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Adamancipator is one of the Secret Slayer archetypes currently ravaging the TCG meta. Unlike its counterpart, Eldlich, it had a slow start in Japan. Expectations were not so high overall. How did it turn out to be the most oppressive combo deck of the meta?
OCG Release and First Impressions
Secret Slayers debuted on the east earlier than it did for us, March 7th. What’s important to note here is that this was before the Master Rule revision. The deck saw little to no play during the first few weeks of release, unlike the previously mentioned Golden Lord.
Once April 1st came around, it was finally the time for the rocks to shine like diamonds, right? Well, perhaps not. The deck ended up seeing a top here or there, but nothing like the representation it got on the TCG. Compared to OCG’s Eldlich, it was nothing.
There were a few reasons for that. The most obvious one is the presence of Maxx “C” over there. It puts an enormous burden on combo decks. Not only will you need to run your own Maxx “C”s, a combo deck will also need multiple ways to stop it from resolving. This includes Ash Blossom & Joyous Spring, Called By The Grave and Crossout Designator. Any combo deck has to pass turn on a successful Maxx “C”, so Adamancipators couldn’t avoid running all these.
Therein came the biggest problem. The deck is already around 12 slots down due to their own draw bug and its counters. Afterward, we need to factor in the nine slots for the Adamancipator tuners like Adamancipator Seeker and a few more for Doki Doki. With around half the deck space occupied, we know why Adamancipator just couldn’t stand up that well in the OCG. You just don’t have enough space for as many extenders and targets for the excavators like this.
Since the deck saw little play, it obviously couldn’t evolve it like it did on the TCG. The few topping OCG builds look just like the western week one decks. Running lots of the non-tuner garnets like Adamancipator Crystal – Dragite, which nowadays aren’t even run anymore. The deck had a slight advantage in that Adamancipator Risen – Dragite could remove Dragun of Red-Eyes, a card that was ravaging the meta at that time.
Since so few extenders were played, you needed to be able to make the most out of your resources. Thus most play the Dragun engine themselves through Predaplant Verte Anaconda. However, this meant yet another burden on deck building, since you had to dedicate three slots for Red-Eyes Fusion and its materials.
The months went by and they were not kind to Adamancipators. The release of Dragma and Ignoble Knights were more nails to their coffin. Dragma is a powerful splashable engine capable of shutting combo decks through El Shaddoll Winda. Infernobles are another combo deck that could do much more with very little through Isolde, Two Tales of The Noble Knights. Since they only require two Warriors to start their combo they have no problem fitting in the required anti-Maxx “C” package. That deck also has access to God Phoenix Gearfried and Smoke Grenade of the Thief, two reliable handtrap answers.
TCG Release and First Impressions
The deck ended up hitting the TCG at just the right time. There was a huge power gap left in the game due to the previous banlist. Additionally, Duel Overload had just been released. The first few builds were primitive and much like the OCG’s, but it didn’t take longer than a week for big breakthroughs.
The first wave of innovation came in the use of the Onomat engine. The engine is fairly consistent by itself, with cards like Onomatopickup. One way or the other, these would get you Dodododwarf Gogogoglove and Gogogo Gigas. From there, you had easy access to Gallant Granite and the most unfair card of the deck, Block Dragon. The best part is that since the monsters are all rocks, they make for decent excavation targets.
Even if Gallant got negated, the Union Carrier route provided a similar payoff. As now many more Earth monsters were run in the main deck, multiple copies of Block Dragon were run as well. The rest of the space was dedicated to handtraps and other good Earth extenders. Most versions included Gigantes, Madolche Puddingcess, and Adamancipator Signs.
The issues with the Onomat engine started becoming apparent as tournaments went by, though. It eats your Normal Summon, so it often means not getting an Adamancipator Analyzer out. Onomatopaira required a card from your hand, making it prime Ash Blossom bait. But what’s worse is that the Onomat monsters just aren’t good by themselves.
It was around this time that Eternity Code became available. While Adamancipators didn’t change as much as Eldlich did due to the set, it still benefited massively. Linkross only made Halqifibrax more degenerate, enabling extra combo lines through Martial Metal Marcher. The reward for resolving Halqifibrax became almost as big as the one for Block Dragon.
The Finishing Touches
The spots previously reserved for the Dododofriends were slowly replaced with more costless Earth extenders. Unexpected Dai became pretty popular. You could use it to summon cards such as Alpha The Magnet Warrior as fuel for any kind of Extra deck play. It even made your Adamancipator Researcher live without needing your NS. There was little need to run Called By The Grave now, as it was better to just extend past handtraps.
Tenyi Spirit – Adhara was a no-brainer afterwards. It had synergy with Dai but was also good without it. Adhara is a Tuner as well, making it excellent fodder for Crystron Halqifibrax. However, this change reduced the good excavation targets to just Doki Doki and Koa’ki Meiru Guardian. So Tackle Crusader came to fill in. It was preferred over others due to possibly being an additional interruption through I:P Masquerena or Abyss Dweller. Adamancipator Signs also began to see less play, as people identified it is a win-more card.
At last, there were those who disliked running (literal) garnets for Unexpected Dai. Just replacing the engine with more handtraps/extenders was more than good enough. Dark Ruler No More is a solid option in the main with Halqifibrax being splashed into everything. Token Collector stops Mecha Phantom Beast Auroradon while also giving you a level 4 body. Magical Mid-Breaker Field stops lots of handtraps and Foolish Burial represents another road to Block Dragon. You could always run your own handtraps like Infinite Impermanence too.
This is where Adamancipators stand today. To think that, just a few months ago they were called Adamantia and struggled to remain Rogue overseas. Now there isn’t a single top 8 that doesn’t include at least one of them.
The Adamancipator cards are all pretty strong, but it’s Block Dragon that really puts the deck over the edge. Konami chose not to acknowledge online tourneys in their latest banlist, leaving it unscathed. It’s only a matter of time until it leaves its mark in physical events now. But has the deck been solved already, or is there still space for growth? That is something only the results of events will be able to tell us.