If you find yourself praying for luck on the dice roll, or feel helpless whenever your opponent goes first, you might benefit from a change in dueling perspective. Many decks operate best by going first and locking the opponent out of the game. Thus, going second can feel like an exercise in futility, and that duels are decided as soon as the coin is flipped.
But there are decks that are specially built to go second. These decks rip the advantage away from the first turn player. They break boards, play through disruptions, and either set up a board of their own or win the game outright. Building your deck to go second takes the pressure off of the coin flip. If you win the toss, you get to choose how you play. If you lose, your opponent will likely make you go second, playing right into your hands.
Not every deck can be built to do this, though. But the ones that can are able to do so by their aggressive and resilient effects and playstyles. Here are five examples of going-second decks that you may want to try if you want to master the coin toss. They aren’t the only ones, but they’re good examples, and can get you thinking in the right direction as to what deck you play and how.
5. EARTH Machines
Encompassing several different archetypes, EARTH Machines are the deck for you if you like blowing up fields and life points. Cards like Infinitrack Earth Slicer and Machina Citadel can devastate a board. Then, damage dealers Gustav Max and Juggernaut Liebe do a number – literally – on the opponent’s life points. No field is truly safe from the wrath of these mighty machines. With the swarming potential of the Infinitrack and Train monsters, this deck is quite capable of picking apart an unsuspecting turn one board and knocking out the opponent before they even realize what hit them.
Can it go first? Some of EARTH Machine’s boss monsters are quite capable of holding down a first turn defense. The aforementioned Citadel is one example, as well as Infinitrack Fortress Megaclops. Citadel easily shuts down any attempt to build a board, while the Clops is a big beater that’s hard to out.
Crusadia Equimax and Mekk-Knight Crusadia Avramax are capable of dealing big damage. When paired with Crusadia Revival‘s multiattack and Crusadia Maximus‘s double damage, that already large damage easily turns lethal. That’s Crusadia in a nutshell; Link climb into a boss with huge numbers, and then swing for game. It may need the help of some supplementary archetypes, like the Mekk-Knights and the Kaijus. But these engines are so synergistic with Crusadia that they fit seamlessly together in one deck. What’s more, Crusadia even has in-archetype protection in Crusadia Power and Crusadia Testament.
Can it go first? Sadly, gone are the days when Crusadia could use Guardragon Elpy and Agarpain to turbo generic boss monsters. Its best bet is to make Avramax backed by Power and Arboria. Depending on the circumstance, Equimax’s often forgotten negate effect can sometimes be more relevant.
The engine once infamous for making Utopic Zexal works frighteningly well going second too. When Numeron Network sends Numeron Calling to call the four Numeron Gates – Ekam, Dve, Trini, and Catvari – it sets up a chain reaction of doubled ATK and huge battle damage. If you can get past your opponent’s disruptions, this combination can result in a clean OTK. And if you run into a monster that you can’t out by battle, this setup can even lead to Underworld Goddess of the Closed World. For a spicy, if gimmicky tech option, Memories of Hope turns Numeron Calling into a draw-four.
Can it go first? Without Utopic Zexal, that’s a harder ask – though, honestly, that’s probably for the best. It’s possible for four Gates to make Apollousa, Bow of the Goddess. Interestingly, though, four Gates can also lead to bosses that other bosses normally make, like Avramax or Megaclops.
2. Cyber Dragons
The menacing machines from GX are just as relevant as ever. Cydra has access to some really good non-targeting removal by summoning the Chimeratech monsters. Chimeratech Megafleet Dragon is particularly good for this. And those same monsters can reach absurdly high ATK with enough Fusion materials. But Chimeratech Rampage Dragon particularly stands out. Not only can it clear Spells and Traps, but it can also make up to three attacks with its effects. Factor in Cyber Dragon Sieger‘s effect to add 2100 ATK to a Machine you control, and you’re looking at some big OTK potential.
Can it go first? It’s not quite as strong, but there are some options. The famous Cyber Dragon Infinity can not only suck up monsters, but also negate the activation of a card effect. And Cybernetic Overflow is a potentially devastating Trap-based field destroyer.
1. Sky Striker
This deck may be the hardest one to play. For there aren’t many set combos, besides the very basic Ace – Hayate into Kagari. And unlike the other decks, Striker doesn’t usually OTK on turn 2 (though it can by climbing into Accesscode Talker into a weak board). Instead, Striker is an adaptive, reactive resource deck that grabs the right tool at the right time, always aiming to stay ahead in card advantage. Striker plays a long game, wearing down the opposing board while slowly amassing its own resources. It uses its vast array of spells, such as Mobilize – Engage, Widow Anchor, and Multirole, to win many small battles until its sure it can deal one lethal blow.
Can it go first? With the right combination of spells (particularly Multirole and Widow Anchor), it’s not entirely bad. Another good going-first option for Striker is Destroy Phoenix Enforcer backed by a hand trap or two.
Going second can still be a challenge, due to how good going first is. You’ll want to make sure you build your deck so that you can consistently open a way to your win condition. Even then, you’ll want the help of some generic going-second cards. Hand traps and board breakers like Lightning Storm and Forbidden Droplet can help you there. With good deckbuilding, sound meta knowledge, and an affinity for your deck, you may find going second a liberating experience.