Today I want to focus on PACMAN, a deck that has seen recent success in both the DuelistGroundz metagame and at various locals across the nation.
PACMAN in Goat Format - Introduction
Before I do anything else, let's just take a look at the decklist that is featured on Format Library. Jazz, a respected member of DuelistGroundz, piloted this build to a first place finish in the DGz Live 212 tournament which took place a few weeks back.
|PACMAN (Format Library Build)|
|Monsters||Des Lacooda x3|
Golem Sentry x3
Medusa Worm x3
Swarm of Locusts x3
Swarm of Scarabs x3
|Spells||Book of Moon x3|
Graceful Charity x1
Level Limit - Area B x2
Nobleman of Crossout x2
Pot of Greed x1
Swords of Revealing Light x1
|Traps||Compulsory Evacuation Device x3|
Gravity Bind x2
Ring of Destruction x1
Solemn Judgment x3
Threatening Roar x3
Wall of Revealing Light x3
|Side||Neko Mane King x3|
Stealth Bird x3
Delinquent Duo x1
Enemy Controller x3
Heavy Storm x1
Mystical Space Typhoon x1
Dust Tornado x3
Even if you're unfamiliar with the deck you can see that it's quite the departure from Goat Control or Chaos. A cursory glance at the monsters, however, shows that all of them rely on being able to be flipped face-down by their own effect. The rest of the deck is built around Spell and Trap cards designed to protect them, or yourself, from things your opponent is doing.
Simply put, it's a lockdown deck. It's a deck that's designed to keep your opponent's cards off the field - or, by extension, make any opposing cards on the field useless. PACMAN saw little success during the Historic era, and even during the Revival period it saw only sporadic play. Back then, most players focused on burning opponents rather than generating advantage. Perhaps that's why it saw little success.
But new innovations in the deck, as well as refocusing its win condition on pure advantage, has made PACMAN one of the better decks of the format...if it's in the hands of a skilled player, that is.
PACMAN in Goat Format - The Deck
The Monsters of PACMAN
Des Lacooda is your main draw engine. PACMAN wants to maintain card advantage over the opponent while also limiting the opponent's options. Des Lacooda is the card that allows us to dig deeper into our deck without having to sacrifice board presence. It's basically a Dekoichi the Battlechanted Locomotiv and a Tsukuyomi rolled into one. Its low ATK and DEF stats are par for the course, but once the deck gets rolling even Lacooda can put pressure on the opponent's LP.
Golem Sentry does what Medusa Worm and Swarm of Scarabs do, but arguably better. With 1800 DEF, Golem Sentry allows you to turtle effectively against any aggressive monsters not named Airknight Parshath, while also allowing you to return a monster on your opponent's side of the field to the hand. That's a solid effect. Though his 800 ATK is weak, that doesn't matter; PACMAN ultimately wins with chip shots against open or subpar boards.
Golem Sentry, Medusa Worm and Swarm of Scarabs gives the PACMAN player the ability to keep major threats off the board before they become an issue. Swarm of Locusts is your backrow destroyer. It helps clear out pesky traps such as Torrential Tribute or Dust Tornado, as well as post-side backrow such as Royal Decree (if the opponent plays it).
All told, these monsters do everything you want - draw, destroy or return monsters, and destroy backrow. Though they all have low ATK values, their effects more than make up for it, and you can conceivably deal upwards of 1500 damage or more per turn if you're able to get them on the field.
The Spells of PACMAN
The Spell lineup of PACMAN is based heavily on stall and advantage generation. Book of Moon is used to deal with opposing Thousand-Eyes Restrict drops, which is a major problem for the PACMAN player. If you don't have an out to Thousand-Eyes, you have a hard time keeping your engine going.
Level Limit - Area B is a great stall card that is useful in making sure that 4-Star monsters can't get damage in. Swords of Revealing Light is for more stall, mostly to make sure you are able to put more monsters on board.
A lot of the problems that more traditional decks have aren't problems at all for PACMAN. Tribe-Infecting Virus is near useless against it because all of PACMAN's monsters remain face-down. The D.D. monsters won't do much unless the PACMAN player has drawn few monsters, but even then the spell lineup should be able to maintain presence until it can put something on board.
The biggest counters that the deck needs to watch for are, really, Thousand-Eyes and Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. Post-board, things such as Mobius the Frost Monarch or Royal Decree might come in handy against it, which is why the side deck is built the way it is. We'll talk about that more in the following sections.
