|Deck Type:||Meta Decks|
|Deck Master:||Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf|
|Submission Date:||December 3rd 2019|
|YGOPRODeck File Download|
The goal of a Salamangreat Deck is to slow down its opponent to the point that it can facilitate a simplified, and grindy, game state.
Key cards in successfully employing the Salamangreat strategy include:
• Gazelle: This is the engine of your Deck. Salamangreat Gazelle dumps the card that is most ideal for perpetuating or achieving a specific game state. More often than not that will be Roar, and in some cases Rage, however, there may be instances where something like Falco (which is being cut entirely now) or Jaguar is more beneficial to send. If you open Rage or Roar, sending something like Salamangreat Falco, Salamangreat Jack Jaguar, Salamangreat Spinny, Salamangreat Foxy, Will of the Salamangreat, or even Salamangreat Circle can be a smart decision for enabling future play (though what you send should also be considered with your usage of Stallio as Stallio can Special Summon one of your Salamangreat monsters from Deck).
• Stallio: When you can't get to Gazelle with your opening hand your other option is to Summon Gazelle off of Salamangreat Mirage Stallio. This not only makes Stallio vital, for combatting inconsistency, but it makes Stallio incredibly powerful; being able to Special Summon a variety of monsters that serve different roles, at the cost of 2 Level 3s, enables Stallio to jack up the consistency and flexibility of the Deck. Now I cannot stress enough how free Stallio is given its generic Summoning conditions. 2 Level 3s have never been easier to put on board than in 2019, and Salamangreat is no exception to this; the archetype has several ways to spam Level 3s. Given how easy it is to make, and how powerful it can be, it should be of no wonder that Stallio is integral to many of the core combos. For those of you who are learning the archetype, the usual suspect for Stallio's effect is Jaguar as you can use it's graveyard effect to Summon itself under Sunlight Wolf which then triggers the Sunlight Wolf and allows you to recover a Fire monster (like Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Gazelle, Foxy, or even Flame Bufferlo).
• Wolf: Coupled with Salamangreat Sanctuary and your standard combo(s) involving Gazelle sending Roar/Rage, Salamangreat Sunlight Wolf offers access to a recyclable omni-negate or pop 2. Its reincarnation Link ability (to recover a Salamangreat back row, once per turn) is one of the cornerstones of the Salamangreat grind game and central strategy. Adding to its relevance is the fact that Wolf can recover your combo pieces. This gives Salamangreat a very zoodiac-esque feel as by recovering Gazelle, you're essentially recovering your entire gameplan. This level of recursion is also definitive of the Salamangreat grind game and is the main reason why Salad is capable of displaying strong turn 2s+.
• Jaguar: Coupled with Sunlight wolf, Salamangreat Jack Jaguar defines the Salamangreat grind game. It can continually recycle your Extra Deck, continually trigger Sunlight Wolf to fetch whatever combo piece you need, and continually provide itself as Link Fodder. As your opponent receives diminishing returns, by way of recursive Roar negates or Rage pops, this card begins to truly shine; offering a free additional summon each turn makes OTKs easier, it makes Rank 4 plays easier, it makes building your board back up easier, and much more.
• Roar / Rage: These are your primary options to consider when using Gazelle's effect. When you're blinding first, it is typically safer to send Salamangreat Roar as it turns into an infernity barrier-esque negate and can affect a wide range of play styles, but when you know your opponent's strategy (especially if they are playing a back row strategy) it may be smarter to send Salamangreat Rage as it can disrupt their ability to set high levels of disruption. Adding more to their significant disruption is the fact that you can keep setting them each turn with Sunlight Wolf. With each unanswered Sunlight Wolf, these cards push a Salad player closer to winning the game.
Having discussed the core of the strategy, I feel that it is important to highlight cards that accentuate the strategy's end board and consistency. Salamangreat is not a "break my board" type of strategy and despite its high resource efficiency, it is not a "control" strategy. While it can certainly play as both of these strategies, or facilitate both of these strategies, it is typically played - and will be discussed here - as a mid-range deck.
• Backrow: Impermanence, Solemns, Artifact Engine. I would mandate that Impermanence is necessary as its viability as both a set disruption and hand trap is too strong to ignore for a Deck that lives or dies by a combo that dies to any significant amount of disruption (whether that be going 1st or 2nd). Infinite Impermanence helps you deal with boards going 2nd and 1st; preventing "break my board" type decks from outright curb-stomping, and helping disrupt a variety of decks when set going 1st. To a lesser degree, I would recommend looking at the Solemn Brigade and Artifact Engine. Solemn Strike and Solemn Judgement at 3 are incredibly strong and can prevent blow-outs from siding or simply add to the low level of turn 1 pressure that Salad naturally applies. Artifact Sanctum can also help with regards to the latter, but it is far less consistent as you are required to play cards that perform as garnets when opened (Artifact Scythe).
• Hand Traps: Fantastical Dragon Phantazmay, Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Effect Veiler, Nibiru the Primal Being, Artifact Lancea, Infinite Impermanence, D.D. Crow, and even Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit are all worth considering in Salamangreat. While many of these are great options for Salad, it should be noted that when playing specific hand traps - that counter specific meta-strategies as opposed to multiple - you inadvertently hurt the consistency of your gameplan. Salad thrives off being able to be consistent against a variety of Decks, and for that reason your main deck hand traps should only really be used to facilitate consistent disruption. A card like Phantazmay (Thanos Dragon) is great at facilitating this disruption as it can protect your board while drawing into other useful hand traps. Similarly, cards like Ash, Veiler, and Imperm will almost always be consistent disruption. On that note, I would really only advise you to consider these 3 more than any other hand traps; I do not play a high hand trap count because I find that Salamangreat can brick when playing a high number of hand traps, and it can be very hard to play through those bricks (playing something like Phantazmay can in theory work against this, but it also adds to the chance of drawing a weak or dead card - which may or may not be an issue in your eyes).
• Extra Deck: The Salad extra doesn't feature a lot of spice, given how tight it is, but there are some non-Salamangreat cards that should be mentioned. A card like Hiita the Fire Charmer, Ablaze is important for Salad matchups and can also be used in the Striker matchup, and given that these 2 decks are very popular in the current meta, this card is a must-have at competitive events. At a less competitive event, however, it is worth noting that you can replace Hiita with something more suitable. An option that can be used in place of Hiita (or simply in place of 2 Stallio) is Number 41: Bagooska the Terribly Tired Tapir. Given how easy it is to make a rank 4 in Salamangreat, it is worth considering the rank 4 pool - and Bagooska (turn 1) is incredibly strong when backed up by Salad's grind + disruption. On the note of rank 4s, it is also worth considering Abyss Dweller (which I consider to be a staple). At this point in the format, it is almost mandatory to play Dweller as it can auto-win a key matchup like Orcust. Aside from these cards, I would also strongly encourage a player to look at Update Jammer into Borreload Dragon (and when it's released in the TCG, Accesscode Talker). Not much needs to be said about these two as they are some of the strongest board breaking tools available to Salamangreats, that are not Salamangreat.