TCG Meta Snapshot: Sky Striker November 2018

The TCG Meta Snapshot is a project by YGOPRODeck that aims to encapsulate the state of the meta. The TCG Meta Snapshot aims to rank decks in a somewhat looser tier system than the one used on Pojo. 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 locals level, but cannot top an event.

Archetype Explanation

Heralded as the second coming of Zoodiac, Sky Striker is a strategy that rewards careful, intelligent play. With only one maindeck monster, Sky Striker makes up for its lack of beatdown options with a suite of the most powerful, searchable, and recyclable spell cards the game has ever seen. While the September banlist has diminished the splashability of the engine, Sky Striker still has a home in tier one.

Unfortunately, a new challenger has appeared in the metagame – one which, unfortunately, has an amazing Sky Striker matchup. Now that Thunder Dragons have been released, a storm might be brewing for Sky Striker players worldwide. Despite this, the deck’s extremely consistent and interactive gameplan remains intact, so rumors of the deck’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Tier Ranking

Sky Striker occupies a position in Tier 1. While it was embarrassingly underrepresented at YCS Niagra Falls, deckbuilding with respect to Thunder Dragon has since solved those issues.

More importantly, Sky Striker’s incredibly interactive turn 1 setups position it as the format alternative to the newly-discovered Danger! FTK. When you’re trying not to lose to Cannon Soldier, the deck with searchable effect negation sure starts to look nice.

Decklists

This is Jonathan Livingman’s top 8 profile from YCS London.

This list reflects the reality of Sky Striker’s lackluster Thunder Dragon matchup. The three timelords in the board tell a depressing tale of losing to multiple copies of Thunder Dragon Colossus. There Can Be Only One is of particular note, since Sky Striker can deal with exactly 1 Thunder Dragon Colossus. It also has utility against decks attempting to link through Warrior-type monsters, making it a perfect and flexible floodgate option.

Clara and Rushka, the Ventriloduo may seem like an odd inclusion to some. For anyone unaware, it’s an easy out to Secret Village of the Spellcasters against the ever-present Altergeist threat.

This is Peter Warnecke’s top 8 profile from YCS London.

This list represents an entirely different approach to Sky Striker’s bad matchups. Instead of going all-in on playstarters, this list aims to play tons of disruption and edge out inherent special summons. Maindeck inclusions of Black Horn of Heaven and 4 of the Solemn Suite couldn’t telegraph a fear of Thunder Dragon Colossus any harder.

In the deck profile proper (hosted on Team Seventh Sense’s YouTube channel) Peter explains that D.D. Crow was the most powerful board option. He would consider maindecking it in future events due to its marginal utility against almost every deck in the format. Forbidden Apocrypha, Black Rose Moonlight Dragon, and Metaion, the Timelord are answers to multiple purple Mistakes. Limiter Removal was included because Sky Striker mirror matches are likely to end up in time, and it was worth it to board something that gave him the edge in those scenarios. 

Tech Choices

The evolution of Sky Striker tech is exceptionally interesting. At the beginning of the deck’s lifespan, people expected to have to supplement the threat-lite Sky Striker suite with additional engines. As it became clear that “steal your monster 6 times” was a good enough gameplan to win on its own, it has become a highly optimized and extremely xenophobic shell.

Less of a tech choice and more of a necessity, deckbuilders are usually playing 3 copies of Sky Striker Mecha Modules – Multirole. This card, analogous to Spellbook of Judgment, routinely sets 3 cards a turn, allowing multiple uses of any relevant spell. Previously, deckbuilders were on a single copy, or occasionally 2, but the power of the card is undeniable.

As more Multiroles have wandered into decklists, it has become imperative to max out on Sky Striker Airspace – Area Zero. The ability to immediately destroy the field spell and search Sky Striker Ace – Raye has become mandatory, especially since you’re playing a maximum of 1 Sky Striker Mecha – Hornet Drones.

Since all of the Sky Striker spells are mediocre if you’ve got 2 spells in your GY and banworthy if you’ve got 3, deckbuilders are always clamoring for free spells to activate. Shared Ride fits the bill perfectly, usually doing its best impression of Upstart Goblin, but sometimes feeling like Maxx “C”. If you’re desperate, don’t be afraid to activate it on an empty boardstate.

Matchups

Danger! FTK

A newcomer to the format, Danger! FTK is the premier threat to any duelist who loses the die roll. As such, it demands very specific answers in the first game. Make sure to tailor your handtrap suite with specific respect to this deck. Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Ghost Belle & Haunted Mansion, and Infinite Impermanence are all great choices – though keep in mind they’re much less useful after Outer Entity Azzathoth makes an appearance.

