Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How to Maxx Out Your Hand

Forgive the obvious pun, but this post is about Maxx "C", a polarising card that has been seen as a staple in many YCS decks. Maxx "C", on the surface, is a pretty good card. You can chain it to any Special Summon for a one-for-one - discard it, and draw another. However, you'll also draw an extra card for any other Special Summon that your opponent performs. This alone gives it an edge that can stop a player in his tracks, stifle a combo, discourage further Summoning, or even gaining hand advantage. There are two aspects to the power of Maxx "C" - the psychological, and the physical. These aspects influence the decision to drop Maxx "C", and the response to a Maxx "C" drop.

To Summon or not?
It's generally agreed that the earlier Maxx "C" is played, the more beneficial. This is because decks have easier access to swarm tactics earlier in the duel rather than later, when duels revolve down to who has outs for certain cards, or who gets luckier with the topdeck. With cards like The Agent of Creation - Venus and Tour Guide From The Underworld running around, it's not hard for a player to get some Special Summons off on their first turn. Since Maxx "C" can be activated in either player's turn, you can use its effect before you even draw your first card. Chaining Maxx "C" to a Tour Guide activation might discourage your opponent from using the Monster that's Summoned to perform an Xyz Summon, as you will get the +1 if they do.
Maxx "C"'s favourite victim
Whenever a Maxx "C" is dropped on me, there are two things that go through my mind.
  • Is my opponent on the defensive or not?
  • Why would he drop Maxx "C" on this particular Special Summon?
The answer to the first influences whether or not I will allow my opponent to draw. Many amateur players will be spooked by Maxx "C", and will immediately stop what they are doing. Naturally, this is not always the correct option. It may not even be the safest option. For example, if I used Venus' effect to bring out a Shine Ball, upon which my opponent chains Maxx "C", is it really a good idea to just leave my low-attack Monsters on the field vulnerable? Wouldn't it be better to bring out another Shine Ball and let my opponent get the +2 while I Xyz for Gachi Gachi Gantetsu? If Maxx "C" is chained to my Rescue Rabbit, should I let my Kabazauls hit the grave and leave myself wide open, or should I let my opponent get the +1 and Xyz for Laggia? These are all questions that have to be answered when Maxx "C" is used against you.

The second question can be answered by simply looking at the state of play. Desperate players on the verge of losing do whatever they can to grab small bits of advantage to pull themselves back into the game. Things like immediately dropping Maxx "C" the turn after it's drawn is an immediate tell that your opponent has nothing. Watch the movement of your opponent's drawn cards. IF it's obvious that they topdecked Maxx "C", they're just looking for ways to not lose in their next few draws. It might be a good time to pile on the pressure and push for game.

When to drop it?
The best possible situation in which you can drop Maxx "C" is when Special Summoning is the only option your opponent has to prevent themselves from losing. For example, you are playing against a Plant Synchro deck, and you've whittled their field down with simple one-for-ones. You've got, say, a BLS and Leviathan Dragon on field that's going to threaten a swing for game. Your opponent topdecks into Debris Dragon, and can only see one way out - to bring back a Card Trooper and Synchro for Black Rose Dragon. If you know that this play is available to them, immediately drop Maxx "C" when the Card Trooper is Summoned. You are guaranteed to plus off it, otherwise your opponent will lose. And with a bolstered hand for the next turn, you have another shot at victory.

However, this situation does come with a flaw - they will still make the play. And perhaps, they will come back into the game. Do not confuse 'best possible situation' with 'only situation'. I believe that the Effect Veiler that Mr. Dang wrote of in his last post is much more effective than Maxx "C" when your opponent is backed to the wall with only one way out. For this reason, I believe that both Maxx "C" and Effect Veiler are staples in any competitive deck.

Do not drop Maxx "C" when your opponent is making really basic inherent Summons that aren't part of a combo. Things like using Monster Reborn just to stall for some more time probably doesn't warrant using Maxx "C". While Maxx "C" does delay plays, it does not stop them. Do not use it when you have no aggressive plays on the next turn to capitalise on, and if you know you can't stop the play you're delaying. For example, you are against Six Samurais, and you draw into an MST, Maxx "C", Spore, Solemn Warning, Book of Moon and Dandylion. Do not be tempted to blow Maxx "C" on your opponent's first turn, in which they are seeking a Shi En. Instead, use your simple one-for-ones to stall plays until you are truly out of options, in which Maxx "C" is a great desperation play as it can either bring you back into the game at full force, or stall for one more turn. Solemn Warning and Mystical Space Typhoon cannot bring you back into the game, at least with Maxx "C"  you have a chance.

Summing up
I don't pretend to understand all the strengths that Maxx "C" brings to a deck. However, I know enough to consider it a staple. Hand traps are so powerful as they are impossible to anticipate without the use of Trap Dustshoot or a failed Mind Crush.The former is overpowered anyway, and will be discussed later, and a failed Mind Crush is essentially a -2 to see your hand. I will end with one statement about Maxx "C" that I hope you will consider: run at least one in your Main Deck, and at least one in your Side Deck. Though you may not know much about the card at first, I guarantee that with use you will come to appreciate and take advantage of it.

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