Day One Decks: Traitor!

Leadership. Beauty. And plans that go smoothly.

These are the ingredients to make the perfect little subordinate.

But Valentina accidentally added an additional ingredient: Traitorousness.

Thus the songstress Shion was born!

Okay, maybe that’s not the best origin story, but Shion has the makings of an interesting J/Ruler. First of all, her Ruler side cures an itch that we all have in most of our games: wanting know what our next card is.

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This might seem like a minor thing compared to say, the numerous abilities of Reflect, but we have to remember that most of Shion’s gameplay is designed around this mechanic, and it will play an important role in the decklist that’ll be presented later. This particular ability of hers even carries over to her J-Ruler side along with a couple of other great abilities:

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Let’s talk about her God’s Art first. It’s a straightforward ability that grants Shion a +500/+500 buff and lets her shoot her whole 1400 ATK to the opponent’s J/Resonator. It’s a simple, yet versatile tool which can allow her to control the field and/or swing for huge damage.

Shion’s Enter ability is the one we’ll be building our deck around. It basically allows us to put a Resonator that costs 5 or less from the top of the deck and into the field on turn 4 (or earlier, in some cases). Now this doesn’t seem much, but considering that we have a 900/900 J-Ruler that goes along with it, it’ll most likely put us in a dominant position in terms of field presence – hopefully enough to win the game early on. More so if the particular Resonators we’ll be using are these two:

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Arthur represents the defensive end of our two choices, and is very hard to deal with if the opponent doesn’t have the proper tools to do so. He cannot be targeted by anything that’s Fire or Darkness and can boost his or another Resonator’s health by a whooping 800 DEF! His most scary ability however, is that Resonators are forced to attack him if they can do so, thus running into his huge 1200 ATK. More often than not, this leads to the King of the Round Table wiping the opposing field all by himself. He still does take damage and could die in the process, but we’re packing in Percevals to prevent that from happening.

Celestial-Winged Seraph is our default choice when going on the offense because she brings a lot of value in the form of Lucifer. The healing she provides is a good bonus too.

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Having a to banish a Resonator, and deal with a 1000/1000 along with two 900/900 bodies can be too much for the opponent to handle in the early turns.

And that’s where the game plan of the deck will revolve around: control the board until turn 4 (or less) and then swing the momentum into our favor with Shion’s Judgement. As you may have noticed, the plan hinges on two factors: 1) Keeping the opponent’s field manageable in the first three turns, and 2) Setting up the Judgement turn. Thankfully, our favorite rebel has the tools to be able to do both.

Removal

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While it’s not as great as we’ve initially thought it to be in Sealed (no thanks to the abundance of 600+ DEF Resonators), Space-Time Anomaly is one of our best removal tools. It’s instant speed, hits both J-Rulers and Resonators, and -500 to both ATK and DEF kills most early targets. On top of that, it replaces itself and can be cast from the discard pile because of the Remnant keyword. At its worst it can soften hard-hitting J/Resonators outside of its killing range so it can be blocked safely by your smaller Resonators (or by Shion herself) or destroyed by additional sources of damage. Note that you can cast it twice on the same target on the same turn to give it -1000/-1000. You also get two cards for your trouble.


Newbie Tip:
You can cast Space-Time Anomaly twice in a single turn with only two Magic Stones available! Here’s how…

1) First, make sure that you’re starting your turn with at least one Water and one Darkness Magic Stone recovered. This will allow you to cast it before your Recovery Step since it’s also an Instant.

2) Make sure to tell your opponent that you’re casting Space-Time Anomaly before your recovery step to make everything clear. A simple “before recovery” phrase will do. Rest the necessary Magic Stones and cast it on say, a decently-sized Resonator like the opponent’s Lancelot. Let’s say it’s successful – he gets -500/-500 (shrinking him down to a measly 100/100) and the spell goes to your graveyard.

3) You then move on to your Recovery Step, recovering all of your Magic Stones and allowing you to use them again to cast spells on your Main Step. Use it to cast Space-Time Anomaly from the graveyard on the same Lancelot we’ve targeted before. Since we cast it the first time before our Recovery Step, it’s still counted as the same turn and retains the -500/-500 debuff that it has before, making it 100/100. The second cast hits, giving him another -500/-500, which puts the poor Lancelot far less than his current stats, thus killing him.


