Yo! Time for another deck breakdows, and as promised, this time it will be about Shaddolls!
- Shaddoll playing style
- Single card explanation and deck
- Extra / Side deck:
- Cards worth mentioning / you might want to consider
- Different engines / deck variants
- How to counter
- Change log
So Shaddolls, aka “Shadow Dolls” is one of the strongest archetypes of the current meta thanks to their insane versatility. There are many good variants of this deck out there and its difficult to say which one works best, but I especially like one particular build and I’ll explain you why.
Shaddoll playing style:
Each Shaddoll core monster has 2 effects: flip effect and the one that activates once the monster is sent to the grave by a card effect, BUT, you can’t activate both effects at the same turn. For example, let’s say your opponent destroyed your set Falco with a card effect like Dark Hole. Falco goes to the graveyard and its second effect is triggered – it can bring itself back to the field in face-down defense position. It’s still your opponent’s turn, so he decides to attack your resurrected Falco with one of his monsters – Falco flips-up BUT, because he already activated his second effect during this turn his first effect won’t be activated.
Regardless of this restriction, Shaddoll monsters are insanely powerful granting you 2 options within one card. Their stats are pretty decent and you can easily dump them to the grave from your deck / bring back to the field. But the main strength of those dolls are their fusion monsters which can be summoned by fusing together any shaddoll monster and 1 monster of a particular attribute, based on which fusion monster you are trying to summon. For example in order to summon Construct which is a light monster you must fuse together any shaddoll and any light-attribute monster. Their effects are focused on blocking your opponent special summons in one way or another – below is a table which will help you to get familiar with their effects (stolen from yugi wikia ^_^). Currently there is one fusion monster for each attribute.
Special Summon-related effect
|Winda||DARK||5||Allows only 1 Special Summon per turn.|
|Wendigo||WIND||6||Prevents one of your monsters from being destroyed by battle with an opponent’s Special Summoned monster for only one turn.|
|Grysta||FIRE||7||Negates a Special Summon and destroys the monster.|
|Construct||LIGHT||8||Destroys a Special Summoned monster at the start of the Damage Step.|
|Anomalilith||WATER||9||Prevents monsters from being Special Summoned from the hand or Graveyard by the effect of Spell/Trap Cards.|
|Shekhinaga||EARTH||10||Negates the activation of a Special Summoned monster’s effect and destroys that monster.|
Moreover, all Shaddoll fusions have in common the following effect “If this card is sent to the Graveyard: You can target 1 “Shaddoll” Spell/Trap Card in your Graveyard; add it to your hand.”
Remember that Shaddoll “main deck” monsters second effect won’t trigger if you send them to the graveyard to pay a cost to activate a card or effect. For a new players (and old noobs like me) out there who don’t know how to distinguish the cost from the rest of the effect – here you go.
Most popular builds consist of Dark, Light and Earth attribute monsters, letting to summon Winda, Construct and Shekhinaga. Why is that? Well, Shaddolls are dark type monsters, that means that in order to summon Winda you just have to use 2 different Shaddolls. Easy. Light? Construct is the strongest El Shaddoll in terms of ATK, its effects are very good and by running light-attribute monsters we can add some “chaos” to the deck. Why Earth? Mathematician, that’s why. Well, I mean, Shekhinaga is without a doubt a strong monster, but those little fellas are just too good in this deck letting you send to the graveyard whatever you might need. Let’s take a closer look (as we usually do) at every single card before talking about different deck types.
Single cards explanation:
(In the build below I run 2 copies of each Shaddoll Monster with the exception of Hound which is crap. If I had more space I’d increase Falco and Squamata to 3 copies each.)
Shaddoll Falco: this guy will become your favourite pretty fast. His flip effect lets you to ss any Shaddoll monster from your grave in face-down defense position. Your Shekhinaga got destroyed? Pfff, just flip Falco up. As if that wasn’t enough already, when he is sent to the grave by a card effect you can immediately ss him to the field in face-down defense position. Oh, and he is a tuner.
Shaddoll Squamata: your second best, in terms of utility. He is your “deck thinner” – whenever send to the grave by a card effect, you can send yet another Shaddoll monster from your deck to the grave. So, whenever you need to dump a Shaddoll monster to the grave by using Mathematician or similars – send this card first. His flip effect lets you to destroy one monster on your opponent’s side of the field, pretty decent, just like his ATK – 1800.
