Join Moxies as he takes a deep dive into one of the format's most popular and powerful decks: Chaos Warrior!
What is Chaos Warrior?
Chaos Warrior is a deck that dates back as far as 2005, when Jonathan LaBounty played a variant of it. It was popularized by GeistD in 2020, when he had arguably the best run in Goat Format history. Between March 29th 2020 and May 5th 2020, he won GFC 4, GFC 6, and FLC 11: all premier Goat major events and all won with Chaos Warrior.
The deck doesn't have a rigid set of monster ratios, instead it's quite fluid, as Warriors in general follow a very anti-meta deck building style where card choices are based on countering the meta. Cards like Blade Knight, Don Zaloog, Exiled Force, Mystic Swordsman LV2, and D.D. Warrior Lady are common, with the addition of Black Luster Soldier - Envoy of the Beginning (BLS) and a minimum of one Chaos Sorcerer. Together, these staples give the deck its moniker: Chaos Warrior.
Chaos Warrior is an aggressive deck. It is built to punish other decks that rely on flip monsters and slow setups, taking advantage of the Thunder Dragon craze by maining Kycoo and attacking set monsters with Blade Knight and Mystic Swordsman. The goal is to simplify the game by making one-for-one trades while gaining card advantage by efficiently destroying monsters in battle.
Chaos Warrior has more longevity than a typical aggro deck, as Chaos Sorcerer gives it another weapon to come out on top in the late game when it would otherwise run out of steam. It also allows the player to be aggressive when committing monsters to the board, as when the monsters die, there are two chaos monsters to bring out afterwards. The aim is to reduce the game state to a very low card count, as the topdecks of Chaos Warrior are better than most decks due to the standalone power cards.
Chaos Warrior thrives on taking good one-for-one trades and backing up strong monsters with numerous trap cards. Cards like Solemn Judgement and Trap Dustshoot help to move the game plan along. Reinforcement of the Army (ROTA) is arguably the best card at the player’s disposal, as it can become anything they need: an Exiled for spot removal, a Don Zaloog for hand disruption, or a needed LIGHT/DARK to enable the Chaos monsters. It can also become either a Mystic Swordsman or a Blade Knight for attacking set monsters (with Blade Knight being a beatstick as well). It can even grab Ninja Grandmaster Sasuke to destroy pesky face-up defense position monsters like Gravekeeper’s Spy, Spirit Reaper, or a Chaos monster.
Another key card for the deck is Kycoo. Being able to very easily banish LIGHT/DARK monsters, he is the floodgate against Chaos decks, and even counters Thunder Dragon to an extent. He is also an important three-of Dark monster used to fuel chaos summons. Additionally, Kycoo is a good mid to late game card in simplified game states, as he can often outright win by himself.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Chaos Warrior is a fast striking deck. It comes in hard and forces the opponent into suboptimal plays and trades. Nobleman of Crossout is virtually useless against the main deck unless used in combination with Book of Moon or Tsukuyomi. Versatility is also a strength. Chaos Warrior plays a variety of standalone strong cards and has an arsenal of flexible choices to deal with whatever strategy it faces. Dark Scorpion - Cliff The Trap Remover is great against burn/stall decks or anything that tries to floodgate using Royal Decree. Don Zaloog is a searchable hand disruptor against combo decks that rely on specific cards for their win condition.
Consistency is the biggest strength of the deck. Even if less so than a normal warrior build, the Chaos Warrior variant is more powerful and still among the most consistent decks of the current meta. It is extremely good at the game plan it was built for, which, in the hands of a strong player, can result in consistent tournament tops or wins.
The last thing I'd like to touch on for strengths is the fact that Chaos Warrior doesn't get respected as much as it should or could (though this perception is slowly changing). Many in the community don't consider any variant of Warrior to be the best deck and don’t believe it could ever be the best deck. For this reason, it often takes a back seat in deck testing and theory crafting, which benefits a Warrior player greatly.
Because Book of Moon is a poor card in the current meta, it is rarely mained in this variation of Chaos Warrior. This leaves it severely lacking against Scapegoat + Metamorphosis decks. Matchups against Chaos Control and Goat Control often feel very hard for the Chaos Warrior player. This forces a larger portion of the side deck to be dedicated to countering these decks. Cards like Gravekeeper’s Spy, Spirit Reaper, or the less commonly played Legendary Jujitsu Master can slow down the game if the Chaos Warrior player fails to draw into any of their outs. If the game drags on too long, it can become impossible to escape from being drowned in opposing card advantage.
I would consider Chaos Warrior the most consistent deck in the meta at the moment. However, like any deck running Chaos monsters, it can brick. Chaos Warrior plays more monsters (15-17) than a normal warrior deck (13-14), which can cause monster heavy hands, in addition to sometimes opening BLS and Sorc and being unable to capitalize on them. Playing both revivals (Premature Burial and Call Of The Haunted) can also lead to bricky hands with BLS and Sorc. Another weakness is if the opponent opens a strong trinity spell with a Magician Of Faith. It can often be hard to combat such an opening or recover from it as Chaos Warrior doesn't garner the same advantage through power spells.
The deck is often called a "helmet" deck, and deemed not very skill-intensive by a large portion of the community. This is true in the sense that compared to Chaos Control, the lines of play are more linear. However, there is a reason some of the best Warrior players continue to win, while others pick up the "easy win deck" and don't do well. I attribute this to multiple factors. For one, Warrior decks have many cards that can outright win a game without thinking very hard. Solemn is an interesting example because while it can completely turn the tide in the player’s favor one game, it can also cause their downfall in the next. Solemn is an extremely high potential card. Having game sense and knowing when to use Solemn is often the difference between losing or winning. Not every game is a Blade Knight set five scenario; sometimes it's necessary to pilot a bricky hand, or manage a hand with no Solemn. Sometimes it’s having to understand game states and proper resource management while only setting one specific back row card at a time.
Trading cards is a core interaction in Chaos Warrior, but trading correctly and to their advantage is something many players don’t do when piloting this deck. Using ROTA to tutor a beatstick instead of using it for an answer, or using Graceful Charity immediately every time are common mistakes in the long-term goal for the deck. Chaos Warrior relies heavily on the pilot's ability to understand matchups and how to manipulate cards to their advantage. Chaos Warrior doesn’t have the ability to loop power spells to overwhelm the opponent. Interactions are key, and even a small misplay can snowball into an outright loss within very few turns. As much as the deck can "helmet" its way into victories, it can also lose extremely quickly with poor resource management.
Overall, I would consider Chaos Warrior a mid-floor and high-ceiling deck. Anyone can netdeck and win games with it because the deck is built to win against the meta. However, only top-level players can take the deck to a tournament topping level.
For a more in-depth analysis of Chaos Warrior look out for a future article in the advanced section.
As a highly aggressive deck, Chaos Warrior may often need to take calculated risks to win the game. Read about this more in Risk in Goat Format.
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