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Unlike Space-Time Anomaly, The Executioner is a Sealed powerhouse, and is making waves in constructed play as well. Watch your opponent make suboptimal plays out of fear the turn after we place this card facedown in our Chant-Standby area. Its trigger is easy too – as long as we have a Darkness Magic Stone and an opposing Resonator enters the field, we can activate his Stealth ability anytime on that same turn to kill any Resonator which costs 3 or less (not necessarily the Resonator that they just played). That cost range is huge, as it includes metagame staples such as Lancelot, Gherta, and Morgiana, as well as new powerhouses like Pricia and Athena. You also get a 300/300 Zombie for your efforts.

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This one’s a classic. The Artemis has been a great card ever since it was first printed, and is what puts Arla aggro as the top deck during the SKL days. The God’s Bow can be used both ways – as a defensive tool it can be used to discourage smaller Resonators from attacking, and in multiples it can take down most Resonators. As an offensive tool, it can be used to clear out (or help kill) blockers. As a bonus, it can even destroy cards in the Chant-Standby area and Addition: Resonator cards too! Though we wouldn’t be seeing the full power of the Regalia in the deck (since we’re not using Arla), it still makes the cut in helping the deck make it through the early turns by combining it with Space-Time Anomaly and smaller Resonators like The Executioner so that we can reach the pivotal turn 4 safely.

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Boats! Boats! Boats! To be completely honest, I’ve put this here for funsies. To be brutally honest though, the Golden Hind is a great controlling tool which has yet to find the right deck to dock into. It can easily slow down the opponent by locking down their best Resonator while we take out the smaller ones (or set up a Sign to the Future blowout), and we can always Recover it during our turn to lock down another while keeping its previous target rested until our opponent’s turn.

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Having access to both Light and Darkness allows us to use the classics: Stoning to Death and Sign to the Future. These two are fundamentally similar but perform different roles. For former is straight up single-target, Instant, removal which can be used offensively (to remove blockers) or defensively. On the other hand, the latter is more of a defensive tool to punish players who overextend by populating their field with Resonators and may require a little planning to use. It’s well-worth it though, as we get to remove two of their best Resonators when it goes off.


Newbie Tip:
If you don’t have Stoning to Death, Space-Time Collapse is a decent substitute from the latest set which trades Instant speed for the option of destroying opposing Regalias. Dark Purge can somewhat fill in if you don’t have access to both rare cards.

While it doesn’t perform the same function, Endless Night can substitute for Sign to the Future, but given Sign’s rarity, you shouldn’t have trouble looking for it.


Regalia

Most of the deck’s game plan revolves around Shion, as such it doesn’t hurt to equip her with the right Regalia so we can get more value out of her when she does Judgement. We’ve discussed Artemis as part of her removal suite, now let’s see the rest of her armory.

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Laevateinn is almost always a good fit for any deck where the J-Ruler plays an active role, and in this deck it’s no different. The Activate ability of the Demon sword boosts her God’s Art damage, and makes further use of our smaller Resonators by being able to sacrifice them to it so we can activate the Regalia multiple times. It can also be banished to save Shion by giving her Imperishable. Finally, additional copies in our hand can be discarded to allow Shion to do Judgement earlier.

Deathscythe is finding less use in the TTW metagame, mainly because most players are playing Reflect. Hopefully, TMS will encourage people to play other Rulers, and for this reason, I think keeping a couple in the main deck is fine since we’ll never know when we’ll run into another deck that actively uses its J-Ruler. Feel free to put in Marybell, the Steel Doll in its place if you disagree.

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Hydromonica is Shion’s Regalia, and as mentioned earlier, plays an important role in the deck’s game plan. It allows us to improve the quality of our draws in combination with Shion’s ability – once we’ve seen what we’ll be drawing next, we can use the Hydromonica to send it to the bottom of our main deck if necessary. We can also pitch extra copies of it to the graveyard to draw cards (which we won’t be doing EVER). Its most important ability is the second one, where we pay 1 (since we’re using Shion) Will and banish it to search for either Arthur, or the Celestial Winged Seraph and put it at the top of our main deck, and using Shion’s Judgement to put it into play.