Shaddoll Dragon: strongest Shaddoll effect monster after Beast – 1900 ATK. Flip: returns 1 card from the field to your opponents hand. Whenever send to the graveyard by an effect: destroys one spell / trap card on your opponent’s side of the filed. Now, some people say that dragon is overrated and 1 copy of him is enough. Yeah… I don’t care, xD. I like him at 2.
Shaddoll Hedgehog: your own stingy searcher. Need a spell / trap? Flip him up. Looking for a shaddoll monster? Send him to the grave. Weak in terms of ATK and DEF.
Shaddoll Beast: your “drawer”. He is a good target for your Mathematicians / Falcos / Squamatas. LVL 5 means that you can synchro him with Falco for a Black Rose or an Arcanite Magician which is nice.
Shaddoll Hound: too slow, not worth running at all.
That’s it for Shaddoll line-up, moving on to Light-Earth supports.
Performage: the newest engine which, very strong, very fast, it adds more rank 4 xyz summons. IMO it works pretty well with Shaddolls.
Performage Damage Juggler: while I don’t like the card’s image, I can’t disagree with how strong it is while being a common. You can either use it as a hand trap to protect yourself from either a normal attack or an effect damage, which could’ve been enough, but there is more: you can banish this card from your graveyard to add another Performage monster from your deck to your hand. 1500 ATK, light-attribute (BLS, Construct), just wow. But of course, in order to use it’s second effect, you will need another performage monsters, so I present to you…
Performage Trick Clown: whenever this card is send to the graveyard, at the cost of taking 1000 LP of dmg, you can summon a Performage monster from you graveyard to your field, but it’s attack and defense become 0. Pretty decent, isn’t it? Considering that all Performage monsters you are playing are lvl 4, rank 4 xyz summons isn’t such a rarity anymore in this deck. Light.
Performage Hat Tricker: last but not least, this Performage might even become a staple in decks that summon rank 4 xyz monsters, because it’s just soooooooo easy to summon. There will hardly be a moment in the game when there will be less then 2 monsters on the field, so you will be able to summon almost everytme. His second ability may come in handy, but I doubt that you will ever accumulate 3 counters on it (unless you are playing vs a Burn deck). Earth.
Black Luster Soldier: you got both light and dark monsters in your deck? Don’t forget this dude.
Mathematician: hype every time you draw him, cause he is MVP of this deck (well an old MVP). Why is he better than Armageddon knight? Because he lets you to drop any monster to the graveyard, and not just Shaddolls. Felis / Peropero Cerberus (in case u run them), Performages. He is an earth monster which makes him a possible material for Shekhinaga. And you get +1 when he is destroyed. And he has 100 ATK more than Arma. And he looks funny. And… Ok, that’s it. 3, no matter what kind of engine you are running.
Glow-Up Bulb: after July 2015 Trishula is once again limited, so running Bulb is probably one of the easiest ways to summon it. He is earth attribute and his effect suits us well.
I guess it’s time for me to post my complete recipe so that you can get a better idea:
Now for the rest:
Raigeki / Book of Moon / Bottomless Trap Hole / Compulsory Evacuation Device – my favourite staples. Book of moon is especially good in this deck because you may also set your shaddolls monster and activate their effects once more, BUT remember that “a monster Special Summoned from the Extra Deck that was changed to face-down Defense Position by the effect of “Book of Moon”, is no longer treated as a monster that was Special Summoned from the Extra Deck. (However, it does remain treated as a Special Summoned monster.) Why is this important? Because of the following.
Shaddoll Fusion: your own Polymerization, actually much stronger because it can be searched by hedgehog and recycled in many different ways. Second part of this card effect says: If your opponent controls a monster(s) that was Special Summoned from the Extra Deck, you can also use monsters in your Deck as Fusion Material. So yeah, if you happened to set your opponents monster that was special summoned from the extra deck he will no longer be considered as a monster that was ssed from the extra deck. Dunno why this happens, but oh well, rulings are rulings. Shaddoll Fusion is a good card, but because there is another one that can be used to fusion summon – run 2.
El Shaddoll Fusion: another card to fusion summon, better than the previous because it’s a quick-spell. Meaning that you can bait your opponent and, in a way, to get round the restriction that lets you activate each of those cards only per turn – now you can fusion summon during your opponents turn which is amazing. Run 3 of those, combining with 2 Shaddoll fusion will make for a total of 5 cards that can be used to fusion summon, and 5 are enough – you just need to draw one or two of those and keep recycling them.
Dark Hole x2 / Torrential Tribute: those are staples, but they are especially good in this deck because of your monster effects that trigger in the graveyard.
