With the amount of hype around the cryptid-based archetype and with the September 2018 TCG Forbidden & Limited List in effect, Danger! was a deck with a lot of eyes on it. At YCS Niagara Falls, the archetype established itself as a meta contender.
There has been a mixed bag of TCG exclusives throughout the years, from the always relevant Burning Abyss to the underwhelming Ultra Athletes. Danger! started out strong in Cybernetic Horizon with cards like Danger! Nessie! and Danger!? Jackalope? Soul Fusion also brought a second wave of support just in time for Niagara.
Duelists have been trying to mix it with as many other archetypes as possible. It’s been used with Dark World, BA, Phantom Knights, SPYRAL, and more. However, the archetype’s appearances in tournament top cuts had been mere blips on the radar, overshadowed by decks like Sky Strikers, Goukis, and Altergeists.
The release of Soul Fusion and the arrival of Thunder Dragons provided a shakeup in the meta. Expectations pointed to Goukis and Sky Strikers performing well with Thunder Dragons taking some tops due to their favorable matchup against Strikers. But Danger! surprised many by taking several spots in the Top 32 using multiple variants.
As a new arrival at the top tables, Danger! now have an even greater spotlight. So let’s take a look at what this archetype can do.
Note that this article serves not as a guide for learning how to play the deck, but rather as an overview of the strengths, flaws, and meta viability of the deck.
The crux of the archetype’s strength lies within two clauses:
(1) Their reveal effects are not once per turn.
(2) Their graveyard effects trigger when they are discarded in any way, even for cost.
The game has seen the power of cards lacking a hard OPT clause before (i.e. Firewall Dragon, SPYRAL Quik-Fix, Goblin Zombie, etc.). Being able to reveal multiple copies of the Danger! monsters in one turn can also lead to explosive plays. The deck can easily swarm the field with large monsters such as Danger! Bigfoot! and Danger! Thunderbird!
In addition, the fact that you draw a card when they are revealed and Special Summoned further extends plays. They essentially replace themselves or the card that was discarded in their stead.
Getting their effects off of discard costs is also important. The absence of this ability definitely hindered Dark World in its time. Commonly used cards like Dark Grepher and the Knightmares can take advantage of this. Their mix of Special Summoning themselves and discard effects reminds me of Atlantean Mermails in a way. And of course both decks have a propensity for the OTK.
Another strength is the archetype’s wide range of monster effects. Bigfoot destroys a face-up card. Thunderbird destroys a Set card. Nessie searches any other Danger! card. Tsuchinoko is a guaranteed Special Summon. Every Danger! card has its own unique discard effect.
From my experience it is also a fun deck to pilot, which can sometimes be the greatest strength of an archetype when it comes to casual play.
The most glaring flaw is the archetype’s struggles when trying to play it pure. Despite its versatility, it is best used in tandem with other strong archetypes. None of the decks in the top cut at Niagara were pure versions.
One reason for this is that, although the monsters are easy to summon, they don’t do anything on the field. Most of the time you will use them as Link or Xyz Material. Otherwise Bigfoot and Thunderbird are nothing more than beatsticks.
Another significant issue is the difficulty including handtraps in the deck because they’ll likely get discarded by the Danger! monsters. This severely hinders the deck’s ability to go second in the game’s current state. This encourages replacing slots that might go to hand traps in other pure archetypal decks with additional engines.
Should the archetype become more meta relevant, there are plenty of Side Deck counters. Cards like Soul Drain, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, and Abyss Dweller can shut down the deck, due to its reliance on graveyard effects. If pure Danger! becomes playable, even Mind Drain could prove troublesome. If you don’t plan on playing Danger!, these might be some cards to pick up while they’re cheap. Although Called by the Grave was probably semi-limited due to it being a counter to handtraps, it is another card that can disrupt the deck’s plays by banishing a card like Nessie.
There is also a greater emphasis on luck as part of the archetype’s mechanic. Whether or not your opponent picks the right card when you reveal a Danger! monster in hand will dictate how the turn plays out. Sometimes it’s preferable to discard Nessie and get a search rather than special summoning it, but the circumstances may not allow that to happen.
Danger! at YCS Niagara
Niagara offered a glimpse into what Danger! can do and which other archetypes mesh best with it. The hybrids that made the Top 32 included Gouki, Dark World, BA, and SPYRAL.
The variant that got the most attention was Danger! Dark World FTK (First Turn Kill). It claimed three spots in the top cut, two of which made it to the Top 8. Despite the deck’s name, the Dark Warrior Link engine is the deck’s driving force. Access to Armageddon Knight or Dark Grepher essentially begins the sequence, ending in 8,000 burn damage.
The goal of the FTK is to get Grapha, Dragon Lord of Dark World in the GY and Firewall Dragon, Cannon Soldier, and a Dark World monster other than Grapha on the field. By returning the Dark World monster (let’s say Snoww, Unlight of Dark World) to your hand, you can Special Summon Grapha to a zone Firewall Dragon points to. Then you can use Cannon Soldier’s effect to Tribute Grapha to inflict 500 damage to your opponent. Since Grapha was sent to the GY, this triggers Firewall Dragon’s effect to Special Summon Snoww from your hand. Just like before, you return Snoww to your hand to summon Grapha and Tribute it to deal 500 damage again. This infinite loop is performed until your opponent’s Life Points reach 0.
A 1-card FTK! Although the combo itself doesn’t use Danger! cards, the synergy between Danger! and Dark World, alongside Danger!’s ability to get Link fodder helps immensely with the consistency of pulling the combo off.
Perhaps a lot of duelists at the YCS did not prepare to face the deck. But an FTK off of one card is quite impressive nonetheless.
The finals pitted Dirk Wagner’s Danger! Dark World against Gabriel Vargas’ Danger! Gouki. Vargas triumphed, despite Wagner pulling off the FTK in Game 1. The results at Niagara proved how splashable Danger! is. And the FTK likely has a target on its back.
It will be worth keeping an eye on how the deck performs at YCS London this weekend, given that Summon Sorceress has yet to become legal for TCG Europe. Should the deck put forth a similar showing, it could potentially warrant an emergency banlist. As of now, the next banlist will be “no sooner than November 20, 2018.”
EDIT: Wagner did not use the Dark Warrior engine in his build.
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