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 Getting There: Infernities

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Frogboy
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PostSubject: Getting There: Infernities   Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:53 am

The sixth installment of “Getting There” brings us Infernities, the deck I personally selected for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series in Virginia that took place a month ago. Before beginning this article, I just want to clarify my own perspective.

I generally do not browse upcoming cards in the OCG. All of my experiences with Infernities come from a TCG base. While I am familiar with a few OCG cards that are relayed to me by other players, I definitely do not know what they are running over there and how they are running it.

How do Infernities Affect the Metagame?

Note: This section up was written in May shortly after YCS Chantilly. Let's see if my predictions were correct!

As I began testing with X-Sabers and Infernities, I started to realize that both decks were incredibly broken. With more and more games of understanding and rationalizing their advantage plays and win conditions, it became pretty clear to me (within a few games, in fact) that the two “new” decks (X-Sabers received new support but were easily top tier even for Edison) were simply better than the current cream of the crop.

While certain decks are able to maintain at least a fighting shot against Infernities, other decks practically stand no chance. I want to briefly list the decks that were good metagame calls for Chantilly and decks that were terrible choices. And yes, I realize a Gadget player won the entire event. However, that winner was obviously a special case.

Gladiator Beasts: I've always believed strongly in this deck. I think it can definitely compete with the two new decks, especially with strong tech choices.

Blackwings: I've always believed strongly in this deck as well, mainly due to its versatility. I think it can compete with the two new decks, but requires a strong tech base (Royal Oppressions and even Skill Drains) to compete.

Flamvell Variants: These decks get mercilessly slaughtered by Infernities. The deck simply puts out no pressure, card advantage is irrelevant, and all of the monsters in the deck are simply useless to pressure with.

Armed Gadgets: This build is the multiple monster removal variant (triple Smashing, triple Fissure) and such. This deck obviously has a bad matchup versus Infernities. I think it's decent against X-Sabers.

Machina Gadgets: This deck has a bad matchup against Infernities. Unless you are somehow able to search Limiter Removals and Future Fusions with your Gadget (without your opponent catching you), I do not think it can handle the new meta. I do think it is always viable with anti-meta cards, however.

Quickdraw: I do not feel regular Quickdraw variants have a good matchup against Infernities or X-Sabers.

Cat Synchro: Again, Airbellum is the only card that can actually generate pressure against an Infernity duelist. I think this deck has a very bad matchup against Infernities.

Lightsworn: This deck also has a bad matchup against Infernities. However, I think teching a few choice cards can change that and create a decent to solid match.

Frog Monarch: This deck would dominate the metagame if not for the new Infernity and X-Saber decks created from TSHD. I think it's definitely a good call and has a pretty strong matchup against everything but Infernities.

Based on this perspective, it would appear that a new top tier of decks have developed. Infernities and X-Sabers lead the charge with Gladiator Beasts, Frog Monarch, and possibly Blackwing remaining viable. Decks based around Herald of Perfection are also quite powerful as well.

Strengths of the Infernity Deck

Continuing with my X-Saber article, let's list the strengths of the Infernity deck.

- The most powerful and consistent OTK engine the game has ever seen
- The most powerful and consistent synchro summoning access the game has ever seen
- The ability to always threaten a dominating position (or gameshot) with a topdeck
- A theme-specific Solemn Judgment that negates effect monsters as well (Infernity Barrier)

While we currently lack Trishula (a level 9 OCG Synchro monster that easily equalizes hand and field presence), the introduction of Infernity Barrier has given the dreaded Infernity OTK loop a failsafe backup plan. Proper Infernity play will lead to a board filled with dominant Synchro monsters and also two Infernity Barrier! These types of optimal boards are often impossible for the opponent to solve and lead to game in a few short turns.

What are the Goals of the Infernity Deck?

Infernity decks take everything we have ever learned about the game and subvert them. Card advantage does not matter; actually setting and "wasting" monsters such as Infernity Archfiend and Infernity Beetle become optimal plays. A card that burns two in the hand (Infernity Inferno) becomes one of the best cards in the deck. What the heck is going on?

The goal is to use all of your skill to set up gameshot. If you properly manage the different summons, the deck should end with an "optimal" board that features two Infernity Barrier for protection. The reason most players feel the deck isn't good is that they don't know how to use it properly. The deck is very complicated and difficult to master; only those who practice fully with Infernities can achieve maximum results.

The main reason for this is the sheer amount of options, and combinations of sequences, you can achieve when looping Infernity Launchers. One mistake will add too many monsters to your board, leaving you unable to create an optimal set. This has led many top duelists to use Infernity Avenger, a card that allows for simpler Synchro summoning. I want to provide a brief example.

A Classic Example with Infernity Archfiend, Infernity Necromancer, and Infernity Beetle in the graveyard:

In this example, the correct sequence is something like this:

Launcher 1: Necromancer (Beetle into 2 Beetles) + Archfiend (Launcher 2). Synch a Mist Wurm.
Board: Mist Wurm, Beetle.