Sinister Shadow Games x3: some people are very fond of this card, some aren’t. Me? I think it’s terrific. Thanks to it you may activate your shaddoll flip effects during your opponent turn and drop one shaddoll to the grave. Most obvious way of using this card is to drop Falco to the grave during the end phase of your opponents turn and flip him during your own in order to bring something back from the graveyard. You may also flip your Squamata / Dragon during your opponents turn to destroy / bounce a card.
Shaddoll Core: a card that has many uses – it can become a monster with 1450/1950 (pretty nice stats), which can be used for attacking / defending or as fusion material for any El Shaddoll fusion. Even better, when this card is sent to grave you can return to your hand 1 Shaddoll Spell / Trap. It is a good card, but because it is recyclable you shouldn’t run more than 1 IMO.
I run 3 copies of Winda, Construct and Shekhinaga, some of you might wonder, what for? With 4-5 light-earth monsters you will hardly be summoning more than 1-2 of those per match and that’s if you are lucky. Yeah and no. All you really need to do is to summon once any of your fusion monsters (well the more the better). Thanks to Falco, resurrecting your El Shaddolls shouldn’t be a problem, and thanks to their ability to recycle Shaddoll and El Shaddoll Fusion you will always have a spell to fusion summon. Now what great about this deck is that you can use your fusion monsters to keep summoning another copies of it from your extra deck. Your Shekhinaga is targeted by “Dimensional Prison”? El Shaddol Fusion. Your opponent is open and you want to make a second attack with your fusion? El Shaddol Fusion. Need to drop a Shaddoll to the grave? El Shaddoll fusion using your Construct. That’s why you need several copies of your fusion monsters, to keep summoning them over and over baiting your opponents into wasting their resources or maintaining field advantage. I feel like there is no need to talk much about those 3 cards in particular, their effects are pretty plain, each of them is stronger than the other in a particular situation / match up. One thing that I personally didn’t know before I started playing this deck is that Winda can be destroyed by your cards like Dark Hole / Torrential Tribute, so keep that in mind ^_^…
Now, El Shaddoll Anoyatyllis is released and so many people are trying to find a way of playing it… But why? I mean, isn’t the deck good enough as it is right now? “It stops Nekroz single-handedly”, yeah, and? You still have to summon it first, and then keep it in play. And vs other top decks our other fusion monsters work much better so it is not worth it, in my opinion, to try and build the deck around this card. I found a way of playing it (summoned only once in 20 games or so, but still) without hurting the deck or changing the strategy. There are 3 ways to summon it:
– use Shaddoll Core as second fusion material
– steal your opponent’s
water Nekroz monster with Mind Control and fusion summon using it.
– in case you run him, you might be able to use Number 101 as a fusion material.
4th way could be that of playing Nephe Shaddoll Fusion but why would you do it? Better just run another copy os Shaddoll Core, you can use it for any fusion just as well and it actually gives you a +1 monster with which you can attack or defend.
One copy of Anoyatyllis is enough, surely there can be other builds like Fire / Ice hands which I tried and didn’t like very much to be honest. Earth-Light-Dark FTW!
That makes 10 cards, 5 more to add. Oh, I know, why not add some syncrhos / xyz’? Falco is a tuner so lvl 6 should be pretty easy to summon, even though I only play Goyo, because there is no space. Trishula is a must, super easy to summon using Bulb. To power up Performage engine, run Trapeze Magician. For the rest – just pick your favourite Xyz / Synchro monsters.
Like everything else in this article, those are my personal preferences so if you want to side something else – do so.
Imperial Iron Wall: main weakness of this deck are cards like Macro Cosmos / Dark Law that remove all your cards that were supposed to be sent to the graveyard.
MST: I love MST and Qliphorts are becoming popular once again.
Anti-Spell Fragrance: vs Nekroz.
Mind Crush: very solid card in the current meta.
Thunder King Rai-Oh: I was maining it before I’ve decided to add Performages. Why not? It has great stats, great effects and it’s a potential target for BLS. Sure it may be a little slow, and in most cases you will use your normal summon on mathematicians, but still it’s nice to open with this card vs Nekroz’ / tellarknights. With Performages however, I just felt like there were too many monsters in the deck as it is, so I put him in the side deck.
Ojama Trio: good vs BA and can work vs tellarknights – check Blackwing article for furthe explanations.
Cards worth mentioning / considering:
Crush Card Virus: I’m not a big fan of new CCV but it can be run in this deck if you want.
