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Breaking the “Shock Lock”

November 15th, 2012

Sometimes, this happens:


But you don’t have to just sit there and take it. In fact, you shouldn’t. How you deal with it, win or lose, sets the tone for the rest of your day, so it’s important to have a plan in place beforehand so that if it happens, you’re ready to deal with it and move on.

What To Do

Offense, not defense, is the key to winning in this scenario. Defending gives the Wind-Up Duelist a free turn to lock down Traps and use all of their effects to swiftly defeat you. Wind-Up Carrier Zenmaity is Limited, and so many cards from the Deck are used to create the “Shock Lock” that outside of Pot of Avarice to recycle everything, it’ll take a long time for the Deck to put together another combo play if you break through the first one. Thus, breaking through the combo and catching your opponent off-guard is the way to go.

Of course, Wind-Up Duelists realize this, so Wind-Up Decks have been trending towards huge Trap lineups to protect themselves while they build up combo pieces or to try to prevent a comeback from a combo play. They commonly max out on Dimensional Prison, Bottomless Trap Hole, Torrential Tribute, Mirror Force, and Solemn Warning, then toss in Solemn Judgment and some number of Compulsory Evacuation Devices (1 was the most common number in Providence) for good measure. Fortunately, playing Torrential Tribute, even if your opponent has it Set, would be self-destructive, which automatically reduces the number of useful cards your opponent could have.

To win in this scenario, you need to do two things:

  1. Eliminate Zenmaity.
  2. Diminish the influence of Shock Master or eliminate it outright.

Eventually you’ll need to deal with Papilloperative as well, but it’s the other 2 Xyz Monsters that will beat you. But before you can get rid of them, you need to get past your opponent’s Set card(s). The key to doing this without Spell Cards is to play with monsters that make as many defensive Traps irrelevant as possible. Luckily, there are plenty of good monsters that fit the bill, many of which might fit into the Deck you play now. Remember that you need to back these guys up with a Trap or Quick-Play Spell to make sure the job gets done, since breaking the “Shock Lock” is a 2 turn job.

Admit it, you were just waiting for a good reason to put him back in your Deck.

Remember when this guy was all over the place? Ever since he was Semi-Limited, he’s been all no-ver the place instead. Reborn Tengu beats Zenmaity and doesn’t care about any of the most commonly used Trap Cards, save Solemn Warning or Judgment. You do need to play both allowed copies to make him useful, but he is an incredibly useful card, especially with backup. Tengu works best in a Deck that has other Beasts and Beast-Warriors so that you can use Horn of the Phantom Beast to make him a huge card-drawing menace to society.

When did a 2100 ATK free Special Summon stop being Main Deck material? Never.

He’s already in your Side Deck, why not try him in the Main Deck? At worst, Cyber Dragon eats a defensive Trap in any match-up without using your Normal Summon. At best, he wipes a field full of Machines and turns into a huge Chimeratech Fortress Dragon. Cyber Dragon beats or eats Zenmaity (it’s a Machine) and forces the opponent to either trade Papilloperative or risk an attack with Shock Master. It’s also the only monster that doesn’t care about Solemn Warning or Judgment, provided you have a second monster to play. Its weaknesses are Traps that trigger on attacks and Compulsory Evacuation Device.

Wind-Up Zenmaines and Gachi Gachi Gantetsu are on upset alert.

This guy is pretty stellar in general, but extra good in this scenario if you pair him with the Realm of the Sea Emperor Atlanteans. In fact, you even get a copy of him in the Structure Deck! One great thing about Abyss Soldier is that he doesn’t need to attack to wreck your opponent’s board, giving him protection against attack triggered Traps. Even better, discard either Atlantean Marksman or Atlantean Heavy Infantry and you take out multiple cards for one discard, and possibly open your opponent up to attack. One common scenario is catching your opponent with an attack triggered Trap and tossing Atlantean Marksman to bounce away Shock Master. Marksman would then trigger to destroy the Set Trap, and Soldier would be free to attack Zenmaity. All you have to do then is back up your Soldier so that Papilloperative can’t take it out, and you’re in the driver’s seat! This guy is worth playing if you have a lot of WATER monsters in your Deck, which is super relevant for everyone who wants to bring Mermails to the YCS this weekend.

Some people think I'm WAAAHHHHHRRRRRGH but I'm here today to tell you that WARRRRRRRRRRHHHHHHGHRH

My favorite! He’s got hammers for hands, he’s as big as Shock Master, he can go in any Deck, he’s Level 6 but can be Normal Summoned without Tribute, he’s frequently a great draw off the top, and half of your opponent’s defensive cards won’t be used on him because they’re attack triggered or named Torrential Tribute! If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my now over 10 years of Dueling, it’s that most Duelists have tons of trouble with Level 4 or lower monsters with 1900 ATK or DEF. So what do you think they’re going to do against an effectively Level 4, 2300 ATK monster that can’t be blown away by Mirror Force or banished by Dimensional Prision? If you’re lucky, the answer will be “play Torrential and blow away all of their own cards because that guy has hammers for hands and looks very dangerous”. In practice, when he sticks, you’ll crush Zenmaity and your opponent will have a bad time dealing with him.

But What If…

There’s always a chance that your opponent started out with The Ultimate 3 Card Combo That Will Ruin Everything (Wind-Up Magician, Wind-Up Shark, Solemn Whatever), but you can’t let fear of that worst case scenario stop you from doing everything in your power to try to win the Duel. Heck, even Yuma learned that when he faced down Shock Master! Sometimes your opponent has it, usually they don’t. But even if they do, it’s not like you just play one Duel and then you’re done. A Match is best of 3 Duels. A Duelist with a winning attitude pulls out all the stops to try to win each and every Duel. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but even if you lose, you have to pick yourself back up and play hard in the next Duel and the one after that and every Duel you play for the rest of the day or the rest of the weekend or the rest of your life.

And if you don’t take anything else away from reading this, at least take that.