Analyzing Options: Abyss Actors

Metalfoes are by far the best Pendulum strategy right now. The theme’s performed with high success rates since its release, and the additional support from Invasion of Vengeance really put it over the top.

Combining Pendulums with effects that reward you for destroying your own cards is great, and Metalfoes let you do just that to search cards from your deck. But just like other Pendulum strategies we’ve seen in the past, Metalfoes are pretty good at splashing other Pendulum engines as well. While Billy Brake took down YCS Bochum with pure Metalfoes, a new variant with Abyss Actors has slowly been gaining popularity. What makes the Abyss Actors so worthwhile?

AbyssActorWildHope-DESO-EN-ScR-1EWhile there are a few Abyss Actors to choose from, there are really four that shine above the rest. Abyss Actor – Wild Hope’s likely the best. A Pendulum Monster that lets you do something when it’s destroyed is alwys going to be great. Performage Plushfire was so good that it needed to hit the F&L List, whereas Guiding Ariadne offers a similar effect, but it’s balanced by the fact that you have play a ton of Counter Traps to use it.

Wild Hope lets you search any Abyss Actor card when it’s destroyed, so combining it with a Metalfoes is nothing but value. The card selection is what makes it so powerful; finding whichever Abyss Actor you want to compliment your current line of play is really steps up your combos. It also has a couple other effects that are substantially less important, but still give you more options.

Next up is Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie, which is a bit more interesting. Its Pendulum Effect lets you save Abyss Actors from destruction by destroying Sassy Rookie instead, which is pretty strong if your opponent’s trying to clear your field and you can leverage that value. As for its Monster Effect, it prevents its own destruction once per turn, which is a nice way to get some more defense.

To further that, Sassy Rookie can also recruit a Level 4 or lower Abyss Actor from your deck when it’s destroyed by battle or opponent’s card effect, making it even more difficult to OTK through. But its best effect triggers when it’s destroyed in your Pendulum Zone: you can destroy a Level 4 or lower monster your opponent controls. The other Metalfoes make it easy to abuse that effect, giving you a way to clear whatever your opponent has for free while you’re doing your thing. Destroying an opposing Metalfoes Alkahest with Sassy Rookie is about as good as it gets; anytime that happens the duel’s definitely swinging in your favor.

Rather than getting into the last Abyss Actor, we’re going to talk about the most popular Abyss Actor spell card, Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King. If you’re familiar with Saber Slash, Rise of the Abyss King essentially does the same thing but with Abyss Actors. They’ll need to have different names to destroy additional cards, but mass removal is always nice. It also has another effect that can only activate if your opponent happens to destroy it while its set, while you have an Abyss Actor in your Extra Deck. That’s a little specific, but if it goes off you get to search two Abyss Actors. The best part about Rise of the Abyss King is probably that your opponent can’t respond to it if you control a Level 7 or higher Abyss Actor, which leads me to the last one we’re going to talk about.

The last Abyss Actor Monster that sees play is Abyss Actor – Superstar. At Level 7, it’s usually the Abyss Actor that duelists will skimp on, but it can still put in solid work. Its Pendulum Effect lets you tribute an Abyss Actor to get back an Abyss Script from your grave, so you can buy back that Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King and use it again… Even on the same turn. Getting almost double the removal out of Rise of the Abyss King is pretty sweet, as you can definitely clear everything you’d need to.

Superstar’s monster effects are a bit better. The first keeps your opponent from responding to its summon with spell or trap cards, so you don’t have to worry about disruption. But its last effect is what you really want to play it for, as once per turn you can set an Abyss Script from your deck! It’ll be destroyed during the End Phase if you don’t use it, but searching out Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King and then snapping it off to clear the field and win the duel is super sweet.