Foolish Burial: yet another card to drop your Shaddolls to the grave, giving you a total of 7 cards to do it (3 math, 3 SSG and a foolish).
Enemy Controller: great card for this deck,
triggers you tributed Shaddolls does not trigger Shaddoll effects because “tributing a monster for Enemy Controller is a cost”, (thank you Sp00n3r for mentioning this). Even though, has a lot of uses: you can steal your opponents monster, attack with it and then sacrifice it for a fusion if its attiribute allows; change a monster position during battle phase for offensive / defensive purpose; lets you to get rid of your own monsters which you might not need anymore, like Winda if you need to urgently special summon more than once, or even better: attack with your fusion monster, sacrifice it to activate enemy controllers second effect, steal your opponent monster, get back to your hand El Shaddoll Fusion thanks to your fusion monster effect, attack with newly stolen monster and (if you can) fuse it to summon another boss monster and attack once again.
Herald of the Arc Light: if you are running Bulb, you might consider it. Combine Bulb with Mathematician and you may summon Herald which is a pretty good monster if you summon him at the right time.
Peropero Cerperus: am I the only one who thinks that this card looks creepy? Can be used with Mathematician, and as a tribute for Shekhinaga
Felis, Lightsworn Archer: works great with Mathematician, instant Black Rose or any other lvl 7 synchro. Thing is, when you summon your Mathematician early, 9/10 you are going to drop Squamata + another Shaddoll instead of Felis to thin your deck and prepare for the mid game. And unless you drop it with Math / Fusion / Foolish it’s a dead draw, so I cut it.
Effect Veiler: he… she… Ugh, damn it, after so many years of playing I still haven’t figured its gender. And on the internet some say that it is a male and some – female. Well, anyway, it is good, always was, still is. I rarely main him, and in the current meta I don’t even side him.
Maxx “C”: staple main / side deck card, being earth monster means that we can use it to fusion summon Shekhinaga.
Mind Control: steals your opponents monsters for synchro / xyz / fusion summons.
Mistake: current meta is all about searching and special summoning. Shaddolls have no problem dealing with summons thanks to their fusion monsters so why not block searching as well? I don’t like to main this card though, it’s very strong in certain match-ups and it may be completely useless in others. It also blocks your hedgehog, which, you might say, is not a big deal, but it would still hurt you.
Shared ride: when you feel that Mistake isn’t enough / when you don’t have Mistakes.
Artifacts: I honestly tried to build this deck in a couple of different ways but I wasn’t very successful with it. Guess artifacts just aren’t for me. The idea of this deck is to use Artifact Lancea which is very good vs Nekroz, Artifact Moralltach which is the best Artifact monster, Artifact Sanctum to ss them easily and a couple of other support cards based on your own preferences.
Star Seraph Scepter + Star Seraph Sovereignty: great engine which can be used almost in any deck. 2 problems: you can’t play Mistake, and you have to free some space in your extra deck for your rank 4 xyz. I prefer blocking my opponent from searching / adding to his hand so this isn’t for me. Star Seraphs work much better in a deck like tellarknights.
Black Dragon Collapserpent + White Dragon Wyverburster: was a very popular engine once, but isn’t used that much nowadays. Same deal as with Seraphs – Mistake can’t be played. Another problem is that it will be blocked by Imperial Iron Wall which you have to side vs Dark Law / Macro Cosmos.
Mask Change II + Dark Law: Law is such a pain in the a*s to play vs – so why not use him? Mask Change II has a nice synergy with this deck, sacrifice Shaddoll, trigger its effect and summon a boss monster. Of late, I’ve played this deck quite a lot and liked the results, so I thought it might be worth posting:
It’s equal to the “vanilla” build, I just swapped some cards to free the space for 3 Mask Change II. Law is amazing, I won’t stop saying it.
If you want me to post deck recipes for Shaddoll decks using different engines – just ask ^_^.
How to counter Shaddolls:
Masked HERO Dark Law: damn I hate this card. Lately I’ve seen him more often than Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror. You can deal with him by using your Squamata / Dragon, just be quick about it. In a way he is the reason why I play 2 dragons.
Shadow-Imprisoning Mirror: hurts just as bad as Dark Law, but you may still manage with your earth / light monsters or synchros.
23 / 08
– Updated the article, added Performage to the main build.
Have you read all of it? Wow, thank you for your time! I hope that you’ve enjoyed it, and learnt something new today! If you have any question / suggestions or just wanna tell me that I’m a total noob – pls leave a comment ^_^. All the best!