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Building Battle Pack 2 – Why Doesn’t the First Player to Summon a Giant Always Win?

June 18th, 2013

One of the most common questions we’ve seen since first unveiling the concept behind Battle Pack 2: War of the Giants is “Doesn’t the first player to Summon a high-level monster always win?” The short answer is “No, they don’t.” But if you’re wondering why they don’t always win, then consider the following…

Why Isn’t Every Duel a War of the Giants?

Our biggest goal in creating War of the Giants was to create an environment where Tribute Summoning Level 7+ monsters is a real thing that does happen and is a successful competitive maneuver. Part of that was assessing why it never happens in Advanced Format Dueling. There are many reasons this is the case, but here are the 3 main ones:

1. Tribute Summoning takes too long.

A “natural” Level 7+ Tribute Summon, with no Special Summon aid, takes 3 turns and requires you to have the monster you want to Summon in-hand. That’s a lot of time and effort to dedicate to a single monster! But for a sufficiently powerful monster it would be worth doing, except that…

2. There are numerous easy-to-Special Summon monsters that outclass the monster you want to Tribute Summon that you don’t have to draw.

Special Summons can be a useful tool to gather Tributes for a Tribute Summon. But why bother when you can Special Summon a monster that’s stronger than the one you were going to Tribute Summon? The Extra Deck is the major culprit here, giving you unparalleled access to your best monsters without ever needing to draw them. This last point is especially important when you consider that you’ll save at least one card to use later because…

3. Every monster is destined to be swiftly and mercilessly destroyed. Or worse.

The ultimate fate of every monster that doesn’t win you the Duel is to wind up in the Graveyard. Or worse. When your Extra Deck monster is immediately swallowed by a Bottomless Trap Hole, you lose its Materials and the monster itself. But that monster didn’t come from your hand, you got it for free out of your Extra Deck, so in essence you only lost the Materials. Not so for a Tribute Summon. The Tributes and the Tribute Summoned monster are all cards you had to draw and play, and they likely took your Normal Summons over multiple turns.

The Solution

As you can see, in the Advanced Format, Tribute Summoning generally isn’t the way to go unless your Tribute Summon can mitigate those three factors. For Battle Pack 2, we dealt with point 3 by severely limiting the number of cards that can straight up eliminate a monster. You can learn more about the removal cards that did make it in here and here. For point 2, we eliminated the Extra Deck and all search effects. Players who can strategize on the fly will have the advantage, as you play with the hand you’re dealt, though there are ways to enhance that hand. And for point 1 we added a bunch of Special Summonable Tribute fodder – monsters that won’t flip the result of the Duel on their own, but that you’ll want to play just to get a Tribute Summon off a turn or two earlier.

Where does that leave us? In a land where Level 7+ monsters rule and battle is the law of the land. And because of the steps taken, many Duelists have wondered why the first big monster won’t just sit around and dominate the field forever. After all, there’s no way to negate a Summon, no Bottomless Trap Hole or Mirror Force or the equivalent to allow for swift turnarounds, and very few cards that can possibly get rid of the monster without winning a fight against it.

Let Them Play

The answer is, “We got rid of the Spell/Trap removal as well.” It may sound counterintuitive, but only if you’re looking at it through the lens of the Advanced Format. In Advanced Format Duels, cards like Mystical Space Typhoon and (especially) Heavy Storm are what you use to ensure that your big monsters hit the field safely and win you the Duel. The existence of Heavy Storm in particular causes this terrible conundrum whereby you really want to Set more than 1 Trap so that the unlimited Mystical Space Typhoon doesn’t strip you of all your defenses, but if you do and they have the Limited Heavy Storm, you’re sunk.

In the Advanced Format, if you take those cards entirely out of the game, now it’s impossible to land a monster on the field because you can cherry-pick all of the most devastating Trap Cards in the game and Set them all at once, and you’ll be guaranteed to get to use every single one of them. If you take out all the monster removal but leave the Spell and Trap removal, the remaining Spells and Traps aren’t powerful enough to deal with the hugely powerful, oppressive, and/or self-protective monsters that are getting Sumoned from the Extra Deck  on turn 1 of every Duel, oh, and most of those Spells and Traps are just going to get destroyed anyways.

But in a carefully constructed Sealed play environment with cards that change the outcome of battles and shift battle positions and without an Extra Deck or removal? What happens is a high-tension back and forth Duel that generally ends in both players throwing down a giant and going to war, hence War of the Giants. You can safely Set multiple Spells or Traps without fear of one Spell Card coming along and ruining everything, which generally leads to a scenario where the first player to Summon their big monster doesn’t attack right away because something (or somethings) nasty is waiting and more than likely can make a smaller monster defeat a bigger one. Remember, none of these cards are free, you had to draw and play them all, so losing your big monster is still quite a loss even if you Summoned it quickly.

Because of all the battle position changers and the fact you can’t really get rid of them without triggering them, the safer play is to wait until next turn when you can play another monster to draw out opposing Spells and Traps, and in the case of a mass battle position changer like No Entry!!, give yourself the opportunity to switch your giant back to Attack Position. But as a consequence, your opponent gets one or more free turns to set up and Summon their own giant, leading to a climactic showdown, possibly spanning numerous turns, where your monsters battle for supremacy while Spells and Traps fly every which way! It’s very exciting!!


By getting rid of Spell and Trap removal, your battle position changers and ATK/DEF modifiers become legitimately scary and can be Set en masse, creating an environment where the first player to Summon their giant needs to temporarily hold back their assault or else risk being blown out by the opponent’s Spell and Trap Cards. This creates free turns for the other player to Summon his own giant and sets the stage for dramatic and exciting battles!

Battle Pack 2: War of the Giants is just 2 weeks away! We really hope everyone enjoys it and has a lot of fun Dueling with some of the biggest brawlers from the entirety of the game’s history. It’s a very different experience from Advanced Format Dueling, and in my opinion, a very fun and rewarding experience too. You can try it for yourself starting on June 28th!

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