Believe it or not, Shaddoll is meta. And no, it’s not 2014. It’s 2021, people, and shaddolls are still running rampant! Let’s see what lead to this and how the deck is still dominating the meta game.
Table of Contents
El Shaddoll Floodgate
Let’s get the elephant out of the room right away. Winda is the biggest problem monster in Shaddolls. Locking you to just one singular special summon is ridiculously oppressive (almost as oppressive, if not more, as the Buster Extra Deck Lock). But is that really what made Shaddolls good this meta? Hasn’t Winda been in the game forever? You can just Impermanence it, too! Surely there’s something else, right?
That would be Shaddoll Schism. Before, you’d have summoned Winda on your turn, or have had to use El Shaddoll Fusion / Super Polymerization on your opponent’s turn (and need to have the proper materials). Now you can consistently have a Trap that you can chain to a special summon! This effectively locks them into not being able to special summon any further. And did I mention you can just banish the materials from your grave? It is so efficient since you can just use the monsters that you’ve already activated and are in the grave to make another fusion monster! In addition to that, Schism also has a secondary effect wherein you can send a monster (it also doesn’t target) that has the same attribute as the monster you summoned. It’s not like Dark (Winda’s attribute) is a popular attribute.
Searching for Shaddolls has never been this easy. The combination of Nadir Servant and El Shaddoll Apkallone is absolutely vital to the current Shaddoll strategy. Nadir being able to dump Apkallone, which in turn gets you to add ANY Shaddoll card from the deck to hand, gives a tremendous boost in consistency to the deck. You can literally just search Schism, and before ending your turn get a dark monster in the grave, and you’re set up to have a Schism-into-Winda combo on your opponent’s turn.
We just discussed how these two cards can get your Shaddoll engine, but it also gets you to the Dogmatika side of the deck. Nadir fetches Ecclesia which can then search Dogmatika Punishment (which is a 2-for-1) or Fleurdelis to get some damage (and potentially negate a monster) on board! The synergy between the two engines is ridiculously good.
“Normal Summon Aleister, effect?”
We all have heard this phrase. We all know what he does. Well, we can’t speak about consistency without bringing out the man, the legend, the best invoker himself – Aleister. The final form of the Shaddoll deck is actually Shadoll Invoked Dogmatika. The Invoked engine adds a fairly consistent (3 Aleisters, 3 Meltdowns, 1 Terraforming) way to get to Invocation to have a layer of protection in the form of Mechaba. In addition to that, Invocation is still a fusion spell, which can get rid of Shaddoll monsters in your hand when you’re in a pinch! Also, it helps in the grind game, being able to make a Mechaba and recycle the banished Aleister back to hand, effectively having your Invoked engine live every single turn. Having access to this engine, in my opinion, is just the icing on the cake; the cherry on top.
We talked about the synergy of the Shaddoll and Dogmatika Engine. Now let’s go over why Shaddoll with Invoked is insane.
Magical Meltdown searches Aleister. Everyone knows that. But what to this day, some people still miss are the secondary effects of this field spell. It makes it so that ANY card (spell, trap, monster) that has an effect that fusion summons a monster, cannot have its activation negated. Yes, Ash Blossom can still negate the effect Shaddoll Fusion, but anything else that negates the activation (Borreload Savage, Solemn Judgment, Solemn Warning, etc.) will not be able to stop those cards. Oh, and I want to emphasize that it’s any card. This can be a spell like Invocation or Shaddoll Fusion, a trap like Schism, or even a monster like Muddy Mudragon! So just keep that in mind, and it might come up for you!
The other effect that meltdown provides for fusion decks is the opponent not being able to respond when a monster is fusion summoned with Meltdown on the field. This means that as long as the fusion card was chain link 1, all the succeeding triggers and quick effects in the chain resulting thereafter WILL go through without a response from the opponent. I’ll give you an example. CL1 Invocation to summon Raidjin. Let’s say you used Reeshaddoll Wendi and Aleister from hand. In the new chain link, you can go, CL1 Wendi, CL2 Raidjin, CL3 Twin Twisters. And your opponent will NOT be able to respond to any of those effects. Pretty neat, right?
