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Legendary Decks II: Never Tell Me the Odds

September 27th, 2016

Legendary Decks II is almost here! This box set represents a monumental team effort spanning 3 different continents, and I’m excited to finally see it as a real, physical object for the first time! Today’s subject is the part of Legendary Decks II that I personally spent the most time working on: the Joey + Red-Eyes Deck.

Fan reaction made it very obvious that Yugi’s Legendary Decks was going to be a hit long before it even released, so we started talking early on about what we could do as a follow-up. The vast majority of characters throughout the various Yu-Gi-Oh! series don’t have distinctly different Decks for each storyline like Yugi does, so something had to change. The solution wound up being very simple: 1 Deck each for Yugi, Kaiba, and Joey that reflects their strategy and personality, using a mix of classic cards and more modern cards that the character might have used if the original series had continued on till present day.

As the only known person in R&D who has regularly sleeved up Red-Eyes Black Dragon, I got the first crack at building the Joey + Red-Eyes Deck. The only thing I knew for certain at the start is that I wanted to be able to use the Red-Eyes cards from Clash of Rebellions because I felt that Joey would definitely play with them if he had the chance. Lucky for me, at the same time we were also making cuts to the Mega-Packs in the 2016 Mega-Tins, so I was able to get them and Red-Eyes Retro Dragon as well. It was a big win because the cards were obviously on-theme and it put them all in one place for the fans of Red-Eyes that weren’t able to find them the year prior.

With that out of the way, there were three things I needed to accomplish with the rest of the Deck:

  1. The Deck needed to include memorable cards from the show.
  2. The Deck needed to represent Joey’s character mechanically.
  3. The Deck needed to actually be playable.

Numbers 1 and 2 are easy, if you’re willing to ignore number 3. The things that people remember most about Joey are his big pile of Normal Monsters and that he used a plethora of chance cards to get out of some tough jams. I think it’s unfair to reduce his character down to “smashes things and gets really lucky,” however. To me, Joey’s defining traits are:

-Impulsive, fiery attitude. Never backs down from a challenge.
-Extreme loyalty to his friends and family. Will risk anything to protect them. Great teammate.
-A desire to learn and grow. For example, he trades on the way to Duelist Kingdom, improves his Deck during Battle City.

If you look at Joey that way, it’s obvious that the mechanic that best represents Joey is the Gemini mechanic. It’s no coincidence that Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon is a Gemini monster after all. In the anime, he uses cards like the Battleguards, Rocket Warrior, and Blue Flame Swordsman that emphasize teamwork between monsters. Nowadays, he would probably keep Blue Flame Swordsman and Rocket Warrior, but switch out the Battleguards for something like Command Knight and Valkyrian Knight.

In the end, the number of chance cards was reduced to just two: Time Wizard and Roulette Spider. These were the cards Joey used to win Red-Eyes Black Dragon and Jinzo respectively, and their positive and negative outcomes are impactful and exciting enough to make them both fun and effective when you play with them. In terms of Normal Monsters, I went with Red-Eyes B. Dragon, Axe Raider, Baby Dragon, and Alligator’s Sword.

After I finished my initial version and turned it in there were some revisions made and a bit of general tightening up of the Deck, but in the end I think the final result succeeds quite well in mixing playability with recognizance, and I can’t wait until everyone can get their hands on it as part of Legendary Decks II on October 7th!