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CardShark Content - Dennis N Santana (7/5/2005)

Card games have resources. All of them work that way. There must be something there allowing you to play your cards. If you could simply play any card you have whenever you want, there wouldn't be much strategy would there? Even Yugioh, which many people claim has no resources, has SOME resources. Your hand was your resource in Yugioh, which is why hand destruction is so good.

So, taking into account that all card games work on this structure of requiring resource to play cards, we can agree that if you can find ways of denying your opponent these resources, then you will easily win, right?

Sadly, it doesn't always play out that way. In Yugioh, it was easy. There were loads of cards that forced your opponent's hand to empty out. Many were banned, because the strategy was so powerful. In Magic, there are land destruction cards that, although very annoying and effective, can be worked around. If your opponent can use his resources to draw land until you can't keep destroying them consistently enough, he just got around your deck's strategy…not good.

In Duel Masters, this is even harder. There are plenty of ways to throw your opponent's mana elsewhere, where it can't be used. But many of these ways are simply not fast enough. A Mana Denial deck in Duel Masters has to battle on multiple fronts. They need to gain enough resources to start stopping the opponent's. They need to protect their shields. And they can never truly stop the opponent, since any card they draw can easily become a new mana card. So rather than stop them, the strategy I wish to implement is to make sure they are stuck on a certain number of mana, 3-4 at most, so that their deck can function, but slowly. While in the meantime, I'm producing mana, swiping at shields and killing their creatures. Let's explore this deck, which if you've seen the cartoon (don't shoot for me for saying this,) might resemble a deck a certain character used against the main character to pretty good effect.

(Though he was defeated, because the Shobu's deck was simply too speedy with all those Fire Civilization tricks…but we can hope, right?)

Ultimate Crisis, V3 (Faerie Life version)

Creatures (20)

4: Elf X
4: Bronze Arm Tribe
4: Rothus, The Traveler
4: Engineer Kipo
4: Bolzard Dragon

Spells (20)

4: Faerie Life
4: Tornado Flame
4: Dimension Gate
4: Crisis Boulder
4: Mana Crisis

Now for the rundown:

Elf X: An all around important card, Elf X makes your Rothus Combos a lot easier on the wallet (You can play the Rothus combo with just 4 mana!) and it makes Bolzard Dragon much easier to play and replace.

Bronze Arm Tribe: Accelerates mana, thins the deck by 1, costs 2 with Elf X, and helps to bring out a turn 4 Bolzard if you haven't hit Elf X but have a Faerie Life around. An overall good inclusion.

Rothus, The Traveler: Rothus is great and simply beast-like with Elf X. Sacrificing Engineer Kipo will slow your opponent twofold, as they'll be forced to take a creature out of your way and have their mana slowed. Followed by a swipe from Bolzard, this guy will really hurt the opponent, and he's a large body to boot.

Engineer Kipo: A Weenie that, with or without Rothus, can help the game plan quite a bit.

Bolzard Dragon: At the top of the mana curve we have the giant Bolzard Dragon ready and waiting to make your opponents’ lives completely miserable. One of these will keep your opponent stuck on mana barring usage of Bronze Arm Tribe or something else. Two, though not easy to pull off, will eventually whittle him down to nothing. Though he is the finisher of the deck he is relatively weak compared to other fatties at his cost, and he's not a double breaker, so be cautious and ready yourself to replace him. It helps a lot if you attacked with your Kipos and other weenies in the opening turns as well.

Faerie Life: A card that enables a turn 3 Elf X, turn 4 Bolzard Dragon, and thins the deck. The early versions of the deck used Poison Mushroom because it was a body attached. A sad, sad mistake on my part. The mushroom's ability to attack shields seemed only present when fighting against decks devoid of any sort of good early bodies. Pretty much any deck has an early game creature that can kill the mushroom and he hurts the hand. After weighing the pros and cons I decided to use Faerie Life instead because the card in my hand would often be much better in play rather than placed by the mushroom, and emptying my hand so quickly, when I could instead be thinning my deck, just for the longshot chance of destroying a shield was a waste. As a bonus, Faerie Life is a shield trigger.

(Note that I feel you should know: There were actually 3 versions of this deck, all 3 of which were heavily tested and evolved into the next, only to end up as this one. That's why it took so long. For those curious, the first version tried an old and outdated Pangaea's Song combo from when Bolzard first came out. The second tried Poison Mushroom to add more bodies to the roster. The last one uses Faerie Life, and is the one I'm presenting to you, and generally, the fastest and most consistent one. I gave each a fair shot, which might have been naïve on my part, and Faerie Life won.)

Other Spells: Included for the luck factor. This deck has some very busy early turns and none of them involve setting up any sort of defense or counter-offense, so it'll be nigh impossible to cast any of the spells because your creatures are so much more important. Out of desperation, you may want to cast a flame or boulder, or a gate, in order to power towards the win. Mana Crisis you will likely never cast unless you're already winning. However, luck will play heavily on your side with these cards. Triggering ANY will be a COLOSSAL help for you. Mana Crisis slows your opponent down when it is most needed and harder to do, Crisis Boulder does the same, Tornado Flame takes care of blockers, Dimension Gate fetches some cards, thinning your deck and replacing itself in your hand, and Faerie Life thins the deck for mana. What's not to like?

After a long wait, my results have produced a fun and possibly powerful deck. I've tried it against some other decks (all sorts of blue/black, blue/red decks, a green/white deck a friend built, which seemed to always get a Holy Awe or two in my way, and quite a few techie decks like Five Color triggers, which weren't consistent enough to pose much of a threat) and it has often proved itself good. I don't know if it's tournament material, since it's been a long time since I went to a big tourney. But you are free to try it out and please tell me the results if you do, I will be very grateful to you.

Until the next time, may your Mana Crisis always be a Stone Rain.

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