A Master Rule where Shaddolls Rule
People are quick to forget that we were quite recently under MR4 where we needed Link markers to summon Fusion, XYZ, and Synchro monsters to the MMZ’s. The change that came about allowing us to not have to use links to play Fusion, XYZ, and Synchro monsters on the MMZ’s was a huge boost to Shaddolls. Not having to worry about having enough materials to make a link monster and THEN fusion summon is a relief for decks such as this. In contrast to this, however, there’s a relatively new factor that helped Shaddolls not even need the MMZ at times.
It’s All About the Grind
We’ve tackled above how the Invoked engine has a good grind game due to being able to recycle Aleister every turn. Well, Shaddolls inherently have a good grind game. Every single main deck Shaddoll monster has an effect when it’s either flipped, or sent to GY via a card effect.
Hedgehog can search a spell/trap or a monster; Beast can draw cards; Squamata can send any Shaddoll card from the deck to the grave; Wendi can summon any Shaddoll monster from deck. The list goes on. There’s a lot of useful effects for the deck, and this works extremely well with the fusion monsters, too! All Shaddoll fusion monsters have an effect that lets them get a Shaddoll spell/trap from the grave! This helps you recur your El Shaddoll Fusion and Shaddoll Fusion (which isn’t once per turn!). All this, plus the fact that Schism can fusion summon using monsters in the grave as materials, helps give Shaddoll the edge in almost any grindy matchup.
Another card that helps Shaddolls get to their full engine is Gravity Controller. El Shaddoll Construct or Squamata usually send stuff like Shaddoll Fusion or Schism to the grave. Summoning a Shaddoll fusion monster in the EMZ makes it available as a link material for Gravity Controller. This allows you to easily get your engine going, even if you only have enough resources for one fusion monster!
“But… but sir, the other two engines cost a fortune!” Yeah, yeah, I get it. Not everyone can spend upwards of 500 dollars for a deck – and that is completely fine. Does not having the Invoked Dogmatika engine mean that Shaddolls is going to be completely bad? Absolutely not! After all, it still has all the other things mentioned above!
Sinister Shadow Games is a card that is usually played in Trap Shaddolls. It allows you to send any Shaddoll card from the deck to the grave. This works well since you have a myriad of options, especially on your opponent’s turn! Naelshaddoll Ariel can banish up to THREE cards from the opponent’s grave. Shaddoll Dragon can pop a backrow. And the new Nehshaddoll Genius can prevent monster with ignition effects from even activating! Aside from that, you can also just send stuff like Hedgehog, Beast, Wendi, etc. to get your engine going!
Dinomischus is another good card for the deck. It’s usually a neg-1, since it has to discard to banish just 1 card. However, it doesn’t discard for cost. Instead, it is part of the effect – which allows you to trigger Shaddoll monsters. This helps the deck a ton as a generic interruption that could also start your engine! In conjuction with these two cards, Trap Trick also increases its value in the deck, since it can basically just be 3 more copies of any normal trap in the deck! Torrential Tribute, Dogmatika Punishment, etc. There are a lot of budget options that you can run to be able to compete!
Shaddolls have once completely dominated the meta before, and while it’s currently not the top deck, it is certainly in the top tier. With the release of several new cards, the deck has been able to top and win events in the previous and current format. Some would say, “the deck has been solved,” meaning the most optimal build has been found. Albeit expensive and with a mix of two other strong engines, it makes for a really skillful, versatile, and extremely potent control deck. With budget options being available too, the deck is something that everyone can enjoy – competitive or casual players alike. Shaddolls is a type of deck that is definitely welcome, and arguably needed, in any format.
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