Newbie Tip:
To be able to search for the Resonator we’ll be putting on top of our main deck and put it into play using Shion’s Enter ability after Judgement will require specific timing.

1) You need to have one Magic Stone available recovered at the start of your turn to pay for Hydromonica’s second ability.

2) You then activate it after you draw a card in the Draw Phase but before the Recovery Phase. This ensures that you have the Resonator you want on top of the deck, and 3 Magic Stones available to do Shion’s Judgement.


Resonators

Arthur and Celestial-Winged Seraph have both been tackled above, so let’s get into the rest of the cast as well.

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Perceval is our main tool for finding the Regalia we need – be it Laevateinn, Artemis, or the all-important Hydromonica. She can also be banished to do the one-sided board wipes with Arthur by preventing all of the damage done to the King of the Round Table for the turn as opposing Resonators run into him. At her worst, Perceval can block bigger resonators and deal enough damage to them so that they can be finished off by Artemis or Space-Time Anomaly.

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Valentina’s Zealot makes an appearance in our sideboard mostly to protect Shion against the Judgement of Blazer Gill Rabus. Hera provides additional Regalia hate. Finally, Blessed Holy Wolf is our answer to trouble some additions such as Barrier of Shadows.

Other Cards

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These two have been discussed at length for sometime now. Barrier of Shadows is the bane of all Regalia-reliant decks that don’t pack Addition-hate in their main deck because it slows down their game significantly. Robe of the Fire Rat slows down and protects us against the biggest Fire Resonators the opponent plays. It also helps us set Sign to the Future by indirectly making the opponent play more Resonators.

And with all of those discussed, here’s our Day One list:


Ruler: Songstress of Shangri-la / Coup d’Etat Mastermind, Shion4 Artemis, the God’s Bow
4 Heavenly Instrument, Hydromonica
4 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword
2 Deathscythe, the Life Reaper4 Space-Time Anomaly
3 Stoning to Death
2 Sign to the Future
3 Invasion Ship, Golden Hind
3 Barrier of Shadows

4 The Executioner
4 Perceval, the Seeker of Holy Grail
1 Fallen Angelic Destroyer, Lucifer
1 Celestial-Wing Seraph
1 Arthur Pendragon, King of the Round Table

4 Ruler’s Memoria
4 Magic Stone of Dark Depth
2 Magic Stone of Heaven’s Rift

Sideboard:
4 Valentina’s Zealot
1 Barrier of Shadows
3 Hera, Goddess of Jealousy
3 Robe of Fire Rat
2 Sign to the Future
2 Blessed Holy Wolf


Some last bits of advice in playing the deck:

1) Be sure to mulligan for Hydromonica or Perceval. Always send back Arthur, Seraph, and Lucifer if they’re in your starting hand. As you may have noticed, the deck doesn’t run Cheshire Cats (to cut costs, but please do add them if you have – probably take out the Golden Hind and a Barrier of Shadows to make space) so we have no way of putting any of the important Resonators back to the deck. We’ll just let luck decide that.

2) Try to keep the opposing field as small as possible so their options are limited when dealing with your Judgement turn.

3) Another route to explore is to go for a discard-centric suite rather than removal. Scorn of Dark Alice, Spiral of Despair, and Soulhunt can easily strip our opponent out of answers before our Judgement turn.

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4) There’s no hiding that the deck has a bad matchup against Gill Lapis’ Ruler side, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot win. However, prepare for a slow, uphill battle against the Primogenitor.

5) Pick the right turn to do Judgement. Sometimes, it’s better to hold back a couple of turns and grind the opponent out of options further.

6) Remember that you can also use the Hydromonica to search for other cards such as removal or Regalia if necessary.

So that’s it for our Day One Shion, let me know what you think of the deck – feel free to share your thoughts and other ideas in the comments below!

Until then!

Card images from the awesome db.fowtcg.us

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