The Traps of PACMAN
Like Book of Moon, Compulsory Evacuation Device can prevent opposing Thousand-Eyes from resolving, thus protecting your monsters. However, unlike Book of Moon, Compulsory can also save your own monsters from removal. This utility goes perfect in the deck, and makes Compulsory Evacuation Device one of the more formidable cards in the deck's trap lineup.
Gravity Bind is like Level Limit - Area B in what it is used for - stopping attacks from 4-Star or lower monsters.
Ring of Destruction is a staple removal card. More importantly, it helps PACMAN overcome its monsters low-ATK by being able to pop higher-ATK monsters, notably Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning. It can also be used to out Thousand-Eyes Restrict.
Because PACMAN's continuous spells and traps are highly vulnerable, it plays three copies of Solemn Judgment. A well-timed Heavy Storm can disrupt the deck's ability to stall and protect. This could allow an opponent to get ahead on the summon - something PACMAN does not deal with well. Really, Solemn Judgment is a three-of staple in the deck and PACMAN would be far worse without it.
Threatening Roar may seem like an odd choice, but forcing your opponent to skip their Battle Phase prevents a lot of bad things from happening. More importantly, it helps protect monsters and can help you overcome a detrimental Heavy Storm play.
Really, though, aside from Solemn, the best trap in the deck is Wall of Revealing Light. Though you have to pay LP for its effect, that's not that big an issue when you simply wall anything your opponent can throw at you. Most players will pay 3000 LP to stop literally every single monster in any meta-worthy deck from attacking.
This can absolutely cripple an opponent and make them unable to put damage on board until they're able to get rid of the Wall. This will give you time to establish a strong board and simply get rid of their cards one at a time while you amass damage.
Jeez, this deck is brutal.
The PACMAN Side Deck
The side deck is built to compliment the deck's basic strategies while also allowing the PACMAN player more flexibility come games two and three.
Neko Mane King is mostly for the Empty Jar matchup, and in my opinion is the card that is most likely to get cut depending on the meta. Stealth Bird gives the deck extra defensive power as well as another way to deal damage. Delinquent Duo and Enemy Controller are often best against decks that don't have the ability to drop Thousand-Eyes Restrict. Enemy Controller definitely comes in handy against more aggressive decks. It can also allow you to repurpose your monsters to deal more damage, and also helps to mitigate things like Creature Swap, Lava Golem, and monarchs.
The rest of the side deck is built to handle cards like Royal Decree or other backrow stoppers. Ultimately, you'll want to play around with the side deck and see what swaps make for the best plays.
PACMAN in Goat Format - Basic Strategy
PACMAN wants to establish board presence early. If you're behind on the summon you'll likely have a hard time maintaining it without dropping your stall cards. But the stall is vulnerable to Heavy Storm, Dust Tornado, Mystical Space Typhoon and Breaker the Magical Warrior. So care must be taken to not only establish a board, but also protect it.
The deck runs a relatively low monster count at 15, but that's actually a good thing. Opening too many monsters and not enough stall can hinder the deck's ability to establish board presence, especially if the opponent is aggressive. You want to try to open with not only a monster, but a way to protect it as well.
As soon as PACMAN has more than one monster on board it really starts to shine. This is especially true when you have multiple stall cards in the backrow. You don't want to set multiple stall cards without protecting them unless Heavy Storm is gone; this way, you can deal with Dust Tornado, Breaker, or Mystical Space Typhoon one at a time. Until your opponent's Heavy Storm is gone, Solemn Judgment should be saved for dealing with really problematic threats like Heavy.
Patience is important for the PACMAN player. Since you won't deal more than incremental damage, you have to make sure you set up plays properly. Improper setup will allow a decent player to mitigate your disruption, so you have to be careful not to let that happen.
Ultimately, you have to play around with the deck and see what you can accomplish. PACMAN definitely isn't for everybody. However, in the hands of a skilled player the deck will see success. You must take care when playing PACMAN not to overcommit until you're able to protect your cards. Baiting Solemn Judgment is also a good strategy. But ultimately the side deck will likely be the best way to counter any PACMAN deck you come across.
That's it for this time. Keep checking back here every Monday for the latest about Goat Format. You can also contact me any time at [email protected] or interact with me on Discord.