Exploring The Format: Yang Zing Metalfoes

I really like Metalfoes and I definitely think it’s the best deck right now. It can accomplish so much with so little, and the Pendulum mechanic pushes it way over the top. Combo-based Pendulum strategies are leagues above everything else because you can combo off and make a huge field while still keeping an Extra Deck full of resources if your opponent manages to clear your field.

I think there are two camps of Metalfoes players: the vanilla version that I wrote on a couple weeks ago, and the Yang Zing variant. The latter has a much higher power ceiling on a turn by turn basis, and if your Turn 1’s are simply more powerful than every other deck’s you’re probably doing something right.

jiaotudarknessoftheyangzing-mp15-en-ur-1eSo what makes this strategy so good? The biggest problem that Yang Zings have always had was being proactive. Other than Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing, all of your cards are inherently reactive; they need to be destroyed to do anything. That meant your Turn 1’s either saw you Summon a Jiaotu and actually do something, or you were stuck setting a monster and passing. You had to either hope you were lucky enough to draw Jiaotu, or that your opponent destroyed your monster so you could then summon it.

But the Metalfoes cards help you break past that inherent flaw, giving rewarding you for destroying your own cards. That flips the strategy on its head because suddenly it’s very proactive, and you can basically search your best card, Jiaotu, every time you draw one Yang Zing and one Metalfoes monster.

That leads to some truly absurd fields, because you’re almost guaranteed to see a Jiaotu in every game. You’re ending your first turn with several powerful and resilient threats very consistently. The resulting strategy gets big advantages for running lots of redundant combo pieces, much like some of the most successful strategies of the past used to. Anytime you have a single Metalfoes monster, a Yang Zing you can Normal Summon, and two more Yang Zing cards, you can make huge combos. Those four cards can make one of two fields:

-Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy, Herald of the Arc Light, Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing, and a set Zefra Divine Strike

Or

-Ultimaya Tzolkin, Void Ogre Dragon, Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon, and a set Zefra Divine Strike

There are several ways you can perform the combos to pay out with a bunch of different possibilities, but the above are the two that I think are the strongest. Things can get even crazier if you happen to open with Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing because you can use its effect earlier in the combo to get more resources to work with. You can basically end with the same field as the first example, but with a Void Ogre Dragon instead of Baxia – a major upgrade. Similarly, if you draw a second Metalfoes you can end with the first example plus an additional Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing and a couple extra cards.

ultimayatzolkin-core-na-sr-leHowever, a deck can’t just be that good without some downsides. Yang Zing Metalfoes isn’t strictly superior to the standard variant in all ways – it has a few glaring weaknesses the regular Metalfoes deck doesn’t. The biggest issue for me is hand traps: they’re really good against you. While Effect Veiler’s less popular with Monarchs basically out of the picture, Blue-Eyes can still search it pretty often if they go first. Effect Veiler on Jiaotu is backbreaking: you lose the two Yang Zings you discarded as cost, and you get stopped dead in your tracks. Jiaotu isn’t the worst monster to end with because it can get you another Yang Zing, but most of the time you’re going to lose the game if your opponent drew well and manages to pull that off.

By the same token, both Maxx “C” and Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit do a fair bit of work against you. Maxx “C” isn’t so bad depending on when your opponent pulls the trigger. If they do it on your first Yang Zing effect that would get you Jiaotu, you can just search a Chiwen instead and end, or even give them another draw to get both the Yang Zing cards out of your hand and turn them into monsters on the field. If your opponent waits until Jiaotu it’s obviously better for you, because you can get more stuff on the field while giving them fewer draws.

Ghost Ogre & Snow Rabbit’s interesting because your opponent can use it against a lot of your cards. If they use it on a Metalfoes, they can stop your combo instantly if you don’t have another in your hand. If your opponent uses it on Jiaotu, you can just replace it with another Yang Zing so your combo still works fine. Hitting your Baxia’s a little worse, but by then you’ll probably be pretty deep into your combo so it’s not too big of a deal.

While there’s also an argument to be made about what happens when you don’t open with the ideal of one Metalfoes monster plus three Yang Zings, you can still do quite a lot with some of those hands. It really just depends on what the rest of your cards are, and most of the time they’ll be Metalfoes. At the very least you can usually do something to play out of those hands, and if you’re lucky enough to have drawn Zefraniu or Chiwen then you can still probably end with Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy, a Yang Zing, and a set Zefra Divine Strike with Pendulum Scales up and a couple Metalfoes in your Extra Deck.

