whirlwind allows you to replace every single Blackwing monster you Summon to the field, you can Ttribute your monsters for Icarus Attack and Synchro Summon at will without worrying about running out of monsters. This is why a Blackwing Duelist will always want to use a multitude of Spell Cards that allow them to sift through their Deck until they reach the Black Whirlwind they are looking for. Allure of Darkness is great for this, but it’s Limited, which is why Cards for Black Feathers and Pot of Duality are also great choices. With all of these cards allowing you to look through your Deck, Black Whirlwind suddenly becomes way easier to find. Of course, these cards don’t just get you Black Whirlwind; they can also get you all of your traps, your high ATK Blackwing monsters, as well as the incredibly powerful Dark Armed Dragon!

LIGHT Gemini Beatdown likes to follow a completely different strategy. While Blackwing Decks tend to strike fast and hard with massive swarms of monsters, this Deck likes to slow the Duel to a grinding halt. With cards like Thunder King Rai-Oh and Banisher of the Radiance, the Gemini player is able to make certain key cards useless. Not only that but with multiple copies of Rai-Oh and three copies of Solemn Warning, their opponent won’t be Synchro Summoning any monsters. With almost all of the Gemini Deck’s monsters having 1800 ATK and higher, there aren’t many monsters that are able to go toe to toe with this Deck and survive for long, and with multiple copies of Gemini Spark and Dimensional Prison, even if you do get a large monster out, chances are it won’t be staying for long.

The most important thing to do is plan well. In order to use this Deck effectively, you have to be able to think at least a turn ahead. Since you almost definitely use Pot of Duality, knowing what the best card to select in every situation is important. On that note, since you’re probably using three copies of Solemn Warning as well as a copy of Solemn Judgment, your Life Points are very important and keeping them safe is key.  Sometimes even taking one direct attack can result in a loss. You also have to know when to use your Solemn cards, activating them prematurely can also lead to a loss. It takes a lot of experience to learn when and where to use all of your traps, But when you’ve figured it out, you’ll be at the top of the tournaments with the best of them.

How to Win

If you’re playing Blackwings

The number one thing to remember is that LIGHT Gemini Beatdown lives off its Spell and Trap Cards. If you are able to activate an End Phase Delta Crow – Anti Reverse on their multiple Set Spell and Trap Cards, chances are they won’t be able to recover. Unfortunately, things are almost never that easy. This is why you have to use your cards wisely. If you think your opponent is holding something that can stop the Summon of your Blackwing – Sirocco the Dawn, it could be best to summon Blackwing – Bora the Spear and see what happens first.

Since all of your opponent’s monsters are going to be stronger than Bora, chances are he’s worth little more than cannon fodder. This is why you can use him for ammunition for your Icarus Attack. Then, you can summon Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North and Synchro Summon with it next turn! If your Bora manages to survive a turn, you can use your Icarus, destroy your opponent’s Trap Cards, and then summon Blizzard during the same turn and Synchro Summon to eliminate their monster! Be careful though, as a lot of LIGHT Gemini Beatdown Decks like to use Effect Veiler which would ruin your Blizzard’s day.

Thankfully for you, you’ve got one of the best matchups against LIGHT Gemini Beatdown. Since Blackwings are filled with strong monsters like Sirocco and Blackwing – Kalut the Moon Shadow that can help take down the Gemini Deck’s monsters, you’ve got a huge advantage from the get-go. Combine this with your ability to eliminate Spell and Trap Cards more easily than most Decks, and played correctly, the Blackwing Duelist can easily come out on top.

If you’re playing LIGHT Gemini Beatdown…

While Blackwings may seem like a tough matchup, don’t let that get you down. The Final Match of YCS San Jose proves you can’t call a match before it’s happened. It all comes down to knowing exactly when to activate your cards.

One of the most important things to learn is not to Set a lot of Spell and Trap Cards at one time. With the threat of Delta Crow – Anti Reverse always looming, you’re never going to want to Set all your cards at once against a Blackwing Duelist. Setting only one or two Spell and Trap Cards at once will ensure you’ll have an answer to whatever your opponent throws at you, while still being able to recover if they toss a curveball your way in the form of an Icarus Attack or Delta Crow.

If your opponent has found his way to the elusive Black Whirlwind, Thunder King Rai-Oh can stop them from adding any more cards to their hand, and unless they have a Sirocco, chances are they don’t have an easy way to beat your monster. Combined with some protection like a Bottomless Trap Hole, Dimensional Prison, or Solemn Warning, you can put your opponent on the spot and force them to make moves they probably don’t want to have to make.

Your Side Deck is also a huge help in this matchup. By Side Decking cards like Consecrated Light and Starlight Road, you can punish your opponent for making the pushes they usually love to make, or in the case of Consecrated Light, even shut down their entire hand! Once you’re able to take control of the duel, whether you’re using your Side Deck or not, it will be very hard for the Blackwing duelist to recover. If you’re sure to save your defense for important cards like Dark Armed Dragon, Blackwing – Blizzard the Far North, and other Synchro Monsters, you’ll be taking these birds down in no time at all.

With new Blackwing cards being released in Starstrike Blast, as well as new strategies being concocted every day when it comes to Gemini Beatdown, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the last of either of these Decks any time soon. Regardless of what side of the table you’re on, the most important thing to do is use your cards wisely. Find a strategy and use it, as long as you’re thinking it through intelligently, you could be a few turns away from victory!