Post-board, consider any floodgate you can reliably play. There Can Be Only One is a fantastic option for shutting off multiple dark monsters of a similar type. Any additional handtraps you can manage are worth considering, but likely you’ll have the most success with Droll & Lock Bird if, god forbid, you have to go 2nd. Finally, when going first, prioritize multiple Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor alongside Sky Striker Mecha – Shark Cannon. If they fail to set up, you’re winning.

Sky Striker

The Sky Striker mirror is one of the few shining tests of skill in a format dominated by FTK decks, extra link strategies, and the walking floodgate that is Thunder Dragon Colossus.

Navigating the Sky Striker mirror is an incredibly difficult task, but spending time examining it will definitely yield results. There is a significant amount of depth to single cards. Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor, for example, has the potential to represent an additional, searchable Sky Striker Mecha Modules – Multirole spell when added in the end phase with Sky Striker Ace – Shizuku. Additionally, it’s a great tool for moving link monsters to main monster zones and shutting off powerful Sky Striker spells.

Post-board, consider every application of the cards you’ve boarded in. Is it worth is to bait an opponent into a huge Multirole turn before flipping Twin Twisters, or should you be using it on your turn as a chain link to your opponent’s Infinite Impermanence in order to get 3 spells into your GY? Resolving these questions and evaluating your opponent’s particular playstyle is incredibly important when you’re likely on the same 40.

Finally, it’s worth considering playing a playset of Sky Striker Ace – Hayate for this matchup specifically. Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries is a popular sideboard option, and you’ll play against a lot of people who run you out of Sky Striker Ace – Kagari turn one. Navigating games without your ace monster will be difficult, but practicing matches without her will work wonders for your winrate.

Gouki

Gouki is a fine matchup for Sky Striker. While it’s evolved to be a deck that can excel and extra link through multiple pieces of interaction, there aren’t many decks that can chew through multiple Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchors. More importantly, as the Topologic Gumblar Dragon board becomes more and more popular, decks that can still pop off with 2 cards in their hand are more important than ever.

As devastating as it is, this is one of the few matchups remaining which feels extremely coin-flippy. Pre-board, your suite of handtraps for the Danger! FTK matchup will be equally potent here. Remember to prioritize options that don’t lose to Magical Mid-Breaker Field, since apparently that’s become worthwhile enough to play. When going first, make sure you’re capable of setting as many pieces of effect negation as possible – you don’t want an errant Armageddon Knight to ruin your day.

Post-board, be ready to crack boards. If your opponent is likely to tunnel onto the Topologic Gumblar Dragon line, ensure you’ve got enough play-starters to chew through everything. Consider Metaion, the Timelord, who will likely be in your board anyway due to its utility against Thunder Dragon. Classic Gouki hate like The Winged Dragon of Ra – Sphere Mode is as good as ever, and if you’ve got errant handtraps like Droll & Lock Bird, they’re right at home here as well.

Thunder Dragon

Legends say Thunder Dragon Colossus was formed from the community’s sheer hatred after Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage! escaped Konami’s wrath. 

It is certainly not going to be easy to beat a walking Mistake, especially when your deck’s most useful card is a search tool with upside. Thankfully, your grind game is much better than Thunder Dragon’s. As long as you can weasel your way out of a few Colossi, you should be in the clear. A well-timed Sky Striker Ace – Hayate sending a Sky Striker Mecha – Widow Anchor, then adding it back with Sky Striker Ace – Kagari is a quick and clean out to most Thunder Dragon boards.

Post-board, prioritize relevant handtraps and extremely powerful, game-winning cards over searchable tech choices – since, you know, you won’t be able to search them. Forbidden Apocrypha has been making an appearance in sideboards, and Mind Control doubles as a spell for your threshold as well as a Thunder Dragon Colossus out.

Conclusions

Despite a horrifyingly middling showing at YCS Niagara Falls, Sky Striker has proven it has the tools necessary to compete. Arguably the best deck, its consistency, interactivity, and resilience even through targeted answers cements its spot in the top tier. What’s more, its projections look good – if FTK decks continue to rise in popularity, Sky Striker is the most Danger!ous counter to Firewall Dragon‘s nonsense. Its remarkable showing at YCS London is likely to be a good indicator of its continued success, and you’ll probably find us back here next format, still whining about Sky Striker Mobilize – Engage!

MonoBlueTron
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MonoBlueTron

Pacifis, the Phantasm City stan, YugiTuber, and the least valuable third of the Meta Snapshot Team. Follow me on twitter at @MonoBlueTron and please validate my existence on http://youtube.com/c/MBTyugioh.


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