The absolute worst hands you can have probably involve drawing a bunch of Metalfoes Combinations and Yang Zing Paths, but that risk is a necessary evil. Let’s take a look at the deck list I’d use:

zefraniusecretoftheyangzing-cros-en-r-1eYang Zing Metalfoes – 40 cards
Monsters: 27

3 Zefraniu, Secret of the Yang Zing
3 Jiaotu, Darkness of the Yang Zing
3 Chiwen, Light of the Yang Zing
3 Suani, Fire of the Yang Zing
3 Bi’an, Earth of the Yang Zing
2 Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing
1 Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing
1 Zefraxi,Treasure of the Yang Zing
3 Metalfoes Steelen
3 Metalfoes Silverd
2 Maxx “C”

Spells: 9
3 Pot of Desires
3 Yang Zing Path
1 Metalfoes Fusion
1 Soul Charge
1 Upstart Goblin

Traps: 4
3 Metalfoes Combination
1 Zefra Divine Strike

BaxiaBrightnessoftheYangZing-MP15-EN-ScR-1EExtra Deck: 15
1 Ultimaya Tzolkin
1 Chaofeng, Phantom of the Yang Zing
1 Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
3 Baxia, Brightness of the Yang Zing
1 Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon
1 Odd-Eyes Meteor Burst Dragon
1 PSY-Framelord Omega
1 Void Ogre Dragon
1 Yazi, Darkness of the Yang Zing
1 Accel Synchron
1 Herald of the Arc Light
1 Number 38: Hope Harbinger Dragon Titanic Galaxy
1 Metalfoes Orichalc

You want to run a lot of Yang Zings with a decent number of Metalfoes. While I’ve seen a bunch of different ratios in other builds, I’m a big fan of what I’m using. You just want a high count of Yang Zings to make sure you can always fill the activation requirement for Jiaotu, while also not dipping below 6 Metalfoes so you can guarantee having a single enabler.

There are a few numbers worth explaining, such as the split of two Bixi, Water of the Yang Zing and one Pulao, Wind of the Yang Zing. Because you can only activate each Yang Zing effect once per turn, it makes sense to cut a single Bixi for a lesser Yang Zing because it let you get another effect if you ever need to. The most debated monster I’ve seen is Zefraxi, Treasure of the Yang Zing. While it may not have the same effect of the rest of the Yang Zings – meaning you can’t destroy it to search Jiaotu – you can still discard it for Jiaotu, so it counts towards the three total Yang Zings you want in your opening hand. It also lets you do a few combos differently, and is the key to summoning Ultimaya Tzolkin (which is super powerful).

The spells and traps are pretty straightforward. Pot of Desires is great and I don’t plan on running any fewer than three copies anytime soon, while Yang Zing Path is obviously strong as well and can be searched with Zefraniu. All of the Metalfoes cards are necessary for your combo, because setting Metalfoes Combination and destroying it with Baxia nets you a Yang Zing in play and a Metalfoes monster in your hand when you banish the Combination.

zefradivinestrike-cros-en-sr-1eZefra Divine Strike is searchable with Zefraniu as well, and it’s one reason why the deck is so strong; you always have it set after you combo off. I was actually considering cutting back on Yang Zing Path because it doesn’t really help start your combo, and it’s only good once you’ve got some stuff going. It’s searchable, so running just one copy could be fine. If you did cut them you could add more redundant combo pieces, and you can make a similar argument for Soul Charge as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if I wound up cutting those three cards, two Yang Zing Path and a Soul Charge, for some combination of another Bixi or more Metalfoes.

The best part about this is that the deck gets even better once Invasion: Vengeance hits shelves. There are two very powerful Yang Zing cards there – Wangtianhou, Origin of the Yang Zing and Nine Branches of the Yang Zing – which help the strategy immensely. Wangtianhou is a huge upgrade to Accel Synchron and Nine Branches is like an improved Zefra Divine Strike. Even though this deck gets better when the next set drops, I still think it’s more than strong enough to have competitive success now.

What do you think of Yang Zing Metalfoes? Is it better than the standard Metalfoes variants? How much better does it get once Invasion: Vengeance is released? Shoot me your thoughts.

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