Launcher 2: Archfiend (Launcher) + Beetle. Synch a Brionac.
Board: Brionac, Mist Wurm, Beetle

Launcher 3: Archfiend (Barrier) + Necromancer (ATK position). Synch a Goyo Guardian.Use Necromancer to retrieve Archfiend for the second Barrier.
Final Board: Brionac, Goyo Guardian, Mist Wurm, Necromancer, Archfiend.

This was a complex sequence. It takes an advanced understanding of Infernity board positions to realize that your second Launcher has to be used on an Archfiend + Beetle to avoid clogging the board. The third Launcher then retrieves Necromancer, which can retrieve Archfiend and search the important second Barrier. This final board is nearly unbeatable. Brionac will bounce any monster set to the hand next turn and the two Barriers should easily account for any defense the opponent can generate.

Compare this to a butchered sequence I have seen numerous players make against me:

Launcher 1: Necromancer (Beetle into 2 Beetles) + Archfiend (Launcher 2). Synch a Mist Wurm.
Board: Mist Wurm, Beetle.

Launcher 2: Necromancer + Archfiend (Launcher 3).
Board: Necromancer, Archfiend, Mist Wurm?

This approach leaves the player no room to make the truly powerful Synchros, mainly due to Necromancer blocking a valuable slot.

Multiply this effort for every game scenario you come across. There is a proper play when having Mirage, a proper play when having Grepher and Archfiend on the board, and proper plays for different combinations of hands as well with or without Infernity Avenger.

In my time at YCS Chantilly and YCS Rosemont, I have seen numerous Infernity players lose the matchs because they butchered the proper Infernity sequence. The reason other countries haven't been able to achieve success with Infernities is mostly because the TCG markets (USA and Canada) are more developed and skilled. Witness a player like Omar Beldon or Lazaro Bellido play feature matches and you can see the full power of the deck.

How to Counter Infernities

The Infernity deck has a very good game one matchup against most decks in the format. It has a few problems with Herald of Perfection and Gladiator Beasts. However, your real chance to win against Infernities comes from three factors:

1) Is your opponent a player who will misplay and create improper boards with the deck?
2) Is your main-deck sturdy enough to tech answers to the deck?
3) Is your side-deck equipped to switch the odds to your favor for game 2 and 3?

The first factor is basically out of your control. While Infernity duelists in the early round will often make incorrect plays, you won't be so fortunate when facing the superior duelists in later rounds of a premier event or Nationals.

The key really lies in your main and side deck options. Good counters to Infernities include anything that can break Launcher, anything that can manipulate the graveyard, and anything that can manipulate special summons.

During the game, you have to understand that dueling against Infernities is akin to defusing a stick of dynamite. It can explode any time so you had better be pushing the pace and forcing trades. When I duel versus an Infernity player, I don't worry about niggling threats such as Torrential Tribute and Mirror Force. If I don't maximize every summon and get Infernities down in either card advantage or life points, I will eventually lose. It is a mathematical fact beyond dispute.

Fortunately, Infernities can become quite vulnerable to a good side-deck strategy. D.D Crow, Royal Oppression, Dust Tornado, and other such cards are some of the best answers to the Infernity deck in the main or side. I try to live by a philosophy that every card in my back row, at every time, should be able to stop an Infernity Launcher. This type of practice should serve you well, unless you are using a deck that forces you to use Dimensional Prison.

Great sidedeck options that aren't as splashabile include Consecrated Light, Vanity's Fiend, and additional copies of D.D Crow or Crevice Into the Different Dimension. These side-deck tools should give you a big edge; you simply have to hope to hit them and dodge Infernity Barrier. Of course, proper Infernity side-decks will feature cards such as Hero's Rule 2 that will turn the games into a contest of who draws side-deck cards first!

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think Infernity duelists have tapped into the optimal side deck choices yet. In fact, I don't even think the winner of YCS Rosemont, Omar Beldon, and Team Canada have created the perfect side-deck for Infernities. Despite their team's amazing deck-building skills in constructing the main, I'm certain better side deck choices are possible. Perhaps we'll see further refining and future evolution at Canadian Nationals and the United States Nationals. These two tournaments are the biggest events of the year (along with Euros).

Concluding Thoughts

I personally feel X-Sabers are the best deck of the format, mainly due to their stability. However, a legion of accomplished Canadian duelists such as Dale Bellido, Lazaro Bellido, and Matt Peddle have put forth a belief that Infernities reign supreme. This conviction was backed up strongly when one of their teammates, Omar Beldon, became a star and seized the crown at YCS Rosemont, defeating a slew of X-Saber decks on the way to the main prize.

The Infernity hype train is really the most fascinating subplot of both North American national tournaments. It seems a near certainty (assuming all of Canada's best use Infernity) that the deck will dominate Canadian nationals. It remains to be seen whether the deck will do the same in the United States, where Sabers have clearly become the top player's deck of choice.

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