Structure Deck: Pendulum Domination is finally here. It's been nearly two years since the theme debuted in the TCG with the 2-Player Starter Deck: Yuya & Declan. Clash of Rebellions was the first major showing for D/D's, and the deck was finally playable following Dimension of Chaos. D/D's topped in just a couple of Regionals at the end of 2015, but fell out of play until The Dark Illusion brought in three new cards for the theme.

This week we'll be checking out the best Side Deck cards for this match-up. D/D's were highly competitive in the OCG before Zoodiacs were released, and I'd expect them to see similar success in the TCG at least until Raging Tempest. It's also worth noting that both D/D Swirl Slime and D/D Lamia are current Semi-Limited in the OCG. D/D's are a great deck, but they're being overshadowed by even more powerful strategies with fewer restrictions.

The new D/D cards in Structure Deck: Pendulum Domination are crucial to the deck's best plays. The Structure Deck brings the first D/D Tuners to the TCG and finally gives us a viable way to Synchro Summon D/D/D Gust King Alexander. Chief among them is D/D Lamia – a Level 1 Tuner that can Summon itself from the hand or graveyard. It's a vital combo piece, and it's quickly put into action thanks to D/D Savant Copernicus, or searched through Dark Contract with the Gate.

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The most common combo ends with D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried and Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon. Siegfried can negate a spell or trap card effect once per turn, including a freshly-activated Normal or Quick-Play spell. It pairs extremely well with Crystal Wing, usually costing your opponent one or two cards just to start making plays. The set-up is shockingly simple and requires just three cards: D/D Swirl Slime, D/D Necro Slime, and D/D Lamia. All of them are searchable with Dark Contract with the Gate, and you can search Gate itself with D/D Savant Kepler.

Depending on your opponent's opening you could be staring down an even more impressive field. Massive draw power, numerous search effects, and an outstanding volume of Summon effects make D/D's one of the most consistent combo decks available. It's rare for your opponent to end with a field that isn't packing at least one negation. D/D's have plenty of aggressive plays too: Kepler and Lamia form a two-card combo to Summon Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier.

Breaking Up Summons
D/D's are essentially useless without their Summoning power. The deck's monsters do very little on their own without Extra Deck access, although there are a few standouts like D/D/D Oblivion King Abyss Ragnarok. Regardless, blocking your opponent's Special Summons is a sure path to victory in this match-up. D/D's are vulnerable to cards that lock them out of the Extra Deck or prevent Special Summon effects from activating or resolving. As in every other match-up you'll be fighting against Twin Twisters, Kaijus, and monster removal spells regardless of what you side in. There are a handful of cards that are immune to all of those answers, so we'll start with them.

Ghost Reaper & Winter Cherries can knockout specific Extra Deck monsters provided you have those same monsters yourself. At first glance it's a solid pick: D/D's are an Extra Deck-heavy theme so banishing a key monster should seriously disrupt them. But which monster to do you banish? D/D/D Flame King Genghis is crucial to several plays, but there are so many other Fusion Monsters available. Chaining Ghost Reaper to D/D Swirl Slime or Dark Contract with the Swamp King doesn't have the same impact as it does against other strategies.

Often, Ghost Reaper isn't playable when you need it most. Nearly all of the deck's Fusion Summons are performed with monsters in the hand or graveyard. If you opponent's Fusion Summoning with no monsters on the field then Ghost Reaper's entirely unplayable. It's among the least effective hand traps you can side in this match-up.

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Conversely, Maxx "C" is absurdly strong due to the high-volume of Special Summons that D/D's are known for. Even if your opponent ends with Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon and D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried you'll have drawn more than enough cards to break through their field and end the game that turn. With D/D's in the mix there's almost no reason not to run Maxx "C" in your Main Deck. If there's a single staple card this format Maxx "C" is almost certainly it.

Anti-Special Summon floodgate monsters exploit the low ATK of common D/D Main Deck monsters to shut your opponent out of the game. Vanity's Fiend dodges Kaijus and Twin Twister, but loses to Dark Hole and Raigeki. Meanwhile, continuous spells and traps like Vanity's Emptiness, Summon Limit, Power Filter, and Summon Breaker are easy targets for Twin Twisters.

Harder-hitting Summon negation like Solemn Warning, Solemn Strike, and Dimensional Barrier work just as well in this match-up as they do everywhere else. You'll almost never want to Solemn Strike a D/D Swirl Slime, but D/D/D Flame King Genghis and D/D/D Gust King Alexander are fair game. Dimensional Barrier can be negated by D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried, so you'll need to activate it before Siegfried hits the field. If you're going first that's not a problem, but if you're playing second you'll find yourself wishing for a Counter Trap.

