The TCG Meta Snapshot is a project by some of the writers at YGOPRODeck that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta for a given 1-2 week period.
The TCG Meta Snapshot also aims to rank decks in a somewhat looser tier system. The tiers that we will use are as follows:
Tier 1: Highly Competitive Meta Decks. 10% or more of tops, as ranked by Pojo. This will roughly correspond to Pojo’s Tier 1, with some overlap into Pojo’s Tier 2.
Tier 2: Semi-Competitive Meta Decks. Less than 10% of tops, as ranked by Pojo. Corresponds to the rest of Pojo’s Tier 2, Pojo’s Tier 3, and Rogue.
Tier 3: Semi-Competitive non-Meta/Rogue decks. 1-2 tops. Specifically includes decks that only top small events or get lower rankings at medium events. Can also include decks that can potentially top but have not yet in a given format.
Tier 4: Casually Competitive non-Meta decks. Decks that can compete at the local level, but cannot top an event.
It's been a while since we've last looked at Sky Striker for our TCG Meta Snapshots, so here we are! The deck has gone through several iterations and ban lists over the years, so it's exciting to see it once again.
Let's quickly recap the deck's identity. Striker excels at going second on paper, thanks to its massive arsenal of toolbox spells ready to mow down opposing boards. Once that's done, the deck can proceed to build its own and out-resource the opponent! It's supplemented by a high hand trap count, making it a well-rounded adversary.
After the release of BODE, Raye and her friends have teamed up with Destroyer Phoenix Enforcer for a terrifying combination. They were quite popular a few months back, seeing a lot of play across multiple YCS and WCQ Regionals. Let's see how they hold up in the current landscape with Adventurer in the picture.
Special thanks to OzoneTCG and the r/Yugioh Discord people such as Boltz and Katsune for assisting in this Snapshot.
Sky Striker took a noticeable dip compared to the massive usage it was getting post-BODE. Its presence is significantly lower compared to the previous formats before Adventurer arrived, which isn't unexpected. This sharp decline may signal that Striker is down, but it is certainly not out. After all, it managed to finish strong in YCS Las Vegas, landing a Top 4 placement. In terms of the regional scene, Striker has been doing okay, garnering a few tops here and there.
All in all, the deck comfortably sits at Rogue. The deck's power level isn't quite up to snuff compared to the top dogs of the metagame, but it can still go toe-to-toe with them every now and then. We'll be taking a look at three variants in particular. Now then, let's head on over to Area Zero!
Steven Logan managed to place Top 4 at the Tables and Towers 3v3 Case Tournament with Pure Sky Striker! This event is notable for being one of the few Case events held in NA at the start of the format. Pure Striker is a rare sight nowadays, which makes the top even more interesting.
If you want to check out the breakdown of that tournament, click here!
This list lays a solid foundation for just how potent it can be. The high hand trap count is a staple of Pure Striker, as the deck has a lot of space for them and they're critical for hindering the opponent's plays just enough to where you can take control afterward. Having Tuners for the Crystron Halqifibrax - Accesscode Talker play is great to have as well.
When going second, you're able to use the deck's powerful tools to surgically break down the opponent's setup. With the help of generic power spells such as Pot of Desires and Lightning Storm, it's not too difficult for the deck to reach the 3 Spell threshold to unlock their bonus effects. If you have access to a Striker monster, Sky Striker Ace - Kagari can add any of these Striker Spells back for Round 2! Because the TCG has 3 Kagari, players get to be a lot more liberal with her usage.
Afterburner forces your opponent in an unfavorable spot due to its powerful destruction effect. Widow Anchor can cripple established threats if needed. Shark Cannon is key for deleting follow-up and can even summon the monsters in a pinch! This can come up against DPE, or the infamous Artifact Scythe. You can even summon it to your field on their turn! This should give you enough time to close the game out with a 5300 ATK Accesscode Talker.
Raye herself is a powerhouse in her own right, giving you access to your entire engine. She performs a lot better when you can enter the Battle Phase, as her tag-out effect and Hayate are live. Shizuku and Kagari often trade with the opponent's Hand Traps.
Pure does not excel right now, but most strengths that the other two variants have are derived from it.
Severin Futrek placed an impressive 1st Place finish at the Brotherhood WCQ Regional, with none other than Enforcer Sky Striker! This has been the default variant of the deck since Burst of Destiny came out, with some small adjustments here or there to better fit the current landscape.
Once again, the Destiny HERO package proves to be an incredible asset and elevates Sky Striker to a whole new level. Fusion Destiny is no slouch and gives the deck all the tools it needs to succeed. Because DPE is able to clear itself off the field, it doesn't conflict with any of the Striker Quick-Plays you would want to use on the opponent's turn. Dasher and Celestial continue to be excellent for any deck that uses DPE, and Striker is not an exception. Shark Cannon or Widow Anchor can even get you the additional monster needed to make Predaplant Verte Anaconda.
Enforcer even doubles up on the ATK reduction when paired with the reliable Striker Ace Shizuku! It can be tough for the opponent to power through that after you pick apart their cards going second. Another underrated interaction is DPE popping your own Area Zero to get the Striker engine back online.