So how would you work the Abyss Actor engine into a Metalfoes deck? Let’s take a look:

AbyssActorSassyRookie-DESO-EN-SR-1ENick Torrez’s Abyss Actor Metalfoes – 41 Cards
Altoona Iowa Regional Qualifier, December 18th, 2016
Monsters: 30

3 Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie
2 Abyss Actor – Superstar
3 Abyss Actor – Wild Hope
2 Archfiend Eccentrick
1 Luster Pendulum, the Dracoslayer
3 Majespecter Raccoon – Bunbuku
1 Majespecter Unicorn – Kirin
3 Metalfoes Goldriver
3 Metalfoes Silverd
3 Metalfoes Steelen
3 Metalfoes Volflame
2 Raremetalfoes Bismugear
1 Rescue Rabbit

Spells: 7
1 Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King
1 Fullmetalfoes Fusion
1 Metalfoes Fusion
1 Mystical Space Typhoon
3 Painful Decision

AbyssScriptRiseoftheAbyssKing-DESO-EN-ScR-1ETraps: 4
1 Metalfoes Combination
2 Metalfoes Counter
1 Solemn Warning

Extra Deck: 15
1 Abyss Dweller
1 Castel, the Skyblaster Musketeer
1 Dark Rebellion Xyz Dragon
1 Diamond Dire Wolf
1 Fullmetalfoes Alkahest
1 Ignister Prominence, the Blasting Dracoslayer
1 Leviair the Sea Dragon
2 Metalfoes Mithrilium
2 Metalfoes Orichalc
1 Number 11: Big Eye
1 Number 39: Utopia
1 Number S39: Utopia the Lightning
1 The Phantom Knights of Break Sword

Side Deck: 15
3 Cosmic Cyclone
2 Gameciel, the Sea Turtle Kaiju
1 Great Shogun Shien
2 Jinzo
2 Maxx “C”
1 Raigeki
2 System Down
1 Vanity’s Emptiness
1 Zombie World

While Jackie Bernal was the one who initially popularized Abyss Actors beginning at YCS Anaheim and making it to the Top 4 of an ARGCS a little while later, Nick Torrez built off her initial design and Top 8’d the Altoona Iowa Regional Qualifier. A bigger Abyss Actor engine with a third copy of Abyss Actor – Sassy Rookie along with a second copy of Abyss Actor – Superstar meant that Torrez wanted easier access to the free destruction Sassy Rookie enables, and would get to Abyss Script – Rise of the Abyss King quicker as well thanks to Superstar. Destroying cards so easily in the Metalfoes mirror match is huge, and if that’s what you’re running the Abyss Actors for then it makes sense to boost those numbers.

AbyssActorSuperstar-DESO-EN-ScR-1EAnother interesting thing about of the Abyss Actor Metalfoes decks is that they have to make compromises somewhere to keep to an acceptable deck size, and slimming down on Metalfoes is definitely the wrong choice. So what do you cut? The usual suspects are your consistency spells such as Painful Decision and Pot of Desires, because while they do help, you don’t necessarily need them to do your thing. Torrez chose to skip Pot of Desires completely, which I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of, but makes sense given his list. If anything, this could be a budget way to build Metalfoes, since it uses no Pot of Desires or Dimensional Barrier.

Other than that, Torrez’s list is pretty standard, maxing out on all of the Metalfoes and mostly playing single copies of his searchable spells – the one exception was Metalfoes Combination. His trap lineup is a little slim, but that’s becoming more and more standard in Metalfoes builds that don’t run Guiding Ariadne. That said, not using Vanity’s Emptiness in the main is a bit interesting given just how one sided games can be when you open with it.

The one really spicy card here is in the Side Deck, a single copy of Great Shogun Shien. We haven’t seen it in a while, but if you can Pendulum Summon it in the Metalfoes mirror the game’s basically over. Your opponent’s suddenly limited to playing just one Pendulum to their Scale per turn, so they’re basically stuck with a hand full of monsters and will lose the duel as a result. You can use Shogun against any strategy that tries to play an abundance of spell cards – stuff like the turbo Blue-Eyes variant – and if you can protect it with something like Fullmetalfoes Alakahest then even the mighty Blue-Eyes Alternative White Dragon can’t take it down.

Will Abyss Actors be the most successful variant of Metalfoes moving forward? You lose a bit of consistency just because you can’t take advantage of stuff like Summoner’s Art, let alone whatever copies of Painful Decision and Pot of Desires that you’re slimming down on, but what you gain could be worthwhile in the mirror match, as well as other value-based matchups like Paleozoics.

What do you think is the best variant of Metalfoes?

-Robert Boyajian

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