Chain Disappearance knocks out D/D Lamia and greatly restricts your opponent's Synchro Summon options. Other Tuners weren't especially popular in the OCG, and there's a good chance they won't be played here. Taking Lamia out of the equation won't win you the duel, but it will disrupt your opponent's strategy and likely stall out their first turn.

There are a huge number of other floodgates that work wonderfully against D/D's. Necrovalley, Macro Cosmos, Dimensional Fissure, Banisher of the Radiance, Artifact Scythe, Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror, Skill Drain, Soul Drain, Anti-Spell Fragrance, and Mind Drain are all solid choices here.

Beating D/D Fields
In a worst-case scenario you'll be staring down a Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried, and Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy as you head into Turn 2. Assuming you didn't resolve Maxx "C" to draw a dozen or so cards, your best bet might be to pick up your cards and try again in the next game. That's not a viable long-term strategy though, and you should at least have an answer to less extreme opening plays.

Kaijus can take at least one negation card out of the equation; Crystal Wing is your best bet since Siegfried and Titanic Galaxy have a bit of overlap. Siegfried tends to return from the graveyard shortly after being sent there, so let it stick around on the field if you have to leave your opponent with one monster.

Note that Siegfried can't prevent Pendulum Spells from being activated in the Pendulum Zone. You can still Pendulum Summon, provided Titanic Galaxy isn't there to negate a necessary Pendulum Spell, and start to make plays against your opponent that can't be negated. At the very least, a Pendulum Summon should give you the tools you need to set up against your opponent, or even deflect attacks for a few turns.

Graveyard-activated spells and traps avoid Siegfried's negation, so Breakthrough Skill is an excellent way to break through your opponent's Turn 1 set-up. You can also dodge Siegfried's negation by taking your own cards off the field. For example, you could activate Instant Fusion to bait out Siegfried's effect, then chain Twin Twister to destroy your own Instant Fusion and a Dark Contract.

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Instant Fusion will resolve successfully in this situation, and it's plays like this that make Twin Twisters a must for the match-up. As monster-heavy as D/D's are they're still using several Continuous Spells that they desperately want to resolve. Knocking out a Dark Contract with the Gate can be devastating, and destroying Dark Contract with the Swamp King downsizes huge, explosive plays to a more manageable size.

Another answer to the various Dark Contract cards is Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit. Along with Effect Veiler and Maxx "C", Ghost Ogre is a strong option for the match-up and crushes Dark Contract with the Gate. It also has utility against D/D/D monsters like Siegfried and Genghis, although Effect Veiler is arguably better. You can destroy Pendulum Spells that activate some additional effect, which is especially useful against D/D/D Oblivion King Abyss Ragnarok.

Chainable mass removal is relatively decent in this match-up as long as you're activating it before Siegfried hits the field. Otherwise you'll probably need to double up on Mirror Force variants or use Twin Twisters to force it to resolve. I'm a fan of Blazing Mirror Force here: burn damage is exaggerated when your opponent's losing 1000 Life Points per turn to their Dark Contracts. Ring of Destruction can destroy D/D/D Oracle King d'Arc, or interrupt a play, and put your opponent in range to lose to their own cards.

D/D's are an incredibly powerful deck, and it's hard to believe that they'll be overshadowed next month. It's another serious contender in the TCG competitive environment, and further demonstrates how important winning the dice roll is this format.

Until next time then

-Kelly


Kelly​​ ​​Locke​​ ​​is​​ ​​a​​ ​​West​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​gamer,​​ ​​writer,​​ ​​and​​ ​​college​​ ​​student.​​ ​​​​ ​​In​​ ​​addition​​ ​​to​​ ​​writing​​ ​​on TCGplayer,​​ ​​Kelly​​ ​​writes​​ ​​​​personal​​ ​​blog​​​​ ​​covering​​ ​​Yugioh,​​ ​​Destiny,​​ ​​and​​ ​​other​​ ​​hobbies.​​ ​​You​​ ​​can follow​​ ​​him​​ ​​on​​ ​​​​Twitter​​​​ ​​and​​ ​​check​​ ​​out​​ ​​his​​ ​​​​Youtube​​ ​​channel​​.​​ ​​​​ ​​He​​ ​​is​​ ​​currently​​ ​​studying​​ ​​marketing​​ ​​at Western​​ ​​Michigan​​ ​​University,​​ ​​and​​ ​​hopes​​ ​​to​​ ​​graduate​​ ​​before​​ ​​​​Dragon​​ ​​Ravine​​​​ ​​is​​ ​​Unlimited.