As a Goat Control player, you cannot rely on achieving a high winrate by winning control mirrors alone. Anti-Meta Warriors, as popularized by Yu-Gi-Oh! players like Calvin Tahan and spankthemonkey, will not be leaving the meta anytime soon and is built to attack Goat Control specifically. One of our most important tools in this matchup will be the sidedeck, which is the focus of this article.
How Anti-Meta Warriors Beats Goat Control
Anti-Meta Warriors, as you can read about in the deck guide, is a Goat Format deck that plays a variety of disruptive monsters like Blade Knight, Don Zaloog, and/or King Tiger Wanghu. It plays a heavy trap lineup to back these threats up. There are a variety of different monster configurations that Anti-Meta Warriors can use, but all versions of the deck have the same basic strategy. Anti-Meta Warriors doesn't set monsters of its own, doesn’t play Scapegoat or Metamorphosis, and doesn't hesitate to exhibit as much pressure as it possibly can right from the start. Most cards in Anti-Meta Warriors are solid standalone cards, which makes this deck favored in a simplified gamestate versus the more synergy-reliant Goat Control deck. Therefore, Anti-Meta Warriors’ job against Goat Control is to simplify the game and win before Goat Control can stabilize. Goat Control, on the other hand, needs to use its sidedeck to survive the early game and slow down the pace of play.
Build a Wall, Make the Aggro Monsters Pay For It
There are many different opinions on how to stop Anti-Meta Warriors, but it’s almost universally accepted that monsters with high defense points are a good place to start. Their monsters usually have hard time dealing with them, and their spell and trap lineup is usually not designed to deal with big, passive walls who never attack. This strategy of stalling works well because Anti-Meta Warriors aims to finish the game as quickly as possible, to trade cards and inflict damage in the process.
Most notable walls in the format are Gravekeeper’s Spy, Gravekeeper’s Guard, Legendary Jujitsu Master and Roulette Barrel, which all fit well in Goat Control’s sidedeck, though the player usually picks either Gravekeepers or Legendary Jujitsu Master, not both, while Roulette Barrel sees very little play. It is worth mentioning that cards such as D. D. Assailant and D. D. Warrior Lady have been tried numerous times also, but they are not that good at walling because many ofAnti-Meta Warriors’ monsters can attack over them, resulting in the one for one trade that costs the Goat Control player a normal summon.
High Risk, High Reward Sidedeck Options
There are two main schools of thought on beating Anti-Meta Warriors: one that brings Royal Decree to the matchup and one that doesn’t. One plays Royal Decree to shutdown almost a third of the average Anti-Meta Warriors deck for the price of their own trap cards when it resolves, the other would rather have their own traps to ensure the destruction of the opponent’s monsters. Those traps can include Seven Tools of the Bandit, which ensures that a counter-play against Anti-Meta Warriors will succeed.
Mobius, the Frost Monarch is another possible side card that we can replace Airknight Parshath with. He is best used in combination with Seven Tools of the Bandit to protect him from Solemn Judgement. However, since Anti-Meta Warriors is so aggressive, having tribute monsters post-side may not be the best strategy, as Goat Control may not ever get the chance to summon them.
Spell-Based Monster Removal
Another good tool against Anti-Meta Warriors is the third copy of Scapegoat (if you choose to not maindeck all three) with two Creature Swap. Aggro decks never run Scapegoat themselves, so Creature Swap is always guaranteed to steal a real monster. Anti-Meta Warriors’ primary means of preventing a successful Creature Swap resolution are Solemn Judgments and Compulsory Evacuation Devices.
Lastly, cards like Smashing Ground and Lightning Vortex can be also sided, as they provide Goat Control with a simple and reliable form of monster removal to relieve some pressure from the board. This approach may backfire because these spells assume that the monster they're destroying survived and attacked at least once and might have done serious damage while doing so (for example Blade Knight destroying our flip monster or Don Zaloog discarding a card).
Dead Cards vs Anti-Meta Warriors
Some cards in standard Goat Control maindeck are completely unfit to deal with the Anti-Meta Warriors strategy and are obvious take-outs. These cards are Airknight Parshath, Morphing Jar, and Nobleman of Crossout. These cards alone imply that we invest at least five of our sidedeck slots against Anti-Meta Warriors, because we want to replace these cards.
Depending on their monster lineup, it might be a good idea to side out Tsukuyomi as well. While Tsukuyomi can kill Blade Knight and Berserk Gorilla in battle, it cannot kill King Tiger Wanghu, Gearfried the Iron Knight, or Abyss Soldier. Tsukuyomi may be a liability against fast pressure from Anti-Meta Warriors.
Call of the Haunted and Premature Burial can be also sided out, because they don't do anything in the first turns of the game, which are the most vital turns in the Anti-Meta Warriors matchup. Premature Burial and Call of the Haunted also will not have many good targets, considering that we intend to be siding out Airknight Parshath as well.
Number of Cards to Side
Typically we will find ourselves siding five to nine cards against Anti-Meta Warriors. Why is this? We have at least five dead cards that we must side out. We don’t want to side more than nine, or else we risk diluting our strategy too much and not having enough cards to side in other important matchups. Since the sidedeck’s job is to improve many matchups that we might face, not just Anti-Meta Warriors, it is even a little too optimistic to think that we will have nine cards available to side. Five to seven cards is quite realistic. Nine will only be a good idea if you have a lot of overlap in other matchups as well. For example, Mobius the Frost Monarch and Royal Decree can also be sided against Burn, and Creature Swap can be sided against Flip Control.
With knowledge of how many cards to side in conjunction with what can be taken out and brought in, you should be well on your way to formulating a sidedeck plan against Anti-Meta Warriors. Be sure to read our other Goat Control-related articles and videos for more great tips.
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Be sure to read our deck guides to Goat Control and Anti-Meta Warriors. To learn more about Goat Control's tougher matchups, read What is Goat Control's Worst Matchup? To learn why you Goat Control needs to worry about more matchups than just the mirror, read Beating Goat Isn't Good Enough.