It’s only fitting to start the matchup with the first wave of Structure Decks (released worldwide). Released simultaneous as the previous decks, we got these bad boys on January 1, 2005. The big departure came from the fact that this wasn’t based on any characters this time around. Rather, a more realistic approach was taken by focusing on Types themselves, and deriving strategy from there. The cover cards were neat exclusives, but the decks didn’t revolve around them (ironically, most duels didn’t even see their appearance). This match-up was an easy choice, these guys were made to go up against each other, and the duels usually are as much fun as they are eventful. Even now, we’re finding new combos.
Here are some points of interest from the fight:
- The Zombie deck had Special Summoning in its favor. Call of the Mummy and Pyramid Turtle could bring out 2400 ATK monsters with ease. You had to work harder to bring out your stronger monsters in the Dragon deck. Stronger monsters were also in less frequency, as the Dragons only had two Armed Dragon LV5s, Red-Eyes, and Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon, compared to Vampire Lord, Dark Dust Spirit, two Despair from the Darks, two Ryu Kokkis (probably the most versatile card in the deck), and a Vampire Genesis.
- Between the cover cards, it’s a tough choice. I’d call it even between Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon and Vampire Genesis. Red-Eyes has a relatively weak base ATK, but it immediately goes to 2700 with the tribute of Red-Eyes Black Dragon, and only gets better from there. For a deck that lacks in offensive power, Red-Eyes’ effect sure makes sense. Meanwhile, Vampire Genesis tops out at 3000, but that’s no small number. Meanwhile, his effect helps you rebuild your army. Ideally, these guys are best used at the end of the game, and both have the potential to win it.
- Base monsters were also generally stronger in the Zombie’s favor. While Luster Dragon’s a good pull with 1900 ATK, the drop-off is pretty steep down to Element Dragon and Twin-Headed Behemoth with 1500 ATK. For the Zombie’s Regenerating Mummy lead the pack with 1800 ATK, then down to Master Kyonshee with 1750, then Double Coston with 1700 (which doubles with its useful effect), and finally Vampire Lady, which still stays relevant at 1550.
- Spell and Traps are about the same. Literally, most of the cards are recycled, but it’s to good effect. Heavy Storm, Giant Trunade, Nobleman of Crossout, Compulsory Evacuation Device, and Sntach Steal remain formidable cards that can really turn things around. A big advantage for the Zombies is the field-clearing Torrential Tribute. Summoning from the Graveyard is pretty even with Book of Life vs. Premature Burial/Call of the Haunted (shouldn’t that be a Zombie card?). This area goes to the Dragons because of it’s Spell/Trap destroying abilities. Stamping Destruction and The Dragon’s Bead are cards exclusive to Dragons that can destroy and negate Spells and Traps with minimal cost.
- Defense goes to the Zombies on account of Spirit Reaper (getting assistance from Soul-Absorbing Bone Tower). The Dragons have Swords of Revealing Light, but Spirit Reaper has proven his staying power time and time again.
Structure Deck 2: Zombie Madness
The Zombie strategy seemed more clear and straightforward, while the Dragons did not have a solid game plan. Zombies were able to swarm the field through Special Summoning from the hand, deck, and Graveyard. Consequently, it was also easier to get out higher ATK monsters. While lacking in supporting Spells and Traps, a few counter and Spell/Trap destroyers evened the field. Clearing the field with Torrential Tribute, and even more importantly – the returning Dark Dust Spirit both caused critical damage.