Severin used Pot of Prosperity, as getting to either your starter or Fusion Destiny is necessary in order to play. Prosperity can also dig for side cards in games 2 and 3, potentially saving you from a tough spot.
All in all, it's a simple pairing at the surface level but the sum of its parts make for one formidable deck, being the most successful Striker variant we've seen yet.
Amit Singh Deol managed to get Top 4 at YCS Vegas with the most interesting variant of the deck yet to date, Adventurer Enforcer Sky Striker! This version of the deck is geared towards going first, which is not something we've seen in a while.
Another detail to mention is that the deck does not run Wandering Gryphon Rider. Most, if not all, of the players who run the package run the bird for its undeniable negation effect, or in the case of Adventurer Tenyi GS, make use of the fact that it's a free Level 7. So what's the deal with that?
When people asked Amit about this, he mentioned that the engine is played for its ability to produce two bodies for Verte and load the GY up with Spells. Water Enchantress and Link Spider are Verte Fodder, and you have a reliable way to bump up the Spell count. Gryphon would clog the MMZ, after all.
Not only that, cards like Water Enchantress and Fateful Adventure bait out interruptions which can lead to successful activation of DPE or Fusion Destiny. One thing you can do is to pitch a Striker spell for Fateful and recur it back with Kagari. Because you'll have Aramesir for turn 3 with the Enchantress in GY, having Dracoback in hand is a nice way to help clean the board.
Seeing as the deck goes first, it relies on setting up a floodgate to pair with both DPE and Shizuku. 3 copies of Summon Limit paired with Pot of Prosperity to search it gives you good odds to make the aforementioned board.
It's the most interesting out of the three variants and has a lot more room for development and experimentation due to how new it is. We'll have to wait and see if this version of the deck manages to get more results.
Due to the prominence of the Adventurer Engine and other top decks being vulnerable to it, Ghost Ogre is now a mainstay staple in the Deck. Most players run 2-3.
Shared Ride is an interesting choice that can punish nearly all the top strategies that rely on multiple searches per turn. They can either choose to continue and face the wrath of multiple hand traps aimed at their way or stop their setup altogether. For example, chaining the Quick-Play to Enchantress banish can lead to a catch-22 for your opponent. It's not weak to common anti-floodgate hate such as Dracoback or Lightning Storm either, good stuff!
Ever since the card got unlimited, people have been trying out a playset of Raigeki in their side deck, garnering some decent results. The card's one major upside over Lightning Storm is that it can blow past Defense Position monsters, which is something that Storm can't do. Sky Striker's loadout of Spell cards perfectly complements Raigeki, as they can bait negates or weave it in a manner where it'll resolve. Being solid vs both Floo and D/D/D is a nice touch too. It's not a perfect answer to everything, but it can hold its own.
Soul Release is a unique choice from the only pure Striker top we have in this format, essentially acting as a way to clear all follow up once the board has been broken.
Artifact Sanctum and DDG remain standard choices for sided floodgates, but Mind Drain has popped up after Amit popularized it. Additionally, the heavier Artifact package with Ignition has fallen out of favor.
With that being said, there are a lot of reasons why Striker isn't doing as well this format. The unfavorable landscape has knocked it down a peg and its weaknesses are easier to exploit. Let's point out some of them.
Consistency and Reliability - Not having a Striker Ace can be a death sentence, as the deck needs to see one in order to play. Linkage's arrival in the TCG may prove to help with this problem. The deck requires an adept pilot to get the most out of it as a lot of plays aren't straightforward.
Threat Presence - Going first is not the deck's strong suit, especially if you don't see a floodgate. Shizuku + DPE pass isn't awful, but it's a little under par compared to what everyone else is busting out. It's okay in simplified game states.
Not only that, if you go first you're giving up both Hayate or Kagari's effects most of the time and miss out on crucial damage to your opponent's LP. Missing the initial swings can lead to problems in closing out the game with Accesscode. This gives opposing decks plenty of time to try again, especially ones with a lot of gas. Examples include Adventurer Prank-Kids or Adventurer Tenyi GS.
Blowouts and Follow-ups - As good as Sky Striker can be at cracking boards, the setup from the top decks is on another level compared to the last format. Striker tends to fall short of breaking through and is prone to get overwhelmed. Blowout cards like Lightning Storm can only get you so far. Opposing blowout cards or Side Deck answers are not fun to deal with either.
Common Hand Traps - While the deck itself is able to run a lot of HT to make up for its low field presence, it's quite susceptible to the same Hand Traps in the same vein. Ghost Ogre in particular ruins Multirole setups, which is one of the few ways Striker can reclaim momentum. Fusion Destiny, Verte, and Accesscode being stopped can often be the end of the line for you. Ironically, the Adventurer version of the deck is extremely prone to Nibiru.
And that wraps up our Meta Snapshot at Sky Striker! It's in an interesting spot for sure, getting some mild success despite how rough the environment is for it. A good player can definitely compete with it at a WCQ Regional level. With Albaz Strike on the horizon, the meta is due for another major shakeup. Who knows, maybe it'll do better once Linkage comes around? There's also Aileron to look forward to. Until next time folks, Renren out!