I write about Prophecy a few times every year, pretty much for one reason: it’s very difficult to lose when you’re playing Prophey and draw well. Sure, any deck can win the games where they get a tremendous opening hand, but I’m using the term “draw well” pretty loosely here. A good hand for Prophecy is basically any ahnd that lets you do something, whether that be [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd] and a [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd], or just a [ccProd]Justice of Prophecy[/ccProd] with a live Spellbook and a couple traps. Once Prophecy gets going it’s really difficult to beat, so it makes sense that the strategy never seems to go away.
But why talk about it now? Even though it may seem difficult to predict Prophecy’s match-ups, since the deck depends so heavily on the quality of its opening hands, those match-ups are actually very well defined. It’s less a matter of which specific decks are good or bad against Prophecy, and has more to do with what type of strategy you’re up against. Slower decks that try to grind to win through card advantage, like Bujin, are great match-ups for Prophecy because they give you time to draw out of your bad hands. Those types of strategies are often susceptible to [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd], too. Faster decks that are more proactive – decks that can do a lot on the first turn or two, such as Mermails – are tougher because they can punish your bad hands too quickly for you to do anything.
We’re at the point in the current format where we usually see one variant of the deck become more popular in competition than other versions. The [ccProd]Justice of Prophecy[/ccProd] variant – which focuses on a slower, grinding pace and that aims to take control of the duel with [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd] – is usually more consistent, but spending a turn banishing the monster you just Normal Summoned usually won’t be good enough against faster decks. The [ccProd]Temperance of Prophecy[/ccProd] variant that can reclaim a board quickly thanks to the overwhelming power of [ccProd]World of Prophecy[/ccProd] can give you a fighting chance against faster decks, but it’s also less consistent. The speed of competition in any given format usually determines the shape Prophecy builds take. So what’s to come with the release of Duelist Alliance?
Shaddolls are getting about as much hype as Dragon Rulers did when they debuted, and it’s very possible that the deck may become the most dominant tournament force over the next few months. Shaddolls have a strong match-up against just about any strategy that uses the Extra Deck, and even if the Extra Deck’s a non-factor Shaddolls can still out grind the more fair decks quite well. The issue? The Shaddoll grind game is typically much slower than other decks’, because it relies on setting monsters or drawing a bunch of quick enablers. That makes it easy pickings for Prophecy.
Let’s take a look at Alyxander Lisgathe’s Prophecy deck that won him the ARG Player’s Championship.
Alyxander Lisgathe’s Prophecy – 40 Cards
ARG Players’ Championship, July 25 2014
3 [ccProd]Justice of Prophecy[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]High Priestess of Prophecy[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Spellbook Magician of Prophecy[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Spellbook of Secrets[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Spellbook Library of the Crescent[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of the Master[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Eternity[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Spellbook of Wisdom[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]The Grand Spellbook Tower[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Spellbook of Power[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Spellbook of Life[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Pot of Duality[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Book of Moon[/ccProd]
3 [ccProd]Fiendish Chain[/ccProd]
2 [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Compulsory Evacuation Device[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Torrential Tribute[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Solemn Warning[/ccProd]
Extra Deck: 15
1 [ccProd]Mecha Phantom Beast Dracossack[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Herald of Pure Light[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Daigusto Phoenix[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Downerd Magician[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 11: Big Eye[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Shining Elf[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Ghostrick Socuteboss[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Mechquipped Angineer[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Ghostrick Alucard[/ccProd]
1 [ccProd]Number 85: Crazy Box[/ccProd]
There were only ten cards listed for the Extra Deck in all documented sources, but it’s very likely that Lisgathe played a full fifteen. An emphasis was placed on how minimally he used his Extra Deck, so even though we don’t know the last five cards we can assume that they probably weren’t even used. That’s one of the big reasons I think Prophecy is a good choice moving forward: Shaddoll Fusion is quickly going to become the bane of many duelists, and it may be so powerful that it warps the format.
These are all of the reasons why Prophecy is so promising right now. There aren’t very many match-ups that you’re actually scared of, because the only ones that you’d really consider “bad” are combo-based and even then you’re just flipping a coin to see who goes first.
This Deck List Specifically…
…does a lot of things that I really like. Pairing [ccProd]Justice of Prophecy[/ccProd] with [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd] is great because [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd] it can slow down your opponent before you even get a turn, making Justice matter a lot more than it would’ve otherwise. The main problem with Justice is that it’s inherently slow, so bringing your opponent down to your pace with [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd] is pretty ideal. It can also function as a regular trap in the mid-game, usually forcing your opponent to stop their play sequences early – that makes [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd] even better. [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd] is either going to be a huge turn-stopping force at best, or a simple 1-for-1 at worst, so why wouldn’t you play it? If you’re up against a slow deck that has an easier time coping with [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd] you’re likely in good shape anyways, since Prophecy probably has a naturally strong match-up there; slower match-ups give you more time to find those crucial search cards.
[ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd] is similar to [ccProd]Maxx C[/ccProd] in that it slows your opponent down, but instead of working to stop your opponent from establishing big fields, it addresses those fields one they exist. If your opponent combos off and makes big plays, one [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd] can get you back into the game, so summoning a Justice after your opponent’s made a board isn’t actually a death sentence. [ccProd]Needle Ceiling[/ccProd] is the only card that can clean up established fields as well as [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd] on a reactive basis, but the four-monster activation requirement might be a little too restrictive to get it the nod over [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd]. Note that [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd] works really well when you pair it with with [ccProd]Spellbook of Fate[/ccProd]: one of the best ways for your opponent to deal with Fate is to simply field enough threats that the single Fate won’t ruin your play. [ccProd]Mirror Force[/ccProd] blows away all of those extra attackers and can give you a ton of free card advantage in the transaction.
When it comes to strategies we see over and over from format to format, Prophecy is definitely one of the more unfair decks out there; it keeps appearing in tournaments because it really is that good. Much like Infernity, if you draw well enough with Prophecy your opponent typically can’t do anything. Or at least, they’ll try to do stuff for a few turns and then realize that they couldn’t really do anything after all. Regardless, Prophecy only gets stronger after Duelist Alliance releases, so I’d aim to take advantage of that sooner rather than later. Have any thoughts? I’d be happy to hear them down below.